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THE ONE SAVING GRACE is up and running!! It was published last Friday by Amazon White Glove, the arm of Amazon publishing for agented authors. It is the sequel to GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME which went to #1 in Amazon Top 100 Humour last year BUT, and this is a big BUT, THE ONE SAVING GRACE can certainly be read as a stand alone.

Having said that, GOODNESS GRACE AND ME is on an Amazon Countdown promotion for just another 3 days and can be bought for just 99p 99p 99p!!!!

I would love it if you got back to me and told me what you think!!


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The Saga of the Jack Russell and the missing glove

dogA couple of weeks ago my son was down from university for just one day and was getting a lift back to Newcastle via the M62 at Huddersfield. I dropped him off at the motorway junction complete with newly washed and ironed clothes, enough food for the next millennium (because that’s what mums do) and £20 (just because I could). With husband swanning it in Egypt decided, rather than go home, I’d do a bit of leafleting in the M62 junction area. I was giving a talk –  “An evening with Julie Houston”  – to fifty lovely ladies (and one man) the following week with all funds going to the NSPCC, and thought I’d advertise both the talk and the NSPCC with a bit of gentle leafleting through doors. Now, I did have an ulterior motive: my gym’s swimming pool is closed for refurb for the next few weeks and I reckoned a quick stride up and down steps and paths might be a fair alternative to the thirty lengths I normally go for. All was going well, chatted to a few friendly people and was generally working up quite a sweat delivering at manic speed through an amazingly diverse set of letterboxes. (Avoid the hairy ones – they are like trying to deliver through a toilet brush!) I saw the Jack Russell at the window and should have known better than to deliver through that particular letter box. Next thing I knew the bloody thing had my finger through the letter box and wouldn’t let go. Very embarrassing to be stuck to a letter box knowing your finger is about to lose all contact with your hand. THANK GOD I was wearing gloves, and leather ones at that, or my finger would have been at the other side of the door. How does one go about getting one’s finger back? Knock and say, “Excuse me, Mister, my finger’s gone in your hall. Please can I have it back?’ With one final yank I managed to retrieve my finger from the slavering beast’s jaws, leaving only – but still my best – leather glove behind. A bit shell-shocked, I walked, gloveless, and tittering/crying (believe me, there is such a state) down the rest of the estate. Suddenly a voice shouted my name. I turned, assuming it to be the beast’s owner returning my (although at that stage –  I assumed – quite dead) glove. It wasn’t. It was knight in shining armour and RNA colleague Andrew (aka Robert Fanshaw) Shepherd to whom I gabbled hysterically about mad dogs, rabies, chewed fingers and the NSPCC. Andrew did say he’d come to my talk which did go some way to compensating for nearly losing my finger. That night in my lonely bed (remember, husband away swanning it in Egypt) I developed Rabies, Tetanus and Gangrene interspersed with an uncontrollable urge to titter. (Uncontrollable urges to titter alternating with checking for stiff neck symptom of Tetanus NOT conducive to good night’s sleep) I share with you all the tweets Andrew sent me yesterday, the reading of which guarantee his place as Comedy as well as Romantic Novelist!
“Your glove is now in my possession. I hope you still have the other one! It’s a good story”
“That is sooooo funny!! What did you say? What did they say? Just about to throw other glove away. Glad I didn’t!!”
“Mr on a walk with JR and put it to him. Denied it at first (fearing legal action?) then admitted to dog glove theft.”
“1/2 Then rang our door last night, sheepish, proffered glove as peace offering. Our dog barked at his!”

And the moral of the story? Avoid hairy toilet brush letterboxes and Jack Russells that have Napoleonic complex. And if you can’t, make sure there is a fellow novelist living opposite


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Is anybody out there?

Am beginning to feel a tiny bit famous! A review of “Goodness, Grace and Me” and an interview with the author (moi!) is on the ‘BestChickLit’ website this morning. Do have a look. Have spent the morning blogging, tweeting, facebooking and generally selling myself stupid. Talk about selling one’s soul to the devil- this is selling body and soul and anything else to hand to that great viral space out there! Am itching to get on with the next chapter of the sequel to “Goodness, Grace and Me” (haven’t quite come up with a title yet) but need to do the marketing bit first. So, if anyone is reading this, give us a shout will you just so I know I’m not talking to myself?!! (Actually quite used to it really especially when teaching the ‘chunking’ method of division to a class of ten year old boys and/or when asking /telling /threatening /sobbing like a mad woman at my own kids to tidy their bedrooms!

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Hello lovely ladies of Leeds!

Mmm!! Quite a nice bit of alliteration there in above title! Told my husband and kids that I was going to spend the afternoon outside Waterstones in Leeds flogging my book.

‘But you haven’t got a book,’ said perplexed husband. ‘You’ve got an ebook up on Amazon – how the hell are you going to sell it without it physically in front of you?’

‘There are ways and means,’ I said, loftily. But he did have a point.

Decided to get the train and do my bit towards saving the environment at the same time. Just a cunning plan, really, to avoid knackering my car bumper once more as you ascend dizzily in Leeds city centre car parks only to find the very last space in the corner on the top floor has just been taken and you then have to descend again and find yourself back out onto the main road. Anyway, couldn’t for the life of me remember where Waterstones was in Leeds but had a very nice time via the new Trinity Shopping Centre and Starbucks trying to find it. Was actually putting off the moment when I would have to stand outside the bookstore, flyers in hand, and actually talk to people.

Albion Street. Of course. Positioned myself between the two doors on the pavement outside Waterstones and tried to look incredibly welcoming. Just looked incredibly suspicious. Reminded me of trying to take the dive at the school swimming baths, aged nine, which would move me up from “Learners” to “Elementary” swimming certificate – does anyone else remember those – and failing miserably.  When I finally did dive in (almost literally –the poor woman took a hurried step back)  and made myself accost a woman coming out of the store, I found that I’d turned from a confident mother, teacher and author into a guinea-pig: a squeak amazingly like that uttered by my childhood pet hung in the air.

‘I’m sorry?’ she said, totally baffled as I squeaked about Kindles, best sellers and ‘wouldyoupleaseliketotakealookatmynoveluponkindleanddoingreallywellatthemoment?’

‘Oh, kindles? Yes they do sell them now in Waterstones. Just over there on the right.’ And walked off.

Decided to make friends with The Big Issue man and his dog who’d been looking on with great sympathy. (The dog, that is, not the Big Issue Man himself.) After that, as they say in the song, Things Can Only Get Better. And they did. Had some lovely chats with lovely ladies – and husbands too who also said they’d download it. Two and a half hours later I’d offloaded thirty fliers, received two hugs, sympathised with several women over their own little ‘loss of passion’ and ‘bastard husbands,’ been scrutinised by several suspicious Waterstones’ staff  and become new best friends with both the dog and the Big Issue man himself.

Husband and daughter came to rescue me and bought me tea in Giraffe –which I can highly recommend – in the new Trinity Centre. Shattered, and with the beginnings of a headache, the glass of rose – still imagined myself on my hols in Spain – went down very nicely indeed.

Barnsley and Doncaster, next week, methinks!

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