A Look Back at 2015…

I can’t believe we’ve reached the end of 2015. To me it was only yesterday that we were looking forward to welcoming in a new year and now here I am typing this on the very last day – time certainly has flown.

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag this year.  I think most people anticipated another hot summer similar to the one experienced in 2014. Sadly it didn’t arrive but from the photos I’ve selected here, it does show those blue sky days did put in an appearance, although maybe not as frequently as the year before.

 

We took time out to enjoy trips away.  Our only non-UK holiday was in March when we visited Prague.  Disappointing weather but an amazing city and one which we’d very much love to return to. We also ventured into Cornwall for the first time in many years with a Spring and Autumn stay in Fowey. And of course, holidays simply wouldn’t be complete without a return to my second ‘home’ – Dartmouth, which despite being a bit of a magnet for tourists, is still a great place to stay.

 

 

April found us in Lincoln for a few days and a trip to see the Magna Carta and visit the castle and cathedral. July we had a two night stopover in Christchurch for a friend’s birthday and September found us in Ironbridge, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.  We took advantage of a value for money ticket which gave us entrance to all the museums there.  Definitely a keep fit week walking between them! And then finally in November back to Christchurch for a mid-week break before winter set in.

 

In August my sixth novel Summer Moved On Was published. Although starting out as one book the story soon expanded into two and I’m currently 26,000 words in on the sequel Watercolours in the Rain.

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In November we  said goodbye to Bridget, my husband’s beloved MG Midget, who left us for a new owner. The new girl in town, Baby Jane, a 1977 Brooklyn Green MGB GT, now sleeps in the garage and has become his new WIP.

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So what happens in between all this travelling and writing? Well I’ve been reviewing and blogging.  I started a regular slot on my blog -‘Tuesday Talk’ where I invited all sorts of people involved in the world of writing to come and chat.  I’ve had some amazing people so far and more to come in 2016. Currently it’s on a festive break but will be back in January.

My reviewing has also kept me busy.  Brook Cottage Books, Netgalley and now Hodder and Stoughton and I still find time to choose my own reads off Amazon. Of course I mustn’t forget Social Media.  2015 has been quite a year for meeting new people on both Facebook and Twitter,. Tonight when Big Ben strikes midnight  I’ll be raising a glass to all of you – friends old and new!

So that’s it for 2015.  Now off to get ready for an amazing night out!

Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and hoping lots of good things come your way in 2016!

thU3HW0ZSY

Jo xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jo Lambert does…Poetry

Tuesday Talk is currently taking a break until the New Year and will return in January.  However, I thought to fill the void it might be an opportunity for some general posts on the blog.  Last week it was all about early morning inspiration for writing.  This week it’s poetry.

Being fully committed to writing romance I’ve very little time for poetry.  However, back in the late 1980s when I was Admin Manager for the Community Health Unit in Bath one of my unofficial titles was  Departmental Bard. Milestone birthdays, leaving dos or any other reason for celebration would require me to compose something relevant for the individual involved.  Pulling together the elements of a person’s life into an amusing few lines was fairly easy, but something I could switch on and off from.  Writing a novel, for me, was my main goal.

Back in the late nineties, I enrolled for a Creative Writing Class at the local College.  Among the the sessions we had was one putting our rhyming talents to good use.  Our lecturer presented us with a table of photos and cut outs from magazines. She asked us to choose one and write a poem about it.  The picture which had a real pull for me was the one below  ‘Wearing the Christmas Dinner‘.

EPSON MFP image

which resulted in this poem:

Behold I stand a culinary vision

Of Yuletide cheer, no inhibitions

Roast turkey pinned against my chest

While carrots and sprouts hang from my waist

A south sea island lay of roast

Adorns my neck and feels most…

Uncomfortable – and earrings are a pain

While on my head the pudding’s aflame

With brandy poured quite liberally

From the bottle given to me

A Christmas gift from the one I love

Who as we speak is still at the pub

With all his friends – a quick drink I was told

 That was hours ago, the food’s now cold

So I’ve had my own little party here

Filled myself with Christmas cheer

And now decked out with care and taste

Wait for the key in the door and the look on his face

I have dipped in and out of poetry over the years and usually keep anything I’ve written on file.  So now in the run up to Christmas I thought it would be appropriate bring it out and share .  Enjoy!

