My March 2023 Newsletter

Hello everyone, I hope you are all keeping well. The year seems to be speeding by and it’s hard to believe we are already into March and it will soon be Easter. In North Devon, where I live, February has been an exceptionally dry and sunny month, although cold. We’ve had some lovely walks and a couple of visits to RHS Rosemoor where the snowdrops were beautiful.

We’ve given up our allotment and so only have a small vegetable plot to contend with this year. We enjoyed doing the allotment, but since we moved house nearly 13 years ago, (where did that time go?), it’s meant a trek across town to do the watering, and last year with the hot summer it became a bit of a chore. We’ll still grow a few things though, so I’ve bought our onion sets, and the potatoes are in the garage, “chitting” ready to plant later in March. We’ll definitely grow runner beans, as they are my favourite and several salad crops. This is a recent photo of our back garden and it has been a picture this year, first with snowdrops, followed by crocuses and daffodils. I’m wondering how many of the dormant plants like my dahlias will have survived the winter, as we’ve had some very hard frosts. Thankfully, though, so far no storms like Eunice and Dudley, which caused so much damage last year.

Old Saying of the Month
Here’s another saying that I’m sure we’ve all used, and I for one, never knew where it came from.

Crocodile tears
When we use the term crocodile tears we usually mean that the person isn’t truly sad, but is using the display of emotion for other another purpose. As we all know, toddlers are masters at this game of deception to get what they want. So, do crocodiles actually cry? Well, apparently, there is a biological explanation. When crocodiles have been out of the water for some time, their tear ducts produce tears to prevent their eyes from drying out, and as they blink, their eyes are lubricated. There is also some research that suggests these same tear ducts are activated when a crocodile is feeding. So, if a crocodile is seen eating some poor animal it has just killed, anyone seeing its tears may mistakenly think it is sorry.

My Writing News

My Next Book
The story for my next book is coming together and I have made bullet points for the first 25 chapters. I like to plan the story out and note what will be in each chapter before I start to write – and then it usually all goes pear-shaped as different ideas occur to me as I write! Sometimes I think the characters want their own say in how the story will develop. It’s good to have an outline plan though. For the last two years, I’ve published a book in time for Christmas but I don’t think I’ll achieve that this year as I’m later starting to write; still, we’ll see how it goes. I’ve taken a couple of months since publishing Betsey to do other things to promote the first four books and this is important or there is no point in writing them.

The Book Stop in Tavistock
Bryan and I recently enjoyed a day out in Tavistock; one of our favourite towns. The ancient settlement is packed with history, and so, of course, is of interest to me, and the busy Pannier Market is held every day from Tuesday to Saturday. The town has a wide number of shops, from some of the more well-known chains, to some lovely little independent ones. One of these is a quaint little bookshop called The Book Stop:  where the books are displayed over 4 floors. I was delighted to see they are stocking my books, and the sales assistant kindly suggested taking a photo.

The Pub Post Office
Sadly, the post office and the shop in our village closed at the end of last year, but the local pub has risen admirably to the challenge. It now does the newspapers every morning, bakes bread once a week, and stocks basic groceries. In addition to all this, there is now a pop-up post office once a week on a Thursday morning. I love it! It’s just a lady (Heather) sitting at one of the pub tables with her post office wares, a set of scales, and a few greetings cards. No glass barrier or queue here! And if you do have to wait, there’s a row of chairs to sit on and you can order a coffee and cake if you want. Civilised or what! I’ve got to know Heather now and she was telling me she visits 6 local villages in the same way every week.  Better than that, she is offering my books for sale! What a kind soul.

The ALLAuthor Cover Competition
Last month I was delighted when The Angel Maker won second prize in the AllAuthor Cover Competition. I was relieved when the competition was over as it was a bit of a distraction from writing, and I didn’t like to keep asking people to vote – there are 4 rounds and it all got a bit tedious. However, I then realised that Betsey was entered in the February competition. When I entered them both, I thought only The Angel Maker had been nominated, but then found Betsey was in the next month’s competition. So off we went again!

The good news is that Betsey also won second prize, so thank you so much to all of you who voted several times to make that possible. There were well over 100 entries in each of the competitions so I’m delighted both covers did well. I’m also pleased because my daughter-in-law, Laura, designed all my covers, and thanks to the competition, four authors have contacted me and asked to be put in touch with her to discuss doing their covers. It will be great if it brings her more work. I also get a sparkly new icon to display on my marketing banners! You can see the covers that made it into the first three here:  No more competitions for me for the time being though, I want to get on with writing my next book.

Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour
I’ve arranged for The Hartford Manor Series to go on a Blog Tour from 27 – 31 March. This means the books will be featured on the websites of at least 10 other authors and should reach more potential readers. The Book Club also publicises the books on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Betsey will have a Guest Post on 16 March. If you click on this link it will take you to all the details: The Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour of The Hartford Manor Series

My Interview with Author Jane Wood
My Book of the Month is Golden Ears: The Whispering Mountain by Jane Wood. I enjoyed this unusual book where a boy befriends a wolf cub and has a strangely close relationship with him. I contacted Jane to see if she would like to take part in an interview and I’m pleased to say she agreed. You can learn more about Jane here: An Interview With Jane Wood

My Book of the Month

Golden Ears: The Whispering Mountain by Jane H Wood

This was an unusual read for me as I’m not a lover of fantasy. However, that said, I enjoyed this story and was soon drawn into it. The tale is written partly from the perspective of a wolf family, and partly from that of Edmund Rainer, a sixteen-year-old boy. Mira and Joel are parents to a new litter of wolf cubs, and within a few weeks, it becomes apparent that two of their offspring have an unusual appearance with golden ears which droop.

The other wolves are suspicious of the two young brothers and their fear turns to aggression. Edmund’s father decides a camping holiday in the forests of Canada is just what his son needs to toughen him up, but Edmund is not so keen and joins his father reluctantly on the trip. However, when Edmund rescues Kegg, one of the wolf pups with golden ears, from drowning in the river, an unusual bond grows between them. The story is well-written and is a journey of danger, adventure and love. You can find the book here:
GoldenEars: The Whispering Mountain

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.


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