In April 2022, my life changed. I retired, for good this time.
Health issues were draining me and I was struggling to finish my books. It was taking a toll as I battled to keep walking, stay healthy and, at times, to breathe. I thought it was stress related and thought my retirement would see me right. It didn't!
Thankfully, a new doctor has now picked up an issue I've been living with for the past 5 - 6 years. Medication and ongoing assessment has me feeling much better in just two weeks.
I could finish Book 3!!! So thrilled, as it was well overdue.
It is now available as a kindle version and the printed copies are on their way.
The aim is to have the new books 'Died with Flowers' Book 3 and 'Christmas at the Hog and Frog' Book 3.1 at Featherston Booktown on the weekend of 11 - 12 June 2022. Then in the Writers Plot Bookshop.
While waiting for the books I think I'll get on with 'Broken Hearts and Promises'. This is taking a lot longer than expected as the historical component research is taking me on journey's that are not really required for my story. There are so many books to read and everyone has a distinctive view of the time. Maybe I should just stop reading and start writing.
Kindle version of 'Died with Flowers' link to Amazon.
Kindle version of 'Christmas at the Hog and Frog' link to Amazon.
We have been lucky, being able to work from home and being in an area of New Zealand where we haven't continued to have daily cases. Not being able to go into the book shop in the afternoon has also been wonderful. It means I get to write!
With thanks to Rox for the cover, we are near to having the book finished. I'm currently getting the third Nettie Knit Shop Mystery - 'Died with Flowers', ready for editing. Nothing like seeing the cover to inspire further work.
This will be the priority, but I also want to get 'Broken Hearts and Promises' moved along too. Could it be there are two books to come out in December 2021?
We can but wait and see how the rest of the year treats us.
The cover and a blurb to whet your interest are on the Books page have a look.
On another note - holidays:
We manages to get a weeks holiday in before we went into lockdown. Warmth, sun, good food and drinks, but most of all we had time to relax and appreciate what we had. It may by many months or even a year or so before we get away again. A few photos for your edification.
How many of us where hoping for 2021 to be the silver bullet that fixed what aided 2020? But it seems to have turned out to be just more of the same, slightly different with a whole new set of issues.
No better time than to stick your head in a book and take yourself somewhere that is away from the everyday grind.
To counter act all of that, book 3 of the Netttie's Knit shop series is coming along. This one has a working title of 'Dyed with Flowers' and there may be a wedding that Nettie and Mags need to plan. That's all the teasers you get for now, as some research into the back roads of the South Wairarapa have taken us on a few journeys this summer.
As autumn seems to have arrived with a distinct chill, Bob has some new recipes for us to try, and when we do, will post them here with photos of our bakes.
In the meantime - enjoy photos of the South Wairarapa coast from our summer visit - beautiful when out of the wind.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas Holiday break. I hope you have an enjoyable time, great holiday and get to spend time with family and friends.
May the new year bring us all peace and serenity after the turbulent storm that was 2020.
For the last few weeks of the year, I have a book to proof read and fix with the aim to have it printed and out in the shops by the end of January 2021.
And - exciting news, there are two new books in the pipeline!
Book 3 tentatively named 'Died with Flowers' and a Covid-19 lock-down mystery 'Broken Hearts and Promises'.
We have also some recipes to test for Bob which had been put on hold (along with everything else) while my broken wrist healed.
For now Bob has experimented with a couple of scone recipes and mashed them up with what he had in his pantry and fridge. They taste delicious, but feel free to add spices and orange zest/peel for added flavour.
Download the recipe to print.
Well, it's been a year of challenges, some good, many not so good.
Lockdown went smoothly and I was thrilled I had plenty of time to work on Book 2, it was finished! Then came the editing and we were out of lockdown, this proved a struggle to find time and enthusiasm. Then, just at the final edits before sending it off to a fellow author for proof reading, I break my wrist! My right wrist, and I'm right handed.
I know - right?
Well, pleased to now say - the beta readers and my proof reader have copies, so while waiting, I've started Book 3 and a lockdown short story. It's tough - and can only be at the computer for no more than 30 min at a time, so will expect this to take some time. But I feel I am now back on track.
New launch - end of October. My current cast (new, improved and colourful) may come off 20 Oct - then it will be rehabilitation/physiotherapy to get the hand and fingers working again.
Also looking forward to getting back in the kitchen to try out some of Bob's new recipes, and back to my knitting which it still sitting on the coffee table waiting.
Fourth town for South Wairarapa? Headlines in the Wairarapa Times-Age on 10 March.
I've had a few people call me to ask if I had seen it and was the new town going to be Thornbury. It was a laugh but quite fortuitous - I had no idea that this was even a thought when I started writing about Thornbury three years ago.
From here I will be looking with interest into the development of this idea, and may of the town - just as long as the builders they get are not called Knox and Downes because that would be just a little bit too spooky.
Read the article here - https://times-age.co.nz/fourth-town-for-south-wairarapa/
Today I sent off the files for the Best first novel in the Ngaio Marsh awards after being contacted by the founder Craig.
I thought about it for over a week and then decided to go for it cause you only have your first novel once, and I was asked if I would join.
Sometimes you just have to say yes, take a deep breath and go for it.
In April and May there will be the 'Murder in the Library' events where we (the authors) get to talk about out work and meet other authors and readers. I'm looking forward to it - sort of, but if you don't put yourself out there no one will ever see or hear about your story.
So - I am now relaxing on the deck with a glass of wine and a lotto ticket for the 50 million dollar draw - because you can't win it if you are not in it.
I just got a phone call from a friend who read my book and they loved it. We discussed the intricacies and the characters, and she wants to know more about Amber-May and Bluey and Mac. Well, I think that can be arranged.
It's wonderful to know people enjoy reading your story as much as you enjoy writing. Thank you readers.
We tried it - it's easy to make and delicious.
Shortbread is often associated with Christmas, but make it an extra Christmassy treat by adding cherries, chocolate and a hint of almond. These colourful Christmas biscuits are easy to make, not too sweet and great as a homemade gift.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 - 12 minutes
Yield: 12 – 14 biscuits
1/2 cup butter- room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
2/3 cup glace cherries-chopped (a mixture of red and green for the season)
1/3 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate – but you can try white or dark)
1. Mix our and salt, set aside
2. Cream 1 cup unsalted softened butter with 1/2 cup powdered sugar, mix in vanilla.
3. Add our and salt mixture and mix until it starts forming larger clumps.
4. Mix in chocolate chips and maraschino cherries.
5. Form the dough into the log and press it well or it will crumble when you slice the cookies, the log should be about 5 cm (2 inch) thick. Wrap it in the plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 160 C (325 F) and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
7. Cut the log into 6-8 millimetres (1/4 or 1/3 inch) thick slices and place them onto baking sheet with approximately 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) of space between.
Note: if the dough crumbles, press it back together with your hands
8. Bake the cookies 10 – 12 minutes (until they just start to turn lightly golden brown on top)
9. Let them cool for 5 minutes on a baking sheet before transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
Download the recipe to print.
The first of the seasonal short stories 'Lost Angels' is now available on Amazon as an e-book.
A post-Christmas gathering in the magnificent Washburn Estate gardens is just the relaxation the shop owners of Thornbury need after the Christmas rush, but it could turn into a tragedy. With a little angelic help Nettie manages to avert history from repeating.
During the Christmas decoration intervention at the beginning of the story, Bob came into Nettie's Knit shop with a new recipe - Christmas Shortbread.
Nettie is getting the recipe to try for herself and it will share it on this website in the coming week - the first week of January 2020.