Mid-December thoughts

Cold weather in December is to be expected, but this past week has seen exceptionally icy temperatures. It’s the first time in about thirty years that we’ve resorted to putting a hot water bottle in the bed a few hours before retiring for the night.

These photos depict some of the evidence of our cold snap in this part of Yorkshire. (The first one was taken on the shore of Walney Island in Cumbria in November – the strong winds made it bitterly cold.)

Walney Island shore in November
Piece Hall, Halifax
Icy canal
Cold morning

With all this cold weather, and soon to be warmer, wet weather, I should be sitting in front of my computer, well wrapped up, writing my next novel. But the words seem to be sluggishly frozen in my brain and not reaching my fingers. I’ve learned not to fret too much about non-productive days and focus on what I’ve achieved so far. 12 novels, 1 novella, 7 short stories, and 3 audio books over the past 9 years is more than I could have envisioned at the start my published author journey in 2014.

2022 Achievements

1 Novel: number 12, published by Affinity Rainbow Publications, came out on October 1st. Changing Times is not a Christmas story, but one of the main characters is called Holly. Like many of that name, she was born in December, so the epilogue takes place on her birthday which is Christmas Eve. A gathering of family and friends is always a great to tie up any loose ends.

Changing Times

1 Audio Book: number 3, Darcy Comes Home, narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent…available on Audible, Amazon, and Apple from 18 March 2022. (The book was published on 1 November 2021.) Nicola narrated my other two audio books and has done an amazing job with all three.

Audio books

My personal epilogue for this year would include those achievements plus getting out and about with my wife to some lovely places in this country. Previous blogs this year show photographic evidence of these travels.

Jen by the Christmas Tree

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and hopes for many more reading pleasures to come in the New Year!


Changing Times – published 1 October 2022: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon AU / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Google Play / Smashwords / Apple Books

Darcy Comes Home (Audio): Audible UK / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Apple Books


Both currently on sale at Affinity Rainbow Publications: Christmas at Winterbourne / Winterbourne Revisited


Not quite end of year thoughts

The leaves are mostly all gone from the deciduous trees and plants, heralding the start of winter. We don’t often get snow in England, but when we do everything comes to a standstill even it’s just a light covering. Mostly, it rains. This year we do need lots of rain. Even though I live in what’s often called Wet Yorkshire, it’s predicted that we’ll still have a hosepipe ban through next summer. It rained heavily one morning when we were staying in Borrowdale in Cumbria last month. By lunchtime, the water levels had risen to swamp the low-lying pathways by the river’s edge, driving walkers onto the road.

Derwent River rising

So, this is the time of year for comfort reading. My go to selection for these long wet days in the run up to Christmas is The Chronicles of Alsea – a ten book science fiction series by Fletcher Delancey.

The Chronicles of Alsea by Fletcher Delancey

Back in the days of my youth, it would have been an annual reread of The Lord of the Rings (starting with The Hobbit, of course). Further back (and on occasion nowadays) it was The Chronicles of Narnia and visits to the Lake District with Swallows and Amazons.

My latest novel has been out for six weeks now. Maybe not exactly in the comfort reading category – but it’s a romance, so of course there’s a happy ever after ending.

Changing Times by Jen Silver

Changing Times – published 1 October 2022: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon AU / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Google Play / Smashwords / Apple Books


Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple Books

Audiobooks – narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent:

Darcy Comes Home: Audible UK / Amazon UK / Amazon US / iTunes

Starting Over: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook

Audio books

June is Audiobook Appreciation Month

I only started listening to audiobooks about four years ago. Up until then I hadn’t seriously considered having any of my books narrated. However, listening to books that I’d already read gave me an insight into how the different medium could enhance the story. With the right narrator, the words gained new life.

I was lucky to find the ideal narrator living almost on my doorstep, only a few miles along the road. We met for an initial discussion about how she worked and I didn’t need much more convincing to take the plunge. I gave her my two latest books to look at. Not long after that she sent me a sample of a scene from Changing Perspectives.

That was the game changer. I was sold on making the commitment to have the book recorded. Nicola Victoria Vincent is a wonderful voice actor. Hearing her treatment of different character voices gave the story a whole new depth. (It also showed up some of my writing glitches.)

