Carol Thomas – Writing a Sequel

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Today, I’m privileged to feature fellow Chindi author, Carol Thomas. To celebrate the release of her latest novel, Maybe Baby, Carol is this week’s ‘Chindi Author of the Week.’

First of all let’s find out a little about her.

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Carol Thomas is an active member of the Chindi Authors and lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and taught in primary schools for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of her time to writing. Carol is a regular volunteer at her local Cancer Research UK shop. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local cafes working on her next book. 

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Thank you for joining me, Carol. Congratulations on the publication of Maybe Baby. Can you tell us a little about the book? 

Maybe Baby is a romantic comedy and the sequel to The Purrfect Pet Sitter (Lisa Blake book #1.) While each book can be read as a standalone story, Maybe Baby revisits the characters from The Purrfect Pet Sitter as they move into the next phase of their lives.

I was delighted with an early review that described it as, “full of love, true friendship and humour”! I think that sums it up well.

What inspired you to write a sequel?

There were elements of Lisa Blake’s story that weren’t central to the first book that I wanted to explore further. At the end of The Purrfect Pet Sitter, Lisa and her old flame, Nathan, have eleven years to catch up on; there are secrets to be revealed and new discoveries to come to terms with.

I enjoy reading and writing romance, but I often wonder what happens after the happy ever after moment; writing a sequel lends itself to satisfying that curiosity. I was excited to see how my characters would work together as they embarked upon their relationship and faced the challenges that brought.

What planning and preparation did you do before getting started on the sequel?

I re-read The Purrfect Pet Sitter and made notes on each character, particularly their voice and individual traits. While I felt I knew them well, I had to ensure I carried them across accurately.


During the planning and writing process, I also held in mind that I had a responsibility to those who had read and enjoyed The Purrfect Pet Sitter. Readers who have spent time with the characters and grown to love them have expectations too. I didn’t want to disappoint my readers and considered that in each character’s individual actions and reactions throughout.

For reasons that will become apparent to readers of Maybe Baby, as well as researching plot points and settings, I also prepared a spreadsheet with a detailed timeline of events. It is the most upfront planning I have done for a novel.

Can readers expect more in the Lisa Blake series?

All characters have been left in a good place, and each story is so far complete in its own right. However, never say never, I have an idea for a Christmas novella I would like to base on these characters, and so if that keeps slipping into my mind (these stories have a way of making you write them), I may well return to them again in the future.

Blurb for Maybe Baby:

Just when you thought you had it all worked out …

Best friends Lisa and Felicity think – maybe, just maybe – they finally have everything sorted out in their lives.

Lisa is in a happy relationship with her old flame, and busy mum Felicity has managed to reignite the passion with her husband, Pete, after a romantic getaway.

But when Lisa walks in on a half-naked woman in her boyfriend’s flat and Felicity is left reeling from a shocking discovery, it becomes clear that life is nothing but full of surprises!

Where can our readers purchase a copy of Maybe Baby?


Ruby Fiction:

Where can our readers find you?







Thank you for joining me today, Carol. If any readers have any questions for Carol, please ask at the end of this blog or contact her directly from one of the links above. 


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A Guide to Self-Publishing

A Guide to Self-Publishing by Patricia M Osborne

I have been asked by a great deal of writers how to go about self-publishing so I thought I’d write a blog on it. I don’t claim to be an expert but purely passing on what I’ve learnt myself over the last couple of years.

Disclaimer: Please accept I don’t guarantee the following to be 100% correct but just telling from my own experiences. 


So why self-publish? Firstly you don’t have to hang around waiting for query letters to be rejected. Secondly, you’re completely under control, and thirdly, you don’t have to share royalties.


It’s down to you to do everything. So not only are you a writer but you become publisher and marketer.

I chose to self-publish after coming back from Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in August 2016. My completed manuscript, House of Grace, had been sat on my PC doing nothing while I worked on my MA in Creative Writing which I started in 2014. I knew little about self-publishing but being amongst so many inspiring writers that had gone down this route pushed me to make sure that House of Grace was in the Swanwick Writers’ book room in 2017. And it was.

So how do you start?

