Tag Archives: author

Are you ready to Save the Cat!?

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I belong to a fabulous group on Facebook called Witch Lit, for readers and magical creators, who enjoy poetry, songs, short stories, novels, in fact all things magical. I was recommended this book by Laura Perry, one of the other admins on the group, which arrived two weeks ago and hasn’t left my side for more than twenty four hours! Here’s my review and then you’ll know why…

The best ever self help book about writing a novel!”

‘Save the cat! Writes a Novel’ is the best self help book about writing I’ve ever read. As soon as you begin to read, there’s a feeling of excitement as this tried and trusted recipe for successful novel writing is explained by Jessica Brody. Originally an idea by the late Blake Snyder, a Hollywood screenwriter, Jessica, one of his pupils who had used and succeeded with the original method, has created a concise, straight forward, easy to use guide to creating a great novel.

With very little pre-amble, the book dives straight in, asking you questions about your book idea or the WIP you’ve started (or completed.) One of the beauties of this book is that it suits plotters or pantsers. If you want to organise and plot with precision, you can use this book from the word go, or if, like me, you’d already written the book, but wanted it to be the best it could be (or wanted to see how close to the perfect book you’ve managed to get yourself), then you can use it at this point to.

Having already studied another novel writing book, I managed to get the majority of the points mentioned in the book, but not necessarily in the right order or to the degree I needed to press the points home. With my newly fashioned ‘Beat Sheet’, I’m working my way through my book, crafting and sculpting to make it flow better and keep the reader hooked with every turn of the page.

This book will not write your story for you. You need a good story to start with, but be assured, if you follow this ‘Beat Sheet’, you’ll have the best possible structure for your book.

The book guides the writer through Beat Sheets and Story Genres, and you think ‘Wow, this is so simple when you read it like this.’ While you’re basking in the sunshine of knowing you’re onto a winner, Ms Brody gives you more! ‘Pitch it to me!’ gives you all the info you need to create fabulous, unforgettable loglines and concise, exciting synopses. …And then there’s even more! ‘Save the Author!’ is all of her FAQs, beautifully answered to give you the most detailed yet manageable ‘big picture’ you’ll ever need.

I paid £11.99 for the paperback of this book, and in only two weeks, I’ve more than had my money’s worth. I recommend anyone writing their first novel to read this book…in fact, every story teller should read it!

You can purchase Save the Cat! here…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Save-Cat-Writes-Novel-Writing/dp/0399579745/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Save-Cat-Writes-Novel-Writing/dp/0399579745/ref

If you’re interested in magical reading or writing, come and join our Witch Lit group for books and more https://www.facebook.com/groups/1055104057875422/

Press the newsletter link on this blog for monthly updates about books, dance, plant based food and all things magical. Bright Blessings xx

 

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Zoe Murphy – author and poet

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I met the fabulous Zoe Murphy at the first Llandysul Book Fair, organised by Cheryl Beer of Parlour Press Publishing. A new poetry anthology was being released during the day, and we, authors and public, were treated to poets reading their work.  As another Welsh writer I didn’t know well, I invited her to have a chat, and tell us more about herself…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I am a complete Pantser. I always have a rough idea of plot and characters, but I very much make it up as I go along which isn’t always productive if I’m honest. The book I am writing now has evolved and changed in so many ways and that’s because I am interested in too many things! But, I have finally set my cap with what I am doing, and I’ve adopted a more methodical approach by planning my characterisation and chapters. While I like to feel like I’m free when writing, I have had to concede and have some kind of organised chaos.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

 I think I am quite eclectic when it comes to my writing time and rituals and I don’t have a set ritual really. However, one thing I always do, is listen to music. I have specific playlists which get me in the zone and are almost a soundtrack to my book. Music has been my saviour and it really helps and inspires my writing process.

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

  1. I am also a performance poet and I was part of a TV programme called ‘Ugly Lovely: Poet on the Estate’ in 2014. Poetry wasn’t a great love of mine but it is now.
  2. I used to be a Street Dance teacher and absolutely love Hip Hop and 90’s R ‘n’ B.
  3. 80’s movies particularly Brat Pack films- Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Teen Witch!
  4. I avidly watch trashy reality TV such as TOWIE, Love Island…(guilty pleasure.)
  5. Gin (especially ones that have flavours or pretty colours.)

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

  1. Pen
  2. Paper
  3. Picture of my children
  4. Mascara
  5. Kindle

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 

This is a hard one!

  1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- I could read this book over and over and over. Evocative and rich in detail. Beautiful story.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood- The fact that the majority of the book is from a female perspective and it was a bit of a different approach to the dystopian genre.
  3. Lucky by Jackie Collins- Pure escapism.
  4. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson- This introduced a really cool magical power and an original take on fantasy fiction. Could read it over and over.
  5. My Grimoire

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

 

Anjelica Houston- Incredible actress and I’d like to ask about her Dad too as he has directed some of my favourite films.

