Giveaway, Goodreads, Heart Of A Hostage, Her Royal Risk, His Majesty's Secret Passion, newsletter, Princes Of Kharova, The Wild Rose Press

Giveaways And Prizes—Not To Mention Romance, Royalty, and Rhinovirus…

Gah! No nonsense this week, as I’ve been felled by a bug that’s been doing the rounds of OH’s office. Now I (and the next generation) have been felled by it, too.

It would happen, this week of all weeks. On Friday, the third book in my Princes Of Kharova series for The Wild Rose Press, Heart of A Hostageis released. If you join the Goodreads giveaway before December 2nd, you can be part of the draw for a free signed copy of Heart Of A Hostage.

As part of The Wild Rose Press‘s holiday season, you can get 40% off the ebook versions of the first two books in the Princes Of Kharova series, His Majesty’s Secret Passion and Her Royal Risk, but you’ll have to be quick. This is a time-limited offer!

It’s Advent Sunday today, so in the spirit of the festive season I’ll be holding a draw for subscribers to my newsletter. Sign up to my mailing list here before December 2nd, and you’ll be entered in a draw to win two signed books—a copy of both His Majesty’s Secret Passion and Her Royal Risk, so you can catch up with the romantic excitement in Kharova before Heart Of A Hostage is released on Friday.

In my Christmas newsletter, there’s a competition to win all three of the Princes Of Kharova books in one romantic bundle along with other prizes, so sign up here today!

Heart Of A Hostage, My Dream Guy, newsletter, Princes Of Kharova, Romance, short stories, The Wild Rose Press, Writing

This Writing Life—Cover Reveal for My Dream Guy… 
In my summer newsletter, I held a competition for readers to choose between potential covers for my next short story, My Dream Guy. The names of everyone who voted went into a draw to win a preview copy of my next short romance, My Dream Guy, and Emma’s name was first out of the hat. Here’s the cover my subscribers chose. What do you think? 

My Dream Guy is based on a holiday OH booked as a surprise when we hadn’t been together long. I really did not want to go. I was too busy at work, the weather had been foul for weeks and wasn’t forecast to get any better, while to cap it all, this was an outdoor activity holiday. I’d much rather sit in a wood than fly through it on a zip wire, but when you’re first in love, you don’t always say things like that out loud! I was all ready to be a martyr, but I got a big shock when I discovered my own dream guy had hidden depths… 

Emily gets a wake-up call too in my new story, My Dream Guy. The sparkle’s gone out of her relationship with Jack. She’s started hankering after the guy who was her first crush. Back then, Harri was a bronzed, twenty-something farmer who hardly paid any attention to the tongue-tied kid camping in his field with her family. Now Emily’s older, she’s thinks Harri the Hunk’s going to be the best thing about her dreaded holiday to a Welsh campsite, during the wettest summer on record. 
She’s in for an enormous shock—and then her boyfriend Jack springs an even bigger surprise. 
Can Emily’s holiday from hell ever have a happy ending?
There’ll be more about My Dream Guy in my autumn newsletter. That will have all sorts of news about life here at Tottering Towers, including the latest on Heart of A Hostage, the next book in my Princes Of Kharova series for The Wild Rose Press, an update on my bees and the kitchen garden harvest, together with a seasonal recipe, and a competition for subscribers only.
 My next newsletter will be out in the autumn. To get a copy, you can join my mailing list here: 

Beekeeping, newsletter, River Wye, Turkish Delight, Writing

A Writer’s Life – Autumn Is Here…

That was then…

Autumn has arrived, and it came in on a blustery south-west wind. That means rain – and lots of it. Only a few weeks ago, the river level was almost down to the record low level of the famous drought year of 1976 – on the right is a snap of it as it was.

… and this is now

Now rain falling on the mountains of Wales is gradually draining into the Wye. Canoeists don’t have to  worry about grounding on gravel banks anymore. They’re too busy fighting their way through torrents and rapids. The snap on the left was taken today and shows how the small island has disappeared.

As I type this, it’s impossible to see our neighbour’s house – the rain is so heavy, clouds have filled the valley. All the water-butts around the house and greenhouses are overflowing, and they were almost empty in September. The weather this year has been as good as last year was bad. This meant a great harvest of fruit, and now autumn has set the blueberry leaves on fire.

