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




Tuesday, 1 June 2021

BOOK BARGAIN ALERT!

 Just letting you know that SUNSHINE AND SWEET PEAS - the first book in the NIGHTINGALE SQUARE series - is going to be just 99p to download from Amazon for the whole of June!

If you're looking for country life in the city and a dose of green things growing in a community garden, then this is the perfect series for you!

Download the book



Saturday, 29 May 2021

May highlights

 May highlights! Seriously? Already? Considering I'm still more or less living lockdown life, 2021 seems determined to fly by and actually, in spite of the dull, damp and wet weather which has dominated this month, the weeks have been productive and filled with some fabulous rays of book related sunshine, as revealed by the screenshots I've taken of my Instagram account!

With A TASTE OF HOME publishing so late in April, it almost felt like a May release and I've had a fabulous few weeks joining in with the Readalong on Insta, watching the wonderful reviews stack up and the sales figures reach an incredible high. The only reason the book didn't hit the Sunday Times Top 10 was because of coinciding releases from Hilary Mantel, Dawn French and some other very big hitters, but I don't mind. You guys love it and are buying it in your thousands and that's what counts for me.

As the images suggest, my month has been filled with some wonderful walks in nature and lots of #amwriting and of course a cover reveal. The lilacs, hawthorn and cow parsley are all favourties of mine and the weather has suited them perfectly.

My writing life has been dominated by the first draft of my summer 22 release, the UNDERNEATH THE CHRISTMAS TREE copy edit and the thrilling cover reveal. I was completely overwhelmed by the love for the cover. It's my first pink book jacket and I love it and I'm delighted you do too.

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

What I read

With so much writing going on, I haven't read a huge amount but there have been some absolute highlights in my pile.

This beautiful little hardback, COTTAGECORE, by Ramona Jones, is set to become a firm bookshelf favourite and having read it cover to cover, I'm already dipping in and out again.


It's full of beautiful images and ideas and if you're a country lover at heart, irrespective of where you live, then this is the book for you!

It's just £5.83 on Amazon today. A total bargain!


My favourite fictional read was a digital proof from someone I absolutely love - Isla Gordon. Better known as Lisa (lovely) Dickenson and Lucy Dickens. It doesn't matter which name she writes under, her books always hit the spot and I think you'll love THE WEDDING PACT which comes out in August.


Would you marry a stranger to live the life of your dreams?

August Anderson needs somewhere to live. Dumped by her boyfriend who would rather be alone than move in with her, she has almost given up on happiness. Until she notices that the beautiful Georgian townhouse she's long admired (ahem, *obsessed over*) is looking for a new tenant, and suddenly it seems like things might be looking up . . .

There's just one catch - the traditional, buttoned-up landlord is only willing to rent to a stable, married couple and August, quite frankly, is neither. Competition for the house is fierce and August knows she'll have to come up with a plan or risk losing her last shot at her happy ending.

Enter Flynn, the handsome, charming and somewhat unsuspecting gentleman who August accidentally spills her coffee over. Flynn is new to the area and is looking for somewhere to live, and August thinks she knows just the place, but only if he's willing to tell a little white lie . . .


What I watched

My May viewing has been dominated by things I've seen before. DD and I are very much enjoying a return trip to Hawkins and have so far watched series 1 and 2 of STRANGER THINGS


However, my top May watch was something I've seen dozens of times before but never on the big screen. DD booked us cinema tickets to watch THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about returning to the cinema, however there were only 12 of us in the whole theatre which helped and I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle.


Believe me, if you haven't seen Aragorn on a cinema screen, you haven't seen him at all!

What I listened to

A new discovery for me this month - THE PAPER KITES - courtesy of a playlist in the Cottagecore book I mentioned further back. I'm listening to them on a loop courtesy of SPOTIFY


I've also enjoyed a guided meditation from the hugely talented artist, WENDY ANDREW.

My ability to 'tune out' isn't great so this gentle guided adventure to meet the Goddess has been perfect when I've needed to relax for a few minutes. I think you might enjoy it too!

The recording is also on SPOTIFY, but I would recommend signing up to Wendy's wonderful newsletter


So, that was May. The sun is now finally shining - a miracle for a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK, so I'm going out into the garden to enjoy it. Wishing you all a wonderful day, whatever you're up to and thank you so much for taking the time to read all about my month. I really appreciate it.

H x






Monday, 24 May 2021

Underneath the Christmas Tree cover reveal

 Hello my loves! 

Thank you so much for finding your way here. 

Today I am absolutely thrilled to be able to share with you the cover for my winter 21 release, Underneath the Christmas Tree!

I'm completely besotted with it - I think it might just be my favourite festive cover so far - and I really hope you love it too.

The wonderful team at Simon and Schuster, along with myself and my agent, Amanda Preston, have been working on it for weeks and I thing we've got it just right. 

I'm feeling truly blessed to have a publisher so willing to take my thoughts into account, so thank you all so, so much.

About the book...

I'm so excited to be heading back to wonderful Wynmouth again. It's chilly on the coast in winter, but it's the perfect weather for telling you Liza Wynter's story

Wynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.

But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.

When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?


The book is now available to order, so if you like the idea of spending Christmas close to the coast, then click the link

Order the book

I would love to know what you think of the cover, so do please let me know in the comments box below or on social media where, you know, I'm always happy to chat!

Hugs

H x


Friday, 14 May 2021

Mental Health Awareness week - Nature

 I couldn't let this week - May 10th - 16th 2021 - slip by without writing a post to support Mental Health Awareness Week, especially as the theme this year is one that is particularly close to my heart - NATURE!

And before anyone flags up that I'm in rather late in posting, there's a reason for that. As you all know, I've long been an advocate of taking A DAILY DOSE OF GREEN THINGS GROWING, I've even made it a predominant theme in the Nightingale Square series and therefore, I wanted to share this post now in the hope of keeping the momentum going.

The mental health benefits of connecting with nature aren't just for MHA week, they're for life!

There are so many ways you can connect with nature and most of them won't cost a penny and can be enjoyed all year round.

SPRING


SUMMER


AUTUMN


WINTER

Within my own daily routine, I incorporate nature practically from the moment I open my eyes in the morning. I listen to the birds chattering before I've even got out of bed and then take my familiar path around the village for a brisk half an hour walk.

Four thousand steps later and I've not only had some exercise, I've also checked on the progress of a whole variety of trees, shrubs, bulbs, flowers, insects and birds! I return home feeling refreshed, revived and inspired. The only days I don't take the walk are when the weather is so appalling and then I turn to my houseplants.

I have someone close to me who doesn't enjoy green spaces and getting outside in the same way that I do and I've had friends on social media saying the same thing. This might be because of anxiety or a prohibitive disability and that's where keeping houseplants can help bridge the gap.

I recently undertook an online course with Thrive who, in their own words - 

'use gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.'

The course acknowledged that tending houseplants had similar mental health benefits to getting outdoors and if you can combine their nurture with listening to the birds through an open window, or even via a birdsong app, then that's even better! If the weather is grim and I can't have the window open, I'll often have birdsong playing in the background. It takes my attention away from my tinnitus. 

If you want to take the connection to nature further, then how about, growing your own? You don't need much space at all to raise a tomato plant and some salad leaves. Being a part of the whole process from seed, to plant, to plate, is so exciting!


And remember, growing your own, doesn't have to be just about food. You can easily bring the outside in by growing flowers to fill a jug or jar.


My much-loved red spotty jug!


A publication celebration posy from my mum

Spring, for me, always brings with it a desire to push seeds into a tray, pot or border. I love getting my hands in the soil and growing something! This year I'm raising salad leaves in a plastic container which came from the supermarket and originally had strawberries in it. Waste not, want not!

Wherever, however, whenever you connect with nature, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

I'd love to hear what you do to benefit from green things growing, so please let me know, either on social media or via the comments box below.

Useful links

Mental Health Foundation

National Trust

Mind

RSPB birdsong radio

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, and a future filled with nature!

H x

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Cherry and almond tart!

 So many people have been asking for the top secret,  Nonna Rossi cherry and almond tart recipe from A Taste of Home this weekend so, even though I've posted it before, I thought I'd share it again and make it easier to find!

I really hope you enjoy baking it and I'd LOVE to see the results on social media. Please tag me if you make it!

Happy baking and happy reading!

H x

Friday, 7 May 2021

Publication celebration winners!

 Hi my loves! The first thing I'd like to say to you all is, thank you so, so much for the fabulous support you have been giving this latest trip to Wynbridge. All of my social channels have been buzzing every single day since the release on April 29th and the fabulous reviews have stacked up incredibly fast. I'm over the moon and so grateful.

Secondly, thank you for coming back to check who has won the A Taste of Home publication celebration giveaway prizes. I hope it's you!

The winners have been selected using a random number generator

Congratulations to -

@ellenwaite

and

@bookwormblogss

You will each receive one of the bundles as soon as I can get them in the post.

There were a record number of entries for this one so thank you to you all!

Sending you all lots of love

H x