Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Christmas Greetings To You All

Well, here we are again, Christmas 2018 is fast approaching. I can smugly tell you that all my shopping is done, my Christmas food order and delivery date is booked, the decorations are up and only the presents have to be wrapped.
My family is spread around the world this year – it will only be the second time ever that we don't see my daughter. She now lives in California and my granddaughter is married to a New Yorker and happily settled there.

My niece and great nieces are spending Christmas in New Zealand so I won't see them either.
However, my brother and sister-in-law plus my niece and great niece and nephew are coming round on the Sunday before Christmas (after my husband has gone to bed – would be too much for him) and, of course, my son, daughter-in-law and five year old grandson will be here on the day itself.
So far Billy Blue hasn't wrecked anything – I thought he would be knocking over the tree et cetera but he's been very well behaved.
It has been a busy year writing wise and a very good one for sales. I managed to complete and published eight books – a record for me – but I must admit that not all of them were full-length. Even so, six hundred thousand words isn't bad.

I know what I'm going to start next but that can wait until New Year.
I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. I would also like to thank you for your continued support – it means a lot to me.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Monday, 29 October 2018

Christmas Ghosts at the Priory - final book for 2018
This is my final book of the year - but I am still writing the ninth. Will be a record year for writing and I'm not sure how I actually managed to produce over 600 000 new words. I don't suppose all of them were good - but they were the best I could do.
I hope you enjoy this light hearted Regency ghost story -bargain at £0.99 and $0.99 - even less than one euro too.

Blurb for the book:

Miss Eloise Granville is happy to agree to an arranged marriage with Viscount Forsythe and awaits his arrival at St Cuthbert's Priory with eagerness. Her grandparents assure her he is a personable young man, does not gamble or drink and is content to marry a bride selected for him by his grandfather. That is, until she discovers he is not aware of her infirmity. It is too late to cancel the arrangement as the announcement of their wedding has already been made. When the resident ghosts become angry at her betrothal it puts them both in mortal danger. Will they find love in the midst of this chaos or will circumstances push them apart?

best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Monday, 15 October 2018

Out Today -The Spitfire Girl. Out last week -Belles & Beaux -winter Regency Romantics Boxset.

Today see my first book with Aria-Head of Zeus released. The second will be out next spring and the third, the one I'm writing now, will be out next September.
Her is an extract:

