In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Saturday, 21 December 2013

5 Star review for the Twisted Vine!

5.0 out of 5 stars yum yum 21 Dec 2013

By SuzM

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

The Twisted Vine is a great read, giving you three books in one. First there's the thriller, with a cast of characters both sinister and sad. Then there's the wonderfully evocative account of life as a grape picker in France. You can tell that the author has been there, done that, and got the knees to prove it. And lastly, there's the guide to French gastronomy. My favourite, except that I spent the whole time salivating. What I have learned, from reading The Twisted Vine, is that I don't want to go grape picking, but I most definitely do want a four course lunch chez Cabot.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

new 5* review in the US for #Daffodils

http://amzn.to/19iDLtI

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars Touching and thought provoking story, December 18, 2013


This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed reading Daffodils and the last few chapters really intensified the story. We can only imagine what effects WW1 had on everyday working class people and Daffodils brought one simple story to life. The ending did bring tears to my eyes from sadness and joy, what more could you ask from a writer.

I cant believe this was a free download, as my partner downloaded it as a freebie, but I would have happily paid for it.

The bargain phenomenon

I think it's an interesting facet of the human condition that when one hasn't paid, or only paid very little, for something, one values it less. It's a known fact among fellow authors that when a book is given away for free, or discounted way below its value, as Daffodils has been lately, it is more likely to receive negative reviews. I suppose this is partly because people who wouldn't normally read it are drawn to do so. It is outside their comfort zone and they haven't invested in it. What is strange, is that they then feel entitled to criticise it freely, with impunity, from the anonymous and safe position of reader.
I had one 2 star rant recently, complaining about my British spelling (it is a book that is set in deepest England) who even had the cheek to get a refund on the 99 cents it had cost him/her. And another who complained that the book strayed from young adult to Edwardian language (Daffodils is about a young adult in Edwardian England).
People who paid the full price for the book have loved it. The good reviews far outnumber these two bad ones.
I took a risk with Daffodils in showing the minutia of village life before World War One shook it up. I took my time with this in the book deliberately to make the point about how devastating and sudden the change brought by the  war was. People who fail to understand this are impatient for the action to  begin. They miss the main point of the book.
It's a shame that they feel they have to bray their lack of perception to the whole world.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

I love a soft centre at Xmas

I met Steve Bichard through exchanging books about France.
He wrote Vantastic France - a great autobiographical story about his move to live over there and I wrote The Twisted Vine, based on my grapepicking days in the 80s there.
Today I received this magic tweet from Steve about Daffodils, my second book.
It made my day!




@Alexxx8586 My pleasure Alex it was a touching and brilliant book, I even shed a few tears at the end, big softie that I am.
Happy xmas


Friday, 13 December 2013

#Daffodils BARGAIN $0.99 cents until Christmas! http://amzn.to/19iDLtI

#DAFFODILS
http://amzn.to/141yEIG (#www.amazon.co.uk)


http://amzn.to/19iDLtI (#www.amazon.com)

Will be on at the bargain price of $0.99 US cents until #Christmas.
Load up your #Kindle for the #holidays and take a trip back in time to when idealism took country people into sacrifice and discover how women found their strength in this tumultuous period of our history.
 
Life was never the same after World War One.
A tender love story that is ultimately uplifting and heartwarming.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The price of success

