Friday 30 March 2018

The Great Crooked Cat Easter Sale....

Want to find a bargain???

Then visit the great Crooked Cat Sale, loads of titles - including Messandrierre and Merle - for 99p/c or international equivalent.

There are romances, mysteries, crime, thrillers and lots, lots more all available from Amazon. Treat yourself whilst you have the opportunity! 

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Please welcome, friend and author...

... Anne-Marie Ormsby.  Hello Anne-Marie and thanks for being here.  Tell me, what is your current release?
AMO  My current release is Purgatory Hotel, a whodunit set in the afterlife.  A young woman is murdered and wakes up in Purgatory, a mouldering old hotel, with no memory of how she died or what she could have done wrong to end up among rapists and murderers.

AW    What first got you into writing and why?
AMO  I have always been an avid reader, since I was a small child. My parents read loads so they encouraged me the same way.  When I was nine I read a book that was one of my Dad’s favorites – The October Country by Ray Bradbury - and I decided that I wanted to be able to make people feel the way he had made me feel with just words.  His stories made me feel totally immersed in what he was writing about and I just wanted to learn how to write like that.
AW    And is Ray Bradbury a favourite of yours too? Do you have other favourites?
AMO He was and still is a favourite author.  Other favourite authors include Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Denis Lehane and Douglas Coupland. I also take great inspiration from music and movies - favourite artists being Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Johnny Cash, Interpol, David Lynch and David Fincher.

AW   You write paranormal fiction.  Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
AMO  With this book it was mostly imagination but I did do some research into police procedures and into a real life series of murders that I included in the narrative.

AW    And what about other types of writing?  Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other genres?
AMO  I started out writing short stories, then poetry for a long time and eventually novels.  I’ve also written a few screenplays which I really enjoyed.  One was actually produced as a short independent movie a few years ago.

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?
AMO  Not currently as I have just recently moved, so I will be trying to find my space there soon.  I generally just need a comfortable space and music to help set my mood.  And wine helps too…

 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?
AMO  It changes all the time, but I’d really like to meet my paternal Grandfather. He died in 1958, the year before my parents got married, long before I was born. He lived in Cork City in Ireland and was a policeman there through the troubles in the early part of the 20th century.  I’ve heard a lot of stories about him and his experiences, but I’d love to just spend an afternoon with him and hear all the stories from him.

about the book… Dakota Crow has been murdered, her body dumped in a lonely part of the woods and nobody knows but her and her killer.  Now in Purgatory, a rotting hotel on the edge of forever, with no memory of her death, she knows she must have done something bad to be stranded among murderers and rapists. To get to somewhere safer she must hide from the shadowy stranger stalking her through the corridors of the hotel and find out how to repent for her sins. But first she must relive her life.
Soon she will learn about her double life, a damaging love affair, terrible secrets and lies that led to her violent death.
Dakota must face her own demons and make amends for her crimes before she can solve her murder and move on - but when she finds out what she did wrong, will she be sorry?
You can get the book from Amazon

about the author… Anne Marie grew up on the Essex coast with her parents and six siblings in a house that was full of books and movies and set the scene for her lifelong love of both.
She began writing short stories when she was still at primary school.  In her teens she continued to write short stories and branched out into poetry, publishing a few in her late teens.  In her early twenties she began committing herself to writing a novel.
She wrote Purgatory Hotel over several years, but kept it aside after several rejections from publishers.  Luckily, she found a home for her twisted tale with Crooked Cat Books.
Anne-Marie recently left London for Margate where she lives, amidst books and DVDs, with her husband and daughter.

You can follow Anne-Marie on her Website on her Blog 
or on Twitter  Facebook  Pinterest  and on Goodreads 

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Celebrating World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day and I thought I would celebrate with a poem that I first discovered as a teenager in school.  Written by Mervyn Peake in 1949, it may be short, but it is as full of detail and meaning as his many, many illustrations for other authors.

This particular poem, since I first discovered it, has remained in my conscious ever since.  It helped me through exams - my most pressing need at that paritcular time of discovery - and has brought me calm at other and more distressing periods of my life.  My copy of the poem resides in a book on the second shelf of my poetry bookcase in my 'writing shed'.  And now, when I find myself stuck for a word, or phrase, or even an idea, I take it down and re-read it, even though I already know it by heart.

The Vastest Things

        The vastest things are those we may not learn.
        We are not taught to die, nor to be born,
        Nor how to burn
        With love.
        How pitiful is our enforced return
        To those small things we are masters of.

                                                             Mervyn Peake (1949)

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Celebrating St Patrick's Day with Ailsa Abraham...

Patrick, ONE of my patrons

Friend and author, Ails Abraham
Having been a French national for over twenty years, I am still stuck with two of my original accents and saints.  This allows me to make a joke which breaks the ice whenever people ask where I'm from.  Changing nationality is a complicated process, which in my case took over two years and finished, as ever, with going to the Préfecture (County Hall) to receive my papers.  So these days I can explain that normally one is issued with the appropriate accent with the ID Card but, my week, they had run out so I was stuck with my general purpose British or Scottish ones.
At least I am not English.  We suffer from the English/British problem.  Because the language is called English, anyone who speaks it is dubbed that too.  I explain that Belgian people speak French but are Belgian, not French.
Oo that is a bit of a poser, never thought of that!  Think my audience.
So, allow me to complicate things a little husband is English.  We speak English to each other but, (dah dah dah) I'm NOT!  I slip into my Scottish accent while speaking French and explain that my family is equally divided between Scotland and Ireland.  My interlocutors, by now completely fuddled by my Edinburgh-French, try to follow as I show them the triangle of Edinburgh, Pitlochry and “the wee black north” in Ireland.
Even I can be fooled by the family swapping around.  The young woman to whom my mother always referred as “the Nanny” turned out to be a cousin from Ireland and not hired help at all.
So I have choices.  There will be no doubts if someone plays the Marseillaise!  I leap to my feet and join in, singing the French National Anthem with gusto.  Trois fois Celte (Three times Celtic) as they call me here and as the warning reads on my van “Caution! Female Celtic Driver!”

