Friday 26 November 2021

The Woman Who Felt Invisible

Today I am blogging on behalf of Lizzie Chantree, whose latest book, The Woman Who Felt Invisible, is taking part of a blog tour which I am delighted to be part of!

This is an exciting story of love, romance and tear-jerking reality, from international bestselling author, Lizzie Chantree.

Have you ever felt invisible? Working as a stationery supervisor and a sitter to a pair of internet famous, delinquent dogs, wasn’t how former cyber-specialist, Olivia, imagined her life turning out. Sitting in a tiny cubicle with a decrepit computer and being overlooked had suited her for a while, but now she’s fed up, lonely and determined to make the world ‘see’ her again. Heartbreaker, Darius, wants to fill Olivia’s days with romance and adventure, but their love of technology has taken them on very different paths, forcing her to leave her past behind. Gorgeous undercover policeman Gabe, is steadfast in finding out if Olivia is part of an online scam. Someone is stealing money from high profile men, but something doesn’t feel right and he suspects someone else is manipulating her life.

Can true love blossom from the most deceptive of starts? And can someone who feels lost, find a way to flourish against all odds?

Here is an extract, just to entice you:-

This was it. This was Olivia Tenby’s life, now. This was how low she had come. At the age of forty-one, she was sweating her guts out in a house that felt like a furnace, babysitting two delinquent Labradoodle dogs called Bertie and Belle, while their owners swanned around getting even richer somewhere else. Wiping her palms across her face, feeling glad she’d discarded her top so that she couldn’t drip on it, she pressed a button. Music blared out of speakers set into the ceiling. This house had everything – lights that came on when you spoke to them, a vacuum cleaner that tripped you over while it scurried along the floor of its own accord, and a fridge that dispensed perfectly shaped ice cubes into crystal glasses. Olivia looked around furtively for a moment, and then laughed and decided to go for it. Her job as dog sitter extraordinaire had begun two weeks ago. She’d been told to entertain the excitable animals in any way she could think of, as they were naughty and destroyed everything while the owners were out – which they always were. Olivia hadn’t even met them, which was baffling. They left her notes with instructions on how to stop the dogs eating the walls and making a mess of the thick pile carpets. She actually quite liked the job, it was as easy as walking in a straight line. Then she thought about how wobbly she always was after three vodka and cokes, and quickly pushed that picture aside. The dogs were bored and, although her job included giving the house a cursory swipe with a duster, it was always immaculate when she arrived. Something was a bit weird, though, as the place was incredibly hot. The dogs liked to slobber all over her, making her even hotter. So she’d taken to stripping off as soon as she sat down with the pooches, otherwise she’d probably pass out and be found weeks later, mummified in dog hair.

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. Visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantree

Book links: Lizzie Chantree.

Universal book buy link: The little ice cream shop: Universal book buy link: Networking for writers: Universal book buy link: If you love me, I’m yours: Universal book buy link: Ninja School Mum: Universal book buy link: Babe Driven: Universal book buy link: Love’s Child: Universal book buy link: Finding Gina: Shh… It’s Our Secret: The woman who felt invisible:

Social media links: Website: Author page: Twitter: Facebook: Goodreads: Instagram: Pinterest: FB Groups: BookBub: LinkedIn: YouTube:

Friday 19 November 2021


Most of us tend to be dismissive of our achievements, however small they may be, and sometimes may not even notice them.

Last weekend I went up to see my mum and also meet up with my dear friend, Av, who I have known for many years. As she lives in Dorset, we meet up about twice a year, and now to meet mum and also have a catch up ourselves. The first time this year was at the end of June when both Lainy and I were a bit stressed (to put it mildly) as she had just had a crash course in wearing a muzzle, had never stayed in a town, let alone a B&B, and hadn't met Av before.

Lainy did very well but it was quite testing shall we say. Now, four months on, I was delighted when both Av and Laura, who owns the B&B and also has a rescue dog, commented on how much calmer and relaxed Lainy is. She doesn't like the muzzle much, but she's got used to wearing it when we're out, and most of the time I don't think she notices. We also took her to the pub while we had their excellent Pie and a Pint (or glass of wine in our case) for £9 and again she took it in her stride.

And to see her running around the woods, chasing squirrels and a few pheasants, was nothing short of joyous.

She still has problems, of course, but it's so encouraging when other people comment on her progress. It means all that hard work is worth it.

On that note, I am nearing the end of the most recent edit since the freelance editor read it. She didn't suggest changing much - essentially starting at a different place and changing the ending slightly, but I am really enjoying doing it. Apart from those days that we all have, when we wonder what the hell we're doing and why.... but that's part of being a writer.

