Winterbourne revisited

I’m happy to announce that Christmas at Winterbourne is on Kindle Unlimited for the month of December. If you haven’t picked this book up yet, and you’re a KU subscriber, now’s your chance to experience a four-day Christmas holiday in a lesbian guesthouse.

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The number of characters may look daunting but they all have roles to play in the story. I initially started writing it to submit as a short story for Affinity’s 2014 Christmas Collection. But I soon realised that was unrealistic, as I’d already introduced eight characters in the first two and a half thousand words (and that’s not including the horse, or the dogs who come in later). To tell the story properly it was clearly going to need a longer treatment.

Back of the book description:

The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians.

When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate…ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.

Wil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author.

One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well.

For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.

crackers

I also love Christmas cracker jokes, so I enjoyed including some of these in the story.

Q: Why was the snowman rummaging in the bag of carrots?

A: He was picking his nose.


If you’re not convinced yet to give Christmas at Winterbourne a try, check out these reviews: Lesbian Reading Room / Clare Lydon’s top festive pics


Christmas at Winterbourne – Kindle Unlimited links: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon AU

The team at Affinity Rainbow Publications love Christmas and have a selection of treats so it’s worth a visit to the website to check out other Christmas-themed books.

affinity_christmas

Free on the Affinity website

christmas_medley

Available from Affinity /Amazon US / Amazon UK


 

Lesbian Writers Read…in Hebden Bridge

Happy Valley Pride is over for this year…and what a fantastic week it was. Congratulations to the trustees and volunteers who worked hard to make it all happen.

hvp_bag

With the success of the previous year’s Lesbian Writers Read event, the planning committee was keen to include it in this year’s programme as well. So I was thrilled to be asked to host another group of authors.

We were able to get a slightly larger, and accessible, venue this time…Squeeze cafe. The tickets sold out and it was standing room only by the time everyone ‘squeezed’ in. We had to turn off the fans for the readings, but the upsurge in heat caused the ice cream machine to start working overtime to keep the contents frozen.

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Pictured from left to right: Deborah Delano, Lise Gold, Velvet Lounger, Helen Baron, Mayor Carol Stowe, Jen Silver, Cari Hunter, Jody Klaire, and Ferb

The mayor of Hebden Royd, Carol Stowe, came along for the first part of the evening before she had to fulfil her other festival obligation by attending the art exhibition and auction across the street at Nelson’s Wine Bar. When I met her at another event a few days later, she told me she had enjoyed the readings, hearing the different styles of each author…and (don’t tell the artists) would have liked to stay for the Q&A session.

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The featured books

Cari Hunter drew the short straw, literally, and read first. As she read from the opening scenes of her latest thriller, Alias, she had the audience drawn in to the story from the start. I’m sure they would have liked her to carry on, but she stuck to her five-minute time limit.

 

Our mystery guest reader for the evening was well known lesbian book reviewer, Velvet Lounger. There is quite a story behind the gathering together of a collection of stories published as The Velvet Anthology. She explained it very well before reading from the contribution by Erica Abbott, ‘Seize Her Salad’. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Golden Crown Literary Society Readers scholarship fund. Velvet’s book reviews can be found at the Lesbian Reading Room website.

I read from my latest novel, Calling Home…interrupted a few times by some latecomers and the need to raise my voice over the ice cream machine’s complaints about the heat. With the second interruption, I continued by saying loudly, ‘The toilets were at the other end of the room…’ – this wasn’t a health and safety announcement, it was part of the reading.

We then heard from another local author, Deborah Delano. Her latest book, The Portrait of Adie Denton, is a historical novel set in the 1920’s…but is also a love story…described on the cover as “a moving yarn of a working class girl mixed up in the glittering, but dangerous, bohemian world of the Parisian Demi-monde”.

Staying in France, Lise Gold read from her newest romance, French Summer. Lise spent a good part of this year in France, purely for research, of course. The setting and the romance that develops between the two main characters certainly resonate with authenticity…the sensual atmosphere of warm days in Provence, although the piece she read involved one of the main characters throwing herself into a ditch. An avoidance tactic with painful consequences.

