lyndarenham

Lynda Renham's Blog

 

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I’m so excited about the release of my new novel Rory’s Proposal that I’ve decided to have a huge online launch for it. Mostly because I just couldn’t get all my friends and readers in my garden. The online launch started small but is getting bigger and bigger with each day that I am thinking I may need to extend the time to get all the prizes in. So, the more the merrier. You’re all very welcome to join us on August 16th. I would be thrilled to see you. Here is the link

Rory’s Proposal is a lovely, and hilarious love story. I don’t want to tell you any more than that but if you’ve read my other novels you’ll know what to expect. Here is the fab jacket, designed by the very talented Katie Glumpp.

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So, you’re asking, what are the prizes at this book launch and what do we have to do to take part?

Firstly pop over to Facebook and click the join button and you will see everything.

Who’s taking part? Well… The brilliant Rowan Coleman for a start who is giving away a signed copy of ‘Dearest Rose’ her bestselling novel.

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Then we have Sue Watson who is offering a signed copy of her new novel ‘Love Lies and Lemon Cake’love

Plus we have a beautiful bouquet of flowers for you to win image (2) Courtesy of Melanie Bush of Petite Fleur Florists

I’m also excited that my favourite Soap Dodger is giving away some fab bath goodies. I just adore Soap Dodger. I only wish I could enter my own competitions.

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Not content with giving away my own novel  I’ve also asked Collete Caddle if she would join us and she is offering her latest novel, ‘First We Take Manhattan’ which I’ve just pre-ordered and is a fab prize indeed.

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Other signed novels you can win are by Mandy Baggot, Jo Lambert, and the delightful Emily Harvale who is giving a signed copy of her new novel (not yet released) titled ‘Ninety Days Of Summer’

It’s going to be a very exciting day and I haven’t mentioned the other prizes yet.

An e copy of Matches by Carlie Petit and Chapters of life by Tina K Burton as well as a sizzling read by Debbie Flint.

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You can also win a copy of Kerry Frith’s new novel … kerryAs well as  a little something from Sarah England.

So… What are you waiting for. Pop over now and Join us.facetink Facebook Launch here

See you there. Lynda x

 

 

 

 

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I thought I would give you a little insight into the glamorous life of a writer. Because it is all glamour as you know … But mostly it is because I have a new novel out soon and I need to sell it. Someone has to do this, sadly it has to be me.

Of course, I don’t really consider myself a writer. I think of myself more of a mad woman who tells lies about other people. I didn’t even realise I was getting rich making up these lies. Of course, there may be some lies in this blog posting. I imagine the getting rich is perhaps a little untruthful. I’m disgustingly rich, in fact. Well, I’m a writer and apparently we’re all rich aren’t we? If you’re a writer and you’re not rich then you must be doing something wrong.

Right, that’s got the money thing out of the way. But seriously I have yet to meet a rich author. It may be that there are many but I’ve never met them. That brings me to the price of books. Strange that, wouldn’t you say?

I see books on Amazon for 99p. I see books on special offer. I envy writers who can afford to do that. I write for a living and have so far avoided going down the road of 99p books. That is until this week. I have a book on Amazon for 99p. ‘Croissants and Jam’ is available at this price for a limited time only and is a summer offer to celebrate my new novel ‘Rory’s Proposal’ which is out on Kindle on 16th August. The paperback is being released on Sept 18th.

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Many writers who have publishers do not have the luxury of releasing their novels on Kindle for such a low price. I feel concern for many of these writers. I’ve spoken to a few recently who have told me that they are considering giving up writing as they just can’t sell books. Their publishers won’t lower the price to match those of many self-published authors and they feel it is a waste of their time. Many cannot write full time because writing isn’t making them any money. I have tried very hard not to fall into the trap of lowering prices. But I can see why it happens. It is a way to attract new readers. It sells more books, for a time at least. I won’t have books on Amazon for 99p. If it happens it will be a one off and normally it is a summer special or to celebrate a new book being released and talking of which …

Back quickly then to the glamour, and it’s all glamour here, down to my Primark silk wrap. Well, it looks like silk that’s good enough for me.

On the question of money, can I just say I have a cat to feed. So, if you don’t care about me, spare a thought for Bendy. I can survive on fig rolls, but him …

So, this plea is to ask you to consider perusing and even buying my new offering, titled ‘Rory’s Proposal’ and I’ll be whetting your appetite soon with a short extract here on my blog.  But before that if you haven’t read my books and shame on you if that is the case, you can download my all-time popular novel and bestseller ‘Croissants and Jam’ for 99p on Kindle.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy the books, do sign up for my Newsletter and join me on Facebook and Twitter. All links are below. I love writing romantic comedies and I also love hearing from my readers so please make contact.

Meanwhile enjoy the books. You can join me on Facebook here and Twitter here. Croissants and Jam is available here and Rory’s Proposal here.

Love Lynda  X

 

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I never thought I’d be blessed with grandchildren. I never had children. I wasn’t able to. Not going to do a downer about it. After all who wants to read that, right? Suffice it to say, I came through it and am out the other end. No bitterness. The odd sad day but nothing I can’t cope with. I won’t be a victim when there are plenty of victims already who deserve that title more than I do.

 

I have been blessed, however with stepchildren. I know it isn’t the same and one’s expectations of them are very different. My aim was just to be accepted and most of all to make their father happy. I like to think I have done that. He tells me often how happy he is with me. I admire and like my stepchildren. I see their father in them and that makes me happy. I also have the added bonus of grandchildren. This was something I never anticipated. So, I am devastated at what is happening to my beautiful granddaughter Hana who is now suffering from  ‘Hypothalamic Obesity’

Hana was diagnosed with a brain tumour, a Craniopharyngioma over the Christmas holidays.  Hana is now a different child. Her mother, my stepdaughter, Naomi has showed herself to be remarkable in a way I could never have been. Her positive attitude is a lesson to us all.

Her blog postings bring tears to my eyes. They are so far away in Australia with no family close by to support them. I imagine how I would be in this situation and it doesn’t bear thinking about.

 

We saw Hana in September when we spent a week with them. We had spent several days together in London before this and Hana had seemed fine. Bouncy, happy and full of fun. We could never have envisioned her as she is today. Dependent on drugs, getting bigger every day and finally confined to a wheelchair when she goes out. Sadly her weight is too much for her feet to take.

There is no rhyme or reason for why such a thing should happen.

Naomi blogs regularly about her struggle. It is not a depressing blog, in fact quite the opposite. Please take some time to read. It would be wonderful to highlight Hana’s plight.

You can read it here Naomi’s blog

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Naomi with her daughter

 

 

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Holidays, those lovely restful days when you come back recharged and happy or in my case, most likely divorced.  I’m the world’s worst back seat driver and probably the world’s worst passenger when in a car driven on the wrong side of the road. Okay, I know it’s the right side of the road in Italy but it’s the wrong side as far as I’m concerned. Our arrival in Italy was fine until we went to collect the car. I nearly fainted when the woman in her broken English told us the car was new. Great, that was all I needed to hear. She then proceeded to conduct a long conversation with my husband about a deposit. No matter how much we told her we had insurance she still persisted. We finally handed over the credit card. Or should I say, my credit card.

 ‘I don’t do credit,’ says Andrew, proudly.

I’m thinking it’s a good thing I do.

We find the car, not with any help from the staff, I hasten to add. They dismissed us like we were flies they would swat out of their way. As soon as Andrew started the engine, I started to tremble.

‘Will you be okay driving?’ I ask, in a shaky voice.

I get a cold look. I’m not saying I don’t trust him am I? Not much!

Off we go. Andrew driving and me hitting an imaginary brake every few seconds.

‘There’s a car,’ I say gently and then a bit louder until I’m finally screaming,

‘There’s a car, brake, brake…’ in a slightly hysterical voice.

The sat nav is in my lap and as we begin climbing a steep hill my feet are convulsing so much you’d think I suffered from restless legs syndrome.

‘Bend, bend,’ I yell. ‘Slow down. What gear are you in?’

How Andrew coped I do not know. We climb higher and I can barely look. I get confused and think cars are going to come out of a slip road and grab Andrew’s arm for all I’m worth.

‘Car, car, brake,’ I shout.

Andrew stops the car and instructs me to sit in the back. I refuse. We continue on not speaking. The lovely sat nav voice tells us we are going the wrong way and I groan. Andrew attempts to turn around but we are on a hill. He begins to roll back. I scream. I’m convinced I’m going to die in Italy and not in a romantic Princess Diana way either. I go to grab the handbrake and grab Andrew’s knee instead.  The climb continues with me constantly telling him there is a bend coming up. Just in case he doesn’t hear I say it a bit louder to be sure and emphasis the sharpness.

‘Sharp bend coming up, sharp very sharp.’

‘I can see them you know,’ he snaps.

It didn’t help that the Italians drive like lunatics and spend their time with their car practically nudging yours. It’s pretty terrifying when you’re on a hill. I found myself leaning forward in some strange attempt to help the car move forward. I’m not sure how heavy I think I am if I can move the car with my body weight.

We arrived at the villa and my heart was filled with dread when I saw it was on yet another hill. What’s wrong with Italy? Doesn’t it have flat roads like everywhere else? We climb the hill and then get stuck. I scream yet again. Honestly I’ll be screaming for England the whole two weeks at this rate. Three dogs come racing to meet us. Later, of course we came to know them as Jack and Jill and Ugo. I begin telling Andrew there are three dogs. I obviously think my husband is blind as well as deaf. I’m now stating the obvious and yelling it at the same time. By the time we were due to leave, my lovely husband had become very confident with driving the car and would zoom up the hill to the villa pushing the remote button to open the gate so he could glide through without stopping. I, of course, would be screaming,

‘Wait, wait, Andrew wait. Oh God, we’re not going to do it.’

Of course, we always did. We didn’t kill a dog, or drive the car over a cliff. Mind you, through my eyes I felt sure we came very close quite often. Next year a holiday in England I think.

A Poem

 I have a little Satnav, It sits there in my car

A Satnav is a driver’s friend, it tells you where you are.
I have a little Satnav, I’ve had it all my life
It’s better than the normal ones, my Satnav is my wife.
It gives me full instructions, especially how to drive
“It’s sixty k’s an hour”, it says, “You’re doing sixty five”.
It tells me when to stop and start, and when to use the brake
And tells me that it’s never ever, safe to overtake.
It tells me when a light is red, and when it goes to green
It seems to know instinctively, just when to intervene.
It lists the vehicles just in front, and all those to the rear
And taking this into account, it specifies my gear.
I’m sure no other driver, has so helpful a device
For when we leave and lock the car, it still gives its advice.
It fills me up with counselling, each journey’s pretty fraught
So why don’t I exchange it, and get a quieter sort?
Ah well, you see, it cleans the house, makes sure I’m properly fed
It washes all my shirts and things, and keeps me warm in bed!
Despite all these advantages, and my tendency to scoff,
I only wish that now and then, I could turn the bugger off.

Pam Ayres

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It’s not the first time I have considered coming off Facebook because I feel my self-esteem waning and my confidence at an all-time low. Some months ago I came off for a short time. I set my settings so my author page would stay active and removed myself from Facebook. The truth is, I felt much better. There was no one to compare myself with. I wasn’t looking at photographs and considering my self-image. I wasn’t reading about other people’s lives and how much better they seemed to be faring. I didn’t read about other authors who it seemed were doing infinitely better than me. I spent several weeks feeling, that as a person, I was okay. That my work was good and that I was, to all intents and purposes, successful, at least as successful as I could hope to be. I’ve never been a terribly confident person but I find my confidence drops to an all-time low after being on Facebook. If I had self-doubts, these would be reinforced when reading how well others seem to be doing, reaffirming my belief that I was a failure because I wasn’t reaching their standards. It took me a long time to realise that what I was seeing was very much smoke and mirrors and that most likely the people who seemed to be spectacular successes, were in fact doing no better than me. However, they maybe had a better way of making it seem that they were. And those who seemed to be living amazing lives are, in fact, living a life no better than mine. I would often come away feeling like the world’s worst failure. I don’t recall feeling this way for a long time. It then occurred to me that Facebook made me feel very much like the mousy, plain Jane that I had always dreaded being. It was like being out with a bunch of women who were more successful and prettier than me.

According to psychotherapist  Sherrie Campbell, social media gives us a false sense of belonging. This means we give our cyberspace connections more weight than they deserve. We ultimately compare ourselves to others. But only as others portray themselves, not necessarily as they really are. Everyone’s life looks perfect. But in reality it is just a quick snapshot of someone’s life. If we take everything we read literally then it most certainly seems like we are lacking. When I begin feeling negative about myself after looking at my Facebook home page I know it is time for a break. Hence my use has been less over the past few months. I’m sure I’m not alone.

I enjoy my interaction with friends and many of my friends on Facebook are my friends. Like everyone, I have friends on Facebook that I have never met and I also have friends that I have made through Facebook and they have become close friends. I’ve had some unpleasant connections too. But most of the time my interactions on Facebook have been pleasurable.  Am I alone in torturing myself? Do others look at their home page and come away feeling dejected? I’d love to know.

Meanwhile, I’m rationing myself to limited time on social networking and putting my self-esteem first. I’m learning not to take things literally and to realise that things aren’t always what they seem. I’m seeing a snapshot of someone’s life. What is really happening behind closed doors I’m sure I’m not privy to. I know I don’t share my personal hell. The truth is we only want people to know the extreme things that are happening to us. One for praise and the other for sympathy and I’m sure I’m as guilty as the next person of this. But if you see me missing for a while, you’ll know why.

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Originally posted on Nurse Naomi:

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Happy colouring in her pretty new shoes

I wrote this a few weeks ago…thought it was time I shared it:

It’s blessed that Hana is still so young and blissfully unaware of her increased body size. The ‘weight’ of her possible future lies solely on the backs of the adults who love her so ferociously.

I wonder what people think when they see me pushing her around the shops in a stroller, (thank god she still fits in).** Oh, she does walk too, but she tires very quickly. They look down at her then up at me, probably wondering what the hell I’m doing, letting such a big girl be so ‘lazy’. Try lugging an extra 20-30 kgs around everyday all of a sudden and see how tired you quickly get – I feel like wearing this on a T-Shirt. Or, ‘Yeah, so she got tired, you would be…

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lyndarenham:

My six year old granddaughter Hana was diagnosed earlier this year with a brain tumour. Her mother Naomi, my stepdaughter has been amazing and her determination to find a cure forHana’s brain tumour related heath conditions is admirable. I hope you will read her blog below.
Lynda x

Originally posted on Nurse Naomi:

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My beautiful Hana, I WILL find a way to heal you xx

If you’re reading this, is there any chance you can help me with a campaign? I want to ask scientists worldwide to consider researching a new potential cure for my little girl’s brain tumour related health conditions.  All you’ll need to do is press “share” on your Facebook or share through whatever social medium you use so that this blog post is seen  by as many people as possible. This way, someone, somewhere may go

“YEAH! Cool idea for a study! Let’s do it!’

And that way, you may be instrumental in pushing science forward in a direction that could help my daughter and thousands like her have a better quality of life.

If you are short of time just read these five short paragraphs:

In a Nutshell My six year old daughter had a brain…

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Welcome Author Amanda James

 

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Thrilled to have the very talented author Amanda James guesting on my blog today. Her new novel ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea’ is now available and not one to be missed. It is set in beautiful Cornwall where Amanda herself has moved to. How idyllic is that? I asked Mandy if she would like to guest post and tell us all about life in lovely Cornwall.
SBTS_thumbnail copyIf you haven’t read any of Mandy’s books I cannot recommend them highly enough. ‘A Stitch in Time’ is just fab.

Over to you Mandy…

A Long Journey to Cornwall

by

Amanda James

I’d like to share with you a journey, a very long journey to Cornwall …

My first memory of the place was when I first came here on holiday. I was four years old, about forty years ago (okay and the rest) and we stayed in Looe. I have vivid memories of running down a very steep hill from our little chalet on the cliff to the beach every day with my older brother. When it was time for breakfast, Mum would hang a red towel out of the window and we would go back up. I also remember walking along a quayside, not sure which one, now, and seeing rows of sharks hanging on hooks. There was a big chalked sign saying words to the effect of ‘Do Not Touch The Sharks – Skin is Abrasive’, so guess what I did? Yup…I had a plaster on my finger for a while.

Since then, I have always longed to be close to the ocean and find it so inspirational, calming, and peaceful. I grew up in Sheffield and then moved to Bristol, ever inching southwards. Over the years I have returned to Cornwall on numerous occasions. There’s just something about the county which makes you breathe a sigh of relief as soon as you cross the border. I have always felt so at home here and adore the beautiful countryside, the costal walks and the Atlantic north coast in particular. It is rugged, wild and breathtakingly stunning of course. I do love Falmouth too, especially pootling around the great shops on the high street. But then of course at the end of the holiday I always had to leave and it was such a wrench every time because I felt I had such strong bonds tying me there.

I remember I often used to say that I’d love to live in Cornwall, and folk would nod and say things like, ‘Ah yes, that would be nice, or yeah, we can all dream, eh?’ But people didn’t really think I meant it, neither did I come to think of it…but here I am! Yes, I moved here in August 2013 and boy, I’m glad I did!

And of course I didn’t come alone. I brought a large section of my family! In total there are four generations that have moved from Bristol. There’s my husband Brian and I, daughter Tanya, her husband Manus and their two children, Ronan and Esmé and last, but not least, my parents who are both in their mid-eighties. Tanya and family were the first to settle here in July 2013 and then as I said, we moved in August, my parents came last in mid-December. The whole plan has been a logistical nightmare; well it would wouldn’t it, selling three houses in Bristol and trying to buy others in another county, fairly close together and more or less at the same time? But after a few hiccups, amazingly it happened.

Why did the wider family move? Tanya and I have a very close relationship and being apart from each other especially now we have the grandchildren would have been unbearable. And of course, she wanted a better life for her children. Bristol has many good points, but lots of fresh air, and being close to the beach and countryside is a great environment in which to being up kids.  Mum and Dad never settled in Bristol, being from Sheffield originally and they too would miss us if we lived apart permanently. They are already looking forward to fresh air and crab sandwiches – a favourite of my dad’s.

And apart from feeling a great affinity with the ocean and Cornwall, I feel that I will be much more inspired to write looking out over the fields here instead of at a cul-de-sac! The very thought of moving here inspired my novel Somewhere Beyond the Sea. Published by Choc Lit on the 7th of April and is set in the fictional Cornish village of Kelerston. It tells the story of a young married couple, the husband is a doctor and the wife is at home with a young family and though they have a few problems, they seem like the ideal couple. One of them has a dark secret however, and if this secret is exposed, their whole life could be shattered. This story is very different to my first novel published with Choc Lit – A Stitch in Time, is a romantic comedy about a time travelling history teacher.

I got my ideas for this book whilst travelling back and forth looking for houses, staying by the sea and feeling more at home on the north coast where the book is set than any other area. And strangely, from the TV programme, Doc Martin! Tristan in my book is nothing like Doc Martin you’ll be pleased to know, but I liked the idea of a GP working in a close-knit community.

I do realise that I am so lucky to be living in this great area, but my recent experience of trying to get published has taught me some valuable lessons. If you believe in yourself and really want something – be prepared to work very hard for it, be determined to succeed and never give up. I am looking forward to living the dream now, the journey to Cornwall has been a long time coming, but so worth the effort!

You can purchase ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea’ on Amazon here and ‘A Stitch in Time’  here

 

 

jury 3
Today I was strangely reminded of my jury duty at the Old Bailey in London. Yes, that’s right, only my jury duty could end up at the Old Bailey and turn out to be a murder case. What are the chances of being called up? My parents never were and my ex mother in law always wanted to be but never was. Yours truly gets called up three times. Yes, that’s right three times. I blame it on my constant moving. The first time I couldn’t do it but I can’t recall why. The third time I had a back injury (honest your honour) so couldn’t do it then either. But the second time, well, honestly I’m amazed after that they even considered calling me for a third time but they obviously take any nutter onto a jury. Well, they took me so that clearly proves it.
It began on the Monday morning and someone had already told me not to be late.
‘You’ve got to be there on time, so don’t muck around. You only need one security scare and you’ve had it.’
I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of dawn and got myself ready, my stomach fluttering with nerves and with something else. You’ll be thrilled to hear that the day before I had gone down with a stomach bug, okay a nervous stomach, if you believe my doctor. He prescribed Codeine Phosphate and said take up to 8 a day. Now, all I could think about was what if I get put on an IRA terrorist trial. I could be there for eight weeks. Even worse I may have to stay in a London hotel. Just the thought induced the stomach to complain. I quickly popped two codeine phosphate said goodbye to my then husband (I’ve had one before Andrew. I’ve decided two is enough. I’m too old to think about a third. Anyway I digress. Enough of husbands. I’m sure you have one of your own you could complain about without hearing about my two) after advising him I may have to stay in a hotel I nervously made my way to the station. I’m loaded down with Hello and Ok magazines, several novels, two newspapers and the Sunday supplements. I’ve been advised the chances of me even getting on a case the first day is very slim and I’m likely to spend it in the jurors canteen reading and drinking tea. Oh well, at least I will get paid for it. It will be the first time I’ve been paid for enjoying my magazines.
I arrive at the jurors entrance to the Old Bailey and am given a pass. I then proceed with lots of other people to a huge hall where there is a roll call. It’s like being at school. So far, so good, and no sign of a criminal or murderer but I suppose they are kept somewhere else. I’m led to a waiting area and given a cup of tea. Along with everyone else I pull out my novel and begin to read. I reach page 2 and my name is called. God, this isn’t right is it? I’m supposed to sit here all day. I follow a man along a corridor along with several other people and suddenly I’m in a court room. After a time, more names are called out, mine included and I realise I am on a jury. We are told that we are to judge a murder case. Well, after the word murder my whole body went into shock and my brain switched off. Oh my God, oh my God. We were informed that the case should last the duration of our duty which would be two weeks. I was on a case, on the first day. A murder case. This could only happen to me. Why couldn’t I get a motoring offence like the rest of my friends? Oh no, that would never happen would it? Not to yours truly. Well, I’m bound to bugger this up. Already the codeine phosphate is making me feel spaced out. That’s all I need. My doctor might have warned me. Any hope I had of returning to the canteen before lunch is quickly dashed when one of the barristers begins to outline our role in the case that is to follow. We are all given notebooks to jot things down (I’m later going to thank God for this notebook)
The defendants are rolled out, well not rolled out but you know what I mean. One has dreadlocks and the other is covered in tattoos.dreadlocks

I feel my stomach gurgle and quickly pop another codeine phosphate before the proceedings start. An hour later and the judge is fading in and out of my vision. Great. The second person takes the stand and begins to talk about the defendants and tells us their street names. I scribble the name snake man and numerous others into my notebook and try to get my fuddled codeine phosphate brain to decipher which names belongs to who. It seems life in the Notting Hill ghetto is a million miles from my little life in my nice little flat in Ilford. People don’t get gunned down there. Or if they do it has never happened when I was around. It is two o clock and the judge looks at his watch as a witness leaves the stand.
‘Court adjourned,’ he says.
What already? I’m on the end of the hard bench and stand up too quickly feeling myself sway slightly. I smile nervously at the steward who helps me down.
‘Tiredness,’ I say, while feeling totally stoned as well as constipated.
So endeth the first day. jury 1

The next day was even more exciting if that is at all possible. I took two codeine phosphate in the morning. My stomach was fine but I preferred to keep it that way. I don’t want to be raising my hand during a crucial evidence moment do I? Oh no, best to take precautions. We wait and wait in the corridor outside the courtroom. Something is holding things up. I tell another juror I have to go to the loo. I like to get everything out of the way so I can concentrate. I follow the sign to the ladies and enter. I’ve only been in there five seconds when the door bursts open and two stewards fly in. I hold my hands up in fear.
‘Out,’ they shout.
I look around to see who they are shouting at and realise it is me.
‘I’m just going to the loo,’ I say shakily.
‘Not in here you’re not. Anyone can approach you. You’re a juror. Didn’t you listen to the rules when you started. All jurors use their own toilet.’
Oh my God, I could have been approached by a member of the murderers family. I could have been murdered in the loo. Not how I had planned my end. I nearly pass out from the shock. I instead pop another codeine phosphate thinking this is bound to upset my stomach.
Back in court. Ten minutes in and I’m confused.com. They keep talking about Snake Man and then Tutu, Rocka and Bo Bo. I’m seriously losing track of who’s who. Then the photos come round. I can barely look. It’s easier to throw a few more codeine phosphate down. During lunch I discuss the case with another juror and she helps clarify and says it will all become clear during the summing up. After lunch we return and watch as the defendants girlfriends give evidence. They pass our bench and the woman who calls herself Snake Man’s bitch stops and gives me and another woman juror a long intimidating stare.
‘He’s my man and I’m his woman, got it,’ she says while on the stand ‘And he aint done nothing and no one better say he did. I’m his bitch and I’ll do anything for him. He aint murdered no one.’
That’s about the only testimony I’d been able to understand so far. All the rest had been in street slang and could have been a rap for all I knew.
Oh dear.
I feel my knees knock and the woman beside me clenches her fists as the witness passes us to leave. But then continues to stare at us intently from the public gallery. At four, court is dismissed and I look down miserably at my scribblings. We leave by the jurors door and the other juror named Helen hangs onto my arm. Waiting outside are the bitches.
‘Oh God,’ says Helen.
‘Just walk,’ I say.
I’m starting to think an IRA case and a London hotel would have been preferable. At least I would have got home safely. We take the escalator down to the underground and she asks if I would meet her at the station tomorrow so we can walk to court together.
Four days in and the judge dismisses the case against one of the defendants. I’m starting to feel a great sense of relief. If he does the same with the other defendant we are home free. Day 7 and the defendant still stands in the dock and wonderful news, the judge is going to sum up. I look up at the public gallery and see the other defendant who was let off, enter and sit down. I look to the defendant who stands in the dock to my right. The judge starts summing up and I begin to relax and start to take it all in when my eyes are pulled to the dreadlocked guy in the gallery. He slowly slides his hand into his jacket. My heart almost stops beating. Oh my God, he’s going to shoot the guy in the dock. My eyes fly from him to the other guy and I freeze. What if he misses and shoots me. Oh God, this is the worst day of my life. I’m going to be in all the newspapers tomorrow. I can’t take my eyes off the guy in the gallery. If I prepare myself, I can duck or something. I feel the perspiration run between my breasts. I wipe a bead of sweat from my forehead and take some deep breaths. The judges voice disappears into the background. I wait with bated breath for the guy in the gallery to pull out his gun and fire. It feels like my whole life flashes before my eyes. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’m missing the summing it. I’m not going to live long enough to help with the verdict anyway. Then the dreadlock guy removes his hand. I hold my breath and feel myself tense. Codeine Phosphate are no good now. A  bottle of wine is what I need. wine for jury

He places his hands in his lap and continues to listen to the judge. Oh no. He doesn’t have a gun. I turn back to the judge who is talking about the gun used in the crime and I start making notes. Just as well I did as that was the critical piece of evidence to which we made our decision. We found him not guilty, due to lack of evidence. I survived to see another day and did eventually go to the loo again you’ll be pleased to know. I set off back home to my man; after all I am his bitch.


March 7, 2014

It’s been over a year since we had the builders in. That’s the right phrase isn’t it? I’ve only finally recovered. I think I will be scarred for life. But I have reached that stage where I could actually consider having builders in again.

At the time though, my excitement at having an extension I have to admit dwindled by the day.

I stupidly escaped to Cambodia for three weeks in the vain hope it would all be over when I got back. Instead I came home to a demolished kitchen and a living room that looked as though squatters had moved in. My lovely husband had shoved everything onto the couches, into corners, and in piles on the floor. I stared aghast.  The corner of the room that had once housed my couch and a little table with romantic candles now had a makeshift sink and washing machine. My living room in a matter of days had become lounge, kitchen, bathroom and junk room.

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‘The tumble dryer finally broke,’ says my husband.

It just gets worse.

‘But we’re on the way.’

To madness I find myself thinking.

‘The builders arrive every morning at 7, so you’ll need to be up.’

‘But I’m jet lagged,’ I whine.

Oh God, did I agree to this. Can we go back?

‘Oh and the bathroom is coming down today. Come and meet the builders and see the portaloo.’

Why is making it all sound so glamorous? I just want to lie down and die. I’m so jet lagged. I don’t want to meet builders.

‘This is Dan, and Steve,’ says Andrew introducing me.

My lovely garden looks like a building site. I look at the portaloo and want to cry.

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Lovely Dan

Lovely Dan

‘I need to lie down,’ I say only to find the bed unmade, Why is it men cannot make a bed? Is it that hard?

‘Well, there’s no point, we’ll be getting in it again later. ‘Says Andrew casually.

I groan.

Now, I should tell you I am one of those women who clean up as people work. If Andrew does DIY, I’m there with the vacuum cleaner, vacuuming the dust as it falls. I’m dead serious. I can start working and if there is some mess on the floor I have to remove it otherwise I can’t concentrate.

To top it all. I’m right in the middle of a novel.

‘How can I write?’ I moan.

Honestly I’ve never moaned so much in my life.

‘You’ll cope,’ says Andrew.

He’s very understanding as you can tell.

I take another look at the living room and decide we can’t live like this and spend the next few hours sorting everything out. Dan and Steve keep looking at me and I see fear in their eyes. Oh yes, things are about to change. I’m home now.

I had these builders in my home for six months. During that time I had five periods. It’s no fun, trying to change a tampon in a portaloo when the builders are sitting outside it having their tea break.

I wrote a complete novel with them here. It was ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’

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Dan became my own personal little helper. He would run out and bring in the washing when it rained. He took in parcels for me and the whole six months had me calling, ‘Dan,’ numerous times.

Then we had a little holiday. Just a week but we were so stressed that it became an emergency to have a break. We stayed at a lovely cottage in Cornwall which had a bathroom and a kitchen. I was in heaven. While we were away we arranged for the heating people to come in to install our new heat pump…

Right, I need a minute, a cup of tea and a Valium if I am to carry on. Just the word heat pump reminds me of that horror. Forget Freddie Kruger and nightmare on Elm Street. Forget Norman Bates and Pyscho. Just think heat pump and a company called Verdalec. There I’ve said the name. I’ve actually said it. I have never wished evil on anyone but If I could perform spells on these people I would do it tomorrow.  We were doing well. Dan was wonderful. Steve was excellent. Kevin our main builder was brilliant. Everything was going according to plan and then along came Verdalec. There I have said it twice now. I emailed Dan to ask if they had been and whether the heat pump was installed. It took a long time for lovely Dan to reply. Of course, I understand why now. Finally, a text.

‘Hi Lynda, yes they have been. They were everywhere so we couldn’t do much.’

Oh yes, anything to get out of working and having another tea break with doughnuts. Of course, I was later to discover that lovely Dan had queried their mess and had actually gone behind them to clear up so it wouldn’t look too bad when we returned home. Bless his cotton socks. Because I cannot begin to tell you what it looked like when we returned home and this was after Dan had cleared up. I walked into the living room and my stomach sank. I don’t know why. It had looked like this for some time now but after leaving the lovely cottage in Cornwall it just looked a hundred times worse somehow. I went upstairs to take our suitcase and unpack and must have groaned so loudly because Andrew and Bendy came rushing upstairs. If only cats could talk. Bendy would probably tell you he seriously considered leaving home. The poor little bugger had no cat flap and was forced to stay out all night. His food was left outside as there was nowhere in the house for it. His kitchen had gone, which had once been his sleeping place. Our little cuddles on the loo (best not to go into those) had gone, as we no longer had a loo. Plus these big burly men came every day and scared the shit out of him so that he spent most of his time under the duvet. I can tell you I came close to joining him often. We were now all staring at the hole in Andrew’s office door and the scratches along the stair wall. I leaned on the bannister for support and nearly went down the whole flight of stairs as it came away in my hands. Andrew rescued me. I stumbled into the bedroom for a good cry and then saw the black footprints up the bedroom wall leading to the loft.

Bendy explores the building work.

Bendy explores the building work.

‘I’m phoning Dan,’ said an angry Andrew.

‘It’s not his fault,’ I hiccup.

‘Come on let’s go into the summer-house,’ he suggested. ‘That’s our sanctuary.’

Now Is the time to hide behind the cushions. This is worthy of a movie, I tell you. The summer-house was the one place not touched by builders. A place to relax, escape it all. I opened the door, a cup of tea in one hand and my laptop in the other. I opened the door and gasped. Someone had been in there. You know how you just know these things? Of course there were the giveaway signs. Bearing in mind I had cleaned the summer-house thoroughly before going away. It wasn’t just a feeling that someone had been in there, it was more the dirty footprints that gave it away and the throw on the chair all messed up. Of course the mud on the carpet was a complete giveaway.

‘I’ll kill them,’ I cried.

‘Right,’ said Andrew with that look on his face when he means business.

Oh, why did I ever go on holiday?

Dan explained that there had been about six people who came to fit the boiler and heat pump. That they made some mess and that he queried it but they said some mess is to be expected. So Dan, vacuumed and did his best to put the stair bannister back.  Andrew then left a stroppy message on the answer phone of the director of the heating company. Two days later someone came to see me and the damage. We went upstairs and he looked at the door and the boiler.

‘Well you can see the size of that.’ He said.

For one awful minute I wondered what it was we were talking about the size of. Fortunately it was the same thing. The boiler.

There in moments in life when you have to bite your lip isn’t there? This was one of them. I chose not to bite mine.

‘Yes,’ I said.

‘Well it was difficult for the guys to get that in here. It’s a small cottage in all fairness.’

‘Yes but in all fairness, the guys could have removed the door,’ I said.

He looks thoughtful.

‘How can you be sure hour guys did it?’

Now I saw red. Was he blaming it on Dan or the other builders?

‘I’ve had my builders here for three months. Dan even tells me when he spills water anywhere. I somehow think he would let me know if he bashes my door in. Your guys did it.’

‘Okay, we’ll obviously pay for the damage but you understand that damage happens when things like this are done.’

Finally he went. After agreeing to the pay the cost of painting the bedroom wall and fixing the door. I then decide not to go away again while I have work being done in the house. Of course it stupidly didn’t occur to me that they could do just as much damage when I’m in the house as when I am out of it.

Even this sight of me doesn't drive the builders away

Even this sight of me doesn’t drive the builders away

To be continued…

 

 

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Win ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ mug, Happy Valentine Day

Okay here is the next competition to win yourself ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ mug.

All answers can be found in the ‘look inside’ excerpt from The Dogs Bollocks on Amazon, or better still in the book.

What are the names of the three Jacks?
Mrs Mollard calls Alistair ‘A ‘something’ pervert, tell me what?
Who is the wealthy man at Harriet’s table at the wedding?

Send your answers to mug@raucouspublishing.co.uk
Tweet and Facebook the competition. Thanks and good luck xxxx

 

mug

 

 

YOU DON’T NEED A COPY OF ANY OF MY BOOKS TO WIN A ‘IT HAD TO BE YOU’ MUG…
Here are the competition questions. To find the answers you can look at the sample of ‘It Had to Be You’ on Amazon by clicking the ‘Look inside’ on the cover. Below is the link. Or better still get your own copy.
The questions are
‘What does Ben Newman have on his nose?’
‘Where does Binki keep her M&M’s!
‘Who wrote the Round Robin that annoyed Binki so much’
Then PLEASE put a message on you Facebook page saying I have just entered the ‘It Had to Be You’ comp by Lynda Renham and the link to the book. Plus Tweet if you’re on Twitter. Thank you and good luck. xxx

Send your answers to the three questions
to mug@raucouspublishing.co.uk
The winner will be pulled from a hat… and there will be a keyring runner up prize.
Here is the sample link
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Had-Be-You-Romantic-Comedy-ebook/dp/B00ICRVC2S/ref=sr_1_6_bnp_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392369553&sr=1-6&keywords=renham

9780957137288 - Copy

FAB PRIZES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY (Check it out)

February 12, 2014

FAB PRIZES FOR VALENTINE'S DAY (Check it out)

On Friday 14th Feb, Valentine’s Day you can win yourself one of these. All you’ll need is a copy of the kindle version of ‘It Had to Be You’ I’m adding a hot chocolate sachet, so you can enjoy reading your book. The questions will be a place, a thing, or a food mentioned in the book. So you will a need a copy to enter.
Don’t worry there will be more in March when the paperback is released. Stay tuned. I’ll be setting the question on Friday the 14th Feb here and also on my blog.

Lynda xx

 

9780957137288 - Copy

It only seems a few months ago that I was telling you that my new book was being released. Of course, now I look back, it was actually September.

Thank you to everyone who bought ‘The Dog’s Bollocks.’ It actually made number one in the Australian Amazon chart. Very cool. It is now number 8 in the UK humour chart. I am thrilled.

So with Valentine’s Day looming, I thought you would enjoy the new one and what great timing than to have its Kindle release today. It’s titled ‘It Had to Be You’ and here is a little taster for you. Do enjoy and if you would like to receive my newsletter, do subscribe in the box on the right. Scroll down and you can’t miss it.

Love Lynda xx

Chapter One

 

Don’t you just hate Christmas bonuses? Well maybe you don’t and generally I don’t either, so when my boss drops a subtle hint about giving me one I didn’t for one minute imagine he was talking about a quickie up against his desk. Well you wouldn’t would you? A bonus normally smacks of a little brown envelope with a nice wad of crisp new notes inside doesn’t it? Well it does from my experience but maybe it smacks of a quickie up against a desk for you. I avert my eyes from the developing bulge in his trousers and scan the desk for the said brown envelope.

‘It’s Christmas,’ he says, like I’ve somehow overlooked the fact, and takes my hand, rubbing it erotically over the bulge. God, I feel sick. I fear the overload of Christmas sausage rolls, turkey sandwiches and mince pies that I had guiltily consumed thirty minutes earlier at the office Christmas lunch will burst forth and decorate the lovely oak desk I am pressed up against.

‘I’m not sure what that’s got to do with it,’ I say hesitantly. Well you have to agree I do have a point. The boss is supposed to give me the present isn’t he, not the other way around? Although, on reflection perhaps he considers a quick shag over his desk on Christmas Eve is a good present; I’d much prefer a Body Shop voucher to be honest, or a family bag of M&Ms.

 ‘Goodwill to all men and all that crap,’ he whispers, launching his open mouth towards my neck like a vampire, engulfing me in champagne fumes. I think a vampire would be preferable, at least it would be over quicker. I don’t believe this is happening. I mean, this sort of thing doesn’t happen to women like me. Don’t get me wrong, when I say women like me; I’m not saying I’m twenty stone with unsightly moles on my face. Not that there is anything wrong with being twenty stone of course, or having moles on your face come to that. If you’re happy that’s what counts right? But you know what I mean. I’m just your standard size fourteen, ordinary looking woman. I wouldn’t call myself a blonde bombshell by any means. That’s the thing with Christmas, isn’t it? Things happen in offices that would never happen at any other time of the year. When else would you consume alcohol at lunchtime and it be deemed acceptable to continue working half-pissed for the rest of the day? Not to mention that secret Santa thing. I always get unstuck with that bugger, and this year has been no exception. I usually pay over the odds too. Well, what can you buy for a fiver these days? And what happens? The one who was supposed to buy my present didn’t bring it in and is now off sick, with a hangover no doubt, which means I go home empty-handed. Obviously I shrug it off as no big deal and I don’t really mind, but I know I won’t get anything now and it does seem a bit unfair. I’m Binki Grayson by the way, and that’s Binki with an i by the way. I don’t mean I only have one eye obviously. I most certainly have two and I’m not off the telly. I live in Notting Hill which I assure you, is very different to Chelsea. Just as nice you understand but different. I may as well tell you this now while I’m pinned up against an office desk by my sleazy boss as I may not get a chance later. You’re probably wondering how I came to be in this pickle, and I’m wondering that too. My boss, who I have to say is very much a wolf in sheep’s clothing, has taken me totally by surprise. I never imagined he had it in him. I’ve worked at Temco Advertising for five years now. Three of those I was a junior sales assistant but the past two years I have been working as the senior sales assistant directly under Ben Newman; not literally under him you understand, that would be a bit gross. In all that time he has never had me pinned up against a desk. I’ve worked really hard to get here too. I don’t mean pinned up against Ben Newman’s desk with an unsightly bulge pressed against my thigh, just in case you thought I did. I mean, I’ve worked hard to climb my way up in the company and this is the last thing I need. I am, after all, a soon-to-be-engaged woman. At least that is what Oliver has been hinting. I know he has visited Hatton Garden on the quiet because my friend, Muffy, saw him there in her lunch break last week. I’m expecting him to propose over the Christmas holiday, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. Oliver is my boyfriend by the way, but I expect you guessed that.

‘I’ve wanted you for months,’ Ben Newman mumbles, salivating so much that I feel sure that’s a dribble running down my neck. I shudder and attempt to duck under his arm but he pushes me back and I feel the desk cutting into my buttock. His hand slides up the inside of my thigh and I start to panic. Good heavens, this has never happened to me before in my life.

‘You know you want it,’ he says huskily. He releases one hand to yank down the zipper on his trousers.

‘Your gorgeous silky blonde hair and cute little dimpled cheeks really turn me on, and that tight little arse of yours. Ooh sugar, you drive me crazy.’

‘Oh,’ I hear myself squeal. I don’t think I have ever driven a man crazy in my whole life, and that includes my boyfriend Oliver.

‘I’ve seen you giving me the come on,’ he slurs.

He has? I wonder when that was. I hope he isn’t mistaking me for someone else. I don’t know if I should be relieved or insulted if that is the case. It is rather flattering to be lusted after, it’s just a shame I couldn’t do any better than Ben Newman.

‘You want it don’t you?’ he dribbles as his hand swoops down the front of my dress and grabs a breast.

I’ve never wanted it less in my whole life.

‘Surprisingly enough I don’t,’ I say firmly as my elbow squashes a sausage roll that sits drying up on his desk.

