Monthly Archives: April 2014

Not the Oscars, but I Might Have To Make a Speech


‘You Won’t Do Anything Unless You Try’

When I first wrote my novel Goodbye, Henrietta Street, I never expected  my efforts would be published, still less being a contender for an award.

It all started at school I suppose; I used to enjoy writing essays. As I got into my twenties, I travelled around the world and wrote a journal about my travels.

Unfortunately, during my time in the maternity hospital having my first child, my husband took it on himself to tidy out the loft. I could have kicked and screamed when I discovered that the black bin liner where I had kept my journal, was considered rubbish and thrown out. I suppose it was my own fault for keeping it in that way. I regret having lost it and all the moments of my past life were gone at some council rubbish tip. It was like losing a part of me. You can imagine the blue conversation afterwards. I suppose at that time I didn’t ever think I might need it again.

Years later, we laugh about it, but all those moment in Singapore, South Africa, Australia and the rest of the world were lost and sadly, much of the information has been forgotten. Lesson learned— don’t keep your journal in a bin liner!

Writing, for me, is very satisfying and therapeutic. I have enjoyed being an author and working side by side with the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Their new Writers’ Scheme is the best way to go if you want to be published as a romance author. They were most helpful in showing me the way forward and I have made many new friends through attending conferences and networking parties in the association. It has been fun to mingle with names you see in the bookshops and all of them are great and helpful people.

This year is special.  There are 17 contenders for the Joan Hessayon Award. A prestigious award for new writers. The Award is generously sponsored by gardening expert Dr. David Hessayon OBE, in honour of his late wife Joan, who was a longstanding member of the RNA and a great supporter of its New Writers’ Scheme.

Everyone on the list below has had a book published in the last year or so. I feel this shows that with the right support, you have every chance of winning prizes, me included.
The following authors are strutting proudly in London on 22nd May 2014.
• Celia J Anderson Sweet Proposal, Piatkus
• Elaine Everest Gracie’s War, Pulse
• Helena Fairfax The Silk Romance, MuseItUp
• Sue Fortin United States of Love, Harper Impulse
• Kathryn Freeman Too Charming, Choc Lit
• Jessica Gilmore The Return of Mrs Jones, Harlequin Mills & Boon
• Laura E James Truth or Dare?, Choc Lit
• Jennie Jones The House on Burra Burra Lane, Harlequin Australia
• Alison May Sweet Nothing, Choc Lit
• Teresa F. Morgan Plus One is a Lucky, Number Harper Impulse
• Jane O’Reilly Once a Bad Girl, Escape
• Helen Phifer The Ghost House, Carina UK
• Jill Steeples Desperately Seeking Heaven, Carina UK
• Jo Thomas The Oyster Catcher, Accent Press
• Lin Treadgold Goodbye Henrietta Street, Safkhet Publishing
• Susan Willis Yes Chef, No Chef, Endeavour
• Jennifer Young Thank You For the Music, Tirgearr
If you would like to see the book titles and the authors please visit:


I am looking forward very much to meeting with all my friends again.  It has changed my life and I am having a thoroughly wonderful year.
And finally…

If you want to become a writer,  do ensure that you mingle with all the right people to help you make it. Ask an author to point you in the right direction. They are very approachable people and love to help new writers succeed. We are all in this together.


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Don’t Listen to Old Wives’ Tales

My blog has been dormant for a while, but I have a good excuse as I have been in hospital having a knee operation. Recently, I seem to have interviewed everyone else and not paying enough attention to my own promotions. The problem is, when you are in a lot of pain, sitting down at the computer for long periods, it becomes tedious. I won’t say I am back to normal again, but let’s hope with the onset of Spring and Summer, life will once again take a new turn and the pain will subside; I am improving.

Living in the Netherlands has not been easy for me. I attended the RNA Winter Party in 2013, I visited my daughter in York a few weeks ago, and now I shall be going to the UK again for the RNA Summer Party, a first for me.  However, I do expect that within two years, the cost for all these visits will be saved and my life will change. This week we put our house, in The Netherlands, up for sale. I have lived here for the last thirteen years and due to my husband’s retirement, we shall return to live in England once again. Book signing events in the UK will  be much easier when I return.

Safkhet Authors in York






Sakfhet authors meet at York, (L) Marilyn Chapman, Angela Welford, (that’s me on the right) Rear, Irene Soldatos.

The life here in Holland is interesting. I now speak Dutch and enjoyed learning about the culture, but there are things we miss. I was born in North Yorkshire and the moors and hills are part of my life.  Holland is very flat and the scenery seems to go on forever without interruption. We miss having a cup of coffee with a neighbour and meeting up with an old friend in town.  The Netherlands is very different when you live here. It is time to make some positive changes and return to the old country to speak our own language. I look forward to being able to have the freedom to catch a train to a meeting or avail myself for radio interviews and so on.

My next book is in progress and I hope before the end of this year it will be ready for submission. The Tanglewood Affair is a fast-paced romantic saga and  soon I shall be able to tell you more about it. The story is  set in Dorset and is probably the place to which I shall retire. Unfortunately, I have no  family left in Yorkshire.  My daughter will move in the future and we will live our retirement in the south of England and have a completely new lifestyle.

I enjoy writing; it is most therapeutic. It has taught me a lot about the person I would like to be. I have also found a routine for writing a book and it seems to work well. It’s very simple really. I start at a given point; it doesn’t matter if it’s awful, you can take out the awful bits, but when you do, you should have something to build on. Many writers find it hard to ‘begin’. I don’t pay too much heed any more about what I write and how I write it and where it starts. I can always fix it through editing and build on those ideas. I allow my subconscious to tell the story. It’s surprising what’s inside that brain of mine!

Writing is all about enjoying yourself. All the rules and regulations I read on various web sites, forums, where well meaning people place their comments about writing and say what you should or shouldn’t do. It’s a bit like listening to old wives’ tales and it can scare you to death. New writers need a lot of confidence building which can take many years. I came from a business background and learned through my training what to listen to and what to dismiss.   For me it’s a ‘letting go’ exercise and building on my inner thoughts and feelings and past experiences and allowing the brain to speak for itself. I think it’s what makes the best stories. Be yourself and let your characters lead the way and tell the story. I tend to become the character and stay in his/her head all the way through a chapter. Once the story is written I can then go on to check the show/tell concept and the usual grammar errors.  I also have  excellent editors who help me though the areas I couldn’t ‘see’. I don’t try too hard and I fit in my writing time whenI feel like it which is usually in the daytime when the brain isn’t tired. I think you shouldn’t rush your story and be as real as possible in your dialogue; don’t make it hard for yourself.

Your copy of Goodbye, Henrietta Street can be ordered in paperback and e-book.  Enjoy your holiday read about Pippa and Sven’s friendship on The Isles of Scilly. A forbidden romance with all the beauty of island life.  Will one kiss change everything?

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