Christmas Crafts -paper beads!




paper bead 2It’s that time of year again when you might be thinking about Christmas gifts and handmade ones can be great. In ‘Christmas at Rum Cove‘, Chloe finds herself at a Christmas Craft Fair and is amazed at the homemade gifts, some jewellery made from paper beads amongst them. How about having a go yourself? They are a great way to recycle old bits of paper. I made some out of pizza delivery leaflets and they turned out great.

You can use any paper. A diamond shape can be folded around a cocktail stick and glued at one end. There are lots of different types of beads you can make and then string together to make lovely, unusual necklaces or bracelets. Beads can be covered in varnish to make them a bit more durable. Why not give it a go?

Here is a link to a site you might find useful:


Buy a cat, write in the morning, cultivate self confidence: top writers’ tips on writing

What do top writers have in common? It is worth asking this question so that maybe us mere mortals can emulate our heros!

Hilary Mantel  advises that ‘the most helpful quality a writer can cultivate is self confidence.’

Leo Tolstoy advised wannabe writers to pick the hours that work for you. He wrote in the early  morning when he felt fresh. When do you feel at your best?

William Faulkner urged writers to ‘read, read, read everything-trash, classics, good and bad to see how they do it!’ This I really agree with.


Katherine Mansfield thought it was best to silence our inner critics, ‘write anything is better than nothing.’ Again, this is a good idea.

And Muriel Spark advised writers to get a cat! She stated that ‘the effect of the cat on your concentration is remarkable and very mysterious.’

Not sure I quite follow this one. My cat tends to walk across my keyboard to get my attention which can be very distracting! She does sometimes look like she is writing though!

What are your writing tips?img_20191027_104733




‘A Scottish Retreat’ is FREE 20-22 nd November! Don’t miss out!


Annabel Logan-Black is a journalist who is sent to Scotland to cover a story and is asked to stay there for a month by her boss. One of the paper’s employees is being investigated for ‘phone hacking and as he gave a large number of leads to Annabel, her editor wants her out of the way. She was chasing down a story in the wilds of Scotland anyway but is contractually obliged to write her bitchy, trendy ‘People’ column whilst in rural Scotland. She decides to go incognito and changes her name whilst she works for a small, local paper; a job arranged by her boss. At first she wonders what on earth she can find to write about. However, she soon finds that there is much more going on in this rural idyll of Glenloch and more than enough to keep her column going. However, what happens when the locals realise that she is not who she says she is and how will that effect her burgeoning relationship with the two men who have caught her eye…


Christmas is coming! How to make Christmas gifts- handmade chocolate truffles.

In ‘Christmas at Rum Cove’, Chloe visits a Christmas Fayre which is full of delightful handmade Christmas items. You can make your own gifts too. Here is a recipe for chocolate truffles. These can be frozen or refrigerated. They will last up to 2 months refrigerated.

Ingredients for 12 truffles.

  1. 8 ounces chocolate, use at least 60%
  2. 1/2 cup of double cream
  3. For coating: cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles, finely chopped hazelnuts or melted chocolate


  1. Finely chop the chocolate. A serrated knife will make this easy, and finely chopping the chocolate will help it melt more quickly and evenly.
  2. Heat the cream in the microwave. You can always heat the cream on the stove, but a few minutes in the microwave will get the cream hot enough to melt the chocolate.
  3. Cover the chocolate with the cream. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and stir to combine, then let the cream work on melting the chocolate while you get a pan to cool the ganache in.
  4. Cool the chocolate ganache before scooping and rolling. Once the chocolate is melted, whisk the ganache mixture until smooth and shiny. Then pour the ganache into a shallow pan to cool in the fridge. You can scoop the ganache into tablespoon-sized rounds after about 30 minutes. Work with gloves on to make the cleaning up easier.


Delicious! Why not give them a try.




Sharing writing tips.

ballpoint pen classic coffee composition

Photo by Pixabay on

I’m fascinated with the mechanics of writing, especially those squeezing writing into their busy lives. I work and have been known to get up early to write, or write in my lunch break or well into the night, if things are going well.

I use google docs, as it’s great for different devices. I type on a laptop, take a tablet to work and maybe do a little in my lunch break, even pull out my phone and re read what I’ve written. Then I switch to word for more refined editing. Google docs is also great for sharing documents and doing writing collaborations, like the one I have done with Scarlett Brodie.

People say they haven’t got time to write, but I think you can do it if you really want to.  Even if you can only manage an hour a day, or half an hour, you will soon have a complete book.

How do you fit writing into your busy lives? Please share.

My latest book is out now! ‘Christmas at Rum Cove’.


‘Christmas at Rum Cove’- a festive romance, OUT now!

