News & Reviews

With July jogging swiftly towards August ~ AUGUST ~ can’t quite believe I’m saying that, I wanted to check in and say Hi.

With restrictions easing since my last news update, it’s been wonderful to properly see Mum and Dad who’d been shielding and also the rest of my lovely family and friends in various homes, gardens and local parks. Can’t believe how much our great-nephews and niece have grown during this time, especially youngest Stanley who was only a month old when Lockdown started.

Henry, Thea & Stanley ~ always a joy to see their little faces ❤

Mr B is now back doing the day job but I’m glad to say Project Briggy is taking great shape. As well as Little & Large (sheds) as I’ve called them (everything has a name at Brigden Towers) he’s built some new decking on the sunnier side of the garden, with a pergola to follow. What a star! I love it all and can so far take zero credit, but when all the building stuff is complete, I look forward to choosing some lovely (low maintenance) plants and ornaments to complement.

Latest pics:

On the writing front, If I Ever Doubt You is continuing to receive fabulous reviews since its release in April. I always imagined this moment when I was writing As Weekends Go, creating the story and the characters, so to see the two books side by side, telling Alex & Rebecca’s story in full, makes me happy and proud.

Also … drumroll

In June, following a promotion, If I Ever Doubt You briefly reached number #1 in the Romance, Sport category on KOBO. It also came out as an audiobook that month. Double Delight! 😀

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Talking of books, I’ve read some sparklers this past month, both fiction & non-fiction:

Under Your Skin, a psychological thriller by Rose McClelland

I love Rose’s writing, her punchy dialogue, the raw honesty of her phrasing, and have enjoyed all her novels. This was a change in genre for her, and she has delivered another brilliant story. Kyle’s wife Hannah goes missing and from the off we know things aren’t what they seem with this couple and their complex relationship. It is dark, disturbing and gripping all in one and the subject matter and characters’ emotions were so cleverly and authentically portrayed, I could have almost been reading a true story. I love multi viewpoint tales and a great cast of secondary characters and their subplots add to the ongoing tension and drama. Go grab it. You won’t be disappointed.

Another top crime thriller I’ve just finished reading is Claire Sheldon’s debut, Perfect Lie

A body is found in the village where main character Jen lives with her husband and two children. Jen then starts receiving mysterious items through the post. We meet and subsequently follow DI Chris Jackson’s perspective on matters, obtaining a compelling insight into police matters and what goes on in the background. Well, talk about knock me for six when I was least expecting it. You’ll know “the” moment I’m talking about when you get to it. Suspense, intrigue and twists aplenty as details emerge linking the past with the present and all the secrets and turmoil in between. An accomplished debut. Loved it!

Being a huge fan of anything inner peace and mindfulness-related, I found the two books below so easy to follow and understand as well as fascinating. Let’s face it, when you’re looking for reassuring calm in your reads, the last thing you want is a headache trying to figure it out as you go.

Anyway, for any fellow mindfulness devotees, if you want to know more, here they are:

Last but very definitely not least, I feel privileged to have read an early copy of Lizzie Lamb’s soon-to-be published latest Scottish-themed romance Penhaligon’s Highland Bride. Can’t say anymore at the moment but believe me, you’re in for a treat. Expect a full review when the novel is launched.

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Blooms and trees this time round come courtesy of another recent soothing, peaceful walk with Mr B.

Until next time,

With much love (and hair cut and roots nicely sorted – at last!)

Jan x

Hooray, Hooray! 11 Today!

It’s a very special day for my lovely publisher Choc Lit  they are celebrating their eleventh birthday. It has been fabulous to see them branch out to incorporate Ruby Fiction  and I’m very proud to be part of the whole #ChocRuby family. A huge celebratory cheer of thanks goes to the team for all your hard work and support for us authors and our books.

There will be fun, prizes and, no doubt, chocs aplenty all day over at Choc Lit & Ruby HQ, so be sure to keep an eye on Twitter & Facebook and join in the celebrations.

Here’s to another fab year!

 

Sip Sip

 

It such a joy for me to have both As Weekends Go and If I Ever Doubt You published by Choc Lit and here is a slideshow of some of my fave moments over the past five years ❤

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With much love,

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Cheers!

