My January 2023 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to my January Newsletter. 

A belated Happy New Year everyone and I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. In recent years, Christmas hasn’t gone too smoothly in my family for one reason or another. In 2019, my husband, Bryan, ended up in the hospital from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, but thankfully made a full recovery. In 2020, if I remember correctly, because of the pandemic, families were only allowed to meet up on Boxing Day, (but we couldn’t, as I was unwell, although in the end it wasn’t covid), and last year, like many people, we actually had covid and still couldn’t meet up! 

However, this year all was well, and we enjoyed quality time with family and friends and managed to get out for some lovely walks when the weather permitted. Even in December, we found the odd flower in the hedgerows, like this beautiful periwinkle (which was thriving in the wild but refuses to grow in my garden). Also, the hardy gorse was in full flower and looked good in the winter sunshine. Last year we did a walk at Braunton Burrows on New Year’s Day and I wrote a blog about it. There are some lovely photos so I thought it might be worth sharing again for newcomers to my newsletter. Anyway, here it is:

Bryan and I both like walking, though not in a howling gale, or pouring rain, so to try to get more exercise, our Christmas present to each other was a treadmill. It is now assembled, and I had my first go on it a few days ago. When I tested it out, Bryan watched, and after a minute or two, said, “Oh look, you’ve burnt 30 calories already.” Fantastic! However, I soon realised that it wasn’t 30 calories, but 3!

Old Sayings
Last month, I mentioned that I’m interested in the origin of well-known phrases, and how they came into being. I talked about the saying, upper crust, and a few readers seemed to enjoy my ramblings so I thought I’d include another.

Caught Red Handed
I heard this phrase mentioned recently and wondered how it originated. Possibly a thief left with red ink or dye on his hands? No, apparently it was first used in 1432 in the Scottish Acts of Parliament of James 1, where it referred to someone being caught with blood on their hands from murder or poaching. Sir Walter Scott popularised it in the early 19th century in his book, Ivanhoe. I wonder how he came across the saying. Did he spend his leisure time reading the Scottish Acts of Parliament?

My Writing News
I’m pleased to report that so far I have had favourable reviews for my latest book, Betsey, and several people have said it’s their favourite in The Hartford Manor Series. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear if you enjoyed it, so do drop me a line, or better still leave a short review on Amazon – just the stars are fine if you don’t want to write anything. If you  haven’t read it and would like to, you can find it here:

At the beginning of the month, I was pleased to be invited onto the blog of Irish author, Pam Lecky, to talk about my new book, Betsey, and you can read the post here: Pam Lecky Blog  I interviewed Pam several months ago and featured her books, No Stone Unturned and Footprints in the Sand, as my books of the monthI’ll be reading more of Pam’s books when I get around to it and I strongly recommend them.

My other news is that the cover of my book, The Angel Maker, has made it through to the second round of the All Author Cover Contest, and at the end of the first round, was lying 3rd out of 90 books. I’ve probably mentioned before that my daughter-in-law, Laura, designs my book covers, and so I would love it to do well. If you like the cover and can spare a few minutes to vote, I’d be very grateful and you can do so here:

My Book of the Month

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

I usually choose a book by an independently published author for my book of the month, because I think like me, they can do with the publicity and support. However, I recently came across this book in our attic (our overflow library) and remembered how much I enjoyed it. What a fantastic book! I read it around 20 years ago on a car journey to Scotland, and it kept me happy for most of the way. It is set in 1135, a period of famine, civil war, and religious strife (not much has changed). Tom Builder dreams of the day that he can create and build a beautiful cathedral. However, with his family on the verge of starvation, he has other matters to contend with. A surprisingly interesting book where facts and fiction are cleverly blended. It’s a lengthy read with more than 1000 pages, but it kept me engrossed to the very last page and I thoroughly recommend it. You can find it here: The Pillars of the Earth

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


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