Thank you, 2019… and our 2020 vision!

We’ve had an amazing year in 2019 at Fabrian Books, being joined by a couple of new authors, having another bumper crop of best-sellers and lots of other highlights in our writing careers that some of us would love to tell you about, along with our hopes for 2020… so here goes!

 

Jen Sumner

2019 has been quite the ride for Jen Sumner – a new writing team alter-ego for Jennie and Steve Dunn. We’ve written and released four books throughout this year, all Feel-Good Romances which comprise the first four entries in the well-received and-reviewed Luxmore Park series. Part 5 is already being written, with a prequel now in the works too. Fans are already asking for more, describing the characters as “old friends”, and Luxmore Park as somewhere they wish they could visit in real life. We are already developing ideas for future series too. Many more adventures to come! In the meantime, you can enjoy Annie and Seb’s stories here for only 99p per book! Merry Christmas.

 

Merryn Allingham

My highlight of 2019 has been the success of books I wrote nearly five years ago! Strange but true. When recently the publisher brought out another six thousand copies of each title in the Daisy’s War trilogy, they sold within months, and the kindle editions rose in the charts. In an era of fast fiction (as well as fast fashion), that was comforting. And a confidence boost, as I’m embarking on a new series,The Tremayne Mysteries – this time comprising five novels. I’m not sure if that’s bold or insane! Each book in the series will focus on a different crime in a different location, but the three main characters are a constant and their developing relationship will be as important as the crime. The first in the series is already out — The Venice Atonement on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Kobo.

 

Linda Huber (aka Melinda Huber)

My 2019 has two main highlights. The first, in March, was the publication of Stolen Sister, my eighth psychological suspense novel. This one’s set in my old home town, Glasgow, so I really enjoyed writing it. Then in summer came the fifth and final novella in my Melinda Huber ‘…in Switzerland’ series, Wedding Bells in Switzerland, set just metres from my home on the banks of lovely Lake Constance. As you can guess by the title, there’s a wedding involved – but it doesn’t quite go to plan… You can find out more here.

Apart from these two big events, the most important items in my writing diary are always the meet-ups I have with my little group of writers here in Switzerland. Alison Baillie and Louise Mangos are crime writers; Cass Grafton writes romance, I wouldn’t miss these for the world – we brainstorm ideas, encourage each other, cry on each other’s shoulders (nobody ‘gets’ it like another writer) and celebrate our successes with a glass or two of prosecco. And my biggest wish for 2020 is to do something similar with the other Fabrian books writers – cheers, all!

 

Deirdre Palmer (aka Zara Thorne)

My highlight of 2019 has to be the publication of The Wife’s Revenge by Darkstroke (an imprint of Crooked Cat), written under my real name, Deirdre Palmer. This was my first foray into the psychological thriller genre, and exciting to write, though challenging. It’s available in ebook and paperback form, here. My plans for 2020 are modest, but again, challenging, as I’m planning a new psychological thriller. I’ve also begun a new ‘Zara Thorne’ book, a romance called When I First Saw You, which will be published early in the new year. If there’s time, I’d like to write a new Christmas book for next year, too.

 

Laura Wilkinson (aka Cheri Davies)

The end of another year – another decade! If I’m honest, 2019 has been a tough year for me, but I’m not going to dwell. The highlights… finishing another ‘Laura’ novel and finishing a Cheri novel – The Manhattan Effect, the sequel to The Prosecco Effect, part two of Felicity and Orlando’s story in which our gorgeous, troubled duo head to the Big Apple (the clue’s in the title! It’s not just a drink 😊). Designer Jules is currently working on a revamped cover for The Prosecco Effect after which she’ll be beavering away on the next cover. I can’t wait to show it to you. Similarly, I’m looking forward to publishing The Manhattan Effect under the Fabrian banner early in 2020 (I do like the look of that number). As for my hopes for the coming year… I hope to find more readers for Cheri’s books and find a home for my Laura novel. I hope to read even more fabulous books than I did in 2019 and from the looks of what my fellow Fabrian authors and others are up to that won’t be difficult! I hope to continue being grateful for my relative good fortune, and to make the most of each day – the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! You can check out The Prosecco Effect for yourself here.

 

Sharon Booth

I’ve been looking back over the year and thinking that I really hadn’t achieved much at all in 2019. In fact, I’ve been giving myself quite a hard time over it! So I decided to double check to see what I’d actually done, and I got a pleasant surprise. I clearly haven’t been faffing about as much as I thought!

I’ve released my first two audios books with WF Howes, as well as combining the first and second books in the Skimmerdale series as a collection, releasing my second Witches of Castle Clair book, adding new novels to the Bramblewick and Home for Christmas series, and achieving several best seller flags. 2019 has also seen the release of the first four Bramblewick books as paperbacks, with some of them also coming out with my large print publisher, Ulverscroft. To complete 2019, the final Bramblewick novel, Christmas at Cuckoo Nest Cottage will be published in mid-December.

I think I’m going to stop beating myself up about not doing enough this year! But, before I get too complacent, I have to think ahead to 2020, and there’s a lot to do there! I have more collections to publish, more paperbacks, and at some point, I’d like to produce more audio books. Next year, for me, will be about finishing off my ongoing projects. The spring will bring the final Witches book, for instance. I’ve loved working on all my series, but I have so many new ideas jostling for their turn that I do feel it’s time to move on. 2021 will find me in my new settings which, trust me, are just as beautiful and filled with as many delightful characters as Kearton Bay, Skimmerdale and all the other places we’ve visited together. There’s a lot of work to do before I can leave my old friends behind, though, and that includes writing at least five books next year. Is it achievable? Ask me again this time next year!

You can find all my books here, sign up for my newsletter or check out my website.

 

Jo Bartlett

This year has been amazing, but it seems to have flashed by in the blink of an eye. I’ve released books 13, 14, 15 and 16 and I’ve been lucky enough to receive best seller flags for all four. I was also thrilled to make the overall Kindle top 100 this year, and win three Amazon All Star awards for being a Top 100 most read author. Somehow those pinch myself moments still don’t seem real! The biggest highlight of 2019, though, has been the feedback I’ve received from some of my readers. Being told that I’ve made someone’s holiday extra special because they loved escaping into one of my books so much, or that it’s helped get them through a difficult time, of illness or bereavement, by providing an escape to a feel-good story, really makes it all worthwhile. My hopes for 2020 (like Laura, I love the look of that date!) are for more of the same and hopefully to achieve something new with a second writing identity… I’ll keep you posted on that one, but in the meantime I hope you have an amazing Christmas and that all your dreams for 2020 come true too.

 

Alys West

During 2019 I have been hard at work completing my third novel, STORM WITCH (the second book in the Spellworker Chronicles) which will be published in March/April 2020. The book is set in Orkney and picks up the story six weeks after the end of BELTANE. The first chapter of STORM WITCH is available to read here.

I have also been busy teaching creative writing at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of York. If you’re in Yorkshire then you may want to check out the courses I’m teaching in 2020 which are on self-publishing, writing suspense and preparing to submit your manuscript. You can find out more here.

In 2020 I’m looking forward to working with more writers to develop their work through my book whispering and mentoring services. I’ll also be starting work on a new historical fantasy novel set in Whitby.

 

Jackie Ladbury

I never really feel in control of the stories I write as I’m more of a muddler than a planner, almost surprising myself when I actually finish writing a book, so am quite proud that in 2019 I had two books published: The Potters Daughter and Happy Christmas Eve by Ruby Fiction. I recently started writing another historical almost as a vague idea I was toying with, but before I knew it I had thirty thousand words down. Another 60,000 and it will be finished (gulp!) I still want to write contemporary romances too, and am a very tentative 10,000 words into A Sorrento Summer (working title) which is on the back-burner at the moment. Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill took almost two years to write, on and off and I’m especially proud of it, as I wasn’t even sure if it was any good until people started telling me that it was their favourite book of the season – I still adore the cover too. So, hope you all have a Happy Christmas and if you’re going to read one Christmas book this year make it Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hil Emoji You can find out more about me and my books on my website.

 

Pat Posner

My writing highlight of 2019 has been setting up a new Facebook group for all those people, including my loyal and lovely readers, who remember the prefab era with such fondness. It’s been great sharing photographs and memories, and being transported back to a time when life seemed so much simpler. If you fancy joining in with the fun, you can find the page here. In 2020, I’ll be releasing a new set of stories from the popular Broome Park Prefab Village series and, in the meantime, if you fancy a Christmas visit to Broome Park, you can find a wealth of feel-good stories in Christmas Roses.

