Book Review: The Reformation of Lady Elinor

Several years ago I reviewed The Shack by Wm. Paul Young.* I hated it. It seemed to me that it was little more than a theological treatise wrapped up in a novel, and not a particularly good novel at that. Of course, it's a hugely popular bestselling book and has since been made into a film, so I'm in the minority - although one friend admitted that she liked it but was under the impression that it was  a true story (it isn't) so is reassessing it in the light of this new knowledge.

Now, I'm not going to say that religion and fiction shouldn't mix, because several of my books (The Haven series, Easterfield, Honeymoon Heist and especially The Saved Saint) do just that. My issue with The Shack was that it appeared to me that the author had some pretty unusual and personal religious views that he wanted to make known, but knowing that others would be unlikely to buy his book if he titled it "My views on God, reality, and the purpose of life" he dressed it up a…

How my Fictional Village got its Name

My new book is now available for Kindle in the UK!  Click here to download it. (It doesn't yet seem to be available elsewhere in the world, but I'll let you know.)
I've already had my box of ten free author copies, and started giving them away. I quite forgot to warn local friends that the village where the book is set is called Thundersley. This was quite an oversight, given that the village where I live is called Thundersley so it may have come as a surprise to them to see my home town detailed in the pages of my novel. 
I didn't deliberately name my fictional village after the place I grew up as any kind of sentimental tribute (although I do love where I live). Neither is the fictional village of Thundersley in the same place as the real village: the real village is in south Essex, whereas the fictional version is in Suffolk.

Originally the village in my book was called Easterfield, a name plucked entirely from my imagination. Readers of my previous books will reme…

Why I Donate my Royalties to Heart Mothers

My new book, Fields of Glory, will be released on 19th April. As with previous books, all my author royalties from this book are being donated to a charity I support, Heart Mothers.

What is Heart Mothers?
Heart Mothers was  started by a good friend of mine, Ruth Williams, who read an article about the work of Somaly Mam in rescuing children trafficked into the sex trade in Cambodia. Touched by what she read, Ruth contacted Somaly to ask how she could help. At the time Somaly's work was well-funded by a French charity, but Somaly told Ruth that what these young girls really missed and needed was a mother. Most of them had never really known a loving mother, and many had been sold to the brothels by their own families. Although they were well cared for at the centre where they lived - provided with food, clothing, education and counselling - they each craved the love of an adult woman who would take a special interest in just them. A "Heart Mother".

Ruth got to work drummin…

Fields of Glory Cover Reveal

My latest book, Fields of Glory, went to press last week, so today I'm thrilled to be able to reveal the cover.

I love it. I think it conveys the era perfectly, and the colours are both bright and harmonious.

And here's the text from the back cover:

Thundersley, Suffolk, 1942: A young man named Jim Walker shows up at Westleigh Farm, home of the Field family, demanding to be taught how to be a farmer but reluctant to reveal anything about himself.

When Thundersley Hall is bombed by a German spy, and Violet Field is taken into custody by the Ministry of War, it is up to her daughters, Patricia and Eleanor, to work out the connection between their new farmhand and the spy.

But suspicions in wartime run deep. Everyone seems to have a secret, even the Hall’s owner, the aristocratic and handsome Alex Farrell. If his romantic intentions toward Patricia are sincere, why is he so unwilling to help her discover the truth? And can Eleanor trust her growing fondness for the taciturn Jim, …

Essex Book Festival

I awoke to snow this morning, but nevertheless set off for Chelmsford to take part in Essex Authors Day, part of Essex Book Festival. Anything to encourage readers to engage with authors, and buy books.

The event was well-organised. Apparently it happens every year, although this was the first time I'd been invited to take part. I took along a bag of my books which I put on display.

At 10.20 I took the microphone and spoke for fifteen minutes about the process of writing my new book, Fields of Glory, and about the issues presented in writing historical fiction generally. I hadn't prepared anything (apart from printing out a chapter of the book) but my years as a Latter-day Saint have made me comfortable and confident with public speaking.  I wasn't nervous, and was able to wing-it pretty well to a tiny audience of maybe twenty people. (Possibly due to the weather, or maybe the early hour, the event was somewhat poorly attended.)

Speaking to the other authors was really th…

Eight Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Running

I've been running for about three years. As an overweight middle-aged woman, I'm often asked why I started. Quite simply, I don't know. I think I just woke up one morning and decided I wanted to be a runner. I do remember asking my super-fit neighbour for tips for a beginner, and she didn't have any to suggest. So, a few years down the line, here's what I wish I'd known when I started.

1. You don't need lots of expensive equipment, but you do need the right equipment. You can run in anything comfortable, light, and weather-appropriate, but a good sports bra (if you're a girl!) and a decent pair of trainers are essential. Trainers have to be replaced regularly according to how many miles they've done. I did not know this when I started, and only found out when I started having serious pain in my foot--pain which put paid to my running--and a sports shop assistant showed me that the cushioning on one of my trainers (the one corresponding to the bad f…

Five More Tools no Writer should be Without

Following my post last week about the five tools no writer 
should be without, here are five more you might like to consider. This nifty little site/app blocks Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pintrest or whatever your primary distraction is for a set period of time, so that you can get on with your work. It's not free, but you choose what you pay and up to 90% of it goes to charity.
An Editor With more and more self-published books flooding the market, good editing is more important that ever. The manifold errors and myriad typos in them give them away as a cheap and shoddy product, and that's very damaging to the industry. I read a book with a spelling mistake in the title, for goodness' sake! If you want your book to look professional, it needs to be well edited. Of course, editing is expensive, but check out this blog post to find out how you can get bargain basement editing.
Grammarly's Plagiarism Checker
Apparently The Hunger Games is very like Battle …