Keep It In The Family: Guest post from Colette McCormick

Today, I’m welcoming a fellow Accent Press author to my blog to tell us all about her third novel, Not My Brother’s Keeper. Take it away, Colette.

Not My Brother’s Keeper, is not just a book about two brothers. it is a book about a whole family. Robert’s acts in his own best interest but those actions effect each member of the family in different ways.

As the mother of two sons I felt a lot of sympathy for their mother. I felt her pain when Robert left home and I could understand the way that she behaved. I am fully aware of the faults that my own son’s have but that wouldn’t stop me defending them and trying to excuse their behavior. When she says that Robert is scared, she is trying to justify something that she probably doesn’t agree with. I think that she is as disappointed in him as everyone else but it her job to defend him.

As a father, Keith isn’t able to hide his disappointment and I think in some way feels for what Robert does. Like he should have been a better father. When he says ‘I thought I’s brought my sons up better than that,’ it’s like he feels that he has let his son down, like his best wasn’t good enough.

For his brother Tom, things are more cut and dried. The brother that he idolised has fallen from grace and turns out not to be the hero that he thought he was. For years he had survived on the crumbs that Robert threw his way and was happy to live his brother’s shadow so when Robert leaves without a care for what he is leaving behind him Tom feels the disappointment acutely. However, is this Tom’s chance to finally live what could have been his brother’s life and subconsciously is that what he is doing? That is a question that he will ask himself many times over the years

For Michelle, Robert’s departure I her worst nightmare happening in front of her. She loved Robert and he deserts her when she needed him the most. Clearly, he isn’t the man that she thought he was. With Tom is she settling for second best?

Last but not least there is Robert himself. Like the rest of the family he has had to live with the consequences of the decisions that he made. At first it seemed like the right thing to do, the only thing that he can do if he is to live the life that he wants to but does he ultimately regret his choices and will it be too late to make amends?

Blurb

My brother. Not my responsibility.

Robert and Tom are practically identical – same height, same hair, equally good looking – but Tom never had the same confidence as his older brother, and for that reason, he is in awe of him.

When Robert’s girlfriend, Michelle, tells him that she’s pregnant, Robert disappears leaving Tom to clean up his mess. As Tom spends time with Michelle, reassuring her that she is not alone in this, they both begin to fall in love.

Sixteen years later, without warning, Robert comes home and Tom has to find the courage to stand against the brother he idolized.

Buy Not My Brother’s Keeper on Amazon

Facebook Author page

@colettemcauthor

Colette McCormick on Books and Life in General

About Colette

Originally a city girl, Colette has made her home in a one of the many former mining villages in County Durham. When not working as a retail manager for a large children’s charity she will more than likely be writing, even if it’s only a shopping list. She also enjoys cooking, gardening and taking the dog on long walks in the countryside near her home. She has been married for almost forty years and has two grown up sons.

Sounds fab! Thanks for popping by, Colette. And good luck with the book.

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Not a Rock Star

But my novel’s on tour… Crossing the Line, a story of friends and enemies and being the best you can be, is published in paperback this Thursday, 14 March. It was originally published as Public Battles, Private Wars and I’m thrilled that Accent Press are republishing it. The blog tour kicked off in style yesterday, over at the super- fantastic Roaring Book Worm, with a gorgeous review from Vicky: ‘gripping, sad and very 1980s!’

Do join us for the rest of the tour. We’re stopping at a host of wonderful sites. Links below. And if you’d like to order a copy (or buy the e-book) click here.

blog tour

Cappuccino and Chocolate  

Bookish Jottings 

Lynne Shelby

Shortcake_Bibliophage 

Karen King

Anxious Bookworm 

Bookmark That

Zubscovered

 

All the Good Things, 2018

2018-06-07 20.51.59New Year’s Day is traditionally a time when I reflect on the past year, and today is no different. 2018 was a difficult year, personally and professionally, and I considered a ‘the Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ type post. But, thinking about it, I acknowledged there’s not been anything I can consider truly ugly, and I’ve decided to leave the bad where it belongs – the past – and focus on the good. Here are All the Good Things, 2018:

The consistent love and support from my family – the BigFella, Gingers, and extended families on both sides. Words are not enough.