Firstly don’t think self-publishing is an easy option because it isn’t. You need to make sure your book is edited and formatted properly, and has an eye-catching cover. There are writers that publish their books on Amazon that don’t fit this bill but they give reputable self-publishers a bad name.

Do your research. What do you need?

  1. A good editor
  2. Formatter
  3. Cover Designer

1. Editor:

Make sure your manuscript is up to scratch. Get an editor – you can’t do this yourself. They’re not cheap but if you are or have been a creative student then you may have abled peers happy to edit your work in return for doing theirs.

2: Formatter

The text needs formatting both for eBook version and paperback.

Are you going to do yourself?

There are lots of videos on YouTube showing how to format but make sure it is up to the standard of a traditional book. It is also very time consuming. I chose to employ a formatter. So if you don’t want to do the formatting yourself, find someone that can.

Check Google, and Facebook writing groups, but also ask around for recommendations.


Another alternative for formatting is to buy Vellum formatting software so you can do it yourself with ease. This seems to do everything just by pasting your text into the software, and a guide to uploading your book to the relevant site whether that’s Amazon KDP or Ingram Spark.

The downside about Vellum is it can only be used on a Mac.

I’ve actually just treated myself to an Apple Mac Book Air and my plan is to play around with the software (you can download for free and only pay when ready to produce a book.)

If I get on with Vellum then I’ll purchase it as it will be an investment as it cost me £199 to have House of Grace formatted which was more money to recuperate before profits. There are cheaper formatters but if you opt for one of them do make sure they are up to the job.

Also the good thing about investing in Vellum means it offers the potential to format for other authors.

3. Cover Designer

You need a cover designer. If your cover doesn’t look good then the chances are no one is going to buy it. You can perhaps get away with a bad cover when known and if you are with a traditional publisher but not when self-publishing.

Get networking on writing groups on Facebook and ask for recommendations for a cover designer.

I used Create Imaginations but they are no longer trading but I got a good deal of £99 for paperback and kindle.

If you Google you will find plenty but make sure you get recommendations.

4. ISBN Number

Buy an ISBN number. These can be purchased from Nielsen UK ISBN store in batches of one, ten or more. I opted for ten because the cost wasn’t much different between one and ten. I paid just under £125 including VAT. I see from their website that there has been a price increase. (This is based on self-publishing in the UK – other countries differ.)

You can get a free ISBN number when uploading to Amazon but that means your book can’t go anywhere else.

5. Bringing it all together


So your manuscript is edited – you have your formatter and cover designer. You need to decide what size your book will be. Do you want it in paperback as well as Kindle?

Check out bookstores to see what size your genre is in. Mine is 5” x 8” but more                  recently 6” x 9” has become very popular.


Decide on what colour paper will be used for the text. I opted for cream. Most                      novels are cream whereas non-fiction and poetry tend to use white.


Look at what cover finish you want. Most novels are matt but there are some                      around that have used gloss and still look very nice. I opted for matt. Non-fiction                and poetry are almost always gloss.


You need a copyright page. My formatting guy added the copyright page for me (but           you can just check any book for the copyright page to see what to put in) and he                 uploaded to Amazon for Kindle and paperback on my behalf. So I haven’t actually             done that yet, I’ll have that pleasure with my next book, but I’m told it is easy and               straightforward.


Once uploaded:

On Amazon you can include your book in Expanded Distribution – this means it can get into libraries and Amazon Partners. However, I decided to take mine out of this and uploaded to Ingram Spark instead. This meant my book could now be ordered from any good bookstore and also the bookstores are more likely to stock it if I ask them but is also available on Amazon as POD.

Author copies may be obtained both from Ingram Spark or KDP so you can sell privately at book launches, private sales, and book shows etc. Some authors have independent printers and if you can find a local one that offers a great deal then that’s a better alternative.


Tax Details

Once uploaded you will have to fill out lots of online tax forms from Amazon. When publishing in the UK and not the US you add your National Insurance number to ensure that you don’t get taxed in the US.


Legal Deposit and British Library

One other thing to consider when you publish a book.

It is a legal requirement to send five copies of any paperback book with an ISBN number to Legal Deposit and one to British Library. They email you with the details of where to send and advise you of the deadline date. This is at your expense.


