As March marches off …

I’ve lost count of how many times over the past three months I’ve said the words, “I sound like a broken record”.  I mean, APRIL already? I adore Spring, the blossoms, the daffs, the start of lighter evenings, Easter weekend (plus the choccies, of course!) but seriously, wasn’t Christmas five minutes ago?

 

Anyway, welcome April.

Practically my whole family and a fair few friends have birthdays in March/April/May so I’ve been buying cards aplenty. We celebrated Mother’s Day too, not me personally, but with my lovely mum. Mr B and I de-camped to my parents place, bearing gifts, and we cooked a lovely roast beef dinner for mum and dad with all the trimmings. It was a beautifully warm day in south London and outside my parents kitchen door is a suntrap, so after our food fest we planted our seats and grabbed some much-needed rays (a bonus in March for sure!).

In other news, my lovely publisher Choc Lit announced they were going ‘on tour’ to do some Library events, starting with Exeter on the 8th of this month, with further days planned including one in Southampton Library  and one in Stockton. I will be attending the Southampton one along with several other members of Team Choc Lit, and am thoroughly looking forward to it. It’ll be great to meet readers and writers, all very informal and fun, so hopefully I will see some of you there.  On the day, there will even be a chance to pitch your manuscript to our editor/s. You can buy tickets in advance – more details here ~ CHOC LIT ON TOUR

 

CHOC LIT ON TOUR

Choc Lit also had a stand at this year’s London Book Fair and I couldn’t resist showing you a pic. Gloriously bright & welcoming, eh? They had sweets to dish out as well!

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March Reads ~ A fab quartet of  books kept me thoroughly entertained , two of which are by my fellow Romaniacs bloggers and are yet-to-be-published and  completely different in genre, one a dark and brilliantly atmospheric and suspenseful tale, the other a delightful yarn that had me belly-laughing, the main character being a lady who will have you in stitches. You’ll love her!

The third story I read was Jane Lovering’s new book  Little Teashop of Horrors  I’m a massive fan of Jane’s writing and always feel as though I receive all the best elements a story can offer when I read her books;  loveable, relatable, quirky characters, laughs aplenty, fab settings and thought-provoking themes. Bravo, Jane! Another winner, I’m sure.

The fourth book I had my nose buried in during March was The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner, a must-read for any budding authors out there. I’d initially consulted it when I was on draft three of As Weekends Go. What I love about this book is the way Betsy gets right to the heart of all those doubts and fears you have about your writing. Every question answered in such detail and with such care, from submitting your manuscript right through to the editing stage and beyond. A really well written reference book, with lots of entertaining stories and anecdotes thrown in.

 

Thank you, March!

Love Jan X

 

As February meets March …

February started fabulously. Much cheering and dabbing of eyes upon hearing that my lovely eldest nephew and his equally lovely fiancee had set their wedding date for next year. Cue lots of “it hardly seems possible” speak, whilst gazing at photos of said nephew aged three years old and genuinely wondering where the years had scampered off to.

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Ten days in and I’d been hoping my faithful, toasty sparkle boots and fleece might not be required quite so much but then as I sat there mithering on about the smattering of snowflakes fluttering past my window, I reminded myself of the weather we’d had three years previously.

Eeek!

Now that’s what I call snow!

Our neighbour at the time was a born prankster and caught me out good and proper with his ‘alternative’ snowman. I kid you not, I almost fainted when I walked up our communal steps and saw the image on the right staring at me. Good times for sure 😀

 

Feb continued to bring much needed and much appreciated cheer when I learned that As Weekends Go was on my fave author Lisa Jewell’s list of books she’d read and enjoyed in 2016. A proud moment for sure.

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The pic that accompanied Lisa’s blog post. There I am, second from top, middle column! 🙂

 

The writers’ group I belong to  ~ The Romaniacs ~ celebrated five years of blogging this month. A supportive, loving, super-talented bunch of gals I’m proud to call my buddies.

 

On Valentine’s Day, Mr B cooked me a beautiful meal. I love him with all my heart.

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Three weeks in, I had a lovely message from a lady on Facebook to say she’d spotted my book in Bexleyheath Library, promptly borrowed it, and later reported back that she thoroughly enjoyed it.

The last week of Feb/beginning of March proved a little challenging as I pulled a muscle which seemed to affect my rib, shoulder blade and chest wall – ouch – and left me lying on the sofa for the best part of four days, frustrated and forlorn, especially as my Dad was in hospital following an operation and I couldn’t get to see him. Happy to now report that both Dad and my muscle are on the mend.