 

7 Your current writing projects?

 

I am currently on the second book of a fantasy series I am writing set in Wales and involving witches and Welsh/Norse mythology. The first in the series is called Promise: Unearthed and I am to launch the first two instalments in February 2019.

I am also writing a Creative Education book as I am a lecturer and I have a passion for creative teaching techniques and would like to provide some inspiration for fellow teachers.

 

8 Other published work and links….

 

https://zoetryweb.wordpress.com/ My blog

 

https://www.facebook.com/ZoeMAuthor/ FB page for links and news

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404242866503911/ Poets on the Hill FB page.

 

Promise Novels:

 

Promise Unearthed

Seven

Released Feb 2019

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to come and share, Zoe. It’s been lovely having you.

For more author interviews, book reviews, writerly musings, dance, plant based recipes and magic, visit again. Bright blessings xx

Book Review – Pushing Madness by Hart St Martin

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I’ve been reading this series for the past three years, following Lisen and her family, eagerly anticipating the next book. Here’s my review of the final book…

A fitting finale

This is the final book in the Lisen of Solsta series, and what a finale!

Once again, Lisen and Korin are separated, duty coming before their personal relationship, as they endeavour to prevent Garla and Thristas going to war. Sixteen years previously, a young, naive eighteen year old Lisen fought her first battle in these lands and she now prepares for another, though she hopes she can prevent it from ever happening.

The lives and fortunes of the main characters over the past sixteen years are recalled, tying up loose ends for the reader, while the story moves on to its ending. There’s suspense right from the beginning, though I have to confess to skipping a little in my eagerness to reach the climax of the story of the House of Ilazer.

The final chapters resonate with magic, power and courage. No spoilers, but a memorable and visually dramatic conclusion is a fitting finale for this enjoyable series.

 

The Lisen of Solsta series is imaginative, exciting fantasy fiction. Here’s my review from 2015, of the first book Fractured, to give you a taster…

From a Californian beach, Lisen Holt is transported to a different world, one she knows but does not yet remember. In the haven of Solsta, with the help of Hermit Eloise, the facts of her birth and childhood are drizzled into her consciousness. Her Destiny is laid before her, requiring her acceptance and this is the underlying theme running through Fractured. This is the beginning of Lisen’s journey from carefree Californian teenager, living with Mom and Dad to talented hermit and necropath and the heir to the throne of Garla.

I really enjoyed this book! Once into her writing, St Martin writes a great story. In a very short time I cared about Lisen and was interested to see how the story would unfold. With the story beginning from Lisen’s point of view, I was caught out and had to back track a couple of times when the point of view changed, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment and read easily from then on.

I loved the characters of Ariel and Lorain and can’t wait to find out how their relationship progresses! There are instances when the same story is told twice from two different points of view which, for my taste, was not necessary and one would have sufficed. I started to skim a bit where Lisen visited the same thoughts, as I was eager for the story to continue so maybe there was a little too much repetition of similar ideas.

This book is about a real young women, faced with a real situation. I felt for her as she battled with weapons training on the journey to Halorin and loved Jozan for supporting her. Her reticence using gifts she has not thoroughly explored is genuine as is her determination to help others, not considering the cost to herself. The final scenes of the book are testament to the mental and physical pressures she has been under as she attempts to come to terms with a new, strange life.

I have no hesitation awarding 4* and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

 

You can find both books via the author’s pages here https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.-Hart-St.-Martin/e/B0099S9GWW/ref

and https://www.amazon.com/D.-Hart-St.-Martin/e/B0099S9GWW/ref

 

To pop back for more reviews, interviews, writerly musings, dance, plant based recipes and magic. Bright blessings xx

 

 

 

 

Meet Mabh Savage – pagan, author and herbalist

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For my second interview from the WitchLit group on Facebook, I was contacted by Mabh Savage. Her two beautiful books are published by Moon Books, and she’s been a contributor to many of their anthologies. Join me in welcoming her to my blog…

Welcome Mabh! Tell us about your writing…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I change tack constantly! I have a very busy mind and as new ideas pop up, I find I have to adjust what I have done already to allow the new bits to fit in. It’s like doing a complex dot-to-dot puzzle where the dots you’ve already connected keep shifting. I’m never 100% sure what the finished picture, or book, is going to look like. So, I do plan but I nearly always end up with something wildly different to what I imagined in the first place.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

With up to three children and three cats around the house at any one time, my ritual is pretty much grab what scraps of free time I have and splurge something out onto a page! An odd thing I’ve started doing recently is putting the cooking channel on the TV in the background. I have no idea why this helps me concentrate. Maybe it’s the contrast of something else that’s creative but entirely different to writing. Other than this, in the day I write by tea; in the night I write by wine and this is when most of the poetry happens.

Until we moved to Wales, I too used to write with the ‘aid’ of children and cats….now it’s just cats!

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I’m a huge sci-fi geek. I love Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Blake’s 7 and more recently, Stranger Things and the entire Marvel Defenders collection. I adore a good box-set binge!

I’m the same with reading too. Once I get into a fictional series, I get completely absorbed and need to get the next book, at any cost. I recently re-read all the Pratchett books again, and am looking forward to starting on The Dresden Files for another session of self-imposed hibernation.