July 1939
‘Well, Miss Simpson, what do you think?’ Joseph Cross asked as he pointed to the de Havilland 60 Moth that stood proudly on the worn grass outside the barn that served as a hanger.
Ellen wanted to hug him but thought he might not appreciate the gesture. ‘I love it. Is it dual control?’
‘No, but it has the usual two seats so can take a passenger.’
‘Good – I’ve got more than enough pupils to teach. Since the government subsidy last year every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to learn to fly.’
‘I hope you don’t expect me to pay you any extra, young lady. I reckon you owe me far more than your wages would have been for all the lessons and hours you’ve spent flying my aircraft over the past five years.’
She put her hands on her hips. ‘Giving my brothers and me lessons at your Flying Club couldn’t have been as much as the rent you would have had to pay to use my father’s farms and fields.’ He was about to interrupt but she continued. ‘Not forgetting the fact that Dad bought the first aircraft and both Neil and George acted as instructors until they joined the RAF.’
He scowled but she wasn’t fooled for a minute. ‘The cost of one lesson is usually two pounds – the three of you never paid a penny…’
‘Joe, I don’t want to stand here arguing anymore. I want to take her up before it gets too hot. Are you coming with me or can I go solo?’
‘Circuits and bumps only, my girl, no flying off into the wild blue yonder. There are three new enquiries to be dealt with in the office – I want you to sort those out this morning.’
The other aircraft the flying club owned were a Swallow and a Gypsy Moth. Both were fitted with dual controls. Joe had several clients who liked to go up on their own and pootle about until the fuel ran out. This de Havilland had been bought to satisfy those clients.
Sidney, the ground engineer, and the only other full-time employee, wandered out from the hanger. ‘Nice little machine, Ellie, sweet as a nut. You going to take it up for a spin?’
‘If that’s all right with you, I’d love to. I’ll not be long – I just want to get the feel of it for myself.’
‘The bloke what brought it said it flies like the Gypsy only a bit faster. You’ll have no problem – you’re a natural. I remember your first solo flight when you were no more than a nipper…’
Joe poked his head out of the office. ‘No time for reminiscing, Sid, let her get on with it. Just had a bell and we’ve got a new pupil coming in an hour.’
‘Sorry, guv, I’ll not hold her up.’
She collected her helmet and goggles and scrambled into the cockpit. Even though the weather was warm she needed her flying jacket on over her dungarees. It got a bit nippy at a thousand feet above the land. After doing her pre-flight checks she taxied into position on the grass runway and took off.
An uneventful forty-five minutes later she landed smoothly and headed for the office to catch up with the paperwork. The new pupil, a middle-aged bank manager, decided after a couple of circuits of the field that he didn’t want to learn to fly after all. As they’d only been in the air for a quarter of an hour there was no charge.
By the time her last pupil left the airfield it was almost six o’clock. Often they had to work until it was too dark to fly, but tonight they’d finished early. Ellen left Sid to lock up and jumped onto her bicycle. At least in the summer Dad didn’t come in for his tea until late so she wouldn’t have missed her meal.
She pedalled furiously down the track, swerving instinctively around the dips and ruts, covering the mile in record time. She skidded into the yard, sending half a dozen chickens squawking into the air in protest, and tossed her bike against the wall.
With luck she’d have time to wash before her parents sat down to eat. It had taken Mum months to get used to seeing her only daughter dressed in slacks or dungarees. She might be a farmer’s wife now, but she’d come from a grand family and had very high standards.
The fact that Mum had been disowned when she’d married a farmer should have softened her but instead, according to Dad, it had made her even more determined to bring her children up as though they were landed gentry and not the children of a farmer.
After a quick sluice in the scullery Ellie headed to the kitchen – she was about to open the door when she realised the voices she’d heard were coming from the seldom used front parlour. Mum insisted on calling it the drawing room, but no one else did.
This must mean they had guests. She looked down at her scruffy oil-stained dungarees and wondered if she had time to nip upstairs and put on something more respectable. Unfortunately, her mother must have heard her come in.
‘Ellen, you are very late this evening. Had you forgotten Neil has a twenty-four hour pass?’
She was pretty sure this was the first she’d heard of it but having her oldest brother home was a wonderful surprise. She didn’t stop to think why this meant they were in the parlour, and burst in.
‘Hello, little sister, I’ve brought a chum along. Let me introduce you to Gregory Dunlop.’
Only then did she become aware of the second RAF uniformed young man staring at her with open admiration. He was a bit shorter than Neil, but broader in the shoulders, with corn coloured hair and startlingly blue eyes.
‘I’m pleased to meet you, Flying Officer Dunlop.’ She wasn’t sure if she should offer her hand as despite her best efforts it was far from clean.
He stepped closer and held out his and she had no option but to take it. ‘I’ve heard so much about you, Miss Simpson, and have been pestering your brother for an invitation in order to meet you for myself.’
His grip was firm, his hand smoother than hers – but what caught her attention was his upper crust accent. ‘I’m sorry to appear in my work clothes. If you don’t mind waiting a few more minutes I’ll pop upstairs and change into something more suitable for the occasion.’
‘Please, don’t worry on my account. I think you look perfectly splendid just as you are.’
He seemed reluctant to release her hand but she pulled it away firmly. He was a very attractive man and was obviously interested in her, but she wasn’t looking for a boyfriend.
‘Run along, Ellen, you’ve got plenty of time to put on a frock as your father has only just come in himself. We are having a cold collation so nothing will be spoiled by waiting for another quarter of an hour.’
She smiled at her brother in resignation and he winked. They both knew there was no point in arguing once their mother had made up her mind.
She met her father in the passageway. ‘Have you got to change as well, Ellie? She told me at lunchtime I’ve got to put on something smart.’
‘It must be because of Neil’s friend. He certainly sounds very posh.’ She pushed open her bedroom door and was about to go in when he replied.
‘Seems a lot of fuss for nothing but easier to give in than put up with a week of black looks and sour faces.’ He shook his head sadly and went into the room he no longer shared with her mother. Ellie wished her parents had a happier relationship.
If there was one thing she’d learned, by watching the disintegration of what must once have been a happy union, it was this: Don’t marry for love as it doesn’t last. If she ever took the plunge it would be with a man she respected, liked and who shared her outlook on life.
Her mother had told her to put on a frock but she rebelled. She didn’t wish to impress their visitor so would come down in what she usually wore – slacks and blouse. The only time she put on a frock was when she was forced to attend church. Most Sundays she had the excuse that she had to work at the airfield.
She checked her face was oil free and ran a brush through her hair. Satisfied she was presentable she hurried downstairs eager to catch up on Neil’s news. George, her other brother, hadn’t been home since January and she was desperate to hear how he was doing.
Her mother pursed her lips when Ellie came in. ‘Is your father coming, Ellen?’
‘I don’t know, Mum, but I don’t think he’ll be long.’ She joined her brother by the open window, leaving his friend to entertain her mother.
‘I wish you wouldn’t deliberately provoke her, Ellie. Why won’t you call her Mother? You know how much she dislikes being called Mum, especially in front of strangers.’
She shrugged. ‘Whatever she was in the past, now she’s just a farmer’s wife. Have you finished your training?’
He grinned and pointed to the wings on his uniform. ‘I have, didn’t you see these? George is still in Scotland – seems he pranged a Moth and needs longer up there.’
‘He obviously didn’t hurt himself or you wouldn’t be so jolly. Do you know where you’re going to be stationed?’
Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of her father looking uncomfortable in a collar and tie. After he was introduced to the guest her mother clapped her hands as if wishing to attract the attention of a crowd of children.
‘We shall go in to dine now that we are all here.’
Ellie hid her smile at her mother’s pretentiousness behind her hand. Ham and salad hardly deserved such an introduction.
When her father mentioned the likelihood of there being a war her mother insisted that this was not a suitable topic of conversation at the dinner table. No one was particularly interested in discussing the weather and an uneasy silence fell.
‘We’ve got another aircraft, Dad. I took her up and…’
Her mother glared at her. ‘I’m sure that Flying Officer Dunlop doesn’t want to hear about your highly unsuitable employment. A young lady should be interested in more feminine things, don’t you agree, Mr Dunlop?’
The young man nodded solemnly. ‘I’m sure that most girls would prefer to talk about fashion or flowers but your daughter is different. I’ve never met a female pilot before and am most impressed. How many hours solo do you have now, Miss Simpson?’
‘Please call me Ellie, everyone else does.’
‘And you must call me Greg.’
‘Well, Greg, to answer your question, I’ve been flying since I was twelve – six years now – and got my A licence when I was fourteen and my instructor’s certificate when I was sixteen. I’ve logged more than twelve hundred hours now.’
‘Good God! That’s a damn sight more than I have.’ He couldn’t fail to hear her mother’s horrified gasp. Instead of being embarrassed he smiled at her. ‘I apologise for my appalling language, Mrs Simpson, I do hope you will forgive me.’
‘Apology accepted. I’ll say no more on the matter.’
He turned to Ellie. ‘I want to hear how you manage in poor weather conditions and hope you will talk to me before we leave tomorrow morning.’
Before she could answer she was instructed to clear the table and fetch the dessert. Obediently she pushed her chair back and began to collect the plates. When Greg made a move to stand up she shook her head.
Clearing the table was a woman’s job, as well all the other domestic duties that she did her best to avoid. Pudding was a sherry trifle accompanied by a jug of thick, fresh cream from their dairy herd. She placed the large glass bowl on the tray and put the cream beside it. The ham salad, again all home-grown, had been excellent but this would be even better.

best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Jean Fullerton - A Ration Book Christmas

Today I'm delighted to welcome the wonderful Jean Fullerton to my blog. Jean, can you tell us how you came to be an East End historical writer?

Hi Fenella, and thanks for inviting me onto your blog. I think to be totally honest from the moment Roger Moore rode over the hill on that white horse in Ivanhoe if I was going to be anything it would be historical but why are my books are set in East London? Because the book that got me my agent and first contract, No Cure for Love, was set there and the rest as they say is history.

What eras do you write in?

I write 20th century at the moment but I have written in a variety of many different eras and locations from the 17th century Caribbean and 18th century during the War of Independence.

Would you prefer to write about another city?

I wouldn’t necessarily prefer to but I wouldn’t mind. I think Rome in any era would hold a 1000 stories as would Venice, Glasgow or New York.

Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years’ time?
Still with my lovely agent Laura and my supportive publishers Atlantic and hopefully with another 6-8 titles to my name. However, more importantly I’d love to have a greater number of readers enjoying my stories.

If you could be another writer who would it be and why?

Difficult one as I’m quite happy with my life as a writer but I wouldn’t mind being Bernard Cornwall as so many of his books have been adapted for TV and Film

Which is more important do you think - critical acclaim, readers or royalties?

I’m not interested in critical acclamation at all and the money is nice but the real reason I write is for the lovely emails and letters from readers who love my story. That’s what keeps me going when I find a scene’s not going right, or I’m tied up in my own plot.  
Who is your favourite writer and why?

Difficult to say really as I love so many. If pushed, I’d have to say Bernard Cornwall and Elizabeth Chadwick for historical. I’ve enjoyed all of William Ryan’s Korolev detective series and I enjoy Julie Cohen and Carole Matthews contemporary books.

Is the cover or the title more important?
Cover every time. The wrong cover can bury your book and destroy your sales. 

Finally: Tips for those just beginning their writing journey.
What is the most crucial thing for a new writer to understand?

They aren’t undiscovered geniuses. You may have a talent for storytelling but you have to learn the craft of writing it. 

Should you write about what you know?

No or half the most brilliant books would never have been written, after all how would the Brontes have managed,  but if you are writing about something outside your experience then please do your research.

 Is it essential to have an agent?
Some might argue but I’d say ‘yes’ as they have access to and deal with the publishing world all the time. They are also totally on your side and although they do take their commission they don’t earn a penny until you do and I don’t begrudge a penny of what goes to my lovely agent Laura.

If you were just starting out would you do anything differently?
Not be as accepting of what editors told me and make my publicity department do more.
Thanks for taking the time to ask me some very interesting question, Fenella.

Thank you for taking the time to answer them. I'm sure anyone who drops by will be fascinated to be able to dip into the mind of a writer.

Ration Book Christmas. In the darkest days of the Blitz, Christmas is more important than ever.
With Christmas 1940 approaching, the Brogan family of London's East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe's nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.
For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

Bio: Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She worked as a district nurse in East London for over twenty-five years and is now a full-time author. 
She is a qualified District and Queen's nurse who has spent most of her working life in the East End of London, first as a Sister in charge of a team, and then as a District Nurse tutor.
She has won multiple awards and all her books are set in her native East London.  Her latest book, A RATION BOOK CHRISTMAS, is the second in her East London WW2 Ration Book series featuring sisters Mattie, Jo and Cathy Brogan and their family.

Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_

Monday, 1 October 2018

Too soon for Christmas?

Click Here
Out in November.
There are some people, believe it or not, who keep their Christmas decorations up all year-round.
Like many writers I have to think about Christmas in the spring when I write my two Christmas books. I then forget about it until September. I always think that the start of Strictly Come Dancing as the beginning of the run into the festive season.
I can't get enough of the sparkly wonderfulness!
My beloved husband who has vascular dementia loves it as much as I do. Even though he has no language to speak of, and is very confused, when I showed him the Radio Times with all the pictures of the couples competing he was very excited and spent an hour looking at them. As soon as he hears the music he starts laughing. I watch these programs live, including It Takes Two, and then watch them again with him the following day.
The shops are already brimming with baubles, glitter and Christmas nonsense – I believe you can't have too many Christmas cushions so bought two more – these not only have Father Christmas they also have battery operated lights!
Christmas used to be more meaningful when I was a churchgoer – but even though I'm no longer religious I do believe that there is such a thing as Christmas spirit. It's a time for forgiving, for being with family, for celebrating everything that's good and putting aside our problems for a few days.
My decorations go up on the first day of December. It's going to be fun trying to keep our young British Shorthair, Billy-Blue, away from the tree. No doubt he'll send most of the things flying and I'll end up with none of the usual ornaments and so on on the coffee table.
As far as I'm concerned Christmas can be talked about from September, gifts and cards can be purchased from now, and the whole of December can be given over to the excesses of the season.
I won't wish you all a happy Christmas this month – although I did wish the people who run the garden centre the greetings of the season last Thursday as I won't be seeing them again until the spring.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Research Books I Couldn't Do Without.

I have literally hundreds of research books in my study as well as a bookcase in the spare bedroom filled with books covering the three eras that I write – Regency, Victorian and World War II.
Like my wardrobe, which is full of clothes I've had for years and haven't worn, my bookshelves are full of books I've had for years and never opened.
However, there are several that I use all the time.
'Walking Jane Austen's London' by Louise Allen is invaluable when I'm writing a Regency set in London. I also have her 'The Georgian Seaside' which I shall use when I write next summer's book for the Regency romantic box set. This box that will be books set at the seaside.
I also use the 'A-Z of Regency London' and the 'A-Z of Victorian London' as well as the facsimile copy of an original A-Z of 1940s London.
 My go to books for World War II are 'Wartime Britain' by Juliet Gardner and 'How We Lived Then' by Norman Longmate. I've also found 'Christmas on the Home Front' by Mike Brown essential with several of my World War II sagas.
Of course I have every autobiography written by female ATA pilots as well as a dozen or more books about the RAF and several biographies by Spitfire pilots.
I also find it useful to read good fiction, especially the three books by Derek Robinson about the RAF.
I'd be interested to know what research books you would never take off on your shelves.
£1.99 /$2.99

best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The Duke's Bride, the final book in The Duke's Alliance series.

Book One
 I've loved every minute I've spent with the Sheldon family. I started writing this series three years ago and have published two books every year. The final one, The Duke's Bride, is now on pre order.
I've also finished The Nightingale Chronicles, a four book Victorian series.
The other series, a WW2 one, originally called Ellen's War,  is now sold to Aria -Head of Zeus. I'll be writing the final book in this one later this year. 
Book Two
This means next year I have to start three new series. Not got any ideas so far but have bought some great Edwardian books and am hoping to find something in there to inspire me for the Victorian and Regency series. Have to do a lot of reading to find a subject that will hold my interest as much as the ATA did.
I do know I'll be writing the Victorian one set in East End and Essex and that it will be during the years 1845-1855.
Aren't my covers lovely? I owe a lot of my success to J D Smith.


Fenella J Miller
Book Four

Book Three
Book Five

Book Six

Friday, 3 August 2018

Which is more important - a cover or the title?

I am in a quandary and I'm hoping that you might be able to help me. When I am about to start writing a new book I need to have the title in my head first, then the names of the characters, and only after that do I work out a rough outline of the story.
I'm absolutely certain that having the word duke in a Regency title definitely improves sales and also  using the word Christmas in a title does the same.
If you look at the four covers which ones do you think were the most successful? Did you choose because of the title or the cover?
It would seem that currently for a contemporary romance if the words, teashop, or any sort of shop, Cornish, little, girl, are included this also seems to improve its popularity. Indeed, the mainstream publisher I am now writing for is changing the series title of my World War II books to include the word girl. I was told that a girl's name plus the word war  no longer attracts readers.
The Reclusive Duke has been my most popular book so far. Then Christmas at Hartford Hall, then Lady Eleanor's Secret and last Victoria's War, Shadows.
I think the girl on Lady Eleanor looks too sad, but it fits the story perfectly. I love all the covers J D Smith does but for some reason some sell so much better than others.
If I changed the title of Victoria's War would it do better? Changed the cover? I doubt it.
I don't buy a book with the word shop in the title or if it has a pastel cover with hand drawn pictures. But then I don't buy books in first person as I can't read this. I just attempted to read a book by Nora Roberts, the characters and plot were excellent but she head hops so much it dragged me out of the story. Ten POV changes on one page!!
Personally it's the cover that I go for - I scarcely notice the title.
What about you? What makes you download a book?
Fenella J Miller

Sunday, 1 July 2018

All's Well That Ends Well and For Want of a Penny

FREE 2nd - 6th July
I am sad to being saying goodbye to the characters in The Nightingale Chronicles. I have lived with Sarah and Alfie for years and now the final book is on pre-order.
For Want of a Penny was written in 2008 and then updated and copy edited three years ago. This book will be FREE from 2nd July until 6th July.
The fourth and final book All's Well That Ends Well is now live as a pre-order and will be released on 12th July.

Pre-order now. Out 12th July
£1.99 & $2.99
The Nightingale Chronicles - Book 4 - All's Well That Ends Well
This is the final book in a four book series and both Sarah Cooper and Alfie Nightingale will have to endure a deal of heartbreak and danger over the next two years to reach their happy ever after. Sarah becomes betrothed to Robert Billings and moves her family back to Colchester, and Alfie leaves to be a policeman in London. Somehow Sarah must hold the family together and pray that her man will come back to her. Alfie has a life changing decision to make but will he make the right one for himself and the family that he has abandoned?

Thank you to everyone who downloaded The Reclusive Duke either as a KOL or for their reader. This book has done better than any other I've published and if I knew why I'd do it every time.
Until next time - stay cool and enjoy the unprecedented good weather
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Friday, 18 May 2018

The Reclusive Duke & Other Things

£0.99 & $0.99
Click Here

The Reclusive Duke is my latest offering. It is already in large print with Linford Romance and was included in last summer's Regency Romantics Box Set. 
This is why it is priced so low - it is not a totally new title. 
All my stand alone Regency books, except my Christmas novella, are written for the box set and then when this comes down we can republish as a stand alone title.  My Beta readers loved this one.

Here is the blurb:

The Reclusive Duke
When Lydia Sinclair is left to care for the orphaned children of her sister she discovers they are distant relatives of The Duke of Hemingford. With the last few coins she possesses she buys seats on a common stage for all five of them, determined to persuade the duke to assume responsibility for his cousins. The duke has no wish to have these unwanted relatives foisted on him, since his accident he shuns society.
However, Digby, his man of business, has other ideas and installs Lydia and the children in The Dower House.
Will the duke evict them when he discovers this deception or can Lydia get him to change his mind?

Other Things:

GDPR. No emails are ever shared and any I receive via the website are deleted after reading.

Bookbub/ Facebook author page/Amazon -  if you don't yet follow me on these please could you consider doing so?
Reviews: If you have read one of my books could I ask you to leave a review if you have time?
Thanks. All or any of these things would really be helpful.

Tomorrow  morning is THE WEDDING. Are you going to watch? We will be - love a good wedding.
Tomorrow afternoon is the CUP FINAL. Won't be watching that.
Until next time
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Should all writers have a pet?

I have always considered myself a dog lover but did not actively dislike cats. We have had four flat coated retrievers and one border collie over the years but are also on our fourth cat.
We had a Bengal-cross that we rehomed for my niece which unfortunately died last November. I loved Louis but he was very unreliable and was as likely to bite and scratch as purr when you touched him.
I was persuaded by my other writer friends that I needed another cat, and this time to get a kitten and one which was guaranteed to be friendly. As I had just had a huge rebate on my council tax (because my husband has vascular dementia I now count as a single person) I decided to spend it on a pedigree cat.
After almost buying a Maine Coon (they are so huge I would not have been able to lift it to take it to the vet) I settled on a British Shorthair. I found the perfect pussy cat and although he was a little older than I would have liked, four months exactly, I collected him immediately after Christmas.
I have not regretted my choice or decision for one second. Billy Blue is an absolute charmer, sweet natured, funny and intelligent. I spent another fortune having the garden fenced so he cannot get out but if you divide the exorbitant sum by fifteen years it doesn't seem so bad.
To get back to my original question – should all writers have a pet? When we had Zoe, our border collie, my husband was safe to leave and I did a lot of planning and thinking on long walks by the river. I don't walk unless I have a reason.

Having a dog was not an option now but having Billy Blue is almost better as he does not require any exercise but does need my attention. This means I have a focus apart from my writing and my caring.

My desk is covered with cat hairs as is my monitor screen and whenever I get stuck I can find the cat and play with him. British Shorthairs are not supposed to be intelligent but I refute that. My cat talks to me, comes when I call him and knows when I am cross because he has tipped his water over again, or climbed on the back of my husband's chair and startled him.
I know a writer who has a parrot, many who have dogs, but I think more of us have a feline for company and inspiration than any other animal.
I talk to my cat, he is a good listener, and my number one fan.

best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Cold Sunflowers a debut novel from Mark Sippings.

Today I am pleased to welcome a friend, Mark Sippings, to my blog. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Walthamstow in 1959 and now live in Essex. I have two daughters.
Are you a full time writer or do you still have a real job?
I worked as a Civil Servant for most of my adult life contributing to speeches for the Minister for Women and developing new ways to assist disabled people to find their way back into employment.
I'm impressed. Did you do anything else?
In the 80s I owned and ran a restaurant in Colchester and travelled around the world.
Now, that sounds more like an interesting preparation for writing. I gather you are also a musician? 
I am. I spend my time fronting a retro rock covers band, PSYCHO DEHLIA ( I also do 'extra' acting.
Have you played any interesting parts?
An office worker, a caveman and zombie but I prefer to write. I also write poetry.
There's one thing you haven't mentioned that everyone would like to know..
What's that?
That Eleanor, your daughter, was runner up in the last series of Britain's Top Model. I watched every episode. I am sure many of my readers did also. 
I am very proud of her. 
I'm sure she is proud of you too.
Thank you for coming on my blog today and I wish you every success with your book.

Here is the blurb for this amazing book:

It's 1972. Raymond Mann is seventeen. He is fearful of life and can't get off buses. He says his prayers every night and spends too much time in his room.
He meets Earnest Gardiner, a gentleman in his seventies,who's become tired of living and misses the days of chivalry and honour. Together they discover a love of sunflowers and stars and help each other learn how to love the world.
Ereenst recounts his experiences of 1917 war torn France where he served as a photographer in the trenches... of his first love and how his life was saved by Bill, a hardened soldier.
But all is not as it seems. There is a secret that will change Raymond's life for ever.
Cold Sunflowers is a story of love.
All Love.
But most of all it is about the love of life and the need to cherish every moment.

I read this as a first draft and loved it then. I can't wait to read it now it's polished. This is a truly remarkable first novel. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Fenella J Miller

Monday, 2 April 2018

All Change!

 I am sad to tell you that both these books have been removed from Amazon and are no longer on sale. I'm sorry if you intended to buy the new one,  An ATA Girl, but you will now have to wait until next March.
I am delighted to tell you that I have signed a three book contract for this series, Ellen's War, with Aria, Head of ZeusBlue skies & Tiger Moths will have a structural edit – I'm not sure what I'll be asked to change – et cetera and then he reissued with a new cover in September. They are going to use the same model as I have already bought the copyright for these.
An ATA Girl will be out next March and the third and final book, Over and Out, which I have yet to write will be out September 2019.
I have never written for a mainstream publisher and it was the one thing I wanted to experience before I become too old and decrepit to continue writing. I am very excited about the prospect of being part of the team – I doubt I will make anywhere near as much money doing it through them, but you never know.
The main reason I am doing this is because I have been writing and producing my own books with only copy edits and a proof
read and I think going through the process of a structural edit will be good for me.
I have written almost sixty books in thirteen years and as I am now writing around six or seven a year I expect to have more than doubled this by the time I stop. Just hope my readers continue to buy my books and enjoy them, which they seem to be doing at the moment.

 The fifth book in The Duke's Alliance series,A Soldier's Bride, is now available on pre-order on Amazon.  It will be live on 19th April. This is Lord Peregrine's story. He meets and marries a lovely, wilful, wild young lady, Sofia, and they both come to regret this hasty union. Of course, all ends happily.
The final book, which will be Beau's story, will be out in the Autumn. The duke featured strongly in A Soldier's Bride  and I can't wait to find him his HEA.
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ellen's War - Blue Skies & Tiger Moths FREE and An ATA Girl now on pre-order.

Pre-order Now.
I  am delighted to tell you that the second instalment of my three book series entitled Ellen's War is now available to preorder on Amazon.  It is called, An ATA Girl.
Ellie finally achieves her ambition to be a member of the ATA and is proud to wear the smart navy blue uniform. Engaged  to Greg, still a close friend to Jack, and both of them in the RAF. Life does not go smoothly for Ellie but she is a strong woman and deals with everything without giving in.
I really enjoyed writing this book and will be writing the third and final part later in the year and this will be published next spring.

The first part of the series which came out last year, Blue Skies & Tiger Moths, is free until 7th March. I'm hoping that anyone who downloads it will enjoy it so much they then preorder the second instalment.

I owe a large part  of my success as a writer to the wonderful covers done for me by J D Smith.

best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Regency Romantic Spring 2018 Box set - Intrigues & Heartaches

Four British bestselling authors, Four traditional Regencies

His Auction Prize – Elizabeth Bailey

Abandoned. Offered in lieu of a debt.
Her guardian has vanished, leaving Felicity prey to nightmare. An orphan, obliged to earn her own living, she is now destitute. She has no choice but to throw herself on the mercy of the marquis who won her company for supper. Raoul enlists his cousin’s aid, only to find he has been targeted as the girl’s protector.
Under Raoul’s escort, Felicity sets out to find the truth of her father’s death, which made her Lord Maskery’s ward. Will his machinations prevail? Or will the real story, uncovered, provide a different, a better destiny?

A Lord in Disguise - Fenella J Miller

When Lord Edward Stonham kills his opponent in a duel he is forced to flee and take on a false identity. Miss Penelope Bradshaw applies for the job of his housekeeper in his new persona as Edward Trevelyan. She discovers the truth and becomes his confidante. They can never declare their love for each other because he is not in a position to make her an offer.
Is there a way out of this dilemma are they prepared to ignore propriety in order to be together?

Disinherited – Wendy Soliman

Orphaned, penniless and alone, Nadine Egan is determined to unmask the unscrupulous confidence trickster who robbed her of her inheritance. Her search leads her to Jared Beaumont, Earl of Andover. Rich, influential and badly in need of rescuing from his mother's marriage plans for him, Jared takes an interest in the headstrong Nadine. Can such a handsome and charismatic man really have stooped so low as to rob Nadine of her birthright, or are other more sinister forces at work… 

A Bride for the Bladesmith – Melinda Hammond

A tale of high adventure, set during the turbulent days of the Jacobite Rebellion
1745: John Steel takes a consignment of swords to Warenford Keep on the wild Northumberland coast. There he meets the impoverished Katherine Ellingham, daughter of a known Jacobite and fiancée of Earl Warenford. John suspects that the swords are destined for the rebel army of Charles Edward Stuart, but matters are complicated by his growing attraction to Katherine, and the jealousy of the powerful Lord Warenford.
With Carlisle in the hands of the Jacobites, and government troops patrolling Northumberland, John makes a desperate bid to retrieve the swords from the Keep before his family is implicated in the uprising, but can he succeed, and protect Katherine and her family at the same time?


I hpoe you enjoy this new box set. The books haven't been released before. In fact, in future all the books will be written especially for the box set. Happy reading. 
best wishes
Fenella J Miller

Monday, 1 January 2018

When is the time to say 'No more!'

Happy New Year to you all – I hope it will be everything you want – both peaceful, healthy and productive.

I am in my 70s now – I know you can't believe it – but there you go. Time passes for everyone and last year went past by in a rush. I've written over half a million words last year – that's eight complete books of various lengths – a record for me.
I intend to write until I'm too old and decrepit to carry on. However, having tried to read the last two Jilly Cooper books and given them up because they were so bad, I'm wondering if I will have the sense to stop for I publish something that just isn't good enough.
Don't get me wrong – I am absolutely delighted that Jilly Cooper has been recognised in the New Year Honours list – I've been a devoted fan for an embarrassingly long time. But the last two books were two books too many and quite unreadable. Such a shame for her wonderful legacy to end on books that should not have been published.
One would have thought that her publishers would have said no – but they are a business and anything written by Cooper will sell hundreds of thousands, even if it is dire.
Athletes retire when they can no longer compete successfully, even businessmen, lawyers, and tradespeople know when to call it a day. The two professions that can continue as long as they want are artists and writers. I think it is less likely that an artist will produce bad work at the end of their life, you almost don't need your cognitive skills to paint if you're a professional, it just comes by instinct. I can't remember which of the Impressionist it was, but one of them, when he went blind, produced wonderful collages instead.
Billy-Blue - new addition to my family. 
Unfortunately, especially if like me you use voice recognition software, you can continue to write books even when your hands are too crippled with arthritis to type. I hope someone tells me politely when the books I am writing stop being a good read.
I don't think I'll ever actually give up the process, but I will certainly stop publishing and just write for myself when my books slither into the realm of crap – there's far too much of that about already without adding to the pile.
When are you going to stop? Will you keep writing as long as it's selling even though you secretly know it's not as good as it used to be?

To end on a positive note I've included a picture of our new kitten, a British Shorthair Lilac, who joined us last Thursday. I've not had a pedigree cat before but I wanted something special to replace our beloved Louis who was a Bengal cross.
Best wishes
Fenella J Miller