 

Helen Phifer

2019 has been a very busy year with so much going on that I can hardly believe we’re nearly at the end! There have been a few writing related highlights for me this year. The first was striking out and doing something totally different, in setting up a book club, which takes place at my local Costa. Anyone who follows me on social media, or knows me in real life, will be aware that I’m a bit of a Costa coffee addict! I set up the group to encourage me to read more widely across different genres, as I think there’s so much to learn from all of them. It’s a been a great way of doing that and, of course, meeting lots of lovely like-minded new friends. My other highlight was the release of my new series with Bookouture. The series follows the personal and professional life of pathologist, Beth Adams, and the first book ‘The Girl in the Grave’ has been really well received by readers and reviewers alike. So I was excited to release book 2 The Girls in the Lake this week and I can’t wait to hear what readers think! In 2020, I’ll be working on a new writing contract and the details of that will be announced soon. I also hope to go back to my first love of writing horror, but I just need to find some more hours in the day first Emoji

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We hope you’ve enjoyed reading  our highlights of 2019 and our plans for 2020. The Fabrian Books’ team would like to wish all our readers the very merriest of Christmas seasons and a wonderful New Year!

 

 

Seaside cottages, disobedient dogs and the magic of muse

A Cornish Summer's Kiss ebook cover jpgI don’t post on the Fabrian Books’ blog as often as I probably should, but every once in a while I have more to say than can be confined to a tweet or series of hashtags on Instagram. Today is one of those occasions. I am (very quietly) celebrating the launch of book fourteen, which might extend to an extra squeeze of syrup on my pancakes tonight… or it might not!

After thirteen previous occurrences, book release day is just another day. So I took the dogs out for a walk as I always do. Whilst I was out, I thought I would take a photograph of a house on the beach close to me, which reminds me of the book cover for A Cornish Summer’s Kiss. You might question whether there are really any thatchedimage5 cottages that overlook the sea, with white cliffs in the distance, but I can promise you there are. It might not be cut off from the rest of the world at high tide, like Myrtle Cottage in A Cornish Summer’s Kiss is, but I think it’s lovely all the same.

I almost ended up acting out the first scene from the new novel, just to get the photos today. When Lexie heads down to Port Kara to work out a way forward after the death of her husband in a surfing accident, she finds herself stranded on an impassable cliff path after her wayward Labrador, Albie, takes an unexpected leap of faith. I often find myself in slightly precarious situations with my dogs because, let’s just say, they’re not exactly trained the Barbara Woodhouse way – for anyone else who’s old enough to remember who that is! Their default position is to run off and pretend to be as deaf as posts when someone or something more interesting than me comes along; that could be anything from a rabbit, to another dog, or even dancing leaves swept up on the breeze. This means, if I’m going to let them off the lead, then it’s usually somewhere off the main path, where we hopefully won’t bump into other dog walkers with their far more obedient canines.

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The dogs in the background today and the selfie face I always pull when I’m desperately trying to look thinner!

I was in the Llyn Peninsula in Wales when I actually got stuck on the wrong side of a gap in the cliffs, getting myself into serious trouble, just like Lexie, trying to rescue my own Labrador, Lola. Sadly I wasn’t saved by a rugged lifeboat crewman, as Lexie is in A Cornish Summer’s Kiss, but I have to say I’ve never been as grateful for my husband’s ability to keep far calmer than me, than I was that particular day. On that same Welsh beach I spotted a row of old fisherman’s cottages, that were cut off by high tide, and it was the combination of these two things that inspired me to write the first chapter of what became A Cornish Summer’s Kiss.

My plan when taking the photos today was just to post the pictures and the front cover, side by side, but it got me thinking about why I write about seaside settings more often than not. I was born a couple of minutes from the sea and only once ever lived more than a few miles away from the coast. I lasted twelve months in Warwickshire, but the lure of the sea soon drew me back home to Kent. I’ve now written seven books set on the Kent coast, three in Cornwall (a favourite UK holiday destination), two in the Scottish Highlands and one in the Kent countryside.  I suppose it’s in the blood and living so close to the sea, even now, I can’t help but imagine my protagonists living their lives with the smell of sea salt in the air too.

It also occurred to me, when I was scaling the banks of the slope today, that dogs feature image3in almost all of my stories as well. Like the sea, they’ve been in my life from day one, and I couldn’t imagine my house without at least one dog thumping its tail on the mat to welcome us home. Walking the dogs always helps me get the next phase of the story straight in my head, so it’s no surprise that they should frequently appear as integral characters in my stories. These days, with teenagers in the house – one of whom has turned mood swings into a semi-professional occupation – escaping with the dogs is even more of a draw.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn A Cornish Summer’s Kiss I write about the big skies and endless horizons that you just don’t find elsewhere. Walking the dogs today, and taking some photos to mark release day, reminded me just how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much inspiration. It looks like I’ll be writing about seaside locations, and the dogs that love them every bit as much as their human companions, for some time to come!

A Cornish Summer’s Kiss is available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. With a big thank you to all at Fabrian books and my lovely friend, Toni Jones, for helping the book over the finish line.

Jo Bartlett