** Pre-Launch Party ** for The Angel Bug

WoooHooo – Welcome to the Pre-Launch Party for THE ANGEL BUG  – due to be released on the 1st July!

What is a blog pre-launch party? Well, I’d love to break out the champers and serve up the caviar but on a blog all I can offer is some PRIZES  and some TASTERS.

champers PRIZES  *******

I will give away one ebook a day (winner’s choice) from my previously published novels, to a correct entry in the competition below – EVERYDAY ALL THROUGH JUNE!

So get reading,

answer the questions

and email your answers and your book choice to ann@anfoweraker.com.

The sooner you enter the more chances you get! Each week I will organise a random pick for seven lucky winners!


(click book links to read first 3 chapters of each, in pdf, to find the answers)

1] In DIVINING the LINE what county does Liz live in?

2] In NOTHING EVER HAPPENS HERE where, in Cornwall, does Sally suggest Jo and Alex might go to, to get away from London?

3] In SOME KIND of SYNCHRONY what is Di’s new job?

{hint: all answers are within the first chapter}

Competition Rules:

You need to be signed-up to this blog (email sign -up is easy if you are not signed up already – see ‘subscribe’ box top left)

Answer all three questions and email the answers and the following information to ann@annfoweraker.com

The novel* you’d like to receive as a prize AND the eformat you would like it in (MOBI for kindle: EPUB for nook/sony/kobo: or  PDF)

* to read blurbs – to help you chose – go to Ann Foweraker Bookshop on TOP bar

One winner per email address; chosen via random.org. The prize ebook will be emailed to the winner after the weekly draw.

and now the caviar TASTER  ******

every week, added to the usual blog, will be excerpts from my latest novel The Angel Bug due to be released on July 1st … read the first instalment Today !

The Angel Bug  1

Gabbi – October 18th

Thirty years should change a man, I thought, but looking at the handsome face on the huge poster it didn’t look like it had done much to Luke Adamson’s features except, perhaps, make him look more rugged, a man to be taken seriously.

I hadn’t mentioned knowing him when it was first mooted that he might be able to fit the Eden Project into his UK trip; publicising his book and film, rumoured to have made him a millionaire already. ‘Jungala’ was a box-office phenomenon, though it started out as a serious film on ‘Man’s relationship with plants and the importance of preserving biodiversity’.

It shouldn’t have made it as a blockbuster movie, however, something happened in the filming; the ‘baddies’, a real threatening force, turned up and turned Luke into an Indiana Jones character. Added to that, in the three years it took to film, two major breakthroughs in treating terminal illnesses in man had been developed from extracts of plants hitherto only known and used by natives of the rainforests. With his superb on-screen presence, deep knowledge of his subject, film-star good looks and some excellent cutting, the serious ethno-botanical study became a mainstream ‘true-life’ film complete with soundtrack and an eco-song reminiscent of ‘Born Free’.

You see I knew all this, I’d read about it in the papers; his name, as always, drawing my eye and, despite my conscious thoughts, my interest, I’d even gone up to Plymouth to see the first screening. So why hadn’t I said anything to Mikaela when she was bubbling on about ‘how wonderful it would be’, and ‘what a coup it would be’, and ‘wasn’t he the most sexy scientist out there’? Well, I knew myself too well, I knew if I’d said anything that I’d have blushed, and then there would have been that kind teasing that they went in for in the Eden family, and I didn’t think I could cope with that, and they would have no idea that it would be difficult for me.

The Eden family, that’s how I felt about them all, a great bunch of people that easily became friends as they seemed to have, at their core, the same values. To me they had been a true life-line, welcoming me in and giving me both a focus in life and the gentle external framework I had needed to grow into a stronger person when my main support had been so suddenly cut away.

Well I’d had a month to get used to seeing his photo everywhere, even in my local Co-op, and now his visit was only a couple of days away. I wasn’t really worried, I told myself, even at university he’d been one of the ‘celebrities’ and I was definitely ‘one of the others’. He probably wouldn’t recognise or remember me, so it wouldn’t be anything to be fussed about, I told myself – again.

‘Gabbi!’ Mikaela called, waving me over as soon as I reached the open-plan office floor of the Foundation building. When I got close enough, Mikaela swung her chair round to face the others too, ‘Hey, listen – Luke Adamson’s emailed me. “So looking forward to seeing the eighth wonder of the world! I have heard so many good things about the Eden Project – and as it is the last date on my tour I intend to take a break and see a bit of Cornwall while I’m there. Recommendations welcome.” Wow, what do you think? What would a guy like that want to see?’

‘He’s American – anything older than 200 years should do the trick,’ cut in Andy from the plant pathology desk.

