Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Please welcome, friend and author, Jo Fenton...

... to the blog this week.
AW  Hello Jo and thanks for being here.  Tell me, what is your current release?
JF   Last week I launched my debut novel, The Brotherhood a psychological thriller based in a religious sect.

AW   What first got you into writing and why?
JF   I’ve had stories in my head for as long as I can remember, but only started work on my novel when I heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in the autumn of 2011. The kids were old enough to not need quite so much attention, and my husband thought it was a good chance for me to write the book he was convinced was lurking somewhere inside me.

AW  You write Contemporary crime novels.  Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
JF   A large part of it is imagination. I find it’s less limiting to have an imaginary setting for instance, but there are some things that are rooted in fact, and I like to be accurate. I did a lot of research into cults, miracles and the technical aspects of the murder in The Brotherhood. I dread to think what the police would make of my browser history!

AW  And what about other types of writing?  Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other genres?
JF   I have dabbled in a few short stories and flash fiction, but nothing that I felt was worthy of publication. I also like playing with poetry occasionally but just for fun.
I have an idea for a historical crime novel lurking, but there are a few other projects to be done first. It will probably need to wait until I can write full time, as that will require significant amounts of research.

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?
JF  I work from home a lot for my day job in Clinical Research, so I have an office in my house. It’s my working space, so I find it quite easy to concentrate in there. I can write anywhere though, as long as it’s not too obviously moving – trains and cars are rubbish, as I get travel sick. Hotel rooms, libraries and coffee shops are generally good places to write.

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?
JF  I would love to spend an afternoon chatting to Stephen Fry. He’s such an interesting man, and I would happily discuss everything from Abba to Georgette Heyer novels to QI to mental health issues with him.

about the book...When a young woman becomes pregnant in a religious sect, how far will she go to escape the abusive leader and save the people she loves?
The Brotherhood – safe haven or prison?
After her parents’ sudden death, a grieving Melissa falls back on her faith and into the welcoming arms of a religious sect. Captivated by their leader, Dominic, she leaves her old life behind and moves to the countryside to join them.
But life in The Brotherhood is not as safe as it first appeared. When engineer Mark joins The Brotherhood, Melissa finds herself conflicted between her growing feelings for him and her crush on Dominic. With their leader's initial encouragement, Melissa and Mark grow close.
But as her haven becomes a prison, Melissa's newfound happiness is destroyed by Dominic’s jealousy. How can she escape and save the ones she loves?

about the author... Jo grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer and now has an eclectic and much-loved book collection cluttering her home office.
Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.
When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

You can follow Jo on Facebook  Twitter  and on her Website

Friday, 27 July 2018

Friend and author, Sue Barnard...

... makes a very welcome return to my blog today.

AW   Hello, Sue and thanks for being here.  
SB   Hello, Angela, and thank you for inviting me.
AW  And you're going to share a favourite scene from your latest novel which is...
SB   Heathcliff (yes, that’s THE Heathcliff) is a Wuthering Heights spin-off novel which suggests what might have happened to him during the three years when he disappears from the original story.  Published by Crooked Cat Books, it is officially released on 30 July 2018, to coincide with the bicentenary of the birth of Emily Brontë.

I’ve chosen the following scene for two reasons. Firstly, it’s one of the very few scenes in Heathcliff which can be read in isolation without giving away too many spoilers.  Secondly, I’m particularly fond of it because it virtually wrote itself.  It was as though the characters were standing behind me having this conversation – all I had to do was write down what they were saying.
The scene takes place on the Ellen May (a sailing lugger) just off the coast of northern France.  The narrator is Heathcliff himself, whilst the other speaker is a Cornish fisherman called Matthew Trelawney.

“French? Was that the language you were talking just now?”
He nodded. “I’ve been doing this trip for quite a few years, and in that time I’ve learned enough to speak to the natives fairly well. I once became quite friendly with a French lady…” His voice trailed off and he stared out to sea.
“How friendly?” I ventured.
“Friendly enough to know that I wanted to marry her,” he said, his voice quiet with emotion.
“May I ask why you didn’t?” I replied, equally quietly.
“She chose to marry someone else.” His voice had an edge which betrayed the pain he obviously still felt. “Someone who could offer her wealth and rank. She clearly valued those things far more than love and honour.”
“I know exactly how you feel. That happened to me too.”
Trelawney looked up, clearly surprised. “When was this?” he asked.
“A few weeks ago, back in Yorkshire. We’ve known each other almost all our lives, and I’d always thought she loved me as much as I loved her. I couldn’t imagine a future without her, and if I’m honest with myself I still can’t. But her brother has always hated me, and the final straw was when I overheard her telling one of the servants – one of the servants, for Heaven’s sake! – that it would degrade her to marry me.”
Trelawney laid a brotherly hand on my arm. “Was that why you came to Liverpool?”
“Yes. I just knew I had to get away. I didn’t care where I went, and boarded the first coach I found. That was where it happened to be going.”
Trelawney sighed. “Your story sounds very similar to mine…”

...about the book  “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now…”Cathy’s immortal words from Wuthering Heights change Heathcliff’s life.  At just seventeen years of age, heartbroken and penniless, he runs away to face an unknown future.Three years later, he returns – much improved in manners, appearance, and prosperity.But what happened during those years?  How could he have made his fortune, from nothing?  Who might his parents have been?  And what fate turned him into literature’s most famous anti-hero?For almost two centuries, these questions have remained unanswered.  Until now…

You can follow Sue on her  Blog  on Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  and  Goodreads You can get the book  Here

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Crooked Cat Summer Sale is now on...

Loads of books for sale at 99p/99c or equivalent.  Mysteries, Romances, Thrillers, Contemporary Fiction... Check it out... 

Shhh! Don't tell anyone else I said this... but my own books are also included in the sale and Merle is being featured on Tuesday, July 24th 2018 at www.ebooksoda.com. Check it out for free and bargain ebook deals!

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