The Darkest Hour is just before Dawn…or maybe not in my case…

Authors are a pretty varied bunch; individuals pursuing the same end result in their own unique way. Some of them use their life experiences to enhance their work; others simply have amazing imaginations.  There are those who have obtained a degree in creative writing  or have had a career in journalism while others, having no academic qualifications, are simply great story tellers.

Similarly, writers go about producing their work in ways which work for them.  You may be a plotter, or a panster, or a little of both.

From a personal viewpoint, I prefer to know only parts of my journey.  The buzz for me is the unexpected.  And the best time of day to find that unexpected and sought after spark of inspiration is first thing in the morning.  I never usually sleep beyond five thirty and as the alarm goes off at seven fifteen it gives me time to think about where I am with my current WIP Watercolours in the Rain.  It gives me a chance to run over what I’ll be doing today when I get in front of the PC. Currently I’m in a happy place, knowing exactly what scenes are needed for my next week of writing.  With Post Its stuck to the office notice board it means I’m totally in control.

One thing which had been bothering me, however, was an important element at the end of the book.  Now I know I’m not going to be writing that any time soon, but this morning when I woke up it was the first thought that came into my head.  I’d already decided what is going to happen to the two main characters, but that left the antagonist.  How was I going to deal with her in order to bring the whole book to its conclusion?

I hold up my hands as guilty to murdering past bad characters; on two occasions in fact.  But real life’s not like that and although it worked before, when I wrote The Other Side of Morning, I wanted a more  realistic fate for the scheming Therese D’Alesandro.  This time round I’m travelling that same road.  And in the early hours of Tuesday 8th December, I knew exactly what I was going to do with Lily’s character.

So you see, for me it’s those wee small hours which prove the most productive and offer up the answers to all those unanswered questions I have.

 

 

 

REVIEW OF THE GIRLS FROM SEE SAW LANE BY SANDY TAYLOR

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Brighton 1963. Mary Pickles and I walked along the street with our arms linked, looking in shop windows. We were best friends and together we were invincible.

Dottie and Mary forged a friendship over a bag of penny sweets when they were eight years old. They’ve shared everything together since then – the highs and lows of school, family dramas, hopes and dreams and now, at seventeen, they’re both shop girls, working at Woolworths.

As they go out in the world in pursuit of love and happiness, the simplicity of their childhood dissolves as life becomes more complicated. The heady excitement of first love will consume them both, but the pain of unintentional betrayal will test their friendship in ways neither of them could ever imagine…

A charming, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting novel which brings a bygone era vividly to life. Fans of Nadine Dorries, Mary Gibson and Pam Weaver will love The Girls from See Saw LaneCounting Chimneys coming soon.

MY REVIEW 

Dottie and Mary have different ambitions.  Mary is artistic, she wants to study in Paris while Dottie wants nothing more than to settle down and marry. Elton Briggs and Ralph Bennett also have very different aspirations for the future.  One hopes to make it in the music business while the other’s horizons are fixed on training to become a plumber.

Mary is besotted with Elton’s dark, good looks and ‘give a damn’ attitude.  Ralph’s kind, quiet steadiness appeals to Dottie. While a determined Mary hopes to persuade the elusive Elton to go steady with her, Dottie and Ralph’s gentle friendship begins to develop into something more meaningful. But when fate takes a hand on the night of Ralph’s eighteenth birthday party everything changes.

As a child growing up in the sixties, I could really relate not only to the time but also the kind of hopes and dreams these four characters had.  I loved the close friendship between the two girls and the writer’s cleverly crafted and totally authentic description of daily life in 1963.  Although this was written from Dottie’s point of view, we see Mary’s thoughts as a diary entry at the beginning of each chapter. In this way we do get a feel for both of the characters. The writing style is easy and the plot takes you with it…you really want to know what happens next.

Mary, with six brothers, is pretty, clever and determined to eventually realise her dream of travelling to Paris to train to become an artist. She is also in love with Elton Briggs. Dottie feels she is an ordinary girl with average looks but as the book progresses you see how amazing she really is.

