My December 2023 Newsletter

Hello, and welcome to my December Newsletter.  

I can hardly believe I’m saying that, and before long, it will be Christmas. Time certainly does go more quickly as you grow older. However, I’m getting on well with my preparations for Christmas. I’ve made the cake but have yet to marzipan and ice it, and I’ve written my Christmas cards and bought most of the presents.

Luckily for me, we’re going to our youngest son, David, and his family for Christmas, so I don’t need to cook the dinner. However, the family will all come to us at some point over the holiday, so I’ll take my turn then, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s not much to look at in the garden at this time of year, but my Christmas Cactus has been showing off recently and is lovely, as you can see. There are also quite a lot of bulbs coming up in the garden already, so I like to think spring isn’t that far away.

We haven’t had any snow in North Devon yet this year, though I know Cornwall had some. I love to see it, but not if I have to travel any distance.

 I’m old enough to remember the severe winter of 1963. Now, that was incredible. I remember we couldn’t go to school for three months because the outside toilets were frozen solid. My dad was a farmer, and I helped him to deliver milk around the village and we frequently had to dig through snowdrifts. In the country lanes, the snow was level with the top of the hedges. Anyway, enough reminiscing! This picture was taken at Braunton Burrows a couple of years ago on New Year’s Day. It was remarkable to see the beach covered in snow. I know some of you like to read about my walks, so here is a link to the one we did that day:
A Walk to Braunton Burrows on New Year’s Day

Old Saying of The Month

Here’s another saying I’m sure we’ve all used, but I never knew where it came from.

White Elephant
This saying is thought to have come from Thailand, where elephants were once highly sacred animals and were even featured on the national flag until 1917. The term is usually taken to mean a burdensome possession which is more trouble than it’s worth. The story goes that if a subject angered the Siamese king, he might be presented with the gift of a white elephant. These creatures were considered highly sacred, so they were not allowed to work and were very expensive to care for. The unfortunate recipient could never get rid of the gift for fear of angering the king, and so the upkeep often drove the recipient into financial ruin.

My Writing News

Millie’s Escape
Millie’s Escape was released on 2 November and is doing well. So far, it’s received fourteen lovely reviews, which I’m delighted about. I’m always nervous when I publish a book, so it’s always a relief when it gets a few good reviews.

Will there be another book in The Hartford Manor Series?
I’d barely typed “the end” (with some relief) on Millie’s Escape when a few of my readers started asking if there would be another book in the series and, if so when it would be released. I’m delighted that people would want to read another of my books, but I wish I could write them as quickly as they can read them! The answer is yes, I am hoping to write another book in the series and, if possible, publish it late next year. That said, I will be taking a break from writing for a couple of months to catch up with a few other things. However, for those of you who have read Millie’s Escape, you will know that there needs to be a follow-up novel if only to keep Betsey happy.

Great Torrington Book Fair
I was recently invited to the Great Torrington Book Fair and had a lovely day. There was a lot going on, and the event was well attended. I sold several books and had a chat with a number of readers and authors.

An Interview with Carolyn Ward-Daniels
I recently read a book by Carolyn Ward-Daniels and enjoyed it so much that I befriended her on Facebook. You can read my review of August below in My Book of the Month. We got chatting and I invited Carolyn to take part in an interview with me. You can read the interview here:
My Interview with Carolyn Ward-Daniels

My Book of the Month

August by Carolyn Ward-Daniels

This is the first book I have read by this author, but it won’t be the last. What a great book! I enjoyed it all from beginning to end, and it is one of the best books I have read for a while.

August, the main character, was orphaned at seventeen, abandoned by her elder brother, and had to fend for herself. August is a strong character and tries to uphold the values taught to her by her mother, but when she is badly let down by a despicable person she trusts, life becomes very difficult. All the characters are well-developed, and as the story progresses, they are cleverly drawn together. With short chapters and a fascinating storyline, it’s an easy book to read and get lost in, and I recommend it. You can find the book here: August by Carolyn Ward-Daniels

Well, that’s all for now, so thank you for continuing to follow me, and until next time, I hope you stay safe and well and have a fantastic Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

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