YAY! Finally…

… the first book in the wonderful, suspenseful Belgravia Antiques Mysteries series will soon be released, thanks to Ella Medler of Paper Gold Publishing.

In Vengeful Legal Deal, I introduce some delicious characters. Especially the five main characters – all antiques dealers – are essentially an eccentric lot.  More so, they’re the kind of people I would love to count amongst my friends. And I hope that my readers will feel likewise. They’re a memorable lot… lovable, sympathetic, intelligent, funny. I confess that I fell in love with them. Because of this, I decided that they had to come back. Plans and plots have already been scurrying around my brains for the next books.

I introduced a few characters, who play the minutest of roles in the first book, but will get more air time in subsequent books. More eccentrics.

Once again, Patti Dunn Roberts of Paradox Book Cover Designs worked her magic, and I have one of the most enticing covers possible for Vengeful Legal Deal. I LOVE IT!!  For now, all I can do is give you a Sneak Peek… The great reveal will take place in several weeks time, first and foremost on Facebook… but also on Twitter… and of course here, too.

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By Moonlight…

I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful book box set… thanks to dear Ella Medler of Paper Gold Publishing.

By Moonlight…  Release day Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 at 16:00 hrs EST.

15 great paranormal reads by 14 authors… amongst which moi.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1500979470195421/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013XJ23UY

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26164325-by-moonlight-paranormal-box-set-vol-1

Do add your support to both Thunderclap and HeadTalker and spread the word. You’ll make us very happy. Thank you!

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/30186-find-your-story-by-moonlight

https://headtalker.com/campaigns/find-your-story-by-moonlight/

Click or paste/copy the above links…  Thanks!

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All in a day’s work and thoughts…

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Pat-on-the-shoulder-time, for today I reached the approximately halfway point of the next book in the Crystals series. YAY! Which also means that I will shortly commence tormenting my characters less and less. I don’t do it on purpose. Honest. It’s just the way the story runs. Besides, let’s face it, real life doesn’t run smoothly either, so why should my created characters lead a perfect life? The only difference being, that I, as an author, can give my characters any kind of ending… happy, meh, or downright miserable. I prefer to avoid the last two. lol. But sometimes…

Up until now the question “will they ever meet again” hung heavily in the air for the two main characters in the second book of the Crystals series. But soon, very soon, they will find out that they are both free agents, who can do as they please. I do like, actually in fact love a good romance.

While my characters are creating new lives for themselves, summer is fast approaching in the pretty Cotswolds market town.  The long, warm evenings bring friends and neighbours together… and a chance meeting.

There is the inevitable fly in the ointment… Hattie, a widowed woman who has set her heart on the attractive and very much available widower, Cyril. Far from being bad, let stand evil, our Hattie is still an annoyingly persistent entity. Why is the widower she so dearly favours, more interested in that woman with the silvery eyes?

I am having fun with this book. Believe me, it is turning into a delightful romance, that also proves that love can happen to anyone, at any age.

I am now looking forward to writing the second half… and then it is off to the editor… and last but not least, get it released well in time for Christmas.

Old fashioned… moi?

This week I finally finished one of the Christmas themed books I’d started reading during the season itself. What to read next? Rosamund Lupton’s “Sister”, as yet unread, beckoned. So did David Gibbins’ “Crusader Gold”. (I may have mentioned it before, but I read a wide variety of genres, all depending on my mood.) And talking mood, as it turned out, neither book fitted my present mood. Having started them, I will of course pick them up again… perhaps tomorrow, or the day after, or several days from now… all dependent on my mood.

I longed for something cosier. Perhaps it is because it is still very much winter, and the desire to snuggle up with a book – on the sofa or in bed, with a mug of tea or coffee at hand, or in the evening perhaps a glass of Rose wine – that I sought out something cosy. The only problem being that I had already read most of the books qualifying as “cosy”. Then my eye fell on a collection of books which I started collecting years ago…

Miss Read (her penname) was a prolific writer, whose first book was published in the mid 1950’s. And I chose one of hers, because I knew that within the pages of this (40 years old) paperback, I’d find a story about the old fashioned English village life I sought, and was suitable to my mood. And I am not disappointed! “Winter in Thrush Green” was first published in 1961… yes, it is old fashioned in a gentle and at times humorous manner… but the characters are brilliant, and I am already smitten. Longing to find out what will happen next.

One of the many tests doing the rounds on Facebook, declared me an “old fashioned romantic”. That “test” and that book, set me thinking…

There are aspects of life as we know it now, that I wholeheartedly embrace, and frankly couldn’t and wouldn’t be without. There simply is no comparison between banging out a book on an olde worlde typewriter and doing the same on a computer. As for doing research… ah, that’s easy peasy nowadays. As pleasant as it may have been and perhaps still can be, one does not need to live virtually next door to a library, to get the information one seeks. One can live in the middle of nowhere or Dartmoor nowadays, with only a few wild ponies and sheep as nearest neighbours, and still have the world at one’s fingertips thanks to the internet and google. In that regard, I am most definitely not old fashioned.

