Sunday, 26 January 2020

Living the #amwriting life - January

Hello my loves and welcome to a brand new round-up post that I'm going to share throughout 2020 and will go live during the last weekend of every month. If I'm being completely honest, this is more for my benefit than yours and I had originally planned to keep all the info in a notebook, but then I thought you might like to have a look at 'the month that was' with me.

Being an author can be a solitary business and sometimes it's all too easy to overlook the little - as well as the big things - that have been achieved and so I thought I'd start to put them together to remind myself each month that #thewritinglife hasn't been all screen, screen, screen!

So here, we go...


The year got off to a really great start celebrating the launch of The Choice, by Claire Wade. Claire was the Good Housekeeping novel competition winner last year and is now a firm friend as well as a fellow Norfolk and Suffolk RNA Chapter member. Appropriately enough, Claire and I first met over tea and cake and if you read her stunning debut, you'll understand the irony!

I kicked the evening off with dinner and gin in The Ivy, Norwich with my wonderful agent, Amanda Preston (who happens to be Claire's agent too),

Rhubarb gin...
before heading to Waterstones to toast Claire's success with the rest of the local RNA gang, family and friends, as well as enjoying the incredible array of cakes on offer.

A truly memorable gathering

Gorgeous super-agent, Amanda Preston

After the launch party excitement it was back to work, but thrilling things were still happening...

I accepted an offer to give a talk to the RNA London Chapter later in the year with author chum, Jenni Keer

The Secret Seaside Escape copy edit was completed

The PLR statement figures were revealed and I was delighted to see that my books have been borrowed thousands and thousands of times

I went off on my blogging travels

The Secret Seaside Escape cover was finally revealed and extremely well received. Huge and heartfelt thanks to my wonderful #swainette blogging crew who helped spread the word far and very wide

I finished planning and started writing a BRAND NEW BOOK - hooray - details and title to come very soon

And finally, I was featured in the 250th issue of Norfolk Magazine alongside Rachel Hore and Pam Brooks, talking about how our love of Norfolk inspires our work

So, there we have it! All in all, I think you'll agree, the decade has got off to a pretty productive start and February is already shaping up to be every bit as busy. I already know some of what is going to be happening, but I'm going to keep you in suspense until the calendar flicks over to what is, allegedely, the most romantic month of the year.

Sending love, hugs, health and happiness your way,

H x

Monday, 13 January 2020

The Secret Seaside Escape

Hello everyone and thank you so much for stopping by to take a look at the stunning cover for The Secret Seaside Escape. Isn't it an absolute beauty?

As you may have guessed, this book features a brand new setting and this time I'm taking you to the stunning Norfolk coast and the fictitious little village of Wynmouth.

Here's the blurb to give you a taste of what to expect...

Following a shocking revelation within her family, Tess Tyler is looking to escape her hectic city life – and where better to hide than Wynmouth, the seaside town she visited as a child, with its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community. But little does she realise, Wynmouth isn't quite the haven she remembers it to be, and her real life is still threatening to catch up with her . . .

Also returning to Wynmouth is Joe. Having fled over a decade ago after an accident that changed his life forever, he’s back and is determined to face his demons. But, like Tess, Joe realises that the town is nothing like he remembers and quickly his arrival brings old tensions to the surface.

As the pair begin to familiarise themselves with the town they once knew, they each realise that the secrets they carry are becoming harder to conceal – but will revealing them bring the answers they’re looking for? Will Tess and her new friends finally get the second chance they’ve been hoping Wynmouth will give them?

Publication date is April 30th but it's already available to order and available in paperback, ebook and audio format

I have to say, I'm feeling a bit jittery about the change of scene, just like when I introduced you to Nightingale Square in Norwich, but given how quickly you took Prosperous Place and the Grow-Well gang to your hearts, I'm hoping you'll feel just as happy spending time in Wynmouth. It really is a beautiful place with a whole host of wonderful characters.

There's going to be lots of exciting things planned around the publication, so do please keep popping back to find out what's in store!

Much love

H x

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy new year!

