In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Daffodils hits #1! in FREE

Thanks to Bookbub and the advert I placed with them weeks ago, Daffodils hit the No 1 position in the UK and No 2 in the US for overall free books. I was stunned when I found out on the 8th September in a snatched internet moment at a cafe. I'm abroad in France at the moment so didn't even witness this awesome event in my career but I'm still as chuffed as could be.
Daffodils is still free so grab a copy. Pleased to report lots of reviews have also come through with many readers going on to read the rest of the series.
I'm currently working on The Rose Trail, which isn't connected to The Katherine Wheel Series, but I still plan to write the fourth and final book in Katy and Jem's story next year, if I can get all the massive amount of research completed by then. Woodbine and Ivy will complete their story and bring a conclusion that I hope will satisfy all the questions I've deliberately left unanswered in Peace Lily and Speedwell.
Thanks to all the 50,000 people who have downloaded Daffodils this week. I hope that each and every one of you will enjoy the story and come back for more.

Here's some of the new reviews of Daffodils that have gladdened my heart: 

5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read12 Sept. 2016
"5 *s This was an enchanting story full of love and adventure. It started before the first world war, when everyone knew their place in the scheme of things, although not everyone was happy with their place, then it covered the horrible war and the death and destruction and the firm friendships made during this war. I was really sorry when I finished the book. I shall buy the next two in the series as I enjoyed this book so much!"

on 9 September 2016
"Thoroughly enjoyable read that bought home some of the realties of WW1 from a woman's point of view. Although there is a romantic thread this book is head and shoulders above the usual offerings in the genre. It bought to mind the photographs I've seen of my grandmother and other members of family in WW1 uniform and gave some meaning to little WW1 keepsakes I inherited. I look forward to reading other books in the series."

on September 11, 2016
"I've rated this book 5 star because I only had to neglect my housework for 2.5 days. The story is so real life with authentic characters and gripping struggles that made it difficult to set the book down. I will recommend it to my Book Club this month. I can't wait to read the next two books in this series!"

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The male perspective on Speedwell

5.0 out of 5 stars Not a Flowery “Women’s Only” StoryAugust 15, 2016
Verified Purchase
This review is from: Speedwell (The Katherine Wheel Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
"This book caught my attention by the title and the race car on the cover. And even though I hadn’t read the first two books of the series, I checked out the description, then a portion of the sample and bought it. Auto mechanic Katy (Katherine) Phipps, proprietor of Katherine Wheel Garage, is struggling to eke out a living in 1920s England, having apparently learned her trade in World War I. Her husband Jem (short for Jeremy) handles many of the building maintenance and household duties, including growing vegetables for themselves and for sale. Jem lost half an arm during the war, but doesn’t whine about it. Their humble home and workshop are a short distance from the manor of their unlikely friends Cass (Cassandra) and Douglas, who is an American who met his wife during the war. Cass, a daughter of wealth, privilege, and minor nobility, drove an ambulance during the war, which was probably when she and Katy became friends. Katy and her family were once servants at the manor, though, so they must have been acquainted. Anyway, Since Doug and Cass helped fund Katy and Jem to get the garage up and running, and since there isn’t much for Doug to do at the manor, coupled with the fact that he and the in-laws aren’t too fond of each other and it’s actually their place, Doug periodically stops by the garage to help out. The problem is, he isn’t much help. But he is amiable and charming, and by mutual agreement he begins selling new cars out of Katy’s shop. Doug is a car guy who loves to drive, so it’s a perfect fit. Soon Doug and Katy end up concocting a scheme to go racing, promote business for both of them. This story is heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and thought provoking. And although it isn’t a fast read, like many sagas, and isn’t of the genre I read often, it’s a compelling tale."

I feel that Speedwell has passed some severe masculine test with this review!

Monday, 25 July 2016

5*s for the whole Katherine Wheel Series ***** #amreading #amwriting

Format: Kindle Edition
"I became caught up in this series. A few very late nights still up and reading. All characters were very well developed.
I need Kleenex at times,but that's what tells you you're in love with these characters. 
I would have liked to know more about the manor and the children. What happened with the other dear ones.
Do you think another book might let us know the answers ? Will definitely recommend to friends."