Thrilled to receive my first cheque from royalties in America I trotted off to the branch of my bank, which shall remain anonymous, for reasons which will become obvious.
A great fuss and fluttering of feathers greeted my physically large cheque made out to a modest quantity of dollars.
The counter lady, whose deep orange tan and spikey hair with even spikier long scarlet nails, reminded me of Malificent of Disney fame, and was pretty scary. She looked down her long nose at me, over her winged specs, with great disapproval.
"This will have to be given Special Treatment," she intoned, shaking her head from side to side with great solemnity. "And it won't be quick."
She turned to the younger counter slave, and said, "We'll have to get out The Box File."
The younger woman looked at me in grave sympathy. I felt a considerable amount for her. At least I could walk away soon. Soon? Hah!
As promised, the whole exchange took a long time - at least a quarter of an hour - which pleased the people in the gathering queues behind me no end.
The Box File was duly dragged out from the nether regions and dusted off. The coughing and sneezing that ensued was nothing compared to the heavy sighs emanating from the Assistant Manager's ruby-red lipsticked mouth.
A long red talon flicked the pages and then pointed down the page as the rules were read out to me. "You do understand the implication of this, don't you?"
I wasn't going to argue with her. "Of course," I said, hopping from one foot to another.
"You will have to sign this form, saying that you accept the consequences of submitting A Foreign Cheque."
I grabbed the nearest biro, all too aware of the numerous pairs of eyes boring into my back.
"You must read it ALL before you sign!"
I scanned the tiny print, once I'd found my reading glasses at the bottom of my bag.
"Are you SURE you've read it THOROUGHLY?"
I nodded, mute with embarrassment, and did my best authorly signature at the bottom of the page, hoping that would conclude the transaction.
Another sigh rippled past the glossy lips. "Now, I will have to photocopy this. You have to have a copy too. Of course, that means I shall to go UPSTAIRS!"
An audible hiss hit my back and my palms sprung leaks. Luckily, as soon as The Assistant Manager let herself out from behind the bullet proof glass with a great deal of key jangling and, at the speed of the slowest sloth on the planet, put one foot, sticky like treacle, on the first tread of the stairs in the bank lobby, her young assistant unleashed the blind on the next counter with a snap, and started serving the other customers. I found the clock, which faced away from the lengthy queue, now side by side to me, fascinating all of a sudden, and watched the seconds plonk slowly round its circular face with intense concentration.
A long time later, a measured stilletto'd tread could be heard descending the stairs, one by one. The Assistant Manager unlocked the counter door and returned to face me, her hair gel unruffled, and not a bit out of breath. This was a woman who kept her poise, no matter how annoying the clients were, flashing their foreign cheques about the place.
Her long fingertips were licked in order to separate the sheaf of papers deemed necessary for this momentous occasion and the pages separated out, one by one. A pile for me, a pile for the bank.  I hoped it was over. I felt I'd sinned enough, but no - another boxfile was unearthed. This one was full of envelopes.
"It will have to be sent in a Special Envelope to Head Office!"
"Okay," I said.
"And you can forget it clearing in five working days - it will take that just to get there! You need to allow at least ten!"
"As long as it's paid in, and safe in your hands," I said.
"It should be, but you never know with The Post."
"Are we done then?" I asked.
Reluctantly, she agreed we were, but her parting shot was, "This is all very old-fashioned you know, you need to get paid electronically by www.amazon.com."
No kidding.
I left, trying not to shout for joy on my release from the glaring eyes of the other customers.
How was I to know that amazon hadn't given the full amount and that I would be there again next week?
On my arrival the second time, my heart sank to my boots, when I saw that Malificent was on duty again, but with a different young trainee. She turned to her colleague, and said, when I handed her my precious royalty cheque, of which I had been so proud, "Oh, it's HER again. She's done this before."
When I got home, I went straight to my Amazon bookshelf and ticked the electronic payment box.
I've heard about the price of success but never understood the implications until now.

Oh, and each transaction cost me over £8! That's nearly $20!!!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Editing

I learned so much from John Hudspith, editor, and also from other wonderful authors that I have met through facebook and twitter and from there, writing circles in the real world.
Inspired by them all, I have re-edited The Twisted Vine.

http://bit.ly/141xBZj  The link for The Twisted Vine on #www.amazon.com

For the first time, I feel the story is right.
The funny thing is, I have re-instated the second chapter from the very first draft, with a few tweaks, and it is so much gutsier for it.  So is Roxanne,the troubled little cockney heroine. She has quite a few problems to overcome but now we can read her spirited character right from the start,as she faces out her Toryboy lover and sets out on her French odyssey.
I feel really happy with the changes I've made.
Grab a copy and let me know if my instincts are right!
Oh, and in the new year, The Twisted Vine is going to have a new cover with the professional and inspirational help of the gifted Jane Dixon-Smith, who helped me with the cover of Daffodils.
I might even be inclined to do a free promotion for the new re-invigorated Twisted Vine!
Watch out for it on these pages.

Happy Christmas.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Speedwell

I'm so excited to report that work has begun on Speedwell, the sequel to Daffodils.
Speedwell is another beautiful flower. One that spreads through lawns and is the most ravishing shade of blue.
I'll say no more about the name of the book just yet! Except to say, it's perfect for the new story...



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Borrowing Daffodils #http://amzn.to/19iDLtI for FREE!

Don't forget that even though the free promotion is over for Daffodils, as it is a 'Prime' book you can still borrow it for free.  It helps everyone, as I get some royalties too!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

10,000 Downloads for #Daffodils!

Thank you to each and everyone of you 10,000 people all over the world who downloaded Daffodils.
I hope you enjoy  this tender love story.
It would be great to receive reviews and mentions such as tweets and shares if you do enjoy it and I shall feel well rewarded.
If you like my work, my first book is called The Twisted Vine and is available on www.amazon.com  and I'm working on a new ghost story called The Rose Trail set against the backdrop of the British Civil War.
A sequel to Daffodils is planned, called Speedwell, where you can follow Katy's tumultuous life through the rapid changes that the roaring Twenties bring to Cheadle Manor.
Progress on all of the above will be posted here.
Thanks again for your interest in my work.

Friday, 22 November 2013

LAST FEW HOURS OF FREEBIE

It's the last few hours of a very successful promotion for Daffodils.
Roughly 10,000 people have downloaded this story. Thank you each and everyone.
I hope everybody who reads about Katy and Jem will grow to love them and want to know what's going to happen next in their eventful lives.
I have lots of ideas for a sequel, which is going to be called Speedwell.
Some of you might guess what that title means!
You can bet that Katy will continue to stir up everyone around her as the 1920's roar in.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Free promotion for Daffodils starts today

The FREE promotion for Daffodils starts today on www.amazon.com and world wide.

