Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Please welcome friend and author, Lizzie Chantree...

... to my blog today.  Hello Lizzie and thanks for being here.
LC   Thank you for inviting me onto your blog today Angela.  Hello everyone.  My name is Lizzie Chantree and I’m a romance writer.  I thought I’d talk about the locations of my books and what inspires my writing.
I have run my own businesses for years and I find that all of my stories revolve around people with unusual creative ideas and businesses.  The main characters often have issues in some way and the setting of the books stem from the business idea they have.  In my first book, Babe Driven, the owner of a ‘hot’ new chauffeur company realises that someone is trying to sabotage her business.  She worries that the problem is within her own family, so she whisks her sister to an exotic island to keep her away from everyone else, while she works out what to do, or if she’s involved.  It was so much fun to write about sandy beaches and exotic locations with yachts, cocktails and supercars, and some sexy band members who cause havoc for the main character of the book whilst she is trying to save her business.
My more recent novels have all been set in the UK.  I travel quite a lot within the UK and I am always looking out for quirky little towns, as I adore historical buildings and exciting modern architecture.  They have so much charm and character or a dramatic setting that they make the perfect starting point for a good story.  I often write my books by hand in A4 lined notebooks, so it’s easy to wander around and take in details of the place I’m visiting.  I use the excuse that I need to test out the local coffee shops so that I make time to sit and dream about new stories whilst drinking frothy coffee and eating huge slabs of cake.  This doesn’t help my waistline, but it does make me very happy while I’m writing!
My latest book, If you love me, I’m yours, is set in a pretty little village, just outside of a bustling town.  The village is far enough away to be serene, like many other pretty villages in the UK, but close enough to travel into town if you happened to be looking for more excitement.  In this story, the drama finds itself in the centre of the quaint village when someone begins to leave beautiful artworks on park benches with little brown tags saying, If you love me I’m yours.  The newspapers hear about the story and suddenly the locality is swarming with journalists looking for the amazing new talent.  This interlinks the main characters from the town and village and brings the two worlds together in an exciting culmination of events.  The book is full of friendship, laughter and lots of sizzling romance.
AW   Thanks Lizzie and happy writing.

about the author...  Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000.  She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other.  She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

about the book...  Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really.  She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun!  She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.
Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice. 
Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.
Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down. 
Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

You can follow Lizzie on her website  on  Facebook   Twitter  Instagram  and on  Goodreads
You can get her book here

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Friend and author, Val Penny returns...

... to the blog today to talk about plotting her second book, Hunter's Revenge.  So, Val, I'm a spreadsheet plotter myself, but what about you? 
VP   Thank you for having me on your blog today, Angela.  It is lovely to be here and be able to share the writing of my new novel 'Hunter's Revenge' and how I went about plotting the story.
I think that plotting is central to writing a novel, but it is a highly individual process.  No two authors plot in the same way.  Some plot organically while others plot in a very orderly fashion.  Many writers even plot differently from one book to another.  Some write scenes: hundreds of scenes that interest and excite them and then they stitch the scenes together to from the novel.  While others visualise the way the book will take shape using dozens of bits of paper laid out on their desk or even on the floor.  It must be important to make sure the windows are closed if you plot this way!
Some authors use tree diagrams, spreadsheets or mind-maps to plot and there is software available to download online for this.
However you plot your novel, the goal is the same, to allow the journey the plot is about to take, that will last several months, to become a novel.  It is important that you, as an author, choose between the 'organic' and 'orderly' methods of plotting so you are comfortable that your choice works best for you and the book you are setting out to write.  I plotted my first novel 'Hunter's Chase' organically but, after attending a course run by Sue Moorcroft at last years' Swanwick Writers' Summer School, I plotted the sequel 'Hunter's Revenge' using diagrams and spreadsheets.  Neither is wrong.  Both have strength and weaknesses and either can be successful for crafting a novel.
Writers who follow an organic way of plotting, approach the outline largely as a form of awareness of the story, rather than as an actual document to be followed strictly.  Many view the outline not so much as a planning device but more of an analytical tool that helps strengthen the final draft by indicating the flaws in the story-line.
Some authors begin with an idea and just jump in to tell the story.  They write steadily and regularly until they have written tens of thousands of words.  Then they go through the organic draft and delete large chunks and add other pieces until the final manuscript is complete.
Other authors, like Sue Moorcroft, plot meticulously and there is no doubt that plotting an outline is hard work.  However, having undertaken an outline on 'Hunter's Revenge', I found myself writing my novel with confidence.  I was happy that one chapter followed another in a sensible sequence.  My characters retained their identities.  Of course, at the end of the first draft, there were flaws, but I found I was able to repair those readily. Whether you plot organically or in an orderly fashion, the important issue is that you can tell the story to your readers and that you, and they, are satisfied with your novel.

about the author... Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland.  She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats.  She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University.  She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store.  Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.  Her crime novels, 'Hunter's Chase' and Hunter's Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books.

