In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Monday, 29 December 2014

I can add nothing to this marvellous, insightful review of Daffodils (5*), except my thanks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the last book I shall review this year and I found it compelling.

Katy dreams of a different sort of life, away from the quiet, Wiltshire backwater she has grown up in. Her dreams make her reluctant to accept Jem's proposal of marriage, as marrying him would mean giving up her dreams of travel. Katy has her head and heart briefly turned by the charms of her employer's son. Her liaisons with him are enough to cause a minor scandal which threatens to tarnish Katy's reputation. So, when Jem proposes again, she accepts. Surprising herself, she finds happiness and contentment in married life until tragedy strikes to break her heart and the ensuing grief creates a strain which threatens to tear the couple apart. Unable to comfort or console his grieving wife, Jem decides to sign up for the war. When he goes missing in action, presumed dead, Katy joins the war effort, too. Originally, she goes in the hope of finding Jem alive but is soon caught up in the blood, guts and mayhem of war, working at a field hospital in France.

Combining romance, historical fiction and a feminist touch, Daffodils is impressively well-researched and vividly imagined, making a worthy and respectable contribution to WW1 historical fiction. It vividly portrays the brutality and futility of war while paying homage to the bravery and camaraderie of those who were involved in all aspects of the war effort. While many novels have been written about the war, this one, for me, brought a fresh and feminist perspective to the subject. In many ways, the terrible loss and grief aside, the war was a liberating experience for many women as they were given roles which would never have been open to them otherwise. I do not hesitate to recommend.
 
"I can add nothing to this marvellous, insightful review, except my thanks."

Friday, 12 December 2014

The freedom to explore @pruebatten on #indie publishing on #HNSA2015 blog @histnovsoc #historical http://ow.ly/FISII

The freedom to explore @pruebatten on #indie publishing on #HNSA2015 blog @histnovsoc #historical http://ow.ly/FISII
This is the link to a wonderful blog post by the ever lovely Prue Batten, a fantastic Australian author.
She writes, very movingly, about the journey undertaken by self publishing authors About the freedom and creativity that flows from it and the bravery needed to undertake it.
I feel privileged to have met Prue through the writing community of indie writers and recommend her blog and books unreservedly.




Prue Batten will be appearing at the 2015 HNSA Conference in Sydney, Australia, in the following panel:

22 March 2015

12.15-1.15 pm Session Four
The Path Less Travelled: Indie Publishing and the Freedom to Explore
The self-publishing revolution has given authors the opportunity to reach readers directly and break through the constraints of writing about eras that are only deemed ‘marketable’. Elisabeth Storrs discusses how and why Prue Batten, GS Johnston and Felicity Pulman chose to go off the beaten track to find their readership.
For more information on all our panels, please visit our site for programme details. And you can buy your tickets here.

You can also sign up to the mailing list to be the first to keep up to date with breaking news on the HNSA conference in 2015. 
www.amazon.com/Gisborne-Book-Pawns-Saga-ebook/dp/B007DJK8G2/www.amazon.com/Gisborne-Book-Knights-Saga-ebook/dp/B00DUUMC8U/



And here's my pennyworth:
From Alex Martin, author of the most wonderful World War One Saga – Daffodils and its sequel, Peace Lily:

http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Martin/e/B008BIKDI2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1418300241&sr=1-2-ent

‘Being 'out there' in the public eye is both brave and foolhardy but readers are the best judges of whether a book works. Agents and publishers, as far as I can see, want books that sell. Indie writers have more freedom to write stories that move them, where they can bare their souls, reach out to kindred spirits and touch hearts, if they can, without trying to fit a particular genre, and it gives me immense satisfaction to know that I have achieved that. It is here that genuine exploration can occur, without the mercenary ties of making it pay (though very welcome!) and I think it is here that future great writing will be found, not exclusively of course, but the licence of independence gives creativity an unfettered playground in which to chase that elusive muse… It is the future.’


