My Blog

Meet Netta Wilde

Today is the official launch of Being Netta Wilde and it’s kicking off with a mammoth blog tour. I’ll be sharing some of the reviews and posts throughout the tour. In the meantime, here’s the full listing.

These are the bloggers I’ve provided extra content to – guest posts, meet the author Q & As or extracts from the book, with added context. You can click on the names if you want to see more

Netta Wilde has arrived

Hurrah, hurrah it’s publication day.

At last, you can get your copy of Being Netta Wilde.

As I write this, Amazon are still in the process of synching the book formats so if you want to check out the paperback and can’t find it, you can check it out here.

I’m happy to say the advanced reviews are already looking good. Here are some from Goodreads:

‘Being Netta Wilde is a gorgeous novel about looking deep inside yourself, recognising what’s wrong and having the courage to change.

Friends, a dog and jam plus a lot of support will see Netta going on a journey she never imagined….

The writing is crisp and immersive and I was swept along on Netta’s journey of discovery and transformation.’
Katherine Hayward Pérez 

‘I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s well written with some dark moments but the humour is never far away. It shows how strong we can be when everything seems pitted against us. There is a great cast of quirky characters. I particularly liked the character of Netta, there is a certain resilience to her. I also loved reading about her journey on the road to recovery. She did a fantastic job. When the going gets tough, the tough get going! It’s a tale of true friendship, hope, belief in yourself and survival.

This is a lovely read, a wonderful debut. It’s easy, engaging and entertaining. I’m looking forward to the next book in Netta’s World!’
Vanessa Wild 

‘A wonderful life affirming read of not being taken for granted and being out done. Of coercive control and subservience to becoming the butterfly you once dreamt of being but sadly became stuck in the chrysalis. Of how friends, jam and a dog can make the world go around and bring out your true colours in a good way. I really enjoyed this and found myself thinking “ go girl”. Maybe we can all see a little of ourselves in Netta? One life – live it! Loved it.’ Misfits farm

Look out for the official launch and blog tour starting on 23rd June. More details on that in my next post.

If you do get the book. Let me know what you think. Also, if you could take the time to leave an honest review in Amazon, it would help me to get greater visibility. Either way, I do hope you enjoy it.

Netta Wilde is coming soon

This is just a quick update to let you know that Being Netta Wilde will be available to read in one week.

If you’re an Ebook reader, and you haven’t pre-ordered, you can do so at the links below. The book will be delivered to your device on Sunday 20th June.

Amazon UK   click here

Amazon US   click here

This is the start of our journey into Netta Wilde’s world and early feedback from advanced readers has been a definite thumbs up. I hope it will be a thumbs up from you too.

PS: The Being Netta Wilde paperback will also be available in one week on Amazon. More details in the coming week.

In praise of older women

I read a piece in the Guardian yesterday by Gaby Hinsliff about the rich detail of an older women’s story. She was, of course, talking about the latest Kate Winslett masterpeice, Mare of Easttown.

In case you missed this gem, let me bring you in on the secret. It’s a sublimely scripted TV drama about a middle-aged woman coming to terms with loss on a number of levels. This woman also happens to be a detective trying to solve two major cases – the abjuction of several young women and the murder of another in small town America. All of which has rocked the tight knit community she lives and works in. The characters are sensitively and realistically drawn and the acting is sublime. Not least, Winslett herself who gives a remarkable performance as Mare, a woman weighed down by guilt and grief.

If Mare of Eastown is a must watch, then Hinsliff’s article is a must read. Aside from addressing the all too familiar issue of allowing women to look their age on screen, it calls out the way older women’s stories are often overlooked despite their depth, drama and poignancy. Their longer lived lives give them experiences not yet open to someone younger. Experiences that have the capacity to move an audience – sometimes to tears, sometimes to laughter. Experiences that make them fallible and all the more interesting.

I’m not saying there’s no value in the stories of the young, just that there’s room enough for us all. More than that, there’s a need for both in a truly progressive society. What’s more, there are lots of mature women out there who want to hear about other women who are just like them. Real women, with real bodies and clutttered, chaotic lives. Whether that’s on the screen or in a book. But that message hasn’t always got through. It used to be almost impossible to find such stories on the screen but a few are now filtering through.

When it comes to books, I’ve been on a quest to find as many as I can. My most recent read was Beth Miller’s, The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright, an uplifting, bittersweet tale of a woman who walks out on a thirty-year marriage one morning in search of her old friend and a new life. It’s a great story.

I’m trying to do my own bit too. Being Netta Wilde is about fifty-year-old Annette Grey and her journey towards a better life. Like Mare, Annette is flawed. She’s a lonely, bitter woman who struggles to connect with her teenage children and has a habit of putting her own spin on certain memories. In many ways, she’s doing her best to cope with the cards she’s been dealt, albeit rather badly. She swears a bit, likes a dance when she’s had a drink, wants to be loved, and is quite partial to a bit of sex with the right person. Just a normal woman really. A mature woman, with a story to tell.

Netta Wilde is on her way

So happy to say that my first novel Being Netta Wilde is finished at last and will be officially on sale from 20th June.

If you like your read electronic, you can even pre-order it here.

Members of my Readers’ Club can get a free and exclusive sneak preview. You can join my Readers’ Club here

Being Netta Wilde – Free Preview

Join my Readers’ Club and get a free sneak preview of my upcoming novel ‘Being Netta Wilde’.

