The New Year is Humming

The Mad Old Chateau, our residence and place of work outside Paris, is humming with activity. Both Michel and I are preparing our first trips of the year. I am leaving on Wednesday morning for London for three days at the France Show in Earls Court (see Events) followed by a week in Ireland while Michel is off to a documentary film festival in Biarritz. So, here in this thirteenth-century stone-walled home, as I write and as the log fire burns brightly, consuming almost half a tree a day, there are film images being edited, oil being decanted, words being strung together into story and half-filled suitcases lying everywhere.

IMG_18752014 has got underway.  I feel as though the Christmas holidays were a year ago and I am already dreaming of a break. I hope that everyone reading this has enjoyed some tranquillity and happy days with loved ones. I bought a dozen books to read and another dozen for my Kindle, which I dropped and broke and have now ordered another – few of these reads have been enjoyed yet. We both found ourselves with work to complete during the holidays. The great news is that we are both beginning the year with new projects on our desks. It is one of the most exciting moments. The work I was busy with has now been delivered, copy-edited and awaits publication and now I can look at that blank page. In fact, not a blank page. This is a novel I have been preparing for some time and now it is front of desk and I am having a wonderful time  drawing up the principle characters and planning where I will need to go to research various sections of the book. I am one of the school who love researching and travelling for my stories. So, this is a wonderful time for me. I won’t say anymore about the story for now for fear of jinxing it. I will write further during the year as I progress.

Some of you have written asking to see photos of my new  work space. I posted one on an earlier blog. However, I have returned upstairs to my shabby old library. I feel more at peace there when working, more hidden away. I have not worked out why, but it is a fact and I have given in to it. The new space which is light and airy and very open will have to find another raison d’être.  We are thinking about what to do with it. Guest bedrooms perhaps.

For those of you who are hoping to come to the France Show in London. Here are the times of my talks to be held in the Flavours of France Theatre this coming weekend.

  • Friday 17th Jan at 3pm
  • Saturday 18th Jan at 11.15am
  • Sunday 19th Jan at 1.45pm

On each of the days I will also be at the bookshop on site to sign books, sell DVDs of THE OLIVE ROUTE film series and I will have a very small quantity of oil that I will bring with me as well.

On Saturday, after the talk and book-signing, there is our annual Olive Farm lunch which is for readers who are on my Olive Farm Facebook page and who attend the France Show talk. Alas, for this year the seats in the restaurant have been taken. So, lunching with us will have to wait till next year. But anyone who buys a ticket for the France Show can listen to my talk and come to the bookshop on site afterwards to say hello.

I look forward to seeing you there! There are lots of other very exciting attractions so the show is always well worth a visit.

Hotel Paradise, my latest Kindle Single short story  commissioned by Amazon  will be published in February. As soon as I have the exact date I will post it on this site. The first story I wrote for them, The Girl in Room Fourteen, has been top of Amazon’s Kindle Single charts on both sides of the Atlantic and the sales figures are fabulous. For all those of you who have purchased it, huge, huge thanks. For those who have not – it can be read even if you don’t own a Kindle by downloading their free Kindle app to your phone or computer.  Here are the links to the story.



The young adult book I completed edits on over the Christmas holidays is to be published in April. It will not be in the My Story series of diary books I usually write for Scholastic. This is a short novel, a love story, written for the teenage market and is set in France during the First World War. Its title is If You Were the Only Girl in the World. As soon as I have the publication date I will also post that on this site.

IMG_1858So, the year begins on a high and a very active note. I am praying the snow, the bad weather keeps away from London for this weekend so that I can meet as many of you as possible.

I hope that those of you who are living in areas where the weather has caused you problems are keeping safe and warm and dry now.

At the farm, we are olive pruning and the sun was shining when I left there yesterday. Songbirds were darting between the trees, daffodils are in bud and our pair of short-toes eagles were circling low overhead, looking for a new nesting site perhaps.

I drove up through France, singing along the way, enjoying the passing scenery as I always do. The north-bound route was rich with images of low hazy sun over leafless vineyards, fog hanging like clouds south of Lyon, deer at the wooded roadsides in the Brie as I drew close to the Mad Old Chateau.

La Belle France. It remains a constant source of inspiration for me and that is what I will be talking about in Earls Court this coming weekend.

Next time I write here I will tell you about a  very pretty little African girl called Rose. She is Kenyan and she has sight only in one eye but she is a keen learner, loves school and she was the choice I made finally for my small Christmas donation to girls’ education. To put Rose through school for the next year…  More about Rose as I learn more about her myself.

So, dear readers, Happy New Year. Down in the south we say La Santé surtout – health above all else. Indeed. Be well, keep reading and please pop back here regularly.

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm


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