So, another decade is drawing to a close and I'm poised to enter my late 40's. This time 10 years ago, I was wondering how I'd feel about that. I was fast approaching the 'it's time to take my writing seriously' birthday and had no idea what the future had in store.

Looking at this glorious pic, I don't think I've fared too badly, do you? The Cherry Tree Cafe was published in 2015 and well, you know the rest. There are 2 more titles coming in 2020 taking the grand total to 11! 11 books written and published in 6 short years!

I'm not sharing this to brag or say 'look what I've done', I'm putting it out there as a gentle reminder to say that you can do it too! If there's something you want, then go for it. If there's a dream you have, then commit to making it your reality.

I can promise you that there's nothing special or clever about me. I'm not gifted, talented, tall or rich. I'm just an ordinary middle aged Mum of 2 but I've worked hard, grasped the nettle and managed to achieve my goal. Whatever you want to do in this new decade, then please just get on with it. Ignore the self doubt and the fear, screw your courage to the sticking place and you'll make it happen.

Much love to you all and thank you so, so much for your wonderful support. 

H x

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Welcoming Claire Wade to the blog

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. I don't usually have a guest here on Boxing Day, however, for Claire Wade, who is celebrating the publication of her stunning debut, THE CHOICE today, I am making an exception. Claire is a fellow RNA Norfolk and Suffolk Chapter member, a firm friend and the winner of the Good Housekeeping First Novel Award. AND we share the same agent! Please join me in welcoming Claire here today to tell us all about her thrilling and thought provoking debut.

How was your Christmas? Are you still full from yesterday’s dinner or are you already eye-ing up that box of Quality Streets? I promise, there’s no judgement here, but if Mother Mason was prime minister, she would have a few things to say about it.

Mother Mason is in charge in The Choice, my debut novel which is released today. She’s fanatical about making the country happy and healthy. There’s nothing she won’t do. Including making sugar and baking illegal. 

Imagine a world where everything you ate was monitored by the government. Every step you took was counted. You had to attend mandatory exercise classes and were weighed every time you went to the supermarket. What if your neighbours informed on you if you made the slightest mistake and no one was safe from judgement? What would you do? Toe the line or fight for freedom?

That’s the decision my main character Olivia has to make. She used to be a professional baker, but her life changed when Mother Mason came to power. When the government made baking illegal Olivia lost her livelihood and her sense of self-worth, now she’s struggling to survive in a world that constantly judges her. She’s desperately unhappy and doesn’t know how to protect her young children.

I came up with the idea for The Choice after hearing news reports that said sugar and fat might be as addictive as drugs. I started to wonder what would happen if this was really true. I love baking, it’s my favourite way to relax, so a world without cake seemed like a nightmare. 

In 2018 I won the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and my prize was signing with Amanda Preston, Heidi’s agent, and a publishing deal with Orion; it was a dream come true. The last year has been a whirlwind, made so much better by my friendship with Heidi.

As you enjoy the last of the Christmas treats, be grateful that you can. If your choices were taken away, what would you do? Toe the line or fight for freedom? You can find out what Olivia decides to do in The Choice

The Choice by Claire Wade is published by Orion, £8.99 and is out now in paperback, e-book and audio book.

Buy the book 

Meet Claire

About Claire Wade

Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition 2018. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn’t do what she wanted; her only escape was through her imagination. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she’s deeply familiar with.

Her favourite things are books, baking and the WI. She’s the founding president of a modern WI (Women’s Institute) and runs a baking club for other cake lovers. You’ll find her in her writing room, nicknamed Narnia because it’s also home to a wardrobe and is the place where she escapes to other worlds. She’s happiest if she’s got a slice of chocolate cake, a cup of tea and a good book.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Welcoming Karen King to the blog!

With Christmas fast approaching, I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Karen King, who has The Best title for her festive release - SINGLE ALL THE WAY, to the blog to tell us all about her love of Christmas Carols.

