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

Another new year

I was going to do an end of year blog. But, here it is – the fifth of January already. What was there to say about 2021? It was very similar to 2020. The main difference was getting vaccinated: three jabs for Covid 19 and a flu jab. Although this did have the effect of making us feel a bit safer about going out, we stuck to travel within England and didn’t go anywhere without masks and hand sanitiser.

2020 was such a strange year that I found writing difficult, so I wasn’t expecting to be able to release a new novel in 2021. However, an idea did start to percolate in my benumbed brain after Christmas last year and the result was Darcy Comes Home. (Check out this lovely book review)

My publisher also released Three Mile Cache, a novella I’ve had sitting in a drawer for almost thirty years. They also decided to release each of the stories from the limited edition Affinity 10th Anniversary Christmas Anthology separately. My contribution was Winterbourne Revisited.

So, with very little to say at the moment, here are a few photos from our travels last year.

The North Sea
Knaresborough viaduct
Lake Windermere

My publisher also gave their website a facelift. Please check it out – all their books are competitively priced – and there are some freebies on offer too.

Here’s hoping for a less restrictive year (going into our third year in the time of Covid). Whatever happens, take the time to enjoy some good reading along the way.

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


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

Comfort reading

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.

Winterbourne Revisited – published 15 November 2021: Affinity Rainbow Publications Amazon UK / Amazon US / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Apple iTunes