Love, laughter, tears and friendship from my chosen family – my super-duper, fair weather and foul mates. You know who you are. You’re awesome; the best.

Love, laughter, tears, and support from my writing community (too many to mention personally; you know who you are and I adore you all)

An amazing writing week at Gladstone’s Library – one of my favourite places in the world to think, write and read.

A visit to London Book Fair for the first time.

A fabulous Northwich Literary Festival – such a treat to be invited there. And what a generous audience you were.

Self publishing a novel – The Prosecco Effect. A first.2018-05-03 19.33.20-1

Another trip to the special place that is Tarragona, Spain. And Barcelona for the first time.

A successful Write by the Beach 3 conference – it wasn’t all plain sailing (what is?) but the day itself was wonderful.

Mentoring a handful of dedicated and talented writers. It’s been a privilege.

A shed-load of fabulous books – reading nourishes my soul and I’m consistently awed by the talent out there.

One novel rewritten (and though it’s been rejected I am proud of it and it might yet find a home), another almost ¾ there…

News that Public Battles, Private Wars will be re-launched in early 2019 as Crossing the Line. Thank you, Accent Press.2018-06-23 22.28.59

Taking on CFLA18 and making it a success – while I won’t be running the awards in 2019, I met some gorgeous writers.

Running creative writing workshops for Little Green Pig – you kids blow my mind.

Here’s to 2019 – peace, love, creativity, kindness, joy.

Laura x

Guest post: Historical Heroines

The Power of Medieval Queens by Jennifer Ash

edwardsoutlaw_ebook smallThank you for inviting me to visit, Laura, as part of my blog tour for my brand new medieval murder mystery, Edward’s Outlaw.

This, the third book in my The Folville Chronicles series, features Mathilda, a potter’s daughter from the village of Twyford in fourteenth century Leicestershire. She, through unusual circumstances (outlined in Book One- The Outlaw’s Ransom) has found herself thrust into the criminal world of the noble, Folville, family. A family of seven brothers – took crime as their trade – but with a level of honour that many of those in authority could only aspire to.

The 1320’s and early 1330’s was a particularly turbulent time in English history. As a result, it wasn’t unusual for families of substance to use crime as just another tool in their armoury or advancement or survival. This wasn’t something that was confined to the lower nobility, such as the Folville of Ashby Folville in Leicestershire, but reached every section of the community; including royal circles.

With the overthrow of King Edward II by his wife, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, England was in turmoil. It had already been in a state of crisis due to Edward II’s rather unfortunate choices when it came to advisors – but now the country was managed with a level of convenient corruption. It was a strange time, when the legal system often operated at a more dubious level than much of the criminal fraternity did. This makes it, not just a fascinating period in history, but a fiction writers dream!

Blurb

January 1330: England is awash with corruption. King Edward III has finally claimed the crown from his scheming mother, Queen Isabella, and is determined to clean up his kingdom.

Encouraged by his new wife, Philippa of Hainault, and her special advisor ‑ a man who knows the noble felons of England very well ‑ King Edward sends word to Roger Wennesley of Leicestershire, with orders to arrest the notorious Folville brothers… including the newly married Robert de Folville.

Robert takes his wife, Mathilda, to Rockingham Castle for her own safety, but no sooner has he left than a maid is found murdered. The dead girl looks a lot like Mathilda. Was the maid really the target ‑ or is Mathilda’s life in danger?

Asked to investigate by the county sheriff in exchange for him slowing the hunt for her husband, Mathilda soon uncovers far more than murder… including a web of deception which trails from London, to Derbyshire, and beyond…

The third thrilling instalment in Jennifer Ash’s The Folville Chronicles series.

