Sunday, June 14, 2020

Christina Hollis: A Little Bit of Peace and Quiet...

Fresh from the Garden
Lockdown has eased slightly here in England, but I'm in no hurry to get back into the human race. All the reports of prejudice, riots, pandemic, and financial problems makes life beyond home seem uncertain. The events of the past few months have changed life forever. Both my OH and son have health problems, so rather than put them at risk I've only left the house (apart from walking the dog around the wood) three times since March 18th. Here are a few things that have saved my sanity...

Luckily I had bought all my seeds before lockdown, so I had plenty of sowing and planting to distract me from not being able to leave the house and garden. 

This spring we had a lot of dry, sunny weather so in places, I've even managed to keep on top of the weeds. One patch of undergrowth has got away from me though, so I'm now calling that The Wild Garden!

University Work:
I had four major essays to complete within a couple of weeks, so for some time I did nothing but read, make notes and edit my work. 

With deadlines hurtling toward me, the time flew by. Luckily I managed to complete everything in time, and handed in my final essay last week. 

Now all I have to do is wait for the results, while writing my dissertation...

My Best Effort So Far!
Once I'd finished my university work for the day I felt like leaving paperwork behind and doing something crafty. During lockdown I worked on perfecting my sourdough bread. You can read how I started here, and how I progressed here. How I finally solved all my problems and produced the loaf in this photo will be the subject of my next blog at!

We lost out last ancient hen back before Christmas. After that, it was so easy to buy eggs from the supermarket it was several months before I got around to ordering some replacements. I chose Beechwood Blue Rangers, partly because I liked the name but mostly because they are supposed to lay nice brown eggs. 
The New Girls

Although there's no nutritional difference between white, tinted and brown eggs, I think dark ones look nicer, so shell colour is my chief criterion when it comes to poultry. 

The new birds arrived on the 18th May, and we got our first beautiful white egg on 3rd June. We've had a further twenty-three eggs from them since then, and not one has had the merest speckling of brown!

Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women. She has written more than twenty novels, sold nearly three million books, and her work has been translated into twenty different languages. When she isn’t writing, Christina is cooking, walking her dog, or gardening.

Catch up with her at, on TwitterFacebook, and see a full list of her published books at

Saturday, June 13, 2020

A Little Life

I will confess, I live what might appear to be a little life. It's a life built around family and creating. Writing has been a huge part of my life for a long time. But when I took my first pottery class, I knew that would be a part of my life as well. Yes, it was love at first...wedge! LOL We went round and round about where to put my pottery studio (after I'd exhausted all the classes at the university!). I could put it at home, but my options were limited. So we decided to put it at The Cottage. We had more than enough room for sure. We started building the barn last August. And by June, my studio was up and working!

The view is amazing! I spent Monday out there working. I didn't turn on any music...I didn't need to. My Cooper's Hawks are back and were very vocal. Their nest is not far from the barn. I was afraid we'd scare them off with all the building last year, but nope. They're back. The red salamanders are all over! And I rescued a toad that got into the barn the other day. I didn't want Tallulah to find him and taste him. LOL A ton of birds just added to the chorus. Who needs any other music.

The minions came and spent a day at camp last weekend. They played with sticks and lightsabers. LOL (The sticks were Ewok's sticks.) And we took a hike to Second Creek. Yes, we named the creek that borders the back of the property Second Creek. It's not overly creative, but is an accurate description.  We also have other areas named...Powerline Path, Monkey Island (no one's quite sure where that came from) and other areas.

Yes, it's a little life. I wouldn't want it any other way.  I've built my life around family and love. Whether I'm writing love stories about families (like my Hometown Hearts series...that was a sly mention) or loving working on my pottery. It's a little, but lucky life because I love what I do and who I'm sharing my life with.

I think the secret to a happy life is recognizing what's good in your life and giving thanks for it. I hope when you take a look at your life, you find you're as happy with yours as I am with mine! 


PS. If you have a moment, I hope you'll check out my Hometown Hearts series. Each book stands alone, but since it's a small town, you're bound to bump into someone you know in each book!

Crib Notes: Hometown Hearts #1

A Special Kind of Different: Hometown Hearts #2

Homecoming: Hometown Hearts #3

PREORDER  Suddenly a Father: Hometown Hearts #4
Available in September

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Getting Away by Susan Sands

Dear friends,

I spent a few days in Fripp Island, South Carolina, with my friend, Cindy, recently. After being locked down for so long. It felt like breathing fresh air for the first time in months.

We kayaked to a tiny deserted island where the driftwood lay like a boneyard. Heavenly and haunted. Huge dead trees stuck in the wet sand, bleached white by the sun. We didn't encounter another human while we were there. The weather was perfect, and we walked for what seemed like miles on the hard-packed low-tide sand. Can you see it?

On our third day, my friend, who lives on the island, took us out in her boat to another nearby island. This one requires leaving before low tide, so there's enough water in the canal to not hit sand bars. We went to Bull Point, aka, Shell Island, where there are huge shells everywhere. I mean, enormous unbroken, conch shells and many other varieties so plentiful it's hard to imagine. We encountered countless giant horseshoe crab shells where the animals sadly become regularly stranded by the tide. My friend, Cindy, had asked me if there were wild pigs on Fripp Island on our way down. I'd laughed that off. I really had no idea. But sure enough, we passed a wild pig carcass while on our adventure.

We soaked up the sun, put our toes in the sand, and caught some unbelievable sunsets. The place is a wildlife sanctuary, so the deer and birds are everywhere.

We ate our weight in fresh seafood, which is my absolute favorite. I was able to bring home an embarrassing amount of fresh, peeled shrimp for future cooking adventures.

Fripp Island is a tranquil and beautiful place, and we were so thankful for a place to stay with my friend, Jessica. We turned up the high school music and sang badly on the way home. Now, I'm hunkered down working on my edits for Noel, Alabama.

I can't wait to share my new cover!! Check my social media for more information!!

Stay safe! Stay well! Love to all!!

Susan Sands