Thursday, 15 July 2021

The Cherry Tree Cafe publication anniversary

 All book birthdays are cause for celebration, but as with so many things in life, there's nothing quite like your first. I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen after THE CHERRY TREE CAFE eBook was published on July 16th 2015 (the paperback came out a couple of years later) and neither did I have any inkling that WYNBRIDGE was going to be the setting for an entire series!

I made lengths of beautiful book cover bunting with the Books and The City Team and held my breath in anticipation of The Big Day. It was a day I had craved for as long as I had dreamt of becoming a published author and I was delighted when it surpassed all expectations!

This photo was taken just a couple of days after publication day, at the launch party which was held in a beautiful arts cafe in Norwich, Arts Desire.

Within 48 hours of publication, I had achieved a huge ambition, and as this feature in the local press suggests, I was very happy!

Of course, I had absolutely no idea then that there was so much more to come! 

Bestseller flags, paperbacks, Sunday Times Bestseller status, award nominations, German, Italian and French editions and another 13 (so far) books. I wonder what I would have made of all of that as I tucked into the celebration cake and partied with supportive family and friends.

As you can see, the cover was updated when the paperback was published, but one thing remains the same - the love for Jemma, Lizzie, The Cherry Tree Cafe and the many, many friends who now populate wonderful Wynbridge and the surrounding countryside - and that makes me one VERY happy author!

H x





Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Welcoming Kate G Smith to the blog!

 Thanks so much to Heidi for allowing me to take over her blog to talk about my second book, The Love Note. Published on 12th July with Orion Dash.

I write uplifting romantic stories and The Love Note is centred around a wedding dress with love letters hidden in the folds of the material. Often when I talk to people about what I do, or tell people what my books are about, the question that pops up a lot is how do you come up with your ideas? So, I thought I’d use this wonderful space to try and answer this.

The truth is my inklings don’t just appear from my imagination, they come from the world around me. I can’t think of new ideas or create characters when I’m sitting in my office (spare room) staring at my screen. It’s the random Facebook stories, the half-heard conversations in cafes, the news articles, the Instagram pictures, and the whispers of side-characters in films and books. My mind is always whirring with what ifs and maybe this’.

The Love Note started as an idea from a Twitter thread I came across; a tiny hint about a lost and forgotten wedding dress that got my mind buzzing. Whose dress is it? Why was it forgotten? What if it had been hidden away by someone? What if it was hidden away for a reason…? And thus, The Love Note was born. I jotted down some ideas so I didn’t forget, and went back to editing my debut.

The notes app on my phone has a page dedicated to ideas. I add them whenever I think of them, whenever something catches my eye. Sometimes they come fully formed, like The Love Note did, other times they are streams of consciousness. As well finding ideas through other media, these streams tend to be scribbled (is it scribbled when it’s electronic?) when I’m about to fall asleep, or I’m halfway through a bath, and an idea pings into my head. Those moments when my brain is amalgamating my day and making sense of what’s happened, when the unconscious thoughts are being processed. 

My notes app is a hive of concepts, which comes in handy as I have to send my agent a synopsis before I start writing a new book. My third book, currently being readied for submission to publishers, stemmed from an idea I had while reading Good Housekeeping. It was a small article about swimming that piqued my interest and I squirreled it away for when the time was right. 

For my current work in progress, I had an idea that I loved but wasn’t blown away by. Then I checked my notes app and bam, from a sentence I had written I saw a story unfold in front of my eyes. (I can’t talk about it yet as I’m only halfway through writing it, but it’s a whimsical romance with fairy tales at its heart.) I have to caveat here that it’s not always that simple, for every good idea in my notes app, there’s another sentence that simply says peanut butter sandwich; written as I was falling asleep and obviously very hungry. 

I think, what I’ve learnt over the years, is that if I try to force that very early concepts forming part of my creative process it doesn’t work. I need to allow myself the time to breathe, to take in the world and scroll social media. I used to be fearful that I was wasting precious writing time if I was sitting in a cafĂ© eavesdropping or people watching. I’d berate myself for not being at my desk every spare moment I had (I work part time and am a single mum, so my writing time is very sporadic). So, it was a learning process for me to allow myself that space, and I’m very glad I did, otherwise I may very well be here talking to you about my new book all about a peanut butter sandwich! 

