Autumn’s arrived with a vengeance down here by the sea in Dorset and the tree branches are waving a vigorous greeting to me as I type this while they compete to see how many leaves they can drop and how far they can spread them. Add to that torrential rain and thunderstorms and you’ve probably already worked out that I’ve decided that this is an ideal time to see how many indoor jobs I can clear from my to-do list and how far ahead I can get with my Christmas shopping.
Christmas is a funny time, isn’t it? For me, over the last few years, it’s been a reminder that my list of people to buy for is getting shorter and shorter as people either die or reach the age when we don’t buy for them any more. And after a year spent sorting out, I’m very well aware that we don’t need any more stuff, especially the sort of things that leave you saying an exceptionally heartfelt ‘you really shouldn’t have.’
It seems all wrong to me to give people things they don’t want at a time when money is tight for so many people and people are nice enough to say nice things about my cooking so I’m going the home made goodie route and asking people what they’d like from a range of biscuits, home made sweets, cakes and puddings. Which, and isn’t this sad, means that I get to go through all my Christmas cookbooks (And I inherited a lovely big batch of them this year after a friend’s Aunt died and was survived by over 500 cookbooks and she invited me to take my pick because she wanted them to be used just as her Aunt did. Which I am, and her blunt annotations leave me feeling that I’ve made a friend I never met and will never meet either, which is a shame because I think we’d have got on well.)
Anyway, I’m wandering off the point, and doesn’t that surprise you? I’m having a great time going through the books and trying the recipes I fancy so I know that what I’m giving passes the family taste test and the family are being very supportive of my hobby, bless them. I’ll even admit that I’ve added an extra book of German recipes for advent, mainly because the pictures bring back so many happy memories of childhood that I can’t wait to get cooking.
Also bringing back happy memories is this week’s new book because there’s a story behind it. I wrote it and had it assessed by the Romantic Novelist’s Association’s new writers scheme almost a quarter of a century ago, so it’s now a period piece! They recommended I sent it to a publisher, who bought it and then went bust. Undaunted, I tried another one. They pulled out of the UK market altogether, and I don’t think either were my fault. Then Amy Hammond walked into my life and I put that book and the series that went with it to one side and it’s only recently that I’ve come back to them and published them under my Eleanor Neville pen name.
It’s called ‘Never Romance’ and it features a complicated heroine who’s very driven and organised. She’s got a lot to prove as a fledgling spy and being partnered with the man she’s always loved but who still sees her as a child and doesn’t think she should be doing the job isn’t helping one little bit. In between foiling murder attempts and saving a hi-tech project from sabotage, she has to start to come to terms with her past and decide what future she wants. So not a big ask then…
There are 4 books following her time as an active agent, this one as a main character and the others as a subsidiary one, and they’ll be out over the winter and early spring and are prequels to the existing Shadows series. I think you’ll like Kim Stannard, so why not give her a chance? Someone’s got to and David Kinsella certainly doesn’t seem to want to!
And now on to this week's special offers and my cunning plan to align the US and UK promotion dates finally seems to have worked. So, they’re 99p in the UK and 99c in the US.
Bloody Murder, Devil to Pay and The Missing Maiden
The first 3 of my paranormal cosy mysteries are set in an apparently idyllic Dorset village with some very unusual inhabitants including a good-ish girl vampire heroine, her sarcastic were-cat sidekick, a handsome policeman who’s more than he wants to be and an old friend or possibly enemy. Add to that the river spirit who runs the local pub and only takes her sacrifices from among those the law can’t touch and the Archangel Michael taking human form as their friendly local vicar to try to prevent Armageddon and murders and crime are the least of Kit’s problems.
Echoes, The Perfect Home, and the End of the Beginning
These are the last 3 Amy Hammond cosy mysteries before the current one which came out at the start of September and they see Amy and Peter coping with Covid, moving in together and… well, I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t read Echoes, but it was one of the nicest scenes I’ve ever written and I was crying my eyes out.
And on to today’s picture which is a grey sea on a misty day. Take care and stay safe and warm… (or cool if you’re somewhere where spring is just beginning.)