Pancake Day came and went with a whimper at Brigden Towers. Probably just as well as last years’s efforts were woeful . I don’t know what I did wrong, given there’s not much you can muck up, but me and pancakes are definitely not a winning team …

Following the ‘Bexleyheath’ sighting of As Weekends Go, a friend of a friend spotted my book in the Hilton Chennai, snapped its picture and kindly sent these over via email.

Talk about brighten my day!

 

Finally, I’m steadily moving on with my sequel/standalone to As Weekends Go and feel much happier with it, more passionate and excited which is such a relief as I’d seriously worried that the ‘want & the will’ had packed their bags and waved me off for good. Now, instead of beating myself up for not writing as many words in a day as I’d like, I tell myself that any words on that page are another step towards the finish. I’m loving the way the storyline is progressing, so long may that continue. Well, not too long … I actually want to submit it at some point. You get my drift though. 😉

 

February Reads ~ This delightful duo definitely get the thumbs up 🙂

The Breakthrough Experience by Dr John F. Demartini ~ I confess this was a re-read and as intriguing second time around. It’s about breaking through barriers in different areas of your life, balancing the positives and negatives and can be quite intense at times, scientific, even,  but it definitely changed my perspective on a few things. Some good exercises to follow too. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (what book is?) but will certainly make you think.

The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall ~ a terrific romantic ‘against all the odds’ tale of 18th century Cornish smugglers, fraught with dangers, temptation, heartache and brilliant characters and dialogue. A top debut.

 

* I couldn’t end this post without paying a little tribute to Jo Skehan, a lovely lady who sadly passed away on March 1st. Jo and I were firm frends on Facebook and although we never actually met one another in person, we shared many a laugh (Jo’s jokes were legendary!). Jo was a superb writer too. She will be sadly missed. 

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Rest in peace, Jo x

 

 

Thank you February (and a little slice of March!)

Love Jan x

As January ends …

Blimey, blink and you miss it sums up my January. I swear it was only a couple of days ago Mr B and I  saw in 2017 with our friends down the pub over a few glasses of fizz while the spectacular fireworks  lit up the London skyline on the TV behind us.

It’s been an up and down old month and although I’m pleased and relieved to have rediscovered my writing passion, I’m still behind where I wanted to be with Book 2 – my follow on from As Weekends Go. Life doesn’t always play ball, as they say, but I’m a huge believer in the ‘everything happens for a reason‘ theory and about the importance of timing, so on we go.

Having said  all that, any words on the page are better than nowt, so that has to be a positive and with each new chapter of Book 2 written, my excitement grows at the thought of submitting it and (fingers, toes and anything else crossable crossed) eventually seeing it side by side with my debut novel.

I had some lovely news from my publisher this month in that I and several other of my fellow Choc Lit authors had been selected for the Kobo UK New Voices in Fiction promotion. The effect on downloads had me jumping up and down. At its best As Weekends Go flew high at number 2 in Contemporary Romance, number 12 overall in Fiction & Literature.

Thank you, Kobo, Choc Lit and dear readers.

 

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I’d joked with Mr B that I was going to run around the block in my sparkle boots to celebrate but then looked out of the window early that morning and saw this …

 

Maybe not …

I do love the snow but the ‘soft, thick easy to walk in‘ variety, not the ‘turns to ice the minute it hits the pavement‘ kind.

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The famous sparkly boots!

 

January Reads 🙂 This terrific trio kept me thoroughly entertained.

One Dark Lie by Clare Chase – a mystery about the unexplained death of a Cambridge academic. Lots of secrets, action and a lovely dose of romance made this a top read for me.

Fur Coat & No Knickers  by Adrienne Vaughan – A fab selection of  engaging short stories, some adventurous, some romantic, some mysterious, all featuring characters who left me wanting more. Some great poetry included too.

Search Inside Yourself  by Chade-Meng Tan – I’m a big fan of mindfulness and meditation and anything that aids both mental and, in turn, physical wellbeing. I found this book both interesting and informative. Easy to follow too, unlike some mindfulness books that occasionally stray into the ‘too technical or scientific to fathom‘ bracket ( for me anyway!) Some good exercises to practice too.

 

 

Thank you, January!

Love Jan x

 

Thanking you and wishing you a very merry Christmas!

It’s no secret that I love Christmas. Our flat looks like a grotto, I still have an advent calendar (I know!), and I attend the carol concert every year even though I can’t sing for toffee! 😀

I know Christmas and New Year can be an emotional time, sometimes for happy reasons, sometimes for sad, and that not everybody relishes the festivities, so I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing this Christmas, you find some comfort.

May 2017 bring us all peace, good health, love and laughter.

Thank you all for your wonderful support for me and my novel this year. I truly appreciate it and value your friendship.

 

Please take one and pass them round! 🙂

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Merry Christmas!

Love Jan x

Life Cycle of a Writer ~ Photo-diary ~ First year as a published author.