Sunday, 7 December 2014

#Giveaways

I have just completed a 2 day free promotion for Daffodils. As ever, I have mixed feelings! I gave away more than 3,500 ebooks. Now, I wonder how many people will read and enjoy them? And, importantly go on to read Peace Lily, the sequel. It's a strange business.
What was satisfying is that I reached readers in Brazil, India, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
I shall watch my rankings and sales with great interest this week and thank every one of you who showed an interest in my work and helped to spread the word of the promotion.
I shall return to 'The Plotting Shed' with some relief and get back to work on Speedwell, the third book in the 'Katherine Wheel' trilogy.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

http://amzn.to/19iDLtI DAFFODILS FREE 1 MORE DAY! HAPPY #XMAS X #AMWRITING

Just one more day, folks, that's all and then it'll be gone.
Daffodils, still getting 5* reviews and now with a sequel to enjoy when you've finished reading about Jem, Katy and Cassandra's struggles through World War One. Now you can see what happened to the survivors of that 'great' war when they returned home.
A third book, Speedwell, set in the roaring twenties, is currently in production.
Wishing you all a very merry Xmas and a very happy new year.

http://amzn.to/19iDLtI

Thursday, 4 December 2014

#FREE DAFFODILS 5th & 6th December 2014 #WW1Centenary offer HAVE A HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

I'm offering Daffodils for free for a couple of days!
http://amzn.to/19iDLtI

It's my way of marking the centenary year of World War One and a sort of Christmas present too!
The sequel, Peace Lily, is now published if you want to read on and a third book, Speedwell, is planned for the new year.

http://amzn.to/1vHCMhc

Daffodils has now received 65 reviews between the US and UK and even more on #Goodreads
It's averaging 4.6*s from those and Peace Lily is scoring even higher, over a smaller number.

Grab a bargain - this won't happen again for quite a while!

And HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL READERS!

Remember - you can show appreciation by posting a constructive review - this is what keeps us writers going.

Thanks to everyone who's already done this - It is VERY much appreciated!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Peace Lily review in US http://amzn.to/1vHCMhc 5*s


This review is from: Peace Lily (The Katherine Wheel Book 2) (Kindle Edition) 5*s
Even though this was the second book in a series, it can certainly be read as a standalone book. Katy Phipps and Cass Smythe come from two very different worlds but show how their worlds have collided. The journey of the two girls through the war in Daffodils shows how they are alike and how they are different. The war changed so many things and so many things were left unchanged. But Katy accompanies Cassandra across the ocean for a trip to Boston. The story details their adventures of love and friendship in Boston. But when things go very wrong and Katy returns early, Jem, Katy's husband, stands by her for all time. Katy wants to dream of a better life but seems to always have roadblocks thrown in front of her.

Martin's character development and descriptions bring these families to life. I felt myself cheering for their successes and crying for their setbacks.

While there wasn't nearly the historical references in Peace Lily, I recommend this book for anyone looking for an enjoyable read. I'm hoping that there will be another book in the series and Martin has left that door open.
 
Thank you to this review and for posting on #Goodreads.com
 
All reviews are so much appreciated.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Thrilled with this beautifully written review for #Peace Lily http://amzn.to/1vHCMhc



5.0 out of 5 stars In the style of Alexandra Raife..., November 17, 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Peace Lily (The Katherine Wheel Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Peace Lily continues the story of the characters from Martin’s first book, Daffodils. The aspect I appreciate most about this novel is the way the characters are as real as the people who live next door and who have experiences to tell that might remind one of grandparents or great grandparents. There is a subtle reality in the depiction of their lives that reminds one of a favourite TV drama.
Martin has cleverly juxtaposed the democratic freedom of American life with the antediluvian British class system that was so under threat with the equalising force of the war. Similarly, she depicts the new role of women - quietly and without fanfare but as a fierce point to be made.
It is a timely reminder of the after-effects of World War I upon the social and economic structures of the world at that time, as we remember the centenary of that dreadful event.
Martin has a style reminiscent of writers like Rosamunde Pilcher or Alexandra Raife and Peace Lily is 5 star novel, with a promise of a third in the series. More than recommended.
 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