I suppose I must be considered old fashioned by many, as I just don’t understand peoples’ obsession with their mobile phones… unless you run a business, of course. But do you need to shop and chat with your mother or friend, and share it with every Tom, Dick and Harriet near you? Can’t it just wait till you get home? Do you constantly need to send and receive inane texts? I often wonder if people nowadays are born with a phone attached to their heads. Besides the importance of being able to be reached for business, I consider a mobile phone an essential item for emergencies, especially if you are on the road a lot. But beyond that? It continues to puzzle me. So, in that regard I suppose, I am most definitely old fashioned. I hasten to add, that I have a landline, and not a mobile.

I know for a fact that it isn’t my age, because as far back as I can remember, I have always been drawn to that which I describe as “cosy”, and which I find in books by Miss Read, Rebecca Shaw, M.C. Beaton, Rebecca Tope, Simon Brett… hmmm, all British authors. Except for Miss Read, the others are contemporary authors, who despite their stories being set nowadays, bring the quintessential English/British village and its inhabitants to life. Contemporary, up-to-the-minute, current… yet with that dash of “old fashioned-ness” which makes it enter the realms of cosiness.

So, am I old fashioned? Yes, I suppose I am in many ways. But then, I’ve always been.

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All the best laid plans… and all that…

Last night it was my intention to go to bed early. Well, you probably know what it is like… Before logging off, you have just one more quick peek at Facebook, Twitter… for you just never know… Although it resulted in me snuggling under the duvet some 20 minutes later than planned (you know… all the best laid plans, and all that…), I am still glad I had a peek at Twitter where I found a link to a fellow author’s blog, Hmmm… interesting! So, when I tootled off to my crypt, my head was buzzing with ideas, which, considering my brains tend to largely switch off at or around 6pm each evening, was pretty amazing. I fell asleep pondering what I’d be writing in my blog the next day. So, here I am.

My fellow author – I forgot his name, for which I apologise – had written about Planners and Pantsers. It is something which is regularly discussed – debated – amongst authors, and I’ve had a go at it, too.

For the uninitiated (lol), Planners are those authors who plan each and every book to the most minute detail. They treat it like a major military operation or like the security for a gathering of heads of state.  Days, weeks, perhaps months, of meticulous planning and research have preceded “lift off” day… which is the day they finally sit down at their computer and start writing. Rigidly they adhere to their formula, with each and every page, and every character’s actions totally and completely pre-planned. Character A will crack that joke on page 23. Character B will rush off in a hissy-fit on page 51. Character C will reveal him/herself as a cowardly and untrustworthy sod on page 97. Character A and B will have a right ding-dong of an argument on page 148. And characters A, B and C will come to a head to head on page 193, come hell or come high water. Because that is the way the “Planner” planned it, and thus it shall be.

If Planners want to adhere to this rigidity, and it works for them, then by all means, carry on. I can see some benefits to this method of working… but not entirely, as I find it takes away spontaneity. But, hey, that is me! We’re free to choose how we work. We’re free in what works best for us. So, that leaves the “Pantser”. As the word “pants” is involved, it’s obviously American… somehow the word trousers just doesn’t have the right ring to it, so pants or “Pantser” it is.

When I first heard the word “Pantser”, I obviously asked what the heck they were on about. But one lives and learns. It’s best described as “flying by the seat of one’s pants” or something like that. Anyway, I got the gist, and acknowledged that I largely was a “Pantser”. So, that means that, unlike the “Planner”, I do NOT plan any book until it has been thoroughly simmered, stewed or, let stand, well-done. My only planning is an idea, which I expand upon in my mind. I might pen down an idea here or there. But it usually is no more than a few words. For instance, I have a second book in mind for The Village Across the Bridge series, and all I have made note of is a name I rather fancied for a main character. The rest of the story is, largely, stored in my head… brains.

I’m largely a “Pantser”. Not 100%. For sometimes, I walk around with an idea in my mind for months, and I hone and fine tune it to a certain degree. So, when I sit down to write, I do so from what is stored in my brains. Of course I have some notebooks where I keep details of characters (names, age, what they look like, etc. but not in any detail), and of the names of market towns and villages I created, and more of such.