Last to read was Jody Klaire. I was so impressed that Jody and Em travelled up from South Wales in a motorhome to join us for this event. Their golden retriever, Ferb, charmed everyone and had the audience captivated with his attempts to catch a fly while the reading was going on. Jody read from her newest book, which is due out in a few weeks, In Fashion. This is a romance set in the fashion world and from the excerpt she read, it features Jody’s delightful brand of humour.

(Ferb caught the fly.)

Another distinguished visitor in the audience was Zara Wood (our host next week at ELLCon), who had travelled from Bristol with her visitor from Brussels, Gerd Van Loock (stopping by as part of a Yorkshire sightseeing tour). Zara recorded some of the readings and the Q&A session that took place after the break. They are available to view on the ELLCon YouTube channel.

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The Q&A session: Jen Silver, Cari Hunter, Jody Klaire, and Ferb

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The Q&A session: Deborah Delano, Lise Gold, and Velvet Lounger

The whole evening was lovely…it was like reading to a group of friends. The Happy Valley Pride team led by Helen Baron did a great job of setting up the room, serving the refreshments (which included Welsh cakes from Em and Jody, and tiffin from Cari), and welcoming the audience. (Nothing they could do about the ice cream machine though…have I mentioned this before?)

And once again the authors provided a great mix of stories, giving voice I thought, to our Happy Valley Pride motto: Be Here, Be You, Be Proud.

During a stroll around Hebden Bridge earlier in the day, we stopped by one of the many window displays. One of the most delightful aspects of Happy Valley Pride is the way the community and local businesses show their support with window displays, contributions to the raffle prizes…and just overall enthusiasm for the event. Long may it continue.

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With Jody and Ferb outside Noir


ELLCon

ELLCon-Logo-Header

So, I just have time to catch my breath before the next book-related event of the summer – ELLCon. A great deal of planning has also gone into setting this up. Congratulations to Zara Wood and her team for bringing it all together…the first ever European Lesfic Literary Conference.

With over thirty authors attending, plus delegates from all parts of the country and Europe, it’s shaping up to be a magnificent couple of days. Check out the list of authors attending and the programme here.

As well as sharing a vendor table with another Affinity Rainbow Publications author, Samantha Hicks, I will be taking part in a panel discussion on the first day. The topic is ‘When Writing Feels Like a Marathon: how to get over the finish line”. May Dawney is our fearless moderator with the task of keeping four of us on topic…Harper Bliss, Jane Fletcher, Nita Round, and myself. Should be fun!

I’m also looking forward to finding a few of the Gromit Unleashed statues and Zara kindly presented me with a brochure so I can find the ones nearest to the conference hotel.

gromit_brochure

So many books to explore! Enjoy all your summer reads.


 

It’s almost here…!

…Happy Valley Pride Festival 2018!

hvp_banner

This year’s programme is packed with lots of fantastic events…art, music, comedy, films, workshops, all leading up to Saturday’s Big Day Out and Sunday’s Pink Picnic…check it out here (and book your tickets – some events have already sold out).

For the second year running, I’m thrilled to be hosting the Lesbian Writers Read event…looking forward to welcoming back Lise Gold and Cari Hunter, and new on the programme this year, Jody Klaire, Lola Keeley, and Deborah Delano.

hvp_reading

The Happy Valley Pride Festival aims to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer life in Calderdale while also engaging the community in all the activities. As well as supporting the event through providing venues and safe spaces, some shops and businesses in the town also commemorate the week with rainbow-themed window displays.

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I’m also looking forward to wearing this year’s festival t-shirt with it’s very bold-looking design.

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If you’re anywhere in the area next week, please come along and enjoy the festivities.


Calling Home

Complement your summer reading by picking up my latest novel, Calling Home. Romance with a tantalising mystery mixed in:

Sarah Frost enjoys her dream job as director of the Frost Foundation making her home at one of their writers’ retreats, The Lodge on the Lake. The general manager of The Lodge is Berry Fields, an old childhood friend.

Galen Thomas arrives at the island to fill the post of handy person, taking an extended break from her vet’s practice to help her decide how to shape her future life and career.

When the next group of writers arrives for their two-week retreat, along with Sarah’s grandmother, tensions start to surface. Magda Frost doesn’t approve of the appointment of the “vet” and still questions Sarah’s decision to hire Berry.

The island idyll is soon undermined by the revelation of events from forty years earlier, threatening the lives and loves of Sarah, Berry, and Galen. Calling home and what they now call home—all are affected by the disturbing legacy from the past.

