Blog Archives

Make Your Own Luck – tips for indie authors

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Photo by Leo Cardelli on Pexels.com

As an indie author it’s important for word of my books to get out there. If I don’t go the extra mile to promote my novels, no one else will. So – how do I achieve this I hear you ask? 

I achieve this by accepting invitations to appear at book fairs, signings, author talks or library visits. I use these events to create blog posts and  promos which I disseminate via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and two retweeting groups I belong to. This could be viewed as casting my bread upon the water in the vain hope that the fish will bite. However, I find that getting my name out there in a variety of ways reaps dividends.

lizzie-lamb-new-email-signature-300pxHere are some of my top tips

There are many social media sites and they can be a real time suck, taking you away from your WIP. Experiment to find which ones work for you. I focus on: Facebook (personal, author page, groups) Twitter, Instagram and my website/blog. I also belong to many Facebook ‘groups’, it takes a little time to figure out which ones work get little or no traffic, so don’t be afraid to leave a group if you’re getting nothing from it. LIfe’s too short. 

Increase your social media presence

As a result of increasing my social media presence I have been invited to appear in Writers’ Magazine (blog tours – 2018), Writers Forum (my writing space – 2019) De Montfort University to lecture final year creative writing students, library visits, author talks and workshops. One word of warning – book sales are not always guaranteed so do check in advance that you will be paid for the talk, be offered petrol expenses and whether or not the venue will want 10% of your book sales. Yes, really (!)

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Narberth Book Fair – Wales – September 2019

Get out and about

I believe that my books deserve to be brought to the attention of the largest number of readers possible so I canvass different venues to see if they would like a visit from an indie author, or authors in the case of New Romantics Press. So far, I/we’ve appeared at Aspinalls of London, Waterstones Kensington High Street and hosted literary lunches at top Leicestershire venues to raise money for charity.  

Get organised

Keep your author bio, author photo, links etc up to date. Be organised, you don’t want to be hunting around for an excerpt of your novel when an outside agency approaches you. Invest in a mobile phone capable of taking decent photos and syncs with your computer.

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Join author groups where you can learn from others. I’ve been a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association since 2006 and co-organise the Leicester Chapter with June Kearns. What I’ve learned from other authors has been invaluable. I used to belong to local writing groups where members critiqued each other’s work. They didn’t work for me, but they might work for you.

Don’t be afraid to enter competitions, but choose wisely as they can be time suckage, too. Remember to publicise the good bits which you’re happy to share and project a positive image of yourself and your novels. 

Check out the great promotional apps out there: Canva, Ripl, Photolab Photofunia  – you have to stand out from the crowd. 

Once you’re published and have proven sales, join professional groups such as the Society of Authors. It might not do much to raise your profile in the short term but offers invaluable professional advice on contracts, tax matters. Using the #SOA tag on your profile identifies you as a serious writer.

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Carol Bevitt, Adrienne Vaughan, Lizzie Lamb, Marcia Holah, Caroline Bell-Foster, Marilyn Rodwell

Remember your fellow authors

Make friends, be generous to other writers but don’t expect them to always return the favour. Invite authors on to your blog, ‘like’ any blogs you read and (if time allows) leave a comment. Read and review their books (don’t be afraid to ask them to do the same for you). Retweet authors in your genre, like their posts on Instagram etc. A good time for this is via your mobile phone when you’re watching tv (!) Remember the USA doesn’t come on line until (roughly) 3pm.

Be ready for opportunities

Me and long-suffering husband

Over the past two years I’ve been offered an Amazon Prime Deal and an Amazon Kindle Deal in India. The former arrived via email when I was in John O’Groats on a research trip and I had to respond straight away. See what I mean about always having your phone with you, always being alert?!

I’m currently waiting to be accepted on the Women’s Institute and Rotaract circuit where I will talk about writing, travels in our caravan, I’ve just signed up to Kindlepreneur and downloaded software to hone my tags and categories more effectively and increase my novels’ visibility on Amazon. The learning never stops. 

AND FINALLY . . .

If I’m allowed a small boast (it’s my blog – right?) I’d love to share the article in WRITER’S FORUM where I talk about my writing space. Quite an achievement for an indie author. 

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So – good luck with all your enterprises. Don’t wait for luck to strike, go out and make it happen. And, if you see me on social media, do ‘like’ and ‘share’ my posts – I always pay it forward. 