You can follow Val on her website on Facebook and Twitter 
Her book is available for pre-order here

and here's an excerpt for you to enjoy...

            East Germany, January 1968
            The last thing Georg did on his eighteenth birthday was kill a man.
            He really hadn’t meant to kill the Stasi officer in front of him, but it was him or Georg – and Georg did not want to die. It was the first time he’d seen a corpse. The streets were slick with ice. The man lost his balance and cracked his head on the pavement. Georg stared down at the body: there was blood and brains all over the pavement. He looked into the officer’s eyes. They stared blindly to heaven, but Georg knew there wasn’t a Stasi officer on earth who was going there. He looked away from death and towards his friends in horror, but when they saw what had happened, they scattered. Georg picked up the officer’s gun and began to run. More Stasi officers appeared as the boys fled.
            Georg was out of breath when he got home.
            “What’s the rush, son?” his father asked.
            “Shit, Dad! It’s bad.”
            “You’re drunk! No language in this house, boy,” said his grandmother.
            “Dad, the boys and me were leaving the bar to come home and we saw a Stasi officer”
            “We were laughing and having fun.”
            “For a laugh I knocked his hat off.”
            “Idiot! You know Stasi have no sense of humour. Ever. So what next?”
            “He pulled his gun and told us to stand silently against the wall.”
            “And you apologised and complied, I hope.”
            “I panicked and punched him. He slipped on the ice and fell over. He hit his head on the ground, and when I checked him, he wasn’t breathing. He was dead. I just took his gun and ran.”
            The silence in the room was deafening.
            “You did what? You f— idiot! Did you really punch a Stasi officer? Are you mad? You know we don’t even have to openly engage in resistance to draw the attention of the Stasi and incur its retribution. Just failing to conform with mainstream society can be enough. Shit! I sired a fool.” Georg’s father’s red face reflected his rage.
            “And now you are here,” his grandmother added. “You ran home, leading them straight to us. We will all die now. Thank you.”
            “What is all the noise?” Georg’s mother came through from the kitchen, drying her hands on her apron. His twin sister Ingrid and younger brother Wilhelm followed her. They looked bewildered. Their father rarely raised his voice, especially not to Georg.
            As his father explained the issues, Georg’s mother burst into tears.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Please welcome, friend and author, Kate Braithwaite...

...to the blog today.  Hello, Kate, and thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here and I believe you have a very interesting story for us...