I have very mixed feelings about giving away my book. It took me ten years to write, off and on and a great deal of research, but as a new author, these promotions seem to be the best way of getting stories out there to be read and enjoyed.

I hope everyone who downloads Daffodils will enjoy the story and if they do, to return the favour with a positive review, as a thank you. Positive reviews are great motivators to us writers!

A sequel is planned with the same characters following the story on through the post war years of the twenties. Katy will continue to challenge the men around her and the massive changes that the war triggered will lead to all sorts of interesting conflicts and challenges for the characters you will meet in Daffodils.  I haven't yet written a single word, as I'm working on another story at the moment, but the ideas are flooding in.  I even have a title - Speedwell.

When the current work in progress, The Rose Trail, and the sequel to Daffodils, Speedwell, are published, it will be announced here.

Happy reading! And thank you for your interest in my work. I do love to write, and appreciate every single person who reads my stories and any positive feedback you feel moved to say.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Free Promotion for Daffodils

Hi just giving advance notice that Daffodils http://amzn.to/19iDLtI
is going free from November 21st to 23rd 2013

Sunday, 10 November 2013

And she's off! New Version of Daffodils up and running.

Pleased to announced that, despite the glitches, the new version of #DAFFODILS is up and running on #www.amazon.co.uk and #www.amazon.com and other countries.

This is a new, improved edition, thanks to the help and advice of editor, # www.johnhudspith.co.uk who taught me all about POV filters, over-writing (my greatest sin) some formatting tricks and how to wield a scalpel.
Thanks Johnny!

Gremlins

Self publishing isn't all plain sailing. I've been working intensively on Daffodils for about four weeks now, revising, polishing, tweaking and clipping it. I'm immensely grateful to John Hudspith (editor @ www.johnhudspith.co.uk ) who explained previously unknown rules about writing to me - things like POV filter, some formatting issues and simply over-writing.
Having gone through the entire manuscript this morning, sitting in my dressing-gown, too wrapped up in it to notice, I took the plunge and uploaded the new, crisper version of my treasure to KDP. As it was whirring through the upload, our internet connection cut out.
Now I cannot access my book to check if it's the right version, if the new formatting has worked or the new blurb looks good on the www.amazon.co.uk and .com pages.
This is total agony! I know I only have to wait for it to go live but the frustration of that long-awaited moment is pretty testing.
I'm going to go out for a walk in the autumn sunshine to clear my head and stop myself from throwing the computer through the window.
I might even get dressed first.
Hopefully, the new version is being installed, as I type.  When, if, it arrives, I shall trumpet it loud and clear on this blog!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

New 5* review and editing happening!

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Excellent, November 8, 2013

By

This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
This was a really good story. Not sure if the other one by this writer The Twisted Vine will hold up to these standards but I guess I'll just have to wait and see next month. It's light reading to some extent but also very sad at times. I highly recommend it.

Just received this review from America. This was especially welcome, as I've had a dry spell whilst I've been editing Daffodils, with professional help. I knew I had a good story there but I also knew it needed a tweak.
Thanks to John Hudspith, Editor, the new version will be up on Amazon very soon. Cleaner, fresher, sharper. Get your box of tissues ready!

Thanks for the valuable lessons, Johnny!
www.johnhudspith.co.uk

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Fussy Librarian

My book DAFFODILS is being featured Friday at The Fussy Librarian, a new website that offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from 30 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic. It's pretty cool -- check it out! www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Great idea for discriminating readers


Readers: Did you know you can get your very own librarian, for free. It’s true! Choose from 30 genres, select content preferences and she’ll send you daily ebook recommendations. www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

 
This is a new website that chooses books based on their merit.  Saves you having to wade through the pile of books now available on www.amazon.com and many other sites.  Great to have choices filtered.

And, you guessed it, Daffodils features here now!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Charlotte, thank you!

On a quiet rainy Sunday a new 5* review lifted me and the gloom outside.  Just checking one of my babies and there it was a new review.  Anyone who takes the time and trouble to write a review knows not what solace they give to an aspiring author.  Writing is a disciplined, lonely old job and knowing that you have given a reader solace, pleasure and hopefully something to think about is the one thing that often keeps you going.  I take the opportunity now to thank each and every reviewer of both my books, The Twisted Vine and Daffodils, for their time and energy and sheer generosity in posting a positive review.

Here's the latest:

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 13 Oct 2013


Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)

This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
I really loved this book.I have never written a review before but have just finished it this minute. Daffodils was written at a perfect pace which meant it kept me wanting to read.The characters were well formed and believable. It also made me cry a few times and I enjoyed the historical detail. As good as The Twisted Vine -Alex Martins first book. Looking forward to the next .