Publishing Platforms

There are lots of platforms you can upload your book to but I only have experience of Amazon paperback, Kindle, and Ingram Spark, but there are lots more places for eBook versions such as draft2digital, Lulu.

KDP Select

If you only have one book then it’s worth putting it into KDP select – this is for Kindle on Amazon.

Every 90 days you can take up the opportunity of a countdown deal or free promotion.

Personally unless you have more than one book then I don’t think it’s beneficial to do a free promotion but the countdown deals are worth it. So for example if you sell your book for 99p (normally £1.99 plus) then you will still get royalties for 70% but if you are not in select and sell for 99p then you’ll only get 30%.

ALLi – Alliance of Independent Authors

I belong to ALLi – Alliance of independent authors – and the annual fee is well worth the advice and discounts available from them. They provide lists of vetted designers and formatters, and there’s always someone on hand to help with a general query. Their discounts also include a voucher for Ingram Spark set-up fee. There is no set-up fee for KDP.


I also belong to Chindi, a local network of authors who do lots of book shows and also raise money for different charities. Chindi is based in Chichester.



When self-publishing you need to consider marketing. This has to be done whether you are self-published or traditionally published but more so for self-published because there’s only you to sell the book.

You need to network to get your name out there and this isn’t by saying ‘Buy my book,’ but instead interacting on Facebook and Twitter. Particularly Twitter. Keep a blog. Make friends with bloggers – bloggers are an author’s best friend. Get invites to feature on them or do an interview.

Join ‘Book Connectors’ on Facebook – I found lots of information on here and made lots more friends and contacts. Everyone is always ready to help.

Social Media Course for Writers

I went on a social media course for writers run by Anita Chapman from Neetsmarketing

Anita’s course is well worth her fee. It’s conducted in nice surroundings and includes lunch. She is a friendly, bubbly, inspiring teacher. Not only do you learn about online networking but you also begin networking while you’re there making friends with the other participants.

Within one year of attending Anita’s course in London, I went from less than 100 followers on Twitter to over 4,000.

Making Posters

Another thing to consider is making posters to use for marketing. Canva is the ideal place for this and free unless you opt for the paying package.


Hopefully all this will help when ready to begin self-publishing but if anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me. I can’t promise to know your answers but will do my best to find out if I don’t.

Contact me:

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Speke Hall LiverpoolLast week my husband and I took a trip to Chester to visit my aunt and uncle while celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary and my birthday. My aunt is my only surviving aunt, and I have no blood uncles, so I love the opportunity to lap up her precious stories, especially those about my late mum.

Nothing was too much trouble for my uncle as he became our chauffeur for four days. As well as visiting National Trust properties he drove us to Liverpool and I was able to see the outside of the house in Pittville Avenue, Liverpool where my mum grew up, and  where later, I visited my nanna and grandad when I was a child. In fact my winning poem, Grandad’s Garden, was inspired by the garden in this house and the wonderful huge headed dahlias and chrysanthemums that my grandad grew.

We stopped to have lunch at The Britannia Inn by the River Mersey. I felt like I’d come home. 


At my special request my uncle drove us to Sefton Park. As a child this was a regular haunt of ours where we visited the Peter Pan statue and the Palm House. Last June (2018), the Peter Pan statue celebrated its 90th anniversary of unveiling when it was given to the children of Liverpool. Read more.

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The palm house was closed in the 1980s due to disrepair. It was restored and opened fully in 2001. Read more.

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Sefton Park also has a fairy glen a new addition to the park in 2005. Read more

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We drove down Smithdown Road where my dad’s local, The Woodcroft, used to be. The house I was born in Lesseps Road was off Smithdown. I had hoped to see Lesseps Road too but it was difficult due to traffic.

New memories were made with visits to National Trust Properties Chirk Castle  and Speke Hall . At Speke Hall I discovered two trees named Adam and Eve that dominate the courtyard and planted to ward off evil spirits in the household. They say there is a ghost at Speke Hall so after research I plan to write a new poetry sequence to add to my portfolio of mythical poems written around trees.