Thank you Ailsa.  You can follow Ailsa on Amazon on her Website and on Facebook  and on Twitter

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Friend and author, Jennifer Wilson…

By anonymous, British School. -
… has set feee one of the characters from her book Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile  It is with great pleasure that I can introduce you to, David Rizzio. Thanks for being here David and why don't you tell me a little about your story
 DR   It’s a strange thing, to label a man as a good friend, when he was once part of a plot which resulted in your murder.  Even stranger though, that an Italian musician somehow became somebody seen as important enough to need murdering. But there we are.
 AW   I see… I think!
DR   I should introduce myself properly.
AW  Yes please… I am a little confused to say the least!
DR  My name is David Rizzio, and I was of noble birth, not what you might have thought, for a man who started his courtly life in Scotland as a lowly musician.  I was a good musician mind, and finding no particular means for improvement in my position in Italy or France, I asked a friend for some guidance.  James Melville it was, and he got me a position in the court of Mary, Queen of Scots.  She was a fine woman, and an excellent queen, just, perhaps not the best chooser of husbands.  But more on that later.  Well, I’m a good man as well as a good musician, and I can make myself useful.  After only a couple of years, I found myself promoted to the Queen’s Secretary, with a healthy salary to go with it.  Alright, I might have over-reached myself and my powers once or twice, but I was a man Her Grace could rely on, somebody who wanted only to help her.
AW  But you mentioned murder…
DR  The rumours started. I suppose it is only natural, when a young man begins to give advice to a beautiful young queen; people love a scandal, especially when it concerns affairs of the heart.  I loved Queen Mary, but as her servant, and employee, not an actual lover.  And she returned these feelings, platonically.  She still does, I am proud to say.
AW  Go on…
DR  Back to the murderer/friend thing though.  As I say, people got jealous, and angry, especially her husband, Lord Darnley.  Nothing but a wastrel if you ask me.  Then and now.  He decided I was a threat to his position and power, and that I needed to be removed.  Oh, how I was removed… They burst into one of the smallest rooms in Holyrood Palace, whilst Her Grace was dining with a small group of us, and they, well, how could they do this – they held a pistol to her pregnant stomach as they dragged me out of the room.  I’m not ashamed to say I was terrified.  I hid behind her, even tried to cling to her skirts as they pulled me away.  It was no use.  Over fifty stab wounds, I endured.  All that blood.
It only took a few minutes to work out that I’d become a ghost.  I was looking down on my own body, the way poor Queen Mary sobbed over me, the way those cowards had run away, it was somehow hard to turn away.  So I didn’t.  I stayed with her until the end. Another two decades of following her progress, and being there as much as I could do. Then of course she joined me on this side of the divide.
AW   And then what?
DR  I never imagined I could go back to the way things were, but somehow, that is exactly what has happened.  Of course, I don’t stray too far from Edinburgh these days, not like her, always off adventuring, but when she is in the city, myself, Janet (Lady Glamis) and Sir William Kirkcaldy serve her as an inner circle of sorts.  And that brings me back to the start. Sir William was an accessory to my own murder.  Meeting him again in this life was a strange, strange thing, but he had returned to serving my queen by the time he died, another man who gave his life for this poor woman, and we have reached an arrangement.  After all, with so many centuries now passed, there is plenty else we can discuss.  Such as how to deal with Darnley, when that wretch turns up in the city.  Something will have to be done, that’s for sure; the way he torments me and the queen is quite unfair.
In truth, things are just as busy in Edinburgh as they ever were.  His Grace King James V is still about, although granted not as outgoing as his daughter.  And Queens Marie of Guise and Madeleine of Valois are incredibly nice ladies, albeit quieter than Queen Mary.
That’s me and my current situation then.  In truth, I have more friends in death than I did in life, and from so many walks of life.  It is true that it can get a bit rowdy from time to time, when the likes of Boots starts haunting the punters of those ghost tours they do, but most of the time the haunting is calmer.  We are quite a noble clan up here, after all.  You should come and say ‘hello’ – we’re a friendly lot, most of the time.  If you want to read more about our adventures, then Jennifer has, at least, found time to write those down.  And she hasn’t done too bad a job in capturing us, to be fair.
AW  Well, David, thanks for the invitation to come and join you.  I'm rather hoping that I won't need to take you up on that for quite some time yet.  But before you go, can you tell us a little about the books?
DR   Her best book (i.e. the one with me in it) is Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile, released in June 2017, but there was one before that too, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London.  That one’s alright.  All about Richard III and Anne Boleyn, from what I can tell.  There’s a third one, Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey, coming out this June.  My beloved Queen Mary is featured in that one, so it must be good.  Jennifer has also self-published a historical timeslip romance, The Last Plantagenet?
AW  Lastly, can I just say thank you for being here today… David? Where did he... Jennifer… Are you there Jennifer?  Is there anybody there?

You can  follow Jennifer Wilson on her website, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as at The Next Page’s website.