An uplifting story of love, loss and second chances that celebrates friendship and human connections.

Netta Wilde was all the things Annette Grey isn’t.

Netta Wilde was raw, unchecked and just a little bit rebellious. She loved The Clash and she loved being Netta Wilde.

Annette Grey is an empty, broken woman who hardly knows her own children. Of course, it’s her own fault. She’s a bad mother. An unnatural mother. At least, that’s what her ex-husband tells her.

The one thing she is good at …

the one thing that stops her from falling …

is her job.

When the unthinkable happens, Annette makes a decision that sets her on a journey of self-discovery and reinvention. Along the way, her life is filled with friends, family, dogs, and jam. Lots of jam.

Suddenly anything seems possible. Even being Netta Wilde again.

But, is she brave enough to take that final step when the secrets she keeps locked inside are never too far away?

Being Netta Wilde will be available from 20th June. In the meantime, if you want to read the first two chapters you can get an exclusive free preview by joining my Readers’ Club.

Being Doogie Chambers is also nearly ready. It’s a short companion novel to being Netta Wilde and is exclusively free to my Readers’ Club.

Sign up for both here

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel

My latest read is …

Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

An uplifting and absorbing page turner by Ruth Hogan that I really didn’t want to put down.

There was enough of this book to appeal to the Eleanor Oliphant fan in me but there is much more to it than that. Like Eleanor, Tilda is set apart from ‘normal’ people. For Tilda it’s the special talent inherited from her father that makes her different. A talent that bonded her to one parent and alienated her from the other and it’s one that she’s learned to hide over the years

It’s part mystery, part journey of self-discovery, redemption and acceptance.

It’s also a story about love, in all its many forms, but in particular about motherly love and the things we do to protect those we cherish most.

The story flashes back and forth between Tilda, the adult, and Tilly, the child, and as her story unfolds it becomes apparent that there are many things that shouldn’t be taken at face value. Even the normal people may not be what they seem.

If, like me, you enjoy stories about loners and different people, I can recommend this.

And who is Queenie Malone? Read the book to find out.

All the Lonely People

I’ve fallen in love with reading again after several months of feeling like it was too much effort in these strange times we’re living in. But – hurrah, hurrah – I am back on form. All credit to Mike Gayle for getting me back on that horse.

All the Lonely People. Love the book. Love the artwork.

I’ve just finished All the Lonely People the story of reclusive Hubert Bird whose daughter announces she’s coming back from Australia to visit him. She can’t wait to see him and meet all these friends he’s been telling her about. The problem is, Hubert has been making the friends up. Rather than tell her the truth, that he’s lonely and friendless, he embarks on a project to find himself some new friends and renew old acquaintanceships.

As we go through his present day attempts, the story of his life begins to unfold; starting with the young Hubert’s emigration from Jamaica in 1958. In cold, unwelcoming and often hostile London, Hubert finds love with Joyce, an English girl from a deeply racist family. Together they face prejudice, hardship and tragedy. In spite of it all they remain devoted to each other.

All the Lonely People is a heartwarming, uplifting story. At the same time it’s terribly sad but never overly sentimental. I particularly liked the way Hubert’s memories of his past life are intricately woven with his present life. The story didn’t end how I expected or hoped it would end but it was no less powerful because of that. I so wanted everything to slot into place and for everyone to be all right but that rarely happens in real life and Hubert Bird’s story is no fairy tale.

I haven’t read any of Mike’s books for a while. Not sure why because I always enjoy them when I do. Anyway, I liked Hubert’s story so much that I’ve just bought Half a World Away. Look out for my views on that in a later post.

In the meantime, if you’ve read All the Lonely People, what did you think of it? If you’ve read any other books that you think I’d enjoy, let me know.

What are you watching right now? Part two.

Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

Beneath the layers of a punk icon

There were plenty of female punks in the late seventies but not that many female punk icons. I don’t know why. Perhaps it was just the sort of music that attracted angry young men to the stage. Perhaps there were other underlying reasons at play, like so many other strands of life around that time.

There was Debbie Harry, of course. I loved her but Blondie were always more pop than punk. For me the most iconic (there’s that word again) had to be Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex. Everything about her was so exciting – the way she dressed, the way she sang and, of course, the things she sang about.

As a girl, I was never into anything mainstream so the things Poly stood for appealed to me. If I’m honest though, I never really looked any further than the top layer. I didn’t see that beneath the clothes, the voice and the songs was a vulnerable young woman called Marion Elliot.

Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché gave us a view into the real Marion Elliot, mainly from two perspectives – Marion’s daughter, Celeste Bell, and Marion herself courtesy of her diary entries. Sadly, Marion died of cancer in 2011 so her words are spoken by actor, Ruth Negga.

This is a film that takes in the flimsy shallowness of fame – everything Poly/Marion despised – as well as the confusion and alientation of growing up a mixed race child in the blatantly hostile and racist society of Britain in the sixties and seventies. Add to that the effects of a severe mental health condition on Marion and the people closest to her. Not always an easy watch but a compelling one.

By the end of the film my heart ached. For Marion, and for Celeste too. As she finally plucked up the courage to go through Marion’s things, Celeste laid her mum’s story bare so that we could all understand who Poly Styrene really was. I felt I knew her better and I watched the clips of her performances with renewed awe. What a brave woman she was.