Edward’s Outlaw is set against the backdrop of the young Edward III reclaiming the throne from his scheming mother. Queen Isabella’s influence still ran deep however- an influence that the new king’s wife, Philippa of Hainault was keen to use to her advantage. Both women had a huge influence on the history of England at the time. I have used this influence to undercut the plotline of Edward’s Outlaw.

The queens of England had more power than their king’s would ever have admitted to…

In the following extract, the sheriff has just arrived at Ashby Folville manor three days after Mathilda and Robert de Folville have married. He wishes to speak to all of the Folville brothers about a warrant that has just been issued for their arrest…

Extract

Folville- 1,2,3…Robert Ingram, newly reinstated Sheriff of Leicestershire and Derbyshire and Mayor of Nottingham, sat by the roaring fire. His booted feet were stretched out before him, resting on a stool. His slim calloused hands cupped a tankard of Sarah’s ale. His face was calm and unruffled. The activities of the Folvilles neither surprised nor disturbed him as he waited for his audience to fully assemble.

‘Lord and Lady Folville, it is a pleasure to see you so soon after your most entertaining nuptials.’

Mathilda curtseyed; thinking that ‘entertaining’ was an interesting choice of word for a wedding which had ended in a terrifying hostage situation. Had that really only been three days ago?

‘My Lord, you have news?’ Robert sat opposite the sheriff, with Eustace and Walter to his right and Mathilda to his left. The household staff stood mutely behind him.

Eustace de Folville, second in line to the family title after the absent Lord John, addressed the sheriff in turn. ‘This news has been confirmed, Ingram? We are not the subject of ill-founded rumour or malicious hearsay?’

‘You are not.’ The sheriff steepled his hands together as he spoke. ‘A messenger came to me early yesterday. There is no doubting the seriousness of the situation.’

Eustace gave a humourless smile. ‘I think we’re all grateful that you’re the one holding the reins of the county again. Can you imagine the delight in which De Cressy would have received this news!’

‘I hope that feeling remains through what follows, my Lord.’ Ingram held Eustace’s gaze, something few men were brave enough to do. ‘We have little time. As you know, King Edward has shaken off the influence of his mother and taken full control of the throne. This can only be good for England, however…’ He paused, as if unsure how to proceed. ‘However, in order to stamp his mark upon the Crown, Edward is making a great show of clearing up the lawlessness that swept the country under the rule of his mother and her rebel lover, Mortimer.’

Robert grunted with annoyance. ‘Let me guess. King Edward is making sure he’s seen to be taking a stand against all felons, without any regard for the fact that many of us did what was necessary to rule justly while England was in chaos.’

Eustace gave his brother a sharp stare. ‘Trust you to make this sound like a line from a Robyn Hode story.’…

To reveal the full extent of the new queen’s influence in this tale would be to give you a massive spoiler, so I’ll leave it at that for now!

Buy Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KP9LTD9/ref=sr_1_1…Jennifer Ash

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07KP9LTD9/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1542666584&sr=8-2&keywords=edward%27s+outlaw&fbclid=IwAR0v85e6I6AkZwIR2oWVzizAQLSbexXexeOCNQV-JGys9RqQkDvIBt3tAAs

Thanks again for inviting me to visit today.

Happy reading,

Jennifer

Bio

Research in Leic Uni 2 JPGWith a background in history and archaeology, Jennifer Ash should really be sat in a dusty university library translating Medieval Latin criminal records, and writing research documents that hardly anyone would want to read. Instead, tucked away in the South West of England, Jennifer writes stories of medieval crime, steeped in mystery, with a side order of romance.

Influenced by a lifelong love of Robin Hood and medieval ballad literature, Jennifer has written The Outlaw’s Ransom (Book One of The Folville Chronicles) – a short novel, which first saw the light of day within the novel Romancing Robin Hood (written under the name Jenny Kane; Pub. Littwitz Press, 2018).

Book Two of The Folville ChroniclesThe Winter Outlaw – was released in April 2018. (pub. LittwitzPress)

Book Three of The Folville ChroniclesEdward’s Outlaw– was released in December 2018.