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My Writerly Year 2019 #part two

The highlight of the year was publishing my fifth novel – Take Me, I’m Yours. For this one I abandoned Scotland and headed for Wisconsin where I spent a glorious five weeks a few summers ago. However, fear not, there is a Scottish connection as the hero – Logan MacFarlane and the heroine India-Jane Buchanan are of Scots descent – natch. You can read about it here. Within a few weeks it reached #1 in its genre –

If you’d like to read the first three chapters – follow this link – And if any readers think I’ve abandoned Scotland, read to the end of the blog for details of my next novel . . .

July was a busy month. Adrienne Vaughan and I arranged a Literary Lunch at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester which raised £300 for MIND. It was also a great chance to showcase our books and to thank people for supporting our writing. We are lucky to have such generous friends and readers.

It’s funny how good things happen when you least expect them. I was overwhelmed when Simon Whaley of Writers Magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to contribute to a piece he was writing on BLOG TOURS.  Having taken part in two blog tours in as many months I felt qualified to comment.

June saw Bongo Man and me heading for Scotland with our caravan for a month – writing, touring, kicking back. I don’t know what it is about Scotland but it feeds my soul and my imagination. We’ll be returning there this summer, too. This time, we’ll be staying on a site overlooking Castle Stalker which was the inspiration behind Girl in the Castle.

For me, writing is all about making friends and sharing my work with others. Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve made many friends who have gone on to become readers and reviewers of my novels. I never take their support for granted. On our way up to Scotland, by an amazing coincidence, one of my proofreaders was staying on the same campsite in Kendal so I was able to thank her in person for all her help. Later in the summer, on the way to Cornwall in July we were able to meet up again at Exeter Service Station where I gave her a signed copy of Take Me, I’m Yours. Who says writing isn’t romantic? LOL.

Here we are at Exeter Service Station, with a signed copy of TMIY

In March I attended the RONAs with La Diva, Isabella Tartaruga, who is always first to read the rough draft of my novels and give me honest feedback. I also met fabulous JILLY COOPER – cue fan girl moment. And, in case you’re wondering, Jilly is even lovelier than you could ever imagine.

If I was to choose an author whose books put me on the path to writing, it would have to be Jilly and books such as EMILY, IMOGEN etc. And who could fail to fall for her hero Rupert Campbell-Black in her bonkbuster(s) Polo, Ride and Jump?

We’re getting close to the beginning of the year and Burns Night, which we celebrated at our Danish neighbours’ house. Go figure. As for my obsession with Men in Kilts, I encourage my husband Dave to wear his as often as possible. Purely for inspiration you understand. Here he is on his way to the Burns Night supper, looking quite the part. For those who are wondering, we belong to clan LAMONT (pron: Lam’NT, not La Mont). It’s motto is: Ne Parcas Nec Spernas (Neither spare nor dispose). Not quite sure what that means . . . but I do know that I wouldn’t have achieved half of my success without Bongo Man by my side.

A Kilted Bongo Man
I’m sure I say this in my sleep!

I was lucky enough to be featured on other writers’/bloggers’ posts this year. Here’s a selection (including two blog tours ) if you want to take a look:

As for 2019, the events are stacking up
Carole Matthews Book Launch (February), States of Independence (March), Self publishing Conference (April), Deepings Lit Fest (May) RNA Conference (July), RNA York Tea (September), Narberth Book Fair (Wales), return to DMU to give talk on self-publishing. In addition, there’s monthly Belmont Belles meetings which I organise with mu oppo and great mate, June Kearns.

If you like superbly written #Hisfic, check out June’s Amazon page.

All that remains now is for me to wish you a healthy and happy 2019. I’m about to pick up the threads of the next novel which I started just before Christmas and to get stuck in. What is it about? I’ll let this tweet and the video do the talking –

My Writerly Year 2018 # part one

Happy New Year to all my followers and friends. I thought I’d look back over 2018 to see what I’d achieved in the writerly sphere. I was surprised by the result . . . So, in reverse order, starting with December here’s what I’ve been up to.

Another cracking meeting of the Belmont Belles which I organise with June Kearns. To round up the year’s activities we were honoured to have best selling romance author Carole Matthews as our guest. Cue an inspirational talk and fabulous Q&A session. Also in December, much To my surprise I won a £40 amazon voucher from Kindle Direct Publishing to spend on author copies of my novels. Colour me lucky.