#BookReview: As Weekends Go by Jan Brigden

Thrilled to bits with this latest review of As Weekends Go, thanks to Christina Philippou 🙂

Christina Philippou

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Genre: Romantic fiction

Stars: 4

Links: Amazon UK and Amazon.com

The Blurb:

What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?

When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her.

She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more …

But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it?

My Review:

A lovely…

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Spotlight on Guest Author Jan Brigden

Thrilled to feature as a guest today on Morton Gray’s blog 🙂

Morton S. Gray - Author

This week, Jan Brigden is joining me on my blog. She is another fellow Choc Lit author.

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Jan lives in South London with her husband & motley crew of cuddly toys.

After attending many author talks, literary events, connecting with writers and readers on Facebook and Twitter, Jan learned of and subsequently joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme.

She proudly signed with Choc Lit after winning the Choc Lit & Whole Story Audiobooks Search for a Star competition 2014/2015 with her debut novel As Weekends Go.

An avid reader and all round book devotee, Jan is also one eighth of the on-line writing group The Romaniacs (www.theromaniacs.co.uk) who in November 2015 received the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Industry Media Star award.

I asked Jan some questions :-

When do you write?

I’m home-based so able to chop and change the hours I write around my…

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What a month that was!

October? Really? Not that I’m complaining, I love October, but I’m still grinning about what September blessed me with.

In a nutshell:

The paperback release of my debut As Weekends Go, a special moment, not to mention emotional. Tears flowed, as did the laughter, cake and fizz and I was overwhelmed by all the lovely messages I received. I even got a congratulatory retweet from Crystal Palace FC 🙂

Here’s a gorgeous banner my lovely publisher Choc Lit created for me.

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And a second banner by my good friend Laura James along with the fab publication day blog post she and my other fellow Romaniacs  composed for me here: The Romaniacs Blog

 

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Another hugely proud moment was when I learned my novel was being featured on Lovereading UK  as one of its debuts of the month. A Weekly Staff pick too. Double delight!

 

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Cue more fizz & chocolate (naturally!) and the added bonus of sunshine …

 

 

The support and good cheer I received throughout the month from all my writing buddies at Choc Lit and beyond, especially from my fellow Romaniacs, plus lovely readers and bloggers was brilliant.

Here are some guest posts, promo posts and Q&A features I took part in during September – thank you dear bloggers!

Choc Lit Blog ~ Memorable weekends of mine.

Jera’s Jamboree ~ Q&A

Jo Lambert ~ Launch Day promo post.

Linda Hill ~ Guest post on the importance of doing your research.

Whispering Stories ~ Q&A

Being Anne  ~ Guest post on stereotyping & my fictional footballer (plus Anne’s wonderful review of As Weekends Go).

Towards the end of the month I attended an author/blogger meet up in London which gave me a great chance to say hello to faces both new and familiar. A good time was had by all, with much writerly chat and laughter. We were also blessed with glorious sunshine again and a fabulous view of the Regent’s Canal.

All in all,  a month to remember.

Bring on October! 😀

 

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Love Jan  x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doing Your Research, A Guest Post by Jan Brigden, Author of As Weekends Go

So pleased to feature on Linda Hill’s blog, chatting about the fun and so important research I did for As Weekends Go 🙂

Linda's Book Bag

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I’m delighted to be welcoming back lovely Jan Brigden, author of As Weekends Go to Linda’s Book Bag. I have previously interviewed Jan and you can read that interview hereAs Weekends Go was published by Choc Lit on 4th December 2015. As Weekends Go is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US and by following the publisher links here.

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As an aspiring romantic writer myself, I’m delighted that Jan has agreed to write a guest post all about her research process today.

As Weekends Go

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What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?

When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something…

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HONNNNKKKKKKK!

The lovely post my Romaniac buddies did for me on paperback publication day …

The Romaniacs

HONNNKKKK!!!

The fireworks are being lit, the cake is coming out of the oven and the glasses are overflowing with pop as The Romaniacs celebrate the paperback release of our lovely Jan Brigden’s As Weekends Go.

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Laura: Many congratulations, Jan. What an exciting day! Your first paperback. And isn’t it gorgeous? I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a signed copy. I am thrilled for you. So well deserved, my lovely, hardworking friend xxx

Catherine: Congratulations, Jan! The honkometer cannot withstand such excitement! This level of celebration may be enough to put it into early retirement! Enjoy the day and we’ve stocked up on additional cake to mark the occasion! Xxx

Vanessa: HUGE congratulations, lovely Jan. I hope your day is filled with cake and champagne – I can’t wait to add the wonderful As Weekends Go to my Romaniac shelf!

Sue: Honkity-honk-honk-honk! Congratulations, Jan on the release of…

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