Jennifer also writes as Jenny Kane. Her work includes the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Romancing Robin Hood (2nd edition, Littwitz Press, 2018), Abi’s Neighbour (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), and the bestsellers, Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).

All of Jennifer and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at www.jennykane.co.uk

@JenAshHistory

@JennyKaneAuthor

Jennifer Ash https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/

Jenny Kane https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011235488766

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Coffee and Music with Jenny Kane

Many thanks for helping me celebrate five years since the publication of Another Cup of Coffee! It doesn’t seem a moment since my tale of caffeine, friendship and “laying the ghosts of boyfriends past to rest,” hit the bookshelves.

My absolute pleasure, Jenny. It’s a gorgeous read.

Here’s the blurb!

Another Cup of Coffee 2017 (003)Thirteen years ago Amy Crane ran away from everyone and everything she knew, ending up in an unfamiliar city with no obvious past and no idea of her future. Now, though, that past has just arrived on her doorstep, in the shape of an old music cassette that Amy hasn’t seen since she was at university.

Digging out her long-neglected Walkman, Amy listens to the lyrics that soundtracked her student days. As long-buried memories are wrenched from the places in her mind where she’s kept them safely locked away for over a decade, Amy is suddenly tired of hiding.

It’s time to confront everything about her life. Time to find all the friends she left behind in England, when her heart got broken and the life she was building for herself was shattered. Time to make sense of all the feelings she’s been bottling up for all this time. And most of all, it’s time to discover why Jack has sent her tape back to her now, after all these years…

With her mantra, New life, New job, New home, playing on a continuous loop in her head, Amy gears herself up with yet another bucket-sized cup of coffee, as she goes forth to lay the ghost of first love to rest…

***

Music has always played an important part in my writing life. I have different playlists to listen to depending on what style of writing I am creating. When I am ‘being’ Kay Jaybee and creating erotica, I listen to Depeche Mode (just as Kit, the erotica writer within Another Cup of Coffee does). When I was writing the five Another Cup of…stories, I listened to non-stop 80’s and 90’s music- just as I did when I was a student back in the 1990’s. And it is that very music (Alice Cooper, The Euyrthmics, The Clash…) that inspired the main male protagonist in the novel- Jack Brown.

***

Extract

The power shower thundered, sending a searing-hot cascade of water down onto Jack’s head. Squeezing far too much shampoo into his hands, he began to viciously scrub his short hair. What the hell had he been thinking? Well, actually, he hadn’t been thinking, had he? He never looked beyond himself. The moment. The day. He was so stupid. So angry with himself.

Why had he posted that tape? And more immediately, where was he? And how soon was he going to able to get away from whoever it was he’d spent the night with? Jack could feel the familiar sensation of suffocation closing in on him as he abandoned his hair and began to furiously soap his torso.

He was a shit.

But then you have to be good at something.

And now Amy was coming here. It hadn’t crossed his mind that she’d even visit, let alone move her entire life back south. And not just south, but bloody London. Being back in touch, and hopefully forgiven, was one thing when she was safely tucked away in Scotland. But here. Face to face. Jack hadn’t banked on that at all.

He really didn’t want to see Rob today. It was his fault this had happened. Rob had come into work one day, back in the summer, going on about how worried he and Paul were for Amy. How she seemed to have placed herself completely off the emotional scale. The combination of bright sunshine, happy reminiscences, and the weight of a conversation he and Amy had never had, had brought his buried guilt racing to the surface.

Then, a few days later, Paul had visited Jack and Rob’s bookshop, passing through on one of his rare visits between his archaeological digs. He’d been sorting out some of his university mementos, and had come across a load of photographs.

They were all there, at university, more years ago than was acceptable if Jack was still going to pass himself off as thirty at the clubs he frequented. Amy, Rob and Paul huddled together in a muddy ditch, laughing. Rob, Paul and him, pints of Tiger lager in hand, outside their favourite pub. Paul, Amy and him, all cuddled together on Rob’s battered and suspiciously stained brown sofa. Amy and him. Amy and him together. Smiling. Together.