#WW1 Armistice Day Daffodils on promotion as a salute at 99p

I have been very moved by the tributes paid to all the service men and women who have given their lives in defence of their country and to preserve world peace.
In Daffodils I tried to do them justice in telling the tale of not only an ordinary country man, from a small, rather feudal village in deepest Wiltshire, but also how the war affected his wife. She became a mechanic on the Front for the BEF, working on motorbikes and ambulances and playing a vital part in the war effort.
Daffodils was my salute to them all and in Peace Lily we discover how they coped with life after this massive conflict. They came home changed and shaken to find the world had not moved on in the same way. This lead to a different sort of conflict, an inner one, as they came to terms with life after their great sacrifice.
Daffodils is still on promotion at 99pence as my tiny contribution to their poignant legacy.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

9th review of Peace Lily and it's 5 *s!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 6 Nov 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Peace Lily (The Katherine Wheel Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
I have read all of Alex Martin's books and I've never been disappointed and this one is no exception. Alex writes with great clarity and passion, her prose is brilliantly descriptive, and I feel her writing improves with each book. Picking up the story of Kate and Jem after the Great War was like revisiting old friends and I was soon hooked on their story. The Lady of the manor evokes images of times gone by when the distinction between the classes was paramount and left me wanting to give her a good shake. The characterisation is first class and the storyline zips along at great pace.

Well done Alex Martin on another brilliant story.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Cheadle Manor, as I see it in #Peace Lily http://amzn.to/1zxG8aL & #Daffodils

 
 
 
 
 
 
Found the perfect image for Cheadle Manor while browsing images for Wiltshire. A very good match for the back drop to Daffodils and Peace Lily. The manor house is a real character in each book and the story hangs on its bones.
I think it might be the manor house I use to cycle past as a kid on summer evenings just before the massive hill I used to coast down towards home.

http://amzn.to/1zxG8aL
http://amzn.to/19iDLtI

Thursday, 6 November 2014

interview on http://www.ReadFree.ly/books

This isn’t your first visit to this world, is it? Peace Lily is the sequel to DAFFODILS and book two of the ‘Katherine Wheel’ series.
Daffodils
shows how WW1 impacted on the small community of Cheadle Manor, from the highest to the lowest classes.
All I meant to write about was plumbing – or the lack of it – in a tiny Wiltshire village at the turn of the century. My kids were born there in the 1980’s and the history of the place fascinated me. So I began to write and before I knew where I was I was sucked into World War One, as were the characters in my book, Daffodils. The research took ten years, off and on, and I found it moving and humbling. Then I had to find out what would happen after the war and my new book, Peace Lily was born.
Katherine Wheel?
The series is called ‘The Katherine Wheel’ series because Katy Beagle – who becomes Mrs Kate Phipps – is a woman of many parts. She’s beautiful and loves to read but she is also pretty handy with machines. It’s quite a combination and one that men find irresistible. Katy’s not tempted, never has been, to be somebody’s wife. She wants to be a person in her own right, earning a living with her hands and her brain. She gets there…
Who is this series aimed at?
Anyone who believes in the power of love, hope and family life. Oh, and who doesn’t think men are more capable than women!
If you like Downton Abbey, you’ll love my book.
Everyone loves Downton Abbey.
Will there be another book to complete a trilogy?
A third book in the Katherine Wheel Series is already mapped out in my head, with a possible fourth a little further into the future. I have tons of other stories knocking about in my Plotting Shed, where I work.
Where do your ideas come from?
They come in dreams.
Nothing gives me more of a buzz than creating a story out of thin air and a bit of imagination. To produce something that never existed before is a wonderful feeling. Whenever I’ve been down in my own life, it is reading that has been my greatest solace. If I can give that respite to someone else for a day or two, I will have been well rewarded.
Tell us about your life.
Life has been full to date. Now I have a window, a pause, in which to explore my first passion – writing. I have a shed in the garden where I can be found bashing both brain and keyboard. I’m attempting to express those thoughts and ideas that have been cooking since I was seven and learned to read. You can keep up to date with my progress on alexxx8586.blogspot.com. There was an old black and gold typewriter knocking about my childhood home. When I wasn’t skinning my knees climbing trees or wandering aimlessly in the countryside with my dog and my dreams, I could be found, as now, typing away with imaginary friends whispering in my ear.
 
 
My first novel, The Twisted Vine, is based on a happy time picking grapes in France in the 1980s. I met some amazing people there but none as outrageous as those that sprang to life on my screen.
wpid-Twisted-Vine-Cover-MEDIUM-WEB.jpg.jpeg

The next series, as yet un-named, is a ghost story. I’m just listening to the whispers from the other side to get the full picture….
Final question, where can we find you on Twitter?
@Alexxx8586

http://www.readfree.ly/archives/10891/Kindle-eBook/why-you-must-read-alex-martins-peace-lilly/

http://www.readfree.ly/archives/10891/Kindle-eBook/why-you-must-read-alex-martins-peace-lilly/
Just seen this interview that I'd forgotten I'd written on this really supportive site for indie authors.
Gives a bit of background to Daffodils and Peace Lily and how I came to write them.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

#Research trip to Brooklands Motor Museum

I've finally made it onto a racing circuit. Research for Speedwell has commenced. Had a great day out at Brooklands Motor Museum with a drive up Test Hill in a vintage kit car, simulated experience of racing a vintage car on the steep banking track, and seeing loads of old cars and their paraphernalia.
 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

#amwriting

Out all afternoon at my lovely writers workshop and came home to this wonderful review of Daffodils
:

Siobhan Daiko rated it 5 of 5 stars
This touching love story, set against the backdrop of the turmoil of World War I, is told from the heart and, although the subject matter is tragic, I really enjoyed the read. Katy is a wonderful heroine. I found myself caring deeply about her and wanting everything to work out. Jem, too, is a hugely sympathetic hero, and I liked him for his courage and steadfastness. The main theme of this novel is the human spirit and how it prevails in spite of the horrors of poverty and war. All is not doom and gloom in the narrative, however, and the lighter moments, not to mention the cast of believable secondary characters, including the creepy Lionel, help to make the storyline well-rounded. I found “Daffodils” un-put-down-able, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.(less)

#Not writing - have beautiful distraction!

Have rescued a beautiful collie. He was called Spike but a less spiky individual I've yet to meet. We're calling him Sky and he's proving to be a delightful companion, full of fun and willing to please. I'm feeling lucky but I'm not getting much else done!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Peace Lily Review no 3 sums it up nicely #http://amzn.to/1vHCMhc

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful


5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and engaging 17 Oct 2014


Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Couldn't put it down .... so keen was I to find out how Katy, Jem and Cass worked their way through a changed world in the aftermath of the "war to end all wars". This is a terrific story, building on the war years of Daffodils and throws into sharp relief the tensions of a society struggling to get to grips with the new order on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a great read with light and shade, laughter and sadness and presents a new and telling perspective through the lives of its authentic characters. Glad there's another book in the trilogy on the way so I can find out what happens next!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

2nd #review for #Peace Lily in UK. Another 5*s!

http://amzn.to/ZGtl7e (UK) link

http://amzn.to/1vHCMhc (US) link

for PEACE LILY  which had a second review yesterday in the UK:

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it. 13 Oct 2014

By SuzM

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Peace Lily is a hugely satisfying sequel to Daffodils, which covered the years before and during the Great War. While we’re all concentrating thoughts on WWI and its horrors, it’s good to have a book that looks at the aftermath, in a world where so much should have changed, and yet so much failed to do so. Jem Phipps, minus an arm, is released from the army to a life without work, home, or much hope. His wife Katie, who’d finished the war as an expert mechanic working in the WAAC, is now expected to return to the role of wife and domestic servant, in a society that’s still stuck fast in tradition and class and has no use for her expertise. At the other end of the social spectrum Cassandra Smythe has to reconcile her place as heiress responsible for an English country estate with her love for Douglas, a Bostonian who has no time for her mother’s fossilised prejudices. Nothing is easy, but they are all fighters. The book travels through the rural greenery of Wiltshire (I am sure all the birds of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire could be heard), the nauseating swell of a trans-Atlantic crossing, the claustrophobia of a Boston brownstone, the fresh sea-breezes of Cape Cod and the unexpected delights of a Nissan hut. I sincerely hope there’s a third book, so I can learn if Kate and Jem’s new bid for dignity and independence comes to the fruition it deserves.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Daffodils promotion @ www.eBookStage.com on 11.10.14


 

My book, Daffodils,  is being featured on 11/10/2014 at eBookStage, a new readers' site where they'll send you ebook recommendations tailored to your taste.