The story of how I came to write The Road to Newgate begins with me stumbling around the internet and coming across the Wikipedia page for a man called Titus Oates.  I was researching an entirely different novel, Charlatan, which is set in late 1670’s and early 1680’s Paris, a time when the court of Louis XIV was rocked by a poisoning scandal.  But here was a distraction.  I was intrigued to discover that at precisely the same time as my French story was unfolding, this Titus Oates, a person I had never heard of before, had London in an uproar with revelations of a catholic conspiracy to overthrow Charles II.
Research for historical novels is full of divergences and red herrings.  There are always things to find out and rabbit holes of information to disappear into. Titus Oates had nothing to do with my work in progress but a few clicks later, when I found him sitting smugly at number 7 in a BBC History Extra article about the “10 worst Britons in History,” I knew I was onto something. Fortunately… or unfortunately… it was something pretty complicated.
The Popish Plot consumed London life between 1678 and 1682.  Titus Oates was really a nobody before he and a friend, Israel Tonge, revealed a vast narrative of plots against Charles II which they lodged with a well-known magistrate, Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey.  Their story was the kind of wild conspiracy that in other times would have gone nowhere, but bigotry and suspicion of Catholics was rife amongst Londoners, many of whom believed Catholics were behind the Great Fire of 1666, only twelve years earlier. Parliament was also at loggerheads with King Charles.  Yes, the monarchy had been restored but much of Charles’ reign was consumed with a struggle for power between himself and the elected members of Parliament in the House of Commons who had invited him back in 1660.  And then there was the question of the succession.  Charles had several children, but none were legitimate offspring from his marriage to Catherine de Braganza.  His heir was his brother James, a Catholic, setting the scene for the looming Exclusion Crisis when Parliament sought to deny James the right to succeed to his brother’s throne.  Add to that the fact that party politics were emerging. Journalism and the production of political newspapers and pamphlets were exploding into action, carrying news of all kinds, true and untrue.  Titus Oates was the right man in the right place at the right time – at least from his perspective.
But how does this make him one of the 10 worst Britons?  Quite simply because none of his claims were true.  Even with all the conditions outlined above, Titus Oates still may not have been taken seriously but for two key events.  Firstly, one of the many, many people he claimed were plotting against the King in his depositions to the magistrate Edmund Godfrey, was actually guilty as charged.  That man, Edward Coleman, was Charles’s brother James’s secretary and papers were found in his rooms proving he had corresponded with French contacts hoping to see James become King and England a Catholic country again.  And then the magistrate, Edmund Godfrey, was found dead in a ditch, strangled and with his own sword thrust through his chest.  The public outcry at his apparent murder was instantaneous.  Oates was deemed the Saviour of the Nation, installed in Whitehall and allowed to arrest anyone and everyone named in his deposition, whether they were Lords of the realm or ordinary men and women.  Trials and executions followed.  But it was all based on lies.
about the book...  What price justice?
London 1678.
Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II.  The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.
Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations.  Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure.  And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.
When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.

about the author...  Kate Braithwaite was born and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Her first novel, Charlatan, was longlisted for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Award.  Kate lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children. 

You can follow Kate on   Facebook  Twitter her Website  and  on her Blog  
You can get her book  Here

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Interview with Miss Moonshine

I have a very special guest on the blog today.  She features in a number of short stories, she is universally admired and, some say she has special powers.  Please welcome, Miss Moonshine from 'Miss Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings'.

MissM  Thank you for inviting me, dear. I have Napoleon with me, he's not too well today and I don't like to leave him by himself when he's poorly.  I hope you don't mind.
AW    Not at all and I hope he's feeling better very soon. We'll talk quietly, as he's snoozing.  So, you feature in a new book, an anthology.  Tell me, what was it really like working with nine very different writers?
MissM  Not that difficult at all.  Naturally, they all had their own ideas of me as a character.  They each had a very individual setting for their stories, so there were one or two moments when I felt that not quite everything gelled.  So, I peered over their shoulders and planted the slightest whisper of a suggestion in their minds.  By the time they came to collate all their work and look at it as a whole, there was nothing further for me to do.  It was a pleasure and an education to work with them all.

AW  I notice on the back cover of the book, there is a small silhouette of you and Napoleon.  I must say, you are looking very elegant in your Edwardian dress and hat.  It's very different from the Doc Martens described in the book, though.
MissM  I am, as the people who need me perceive me. Sometimes they barely perceive me at all.  Take Clare Sampson, for instance. When she first visited, she was so lost in sorrow that she had stopped noticing the world around her.  It was a pleasure to help her open her eyes again – and now she always comments on what I’m wearing!  And I do love Edwardian styles.  The wide-brimmed hats are my particular favourite.  You could fit a whole menagerie onto one of those hats. Of course, the skirts aren’t practical at all – hopeless for running in, for example.  But sometimes it’s nice to be impractical.

AW  Your amazing Emporium, Miss Moonshine, how do you know that the objects you select or are given for sale, are the ones that you really need?
MissM  It's just wisdom and insight. As soon as Beatrice Diamond came into my shop, I knew she was looking for something more in her life.  I gave Beatrice something she might find useful, but of course, in the end, it was Beatrice herself who took hold of her first chance at freedom and flew away with it. When Hettie Brown walked back into my store a decade after her last stay in Haven Bridge, I knew she would need a helping hand.  Finding her the perfect vintage outfit for her day with a handsome local and a gentle hint or three about rethinking her direction in life was all just part of the service, of course!  But, Lola Brown, needed direction, and her colourful jewellery told me she would appreciate the Angel Stone. I don’t normally give away my stock, but I sensed she was in a confused state that day, poor girl. However, the stone soon began to work its magic.