Friday, 11 October 2013

new 5* review of Daffodils posted in the states

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portrayal of that era, October 11, 2013


This review is from: Daffodils (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this novel. Alex Martin writes with a sensitivity and awareness of the human condition. The storyline flows. the recurring themes of loyalty. love, hope and despair- so much part of those times - are consistent. It is so easy to empathise with her characters; they are rounded and believable. The dialogue and internal voices of both protagonists, Katy and Jem, resonate with the characters portrayed. The storyline is strong and compelling.
The first part of Daffodils evokes the simplicity and unchallenged class narrowness of village life in England before WW1. And then comes the horrific experiences of that war. From a personal point of view,the one and only weakness of this novel is the change of pace in the last third of the story - I so wanted to know more of both Katy and Jem's war experiences; especially Katy's initial efforts to become involved in the war. So my only regret as I closed the book was that it was not longer. This is a novel I would thoroughly recommend. I look forward to reading Alex martin's other novel, The Twisted Vine

My comment is that Daffodils is already a long book and I had to condense it at some point otherwise it would have become an epic!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A Time for Silence by Thorne Moore

It's a phrase often used and abused but I truly couldn't put this book down.  I met Thorne at a book fair and we enjoyed chatting to each other. She is a delightful person who's easy to spend time with but, as I suspected then, she has hidden depths.
I thoroughly recommend A Time for Silence, her debut novel. It explores the darkest of themes in a dual time frame.  Thorne lifts the covers off the black heart of the book in slow degrees, as the contemporary narrator investigates her family's past. 
I gave it a well deserved five stars and my review, with the link to the book, is below:

5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly gripping 9 Oct 2013

By Alexx

Format:Kindle Edition

A skilfully crafted novel in dual time. In the modern story we have a parallel of the mystery that obsesses Sarah as she embarks on a cathartic journey into her family's dubious past. The sparkling dialogue disguises the nature of her relationship with Mark and it is only when she uncovers true abuse of power that she understands what is going on in her own life. It is just as well that Ms Moore reveals the dark secrets of Cwmderwen slowly as it would be overwhelming otherwise. There is a lot of wisdom about human nature in this gripping novel, with both dark and light portrayed realistically, when a God fearing man, cloistered within a chapel community in deepest Wales, allows his pride to undo him and his family. I couldn't put it down is an overworked phrase but I simply couldn't. Yes, I could guess the outcome but not how it would unravel and what the psychological ramifications on each character would be. A highly recommended read. I can't wait for Ms Moores next offering.
 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Review of Judith Barrow's sequel to Pattern of Shadows - Changing Patterns

<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18014357-changing-patterns" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img alt="Changing Patterns" border="0" src="https://djgho45yw78yg.cloudfront.net/assets/nocover/111x148.png" /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18014357-changing-patterns">Changing Patterns</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3295663.Judith_Barrow">Judith Barrow</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/736019127">4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />

Judith Barrow is the mistress of the family saga.  Having read Pattern of Shadows I was keen to find out what happened to the complex characters set up by the previous book.  It was a richly satisfying experience to have all the loose ends tied up in 'Changing Patterns'.  Love abounds but there is no soppy romanticism. This is real love, warts and all, amongst working class families.  There are no grown ups, no-one knows all the answers to the dramas that confront them. Everyone finds their own way through betrayals, terror and abduction.  Everyone is believable in this gritty, down to earth story. Recommended reading if you want to become totally involved in lives you can relate to.<br>Judith also excels in the atmosphere of the period after the second world war.  Rationing still competes with money for currency, the lavatories are still outdoors with scratcy Izal toilet paper; babies are exchanged without social workers filling in a ream of forms, tin baths still have scum around their edges and you can smell the cigarette smoke and the drains.  Through it all the compassionate humanity of people struggling to cope shines through and this is ultimately an extremely uplifting story with a feel good finale full of hope and optimism for a different, brighter future which beautifully encapsulates the fifties.

<br/><br/>
<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/10518353-alex-martin">View all my reviews</a>

Sunday, 6 October 2013

New 5* review for DAFFODILS brings it up to a nice round dozen!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful


5.0 out of 5 stars Daffodils 6 Oct 2013

By SuzM

Format:Kindle Edition

Daffodils is a very good read, set during the first world war, beginning in rural Wiltshire, in a world revolving around the class-ridden affairs of Upper and Lower Cheadle, where Katy, a girl who, for all her dreams of wider horizons, finds herself married to gardener Jem, preparing to raise a family in her little cottage. Even in this small world, there is drama and tragedy, but then Jem joins up to fight abroad and is reported missing in action, and Katy joins the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. The book is well researched and the war scenes are gruesome, but it's very satisfying that Katy, who begins in a maid's apron and cap, obliged to kowtow to the local gentry, finishes up as a free spirit with cropped hair and trousers, up to her elbows in grease, working as a mechanic.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Research for The Rose Trail

I'm finding the research about the English Civil War fascinating.  It was a complex time of political manoevrings between King and parliament before the war eventually broke out.  With the gift of hindsight it seems obvious and inevitable that the power struggle would end in conflict.  Charles 1 was an arrogant king destined to clash with his Parliament but I suspect no-one would have wanted it to end up with his head severed from his diminutive body.  As in today's ebook revolution, there was also an explosion of information spread throughout the country with the advent of printing.  As our generation is also experiencing, there is nothing like information being exposed for the first time to get you thinking. 
 
