Past it?     YOU?     Not now.    Maybe not ever.  Sometimes, though, it is up to you. (Steam up your specs, go on)

I’m taking a few books off the Select  program on Amazon – they’ll still be selling there, but I want to sell them elsewhere as well. And because this is my last chance to promote them for free, I am.  About half the series will be on promotion over the next weeks.

It just happens the two liveliest books I’ve written fell due at the same time so steam up your specs and warm up your weekend with these two. Just click on the covers below, or in the margin, and help yourself. Enjoy!  By the way – if you’re a Lawns fan, be warned, Rainbow is not a Lawns book. It’s even released under a different pen-name to avoid misunderstanding.  Nine Ten is not the usual sort of Lawns book, but Rainbow is really across the rainbow and into a whole new world of mature singles. Just saying. Brace yourself.

 


nine ten kindle

 

A second rainbow (4)

 

A comment about the heading of this blog, and a bit of back-story on these two books …

I was soooo past it when I started writing a whodunit about predators stalking the mature singles websites. Date? Me? I’m in my fifties, you’re having a laugh – but I did join a mature singles website to do some of the research. I even went on dates, clumping along in low-heeled shoes (because men always lie about their height and I’m quite tall), was a jolly good sort, had a few laughs, heard some very good stories, and turned down second dates because what was the point? I was well past it.

Then a whole bunch of coincidences changed all that:  a buddy ‘met’ through the site found his perfect match. Both in their late sixties, there they were gadding off on weekends and holidays together, and having a wonderful time. Hey, you’re both ten years older than me! WHAT?  (They still are, by the way. One of the success stories.)  Another factor, my daughter was getting married, and I had to lose a bit of weight and generally brush up a bit. Yet another factor, Five Six, the book about the website murderer, turned out to be my most popular so far, maybe I should look at another . . .  well, long story short, I joined another website around the time I was writing Nine Ten, and this time I was asking the sort of questions you just can’t ask a social acquaintance, not without getting some extremely odd reactions. It is, in its way, quite a raunchy book, the sort of book that makes you (well, me) think maybe I should go out and find a man. So I did.  That was a couple of years ago and, um, there’s been more than one. Huge fun.

Past it? Hell no!

Nine Ten is no more autobiographical than any of the books but it is decidedly livelier than the books previously.

As for Rainbow – when I started writing Fifteen Sixteen it kept trying to veer off towards the shenanigans of mature singles, which was infuriating. Finally I put it to one side and wrote a novella based on a singles website, and a woman’s complete metamorphosis after her husband of many years puts her back on the shelf and walks away. Again, not autobiographical, I’m no more Dorothy than I am Edge or any other of my characters, but it isn’t wishful thinking, either.

The pair of them scupper my whodunit series a bit, because they zoom off in a decidedly more raucous direction, but putting them out at the same time, although it just happened that way,  should work out either very well or very badly indeed. Guess I’ll know soon enough . . .

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Three cheers for sensible! Hip-hip-no way

If you’ve read my blogs, I talk a lot about singles, the second-time round variety. Now there’s a book on its way.

Dorothy is signed up on a singles website, the Yellow Brick Road Singles, by her forceful daughter when her marriage suddenly goes phut. The first bloke she meets has the profile name Scarecrowe . . . oh, have you spotted a pattern yet?

laugh Simon Crowe, Tim Mann, Leo, and just in case the point wasn’t already hammered home enough, the book is titled A Second Rainbow. It’s not a copy of L Frank Baum’s book, or an adult version, that’s more of a sub theme. Later on in the book the women start appearing, which required a bit of fudging because The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has only one surviving wicked witch. Instead I collectively call them the harpies. Artistic licence, okay?

Getting the book title was easy. A writer name, not so much. I didn’t want to mislead my EJ Lamprey regulars, some of whom would love it, but some would be shocked. I wanted a name that made it clear this wasn’t a gently humorous whodunit and I learned with Eleven Twelve that splashing warnings in the title, the blurb, and the first page of the book, is simply not enough. Some readers were still taken aback to find they had been misled into buying a genre-crossing Halloween romp, I felt terrible for those who felt cheated. I had tried! (I know. I’m very trying)

Friends threw themselves enthusiastically into the challenge of coming up with an alternative name, and by far the best was Rogers-Briskly. I loved it, but I wasn’t sure the book was raunchy enough for a wonderful name like that. Still, I can resist anything except temptation. Clarissa Rodgers-Briskleigh is the youngest and newest writer in my small stable.