AW   Interesting!  About you magical powers –
MissM  I'm sorry to interrupt, my dear.  But magical powers? I would never say that.  When you have dealt with people for as long as I have, witnessed how they behave and, seen at first hand what people are capable of, you learn a wisdom that cannot be granted or given.  You develop an insight that gives you the confidence to watch and wait and to provide whatever is required at precisely the right moment.  I have spent many, many years learning and perfecting my craft.  When Diana Riston first came to me, what she needed most was shelter, somewhere to live and to grieve for the loved ones she had lost.  I could help her
with that until she was ready to move on. The pianist GrĂ©goire Beaufort was very different.  Tired after his flight from Paris and the drive from Leeds airport in the pouring rain across
bleak, empty moors, he almost completely forgot why he came to see me.  But, I was still able to help him.

AW  Hmmm.  OK, last question, what do you think your 8-year-old self would make of you today?
MissM  I'm not sure I can remember what I was like as an 8-year-old.  It was such a long time ago.  I think I hope she would be pleased that I had used my craft to the best of my abilities.  I do remember as a child always wanting to help wherever and whenever I could.  I think she would be pleased about the book, too, although perhaps a little shy of the consequences.  I think an interview of this nature may have been a little daunting for her.

And you can meet Miss Moonshine, all the characters mentioned here and many more in  Miss Moonshine's Emporium of Happy Endings  available in e and print format.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Please welcome, friend and author, Ronald Kihali...

...to my blog today.  Hello Ronald, thanks for being here, all the way from Kenya!  Wow! So tell me, what is your current release?
RK   Whispers of Death is my first and current release.

AW   OK, and what first got you into writing and why?
RK   I may not explain what first got me into writing, because it just happened.  I was little, so little, when I began writing.  As early as 4, I could write anything anywhere, including the walls of our house.  It got so annoying to my parents sometimes, but they grew into it.  With time, I learnt about writers like Maya Angelou, J.K Rowling, William Shakespeare and the like.  I began reading their books and plays and poems and my interest blossomed.  I began blogging on WordPress in my high school days, and I felt, why not compile these thoughts into a book?  I felt, if I could inspire my followers with just daily articles, then I could inspire the entire world easily with an anthology.

AW  You write poetry and you seem to have a liking for Shakespeare.  How did all of that happen?
RK  Shakespeare has been my all-time favorite poet, closely followed by Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.  Unlike today’s poetry which is mostly lacking in deep imagery, these poets knew how to create that.  I could read their poetry and feel like I’m actually the character in the poetry.  In my high school days, most people didn’t really do well in poetry exams, so they could come for my help in interpretation, and through this, I learnt to read more and write more.  Poetry has also helped me out of depression.  I lost a good friend some time back, a friend I really cherished, and I felt like I had made a big mistake in letting them go.  I couldn’t live with battling my own mind and guilt, so I wrote this book to inspire myself, and gladly, it’s inspiring others too.

AW  And what about other types of writing?  Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other types of prose?
RK  Well, before I began writing poetry, I used to write short stories too.  I just decided to focus on poetry for I felt it’s more emotional than a story.  In my next book though, I’m planning to include short prose.

AW  Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing.  Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
RK  Yes I do!  A coffin sounds serene!  Ha-ha it’s a joke but I’ve always wanted to write in a coffin and I even wrote a poem about it titled “Dear Coffin” in my debut book.  Anyway, I write anywhere, as long as an idea pops up.  When I’m in class, or in my bed, or eating breakfast or even talking with my friends, as long as an idea comes up, I write.  This is why I walk with my notebook everywhere!

AW  Finally, what would your eight-year old self think of, and say about, you today?
RK  I’m proud of you.  You have struggled, and you keep struggling to make it, and one day, your efforts will pay.  Just don’t write in a coffin, please.

about the book... It gets hard sometimes, doesn't it?  It gets so difficult only tears comfort your weeping soul.  This collection of simple, emotional poetry gives me, and all of us, hope.  That amidst the pain, the loss and suffering, there is always something to cling on.  Something to lean on.  Something to wait upon.  Because one thing is for sure, if love can come to an end, so can pain.

about the author... Everyone deserves to be happy is Ronald Kihali's mantra.  Born in Kenya, Africa, Ronald Kihali is one of the modern authors taking poetry to the next level.  With a lot of transplant from Rupi Kaur's style of writing and a little bit of Shakespearean poetry, he majors in poetry anthologies all about self-help and success.  Ronald began his writing journey from a tender age when he felt the world needs positiivity, and with the help of his huge Instagram following has taken the writing industry by storm.  Ronald is also a perpetual lover of pets, and admits that his pet dog, Maxwell, gives him inspiration to write every time Writers' Block hits him.

You can follow Ronald on Instagram Twitter , Facebook or on his Blog
You can get Ronald's book in  e-format or as a paperback  

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

I'm reviewing Love and Summer...

... by William Trevor

I used to read William Trevor a lot as a teenager – he provided a bit of light relief between Lawrence, Hardy, James, Austen, Hawthorne and others. As an adult, I kind of forgot about him, so, I was a bit surprised to see this book on the shelves in my local Waterstones.
Having read it, I did remember what it was that I always liked about Trevor when I read his books regularly: it's the way he puts you at the heart of the story from the very first instance.

‘On a June evening some years after the middle of the last centruy Mrs Eileen Connulty passed through the town of Rathmoye….to the church of the Most Holy Redeemer.  Her night was spent there.’ 

So you know instantly the time, the place and that Mrs Connulty was a woman of some repute even though she is obviously dead.  This gentle tale floats on to the next day and the funeral for which most of the town turn out, including Ellie Dillahan, a much younger second wife of a local farmer.  
On that same morning, Florian Kilderry cycles into town with his camera and takes photographs of the funeral and he is noticed by Ellie.  He is also noticed by other townspeople who do not approve of him taking photos of the funeral – for them it is simply not the done thing!  Florian and Ellie meet again a few days later and strike up a seemingly innocent conversation and the story goes on from there.
Interlaced with the increasing interest that Florian and Ellie have in each other are the stories of the other people of the town.  Orpen Wren, a once archivist and librarian who has a form of dementia but whom all the town know and tolerate.  Farmer Dillahan and what happened to his first marriage is another carefully woven thread of intrigue.  Mrs Connulty and her two adult children also have a history to be uncovered.  As these stories are gradually revealed you learn that not all is sweetness and light in this rural community.  Secrets are revealed, assumptions are made and acted upon, confessions are made and confronted.  And when Florian eventually tells Ellie that he is leaving, she finds she has a choice to make.
This is a very gentle story with an unexpected ending that takes you on a surprising journey.  If you want a nice easy to read story for the holidays, then this is the book for you.  But be prepared, you might cry!  I did.

William Trevor (May 24th, 1928 - November 20th, 2016), was regarded as one of the elder statesmen of the Irish literary world

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Please welcome, friend and author, JV Baptie...

... to my blog today. Thanks for being here and I know how busy you are so I'll just get straight to the questions...

AW  What is your current release?
JVB The Forgotten will be published by Crooked Cat Books on June 13th, 2018.  It’s available to preorder now on Amazon

... and here's the blurb

What if everything was a lie?
Newly promoted byt not welcome in CID, Detective Sergeant Helen Carter is tasked with investigating a murder in an old abandoned picture house.  The case takes a chilling turn when the business card of an ex-cop is found at the scene.  Helen must piece together the case before the bodies mount up around her, and before the killer strikes too close to home...

AW   That sounds vey interesting.  What first got you into writing and why?
JVB I’ve always enjoyed writing from a young age. I really got the bug when I enrolled on a writing course with the Open University.  I wrote my novel for my dissertation project for my Master's course at Manchester Metropolitan University.

AW  You write crime fiction.  Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
JVB My novel took a lot of research to get all the police procedural aspects right and as my novel is set in Edinburgh in 1977, I spent time going through historical records.

AW  And what about other types of writing?  Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other genres?
JVB I write short stories.  I currently have one on Amazon called  Stalker  It’s free at the moment.

AW  Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing.  Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
JVB Sadly not.  I write where and when I can.  I have a small toddler to look after.  So whenever they nap I write.  Mostly I have my laptop on my knee on the sofa!

Ediburgh, the setting for The Forgotten
AW  Finally, if you had a whole afternoon to yourself and could choose to spend it with any one individual, living or dead or a character from a book, who would it be, and what would you want to discuss?
JVB That’s a hard question!  Probably my mum as I could show her my book and maybe read her some of it.

...about the author  J.V. Baptie graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017 with an MA in Creative Writing.  When not writing, she is also an actress and has appeared in a variety of children’s shows and stage plays. 

You can follow JV Baptie on her  website  on Twitter and on  Facebook