Calling Home is available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Barnes & Noble, Bella Books, Smashwords, and Apple iTunes.


 

Playing in the woods

I took up archery eight years ago. It was something I’d enjoyed doing as a child when I made my own bow and arrows, played at Robin Hood in the woods by our house. And I guess it never really left my thoughts. So when I discovered there was an archery club nearby, I signed up for the next beginners’ course.

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Playing in the woods

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The adult version – would you believe?

It seems fitting then that in my eighth novel, Calling Home, I’ve managed to include an archery reference. One of my characters, Galen, is taking a sabbatical from her vet’s practice to work at The Lodge on the Lake, a writers’ retreat. Her role is to take care of the gardening as well as providing outdoor activities for the guests. She gets permission to set up an archery range in the woods. Like myself, she is a longbow archer and whether or not any of the writers in residence wish to take up the sport, it will give her the chance to keep her hand in.

There is an attraction developing between Galen and Berry, the general manager of the Lodge. In this scene, Berry has followed her to the range, initially staying out of sight. Galen is aware of her presence though and invites her to try shooting a few arrows.

Excerpt from Calling Home:

Berry’s appearance hadn’t taken Galen by surprise. Knowing she was there, Galen’s concentration had wavered, so she was pleased when the second arrow hit the centre.

What did surprise her was the strange feeling that took over her body when she was standing close to Berry. Her fingers tingled from touching her briefly to attach the arm guard and then to guide her when she was drawing back the bow.

Berry seemed to tighten up and Galen didn’t know if it was the fear of doing something wrong in handling the bow, or if it was Galen’s presence that unsettled her. She couldn’t think of anything she’d done to upset the woman. They had worked together easily enough the day before when setting up the afternoon tea.

They walked back to the house together after Berry shot a few more arrows. She needed to get the chicken in the oven so that dinner would be served on time.

“I wonder if Lois has surfaced yet?” Galen thought this was a safe topic with which to break the silence.

“There was no sign of her all morning. Bit of a relief.”

“Do you often get trouble with people drinking too much?’

“Occasionally. But it’s usually with the larger groups. I didn’t anticipate having any problems with this lot.”

The closer they got to the house, the more relaxed Berry seemed to become. Galen hoped she’d enjoyed the archery session but she hadn’t given any indication that she wanted to do it again.

Yelps of outrage reached their ears as they approached the house. A croquet match was in progress and when they reached the edge of the lawn, Lois could be seen giving Pamela a filthy look.

“That was unnecessary.”

“It’s part of the game. I’m supposed to stop you from scoring.”

Lois stomped over to a ball that was hovering on the edge of the path. “Can I move it onto the grass?”

“No, you have to play it from there.”

“Don’t be so picky. It’s not fucking golf.” Lois placed her ball a good foot away from the path.

Pamela caught sight of Galen and Berry who had stopped to watch.

“Hey, did you catch anything?”

Galen was going to respond but Berry got in first.

“No, the fish aren’t biting today. It’s too calm.”

As soon as they got inside, Galen looked at Berry and they both burst out laughing.

“That was a good line,” she said as soon as she managed to stop.

“Yep. They fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.”

Galen loved the way Berry’s smile transformed her face. The shadows under her eyes had lightened since she’d first seen her in the woods.

“I’ll put the fishing rods away and then I can help you with dinner.” She didn’t want their time together to end.

“There’s not much left to do, but you could set the table. There are only six of us tonight. Sarah and Magda have gone across to the Inn.”

“Really. I wouldn’t have thought pub dining was Mrs Frost’s style.”

“Looks are deceiving. It has a very fine restaurant.”

“Maybe we could go sometime.” Galen felt a hot flush of embarrassment. “I mean, there’s nothing wrong with your cooking, but…”

“Actually, tomorrow would be good. I’m going over in the morning to pick up supplies. We could have lunch. It will give you a chance to meet the landlord there and Alfie’s wife.” Berry gave her another smile.

“Does she have a name? I’ve only ever heard anyone refer to her as ‘Alfie’s wife’.” Galen hoped that Berry couldn’t hear her heart pounding.

“Sorry. Bad habit, I guess. Her name is Zofia. Like Sophia but spelled with a Z. She’s Polish, but she speaks English better than me.”