In November I was invited to appear alongside Sue Moorcroft and Heidi Jo Swain at Upminster library to meet readers and talk about my path to publication. A thrilling moment for an indie author was made extra special when I learned that the library had ordered copies of my novels – hopefully I might get some PLR revenue from that.

Adrienne Vaughan and I went to London, Waterstones Piccadilly to be precise there we attended Sue Moorcrofts launch for A Christmas Gift and bumped into many RNA pals. Great evening out which set us up for the festive season. That happened less than a week after my second cataract operation, so I was glad Adrienne was there for support. She makes for a pretty glamorous guide dog.

October saw the inaugural meeting of the East Midlands Chapter of the Society of Authors in Leicester. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a friendly and supportive group which met at THE HEAD OF STEAM in Market Street. The highlight of the month was being invited to talk to a large group of final year students at De Montfort University on the subject of indie publishing. They’ve asked me back next year and to attend the States of Independence book fair in March 2019.

I’m a great believer in learning from successful authors and so it was a no brainer to attend a master class featuring Cathy Bramley and Carole Matthews at Waterstones in Nottingham. The talk was entertaining and informative and the queue of readers waiting to have their books signed was something I can only dream about.

I organised for Kim Nash, publicity officer at Bookouture, to come along to the Belmont Belles to explain her role and to dispel one or two myths regarding what Bookouture requires from authors. I can’t quite decide if I’m ready to give up my indie status and get locked into a contract as I like the freedom to write what I like, when I like. But – as 007 said – never say never. Right?

In October I attended a SOA meeting in Oxford at Balliol College, where I bumped into RNA members, Liz Harris and Julia Roberts . Dave and I had lunch in the Eagle and Child where Tolkien and other ‘Inklings’ met to talk and write and where he penned some of Lord of the Rings. I hope some of the magic rubbed off on me.

September saw my returning to the Norfolk Marshes to celebrate the fifth birthday of Boot Camp Bride. I visited the locations which inspired the novel. If you’d like to learn more about that visit, click here.

While in Norfolk I made the most of the opportunity to meet up with Kate Hardy and Rosie Hendry in Thornham where we swapped our latest novels.

I’ve appeared on other blogs this year and I always appreciate the time and effort bloggers put into publicising me and my books. I’ll just mention a couple of my favourites, starting with Jena’s Golden Chapters via writer and blogger Jessie Cahalin. You can read the full review here.

I appeared on Sharon Booth’s blog where I described my life in FIVE photos. That was great fun – do pop along and see it if you have time. (Yep, that’s me – determined and cussed.LOL)

I was really chuffed to appear on Being Anne’s list of romances she’d enjoyed in 2018. Anne is an incredible blogger: committed, supportive and widely read.

Well, that about wraps up Part One of my Literary Journey this year. Tune in next time for Part Two (August – January) to learn what 2019 holds in store.

And, as they say in Scotland Happy New Year and Lang May Yer Lum Reek.

Happy Samhain (Halloween) – novel extract, book news & a new price

As a writer of Scottish romances, I thought I’d blog about a halloween party featured in my Girl in the Castle

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I hope you enjoy the extract. I’ve also added some photos taken at a recent Halloween party I attended to celebrate Halloween. Make a note – Girl in the Castle is 99p from today for a VERY limited time. You can download and read FREE if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. men in kilts laughing

Extract – When Henri entered the Great Hall, it had been completely transformed by the purple gloaming outside the windows, strategically placed candles and the roaring twin fires. A harpist was playing a selection of melodies on a clarsach, and in another corner, children were dookin’ for apples in a barrel of water, supervised by nannies or older siblings. The young guisers, dressed as ghouls, spirits or favourite superheroes, took great delight in frightening the grown-ups with turnip lanterns hanging from sticks and fake Dracula fangs. 