Although I may largely be a “Pantser”, I firmly believe in research, and google is one of my best friends. However, did we manage before the internet?? But that is entirely different story. For my first book (Vengeful Legal Deal) of the Belgravia Antiques Mysteries, I spent hours on google, amongst others, looking up information on famous antiques markets in and around London. I can hardly send my main characters off to Bermondsey Antiques Market at daybreak on a summer’s day, if the market only starts at 9 am. As it happens, knowing the antiques world, and their love of an early start, said market and traders do arrive and set up from about daybreak onwards, which suited the story. One Sunday, instead of writing, I was hours on google, researching markets, etc. Of course all that work will stand me in good stead in the next books in the series.

But despite all this, I am still largely a “Pantser”. I have an idea, and I start writing. I give my characters free rein, for as far as I’m concerned, they know best. When I start writing I know that I am starting at A and aiming to end at C or D. Even though I’m a believer in free rein, I do manage to gently nudge my characters from A to C, A to D, via B or C. But anything can happen in between!

In parting for today, I will add, that the above are two entirely different schools of thought. Neither is wrong, for both are right. But what is right for one may well be totally wrong for the other, and vice versa. That’s where the difference lies. Personally, I love the spontaneity and freedom of the “Pantser”, even though I may be only about 90 to 95% “Pantser”. I couldn’t cope with being a true “Planner”, even though I am about 5 to 10% “Planner”.  It’s all about what works best for us individually.

When I look back at all that I’ve written, and at the books that will be released across 2015, this “predominantly Pantser”, has often thought “all the best laid plans… and all that…” So, yeah, definitely a “Pantser”… largely… lol.

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The magic of the snow crystals continues…

There was no better time than the month of December 2014, to start writing the first quarter of a next book in the Crystals series, for the story starts on Christmas Day itself. I loved writing the first book in the series, and I am now loving bringing back old and dear friends, and introducing new ones.

Marianne Christine Etherton returns in this next book as a free woman. She’s scarred, damaged, traumatised, but free, and she’s alive! She’s shed the name Kristie, which she’d been forced to adopt many years ago, and now as Marianne, she is learning to come to terms with all that passed over the decades. Finally free, her true nature, for too long forcibly and cruelly suppressed, blossoms, and a gentle soul emerges.

Whilst writing The Snow Crystals, as I reached the middle of the book, I realised that Kristie was growing on me… yes, Marianne Christina was really growing on me. And before the book was even finished, I knew that I would be bringing her back in a following book, for I came to love my character, Marianne. So, I will now love introducing to my readers, the real Marianne, the woman, who lived under a dreadful yoke for too long.

In the next book, which has the working title “Living Apart Together” (and who knows, it may end up with this title… or not…), I am introducing some new characters, too. Of course I am bringing back throughout the book the “old” characters from the first book, but this story is primarily about Marianne, and her new life.

Some of the characters I’m introducing are Cyril Twyford, a widower who is moving to Combe-Norton in the Cotswolds, to be nearer his brother and sister-in-law. Then there’s the widow Hattie Vane, who is a woman on a mission. And Elfie, the estate agent and Marianne’s friend, can best be described as a Chihuahua sized “Great Dane”. I’m having lots of fun developing this pint sized, sharp witted, intelligent character.

Will there be romance in the next book? Of course!

Will the magical snow crystals feature in the next book? They’re as necessary as breathing, so, of course.

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Another Saturday afternoon

The second Saturday of the new year. The new year is only 10 days old… or should I perhaps say young… and oh my, what a year it has been so far. The last few days will not be easily wiped away from peoples’ memories… nor mine.

We take freedom of speech, freedom of thought/thinking, freedom of being, for granted as our right. And of course it is our right! This is not the Dark Ages. I most certainly am not living in a society which places “braces on our brains”, our words or our thoughts, or worse yet, shackles us into fearful submission or else. My heart goes out to all those placed in such a situation.

These and other thoughts are going through my mind this gloomy, wet Saturday afternoon. These last few days have brought home how preciously we must guard our freedom. It is not merely about our freedom now, but the freedom of those who will follow after us.

As a writer, I protect my freedom to write what I wish. It does not matter whether I am writing some escapist romantic story, or ditto suspenseful mystery, or a more insightful story… it is the freedom to write these that is so valuable, and my right.

It is our right to read what we want. It is our right to listen to the music that appeals to us. It is our right to dress how we wish. It is equally our right to believe or not to believe. Men and women are equal. And as adults we can love who we want… man/woman. man/man, woman/woman. I could go on and on… but I think  that you can think of lots more rights we should not merely be grateful for, but agree we have to protect for ourselves and for posterity. I’ve been aware of this for quite a while already, but the horrific occurrences of the last few days certainly have brought it home emphatically. I think I am not the only one.

And 2015 is only 10 days young. What a start. We raised our glasses and exchanged wishes for happiness and good health, only 10 days ago. What a sad start to 2015. I hope it will get better…

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