I am now going off with my mate Jac for a few days' break. Our holiday to Devon had to be postponed till next year as she hasn't been able to drive, so I found somewhere in a quiet valley to walk, read and indulge in some R&R for a few days. Here's to holidays!

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Bad Orchards amongst other things

When I wake up in the middle of the night, I'm often awake for a few hours, so I listen to either the World Service or Five Live. This morning one of the topics for a phone in was politicans and are they bad apples? One listener rang in and said, "not so much bad apples but a bad orchard - what about the Honourable Member for the Virgin Islands?" which did make me laugh.

Anyway, as I don't wish to dive into the murky depths of politics, I will leave that topic there for the moment, and stick to matters closer to home. Editing my novel.

I was advised that publishers like a variety in age of characters, and as my last novel has a young boy in it, I thought I would use an older character, inspired by Pip's cousins, whom I visited recently. They are 93 and late 70s and a wonderful example on how to age well.

I decided to use the 93 year old in my novel, but change him somewhat. He is now 86 and a little stooped but still has the same sharp brain and enquiring mind - and a brilliant sense of humour. Then I thought, well, what purpose does this man have? And I realised that it is to show the protaganist that there are several ways to be happy in a relationship. That there are often no definitive rights or wrongs - it's what is right for those people at that time. And also, that just because a relationship might last, say, 5 years doesn't mean to say that because they stopped being happy, it was a failure. Perhaps it was only meant to last 5 years, but surely those years were important?

I've called this fellow Petroc and he has a Colourful Past, as people used to say. In other words, he had an interesting and unconventional love life which leads to a more rounded view of people - or does in his case. Well, having gone down that route myself, I can only say that life presents you with choices. And, as with all good novels, what happens next depends on what choices you make.

I've always tried to be open to ideas, and while the choices I've made might not have seemed sensible to others, they have made sense to me at the time. I hope always to be open to taking a chance, whether in love, work or adventure. Though preferably, all three. And I encourage the characters in my novels to be, too.

Friday 5 November 2021

Unconditional Love

Those who know me, know that I am easily moved to tears. This is somewhat of an understatement. Pip said once, 'you're the only person I know who can cry at the weather forecast,' but I dispute that.

However, that is another topic worthy of discussion. This morning I saw a piece with Noel Fitzpatrick which was actually a plug for his children's book which has just been published, but it also became a tribute to his dearly beloved dog, Keira, who died not long ago, and their unconditional love.

When Moll was alive, this phrase would always make me laugh, for her love was very conditional. You do as I say and I love you. You don't, and that's it. I will take food from you but it doesn't mean I love you. Don't stare at me, I don't like it. Don't pick me up, I hate it. Don't do this or I'll growl. Don't jiggle me around or I'll bite. Though she did love me, in her own way, but it was very conditional.

Lainy, on the other hand, stares intensely at me with her dark, eyelined eyes. She doesn't blink, though occasionally she winks. I wonder what she's thinking about. She waits for my every move. She doesn't like to be too far from me. She has learned, I hope, that I am trustworthy (unlike many in her troubled past). She does what I ask her to do because she wants to, because she gets food, but also, I think, because she wants to make me happy. She is slowly gaining in confidence. She loves to be admired, to be praised. I'm guessing it's quite a novel experience for her, poor girl. Despite everything that's happened to her, she is trustful, which I find astonishing. She is, like me, an optimist.

Love between humans is usually a much more complex matter. We carry baggage from past relationships. Sacks of hurt that grate, reminding us of the pain like a stone in our boot. Small, but oh, so powerful. We can be wary of letting go, of loving fully in case we are hurt again. Or we can jump into a new relationship, believing it will be like our last. Only to find it isn't. Life can be a game of snakes and ladders.

Shortly after Pip died, I was walking with a friend whose partner had left her for someone else and she was, understandably, devastated. I can remember thinking how much worse her situation was than mine: of course I had lost someone I loved deeply, but he told me how much he loved me every day. My love bucket was full. I had terrible grief to deal with, but it was pure and uncomplicated and full of the love that I'd lost.

When a relationship breaks down, like my friend, we have a Pandora's Box to deal with - betrayal, jealousy, rage, hate, fear, and maybe the belief that we are unloveable. That we will never find anyone else to love again, or who will love us the way we would like, that we are worthy of.

As Noel Fitzpatrick said, dogs allow us to be the best person we can be. We can love them unconditionally, for that is how they love us. If we treat our dogs well, we are the best thing in their lives.

So here's to our dogs. To having the courage to be the best that we can, not just for them, but for us and for those we love. And to the many, many different types of love. This one of Moll was taken on my friend Tony's boat many years ago, but it shows exactly Moll's character and always makes me laugh.

Whereas this is my other girl. A world apart in temperament.