Chloe Charlesworth has had the week from hell. Not only did she have her dream job as a fashion journalist, snatched away from her, then her aunt breaks her leg. So, Chloe leaves London on a mercy dash to Rum Cove in North Yorkshire to help run her aunt’s businesses, the Contraband Café and trekking centre. Chloe imagines she will be simply popping in to check that her aunt has the right help, but when she accidentally poisons her aunt’s horses and argues with the local vet, she feels obligated to help out with the numerous Rum Cove’s Christmas events, which all centre around the Contraband Café. But, Chloe is desperate to get back to London, move in with her boyfriend, Marcus, and find another journalism job, the only trouble being that he doesn’t seem too keen on the idea.
Rum Cove, an old fishing village, is undeniably beautiful and the locals very friendly, except for the local vet Luke, who is appallingly rude and arrogant. Thankfully Marcus decides to visit and Chloe soon realises that she has some serious decisions to make. A sparkling, Christmas romance.

Here is an extract from the book;

‘The Contraband Café was situated about halfway up a narrow, cobbled street which led down to the bay. As they walked, the scent of the sea was unmistakable along with the sound of seagulls shrieking overhead. Although it was a grey December day and freezing, the main street in Rum Cove looked so quaint that Chloe felt a rush of anticipation. The beach shops, ice cream parlours and Bed and Breakfasts were all closed out of season, but the street was beautifully maintained and Chloe found herself longing to press her nose up against the shop windows and look inside. There was a small grocer’s shop, Post Office and bakery that were open all year round and a chandlery selling fishing and sailing equipment, such as lobster pots and nets for fishermen, whose boats were bobbing up and down in the harbour. Set high on a rocky outpost was The Spyglass Inn, a fabulous imposing stone building. Chloe felt that she was transported back in time as she noticed the little stone passageways which led off the cobbled street. She could almost imagine the sailors, pirates and smugglers who must have lived here. About halfway down the Contraband Cafe’s sign swung slowly in the breeze, showing a pair of swarthy pirate types with long black boots, rolling barrels of liquor, presumably rum, to their secret hiding place.

‘Here we are.’ Lottie expertly unlocked the café door and led Chloe inside. The café was decorated with bunting, mismatched old chairs and tables set with gingham tablecloths and mismatched old crockery. The walls were adorned with photos of Rum Cove from a bygone age and the mullioned windows and beams were clearly authentic. There was a box of Christmas decorations waiting to be put up and even a shiny stainless steel coffee machine behind the counter. Chloe nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw a dark swashbuckling figure wearing breeches, boots, a huge overcoat and tricorn hat in one corner.’



‘Scotch on the Loch’ is FREE 11th to 13th November. Don’t miss out!

This is  a heartwarming novel set in the Western Isles of Scotland.

Lucy Ross is devastated when her relationship with lawyer, Sebastian, breaks down. Encouraged by her sister, Madeleine,she decides to embark on a new job promoting tourism and leaves London to start work in the remote western isles of Scotland. At first, she struggles with the rural landscape, lack of decent shopping and does not get off to a good start with her boss, the handsome but supercilious Rory MacDonald, who thinks she is a ‘ useless townie who won’t last five minutes.’ Lucy has another reason for coming to Scotland as she wants to discover the truth about her birth father, James Ross, who left her mother when she was a baby.
With a range of colourful local characters hell bent on stripping off for a Calendar Girls style calendar in order to promote the area and a very personable Estate manager, Jed MacInnes, thrown in, Lucy begins to settle in and enjoy life. Things are definitely looking up. Then, the past catches up with her, she finds that establishing her relationship with her father, could result in the man she loves losing everything


Sloe Gin!

Now is the time to start making your own gin infusions for Christmas. Sloes, below, are popular and there are still a few in the hedgerows. Or you can use other fruit, raspberries, strawberries or cucumber. Simply purchase gin, place in a clean jar with the fruit, cleaned, and leave for at least 5-15 days depending on the strength required.  Once it has infused, then strain through muslin to remove the solids and taste.  It is worth experimenting with various fruits. Sloe berries will need pricking and cleaning and 2 oz of sugar will need to be added to taste. Gin infusions are popular and can make great Christmas presents!
white round fruit
Photo by Pixabay on

‘Christmas at Rum Cove’ OUT now.

Christmas at Rum Cove

My book is out now. It is a sparkling Christmas romance set in beautiful Rum Cove. All writers use real life as their inspiration and I am no exception. Rum Cove is actually based on Robin Hood’s Bay, a delightful North Yorkshire Fishing village, near Whitby. It is a fabulous little cove, with lots of cobbled roads that lead down to the bay.  In the 17th century, the place was rife with smugglers and there is rumoured to be a whole net work of underground tunnels. Luxury items such as gin, brandy and tea used to be smuggled and there were often pitch battles with Excise staff! There are loads of fossils locally and pieces of jet. It is well worth a visit, and have a pint in The Bay Hotel.rhbrobins hood bayrobins hood bay snow

Free book to download over weekend, ‘Everything But The Girl’

Just noticed a book I like is free on kindle over the weekend. It is’ Everything But The Girl’ an is a funny,cosy crime story featuring Liddy Marbles a Psychologist who stumbles on a side line as a sleuth. Follow the link;

Well worth reading . Don’t forget to review!