This crucial time in British history set the precedent for much of our parliamentary procedures today.  It was the first democracy in the world and, as with all compromises, wasn't perfect.  I'm enjoying learning more about this revolutionary era, even though I have to converse with ghosts to fully understand it....but more of that later!

Here's a picture of the new King James Bible, printed in 1613:



Monday, 30 September 2013

From http://dizzycslittlebookblog.blogspot.com/


These are quotes from the wonderful blog by Dizzy C. Dizzy is the most generous supporter of indie authors everywhere and works really hard to give them maximum exposure and encouragement.  I'd forgotten to check back for replies so was really delighted to find these lovely comments on Daffodils.
Here's the link to Dizzy's blog - highly recommended for all readers who want to connect with great books.
http://dizzycslittlebookblog.blogspot.com/

Long excerpts from Daffodils are displayed on Dizzy's blog if you want more of a taster than you get on www.amazon.com and www.amazon.co.uk but be warned! there are SPOILERS!!!


  1. "An interesting era. I was also immediately drawn by the cover. Put me in mind of WWI poppy fields and men going across no-man's land - changed to women and daffodils: got the brain working, so many images and a new viewpoint. Sounds like I'm talking twaddle, but I know what I mean. best of luck with Daffodils. This is the first reaction to the excerpts on Dizzy's Blog post by Carl Plummer."

Well observed Carl! That's exactly what I was aiming for with the cover. The men who served during the Great War (silly name) suffered so much and died in such numbers that the vital role women played at this crucial time in our history is often overlooked. Although this story is full of dramatic history on a global scale, it is also a tender love story about real people. Thank you so much for your interest.


 

 
    1. This is a story that just begs to be read, the writing delightful and the tension stretching across each page.
      Thank you so much Guernsey Girl. I was just checking back through Dizzy's wonderful book blog and was delighted to find your remarks. I am thrilled with your words. They have made my day. I hope you felt interested enough to go on to read the rest of the book and, if so, that you enjoyed it. Great to meet you here and so sorry it's taken me ages to spot your reply!


  • Getting spooked

    I'm deeply into the creation of The Rose Trail, a ghost story set against the backdrop of the English Civil War.
    I tell you, I'm scaring myself, writing it! I keep jumping at little noises and looking behind me...


    Wednesday, 25 September 2013

    New 5* review for Daffodils

    5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story... 25 Sep 2013


    Format:Paperback

    "This was a great read, and a story well written. It had just the right level of everything. Not too many gory details but enough to provide an understanding of the gravity of the situation, and I loved the fact that it was written largely from a female perspective. Considering what a massive part women played in WW1 it has a habit of being forgotten. I cried at points but didn't melt entirely in the way that I have done in the past with my WW1 reading! The section based in Etaples was also fascinating because, again, it is very easy to focus on what happened on the front line and forget that effects of the war were very far reaching and impacted all parts of life, both near and far. "

    Great to have a new 5* review for Daffodils - and I had another 5* rating on Goodreads yesterday so feel I'm on a roll.  I suspect that the reader who wrote the above had a deep interest in this era of our history. Sounds like she has read up on the subject pretty widely so I'm relieved, if so, that my research passed muster.
    She completely understood one of the main themes of the book - the feminist perspective - so often overlooked because of the dreadful treatment of serving men at the Front but the women also sacrificed so much and were both liberated and shocked by their experiences.  I was also pleased that this reader felt I had portrayed the right level of violence the men on the front encountered. That was a hard thing to pull off.  I did read about the atrocities in graphic detail myself but had to decide how much to include into a tender love story.  I am so pleased that the gravity of the situation came across but didn't alienate.

    Monday, 23 September 2013

    The Tenby Book Fair

    I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Tenby Book Fair last Saturday.  I met some lovely authors there including Judith Barrow (Changing Patterns and Patterns of Shadows) who organised the event.  Judith is warm, generous and very reassuring.  She hails from the north of England, where the above two books (highly recommended) are set during World War Two.
    I also met Thorne Moore (A Time for Silence) who is a local author and a very interesting person. Thorne also makes miniature furniture for dolls houses - a multi-talented lady! Other authors included Mhari Matheson (The Tinker Girl) and Sally Spedding (Malediction and Cold Remains). Sally was kind enough to recommend an agent she thought might be interested in my work.  Books were swapped and experiences  of writing exchanged. A really worthwhile jaunt.  Pity about the weather - we were shrouded in swirling sea mists all weekend but the warmth in St Mary's Church Hall more than made up for it.

    Here I am looking unnecessarily apprehensive at the beginning of the day. Note the daffodil brooch that one of my lovely aromatherapy clients knitted for me after reading Daffodils!
    Posted by Picasa

    Tuesday, 17 September 2013

    Tenby Book Fair - my first ever book signing event!

    Very proud to have been invited by the delightful Judith Barrow (Pattern of Shadows, Changing Patterns) to attend the Tenby Book Fair this Saturday.


