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,  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. 🙂

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. 🙂 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.

Making a Baubles of it all…

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Picture: Sarah Ackerman: The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackerman519/8139519263

Merry Christmas! Well, merry Christmas week, anyway. It’s the nineteenth of December, and this will be my last blog post before the big day, so I’m taking the opportunity to wish you all a very happy and jolly day, with lots of presents and enough food to sink a luxury liner, and enough drink to float a luxury liner, and loads of love and laughter and all the usual Christmassy things that people wish each other – even people they don’t particularly like, or people who have really, really annoyed them this year, like say, just for example, Grinch-like bosses who’ve scrapped the Christmas bonus and not so much as chipped in for a bottle of something festive, or a box of chocolates or even a poxy card for their hard-working employees. Just for instance. *Cough*.

Anyway, enough of that. I’m quite sure that I can leave them to their fate and that, one night, they will be visited by three spirits who will show them the error of their ways.  In the meantime, I am getting on with my Christmas. As usual, it’s organised chaos, and I’m left staring at a pile of Christmas cards that I bought weeks ago, remembered to write on weeks ago, even bought stamps for weeks ago, but somehow completely forgot to post/hand to relatives/give to DH to deliver. It happens every year! And the weird thing is, I never find them afterwards, so I can’t even reuse them the following Christmas. How does that happen?

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Even the Christmas tree looks dizzy!

I made an epic Christmas baubles of it all yesterday – even by my standards. I don’t know what’s going on in my peanut brain lately. I seem to be so distracted and forgetful and everything just slips away from me. I mean, I’ve known Christmas was coming for long enough. It’s not like it can sneak up on you unexpectedly, is it? Not when the tins of Quality Street are stacked up to the ceiling in the supermarket from the first of October, and you’re bombarded with Shakin’ Stevens wishing you a merry Christmas from the minute you step inside the store and have to endure him EVERY SINGLE TIME you shop for a whole twelve weeks. Anyway, I hate supermarket shopping so much that I’ve taken to ordering my stuff online. That’s not without its problems, but that’s for another post.

So, I decided that the Christmas shop would be no different. I’d book my delivery slot and the nice things would be delivered to my doorstep on Christmas Eve and all would be well with the world. Sainsbury’s even emailed me to tip me off that the delivery slots for Christmas week were being released, so as soon as I got the email, I went online and tried to book one. That’s when I discovered that deliveries weren’t made on Christmas Eve. Not only that, but some of the slots were already full, and the first one I could get was the twenty-second of December. Since that doesn’t coincide with pay day or my usual shopping day, I got thoroughly confused. Honestly! You know, years ago I would have taken all this in my stride. In fact, I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing my shopping online. (There was no such thing as online shopping. In fact, there was no such thing as online!) I would have taken all five of my children out with me and tackled the Christmas shop with a determined attitude and a list a mile long, and I would have got everything I needed with no problems. Now I just curl up in a ball and sob. It’s all too difficult! I can’t think straight!

Being unable to make sense of anything any more, I ended up booking a slot for the eighteenth, and then another for the twenty-seventh. I figured I could order my usual week’s shopping plus a few extras for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and then have another week’s shopping delivered just after the big day to take me into New Year.  So why did it all go so wrong? What was I thinking???

I don’t know why, but for some reason I ordered lots of fresh food, like salad and fruit and pork pies and trifle, which all turned up yesterday on my doorstep. Sadly, I hadn’t taken into account the little matter of use by dates. It turned out that everything fresh I’d ordered would be out of date even before Christmas Eve. So that was useless. I’d also ordered a lot of frozen stuff, not thinking that I only have a fridge freezer these days, not my old chest freezer. So after the delivery man had left, I set to work putting everything away, only to sink onto the kitchen floor in a trembling heap twenty minutes later, after realising that I had a bag full of frozen food that I didn’t have any room for. I shoved the bag outside in the garden, hoping it would stay cold, while I tried to think what to do.

Luckily for me, while my brain cells seem to be diminishing rapidly, DH seems to finally have developed some. He came downstairs, saw the sorry state of affairs, and within ten minutes had completely rearranged the freezer and managed to put everything away. I could only look on and try to remember that once upon a time, I’d been the intelligent one.

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Four doors opened this morning!

I’m now sitting here writing this, when really, I should be wrapping up presents. I hate wrapping up presents, but since DH wrapped a third of them and DD1 wrapped another third, it seems only fair that I wrap some. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy enough wrapping paper either, so I probably won’t get to finish the job today. I haven’t even started wrapping DH’s presents, and every time he goes upstairs I scream at him, “Don’t go in the spare bedroom,” because that’s where they are. Since he doesn’t go in the spare bedroom I don’t know why I say it anyway. I’ve even taken to whispering about the dog’s presents so she doesn’t know what she’s got. And, after making a huge fuss about buying an advent calendar without chocolate, just like the ones I had as a child, I finally got one just in time for December, and have forgotten to open the doors every single time. The result is that, every few days, I look at it in horror and open about five or six doors, barely registering the picture behind them. Hardly the image I had in my mind.

Honestly, I’d love to say it’s the stress of Christmas that’s making me act so weirdly, but the truth is I’ve been declining for a few years now. I used to be so organised and so in control. Now, with all the kids grown up and left home, I’m completely losing track. Well, they do insist on breeding and this family is expanding more than the Von Trapps. I have so many people to buy for now I don’t know where I am or what I’m doing, and since DH is working all over Christmas again and I’m working up until Christmas Eve afternoon and back again on the Tuesday, there doesn’t seem to be much time to plan, prepare or enjoy the festivities.

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Ah, all will be well…

Still, the main thing is, I managed to get a bottle of advocaat, so the Christmas Snowball will be happening! There’s always a bright spot, and this is mine. A few glasses of that and I’ll be wearing a paper hat and singing Abba songs into a hairbrush and all will be well again. I’m easily pleased. Right, that’s my lot. I’m off to eat some pork pie and trifle. Hopefully, I’ll remember to put them on separate plates.

Have a great Christmas xxx