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My top five places to visit in Greece

Top five places to visit in Greece



With all the bad publicity surrounding Greece such as the economic crisis and the influx of immigrants, many people have been put off visiting there this year. I hope to address the balance and show you how you could have the perfect holiday and help the Greek economy at the same time. There are over 6000 islands and islets, which make up the Greek archipelago, although only 227 of them are inhabited. Still, that gives plenty of choice when it comes to deciding where to go.
Crete – best all-rounder
One of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, its 4000 year history means that there is something for everyone. Crete or Kriti is rich in culture and with an attractive coastline and climate, it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The Eastern part of the island served by Heraklion airport is very touristy where you’ll find the all-inclusive hotels and strings of bars but if you want a more authentic holiday then the We…
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Shall I let you into a secret? Research or not to research?

Readers often ask me how much research goes into my books? Now if you mean checking facts on the Internet or doing a google search then I would say quite a lot. For my latest book, Finding Rose, I found I needed to do rather a lot more 'real' research, especially since this is a contemporary novel with a strong historical aspect. As part of the book is set in Tudor England (my favourite period) then it called for some more serious research in the way of visiting actual buildings.
For a flavour of Tudor life then The Tudor house in Worcester is excellent. As you walk through the entrance, you are immediately transported back five hundred years. The physical sense of people treading the same floorboards as you all that time ago is very evocative and you half expect to encounter someone in Tudor dress just round the corner.




Okay, so the staff have been known to dress up but it certainly adds to the ghostlike atmosphere.

The Tudor house has been used for almost anything you can im…

My writing space

Readers are by nature curious and often enjoy a glimpse into the daily life of their favourite writers. Having written at the edge of the dining room table for the last three years, my beautiful desk staying in its box as we had nowhere to put it, I can now share with you my lovely writing space.

When my desk was finally put together, I was almost in awe. The desk is placed by the window and the light reflects the sky onto the high gloss surface so as I write, clouds seem to scurry across it. I even find myself stroking it from time to time as if to apologise for the delay in unpacking it.




The only problem is that I too am curious by nature and as the room looks out to the pub garden opposite, I find myself being ever so slightly distracted. Not to worry, I can always call it research and pop a couple of pubgoers into the next novel!

So, with my notebooks neatly stowed in the drawers and writing guide at the ready, there really is nothing to stop me from being more organised. Our resc…

What it's really like to go on a writing retreat

Those of you who know me will realise that I write novels set in Greece. Having lived in Athens and Alexandroupolis in the 1980s, that's the period I'm most familiar with. I've been back on holiday to the islands since then but for the last few years life has just got in the way so a return trip hasn't been possible. Knowing how much I've needed and wanted to return, for research purposes of course, my hubby offered to take time off from his job to enable me to attend a writing retreat and get inspiration for my next book.
For months I pored over different websites unable to decide between a tutored retreat or more of a writing holiday. In the end, the latter won, mainly because of dates and cost. The typically Greek photos set against the backdrop of stunning blue sea on the website won me over and I couldn't wait to visit 'Limnisa' in the Peloponnese.

Owned by Anglo-Dutch couple, Mariel and Philip, they open their home for just a few weeks each year,…

Some of my favourite books of 2016

At the beginning of the year I posted my most anticipated list - books that I was looking forward to reading; newly published and a few from my ever-expanding 'to read' list. Despite reading and reviewing 100 books in 2016, there are still quite a few from the start of the year that I still haven't read. They have become part of the family as I look at them apologetically as I walk past the shelf and choose another book to read.' Maybe next time' I say to them knowing that the chances are receding with each new book added. 'I will read you' I promise, 'I just don't know when'. Anyway, let me share a few of the great books that I did manage to read. With so many to choose from, here are just a few of my favourites.

The Silk Merchant's Daughter - Dinah Jefferies



1952, French Indochina. Since her mother's death, eighteen-year-old half-French, half-Vietnamese Nicole has been living in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Sylvie. When Syl…

Bewdley Book Festival

Situated on the banks of the river Severn in Worcestershire, Bewdley is one of my favourite places to camp as there's lots to see and do there. A few weeks ago then when I first discovered that there would be a book festival there, I jumped at the chance of attending. My interest was piqued even further when I found out that best-selling chick-lit author Carole Matthews would be giving an interview. When a cakey tea was included in the ticket price, it would have been a crime not to attend.
I did have a little trepidation though as this was the first event I'd attended and I wondered if I'd be the one in the corner who didn't know anyone. I needn't have worried as thanks to Facebook, an announcement went out from a Facebook friend to ask who was attending and I was soon invited to make up a table.

Carole Matthews was exactly as I'd pictured her and her sense of humour shone through. If you've read any of her books then you'll know that they reflect thi…

How to get started in self-publishing

So you've written a book? What to do next can be very daunting at the start so I thought I'd share a few tips on how to begin that self-publishing journey. I was lucky that I had a mentor in the form of an established writer who helped guide me through the process. I thought it would be only fair to share with you what I've learnt so far.


Six months before P - Day

1. The promotion lies with you and you alone if you go down the self-published route and ideally needs to begin several months before you plan to publish.
 It's all about getting your name known. After all, people can't buy your book if they don't know about it. That does not mean banging on endlessly to total strangers to buy your book - it's a sure fire way to hack people off. Instead set up a Twitter account in the name you plan to use as an author and try to engage with people. Not easy but I learnt that adding a photo to your tweet increases visibility. What are you going to tweet about if yo…