    TENBY TODAY | NEWS | Book fair | 2013 tenby-today.co.uk/News.cfm?id=26… 21st Sept 13


    Venue: Church House

    Time: 10am -12pm

    Details: The book fair will be the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival 2013 Saturday 21st September, 10.00 am–noon in the Church House, St. Mary’s Church. We have a brilliant line-up of Welsh authors who will be there to talk about and sign their books. I am thrilled to announce the authors will include Catrin Collier, Phil Carradice, Sally Spedding, Jenny Lloyd, Alex Martin, Judith Arnopp, Judith Barrow and many others.



    Admission: Free

    I'm really excited to be part of this and slightly nervous too, having never 'come out' as an author before! It will be great to connect with other writers and hopefully quite a few readers too. 
    Tenby is a lovely town in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.  It is crammed with good eateries, has a fantastic and unusual town beach that catches the sunshine on its warm south facing cliffs.  It is steeped in history as evidenced by the great variety of architecture of varying ages from the ancient town walls to the Regency hotels that line the front and the fishermen's cottages that huddle around the picturesque harbour.
    A perfect destination for an autumn weekend or day out.
    Hope to see you there!

    Tuesday, 3 September 2013

    Lovely surprise 5* review brings UK total to 10

    10 reviews now clocked up on Amazon UK and 11 in the States

    Just checking the page and found the latest one:

      ***** Captivating read, 3 Sep 2013

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    This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
    I found daffodils a captivating read. Within the first few pages I felt immersed in the lives of the main characters finding myself not wanting to put the book down, and when I did I found my mind drifting back and wondering what was going to happen next. A novel set in wartime would not be my usual choice however having enjoyed the authors' first novel, The Twisted Vine, so much, I was keen to see if this matched up and was pleased to find it did not disappoint. It gave a wonderful mix of characterisation and an informative and intelligent portrayal of the impact of war time on ordinary lives. I can thoroughly recommend this book.

    Average= 5 stars now after 10 reviews and 4.6 after 11 in US

    Well chuffed!

    Now getting stuck in to the new story in earnest. Watch this space!

    Wednesday, 28 August 2013

    3 new reviews from over the pond of DAFFODILS

    4.0 out of 5 stars period history, August 26, 2013


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    This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
    Held my attention..great review of the history of the time ..covered what it could be like for families..changing views of the times
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent WW I story, August 20, 2013
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
    This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
    I would have to say this book is one of my all time favorites. Well written, believable and likable characters. Descriptive without being boring. Definitely one of the best.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story, August 5, 2013
    This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
    of history, romance and real life in England during the WWI era. Strong and likable characters come to life, giving the reader a feeling of being there with them and feeling their pain and joys. Very well written.

    Saturday, 24 August 2013

    Succinct but heartfelt 5* review of Daffodils from the US


    5 stars A magnificent WW I story,


     
    5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent WW I story August 20, 2013
    Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
    I would have to say this book is one of my all time favorites. Well written, believable and likable
    characters. Descriptive without being boring. Definitely one of the best.




     


     

    Wednesday, 7 August 2013

    En Vacance!

    I'm on holiday in France but did a quick check via a wifi cafe to discover that The Rose Trail has now moved up to the Bestseller's league on www.youwriteon.com This is immensely pleasing and a longed for goal.
    I'm hoping that I will receive some professional advice on this work in progress which I'm sure will prove useful.
    Meanwhile Daffodils and The Twisted Vine continue to sell well on www.amazon.com
    Writing books is my pension plan so it feels really good that sales continue in my absence from the computer!
    I'm sitting in a library in deepest France - Saintes - to be precise and in the hushed environment of mutual learning I'm catching up with all my internet news (okay then gossip) and important things like the weather forecast and my horoscope.
    I'm supposed to be researching something for the new story but time is short and my computer habits are very ingrained!
    A bientot!

    Friday, 26 July 2013

    The Twisted Vine is still in the top 100 Bestsellers for France!

    It is very satisfying to see that my first book, #The Twisted Vine, is still in the top 100 bestsellers list for the France category on #www.amazon.co.uk  a year into its launch in 2012.
    From September this year I plan to change my diary so that mornings are devoted to writing and I tackle Life - work/chores/stuff - after lunch.  That will give a rhythm to my writing time that I hope will bear fruit.
    I've been thinking about a sequel for #Daffodils and some ideas are bubbling away on the back burner.  In the meantime I want to settle down to writing #The Rose Trail (the beginning of which remains in the Top Ten on #www.youwriteon.com)  - a new story full of ghosts from the time of the English #Civil War.  It is also a contemporary story about two women who meet by chance and form a deep and lasting friendship through facing their fears.
    For now, I'm off on a holiday to la belle France to rest, recuperate and research.  I'm hoping to sketch out The Rose Trail while I'm away and don't have the normal distractions.  We're staying at a very quiet campsite so I shall be hopefully sitting in a peaceful field, next to a river, letting the creative juices flow in an unrestricted stream of creativity.  That's the plan ....anyway!


    Sunday, 21 July 2013

    #Historical Fiction Fan gives Daffodils 5*****'s!