‘Cynic!’ Naomi muttered, her eye to a microscope.

‘He’s used to old buildings,’ I murmured, seeing him standing under the arch of King’s College, then, as Mikaela turned a puzzled face to me, I added quickly, ‘PhD at Cambridge.’

‘So he did!’ Mikaela turned back to Andy, ‘So, maestro?’

‘So, it had better be King Arthur then, Tintagel, um, some of the prehistoric stuff, Men-a-Tol,’ Andy offered, pushing himself back from his desk, ‘Coffee anyone?’ Heads were shaken, one hand up, Andy shambled off to fetch one for himself and one for Naomi.

‘You know I keep thinking this is his first UK visit, when it’s just his first visit to this part of the UK!’ Mikaela beamed brightly, ‘I’m sure we can find some really Cornish places to recommend to him, might even be able to escort him round a bit,’ she added with a twinkle in her eye.

I smiled at Mikaela’s enthusiasm and thought he’d probably be quite happy to be escorted by Mikki. Twenty-eight, pretty, long-legged, blonde and shapely, Mikki was the antithesis of the dowdy scientist, very much the sort of girl Luke used to go for, I thought, and the type who went for him back then. I didn’t suppose he’d changed in that respect either.

By mid-afternoon, truth be told, I was feeling a little drowsy as another restless night caught up with me and I was finding the rows of figures in front of me swimming. Somehow, while Eden was between senior botanists, I had ended up with the role, partly through an odd deference to me as the senior by age and, I believed, an acknowledgement of my organisational skills. I shook myself and, deciding on a restorative cup of tea, pushed my chair away from the desk. As I did so my phone rang, sliding the chair forward again I answered with a voice much brighter than I felt.

‘Hello, Gabbi Johnston.’

‘Gabbi! Josh here, I’m in H03. There’s something not right with the Moringa – I think you had better come and take a look.’

From the designation, H03, I pictured the slight, pale boy, Josh, standing by the Orang dan Kebun, the Malaysian house and garden area in the humid-tropics biome.

‘All right, Josh, I’ll be right down,’ I said already standing as I replaced the phone. A quick whiz down to the pit was probably the best antidote to the lethargy I was feeling anyway.

Picking up my mobile I headed out of the Foundation building, turned sharply and collected my bike. As a health and lifestyle statement and as a method of keeping fit I kept a bike at Eden for getting around. Easy on the trip down into the pit, as the site of the biomes was appropriately known to the employees of Eden, but a darn sight harder on the muscles on the way back up to the administration buildings on the rim.

I felt that sense of wonder and exhilaration that I always did as my pedal strokes brought me in sight of the Eden that everyone recognises from books, TV and adverts, the soap-bubble constructions piled against the sides of the once raw granite china-clay pit, then, as I neared, the panoply of the temperate zone, the largest, the ‘outdoor biome’. All of it looking both small and vast at the same time.

After walking briskly through the jungle conditions of the humid biome I was perspiring slightly by the time I reached H03 and there was Josh standing beside the Malaysian house, keeping out of the way of the visitors who were wandering, gawping upwards, stopping and bending to read notices, children dashing back and forth to drag parents on to the ‘thing’ they’d found, or trailing behind, tired and hot.

‘Hi!’ Josh said when I stood beside him. ‘You have to get to the higher side to see it.’

We walked with the crowd round the edge of the garden, but where the rest flowed onwards we stopped and stepped to the far side of the path.

Josh raised his hand and pointed to the top most leaves of the Moringa oleifera.

‘There!’ he said, ‘Earlier, when it was clouded over, I could see quite clearly that the top-most leaves are going red.’

The sky beyond the ETFE bubble biome structure was bright now, I shaded my eyes but I still couldn’t see the leaf colour properly; the higher delicate fronds were just dark silhouettes.

A family came and stood between us and the tree. The mother read from the guide in clear tones. ‘ “Moringa oleifera, also know as the Horseradish or Miracle tree, has edible leaves, beans, flowers and roots.”  I wonder if it’s the roots that give it the Horseradish name. “Beside it stands the Neem tree known throughout the East as the world’s most useful tree, providing medicine, fuel and food.” Well that sounds impressive for one plant. ’

The family stood a moment or two looking the two slim trees up and down, the younger boy pointing out the bean-like seed pods. They moved on, the mother reading the next section as they walked.

‘I’m going higher,’ I said. ‘I can’t see well enough from here.’

Josh nodded assent and followed me as I turned and took a near vertical route up through the planting to get as high as possible.

Now I could see. Josh was right; there were a significant number of leaves turning red, as if for an early autumn. Yet these trees shouldn’t have an autumn, shouldn’t be changing colour.

