Mandy's Musings

Mandy's Musings

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Win a Signed Copy of Cross Stitch!

To celebrate the paperback publication of Cross Stitch, sequel to A Stitch in Time, I thought I'd run a little competition :)

All you have to do is answer a simple question about A Stitch in Time, AND tell me, if time travel was really possible, (which it is of course ) which time period in history would you travel to and why?

Now for the question - What occupation does Sarah have in A Stitch in Time?

Leave your name and answers as a comment on this blog. If for some reason you can't comment,send your answers in an email to -

I will announce the winner on Saturday 7th of November, which is the official publication day for Cross Stitch! Your copy is here in this box, just waiting for a home,...

Good luck!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

How Many Words Did You Write Today?

At the beginning of the week I decided that I would write a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. I used to write at least twice that and sometimes more, but hell and high water have featured more than I would like in my life lately, so I thought I'd cut myself some slack. Now, when I say hell and high water, I don't want you to worry. I don't have a life-threatening illness or anything like that, just lots of little things keep going wrong and some big ones too. Things to do with my aged parents, problems with material things we own such as our old car, disappointment regarding finding a home for my latest book, that kind of thing. Anyway, things conspired against my thousand words a day and so I managed only three and a bit ( thousand of course, not single words) since Monday.

This morning I decided I would do those thousand words, but so far have only managed one hundred and thirty-one, but I have decided it doesn't matter. They are the first words of chapter six and I think they are pretty good words. I expect they might get swapped around, deleted or changed in some way, but I am happy with them. Isn't that what matters? Surely to have a few words that you are happy with is better than having lots of words that are just okay. Anyway, I thought I would share my one hundred and thirty-one words with you. Hope you like them too.

July dawns were like notes of hope. They reminded the days to be bright, fresh and summery.

 Sometimes the days forgot to read the notes, or preferred to sit under rainclouds or hemmed in by thick walls of pollution. But sometimes they paid attention. Today was a note reading day. I watched from my window as the muted dawn-light revealed the purple shadows and sages of the garden as a base coat, while gradually adding the bolder brushstrokes of sunlight to transform the canvas into a kaleidoscope of dazzling colour. In corner barrels, lupins boasted pink and blue, in hanging baskets, yellow primroses glowed under the blush of red geraniums, and in the foreground, the huge white rose bush Mum had loved presented a myriad of dew-covered buds, pregnant with fragrance.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Mandy’s Lovely Blog Hop

My fellow writer and friend,  Liv Thomas tagged me in – My Lovely Blog Hop – to talk about some of the things that have shaped my life and writing.  It is a great way to discover new blogs too.

First memory

I have a few, but one that is most vivid is a holiday in Cornwall when I was four. We stayed in Looe, in a rickety old chalet on top of a cliff and my older brother Martin and I would run down a sandy path to play on the beach every day. When it was time for breakfast, Mum would wave a red towel from the window and we’d run back up. I thought that was very exciting. On the same holiday we walked around the harbour and saw sharks hanging on hooks by a fishing boat. There was a sign saying – Please do not touch the sharks as their skin is rough, or something like that anyway. I decided I’d test that theory and grazed my finger.  There was something about Cornwall that thrilled me even at the age of four and it stayed with me ever since. I live there now.


Like many people of my age I grew up with Enid Blyton. Not literally of course. She was much older than me and came from a different background. But I did read all her  Famous Five books and the Malory Towers ones. They were set in a boarding school for girls in Cornwall. Perhaps these books reinforced my love of Cornwall. My brother bought me a copy of The Lord of The Rings when I was thirteen and I devoured it. I was totally swept away in the adventure and derring-do. I can’t remember if I read The Hobbit first, I think I did, and later I tried The Silmarillion but was defeated a few chapters in. Perhaps I should try it again now I’m a bit older. As a young adult I read Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Koontz remains one of my favourite authors and he’s a lovely man too. He actually found the time to answer my letters when I wrote to tell him he’d inspired me to have a go at writing my own novel. This man has sold over 450 million books, but he still found the time to write to me in his own handwriting.  I treasure those letters.


I love the smell of a library and the little cardboard tickets. I know they don’t have little cardboard tickets nowadays, but when I was a kid they did. I always felt calm browsing the rows of books and saw it as a place to relax and take my time. When I was a student the library was a necessity really rather than a place of relaxation, as there always seemed to be a deadline to meet, and latterly I haven’t really used the library. I know. That is really bad and I must get it sorted. Libraries are treasure troves and must be protected.

What’s your passion?

Writing and walking by the sea on the cliff paths around the Cornish coast. I get lots of writing ideas when I’m by the ocean.


I left school at 16 and couldn’t wait to get out of there. I hated school mostly apart from the social side of things. I didn’t like being told what to do and when to do it – still don’t. The only subjects I liked were English and History. The teachers of those subjects were great, which of course made all the difference to my enjoyment of the lessons. I left school with a Grade 1 CSE in both of these subjects – the equivalent of a C at GCSE nowadays. The rest of my grades were pitiful. I wanted to be a hairdresser until I actually became one. Enough said about that the better. I then worked in a factory until I got married at the age of 18 and had my daughter aged 19. Life has a funny way of turning full circle though and by the time I was 30 I was back at school – this time as a teacher. It would take too long to explain how I came to do A’ levels, a degree and a PGCE, but I did and ended up teaching history for 17 years.


When I was eight I asked my parents if I could have a petite typewriter for Christmas. Once I got it I never looked back. I wrote poems, songs and short stories which I would read to friends and family. They said they enjoyed them ... I never stopped writing after that. All time I was teaching a little flame of hope flickered at the back of my mind that I would write on day. I never really believed I would be published though. It was still a massive achievement for me to have become a teacher, let alone a writer. I wrote my first novel in 2001 and I eventually had a novel published in 2012. I now have five novels published and a further four waiting in the wings.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog hop as much as I did writing it, and now I pass the baton on to my friend and writer KellyFlorentia. She will post her blog on Wednesday 8th April.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Sharon Goodwin Writes a Fantastic Review for Cross Stitch!

I would like to thank Sharon Goodwin for her brilliant review of my second time travel book - Cross Stitch. Sharon reviews so many authors and I am honoured to have such high praise for my novel. Her wonderful blog can be found here. The review is below. At the end are links to both Cross Stitch and A Stitch in Time :)

Cross Stitch is the sequel to A Stitch in Time  and while there is some backstory in Cross Stitch, to experience the uniqueness of the plot I would recommend you also read A Stitch in Time.

Usually receiving a warning before travelling in time, on her wedding day Sarah receives no warning at all.  This isn’t the only thing that is different (but I can’t say why – no spoilers!).

While those at home are very concerned, Sarah has travelled back to 1939 and Veronica Roth. 

Veronica plays a key part in the story.  I really enjoyed her character development … we see her grow from lack of confidence and fear into quite a spectacular woman.  Telling lies to get into the school where Sarah teaches results in mayhem in the classroom … and this isn’t the only chaos she causes in Sarah’s life!

One of the choices that Sarah makes causes John to be angry (yes easy going John can be a monster when he’s fighting for what he believes in) and their relationship hits a rocky time.  I agreed with both their opposing views so wouldn’t have made a good mediator, unlike John’s dad Harry.

It’s not only their relationship under the spotlight in Cross Stitch, two more important people share a surprise too.  The banter had me grinning.

There’s intrigue with John’s sister Lucy and her husband Corbin.  I loved how this fitted in with the plot.

Totally involved with this story, I read it quickly - I couldn’t wait to see where Sarah would go next, the purpose of her being there or even if she would come back. 

I loved the idea of the ‘Cross Stitch’ and how unpredictable time travel was (and the reason behind it!).  It’s hard to write a review where you really want to share something but you know that if you do, you’ll give a spoiler …

Tension from the challenges faced on the time travel journeys, friendship, family and romance have made this a totally absorbing read for me.

Highly recommended if you like your romances with something different!
Amanda James, you are a genius :)

I would like to thank the publishers for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Cross Stitch Release Day!

So excited to announce that Cross Stitch, sequel to A Stitch in Time is released today! 

Fans of  Stitch in Time will be happy that Sarah Yates will once again be up to her time travelling antics, despite the fact that she really only wants a quite life and to settle down with her true love John Needler. The past year has seen Sarah whisked away to 1913 London and the suffragette movement, 1940 Sheffield during the Blitz , 1876 Kansas to a grasshopper plague and finally to 1928 London and possibly the biggest medical discovery of the modern world. So ... Sarah figures she’s due some normality at last and is overjoyed that it is her wedding day.

However, Sarah and normality don’t often spend much time together, and on that day of all days she is once again hurled back in time to 1939. And if this isn’t enough, once there, she gets entangled with a very disagreeable creature – Veronica Ratchet, an ‘old school’ school teacher who seems extremely reluctant to disentangle herself from Sarah’s life.
The meeting with Ratchet leads to more adventures, thrills and spills than Sarah can shake a stick at. It is exactly what she doesn’t want and about as far away from normal as you can get. No, actually ... Ratchet and the 1970s Punk Rock era is just that bit further.

I so enjoyed writing this book, and I hope you will enjoy reading it. 

Cross Stitch can be found here and A Stitch in Time here.