    Delighted with this American reader's review of Daffodils on www.amazon.com




    5.0 out of #5 stars
    #Heart Wrenching Romance of WWI Era, July 19, 2013


    Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

    This review is from: Daffodils (#Kindle Edition)
    Daffodils is an exciting novel about headstrong Katherine Phipps, set in England during the days leading to WWI, and ending after the armistice. The story is deeply romantic and personal, leading Katherine from her home in Wiltshire to service the the WAAC along the coast of France. Katherine's character and that of her love Jem grow and become stronger as their lives both become entwined in the war. Meeting new steadfast friends, Ariadne and Cassandra, the young women experience the harshness of wartime, but come develop into even stronger women.

    I highly #recommend Daffodils as a great read for those who love historical fiction.

    Tuesday, 16 July 2013

    New 5***** review for Daffodils July 2013



    5.0 out of 5 stars A treat for Alex Martin's readers, 16 July 2013
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
    This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
    I admired Daffodils greatly. The scope and breadth of the plot was so wide-ranging, geographically, socially and emotionally!

    Alex Martin have researched the First World War thoroughly -the detail was so fine and made the war episodes and their aftermath so immediate.

    The early scenes of village life, with all of the delightful characters reminded me of Hardy.

    Very much enjoyed Katy's journey from subservience ( lowly maid dusting the books in the great folks' manor forced to submit to whatever treatment was meted out) to independent, self- reliant womanhood. An unexpected by-product of war and thank heavens for 2013!

    Well done indeed to Alex Martin.
     
     

    Sunday, 14 July 2013

    Latest comments on Daffodils


    Thought I’d let you know how much I admired Daffodils. The scope and breadth of your plot was so wide-ranging, geographically, socially and emotionally!

    You must have researched the First World War thoroughly – the detail was so fine and made the war episodes  and their  aftermath so immediate.

    The early scenes of village life, with all of the delightful characters reminded me of Hardy – is he a favourite of yours?

    Very much enjoyed Katy’s journey from subservience ( lowly maid dusting the books in the great folks’ manor forced to submit to whatever treatment was meted out) to independent, self- reliant womanhood. An unexpected by-product of war and thank heavens for 2013!

     

    Well done indeed.

    Sunday, 7 July 2013

    The Rose Trail has hit the Top Ten on #www.youwriteon.com

    Was browsing and timewasting when I should have been doing some proper (dayjob) work and casually dropped into the peer review website, www.youwriteon.com  My gast was truly flabbered when I found my new work in progress (WIP), The Rose Trail, was up at number 6! My astonishment and wonder know no bounds.
    I suppose this means I really must get on and write the rest of it!
    YEY!

    Wednesday, 3 July 2013

    New Review for The Twisted Vine

    THE TWISTED VINE – A REVIEW
    Twisted  VineI loved The Twisted Vine for its great opening and I was thrown into the setting straight away. I revelled in the scenes of beautiful, suave France, of her vineyards, little cafes, picturesque views and delicate French accents.
    Twisted Vine is about Roxanne who goes to France to get away from her undesirable life in London, leaving a father whom she never really connected with, to be looked after in a home. But this story is not about the father, not really.
    We learn of Roxanne’s life as she travels up and down the country in search of vineyards for work, and as she does, she meets some good friends: Peter, Harry and Yvanne and she also meets a man who tries to take advantage of her.
    For those who don’t know about the work of grape picking, this is a great book that takes you right to the centre of it. Alex Martin gives us a close insight of the harrows and the complaints. Then she takes away all that pain and brings us to glorious food and chatter among the grape pickers.
    As there is a light side to the story, there is also a dark and sinister side. The story slowly unfolds and the reader comes upon a death, which saddened me. The mix of emotions play well with the mix of characters who are linked in one way or another.
    The characterisation was blissfully uncomplicated and easy to follow. We don’t get to discover their backgrounds as much as I would have liked to, but perhaps that is a good thing – letting the focus stay on Roxanne and Armand, who bring the story full circle.
    One scene that I loved was when Roxanne found peace and solitude at a convent. I felt the sheer happy but silent environment, and followed Roxanne’s thoughts throughout her stay there.
    The pace of the story is just right and the reader glides into each chapters beautifully. Twisted Vine is the perfect name for such a story. There is romance and danger, a prefect recipe!

    Absent without leave due computer crash!

    Sorry for absence but in the middle of the free promtion of Daffodils, my computer gave up. Since then I've been logged out of my blogs.  Here I am back again.  Happily the freebie went well and after giving away almost 3000 copies of Daffodils ebook I pulled the plug and have since sold well. Thanks to all you lovely people who downloaded a copy.  Please let me know if you enjoyed it.
    Since then I've had to put one of my beautiful cats to sleep and my beloved dog, Dylan, has had an emergency operation for a tumour in his mouth. We are awaiting the biopsy results with baited breath.
    So let's hope that this is a turning point for everything.

    Tuesday, 25 June 2013

    Indie Book Bargains | Alex Martin

    Photo
     
     
    Indie Book Bargains | Alex Martin

    I am thrilled to be chosen as the deal for the day and the featured writer on this important website.