Berry turned to go into the kitchen and Galen hurried off to put her archery equipment in her room. The idea of having lunch with Berry the next day was both exhilarating and scary.

Where Berry is a complete novice at archery, Galen has no experience of relationships. Feeling an attraction is one thing, but will she be able to take it to another level of emotional and physical involvement?

Calling Home


Calling Home is available now from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Apple iTunes.

Pull a Christmas Cracker!

With Christmas only a few weeks away, it’s time to revisit Winterbourne House.

fire

Writing this story was an absolute joy and I loved being able to get in a number of Christmas cracker jokes. When the book was in the beta editing stage, my American editor informed me she didn’t know what a Christmas cracker was and thought I needed to expand the context in the story for the benefit of overseas readers.

I found this a rather shocking revelation. Surely not a whole nation deprived of sharing Christmas crackers, pulling them apart with eyes scrunched waiting for the bang, to gain access to a (very likely) useless gift, a paper hat, and a joke that’s guaranteed to make everyone at the table groan.

Excerpt from Christmas at Winterbourne:

…JJ insisted on silence while she read out the joke from her cracker.

“Okay, everyone. Can you guess the answer to this? How did Scrooge win the football game?”

With a collective groan, they all shook their heads.

“The ghost of Christmas passed.”

More groans and a quick shuffle of hands digging the small slips of paper out from the rubble of the cracker debris left on the table.

Clare was the next to join in.

“Why did Santa’s helper see the doctor?” She looked around the table. “No takers. Okay. Because he had low elf esteem.”

Rose followed this. “What do you get if you cross a bell with a skunk?”

To Candice’s amazement, Mags jumped in. “Oh, I know that one. Jingle smells.”

They carried on around the table and only stopped when the next course was brought in.…

That was at the dinner on Christmas Eve. The guests had another chance to open crackers during the Christmas day lunch.

cracker

I was delighted when Clare Lydon posted her top festive picks and Christmas at Winterbourne was first on the list. Here’s what Clare said about the story:

Not a romance but rather an ensemble piece, this book is based in a rambling old estate in Sussex, run by lesbians and now a lesbian retreat. There a truckload of characters to get your head around at first – I got dizzy keeping up at one point – but once you do, you’ll find you’re a guest at the house, too, along with the couples young and old, the newly blooming romances, the heartbroken and the about-to-give-birth.

This book is a gentle observational snapshot of Christmastime in a house full of lesbians, replete with a touch of drama, along with lashings of mulled wine and mince pies. It’s an easy read that draws you in and has a bumper crop of cracker jokes, along with skinny dipping, snowball fights and flowing champagne.

Yes, there are a lot of characters and I make no apology for that. Just come on in and enjoy meeting the ‘ensemble’ as Clare said.

Back of the book description:

The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians.

When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate… ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.

Wil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author.

One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well.

For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.

And while we’re on the subject of Christmas, don’t miss out on Affinity’s Christmas Medley – a collection of stories from eight Affinity authors.

christmas_medley


Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

Christmas Medley: Affinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK


 

Golf and romance

Golf isn’t just a game played by retired colonels and rich widows. A lot of lesbians play golf. We have a small ‘ladies’ section at the club I belong to – out of the 30 women who play regularly, at least seven of them are lesbians.

The straight women don’t mind. The married ones know we’re not interested in their husbands, and the widows know we’re not competing for the attentions of any available men.

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Bad hair day on the course – it looks like I have horns!

So when I was writing Running From Love  I wanted to portray the game as something that can be enjoyed without gender or sexual orientation bias. While I am well aware that not all golf clubs in the UK are compliant with equality and some are downright sexist, I know from my own personal experience that there are clubs that manage to get it right.

Running From Love is, essentially, a romance. But there is a golf theme as well. All the protagonists end up at a newly opened golf resort in Cornwall to learn how to play the game.

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Back of the Book

Sam Wade returns home from a business trip to discover her wife of just two years has left her for another woman. Beth, a high school teacher, wants a divorce so she can settle down with her new (closeted) love, head teacher Lydia Carmichael.

To take her mind off the break-up Sam accepts an assignment to learn to play golf at the newly opened Temperley Cliffs Golf Resort in Cornwall. Beth and Lydia also plan their first summer holiday together.

