Happy Days

My new novel Happy Days is available from Amazon for kindle and in paperback and hardback!

The tale is set in a convent boarding school in 1970 and is chock full of adventure, romance and comedy. You may detect a dash of Antonia White (Frost in May) and perhaps more than a hint of Enid Blyton (Mallory Towers) as we follow our eleven year heroine’s adventures struggling to adjust to life in a World of Women.

As the curtain goes up, Trixie is standing in the corridor in her dressing gown on her first night at St Hilda’s Convent Boarding School. Miserably homesick, she decides to sneak outside instead of returning to her dormitory. This much is a memoir. What follows is pure fiction. More or less…

Depending on your own life experience, you will either regard the details of life at St Hilda’s as just the way it was, or a glimpse into some sort of dystopian nightmare. Boarding school survivors will perhaps nod their heads and give a wry smile as they remember the two baths a week rule and being punished for running in the corridor or speaking your mind – whereas those who were fortunate enough to have a ‘normal’ upbringing will gasp at the descriptions of the inedible food and supervised Sunday letter writing sessions when a nun wrote the news you were ‘allowed’ to include in your letter home on the board.

Inspiration: thanks due to SWWJ and The People’s Friend

I had long been toying with the idea of writing something inspired by my school days (again – I used my old school as the setting for Three Hundred Bridesmaids in 2018). Then several events happened to spur me on.

In 2020, the Society for Women Writers and Journalists (SWWJ) ran a competition where we had to write a non-fiction piece with the theme Women. That summer, my old school (St Mary’s, Shaftesbury) had closed its doors for the last time after 75 years (combination of falling roles and Covid). I decided to write a factual account of my first night at the school, Imprisoned in a World of Women, when I had wandered outside in my dressing gown and contemplated running away. I entered it into the SWWJ Competition and didn’t win, but was mentioned in the Judge’s report. This encouraged me to keep writing. Thank you, SWWJ!

I expanded the piece into a novel (with a factual first chapter and the rest as fiction) and once it was finished, submitted it to The People’s Friend. To my amazement, they accepted it and it came out in June 2021. I hadn’t thought a piece written in the first person with an eleven year old heroine would be what they were looking for, but turned out I was wrong. Thank you, PF!

And the title? Happy Days? Well, when I was at school, Reverend Mother told me that for many, school days are the happiest days of their lives, but that in my case, fortunately that wouldn’t be true. I felt incredibly cheered to hear this. And she was, as always, right.

There is another convent-set novel on the way, as D C Thomson have also accepted Perfectly in Tune and it will be published as my first My Weekly pocket novel later this summer in August. They might change the title (I have no way of knowing yet) but it will be available on Amazon in its full version with my original title once the pocket novel is off the shelves (should be late summer this year).

Trying hard not to succumb to the temptation to write yet another convent story…I need to expand my horizons…and yet, it’s fair to say that a small closed community is absolutely fascinating and you can see all of life within its walls. Perhaps I should write a darker novel next time. Murder in the Convent, anyone?

Book Blog: 300 Bridesmaids by Jenny Worstall

I was thrilled to read this generous post from Cathy Murray about my novel, ‘Three Hundred Bridesmaids’. Cathy is the author of many books, including the delightful (and highly recommended!) ‘Cabbage and Semolina: Memories of a 1950s childhood’.

3 Sixty Five Blog

Michael and I were married on the last Saturday of July in 1976, the year of one of the UK’s most memorable heat waves. The sky was a cloudless, vivid blue until half an hour before the ceremony when a freak shower dampened the dust and freshened the roses beside the path to the church. Otherwise everything went to plan and we had a lovely wedding day.

So you can imagine my pleasure when I found that 300 Bridesmaids by romance novelist, Jenny Worstall, was set in that glorious summer of 76. For years I’ve enjoyed Jenny Worstall novels and short stories and thought I’d read them all but somehow I’ve missed 300 Bridesmaids so was quick to get it for my Kindle.

Piano teacher Rosie Peach starts a new job at a convent school where she soon falls for fellow music teacher, David Hart. But Rosie takes too much…

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Clubhouse Chat Guest: Jenny Worstall

I am delighted to be able to share this interview from Paula R C Readman’s wonderful blog. I had so much fun answering her questions with a strong freshly brewed coffee beside me.

From Funeral Birds To Seeking The Dark

Welcome to Clubhouse Chat page. Those of you who are not a member won’t be aware that the location of the Clubhouse is shrouded in mystery. The only way to visit it is via membership or an invite to the tearoom. Every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation with all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers. Over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, I shall be chatting with my guest about their work in progress, or latest book release.

Today, I’m welcoming Jenny to the tearoom. Welcome.

Thank you for inviting me for a chat, Paula. The tearoom is amazing and look at all those cakes. Mmm.

