The photos behind the story…

 ‘Friendship, Love and Sangria’ image of Friendship Love and Sangria based in Guardamar, set in Guardamar, has only been out four days as an e-book but the first reviews are already in, which is amazing!  Thank you, thank you, thank you…
Reviews are so valuable for an author, whether good or ‘developmental’ (you can tell I’m a trainer…), and can truly make all the difference. Plus, I’m always touched that someone has actually gone out of their way and spent their time and effort to talk about my book.  It’s the same when readers email me, or message me on Facebook. I appreciate it so much. Whatever form of communication it can often be the only way a writer knows if what we do is working or if we should do things differently. So, thank you… Continue reading “The photos behind the story…”

Food, food and more food…

Image of book cover Friendship Love and Apple TeaSabrina Ghayour has a lot to answer for…

So, I was sitting there writing my sequel to ‘Friendship, Love and Apple Tea‘ earlier and noticed my stomach rumbling… and rumbling… and rumbling… and I realised something…I seem to write a lot about food.  And I mean a lot!  Then I realised that  I also think about food a lot.  And I read about it too and watch many cookery shows and… well, I guess it’s one of my passions in life.  When finances allow, I coerce the rest of my family to eat out with me,  rarely choosing standard British food but preferring instead either  a) Turkish  b) Persian/Iranian  c) Spanish  or d) French.  The same type of cuisine I cook most, if not every, day at home. Continue reading “Food, food and more food…”

Writing, Pigeons and the Fatty Fudge…

I can’t believe it’s June already and we’re half way through 2016.  In fact, I do believe it, as my Dad sends us regular messages similar to: ‘this time in 8 months it will be Christmas Day’, ‘this time in 7 months it will be Christmas Eve’, etc etc… but still, it’s whizzing past.   Continue reading “Writing, Pigeons and the Fatty Fudge…”

March 2016 news…

Well, firstly, my promise to publish a blog post every week has gone a bit off target.  Ok, not a bit, a lot.  Why?  Well, actually, I don’t even have a really good excuse, it’s just that the start of this year has flown by and I’ve had lots of little things going on that have all merged together to form a big thing. Continue reading “March 2016 news…”

Best friends and book covers…

Best friends and book covers. What’s the connection? Well, as much as we try to not ‘judge a book by its cover’, when it comes to selling books, the cover is absolutely crucial.  For many readers, it’s the shop window, the hook, the invitation to look inside and, if you get it wrong, your words may sadly go unread.  As a self-published author, it’s a huge concern.  It’s no good trying to put something together in MS Paint – I’m not artistic at all, and any drawing I do looks like it has been scrawled by Puglet the dog.  So, the only option is to outsource it.  But where to start? Continue reading “Best friends and book covers…”

Apologies to all the other eBook platforms…

Greetings from my sofa in Northamptonshire, UK…

I hereby make a formal apology to quite a few of the eBook platforms other than Kindle, but just as fab, as I’ve totally neglected them.  And, have neglected their readers too.

Well, not totally, as I’ve always had the links to my books published through iBooks, Kobo, Nook and Google play on my website.  But, whenever I’ve posted about ‘Friendship, Love and Apple Tea’ on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve only ever put the links to my Kindle book.

Why?  Well, I have absolutely no idea and hadn’t realised until today when I saw the light… I was driving around in the beautiful Bedfordshire countryside, on my way to an appointment, merrily listening to an interview during a brill Joanna Penn podcast.  I was smugly doing the ‘ooh, I do that,’  ‘ummm, I’ve thought about doing that’ and then ‘What?? I don’t do that!’  Yes,  I was hit with the realisation that I, like many other authors, am guilty of treating my Kindle eBook as my favourite child.

Yes, I admit my eBook has not sold as well on the other platforms as it has on Amazon Kindle, but that’s possibly because I haven’t promoted it as much.  The other platforms are offering self-publishers such a great deal, just as much as Kindle, and so today I will turn over a new leaf –  I’m going to start promoting them more (and my own books at the same time, obviously… well hey, I’m an Indie Author, it’s part of my job description!)

So, first of all, if any of you reading this has read my book on one of those platforms, could I ask a teeny favour (if you’d be so kind)… could you leave a review please?  I haven’t received as many reviews on those platforms;  in fact, it’s only my Google play and Kobo readers that have posted reviews (a total of 20) compared to the 79 on Amazon (Thank you to all that leave feedback, it is so much appreciated and makes a huge difference to an author).  And secondly, any comments or thoughts about the other platforms, either as a reader or author, I’d very much like to hear them.

Now, here’s the links to my book, not only to promote it but to hopefully encourage more readers to use these platforms which offer a great experience .. and I promise that my next novel due at the end of the year will be promoted fairly amongst all eBook platforms.  Honest…

Kobo |  Google play | iBooks  |  Nook

Aubergines, spleens and Sabrina Ghayour.

I’ve got a bit of a thing for aubergines and Sabrina Ghayour.  ‘Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head’… ooh, I went a bit ‘sing song’ there.

Yes, I know, aubergines are one of those things that you either love or hate.  But, before you dismiss this waxy, purple coloured, strange shaped veggie, hear me out.  There’s lots of very interesting facts about them, oh yes…For instance, did you know that they are approximately the same size as a human spleen?  This is what inspired the first script that I wrote called ‘Spleens and Aubergines’, a short piece performed at Milton Keynes Theatre at a new writing event.  Our daughter and I had to make a papier mache aubergine as a prop, which we particularly fell in love with… it sat on our work top for many weeks after and then we suddenly prodded it with a fork and it deflated and was laid to rest.  We will never forget it…

I love aubergines.  Not only the taste, but their character.  When I was pregnant with our daughter, she used to lay in my tummy with her bottom in the air, and my stomach had the appearance of an aubergine.  So, we called her EP (Eggplant) all the way through pregnancy and, occasionally, even now.  At thirteen, she finds this a little disturbing.

Only this week, I was contacted by a chap who had read a piece in a local magazine about that play I had performed  and told me all about his book he’s writing about the fine vegetable.  So, I’m not alone.

Image of book cover Friendship Love and Apple TeaSo, as well as admiring the veg, in our house we eat aubergines probably three times a week, and this comes from our love of Mediterranean cooking.  From Imam Byaldi to just plain, roasted aubergine, we can’t get enough of it (when I say ‘we’ I mean my husband and I. Daughter is a teenager who does not find veggies cool, innit).  And, you’ve probably already guessed that I love all things Turkish, seeing as I based my book there (Friendship, Love and Apple Tea) and have visited, well, a lot… definitely in double figures.  As well as the lovely people, the sunshine, beautiful scenery and special friends, I also adore the food – Adana Kebabs, Imam Byaldi, borek…

So, there I was a few weeks ago watching Saturday Kitchen, in my dressing gown as is quite normal, not quite paying attention as I’m normally writing or talking to the dog when it’s on, when I suddenly heard the chef mentioning ingredients that I particularly love.  And so I watched.  And I loved it so much, my husband had ordered the cookery book by the time the show ended and it was delivered the following day.  ‘Persiana‘ by Sabrina Ghayour.

image of Sabrina Ghayour and aubergines
Aubergines loving Persiana

Now, if you didn’t watch her on the show, you missed a real treat as the meal she prepared looked absolutely gorgeous.  Persian Herb Rice,  packed with coriander, parsley and chives.  She explained how that particular rice dish is a very special one that is often eaten at the Persian New Year coinciding with the Spring Equinox and has rather a lot of butter added (which made James Martin very happy).  She was such a joy to watch, so smiley and happy, and bubbling with enthusiasm about Persian food.

The biggest surprise, with not only that recipe but generally all in the book, is that the food is fairly easy to make.  Which, when you’re working full time and making papier mache veg in your precious spare minutes, is very important.

