Wednesday 31 July 2013

BBC Proms

Wow, last night took me by surprise. I got free use of a box at the glorious Royal Albert Hall in London, which hosts the annual BBC Proms - a famous classical music festival now in its 119th season- and decided to take my children - twins 10 years, and an 8 year old daughter.
Classical music................hummmmmmmmmmmmm
I like listening to classical music occasionally on the radio. I play classical piano and flute. My three children all study piano and my ten year old daughter is an aspiring rock chick guitarist. But playing classical music is an altogether different thing to actually listening to an orchestra play for any length of time. I remember being taken by my parents to a classical music concert as a child and being so bored that I kept willing my father to want to leave at half-time. Happily he took his cue..........
And so it was with trepidation that I took my three children along last night, but what a delight it turned out to be. A chamber orchestra was playing Schumann's symphony No.2 in C major. It was as if the music was caressing me. Listening to gorgeously played classical music felt like an almost (and unexpectedly) sensual experience.
Sure, there were things that tickled the kids humor. Like the violent body movements of the violinists, all leaning over as they bowed and body swerving to the music. And like when there was a pause in a symphony, but it wasn't the end. So nobody applauded. "Why aren't they clapping?" my youngest whispered, confused. I explained that it hadn't finished. In the silence all that could be heard was a lot of coughing ricocheting around the circular hall. And so, having caught on, my children decided to join in the cacophony with some of their own serious throat-clearing..........!
For the second half they pulled a glorious and impossibly long grand piano onto the stage. There was to be a soloist, Paul Lewis, accompanying the orchestra in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major.
What can I say? His performance took my breath away......................the lightness of his touch as his fingers skimmed across the keyboard made the music feel like liquid velvet. I found myself closing my eyes and swooning...................
To think that I almost hadn't wanted to go and that the children wouldn't enjoy it..................Just goes to show that one needs to grab new experiences in life and give them a go. I shall try to hold that thought with me, today and all days..........

Click on the link below to return to Jo's website:

Friday 26 July 2013

Weak at the Knees Cover!!

The time has finally's cover reveal day for my novel Weak at the Knees, to be released September 20th, 2013.

Here it is:

And here is the book description:

“We got so busy living life that we forgot to live our dreams.”
Danni Lewis has been playing it safe for twenty-six years, but her sheltered existence is making her feel old ahead of time. When a sudden death plunges her into a spiral of grief, she throws caution to the wind and runs away to France in search of a new beginning.

The moment ski instructor Olivier du Pape enters her shattered world she falls hard, in more ways than one.

Their mutual desire is as powerful and seductive as the mountains around them. His dark gypsy looks and piercing blue eyes are irresistible.

Only she must resist, because he has a wife – and she’d made a pact to never get involved with a married man.

But how do you choose between keeping your word and being true to your soul?

Weak at the Knees is Jo’s debut novel in the new adult, contemporary romance genre – a story about love, loss and relationships, set between London and the heart of the French Alps.

I really hope you like the cover - all comments happily received!

Click below to return to Jo's website:

Sunday 7 July 2013

Perfect family holidays!

Well, ok, the sun is shining finally in the UK and now that we're basking in the glory of a Wimbledon win (HOORAH, finally after 77 years we have a British champ) perhaps a staycation will be the must-do family holiday option.
But if you fancy jetting off to somewhere not too pricey and short haul for a family holiday with a difference, then check out these possibilities:

The kinderhotels (a group of Austrian hotels geared towards families) are truly brilliant and great value for a great product. To date I've stayed in at least six different kinderhotels, both in winter for ski and in summer too, and I've even chosen to holiday at a kinder hotel called Gina's in southern Austria TWICE it was that good - my children loved it. There's a lovely mountain lake about a ten minute walk away which my husband and I used to go and swim in - we left the children happily playing in the hotel's mini-club. But had my children been older then we would have enjoyed taking them to the lake too...............

Holland America cruise lines is another deluxe option which (if you can bear the thought of being in an inside cabin) is excellent, all-inclusive value. Apparently it's THE most luxurious cruise liner on the seas at the moment, but I haven't yet been on one so have no personal experience..........

Anyway, check out the link above and I hope it gives you some fresh, last minute ideas.

Click the link below to return to Jo's website:

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Strawberries and Cream at Wimbledon

Well, my dream did come true - I did manage to get tickets for Wimbledon this year and better still I got to take my tennis-mad son Gabriel with me!
The strawberries and cream this year, for once, weren't ridiculously stingy and overpriced. £2.50 bought us a generous helping of both, with a sprinkling of sugar, which we enjoyed on Murray Mound overlooking Center Court:
Deeeelicious and even count as one (if not two) of our 'five a day'!

An exciting day was had by all, although, boo hoo, all my heroes (Nadal, Roger Federer etc) have been knocked out, so there aren't many players left in the tournament that really excite me.
But on the bright side, it didn't even rain!
We were so close to this outside court that we just wanted to hop over the fence, grab a racket and start playing. Think anyone would have noticed?!

Click on the link below to return to Jo's website:

Monday 1 July 2013

Weak at the Knees

Very exciting news - the publication date for my second novel has just been announced: September 20th 2013. It's called Weak at the Knees and its cover (very sexy) is being revealed at the end of this month on July 26th - I will of course share that on this blog as soon as I am able. The novel is in the new adult/contemporary romance genre and is a story about love, loss and relationships set between London and the heart of the French Alps. I'm currently gripped by a thrilling new French paranormal drama which is being shown with subtitles on Channel 4 in the UK. Its called 'The Returned' (in French it's 'Les Revenants') and it is truly brilliant - spooky, suspense-filled and with a cast to die-for. Better still, the male French love interest in my novel (Olivier du Pape) suddenly came to life for me when I spotted the actor playing Simon in The Returned. Meet Pierre Perrier:

If the world hasn't yet heard of Pierre Perrier then they soon will and I'm excited to be one of the first to spot him. His charisma on screen brings to mind a French Johnny Depp. Pierre is HOT HOT HOT - and should I ever be lucky enough to have my book made into a film then Pierre would definitely be a contender to play my Olivier..................Olivier Martinez would come a close second, although he is now probably a little to old to play the character......................
But seriously, if you haven't yet seen The Returned and have the chance to catch it on I-Player, then you won't be disappointed. Perhaps its the start of a whole host of French Noir drama to hit our screens following the raft of Nordic Noir with the Killing and The Bridge et al......
Any other ideas for sexy French leading male actors please let me know - the French window dresser in the recent ITV drama Mr Selfridge was pretty gorgeous too...........!!

Click on the link below to return to Jo's website: