Blog tours, new books and sunshine days

My blog tour for Lil’s Bus Trip started on 26th August and it continued to the 7th September. I loved every minute of it.

It was organised brilliantly, as ever, by Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books. I always look forward to blog tours; it’s a chance to meet up again with some reviewers that I’ve only known through previous blog tours but, after seven of my books have passed through their hands, they feel like good friends. I’ve experienced nothing but warmth and generosity, and a blog tour is simply a new novel being celebrated on a daily basis. I’ve met even more reviewers this time, people I’ve not encountered on blog tours before, and I’ve been touched by their kind words and their genuine interest.

Furthermore, once reviews are out, the amazing Boldwood writers’ community flies into action like a throng of doves, sweeping down to like, to retweet and to offer words of encouragement. What’s not to love about a blog tour? It is a real delight, three reviews to be savoured daily, and I’m already looking forward to the tour for my next release in December.

As those of you who know me will be aware, I’m a little bit prolific. I start writing something new, and then the obsession kicks in, and I have to keep going. I try to take time off for reflection before I write the whole thing from beginning to end, and every so often I make sure I enjoy an opportunity to read widely. I have several books lined up: I’ve just finished Ali Smith’s wonderful Summer, and next I’ll read the latest by Jessica Redland, and the upcoming new ones by Maddie Please, Fay Keenan and Louise Douglas. I’m always so thrilled to read books by so many talented writers.

I am writing a novel at the moment that is probably the third in line for 2022, and I’m 60k words in already. I have another book out next year under a new name (not dissimilar to my grandma’s maiden name) in a different genre, a dual time line that will be more than a bit spooky. There are other novels I’ve already written for next year too, stories about fun and friendship and living life to the full, stories about multi-generations and older protagonists who seize every precious moment to enjoy life.

And, while we’re discussing themes and upcoming blog tours, my next novel is out on December 7th. It’s called Golden Girls’ Getaway, and it’s about three women who leave London in a motor home for adventures across the UK. I adore the three protagonists and I’d love them to become my readers’ new best friends. Vivienne, Mary and Gwen are very different characters, as you’d expect, but in their own way they are each a force to be reckoned with.

While Lil continues on her bus trip, travelling across northern Europe to Amsterdam, the Golden Girls are getting ready to start their motor. I have an exciting cover to reveal, and then on December 7th, the new novel will see the light of day. I’m looking forward to making that date a really big celebration.

The blog tour for Lil’s Bus Trip was a truly sunny occasion for me; the weather has been glorious throughout, and the response to Lil’s adventures has been everything I’d hoped it would be. For that I send so much thanks to so many people. Please do read the novel: it’s available on kindle, or large or medium print paperbacks, hardback, or you can listen to it being read on audio, which I know will be incredible. I’m sure the characters, the songs and poems will burst into life.

So, please enjoy Lil, Cassie and Maggie’s frolics in France, Belgium and the Netherlands; it’s just out. In the winter, the Golden Girls will follow, and I hope you’ll want to travel with them and enjoy the wonderful locations they visit in the UK.

Please visit Amazon for the blurb and to pre-order:

And finally, I’d like to say a huge thanks to my readers, wherever you are: you are the people it’s really all about. A book without a reader is simply a closed book. Thank you for reading, for leaving wonderful reviews, and for joining me on this writing journey. Each time a new book comes out, I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing.

 Each new page is a gift. x

On the Road Again.

This week the sunshine came at last and promised to stay for a while: I spent the weekend sorting out the van, with the hope of getting back on the road soon. My year usually starts in early spring but there have been a few universal problems with getting out and about for a few months…

There was a lot to be done, too: there were masses of dead flies like spilled raisins all over the floor, lodged in every crevasse; the fridge was empty, holding a sour smell and a few splodges of something unappetizing, green mould blotching the yellowing white plastic interior. I washed all the stale bedlinen, fixed the drooping blinds and dusty curtains. The winter rain had seeped through the corner of the over-cab bed, leaving a green smudge that stank of old potatoes against the ceiling. Windows and doors were flung wide to encourage fresh air to fill spaces: everywhere was hoovered, including dusty rugs, crumpled cushions and seats, even the tiny shower cubicle.

Long-lost things were discovered again: books, a bottle of rosé wine, Marmite, knickers, a sock. My note pad and pen that I use to scribble down any bright ideas that might come my way while I’m travelling were stuffed in the cupboard alongside several tins of beans and a bag of rice: all needs must be catered for when I’m away, and that includes food and food for thought – which reminds me, I’ve bought a DAB radio and the next job will be to install it.

I have various trips lined up, many already planned to research locations for a new book. There will be a trip to Cornwall, one to South Wales, another to North Yorkshire. I want to go to Scotland again. I have clear ideas about what will happen in each place, and I know the characters that will be involved. All I need to do now is to stand on a beach somewhere and let all the thoughts come together, like a stirred pot.

June 21st is a landmark day. I’ll have had both vaccinations, so I could travel anywhere in England as long as I’m sensible. My first trip will be to get up at ridiculous o’clock and drive to somewhere that I can climb up a hill and watch the sun rise. Solstice is a time I usually make a big wish and this year I’ll go in the van, because I can. Then it has to be breakfast on a beach somewhere or, who knows, maybe even in a café. A year ago, who’d have imagined what a massive treat that would be – I haven’t had breakfast ‘out’ in more months than I can count on both hands.

The absence of travel has prompted me to think how important it is to make the most of each precious moment. Time is too busy to stand still. There are places to see, people to meet, fun to be had, memories to make. I won’t go abroad this year, although I’d love to. But there are so many beautiful places to visit in this country, some I’ve never been to, and other places where there are dear friends I haven’t seen in far too long. I’m even thinking of paying a visit to the small place where I was born and smile at how much or how little has changed – I haven’t been back for too long. Wherever I go, I will take happiness and laughter with me – that’s my only rule.

If it’s sunny, I’ll celebrate and if it rains then I’ll dance in puddles. The joy of it is all…