I love Christmas. It’s a time for family, friends, coming together, helping each other, love and forgiveness and celebrating the joy of living. And for me, carols and Christmas songs are a big part of this. There are so many wonderful carols; ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, I love them all but if pushed for a favourite I’d have to go for ‘Good King Wenceslas’ because it holds such nostalgia for me. Childhood memories of sitting around the coal fire with my family at Christmas time, my older brother, Gary, and I singing ‘Good King Wenceslas’ with Gary singing the King’s words and me the Page’s. I use the term ‘singing’ loosely as while Gary has a good singing voice I am always hopelessly out of tune. It never bothered me then, and doesn’t now, when I hear carols being sung I have to join in.  Half of the joy is joining in.

We always sang carols as we decorated the Christmas tree – a tradition I carried on with throughout my own children’s childhood and even now, with my children grown up, I still decorate the tree to the accompaniment of a CD of Christmas carols and songs playing in the background, joining in hopelessly out of tune.
I always loved going to the carol services at the school, listening to the children singing away heartily – and yes, when it was appropriate, joining in, just as Saffy does in my previous Christmas novel, ‘Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel’. Some people dread the knock of carol singers at the door but I love it and always eagerly open the door to hear the carols. I even joined a group of carol singers from the local church for a few years, we went from door to door singing carols to collect money for the homeless – although I think that the money I collected was probably to stop me singing! Even now I live in Spain I go to the carol services that are held locally by expats, and to the ‘switching on the lights’ ceremony in Malaga, as Meg and Sally do in ‘Single all the Way’.  Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a few carols, they bring people together to celebrate the joy and goodwill of Christmas and that’s the feeling I try to bring to ‘Single all the Way’. Despite their heartache, Meg and Sally support each other and join in to help the local community too. They both went down to Cornwall to avoid Christmas but ended up realising where their hearts were.

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Single all the Way…

Single All The Way...

Snow is falling, bells are ringing… and my heart is broken. I pick up the phone to tell my mother about Oliver and me. Then right after I explain, she says, ‘I don’t exactly know how to tell you this, but you're not the only one who is single again.’

Single together for the first time, 34-year-old Meg and her warm-hearted mother Sally decide to cancel Christmas, and run away to a tiny cottage on the Cornish coast. For Meg, it is the perfect place to heal, away from all the mistletoe, while for her mother it has a special, and secret, place in her heart – from a love story that seems a lifetime ago…

Meg and Sally find they’re getting to know themselves, and each other, better than ever before. But as they are unable to resist getting involved in the village Christmas celebrations, they encounter two handsome local strangers.

Sometimes, it’s being away from home that helps you realise where your heart is. What neither woman knows is that, by the time the new year rolls around, one woman will have fallen in love with their ex all over again, and one relationship will be over for good…

An escapist, romantic and heart-warming novel for fans of One Day in December and No One Cancels Christmas.

Buy links

All about Karen

Karen King is a multi-published bestselling author of romance novels, YA and children's books. She has had eight romantic novels, two YA books and 120 children's books published. She has also written several short stories for women's magazines.

Currently published by Bookouture, Karen's latest title, Single All The Way, is out now.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

And the winner is...

Massive congratulations Sarah Rothman! I can't promise you a horse, but if you message me your address I will get your Christmas Wish List goodies in the post because you are the giveaway winner!

As always, huge and heartfelt thanks to everyone who entered. It was lovely - and in some cases very moving - to read your festive wishes. The winner was picked by random number generator and don't worry if you missed out because I'll be having another competition soon.

Seasonal salutations and much love to you all!

H x

Friday, 6 December 2019

The Christmas Wish List GIVEAWAY

Merry Christmas my loves! This week I have a seasonal treat lined up for you as I'm announcing my annual festive giveaway, this year featuring The Christmas Wish List! Entering couldn't be simpler. All you have to do is, using the comments box, tell me what's number 1 on your own personal Wish List.

What's up for grabs...

A signed paperback copy of The Christmas Wish List
A very limited edited Wish List pad designed by Simon & Schuster
Fabulous candy cane pens so can write your own Wish List in style
A bar of gorgeous Green and Blacks chocolate

The competition launches on Saturday December 7th and the winner will be announced on Saturday December 14th so I can get the goodies to you in plenty of time for the 25th. Open to the UK only.

Here's a bit about the book...

After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

Good luck everyone. I can't wait to find out what you're all wishing for!

H x