I suffer from chronic and occasionally severe anxiety and depression so I have a real interest in mental health and ways to cope and even thrive with mental health conditions. I write about this a bit on my blog, and lots of my poetry is about struggles with mental health.

I’m an amateur herbalist and I have a column at PaganPages.org every month called Notes from the Apothecary in which I examine the magical and medical qualities of different plants.

I play music and sing, and have lots of different influences from traditional folk to prog rock! I have a few tracks on Sound Cloud and hope to add to those soon.

Lovely to know your creativity goes beyond writing to music too, fabulous. And you can’t beat a good Sir Terry binge:-)

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

A replicator! Ha ha, I guess 3D printing isn’t quite there yet so… My guitar, my Irish whistle, a pad, a pen and a special blanket which helps me sleep.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Ooh that’s a hard one. If it’s not cheating, I’d take the Elfin Diary, to keep track of days and also because it’s full of fascinating info. I’ve had one nearly every year for over 20 years. If I was in the middle of a series, I’d have to take the next book(s) in that series then just sit rocking with fiction withdrawal when they ran out. The SAS survival handbook would also be useful on a desert island! Maybe sack all that off and I’ll take the Earthsea books by Ursula Le Guin. I don’t think I could live without them.

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

I have crippling social anxiety so the thought of having dinner with someone I don’t know it’s absolutely terrifying. I wouldn’t even go on a blind-date. I would very much have loved to have met Stephen Hawking though. He seemed like such a warm, funny person as well as incredibly intelligent and insightful about the universe.

7 Your current writing projects?

I’m currently working on a book about Lugh; his mythology and also how he is revered in modern Paganism. In the realms of fiction, I’ve been working on a science-fiction/magical cross-over for some time. There are elements of artificial intelligence and also inexplicable universal energies. The protagonist is a scientist who is trying to make sense of the weird events unfolding around her. My eight-year-old boy wants me to write a children’s book, so I’m thinking of re-working some Celtic myths and legends for younger readers.

How exciting that you’ve such varied projects in mind. Good luck!

8 Other published work and links….

My first book was A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors which is an exploration of the relevance of Celtic culture in modern society. It’s told through the voices of many different people from all walks of life.

My latest book is Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft and this looks more specifically at following a magical path inspired by Celtic spirituality and with the influence of Celtic deities.

I’ve also contributed to the following anthologies:

Essays on Contemporary Paganism

Paganism 101

Pagan Planet

Naming the Goddess

iPagan

Every Day Magic

The Seven Ages of the Goddess

The Celtic Goddess

My main website and blog is at http://www.mabhsavage.com and I write for paganpages.org every month too. People can follow me on twitter @mabherick and I’m on Pinterest, Facebook and tumblr too.

Thanks so much, Mabh for your honest answers, allowing us into your writing life and thinking processes.

Check out Mabh’s books, and pop back for more interviews, writerly discussions, dance, healing and plant based recipes. Why not sign up for the newsletter and receive a FREE short story as a welcome. Bright blessings xx

Meet DJ Martin – plant lover, herbalist and author

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I love getting to know new people, so I put a call out on the Witch Lit group on Facebook to see who would like to take part in blog swap interviews, to find out more about each other and our writing. Deborah, or DJ as she prefers to be known, was the first person to respond and without knowing it, we have a blessed shared memory in common. You can read my interview on her blog here http://www.authordjmartin.com/posts/interview-with-a-witch-wendy-steele/

Welcome DJ! Let’s start with your writing…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

Non-fiction is planned so tightly about all that’s needed after outlining is to put things into coherent sentences and add punctuation. Fiction? I do loosely plot but the characters write the story. I know the beginning and end, but they generally change things to suit themselves, so how I get from “Once Upon a Time” to “The End” can be a surprise.

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

It’s not so much a ritual but a place – both physical and head-space. I can’t write fiction on the days I’ve been buried in accounting work (my day job), even if there’s time to do so. I can’t switch gears that easily anymore. When I do write, I have to be comfortable, which means lounging. There are spots in the loft of our house and outside on our deck that are reserved for writing. There’s always a cup of coffee nearby, as well as one or two of our four cats. (Maks is supervising from a nearby sofa as I write this. Curled up. With his back to me. Shhh. Don’t tell him sleeping isn’t supervising.)

I too find it tricky switching gears these days….

  

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Apart from the fact I don’t like to talk about myself?

 

  • I’ve been dancing since Mom taught me to waltz when I was a toddler standing on the tops of her feet. I love to dance and was, during the disco era, a professional dancer, as well as a disc jockey in a nightclub. (No, that’s not how I got my nickname. That came earlier.) I’ve even been a member of a clogging troupe.

 

  • Strangely, for a dancer, I don’t listen to music very often. I get caught up in the music and can’t concentrate on work; or start dancing around and forget to do whatever chore I’m supposed to be doing. Even classical music makes me lose track of time.

