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.

What I learned This Weekend

Bank Holiday weekend, and usually I’m at home, tapping away at my laptop or, if I really mean business, upstairs in my little office (the boxroom which is so jam-packed with a desk, chair, and three bookcases that I can barely move), frowning at my desktop computer, and wondering why I find it so easy to write a Facebook post but so blooming difficult to write a new paragraph for my WIP.

This weekend, however, was different. I had booked a coach trip for me and my mum, and we headed off to Staffordshire and Shropshire. It was my first ever coach trip and my first ever stay in a hotel, which, at my age, is quite an embarrassing admission. My mother has been on loads of these trips, and has stayed in many hotels, so she was quite confident. Boy, was she ever.

This blog post was going to be about the weekend trip – about our adventures and misadventures, our laughs and our annoyances. But it’s not, for two reasons. One, so many things happened that, as I was coming home, staring out of the coach window and planning the blog post, while my mother gently snored beside me (amazing really, since she later insisted she wasn’t asleep), it occurred to me that this would actually make a great story, and within ten minutes I had two main characters and a plot line sorted, as well as a string of minor characters and funny incidents. So that will be written up and, when I see how long it ends up, I’ll decide what to do with it.

The second thing was that a lovely man suffered a devastating loss this weekend. I had a very intermittent internet signal while I was away, but when I managed to get onto Facebook, I discovered that a friend of mine had tragically – and very suddenly – lost his wife.  Now, I have never met this man in real life, and I never knew his wife, but I feel as if I know them both. He has made me laugh and smile so many times on Facebook, and I’ve read his posts as he’s chuntered away about having to do this and that to make “the wife” happy, understanding quite clearly that he obviously adored her.  So I never knew them personally, but Facebook opens a door to people we never meet in the real world, and lets us share the ups and downs of their lives. The shock and the loss hit me as if they were my neighbours. As if I bumped into them regularly at the supermarket, or chatted to them over the garden fence. It hurt me to think that this man was hurting. I felt his grief. I felt sad for his family, and for the fact that his wife won’t see her grandchildren grow up. And it made me realise that this could happen to any one of us, at any time. You simply don’t know when will be the last time you speak to someone. I felt a desperate need to see my husband and have a cuddle.

So, instead, this post is simply about the things I learned this weekend.

I learned:

Coach interiors don’t always look like the photographs on the website or in the brochure.

Many people have no manners at all – even towards pensioners.

It is a flipping long drop from the bottom step of the coach to the pavement.download

You are never too old to be thoroughly embarrassed by your mother.

Chocolate limes are compulsory on coaches.

People on coach trips who are perfect strangers feel an irresistible urge to share the most intimate details of their lives with each other.

When travelling with a  pensioner, never ever be too far from a  toilet.

Some old buildings are so ancient, it’s a miracle they haven’t fallen down.11951820_847631315354109_1785659299550177950_n

Some cafes are a complete rip-off.

When visiting a market you will buy the most ridiculous tat that you have no need of and will never look at again.

On coach trips you basically do nothing but eat.

Hotel waitresses work damn hard and many people don’t even have the manners to thank them.

Wherever you go, you can guarantee there will be a Card Factory, a Wilkinson’s, a TopShop and a W H Smith.

Motorway service station sandwiches are more expensive than a three course meal in some restaurants.

Burger bars, sandwich shops, furniture outlets and computer stores have taken over the world.

To escape from some shopping centres you need a satellite navigation system, a torch, a map, a compass, and the help of an underground resistance movement.

Some public toilets should be condemned.

As city centres go, Kingston upon Hull’s is pretty damn good.

I really do love my mum.

A weekend away from the husband wasn’t anywhere near as much fun as it sounded. I missed him!

Most importantly, I learned that our loved ones are precious, and you never know when it will be the last time you see them. So make the most of them, tell them you love them, and be grateful for every precious second you have with them.

Even if they do tell random strangers things about you that you wouldn’t tell your best friend.