As Sabrina explains in her introduction to the book, ‘no mess, no fuss, just simple and delicious food’.    A day after the book arrived we all ate a real Persian and Mediterranean feast, which included:  Aubergine and Yoghurt, Persian herb frittata, Adana Kebabs and roasted carrots.  And, I haven’t been able to stop cooking Sabrina’s recipes since.

Never before have I been so excited by a cookery book.  If you love the food and flavours of the Middle East, please give this chef a try.  Look up the lovely Sabrina Ghayour.  For the ‘chefs’ amongst you, she even runs cookery evenings where you get to make a meal and then eat together.  I have GOT to book a place!

So, I’m hoping that we all get cooking along with Sabrina, and, even make a papier mache aubergine to watch over us at the hob, should the need and enthusiasm arise.  Which, I can’t see why it wouldn’t.  We’ve all surely considered doing it?  No?  Oh, just me then…

Penny

x

Favourite holiday reads…

Carole Matthews, Sohpie Kinsella and Belinda Jones – three of my favourite authors… It’s that time of year, where people are flying around the supermarket buying sun tan lotion and shorts and bikinis and those little tiny travel-sized bottles of shampoo and deodorant to take on their hols (which I really like, because they’re cute, but I end up taking 5 bottles of shampoo and may as well just have taken a normal size one).  And, of course, a few books to read on the beach or by the pool (whether paper-backed or ebook).

What’s the ideal holiday read?  For me, it has to be a light read, something I don’t have to concentrate a lot on,  something that makes me smile, something that has me liking the characters and enjoying their company on my holiday.  I don’t mind a little bit of seriousness, but the books needs to have an equal share of ‘light’ moments.

Beautiful viewsSo, I’ve narrowed it down to three favourite authors – I’ve read most, if not all, of their books and have loved every single one.  And, if I can only be 10% as good as they are, I’ll be a very happy writer!

Carole Matthews – if you haven’t read any of her books, then I absolutely insist that you do, right this minute.  Ignore anything else you’re doing this Bank Holiday Monday and go and get a book, or download one instantly.  INSTANTLY, I TELL YOU!  They’re fun, light, real and a joy to read.  Plus, she’s a fellow Milton Keynes based writer, and likes cake.  Take a look on her Amazon page – I can’t even recommend one in particular, as I love them all.  But, there’s a couple that I perhaps remember more than the others and that’s because they involve the main character starting up a business; Calling Mrs Christmas (yes, it is Christmas based so it may be worth holding on to this one until a festive holiday) and Summer Daydreams.  Carole really values her readers and has a great relationship with them – she organises trips and outings, and regularly runs competitions to win some fab goodies.

Sophie Kinsella – Oh, I adore Sophie’s books.  I laugh out loud (or LOL as the kids would say and, may I point out, I’m really down with the kids …) and they really tickle me.  The main character in the Shopaholic series, Becky, is very annoying but it’s what makes her so fun to read (and my main character Lou is very annoying in Friendship, Love and Apple Tea, so I think she was influenced by Becky’s shenanigans.)  I still haven’t read the latest one, I’m saving it for my hols in August (we all know that will never happen as I’ll have read it by next week).  Give yourself a giggle and take a peek if you haven’t already.

Belinda Jones – I started reading Belinda’s books a few years back and fell in love with them.  Mainly, I think, because of the travel element.  They’re set in great places around the world and are a cross between a novel and a travel guide.  And, as a fan of travelling, that’s really my cup of tea.  It’s probably influenced my own writing, as I wanted the reader to go on a journey with my characters and experience different places in the world, or revisit their own favourite destination.  If you’re not having a foreign holiday this year, then give these books a read.  You’ll find yourself travelling the world but without the cost or the sunburn.  And you won’t need to sort out someone coming round to feed the cats whilst you’re away. Sorted!

Image of book cover Friendship Love and Apple TeaWhat’s your favourite holiday reads?  Let me know and I’ll put them on a blog.  And, if you haven’t done so yet, give my ‘Friendship, Love and Apple Tea’ a try… you’ll get to spend a few weeks in Turkey in the sun without having to buy a visa.