About the book 

When Maggie Burnett discovers her mother's beautiful wedding dress just days after she passes away, she wonders why she'd been told it was missing...

Pinned to the waistband is a note that reads: 'E,
je t'aime. LS x' . 'E' must be Elizabeth, her mother, but who is 'LS'? Could he be the father she's never known?

As Maggie's seemingly happy life in London unravels, she decides it's time to go home to Norfolk and figure out the truth once and for all. Even if it means running into Nick Forster, her secret childhood crush. What if this journey to the past is the key to a new beginning?

Buy the book

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ebooks.com

Get to know Kate

Kate Galloway Smith is a writer, editor, and an HCPC registered Occupational Therapist.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Kate can be found writing uplifting romantic fiction in Norwich, where she lives with her daughter and their cat and an increasing number of house plants.


Connect with Kate









Welcoming Catherine Miller back to the blog!

 Today I'm delighted to welcome my wonderful RNA pal, Catherine Miller back to the blog. It's literally years since she's visited so this catch up is long overdue! Her new book, THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T LEAVE is out now and today Catherine is sharing some insights into the inspiration behind the book.

Lockdown Inspiration? 

Even though my new release, The Girl Who Couldn’t Leave, is about someone staying at home, the idea came about before we were all in lockdown. My publishers wanted a second synopsis ahead of my contract last February and the initial idea was called Six Yards From Home. I liked the concept of someone never going further than their front garden, but managing to find love anyway. It was partly inspired by a poem my mum wrote at school and when I was a teenager she told me the part she remembered. It’s included at the end of the book as I felt this completed that poem. 

Little did I know that after the idea was approved, we’d all be living in our very own version of the plot! I’ve said a few times that I’ve heard of method acting, but this is the first time I’ve undertaken method writing. 

The truth is, being in lockdown did help to steer the storyline. It gave me a much greater understanding of what a person might do in those circumstances. Fiona and Bethany even have their own in-out nights, which without home events becoming popular, I might never have thought of. 

I think authors and editors have had to face difficult decisions as to whether to include the circumstances of covid in contemporary novels. My editor and I decided not to, but the circumstances actually gave the book so much more meaning and I hope readers enjoy Fiona’s story and find it as cathartic as writing it was. 


About the book - 

It’s been 1,825 days since Fiona Dexter last set foot outside 14 Wellington Drive.

Five years ago, something happened that changed Fiona forever. Now she is too afraid to walk beyond her front gate.

It’s not the life Fiona had dreamed of but she has made it work, finding happiness in the safe routine of her days. On Mondays she treats herself to a glass of Chardonnay. On Tuesdays she has a working lunch at her desk (usually peanut butter on toast). On Wednesdays and Thursdays, she alternates spinning classes in her shed with yoga in the garden. Saturdays are for tidying up and Sundays are for relaxing in her favourite armchair.

But today is different. Today, her perfectly planned Monday is suddenly interrupted by a knock at the door and a stranger on the other side. Someone who could change everything.

Now Fiona is faced with an impossible choice. Is she brave enough to open the door? And if she does, will it set her free from her past or close her off from the world forever?

To buy the book click the link in the post!

Connect with Catherine 

Twitter


Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Book Bargain Alert!

 Exciting news my loves! Right now

SUMMER AT SKYLARK FARM 

is just 99p to download!

Download the book

Amber is a city girl at heart. So when her boyfriend Jake suggests they move to the countryside to help out at his family farm, she doesn't quite know how to react. But work has been hectic and she needs a break so she decides to grasp the opportunity and make the best of it.

Dreaming of organic orchards, paddling in streams and frolicking in fields, Amber packs up her things and moves to Skylark Farm. But life is not quite how she imagined - it's cold and dirty and the farm buildings are dilapidated and crumbling.

But Amber is determined to make the best of it and throws herself into farm life. But can she really fit in here? And can she and Jake stay together when they are so different?

Happy reading!

H x

Friday, 25 June 2021

June highlights

 Goodness me, where do I begin? June has been extremely hectic work wise - I'm writing the first draft of the summer 22 book and also proofreading UNDERNEATH THE CHRISTMAS TREE - and to be honest, there hasn't been all that much time for rest and play, but I've still got a few highlights to share with you.

Can you spot the theme for the beginning of the month here?

Yep, the month began with a whole host of publication anniversary celebrations which made for a very pretty Instagram grid!


And ended with the HUGELY exciting NEWSLETTER announcement. I was absolutely blown away by the response. Over 650 of you subscribed within a week and if you're one of them, you should find my very first letter landing in your inbox on Saturday June 26th. I really hope you enjoy it and thank you for subscribing.

I received some gorgeous gifts from readers in June too, including a beautiful book sleeve and these fabulous notebook covers. I'm always in awe of such clever and talented crafting and so these handmade beauties are very much appreciated.


The weather finally came good for a while and I was treated to an abundance of my favourite blossom - hawthorn. I love the frothy simplicity of the flowers and they smell amazing too. I also celebrated the solstice. Even though the sun didn't put in an appearance, it was still magical.


So, on to a few of my favourite things from June...

What I read...

I read a few books this month and a very definite favourite was HOME by Penny Parkes. Publication day is July the 8th so not too long to wait if you order it and I recommend you should!


Here's the blurb...

Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives - caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.
 
But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start.
 
Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.


I also read, and I know I'm well over a decade late to this party, TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyer. I've seen the films so picked the book up to see how it compared. I enjoyed it more than I expected to!

I'm pretty certain you don't need the blurb for this one.



What I watched and what I listened to...

I didn't actually watch anything on TV in June and I didn't listen to much either. By the time I'd finished work, I was pretty much straight into bed. However, I did listen to some great author interviews.

I'm always fascinated to learn about how other authors work, their writing process, publication journey etc.

In June, I watched interviews with - 

Libby Page
Liz Fenwick, Veronica Henry, Jill Mansell and Jenny Colgan 
Victoria Connelly

So, that was my month. As I said at the beginning, all work and not much play, but when your work is writing books, that's no hardship!

Wishing you all a wonderful July and if you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter, then please submit your email address using the sign up box on the blog.

Hugs

H x










Friday, 18 June 2021

Something new!

 I have a new venture to share with you today, my loves! At long last, I'm going to start sending out a newsletter. 


This is the lovely logo my darling daughter has created and I'm hoping lots of you will sign up via the subscription box on the right to find it popping up in your inbox every couple of months.

I'm planning to send out the first letter as soon as I've got a handful of subscribers and I'm going to pack it with all sorts of exclusive content, competitions and news.

If you would like to hear more from me, then simply submit your email address via the box on the right and I'll be in touch soon! And if there's anything in particular that you'd like me to include in the newsletter, then let me know in the comments box below. All suggestions welcome!

H x

Sunday, 13 June 2021

A quick catch up!

 Hello my loves! How are you all? I hope you're enjoying the sunshine? I have to admit I'm not a big sun lover myself so I've been sticking to my early - 6am - walks and enjoying them very much. 


This morning there was an abundance of birdsong (goldfinches and blackbirds in very fine voice) and blossom (nigella, wild roses, elder and buttercups). It was absolutely enchanting. 

I'm still receiving wonderful images of A TASTE OF HOME out in the world, along with terrific reviews, so thank you to everyone who has taken a snap or kindly given the book some stars on Amazon. 

I took a snap of my own last night -


My darling Dad gave me this wine a couple of years ago and when I opened it last night, I realised it was produced in Puglia! The coincidence was too wonderful not to capture a pic. It was a truly delicious Taste of Home!

However, don't start thinking life is all early walks and evening drinks for this author because I'm working flat out too. Right now I'm poised to take delivery of the UNDERNEATH THE CHRISTMAS TREE proof pages and I'm fathoms deep in the next first draft.


The story is positively pouring out and I can't wait to tell you where it's set, but for now my lips are sealed. I do think you're going to love it though.

Anyway, that's all of my news, for now. I just wanted to check in as it has been a while.  Wishing you all a wonderful week. Look after yourselves my loves!

H x