orange maple leaves in a fall
Blog, Children in Need

A New Release, Supporting Children, and NaNoWriMo 2023

This week I’m celebrating my new release, supporting Children in Need, and getting ready for NaNoWriMo2023.

Dive into Leo and Sara’s World with Royal Passion!

Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy of my new release Royal Passion on Tuesday. I hope you enjoy reading Leo and Sara’s story! If you missed release day, don’t worry – you can grab your copy of Royal Passion here.

Help A Good Cause: Children in Need

Pudsey bear, The Children in Need mascot. A yellow teddy bear with a spotty eyepatch.

On Friday 17th November, the BBC will be holding its annual Children in Need event. It’s a heartwarming day of charity events and giving, showcasing the generous spirit of people across Great Britain.

The “Children in Read” auction is part of this. Authors from every genre donate their books. There’s fiction and non-fiction, and categories include books for every age. My recent release, “The Wishing Tree,” stands as Lot Number 614 in the auction, so here’s the link. Every bid counts, so please make an offer here!

Autumn in Gloucestershire

Autumn finally arrived in Gloucestershire this week! The last few mornings have been misty.The valley now dazzles with golden beech trees, while the blueberry leaves began their colour transformation just last week. And guess what? A spirited mistle thrush has chosen our yellow-berried holly tree as its domain. You can either spot it serenading from the treetop or bravely defending its territory.

Red leaved Acer at Westonbirt arboretum.
Acer at Westonbirt Arboretum ©Christina Hollis 2023

Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo 2023?

Can you believe November is around the corner? With it comes the thrilling NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. Are you participating? I’m excited to kick off a brand-new project next Wednesday as my NaNoWriMo 2023 endeavor. Stay tuned! I’ll be sharing an exclusive sneak peek in my November newsletter. And here’s the fun part: I’m still brainstorming a title for this new venture. So, I thought, why not turn it into a contest? Share your title suggestions in my newsletter, and you might just win a gift token for your creativity!

Be a Part of the Adventure!

Sign up for my newsletter here, and be the first to embark on new adventures, contests, and exclusive content!

Blog, books

The Wait is Over!

My contemporary romance Royal Passion was launched today, Tuesday, 24th October. The wait is over!

I’ve written twenty-three books, and this is my twenty-second romance. It’s also the first book in a trilogy. Subscribers to my newsletter can read the prequel to all three books, Royal Rivals, for free.

The subtitle of Royal Rivals is One Crown, Two Royal Houses, Three Love Stories. This prequel showcases the couples who will feature in the trilogy. For a sneak peek into their lives before they met each other, sign up for my newsletter here.

Book cover for Royal Rivals by Christina Hollis royal blue silk background with a golden coat of arms

To buy the ebook of Royal Passion, click here.


…here’s a taster from Leo and Sara’s romance in Royal Passion, to whet your appetite…

“Addiction, depression, suicide – I have seen it all,” said Leo.

“And I suppose you’ve got the ideal prescription?”

He strolled around to stand beside her. “Of course I have. Close your eyes.”

“In a public place?” Sara gasped, but he was deadly serious.

“Do it. Close your eyes and open your mouth.”

His commanding voice made her obey instantly. When she realised what she had done, her eyes flew open again–at the exact moment the cool kiss of silver touched her bottom lip. Leo had piled a spoon with champagne granita and was about to put it into her mouth.

“Open wide.”

“I’m not a child.”

A bead of sorbet fell from the overloaded spoon. It landed on the smooth pale skin at the base of her throat, trembled, and ran down into the shadowy cleft between her breasts.

“I can see that,” Leo purred.

“But people are staring at us!”

“Let them. Open your mouth, or – ”

“Or – ” Or what, she was going to say, but Leo took his chance. As she replied, he put the spoon into her mouth. She couldn’t talk with her mouth full of sorbet, so she clenched her teeth on the silver spoon.

“I thought you said you weren’t a child?” he teased, tugging at it.

She released her grip. “I only did that because I’ve got a chill in my teeth.”

“Excuses.” He scooped up another helping of the dessert in front of her. “I am including a sample of each different flavour. If you don’t enjoy it, then I am afraid there is no hope for you.”

“Is that your professional opinion?”

“Maybe. First, I would need to make a full examination…”

She scowled.

