RELEASE DAY!

It’s finally here! Manny SOS is available to buy as an ebook and paperback!

It’s strange to think that the niggling idea I had for a reality TV show romance novel that took the best bits of Supernanny (ie—not the dubious child advice!), Mary Poppins, then smushing it with Queer Eye actually came into fruition.

No matter how much the idea lived rent free in my brain I thought it was a silly idea that no one would want to read about.

Then I happened to mention it to a friend and she persuaded me to run with it, and believe me it had many different reincarnations before it became Manny SOS!

My main hurdle was—If the mannies aren’t going into families to give childcare advice what are they there for?

It kind of came about organically as I wrote after that. Most working parents I know need help to look after their kids during the school holidays—but what if there was a single dad who didn’t have a network of friends and family to help? What if there was no childminder or holiday club he could take them to?

So mannies who come and help for the school holidays was kind of born. And it might evolve and change as the series go on, but it gave me a basis to start from and I had loads of fun putting Aiden, Carter and the kids in front of the cameras!

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Manny SOS Exclusive Short Story

Hi Everyone, thanks for popping along! My new novel Manny SOS, is going to be out in a few short days! Here is an exclusive short I hope you enjoy! And if you haven’t already, go check out the companion short story Mystery of the Missing Socks at Love Bytes Reviews!

Can We Keep Him? by Andi Lee

“Can you believe it took them so long to find the socks?” Luke whispered as he snuggled into his duvet and looked at his brother lying on the bed opposite.

Ryan snorted, and Luke winced. His brother was always so loud. “Shhh!” He slapped his finger to his lips and glared. “Stop being noisy. What if daddy hears and comes to check on us?”

Ryan sat up. “He’s downstairs watching TV with Carter. Can’t you hear it? It sounds bo-ring.”

Luke pulled himself into a sitting position and tapped the nightlight, so it was a bit brighter. Though not enough that their daddy would be able to see it through the gap under the door. They’d learned that the hard way.

“Adults are so stupid,” Luke said with a shake of his head when he was sure neither daddy or Carter had heard them. “I would have found the socks a million years ago.”

Ryan giggled behind his hand. “Me too! It took them a bazillion years to find ’em!”

“I know! I laughed whenever they sat on the swingy chair!”

“You know what we should do next? Hide Carter’s socks,” Ryan slid out of his bed and jumped onto Luke’s and they got under the covers together.

“Why?”

“So he doesn’t leave.”

Luke wasn’t sure that would work. He really didn’t want Carter to leave. Carter was so much fun. He hadn’t believed it at first. But he knew loads of games and he had a camper van full of toys!

“What if he just buys new socks, like he did for us?” They needed a really good plan to get him to stay forever and ever.

Ryan rolled his eyes and flopped onto his back. “Maybe we need to hide something more important.”

“His Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle slippers?”

“Something even more important than that…His rainbow suspenders. Or his camper van!”

Luke wasn’t sure how they’d manage it, but that sounded awesome! Getting Carter to stay, and possibly driving the camper—how cool would that be?

The best part, though? It was Ryan’s idea so there was no way he’d get in trouble for it.

“Do you know what would be mega amazing with cherries on the top?” Ryan said.

“What?”

“If we could get Carter to be Daddy’s boyfriend. He wouldn’t leave then.” That would be even better than driving a camper.

UKMEET 2020…I mean 2022!

Finally back from the UKMEET. Well, ok that ended last Sunday but I carried on partying with Penny and TA Moore and by party I mean potter around the shops, eat a lot, go to Costa, nap, and generally catch up because it’s the first time we’ve all seen each other since the pandemic.

The Meet was awesome as usual! I caught up with lots of old friends, met some new ones, bought books, both physical and ebooks!

It’s the first meet I’ve been to where I actually went as a published author which was surreal and scary and awesome—all rolled into one! Thanks to everyone who came to talk to me and those who bought my books—you’ve made my year!

This is the first big thing I’ve been to since the pandemic and I won’t lie, the anxiety was strong!! I’m not used to speaking to people, or being around so many people, but many of us introverted writers and readers are like that so I was amongst friends! Everyone is so nice there and the organisers really look after you!

I went to some interesting panels, such as world building which was great because they talked about world building in contemporary fiction as well as the fantasy world, which you don’t get a lot of. It also made me realise I need to update my series bibles!

The branding and marketing panel was also really interesting—And has given me some ideas I just need to put into practice.

And on another important note I had Korean food for the first time! Bibimbab, and Korean fried chicken—how did I go so long without either?!! And Mochi! So yummy! And cake—so much cake! I have eaten sooo much this week and it was glorious!

I feel kind of lost now. We’ve all been waiting for this for so long, looking forward to the UKMEET and geeking out over books after a shitty few years and now with a blink of the eye it’s over!

What am I supposed to do now? Write you say?….

UKMEET 2022

Who else is going to the UK Meet in September? https://ukglbtfictionmeet.co.uk/2022-schedule/

I shall be the awkward author in the corner too nervous to talk so if I squeak like a mouse or forget what words are it’s the nerves! But even though I’m nervous–this will be the first event I’ve done since I’ve had actual books published, I’m really excited too. I can’t wait to discover some new books, go to a few panels and generally be around other bookish people and soak up the good vibes.

I’ll also have my newest book Manny SOS available for those that like low angst contemporary romance!

See you all there!

You can hide a lot with a smile.

(Trigger Warning: talk of loss by suicide & bereavement)

My best friend was the life and soul of the party. She was confident, clever, people gravitated towards her. Three years ago she took her own life.

