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The Grown-Up Gap Year: The Plan

The Grown-Up Gap Year - The Plan
I told myself, when I took my career break, that I would blog each week to chart my experiences. Well, it didn't exactly happen. As in, not at all. But, one of the things this break has taught me is that it's never too late. So here goes…
It all began last summer when Katie Fforde contacted me to tell me she had selected me as a recipient of the Katie Fforde Bursary for 2019. I was stunned, honoured and unbelievably excited. I can’t even begin to describe the magnitude and mixture of emotions that I felt reading her email. There were a lot of tears, combined with lots of jumping up and down while squealing. Yep, all at the same time. Which paused only for periodic re-reading of the email, just to make sure I hadn’t miss read it, because after all, it’s Katie Fforde and she couldn’t possibly have picked me, could she?
Well, apparently she did. And in February this year I was awarded with a trophy to prove it. Though, I have to admit, even now I …

Book Launch: A Convenient Marriage - Jeevani Charika

Today I'm joining in with the celebrations for the launch of A Convenient Marriage. 
The book spans 17 years, and author, Jeevani Charika, asked the question; 'If you could talk to your younger self from 20 years ago, what would you tell them?' 
For me the answer is simple, after a year of huge changes I would tell my younger self that one day she would be living her dream. She'd move to the coast, be writing books and running her own jewellery business.
Of course, she wouldn't believe me.
To be honest, it still surprises me too. 
But what this last year has taught me, is to expect the unexpected. To seize the opportunities that come your way, even when they are scary.  But most importantly always follow your heart, even when it seems like the craziest thing to do. It's amazing where you end up when you do!
Blurb: It was the perfect marriage… until they fell in love.
Chaya is a young woman torn between her duty to family and her life in the UK. While her traditi…

Events: Capital Crime 2019

Last month I volunteered at Capital Crime in London. It was a wonderful experience to be part of this incredible and successful inaugural event. The line-up was excellent, and tough decisions had to be made as to which events to attend.
In the mornings I worked on the registration desk, welcoming the visitors, handing out passes and goody bags and providing them with directions and information. I really enjoyed my role and it was great to work alongside the other enthusiastic volunteers. There was a definite buzz of excitement about the event, which created a fantastic working environment.
In the afternoons I was free to attend the sessions, and so I crammed in as many as I possibly could!
Here’s a brief overview of the events I went to: ·The Psychology of Tension – Mark Edwards and Lisa Jewell in conversation with Clare McGowan. I met Clare in the summer at the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference when I attended her workshop. She’s an excellent tutor and at Capital Crime she als…

Book Review: The Oyster Catcher By Jo Thomas

The Oyster Catcher - Jo Thomas*


Who hasn’t day dreamed at some point of packing it all in and heading off for a completely fresh start somewhere new and exciting? Though for Fi it’s less of a day dream and more of a living nightmare.
This was a gripping and charming read, that I couldn’t put down. I was desperate to know what would happen to Fi and the oysters she had developed a love / hate relationship with.

Elaina James Jewellery - coming soon

I'm so excited to announce the launch of my handcrafted jewellery collection, with my Elaina James Jewellery store opening on Etsy next week.

My designs are available in customised colours and lengths, and I'm always up for a challenge if you have a specific style or idea in mind...

I also make handcrafted clay charms, with a range of book, graduation, wedding, skating, and other charms available.

Here's a quick example of some of my designs:










New Directions - Script Writing

Last year I moved to the coast to focus on my writing. What I didn’t expect was that the move would also lead my writing in a new direction...
At Christmas I met filmmaker Vahid Keshavarz. His passion and enthusiasm for his craft helped to reinvigorate my own creativity, which despite my best intentions had been floundering as my move had proved to be somewhat more distracting than motivating.


Vahid’s short films have received multiple nominations, short listings and awards at international film festivals.

Vahid and his crew are currently planning their next project, which is a short film entitled 'A Heart Between Us'. I’m incredibly excited because it’s a script that Vahid and I have co-written.


'A Heart Between Us' is a short film about human connection and the impact someone can have on our lives even when they are no longer with us. It's a young woman's struggle with loss and grief and her realization that life is a gift.

In order to get filming underway, we do…

Katie Fforde Bursary 2019

I'm so delighted to announce that I'm a recipient of The Katie Fforde Bursary 2019.


It's such a huge honour and privilege to receive this award, and know that I am in such great company amongst the fabulous writers who have won previously. Katie seeks to support and encourage unpublished writers each year with her award, and I am so thrilled to be selected as one of this year's recipients.


I had a fantastic weekend in London sightseeing and celebrating with my fantastic friend, Ellie Henshaw. Thank you for my beautiful necklace to commemorate the occasion; I will treasure it forever.



I have met the most amazing and supportive people since I joined the RNA, and I'm so privileged to be part of such an enthusiastic group.





Thank you to all my wonderful friends in the Birmingham Chapter and the whole of the RNA. I'm really grateful for all your kind wishes of support and encouragement.

Thank you all xxx








Tidal Tales: Fairy Tales and Ticking Clocks

2018 was a year of change for me. Last October I took a 12 month career break from being an accountant to enable me to focus on my writing, and I moved to the South Coast to live by the ocean for a few months while I finish my novel. This truly is living my dream. However, there is one slight snag… Like Cinderella, my fairy tale comes with an expiration date. At the end of September the clock will strike midnight and I will return to my old life and my old job. So this means I have 9 months left to live my dream, and I am making the most of every moment! To be honest moving down here hasn’t turned out to be anything like I expected. But then assumptions are so very often wrong:
Assumption 1
I would be so lonely living miles away from everyone I know, that after one month I would be heading home.
The reality however, is that I’ve already been here 3 months and I never want to leave. I’ve made some fantastic new friends and have joined two local RNA chapters. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my …