Christmas already?

My tenth book (Wow! that’s TENTH!) Christmas at Ladywell is published on Monday, 4th November as a digital-only e-book. As I wrote it partly in response to lots of ‘what happened next’ comments from readers, I really hope people enjoy it. I’ve never tried a novella before and wasn’t sure initially whether I’d have enough to say. Silly me – very few things stop me talking – so it started as a short story; developed into a long short story; turned into a novelette (which is a longer long short story). I finally totted up the word-count and found it was thirty thousand so it’s just under a third of the length of the original book, The House at Ladywell.

What’s interesting is that after my lovely publishers at Crooked Cat Books accepted it, I started to think of more secrets that the house could have and I’m considering adding three more sections to follow the Christmas one – Spring, Summer and Autumn making it a year at Ladywell. This would bring it up to book-length and it could perhaps come out as a paperback as well as digitally. Nothing definite yet and I have other projects on the go, but I realise I’m not ready to leave Ladywell behind!

On Monday there’ll be a Publication Day Push organised by the talented Rachel Gilbey of https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com She’s arranged for about thirty well-known book bloggers to post and tweet about Christmas at Ladywell, some of them with reviews, and I’m looking forward to reading their thoughts. Fingers crossed!

Here’s the Amazon link to buy it – a pre-Christmas treat for only £1.99  mybook.to/ChristmasatLadywell

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It’s a busy weekend because another book I’m involved in was published yesterday, 1st November. This is the second anthology edited by Alex Marchant, featuring short stories inspired by the story of Richard III. Full of fascinating tales it’s sold in aid of the Scoliosis Association UK and sufferers of this debilitating condition include Princess Eugenie of York and, of course, Richard III himself. (NOT a hunchback after all!) Here’s the cover and the link to buy in e-book or paperback on Amazon  mybook.to/RichardIIIAnthology

At the moment my website http://www.nicolaslade.com needs updating and is about to undergo some changes necessitated by the sad news I posted recently, ie the death of Keri Thomas, the dear friend who designed and ran it so successfully for years. It won’t be the same – no kind, calm response to my anguished pleas for help – but we’ll do our best!

Launching and Lunching

The launch for ‘The House at Ladywell‘ took place on 25th November at King John’s House in Romsey. A mediaeval house now a museum, it has nothing to do with King John but was possibly a rectory for Romsey Abbey, which is opposite.

Attached to the older house is a Tudor cottage, with a tea room downstairs and a Tudor Parlour upstairs, which is where I held the book launch, and very nice it was too! Friends, family and strangers negotiated the uneven floors and twisty stairs to come and say Hello.

This Christmas I thought I’d give you some tips about Christmas dinner, from some of my vintage cookery books. I shan’t be using any of them this year as my elder daughter is cooking this time, but if you want to entertain in style, you couldn’t do better than follow the instructions in Phyllis Browne’s ‘A Year in Cookery’, first published 1879. My edition is the 1903 one. (Unfortunately Phyllis’s book is not illustrated)

 24th December – Marketing for tomorrow:

A young plump cock turkey (should have been bought some days ago and now hanging in a cool larder); three pounds of fresh pork sausages; chestnuts; potatoes; Brussels sprouts; celery; pork pie for breakfast tomorrow; 1/2lb macaroni; six pennyworth cream for the soup.

25th December – Menus:

Breakfast: Melton Mowbray pork pie; buttered eggs; teacakes; dry toast; brown and white bread and butter; boiled hominy

Luncheon: macaroni and bacon; stewed cheese

Dinner: Palestine soup; roast turkey; sausages; potatoes; Brussels sprouts and chestnuts; plum pudding; mince pies; apple mould; cheese. (It very often happens that plum pudding and mince pies are too rich for the digestive powers of one or two of the Christmas guests. When this is likely to be the case, a simpler dish such as Apple Mould should be provided)

Mrs Beeton, my edition 1910:  Isabella Beeton doesn’t give a Christmas menu but she has a splendid, if daunting, illustration of roast poultry and game.

Christmas Dinner Menu from The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Fanny Farmer  my edition 1921 (sadly no illustration)

Oyster Cocktail; consommé; breadsticks; olives; celery; salted pecans;

Duchesse potatoes; cream of lima bean soup; chicken croquettes with green peas; dressed lettuce with cheese straws; English plum pudding; brandy sauce; frozen pudding; assorted cake; bonbons; crackers; cheese; café noir

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That’s it for now, do have a wonderful Christmas and if you still haven’t found something good to read over the holidays, you could always try this – it’s got lots of fabulous reviews! Link to Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/2BttGRV (And if you’ve read it and enjoyed it, a review on Amazon would very gratefully received!)