Writing a book about mature singles romping and skipping like lambs isn’t what you’d call a sensible move. As one of my (younger) beta readers said rather sternly, ‘Biff, make all the characters in their twenties and thirties, put the pedal to the metal in the sexy scenes, and this will blow like a geyser.’

uh oh

Maybe. More likely not. There are a lot of those books already out there, and anyway that wasn’t the point. I was enchanted to find out there is a second rainbow, an Indian summer, in life. Clouds start gathering when you’re speeding towards forty, right? Mortgages, career pressures, teenage children, life begins here? What a crock. Those clouds keep building up for the next ten, fifteen, years – and suddenly they clear. The sunshine may be the late summer variety, warm and mellow, rather than blazing brightly overhead, but there’s plenty of it.

I’m on a mission to get contemporaries to realize that, because I wasted a couple of years wondering why I suddenly felt so good without doing anything about it. I’m in no way saying dump the current spouse and rush to the singles websites, if anything the book is a warning as much as a guide! But this is a great age and stage, late middle life.

Celebrate it with your partner, and if you don’t have one, go find one. Read the book first, though. It’s something of a handbook, in its own way. The characters are staying the age I want them to be – your age, too, if you’re my target reader, somewhere between forty-something and too old to care any more. And the sex stays this side of pornography, and isn’t the focus of Dorothy’s story. The main focus is the second timers, the mature singles getting out there and grabbing life in both hands and twisting out every last ounce.  This won’t be a best-seller. But it is an eye-opener.

The countdown starts now. I’m setting the timer tonight. In less than a week you’ll be able to pre-order at a special 48 hour launch price, but don’t worry, I won’t let you forget. roll eyes There will be blogs. Or you could really play it safe and join my mailing list.

Click on subscribe, top right. You can’t miss it.

Nick mountain mist

I give up. I will never understand men

I don’t understand men, and where in blazes is the handbook? How can we have evolved alongside each other for hundreds of thousands of years and not have a CLUE? I don’t even understand my male friends any more.

My brother was full of advice. “Always tell the truth, say what’s on your mind, and tell a man what you want, we’re not psychic.” Yeah, THAT worked. We fell out a few years back! Without him there to translate men to me I gave them a wide berth for some years. That all changed in 2014 through a series of events and by the time 2015 crawled out its nappy I was with a man who was so violently, passionately and intensely in love it was frankly unnerving. Because I don’t understand men at all I thought he was in love with me  but turned out he was violently, passionately and intensely in love with the pedestal I hadn’t even realized I was on and one day I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands.

In fairness, it’s been raining men since then. I could, and this was something of a shock, be having a lively sex-life with all the trimmings and a choice of partners, why did no-one ever tell me I could be having more fun in my fifties than in my thirties? I wouldn’t have wasted a couple of years wondering if it was time to learn to knit, or order a gross of cats. The single baby-boomers are out there in force in their thousands, casting around for women to make a fuss over, and I’ve had men from mid-forties to mid-sixties trying their spiels on me, with varying degrees of success.

smitten Huge fun. I seem to be a magnet for weird, though. Fortunately also a magnet for the talkative, which has been good research for the novel I’ve been writing, on just how different it is to re-enter the dating game at a mature age. I’m a cynical old broad but my heroine is one of those nice submissive ‘I leave everything up to my husband‘ women who suddenly loses her husband to a determined younger woman and naively drifts into the world of the second-timers. The more research I did on her behalf, the more dodgy stories I heard and the stranger men I met! At this rate I’ll never finish the book and it will be longer than War and Peace instead of a light-hearted bit of froth to read on the way to exciting places and / or encounters. It tries to cover the commoner types of older single men, in a tongue-in-cheek way, as Dorothy bumps and drifts for one complication to the next, and I’d very much appreciate it if more and more types wouldn’t keep popping out of the workwork. Or if the ones I’d already classified didn’t become mystifying in completely new ways. Then there’s the latest Lawns book which has been stubbornly stuck at the written-but-I’m-not-happy-with-it stage for months.

