The Rosie’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) awards. VOTE NOW for your 2017 favourite.

Absolutely thrilled to find Donkey Boy & Other Stories is a finalist in Rosie Amber’s book awards for 2017.

Rosie Amber

The Rosie’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) awards are back! 

Now in their third year, I’m delighted to open the public vote.  The books were chosen from the hundreds submitted to our team for review in 2017.   My team of reviewers were asked to nominate their favourites; here are those that made the final cut.

You may vote for one book in each category.  Please only vote for books that you honestly feel deserve an award, in accordance with the authenticity of my team’s reviews.

Voting closes on December 15th and the results will be announced  on Tuesday December 19th.

Meanwhile, huge congratulations to all the finalists!

Fantasy /Scifi

General Contemporary Fiction


Mystery / Thriller



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donkey boy & other stories out now in paperback

donkey boy book-cover-k v1I’m delighted to announce the paperback version of Donkey Boy & Other Stories is now available.

I had a launch event recently along with fellow author Lynn Otty who has also brought out her own collection of short stories called Having a Ball & Other Stories.

It was a lovely evening and great to see so many friends who came along to share in our celebrations with fizz and nibbles, a couple of short readings, lots of sales and a lot of chatter. Only, we forgot to take any photos apart from one Lynn’s son took before our guests arrived.

having a ball front coverDonkey Boy has already started to collect some fabulous reviews on Amazon and on review sites such as this one, which had me dancing round my desk, on Linda’s Book Bag:
“With under 80 pages, Donkey Boy and Other Stories can fit into any reader’s busy life.

What a little gem this book is. There’s a super variety of stories packed with atmospheric and entertaining writing containing both pathos and humour. Mary Smith manages to convey clear and distinct voices for each of her brilliant characters, from a Pakistani boy to an elderly Scottish woman. What I liked so much about every one of them is at I felt I knew them instantly and understood them completely but without the author imposing her own judgement on them as they make their way through life.

I loved the unifying themes across each of the stories too. Whilst each story has its own unique identity, Mary Smith explores themes that encroach into all our lives, from poverty in third world countries, through domestic abuse to mental health, grief, fear, love and disability. She does so with skill and finesse, never preaching, but conveying a wonderful sense of humanity for the misrepresented, lost and lonely and for those living unconventionally or outside social norms. I enjoyed every single tale, but especially the last in the book, The Thing in Your Eye, with its slightly supernatural undercurrent as Molly sees ‘Nasties’ in strangers’ eyes. The opening story, Donkey Boy, set in Pakistan also made me think about my own behaviour as I shall be travelling to India next year and will obviously be tipping those I come into contact with.

I really appreciated Mary Smiths wonderful craft in creating a sense of place, time and person so that although these are brief stories, each has a completeness and there’s real satisfaction in reading them.

I found Donkey Boy and Other Stories a moving, engaging and beautifully written collection that has the ability to touch the reader, make them thankful for their own life and to make them think. I’m delighted to have read it.”

And this ‘little gem’ of a book is an absolute bargain, if I say so myself, at only £4.50.

Buy it here:

lynn and mary

Sunday morning, going up

IMG_3794I thought I was excited enough when the lovely folk at Avon told me to expect The Little Village Christmas to reach #7 in the Sunday Times Fiction Paperbacks chart today. Then I bought the paper this morning – and found it at #6!

I officially became a Sunday Times bestselling author last week when The Little Village Christmas popped up at #17 but to reach the top ten makes me feel more relaxed about claiming the title ‘Sunday Times bestselling author’. It’s something I’ve coveted for so long without ever really expecting it to apply to me.

After all, it’s been a while coming. Over more than 21 years 150+ of my short stories have been published, along with 250+ columns or articles, three courses, six serials, a writing guide, and a novella. I’ve judged 120+ writing competitions, appraised dozens of manuscripts and led a host of writing courses and workshops. And The Little Village Christmas is my twelfth novel.

IMG_3790So, when I treated myself to these frivolous but beautiful boots yesterday I was celebrating every one of those steps along the road to seeing my name and the title of my book in the Sunday Times today.

My thanks go to every editor who has chosen my work over the years, the whole wonderful Avon team, my amazing agent Juliet Pickering, the writer of every good review and each member of my fantastic street team.

Most of all, thanks to my lovely readers, who made this joyous celebration possible by buying my books. Thank you.

Jenny Harper – there’s nothing like a new jacket!

facebook banner 2017When I signed a four-book contract with Accent Press a few years ago, my life suddenly went into overdrive. They took over two novels, published a third within a few weeks, and the fourth the following year. The fifth and sixth followed about a year after that, along with a summer novella.

There have been ups and downs: holding each book in my hand has been a genuine thrill, seeing them on sale in shops even more gratifying. There have been rights deals too … but looking at their trajectory, I felt there had been some missed opportunities. The earlier novels, in particular, were rather neglected, and overall, I felt my ‘brand’ was underdeveloped.

Thankfully, Accent agreed, and after discussion, my entire oeuvre (gosh, that does sound grand!) is being rejacketed.

I’m thrilled with what they’ve come up with – and I’d love your feedback too. Over the next little while, I’d like to reintroduce you to them, starting with the very first one, Face the Wind and Fly, which deals with love, loss and family life against the background of a controversial project that fractures the local community.

Face The Wind and Fly 2017After fifteen years of happy marriage, wind farm engineer Kate Courtenay discovers that her charismatic novelist husband is spending more and more of his time with a young fan. She throws herself into her work, a contentious wind farm  that’s stirring up tempers in the local community. Sparks fly when she goes head to head against its most outspoken opponent, local gardener Ibsen Brown – a man with a past of his own. But a scheme for a community garden brings the sparring partners together, producing the sort of electricity that threatens to short circuit the whole system.

I think this fabulous image captures the spirit of the novel completely, and I do hope you like it!

Available on Amazon in ebook and paperback here

The Little Village Christmas paperback hits the shelves!

OK, you got me. Sometimes, as for Christmas books, I get two publication days! Today is when the rather fetching sparkly paperback of The Little Village Christmas hits the shelves even though I was all excited about the ebook four weeks ago.

It’s still exciting that from today readers can buy the printed version for their bookshelves or as Christmas presents – or put it on their own Christmas wishlist, of course!


I’ll be celebrating by joining Bernie Keith on BBC Radio Northampton about 10.30 a.m. and maybeeeeee with a couple of glasses of wine tonight. Or three. It’s a joy to celebrate the culmination of all those months of work to bring you a new book. As part of the general jollity, watch out for my newsletter and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for competitions to win one of these pretty prizes that I had made for me by crafter Pebbles by Jenn. They all have to go! Although I’m so in love with them … No! They DO have to go! Try and win one.



Ribbon bookmarks, key rings and wine bottle charms.