 
Daffodils is still only 99 cents in the US and 77pence in the UK
Get your copy now, these prices won't be forever and then read the sequel, Peace Lily.
 
and find out how the characters from Daffodils, who survived the war, managed to carve out new lives in the aftermath of 1919.
 
 

 

my #authorinterview video

At the Tenby Book Fair (organised by the lovely and generous Judith Barrow) I had the honour to be filmed giving an interview to the www.videomajik team.
During the interview I talk about each of my books and the research that went into them. They also asked me about the process of writing, and making the covers - and I forgot to credit Jane Dixon Smith with the artwork http://www.jdsmith-design.com/) Sorry Jane! Jane has helped me to develop a brand and a style that we hope is instantly recognisable as mine.
Anyway, the film team at VideoMajik were incredibly easy to talk to and I'm indebted to them for their friendly, relaxed and very supportive help with my very first author interview.
Please go to the link and see the other sterling work they do within Pembrokeshire.

http://www.videomajic.tv/booksmartbitesize/

http://bit.ly/1pVrKAn

Thursday, 9 October 2014

First review of Peace Lily & it's 5*s!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Captivating, 9 Oct 2014

By 

Verified Purchase(What is this?)

This review is from: Peace Lily (The Katherine Wheel Book 2) (Kindle Edition)

This sequel to Daffodils is a wonderful story. Jem and Katy are trying to get some sort of normality back into their lives following the aftermath of WW1. Katy is restless and with little prospect of a future beyond servitude to look forward to she accepts the chance of a trip to Boston as a lady's maid, with Cassandra, who is hoping to rekindle her relationship with Douglas. What happens there will change all their lives forever. There's a good few heart-stopping moments in this story and clashes between the classes, and you wonder if all will work out okay. But I'm not going to give spoilers here as it's a story that should be read and relished for yourselves. If you haven't already read the prequel,Daffodils (The Katherine Wheel Book 1) then I suggest you do, although both are stand-alone, and can be enjoyed as such, it's nice to learn all about the characters and their lives leading up to, and during, WW1. Very highly recommended and well worth five stars.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

#Daffodils (still on offer) has a new review on #Goodreads

A lovely book reviewer and blogger has written this thoughtful and considered review of Daffodils and posted it on Goodreads. I feel honoured that she understood exactly what I was aiming for in showing how World War One impacted on ordinary people in a small community and how it toppled the hierarchy surrounding them. Peace Lily, the sequel, takes this theme into 1919 - and up a notch!

Here's the review from by Julia Faye Smith from her blog at www:fayeswordbasket.blogspot.co.uk

"Daffodils  might seem a bit of an incongruous title for a book about war. It is not, for even in war we must have hope. Daffodils in the fields of England and daffodils in the fields of France raise their sunny faces and offer hope even in the darkest of times. Daffodils by Alex Martin is a book about hope. And love, and sorrow, and despair. And war. But always, hope pushes through just as daffodils will push through the the seemingly frozen earth in Spring.

Katy has a zest for life. A thirst for adventure. When that zest and thirst take her job and her reputation, Jem, who has loved her forever, steps forward and saves at least her reputation. He also gives her a new title, housewife and later mother.
Heartache and deep sorrow tear the young couple apart and WWI offers Jem a refuge.

Upon the news of his possible death in the field, Katy, trying to escape a manical Vicar who wants her love, joins the WAAC. Her life no longer belongs to her, but to the military, her country, and the war. It is here that Katy finally finds her strength.

There are many contrasts in this book, none greater that the contrast between the two settings: Wiltshire, England and the battlefields of France. A second major contrast is between the classes that occupy rural England in the years before WWI. There is also a contrast between types of love. These contrasts Katy must learn to discern.

