Thursday, 30 May 2013

Dia de Canarias!

Today, it is Dia de Canarias, the day of the year when most locals celebrate, Canary Day. It is a fiesta day, which means banks, post offices and all official offices are closed. Though many shops remain open adding to the atmosphere of the celebrations.

On this day, 30th May, you will find staff in shops dressed in traditional costume, the girls and ladies in colourful full length dresses, whilst the men dress in sombre black and white with most finishing off their outfit wearing the traditional hat or scarf.

 Local food and specialities are lavishly displayed with lots of nibbles and samples to taste! As well as sunshine, onions and bananas, Lanzarote is also famous for its local wines. And like all things traditional on Dia de Canarias, the local wine flows!

It’s a festive mood and you will see dancing and singing in village and town squares, the streets and the new shopping centres.

These photographs I took at lunch time in the Biosfera in Puerto del Carmen, I think you’ll agree these locals are enjoying their special day.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Sitting Round My Pool - Margaret James

Today I have the lovely Margaret James sitting round my pool, sipping bubbly and chatting about her fabulous new book, The Wedding Diary. Please join us, there’s plenty of sun loungers and chilled drinks so sit back, enjoy the sun and my fabby guest.

P: You have a new book out entitled The Wedding Diary. This sounds exciting, but I suspect it’s a new departure for you?

M: Yes, it’s very different because it’s a light-hearted contemporary romantic comedy, not a dramatic historical family saga. I wrote the first draft of The Wedding Diary back in 2011 when my personal life was quite challenging and I found I couldn’t face writing about trauma, death, disaster and wartime again, even if things did come right for my characters in the end.

The Wedding Diary is about a girl who wins a competition to have a luxury dream wedding at a country house hotel. The hotel in question is the former home of Rose and Alex Denham, the heroine and hero of my Choc Lit historical trilogy. So there is a link to my family sagas, and readers who wondered what happened to Alex Denham’s house can now find out.

In The Wedding Diary there’s a big problem – the heroine’s fiancĂ© has gone missing, so will she own up and say she can’t accept the prize? Of course not, heroines don’t ever back down, they find ways to deal with their problems. But Cat, my heroine, finds she’s met her match and more in Fanny Gregory, the organiser of the wedding competition and first class wicked witch with a customised purple BMW for a broomstick. Or will Fanny turn out to be a fairy godmother in disguise?

P: I’m hooked already! I see you are published with Choc Lit, how did this come about?

M: I heard about Choc Lit when I read a first draft of what was to become a Choc Lit novel for the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme. I’d had a historical family saga published as a hardback trilogy by Robert Hale and I asked Choc Lit if they would be interested in producing paperback editions. Choc Lit were very interested, but wanted me to do a lot of rewriting for all three of the books. I did this and feel the paperback editions are big improvements on the hardbacks, which are much shorter books.

P: I see on the Strictly Sagas web site you are promoting the Charton Minster Trilogy?

M: Yes I am. Charton Minster Trilogy is a Kindle download of the three books in my historical trilogy – The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain and The Penny Bangle. I think it’s good to have all three books of a series published together. It means they’re read in the right order. They also tell the story of my heroine Rose Courtenay (later Denham) who lived through a very turbulent period in history – two world wars and an economic depression which changed the face of the UK forever.

P: I’ve read these books and I have to say I loved them and putting them all together is a fantastic idea. When you are not writing, what do you love to do?

M: I try to bring order out of chaos in my rather wild garden. My excuse for its wildness is that it’s a nature reserve.  It certainly looks pretty, especially in spring. I sit in pubs, cafes and restaurants and eat and gossip. I go on little holidays – most recently to Paris and Bath.

P: Sounds perfect, talking of pubs what is your favourite drink?

M: Prosecco.

P: I’m with you on that!  Which TV programmes do you never like to miss?

M: I hardly ever watch television – I have too many other things to do. But I like drama serials and I really enjoyed Last Tango in Halifax.

P. Gosh we loved that too. Back to writing, have you started a new novel and can we learn a little about it?

M: I’m writing a story about Rose Courtenay/Denham’s great-grand-daughter Rosie. Rose is the heroine of The Silver Locket. Rosie has lots of problems and the story is about how she sorts out her life. But in the meantime she falls in love with a married man. So, in a way, history is repeating itself, because her great-grandmother Rose also fell in love with a married man. The man in Rosie’s life is an American who has enough emotional baggage to sink the Titanic. I’m half way through the first draft and things are getting interesting right now.

P: Will this new book be published with Choc Lit and when?

M: All Choc Lit novels by both published and yet-to-be-published novelists have to be read and passed by the Choc Lit Reading Panel, a group of ordinary readers from all age bands. So, until the Panel has read this new book, the answer is – I’m sorry, but I don’t know!

P: Margaret, thanks for coming along and talking about you and your great books. Help yourself to nibbles and more bubbly, after all we are chilling!

Margaret's Links

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Lovely Words!

My face broke into a smile and my heart skipped a little beat at seeing three beautiful 5 star reviews on Amazon this week for Storm Clouds Gathering.

Thank you lovely readers, not only for buying my book, but for taking the time to leave a review. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Two Great Blogs!

As well as writing emotional and passionate books that nearly always need a tissue, I also run two wonderful web sites.

Famous Five Plus for Indie authors. Famous Five Plus is about showcasing amazing Indie authors whilst working as a team to help and promote each other, sharing experiences and widening our audience as far as possible. Within the group, there are reviewers and readers. There is also the opportunity for non members to advertise their book covers and guest on the web site.

If you would like to more about Famous Five Plus, please pop along and take a peek!

My other new blog site, Strictly Sagas. Strictly Sagas is designed to be a one stop place to find great saga reads. If you are a saga author and would like to know more about Strictly Sagas, please email me at

There is also the opportunity for saga authors to advertise their book covers on the blog.

Take a peek and let me know what you think!