Well what a busy old time I’ve had since my last post. Now here we are in December with Christmas almost upon us (hooray!) and 2020 waving at us over its shoulder.
I’m looking forward to receiving my edits for Book 2 – the sequel to As Weekends Go. Both a nerve-wracking and exciting prospect but I know that whatever is suggested and advised it can only strengthen the novel. We’re a team and teammates support each other in producing what they hope is the best a story can be for the reader to hopefully enjoy.
October always starts well at Brigden Towers as the 4th is our wedding anniversary. 16 years married for me & Mr B this year and through all the ups, downs and somewhere-in-the-middles, we’re still a winning team.
This same week, I enjoyed a delightful pre-birthday treat from my gem of a best friend Clare who had booked us tickets for the west end show Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. It’s brilliant! (see review later in post). Before the show we enjoyed a stroll around Chinatown – buzzing and colourful as ever.
My birthday itself was as fabulous – another huge treat from my gorgeous sister and equally gorgeous niece who bought me a ticket for the stage version of Grease – my absolute fave film of all time. It was on at the superb Churchill theatre in Bromley and after a delicious pasta lunch the three of us took our seats, prepared for a good old, shameless singalong. Fantastic! (also reviewed later in post).
A jaunt to Leicester for the day brought a much-loved and long overdue catch up with these three sparklers, fellow authors Lizzie Lamb, Adrienne Vaughan and June Kearns. We all met through the romantic novelists’ association (RNA) and have been firm buddies ever since.
In celebration of best friend Clare’s birthday, after a coffee and a nice stroll round Hyde Park in the sunshine, we visited the Park Lane Hilton for afternoon tea. Pure indulgence from start to finish. Suffice to say we scoffed and quaffed our hearts out and took the leftovers home in a pretty box. Check out these goodies …
More mega exciting news followed when the whole family gathered at The Mulberry Bush pub on the South Bank in honour of niece Jo’s lovely partner Anthony who was celebrating his 30th birthday. Jo and Ant are expecting a baby in early 2020 and we couldn’t be more pleased for them. The birthday cheer was in full swing when Ant happily surprised us all by proposing to Jo. Cue chaotic merriment of the highest order. A day to remember for sure. So thrilled!
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie ~ The Apollo Theatre : Based on a true story, this show features main character Jamie New (played by the super-talented Layton Williams) and his journey from Sheffield council estate to the glitz and glamour of the showbiz world. We laughed, cried and rooted for Jamie all the way as he challenges and overcomes prejudice to fulfill his star potential. Fun, camp and musically magnificent, we loved it.
Grease ~ Churchill Theatre Bromley (no longer showing at this venue but will be embarking on a new 2020 UK tour ) : Being a massive fan of the film I went along to see the stage version with slight reservations and an open mind as to how it would compare. I needn’t have worried as it was a triumph. All the beloved songs plus a few new tunes added and a superb cast including Peter Andre who played the part of Teen Angel (Beauty School Dropout …) There are a few modern touches, changes and twists but they all contributed to a highly entertaining version. Bravo!
Until next time, with much love,
I kept trying to pen a news blog prior to this. January and February flew past and as with my novel writing, the will and the want were there but sadly I couldn’t convey any actual words, or at least the right words.
Having finally opened up over the last few months to my loving family and closest friends, my patient supportive publisher and equally supportive GP that I’d been struggling to cope, the relief has been enormous and as much as it sometimes feels a bit two-steps-forward- three- steps- back , the mixture of medication and therapy, including a confidence workshop, has given me some clarity about my priorities going forward. It’s a work in progress as we say in the writing world but one that I’m hopeful is moving in the right direction.
What has been fabulous about 2018 so far is the catalogue of uplifting family events and celebrations we’ve enjoyed.
A special birthday for Mum kicked off the month of March in style and although we were thwarted by the snow and ice that day, we made up for it at the weekend with a lovely family lunch and much cake and fizz.
Mid-March saw the arrival of our dear little great-nephew, Henry David, and I know I’m biased but take a look at this beautiful face!
So wonderful for Mum and Dad to become Great Grandparents in their Diamond wedding anniversary year. 60 glorious years. Such an achievement and a congratulatory card from Her Majesty the Queen which thrilled them both. We’re all so proud of them.
Naturally, we celebrated this momentous occasion with a great gathering at my younger sister Karen’s with family and friends, a delicious spread of food, bubbly aplenty and lots of laughter. Mum and Dad received some delightful gifts and cards including a fantastic memory book our niece put together with written contributions and photos from all the family, some funny, some sentimental, but all created with love and gratitude for the influence and impact they have both had on us all.
April brought more excitement with a glorious family wedding to celebrate the marriage of our lovely Nephew Andy and his beautiful bride Alison. What a great day we had. Dressed in our finest threads and willing the weather to be fine, which it was, the venue and setting were superb ~ Surrey National Golf Club ~ and with an evening reception to match, I haven’t danced so much in ages and it was good to catch up with people we hadn’t seen for a while. A triumph of an occasion for sure.