This is an enjoyable historical fiction. An easy and quick read, the book has many descriptive passages. I most enjoyed the play with words that the author uses when she is describing a character's thought processes. The scenic descriptions are more predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. The author's in-depth research is evident.

Daffodils is a good read. It is not great literature, but it is certainly good literature, and a very good story. There is now a sequel Peace Lily. Yes, I will read it.

I recommend this book. My copy was a verified purchase through Amazon where it is now only .99 in the USA. It is also available on Amazon UK."

http://www.amazon.com/Daffodils-Alex-Martin-ebook/dp/B00BPUQAY4

Monday, 6 October 2014

Daffodils hits #40 Reviews in the States!

5.0 out of 5 stars The next BBC miniseries!!!, October 6, 2014


Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)

I cried at the end of this book, it was that good. Ms. Martin's fluid characters, plot twists and descriptive narrative put me right in the middle of the story. I didn't want it to end. Someone must give this book to the powers that be at the BBC, so Daffodils can be made into the next block buster miniseries.
 
I hope someone at the #BBC DOES spot this!

Peace Lily verdict awaited

Nerve wracking week for me, this. Peace Lily, the sequel to Daffodils went live on Saturday 4th October and I'm awaiting the verdict. I know lots of people who have kindly bought it but don't know yet what they are making of it! Pretty agonising, I can tell you!

When I get a review, it'll be posted here.
Nails are stumps.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

PEACE LILY, SEQUEL TO DAFFODILS IS NOW LIVE!

Very proud to announce the arrival of the sequel to Daffodils, launched today 4th October 2014 and now available to download on Amazon.
Constructive reviews would make it look less naked!

Here's the blurb:
and the link:
http://amzn.to/ZGtl7e
(Might help!)
"After the appalling losses suffered during World War One, three of its survivors long for peace, unaware that its aftermath will bring different, but still daunting, challenges.
Katy trained as a mechanic during the war and cannot bear to return to the life of drudgery she left behind. A trip to America provides the dream ticket she has always craved and an opportunity to escape the strait-jacket of her working class roots. She jumps at the chance, little realising that it will change her life forever, but not in the way she’d hoped.
Jem lost not only an arm in the war, but also his livelihood, and with it, his self esteem. How can he keep restless Katy at home and provide for his wife? He puts his life at risk a second time, attempting to secure their future and prove his love for her.
Cassandra has fallen deeply in love with Douglas Flintock, an American officer she met while driving ambulances at the Front. How can she persuade this modern American to adapt to her English country way of life, and all the duties that come with inheriting Cheadle Manor? When Douglas returns to Boston, unsure of his feelings, Cassandra crosses the ocean, determined to lure him back.
As they each try to carve out new lives, their struggles impact on each other in unforeseen ways. "

Peace Lily is published and about to go live!

I have just loaded up Peace Lily on to the KDP site and it is currently under review and should be published very soon.
I feel horribly nervous!
Putting a book out to the general public feels like putting a naked baby in the middle of the road and watching the traffic drive around it!
When it's live, I'll post it here.
Should only be a few hours.............

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Copyright issues

Interesting exchange with the literary agent in charge of handling the legacy of Siegfried Sassoon's poems. As Sassoon died in the sixties, seventy years have not yet elapsed since his death, therefore anyone using his poems in their creative works, has to pay a levy to his estate.
The first poem I wanted to quote in Peace Lily was called 'Can I forget' - a very moving piece about the feelings of Sassoon, in his role of captain, attending the death of his men when they were in agony. The agent told me, which I found surprising, this poem had never been published and permission could not be granted as a result. And I realised, more importantly perhaps, my characters wouldn't have known of its existence, as it was simply scribbled in one of his wartime journals.
I had to find another poem and chose 'Aftermath'. This is actually more suitable, as the word 'aftermath' is in the strap line on the front cover of Peace Lily and the whole book is about the fall out of the great war on society after its survivors returned home.
However, the charges were steep, so I have selected only one verse to demonstrate someone's intense grief at the loss of two of his sons.
What a time they lived in.
Let's hope we never experience the like again in our lifetimes.