Jan,  x

 

May Round-up

I’d love to say I have loads of fresh news for you since my last post but as with most people, we’ve generally been stuck on repeat. Apart from Dave’s ongoing shed-building. Or “Project Briggy” as I’ve called it.

Here’s a slideshow. I’m most impressed! 😀

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We’ve had several family birthdays since we’ve been in lockdown, including our brother-in-law’s 60th, which would normally have been loudly celebrated with cheer and beer and good music, but I know we’ll do him proud later on when we’re free and able. We did all have individual cakes courtesy of our super-talented niece Alison so we could send pictures to him of us scoffing them and raising a glass or singing Happy Birthday to him via WhatsApp.

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It was also Dave’s birthday this month which we celebrated with a nice Chinese Takeaway and a bottle of wine. I made him a card with pictures of all his favourite things on it as I couldn’t find a suitable enough one in the limited amount of shops open.  

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My good friend Noreen was due to have a party in honour of a big milestone birthday. More belated fun, fizz and cake on the horizon. How will we all cope? 😉 

As for me, well since publication of my second novel If I Ever Doubt You, I’ve been delighted to feature on several lovely blogs, answering questions and sharing photos and book extracts, etc. I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve had. The reviews have been coming in and they are wonderful. Readers are saying how much they are enjoying re-connecting with Rebecca and Alex, having first met them in my debut As Weekends Go.

You don’t have to have read As Weekends Go to enjoy If I Ever Doubt You but hopefully you might decide you want to read them both anyway.  (She says cheekily, fingers crossed …) 😉 

Here are the links to the blogs I’ve been appearing on if you fancy a read. Plus one or two of those brill reviews I mentioned. Thanks galore for all the support.

Books And Me Guest Post

The Day that changed my Life ~ via Morton Gray’s blog

Uplifting Book Extract ~ via Carol Thomas blog

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REVIEW

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I wanted to also give a shout out to my lovely publisher Choc Lit who organised a virtual literary festival that ran for two weeks and was a resounding success. See the banner below that advertised it. The feedback was great as were all the authors who took part. As you can see there was plenty on offer from both Choc Lit & Ruby Fiction authors.  Bravo! 

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Blooms and tree pics for you to savour this time round, all spotted on our many soul-soothing, scenic walks 😀

Until next time, stay safe and well everyone.

Much love,

Jan X

#GuestPost IF I EVER DOUBT YOU by JAN BRIGDEN #PublicationDay @ChocLituk @JanBrigden

Books and Me!

Happy Tuesday to you all! And Happy Publication Day to Jan Brigden for the release of IF I EVER DOUBT YOU!! Hopefully you’ll all be downloading this later to enjoy!

Jan has been kind enough to write a guest post for me to share with you all today to give you a bit more of an insight into the book and the characters within the story!! Over to you Jan….

Challenging the celebrity footballer stereotype: If I Ever Doubt You by Jan Brigden

My main characters Rebecca and Alex first encountered one another in my debut As Weekends Go. Family-oriented small-town woman meets big league professional footballer. We saw the huge impact on their lives during and after that eventful summer weekend.

If I Ever Doubt You continues their story, charting each cheer, dip, drama and dilemma their relationship throws up: how Rebecca adapts to and copes with the reality…

View original post 533 more words

Publication Day Cheer

I’ve been so looking forward to sharing this post with you all.

Today I celebrate the ebook publication of If I Ever Doubt You, the sequel to my debut As Weekends Go.

It’ll be just me and Dave celebrating at home so we’ve made sure we have fizz and chocs aplenty. Yes, it will be different this time round, but to be honest I’m just grateful our nearest and dearest are all safe and well and able to share in my good news.  I thank you all for your continued love, encouragement and support.

Huge cheer of thanks to my lovely publisher Choc Lit Proud to belong to such a top team.CHOC LIT LOGO

MORTON POST IIEDY

 

Here’s the blurb:

She might have scored a celebrity footballer, but the game isn’t over yet …

Rebecca Dunning should be blissfully happy – after a whirlwind weekend, she and top footballer Alex Heath are still going strong. But as the murkier side of the celebrity lifestyle reveals itself, so does the creeping doubt.

