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.