And we managed to visit Chirk Castle. A mini bus drives you up to the castle because it is so high. When it’s too windy the castle closes so we were lucky it was open. I managed to get a photograph of a wonderful rainbow on our way out.

And of course we couldn’t go to Liverpool without going through the Mersey Tunnel – even this has changed since I last went through it. It was exciting to show my husband Liverpool as it was his first visit but it definitely won’t be the last. I loved going home.

My visit was both enjoyable and emotional as I took myself back to a young child, but I also made lots more new memories.


Interview Feature – Val Penny

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Today, I’m privileged to feature author, Val Penny. Val is not only a fellow Swanwick writer but also a good friend. We’ve all heard of Hunter’s Chase, then Hunter’s Revenge, well today Val’s here to talk about her writing including her latest novel, Hunter’s Force

First of all let’s find out a little about her.

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Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge and Hunter’s Force are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood, follows shortly.

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Hi Val, thank you for joining me today. Hunter’s Force is your latest novel, can you tell our readers a little bit about it?

Hunter’s Force is, again, set in Edinburgh. However it is set in 2013 shortly after the regional police forces in Scotland were combined into one operational force, Police Scotland. In this story, Hunter’s past catches up with him and he suffers the full force of the rage of his antagonist.

I understand Hunter’s Force is the third book in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. What inspired you to write this series?

I enjoy working with my characters and exploring how their lives progress and how they react to the situations I put them in. It is so much fun to develop the characters I create and watch them grow.

Is this the last in the series or is there more to come?

I am presently writing the fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood which will be published by Crooked Cat Books later this year.

Is it necessary to read the earlier books first or do they all act as standalones?

As with any series, details of the characters and there are details of characters that are revealed in each book. However, I do try to make sure that each novel works as a stand-alone story.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing and telling stories all my life, but I started writing novels seriously about five years ago when I was recovering from cancer. The treatment left me very tired and I had little energy to pursue more active past times like walking and swimming, so I read even more voraciously than usual. Then I started blogging reviews of the books I read on my blog  and as I got a bit better, and more restless, my husband suggested that, if I knew so much about what makes a good book, why didn’t I write one.

Do you write in any other genre?

I write poetry as well as my novels. Indeed, it was my poetry that was published first in national anthologies. Now I mostly write crime novels: they are what I like to read.

Do you have a special routine for your writing?

I usually do my publicity and routine work in the mornings. I work on my novel in the afternoon and catch up with other obligations and more publicity in the evenings.

Does your writing leave you any time for hobbies?

My favourite hobby is spoiling my little grandbaby who is now ten months old and, as you would expect, this is, in my opinion, the most fabulous grandbaby on the planet. I will always make time for this!

I also enjoy travel, swimming, walking and going out for meals. Somehow there are never enough hours in the day.

Can you give our readers a taster of ‘Hunter’s Force?’

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“DI Hunter Wilson, may I introduce Lord Lachlan Buchanan, more commonly known as Lucky? He owns the flat here,” Tim said.

“DI Wilson, I’ve heard good things about you. Call me Lucky. But there’s nothing common about it, Timmy boy,” The young man gritted his teeth as he held out his hand to shake Hunter’s. “I’m sorry, it took me longer to get here than I thought it would.”

“No problem, Lucky. It’s good of you to come and help us sort this out,” Hunter said. “So you employ my son? What on earth does he do for you that makes him eligible for an elegant New Town apartment like this?”

“He’s my driver, DI Hunter.”

“How did he qualify for that job? He’s got three points on his licence.”

“Cameron and I went through rehab together. I want to give the boy a chance. I would have thought you might be pleased?“

“I don’t understand why you chose Cameron for this position,” Hunter said, “and when I don’t understand something, I get suspicious. Always have done. It goes with the job.”

Lucky frowned. “Well, I don’t understand who broke the lock on my door. That makes me suspicious.”

“Speaking of not understanding things, where is Cameron? Tim said something about there being a woman here, but as far as I am aware Cameron is the only tenant. So I want to know where this woman has come from.”