Rebecca finds herself isolated in the fake, flashy world of toxic WAG cliques and ruthless reporters, and when a mysterious online admirer follows Alex’s every move, she struggles to cope. Can she keep playing the media game for the man she loves, or will she have to admit defeat?

Sequel to As Weekends Go.

Here’s the link should you fancy a read.

Amazon

Also available to download on Kobo, Nook, Google Play & ibookstore

I hope you enjoy it.

Much love,

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Jan x

The Day That Changed My Life by Jan Brigden

From My Home to Yours …

I hope this post finds you and all your loved ones safe and healthy and well. Such a  strange, scary, unnerving old time for everyone, isn’t it. Bless those poor souls who have lost their lives. My heart goes out to their families and friends ❤

I was re-reading my previous blog post (written pre-lockdown) about how I’d be reporting back to you on the various family events coming up in April, always a mad month birthdays-wise in our family. As is May.

Little did I know at the time what the next few weeks would bring and how much they would impact all our lives.

Yet for all the negatives and sadness and worry –  perfectly understandable –  I have been reflecting on all the good in my life, who and what is really important. Counting my blessings. As I’m sure a lot of us have.

 

Obviously my husband, strong marriage,  family and friends are at the top of my list of things to be thankful for. I’ve also appreciated the importance of my home. Dave and I live in a maisonette in a densely populated town, albeit on the “slightly” quieter and greener fringes of that town. We’ve lived here a number of years, seen huge changes, met and waved goodbye to various neighbours and witnessed countless dramas.

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Over the last few months I’d begun to feel a bit restless, agitated, less tolerant of the litter, mindless periodic car vandalism the ever-growing traffic, beeping car horns, hollered expletives and general lack of consideration of one or two of our fellow residents. I actually uttered those immortal words to Dave one evening, “It’s not like it used to be round here.”

And then came lockdown.

Now, I’m not saying all of the aforementioned niggles will magic themselves away when things return to normal, whatever normal may be, but I do know that during the extra time we’ve spent indoors and especially the time spent going out for our hourly walks for exercise, or sitting in the garden, that my love for our home and its surroundings has reignited.

Indoors, we’ve had a good old declutter, spring-cleaned and had a mass filing and shredding of paperwork session. Outdoors, we’ve tackled the garden. Dave, unable to work at the moment, has dismantled our decking with plans for a new shed to take its place. Our walks have taken in new local routes I never knew existed. Bridleways and woods full of foliage and blossoms. Hopscotch patterns chalked on pathways, pictures of rainbows in windows, the background sounds of birdsong and children’s laughter as they splash in their paddling pools or play in their gardens, between homeschooling sessions. Less traffic. Fresher air. Bluer sky. An abundance of butterflies (one landed on me – I was so chuffed!) and bumble bees aplenty. Majestic trees, one of which we pass on a certain route, is home to a woodpecker who we now listen out for every day.

Obviously it’s a godsend that we have social media and phones and video calling, etc, so we can all stay in touch, but it has also been wonderful to slow down, give the brain a rest and appreciate those things we either take for granted or never notice.

I know for sure that I’ve been more creative, writing blog posts and a Christmas novella and a few comical odes and ditties . I’m looking forward to the publication of my sequel to As Weekends Go later this month.

Published by Choc Lit, it’s entitled If I Ever Doubt You and here is the blurb and the glorious cover.

She might have scored a celebrity footballer, but the game isn’t over yet …
Rebecca Dunning should be blissfully happy – after a whirlwind weekend, she and top footballer Alex Heath are still going strong. But as the murkier side of the celebrity lifestyle reveals itself, so does the creeping doubt.

Rebecca finds herself isolated in the fake, flashy world of toxic WAG cliques and ruthless reporters, and when a mysterious online admirer follows Alex’s every move, she struggles to cope. Can she keep playing the media game for the man she loves, or will she have to admit defeat?

MORTON POST IIEDY

 

The beautiful blooms below are dedicated to our brilliant NHS and carers and key workers for whom we’ve been clapping and banging our saucepan lids in appreciation of the invaluable work they are doing throughout this pandemic and for all they do in general.

No applause will ever be loud enough. clapping-hands

Thank you.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone ❤

Much love,

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Jan x

 

Marching on …

 

Seeing all the glorious blossoms and daffodils means that spring has sprung. My favourite season. Full of promise and new beginnings and summer still ahead.

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It’s been a busy couple of months. In early January my lovely publisher Choc Lit offered me a contract for my second book (title tbc). It’s the sequel to As Weekends Go, telling Rebecca and Alex’s story going forward. It’s also a standalone story in its own right. I’m pleased to report that the structural edits are done and I’m currently awaiting the first glimpse of the cover.

Exciting!

Watch this space …

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Midway through January, all the ladies in our family attended eldest niece Jo’s baby shower. With plenty of Jo’s female friends there too, a great time was had by all. Sister Sandra (Jo’s mum) created some brilliant games and a quiz and we each wrote a little note for Jo’s memory jar – a precious keepsake for her sent with love and special wishes. We devoured a delicious buffet and cupcakes and the Prosecco flowed. Plenty of photos taken too in front of the stunning flower wall.

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January 31st saw niece Marie-Claire officially graduate with a BA First Class Honours degree in Primary Education from Canterbury Christ Church University. A grand ceremony was held at Canterbury Cathedral. So proud of her achievements and of how well she is doing in her chosen teaching career.

Hip Hip Hooray!

 

 

More joyous news in February when niece Jo and her fiance Anthony welcomed dear little Stanley Edward into the world. He’s absolutely adorable and Briggy and I were thrilled to meet him on Valentine’s Day when he was one week old. Crazy to think we are great uncle & great auntie thrice over. We love it!

 

And now here we are in March. Lots of family celebrations  over the next few weeks which I look forward to telling you all about next time, along with any fresh Book 2 updates.

Finally, some glorious blooms for you to feast your eyes upon: gorgeous daffs, a beautiful scented bouquet from my lovely friend Kay, and last but not least, the majestic camellia bush in flower next to our front door.  Enjoy!

 

Until next time, with much love,

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Jan X

 

 

 

So pleased to accept a Sunshine Blogger Award – Nominated by Jessie Cahalin

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The Sunshine Blogger Award allows bloggers to highlight and celebrate their fellow bloggers’ creativity and positivity within the blogging community.

I am thrilled to have been nominated, along with ten other bloggers, by Jessie Cahalin of the fabulous Books in my Handbag blog. Jessie was herself previously nominated. Congratulations!  I love Jessie’s gem of a blog with all its entertaining and engaging features and  value her friendship and support.

Below are the 11 questions set by Jessie for her nominees, with my answers :

Which three photographs would you present to capture your life?  Feel free to include these in this post if you can.

I believe laughter is one of the best tonics in life.  When was the last time you could not stop laughing?

At home last week when Briggy almost did the splits springing off the sofa with cramp in his  lower leg. 

Explain the last act of kindness you showed to a friend or stranger.

Listening to a lady in the hairdressers whose older sister had recently passed away. She just wanted to talk about her.

Do you prefer the winter sun or the summer sun?  Explain your response.

Ooh, that’s a close one, as I do love crisp blue-skied sunny winter days, however, being on holiday in Spain and sitting outside on a terrace, people-watching, on a warm summer’s evening with a long, cool drink in my hand, gets my vote. 

Describe your perfect Saturday evening.

Cozied up on the sofa watching TV with Briggy,  a Chinese takeaway, a bottle of wine and some choccies on the side for afters.

What sorts of characters do you prefer to meet in novels?

Multi-layered ones – open-minded,  fun to be with, resilient and self confident, but able to laugh at themselves and not be afraid to show their emotions. Big-hearted and kind. I don’t want much, do I?  😀

Give one sentence of advice to yourself when you were sixteen.

Know your worth.

Is there a friend from the past you would love to get in touch with and why?

Not really. I think I’m still in touch with most of them in some way or other.

What is your food heaven and food hell?

