Grief, Letting Go and A New Novel, of Course.

Putting on a brave front is not the thing to do. I’ve found this out the hard way. Loss is something we all experience. Grief shouldn’t be ignored. However, I just soldiered on, thinking, for some odd reason, that grieving wasn’t for me.

I lost my mum a year ago and a few other things happened around the same time. It taught me that not all people are like me and that others don’t empathise in the same way. I learnt that people are thoughtless at the most difficult times.

I became introspective and withdrew from social media because I felt I was often misunderstood. I found myself over thinking my status updates and suddenly felt inadequate and a failure. I was grieving also but didn’t really realise it.

Then we lost our little Bendy. Yes, he was just a cat but even typing his name has me in floods of tears. My doctor has explained that losing Bendy reawakened the feelings I had buried at not being able to have children. Suddenly my grief was compounded by this sudden loss being felt all over again. Bendy had been the child I could not have and now he was gone. I was devastated. All those thoughts of being alone in my old age resurfaced. Thoughts of no one coming to see me when I needed people the most began to really frighten me. Being childless hit me all over again. So, like I normally do, I tried to put it behind me. ‘These things happen and you have to get on,’ was my motto. It’s so wrong. You must grieve and you must cry. Burying your feelings will only cause them to erupt at a later date. I know because it happened to me.bendywed

On New Year’s Eve my mother in law died and I took this much harder than my husband. I was suddenly overwhelmed. My heart began to race so fast that there wasn’t a single moment in the day when it wasn’t pounding away. I was scared to move. I couldn’t even play in the garden with my two new cats because it would race even more. I was crying at the drop of a hat and felt like life had no meaning.  The smallest thing that normally I would shrug off had me in the depths of despair. I was affected by how people treated me. Facebook updates by others would have me feeling totally useless and I considered giving up writing because it seemed to me that I was an absolute failure at it.

I finally took myself to the doctors for a routine check. He immediately arranged an ECG as my heart was going too fast for his liking. Fortunately it was okay and after a few more tests he diagnosed extreme stress and delayed grief.

I do miss Mum.  I miss her terribly. I missed her when she had dementia. Even though she was never really mentally with us, I could still see her. I can’t do that anymore. Losing both parents has a profound effect on you as I’m sure many people reading this will agree. Losing a pet is no easier, especially when they have been part of your life for 16 years.

So, moving forward, I am looking into bereavement counselling.  I’ve also told myself that as a writer I am okay. I may not be J K Rowling but a lot of people enjoy my books and that’s what it is all about isn’t it?

On February 1st I have a new novel out titled ‘She Saw What he Did’ It’s a fast paced thriller.  Abby Millers’ life changes when she looks through the viewfinder of her camera and witnesses something terrible.

postershesaw

‘Abby Miller thought she had the perfect family; a good looking, loving husband and a beautiful daughter. Her life was complete. The shock discovery that her husband, Jared, had been having an affair rocked her world. So when Jared suggested a short break to the Cannard Islands, to heal their fractured marriage, Abby agreed. An idyllic holiday turns into a nightmare when Abby witnesses something terrible. Suddenly her life and the life of her daughter are in serious danger and no one seems able to help them.

I hope you will read it. You can pre-order today for 99p Here 

Meanwhile my romance ‘When Archie Met Rosie’ is doing well and has wonderful reviews. Thank you to everyone who bought it and reviewed it. Reviews make such a difference. If you want to read a love story with a difference. Then this is the one for you. Go herearchieoriginal

We have two new cats now. They are named Lytton and Schrody. They won’t replace Bendy. He was very special. But I am sure these will become very special in time too.

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Thanks so much for reading.

Much love

Lynda x

 

Easter, Novels, Stress and Building Work

AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON 5TH APRIL.

YOU CAN PRE-ORDER TODAY. ONLY 99P/99C

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe how long it has been since I last chatted to you on here. I do mean to post but things have been so hectic with writing that there just hasn’t been the time. I’ve also been contending with building work but more about that later. Not my building work, I hasten to add. I would hire decent builders to do my work. (Note to self. Calm down before blood pressure rises … again.