Three years on and I still think of her every day. It’s hard to be in the world and know she’s not in it.

it’s hard to come to terms with knowing that when she was taking her own life I was walking the dog on a park five minutes from her house.

I’ve been sad, I’ve been angry and every emotion in between. I’ve thought I was going mad because I didn’t know how to deal with the overwhelming grief that felt too big for my body to hold. I didn’t think it would ever leave. I was terrified I would always feel like that.

Grief doesn’t ever go away. You just learn to live with it. And eventually the sharp desperate, maddening insanity you feel doesn’t take up quite so much room inside you every minute of every day. Maybe you can get through one day without crying, or you can laugh at reruns of Friends. At some point you can talk about the things you did together and smile.

The tsunami of grief turns into waves that hit unexpectedly; if I watch Pitch Perfect 3, or if I see a pigeon on the street or hear Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl.

Then there’s the birthday and anniversary waves. They’re not as turbulent as the 1st anniversary waves were. First birthday after she died, first Christmas etc, but the waves ebb and flow and sometimes the sadness comes with a nostalgic smile and sometimes they come with tears of disbelief. But the waves do ebb and flow and I’m not afraid that the grief will eat me whole anymore. It will come and it will go.

But some days i still forget she’s not here for half a second. A barely formed thought will appear and I’ll reach for my phone to call her.

I think of what she’d say about the world right now. Of the pandemic—I imagine she’d be giving loads of zoom tutoring during lockdown and doing some fun exciting kids read along story time to get kids excited about books.

I wonder about silly things too, like when Philip Schofield came out as gay because she always had a crush on him. I imagine something witty she’d say about missing her chance with him.

I think of what we’d do if she was here. How we would have gone on social distanced walks during lockdown, and how we’d talk about our writing everyday.

The world is a colder, scarier place now. Because if she can do something like that then what other horrors are out there?

She was a big part of my life for over twenty years and I miss her. We met on the bus on our way to college, we went to uni together, lived together, partied, argued, she travelled the world then eventually came home, and I stayed home the whole time, but we’ve always been friends.

Sometimes it feels like she’s just gone travelling and one day she will be back to tell me all about it.

Being left behind In this way is a weird thing. It’s like I’m living in the twilight zone. Everything is mostly the same, there’s just one thing missing. It’s small and huge at the same time.

I phoned a helpline shortly after it happened. It was one given to us by work so not specifically for suicide bereavement. The woman on the phone obviously had no training in this because she said to me “haven’t you had anyone in your life die before?”

It’s not about the dying. I’ve had aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers die—but not one of them took their own life. It’s a different kind of grief when that happens.

It’s also mixed with guilt, shock, anger and you can’t stop playing the what if game—what if I’d asked her to walk the dog with me—what if I’d got her to stop at mine the night before— a hundred different scenarios that play on a never ending loop in my head and drive me crazy because I can’t do anything about it. But what if?

The grief bordered on insanity and I never thought I’d claw out of it. I’ve spoken to more specialised volunteers since then, People who have been through it too. But what helped the most was going to see a counsellor and just talk. And cry. There was and is still a lot of crying.

This is the first time I’ve talked about this online, I’ve seen a few things on the news—someone falling/jumping off the balcony in a shopping centre, an incident on the railway track and I think about their families and friends and understand a little of their pain.

Suicide Grief is a maddening, crazy, overwhelming, lonely thing to experience. If anyone is going through this don’t try to do it alone. Speak to a counsellor,or experienced volunteers. I spoke to Cruse https://www.cruse.org.uk

If you’re having suicidal thoughts then know that you are loved and also consider getting help.

Here are a few links

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helping-someone-else/supporting-someone-who-feels-suicidal/useful-contacts/

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/behaviours/help-for-suicidal-thoughts/

Books for the bereaved:

Unfinished Conversation: Healing… https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/193700645X?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Wilderness of Suicide Grief: Finding Your Way (Understanding Your Grief) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1879651688/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_FTP4HQ6NEEQZRDX63WS5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

for those suffering with depression/suicidal thoughts

Reasons to Stay Alive https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1782116826/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_YXF9S1PD7NDS2N81H4VF

Risky Business Blog Tour

Hi Everyone! Thanks for stopping here on the last leg of the tour for Risky Business. If you’d like to learn a little bit more about me in under three minutes check out my TiKTok where I attempted to answer as many questions as I could!

Risky Business by Andi Lee
Veterinarian Dane Vincent is used to being unlucky in love. That’s why his crush on new friend Ben is No Big Deal. He’s more than happy to swoop to Ben’s rescue when he brings a ferret into his practice. It’s what friends do—and vets.

Ben Clifford came to Lockstone for a new job and a fresh start. He didn’t expect to make friends, never mind a tightknit group of them. They’re all wacky and wonderful, and he fits right in, something he’s never done before. They even support him when he finds a ferret at work and decides to keep the cute little bundle of joy.

There’s just one tiny problem. Ben’s house doesn’t allow pets.

Moving into Dane’s spare room is meant to be temporary, but the more time he spends with him, the less he wants to leave. They connect on a level he’s never experienced before, and slowly but surely, the feelings of friendship Ben has for Dane morph into something deeper.

The question is… does he have the courage to act on them?

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway!

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Salon Du Livre

It doesn’t seem real that not only is my novel Mischief Maker being translated into French by the amazing Juno Publishing, I’m also going to be attending the Salon this March!

This will be my first official outing as an author and I’m so excited and just a little bit nervous!

I’ll be the one who knows no French (I’m sorry!) and will probably even forget how to speak English…but speaking Rat is much more fun anyway!

If anyone wants to come say hi, or tell me how much they love rats–perhaps even show me a photo or twelve of their own rats then I’ll be ecstatic!