‘What’s the watering like?’ I asked

‘Fine, checked that, no problems now or recorded.’

‘Hmm, okay, well we will need leaf samples anyway – so dehydration can be ruled out while we look for other baddies,’ I smiled. ‘Could you arrange that for me Josh?’

‘Sure, only one for you, or one to each?’ he said, meaning, a sample for the plant pathologist and one for the entomologist too.

‘Better make it one to each, thanks,’ I said frowning. ‘Better make them bio-safe and labelled urgent. Okay?’

‘Okay, no probs!’

No probs! Indeed! Big Probs!! I thought as I sweated the bike back up the slope. Perhaps I should have had a sample sent to Mikki too. It might be easier than actually telling her that there was a problem with the Moringa. Of all the trees in all the biomes, why did it have to be that one, a paraphrased Bogart said in my head, if no other plant, Luke would certainly zero in on his pet, the tree that made his name in ethnobotany!  Back at my desk I bashed Moringa oleifera into the Forestry-Compendium website to check out if it had any history of turning red, and what the cause might be………

 I hope you enjoyed that little taster ….. more next week.

Have you ever been to The Eden Project in Cornwall?

Do share your thoughts on the excerpt, the competition or Eden … you know I love to hear from you.


Three ‘new-fangled-electronicals’ I never thought I’d love so much

1, We’ve just been up country to celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday. This meant a round journey of 480 miles in one day.  Arriving home at around quarter to one in the morning I was blessing the ‘dear-old sat-nav’ for a problem-free journey.

Yes, a sat-nav! Yes, I am praising that much maligned steerer of artic lorries into winding, too-narrow lanes and jammer of large trucks around tight corners!

As over time our eyesight changed, being the navigator was becoming fraught with difficulties, what with the swapping between pair of specs to read the map and / or specs to read the road signs.  So our first use of a sat-nav was a real eye-opener. DSCF6972

We first used a (borrowed) sat-nav a number of years ago when taking #3 son to University in Brighton. This meant a long journey across the south coast of Britain, in and around town after town after city, after town. A long journey of roundabouts and bypasses. It worked like a dream … only suggesting a ‘off-course’ route along a piece of road we know so well we had no compunction in ignoring it , and when it gave up trying to turn us round, it soon recalculated and ‘got with us’ again.

Now, I would always like to have a map of the route handy, and to have looked at it before setting off – just because it is wise to know where you are heading in case you get an ‘odd order’ from the sat-nav [Drivers of Large Lorries please note !].  On the last trip the odd order was ‘at the roundabout go straight across and take the first exit’. The first exit was a turning left  immediately upon entering the roundabout (hardly ‘straight-across’) .. straight across was the only other turning and had the benefit of being into the village we were heading for.

So, Saturday, even with a navigator available, the sat-nav took away the stress, but with no navigator on hand – the sat- nav is a perfect god-send and one of those electronic items I never thought I’d love .. but do!

2, It seems this next is called a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) or DVR (Digital Video Recorder). Whatever it is called and whatever version you have, it is that thing that records the programmes you would otherwise have to miss – so you can watch them when you have time (and there isn’t anything else worth watching anyway) and does a few other very useful tricks besides.

You  may have gathered that I tend to be a bit busy… and that I also go to a number of different groups and clubs (plus committee meetings for some ) and so the few items I  actually want to watch are often on the wrong time for me to be there to watch them.

So to have something that will record them… and more to the point, be programmable so that I can set it to record them in advance (before I even know that I am going to be unavailable to watch them) is another great gadget that I really didn’t think I was too bothered about .. but find that I am! Add to that the facility to save time by skipping the ads when viewing, and to ‘pause’ live programmes when interrupted (as happens more often that you’d think) and I’m in love.


3, The last one probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you all. It is my ereader.  I, like a lot of people I know, LIKE BOOKS.. and I do mean I like real paper books, but I LOVE my ereader. OK, so mine is a kindle – but they are all essentially the same – a way to carry hundreds of  books in a slim, light-weight package, that slips into the back of your handbag (so it is always handy when you find you have the odd ten minutes to read) or so you can carry all your possible holiday reading easily and read the fattest and heaviest of tomes without making your hand ache with holding it!

What is more – I have mine set on a larger font (and sideways) so that I do not have to find my specs to read!! YAY! Another blessing ! I love my ereader!

Do you have all or any of these gadgets? Do you hate them or love them?

What ‘new-fangled-electronicals’ have you fallen for despite early misgivings?

Come on, don’t be shy .. do share – you know we all want to know 🙂



Does it hurt to use a laptop?


What are you reading this blog on? Is it a laptop? Desk top? Notebook? Tablet?