That had been the killer. That was the photo that had made him think. Her eyes had shone at the camera. If Jack was honest, so had his. So, in a state of happy but unrealistic nostalgia, he’d gone home, dragged a box of assorted junk out from under his bed, and pulled out the tape.

He had weighed the clear plastic box in his hand. It was time to explain. If Amy was half the girl he used to know then she’d forgive him. And suddenly, from nowhere, Jack had found that he really, really needed to be forgiven.

That was why he’d put Unfinished Sympathy on Amy’s tape. He wanted her to understand that he knew he’d hurt her. That he, himself, had been hurt by having to leave her. But for reasons he hadn’t totally understood at the time, he’d felt he had no choice. A fact which had led him to the record the unbearably twee, but wholly accurate, I Will Always Love You. It seemed to say how sorry he was. It said everything he’d wanted to say then, but couldn’t. He was sorry, really he was. But for Amy to turn up here! Bloody hell.

Stepping out of the shower, Jack began to dry himself with a suitably punishing rough brown towel. Now he was going to have to tell Rob he’d returned the tape, and have another go at talking to Kit.

He hadn’t deliberately failed to tell Kit about Amy. Specific conversations about individual exes had never come up. Jack was pretty sure that Rob hadn’t mentioned Amy to Kit either. Amy had been part of their old life, and Kit was part of their current one. Simple.

Jack knew he had to see Kit soon, before someone else filled her in. He wasn’t sure why he’d walked out on her now he came to think about it. At least she’d understand. Kit always understood. After all, they’d remained friends. Great friends. They had moved on smoothly.

‘Talk about my past catching me up,’ he muttered to his sleep-deprived reflection as he dragged a borrowed razor over his chin. ‘It’s pretty much tripped me up, into a pile of shit, and it’s entirely my fault. Bloody sentimental tape….’

****

If you want to find out how Jack manages to mess up even the simplest conversations with his overuse of lyrics, and discover if Amy sorts her life out, you can buy Another Cup of Coffee as an eBook or a paperback from –

Another Cup of Coffee is available from all good book and eBook retailers, including-

http://www.amazon.com/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=15EFJ85882KQYAJ71KED

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Cup-Of-Coffee-contemporary-ebook/dp/B00EVYZC7M/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=12DHKX85NFP0DNJJCKDS

http://www.bookdepository.com/Another-Cup-Coffee-Jenny-Kane/9781783751129

Another Cup of Coffee has 3 novella length Christmas sequels (Another Cup of Christmas, Christmas in the Cotswolds and Christmas at the Castle), as well as a full length sequel, Another Glass of Champagne.

***

Happy reading everyone.

Jenny xx

Bio

KayJayBee-17 (003)From the comfort of her cafe corner in Mid Devon, Jenny Kane wrote the contemporary women’s fiction and romance novels, Romancing Robin Hood (2nd edition, Littwitz Press, 2018), Abi’s Neighbour (Accent Press, 2017), Another Glass of Champagne (Accent Press, 2016), and the bestsellers, Abi’s House (Accent Press, June 2015), and Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013).

She has also written 3 novella length sequels to her Another Cup of…..books:  Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014), and Christmas at the Castle (Accent, 2016). These three seasonal specials are now available in one boxed set entitled Jenny Kane’s Christmas Collection (Accent, 2016)

Jenny is also the author of quirky children’s picture books There’s a Cow in the Flat (Hushpuppy, 2014) and Ben’s Biscuit Tin (Hushpuppy, 2015)

Jenny Kane is the writer in residence for Tiverton Costa in Devon. She also co-runs the creative writing business, Imagine.

