February 2019. My latest novel is published, called, The Girl In The Dark. Set in Durham, this is my first attempt at a romantic suspense story of two photographers and one Food Stylist, called, Kim. You can find it here:
Here is 'My Girl' I keep referring to her like this. It makes Kim feel real and alive and living her life to the full. Much as I do my own. She has bought tulips for Spring with her favorite coffee to drink.
I'm NOW on instagram posting new photographs as I write. You can find me here: susansuspenseauthor
Maybe I should change my name because I've just ventured into writing a Saga novel, called, Me and My Family. The story is set in Dorset because I do spend quite a bit of my leisure time in Poole and Bournemouth. I love Bournemouth beach. Here I am enjoying the sun.
May 2014. Yes Chef, No Chef, has been nominated by the Romantic Novelist's Association for newly published authors.
Although I didn't win I'm extroadinarily proud of my certificate and the fact that I was photographed alongside such talented authors. Jo Thomas won the award for her book, The Oyster Catcher. Congratulations, Jo.
1.4.2014. LATEST SPRING NOVELLA IS PUBLISHED.
Baking Love: A Cupcake Romance is now available on amazon. hhtp://amzn.to/1odB32B
THE BAKE OFF IS NOW OUT IN PAPERACK. For those readers wothout kindles and to copy the delicious recipes in the back of the book I have managed, thanks to a IT friend, to put the ebook into paperback format on amazon. http://amzn.to/1fs2Ckx It was a painstaking excercise but a great learming curve and if there are good sales I might follow with the other ebooks.
May - 2013. Chipping Norton Literary Festival
Fantastic weekend at Festival. Julian Fellows told us how he wrote Downton Abbey, Peter James entertained us with excerpts from his new crime thriller, and Liz Fenwick brought us up to date with digital publishing. Sue Moorcroft gave us tips and advice for writing hot passionate love scenes which had everyone in attendance buzzing!
I booked this holiday at short notice to the Italian lakes – Lake Maggorie, in particular. We stayed in Stresa, a charming old resort facing the lakeside with the mountainous back drop which was truly an amazing sight. It was the first time I had travelled alone but with Great Rail journeys I was very well looked after and couldn’t fault the trip - especially value for money. Leaving St. Pancras in London I teamed up with another single lady, called Davina, from The Wirral, and a lovely couple from Derby, called Sue and David. We stayed overnight in Paris and then the following day travelled down to Geneva and onwards through Switzerland to Stresa. The Regina Palace Hotel holds a majestic position on the lakeside and was comfortable, clean with excellent customer service. There were day trips out to the Borromean Islands, Lake Orta, and Locarno.
Mid-week we had a visit to a Grappa distillery in Piemonte. The Mazzetti d’Altavilla distillery in Altavilla Monferrato is on the top of a hill surrounded by stunning countryside. We were treat to free tasting of the Grappa wines and selected speciality foods which were excellent and many of us bought bottles to bring home. Lunch was in an Italian farmhouse and vineyard where we were allowed to wander through the rows of vines following four courses of exquisite food - antipasti, risotto, seafood spaghetti, beef and chard, and crème caramel. Phew, needless to say, with tightening waistbands and numerous glasses of their own red wine, we all slept on the two hour coach journey back to the hotel.
The food in Stresa restaurants was all good, wholesome, Italian cooking where we soon realised the expression ‘portion control’ is not a word in the Italian dictionary. We didn’t have one poor meal during the week’s holiday and the food in the hotel was equally as good. Even in the local supermarket the quality of vegetables and meat was outstanding.
One night in the hotel David thought he’d try the French onion soup. It arrived in a bowl with a crisp filo pastry lid which he declared was lovely. And I ordered a bruschetta to start but to my amazement it practically filled a dinner plate? Needless to say I struggled to finish my main course.
Carnaroli Rice is the major produce grown in the Italian towns of Novara and Vercelli, located between Milan and Turin. It is a white rice grown in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions. Considered to be the finest rice used to make Risotto, Carnaroli is a short, plump grain which can absorb much more liquid than other rice’s. It is in the same family as Arborio rice, however, the grain is larger. When cooked it has a creamy texture with the inner germ kernel remaining firm. The extra starch in the Carnaroli rice is responsible for the creamy texture; therefore, it is important not to wash the rice grains before cooking them. The high amylase starch content in Carnaroli rice allows it to keep its shape during the slow cooking required for making risotto while absorbing flavours well and resisting over-cooking. The major advantage when cooking is that the rice (when removed from heat) will remain at its same texture rather than soften minute by minute as with Arborio rice. This is of huge benefit to busy chefs who may get distracted whilst cooking and insist upon the rice in their risotto being fluffy, but not sticky.
I did manage to bring this small sample home with me to give to my dear friend Rosie who loves cooking risotto and am awaiting her verdict. All in all I had another great holiday in Italy gaining a few more pounds and inches around the waist but with lovely memories to treasure.
MAY 2013. Food Writers Weekend
Although we were a smaller group this year the five of us had just as much fun and frivolity. Rosie brought half a pig (a lovely gift from Lillian) which we endearingly called ‘Doris’ and cooked for dinner on Saturday. Pauline made her delectable cauliflower and I peeled the potatoes for Rosie to roast which were scrummy. The food festival was good but we were a little disappointed with the celebrity chef who seemed to want to talk more about himself than the recipes he was cooking. Dearest Sam couldn’t stand anymore after thirty minutes and left early to look around the food stalls. While, much to everyone’s amusement I kept mixing up my tweets and twitter and twats!! On Sunday, Orlando came for brunch and brought red wine. It was lovely to catch up with him again and we laughed for hours especially when he taught us all his new greeting hug. I told him about my ebook success and as usual he was full of encouragement and advice – thank you, Orlando. Later, even in the pesky wind, we had a walk along nearby Lulworth Cove where the scenery is breath-taking and then a drink in the pub. Sam has helped me with some suggestions for puddings and summer desserts for my new novella – ‘Love Rivals in the British Bake Off’ and Katie has suggested I include the recipes in the back of the novella – thanks, guys. All too soon it was time to leave and we came to the end of GNIM 2013 – here’s to next year where we have thought of a few ideas. Venues - Rosie mentioned France as the properties are very cheap to rent or Norfolk. Katie suggested we have a ‘save-up club’ starting next month. If we all put £10 a month into a pot by next January the balance will be there for the organiser to pay on the property which would be a great help. And I suggested, as a change, we could have a theme weekend for the food, cooks, and recipes, i.e. Saturday could be Italian, French on Sunday, Indian on Monday, etc. Whatever we come up with though will be lovely as I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a weekend than with my dear friends.