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.
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! 😀
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.
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!)
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!
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 ❤
With much love,
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! 😀
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.
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.
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.
The Day that changed my Life ~ via Morton Gray’s blog
Uplifting Book Extract ~ via Carol Thomas blog
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!
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.
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.
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.
Also available to download on Kobo, Nook, Google Play & ibookstore
I hope you enjoy it.
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.
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.
Watch this space …
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.
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,
All good wishes …
I admit I love all things Christmas including the build up which this year has included a jolly, bargain-filled trip to Bluewater with my niece Jess, a festive fete at the lovely school where my niece Marie Claire teaches, a rip-roaring panto (Cinderella – it was brilliant) with my best friend Clare at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon plus all the usual pre-Christmas gatherings, present exchanges, and mulled wine, choccies and mince pies by the dozen.
I do fully appreciate that both Christmas and New Year can be a very emotional time, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for sad, and that not everybody relishes the festive season.
I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing this Christmas, you find peace and some comfort.
Thank you all for your ongoing cheerleading for me, my blog and my novel. The sequel to As Weekends Go will be released in 2020 (hooray!). I truly value your support and friendship.
May 2020 be a peaceful, healthy and joyful year for us all.
Summer Summary …
Mid-July. Seems mad to be saying that but here we are and I’ve snippets aplenty to share with you since my last update.
After some worrisome humps and bumps in the road, I’m so pleased to report that I’ve finally submitted my sequel to As Weekends Go to Choc Lit HOORAY! Such a relief. I just hope they like the story enough to give it a Yay instead of a Nay. Keep your fingers crossed for me, dear friends.
Talking of Choc Lit , they celebrated their 10th birthday in June. What an achievement. It’s a delight to be part of such a solid, successful, professional team. We all celebrated online by posting our various good wishes and congratulatory messages and photos with our books and the glorious cupcakes we were kindly sent which can only be described as didn’t-touch-the-sides delicious. Thank you, Choc Lit
A raft of family birthdays including an 18th and a 21st (our lovely nieces) were much celebrated. Amidst all the partying, I managed another London walk (diamond-studded London) with Mum and my great friend Noreen. I love these walks, always so entertaining and informative. London Walks Diamond Studded London Mum and I also visited the Charles Dickens Museum (both great fans) in Doughty Street, Bloomsbury, where Oliver Twist was penned. We spent a good couple of hours browsing the family rooms and soaking up the history and memorabilia.
Another event I enjoyed tremendously in early June was a day spent with my bestie Clare at the 3 Principles Conference in Hendon. Clare introduced me to self-help techniques and mindfulness of which I’ve become a huge fan. I’m always open to anything that helps to quieten my mind when it’s cluttered with meddlesome muddled thoughts. Before attending the conference, I’d read a couple of books about the 3 Principles (mind, consciousness, thought) including Somebody Should Have Told Us by Jack Pransky to gain a basic understanding. Listen to the speakers’ own experiences and explanations, however, brought a deeper appreciation as well as great comfort.
Later in June, Dave and I went on holiday to Spain with my parents. We stayed in gorgeous Los Boliches (halfway between Malaga & Marbella) an area we all know and love. A brilliant time was had by all which made it extra special given Dad’s past health worries. Lots of lounging, laughter, good food and the “occasional” tipple was just the tonic we all needed.
The first Saturday of July saw our annual pilgramage to the Old Coulsdon Village fete. Always a joy and a super sunny day to boot. Classic cars, dog show, tombola, you get the picture. We love it!
Just last week, Dave and I took ourselves off to Wimbledon on the tram. Glorious sunshine and a short walk up leafy Wimbledon Hill Road brought us to the village. We crossed the common to beautiful Cannizaro Park, walked round the flower gardens and the Italian garden before grabbing a coffee on the terrace of the Hotel du Vin (Cannizaro House). A browse round the lovely independent shops and a pit stop at the handinhand pub completed our jaunt.
And so to what I’ve read over the last few weeks …
Quite a few books of different genres (including three on holiday) so here are the reads that particularly sparkled for me.
Blooms are in abundance at the moment, but this stunning bougainvillea we saw in Spain takes top spot on the blog this time around.
Until next time, enjoy the sunshine and the rest of the summer.
Springing forward …
Look at us already in March with April looming into view. I sound like a broken record, I know, but where does the time go? I swear it’s only five minutes since our Christmas decorations went back in the loft.
It’s been an eventful few weeks. Half our family birthdays fall between February and June. Lovely younger sister Karen’s 50th (can’t quite believe I’m saying that!) kicked off the celebrations with a fine family meal; an occasion full of laughter, love and much scoffing and quaffing. We also celebrated our dear little great-nephew Henry’s 1st birthday with another gathering of the masses. He’s an absolute bundle of joy and is growing by the hour.
It was wonderful to see Mum and Dad enjoying these events, among others, as the past year for dad, healthwise, hasn’t been one to remember. Since his operation in January, though, he’s doing really well, so it’s a happier dad, which means a happier mum and an overjoyed family.