After losing all my bees, I was lucky enough to get a replacement colony via our local beekeepers’ club. It was  late in the beekeeping season, but my new bees still managed to populate their hive. I shall have to be on my toes next spring, or their queen will think it’s time to lay a replacement and move out with a swarm of her followers. She’ll want to set up a new home somewhere else, leaving her daughter queen behind in my hive with a tiny nucleus of young bees. That means I’ll get no honey for the second year running! To avoid that happening, I’ll  try and hang onto my existing queen by persuading her to move out, but only as far as one of my spare hives. That means I’ll be spending this autumn cleaning and repairing all my spare kit, ready for next spring. Like gardening, beekeeping needs you to think ahead.
By TheMightyQuill
I’m planning to issue my next newsletter soon, and this picture has been a great inspiration! I’ll be including my own recipe for Turkish delight in my newsletter, and you can sign up to be included on the mailing list here
Creative Writing, inspiration, libraries, newsletter

Three Top Tips To Help Your Creative Writing…

By Antonio Litterio

Keep copies of all your work. Set your computer system to do this automatically, every thirty minutes or so. It will remember, so you don’t have to! Have a separate memory stick for each day of the week. At the end of each working day, copy the latest version of your work in progress onto the appropriate stick. Keep them together on a key-ring, and keep them with you at all times. As an extra safeguard in case your external memory gets corrupted, lost or stolen, email your work in progress to yourself once every seven days as a backup. If you use a MAC, “save As” a word document too. That way, you’ll always be able to access your WIP via email, on whatever form of computer you have to hand. Never rely on keeping things wholly in the cloud, just in case.

Use all your senses to gather inspiration, then store it in ways that will help you to get creative. Take photos (getting permission where necessary) and upload them onto Pinterest andTumblr, for example. This will provoke all sorts of reactions from potential readers, and you can use these to further inspire your work. You can keep the boards secret if you like, or fully engage your social network. Bookmark helpful sites online, but use metadata (tags and key-words) so you can find things again easily. There’s so much interesting stuff on the internet, the tendency to save links and articles in the same way a demented squirrel hoards nuts. A good system for retrieving them makes the difference between useful information, and endless time-wasting searches.

Make use of your local library. They need all the support they can get, so the staff there are always delighted to help. They do far more than simply lend out books nowadays. Ours holds talks and creative writing classes, offers a free audio book service, lends ebooks, and has a telephone book-club, so the housebound don’t miss out.  They work with family history and local studies groups, as well as subscribing to wide range of newspapers, magazines so you don’t have to! The ability to book online time means you’ll still have access to a computer if yours is out of action. You can also use the library’s facilities to scroll back through back-copies of printed media, which is bound to give you dozens of ideas. You can go on to check facts and figures with the library’s reference section at the same time. Most library services are free, or easily affordable, so a trip to your local branch is always a bargain.

For another free resource, visit and click to sign up for my newsletter, which will bring news about my next release and a whole lot more!

Jewel Under Siege, Milos Karadaglic, newsletter, plums

Food, Men and the Weekend…

Despite the poor start to the year, our garden ended up producing more fruit than it has done for a long time. The plum harvest was a good one, but because we had a downpour at the wrong time many of the fruits burst their skins. Although the plums tasted as good as ever they attracted wasps, and wouldn’t keep. Rather than waste them, I adapted a recipe I normally use for blueberries. It worked brilliantly.

You’ll need:
Prepared plums, washed, halved and with the stones removed.
6oz softened butter (or margarine)
6 oz caster (fine) sugar
6oz self-raising flour
3 eggs

Extra caster (fine) sugar to taste
Lemon juice (optional)

Heat the oven to 180ºC (Fan, 160 C) Gas mark 4.
Cover the bottom of a shallow ovenproof dish with the roughly sliced plums. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, and sprinkle them with sugar to taste. If the plums are already quite sweet, add a spritz of lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, flour and eggs for a couple of minutes to make a smooth, glossy mixture. Spread this evenly over the fruit, and cook for around 35-40 minutes, or until the sponge is well risen, golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed.
Serve warm, with custard or ice cream.

This week’s hero is award-winning Milos Karadaglic. He comes from Montenegro, and began playing the guitar as a child. A scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music brought him to London at the age of seventeen, and now he has an international career.

I’ll be working on my Autumn newsletter this weekend, to be published the minute I get the draft artwork for Jewel Under Siege, which will be my next release.   If you want to be among the first to see it, click here to subscribe to my newsletter. Don’t worry, I’ll never pass on your details!