All of Jennifer and Jenny Kane’s news can be found at www.jennykane.co.uk

@JenAshHistory

@JennyKaneAuthor

Jennifer Ash https://www.facebook.com/jenniferashhistorical/

Jenny Kane https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011235488766

Imagine www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

 

 

 

Dancing with love and death: guest post from Grace Lowrie

Before We FallGrace and I share more than a publisher – I am also a huge fan of Highgate Cemetery; Diana in Skin Deep grew up in a house bordering the West Cemetery. But less of me, let’s find out all about Grace’s latest novel – Before We Fall and the inspiration behind it. Over to you, Grace.

The Inspiration for Before We Fall 

I once, briefly, visited a strip club. It was unlike anywhere else I’d been – sort of artificially flirty and fun but with a serious business-like undertone – and that experience came in useful when writing Before We Fall. But I have never practised ballet and my main inspiration for Cally’s character actually came from a brief moment in my childhood that has always haunted me…

I was about ten years old, couldn’t sleep, and crept downstairs to where the end of a film was playing on the television. It involved an aspiring young ballet dancer (about my age at the time) who suddenly collapsed and died on a subway train on her way home. The shock of the little girl’s sudden and painful death was made worse for me by seeing her mother’s helpless inability to save her, while the other passengers on the train simply looked on. Needless to say as soon as my mum caught me watching it, she sent me back to bed, but the traumatic scene was already imprinted on my mind. I’ve only recently discovered that the film was ‘Six Weeks’ from 1982 and that the young ballerina’s death was caused by leukaemia (rather than by riding an underground train as I’d wrongly assumed at the time), but it was – and still is – an important reminder that life is short.

Highgate-Grace LowrieI wanted to set Before We Fall in some of my favourite London locations – the city’s oldest restaurant, Rules, for example – but there were also places I wanted to use that I’d never experienced first-hand, and writing this book gave me the perfect excuse to visit and research them. Highgate Cemetery, for example, seemed a fitting locale for a story with a mortality theme. The resting place of thousands of people (including some of my favourite writers; George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Douglas Adams) is steeped in history and romance. By going there myself I could mentally conjure up my characters in situ – imagine what they might think or say, and picture how their body language might betray their feelings. My visit was nowhere near as illicit as Cally and Bay’s ended up being, but my hope is that some of the unique atmosphere of the place has seeped into my writing.

Having said all that Before We Fall is primarily a romance novel full of love, lust, friendship and humour… just watch out for that dark edge.

The blurb:

When Cally, an amateur ballet dancer, is suddenly diagnosed with cancer she runs away from her boyfriend, her job in a call centre and her safe life in Wildham in order to experience ‘real’ life in London. Taking a job as a stripper and flat-sitting in the top of an office tower she meets her obnoxious neighbour Bay; a tattooed, drug-taking, suicidal artist, haunted by the death of those close to him.

Despite their differences, the two strike up a friendship – Bay pushes Cally to try new things while Cally provides Bay with a muse – and they fall in love. But their secrets threaten to tear them apart and time is running out…

How to Buy:

 

 

About Grace:

Grace Lowrie+Having worked as a collage artist, sculptor, prop maker and garden designer, Grace has always been creative, but she is a romantic introvert at heart and writing was, and is, her first love.

A lover of rock music, art nouveau design, blue cheese and grumpy ginger tomcats, Grace is also an avid reader of fiction – preferring coffee and a sinister undercurrent, over tea and chick lit. When not making prop costumes or hanging out with her favourite nephews, she continues to write stories from her Hertfordshire home.

http://www.gracelowrie.com/blog

http://www.facebook.com/GraceLowrieWriter

 

https://www.instagram.com/grace_lowrie/

https://www.goodreads.com/Grace_Lowrie

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grace-Lowrie/e/B00UNCPYCY

 

 

 

 

Some Daughters Do Have ‘Em

To celebrate publication of her second novel, I’m delighted to have Colette McCormick guesting on my blog today. She’s talking about a significant relationship: that with our mothers. Biological or given, dead or alive, our mothers help shape us. Over to you, Colette.