Meera appeared at Hunter’s side. “I don’t know where this one came from, but I know where she’s going. Hunter, I’m going to follow the victim back to mortuary. Sam is just taking a few final pictures and then she’ll be leaving with me too.”

“Okay, Meera. That’s fine. Did you find the extra bits?” Hunter asked. He wanted to contain, as far as possible, the information about the removal of the fingertips.

“Unfortunately not. If CSI can’t find them, I’ll have to work with what we’ve got.”

“Extra bits?” Lucky asked.


Some great answers Val. Thank you for joining me. I’m sure that taster of Hunter’s Force will make our readers want to order it now.

Where can we order a copy of Hunter’s Force, Hunter’s Revenge and Hunter’s Chase? 


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Links below to find Val Penny.


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Guest Interview – Angela Petch

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Today I am joined by fellow Chindi author, Angela Petch, to talk about her writing including her latest novel, Mavis and Dot. This week Angela is Chindi’s Author of the Week.

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Hi Angela, thank you for joining me today. Mavis and Dot is your latest novel, can you tell our readers what inspired you to write it?

Thanks for having me on your blog. It’s always great to have the chance to talk books.

Mavis and Dot had been on the back burner for more than thirteen years, since losing my best friend to ovarian cancer. We used to enjoy charity shops and auctions and when we went out and about, we nicknamed each other Mavis and Dot.

When she fell gravely ill, I wrote her a silly story about Mavis and Dot and it made her laugh. Out came her paints and she sketched a cartoon, which I still have in the cloakroom.

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That’s one fabulous painting. It’s lovely that you still have it. 

Over the years I wrote more stories until last year I decided to publish them as a novella. I felt as if she was in the room when I wrote, urging me on. I still miss her.

Writing the book is a great tribute to her.

I understand Mavis and Dot is a move away from your normal genre, is that correct? What prompted you to take this step?

My usual genre is historical fiction. But I felt I had to write Mavis and Dot, for reasons explained above. All profits from sales go to Cancer Research. I think we all know somebody who has suffered from this disease. We need a cure.

I also feel we are judgemental about the elderly. They were young once and there’s a lot of colour in that grey. I love the company of older people, they have so many stories to share.  And they are fun.

It’s wonderful that all profits from sales are going to Cancer Research.  

How long have you been writing and do you write anything else besides novels?

English was my favourite subject at school and I’ve always been a bookworm. I wrote a play for my family when I was eight, made all the puppets from papier-maché, forced my parents pay to watch and got very cross when my father started to read his newspaper half way through. In my teenage years, I wrote angsty, moody drivel… the short answer to your question would be – for a long time.

I enjoy writing short stories and in the last year have been published in women’s magazines. Short stories are underrated. I like capturing glimpses of life.

Do you have a special routine for your writing?

I always have a notebook and pen with me, but I write best at my desk and in absolute silence. In Italy I write during the afternoon siesta and in England, whenever I have time. I need to write every day.

I understand that you’re a Hybrid Author. Can you explain to our readers what this means? 

I’m self-published and have written three novels that way.

But in 2018 I signed a two-book deal with Bookouture, a digital publishing company, and I’m very excited about this. So, I have a foot in both camps. I’m presently rewriting my first novel and enjoying the editing process. It’s very hard work and was hard to “let go”, after having gone solo (albeit with the help of beta-readers and a paid editor) and follow a professional’s suggestions. But I think “Tuscan Roots” (which will have a new title for June 2019) will be a better book in the end.  I hope so!

I’m also writing a new Tuscan book for Bookouture and that will be out in April 2020. Readers of “Mavis and Dot” have asked for a sequel, so that is on the cards too. I am busy!

It all sounds very exciting. 

What advice would you give to writers contemplating self-publishing?

Brush up your social media skills and be prepared to be active on authors’ sites. I’d suggest joining a friendly, supportive indie group like CHINDI, but be prepared to give as much as you take. We can all learn from each other. It’s not enough to sit at your desk and write. As wonderful as your work might be, nobody will find you by chance.

Very true words, Angela.

You also host Writer Retreats in Tuscany. Please tell our readers a little about these, how they work, and can anyone book?

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Oh, this is a new venture and one I love. This September 11th – 18th will be the second time we lay on a writing week at our secluded watermill. Anybody can come to Write Away in Tuscany, but numbers are limited, so the group is not too big.

We had a full-time tutor last year but in 2019 we have planned one full day with social media experts, Kathryn and Kent Bax (from One Stop Fiction) and on other days we will have short, morning sessions led by authors on a variety of subjects, such as humour, research, location and short story writing. Each day starts with 5-minute writing warm-ups and there will be other exercises to follow, IF WISHED.  All sessions are optional, as we realise some writers may prefer to spend time on their own work. Similarly, our outings and the two meals out are optional.

This year we have reduced the price to £550 and we know we are extremely competitive. That price includes food, lodging and airport transfers.

Sounds and looks lovely, Angela. I imagine it must be very popular. 

(If you fancy booking get in touch with Angela via one of the links below)

Your life must be busy with writing and hosting, does that leave any time for hobbies?

I love playing tennis and used to play competitively but since a shoulder operation last year, I limit this to social tennis. Walking is another favourite pastime and I often think of writing solutions this way. Cooking, especially with fresh, Italian ingredients from our Tuscan vegetable garden.

Can you give our readers a taster of Mavis and Dot?

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From Chapter Five

Tuesday night saw Mavis in the local school-hall. Bums and Tums was aimed at the reluctant exerciser. She hadn’t known what to wear, although she’d seen pictures in a magazine of ladies in Lycra. Unfortunately, no charity shop had provided a leotard to fit her figure but a bright pink shell suit with orange stripes down the side of the legs and arms seemed appropriate enough. It was a size too small, but she reasoned it would be extra incentive to lose weight and there seemed little point in buying something in her present size when she was planning to shed at least a stone. The legs were a little long, so she’d rolled them up.

‘Well, girl,’ she said aloud to her reflection in the bathroom mirror, ‘you don’t look too bad. In the pink, I’d say.’ She pouted and twirled, then swept her untidy curls up with a fuchsia hairband from the Pound Shop. It was a little on the tight side but, as well as keeping her hair off her face, it had the same effect as a facelift, pulling her eyebrows up and back into a permanent look of surprise. Why people went to the bother of having painful operations at exorbitant prices to remove wrinkles, when they could buy a cheap hair-band to achieve the same effect was beyond her comprehension.


She decided to stay at the back of the class, not only to call less attention to herself but also to follow the moves of Patsy, the pert young instructor. Mavis was in awe of the way the girl managed to move and talk simultaneously into the microphone. The device was cleverly attached to her head and Mavis decided to enquire after class where she could buy one. It would save shouting at Dot, for Mavis had noticed she tended to suffer from deaf moments.

The exercise and moves were harder than she’d anticipated. It was all she could do to move and breathe at the same time. And then when Patsy shouted, ‘And one, two, three, turn…’ and the whole class was facing her and prancing forward in one fast-moving surge, she found herself at the front with nobody to follow. There were titters behind her as she flailed her arms here and there and collided with a lady to her left by side stepping in the wrong direction.

‘Floor work now, ladies. Find yourselves a mat,’ Patsy instructed, not a bead of sweat flattening her slick, smooth, immaculate hair.

‘Good! A chance for a rest,’ thought Mavis, who by this time was the colour of boiled beetroot, hair clinging to the back of her neck like a wet mop. She was also conscious of unsightly perspiration marks spreading like enormous blots under her armpits and between her breasts.

But there was to be no rest on the mats. The positions that Patsy expected her to arrange her body into made her wince. She tried valiantly to bring her right knee up to her left shoulder and extend her left leg as far as she could.

‘Imagine you’re touching the opposite wall,’ Patsy encouraged. ‘Stretch a little further, ladies.’

Mavis duly stretched and heard a ripping sound. When she looked down, she saw the stitching under her crotch had come apart and her underwear was visible. She lay there, wondering how she could creep away without revealing to the whole of the class her three-for-the-price-of-two Poundstretcher knickers.  Patsy, anxious and trained in First Aid, came rushing over to administer the kiss of life to her ‘new lady’ as Mavis struggled to sit up.


Thank you Angela for joining me today and talking about your writing and giving readers a taste of Mavis and Dot. I’ve read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. So why not download a copy from the link below, and not only be entertained, but raise funds for Cancer Research too? Also available in paperback.

If you have any questions for Angela about her writing or retreat then leave a question at the end of this blog or contact her on one of her links below. 

About Angela

Angela Petch lives in the Tuscan Apennines in summer and Sussex in winter.

Her love affair with Italy was born at the age of seven when she moved with her family to Rome. Her father worked for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and he made sure his children learned Italian and soaked up the culture. She studied Italian at the University of Kent at Canterbury and afterwards worked in Sicily where she met her husband. His Italian mother and British father met in Urbino in 1944 and married after a wartime romance.

Her first book, “Tuscan Roots” was written in 2012, for her Italian mother-in-law, Giuseppina, and also to make readers aware of the courage shown by families of her Italian neighbours during WW2. Signed by Bookouture in 2018, this book will be republished in June 2019. Another Tuscan novel has been commissioned for 2020.

“Now and Then in Tuscany”, a sequel, was published in April 2017 and features the same family. The background is the transhumance, a practice that started in Etruscan times and continued until the 1950s. Her research for her Tuscan novels is greatly helped by her knowledge of Italian and conversations with locals.

Although Italy is a passion, her stories are not always set in this country. “Mavis and Dot”, published at the end of 2018 and sold in aid of Cancer Research, tells the story of two fun-loving ladies who retire to the Sussex seaside. They forge an unlikely friendship and fall into a variety of adventures. Ingenu/e Magazine describes it as:“Absolutely Fabulous meets Last of the Summer Wine… a gently hilarious feel-good book that will enchant and delight…”.

A prize-winning author, member of CHINDI independent authors and RNA, she also loves to travel and recently returned to Tanzania, where she lived at the start of her marriage. A keen tennis player and walker, she also enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren and inventing stories for their entertainment.

Her short stories are published by PRIMA and the People’s Friend.

Where can readers purchase a copy of Mavis and Dot and your other books?

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Click here

2018 kindle (002) 

 Click here (only for a little while longer)

2018 kindle cover (002)

Click here

Where can readers find you?

Amazon author page






Graduation Day – Master of Arts


The day has arrived – the day that I collect my certificate and receive recognition for all my hard work –  Master of Arts in Creative Writing. Hopefully I will  manage to have lots of photographs taken and be able to share them with you.

The ceremony is at Brighton Centre where I will meet up with my peers and tutors as well as having the support of friends and family. It’s pouring with rain but I’m not going to let that spoil the day. Today will be special. Having left school at fifteen without any exams to go to work, because my father was disabled, I never thought I’d get a BA degree, never mind an MA, and I never thought I’d publish a novel and write another one to be published later this year, and I never thought I’d have a huge amount of poems published. It just shows that it’s never too late to learn.

Join me in my celebration –  and if you’re around at 3:15pm, GMT, this afternoon, you can tune in and watch the ceremony live from the link below. Who knows, you may be able to spot me?

watch live ceremony here

or via Facebook

So all I have to say now is thank you for all your support and Cheers – join me in my celebration and help yourself to a glass of virtual sparkly.


Guest Feature – Rosemary Noble discusses Australian Flora and Fauna

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I’m delighted to welcome Rosemary Noble, Chindi’s Author of the Week. Rosemary’s article is close to my heart as she discusses Australian flora and fauna. 


Thank you, Patricia, for inviting me to feature on your blog today. Knowing that you are fascinated by trees, I thought that it was time I wrote a blog about my interest in Australian flora and fauna, since three of my historical novels are set there.

Australian Flora and Fauna

Rosemary Noble


The first time that I visited Australia in 2011, I was struck immediately by the different colour tones of the green, I do not profess to know anything about botany but even I could tell that these were not the colours I was used to, more olive than bright green. Not only was the colour unusual, but also the canopy. The trees reminded me of delicate ladies’ parasols. The settlers missed their British trees, so you find all sorts of British trees in gardens or avenues, hence the bright spring green on the left of the above picture.