I’ve indulged in a few outings recently, all of which have been great fun for different reasons. My good friend Noreen invited me for Afternoon Tea Tower Hotel near Tower Bridge which we both thoroughly enjoyed. The cakes were particularly yummy, not sickly at all, and we had a glass of fizz to wash them down with, followed by a walk around St Katharine Docks Marina.
Dave and I took ourselves off to Greenwich for the day. It was unusually warm so we seized the opportunity to visit the gorgeous park (hoofed it up to the Royal Observatory) and had a coffee then a mooch back down to the National Maritime Museum which is really interesting with loads of glorious exhibits. We had a nice lunch at Bills in the town and then took a stroll round Greenwich Market and finished up at the Cutty Sark Bliss!
More recently, I joined seven of my writing buddies for one of our Romaniacs (that’s our collective blogger name) get-togethers or Sparkle weekends as they are more fondly known. I was only able to go for the Saturday but what a joy it was to see them all. We’d taken over Charney Bassett in deepest Oxfordshire and as you can see, we were never going to go hungry or thirsty. We enjoyed a lovely pub lunch at The Chequers Inn and a walk around the nearby village of Wantage before returning to the cottage where it was sunny enough for us to sit outside. Lots of writing and inspiration and exchanging of ideas and opinions occurred and being in the company of these gems reminded me of how lucky we are to share such a supportive, encouraging, loving bond.
My own writing which had been on the back burner for so long I was seriously thinking neither the urge nor the passion for it would ever return, has proved me wrong and over the last few weeks in particular has seen me enthusiastically making up for lost time with my sequel. I can’t thank Choc Lit enough for their support and patience. I just have to hope they like it as much as they did As Weekends Go.
Talking of As Weekends Go, I’m delighted that it is now also available in audio, narrated by Charlotte Strevens and published by Soundings. Audio As Weekends Go Another proud moment in my writing world.
Also … the ever-supportive Jessie Cahalin of the fabulous Books in Handbags blog wrote a super review of the book as part of a new feature called Handbag Reading Festival. It’s here and it’s a corker ~ http://jessiecahalin.com/jan-brigdens-as-weekends-go-is-calorie-free-indulgence/
My own reading over this past couple of months has been varied to say the least, all of these books a triumph that I’d gladly recommend.
Watching You by Lisa Jewell ~ Skilfully written character-driven suspense from start to finish with some deftly-handled themes. Will keep you riveted and guessing.
Somebody Should Have Told Us by Jack Pransky ~ Based upon the ‘three principles’ and our thoughts versus reality and how our emotions affect our well-being and peace of mind. I found this easy to follow and a real tonic for the soul.
How To Be A Footballer by Peter Crouch ~ Honest, informative and written in such an engaging, down-to-earth way, you just know that Peter Crouch really is as nice as he comes across on TV or in print. So funny in parts and so eye-opening in others.
The Woman In The Dark by Vanessa Savage ~ What a debut! Dark, twisty and so evocative it made the hairs on my arms stand up. More please!
59 Memory Lane by Celia Anderson ~ I was lucky enough to read a proof copy of this book which is out as an e-book on April 1st. A clever story concept with a cast of characters and a setting that makes you wish you were there in person to experience it all. A magical read that touched all my emotions.
Schoolgirl Missing by Sue Fortin ~ I’m halfway through this book and loving it so far. Who are the baddies and who are the goodies, that’s the question … Twists aplenty and lots to keep me turning the pages. I have a feeling I’m going to race through the second half. I shall report back next time round.
This magnificent Camellia bush outside our front door deserves to stand on its own in my ‘Blooms’ section. No further justification needed …
Until next time, enjoy spring and all the sunshine, blossoms and promise it offers (not to mention Easter eggs 😉 )
All good wishes and a big festive thank you
There’s no denying I’m a Christmas superfan, always have been, and enjoy everything about it, from putting up the decorations (or creating the grotto as Mr B calls it ) to sending and receiving cards, to mince pies and mulled wine after some hearty warbling at the annual church carol service.
Then there are our fun-filled family gatherings, lots of laughter and sparkle and shameless overeating.
I do also fully appreciate that both Christmas and New Year can be a very emotional time, sometimes for happy reasons, sometimes for sad, and that not everybody relishes the festive season.
I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing this Christmas, you find peace and some comfort.
May 2019 be a peaceful, healthy and joyful year for us all.
Thank you all for your ongoing cheerleading for me, my blog and my novel. The sequel is on its way (honestly!) I truly value your support and friendship.
Good wishes & a message of thanks from me to you …
I confess I love all things Christmas, from the festive foliage, to the decorations, to the advent calendar (no, you didn’t read that wrong!) to the carols and good cheer our family get togethers always bring.
I also fully appreciate that both Christmas and New Year can be a very emotional time, sometimes for happy reasons, sometimes for sad, and that not everybody relishes the festivities.
I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing this Christmas, you find peace and some comfort.
May 2018 be peaceful, healthy and filled with love & laughter for us all.
Thank you all for your wonderful support for me, my blog and my novel this year. I truly value it along with your friendship.