We’ve still some celebrations to come with a big special birthday looming for Dad at the end of April which I shall report back on next time round.
I’ve not done much reading lately but two books I did want to mention, one fiction one non-fiction, are the following:
That Summer At The Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan ~ The title alone made me want to dive into the story. Adrienne’s talent for creating engaging, entertaining characters, some of them warm, some witty, some wonderfully wacky, but all memorable, gets stronger with every book she writes. The stunning Irish setting and grandeur of the family home holds lots of hopes, fears and secrets and the drama, whether recounted from the past or firmly in the present, never lets up as each story thread unravels. Loved it!
Clarity by Jamie Smart ~ A lesson in how to de-clutter the mind in order to reduce stress levels, improve confidence and to think and communicate more clearly. It’s one of those books which I read straight through without trying to analyze every detail as I went and found so inspiring and helpful it really brought home to me how your thoughts can control you and leave you either dwelling on past events you cannot change or pondering the future to the point where you can miss out on appreciating the present. Something about the simple, non-baffling way the writer of this book explained things really resonated with me.
A bevy of blooms I’ve delighted in these past few weeks, some sent to me, some observed, some bought, all of them loved and appreciated …
Well, that’s all for now. I told you lots had been happening.
Until next time.
With much love,
It’s a very special day for my lovely publisher Choc Lit – they are celebrating their eighth birthday. I’m very proud to be part of the family and want to give a huge celebratory cheer of thanks to the whole 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 HQ, so be sure to keep an eye on the tweets/Facebook and join in the celebrations.
Here’s to another fab year!
Love Jan X
May’s a month of merriment in our family. Birthdays galore. My niece, my brother-in-law, my nephew’s girlfriend, and last but most definitely not least, lovely Mr B, who’s never been one for fuss and fanfare around his special day, but I still spoil him!
It fell on a Friday this year and our original plan to go out for some tapas at a nearby restaurant fell flat when he didn’t arrive home from work until later than planned.
So … we had a takeaway and a bottle of fizz instead, both of which were delicious 🙂
May also welcomed two new arrivals at Brigden Towers. No, not those sort of new arrivals … a nice new matching two-seater sofa & sofa bed. Our old ones, bless them, were so creaky and sunken, you needed a stepladder to climb out!
They did us proud, but as the old saying goes, all good things come to an end.
Here’s a pic of the replacements.
Amidst all the birthdays and sofa deliveries, I gave my first author talk this month as part of a panel on behalf of our publisher Choc Lit who are touring various libraries across the country. I hardly slept the two nights beforehand, I was so nervous, but am happy to report that all went well, mainly thanks to the love & support and encouraging words from Mr B, my family and friends. I wrote a detailed post for our Romaniacs blog Life Cycle of a Writer feature which is here, should you fancy a read ~ The jitters and joys of my first author talk
Here’s a snapshot of our afternoon in pictures. We were in Southampton and had a great audience. Plenty of chocolates too! 😉
I also featured on two blogs in May, one was a Q&A post with lovely Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group which you can read here ~ Q&A LOVEBOOKSGROUP
The other fab blog I appeared on was Annette Hannah’s Sincerely Book Angels. She has a great feature called My Favourite Things. Here are mine ~ My Favourite Things
I’ve been working hard on my sequel to As Weekends Go, so didn’t manage much reading in May. I have, however, just started reading independent author Lizzie Lamb’s new book entitled Girl in the Castle. I’m a huge fan of Lizzie’s writing and am happy to report that I’m six chapters in and thoroughly enjoying it. I shall give more details in my next update!
Much love to you all.
In tribute to my fabulous award-winning publishing team, here are seven fab things I love about Choc Lit.
1~ The name. Choc for chocolate and Lit for literary. Who could fail to smile at that delicious combo? I mean, books and chocs? Heaven!
2~ The logo. Warm, welcoming and instantly recognisable. Love it!
3~ The team at head office and beyond who offers its readers and bloggers such variety, some darker issues, others lighter, but all with romance at heart. And to its authors, from manuscript submission to editing to publication day and thereafter, that family feel, passion for our books and professionalism.
4~ Those stunning covers. I’ve had so many compliments about mine and heard so many people raving about others too. Big cheer for our very special designer Berni Stevens Lucky us!
5~ Camaraderie and encouragement among the authors. Lotsa love, laughter and literary cheerleading and advice.
6~ The Tasting Panel ~ a dedicated team of independent readers who assess each manuscript. We also now have our Choc Lit Stars; fans of our work who help spread the word about us.
7~ Choc Lit Spread ~ our online magazine packed full of news, views, comps and fab deals. And our Choc Lit treats – short stories published online by our various authors, all with that taste of romance running through them.
I could go on and on and on …
Here’s to another seven years.
Cheers, Choc Lit! Happy Birthday!