Coming out, at whatever stage in one’s life, is never easy. Several characters in the story have to make decisions that will affect not just their respective partners but also how the wider world sees them. There is more than one way to run from love; from never having to make a commitment and say those magical three words, “I love you”.

Find out what happens when this diverse group of people find themselves together—sport, betrayal, jealousy, and love form an unforgettable fusion of emotions.

So, whether or not you’ve ever thought of playing golf, or think it’s just for people with nothing better to do with their lives than chase a small ball around a field, maybe this book will change your mind. Or maybe, you can just enjoy the romance and forget the golf.


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The books are available from Affinity Rainbow Publications, Amazon, Bella Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Apple iTunes.


 

Number 6 is on its way!

My next novel is due for release on 1st June. It’s hard for me to get my head around the fact that when this book comes out, I will have six published books to my name in the space of a little under three years. I’m not sure I can keep up this pace but the thing is, writing is an addiction. If I’m not working on a novel nowadays, I miss it.

So, I guess I’ll keep writing and see what happens.

This is the cover for the new book, Running From Love. There is a golfing theme, but I hope this won’t put non-golfers off reading it. As the title and the cover suggest, there’s a fair bit of romance as well.

run_final

Back of the Book description:

Sam Wade returns home from a business trip to discover her wife of just two years has left her for another woman. Beth, a high school teacher, wants a divorce so she can settle down with her new (closeted) love, head teacher Lydia Carmichael.

To take her mind off the break-up Sam accepts an assignment to learn to play golf at the newly opened Temperley Cliffs golf resort in Cornwall. Beth and Lydia also plan their first summer holiday together.

Coming out, at whatever stage in one’s life, is never easy. Several characters in the story have to make decisions that will affect not just their respective partners but also how the wider world sees them. There is more than one way to run from love; from never having to make a commitment and say those magical three words, “I love you”.

Find out what happens when this diverse group of people find themselves together—and sport, betrayal, jealousy, and love form an unforgettable fusion of emotions.

As I mention in the Acknowledgments for this book, the initial assessment of Affinity’s beta readers was that there was too much golf, not enough romance. Hopefully I’ve got the balance right now so that whether or not you’ve ever picked up a golf club, you’ll enjoy the story.


On another note, the Affinity logo has had a makeover…the kiwi walked through a rainbow and is now sporting an outline of many colours. So you’ll be seeing the proud kiwi preening itself on forthcoming novels from Affinity Rainbow Publications.

affinityrainbow


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Buying options for ebooks:

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

Christmas at Winterbourne is in print…available on Amazon: Amazon UK / Amazon US


 

The name game

I’ve now written seven novels—five published, one due for release in June, one submitted, fate unknown. And I’ve started on number eight.

As I was thinking of character names for the new story, it occurred to me that in the interest of not repeating myself, I needed a list of previously used names in each book and short story.

So I created a table in a document and slotted in names. There are a lot. And it’s not just people; there are cats, dogs, and horses too. Combining all the characters and pets in The Starling Hill Trilogy, I came up with 37. And I may have missed a few of the minor characters.

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The start of the lists

Of the standalone romances, I thought Christmas at Winterbourne would be the winner with 26, but the June book with 35 has topped it. No need for alarm though, readers. There are only six main characters, the rest are the supporting cast, some of whom are only mentioned in passing. But in the interests of being thorough, I’ve attempted to put all named characters on the lists.

fish

The book coming out in June features fish – they don’t have names!

I have had to resort to searching baby name websites at times. But names mostly come to me as I start to write and I get a feel for if the name fits the characters.

This list of the Top 10 American Girls’ names in 1967 was useful and I noted that I’ve used six so far.

Lisa / Kimberly / Michelle / Mary / Susan / Karen / Angela / Tammy / Melissa / Jennifer

This list reminded me—I also named the ten hens and two roosters in Starting Over, which brings that book’s total to well past Christmas at Winterbourne and level with the June release. The residents of the chicken coop at the farm were all named after Roman goddesses and gods: Juno, Ceres, Aurora, Venus, Flora, Fortuna, Diana, Bellona, Minerva, Luna, Apollo and Jupiter.