I thought the interaction between the members of the Perkins family was excellent and what a bunch they were – prima donna older sister Rita, planning her wedding and annoying little brother Clark, always quick with his witty comments (usually while sitting at the meal table). Dottie’s parents too produced some amusing and sometimes laugh out loud moments…and of course there was Aunty Brenda with her controversial comments.

As a reviewer I read an awful lot of books and, yes, there have been those with sad moments. It takes a rare book for me to reach for the tissues, but The Girls from See Saw Lane did just that and that’s what for me made this book very special.

Being the first of a trilogy, I’m now looking forward to the next chapter in the lives of these characters in Counting Chimneys which is out  next year. In the meantime my Amazon and Goodreads reviews will award The Girls from See Saw Lane a very well deserved five stars.

My thanks to Bookouture for giving me a free copy of The Girls of See Saw Lane in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book link:

TUESDAY TALK WELCOMES ROMANTIC NOVELIST DEVIKA FERNANDO


devikafernando profilepicGood morning Devika and welcome. Can I begin as usual, by asking you a little about yourself?

Good morning, Jo. Thanks so much for having me over. This may sound strange, but this is always a difficult question for me… because my life can hardly be summarized in a couple of sentences. Let me just say that I’m half German and half Sri Lankan and have spent many years living in both countries. I love writing, reading, learning languages, and animals.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer and how did you begin that journey?

I was always reading (or being read to) when I was a child and it just seemed natural to write something too. So my first ever (really short) short story was written when I was 7 years old. I made the ‘real’ decision to be a romance novelist in 2013 and then did a lot of research on the genre, the current trends, the possibilities and especially self-publishing. Then I wrote my debut “When I See Your Face” during NaNoWriMo and published it in 2014.

You write romance and paranormal romance? Is there any other genre that appeals to you?

That’s correct. When it comes to reading, there really isn’t any genre I don’t like, apart from erotica. Romance will always be my favourite, web WISYFthough. And as for writing, I might try my hand at YA and science-fiction / a dystopian novel in the future (of course also with romantic elements).

How do you go about planning and plotting a new novel?

I’m a mix of pantster and plotter. I get an idea, write a rough synopsis and character outline and then write, write, write without going into the details first.

Can you tell us something about your current WIP?

I used NaNoWriMo to start a contemporary romance novel called “Seduced in Spain”, which will be part of the same “Romance Round the World” series as “Saved in Sri Lanka”. It is also about second chances, and finding oneself as well as true love.

And I’ve just released Books 2 and 3 of the FIRE Trilogy (paranormal romance). Book 1, “Playing with Fire”, is available for free.

During your life you have lived in Sri Lanka and Germany. Are there any other countries you would like to live in?

I’m not sure I’d want to live anywhere else, but I certainly want to visit many countries: Australia, India, Ireland, Scotland, England, Spain, Canada, New Zealand

Are you a beach or cities girl? What was your most memorable holiday?

I am a mix of both. I love being around nature, enjoy the quiet of a village, and definitely love going to the beach – but on the other hand, I prefer the Saved in Sri Lanka webcreature comforts a life in the city offers. It’s way easier to get around, to work and buy whatever you need, especially in Sri Lanka.

I spent 5 days in Berlin with my best friend once, and I’ll never forget the memories I made in Germany’s capital.

And lastly, if you were a castaway on a desert island, what four things couldn’t you live without?

I think my laptop so I could write and read whatever eBooks are saved on it. A diary and pen to write after the laptop battery dies. I guess my husband doesn’t count as a ‘thing’ I could take, right? So maybe also a camera. And #4 would be a knife as my most important tool.

 

ABOUT DEVIKA

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with fire trilogy - book 1 - webher husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet and sensual, deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust.

What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, Devika is a faithful servant to all the cats and dogs she has adopted. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

http://www.devikafernando.com

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https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7980006.Devika_Fernando

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Having always loved to read and write, Devika Fernando made her dream come true in 2014 when she became a self-published novelist. The Amazon bestselling author has released several eBooks in the genres contemporary romance, paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Her German and Sri Lankan roots influence her writing.

http://www.devikafernando.com

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