“…of the facts,” he added smoothly, slicing into another scoop of sorbet.

To order your copy of Royal Passion from your favourite platform, click here.

You can find out more about me here, and see some of my books here.

tomato pizza
Blog, Food

A Great Day Out

Every year, my daughter and I have a great day out. It’s an autumn treat called The Forest Showcase. This is held annually in the grounds of the Speech House Hotel near Coleford, in Gloucestershire. Food producers, craft workers and other small businesses set out their stalls to show what they have on offer.

Not Such An Autumn Treat

This year, DD and I bought advance tickets online at a discount. We expected that would save time on the day. How wrong we were! We arrived ten minutes before opening time, and there were already three long queues. One was for card payments, one for those who had bought advance tickets, and one for cash payments.

Ten o’clock came, and the visitors were allowed in. Everyone paying by card or with cash vanished pretty promptly into the showground. There was only one long line of of people waiting to be admitted. It was the advance ticket holders. Before they were admitted, their names had to be ticked off on a list. That stretched to dozens of sheets of paper. It took FOREVER! Here’s a photo of advance ticket holders still left waiting after we’d got through into the show.

Queue at Food Tasting Session - Autumn Treats
Table with paperwork Food Tasting Session - Autumn Treats

We won’t be buying tickets in advance next year. It would be worth missing out on the discount in order to avoid hanging around in the queue. Perhaps it’s all part of a cunning plan to sell more full price tickets on the day, in future!

Once inside the showground, we forgot about the delay. There were only the finest wisps of cloud in the high blue sky. The weather was warm for October, but I didn’t feel the need to take my top layer off.

There were dozens of attractions, from handmade glass and jewellery to brightly coloured trays of pansies and wallflowers. Above all it was the food we went to see, taste and buy.

The Food Tasting Begins…

The wonderful fragrance of barbecuing over charcoal made from Forest of Dean trees filled the air. Who can resist onions fried in the open air? And the smell of bacon sandwiches might easily tempt a fair-weather vegetarian to sin.    

Pies and sign for Pie Creche atFood Tasting Session - Autumn Treats

Inside this marquee there was a Pie Creche. You could leave your purchases there until you were ready to go home. Outside there was a large sign advertising an “Adult Creche”. It was a pop-up pub!

The Isle of Wight Garlic Farm had a stall, so I stocked up with virus-free heads of garlic to plant. I got three of the variety Provence, which did so well here last year, and another called Mersley. I’ve already picked out a sunny spot for them in the vegetable garden. They’ll get plenty of home-made compost, plus some calcified seaweed. Maybe that will remind them of their origins on the Isle of Wight!

Thirsty Garlic

My mistake in previous years had been to think that garlic didn’t need much water. Last year, I tried following better instructions. I watered our garlic regularly, and got a bumper crop.  Fingers crossed I can do the same next year, and there aren’t any hose pipe bans in Summer 2024.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I love vegetarian food. There were some real treats on the Parsnipship stand. Their onion bhajis and pakoras were delicious. As Forest Showcase day is a no-cook day at Tottering Towers, we bought some of their savoury pies for tea.  The Glamorgan Crumble (leek and cheese) and Tandoori mash-up were both absolutely delicious. They were really rich and full of flavour.

We all decided that the Glamorgan Crumble needed a texture more like the Tandoori Mashup.  I’ve studied the ingredients of both, and will try to create a hybrid. If I can create a mixture of the two types of treat, I’ll include the recipe in my October newsletter. I’ll be sending that out in a couple of weeks’ time. Sign up here to subscribe, and find out if I manage to make a crunchy Glamorgan Crumble!

My next book, Royal Passion will be published on 24th of October. Sign up to my monthly reader newsletter here to download the prequel to Royal PassionRoyal Rivals, for free.

To order your copy of Royal Passion from your favourite platform, click here.

You can find out more about me here, and see some of my books here.

brown leaf in tilt shift photograph
autumn, Blog

Autumn Leaves and Autumn Treats

Autumn Leaves

Autumn is starting to ruffle its way through the woods surrounding our house. This summer was so wet the bracken grew to over six feet high in many places. It makes perfect cover for the wild boar during the day, but it began to turn rusty toward the end of September. The longer, cooler nights since then and a couple of heavy rainstorms have turned the fronds a dull brown and beaten them down to knee-height.

Autumn Treats

There’s an Indian summer forecast for this weekend. That suits me: DD is coming home for the weekend. On Saturday, we’re introducing her to a great Italian street food kiosk. We’ve got tickets for the Forest Food Festival on Sunday, so that will be another enjoyable trip. This Food Festival is small, but well worth a visit. All kinds of local food producers have stalls, and there are presentations by chefs and live music too.

Drawing of a  Gloucester Old Spots pig  - ogo of the Forest Food Festival in 'Autumn Leaves and Autumn Treats'

Last year I bought some fat heads of garlic from The Garlic Farm, and planted them when I got home. I harvested the crop a few weeks ago. It’s been so good, I’m hoping The Garlic Farm will be there again this year, so I can buy some more!

Apart from the Covid year 2020, we’ve been to The Forest Food Festival every year. It’s a funny thing, but it’s always had perfect Autumn weather, blue sky, warm sunshine and only the occasional mare’s tail of cloud in a clear blue sky. The forecast this year is for more of the same, so we’re looking forward to a pleasant stroll around the stalls. It’s a good place to start picking up little stocking fillers. Quite apart from food themed presents such as cordials, beers, chutneys and other preserves there are plenty of treats on offer in the craft tent. A local photographer produces beautiful calendars filled with local scenes, there are handmade soaps, paintings and other artwork. Last year DD bought a beautiful little hand-painted dish.

My End-Of-Summer Resolution

My To-Be-Read pile is almost as tall as I am, so with only three months left of 2023 (where did the time go?) I’ve made an end-of-summer resolution. When I wake up each morning, I now set a timer and read for twenty minutes before I get out of bed. As I normally wake before five a.m, it doesn’t eat into my working day, and it’s a manageable length of time. Its surprising how much I can read in that short time.

I love a tick box, so my daily reading sessions have been added to the chart I made on Canva to log all the little jobs I have to do leading up to the launch of Royal Passion on 24th of this month. If you sign up to my monthly reader newsletter here you can download the prequel to Royal Passion, Royal Rivals, for free.

To order your copy of Royal Passion from your favourite platform, click here.

You can find out more about me here, and see some of my books here.

Blog, Writing

September Was A Busy Month

September was a busy month for me. It was exciting, too. My first Pocket Novel, The Wishing Tree, went on sale. I’ve since discovered that it sold really well, so thank you to everyone who bought a copy. I loved writing Jake and Emma’s story. I hope you enjoyed reading it.

September was a busy month…

… for getting out and about. I went to Kaffe Fassett’s Timeless Themes exhibition in in Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery. Fassett is an artist who works in many different media, including patchwork and knitting. This exhibition was of a new series of quilts he has created. I saw my first Kaffe Fassett quilt exhibition several years ago. It was at The American Museum in Bath, which with its section on pioneer life was the perfect setting.

Kaffe Fassett's colourful quilt "Salad Days" picturing vegetables, fruit and flowers in September was a busy Month

The natural world had a big influence on all the work in this exhibition. There were so many lovely pieces on display that it was impossible for me to choose a favourite. The one above, called Salad Days, was definitely in my Top Three.

Something is Only 85 Days Away!

The weather has a real feel of autumn here in Gloucestershire but it’s far too early for talk of 25th December yet–unless you need to plan a Christmas event. September is when the Marcher Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association holds one of its Writing Workshops at The Courtyard, in Hereford. That’s traditionally the time when the chapter makes plans for its Christmas meal at the same venue (seasonal jumpers obligatory). That’s another reason why September is a busy month!

News Of A Free Book…

I’ve been taking part in another Romance promotion during September. Along with many other authors I’ve been offering a free book–in my case, Royal Rivals– throughout the month. It’s a chance for readers to discover new authors by sampling their work. The promotion ends on 30th September, so if you’re reading this blogpost before that date you can find out more here.

Grid of promotional squares for Royal Passion. Seascapes, sand, text boxes for September is a busy month

…And An Ebook

I’ve been promoting Royal Passion during September, too. This romance is set on a beautiful sundrenched Greek Island where Leo has gone to escape from the pressures of being a king, and where Sara has been sent to relax. Neither of them are looking for romance, but both are in search of answers. Royal Passion goes on sale on 24th October, and you can pre-order it here.

You can find out more about me here, and see some of my books here.