I’ve mentioned before that I use Scrivener as a writing tool. With having multiple points of view in my novels, it’s very good for helping me keep track of character movements as their interweaving stories develop. By naming each scene, I can easily find out where I left a particular character in a previous chapter.

winterbourne-scenes-scriv

From Christmas at Winterbourne

Listing the names started out as an exercise to avoid repetition. But it has also served to give me an overview of the number of characters in each book. I was rather overwhelmed to see just how many there were – and, giving you fair warning, there’s more to come!


Christmas at Winterbourne is in print…available on Amazon: Amazon UK / Amazon US

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Buying options for ebooks:

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

 

Number 5 is here!

My fifth book is published today. It is an incredible feeling to see five books that I’ve written out there. A massive thank you to my publisher, Affinity eBook Press, for having faith in my stories and also for the many readers who have bought the books and given positive feedback.

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Flowers sent by my mother on the publication of my first book (champagne supplied by my wife)

A fifth book release is just as thrilling and nerve-wracking as it was the first time. Thrilling – to see it online. Nerve-wracking waiting to find out what readers think of it – particularly friends and relations.

My older brother is very supportive and buys my books, although he’s a bit squeamish about reading lesbian love scenes. He wanted to know if there was any mud in this one – maybe he has fantasies about women mud wrestling. I told him there was no mud, but there is some skinny-dipping. He might find that too much to deal with.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I think there is something for everyone in this story. In the first review received for the book, the reviewer commented that she was so taken with the setting she wanted “to book a stay there”. I’m sure the hosts at Winterbourne House would be very welcoming. Snow at Christmas in southern England is not guaranteed though.

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Back of the book blurb for Christmas at Winterbourne:

The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians.

When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate… ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.

Wil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author.

One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well.

For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.

So, I hope you’ll visit Winterbourne House and immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

(Note: The pool is open, swimming costumes optional!)


Buying options for Christmas at Winterbourne: Affinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords /Apple iTunes


4books

Buying options for the first four books:

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/ Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


 

Introducing the horsewomen

Maybe it is too early to start talking about Christmas. But I can’t get away from it if I’m going to talk about my next book, due out on 1 November…Christmas at Winterbourne. 

Not a particularly compelling title but it says what it is. Winterbourne is the name of the lesbian guesthouse – almost a character in its own right. And the story takes place over Christmas when guests arrive for a seasonal holiday programme starting on the 23rd through to the 27th of December.

With five weeks leading up to the release of this, my fifth novel, I thought I would drip-feed some information about the house and the characters involved. I hope I’m not going to put off some potential readers by revealing that there are fifteen characters with an active role in the story. And that’s just the human ones.

There are also horses and dogs because this is, after all, a country estate. So I’ll start by introducing the two oldest characters, both in their late 70s.

The approach to Winterbourne House is up a long, winding drive with woodland on either side. Entering the drive from the road, the first building you see is the Lodge. The stables are located behind the Lodge.

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This is the domain of Felicity Evans. The previous owner (we’ll come to her in a later blog) gifted the stables, the Lodge and ten acres of land to Felicity to ensure her security for her old age. With plans to continue giving riding lessons and boarding horses, Felicity advertised for a stablehand. Everyone expected she would hire one of the youngsters from the village who came for lessons. The candidate she chose, however, was a woman her own age.

Rose Hobday was a surprise appointment, not so much for her age, but for the fact she had no previous experience of working with horses. Felicity would say that it was her love of the game of Bridge that swung it. They formed a formidable Bridge partnership feared by opponents throughout East Sussex.

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It was clear to those who know Felicity well, that the real reason was that she was attracted to Rose from the start. They had both recently lost their partners. Felicity’s husband had died of a heart attack the year before, and Rose’s lover of thirty years had broken her hip and succumbed to a severe bout of pneumonia while in hospital.

They may have bonded initially over shared empathy with loss and the grieving process but living and working together soon developed into a closer intimacy. (I’ll let you imagine them rolling about in the hayloft.)

The current proprietors of Winterbourne House (we’ll come to them in a later blog) rely on Felicity and Rose for providing, not just physical help in running the business (Rose is a good cook and Felicity knows all there is to know about the house and the land), but for their moral support. They are very much part of the family.

One thing Felicity has never revealed to anyone is how she lost the index finger on her left hand. Well, a woman is entitled to have her secrets.


Next week’s blog: Meet the Londoners

Read the beginning of Chapter 1 from Christmas at Winterbourne on the Affinity website.


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Buying options for the books:

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/ Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes