My July 2023 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to my July Newsletter.  

Well, it was the longest day last week and we’ve been joking that the nights must now be pulling in. A scary thought, particularly as the weather is more like October than July at the moment. My sister, Gill, came to stay last week and we had a busy time catching up with family and friends. We also took part in the quiz at our local pub and tied second so we didn’t disgrace ourselves. 

We took Gill back to Farnham at the weekend and stayed a couple of nights and I helped her to tidy up her garden, before going to the garden centre and buying a few bedding plants to fill in the gaps. Now that I’m back home again, I’m catching up with a few jobs in my own garden, as I want to watch a few of the Wimbledon matches. Can Andy Murray do it again? I doubt it, though it would be lovely. I think Cameron Norrey could be in with a chance, though, if he plays his best.

Old Saying of the Month

Paint the Town Red
This is a phrase we’ve all heard from time to time and take it to mean a wild night out. I must confess it’s been a while since I felt the urge to paint the town red! It’s thought the phrase originated from one legendary night of drunkenness in the English town of Melton Mowbray. In 1837, the Marquis of Waterford, a well-known mischief-maker of the time, led a group on a night of excess drinking. He, and his fellow revellers, knocked over flowerpots, smashed windows, and pulled the knockers off doors. The mob then painted a tollgate, the doors of several homes, and a statue of a swan, in red paint. It doesn’t sound too different to what goes on nowadays, does it?

My Writing News

Millie’s Promise … Or Millie’s Escape?
I’m delighted to tell you that I’ve finished the first draft of the fifth book in The Hartford Manor Series. I’ve even thought of a couple of titles – though I haven’t quite decided which one I prefer yet. It will probably be called Millie’s Promise or possibly Millie’s EscapeThe book continues on from The Rabbit’s Foot and has all the usual suspects like Annie and Robert, Aunty Margery, and of course, Sam, and his son, Marrok. There are also a few new characters – one being the main character, Millie, a young teenage girl on a mission. How does she fit into the story? Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out! There’s still a long way to go with editing and proofreading, and then a few of my kind beta readers will scrutinise it and give me their thoughts. All being well, I hope to publish it in November in time for Christmas. My last two books, The Rabbit’s Foot, and Betsey, were published on 18 November, my youngest son’s birthday, and so I will aim for that again. It’s good to give myself a deadline – particularly one I can change if I have to!

The Barnstaple Library
My paperback books are now available in The Barnstaple Library and I was invited there on Friday, 30 June to sign books and chat with readers. I had a stall in the foyer and was pleased with a good number of sales and I enjoyed hearing from people who had read my books. For my followers living in other parts of the country, I understand that if you ask your local library, they will order the books for you. This would be great for me as the more people reading them the better.

It was good to see The Mazzard Tree and The Rabbit’s Foot on the shelves at the library. Betsey and The Angel Maker were missing so someone must be reading them!

The Tregolls Review Interview with Marcia Clayton
When I attended the Hartland Book Festival earlier this year I met Howard Embury of The Tregolls Lodge Book Club, which is based in Truro, and he asked if I would take part in an interview. You can read it here:

The Mazzard Tree – An Art Project
My cousin, Val, a big fan of my books, recently sent me a picture she had created at her art group. The challenge was to use a map to show something of interest, and she chose a map of Landkey to highlight mazzards and my book, The Mazzard Tree. I thought it was a lovely thing to do and thought I would share it here with you, though I’m not sure the scan does it justice. Thank you,  Val.

On that note, here’s a recent photo of some mazzards in The Millennium Green, a public space in our village. Although the trees are not exactly loaded this year, there are quite a few and they are delicious – and free for anyone to pick.

My Interview with Josephine Huet
I recently interviewed Josephine Huet, an author who writes under the name of Jos Saunders. I’ve chosen her book, Pomegranate Tears to be my book of the month and you can read my review below. Here is the link to the interview:

My Book of the Month

Pomegranate Tears by Jos Saunders

The story begins in Southern Italy in the 1950s when the country is still recovering from the war, and food and money are in short supply. Bianca, the main character, is a young Italian girl who dreams of being a fashion designer, but her father and brother, Vittorio, are determined to bring her to heel. However, Bianca is a strong and determined young woman, and at the first opportunity, she leaves Italy with her friends to seek a new life in England; a brave move considering she does not speak the language. The fascinating story follows Bianca’s life as she meets and falls in love with James, a young Englishman. He helps her to adapt to the country’s different culture and language, but still, she misses Italy, particularly her mother, and younger brother, Luca. The book is beautifully written and the characters are well-developed. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and highly recommend it. You can find it here: Pomegranate Tears

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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