New year and many new books to read. Thanks to TB Markinson and Miranda MacLeod for pulling together a fantastic range of books and authors in this year’s I Heart SapphFIC Reading Challenge. Lots of prizes to be had with authors giving away ebooks, audio, and print copies.
One of my books is featured in one of this week’s (16 January 2023) categories: Reporter/Journalist.
Although Carved in Stone is the third book in the Starling Hill Trilogy, I feel it can stand alone. There’s an Author’s Note and a Prologue to start things off so readers are able to jump right into the story.
Coming up on the w/c 30 January, Changing Perspectives is featured in the Butch/Femme category.
Many thanks also to Jae for setting up another Sapphic Book Bingo. There are two categories to complete a book bingo card…Main and Unicorn. Check out all the details here.
Here are some of my books to fill some of the bingo card categories.
Links to all my books, including audio, are available below.
Seems like most of my blogs this year have featured our trips to the part of England known as the Lake District. We can’t seem to stay away. But there’s something about the place that draws us back again and again. It doesn’t hurt that it’s only a two-hour drive away as well.
So, here’s a few more photos from our latest visit just over a week ago.
Back to the real world and the feelings surrounding the release of another book. It’s a combination of delight and fear. By this time next week I will be a nervous wreck wondering if anyone will buy the book and if those that do will enjoy the story. You can check out the blurb here on the Affinity Rainbow Publications website. (Release date: 1st October 2022)
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:
The idea of comfort reading when it’s cold and snowy outside brings to mind two of my childhood favourites – that I still go back to now and again – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome.
Eventually I found a way to weave my own winter story with Christmas at Winterbourne. Narnia gets a reference in it (as it does in a few of my books).
Last year, when my publisher invited their authors to submit stories for a Christmas-themed anthology, I decided it was time to see what had happened to my characters in the intervening four years since publication.
“Winterbourne Revisited” was the result. The main focus for the story was the child who was born on Boxing Day. Teri is looking forward to her fourth birthday and all she wants for Christmas is…snow. Lots of it…just like at the time of her birth, when Winterbourne House was snowbound. As in the original story, I managed to include some Christmas Cracker jokes. This is an excerpt from the family’s Christmas Eve dinner with just Teri, her parents, and Clare, their guest from Australia.
Teri had followed her mother into the room and climbed onto the chair next to Clare. She immediately picked up her cracker and said, “Pull.”
Clare obliged with a smile, then offered her own to the girl. Teri was clearly well versed in cracker etiquette and pulled it before diving in to explore what had come out of her own. Wil and Gaby shared theirs with each other.
“Eat your soup before it gets cold.” Gaby’s instruction was aimed at her daughter but Clare picked up her spoon obediently. She’d only managed two mouthfuls when Teri plucked at her sleeve and held out her cracker joke.
“You want me to read this. Okay. Hm. I think it’s been written especially for you, little one. What do they sing at a snowman’s birthday party?” Clare looked around the table. “Any guesses?”
Blank looks all round.
“Must be something to do with cold or freezing,” Wil offered.
“You’re getting warm, or maybe I should say, cold.” Clare smiled. “Freeze a jolly good fellow.”
Teri looked puzzled, although her parents had laughed. “What does it mean?”
Clare sang the words for her, but the girl still looked puzzled. “Who’s he? It’s my birthday on Boxing Day. I want lots of snow and a snow horse.”
“I know, sweetheart.” Clare looked to Wil for help.
Wil shrugged. “How about this one, then? What kind of bird can write?”
“Oh, I know that one.” Gaby said quickly. “A penguin!”
Teri was distracted with the toy that had fallen out of her cracker. Clare wondered if her either of her parents had x-ray vision when they’d distributed the Christmas crackers at each place setting. The girl was playing with a small plastic horse.
So, if you’re looking for some Christmas-related comfort reading, how about giving this one a go.
My eleventh novel…published today by Affinity Rainbow Publications!
I’m calling this a second chance romance and I think the blurb gives that away.