Anyway, that was the start of my journey into audio. Nicki’s now produced two more of my novels – Starting Over and Darcy Comes Home. I’ve funded the productions myself and I’m not likely to break even on the costs. But it’s worth it to me to have my stories out in this format.

Only recently, Bella Books has taken the steps to have all of Katherine V Forrest’s books recorded. Daughters of a Coral Dawn is one of my favourites which I’ve read many times over the years (first published in 1984 by Naiad Press). The audio version is sensational though and it’s almost like experiencing the story for the first time.

So, every month is now Audiobook Appreciation Month for me. I know this is true for many other audio book converts. Long may it continue.

For this year’s Audiobook Appreciation Month, Jae has set up a fantastic giveaway with 23 authors taking part. I’m offering three US/UK Audible codes for Darcy Comes Home. To enter, just fill in the form on Jae’s blog:


Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Three audio books

Darcy Comes Home: Audible UK / Amazon UK / Amazon US / iTunes

Starting Over: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


Late spring travels

The time between blog posts is getting longer and longer. I haven’t felt compelled to communicate much. Maybe it’s a residue from the lockdowns. Having emerged from a cave-like existence, I’m not bursting with ideas to share. How do bears cope, emerging from their winter hibernation? How long does it take them to readjust to a wakeful life?

Slowly, emerging from this state, my wife and I have started venturing out of our cave. This month, it was a trip to the Lake District. For those not familiar with the geography of England, this is in the northwest corner, a part of Cumbria near the Scottish border. The terrain is a reminder of what the ice age left behind…a fractured landscape of great beauty…glacial ribbons of water, dramatic fells and mountains with romantic names: Scafell Pike, The Old Man of Coniston, Skiddaw, and Helvellyn. Also home to the stories of Arthur Ransome and Beatrix Potter.

It’s one of our favourite places. Although we’re not great walkers, we enjoy the scenery…so here’s a few pics from our most recent visit.

Windermere at Fell Foot
Windermere
The Teal on Windermere
Barn Owl – posing for Falconry display
View to Bassenthwaite

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Three audio books

Darcy Comes Home: Audible UK / Amazon UK / Amazon US / iTunes

Starting Over: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


Springtime travels

Deciding to have a mini-break in mid-March was always going to be risky, weather wise. We were fortunate to have two days of gorgeous sunshine in the North East. Here are a few photos from our travels.

View from Ravenscar looking over to Robin Hood’s Bay
Walking up to the ramparts at Ravenscar to take in the view
Fish Wife sculpture at Whitby Harbour
The Beach Huts at Saltburn – miles of pristine sand
A breakfast companion at Sneaton Castle Hotel
In amongst the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey

Back home, feeling refreshed and invigorated, I was delighted to discover that Darcy Comes Home is now available as an audio book on Audible and Amazon (soon to be on iTunes as well). Narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent.

Darcy Comes Home Audio Book

Happy reading and listening.


Links for Darcy Comes Home:

Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon AU / Amazon DE / Amazon FR / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Darcy Comes Home: Audible UK / Amazon UK / Amazon US / iTunes

Starting Over: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


Starting Over Again

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but October 1st is one of those calendar dates that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Even seven years after the event that initially brought the feeling on.

Affinity Rainbow Publications published my debut novel, Starting Over, on 1st October 2014. It took time for the reality to sink in…my words were out there for all to see…available not only on the Affinity website, but Amazon platforms around the world, Apple iTunes, Bella Books, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords.

Could it get any better than this? (Or, any more nerve-wracking?) After ten novels, a number of short stories, and another novel due out next month, it actually does.

The next milestone was the decision to enter the audio book market. I tried it out with book seven, Changing Perspectives. The reception for that one encouraged me to give it another go. Nicola Victoria Vincent recorded Starting Over during January 2020. After a bit of a hiccup with the upload to Audible, the audio version went live at the end of May.

It has been said many times, but it’s true that hearing a story not just read aloud, but performed with an actor’s talent for giving each character a voice, really does add another level to the whole work.