Nothing for it but to officially hand in my lipstick, give up on this social life stuff, finish the books, and then see what else is out there. So if you spot me wasting time chatting on social media, just wag a finger at me and point me back at this blog. Elegsabiff, you should remind me, you have things to do. Ends to tie up, first.

Ta.

But I’m not learning to knit. That’s a definite. There is way too much going on out there.

I never meant to be one of my characters

My book characters changed my life, and it was weird. I invented them, and they re-invented me.  I have no idea whether that has happened to anyone else, subconscious impulses pouring out through the fingers, but when I first wrote One Two it wasn’t called that, it certainly wasn’t for publishing, and the characters were much older: it was a book I wrote in memory of my mother, who had reluctantly moved to a retirement village (they’re for old people, she said crossly. She was eighty) and turned her life upside down.  She made new friends, flirted outrageously, took on a whole new life, and died just when things were getting really interesting. I coped with it by writing her into a book with a kind of generic best friend, a lovely Scottish flirt, and a gay man who shared her love of opera, and gave them a murder to solve because she loved whodunits. It may be unconventional therapy but it helped, she is embedded in amber, enjoying herself, telling her wicked stories, vital and vigorous forever.

It was the first time I had tried my hand at a whodunit and I found the plotting absolutely fascinating. A few years later it was still niggling at me and I finally rewrote One Two in the age group I thought I knew best – my own. The ‘generic best friend’ became the main character, the title cropped up and suggested the idea of a series, and the setting changed to Scotland, where I live, and which I love. I was on an elective career break at the time, and became addicted, no other word for it. For two years I lived at my desk, writing until three in the morning, dazed and enchanted, living what had been a part-time passion for decades.

Edge isn’t me. None of them are me, although they all come from me, and my traits are liberally scattered between the four friends, but as their lives grew more interesting, book after book, it dawned on me, oh so slowly, that I could be having a more interesting life too. Couldn’t I? The Indian summer dawned for them before it dawned for me, but I found I was changing.  I was so engrossed I kept forgetting to eat, and I also made myself exercise: always that fear the wind could change and I’d be locked into a seated position for good. One genuinely unexpected result was that from being nearly William’s size I shrank down to Vivian’s size, then further.  Vivian and William started a sedate fling, almost without me noticing. In Five Six Edge joined a dating website, as bait for a Police Scotland investigation. In Seven Eight she had a ‘thing’ with another resident. In Nine Ten the characters actually shocked me by taking over. The beta readers were okay with it, but I was nervous. I knew from the Five Six research that she was entirely in character but I now no longer knew as much about life as my own imaginary friends . . .

Well, any regular reader of my blogs knows I joined a singles website just to keep up.  By the time I wrote Thirteen Fourteen I was having a thing of my own. Fun, too. The sun was shining in my Indian summer, and life was extremely good.  It still is. The books have become a celebration of the gift of energy and vitality that is so utterly unexpected and catches so many of us off-balance.

Fifteen Sixteen is stuck in limbo, with real life interfering all too often. No matter. It will come. My pen ran dry altogether for six months, not helped by me running out of money and going back to full-time work, but recently took off with a vengeance, pouring out a comedy romance about an autumn rose who finds herself in the first wives club, joins a website, and meets the kind of bizarre people one does meet, especially the perennial singles who have dodged grown-up relationships for forty years and counting.

I’m still not even sure it will be published, and if it was, whatever name would I use?  EJ Lamprey writes whodunits about characters who have been emerging into their own sunshine, but that is very much in the background of the books (okay, less so in Nine Ten). Joanna Lamprey writes SF. Another name would be nuts!  Yet anyone who started reading me via Dorothy’s encounters once she joins the YellowBrickRoad website will have expectations that simply aren’t going to be met by the Grasshopper Lawns stories. Oh well, I’ll work it out.

Hi. How are you, anyway? It’s been ages.