My May 2022 Newsletter

Hello and welcome to my May Newsletter.  

May is my favourite month of the year because everything is so fresh and green and I love the plants that flower now – primroses, bluebells, and wood anemones. Over the Easter weekend, we went for a local walk and saw all of these flowers in abundance.

We also walked through a field of rapeseed (on a permitted path) and were surprised at how tall this plant grows and also how nice the flowers are. The bright yellow colour is always so startling on the landscape.  Last month I shared a link to a walk I had put on my newsletter before and I had a lovely email from one of my readers thanking me. It brought back memories for her of when she lived in this area. She used to work in Marks and Spencer and would organise a walk for all the staff. She said she would telephone the landlady of the pub that they would reach at the halfway point and order lunch so that it would be ready for when they got there. Very organised!

So, on that note, I’m going to share the walk where we saw this field of rapeseed although I have posted it before. In the walk description, this field is planted with corn so the farmer is obviously rotating his crops. There is some lovely scenery so maybe worth another look: Landkey to Birch via Harford and East Bradninch Walk

My Writing News

An Interview with Shiv Saywack

I met this month’s guest when he read my first book, The Mazzard Tree and wrote a lovely five-star review. We became friends on social media through our shared interest in reading and writing. 

Shiv is the author of the Mary Finch Mysteries which comprises four novels and a small prologue. The novels are targeted at young teenagers but can be enjoyed at any age. After a career as a Graphic Designer, and then as an art teacher, Shiv took to writing short stories, flash fiction, and novels for middle-grade readers. He has a love of history – Victorian England and the early twentieth century, playing the guitar, and is an avid reader of all types of fiction. He lives in the East End of London, a place well suited for his creation, Mary Finch, to explore and to have her adventures. You can learn more about Shiv and his books in my interview with him which you can read here: My Interview with Shiv Saywack

My Fourth Book – Betsey
My fourth book is coming along well though I can’t believe how I struggle to find enough time for writing even though I am retired. I’m lucky to have a large extended family, and having lived in North Devon all my life, a wide circle of friends. By the time I have caught up with all of them, kept the garden and allotment in order, and done a few walks I’m pretty busy – and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I know I’m very lucky. I mentioned last month that I have been struggling to find information about the 1820s – it seems less plentiful than in Victorian times. However, I’m just watching the second series of Brigerton and that is set in the same period – so ideal for me to see what the rich wore and were getting up to.

The Appledore Book Festival
Following my day at the Hartland Book Festival, I recently made enquiries about the Appledore Book Festival, a much bigger event. I didn’t know if authors could only attend by invitation, but apparently, anyone can request a place. Sadly, it is already fully booked for September 2022, but I have been offered a table at a group event for local authors which is being organised on the first Saturday of the Appledore Festival by the North Devon Authors Group. So, if you happen to be in Appledore on 17 September, do pop in and say hello. I will tell you more information nearer the time.

Book of the Month

Mary Finch and the Spy

The story is set in 1893, in London, in Victorian times – one of my favourite periods of history and this book did not disappoint. When thirteen-year-old, Mary Finch is wrongly accused of theft she is determined to prove her innocence and bring the thief to justice. She is a very determined young lady and despite the danger surrounding her, will not be deterred from her goal. I liked the mention of her friends, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson although they play no great part in the story. It is clear from the descriptions of London that the author has a depth of knowledge about the city and of Victorian times. I believe the book is targeted at young adults, and no doubt teenagers will identify with the resilient character of Mary and also enjoy the more gruesome aspects including the references to Jack the Ripper. You can find this first book in the series here: Mary Finch and the Thief

Thank you for continuing to subscribe to my newsletter and I hope you found something to interest you. Until next time, take care and keep safe.

Best Wishes



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