The exciting news and that most certainly isn’t about the builders but about my new book. It isn’t about me murdering a builder, in case you were wondering. That’s for my next novel. You see, I can’t seem to stop talking about builders. It’s like I’m suffering from builder overload. There must be a medical name for this. BST, I imagine. Builder stress disorder. Anyway enough of this, I digress and that’s no good.

So, my exciting news.

 I have a new book out. It is the third thriller. You may know me for my romantic comedy novels. Then again you may not know me at all,which is fair enough.

I was in the middle of a romance when this thriller came to me and the characters Libby and Ewan just wouldn’t leave my brain so I knew I had to write their story. I’m so pleased I did. I enjoyed writing it so much and I so hope you enjoy it.

I’m giving you a little taste of the novel in with this blog post. I hope you enjoy that.

Here’s the blurb.

Ewan Galbreith is out of prison. Libby Owen is scared. Fifteen years earlier she saw Ewan murder her aunt and uncle with their own shotgun, and now he’s coming for her.’

The novel is currently available for Pre Order at the promotional price of 99p/99c so get yours before the price goes up. The audio book will be out later in the year and the paperback is out on the 20th April. BUT the kindle version is released this coming Thursday 5th April. Hurrah. I can’t wait for you to read it.

There will be a romance out in the summer so keep your eyes peeled for that.

So, it’s been a difficult book to write as the cottage next door ‘has had a few repairs’ Those are the words of my neighbour, not mine. I have a word for those few repairs. it’s Gutting.’ I have a word for the builders too but I won’t use it here.

This whole episode has been very disappointing to me. I had a wonderful neighbour. She was American, highly intelligent. She had a doctorate and could debate any subject. I miss her terribly. They loved their old cottage which was originally an old pub. The cottage still had the old doors with lounge and saloon printed on them. There was beautiful oak panelling in one of the rooms and there is still the old pub sign outside. I live in a very quintessential English village and it’s in a conservation area which means there is a limit to what you can do so as not to ruin the beautiful aesthetics of the village. My neighbour died and left the house to her American relatives. They love it (they say) they love the history (they say) So with this in mind they proceeded to remove the lovely panelling and knock down walls. They neglected the old pub sign and knocked down an outhouse that was an old urinal from way back when. Heaven knows what else they are doing as the builders are now boarding up the windows so no one can see. Meanwhile my little cottage trembles with the thuds and the drilling as they break up floors, knock down walls, install a modern kitchen and plastic windows The builders are often rude when we ask questions. They block off the road outside our cottages, even though no one owns the road, so no one else can park there. They’ve been working on this cottage for six months. I’ve written a whole novel in that time and am halfway through another. How have I written it with the constant drilling and hammering? By putting in earplugs and then headphones on top of those. Madness!! I think perhaps I work better under stress. I remember I wrote Pink Wellies and Flat Caps when we were having our own extension. Which I have to say was much quieter by comparison. Still, on a positive note, let’s hope we get lovely new neighbours when the house is sold.

Phew … end of building work chat. Except to say it has had a detrimental effect on me and I have had to watch my blood pressure which has a tendency to go up. Onto nicer things. I hope you have a fabulous Easter with lots of chocolate. I’m attending Slimming World so no goodies for me. An Easter goodie for you. ‘Remember Me’ is 99p as a special Easter promotion. So two novels for £1.99 which can’t be bad.

REMEMBER ME https://goo.gl/Y6jSJQ

WATCHING YOU  https://goo.gl/JYytX9

HERE’S YOUR SAMPLE

‘WATCHING YOU’

Prologue

1st January 2000, 1 A.M.

 

Her bare feet pounded the gravel, the sharp stones cutting mercilessly into her skin. The wind whipped cruelly at her hair and played with her new chiffon dress until her legs became entangled within it. She pulled herself free from the material without once slowing her pace, her heart drumming in her chest. She could hear the blood pulsating in her ears like a wild war dance. Her scalp tingled. Something had touched her. She fought back a scream. It was a branch, just a tree in the blackness of the night. Keep going. She couldn’t stop. A firework boomed and lit up the night sky. She tripped, scattering the detestable gravel. A small sob escaped her lips before she dragged herself up and continued on. He’d seen her. He’d seen her. That’s all she knew.  Keep running. Don’t look back. An orchestra of colours exploded in the sky and lit up the tall iron gates of Greystone Hall ahead of her. She thought back to the house and nausea rose up in her gut. Soon she would smell the pungent odour of seaweed. Her heart beat a steady rhythm now. She knew the beach wasn’t far away. Excited voices and the sound of drunken laughter broke through her pulsating eardrums. People were partying on the beach. It was the beginning of something new, something exciting, a new start.

‘Happy Millennium,’ someone shouted.

She tripped in her haste to reach them. Her mouth connected with cold sand, it scratched her skin.

‘Help me,’ she choked. ‘Please.’

‘Had too much?’ said a voice.

There was laughter from a small group huddled around a camp fire.

‘Hold on,’ said another. The voice concerned.

She felt someone touch her.

‘Fuck, she’s bleeding.’

‘Call the police,’ yelled another.

There was scuffling and someone wrapped a coat around her. It was warm and comforting.

‘Christ, what happened?’ he said.

‘Someone shot my Aunt and Uncle,’ she moaned, trying to get up. She couldn’t. She was exhausted.

‘I think they’re dead.’

 

The downside of Facebook & other much nicer things!

HUNTERAt last I’ve found time to write a blog posting. The days do rush by don’t they? I can’t believe that I’m thinking about Christmas already.

I’ve been quiet for one reason and that is I’ve been engrossed in writing a new novel. I’m really excited to talk about it, so more on that later.

I’ve also discovered a new hobby. But first I want to talk about social networking and how I feel about it at the moment. I’ve been on Facebook for a long time and always enjoyed the interaction I got on there, but recently I’ve become very disillusioned with it. There have been several occasions where I have been extremely upset by what I’ve seen on there. A few weeks ago I scrolled through my newsfeed just before going to bed and a horrific photo of animals being abused was thrust into my face. I was distressed beyond words and couldn’t sleep that night for thinking about it. I couldn’t even face going back to report it because it meant I would have to see it again. I began to be afraid to scroll through my newsfeed for what I might see. So, since then I have barely been on FB. I post a few things and that’s it really. So, if you are on FB and I haven’t been commenting or wishing people a happy birthday, then that’s why. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds these kind of photos distressing. I’ve tried to understand why people post them. I’m sure it is to raise awareness. But I am aware. I know these things go on. I know what charities to support. I know bad things happen. I’m aware children get abused as well as animals. I just don’t need graphic photos to hammer it home. So, for me, FB is not somewhere I want to be that much. If you want to follow me and I hope you do then you can find me on Instagram under Lynda Renham. It is a far nicer place I find. I’m also on Twitter but not so much. But I’m also here at the blog. So feel free to join me. Do let me know your feelings about distressing pictures on FB. I’d like to hear your feelings.

SOMETHING NICER

Now, onto something else, something much nicer. In between writing I also discovered the fabulous art of crochet and I am addicted. So much so, that in the next few weeks I hope to set up my crochet and knitting blog. It will be dedicated to just crochet and all the hand crafts that are such fun to do. It will focus on my crochet journey. So, keep an eye out. I’m in love with this hobby. It’s so calming and relaxing and makes you feel so calm. If you’re stressed in any way then I would recommend it. I taught myself by watching You Tube videos and I’ll be recommending many of those in my new crochet blog. I started last December and have so far made two blankets, a shawl, and lots of squares which I plan to join together. I also made a cushion cover and am currently working on another blanket for a friend. I’ve found a renewed interest in knitting and have made a teddy bear and am working on a shawl. It’s fabulous. I have bought numerous books and will share those on my new blog too. If you’re into any craft then please let me know. I’ll be sharing my new blog posts on FB, Twitter and Instagram. I hope you’ll join me when I do. There are CAL’s  (crochet alongs) which I hope to take part in too and I’m looking forward to going to some yarn festivals too. As you can see I am truly hooked (so to speak) I hope I have fired some of you into looking into this wonderful, calming craft. It’s not hard once you get the hang of it.

I’ve left the best for last. Coming on the 12th September is my new novel ‘Hunters Moon’

hunt

It’s a psychological thriller and I so hope you enjoy it. It has been a long time in the writing. I’ve enjoyed it but I’ve also decided that the next book will be much lighter and funnier than the previous two. Thank you so much to all those that bought ‘Remember Me’ It did exceptionally well, especially in the USA. So well in fact that it is coming out as an audio book next month. I will post links when I have them. Also ‘Perfect Weddings’ is coming out as an audio book too and should be available for Christmas, I hope.

Here’s a little about the new novel ‘Hunters Moon’

‘Hunters Moon, set in the little English village of Penlyn, promises to be the dream home for Flora and Adam McIntosh. Adam’s career in politics has taken a turn for the better and the only thing left to complete the couple’s happiness is a baby. Flora believes the new home will help her overcome a recent miscarriage but she soon realises the house is not all it seems. What are the villagers of Penlyn hiding and does Hunters Moon hold a dark secret? Flora soon finds herself entrapped in a web of deceit with no one to turn to. Her dream home becomes her nightmare as Flora fears for her life.’

I’m very excited and can’t wait to share this with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Well that’s it until next time. I hope I hear from you.

Much love

Lynda

x

Women’s Bits and New Books

 

 

images-1It’s been so long since I’ve posted on here. It’s been a manic few months with so much happening.

Life is certainly never static is it? After months and months of chronic knee I finally went private to find out what was going on. This only after being told that my appointment to see a consultant would take eighteen months. Eighteen months, I don’t know about you but that seemed a lifetime away to me. I love the NHS but it certainly doesn’t seem to like me. Or maybe my GP doesn’t like me. I discovered my flat feet were crippling me. Who’d have thought such a simple thing could cause so much pain? Insteps and a few months later and I feel like a new woman. Well, leg wise anyway. A woman I am beginning to detest being.

So, I thought I’d share the ongoing saga I am having with my GP. I’m attempting to see the funny side of things as I’m sure there must be one. I’m also hoping someone going through a similar thing may contact me to share. God knows I’m in need of sharing.

Before you read on, be aware this post does mention female bits. Okay, brace yourself for the ride. Ready? Here we go then.

About three months ago I began to feel just a touch uncomfortable ‘down there’ My mum always referred to it as ‘down there’ and oddly enough so did a very young gynaecologist I saw. There was me trying to be all technical and knowledgeable by saying, ‘The sore area is on the right labia, high up by the vagina.’ We finally just referred to it as ‘down below.’ I must admit it is far simpler. I also worry I’m saying the names wrong. I probably know the parts of a car better than I do ‘down there’

Anyway, I’m waffling as usual. So, the first thing I do is go to my GP. Sensible I thought. I phone for an appointment. I’m then triaged as I say I really can’t wait three weeks! I’m told my doctor will phone me. She does. She then tells me they are too overcome and I’d have to go to another surgery in the town closest to me. Off I trot. I see a nice doctor there who says she can’t see anything ‘down there.’ Asks me if sex is painful and then suggests something to numb the soreness. I’m not over the top happy but take her prescription. A week later I’m still the same. I phone my GP again and it’s arranged for me to see a female doctor at my own surgery. Off I pop. I explain the soreness and she has a look.

‘Ooh,’ she says surprised, ‘I can see a lesion.’

‘Oh really, I guess that must be the problem,’ I reply.

‘It looks like an ulcer.’

‘Right, what do you do for that?’

A sensible question I thought.

‘I think we should take swabs.’

Great, this was what I wanted to hear.

‘Shall I test for everything?’ she asks.

Now, not being a doctor, I have no idea what everything is. Clearly she doesn’t need to check me for Syphilis or any other STD. I’m happily married to my second husband. He is happily married to me. I was previously married for a long period to another man who wasn’t the type to put it about either. You know your men better than the doctors’ right?

‘Not the things I’m unlikely to have,’ I say.

‘I think we should test for Herpes,’ she says.

I’m a bit open-mouthed for a second and then stupidly find myself wondering if you can get Herpes any other way. I’ve not even worn a tampon in over a year, besides you can’t catch it from them can you? I try not to be insulted.

‘There’s no way I have Herpes,’ I say, trying not to sound affronted.

‘You could have had it from the age of nineteen,’ she says confidently.

‘Without symptoms? I ask.

I’m seriously distrustful of her judgements now.

‘It would be odd that you’ve had no symptoms,’ she says.

So here I am at the age when the only thing I should be worried about is the menopause and this twenty something woman is telling me I’ve been walking around with Herpes for over thirty years without any symptoms and now wham bam here they are. Yes, right, you don’t trust her judgement either do you?

She takes the swabs and I hit the ceiling. She tests for thrush and Herpes. I tell her I have neither. She doesn’t listen to me. I have no voice.

I trot back home and phone for the results a few days later. The receptionist isn’t allowed to give me the results so I wait for the doctor to phone. She doesn’t. It’s on her list but she doesn’t phone. I call the next day and ask could she phone as I’m still in discomfort and need something to ease the soreness. I’m now struggling to pee. And let me tell you, I pee a lot.

‘She’s the duty doctor today,’ I’m told. ‘So she’s very busy.’

Excuse me, but am I not a patient?

I patiently explain she was supposed to have phoned me yesterday and didn’t. It’s a Friday and I don’t know what to do now the tests have come back. It gets to five and still no phone call. The phones shut down at six at the surgery. I phone The Doc (Andrew my husband) in tears. He phones them and says how dissatisfied we are. They promise to phone. They still haven’t by six. He goes in on his way home and says he won’t leave until they call me. She finally does and tells me I will need to be referred and it will take six weeks but as they saw a lesion she thinks I should be referred to the cancer clinic using the two-week wait. I question whether it could be a hormonal thing as my breasts are also sore. She doesn’t know. I ask if she thinks it could be serious and she says ‘The other doctor saw a lesion so best to be sure.’ I agree and wait for the appointment. At least I know I don’t have thrush or Herpes. It’s a start.

A week or so later and off I pop again to see a lovely gynaecologist. We chat about ‘down there’ and finally he has a look ‘down there.’ He then asks if I’d like to know what is wrong with me? Dumb question, but still.

‘Nothing,’ he says.

‘Right,’ I say. ‘So is it Atrophy then?’ I ask pulling up my knickers. I’d worn my best frilly pair. Well, last time I got caught out with a hole at the back. Very embarrassing.

‘Ah, how do you know these things?’ he asks.

‘Ah, I like to know what’s going on with my body,’ I say.

‘Right,’ he says, ‘You need some local Oestrogen for ‘down there’

‘Oh, I say, ‘I take HRT, wouldn’t that have been enough?’

‘Some women need both.’

‘So it’s okay to use both?’

You can’t say I don’t ask questions.

Off I pop. A few days later I phone  my GP and ask them if I can have the medication. They say they will get the doctor to phone. She doesn’t phone. I’m tearful. I phone again the next day and she finally calls back and tells me I can’t have it if I’m on HRT and that she needs the letter to come back first and will also contact the menopausal clinic to speak to my consultant there. I tell her the gynaecologist said it was okay. No one believes me. I contact the menopausal clinic. They send an email saying I can have the medication. The gynaecologist writes and says I can have the medication. My doctor still doesn’t give it. I phone again to be told she is very busy and that she needs the letter first. I tell them it is on their system as I can see it. That day I get no medication. The next day I phone again. I wait until six, no phone call, no medication. Finally it gets to Thursday and I phone again. This time no reply. I jump in my car and go there. I’m seething, in pain and totally fed up. I demand the medication and tell the woman at the pharmacy at the surgery that I’m not going without it. She then tells me my doctor has gone home. She had messages to contact me. She ignored them.

I stand my ground and a doctor gives me the medication as soon as he hears what is happening.

Your opinion? I’d like to hear it.

Meanwhile happy news. While all that has been going on ‘down there’  ‘up here’ a new book has been released and I’m so excited. It’s already getting rave reviews and it’s only **99p** at least for a short time. Don’t miss out.

renham-phoebe-fbcover

I’ve loved writing this book and I so hope you enjoy reading it. It’s a fab read for Christmas. Well, I would think so, wouldn’t I?

Lots of love

Lynda

x

You’re Invited to Perfect Weddings

Renham-PerfectWeddings-Invite

Hi everyone,

I thought I would never get over here. Things were manic on my Facebook and Twitter page yesterday because … hurrah it was the launch day for my new novel ‘Perfect Weddings’

I’m so excited about this book as everyone is saying they think it is my best one yet.

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I love the cover thanks to Katie Grace Klumpp, who is so talented, you have to agree. Click her name to check out her work.

 

I hope you enjoy ‘Perfect Weddings’ If you like weddings then you are bound to.

Do you remember Amy Perfect who wrote ‘A Christmas Romance?’ Well, my bit of fun was to name the main character in ‘Perfect Weddings’ Amy Perfect too 🙂

A Christmas Romance Design!

 

And by the way, while we are talking about ‘A Christmas Romance’ it is now 99p. It is the first in the Little Perran series and it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy it. So why not treat yourself to both. That’s only £2.98 for two books. What can you buy for that these days? Go here for ‘A Christmas Romance’

So what is ‘Perfect Weddings’ about?

‘Every bride wants a perfect wedding and that includes Georgina Winters. Amy Perfect is the crème de la crème of wedding planners so who best to plan Georgina s wedding… except the man Georgina plans to marry is the same man who jilted Amy three years ago. Will her plan to give Georgina the most imperfect wedding backfire on her? Is this the chance for Amy to win back the love of her life, or will insufferable Ben Garret put a spanner in the works? Arab princes, spoilt brides and wedding catastrophes make Perfect Weddings a page-turning romantic comedy that will keep you guessing until the very last page.’

I do hope you enjoy it. You can get yours here

http://goo.gl/Vp78vS

Much love as always

Lynda

x

Christmas with Robert Bryndza

Guess who I have on my blog today? Only the brilliant Robert Bryndza, just in time for Christmas too. What’s more I have an extract from his Christmas novella, Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story. Also at the end of this post is news of Rob’s fab Christmas competition. Wonderful prizes, so don’t miss it.

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I love Robert’s books. They are so funny and this one is no exception.

 So, curl up in front of the fire with a hot chocolate – or something stronger! I know that’s what I’m going to do, and enjoy a slice of hilarious Christmas nostalgia with Coco Pinchard and the must-have toy of Christmas past… 

So, over to Rob…

It’s December 1992, and children are going CRAZY for the Tracy Island Toy – almost as crazy as the parents! Christmas day is fast approaching and Coco is desperately trying to track one down for her four-year-old son Rosencrantz.

Throw into the mix a horrible boss, a lazy husband, and the prospect of her in-laws arriving for the festivities, and Coco wishes she could cancel Christmas and sail off to a desert island somewhere – preferably with the gorgeous-yet-unattainable Tom from work.

But retail therapy is at hand! Coco’s faithful friends Chris and Marika rally round, and even her mother-in-law Ethel tries to help in her own eccentric way.

From dodgy dealings in a motorway lay-by, to extreme shopping in Hamley’s with a Sylvanian Families fanatic, to having a go at the Blue Peter make-your-own Tracy Island, Coco tries everything in the hope that Rosencrantz will open his must-have toy on Christmas morning.

Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story is a hilarious feel-good comedy, which asks the question – how far would you go to get your child this year’s must-have Christmas toy?

If you are new to the best selling Coco Pinchard series, fear not, Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone Christmas treat – and it has zero calories!

 Extract;

Monday 14th December

 I arrived home just after five, exhausted. It was dark and cold, and light was glowing softly against the closed curtains of the living room. When I opened the front door I could hear the end of Newsround. I put my bag down in the hall and poked my head around the living room door. Rosencrantz was sitting atop his favourite beanbag, his tiny legs poking out with his Thunderbirds slippers on.

‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!’ he shouted, leaping up and grabbing at my legs. He’d left a tiny imprint in the beanbag, like the well in a cake mix where you break the egg. I lifted him up and he kissed my cheeks and gave me a hug.

“How was school?” I asked.

“Today I ate all my dinner, even though it was a bit cold… and Melanie Jones was told off for filling up the toilet with loo roll… and we had the rehearsals for the Nativity play. Joseph can’t remember his lines.”

“But you know all yours?”

“Of course I know all my lines, Mummy,” he said seriously.

“And you’ve got your brilliant song. Did you sing it for everyone?”

“No, Mummy. I only made that up to make you and Daddy laugh. I have to stick to the script. Even if I only have to bring the Frankincense,” he said, rolling his little eyes as if his talents were being squandered as a mere Wise Man.

“You are going to be the best, wisest Wise Man,” I said.

“It’s going to be a big production,” he added, like a seasoned pro. “Mrs Masters is lending her four Dulux dogs for the manger scene. They’ve just had their hair cut so they look a bit like camels.”

“It sounds… interesting,” I said.

We looked up as Blue Peter started on the television.

“Mummy! They’re making a Tracy Island on Blue Peter! Am I going to get Tracy Island for Christmas?”

Bugger, bugger, bollocks, I thought.

“You posted your letter to Father Christmas?” I asked.

He nodded furiously. “I licked the stamp and everything!”

“Then of course you’re going to get Tracy Island for Christmas.” You’re a rotten lying mother, said a voice in my head.

Rosencrantz did a little jiggle of happiness then climbed back into his dent in the beanbag. On the TV in the corner of the living room, Anthea Turner was dressed in her fluffy Blue Peter jumper and listing all the bits you needed to make a Tracy Island at home. I stood by the door and watched Rosencrantz’s happy little face for a moment, then went through to the kitchen.

Daniel was sitting at the kitchen table. He looked up and gave me a grin. His mother was standing by the sink in her flowery housecoat.

“Hello Ethel, I didn’t know you were coming over, again?” I said, trying to keep my voice light.

“Didn’t know I ‘ad to make an appointment?” she said. She picked up the teapot, swilled it round and tipped cold tealeaves down the sink.

“Course you don’t, Ethel. You just seem to be in town a lot lately,” I said, kissing Daniel on top of his head.

“Mum came up to town to get her ears syringed,” he explained.

“Was it a success? Has it improved your eavesdropping skills?” I asked.

“Thought I’d pop in see my favourite boys… An’ you, love, of course,” said Ethel.

We gave each other an insincere smile. I pulled the kitchen door shut and fished The Sun out of my bag.

“We need to talk. Have you seen the paper?” I said, smoothing it out on the kitchen table.

“I know. Poor Princess Diane, splitting up with that Charles,” said Ethel, spooning fresh tealeaves into the pot. “She won’t leave the Royal Family and come out alive.”

Why is Ethel the only person in the world who calls her Princess Diane?

“Who’d want to hurt Princess Diana?” I asked.

“She gave the Queen an Anus Horribilis,” explained Ethel.

“It’s Annus Horribilis,” I corrected.

“Well, whatever it is, it sounds painful,” said Ethel. “That Diane should watch ‘er back, tha’s all I’m saying.”

The kettle clicked off and she poured hot water into the pot. I resisted the urge to press the Diana/Diane debate.

“Anyway, I’m not talking about Diana. Look!” I said.

I opened the newspaper and flicked through to the page about Tracy Island. Ethel came over to the table and she and Daniel both peered at the article in silence. Ethel’s lips moved as she read.

“Blimey,” said Daniel, sitting back and reaching for a cigarette.

“Coco, iss only a week or so till Christmas! What ‘ave you bin doing for the past two months?” exclaimed Ethel.

“I’ve been at work! You’ve spent the past two months on the bus up here and back to Catford. You could have jumped off at Hamley’s, Ethel,” I retorted.

“I’ve been up and down to the ‘ospital with all sorts, Coco. I’ve got a bad back, bad hips…”

“And there’s all that earwax,” I said.

“Okay you two,” said Daniel. “Let’s go outside and have a cigarette.”

“The door’s shut, Danny, the smoke won’t reach little Rosencrantz,” said Ethel.

“No. We smoke outside, Ethel,” I said.

We grabbed our coats and reconvened on the terrace. The moon was now up and the lawn had frozen and was glistening in the moonlight.

“Maybe we can persuade Rosencrantz to like another toy. What about Action Man?” suggested Daniel.

“We could make a Tracy Island? They were just on Blue Peter, using toilet rolls and margarine tubs,” I began.

“You can’t give ‘im something made up of all the old shit you’d throw away!’ said Ethel. She had a point.

There was a knock on the door and Rosencrantz pressed his nose against the glass.

“Everybody, I just thought up a funny Thunderbirds joke!” he shrilled.

We stubbed out our cigarettes and came back inside, relishing the warmth from the kitchen.

“Go on, tell us yer joke, love,” said Ethel.

Rosencrantz took a deep breath.

“Why is Parker called Parker?”

“I don’t know, why is Parker called Parker?” I asked.

“Cos he’s a good parker!” Rosencrantz cried, grinning with his little row of milk teeth. Ethel and I laughed.

“Oooh! Tha’s funny!” she said, scooping him up for a cuddle.

Only Daniel remained confused.

“Who’s Parker?” he asked.

“Oh Daddy, you’re a ding-dong dilly noodle,” said Rosencrantz. “Don’t you know anything? Parker is Lady Penelope’s chauffeur in Thunderbirds!”

Rosencrantz jumped down from Ethel’s arms and started to swan round the kitchen, doing a rather brilliant Lady Penelope voice and jigging gently as if he were suspended from strings.

Parker, we appear to have intruders. I think they are going to take my jewels,” he said. “Yes, M’lady, but h’I fink we might be unable to stop ‘em,” he said, switching to an equally good impression of Parker. “EVERYONE! I can’t wait for Christmas Day! Thunderbirds are go, go, GO!” he shouted and ran round the kitchen and back through to the living room.

Ethel looked at me and raised an eyebrow.

“Right I’ve gotta be orf,” she said picking up her bag. She saw my despondent face. “Don’t worry Coco, love, we’ll sort something out.”

“Yeah Cokes, there’s still a few shopping days to go till Christmas,” added Daniel.

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To carry on reading you can download your copy from Amazon here;

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013J05F5M

Amazon USA http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013J05F5M

I’m also running a competition to win some Christmas goodies. The giveaway will be one prize consisting of;

A signed dedicated paperback copy of Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story

A £20/$20 Amazon voucher

 A limited edition A Very Coco Christmas mug, filled with Marks and Spencer’s chocolate Brussel Sprouts

 A signed dedicated paperback copy of A Very Coco Christmas

 Head on over to my Facebook author page to enter! https://www.facebook.com/bryndzarobert/

 

 

 

Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers. Sign up for the tour…

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I can finally reveal the big news.  The title and cover of my new novel. I’m dead excited. I love the title so much and the cover is just brilliant. I don’t know how my illustrator Katie Gracie Klumpp keeps doing it but do it she does. It’s titled ‘Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers’ and it has been hard work. It was not my greatest year in more ways than one and I’m determined to make 2015 a good one, book wise. I’ll be on a book tour from 23rd Feb to the 8th March. Book bloggers if you’re interested, sign up today. Go here to take part. We’d love to have you.

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Fudge Berries and Frog’s Knickers

‘Poppy Wellesley is rich. In fact Poppy Wellesley is very rich, so when her fortunes change from riches to rags Poppy has to start a whole new life. Put yourself in her Guccis as she swaps her penthouse apartment for a run-down houseboat on Regent’s Canal. Meet her dippy friend Chelsea, the infamous Jack Diamond (see The Dog’s Bollocks) and her hunky boat neighbour, Taylor. Will Poppy hold on to her millionaire fiancé or will Pug-face Pandora steal him from her? Can she avoid the advances from Balls (Lord Balthazar Wyndham-Price) or does she find true love on the canal? Fudge Berries and Frogs’ Knickers is a romantic comedy roller coaster ride that will put a smile on your face and a cheer in your heart.’

You can purchase the e-book on the 23rd January from Amazon, Kobo and others. The paperback on the 14th February. The paperback will be available for pre-order in a few days.

If you would like to review a copy of the novel for your book blog please let me know. You can contact me at review@renham.co.uk

Enjoy and join us for Facebook fun here.

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