A Cuppa and a Catch-Up

You can’t beat a cup of tea

It’s May! I can hardly believe it. Happy Bank Holiday to you all, and – as my good friend Rhiannon Bone would say – a very blessed Beltane, too.

Pull up a chair, grab yourselves a cuppa, and let’s have a good old catch-up, shall we?

I am very well aware that I haven’t been around much on here lately. I apologise – again. I have been incredibly busy, working on not just one, not just two, but three different writing projects.

The first of these is currently having a final proofread. I have had a gorgeous cover designed for me by the lovely, and very patient, Berni Stevens, ย and I’m just waiting now to make any final corrections before things move on to the publishing stage.

New book coming soon!

There will be a cover reveal and a pre-order date coming very soon, but I can tell you that the book is due for publication around mid-June. It’s not a Kearton Bay book, nor a Skimmerdale book, but it’s very close to my heart. It’s set on the Yorkshire Moors, not far from Kearton Bay (!) and a scene takes place in Helmston, so readers of the KB series will feel on familiar territory. We have brand new characters, including a heroine I loved and a hero I fell completely in love with. I’m always nervous when I’m about to have a book published, but I really hope you’ll enjoy it.

I’ve also been working on the second Skimmerdale book, and it’s been great fun to be back in the Yorkshire Dales with my old friends. I’ve especially enjoyed renewing my acquaintance with hunky sheep farmer, Eliot, but that’s me. I’m shameless. I’m not sure when this book will be published but I will definitely keep you updated when I know more.

Thirdly, I’ve been writing a Christmas book, and that should be coming out in late October/early November. It’s set in and around Farthingdale and Moreton Cross – villages that also appear in the Kearton Bay series – but will feature completely different characters. I’ve been getting to know a very different sort of heroine in this one. She’s quite challenging, and she has a rather lovely fella whose life she’s about to turn upside down – or is she? Hmm…

Can’t believe my book’s in the libraries!

So, as you can imagine, it’s been all go lately, and that’s why I’ve neglected the blog and for that I can only apologise. Hopefully, you’ll all think it was worth it in the end. ๐Ÿ™‚

What else have I been up to? Well, I sent off a story to the lovely folks at The People’s Friend, and it was accepted. It’s going to be published as a pocket novel on July 27th. It’s provisionally called The Doctor’s Daughter, although that may change. I’ll be publishing it on Kindle at some point in the near future, but it’s always lovely to see a copy of your work on the shelves of WH Smith or a supermarket – even if it’s only for a couple of weeks. My previous pocket novel, All Because of Baxter, has been published in large print format by Ulverscroft, and copies of that should be in various libraries right now. That’s made me very happy, as I spent practically my entire childhood in one library or another, and I never dreamt in a million years that one of my books would be on the shelves one day. It just shows you!

I’ve also been setting up a new website. You may notice that several pages of this blog have gone missing, and that’s because they’ve been incorporated into my new site instead. However, this blog will remain, as will the book reviews, and there will be a link to these pages on my new website. It’s been quite a faff for someone as technically challenged as me, I can tell you! Find me at http://www.sharonboothwriter.com

Me and Jessica in a very windy, cold Scarborough!

It hasn’t ALL been work, though. On Saturday I ventured out of my writing room into the real world. I caught the train to Scarborough to visit my lovely friend and fellow Write Romantic, Jessica Redland, who was giving a talk at the Seastrand Cafe on the seafront. We had a fabulous day, and even though the talk didn’t go quite as planned, we had a lot of fun. Mind you, the weather was a bit grim. My teeth were chattering! Of course, it WAS a British Bank Holiday weekend so I should have known. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can read all about Jessica’s event here.

So, I think we’re all caught up for now. My cup of tea has actually gone cold, so I’m off to put the kettle on.

Have a great week.

It’s Publication Day! And Breathe…

once-ebook-cover-3It’s publication day! After what feels like a very long journey indeed, Once Upon a Long Ago is now available to buy. It’s the culmination of five years dreaming and plotting and imagining and rethinking. Yes, five long years! That’s when the idea first hit me for Will and Lexi’s story, but it’s only this year that it felt right to finally tell their tale.

Although Once is the third book in the Kearton Bay series, it’s very much a standalone novel, too. So, what’s it about? Well…Perhaps a sneaky peek at my Pinterest board will give you a flavour of it. You can access the Once Upon a Long Ago board here.

In the meantime, here’s a quick guide: Stately homes, heritage, Civil War, horses, romance, fear, past, history, love, friendship, art, family, castles, lies, jealousy, kindness, goodness, inner beauty, fairy tales, loss, grief, laughter, secrets, treasure, faith, flapjacks, ponies, Labradors, Anne Bronte, Scarborough, hope, desperation, happy endings. Phew! If that’s not enough for you, here’s the blurb.

Lexi Bailey doesn’t do love. Having seen the war zone that was her parents’ marriage, she has no blog7interest in venturing into a relationship, and thinks romance is for fairy tales. As far as she’s concerned, there’s no such thing as happy ever after, and she’s not looking for a handsome prince.
For Will Boden-Kean, that’s probably a good thing. He hardly qualifies as a handsome prince, after all. He may be the son of a baronet, and live in a stately home, but he’s not known for his good looks. What he is known for, among the residents of Kearton Bay, is his kind heart, his determination to fund Kearton Hall โ€” and his unrequited love for Lexi.
While Lexi gazes at the portrait of the Third Earl Kearton, and dreams of finding the treasure that is reputed to be hidden somewhere in the house, Will is working hard to ensure that his home survives. When he goes against Lexi’s wishes and employs the most unpopular man in the village, she begins to wonder if he’s under a spell. Will would never upset her. What could possibly have happened to him?
As plans take shape for a grand ball, Lexi’s life is in turmoil. With a secret from Will’s past revealed, a witch who is far too beautiful for Lexi’s peace of mind, and a new enchantress on the scene, things are changing rapidly at Kearton Hall. Add to that a big, bad wolf of a work colleague, a stepmother in denial, and a father who is most definitely up to no good, and it’s no wonder she decides to make a new start somewhere else.
Then she makes a discovery that changes everything โ€” but time is running out for her. Is it too late to find her happy ending? Will Lexi make it to the ball? Will Buttons save the day? And where on earth did that handsome prince come from? ย 

castle-1329832_960_720The book is currently available for Kindle, but it will also be available as a paperback very soon. I really hope you enjoy my third adventure in Kearton Bay. I had a lovely time writing it, as well as visiting a local stately home, Burton Agnes Hall – which, in my mind, is Kearton Hall – and Scarborough Castle, looking at lovely old paintings, reading up on the Civil War, reminding myself of childhood fairy tales, and immersing myself in some good old fashioned romance. It came as quite a shock to me to realise that the next time I visit Kearton Bay, it will be my last journey there. Book 4 is some way off just yet, though, and I’m not ready to wave goodbye to my lovely friends just yet!

I have lots of books planned for the future, but right now, I’m going to enjoy the fact that Once Upon a Long Ago is finally out there. I’m really fond of Will and Lexi, and I hope you will be too. Enjoy!

Sharonxxx (3)

Searching for Steven by Jessica Redland

This is a fabulous debut novel from Jessica Redland. Sarah, the protagonist, is truly delightful, and feels like someone you’d want to hang out with in real life. The book has a very original premise – Sarah finds an old tape recording of a clairvoyant she once visited. It turns out that the clairvoyant was accurate about a lot of things, but her final prediction sends Sarah’s world into a spin. She is about to meet the man of her dreams – and his name is Steven. So begins Sarah’s search for her very own Steven, but where can he be? As she embarks on a series of dates with various Stevens, is Sarah blind to the possibility of finding love with the ideal man, who just happens to have the wrong name? Was the clairvoyant wrong after all? Or does fate have one last twist in store for her? Searching for Steven is a lovely novel, full of warm and realistic characters and a beautiful setting – Whitsborough Bay, based on the real life town of Scarborough. I also loved the prequel to this novel, Raving about Rhys, and am eagerly awaiting the second book in the Whitsborough Bay trilogy, published by So Vain Books. Well written and thoroughly enjoyable. 5/5 Buy Searching for Steven here51x2DOeWfVL._AA160_

Shadows and Echoes

I’ve been hearing voices in my head all week and it’s been quite an emotional experience. Before you back away and make that call to the authorities, I should probably explain. I’ve been on holiday. Yay! Where did I go? North Yorkshire. Yay! And did the sun shine? Yes it did, every single day! Yay, yay, and thrice yay!

Now, I know that for someone who lives in East Yorkshire, holidaying in North Yorkshire is hardly an epic journey. Truthfully, it took us less than forty-five minutes to reach our destination but that’s not the point. In recent years we’ve taken to holidaying in the South West – Devon, Somerset and especially Cornwall. We love that area and will no doubt be heading back there, if not next year then certainly the year after. However, DH and I were not travelling alone. Oh no. In our wisdom we’d decided to take with us not only our son, his partner and their two-year-old daughter, but also our daughter, her partner, her six-year-old son and their ten-week-old baby. Yes, you read that right. Ten weeks old! Were we mad? Possibly.

The thing is, with three very young children on board, we didn’t fancy a six-hour car journey to the west country, so we got all nostalgic and decided to take our grandchildren back to the holiday park we used to stay at when our own children were small. It lies between Filey and Scarborough and has spectacular countryside around it as you can see below.blog2

I wasn’t prepared for the fact, however, that everywhere we went we heard echoes of our holidays past. Talk about haunted! It felt like the ghosts of our long-ago summers were following us around. Every time I heard a child shout for its mother I automatically looked round. I could still see my two youngest boys climbing on the ropes in the adventure playground. I could see my eldest son doing a Baywatch-style slow motion run along the cliff top to our howls of laughter. I could see my eldest daughter desperately trying to avoid being splashed in the swimming pool (she still does!) and hear my youngest daughter wailing as her sister tried to nudge her off a ride. I blinked away tears when I saw that the old pub, in which countless drinks had been knocked over by our over-enthusiastic youngsters, had been changed to a much smarter restaurant/bar. The old food court was now a Burger King and a pizza place. The Donkey Derby had disappeared entirely. It was far more emotional than I’d expected it to be and I gulped as I looked at those same little children now all grown up with children of their own, wondering what happened to all those years. Where had all that time gone?

Equally surprising was our trip to Robin Hood’s Bay. Regular readers of this blog will know that the series of books I’m currently working on are set in the fictional village of Kearton Bay, which is based on this very location. I haven’t been back to the bay since I started writing the novels and it was astonishingly moving to go there and imagine my characters walking around and living their lives among those beautiful little passages and alleyways.ย the inspiration for keartonbay 2

There is a very steep hill in Robin Hood’s Bay which is the main route down to the beach, and several of my characters moan about it. It was funny to walk down it and see for myself how much of a struggle it is to get back up! I reached the bottom eventually and stared out over the beach and imagined my characters doing the very same thing. I could visualise scenes from the novels and could even hear their voices echoing around me as they played out the key moments of their lives.

Robin Hood's Bay

When I eventually made it back up to the top of that hill (and believe me, it took a while) I stared out over the sea and thought about how far I’d come since the last time I visited this very place and realised how much my characters meant to me and how real they seemed. It filled me with an enthusiasm to get back to the laptop and start work on the third in the series. I’m keen to get going but also rather dreading the day I write The End on book four as I will be saying a final goodbye to my fictional world and the lovely people I met there. One thing’s for sure, Robin Hood’s Bay will always hold a special place in my heart.

Have a great week xx

The view at Robin Hood's Bay

The view at Robin Hood’s Bay