The real life “St. Mary’s”

Hey there, Golden gang!

I hope you had a gorgeous week. I have been beavering away in my cottage writing. I've also been hanging out with my family and catching buses. Or not.

I had planned to show you pictures of a nearby town today. It's a terribly pretty place, but the bus didn't arrive to take me there! I waited so patiently at the bus stop on the right side of the road, too.

I went to the local shop to enquire but was met with a shrug. “It's a village bus service, hit or miss.”

Not to be thwarted in my plan, however, I went for a walk. This week I have news and then pictures.

(Drum roll) Ta-da!

Book cover of Death at the Cafe by Alison GoldenI have uploaded the new Annabelle covers to Amazon. You can also see them in the footer of this newsletter. The project has taken over two years, many hours, and iterations to complete. I think they are fabulous!

The covers feature custom illustrations created to better reflect the style and Englishness of the Annabelle universe. We also got a hint of religiosity in there, just a hint.

The team comprised of me, my project manager and cover designer, Barney, and illustrator Ian. The little cats are a fun touch we are particularly proud of.

This is part of a bigger rebrand and in the coming months, you will see new design elements popping up including a line of exclusive merch. You will hear about that here first, and hopefully have the chance to purchase. Stick with me for that!

Starter Library

Chaos in Cambridge by Alison Golden
The cover of Chaos in Cambridge in your free starter library has also been updated. To get my free starter library, just sign up for my newsletter here!

“St. Mary's”

On my walk yesterday I found my way to the church and graveyard that inspired St. Mary's in the Annabelle books.

“In the center of the huddle of buildings, also reaching up to the sky was the soaring, majestic stone spire of St. Mary’s. Annabelle was particularly fond of the effect of the yellow lichen that grew on the steeple’s sides. It made the five-centuries-old spire appear to glow when the sun shone in the late afternoon, a sight she could see now as she made her way there. Annabelle always fancied that the spire acted as an alternative compass needle for villagers and travelers, directing them to a place of care and comfort when they were away from home.” Killer at the Cult.

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Church graveyards the country over have headstones like these – higgledy-piggledy due to the settling of the ground. These were hard to decipher but were at least 150 years old. Gravestones like this inspired the sub-plot in Grave at the Garage where Annabelle is wrestling with the church cemetery renovation.

“THE USUAL FEELINGS of peace and tranquility that beset Annabelle whenever she walked around St. Mary’s centuries-old graveyard were not present today. She walked slowly between the decrepit, leaning stones, avoiding patches of sodden, forlorn grass that even a cow would turn its nose up at, her feet heavy as they crunched dry leaves underfoot. She shivered and pulled her black cassock tighter around her, not yet accustomed to the wintery chill.” Grave in the Garage.

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The church entrance. Imagine this scene down the church path.

“Mike laughed and took her hand, and they almost leapt down the aisle. Smiling at the congregation, they passed through the church entrance before stopping in surprise. On both sides of the church path were police officers, truncheons aloft, tips touching to form an arch. Constable Raven was there along with Derbyshire, Jenny McAllister back from maternity leave, Harris, and Colback. Even Chambers and Rose had returned from secondment to other forces for the day. But when she looked closer, Annabelle noticed that shoulder to shoulder with the officers were protectors of a quite different kind. Dylan, the bear-man, was the first person Annabelle recognised, and then as she looked, she saw that every other guard was a traveller. Their arches were formed from sticks, each decorated with pink flowers and green vines undoubtedly pulled from the woods they camped next to. A guard of honour had assembled.” Witches at the Wedding.

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I had a lovely afternoon poking around the village, bus in absentia notwithstanding. I'll be back next week with more news and views. Check back in on Thursday. Who knows what I'll have for you then. Really, who knows? ☺️

Happy reading!

Chaos in Cambridge by Alison Golden
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