Demonstrating the Laptop Slouch
Photo courtesy Remolacha.net pics

Well, it seems that reading may be  fine on almost any, but writing on laptops is beginning to cause those that use them A LOT, a lot of pain!

Now, up until recently, I have not used mine as much as some authors, but there are reports of authors developing severe neck pain, wrist pain and back pain from typing on their laptops.

I can see why.. the screen is actually too close to the keyboard, attached as it is, so you are always peering down at it. The flat keyboard does not lend itself to the correct wrist stance — or to supporting your wrists as you are typing. Add to that if you use one resting on your lap or other non-desk height surface, it gives you a slouched back, or worse, twisted and slouched.

To be honest – when writing my novels I prefer to work on a desktop with the raked angle of a stand alone keyboard and up to now it has been possible to ‘shut myself away’ in the study and stay on that one. Unfortunately, I now need to be able to work most of the time in the dining room – to be where my mother (sadly suffering from dementia) can see me and yet to be able to work on my novels. This being the case I am looking for solutions before I suffer from the problems caused by bad posture from writing on a laptop.

So far the only problems I have encountered from over-use of a computer have been from using the mouse.. and this was from copy and pasting when writing primary school reports when the idea of ‘standard phrases to be used appropriately’ was being trialled in the school I was then teaching in. After the second whole day of writing reports I began to get a strange tingling in my lips and a numbness down part of my face. It took me a while to work out what was triggering this .. the constant small movements with the mouse!

Even now, if I do a lot of ‘mouse work’, like when I am editing or correcting after proofreading, I am aware that I must not do too much otherwise the numbness starts again.

One famous author has chosen to eliminate sitting at her computer by standing all the time. Lionel Shriver, author of  ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ among 12 other books, is reported as working on her laptop with it standing on two volumes of The Oxford English Dictionary on an ordinary desk. She chose to do this to avoid the problems associated with a sedentary life-style (another writer’s occupational hazard) but it helps with the other problems too.

In one article I read, Anthony Horowitz (of the Alex Rider series) said ‘writing on the computer is so much more painful than writing with a fountain pen ever was.’  Hmm, me thinks he forgets the arm-crushing writer’s cramp from using a pen … I remember this feeling well from exam times – when forced to write for hours on end, until arm, wrist and fingers would all be tied in a painful knot by the exam’s end, with much shaking to allow the blood to flow and the nerves to relax enough to continue within the last hour!

So, I am looking for easy, cheap, good ideas.

Ones I can clear away quickly and easily come meal times too! Not sure I want to stand all the time – though I’m happy to do that for a while. The most popular ideas posted on the internet seem to be to raise the laptop so the screen is correct for looking straight at and have an external plug-in keyboard at the correct height for arm angle and wrist support. This seems almost as cumbersome as having the desk top computer around. I wonder if any of you have tried any of these methods or have good ideas?

Do you use a laptop computer a lot and have you solved this problem?

Have you suffered from bad posture due to long term laptop use?

Do share – whether you can help or not – you know I love to hear from you


Putting the Fun in FUNd Raising!

There are many pluses to living in the countryside, and immediately we are all thinking of green fields, bird song, the lowing of cattle, fresh air, peace (not necessarily quiet – it can be a noisy place in unusual ways) and hedgerows bedecked with wild-flowers. However, here I am thinking of the simple pleasures that may be taken without the censorship of what is ‘cool’ or ‘in fashion’ because, somehow, these things just do not matter here.

hedgerow bedecked with wild flowers


Maybe it is because we know we are blessed there is a lot of fundraising for good causes that goes on out here in the sticks. Not a week goes by when there is not one or even two fund-raisers for good causes within a five mile radius of where we live. These can be as parochial as the fabric of the local church (grade 1 listed building with parts dating back to 1259) or as far afield as a small locally run charity (Tamwed) to enable the rural poor in India to help themselves by growing foods with better nutritional values and supporting mobile health advice and care.

The events are usually the coffee morning, cream tea, pasty and pud, quiz night, craft-fair or bazaar / garden fete variety, and though people try to inject an element of ‘fun’ none of these are a patch on the Evening Meal with Pig Racing that we attended a few evenings ago.

The meal was the main focus of the evening … a chance to share, explore new flavours, and do a quiz that got everyone talking… however, it was the pig-racing that put the FUN into the evening.

So, here we have a short video clip from the evening – the people at the far end of the race-track are the ‘racing-pig ‘owners’ (for that race) They had the privilege of naming the pig and the chance to take home the race-pig owners prize … and the responsibility of catching the pig at the end of the race!


What was the most FUN fundraiser you have ever been along to?

Do share (we are always looking for more ideas) and you know I love to hear from you!


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