July news, coping with change, and the end of lockdown

A recap of my big news

After four drafts, my novel – now titled ‘Silenced’, a crime novel with elements of a psychological thriller – has found a home with Hobeck Books. Hobeck is a newish publisher focusing on crime, suspense and thrillers. Their website’s tag line ‘Indie spirit, traditional values’ immediately appealed to me – fortunately, my novel appealed to them!

I was lucky to get through the door, though. Adrian Hobart and Rebecca Collins had built up a team of 15 authors in their first year and weren’t taking further submissions when I asked them if they had read my manuscript yet. (See blog post about the book on the Hobeck Books site – you’ll see why I was so flabbergasted by their reaction to my novel!)

Silenced is due for publication on 7 December 2021 this year. Just writing that gives me a tingle of excitement! In the meantime there are a few things I need to do, such as writing a prequel and getting on with my village-in-lockdown crime novel.

My book picks for July

Among the books I’ve read recently-ish – mostly crime and thrillers – I would recommend An Eye For an Eye by Carol Wyer. This is a terrific portrayal of the impact of grief and trauma on a female detective, very cleverly written and plotted. She is forced her to take leave when she develops PTSD after responding to a horrific crime aboard a train, then is asked by her boss to return to work to investigate a murder. But she finds sinister links to the crime which took her off work in the first place, and she’s not sure if she can trust her bosses anymore… Beware, there is one rather hard-to-read scene involving an apple! However, the violence in the book is in general not graphic or gratuitous.

Other books I’ve enjoyed very much include the masterful My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithewaite and Daria’s Daughter by Linda Huber (published by Hobeck Books earlier this year). Among audiobooks, I have been engrossed by The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor (teenage and adult protagonists, and spooky goings on between murders) and The Lake House by Kate Morton, a historical mystery. 

Getting through the lockdowns

Though the replacement of face-to-face human contact with Zoom has been extremely frustrating at times, for me at least, online interaction has been a lifeline. At one time I was doing about four zoom sessions a week – writing groups, yoga, choir rehearsals and ballet class along with occasional cocktails with friends. One of the online things I started is kundalini, a slightly weird form of yoga involving mediation and movement, hoping it would help me with sleeping and relaxation.

Sleeping at night has been a challenge for years – I’m prone to worrying and existential angst – a significant birthday this year isn’t helping! I’ve found that regular yoga and meditation make sleeping easier, and also helps one to relax and unwind no matter what stressful incidents might pop up. (Getting a contract negotiated and signed has been a little stressful at times!) On a practical note, if you also find nodding off at night difficult, I recommend the Hello Sleep! audiobook on Audible (guided mediations based on mindfulness) and yoga nidra (a traditional form of meditative yoga – there are loads of free downloads on the internet).

Other news

Having republished Not Having It All back in January (ebook and paperback), in May I decided to also republish the ebook of my debut, Blind Side (it had come to the end of its licence with Unbound). Both titles are available on Amazon.

The village of Shieldaig in the remote Scottish Highlands

Scotland

I’ll finish this with some photos from a trip to Scotland I made with my Significant Other in late May, just as everything was opening up. The week we stayed in a cottage overlooking a sea loch in the remote Highlands was a highlight – there were plenty of peaceful moments to relax and unwind, helped by glorious views over the water. I’ll never forget the magical evening just before going to bed when I listened to Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass (the choral work I was meant to be practising) while watching watery reflections slowly fade in the long, early-summer twilight.

Evenings beside the loch…

I hope you’re enjoying whatever you’re doing and the summer weather is not too unkind (for those in the northern hemisphere). The rain here seems relentless! But change must come, sooner or later… 

Until next time,

Jennie


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