I’d like to wish all my friends and readers a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at Mulberry Cottage. I’d like to thank everyone who’s taken the time to read my books this year, who’s been kind enough to leave a review or to message me with their thoughts.
I’ve been overwhelmed with the response to The Rose Girls this year and I’m delighted to tell you that it’s been chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2015. A lovely way to end the year!
Christmas is fast approaching and that meant a trip into London last week to meet some of my lovely writer friends. First, I met up with Ruth Saberton in Fortnum and Mason’s for a spot of Christmas shopping and we simply couldn’t resist their beautiful biscuit tins!
Then it was on to Daphne’s in Chelsea for a Christmas lunch with some of my Notting Hill Press pals (L-R: Ruth, Michele Gorman, Talli Roland, Me and Chris Manby). We spend so much time chatting to each other online that it’s really special to get us all in the same room and have a really good catch-up.
Back at home and we introduced Hattie to the weird and wonderful tradition of bringing a tree into the house.
With a nine-month-old puppy romping around, we won’t be bringing out my favourite glass baubles this year!
I can hardly believe it’s less than a month until Christmas! We’ll soon be rummaging around the loft looking for all of our pretty decorations and maybe treating ourselves to a few new one too – preferably ones which are puppy-proof!
Now, all our rescue hens are precious, but some touch your heart in a special way and Ella was one of those girls. Losing Ella was particularly hard as it came just two weeks after losing her sister, Winnie.
One of our Thrush Green flock – named after characters from Miss Read’s wonderful novels – Ella came to Mulberry Cottage to begin her retirement in May 2014 and she was in a bit of a state with bald patches all over her body. But she made her presence known with her very loud bawping. You could always tell when Ella was around – she was the most vocal hen I’ve ever met!
Luckily, Ella grew most of her feathers back in time for her first winter!
But I made sure she had plenty of warm cuddles just to be on the safe side!
Always curious, always adventurous, Ella discovered that you could reach the elderberries if you jumped onto one of the nest boxes!
But life wasn’t always fun. There were a few health problems including trouble with egg laying and a horrible sinus infection which blew up the left-hand side of her face. So in she came for extra care and attention.
As this summer came to an end, our Ella began to slow down, taking little naps during the day and fluffing up her feathers so that she resembled a splendid golden football. I knew her time was approaching but it didn’t make the goodbye any easier.
Goodnight darling Ella. You were so special to us and were so much a part of life at Mulberry Cottage. We’ll miss you forever.
We lost our darling Winnie earlier this week. She’d been slowly slipping away from us for some time.
Winnie – one of our ‘Thrush Green’ girls named after characters from the novels by Miss Read – came home with us in May 2014 with her ‘sisters’ Agnes, Ella and Violet.
She was a bright, sparky girl who immediately embraced her new free-ranging life.
And it didn’t take her long to regrow all her feathers and turn a beautiful pale gold.
Winnie had a strong personality and was particularly bossy when we introduced our new flock in August, putting the new girls firmly in their place.
But she was slowing down dramatically, taking little naps in the day and needing a helping hand to get into the coop each evening.
We’re going to miss you, darling Winnie. You made us smile and laugh and we’ll love you forever!
It’s a little early to mention Christmas, I know, but I’m still thrilled to announce the launch of my new Christmas novella today which is out as an ebook on Amazon.
So, why not come to the Highlands for Christmas? There’s plenty of room at Caldoon Castle!
My husband did something rather wonderful last week – he chartered a boat for a day’s sailing. Now, I’ve always wanted to go sailing and any boat in the world would have made me happy, but he hadn’t booked just any old boat – he’d booked the Nancy Blackett!
The Nancy Blackett is a beautiful 1930’s cutter which belonged to the author Arthur Ransome. He called it his ‘best little ship’ and named it after his much-loved character from the Swallows and Amazon books.
And the Nancy Blackett was the boat that featured as ‘Goblin’ in my favourite Ransome novel, We Didn’t Mean to go to Sea, so it was a really special experience to be part of the crew along with our skipper and mate.
One of the most wonderful things about sailing is that you get to see things you wouldn’t normally see – like little glimpses of churches and beautiful homes by the water’s edge, as well as seals, cormorants and the occasional Thames barge. You are truly in a different element when you’re out on the water.
When it came time for me to take the tiller and steer the boat, I was filled with both excitement and nerves. I’m not sure I did a very good job, but I had enormous fun.
Sailing down the River Orwell to where it meets the River Stour, we moored and had lunch in the cockpit, the September sun streaming down on us as the water lapped the sides of the boat. Then Roy took the tiller for the journey back, skillfully tacking upriver, passing Pin Mill and spotting Alma Cottage where the Walker children in Ransome’s book were staying before their big adventure out at sea.
As we arrived back at Wolverstone Marina where Nancy is moored, I couldn’t help thinking of the line from We Didn’t Mean to go to Sea: ‘Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might-have-been.’ Yes, we certainly managed to do that, I think!
I know it’s still only September, but I’m really excited to reveal the cover for the new Christmas novella – Christmas at the Castle.
So, if you want to escape to the snowy Highlands of Scotland this winter, you can order your copy now!
UK – Order Christmas at the Castle
US – Order Christmas at the Castle
I’m delighted to launch a brand new series today. The Book Lovers is set in the Suffolk market town of Castle Clare which is famous for its bookshops.
Here’s a bit more about the novel:
Author Callie Logan never expected to swap her life in London for one in rural Suffolk but, after the breakdown of her marriage, she decides that a fresh start is just what she needs. Finding Owl Cottage in the tiny village of Newton St Clare, Callie determines to give up on love and throw herself into her work. But fate seems to have other ideas and she soon has two very different men vying for her attention.
First there’s Leo who likes to live on the wild side which usually means taking his dates foraging in the local woods for their supper. Then there’s bookshop owner Sam. Recovering from a divorce, Sam has also vowed to embrace the single life. That is, until he meets Callie.
But is Callie willing to risk her heart again and, if she is, will she make the right choice?
I really hope you all love this new series. I’m writing the second book now, Rules for a Successful Book Club, and that will be out next year.
The Book Lovers – ebook
The Book Lovers – paperback
The Book Lovers – audio download
I owe my US readers a huge thank you because The Rose Girls has entered Amazon’s Top 100. This is a first for me and I was incredibly excited to see it doing well in the genre charts too.
Here it as at number 11 in Women’s Romance, happily sandwiched between Debbie Macomber and Danielle Steel!
It’s almost here … the first book in my brand series! The Book Lovers is available to pre-order in ebook from Amazon now and the paperback will be available on 27th August.
I’m so excited about this new series and I really hope fans of my Austen Addicts series and the rest of my novels will embrace it too! I’m always being asked, ‘Will there be a sequel?’ to all of my standalone novels so I’m writing this especially for readers who love to know what happened to their favourite characters after they’ve read that final page.
The Book Lovers is a series of romantic stories focusing on the Nightingale family and their friends and there are plenty of exciting adventures ahead for them all. In fact, I’m writing the second novel, Rules for a Successful Book Club right now!
So get ordering and be the first to read it when it’s out in time for that August Bank Holiday:
Pre-order The Book Lovers ebook