While Starting Over was going through the editing process back in 2014, I started writing a sequel. After finishing that, I couldn’t resist adding a sequel to the sequel. So, the trilogy was born. I was warned by Affinity that sequels often don’t sell too well and they were proved right. But I’m still happy that the books were published and I was able to give all the characters from the first book a happy ever after.

If you haven’t read or listened to Starting Over yet, why not give it a go. A tale of romance, relationships, and archaeological discoveries set in the West Yorkshire countryside…you’re in for a breathtaking ride.


Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


Check out these lovely reviews for my novella, Three Mile Cache:

KittyKat’s review (26 August 2021)

Carol Hutchinson’s review (22 September 2021)


A Time Out

You would think having all this free time would be ideal for a writer. No visitors, only going out if absolutely necessary, grocery and takeaway deliveries, etc. Some authors have taken advantage of this and are producing books without pause. For me, however, it’s like that part of my life has taken a time out of its own. I’ve tried a few times to get some words down – but it’s not happening.

I’ve learned not to force it. With ten books published since the first one in 2014, there really isn’t any need to panic. So why not just enjoy the space for reading, doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to audio books, solitary walks, and sitting out in the garden with a cold drink (weather permitting).

Looking back to last August’s blog, it’s full of photos from different places we visited, playing golf in Scotland, taking part in an archery competition at another club, a full programme of Happy Valley Pride events.

So far this year, we’ve had one outing…a few days away at a hotel on Lake Windermere at the end of July. It was a wonderful time – enjoying different scenery, meals cooked by someone else, conversation (socially distanced) with other people. We felt safe and well looked after. There was a one-way system through the public areas, hand sanitiser stations at strategic points, well spaced out tables in the restaurant. Plus some good weather for enjoying walks by the lake and just sitting watching the ever-changing scene. Overall, fantastic!

dining

Food and drink was left on a service table and we served ourselves from there. (Note the hand sanitiser station by the table behind)

lake2

Activity on the lake

morning_geese

Early morning view of geese on the lawn – from our bedroom window

lake1

A final view of the lake

Will I look back on 2020 as a lost year, or just a time out from normal activities?

I’ll let you know in January.


Taking time out to read or listen to books? Here’s where you can find mine:

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

Audiobooks:

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook


 

New Audio Book

Starting Over is now out on audio and I’m thrilled with how it sounds. Nicola Victoria Vincent did an amazing job with the narration and the range of voices for a wide variety of characters, young and old, from different walks of life.

StartingOver

This was my debut novel, published by Affinity Rainbow Publications in October 2014. I started writing it in 2013 and really had no idea where the story would go at the beginning. But I decided one of the main characters, Ellie Winters, would be a potter. And while I was researching pottery, I came across the Vindolanda website. I’ve always been interested in British Roman history so I was fascinated to read about the ongoing archaeological excavations still taking place there, not far from Hadrian’s Wall.

Somehow I knew that archaeology was going to feature strongly in the story. And so it turned out. Another turning point was when my mother gave me an old history book she had on the Brigantes. This provided the information I needed for the final twist in the tale. The story is set in and around parts of West Yorkshire, particularly Huddersfield and Hebden Bridge. This area was part of the Brigantia territory as well as the ancient Celtic kingdom of Elmet. The landscape is another character in its own right.

I had a fine mix of ingredients to work with – pottery, archaeology, history, journalistic skulduggery, and of course, romance. I loved the story and the characters so much, I was inspired to write a sequel, Arc Over Time. And then had to make it a trilogy with Carved in Stone.

I think it’s a journey worth taking – whether or not you want to read the book(s) or listen to the audio.

Have a listen to this taster from the end of Chapter 3 in Starting Over:

 

 


Audiobooks

Starting Over  is available from: Audible UK / Audible US / Audible DE / Audible CA / Audible AU / Amazon UK / Amazon US  / iTunes

Changing Perspectives is available from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook

Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes


 

Missing Vindolanda

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vindolanda Trust. However, they’ve had to suspend their excavation season that would have started a few weeks ago as well as closing the site and the two museums. Like many other businesses, they are holding some online events. A good way to help them survive through these uncertain times, would be to donate and/or buy something from their shop. Visit the wesite here.

I enjoyed my times digging there, from 2014 to 2018. As well as the thrill of seeing what comes out of the ground from nearly 2000 years ago, there was the interaction with the other volunteers and the on-site archaeologists. I was lucky enough to be able to book into the Hedley Centre, which generally housed up to 8 people per session. I could look out of my bedroom window and see the ramparts of the barracks on the top of the hill.

So, these photos are just a few of my fond memories of being there. It’s a magical place and I hope they will be able to reopen some time this year so many more visitors (and excavators) can enjoy the experience of walking through history.

vindolanda_overview

My first view of Vindolanda from the road, approaching from the east.

ramparts

View from the Hedley Centre

firstlook

First close up view of the excavations in 2014

2014_dig

On my knees in 2014

2017_vicus

Into the wet stuff in the vicus…2017

coin_fimd

Coin found on the last day of the 2017 dig – as it came out of the ground

vindolanda1

Visiting in 2019

As I’ve said a number of times before, just being there is magical.

When I first went there to do research for my debut novel, Starting Over, I didn’t know if I would enjoy two weeks of scrabbling around in the dirt wondering if my knees and back would hold up. I thought it would be a one-off experience. Not a chance…I could hardly wait to book again for the following year…and the year after that…!

The Starting Over audio book narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent is in the ACX system, awaiting approval. I’m hoping it will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes very soon.

StartingOver


Books by Jen Silver…available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes

 

Coming soon

January was a busy month with editing and proofreading my next novel to be published and also approving the audio files for my second audio book.

The novel, Country Living, will be out in March, published by Affinity Rainbow Publications. This is Affinity’s 10th year in publishing and, coincidentally, Country Living is my 10th published novel.

I love what Irish Dragon Design has done with the cover – managing to include the chickens, sheep, and a glass of wine for one of the main characters.

CL-Final

Back of the book description

When Peri Sanderson achieves her dream of moving from London to a cottage in the English countryside, she expects her domestic bliss will be complete when her wife, Karla, leaves her London job to join her. Peri sees their future together as growing vegetables, tending some chickens, and chatting with the locals by a roaring log fire in a quaint village pub.

Sexy urbanite, Karla, has other ideas and they don’t include a move to the countryside.

Secrets are everywhere. Peri quickly senses something not quite right among her rural neighbours, and Karla is not quite the worldly wise woman-about-town that she thinks she is.

Temptation, betrayal and intrigue combine to change the lives of both women beyond anything they could have imagined.


New Audio Book

StartingOver

The audio book which I’m hoping will be available later this month has been expertly narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent. Starting Over was my debut novel, published in 2014. So it feels good to bring it back to the fore now. Like Country Living, a lot of the action takes place on a farm – with chickens, but no sheep. Nicola did a great job with all the different accents for a diverse group of characters. I hope you’ll enjoy a listen.

Back of the book description

Ellie Winters, a successful potter, is living on a remote hilltop farm inherited from her parents. Her well-ordered life is shaken apart when her past meets her present.

Robin Fanshawe, Ellie’s philandering long-term lover, has a fragile truce with Ellie. The arrival of women from Robin’s present threatens to break that tentative pact.

Charming Dr. Kathryn Moss, an archaeologist and an old lover of Ellie’s, arrives on the farm searching for a new site to dig. When she discovers a previously unknown Roman settlement and ancient burial site on Ellie’s farm, Ellie allows her to start an archaeological dig of the area.

Will Ellie also allow the rekindling of an old romance or will she stay with Robin? Can that long term relationship, albeit tentative, recover from this collision or will an old romance trump everything she knows?

Will Robin, seeing the interaction between Ellie and Kathryn, leave her womanizing ways behind? Will she take a chance on giving herself wholly to the woman she loves?

These questions and the mystery of whose royal resting place is disturbed at Starling Hill are answered in this classic romance of simmering passions, anguished loss, and the wonder of love.


Changing Perspectives, narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent – available to download from: Audible / Amazon / iTunes / Beek / Chirp / Scribd / Google Play / Kobo / Nook