In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Monday, 9 October 2017

getting excited

I love researching for a new story. Woodbine and Ivy is a challenge, that's for sure. Because of the global politics of world war two, I'm having to start my research at the end of the story and work my way back. I have a complete arc written out - I know the ending I'm aiming for - but it has to match up with reality. So for things to work out correctly I must begin at the very end.
It's like a rubic cube and when you find that the picture you're building for your characters can actually be backed up by real events and key points slot into place, it's incredibly exciting and satisfying. Gives me the motivation to carry on!

Soon the trilogy will be a quadrilogy. The quest continues....

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Woodbine and Ivy research

Whilst researching Paris in 1939 for Woodbine and Ivy I came across 3 films in black and white - ironically filmed by a German with the explanations in his native language. The images show coal-grimed houses which at first I thought might be because of the grainy film. Then I found another film in colour, by an American 'doing' Europe. The colours of the cars and stripy awnings are vibrant but the buildings, though elegant, remained grey and you can actually see the clouds of smoke above the buildings in one frame.
Both film-makers seemed fascinated by the traffic, especially around the Arc de Triomphe, as well they might. There were no white lines in those days and drivers had to take their chances in turning off from the mainstream while pedestrians literally took their life in their hands crossing the road. Despite that, and the impending cataclysm Hitler was about to invoke, the mood in all the scenes looks calm and tranquil. I doubt either cameraman went to any of the poorer districts and Paris he captured looks prosperous and charming.
The American tourist's holiday took in Berlin after Paris. I was shocked to see the huge red flags with their black swastikas hanging from parapet to pavement on the civic buildings there. Talk about flagging up what's to come - as I have done, rather rashly, for my story!

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Here's the link to the third and most animated black and white film on Youtube.
for those of you who'd like to see for yourselves.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

New look for #The Rose Trail

I am thrilled with this revamp of my latest book, The Rose Trail. 
I discovered that my radical new design meant that readers didn't connect it with my other books! That defeated the whole object of course. So, helped as ever by the gifted #Jane Dixon-Smith of, here is the new cover of The Rose Trail. I'm delighted with the results.
The picture of the mullioned window against the mellow old bricks exactly portrays the beauty of Meadowsweet Manor in the story, where most of the scenes are set, both in the present day and during the English Civil War. I think the pomander is gorgeous and does justice to the passionate tale of revenge woven around its mysterious power.

I would love feedback from readers on which cover you prefer!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017 This Saturday 23rd September 2017!

Roll up, Roll up! Calling all bookworms!  Authors and readers unite!
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This Saturday, 23rd September 2017 between 10 am and 4pm (with #FREE entry) treat yourself to a thoroughly bookish day at the Narberth Book Fair, previously known as the Tenby Book Fair and now relocated to a bigger, brighter venue in south Wales.

Over 40 authors will be there, talking about their books and offering the opportunity both to buy them and to find out why and how they were written. They can sign copies and discuss the motivation for writing in their genres.

I was involved in organising the Tenby Book Fair for the last couple of years but have now moved on to a different exciting project in France. However my colleagues, both brilliant writers and inspirational women, Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore, have put together a wonderful book fair in a new and beautiful venue in Narberth, Pembrokeshire, very near to the original setting in Tenby. Tenby itself makes for a great day or weekend destination with lots to do, cafes, restaurants, shops and the magnficent beaches that surround it and the local countryside. Dylan Thomas's refuge at Laugharne is a short drive away and altogether this area is outstandingly scenic and affords the sensitive book lover the perfect getaway.

Here's the link to the book fair:
where you can get directions and more information. An umissable event for all book loves within reach of stunning Pembrokeshire. I only wish I could be there!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

😍 WIN a the Ultimate #Reader Gift Basket. Click here to enter~>

😍 WIN a the Ultimate #Reader Gift Basket. Click here to enter~>
Click on the link to win! And find #DAFFODILS #FREE! through August!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Thrilled with this!

How could I be anything but thrilled with this review for The Rose Trail?

on July 27, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Heartfelt thanks to all reviewers

I've been distracted from blissful writing activities by my dear old Dad becoming terminally ill with that dread disease, cancer. It was greatly cheering to receive four 5* reviews for Daffodils this morning in America, followed swiftly by a fifth.
People who leave these lovely reviews need to know how much it means to any author to receive them. At such a particularly busy and distressing time, it means even more.

Here's some of what they said:

"Great read. Held my interest from the very first pages"
"Development of characters was very good and the story was well told. Don't want to give it away but I got goosebumps in the last couple chapters. It got to me, nicely done."
Excellent read!"

So a sincere thank you to these readers and to all those who've done the same. Means the world.