The Saturday Secret by Linda Huber

This world sometimes feels like a very harsh place to be, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how much anger and general nastiness there seems to be out there. It’s good, therefore, to escape to a place where happy endings are guaranteed. Sometimes, you just need to pick up a book and lose yourself in a story that makes you feel warm, happy, and optimistic again.

The Saturday Secret is such a book – packed with short stories that are pure feel-good entertainment.  It’s extremely easy to read, and although I planned to just read one or two stories at a time I actually read it in two halves. The first half was read some weeks ago and then, thanks to real life intruding, I had to sacrifice reading time for a while. I picked up the book again today – call it my Mother’s Day treat! It was lovely to slip back into that cosy world, and find that the second half was just as good as the first.

The stories are delightful, featuring children, babies, elderly people, kittens, dogs, loving couples, affectionate families and lots more besides.

My personal favourites were We’re Having a Baby! The Cat’s Whiskers,  After Rebecca, and the short – but incredibly poignant – Corrina’s Big Day.  The short story that gives the book its title also made me smile. I won’t give away what The Saturday Secret actually is, but let’s just say it gave me hope. 🙂

A really gorgeous collection of short stories by a writer who clearly has a gift for capturing those precious moments in a person’s life and weaving a wonderful tale around them.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it to those looking for an escape route into a happy place!   5/5

You can buy The Saturday Secret here, and, as an added bonus, profits from this lovely book are being donated to Doctors Without Borders.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

sister-hood-awardMy thanks to lovely Linda Huber for nominating me for this award. I love the idea of a sisterhood. Women should support and nourish each other, and I think we mostly do. I think the popular idea is that women are natural rivals, keen to outdo each other and put each other down, but, speaking from personal experience, I find most women are all too keen to help their ‘sisters’ along the way. I, for one, am very grateful for that, and keen to repay the favour. Linda was one of the lovely authors who contributed a short story to the Write Romantics’ charity anthology, Winter Tales, so I already knew that she was one of those helpful and supportive women. She has also taken an interest in the forthcoming release of my debut novel, There Must Be An Angel, so she really is part of the sisterhood! I’m, therefore, very happy and honoured to take part in this blogging award tour, and answer her questions. Thanks, Linda.

Do you have a ‘sister’? I have a real sister, Tracey, who is two and a half years younger than me and loves to remind me of the fact. I don’t see her as often as I’d like, but I love her to bits and she is one person guaranteed to make me laugh, as well as being the person who really ‘gets’ me. She has known me all her life, after all, and still speaks to me! I think, sometimes, she thinks I’m a bit weird, but she seems willing to put up with that. I’m very proud of her for all she’s achieved and for the person she is, and there’s a bond there that no one else can share, because we grew up together and have so many shared memories and experiences. She is very special to me and I’m so glad I have her. I also have nine honorary ‘sisters’ – the Write Romantics, who listen to my woes and worries and insecurities, laugh at my odd sense of humour and boost my flagging confidence just when I need it. They are a fabulous bunch of ladies and I’m very blessed to be part of their sisterhood.

What’s your favourite memory of primary school? I have loads! I loved primary school. It was a really fabulous school with lovely staff, and I have nothing but happy memories of it. I remember the big old boiler, with the massive fireguard around it, in the centre of the prefab classroom. We used to drape wet coats etc on it in really bad weather, and huddle round it to get warm when we were reading. I remember the school plays which were always such fun. I remember the library and the thrill of discovering a stack of pony books to read. I remember assemblies every morning, singing hymns, bowing our heads to recite the Lord’s Prayer. I remember the last hour of the day when the teacher would read to us – books such as The Cat That Walked a Week by Meindert Dejong, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner. I remember the sweet shop by the school where we’d all crowd in and buy two ounces of sour apples or kop kops, or the bakery which sold off yesterday’s cream buns for a penny. I remember collecting conkers and fallen leaves for the autumn classroom display, having orange armbands sewn onto my coat sleeves, and walking to school in fog so thick that it was impossible to see a thing in front of you. I remember my friends, and Christmas, and the class postbox where we’d put our cards and presents to be handed out on the last day of term, and singing carols, and the Christmas party, and skipping in the playground, and glueing shiny coloured paper onto card, and playing with plasticine, and having my own peg in the cloakroom, and spelling tests, and sports day, and school reports. Impossible to choose a favourite!

download (4) Who would you invite to dinner, and why? Ooh, good question. Just one person? Really? Well, if it was any person in history I would probably choose Henry VIII because I want to know if he really was as mad as a box of frogs or just a horrible, cruel tyrant, or if there was a lot more to him than we know. I want to know what was going on in what appears to be an incredibly twisted mind. Why did he make those choices? Did he really believe in the decisions he made? Has he any redeeming qualities at all? On the other hand, if it was just one person alive today, I’d choose Jilly Cooper, because I love her books, and I think she’d be fun and I’d love to know what she’s writing next and what we can expect from Rupert Campbell Black.

And what would you cook for them? I wouldn’t. If it was Henry VIII I’d plonk a plate of salad in front of him, followed by fruit, because I think he had a meat overload and could do with a break. And, if it was Jilly Cooper, I like her far too much to inflict my cooking on her. Definitely time to call in outside catering!

Which fictional character would you like to be? Jill Crewe from Jill’s Gymkhana and the other Jill books by Ruby Ferguson. Or any girl in any pony book from that golden era really. They had such jolly, horsy lives, and the only thing they had to worry about was if they would win a rosette at the next gymkhana, or how to do a decent half pass, or if they would get new jodhpurs for Christmas. Happy days.download (5)

Can you remember your first glass of wine? Yes. It was at my aunt and uncle’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid so was allowed a glass for the toast, and I hated it. I still hate it. I just don’t like wine. I don’t like any alcohol really, unless it doesn’t taste much of alcohol.

What’s your favourite colour? Blue. Reminds me of the sea and a clear sky on a  hot summer’s day.

Tell us about your first teenage crush. Oh, this is embarrassing. Okay, it was on my English teacher at school. He was absolutely lovely and I adored him. He was really encouraging about my writing, and I idolised him. The whole school seemed to know I was mad about him. I even sent him a soppy poem. He was incredibly patient and kind, but I bet he breathed a sigh of relief when I left school!

Why do you blog? Initially, it was because I was told it was “the thing to do”, and that writers simply had to blog. I’m not so sure that’s true, actually, but I do enjoy having the blog now. It’s a great place to practice writing, share my news, connect with other bloggers and, hopefully, it will be a place where I can one day connect with readers of my novels.

What do you hope to achieve in 2015? Well, There Must Be An Angel is released in less than two weeks, and I’m hoping at least one person will read it and love it! I also have the second novel, A Kiss From a Rose coming out in September, and I want to have completed book three in the series by the end of the year, ready for publishing in 2016. Quite a lot to do, as you can imagine!

It now falls to me to nominate seven other female bloggers, so I choose Rachael Thomas, Jessica Redland, Alys West, Helen Phifer, Laura James, Julie Stock and Liz Berry. If you’ve already done it, my apologies, and you don’t have to take up the banner. It’s entirely up to you. 

My questions, should you accept the challenge, are as follows:

What is your earliest memory?

What was your favourite Christmas present?

Who would you like to go on a date with? (Excluding current partners/spouses)

Which film would you choose if you could only ever watch one again?

What are you most proud of?

Which woman in history do you most admire?

Which book do you wish you’d written?

What one thing do you think would surprise other people about you?

You’ve had an unexpected windfall of one thousand pounds. What would you spend it on?

Who is your secret crush?

Over to you! Have a great week xx

A Story to Warm Your Heart

Yes, I can finally say it. I’m a published author! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Winter Tales ~ Stories to Warm Your Heart went live on Kindle today (Saturday 8th November) and I, along with the other Write Romantics, couldn’t be more proud. The paperback edition of the book will be available very soon and it will be so utterly gorgeous that it will be worth waiting for. In fact, why not buy both editions? Why not buy extra copies as Christmas presents? good copy

I expect you’re thinking, ‘She’s totally shameless! What a cheek, plugging the book like that!’ Well, when it comes to this particular book I’m happy to promote it endlessly because all proceeds go to two such worthy causes that it would be wrong not to. All the money that’s made from Winter Tales will go to two charities that are close to the Write Romantics’ hearts – The Teenage Cancer Trust and The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. If you want to know why these charities matter so much to us, please click here.

At just £2.56, the anthology provides fabulous value for money – just over 10p a story. Now you can’t deny that’s a bargain, can you? 😉 We’ve had so much help with this anthology, not least from our lovely guests who contributed such great stories. The full list of authors is: Jessica Redland, Rhoda Baxter, Zanna Mackenzie, Jo Bartlett, Harriet James, Alison May, Holly Martin, Kerry Fisher, Sharon Booth, Sarah Painter, Jackie Ladbury, Helen Phifer, Jennifer Bohnet, Helen J Rolfe, Alys West, Terri Nixon, Annie Lyons, Linda Huber, Sarah Lewis, Rachael Thomas, Lynne Pardoe and Samantha Tonge. We really can’t thank our guests enough for sparing the time to write such fabulous stories, and for helping us to spread the word about the anthology and the causes we’re raising money for.

 

To celebrate the launch we’re having a party over on Facebook right here between 1pm and 3pm today (Saturday) and we’re giving away some great prizes including signed copies of books from some of our contributors: Kerry Fisher, Jo Bartlett, Rachael Thomas, Helen Phifer and Linda Huber. There will also, of course, be a copy of the anthology to be won and our star prize which will be awarded to the person who has tweeted the most about the launch. There’ll be food, drink, laughter and friendly chatter, and you can bring a guest. (I’m bringing two!) We’ll no doubt have cake and lots of other delicious nibbly things and since it’s all virtual there are no calories involved. Win win!

We hope you can join us, but if you’re reading this after the event then don’t despair. You can still grab yourself a copy of Winter Tales, snuggle in front of the fire, sip your hot chocolate and shut out the wintry weather with twenty-four feelgood stories to warm your heart.  We do hope you’ll enjoy reading them!

Buy Winter Tales here.

Have a great week xx