    You can get a free copy of DAFFODILS just for today and tomorrow... and they are going faaaaasst!


    DAFFODILS IS FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW

    I get a lot of followers on this blog - so I'm pleased to announce that those of you who have been interested in the progress of Daffodils can get a free copy today and tomorrow. Grab it while you can - it's just for 2 days.
    Any positive reviews would make a nice thank you!

    Wednesday, 19 June 2013

    Research panning out

    Got really excited today when I started to research the battle scene in the upcoming Rose Trail.  The real facts fit the story uncannily well.  I couldn't believe my luck when I started in earnest to unravel the real events that surround the key scene.  Important military leaders are in exactly the right spot for the story and their relationship mirrors two of the fundamental characters in the book.  Talk about neat!
    I can't wait to get to grips with the writing phase but I'm resolved on completing the bulk of the research first this time, having learnt from Daffodils.
    Watch this space for more updates as they arise.
    And thanks for your interest, if you are reading this!

    Sunday, 16 June 2013

    Freebie Alert!

    Daffodils is going to be on free promotion for two days next week 25th and 26th June. If you've been hesitating to buy it - it'll be a no risk purchase!
    I think it's a shame we authors have to give our work away.  Daffodils took me ten years to write and a ton of research.  However that's the name of the game.

    Wednesday, 12 June 2013

    Dizzy C's Little Book Blog: Daffodils by Alex Martin

    Dizzy C's Little Book Blog: Daffodils by Alex Martin: Today Alex Martin joins me to share an excerpt from her novel Daffodils Publisher:  FeedARead.com (2 May 2013) ISBN-13:  978-178299...

    Thrilled to guest on this great blog.  Dizzy C is a reviewer and avid reader with a big following so this is a great honour.  I've put big fat chunks of Daffodils on the blog for people to get a flavour of the book.  I worry that the beginning of the book is a little misleading in flavour but I'm trying to show how narrow country lives in Edwardian England really were; how every problem was a big drama for villagers and then show how they became swamped with the global conflict of World War One.  At its heart though, Daffodils is a love story full of poignant real life romance.  Katy is torn in many directions but ultimately, arrives at her authentic self, after many trials and tribulations.

    Monday, 10 June 2013

    This 5* review moved me to tears as the reader understood the very thing I was trying to achieve in #Daffodils

    Format:Kindle Edition
    Daffodils by Alex Martin

    This novel is a historical romance which is thoughtful and absorbing. Once you start reading this book, you will not be able to put it down.

    Katy Beagle is intelligent, fiesty and wants to travel and have adventures. But women from her social class are trapped in 1914 in thier small lives.

    Katy is sacked from her job as a housemaid for cold heartless people. The villagers are living on the bread line and every day life is harsh in a village where typhoid stalks.

    Katy doesnt have many options but is lucky to marry "steady" Jem who loves "the natural rhythm of the countryside" and adores "flighty" Katy. The passion they share is very touching, against the harsh realities of their lives and they face a shattering loss together.

    The novel is set on the eve of WWI and the novel follows Jem and other young men as they go to France to fight. Alex Martin's descriptions of life in the trenches are brillant in their horror. Here the "gagging stench of death" changes them all and Jem is "lifted up of his feet, floating in mid-air as if he was flying....." Can the will to survive and a sense of humanity save anyone in this hell?

    Back at home, Lionel White, the local vicar is lusting after Katy but she realises that he is a man who has "fine words but no real courage" and Sir Robert and his mean spirited wife are left looking "lost and too small in their big empty house". As the twentieth century sticks "its bloody claws into their insular world" and their son is killed.

    Katy escapes the misery of her small life and joins the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Going to France, changes her life forever and here she meets people from all walks of life, on an open playing field. In chapter 51 of the book, Katy and her new friends swim together in the surf at the beach and this life enforcing moment allows her to "feel young and alive". Here the screaming of wounded men and areoplanes dropping bombs is forgotten.

    It is this sense of hope and survial in the face of all the maddness which is the key to understanding "Daffodiles"? The power of nature, love and endurance are key themes in this life changing book. Alex Martin, is a new writer of immense talent and historical observation. And this is an amazing and beautiful love story.
     
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    Sunday, 2 June 2013

    new review - this time from Australia

    4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and honest..., June 2, 2013
    By
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    This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
    Martin's novel took me on a gentle journey of discovery through the years preceding and during World War One. The fresh approach to this timeframe, so different to recent Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs, was that it was from the point of view of the villagers rather than the aristocracy. Their heartache and hopes were palpable in a story where the heroine was plucky and more importantly believable. I found each time I picked the book up, I didn't want to put it down and without issuing spoilers, I would say Katy's journey had me trussed and bound to the end. Each of Martin's characters were so very real and I believe this is the author's real skill. She can create a character so genuine, it's as if they are sitting opposite drinking tea. Her research into the timeframe is evidenced with a light hand and I commend this book to anyone wanting a love-story with honest depth and detail.
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