My February 2023 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to my February Newsletter.  

Although we are still in the depths of winter, it’s surprising how the nights are pulling out, especially when we get a sunny day. Once we pass the shortest day on 21 December, I always think we’ve turned the corner and Spring is on the way. Our garden is beginning to come back to life back to life and I have some lovely snowdrops and crocuses in flower. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that the weeds are also making a speedy comeback, and I was hoping to ignore them for at least another month.

A Gratitude List
I came across this idea recently in the blog of another author and thought it was a nice idea, particularly with all the troubles in the world at the moment. I forget where she said she heard of it, but anyway, she recommended that every day, we should all make a Gratitude List of things we are thankful for or have enjoyed. Obviously, we would all put things such as we are grateful if our family is safe, well and happy, not facing bankruptcy, or living in a country at war etc, but I think she meant the more simple day-to-day matters. Here is my gratitude list for today:
1. My Foot Bottle: I’m sitting at my computer, and I have my feet in what has become known as my foot-bottle. This was a Christmas present, and it’s a hot water bottle in a furry cover that you slip your feet into – it’s amazing, and I love it because my feet are always cold. I’m very grateful my feet are warm.
2. Coffee with a Friend – a bit later on, I’m meeting a friend for a coffee and a natter – always good.
3. My Spring Bulbs are coming up! People who know me well will not be surprised my garden gets a mention, but it is lovely to see the new shoots coming through.
4.  I’ve lost a pound this week! I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds since Christmas, and I have to say the weight is not exactly falling off. I’m sure the older you get, the harder it is to lose. Still, it’s a pound in the right direction!
5.   A 5-star review for BetseyI was pleased to see that I have a new review for Betsey on Amazon this morning. Reading a good review of one of my books is always a great feeling.

OK, that’s my list – why don’t you have a go? Most of us have a lot to be grateful for when we stop to think about it.

Old Saying of the Month
I enjoy looking up these old sayings so I hope you’ll bear with me! Here’s this month’s offering.

Turning a Blind Eye
We’ve all heard this saying and used it too – but do you know how it originated? The phrase generally means to wilfully ignore something. Well, apparently, it is attributed to naval hero, Horatio Nelson. In 1801, during the Battle of Copenhagen, Nelson’s ships were up against the formidable Danish-Norwegian fleet. When his superior officer flagged a signal for him to withdraw, the one-eyed mariner allegedly brought his telescope to his bad eye, proclaimed I see no signal, and went on to achieve a decisive victory. Some historians dispute this as a myth, but nevertheless, the saying persists to this day and I’d like to believe it.

My Writing News

Feed My Reads
I was invited to be interviewed for a blog site called Feed My Reads just before Christmas. I even managed to find a different photo of me enjoying a glass of wine for them to use. The interview has now been published and you can read it here: 

My Next Book
I’ve been taking a break and catching up on a few jobs before writing another book. However, I’ve started jotting down a few ideas and doing some research, and I can tell you that the next book will continue The Hartford Manor Series, and will be Book 5, following The Rabbit’s Foot. I know some readers will be pleased about this as they wanted this book written when I decided to write Betsey.

AllAuthor Cover Competitions
My other news is that the cover of my book, The Angel Maker, came second in the All Author Cover Contest in January: Winners of Cover of the Month Contest | AllAuthor  I’ve probably mentioned before that my daughter-in-law, Laura, designs my book covers, so I’m delighted it did well, and thank you so much if you voted. I won a prize worth about £25 to feature my book on AllAuthor so worth having. Publicity is always welcome.

On that note, the cover for Betsey has been nominated for the February AllAuthor Cover Contest and it’s lying 4th out of 119 covers at the moment. If you like the cover and can spare a few minutes to vote, you can do so here: 
Link to vote for the cover of Betsey  You will find that you have to register to vote, and this puts some people off, as they are not keen to share their personal information which I quite understand. However, I’m told you don’t need to provide very much – just because they ask for it – you don’t necessarily need to provide it! My husband, Bryan, voted (of course) and he hasn’t been contacted by AllAuthor since, so they don’t keep bothering you. There are 4 rounds to the competition and you can vote in each round – if my book makes it through!

This Month’s Bargains
I’m running a promotion on Amazon this month and you can purchase The Rabbit’s Foot ebook for 99p between 5-10 February:

Also, the Betsey ebook will be offered for 99p from 8 – 15 February: so if you haven’t got around to reading either of these books yet, now would be a good time to grab them. I think you can also gift ebooks to someone else – so it might make a nice present for someone. For Valentine’s Day perhaps. And, of course, if you feel inclined to leave a short review I’d be very grateful!

An Interview with Marlene Cheng
I’ve recently discovered a new author called Marlene Cheng and I’ve featured her latest book, Black Pansies, as my Book of the Month. I contacted Marlene to see if she would like to take part in an interview for my newsletter, and I’m delighted to say she said yes! You can read it here: An Interview with Marlene Cheng

My Book of the Month

Black Pansies by Marlene Cheng

Fiza, the main character in the story, was originally from South Sudan and was adopted as a child by a couple living in Sweden. The book begins with Fiza advertising for someone to renovate Gertrude, an ancient loom, discovered by Fiza’s aunt, and shipped in pieces from Ireland. Fiza is keen to get the loom rebuilt and in working order. Her advertisement is largely unsuccessful until David appears and assumes the job is his. David is not a normal employee. He doesn’t want to be paid, and comes and goes as he pleases. However, there is an attraction between Fiza and David from day one. As the story progresses it is clear David has some unresolved issues from his past, and Fiza comes to realise these are linked to his war experiences.

As she tries to help him, the reader becomes aware that Fiza too has her own problems linked to her traumatic experiences as a child. They are both victims of war though in different ways. Fiza needs to return to South Sudan, the place of her birth, to try to find the answers that will give her peace of mind and allow her to move on with her life. A well-written book that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. You can find it here: : black pansies marlene cheng

Well, that’s all for now, so thank you for continuing to follow me and until next time, I hope you keep safe and well.
Best wishes,


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