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There are many species of native eucalypts. In the upside-down world of Australia, these trees do not lose their leaves in Winter but their bark. I love the common names of these trees such as the paper-bark gum and the scribbly gum, where a grub infests the bark so that it looks like it’s been scribbled on.

Trees can also tell a story, Take a wide-girthed tree in the Adelaide wine region. The tour guide showed us this hollowed out tree, still alive, where a hundred years before a man had lived, married and brought up several children inside the tree, until at last, he found them a proper home. Should we have taken this with a pinch of salt, possibly? But people did live in the most primitive conditions. I was told of a Dutch family after WW2 who moved to West Australia and lived in a canvas sided hut for more than a year.

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The above picture tells another story. We found this in a former gold mining town. Why is it so wide, so misshapen? The gold miners used to leave notes nailed to its bark, telling their friends where they had gone.  Over the years, the tree has repaired all the nail holes and covered them up.

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When we were in Canberra last October, there was a fabulous exhibition at the National Library about the voyage when Captain Cook visited and named Botany Bay. Joseph Banks, renowned botanist, made his name for the work on samples brought back to London.  Imagine the excitement on seeing these new and exotic species, the grevilliasproteas, bottle brushes, acacias and many different kinds of tiny pea flowers.

What perturbs me is the way that settlers were not satisfied with native species, neither of trees, flowers or fauna. We all know the disaster of introducing rabbits, foxes and cats into Australia, but how many realise that they imported sparrows, blackbirds and nightingales back in the 1850s. The latter didn’t survive but I recently sat in a motel garden in northern Victoria listening to the birdsong. Along with the boom from a bittern, the warbling of the Australian magpies and the shrieking of the cockatoos came the overpowering song of birds I hear every day in my Sussex garden, all descendants of the three dozen pairs imported into Melbourne.

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The oaks, the elms and the beech lined avenues of that small town could not be considered native in any way. They have effectively supplanted the native flora, just as the British and Chinese gold miners of the 1850s supplanted the aboriginals. What is done is done.  One good outcome is that the mighty elm has found its refuge in Australia. I had forgotten what a magnificent tree it is since they were wiped out in Britain by Dutch Elm disease way back in the 1960s.

Each time I return to Australia, I try to use my eyes and ears more. Travelling along the road around the southern edge of Victoria into New South Wales last time, we thought something was wrong with the car until we opened the window. Billions of cicadas accompanied us along a hundred miles of virgin forest. The sound was deafening and thrilling.

Of course, Australia is both large and diverse. I have not touched upon the rainforests of Queensland nor the central dry outback. In good years the outback has its wealth of flora. The 2018 drought has wiped much of it out. Wild fires have laid waste to tropical rainforest around Mackay with such ferocity that it may not recover for decades. It’s a harsh and unforgiving country; drought, fire, flood and dust storms abound but it is also my second home.


Thank you Rosemary for that fabulous article. I’m intrigued to know the names of the wide-girthed tree in the Adelaide wine region and the wide tree in the gold mining town as they are great candidates for me to write poetry narratives to add to my myth and folklore collection.

If you have any questions for Rosemary, please leave them at the end of this blog or via her social media links provided.

About Rosemary

Rosemary Noble lives in West Sussex and worked as an education librarian. Books have been her life, ever since she walked into a library at five-years-old and found a treasure trove. Her other love is social history. She got hooked on family history before retirement and discovered so many stories that deserved to be told.

Her first book, Search for the Light, tells the story of three young girls transported to Australia in 1824. Friendship sustains them through the horrors of the journey and their enforced service in Tasmania. The Digger’s Daughter tells of the next generation of gold-diggers and a pioneering woman who lives almost through the first hundred years in Victoria. The third in the trilogy, Sadie’s Wars takes the reader to the fourth generation and into the twentieth century. The trilogy is based on the author’s family. It tells of secrecy and lies, of determination and grit and how all can be done or undone by luck.

Rosemary is a member of CHINDI independent authors and is involved in literary events in and around Chichester. She also loves to travel, especially to Australia and Europe and not least, she loves spending time with her grandchildren, one of whom is a budding author herself.



Where can a reader purchase your books?

Where can readers find you?

Blog – here

Twitter – here

Facebook – here