So pleased with this review of the whole series posted in the US. Really motivated now to write Woodbine and Ivy which 
will take the characters from The Katherine Wheel Series into the arena of the second World War - as if they
haven't suffered enough! Now the children of Katy and Cassandra have to face their life-changing challenges as
they deal with another global drama and readers will find out exactly how the two families' destinies finally collide.
Lots of research for this one, so it will take some digging for that, but I'm hoping to get it out next year, 2017. I'm just
polishing off the very different new book, The Rose Trail, which should be published this autumn, 2016.
Watch this space!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016


Doing a free promotion is an odd feeling, giving away something you've slogged so hard at for nothing but not only have Peace Lily and Speedwell benefited, my writer's heart was completely uplifted by the following review. Maybe I would never have reached this reader, had I not done the giveaway and I feel truly rewarded now.

"5.0 out of 5 stars
Daffodils (The Katherine Wheel Book 1) 

Rarely do I read a book this good. Told from the point of view of Katy, a young English woman 

of working class roots, who moves from service as a maid in a manor house to marriage
 to working as a mechanic in France during WW1. The world changes incredibly during
 those years and this is an excellent recounting of those changes from a woman's point of view. 
Primary in the story is the love and marriage of Katy and Jem with strong secondary characters 
being brought in throughout the story. I bought the next book in the series within 5 minutes of 
finishing this one. The writing is excellent, emotional and descriptive, with well developed characters.
It is well edited, with no profanity or descriptive sexual scenes."

Sunday, 10 July 2016

#FREE Daffodils for a short time only

Having completely revised Daffodils, I'm letting her go free today and tomorrow.
Book One of The Katherine Wheel Series drags Katy and Jem into the global arena of World War One and changes their lives forever.
Cheadle is a sleepy village in rural Wiltshire, England. Nothing much changes and little family dramas provide the only food for scandal and gossip. Then WW1 erupts into the lives of these country people, leaving no-one unscathed.
We meet Katy as a young maidservant, restless for more than domestic service can offer and reckless to a fault. We see her develop and mature, as life throws joys and tragedies across her path and the war lures Jem away. Another man tempts her to stay home but in the end she too signs up for the war and in doing so, finds her true self, and discovers that the only thing that really matters is, after all, simply love.


Book One of The Katherine Wheel Series
Click this link to get free copy

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Peace - at least in the Plotting Shed #amwriting

Peace reigns, temporarily at least, in The Plotting Shed, as I begin the re-write of The Rose Trail, after my editor, Tomas Martin's, insightful comments on the first draft.
His energy, acute observations and pithy criticism always energise and inspire me. I've learnt to take the brutal truth on the chin, knowing it always bears luscious fruit.
Amongst these comments was one I treasure: It's the best first draft you've ever written.
As I begin weaving some threads, some depth and a few red herrings into the story, I am astonished to find the seeds have already been sown when I wrote the first draft. This happens every time and never ceases to amaze me. It's as if my subconscious knew all along where those threads and strands should be and planted their genesis within the race to the finish that getting the story down entails. You have to keep up the momentum in the first draft. Yes, there is an outline, but that doesn't allow for the characters to run away with your carefully worked out plot and embellish it. Which makes for a rollercoaster ride as you commit their actions, words and deeds onto the document.
Returning to the story the second time around, imbued with the refreshing ideas of Beta No 1 and Editor, is quite a different experience. It's more relaxed for a start; there is no rush to see if all the plot lines will work out the way you hoped they would. It is more careful, not calculated as such, but thoughtful. It is craft.
I love this stage! And especially when I find that the original script has the space and the intention ready and willing to be reworked.
As I write more books, I find I panic less. The pattern of how I put a book together seems to have evolved now. It feels more creative, less stressful, more manageable and infinitely more rewarding.
It'll be up to you readers to tell me if you feel the same.
Life is busy for me at the moment and writing time under pressure but I'm still on target to publish by the autumn.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Thorny matters: Alex Martin spinning Katherine Wheels

Thorny matters: Alex Martin spinning Katherine Wheels: I am continuing my cunning plan to interview other authors (i.e. let them do the work), with an interview with Alex Martin, author of the Ka...