Yes, the cakes are too lovely. I hope your freshly ground coffee is to your liking. My first question iscan you choose five of your favourite authors and list them in…

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Earlier this autumn, I began thinking about Remembrance Day. I always find it very moving and, like many, have been wondering how the occasion would be marked in these strange times. Would there be poppies for sale? How would the Annual Festival of Remembrance take place amidst social distancing requirements? Could I write something as my own tribute to the brave men and women who give so much to keep us all safe?

Then I chanced upon the Romantic Novelists’ Association flash fiction competition; we were invited to to write no more than 250 words on the theme of ‘Chasing Rainbows’. Suddenly I knew what I could write about. ‘Chasing Rainbows’ usually means pursuing an impossible dream, but what if you were a really determined and courageous person – couldn’t you make that dream come true?

I called my flash ‘Marching On’ and you can find it here:

Time For Change

I am thrilled to announce my short story ‘Time for Change’ has been published today on the Extinction Rebellion Creative Hub!

Please have a read and let me know what you think.

Many thanks due to Patsy Collins for broadcasting this opportunity on her Words about writing and writing about words blog.

Extinction Rebellion Creative Hub

... a short story for children of all ages ...

by Jenny Worstall, UK

‘Open the door! Let me out!’

Pulling at the handle, I glance out of the window. The spaceship’s taken off with me on board! I only stayed behind for a few extra minutes – how was I to know my teacher and the rest of the class would leave without me?

‘Weren’t you in that school party who were looking round?’

‘You shouldn’t be here.’

‘What the…’

‘Come and see the captain with us – immediately.’

Argh! Was I in a whole heap of trouble or what?

Long story short, they couldn’t turn back; they just had to get over themselves and make the most of having a seven year old on board for the first manned flight to Mars.

It’s so exciting I can hardly believe it – I’m hurtling through deep dark space, on…

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UPDATED Check your Author Page! A warning to Amazon Authors.

Amazon changed the price of ALL my books to free yesterday (1st May), for reasons best known to themselves.

I only found out about this by chance when I was scrolling through Amazon in an idle moment (yes, a lot of those at the moment). My eye was drawn to the cover of one of my novels with £0.00 written underneath, which led me to check my author page and find to my amazement everything was completely free (not just for Kindle Unlimited as usual, but everything). I didn’t mind about the short stories as I often put those on free download as part of a KDP promotion, hoping to draw readers to my novels (there are some short titles intentionally free at the moment), but I was somewhat agitated to see there had been multiple free downloads of my Sing with the Choir novels. Previously, they had only been free on a very few occasions, for example, Three Hundred Bridesmaids was free for a few days at the start of lock-down because I wanted to do something positive and cheery.

I am always happy, of course, to be discovered by new readers (and there’s the slight chance I might get a few reviews from Amazon’s mistake), but the feeling of powerlessness as I watched the books slipping away yesterday evening was tricky to deal with.

One of the problems with KDP is that you can only contact Amazon by email. They still haven’t replied (beyond an automated reply saying my email will receive a response in 1 to 2 days) but the books have now been priced correctly. Whether this is because I emailed in, or possibly some mighty bot picked up on the error, I don’t know (yet). Hopefully there will be some light shed on the subject later today or tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you feel moved to check out my Amazon Author Page (after hearing my tale of woe!), please be my guest.

Jenny Worstall Amazon Author Page

UPDATE: Sunday 3rd May

I’ve had not just one, but two emails from Amazon! One opened with Greetings from Amazon Senior Support (hoping this isn’t some sort of comment on my age or general decrepitude), and both emails expressed regret that all my books had been offered free, said their tech teams were aware of the problem and were working hard…thank you for your patience…etc. etc., you get the picture. Noticing the sign off warmest regards, my mind flooded immediately with visions of boiling pits of hell…again, you get the picture, but I digress.

In the meantime, my Facebook post about the subject has attracted a host of comments and I have learnt I am not alone (to misquote Matt Hancock). Many authors have sympathised; they too have watched helplessly as their books were downloaded with no payment. One author actually managed to get through to Amazon support on the phone. Well done you!

It’s worth pointing out that no one is blaming the down-loaders, as the books were advertised for free. Worth pointing out too that it’s obviously much worse for the more successful authors who have probably had non-paid-for downloads in the thousands. But even us less successful authors who get by with a few paid downloads here and there (and I am happy to admit I am in this category) have lost out, not least with the anxiety of the situation. At one point I was so desperate I considered unpublishing all my books (yes, all my babies, steadily growing on Amazon since 2012…). Only the bigger fear of trying to publish them again afterwards held me back; it would be bound to be horrendously complex and tricky and, knowing my luck, go spectacularly wrong. Besides, I had rather lost my trust in Amazon KDP at that point.

It has become apparent, although interestingly not confirmed (admitted?) by Amazon, that the whole kerfuffle has been caused by a computer glitch, triggered by the massive amount of price changing going on, itself a result of the abolition of VAT on ereading on Friday 1st May in UK.

Three cheers for the abolition of VAT on ebooks, but a miserable silence for the unintended adverse consequences for Amazon authors…

Will Amazon be compensating authors for lack of earnings? The jury’s still out on that, but I’m not holding my breath.

PS Reflect on this: the reading public now have kindles bulging with unintended freebies, and won’t be needing any new books for a long, long time.

PPS If you did, by any chance, download one of my books during the viral Amazon free-for-all, and, even bigger chance, you enjoy reading it, I have a very simple message:


Jenny Worstall Facebook

Jenny Worstall Author Facebook Page

FURTHER UPDATE: Tuesday 5th May

Computer says no! Just heard from Amazon and they say this:

I hope this email finds you well and my apologies again that some of your books were falsely offered for free.

I understand your concern with the missed royalties due to the books offered for free, and I’m sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused. However, I hope you’ll understand that we are unable to offer compensation in relation to this matter.

That’s it then, although I have replied and will update if I hear anything interesting.

FINAL UPDATE: Friday 8th May

It’s VE day and I have good news! This arrived from Amazon:

On May 1, a technical issue caused your book(s) to be incorrectly set to free. We’ve since fixed the issue and will be creating a royalty adjustment in your KDP account to compensate for free units purchased. This adjustment will be added to your July royalty payment…We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.

After a week, a result! Shows it’s worth (politely) asking again if the first answer is ‘no’. I sincerely hope all the other authors who have suffered in the same way will be getting a similar email very soon

Doesn’t he know there’s a war on?! Reblogged from Clare Cooper’s ‘Hampton Caught’ Blog

This daily dose of sanity in a mad world is highly recommended!

Hampton Caught

Update from my friend in the Midlands supermarket: things are relatively calm, there, for now, but apparently their stocks of air fresheners and scented candles are flying off the shelves as soon as they arrive, along with toilet cleaners and unblockers. (My apologies if you are reading this while eating. Bon appetit!) I think we can all do the maths for that one.  I wonder what the next big thing will be…

In fact, I think I already know the answer (waves hand in air). Earplugs. The days are warmer and one’s delightful neighbours are using their outside space a lot more.  (Ours are outside with their children for most of every day now. I pray for rain so that I can get out there and enjoy our garden in peace… oh, wait.)

Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I’m trying out new earplugs.  I already use small foam ones that…

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Spring Clean!

It’s spring and it’s time to keep busy!

My books all have brand new covers and I can’t wait to show them off.

The first to be changed was the recently published novel, Three Hundred Bridesmaids. It now has a picture of Shaston School where Rosie Peach and David Hart work. They first meet on the drive, when David offers Rosie a lift…

Three Hundred Bridesmaids Cover 2

My first two novels, Make a Joyful Noise and The Funny Business of Life now have covers that highlight their musical settings. They are available as paperbacks and ebooks.

Make a Joyful Noise ebook cover

The Funny Business of Life ebook cover

My three novels make up the Sing with the Choir collection. They aren’t a series in the way Harry Potter is (the second and third books aren’t sequels to the first), but they are grouped together because they all feature choral music and choirs. Oh, and I do believe there is a certain Tristan Proudfoot, a conductor, who pops up in all three books to a varying degree and at different ages.

Make a Joyful Noise (Sing with the Choir Book 1)

The Funny Business of Life (Sing with the Choir Book 2)

Three Hundred Bridesmaids (Sing with the Choir Book 3)

My shorter works have also been treated to a spring clean and you can see all the covers on my Amazon Author site here, or perhaps here if you live on the other side of the pond.

What to do next with your Pocket Novel?

I am a guest today on Patsy Collins’ wonderful Womag Blog, talking about what you can do with your Pocket Novel after it has been published. Please see here for the guest post.

It is an absolute pleasure to appear on Patsy’s blog; she works selflessly to provide an up-to-date resource for writers of fiction for the women’s magazine market and her work is much appreciated and often commented on. See here for her appearance as Writer of the Week on The People’s Friend website.

Patsy has her own site too showcasing her published romantic novels and short story collections along with many other interesting articles and features. It’s well worth a visit! Please take a look here.

#Throwback Thursday #BookReview Make a Joyful Noise by Jenny Worstall @JennyWorstall

3 Sixty Five Blog

For several years I wrote a book blog and accumulated comments on a wealth of really good reads.

I saw on Twitter that Renee at It’s Book Talk started using the #ThrowbackThursday meme as a way to share books that are old favourites or have been waiting to be read for a long time.

I decided to visit my old book reviews and re-post my favourites here on 3sixtyfiveblog for #ThrowbackThursday.

So far I’ve included

An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy by June Kearns

Kings and Queens by TerryTyler


Blood-Tied by Wendy Percival

This week it’s Make a Joyful Noise by Jenny Worstall, a romantic comedy with some unusual twists.

From the Amazon book description:

‘Make a Joyful Noise’ (Sing with the Choir Book 1), is the sparkling tale of a choir preparing for a very special Christmas performance of “Belshazzar’s Feast”.

We meet a host of characters who…

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