 

  • I’m a homebody who’s waiting for someone to invent and perfect transporter technology. I love to visit far-flung family and friends, and see new and different places, but prefer my own bed to anywhere else. I usually want to make a U-turn almost as soon as we leave the house to go to the airport.

 

  • I’m a huge baseball fan. That takes precedence over virtually anything else on the telly during the season. But I don’t actually watch It’s on in the background while I’m reading or doing other things. I’ll look up when the announcers get excited about something; or check the score at chapter’s (or chore’s) end.

 

  • Apart from having sports on in the background, I don’t watch much television at all. Therefore, I’m horribly out of the loop when friends discuss the latest television series…or even movies.

 I loved dancing on my Dad’s feet, always makes me smile when I think of it. Lovely insights, thank you.

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

Sunscreen! 😉

If you count people and cats as things, then my husband, the cats, a fully-loaded e-reader, coffee (one of the four major food groups) and a pot to make it in, and dark chocolate (also one of the four major food groups). I don’t need much if I have those and the basic necessities.

 

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 For an avid reader, that’s a really tough question!

 A plant identification book specific to the island. Which ones can I use for what, and which should I avoid?

  1. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, to make myself feel better about being stranded.
  2. Any of Nigel Tranter’s fiction. He wove Scottish history into fascinating stories.
  3. One of the Harry Dresden Files, if you won’t let me take the entire series. Jim Butcher tells a good tale and makes me laugh.
  4. One of the Iron Druid Chronicles (or the entire series…). Kevin Hearne is just as good as Butcher.
  5. Cheating and adding one: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (second in the All Souls Trilogy). History and Witch Lit! (But I’d still like to take all of them!)

I’ll definitely look up Nigel Tranter for a bit of historical fiction, thank you…

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

 

Living or dead? If dead, Barbara Jordan. She was my heroine growing up. (I’ve never minded a well-behaved ghost.) If living, Sir Patrick Stewart. (Not just because of his Star Trek connection, but there is that.) His life has taken some interesting turns and I think it would be fun to talk about them. His public persona is intriguing and, like all public people, I’m curious as to whether the private person is the same.

 

 7 Your current writing projects?

I’m working on Fudge’s story. Fudge is the familiar to the protagonist in The Ogre’s Assistant series. He’s over 2,000 years old so it’s magic woven in with history. Or is that history woven in with magic? While I thought I was finished at the end of Transformation!, another Ogre’s Assistant book is floating around in the back of my head. I’ll probably get around to plotting that out in the next couple of months when I need a break from Fudge.

 Also perking in the background is a book about herb usage throughout history – both magical and medicinal. The research is pretty much done but I can’t figure out how to make it interesting to anyone but me. Perhaps someday the proverbial bulb will light, and that book will get written. If not, I learned a thing or two.

  

8 Other published work and links….

 

First, and easiest, is my website http://www.authordjmartin.com

 

 

Amazon US: http://amazon.com/author/deborahmartin

 

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0046UDSM2

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authordjmartin

 

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authordjmartin

 

Thank you so much for joining me DJ. Lovely to discover more about you and your books. Check out Deborah’s books via her author pages and her website.

For more author interviews, posts about the writing process, dance, healing and plant based recipes, do visit again soon. Bright blessings xx

Lisa Shambrook – author of ‘The Surviving Hope’ novels and ‘A Symphony of Dragons’

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Today I’m welcoming Lisa Shambrook to my blog, another author who lives near me in Wales who I’ve met and chatted to at book fairs. You can meet her on 22nd September at the Narberth Book Fair and 29th September at the brand new Llandysul Book Fair, hosted by Cheryl Beer of Parlour Press Publishing.

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as

you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I wish I could have a writing routine – time set aside to write, but life is just too complicated for that! I write when I have time and I tend to plan. My first novel Beneath the Rainbow had no outline, I wrote as it flowed through my head, and edited thoroughly after to iron out the creases and fix the plot. Subsequent books, though, have all been well outlined and plotted. I like to have a scene list to work with, but that doesn’t mean I stick to it – any author will know that their characters evolve, and they, very purposely, throw curve balls at you! I absolutely love it when my characters take the lead and tell me, in no uncertain terms, that they’re going to do things differently to how I expected. It spices up my writing nicely!

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

 It might sound odd, but I’m a bit of a squirrel… I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and acorn cups are my stim. So, when I settle to write I have an acorn cup which I can smooth my thumb over and into while I mull over words and prose.

 

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

 The first thing is my acorn cup addiction and I really do carry them everywhere with me; each of my jacket pockets hold one or two, they’re placed strategically all through my home, and I make a bee line for oak trees!

Secondly, I love the stars and the moon and often find the theme threading through my writing. My Dad used to star gaze with us and Orion is always my first point of call when gazing up into the night sky.

I can’t bear seeing books abandoned, so I repurpose damaged and broken books into gifts in my Etsy store Amaranth Alchemy – breathing new life into old books…

I’m an observer. I like the small things – they need to be noticed. Every word I write in a novel is important, and is placed for a reason. I like details.

Lastly, I’m very partial to Fry’s Turkish Delight and Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you

want with you?

I’m going to count my family (hubby and three kids) as my first item – I don’t care if that’s allowed or not, I’m choosing them anyway! I’d want my laptop, but if there’s no electricity and there’s a strong chance there’d be no electricity on a lost desert island, then I’d want notebooks, lots of empty ones, and a pen or two, or three. I’d also like my bed, I hate camping and being uncomfortable, so my bed. And lastly, my camera – no doubt there’d be beauty to photograph and I love beautiful things!

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

I’d take The Lord of the Rings – Tolkien – in one enormous book, The Hobbit – Tolkien, His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman, The Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper, and The Old Kingdom series – Garth Nix. But if I was limited to only five physical books, it would be Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom: Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, Clariel, and Goldenhand.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Oh, wow, so many to choose from! I’ll be honest, I can’t actually choose between Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan.

 

 7 Your current writing projects?

I’m writing The Seren Stone Chronicles – ‘Centuries beyond post-apocalyptic, the landscape of Wales has turned into a whole new country – and the rumble of dragons has returned…’

I’m ready to begin writing the third book in the trilogy, and hopefully book one will be out in 2019.

 8 Other published work and links….

 

Beneath the Rainbow – Freya won’t let anything stand in the way of her dreams – not even her death. Now her family will need to uncover the clues to her secrets before it’s too late.

 

Beneath the Old Oak – Meg’s mother is having a breakdown, and Meg can’t cope. Seeking to escape bullies and overwhelming anxiety, she discovers an old oak tree whose revelations begin to change her life. Due for release by my new publisher BHC Press 16th October 2018

 

Beneath the Distant Star – Jasmine knows her very existence reminds her mother of something her sister will never have—life. Jasmine struggles to become her own person, and her fragile relationship with her mother shatters. Due for release by my new publisher BHC Press 11th December 2018

 

A Symphony of Dragons – A lyrical collection of seven stories featuring enchanting worlds of fantasy, contemporary fiction, romance, steampunk, and more that will let the song of dragons lead you…

 

Human 76 – Fragments of a fractured world. Follow Ghabrie on her desperate quest through a stark post-apocalyptic world to find her lost sister. A unique book of short tales from myself and 13 other authors.

 

You can find links to all my books on my website: www.lisashambrook.com/books and my blog is www.thelastkrystallos.wordpress.com Publishers website https://www.bhcpress.com/Author_Lisa_Shambrook.html Etsy Shop Amaranth Alchemy https://www.etsy.com/shop/amaranthalchemy

 

Thank you for joining me Lisa and I love and agree with so many of your answers! Getting to know other authors really helps on those long, cold, wet days when it’s just you and a restless, unhelpful WIP!

Join me again for more interviews and writing tips. Bright blessings xx

 

Carol Lovekin – author, feminist and flâneuse

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Today, I’m blogging my interview with Carol Lovekin, an author who lives in my nearest town here in West Wales, whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet and chat with at book fairs over the past couple of years. Carol is published by Honno Press, a Welsh based women’s press based in Aberystwyth. Carol will be at the Narberth Book fair on 22nd September and Llandysul, hosted by Parlour Press Publishing on 29th September.

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I’m a plotter. The idea of writing a book without a plan terrifies me! It’s hard enough with one, frankly. I write a detailed outline. That said, I’m up for the challenge. If plot, characters &/or other factors (editor?!) suggest tangents, I’ll go with them. It’s part of the excitement of conjuring a story. Characters in particular have a way of knowing where they need to go.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I have magical, writing earrings! They’re odd – an amber one & a moonstone. Until I lost one of each original pair they were favourites. Rather than abandon them, I paired them up & gave them a role. And I do like a tidy desk. I can’t work in a mess.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.
I’m a trained ballet dancer.
I hand write in pencil on unlined artists’ sketch pads.
I can swim underwater for (almost) the entire length of my local swimming pool. Working on those last three metres!

I didn’t learn to drive until I was 59.

I don’t do even numbers.

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

Knife. Flint. Huge box of pencils. Big box of paper. Teapot.


5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee. My favourite book. Immaculate writing & a superb indictment of racism in America.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve loved it since I was fifteen &
 read it every year. Where my love of the Gothic novel comes from. (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier vies for this slot, for the same reason.)

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Sublime writing; a beautifully constructed novel & a moving exposé on the reality of war. 

Possession A S Byatt. Insanely good writing & the best dual narrative novel I’ve ever read. 
The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman. I love her take on magical realism. The writing is lush; it has an indefinable quality to it.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?
 
Dame Judi Dench.

 

7 Your current writing projects?

One project at a time for me. I’m currently editing my third book. It’s like wandering through a vast wild wood. Luckily, I have breadcrumbs.

 Website: carollovekinauthor.com
Twitter: carollovekinauthor.com

Thank you so much for joining me Carol. You can find Carol’s books on Amazon here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carol-Lovekin/e/B01ADAWMPC/ref

or for friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Carol-Lovekin/e/B01ADAWMPC/ref

Join me soon for another author interview; a peep into a modern writer’s life.

 

Meet author Jane Risdon

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I joined a new group on Facebook Writers Authors and Readers, administered by the wonderful Anna Maria Shenton, and met a whole host of kind and supportive authors. Jane Risdon was one of them. Knowing she was launching a new book, I invited her over for a chat so you can meet her and learn more about her writing as well.

Hello Jane! Welcome!

Hello Wendy, thanks for asking me to chat with you on your blog.

No problem, lovely to have you here to share more about your writing.

 

1        How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I never plot. I have an idea, possibly from a name which comes to mind, or an experience will trigger something, possibly a news item – whatever – and I will sit down and start to write. It comes from the ether I guess. If I get a name, the story often comes with it and it writes itself.

I usually write Crime/Thrillers but with Only One Woman (Women’s Fiction), the way the book came about is different. Christina Jones – my co-author – and I are old friends. We share a past. My now husband was a lead guitarist with a band in the late 1960s, and Christina was employed as their Fan Club Secretary. We’ve always wanted to write together but never got round to it. I moved house in 2012 and was looking through memorabilia from my husband’s band and also from musicians we’d subsequently managed during our career in the International Music Business. I came across fan letters, photos, old diaries, and touring schedules etc., and thought I’d write a story set in the late 1960s. I was going to write a crime story but it turned into more of a romance and about life back in the Swinging Sixties. Christina is a Romance author and so we’d found the perfect way we could write together.

This time I sat down with diaries for reference and the names came quickly for my creations – Renza and Scott – and from then on it wrote itself as usual. When I’d done with my part, I passed the baton to Christina and she wrote her character, Stella.

I rarely change tack, but I do edit as I go so before I begin writing I always go through the previous days writing and tweak. But no, I don’t think I’ve ever changed anything basic, except that I decided to make Only One Woman a romance and to leave all the dead bodies for another day.

I love that it is the muse that inspires you, Jane.

2        Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

Not really. I like to sit down with a cup of tea. Sometimes I need liquorice to nibble, but mostly I just decide to write, and off I go. Tea sustains me. Clothes don’t matter. Often I have the BBC News on in the background or my husband plays his guitar, song-writing or messing about beside me as I write. He is the first to read it all, and gets to comment as I go along.

3        Aside from writing, what makes you tick?

Wow! That is a question. You’d have to ask ‘himself,’ who knows me so well. I guess I am curious and always anxious to learn. I love reading, walking, photography, astronomy, history, architecture, science, music – you name it. Curiosity I guess makes me tick. In order to write better Crime stories I’ve undertaken 7 Forensic Science and Criminal Justice Courses to that I am up-to-date and accurate with my bodies, crime scenes and investigations. I am that curious!

I too love learning. It’s handy for research but it has a joy of its own.

4        If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

I would need access to the internet via a computer.

A good supply of liquorice.

Radio with a great signal.

My husband with his guitar.

All my photographs.

 

5        On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Cripes! I have no idea. I love books, I am surrounded by books and I have no idea which I could pick if forced. Perhaps the full set of Encyclopaedia Britannica to help my research when writing.

 

6        Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

Having spent most of my life working in the International Music Business I have had dinner with many famous people. Frankly, there are few people I could stand for that long, but I suppose – if dead folk count – Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Sir Patrick More, and living at time of writing, Professor Brian Cox and Doris Day.

 

7        Your current writing projects?

Goodness me, now you are for it! I have three books (to date) in my MI5 Officer series, Ms Birdsong Investigates, almost ready to go to my publisher – actually book one is in with them but they are not publishing anything new until the winter, and so I have time to complete the other two, possibly more in the series.

 

For some time I have been writing about Bollywood and the Indian Mafia – The White Haired Man – based on real life. I must get back to it when time permits.

 

There’s also a novel about the Music Business and our life working in it, but again that has been started but time has been short due to the promotion etc., of Only One Woman. This book was entitled LaLa Land a long time before the movie came out with the same name, so I guess I need to think of a new one.

 

I have about 50 short stories which I am compiling for my own anthology – some of which have appeared in numerous anthologies for other publishers, in online newsletters and magazines. It’s about time I put them into my own anthology. It is all down to having the time…

 

The response to Only One Woman has been amazing, fabulous reviews and a solid fan base has emerged, and they have been asking for a sequel. So ideas for this have been floating around my head, even as I was writing my parts for the current novel, I was thinking about a sequel. I am not sure if Christina is up for it as she has her own books for which she has a huge following. She is an award-winning, best-selling author of romance and has deadlines to meet. And, as I said, our publisher is not taking anything which has not been scheduled until winter. Christina has a book which has to be finished soon for a September publication deadline. Our publisher has not mentioned a sequel to Only One Woman so who knows!

 

It would be fun to take Narnia’s Children, Renza, and possibly Stella, beyond 1969 and tell the story of their lives as the band become famous, perhaps to the present day. Only One Woman is not only a love triangle, but an authentic representation of life in the grooviest decade of the 20th century with the Cold War, social changes, the amazing music and fashions of the era, and the way it all shaped the lives of not just our characters, but a whole generation. My Generation.

 

Only One Woman is published in Paperback and Audio Book on 24th May 2018 for stores and libraries.

It sounds like a busy year ahead, Jane but I wish you good luck in all your endeavours and thank you so much for dropping by.

 

If you would like to know more about Jane Risdon and Only One Woman, here are some links including the e-pub and Kindle Paperback buy links:

 

Jane Risdon Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I3GJ2Y8

 

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook/JaneRisdon2

 

Author Blog: https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jane_Risdon

 

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

 

Only One Woman Amazon UK/USA/Australia (so far):

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

 

USA:  https://www.amazon.com/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

 

Australia: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/B075D88JBP

 

Only One Woman Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/RenzandStella/

 

Only One Woman Blog: https://onlyonewomanblog.wordpress.com/

 

Only One Woman YouTube Playlists:  For Renza and Stella each

https://www.youtube.com/user/AccentPress/playlists?view=1&view_as=subscriber&shelf_id=0&sort=dd

 

 

 

 

The Truth….about Peter Jones, author, actor, speaker and Good Guy

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Me smallToday I’m welcoming Peter Jones to my blog to share his writing secrets and a few truths about how he ticks. We met almost nine years ago, two nervous newbies turning up at Billericay Writer’s Group and we’ve been friends ever since…and not just friends but writing buddies, supporting each other on a perilous, slippery journey along the ever changing path of publishing.

Peter’s first novel, The Good Guy’s Guide to Getting the Girl, followed his immensely successful non-fiction title How to do Everything and be Happy, and rocked the charts alongside Nick Hornby and Helen Fielding. His latest novel, The Truth about this Charming Man, is a rib tickling, page turning cracker, available now as a super summer read.

TTATCM publicity(1)

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I usually start with a plan – some kind of simple bullet-pointed outline – and then write around it. As the book emerges I might tweak the outline (as new ideas occur to me, or – more likely – the original ones don’t quite work), but I’ll definitely update my various spreadsheets that track when each scene of the story takes place, and my daily word-count. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

Yes: Get up. Eat breakfast. Sit my bum in the chair (around 6am on a good day) and get writing.

No facebook. No emails. No shower, or bushing my teeth. I have to get my writing brain going FIRST.

Never mind whether I ‘feel like it’ – or whether I’m particularly inspired. I sit myself down… and write. Anything.

At some point I’ll get washed and dressed – during which I’m still writing, albeit in my head. Then it’s back to my computer. And I can normally keep going (with frequent breaks to make more tea) until eleven, maybe twelve. At that point my brain turns to jam. Only then do I look at facebook. If some of my facebook posts seem particularly ‘jammy’, now you know why.

If I get stuck, or wake up with a total lack of motivation or energy, then I’ll give myself permission to write dialogue. Just dialogue. No punctuation, no description, no speech tags – just a line from one character, followed by a line from another character. Basically I just have a conversation with myself on the page. And sometimes I can spend the entire morning writing nothing but dialogue. BUT… the following day I go back over what I’ve written and fill in everything else – speech tags, description etc. It’s a little like laying bricks on one day and adding the concrete the day after… but despite being counterintuitive it seems to work. Sure, often the dialogue changes; sometimes I end up deleting whole chucks because a ‘look’ says it all – but that’s ok; in those two days I usually write more than I would have done had I tried to write ‘properly’.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

  • I once appeared on the front of the TV Times magazine
  • For a while I worked for Barclaycard and went by the name of Mavis
  • I fainted in the school sex-education video. Twice.
  • My favourite beverage is Champagne.
  • I recently played the part of a monk, a space-cow, and a voltine (a kind of space-wolf) in an audio episode of Doctor Who (with Colin Baker, and other people).

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

  • Some kind of solar powered generator.
  • My iPod.
  • My iPod speakers.
  • My electric toothbrush.
  • A lifetime supply of toothpaste.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

  • The biggest copy of the Bible I can lay my hands on – preferably a Kings James version with very thin pages. It would make excellent kindling.
  • Some sort of deserted island survival guide, possibly by Bear Grylls or someone similar
  • 101 Delicious Deserted Island Recipes – or similar cook book
  • A Nigella Lawson cook book. One with lots of pictures. Of Nigella.
  • Erm… is it possible to have a second Nigella book?

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Gosh. Well I’d like to say the Dalai Lama, or someone like that – but truth is I’d really like to meet singer songwriter Nerina Pallot. I love her music. Really great lyrics.

7 Your current writing projects?

I’m currently in the middle of my third vaguely romantic, comedic novel which I hope to be out in January 2017. Also, I’ve been promising an update to my guide to online dating How To Start Dating and Stop Waiting for quite a while now – and it’s almost ready. Almost.

8 Other published work and links….feel free to add as many as you like.

My latest novel, The Truth About This Charming Man, came out just a few weeks back and is part of Amazon UK’s June Summer Promo (which means you can get it for a mere 99p). It’s the story of William Lewis – wanna be actor – and… well… rather than me tell you, switch on the sound and watch the thirty-second movie promo by clicking the big play button in the image below (or here if you can’t see any image)

You can find more about me and my books at peterjonesauthor.com – and you’ll also find me lurking on facebook and twitter

 

Thanks Peter, more tea and flapjack?

Blog swap – Author interview – Elaina Davidson

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avi xToday on my blog I’m interviewing author Elaina Davidson. You can find me on her blog here  http://www.elainajdavidson/blogspot.com/ Read on to find out more about her…

Elaina is a galactic and universal traveller and dreamer. When writing she puts into words her travels and dreams, because she believes there is inspiration in even the most outrageous tale.

Elaina was born in South Africa and grew up in the magical city and surrounds of Cape Town. After studying Purchasing Management and working in the formal sector as a buyer, she chose to raise and home-school her children. She started writing novels around 2002, moving from children’s stories, poetry and short stories to concentrate on larger works. She lived with her family for some time in Ireland and subsequently in New Zealand. Returned now to South Africa, she realises the vibrancy of Africa has much to do with the inspirational side of her work. Something happens daily, something to shock, something to uplift … and the colours and diversity of nature itself fires the imagination.

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I start with an idea and once I have the first chapter down, the characters take over. Every single time! I have tried planning, but always the story takes its own direction. I like it that way, for I often find myself astonished by where I’m headed 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

Not really, although I would probably die without my cup of coffee when I put my computer on in the morning. I guess that’s a bit of a ritual – making sure I have my cuppa with me when I sit down to start working. Other than that, it’s usually bed head at first before I realise it’s time to take care of myself and get to the chores.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick?

Silence filled with birdsong. I am absolutely in love with natural sounds and work best when that is all I hear. When I’m not writing I’m doing research, and the subjects are eclectic. Everything from ancient legends, civilisations and religions, to new scientific breakthroughs. This is personal interest, but much of what I discover has served to spark an idea for a book as well.

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

Um, that’s quite a question! Let me see. As I’ll be roughing it and thus won’t have a computer … an inexhaustible supply of paper and pencils would be first! To record everything that happens, to sketch and, of course, to write. A camera, my cat and a sunhat.

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

Lord of the Rings, to vanish into Middle Earth when kitty isn’t enough company, and any book by Steven Erikson, because he writes such complicated fantasy you end up thinking it through for days afterward. I wouldn’t mind Poppet’s The Nephilim Cartel, because there’s so much information in there it needs to be read and reread many times, and an omnibus of my Arcana series and one of my Reaume series, to remind myself I can actually write 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?

Steven Erikson. I would so love to pick his brain to find out where his inspiration comes from.

7 Your current writing projects?

The second volume in the Lore of Reaume series (The Nemisin Star) has just been published, and now I’m editing the third book (The Sleeper Sword) for January release. I’m also currently writing a short story for an anthology my publishers, Thorstruck Press, will be releasing in December. I’m quite excited about that; a bunch of us are writing a story based on the theme ‘Castle Drakon’ and it seems we’re each of us going in different directions and that is always fun to read!

My Links

FB Author page: http://www.facbook.com/ElainaJDavidsonAuthor
Book pages: http://www.facebook.com/LoreOfArcana and http://www.facebook.com/LoreofReaume
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005WUAIWS
Blog: http://www.elainajdavidson/blogspot.com/

The epic battle continues between the Enchanter and the Darak Or. Margus and Torrullin are two faces on the same coin; no matter how opposite they are they remain even, except Margus has no qualms in using Torrullin’s son for his agenda. Tymall is the dark twin, whereas as Tristamil is the light. Yet they cannot clash despite needing to, despite desperate to be free of their symbiosis.

Torrullin returns to Valaris – to a war already fought. After dragging the Darak Or across time and space to battle it out elsewhere, he discovers his world cannot avoid another round of terror. In a golden city there is temple raised from vision and on one night every year a star shines through the aperture overhead. This is a connection to the world of Nemisin, the first homeworld. In this place where stars meet Torrullin must choose life or death for his sons.

As the universe searches for the Light in all its brilliance, seeking peace, Torrullin begins to see himself as a prince among demons. Torrullin returns to Valaris to save his family, his people, his world and his soul … and chooses to change the rules. Death, after all, is not an end. Too many lives have been lost because the Enchanter has a nemesis. Too many hearts have been broken. Sometimes the only way to find peace, is to lose yourself

The Nemisin Star Final smlhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Nemisin-Star-Lore-Reaume-Book-ebook/dp/B00OV81JD4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415010311&sr=1-1&keywords=the+nemisin+star

http://www.amazon.com/Nemisin-Star-Lore-Reaume-Book-ebook/dp/B00OV81JD4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415010387&sr=1-1&keywords=the+nemisin+star

Thank you Elaina for joining me today…you would love it on our Welsh riverbank, sitting in the dappled shade, listening to the birds and watching out for the kingfisher. Good luck with all your writing.