My January 2024 Newsletter

Hello, and welcome to my January Newsletter.

Happy New Year, everyone, I wish you all health, wealth, and happiness over the months to come, and I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas as we did. We spent a couple of days with our youngest son, David, and his wife, Jenny, travelling to them on Christmas Eve and returning home on Boxing Day afternoon. They cooked us an amazing dinner of roast beef with all the trimmings, and it was good to see our two grandchildren, Chloe and Jack, who were home from university. I always think Christmas is a good time to play a few games together rather than watch the telly, though I never like to be the one to suggest it in case they are just humouring me!  Anyway, this year I was spoilt as we played Trivial Pursuit – one of my favourites, Scategories, which was quite difficult, and finally, Articulate. In this game, you are given cards with a couple of words on them and have to describe the word or words to your partner and hope they can guess them. The main reason I like it is not that I’m particularly good at it, but Chloe and Jack excel at it, and their descriptions are very amusing; they are clearly on the same wavelength. Unfortunately, our eldest son, Stuart, and his wife, Laura, were ill with covid from just before Christmas and so couldn’t join us. It was back to swapping presents on their doorstep on Christmas Eve, just like old times! Fortunately, they are now better, and we are all going to meet up in a few days when I will be cooking another Christmas dinner – turkey this time.

Old Saying of the Month
The origin of my saying of the month this time is quite horrible – interesting, though!

We all know this phrase means someone trying to be friendly to a richer or more important person to gain an advantage for themselves. However, the term has a more gruesome origin. In the days when hangings were common, the noose was not always tied efficiently, and many did not die quickly but slowly choked to death. It was terrible for the victim’s family to watch this suffering, and they frequently pulled on the legs of their loved ones to minimise their suffering and bring about a speedy death. This led to them being called hangers-on.
My Writing News

Millie’s Escape

I’m pleased to report that so far, I’ve had favourable reviews for my latest book, Millie’s Escape, the fifth book 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. Reviews are so helpful for authors as the more reviews a book has, the more prominent it becomes on Amazon – something to do with their algorithms! If you haven’t read the book yet and would like to, you can find it here:

The Coffee Pot Book Club
In late November, I was delighted when Millie’s Escape was chosen as the Book Club Book of the Week.

A Sixth Book  in The Hartford Manor Series
A few people have been asking if there will be another book in The Hartford Manor Series, and yes, I’m pleased to say I plan to write a sixth book which will follow Millie’s Escape. Those of you who have read it will know there was a suggestion at the end that the story would continue. However, I took a break from writing in December and will take the rest of January to catch up on a few other writing tasks and jobs, and I plan to start writing the next book in February with a view to releasing it later in the year. When I’m writing a book, a lot of other things get neglected, so it’s good to take a couple of months to sort everything out. I find February and March are quite productive months for me as the garden needs little attention. One or two of my readers have contacted me to tell me what they would like to happen in the next book, so if you have any ideas, I would love to hear them! I can’t promise to use them, but it’s interesting to hear where people would like the story to go.

The Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour
In mid-December, I arranged for Millie’s Escape to go on a Blog Tour with the Coffee Pot Book Club. The book was featured on the websites of 16 other authors, as well as on the Coffee Pot website. The Book Club also publicises the books on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The idea is to gain additional publicity and introduce the book to potential new readers. This seems to have been beneficial, as my sales and the number of people reading the book on Kindle Unlimited have risen.

I’ve selected a few of the author websites that hosted Millie’s Escape, and they are listed below. They are well worth a look, as are the books that are featured on them, so if you’re looking for a new author, you might find one of interest here:

Let Your Words Shine
Judith Arnopp’s Official Blog
Carolyn Hughes’ Official Blog
Let Us Talk of Many Things
Catherine Meyrick’s Official Blog
Brook’s Journal

I don’t have a lot of other news at the moment. I’ve been invited to the Hartland Book Festival again in the spring, so more on that in a month or two, and I’ll be catching up with author Alison Huntingford in February or March when her new book is published. I interviewed Alison a while ago and reviewed her book A Ha’penny Will Do, so I’m looking forward to hearing about her latest release.

My Book of the Month

Fate Takes a Hand by Celia Martin

This is a must-read book for all lovers of historical fiction. It is the sixth book I have read by this talented author, and I have enjoyed them all.

In Fate Takes A Hand, the story is set in 1681, during the reign of King Charles II. The main character is the beautiful Amaryllis Bowden, a young woman who flees her home, taking her siblings, two-year-old Charles and six-year-old Tabitha. Amaryllis has fears for the safety of Charles, the young baronet, for she suspects her aunt is attempting to kill the boy so that her own son can become the baronet and inherit the estate. Fortunately for Amaryllis, she is befriended by Lady Selena D’Arcy and falls for her brother, the handsome Reginald D’Arcy. Amaryllis hopes to deliver her siblings to the protection of their grandfather, but the journey is fraught with danger, and only time will tell if they safely reach their destination. Highly recommended to all lovers of historical fiction. You can find the book here:
Fate Takes A Hand

So, that’s all for now. Thank you for listening to my ramblings, and until next time, I hope you keep safe and well.

Very best wishes,

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