Wednesday, October 07, 2015

New Christmas Short Story!

Hello! My goodness, can you believe it's October?

I've been busy completing my new novel (currently with my agent, eek!), as well as penning a short and sweet story for Christmas. I write novellas/ short stories every year for the festive season, and I really enjoy it!

Here's more about this year's offering:

With a whirlwind lifestyle travelling the world, the one thing Jess Millward relies on is Christmas with her gran in cosy Cranberry Cottage. When her grandmother reveals the house is directly in the path of a new high-speed railway, Jess is determined to fight. 

Can Jess save the cottage from demolition, or will she have no home to come to this Christmas? 

You can order your copy here:

Amazon UK:
Amazon. com:

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Beside the Seaside

Happy Friday! I have been busy drafting, editing, creating a cover, and revising! I can't believe the summer is almost over.

Despite the busy-ness, Mr TR and I (and Toddler TR!) managed to get away for a seaside break to celebrate our anniversary. It was a last-minute idea, and we were lucky enough to find a flat in Hastings, right on the promenade. When you looked out the window from the lounge, all you saw was sea. It truly was idyllic.

Hastings itself is nice, too, although we didn't have much time to explore. Toddler TR is mad about the water and we spent much of our time either playing in the waves, dragging him away from the waves, or trying to convince him the beach was 'now closed'. Ha! We did manage to visit the castle, the aquarium, and take a wander through the Old Town.

Pebble beach.
'Squee! You can't catch me!' Toddler TR loving the waves. 
Hastings Old Town. 

All in all, it was a lovely weekend, and the weather was fantastic. If you ever get a chance to visit Hastings, I definitely recommend checking it out. 

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The New Digs

Happy Thursday! Hope everyone is having a lovely week.

As we've recently moved into a new place, I thought I'd give you a little tour of the area. Ealing is a very leafy part of London, and we're lucky to live very close to the Common, a huge green space.

Toddler TR navigates the long grass of the Common.

The view from our front window. 

Our local park, right across from the Common.

Pitzhanger Manor at nearby Walpole Park. 

Daffodils on the Common, back in April. 

After four months, we are still settling in, but we'll get there! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

I've Got the Look

Two posts in two weeks! Crazy, I know!

I'm cheating a bit here, because I'm posting a link to a parenting column I've been writing over the past few months. The latest installment is here.

In other news, Toddler TR is down for the count with a fever, so I've watched a lot of Peppa Pig. Like, a lot. I can practically quote each episode word for word!

See you next week!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015


I had every intention of returning here to post more frequently, but then -- as so often happens -- life interfered.

First of all, shortly after my last post in March, my father died unexpectedly. One day he was out skiing, the next he was in the hospital, and the following week he was no longer with us. I made it home to Canada just in time to see him before he passed away, for which I count myself very lucky.

Then, one day after I returned back to London, we moved house! We are no longer in my beloved Kensington (which, I have to say, I do miss). We're a few tube stops west in Ealing, where we have a house. A HOUSE! Right on the corner of a huge green space! After living in a flat on a very busy street crammed in the middle of central London, I can't tell you how good it feels to look out my window and see trees, and green, and flowers . . . well, you get the point. Not to mention I have my very own writing space back again. Bliss.

So I'm sure you can understand that in the midst of unpacking, settling a very feisty Toddler TR into a new nursery, and trying to work on my books, this blog has -- once again -- taken a back seat. I have thought of all my blog friends often and run into a good many of you on Facebook. But there's something cathartic about posting in a static space, I think, and so I intend to come here more at least once a week.

Here's hoping life lets me!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Friendship Tree

Wow. Was my last post really in November? Oh, how time flies! I do miss this blog and hopefully, I shall return to write here more regularly. I've been busy writing and toddler-wrangling, and somehow it's become March!

I shall leave my updates for another post, though, because today I am delighted to welcome fellow RNA member Helen Rolfe.

Take it away, Helen!

