Latest, much appreciated, reviews of Daffodils #

4.0 out of 5 stars Provocative story of World War I in Europe from perspective of English families, July 22, 2014
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The author weaves together a tale of English families–aristocrats and servants–into a story that leads into World War I. Character development was fascinating, especially the blurring of class distinctions brought about by the war, leading to changes in English society. The heroine of the book goes through many phases from childhood playmate on the manor to servant to mechanic for English troops. A very worthwhile read!

 beautifully written book in difficult war years

excellent read, and I learned so much more about the war years, I did not want to ut this down

5.0 out of 5 stars Daffodils, May 30, 2014

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5 star rating for Daffodils and kept as a favorite on my Kindle Fire. This story depicts so many aspects of
areas of life with great insight. Stayed up into the wee hours reading this \”couldn\’t put it down book\”.
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!, May 13, 2014
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Incredibly well written and captivating, this book draws you in to the point you can not put it down! Wonderful!
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and poignant, May 2, 2014
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the author did a great job of placing you in the moment of the war and how it affects the lives of people dealing with the war no matter their station in life right down to the feel of the uniform to the taste of the food in the military camp.
A big thank you to every reader who took the time and trouble to write a review of Dafffodils. It\’s now notched up 38 in the US, 20 in the UK and 8 on #Goodreads, making a total of 66 in all. Each one is very much appreciated!

YAY! #Daffodils has made it into the premier catalogue at #smashwords

Phew! It takes a bit of doing getting the formatting right but I\’m pleased to announce that Daffodils is now listed in the Premium catalogue on As far as I can work out this means it gets into other outlets across the world too.
Feeling a little smug! even if it took me ages to get there!

At last! #Cover reveal for Peace Lily!

Here it is at last!

The cover for my new book, which I hope to launch in September this year.
It is the sequel to Daffodils – spot the theme?
Here\’s the blurb:
After the appalling losses suffered during World War One, three of its survivors long for peace, unaware that its aftermath will bring different, but still daunting, challenges.
Katy trained as a mechanic during the war and cannot bear to return to the life of drudgery she left behind. A trip to America provides the dream ticket she has always craved and an opportunity to escape the strait-jacket of her working class roots. She jumps at the chance, little realising that it will change her life forever, but not in the way she\’d hoped.
Jem lost not only an arm in the war, but also his livelihood, and with it, his self esteem. How can he keep restless Katy at home and provide for his wife? He puts his life at risk a second time, attempting to secure their future and prove his love for her.
Cassandra has fallen deeply in love with Douglas Flintock, an American officer she met while driving ambulances at the Front. How can she persuade this modern American to adapt to her English country way of life, and all the duties that come with inheriting Cheadle Manor? When Douglas returns to Boston, unsure of his feelings, Cassandra crosses the ocean, determined to lure him back.
As they each try to carve out new lives, their struggles impact on each other in unforeseen ways.

Comments most welcome!

#selfpublishing thoughts

A fellow writer, who lives in Tasmania, has asked me for my thoughts on my experience of going \’indie\’ as a writer of historical fiction. Prue Batten ( ) has been asked to sit on a panel at  the HNS-Australasia Conference in Sydney in March 2015 and talk about self publishing. She wanted to represent the views of other writers too, so this is mine:

 \”I did try and go the traditional route and then I got bored with waiting for replies! The rules at that stage were that you could only submit to one editor at a time and each one took six months to respond in the negative. Meanwhile my life was slipping by and, having come late to writing, I couldn\’t afford to waste more time. I joined a peer review website, run by the Arts Council in the UK, called Encouraged by the anonymous reviews of my work on there, I decided, with the assistance of a writing friend met via the site, to go \’indie\’ and self publish. Having taken the plunge, I met another set of authors on Facebook who helped and supported me in my endeavour. In some ways, calling it independent publishing is a misnomer, as I had so much assistance from unpaid wellwishers. I\’ve since earned money from my two books, The Twisted Vine and Daffodils, money I would not have otherwise had and have therefore realised my personal dream of being paid for putting words in print. Learning to accept reviews on the chin at was a great precursor to the same process with the general public, who have, on the whole, been kind and receptive of my work. The feedback has spurred me on to write a sequel to Daffodils, Peace Lily, and I have absorbed their comments and know this has improved my writing further. Being \’out there\’ in the public eye is both brave and foolhardy but readers are the best judges of whether a book works. Agents and publishers, as far as I can see, want books that sell. Indie writers have more freedom to write stories that move them, where they can bare their souls, reach out to kindred spirits and touch hearts, if they can, without trying to fit a particular genre, and it gives me immense satisfaction to know that I have achieved that. It is here that genuine exploration can occur, without the mercenary ties of making it pay (though very welcome!) and I think it is here that future great writing will be found, not exclusively of course, but the licence of independence gives creativity an unfettered playground in which to chase that elusive muse. The whole experience for me has been very positive and enjoyable. It is the future.\”

