TLB coverI have one week left to prepare for my challenges I am undertaking as part of the launch for the new book, Three Little Birds. So far preparation has involved eating a lot and shaking my head at myself in disbelief that I could have agreed to do these mad challenges.

It all started when, having finished writing the book, I thought I ought to have a go at one of the challenges. Just to say I had tried something different. The characters learn so much from their experiences and there is even a Carpe Diem list at the back of the book.

In Grumpy Old Menopause I advocated that women should take up pole dancing or knitting or all sorts of things and to practise what I preached, I took a crash course in stand up comedy and look what has happened…I’m booked up until November and am going on main stage at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival! It goes to prove that if you are brave enough to take up something new, it could take you in a whole new direction.

So, I decided I’d have a go at the simplest challenge, yet the one that horrifies me the most. I told my publisher what I planned to do and said I’d get some photos of me to use as part of a book trailer. Before I could say “ch-ch-challenges”, she had booked a flight over to the UK to join me and support me.

I couldn’t have her come over for just one challenge, so I emailed all the companies and places that offer the challenges Charlie in the book takes up, and waited to see if one would allow me to have a go. They all said yes and I was offered the chance to do three other challenges not in the book.

I must have eaten too many wine gums that week because I agreed to do all the challenges and a logistical nightmare it is turning into, I can tell you. I have five challenges in three days. Over the next few days, I’m going to reveal the challenges and rate my chances of completing it. Play along with me and bet if I will manage them or not. Write, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the comments and we’ll see if you are right.

Challenge One. The clue is the cover of the book.  Like the woman on the cover of Three Little Birds, I shall be ziplining. Not just ziplining, mind you, ziplining while playing a kazoo. That in itself is a feat. I spent several hours blowing down the wrong end when I first got it. You’ll have to wait to hear what song I have chosen.

My publisher, Kim and I are going to take on the wires at GoApe at Trent Park where she will film me screaming, yelling “NOOOO!” or clinging to an instructor sobbing. This is the challenge I am fearing most. I hate heights. I genuinely hate heights. I can get up to the top of somewhere but thereafter the chances are high that I’ll freeze.

I discovered I had a fear of heights when I was 11 years old. I was on a trip to Paris with the school. We went up the Eiffel Tower as a group. I was just about okay until we exited the lift on the second floor. I then wouldn’t let go of the nearest railing by the lift and couldn’t go to the top. All the other children went off to the next stage, while I stood shaking with fear. A teacher had to uncurl my hands from their clenched position and guide me to the lift to descend where I trembled like a jelly for an hour. Hubby also had to rescue me many years later when I suddenly couldn’t move on a wall at the seaside. So, Kim might have to come up and get me down. We shall see. I am pretty scared, even as I type this, so watch this space. A video revealing all will follow.


SCARE FACTOR – Way off the scale. You have no idea how scared I am.

EMBARRASSMENT FACTOR –  Not bad unless I choke on my kazoo or freeze on the wire.

DANGER FACTOR – High. I can very easily injure myself. I am clumsy and have bad eyesight – a lethal combination when trees and landing from a zipwire are involved.

PREPARATION DONE FOR CHALLENGE – None. I’ve been putting it out of my mind.

CHANCES OF COMPLETING CHALLENGE – 5% if Kim throws me over her shoulder and swings down the wire with me.


Three Little Birds will be released on August 15th by Safkhet Publishing. It will be available to order from bookshops, Amazon and will be in paperback and eBook format. You can find out more about it and purchase links by clicking HERE. It is also available to pre-order on Amazon – click HERE.