When I penned my first novel I was in my teens. I wish I’d kept that first attempt if only to look back on to have a good giggle over it. I never dreamt that I’d go on to become a published novelist, and I certainly had a few detours along the way.

I loved English language and English Literature at school and college, so of course, when I went to University I chose to study a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Systems Management! I think I’d made the decision that I should do a degree that would enable me to find a job one day, and for a while my head ruled my heart. In 1996, after the hardest interview I’ve ever endured, I was offered a job on the graduate program with a major insurance company and began my career as a computer programmer.

Seven years later I finally realised that while I was earning a really good living and seeing the world – I’d moved to Australia where I continued to work in I.T. – I was doing a job that I had absolutely no passion for. It was difficult to get out of bed some days with the thought of what lay ahead, and I’m pretty sure I could be heard on the tram in the mornings chanting the mantra, ‘Just think of the money, Helen…just think of the money.’

In 2003 I studied journalism and took the leap into a new career freelancing for magazines. I continued with this until I got married and had children, and after that – when I finally had time to enjoy reading again – the fiction bug bit. I started writing fiction in 2010 and loved every minute of it. I have the classic ‘bottom drawer’ novel of course, which is my first attempt that I thought was amazing until I learned more about the craft of writing. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt as a writer is that you never stop learning.

There were plenty of doubts along the way, that a career as an author was the right choice. It’s difficult to keep going when you feel as though you’re drowning in rejections, but in 2014 I was offered my first contract by Crooked Cat Publishing. And now the real work begins…promoting The Friendship Tree, submitting the next novel and writing the one after that.

The Friendship Tree is out now and I’m really excited, and also a little nervous that finally people will get to read what I’ve been working on! It is available via Amazon.

To find out more about me, please visit my website: or make contact via Facebook (helenjrolfe), Twitter (@HjRolfe), or via our blog group I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you, Helen! I have read The Friendship Tree and highly recommend it.  Hope everyone in blogland is doing well, and I do hope to be back here soon. 

Thursday, November 06, 2014

I Am Alive! I've Written a Novella!

Oh my goodness, I can't believe how long it's been since I've blogged. What's happened? Well . . . life! I've been busy writing: finishing a novel for my editor, a novella that's out now (see below!), and working on Marriage to Measure, the third in the Build A Man series, to be released shortly.

All that and toddler-wrangling, too! Toddler TR turns two in less than two months. TWO!

But the excitement this week is the release of my Christmas novella, Married by Midnight. 

Christmas is coming . . . and so is the biggest day of Kate's life.

While choosing a vintage dress for her Christmas Eve wedding, Kate finds a cryptic note pinned to the inside of a 1930s gown. As doubts about her own ceremony loom, Kate is determined to track down the dress' owner and determine what became of her - and the marriage.

Will Kate find the answers she's seeking to propel her down the aisle, or will her discovery prompt her to call off the wedding for good?

Apart from writing, writing, writing, I've been busy attending the Festival of Romance, speaking at the Oxford Publishing Society on self-publishing, meeting with the Amazon KDP team, and . . . well, I'm sure there are other things, but it's all a bit of a blur (and that's not the wine talking). 

Hope everyone in blogland has been well! I keep telling myself I need to visit you all, but then it's wine o'clock and I conk out on the sofa, One day, one day . . . 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Holidays, Festivals and Bargains

Who can't love a title like that?

We are back after a lovely sun-drenched two weeks in Nova Scotia, Canada. While things could have gone smoother on the toddler-adjusting-to-jetlag front, the days were filled with swimming in lakes and oceans, along with frolicking in the back garden with a hose (hours of fun, I tell you). Mr TR fell in love with the barbecue -- I honestly don't think I've ever eaten so much meat in my life! We had a great time visiting with my mother and father, as well as a quick trip to Prince Edward Island to see my grandmother, as well as my aunt and uncle.

Toddler TR enjoying the Atlantic. 

The red banks of Prince Edward Island.

Scallops, shrimp and clam barbecue extravaganza.

The naked gardener. 

Ferrying across the harbour to Halifax. 

It's been a long week settling back into routine (or trying to, anyway), and this weekend I'm off to the unromantic-sounding Leighton Buzzard for the Festival of Romance! I'm looking forward to catching up with my fellow writers, as well as maybe getting a good night's sleep? It's been so long . . .

And in other news, if you're in the States, my novel THE NO-KIDS CLUB is on sale all September for 1.99. Hop on over!

Hope everyone has had a great summer. See you next week!

Friday, August 22, 2014

I Am Alive

Well, hello! I've been taking a summer hiatus to enjoy the (formerly) hot weather. I say 'formerly' because we seem to have jumped straight into autumn these past few weeks!

But never mind, because I am off to Canada tomorrow for two weeks, where it's hopefully still summer. I shall return to London and this blog full of energy, I'm sure.

Until then . . . enjoy the rest of the summer!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The RNA Conference and More!

Hello! Happy Thursday! It is sweltering here in London, but at least we can say it is definitely summer. I spent last weekend somewhere in rural Shropshire at the RNA conference, and I think I'm still in recovery.

Nevertheless, I did manage to revive myself enough to head to Amazon's Christmas Wishlist Event to represent KDP. Here is the lovely shiny stand.

And above, an amazing book bench on Bloomsbury Square, just across from where the event was held.

Here are some lovely writers at last week's conference, all set for the Gala.

Me and Mandy Baggot.

Lorraine getting into the spirit.

Sarah, Rhoda and Liz.

The wonderful Jan Jones and Roger Sanderson.

And I am now going to go collapse into a sweaty heap on the floor. Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Happy Canada Day - And Other Bits and Bobs


First of all, happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians. I hope everyone had a lovely day!

Here in London, it's been hot and sunny, and I've been out and about enjoying the wonderful weather while it lasts. I'm still slogging away on my novel - Draft 4 now! - and it's getting there. Sigh.

But I won't bore you with that. Here are some photos of my latest exploits.

This summer's Serpentine Pavilion, which I visited today.

A publication-day gift from my Amazon team!

Baby TR in his finery at a recent wedding we attended at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire.

The beautiful venue. 
And there you have it! Happy Fourth of July to my American friends. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Vanishing June

Oh my goodness, I cannot believe June is half over already! It's been a very busy month, starting with my book launch.

Just look at those lovely banners gracing the homepage of, along with the Kindle Books page. So exciting.

There was a also a lovely book launch to celebrate Liz Fenwick's latest, A Cornish Stranger.

Liz Harris, Christina Courtney, Lizzie Lamb. Julie Cohen, Adrienne Vaughan, Me, and Rowan Coleman.

And then there was a yummy dinner with my co-founders of Notting Hill Press...

Michele Gorman, Belinda Jones, and Me.
There were some of these along the way...

Limoncello martini.

And there was also Father's Day to add to the mix!

Baby TR and Mr TR with his Super-Dad Socks. 

What a great month it's been so far! Hope everyone is enjoying June just as much. 

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The No-Kids Club is Out Now!

Hello hello! Happy Thursday, everyone.

It's been a very exciting week chez TR because my new novel, The No-Kids Club, is out now as an ebook, audiobook, and paperback.

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it’s not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare decides it’s time for people who don’t have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together—Anna, who’s seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive—Clare’s hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends.

Will the No-Kids Club be Clare’s route to happiness, or will the single life lose its sparkle?

You can buy it on and

Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is it just me, or...

Hello! Yes, I missed posting last Thursday. I didn't forget, but I was busy rushing off to the RNA Summer Party and couldn't find the time during the day to pen a post.

And, to be honest, lately I'm just not feeling the blog love. Back in the day (say, 2009?), I used to live for blogging, spending hours each night reading and returning comments. There was a tight community of writers and blogs were updated regularly. Fast-forward to 2014, and things have changed. Facebook and Twitter seem to be where it's at, and I've noticed some bloggers - me included - just aren't posting as frequently. Some have stopped altogether.

It's fair to say that after five years, the blogging well has run a little dry. Sure, I can post photos and relay my London exploits (and I will!), but there's only so much you can talk about your daily life before things get a little, well . . . routine. I've never been one to advise on writing, or publishing, or anything of the nature, simply because I don't feel I have the expertise and others do it so much better.

With the lack of time we're all facing these days, Facebook and Twitter seem so much easier to catch up with all my blogging buds. I don't need to visit individual pages and leaving a comment is simple and quick (no word verification, the bane of my existence!).

I'll never stop blogging and I'll continue to fill you in ad nauseam on my life here, but it seems the times have moved on from the blog.

Or is it just me? 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Writing and Parenting -- The Challenges!

A minor victory today, as I actually remembered to post! It's a wonderfully sunny spring-like day here in London -- fingers crossed the good weather lasts.

Recently, blogger Allison Wells had a great post on the challenges facing parent-writers. Her thoughts struck a chord with me, so I thought I'd write about my own challenges.

Until I had Baby TR, I have to admit I was one of those people who wondered: What on earth do parents DO all day? Snort. I'd no clue how time-consuming, along with how mentally and physically exhausting, a child could be. Joyous, fun, exciting . . . but also bloody hard. Throw a job into the mix, and it becomes a little difficult.So, in no particular order, here are my challenges:

1. Fatigue. Baby TR is now seventeen months old. He's a very good sleeper at night -- and has been, since about four or five months. But the 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls? That I'm not so keen on. Some mornings he'll sleep in until six or six-thirty, which is absolute bliss. As he gets older, he's napping less, and he's also very active. After a morning of chasing, tickling, running, sliding, etc etc. my forty-year-old body is exhausted! When I put him down for his lunchtime nap, I usually collapse, too. I could write at night -- and at a push, I will -- but I've always been a thousand times more productive in the morning.

2. Carving out space of my own, both mentally and physically. This is easier now that Baby TR is in nursery three mornings a week. But even so, it's hard to clear my mind sometimes and focus on the task at hand. I twitch at every noise, thinking he's in his bedroom waking up -- then I realise he's not even in the flat! I've given up my office, too, so I need to make do with working at the world's most uncomfortable kitchen table, surrounded by Lego, smushed Pla-Doh, and other detritus of the early-morning start.

3. Guilt. I'm constantly wondering if I should be with my child instead of writing. Everyone says these years go so quickly -- and that seems to be true -- but I also need to write to be me. The constant tension between doing everything you can for your child while retaining a sense of self is the theme of my next novel.

4. Ducking in and out of work. I've always liked to work every day to keep the writing flowing. But when plans go awry (Baby TR is ill, doesn't nap, or any multitude of other scenarios), my plans to write often go out the window.

There you have it! My challenges as a writer and parent. I'm incredibly lucky that I have a very supportive husband who helps out when he can. I'd love to hear how others balance both demanding jobs, because wrestling a novel into shape is no easy task, either!

Have a great week, everyone. 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

No Kidding

Well, hello, blog! I can't believe I actually forgot to post last week. Eek! I've no idea where the time is going (that seems to be a recurring theme here). May is flying by and although I'm on Draft 3 of my current novel THE EVERYTHING DREAM with the goal to finish by the end of June, there's still plenty of work to be done.

And there's less than a month until the release of THE NO-KIDS CLUB!

The cover, in all its summery glory. 
The book comes out on June 3, and it will be available as an ebook, a paperback, and an audio book. It's been a while since I've had a new novel out there, and I'm feeling excited and jittery.

I wrote this book in the first few months after Baby TR was born, and it was great fun to throw in some of my own angsty experiences (damn, motherhood is hard!), along with some of the more uplifting moments (damn, motherhood is wonderful!).

The first advance reviews are rolling in, and so far, so good! Phew. Of course, I've realised by now that you can't please everyone, but hopefully most readers will be able to relate to one of my characters in the novel.

And that's my news for now. Receiving a great pile of books in the post is always a wonderful moment -- and even more so when you've written that book!

Have a lovely week, everyone. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tracy Bloom and Antenatal Inspiration

Hello, all. It's Thursday! Yay! Hope everyone had a lovely Easter. I am continuing to slog my way through Draft 2 - two-thirds finished now, and only about 15,000 words cut and another 15,000 words written. Eeep!

 Today, I'm thrilled to host Tracy Bloom again. Last year she visited my blog to talk about her novel No-One Ever Has Sex on Tuesdays. Tracy had self-published the book, it went on to become a huge bestseller, and she was quickly snapped up by Arrow in a four-book deal! Don't you just love those stories?

So... here's Tracy one more time, talking about the inspiration behind the novel.

The Inspiration behind NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY

To be honest I didn’t really want to go to antenatal classes. Having my first child was terrifying enough without having to go and expose my lack of knowledge on the whole having a baby thing to a room full of strangers. But I did go because you feel you will be immediately on the bad parent register if you don’t. We arrived and sat in a circle preparing to introduce ourselves to our fellow frightened rabbits staring into the headlights.

A pregnant lady to my left kicked off the proceedings by introducing herself and her female companion. “This is Claire. We’re not lesbians. She’s here as my partner because my husband left me five weeks ago.”

The jaws around the room dropped. For me the evening had taken a positive turn. This was going to be way better than being stuck at home watching Corrie.

As the weeks progressed there was laughter (my husband embraced the role of class clown) there was tears (when I fell off the birthing ball) there was much awkwardness (as we discussed intimate details in front of people we barely knew) and there was shock news (when a couple failed to turn up because they’d actually given birth – like we should have been expecting that!)

Somehow sharing the experience of arranging graphic photos of childbirth in chronological order bought us all close together and we became friends. But I often wondered how it would be if you were in the class with someone you knew. Would you be quite so comfortable discussing pelvic floor exercises in front of an ex-boyfriend for example? Worse than that ….what if through some gross error of judgment on a one-night stand you ended up in an antenatal class with two possible fathers to your child… what would you do? How would you handle it?

Thanks, Tracy. and wow! That's quite the start to an antenatal class!

Hope everyone has a great week - see you next Thursday. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

London Book Fair: Report from the Pub

Yay for Thursday! And an even bigger yay for Thursdays before long weekend! We have tomorrow and Monday off here in the UK, and I can't wait to sleep in and relax . . . oh, wait, I just remembered I have a toddler. Ah well!

I had a fantastic time last week at the London Book Fair. Every year, the weather seems to perform wonderfully for the event, and this year was no different. The sun was out and spring was in the air! I kicked off events by meeting Jessica Bell, Glynis Smy, and assorted other lovely individuals for dinner at a pub in Earl's Court.

Glynis, Jess, Alison, and me.

The next night, I had yet another pub dinner (yum!) with the lovely Mel Sherratt. Mel has been my partner in crime for years, and I'm thrilled that we now have the same agent and publisher, too.

Author selfie!

Tuesday night, I toddled off to the Amazon Publishing party at yet another pub (do you see a theme here?), where yet more drinks and yummy canapes were consumed. No photos, unfortunately, because I was too busy eating, chatting, and drinking.

I admit I was flagging a little by the end of the week, but the prospect of meeting Len Lambert buoyed me up again.

Len and me!
So, all in all, it was a wonderful week!

I hope everyone has very happy Easter. See you next Thursday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Beautiful Words

Hello, all!

I'm in the midst of a very busy and fun week with the London Book Fair in town, so I'm super pleased to be hosting the wonderful Nik Perring today.

 Nik's new book is called Beautiful Words, and if you love words, you'll adore this book. It's chock full of quirky little illustrations and definitions, a celebration of the English language that's not only fun to read but also fun to look at. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Over to you, Nik.

Jump In a Puddle

I don't think we do enough puddle jumping as grown-ups. That and climbing trees or getting muddy, or enjoying being rain-soaked, or playing on swings. Of doing things, without thinking too much about why, other than the fact that they look like fun. At some point, and to varying degrees, we grow up and leave the simplicities, and simple pleasures, of childhood behind. I think sometimes it just happens - we've got more important things to concentrate on - you know, children, jobs, paying bills, but other times I think it's our choice, that little voice in our head saying - I couldn't possibly do that - I'm far too old. Or, what would people think!

And why am I babbling about this? Well, in part, because it has a little to with my new book. It's called Beautiful Words and it was released on Monday. And it's a few things all at once. It's the story Alexander, Lucy, and Lily, told through an A-Z of beautiful words. Some of them are beautiful because of how they look or sound, some are beautiful because of what they mean or represent, others are in there because of how it feels to say them, of the shapes they push our mouths into.

But, perhaps equally as importantly, it's a picture book for adults. That's right - a picture book for adults. And picture books are things we should only read if we have small children, right? I'm not so sure. I re-read The Giving Tree the other day and I think there's probably as much wisdom in there, and emotion, as a lot of novels (which I love too, of course). But back Beautiful Words, my adult picture book. Sure, there's a story in there, and there are definitions of words you might not have known (I certainly didn't before I started writing it!), but, mostly, it's about having fun with words. That's why I wrote it really - as a sort of innocent celebration of the words that make me happy, or that I think (and hope others will too!) are interesting.

So, here's to fun. Here's to being silly and forgetting about bills and mortgages and jobs, if only for a little while. And here's to celebrating the simple, beautiful things, like words. And next time you see a puddle, you know what to do.

Nik Perring is a short story writer and author from the UK. His stories have been published in many fine places both in the UK and abroad, in print and online. They’ve been used on High School distance learning courses in the US, printed on fliers, and recorded for radio. Nik is the author of the children’s book, I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do? (EPS, 2006); the short story collection, Not So Perfect (Roastbooks 2010); and he’s the co-author of Freaks! (The Friday Project/HarperCollins, 2012). His online home is and he’s on Twitter as @nikperring

Thanks, Nik! See everyone next week. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

What I Did on Holiday

Hello! I'm back! I'm forty!

I have to say that so far, the forties have been strikingly similar to the thirties. Which can only be a good thing, since I loved my thirties.

We had a great time in the Cotswolds. Although the weather could have been a tad more spring-like, we were fairly fortunate in our outings, managing to dodge hail and rain and wind. Our cottage was cosy with plenty of doors for Baby TR to bang (don't tell the owner, but he banged one so much, he broke the ancient latch - oops!). Broadway, the small village where we stayed, was chock full of character and lovely little cafes and shops. By the end of the week, we were on a first-name basis with our regular breakfast spot and pub. All in all, it was a lovely holiday and a great way to ring in the new decade.

Back in the smoggy city -- seriously, who knew dust from the Sahara could make its way to London? -- I've been busy tearing into my manuscript and starting on the second draft, which is already requiring a lot of rewriting . . . but I think I'm on the right track. I'm working hard to get as much done as I can, because next week is the London Book Fair! I'll be meeting Jessica Bell and others on Sunday, dining with my lovely author-friend Mel Sherratt on Monday, attending an Amazon Publishing cocktail party of Tuesday . . . and I think I'm leaving out something, too! It's going to be crazy but fun.

I'll be back next Thursday with a full report, but until then, I leave you with some photos from our vacation.

A bridge over the River Windrush in Bournton-on-Water.

Lord of the Manor (aka Baby TR) in Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe.

The back garden of our cottage.

Looking out onto the Cotswolds hills from Hidcote Garden.

The best name for butter ever!

Baby TR's new friends.
Sudeley Castle.

Broadway Tower,

Bendy baby!

See you next week!