What is it with these creeps? And what does he imagine I find so irresistible about him? He surely can’t think it’s his disgusting alcohol and tobacco breath, or his greasy floppy brown hair? Or maybe he thinks it is his enormous erection that I want so desperately. I can’t think of anything worse than being rammed by that awful … Oh my God, he’s got it out. It’s all purple and veiny. Now I am going to be sick. I slide sideways and get a prick from a cocktail sausage stick. It seems pricks are everywhere but this one is way out of control. I so wish I was back, thirty minutes earlier, at the lunch eating a cocktail sausage rather than being pricked by one.

‘You can’t tease me all these weeks and then start playing Miss Prim,’ he hisses as he tugs at my knickers. ‘You know you want my thrill drill in your pussy. I know you’re gagging for it.’

Oh purleese, thrill drill? I’ve heard it all now. I really can’t imagine being thrilled in the least by this veiny looking drill. I bring my knee up and thrust it roughly into his well-exposed groin. He falls back groaning and I quickly pull my panties up. Oh dear, I somehow feel this is not helping my job prospects.

‘For fuck’s sake, what was that for?’ he cries, clutching the pink and now very soft appendage.

I can’t believe he has the cheek to even ask.

‘You can stick your thrill drill somewhere else Mr Newman, Christmas or no Christmas,’ I say haughtily, straightening my dress.

He gives me a filthy look and zips up his trousers.

‘Playing Miss Innocent are we? I tell you what, why don’t you think this through, we’ll discuss it again at the New Year’s Eve party,’ he says breathlessly, tucking in his shirt before taking a brown envelope from a drawer.

I don’t think we will. He leans towards me and I back away. God, he’s so ugly I swear he would win the world finals of the Ugliest Man competition. I mean, that wart on his nose, what’s that about? He scoffs and flicks his hair back with his hand.

‘Here’s a little bonus, but I expect you to work harder next year. Do you get my drift? Put in a few extra hours, that kind of thing.’

I seriously don’t believe this. Christmas Eve and I’m about to throw my job in. What else can I do? I can’t have this moron drooling over me for the whole of next year, it doesn’t bear thinking about. I snatch the envelope just to be on the safe side.

‘Mr Newman, I really can’t do any extra hours. Forty hours a week is more than enough, and my boyfriend would be really unhappy.

His hard eyes meet mine and I realise, right there right then, that I really have no choice but to resign.

‘I think you will do extra hours Miss Grayson. I really wouldn’t want to tell the powers that be how you threw yourself at me, a happily married man with two children, on Christmas Eve because you couldn’t hold your drink.’

What a pig.

‘They would never believe you,’ I say lamely, knowing full well they would. He’s a bloody director after all. He gives me a smug smile and I cave in.

‘Under the circumstances, I think perhaps you should find yourself another sales assistant for the New Year,’ I hear myself say and cringe inwardly. What am I doing? Oliver and I have only been in the new luxury apartment in the most sought-after residential area of Notting Hill for two months. I’m twenty-nine years old with ten months on a tenancy agreement. I’ve a gorgeous boyfriend who is climbing the surveyor’s ladder and is most certainly going to ask me to marry him over Christmas because men do that at Christmas don’t they? I mean, they do, don’t they? All I need is to be out of a job now with a wedding coming up. I hold my breath, you never know, Christmas may just bring out the good side in my boss.

‘Well, if that’s how you feel Binki,’ he says, leaning forward and reaching for the envelope.

I quickly push it into my bag and head for the door.

‘Thank you very much,’ I say shakily. ‘Shall we say it is for services rendered? Or shall we take our chances in court, sexual harassment and all that. What would the wife say?’

‘Why you …’

The thing is I can’t stay, can I? He’ll make my life unbearable and the last thing I want is the stigma of sexual harassment. Everyone at work looking at me and thinking, maybe she asked for it. Like anyone would choose to throw themselves at wart-nose Newman but all the same, you get my drift don’t you?

I dive out of the office faster than you can say Father Christmas and wonder if I offer Oliver sex when I get home he’ll take the bad news better. Maybe he’ll even storm up to the office and punch Ben Newman’s lights out; then again, knowing Oliver and his bad back, maybe not.

Available here from Amazon. In book shops from March.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 (Blog posting re-printed with permission by Sue Watson.

Lynda Renham, Live and Unplugged!

 blog tour 2

Recently, I agreed to meet an online friend. In the flesh. In their home. 
Now this online friend may be Lynda Renham, a fellow author with many books and sales under her belt – but what’s to stop her also being an axe-wielding-serial-killing-best-selling-author? She might well be the literary ‘Queen of Comedy’ and has delighted us all with her best-selling books, ‘Croissants and Jam,’ ‘Coconuts and Wonderbras,’ ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’ and the thoughtfully (and sensitively) retitled ‘The Dog’s Bollocks,’ but what does she do when she’s not writing best-selling novels? Does she lock people in her attic? Eat human livers with a fine chianti and fava beans a la Hannibal Lecter? Or is she simply as lovely and funny in the flesh as she is on social network?

blog tour 3

Chaperoned by my husband and 14-year-old daughter, we set out to discover answers to our questions at Lynda Renham’s pile in darkest Oxfordshire. Along the winding roads my husband kept asking me how well I knew these people who’d kindly invited us to lunch as my daughter warned me (in a voice not unlike my own) of how we shouldn’t mess with  ‘online Stranger Danger Mum!’

Arriving in Oxfordshire, imagine our concern to find the house didn’t exist, no-one was around except a man waving frantically at cars in the middle of the road. Is this a local Oxfordshire custom we wondered, putting up the car windows and locking all doors.

A text and some directions later we were finally ushered into Lynda and her husband Andrew’s home. And after a lovely warm welcome, Lynda and I talked and didn’t stop. For hours. It’s amazing how similar we are and how we can laugh… and talk … and laugh and it all started online with a few clicks of the mouse. It was a wonderful afternoon, the first, I hope of many, with fine food, lovely wine, and delicious company… and not a fava bean or fine Chianti in sight!
blog tour 4

Here’s Lynda’s version of events…..

A Sunday, not many moons ago I arranged to meet another author. Of course, we knew what the other looked like but you know how we all put on those old photos on Facebook. Yes, exactly. She might turn out to be ninety for all I knew. Not that there is anything wrong with someone being ninety of course, but you know what I mean?

So, there was Andrew and I waiting, panicking about the food. We’d checked lasagne would be okay but things have a tendency to go wrong don’t they? We usually do have lumpy sauce. But this time everything was going well. The house looked tidy, the food was cooking nicely. If only I could stop looking out of the window and relax.

Our house is not easy to find. There are no street signs. So, when I received a text telling me they were near both Andrew, I and Bendy (our cat) had our eyes fixed on the window. Then a car went by slowly and I saw the woman passenger looking closely at the house names.

‘That must be them,’ I said to Andrew.

He hurried out to direct them to our cottage and I felt the first stirrings of nerves. What if she dislikes me? What if my house is too small? I watched as the car turned around by the local pub and Andrew throwing himself in front of it. Good God, has he gone mad? He waved them down, chatted through the window and then walked back as they drove off. Oh no.

‘What happened?’ I asked worriedly.

‘They didn’t like me so have decided to go home.’

‘What!’ I said. I thought she seemed nice.

He laughed.

We strolled back to the cottage and waited for another text. Then we get one and they are at the pub. The right one this time, not pub I don’t mean but the right person. All pubs are the right ones aren’t they? And then they were here, hugging me at my front door. Sue Watson and her husband Nick and their lovely daughter and what a fab day we had. It was like meeting myself.

I think we chatted so much that we almost didn’t get to dinner.
Confessions of a Chocoholic 1
You can win one of Sue’s books ‘Younger, Thinner, Blonder’ over on my Chocolate fun day here.http://www.facebook.com/events/275421782582579/?fref=ts We are celebrating my collection of thoughts and chocolate musings ‘Confessions of a Chocoholic’ and I am thrilled Sue is on board.
We are going to have lots of fun on the day. So join me and my lovely author friend Sue on the 8th Feb. Join now! Chocolate galore for everyone.
Plus you can a copy of The Dog’s Bollocks’ Who wants to miss that?
Thank you Lynda! Looking forward to our next get-together very soon! And if you LOVE the amazing pictures of Lynda’s book, ‘The Dog’s Bollocks,’ featured in this article they are available from the talented team at Pics R Ushttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Pics-R-Us/275163365968926
Lynda’s book cover is illustrated by Gracie Klumpp at http://gracieklumpp.com/

 blog 6

 

Confessions of a Chocoholic 1

Hello everyone,

Just a little bit of news. My new book is finished and I’m celebrating with a little chocolate fun day online. I do hope you can join us. Everyone is welcome. There are lots of prizes. Signed books by Sue Watson, myself, Jon Rance, Sarah England, Sarah Fortin, Christy Potter Cass, Anna Bell, Mandy James and Mandy Baggot. Lots of chocolate prizes and fun galore. Starting at 3 in the afternoon British time and finishing at 10.

Here is the link, do feel free to join us.

http://www.facebook.com/events/275421782582579/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Look forward to seeing you there.

Lynda

xx

 

Confessions of a Chocoholic 1

 

I’ve given a great deal of thought to my books and the best way to sell them. I’ve watched books sell for 59p to 77p and have studied all the deals offered on Amazon and have spent a great deal of time talking on the phone to an Amazon representative who was keen to get me to sign with Amazon exclusively.

Much thought and a great deal of watching has made me choose the path I have now taken.

I have chosen to give two books to Amazon exclusively just to test the waters and so far have not been impressed.

I’ve watched the countdown that Amazon offers and their offer to put my book on for free and have come to a few conclusions. Bear in mind these are mine. This is my choice and is not critical of how anyone else works. I have tried the freebie and the 77p price. But finally I have made my decision.

I have decided not to sell my work at less than £1.99. I feel my work is worth that. If I sell my work for 77p or less than frankly I feel I may as well hand them out to people in the street. I value myself and my work and feel I devalue myself and my work by doing that. It takes many months of hard work to write a novel and is good value at £1.99. I am happy to sell older books at a lower price but no lower than £1.53 unless for a special promotion.

I feel the countdown and freebie offers are only beneficial to Amazon. People rush to download them but how many read them immediately? Not many. People will grab an offer. I’ve done it and still they sit on my Kindle. Freebies too and while your book climbs the freebie chart it of course drops in the paid Kindle one. It all seems pointless.

I will not hand over my books exclusively to Amazon because I sell well on other platforms so why should I?

If my books are in the charts great, if they’re not, it doesn’t matter. I’m looking at the big picture.

I think Amazon are the only winners of the KDP select programme and I am refusing to be part of it for the time being. The only thing I do find annoying is when another platform lowers the price of my ebook without my knowledge and then Amazon drops to price match. I hate this loss of control. Amazon’s aim is to put everyone out of business and I want no part of that.

I,  in agreement with my publisher and management agency have decided to sell my books at the value I think they are worth. and not worry about charts. I’d rather have a fab readership and give them value for money and stay the same price. After all, as a reader the thing that irks me most is continual price changes and I have bought books at £1.99 only to see them on for 77p the next day. Very annoying.

I’m in this business for the rest of my life hopefully. So, if you want a Lynda Renham book I hope you’ll be happy to pay between £1.53 and £1.99. Think of me like L’Oreal, because I’m worth it.

I thought of riding a horse, wearing nothing but Thierry Mugler’s Womanity perfume through the streets of Oxford. I figured if that doesn’t catch people’s eyes and have them rushing to Waterstones to  buy my books, then nothing will. Then I looked out of the window, saw the fierce wind and occasional spits of rain, and figured that perhaps it was just a touch too cold and me with erect nipples and red cheeks (face ones that is) may seem appealing  to some, but I felt sure there would be just as many, if not more, that it would not appeal to. Although I had no doubt it would sell trillions of books. But I realised there was a good chance I may dramatically develop Pneumonia and die a very dramatic, if not glamorous death. Well, if I’m only wearing ‘Womanity‘, how could it not be glamorous? Then I considered the fact,  that of course, I may be arrested. That alone didn’t bother me. After all, If I sold billions of books it would be worth it. But what really stopped me was Andrew’s face. It didn’t so much say, ‘What a crazy idea’  but more, ‘You really believe you riding a horse through Oxford, naked, will sell books?’  Of course, what the look really meant was, ‘Have you seen your body lately?’ Of course he never voiced any of this. But you know what those looks mean don’t you?

So, I decided perhaps a nice little innocent post on Glipho might be safer for everyone. The new book is enough to shock everyone without coupling the sight of my naked body to it as well. The new book by the way is about me. Now you’ve shut off totally haven’t you?

It’s my exploits as a woman. Or you could say it is my exploits as a crazy woman. Because if you consider me normal after reading this little ditty maybe you need therapy too. Mind you after reading of my attempts to remove a tampon, you may well need therapy. Thank goodness my publisher issued a warning on the Blurb. If you’re wondering about the blurb, here it is.

A collection of short funny tales and a unique insight into the world of chicklit royalty, aka Lynda Renham. A right comedy of errors if ever there was one. If you’re looking for her beauty secrets and fashion ideas you’ve come to the right place. Read of her intimate sex life, her secrets for staying young and how she keeps her man – just. A fly-on-the wall true account of the life of a romantic comedy novelist, written in her own words. It’s all here, the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Publisher Note: We are not responsible for any of the advice given in this book. If you do not look like Lynda after reading this we cannot be held accountable.

Warning: Tena Pads recommended while reading. 

Now, the best part about this little ditty is that it is only 99p. What can you buy for that these days?

So, off you pop and download your little copy here Go on, save me the ordeal or freezing my bollocks off on that horse. Talking of bollocks, you can buy my other book if you like, ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ here Give yourself a laugh over Christmas. If not, see you in Oxford on that horse.

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Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and to just whisper in your ear that my December Newsletter is now out and ready to be delivered to you inbox.

All you have to do is email at newsletter@renham.co.uk to get yours. Or you could click the subscribe to the newsletter on the right of the page. Just scroll down a tad.

Lots of book news, competitions and revealing by yours truly.

Get yours now before they all go…

Happy holidays.

Lynda

xxxx

So it’s the day of my big interview with Debbie Flint (Debbie Flint is a TV presenter (formerly BBC, currently QVC UK) and writer whose first novel was self-published in June. She lives in Dorking, Surrey and has just published her second romance novel.

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 I’m interviewing her! It’s very exciting. I don’t know what to offer her with tea. Surely someone like Debbie Flint wouldn’t want Hobnobs. I think maybe I should get the best china out. I so want to impress. It occurs to me that a Lady Gaga greeting would be great when she arrives. It would certainly get some attention, and I could tip off a few local newspapers. But then again I don’t want to send her flying when I tumble off my fifteen inch platform shoes as I go to hug her, do I? Maybe a Lady Gaga greeting is a bit adventurous; I’ll just be myself. Oh dear, that’s infinitely worse.  I’ll just give her a cup of tea and a fig roll and crack on. Oh, I hear she has arrived. Here we go.

Hi Debbie lovely to see you. Oh and do help yourself to a fig roll. Well, obviously you can have two. We don’t ration here. So exciting times with your new book coming out. I’ve got a few questions for you, so that readers may learn more about you and your books.  So how are you?

 To be honest – knackered! NaNoWriMo has a lot to answer for – it inspired me to get my second book done by the end of the month! I wrote 54000 of the 86000 words, plus edited proofed and uploaded it all, in the last three weeks. Crazy! Sadly for my sanity, it did involve a lot of late nights, dozing off at the keyboard and waking up to birdsong only to delete lines and lines of  sdfjnsdvhdkfjhfffgjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjzzzzzzzzzzzzzzj.

(God, I hope she doesn’t nod off.)

 But now it’s up on Amazon, well done! What’s it called and briefly what is it about? And how does it fit in with the first one – they’re part of a trilogy aren’t they?

Thank you! Yes what a relief! Already doing well so I’m so pleased to have got it off my chest as it were! It’s Hawaiian Escape – and it’s the PREQUEL to Hawaiian Affair, which was my first book and took three years of ‘off and on ‘writing. It came out last summer and was my first ever finished novel. It’s a bit steamy! Unless you buy the PG option! Lol.

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‘Hawaiian Affair’ follows Sadie, the rookie businesswoman who needs an investor, and her adventure with Mac, the playboy billionaire who won’t mix business with pleasure. They travel the globe, from a luxury yacht in Monaco to the magic of Hawaii, with just 30 days to seal the deal and stay out of love.

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‘Hawaiian Escape’ is what happened BEFORE that.

It started off as a short story in response to readers’ requests – they wanted to know more about Sadie’s background. But a funny thing happened when I started writing – out tumbled Helen, Sadie’s more feisty older sister, who’s facing a crisis in her own life. She needs to manifest her own destiny instead of fixing everyone else’s, but something mysterious is going on, taking the sisters from Surrey to New York to Tuscany in pursuit of the prized escape to Hawaii. With Helen’s secrets causing a few hiccups along the way…The third book in the series I’m bringing out next summer – it will be called Hawaiian Retreat – what happens to Helen afterwards as she goes round the world with something called Try it For the First Time Club.

I’m having great fun doing this writing lark, I must say, and the response has been tremendous. But they don’t tell you about the back ache and caffeine addiction do they, these novelists!

 What made you become a writer?

 Usual story really – always loved doing it – even now I say ‘when I grow up I want to write movies and live in LA!’ Lol. Did a couple of short kids’ stories for Buena Vista children’s telly back in the day when I’d just finished presenting on children’s BBC and Forces Television and I was at home with my kids (now twenty six and twenty four.) But apart from the first 50,000 words of a steamy novel that never saw the light of day, I’d not really done anything till I began lots of courses and conferences four years ago. I then joined the RNA new writer’s scheme, also seeing friends self-publishing successes recently kick-started the dream to see my own work in print. Whoop!

 Tell us about the steamy version of ‘Hawaiian Affair’. What made you produce a steamy and non-steamy version? Great idea I have to say.

Ooh well I guess I always had it in me … (er, well not lately but that’s another story, hehe)… seriously, when it came to writing the sex scenes, I found the censor in me was switched off! I’d been reading a couple of books from the raunchy Harlequin imprint ‘Blaze’, so it just followed on that I wrote a bit more detail I guess. Then when I began getting it beta read, a couple of ladies said they wouldn’t usually go for this type of book, as it was too steamy. Or that they loved it but couldn’t give it to granny. I said that depends on the granny! But with that in mind, I edited a ‘PG’ version – primarily to see what the FIFTY SHADES EFFECT was having on the demand for women’s fiction. The answer was –eight out of nine wanted steamy!

I serialised Hawaiian Affair initially, because an agent suggested it – and parts two and four were the steamy bits, where people could opt for either PG or HOT versions! Now the serialised parts are no longer available it’s just the compete novel and sales on Amazon overall are staying about the same – eight x Hawaiian Affair (steamy) for every one x Hawaiian Affair (PG) in either paperback or eBook! 

The new book Hawaiian Escape is hot, but not shocking, so granny should be ok. Unless she doesn’t like vanilla… J

Who do you consider your greatest help in writing during times of strife? I know for me my husband is the rock at times like that.

Well my last partner is a script writer and we’re still pals so he’s quite helpful if it’s plot angst, but having a fabulous group of lovely Facebook readers online in a group called – imaginatively – ‘Debbie’s Readers’ – lol – is a real life-saver sometimes and the lady Sharon who runs it is amazingly helpful and a good pal.

If you mean life-strife, then my sis and my kids! I’m one of five – I also have three brothers –  but in ‘Hawaiian Escape’ I must admit there’s a fair bit of me and my sister Linda – who’s also on QVC – she’s a guest for a gel nails product – and some of the scenes could be me and her talking! But which of us is which, well, you’ll have to guess!

 What made you decide to go the self-publishing route as opposed to traditional publishing?

 Instant access, speed, control as well as some of the success stories I was hearing about from writing friends who had taken the plunge. Plus the odds of getting taken on by one of the big six publishers in the traditional way, are as minuscule as they ever were so it’s not as though it’s an active choice right now! Never say never, but I’ve only had meetings with one agent so far – a guy who I think was a bit put off by the steaminess in my first novel! But I’m happy to build a brand meanwhile. Plus as you’ll know, the corporate guys are now using self-published charts as their slush pile – we’ve heard many stories about that, too, haven’t we?

As long as your MS is edited properly, and proofed, plus you get a proper cover designed, I think self-published/indie-published turns out just as professionally as traditionally published books. You’re not in bookshops obviously, but considering the horror stories we hear from some published authors, that’s ok for now. For instance, one indie friend has – in the first half of this year – sold over 30,000 copies of her rom-coms, (four of them) – making the 70% royalty per copy (price varies but it’s often around £1.99). By contrast, another friend said that she’d heard a sad story from HER author pal – whose traditional publisher sold 12000 copies of her book into a major supermarket and all the author got was £360. Interesting isn’t it?

I love that so many major authors are now going down the self-pub route too – ideal if you already have a following for sure. Jackie Collins, even, who was on QVC recently with her newest book, and did a blog posting recently about her decision to issue a self-published book. And on Xmas day, the legendary Lawrence Block issues his first self-published tome – I can’t wait – called ‘The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons’! (Russell Blake’s fab blog (www.russellblake.com) will have an interesting author interview about it in December.)

Plus I’m a bit geeky and I love being able to access immediately all the statistics from my own self-published sales on Amazon – like on day one, my book went straight into the top 15 of the humour chart and I could see how many sales that equated to! And on the same day! Ahhh statistics! Lol. And you don’t want to know about my excel docs .., although I’m not as bad as Sadie because they’re not laminated…!

Lap top or pen and paper?

 No contest – laptop every time – I was one of those kids who always came home with ink over everything… Mind you, I do keep a journal which I write every night, and that’s with ink. No-one can read my scrawl but me though! And I have dark bed sheets… Lol.

Where is your favourite place to write?

 Los Angeles in an all-night diner, or coffee shops out there in LA, where you can be amongst people but totally left alone at all hours – in the choice of air con when it’s blazing hot or sitting outside in the balmy evening breeze. Corrr! Here in the UK it’s @retreatsforyou in Sheepwash, Devon, where lovely Deborah the owner runs a cosy B&B. I went there start of November with one of my fave authors Julie Cohen when she had her little writing workshops. Julie’s going to do some more in the future, but you can just book in yourself direct for one or two nights, if you like to get away and concentrate. Otherwise my kitchen table with my four Labradors reassuringly snoring away nearby. They put up with a lot when I was frantically finishing the new novel, bless them. It wasn’t unusual for them to be fed at 2 pm because that’s when I was getting up after late nights!

 How can we get your new novel because that is what we are most excited about?

 All on Amazon – eBook or print-on-demand paperback for normal cost. A couple of people have said ‘but I don’t have a Kindle’ but as you’ll know but some don’t, there’s a free kindle APP so if you have any smartphone or tablet or laptop you don’t need an actual Kindle or eBook reader. Anyone can read the eBook, or there’s paperback option to order online.

Hawaiian Affair (Steamy) is here

Hawaiian Affair (PG) is here

Or new one – Hawaiian Escape  – click here

I hear there is a steamy extra download which you’re planning for Hawaiian Escape though? When is that out and how will we know?

 Haha – yes! Again, by popular demand! I just had to go behind the bedroom door for one particular night of passion in Tuscany but didn’t want it in Hawaiian Escape so it can be gifted easily without too many wink-wink-nudge-nudge’s! So mid-December there will be a free download via my website, or it’ll eventually be on Amazon as a short story.  

Best thing is to sign up for the little newsletter I send out every so often and you’ll be notified when and how to get it. www.debbieflint.com has all the info! Anyone who’s purchased the original will be sent the extra scene in a download. Yay!

Otherwise I’m on Facebook or Twitter, as you know Lynda – we keep each other busy don’t we!

And what else do you like doing?

 Well apart from family stuff – my son got married in October and I was a very proud mummy I can tell you. Then there are the four dogs with all the walking that entails and so on. I also love doing family tree stuff. I’ve found an ancestor called Fanny Flint! And her maiden name was ‘Tidey’ – hehe! I’m also working on a new dating concept that I’m trialling provisionally called ‘The Box’ which may or may not lead to another pet topic – finding a man. But it’s nice having the time to do what I want without worrying about anyone else, most of the time. Said ex-boyfriend and I are actually writing a fabulous TV pilot together – well, he writes it and I say ‘ooh that’s good! You’ve missed an apostrophe’… And of course I do my weekly blog on QVC UK which is like a magazine, with bloopers and film reviews etc., and a book segment called Read It Write It Sell It (where your book was book of the week recently!) What else? Well, my work means I get to test out products as a pastime too – you should see my junk room and bathroom shelves! One day I’ll ‘clear out my crap’ as my daughter calls it! I think she secretly wants it herself though. I also attempt to cook. I do try my hand at new recipes, not that they’re nice all the time. If I stick to a recipe, like baking or soups, it’s fine. But if I go ‘off-piste’ – well, what can I say – not even the dogs wanted my most recent ‘raw vegetable smoothie’! lol.

There is a competition to win signed copies of both her books on Debbie’s current QVC Blog here – closes midday Thursday 5th December.  Or keep in touch via Facebook or Twitter @debbieflint

Or find Debbie here www.debbieflint.com

Have a fab Hawaiian Christmas.                                          photo-002

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