After twenty-five years Darcy and Angie meet again and from the faintly flickering embers of their forbidden teenage love, a flame erupts. Family complications arise including a reluctant engagement, secret surrogacy, and a persistent ex-wife.
Villagers in Professor Darcy Belsfield’s childhood home of Sycamore Haven remember her being sent away to a Christian conversion camp in Canada when her father discovered her making love to her school friend, Angie. Angie has never married but she does have a past and some unenthusiastic plans for the future.
Will the differences in their lives doom the chance of Darcy and Angie discovering if they can build a future together?
Sycamore Haven is a fictional village in North Yorkshire. I imagine it to be somewhere between Skipton and Ilkley.
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.
I have a lot of photos of trees and roots. As a child, when I was told to go outside and play on a bright summer’s day, I would find a tree to sit in to read a book. Not quite what my well-meaning parent envisioned. I do know that one summer I read my way through the children’s section of the local library. Then a school friend introduced me to Narnia, so I quickly devoured those seven books.
My parents were avid readers. Our house was always full of books. Whenever we moved, which was fairly often, floor to ceiling bookcases had to be added in several rooms to accommodate all the books. As a teenager I read my way through the Russian authors (mainly only interested in the Peace parts of War and Peace), Dickens, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and many more.
My own house is full of books too. Being surrounded by books is comforting, even when I know that there are many on the shelves that I probably won’t read again. But they are there, reminders of many happy hours spent between the covers.
So many trees have died to give me a lifetime of reading pleasure. Maybe that’s why I feel the need to appreciate and record their living, breathing beauty.
My next novel, due out in November, features a willow tree. Part of the story revolves around what happens when two teenage lovers are discovered under it. The image of the overhanging, shielding branches of the tree provided a touchstone for the tale I wanted to write.
A cover reveal and blurb will be forthcoming soon.
The easing of government-imposed pandemic restrictions on the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ in the UK (19 July) coincided with a week of continuously high temperatures. Most of us here don’t cope well with anything over 24C and our homes aren’t generally equipped with air-conditioning, as it’s only really needed maybe once or twice a year.
The rush to seaside resorts was therefore inevitable but I didn’t envy anyone who made the journey to sit on a crowded beach.
We’re still taking precautions to avoid catching the virus and although we’ve had both jabs, it seems to make sense to continue wearing a mask in enclosed spaces.
We’ve enjoyed a few cautious outings in June and July with a trip to the Lake District and then last week to the opposite side of the country where I even dipped my toes in the North Sea.
There are many beautiful places to explore on this island so we’re planning on having some more adventures in the next few months.
How about trying out my novella (which came out on 1st July) – romance, action, adventure – set in New South Wales, Australia.
Three Mile Cache is due for release on 1st July from Affinity Rainbow Publications.
I wrote this story some time ago and refer to it as my Flying Doctor fanfic. The Flying Doctors TV series from the 1980s always had me glued to the screen, hoping against hope that two of the female leads – a doctor and a nurse – would get together. It was never going to happen. But watching the programme sparked my imagination and gave rise to this romantic vision – although my two main protagonists are not employees of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. (This is a work of fiction so the usual disclaimer applies.)
The story is set in Australia circa 1988. When archaeologist Carolyn Wells returns home to Sydney after several months away at a dig in Tunisia, she expects to be reunited with her lover, Detective Inspector Alex Graham. But she soon learns that Alex has been wounded in a hostage incident and is recuperating at a Royal Flying Doctor Service hospital at a place in the outback of New South Wales called Three Mile Cache. Carolyn decides to fly out there and surprise Alex with her arrival.
Surprises abound when she gets there. One of the doctors treating Alex has a rather intimate interpretation of a bedside manner. There are mysterious goings-on at a local homestead and Alex’s injuries haven’t stopped her from probing into the lives of the locals, much to their annoyance.
When Carolyn and Alex meet again, things don’t quite work out as either of them would like. Can their relationship recover from the series of events in Three Mile Cache that threaten to keep them apart?
In the dedication I have acknowledged the superb medical service provided by the RFDS covering the rural and remote areas of Australia.
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.
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: