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  • Writer's pictureA J McDine

Filling our empty nest, one kitten at a time...


It's been such a busy few weeks since I last wrote that I'm not quite sure where to start!

At the beginning of September we headed back up to the Lake District for a few days' walking with friends who took pity on us after we were struck down with Covid while we were in Cumbria in July.

We had a fantastic time, clocking up some amazing walks, including climbing to the summit of Green Gable, which at 888 metres is only 90 metres lower than Scafell Pike, England's tallest mountain.

We stuck to walks we could do from the house, and Scafell Pike was just a little too far away, but the fact that we didn't get a chance to scale its dizzy heights this time is a great excuse to go back next year.

Hopefully third time lucky

Then it was time to take our youngest son, Thomas, to the University of Southampton, where he'll be studying human geography for the next three years.

With our oldest, Oliver, just starting the second year of his wildlife conservation degree at the University of Kent and living in student digs in Canterbury, it meant we were finally empty-nesters.

I have to confess, just like Kate in Should Have Known Better, I was dreading the moment they both left for uni. The house feels very empty without them.

We both felt a bit of sun, sea and sand was just what we needed, so to commiserate/celebrate our new empty-nest status we booked a week's holiday in Ibiza.

We stayed in Portinatx, a small resort right at the northern tip of the island. It was beautiful - all pine-clad hills and rocky coves - and it's fair to say we fell in love with the place.

We flew home on Friday and went to pick our up two cats, Minstrel and Luna, from the boarding cattery on Saturday. The cattery runs alongside an animal sanctuary - the same one we got Luna from 18 months ago - and while we were waiting for them to come out we were entertained by a 12-week-old kitten giving the performance of her life in a run next to us.

Thinking about our empty nest, I just *might* have enquired if she needed a home, and it just so happened that she did. And I might have accidentally said we'd love to take her in.

And so we're picking her up a week on Monday!

Suddenly our nest is feeling a little less empty. It was definitely the best three-for-two offer I've ever had!

Goodbye Thomas... ...and hello kitten!

Our next job is to choose her a name. And no doubt I will be sending out lots of kitten spam over the next few months. #sorrynotsorry

Bookwise, I also have lots of news. I finished the second draft of Book #5 before we went to Ibiza, and am just waiting on the edits to come back to me so I can start work on the final draft.

The book finally has a name! It's called The Invite. What d'you think? Do email me and let me know.

I'm also after your help choosing a cover. While we were in Ibiza I received the five concepts from my designer, Nick Castle, and although they were all fantastic, one image just grabbed me.

But I'm not sure which font works best and I would really appreciate your opinion. Which of these two versions would be most likely to grab your attention?

The book is a psych thriller about four friends who receive an anonymous invite to a reunion twenty years after they left school. When the friend they assumed had invited them fails to make an appearance and bad things start happening, they start to wonder if there's more to the invite than meets the eye...

Cover 1 Cover 2

Which cover do you prefer? Do email me at to let me know what you think!

And finally, Amazon has picked No One I Knew, my third thriller, for a Kindle Monthly Deal in the UK, which means the book is just 99p to download until the end of October.

If you've read it already, it would be fantastic if you could spread the love and tell a friend. I'd really appreciate it!

Just click this link:

So that's all from me for now. Next time I write I'll let you know which cover came out on top, and hopefully I'll have an update on the release date.

Speak soon,



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