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  • Writer's pictureA J McDine

Life update: In which we're back from our holidays and work begins in earnest


We're home and back in the routine after an amazing week in Madeira.

We knew before we went that we were heading for a gem of a destination, but I think we were both overwhelmed by just how beautiful this Portuguese island in the Atlantic, off the coast of Africa, is.

Sensible people go on holiday to lie by the pool or sunbathe on the beach. Not us. We had an action-packed week, exploring the capital city, Funchal, going on a boat trip to spot dolphins, and joining a guided walking tour: the famous Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo hike.

Highlights were the dolphin trip - and I found myself getting unexpectedly emotional when we found a pod of bottlenose dolphins - and the mountain hike, during which there were breath-taking views around every corner.

We also enjoyed the fab food, wine and cocktails Madeira has to offer, and came home with sore legs and a heap of fantastic memories of this wonderful island.

If you like stunning scenery, beautiful, semi-tropical gardens and walking trails that are among the best in Europe, I think you'd love Madeira!

I came home feeling refreshed and raring to go, which is just as well, as the first week back was a busy one with a couple of trips to London.

The first was to attend the Save Our Wild Isles reception at Westminster. I was invited as one of the People's Champions, the 100 people from all over the country who took part in the People's Assembly for Nature last winter.

After four weekends during which we learnt all about the pressures and threats facing nature in the UK (of which there are far too many), we came up with the People's Plan for Nature, a set of proposals to protect and restore nature in the UK.

These range from protecting our seas and cleaning up our rivers to improving access to nature for everyone.

During the Westminster reception I chatted to MPs, business leaders and charity workers about the threat to nature in the UK, which is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

It was a huge privilege and I am so glad I was given the opportunity to take part in the People's Plan.

Although I did a double take when I was allocated my room at the hotel and realised I was staying in Room 101!

[If you wanted to know what my worst fear is, it probably is a world without nature.]

Two days later I was on the train to London again, this time to attend my new publisher's summer party.

Bookouture holds a shindig every year for their authors and staff, and this year's was held at the British Film Institute's HQ on the Southbank.

It was a fantastic opportunity to talk books and writing with some amazing authors. I was very much the new girl, being Bookouture's most recent signing, but any nerves I felt soon evaporated as everyone was so friendly.

Among the authors I met were fellow 'new girls' Maria Frankland and Lorna Dounaeva, who also write psych thrillers, rom com author and Bookouture's digital publicity director Kim Nash, and the queen of domestic suspense, Sue Watson.

I also met my editor, Billi, who is currently deep into the structural edit of the first of my two Bookouture releases.

I have a tight schedule to get the first draft of the second book written, and so it's going to be head down, bum-in-seat, for the next few months while I edit Book #1 and write Book #2.

Having worked as a journalist for twenty years I'm used to a deadline, and the fear of not meeting these is definitely focusing my mind!

I am, as of today, 18,000 words into the first draft of Book #2, and the characters are forming nicely in my mind. As for the plot, I have - as usual - a rough idea of where it's going. I'll figure the rest out along the way... I hope!

Here are some pics of the Bookouture summer party...

In other news, Adrian's latest psych thriller, The Lottery Winners, was published at the beginning of the month.

It's been his most successful launch to date and, having proofread the book, I'm not surprised.

I can vouch for the fact that it's an adrenalin-fuelled rollercoaster of a ride, with all the twists and turns you have come to expect from him.

When Callum Champion and his wife Jade win the jackpot they think all their dreams have come true.

Until they're approached by a desperate stranger begging for help and they discover the cost of their newfound fortune might be more than they're willing to pay.

They may have more money than they could have ever dreamt of, but they'll soon realise all the money in the world can't buy happiness - or even their own safety...

You can check The Lottery Winners out here. It's still at its launch price of 99p/99c. What a bargain!

Here's another bargain you might want to take advantage of.

The audiobook of The Invite is in a sizzling summer sale, with a whopping 70% off until the end of July.

It's just £2.25 to buy, a saving of over £5!

A cast of four brilliant narrators have brought the audiobook to life. Click this link to check out this super deal!

And here are a few more fantastic summer deals you might be interested in:

  • The Promise You Made, Should Have Known Better and The Invite are all in Kindle Monthly Deals in the UK. The books are just 99p each for the whole of July.

Click here for The Promise You Made

Click here for Should Have Known Better

Click here for The Invite

  • The Invite is also in a Kindle Monthly Deal in the US, Canada and Australia throughout July, priced at just $1.49.

Click here for the US

Click here for Canada

Click here for Australia

  • No One I Knew is currently in Amazon's Prime Reading programme in the US so is FREE to read if you are a Prime customer. Check it out here.

  • The Invite is in Prime Reading in the UK and Australia. Again, FREE to read if you're a Prime customer. Click here for the UK and here for Australia.

Hopefully that's enough to keep you busy for the next few weeks!

That's all from me for now.

Happy reading!


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