Food heaven is one of Briggy’s fabulous Sunday roast dinners with extra crispy roast potatoes and all the trimmings. Food hell would be anything garlicky.

Share your favourite recipe.

I wish I could say I enjoyed cooking but truth is I’m not really that adventurous or experimental. I do bake a mean Victoria sponge though. Briggy would also sing the praises of my cauliflower cheese (extra thick sauce with added chopped leeks).

The cake recipe I follow is hereBBC GOOD FOOD

If you could travel back in time where would you visit and who would you take with you?

Being a huge fan of the film Grease, I’d love to experience being a teenager in the 1950’s, like my parents. The music, the fashions, the lack of cars on the roads, the sense of hope and new beginnings after the second world war. A new Queen.  Obviously it wasn’t all sweetness and light – what era is? – but it did seem a safer, more innocent time to be alive. Obviously I’d take Briggy with me. I could teach him to jive!

 

I nominate these lovely people for a Sunshine Blogger Award 🙂

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Christine Stovell

Sharon Goodwin

Elle Turner

Rose McClelland

Sue Fortin

Kathryn Freeman

Morton S Gray

Nicola Cassidy

Heather Smith

Samantha Tonge

Sharon Booth

Big cheers for you all.  I love your blogs and you fully deserve  recognition for your  supportive, engaging, inspiring, creative and motivational posts. Please don’t feel obliged to respond, but if you do choose to accept the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few little rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.
  • Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Do leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award and ask your nominees 11 new questions.

 

Here are the 11 new questions for my nominees:

 

What are the best and worst gifts you’ve ever received?

Who is the celebrity you’d most like to share a 100 mile taxi ride with and why?

If you could interview any author past or present, who would it be and why?

What’s the most nerve-racking thing you’ve ever done in your life?

What’s your idea of the perfect holiday?

What do you find best helps you to relax, de-stress and re-focus? 

Which song triggers happy memories for you and why?

Who is the fictional hero you’d most like to spring to life before your eyes?

Which city in the world would you most like to visit?

What’s your favourite food treat/indulgence (however big or small) ?

Which three words best describe you?

 

Until next time,

With much love,

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Jan X

 

 

New Year Greetings

Happy New Year, everyone! Or at least that’s the hope. With so much worldly tension, division and negativity, for all sorts of reasons, having plagued great swathes of 2019, I’m pinning a massive great sign of positivity over this year.

May 2020 shine and sparkle for us all.

Pre-Christmas, best friend Clare and I went to the Croydon panto at the newly refurbished Fairfield Halls – Cinderella –  which boasted a fabulous cast including Tim Vine and Strictly’s very own toe-tapping past winner Ore Oduba.  People of all ages enjoyed a sparkling spectacle of humour song and dance and I’m pleased to say (not having been to a panto since our nieces and nephews were small) that all the old jokes are still being successfully used. And YES we did holler, ‘He’s behind you!’ We loved every minute.

Briggy & I had a lovely Christmas – the day itself peaceful and loaded with turkey, trimmings, fizz, chocolate, nostalgic TV and  some wonderful gifts for which we are very grateful.

My festive haul …

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Briggy’s festive haul …

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Boxing day was a family-filled occasion full of our usual laughs, chat and team quizzing (we take it very seriously you know) and the competitive streak was firmly in evidence with Team Turkeys taking top spot, leaving the Crackers, Sprouts and Nuts trailing in their wake (you should hear some of the other team names we’ve had over the years!).

Boxing Day slideshow …

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New Year’s Eve we had lunch with our great friends Bob & Noreen at Little Bay in South Croydon. Such a lovely, quirky restaurant, decorated in the style of a theatre. The food was delicious and the Prosecco flowed. In the evening, Briggy and I hit the cheeses and port and indulged in a spot of Jools’ Hootenanny and London fireworks. Bliss.

New Year’s day was spent with family once again, this time at Mum and Dad’s, with Eat, Drink & Be Merry  still very much the collective adopted catchphrase.

I hope you all enjoyed the festivities and for those of you who didn’t or who find this time of year extra emotional for reasons good or sad, I wish you peace and good health wrapped in a super-sized supportive hug.

Much Love,

Jan x

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