Cover of Peace Lily

The lovely Jane Dixon Smith has been putting up with me pestering her about the cover and we\’ve come up with a stunner. Rather belatedly I\’m checking out the copyright on a beautiful painting we\’ve used as a backdrop. Fingers crossed, toes too, that permission to use the artwork is granted, or we\’ll have to go right back to the drawing board.
So, no reveal just yet – wish I could!

#5* review on #Goodreads for #Daffodils

Thrilled with this 5* review for Daffodils that appeared out of the blue on Goodreads today:

\”I really loved this book….. After I finished it, it was as if I had seen a movie… I had to keep reminding myself that I didn\’t see it, I read it! It was just so vividly described and emotionally well-thought out. There is an element of grief to the story that is very realistic and even though the elements of faith are in a negative vein, the theme of grace and mercy and forgiveness still comes through… very moving story….\”
Hoping to launch Peace Lily, the sequel in September this year!

#Joanne Harris – Keynote speech from #Winchester Writer\'s Conference

A dear writing friend, who would have loved to have come to Winchester, asked me about Joanne Harris\’s keynote speech. There was so much to inform and absorb at the conference that I had forgotten some of the delicious nuances of Joanne\’s inspiring talk, so I was glad of the prompt. Here\’s what I remember:

\”Oh, you asked about Joanne Harris – she was truly magnificent. She didn\’t chat with any delegates but gave the most wonderful, fluent keynote speech. She spoke for 50 minutes without pause or notes and it was totally entertaining. She began with a laugh, saying that she rambled when she talked or wrote, and even convinced me for a while that she was, but there was a point to every word. She cleverly brought the beginning, which seemed funny but irrelevant, back into the point she made at the end. A masterpiece! She encouraged us all. She had, despite her wonderful humour, a lot of gravitas and spoke with clear diction, without fuss or hurry in a friendly chatty way, as if across the kitchen table, and just with you.
She told us about how she was an underage but avid fan of her local library, Bradley, I think – in Yorkshire, anyway. She wangled her way in, despite her mother\’s outspoken misgivings, to the adult section at the age of 9. The librarian and her mother monitored her choices closely, so she discovered that if she took books on myths and legends she could access all the adult subjects of blood, gore, murder and sex, with their innocent approval. She had a favourite book in this section, whose title now escapes me, but after talking at length about how this early reading informed her later work and especially how society, wherever it is in the world, is composed of small, bound, communities where resentments and slights can simmer for years, she tried to buy the book for her own daughter. Her childhood library had sadly closed, as had so many others, so she searched on line for ages until she eventually found a copy. When it was sent to her house and she opened it, Joanne had one of those spine-tingling moments. Inside the cover was the library ticket, stamped with her library number, over and over again. It was the very copy she had read so many times in her youth and was now dog-eared to prove it. It had come home to her and now belongs to her daughter. Her writing took her to the Congo where she canoed up the river to an old woman, who was dying of sleeping sickness. Joanne\’s first cookbook\’s royalties were assigned entirely to the Medicines Sans Frontiers charity and particularly to help people suffering with this curable disease. She met the old woman – 97 years old – whose family surrounded her with pleas of letting go into the next life, all of which she repudiated with spirit. The medicine cured her. She and Joanne had many long chats about life and Joanne discovered that the community dynamics were just the same  in the depths of the Congo as they had been in the Leeds school in which she had taught French for many years. The old lady went off, full of wellbeing and determination, back into the forest with the parting shot of – \’keep writing your stories, Joanne\’. And thankfully for the rest of us, she\’s following those instructions.

As you can imagine, the applause was deafening! A real privilege to have been there.\”