To my way of thinking there is no such thing as a ‘standard’ mother/daughter relationship. There is no one size fits all. Dawn French, talking to The Telegraph on Sunday in October 2015 broke it down into four categories.

  1. The best friends.
  2. The Sunday night caller.
  3. The can’t live with her, can’t live without her.
  4. Mum as staff.

The newspaper ran a poll to see which category that women most identified with and the front runner with 46% was number three. I don’t mind telling you that this was where my vote went.

I loved my mother dearly but the thought of living in the same house as her again once I’d left home brought me out in a cold sweat. We had the same blood in our veins but we were very different people. She took housework far more seriously than I do for one thing and I wouldn’t have had a look in in her kitchen. There was no way on earth that I would have chosen to live with her but I loved to visit.

That started me thinking about the other categories, the one’s I hadn’t chosen.

Why hadn’t I thought of her as my best friend? Well, to be honest I didn’t think of her as a friend at all. Why would she be? It wasn’t her job to be my friend. Her job was to raise me to be strong and independent and she did her job well. I know women who would put themselves into this category and if that is truly the case then they are very lucky.

I was never a once a week caller. For a while I was a twice a week caller but towards the end of her life I was a twice a day caller. When I left home I moved over a hundred miles away so it wasn’t like I was a regular visitor and the phone calls were the way we stayed in touch. Often, especially in her later years it felt like Groundhog Day with the same conversation repeated over and over but I don’t mind telling you that I’d give anything just to make that phone call one more time. In 2013 I was in hospital for seven weeks.  As I spent a lot of that time in ICCU we weren’t able to speak on the phone and being well over 80 by that point she wasn’t able to visit me so she wrote me a couple of letters. I’ve still got them and I look at them from time to time. On a bad day, I open the locket she used to wear which still carries a hint of her perfume.

Mum as staff? No but she would have liked to be. I’m sure that had we lived closer she would have done her share of babysitting. Also, and I’d forgotten about this until just now, when I was ill in 2013 Mum said that she wished she could have come up (to the north east) so that she could do my housework for me. I couldn’t have cared less what the house looked like but it mattered to Mum.

I’ve never underestimated how lucky I was to have had the mother that I did but I am also very aware that not everyone was as fortunate. ‘Ribbons in Her Hair’ was inspired by a conversation with someone who fell into that category. That child became Susan though their stories are very different.

My oldest friend and her daughter have a relationship that’s built on mutual respect and love and it is a beautiful thing to watch. When they are together there is a bond so strong you could almost touch it but they appear equally happy when they are apart. They know that they can call on each other should they need to but they don’t have to live in each other’s pockets.

I have another friend who argues with her mother every single day – or at least that’s how it appears. The arguments are sometimes heated and when I hear some of the comments that they throw at each other my mind boggles. Yet somehow, the relationship survives.

The thing that these two mother/daughter relationships have in common is love. Even the ones that argue like cat and dog love each other.

To feel her mother’s love was all that Susan ever wanted and I hate that any child should feel that way.

Ribbons in her Hair

Ribbons in Her Hair cover (002)Jean seems the perfect wife and mother but she struggles to love her daughters whose material comforts mask emotional neglect. When the youngest daughter, Susan, brings ‘shame’ on the family, Jean can think of only one response. She has to make the problem disappear. Finding the strength to stand up to her mother for the first time in her life, Susan does the only thing that she can to save her baby. What Susan doesn’t realise is that her mother’s emotional distance hides a dark secret of her own. Examining the divide between generations, between mothers and daughters, this emotionally charged novel asks whether we can ever truly understand another, however close our ties.

Buy Ribbons in Her Hair on Amazon

 

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About Colette

me in blue (002)Originally a city girl, Colette has made her home in a one of the many former mining villages in County Durham. When not working as a retail manager for a large children’s charity she will more than likely be writing, even if it’s only a shopping list. She also enjoys cooking, gardening and taking the dog on long walks in the countryside near her home. She has been married for almost forty years and has two grown up sons.