Henriette - shawlHenri had dressed so as not to draw attention to herself,  however, the other guests showed no such restraint. They were celebrating Samhain in style; the men in kilts, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ jackets over matching waistcoats, dress shirts, black tie, and brogues. The women in long plaid skirts/kilts, silk blouses with lace jabots or, like herself, in simple black dresses worn with clan tartan in the form of a shawl or a sash. Clearly, this was an evening for showing off, because heirloom tiaras, necklaces and bracelets had been taken out of the bank vault. The jewels caught the candlelight and added extra glamour to the evening. One man stood apart from the rest, and it took several seconds before Henri realised that it was Keir. She’d never seen the Master of Mountgarrie other than in his work clothes. But this Keir, wearing full Highland dress with unconscious grace and style was every inch the laird she’d dreamed about in the library. In her dreams. Grasping her silver caman for good luck, she stepped out of the shadows and into the hall.Man in a doorway

If you’d like to read the opening chapters of Girl in the Castle on your kindle, click on this link. You can also buy a paperback for your bookshelf. 

Here are the hallowe’en photos – (thank you, hostess with the mostess, Adrienne Vaughan)- lots of spooks and demons, but not a kilt in sight. Unfortunately. You might also catch a glimpse of fellow New Romantics Press’s June Kearns hiding behind one of the masks (!) 

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If you like spooky stories then check out the best selling anthology Adrienne and I contributed to. 

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Alternatively, check out my blog post about a real life spooky event which happened to me and my siblings in the sixties.1-img072.jpg

Just to bring you up to date, Adrienne and I have published a new novel apiece since this blog post was written. Check out TAKE ME, I’M YOURS and That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel . As for June, she’s finally come out from behind that mask and hopes to publish her new novel summer 2020. 

Summer Magic – Romance in the Court

Romance in the Court, hosted by David Headley, managing director of Goldsborough Books and literary agent is a fabulous event and one of the highlights of my summer. On Thursday, I travelled down to London with fellow New Romantic Press author, Adrienne Vaughan to join writers, agents, bloggers and publishing representatives at Cecil Court WC2. 1-PhotoFunia-1495785178

Adrienne had to buy ‘emergency shoes’ from Dune in St Pancras en route (as one does) and I waited patiently, knowing resistance was futile. A taxi ride through London always sets us up for these events and we really felt the buzz on this warm, summer evening.  First stop was Cote Brasserie across the road from Cecil Court to refuel. As we sat sipping our wine, Sir Roy Strong walked past looking very dapper, which was apt considering it is Chelsea Flower Show week. Last time Ade and I had a similar outing we bumped into Dustin Hoffman. Well, I bumped into him, Ade was too busy looking at shoes in Tod’s window on Kensington High Street.  Shoes, again? Honestly!

David’s hospitality is legendary and his young staff so friendly and accommodating (thank you Emily et al)  that in no time we had picked up our author badges, a glass of ice cold prosecco and started mingling. As you can see from this photo, the court was soon buzzing as we met up with fellow RNA members and others from the publishing industry. I was able to hand out promotional postcards announcing the publication of my latest book: GIRL IN THE CASTLE, which I am very thrilled about.

The interior of Goldsborough Books is fascinating, with many signed first editions behind glass-fronted bookcases.There are also many contemporary novels on sale, and I spotted many favourite authors on the shelves. There is a sign on the stairs suggesting that it leads to Hogwarts, but I was having too much fun to follow it.

Sadly, we had to leave to catch a taxi back to St Pancras for the ten o’clock to Leicester. We are very much looking forward to the RNA Summer Conference when we will meet up with our writer friends once more. Here’s my blog post about last year’a Romance in the Court if you would like to read it.

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Footnote: many friends at the event wanted to know more about our caravan trip to Cornwall (where I did a fair impersonation of a drowned rat), and to hear more of the antics of our parrot, Jasper, who travels with us. Here he is, and here am I with writer Rosemary Smith,  who I met up with in St Mawes, presenting her with a signed paperback of Girl in the Castle.

 If you would like to read a sample, share or buy Girl in the Castle please  click here 2017-05-23 07.32.35

So – here’s to Romance in the Court 2018 when I hope the weather gods smile on us. Thank you for reading this blog post – if you feel like sharing with others, the buttons can be found below.

My Review of 2016 #2 July – December

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Castle Stalker, Argyll © Lizzie Lamb

July saw us taking a month long research trip to Scotland. We started at Edinburgh, visited Rosslyn Chapel and Britannia . We called in at Whitburn to visit my family and discovered that Uncle Archie is a great fan of caravaning, too – I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Here he is with Auntie Nellie; they are my dad’s last remaining siblings. When I was talking to them, I lapsed into an East Lothian patois I hadn’t spoken in many a year. Good to know I haven’t lost it, ye ken?

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In August we visited Bletchley Park and found a connection there to WHITBURN, Winkie the carrier pigeon  who saved the lives of a WWII Bomber crew. They even had Winkie’s ‘parachute on display.Here’s Dave sitting at Alan Turing’s desk . . . 

While we were at Edinburgh we visited Doune Castle where many scenes from OUTLANDER (Castle Leoch), and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL were filmed.

I drew inspiration for the Samhain feast in GIRL IN THE CASTLE here.

We then camped at Culloden  and travelled as far north as Balnakeil, Cape Wrath, (research for romance #5). We popped into Balmoral but Herself wasn’t in, so I met up with fellow writer Rae Cowie at Banchory for a coffee and presented her with a copy of Scotch on the Rocks. (thanks for reviewing, Rae)

You can’t visit Inverness without going Nessie hunting, so we called in at Urquhart Castle, but Nessie was taking a coffee break. You can see why, inspired by the mist, romantic landscape and mysterious wakes on the loch, how the legend of the monster first arose.

We moved on to Ullapool and, although it rained (a lot!), at least we weren’t bothered by midges. It has long been an ambition of mine to visit the Craft Village at Balnakeil , and we did just that – calling in at the fabulous Cocoa Mountain Cafe for the BEST hot chocolate EVER. If you visit nearby Durness, you’ll see the John Lennon memorial garden; John, Yoko and the kids used to holiday there in the late sixties.

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The road from Ullapool to Durness was stunning as we passed through North-West Highlands Geo-Park on a twisting one track road with passing places. Castles, white sand beaches, mountains, mist and small lochs (lochans)  covered in water lilies. Can’t wait to return.bab13063-f055-4138-8324-23ee43bee1e72

During that month New Romantics Press  published a tapas selection of our novels for reading on Kindle. At the end of each extract a link takes the reader direct to Amazon to download the novel and ‘read on’. Take a Chance on Us. 

Once I returned home, it was straight to East Midlands Airport to pick up Isabella Tartaruga. Isabella and I met through Facebook and have become firm friends ever since. I named a character in Scotch on the Rocks after her. We took Isa to our local pub for a cider and I organised a tea party in her honour – with a little help from my friends.

Talking of friends . . . In August we travelled to Brighton and had a super lunch with writer  June Tate, and exchanged books. Later in the autumn, we met up with lovely Carole Matthews; I received her latest book later on in the year and am looking forward to reading and reviewing both. I learn so much talking to such brilliant writers – I hope some of the fairy dust rubbed off. 

To ring the changes, New Romantics Press attended the Historical Novel Society‘s annual conference. I like to include lots of history in my contemporary novels – if that makes sense. One sad footnote: the conference was the last time I spoke to agent Carole Blake, who died unexpectedly in October. A great loss to readers and writers alike.

October saw me giving a four hour talk How to Self Publish your novel, at Stamford Arts. Thanks to Rachel Henry of WriteStars for inviting me. Dave was my wing man and worked the pc while I blathered on.14642163_10154045011707843_1225004116375522132_n

 

The highlight of November has to be the author event which Adrienne Vaughan and I presented at Aspinall, St Pancras, London. We sold books, talked to customers about writing – and met Tom Parker Bowles (name dropper!) in Fortnum’s, across the way! We’re hoping to be invited back again this spring to give author readings and to talk about the art of writing – watch this space.

It was a great November for Adrienne as she launched Fur Coat and No Knickers, a collection of short stories and poems.

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December went by in a whirl, the highlight was meeting Book Blogger, Rosie Amber and her team of reviewers and writers at the Belmont Hotel with the Leicester Chapter.img_3271-collage1Thanks to Rosie, Scotch on the Rocks was read by her review team and short listed for the contemporary fiction award (silver). It was also one of Book Blogger Cathy Ryan‘s TOP READS OF 2016.

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And finally . . . deep breath. I finished my latest novel – GIRL IN THE CASTLE and it is currently with beta readers. I have booked my proofreader and formatter and, with good luck and a following wind, it should be ready for pre-order by the end of March.

Cover reveal and blurb, coming soon.

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The Best Five Pounds I’ve Ever Spent!

One of the great things about living in Leicester – apart from The Foxes winning the Championship League, and finding The King in the Carpark (Richard III), is being on the main line to London.Adrienne in garden. (landscape)

 Yesterday, fellow New Romantic – Adrienne Vaughan – travelled with me to London for the best event of the summer, so far. For a mere £5 we bought a ticket to Romance in the Court, a fabulous event organised by David Headley’s Goldsboro Books. 

The event was held in historic Cecil Court on a beautiful summer’s evening.

There, amidst a fabulous gathering of romance writers, readers and supporters, I met old friends, made new ones and got down to the all important business of networking. As a writer, I’m never sure if the time I spend away from the WIP is really productive, so it was reassuring to meet new readers who said they knew me from a variety of social media: Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. And, as a result of ‘getting my name out there’, one reader had downloaded all my books. RESULT!

However, before I upload more photos, let me digress and share our bit of good fortune with you. En route to the event, I popped into Aspinalls in St Pancras (as a girl does) to buy the Swarovski ‘bag hook’ I’d been promising myself as a reward for working hard on #4. In a scene reminiscent from Love Actually , the manager  wrapped my present in an four different types of gift wrapping. He also put four boiled sweets in the bag. I know, I know it should have been a cinnamon stick, but I’m not complaining for the best was yet to come!

He asked us what we were doing in London. Quick as a flash we handed him our business cards. Mightily impressed, he asked if we would come down to his store in the autumn to an author event which he would organise: prosecco, nibbles, book signing etc. He also mentioned that he liked to’ take care of his girls’, which made Adrienne think (optimistically) that she would be getting a set of matching Aspinall luggage.  A girl can dream, can’t she? So, before we get ahead of ourselves,here are the rest of the photos. 

And there’s more. Click on each photo to see who’s who !

And, finally, a great photo of David Headley with Carole Matthews (courtesy of Carole and Kev). Many thanks to them for allowing me to use one of Kev’s photos at the top of this blog. 2016-05-27 10.14.36

 As you can see, a fabulous time was had by all. The best five pounds I’ve ever spent. I’m hoping that David will host a similar event next summer . . . no pressure, obvs.

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And, just before I sign off, keep your eyes peeled for an exciting announcement coming from New Romantics Press this summer. But, hush, hush, it’s top secret  . . . for now! 

 

Adrienne’s Trip to the Romance Writers’ of America’s Award Ceremony

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Read Adrienne’s fabulous blog post about her trip to the BIG APPLE last year to cover this event for Romance Matters – the RNA in-house magazine.

 

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This is me with the bag she bought me because she thinks I’m an old hippie. (she could be right). She also put a ‘cent’ inside it, for good luck.

For the record, (no pun intended) I don’t only listen to Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, I have Simon and Garfunkel vinyl LPs, too.

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I couldn’t resist posing for her !!

One day It’ll be our turn to step up onto that stage and get an award.

My Real Life Ghostly Experience

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This is a true story, verified by my sisters –

Ellen Humber and Phyllis Fell. 

Me with my two sisters and brother William outside 14 College Avenue where the spooky event took place.

Me with my two sisters and brother William outside 14 College Avenue where the spooky event took place.

KNOCK, KNOCK, WHO’S THERE?

 – Leicester circa 1964

 

In 1962, my family –including Granny and the dog all moved from Scotland to live in Leicester in a rambling palisaded villa. Apart from my Granny, all the adults went out to work – Mother in one of the many shoe factories dotted around Leicester and Dad on a building site as a scaffolder. I was thirteen years old and my siblings ranged below me at eight, six and four years of age respectively. We were rarely alone in the house as Granny was there to welcome us home from school and to give us our evening meal before the adults arrived in from work.

               There was something spooky about that house in College Avenue, it had a long dark corridor which led from the front door to the breakfast room, scullery and kitchen at the rear. Other doors opened off the corridor giving onto a sitting room and a gloomy dining room in turn. Once, the house must have been splendid, in a Gothic sort of way; high ceilings, marble fireplaces, deep cornices and even bells to ring for the servants in each room. But to us kids it was a scary place and we didn’t like to be left on our own. In fact, there were certain rooms which the dog wouldn’t enter – without its hackles rising.

               One day Granny decided to visit her brother in London which meant leaving us alone for several hours until Mother returned from the factory. Granny was very unhappy with this arrangement, but eventually agreed to visit her brother – albeit with the proviso that all four children, plus dog locked ourselves in our parents’ bedroom and stayed there until Mother came home.

               Granny left, and I locked us in our temporary prison with food, drink, comics, toys, radio, the dog and a chamber pot in case of emergencies! We watched Granny walk to the end of the street and then settled down for a boring couple of hours until Mother arrived home. Time passed slowly and we tried to guess where Granny was on her journey – Luton, Bedford, St Pancras, the underground . . .

               Then, the strangest thing happened.

               We heard Granny’s footsteps climbing the stairs and coming along the landing towards the bedroom. The door knob turned once and then sprang back to its original position. Being kids we thought nothing of it. Ours was an old house and things were always sticking and jamming. Then, stranger still, we heard Granny calling out my name: ‘Betty. Betty,’ in her unmistakable Scottish accent. I looked at my sister Ellen for confirmation of what I’d heard and then walked over to the bedroom door and tried the handle. The door was still locked and the key was on our side, just as I’d left it. I went to unlock the door, but remembering the promise I’d made to Granny to stay put until Mother came home, I changed my mind.

               My sister and I sat down on the bed and looked at each other, more puzzled than frightened.  When Mother came home, we were simply glad to be allowed to run outside and play and didn’t tell her about Granny’s voice, the footsteps or the door knob turning.

               Years later I brought up the subject with my sister.

               ‘We did hear Granny’s footsteps and her voice, didn’t we?’ I asked.

               ‘We did,’ my sister Ellen replied, emphatically. ‘She called out your name, twice and the door handle turned.’

               We exchanged a look and shuddered, knowing that, as adults, we were only just beginning to comprehend we’d seen and heard that day. Had Granny been so worried about us being in the house alone, that she’d projecting her anxiety across the miles from London to Leicester? Or was it something ‘else’; something which wanted us to leave the safety of the bedroom and venture out on to the landing where it was waiting?

               The same nameless terror which made us run down the long dark corridor to the safety of the kitchen every time – and the dog refuse to enter the large cupboard under the stairs where we played? Or, was it the old lady my father (the least fanciful of men) purported to have seen on several occasions standing at the foot of his bed looking distracted and mournful?

               You decide.

               My sister considers herself a ‘wee bit psychic’, while I consider myself a complete pragmatist. My other sister, Phyllis, told me recently that she’d seen the door handle turn on a couple of other occasions and had been too scared to leave her bedroom.  I know there must be a logical explanation for what happened and I’d feel a whole lot better if someone experienced in this field could explain it to me.

               Then I could finally lay this story to rest – where it belongs.

This tale is included in this book of 13 supernatural short stories, which also features one written by fellow New Romantics Press author, Adrienne Vaughan – Seed of Doubt.

Adrienne and LIzzie - Belmont Hotel October 2014

This is Adrienne and me at the Belmont last year celebrating the launch of Hocus Pocus. The witches’ hats? I just happened to ‘have them’ about my person as you do, this time of year.

 Thank you for reading this story. Next year, maybe I’ll tell you another true story … the one where my great-grandfather (who was ‘laid out’ in his coffin on the dining room table) ‘woke up; and joined the mourners  toasting his memory with whisky in front of the fire in the next room . . .

Hallowe'en name

Just for fun – work out what your Hallowe’en name is and leave it in the comment box below. Mine is . . . ICY RUNER!!

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THANKS FOR THE SHOUT OUT . . .

Thanks to amazon.com for giving my three books a shout out today

And to Adrienne Vaughan of New Romantics Press for the headsup. 

three in a row

If you would like to read the blurb or “LOOK INSIDE” one of my books, go over to my Amazon page 

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Scotch on the Rocks – a contemporary romance set on Eilean na Sgairbh on the west coast of Scotland. If you like crazy parrots, a determined heroine and a gorgeous hero, you’ll like this book. Download it today for £2.51

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Talented holistic therapist Fliss, leaves London behind her and goes to Wester Ross to manage an ailing therapy centre. There she meet the laird – Ruairi Urquhart and sparks fly. Who said that the path to true love was littered with broken hearts . . .

Poster

Feisty Charlee Montague enters a marriage of convenience to get the scoop on what’s occurring in a Boot Camp for Brides on the Norfolk Marshes. But – once the assignment is over, will she be able to walk away from her erstwhile fiance, Rafa Ffinch? I wouldn;t !!

You can read Tall Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride *FREE* on#KindleUnlimited.

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