Loving Trees

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.


Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from 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


Summer breaks

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.

Linthwaite, near Windermere
View of the Lake Windermere
Paddleboarders on Lake Windermere
Paddling 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.


Summer reads

How about trying out my novella (which came out on 1st July) – romance, action, adventure – set in New South Wales, Australia.

Three Mile Cache published by Affinity Rainbow Publications

E-book available from: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon AU / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Apple iTunes


Print and eBooks by Jen Silver are available from 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


Novella: Coming Soon

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.)

Description:

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.


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


April changes

April has been a month of two seasons. We had snow, high winds, rain, and for the last two weeks frosty mornings morphing into bright sunny days.

The good weather coincided with the opening up of outdoor venues and sports. I dusted off my golf clubs, checked my archery equipment and have now enjoyed several weeks of getting out on a golf course and shooting arrows at the archery field.

The garden has also perked up with a bit of weeding and planting of flowers. It’s even been warm enough to sit out on the patio some afternoons – actual t-shirt weather!

Still time for indoor stuff – reading, some writing – and as a break from jigsaws, painting by numbers.

We’ve had our two vaccinations but not planning to go mad with social gatherings. Still playing it safe, wearing masks and keeping our distance as much as possible.

So, here are some photos of the recent activities mentioned above.

A snowy morning in the village
Looking like Christmas!
My golf kit ready to go
Canada Geese nesting on the golf course
Out on the course
Six arrows on target – and two in the gold!
A not very artistic impression of a painting

Book review

Deuce

I’ve not had any book releases so far this year – so it was lovely to receive this wonderful review this month of Deuce – published in 2019 – by Carol Hutchinson of LesBireviewed:

LesbBireviewed video review: 7 April 2021

She even took the time to record her impressions of the cover:

LesBireviewed video intro: 31 March 2021


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


March already

This is my first blog of 2021 and it’s March already! I’ve been slacking off on the blogging front. No excuses really, just haven’t felt like I have much to say. Maybe I can blame the pandemic for an unusually long period of apathy, mainly with the written word. I’ve certainly been doing a lot of reading. The shed is piled high with completed jigsaw puzzles. And I’m looking forward to weeding the garden. (We don’t have a very big garden, so that won’t take long.)

This period of lockdown in England seems longer than the first one. I suspect that’s because it’s winter whereas last year during April and May we had prolonged spells of wonderful warm, sunny weather. As soon as lockdown eased for the summer, the weather took a turn for the worse.

So, as I can’t think of a lot to say, I’ll just add some photos from a few of my socially-distanced walks during since the start of the year, plus the jigsaw I completed today.

1000 piece Ravensburger puzzle titled No Ball Games (image by Ailsa Black)
A bit of sunshine and clear skies at Shibden Hall
Canada Geese on the canal – they’ve multiplied at a great rate.
A woodland scene

And this image – just because.

I’ve forgotten what this is for!

Spring is on its way – and the possibility of the resumption of a wider range of activities soon. However, if you still have time for reading, I have ten published novels plus some short stories out there, and two audio books to take a look at.

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


Canalside walk

A selection of photos from a visit to the Salterhebble canal basin a few days ago.

I’ve passed it many times on the drive between where I live and Huddersfield, but never visited. Turns out to be a pleasant place for a fairly secluded walk around by the lock and the mooring place for boats.

I was fascinated by the guillotine-style lock – something else I’d not seen before.

Guillotine Lock

This basin is an offshoot of the Rochdale Canal, which has a total 91 locks between nearby Sowerby Bridge and the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin in Manchester, a distance of 32 miles. The canal system is an amazing feat of engineering with work starting in 1798. One section, passing through Hebden Bridge, is built over the river (a hanging viaduct).

Walking through this tunnel, I felt we might emerge into another place and time.

Altogether, a lovely haven for a quiet walk. Of course, quiet walks are what I aim for these days.

Then it’s back home for more quiet time, mainly reading or listening to audio books while piecing together jigsaw puzzles.


If you’re looking for some reading or listening material for your own quiet times, please check out my books.

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


Loving the countryside

Where I live, we’re surrounded by beautiful countryside only a short walk away. We also don’t have to travel very far in any direction to experience amazing views.

wideview

When I started writing Country Living, one of my aims was to show how someone from the city could adapt to life in the country. Peri, one of the main characters, copes with the move well. But this is her dream so she’s motivated to make it work.

valleyview

It soon becomes clear that her wife has no intention of joining her. Karla’s plans involve enjoying scenery of a different kind, mainly from someone else’s bed.

Peri’s very lucky then that her new neighbours turn out to be friendly and helpful. They live in the farmhouse a bit further up the hill from Peri’s cottage. Of course she’s totally unaware that they have any other business apart from sheep farming. I guess she didn’t watch the Happy Valley TV series; otherwise she might have been more clued up on how the area had that name bestowed on it by the local police force.

With Country Living, I didn’t set out to write a polemic on the pros and cons of legalising marijuana. I’ve tried to present a balanced view, as there are generally more than two sides to any discussion of this issue. Peri’s dilemma centres on whether or not she should report the family to the authorities.

This is all fiction. I don’t have any personal experience of knowing anyone who grows or sells the stuff. But I live in Happy Valley so I know it’s around.

Anyway, this book is a romance. Love is in the air – along with other substances.

Happy reading!

sunnyday


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


 

Never too late to visit Middle-earth

Someone I know, who is a lot younger than me, posted on social media yesterday that she’d just bought the complete set of books – The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And she’s an LOTR virgin!

I don’t know many people of my generation who would fit that category. My wife is one, though. She didn’t make it past the first page of The Hobbit. Shock, horror – this wasn’t real. She couldn’t read about furry creatures who live in holes in the ground. (Surprising, perhaps, that our relationship didn’t founder there and then. But we’ve now been together for 33 years.)

Anyway, after telling Carol that I had copies of these books that are older than her, I said I would post pictures and here they are.

First up, The Hobbit paperback published in 1974. (Note: price on the back – 65p.)

hobbit74

Next, The Lord of the Rings trilogy in one volume…also from 1974.

lotr74

Both these books travelled with me through journeys to France, Canada, and back to England in the mid 1980s.

I couldn’t resist buying the 50th Anniversary edition of The Hobbit (1987). I recall the bookseller saying he was disappointed the publisher had the anniversary banner printed on the cover instead of a sticker that could have been removed. It’s a lovely version of the book though with maps on the front and back inside covers and some previously unpublished illustrations by the author.

hobbit87

No surprise then that I also couldn’t resist buying the book of Tolkien Treasures (2018) when I saw it in our local bookshop last year.  The author has compiled many of Tolkien’s illustrations and maps that are held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It’s a fascinating overview of his life and work.

treasures

So, to Carol, and any other readers who haven’t yet read the books, hope you enjoy the journeys and adventures that all start from a Hobbit hole in the peaceful surroundings of the Shire.


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


 

Lockdown comfort reading

Books I’ve been re-reading over the last three weeks:

I started with Swallows and Amazons, a regular source of comfort reads. Coot Club and The Big Six are gentle stories about sailing on the Norfolk Broads. I’ve never sailed in my life and never quite mastered rowing or paddling a canoe either. But I love these stories and marvel at how self-sufficient these children are. However, when Arthur Ransome wrote the stories in the 1930s, it was a very different world.

coot_six

After messing about in boats, I moved on to more adult fare with Jasper Fforde. I read books 1 to 5 of the Thursday Next series. They’re all good fun but I think my favourite is the third one – The Well of Lost Plots when Thursday has to hide out in an unpublished novel and continues with her training as a Jurisfiction agent under Miss Havisham.

fforde_five

Time then for a complete change of scene and on to some lesfic. My first stop here was an old favourite, which I discovered on the Mooch café’s Books for sale shelf five years ago. (I got it signed by the wonderful Karin K when I attended my first GCLS Conference in New Orleans in 2015.) Just Like That, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a delightful lesbian take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. (And the glass of wine is relevant!)

Karin_that

After that, I needed more Kallmaker and found I had her very first published novel on my Kindle. In Every Port is a great coming out story with historical overtones, set at the time of Harvey Milk’s assassination and the Jonestown massacre.

Sticking with old favourites, I then moved on to detective stories starting with Murder at the Nightwood Bar and The Beverley Malibu by Katherine V Forrest. KVF never disappoints.

malibu_mine

That brings me up to date as I’ve just started on the first of the Lauren Laurano series – Everything You Have is Mine by Sandra Scoppettone.

So, why all the reading? Apart from the obvious – only going out when necessary. The writing is just not happening. Making notes for this blog is the most I’ve been able to do. I’m at the halfway point in my next WIP – but it’s not progressed past there in the last month.

For something else to do, I’ve recorded myself reading Chapter One of Country Living. No need for any professional audio book narrators to be worried. I’m no good at character voices and don’t have the skill to edit out the occasional bleep or stumble. And I certainly can’t compete with the lovely Clare Ashton who is reading her book Poppy Jenkins chapter by chapter (available on YouTube). But here is the audio file, if you want to listen.

CL_Jen

Reviews for Country Living

There haven’t been many, but I am very grateful for the reviews I’ve received so far for Country Living. (All five stars!) This one appeared on the Amazon UK site on 27 March:

Heart warming, fast moving and so true to life!

After 20 years of living together, marriage and comfortable ‘rubbing along’, you think you know someone – but maybe you don’t! This cracking story so well written. I became fully immersed in the sadness of middle aged Peri who suddenly realises her wife has been cheating on her and has to start rebuilding her life. Set in Yorkshire, England, the vivid writing transports you to the hills, dales and farm life of this beautiful countryside. And as always with Jen Silver’s books the plot is multi layered delivering a cool and sparkling look at contemporary life and adding real ‘edge’ to the story. Balancing out the romances, there are secrets, intrigues and surprise twists. Young and middle aged characters have experiences so recognisable – I felt I truly reading about people I know. There are always high expectations of Jen Silver’s books and ‘Country Living’ is one of her best.

Thanks for reading, if you got this far. Hope you’re staying safe and maybe enjoying rereading some of your own comfort reads.


Country Living – published 1 March 2020 – availabe from: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Amazon CA / Amazon AU / Amazon DE / Amazon FR / Bella Books / 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