Have a great week xxx

The Busy Month of May

After my participation in the A to Z Challenge during the merry month of April, I was all blogged out. I’d somehow – don’t ask me how, because I’ve no idea – managed to come up with twenty-six different topics to blog about, all starting with the appropriate letter. Even more astonishing, I’d remembered to schedule them. And I’d scheduled them correctly. Give that girl a pat on the back! By the thirtieth of April, however, I was feeling a bit weary, and resolved to take some time off blogging.

On May 1st, I broke the resolution immediately by taking part in the Lovely Blog tour, at the invitation of my Write Romantic pal, Jo Bartlett. But that, I decided, was that. No more blogging for another month. Then another of my Write Romantic pals, Jessica Redland, asked me to be the first guest on her blog. How could I refuse that invitation? So I agreed to that, too, and you can read my post here. Jessica, by the way, has a fabulous new website that you may like to check out. It’s absolutely gorgeous and you can see it in all its glory here.

Not blogging freed up a little bit of time, and May has actually been quite a productive month for me. I finished the novella I’d started, and I’m quite impressed that I managed to bring in a story at just IDShot_225x225under 41,000 words. I’ll let you know what happens with that one. I’ve also done a first draft for a short story, and I’m now looking at it and wondering, if I turn the viewpoint around completely, will that make it more interesting, and unpredictable? Hmm, I’ll think about that one. And, best of all, I’ve made real progress with book three! Now that really is good news, because it’s been really worrying me for simply ages. Nothing I tried felt right and the story just wasn’t working. I put it away for a few months – yes, honestly, months! – and tried to think about something else entirely, while I got A Kiss from a Rose ready to send to the editor, beta read two other writers’ novels, and worked on the novella. Then I had a lightbulb moment. It came to me, in a flash (so an exploding lightbulb moment!) that I was writing about the wrong character entirely. That was the problem. When I sent her packing (sorry, sweetie) and focused on a different character, the story began to take shape immediately. This has given me so much relief, I can’t begin to tell you. So I won’t. Although I rather think I just did.

Anyway, I’ve been writing a scene a day in my little office, so my husband knows I mean business. If I’m downstairs, tapping away on the laptop, he can be quite sure that I’m on Facebook, Twitter or Googling pointless things in the name of research. If I’m in my office, sitting at my desk, staring at the large computer monitor, he knows I’m doing real writing. And I won’t leave that room until I’ve written at least one scene. That’s the rule.

download (16)I’ve also managed to get a bit more reading done. I’ve read Jessica’s novella, Raving about Rhys (you can read my review here), as well as being lucky enough to read both her debut novel, Searching for Steven, and her follow-up book, the second in the Whitsborough Bay series. I absolutely loved them! I’ve also read Louise Marley’s novella, Something Wicked, and I posted a review of that, too, which you can read here. I’m currently reading two books – Helen Phifer’s The Secrets of the Shadows, and Valerie-Anne Baglietto’s The Moon on a Stick. I’m loving them both!

When I popped over to post my reviews on here, I thought the blog was looking a bit tired, so I had a play around with background colours and fonts, and then made a header picture. I’ve used a similar one for my Facebook writer’s page here. I’m not technically minded at all, so it took me a good while to figure out how to do it, but I’m really pleased with the result.

All in all, I’ve had a good May, in terms of my “proper job”, which is what I consider writing to be. Unfortunately, it’s the “day job” that pays the bills, which is terribly inconvenient. One day I will win the lottery and then I’ll be able to buy the house of my dreams and clear off to the countryside or coast and spend every day writing. Or faffing about on Facebook. Or blogging! Now, there’s a thought. Of 10429272_799949250122316_6415847908952233703_ncourse, I’d have to buy a ticket first, and since I haven’t done that since around 2002 I don’t rate my chances very highly. Ah well.

Ooh, and as a final treat to finish off the month, my Baby Oleg arrived today! We took out car insurance through a certain comparison site, and we’ve been waiting patiently while PostKat trotted halfway round the world with our little darling, but this morning there was a knock on the door and our very own PostKat, well, a rather wet and bedraggled looking postman, actually, was standing there with our newly adopted baby meerkat. Small things, and all that… Now I just need a Paddington Bear and I’ll be happy. 🙂

Have a great week xx