Monday, 29 September 2014

#99cents for a few days #bargain price for #DAFFODILS

Only 99 cents for Daffodils for a few days promotion
If you haven't yet read it, grab a copy and you'll be ready for Peace Lily, the sequel, out soon.

Friday, 26 September 2014

#promotion for Daffodils

 
New promotion for Daffodils is coming up! Bookmark Wednesday 1st October in your diary and grab a bargain when it will be on for 99 cents for 24 hours! See why it has received over 60 reviews worldwide and more on Goodreads and is rated at an average of 4.5*s.
WW1 dragged even a tiny village like Cheadle into its savage net. How would you react if faced with the challenges that beset Katy and Jem?

They face even more in Peace Lily, the sequel, which will be out very soon. Last few tweaks being ironed out with beta readers but it is completed. There may even be a third book next year but in the meantime I'm working on a quite different project in a different time and place.

One thing's for sure, I can't stop writing!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Peace Lily

Wipe the sweat from my furrowed brow.
 Just completed the 5th, yes 5th,
draft of Peace Lily and this time I've had that rubik cube moment,
where the whole plot clicks together, all the loose ends are tied up and it feels RIGHT!
Off to polish it now before attending the Tenby Book Fair tomorrow where I shall gloat in the warm feeling of having finished my current work.
Thank goodness!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

#Slow but steady progress on Peace Lily, sequel to #Daffodils

I know, I know, it's taking ages. Life took over for a while with real problems that couldn't be shelved but I'm back at the coalface now, hacking away at the 5th draft of Peace Lily.
A climax can sometimes be elusive!!! but I'm getting there. I was hoping to have the paperback of Peace Lily sitting fat and complacent in my hands at the #Tenby Book Fair but alas that deadline has slipped out of my grasp.
I decided that a quality ending beat a quick one and I'm working as hard as inspiration will allow to get it done, certainly this side of Christmas.
When it's ready - it'll be posted here, there and everywhere.
Thanks for your patience!

small but sweet review of #Daffodils in UK - makes 22 x 4.8* average


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WW 1 Heartbreaker., 10 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
An incredibly moving tale of WW1. I was moved to tears in places with this story, praying for a happy ending. But I can't disclose that, you will have to read it for yourself. Handy tip. You'll need a big box of tissues at the ready.

Monday, 8 September 2014

#Tenby Book Fair

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Everyone welcome! Lots of books to browse and buy. Interviews with the authors and talks - all for free!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Favourite authors

Got tagged in a facebook game of favourite authors. This is my list but there are very many ommissions:

1. Jane Austen - P&P, and Persuasion my two favourites. Such crisp language and I adore her dry ironic humour on the vagaries of human character flaws. Delicious.
2. Rediscovering Elizabeth Goudge at the mo. Read her children's books when a kid but enjoying her intimate knowledge of the human soul as an adult. Just have to get past the Christian labels but fantastic prose.
3. Love all the Poldark series. Have been in love with Ross for years.
4. For a the best all round novel I love EM Forster - particularly Howard's End. Again the frailty of people is well portrayed but he weaves in themes of his era so seamlessly you only realise the point of the book after you've finished it.
5. Yes, Dorothy Dunnett - swallowed the Nicholas series whole when I discovered it a few years ago.
6. Loved Mary Stewart's Arthur legend books.
7. Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie informed and entertained my teenage years.
8. Adored Audrey Niffenegger's Time Traveller's Wife - made me cry.
9. Really enjoy Joanna Trollope's sharp insights
10. As a Francophile and a good laugh Peter Mayle gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.
There are so many others and I'm pressed for time and have excluded Hardy, Lawrence, Shakespeare and many other modern writers who make me think and laugh but these ten are deffo faves.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

new 5* review of Daffodils in UK http://amzn.to/141yEIG

Just logged on to the internet in a French cafe whilst on holiday to find a new  5 * review for Daffodils on www.amazon.co.uk
Thanks to 'Silver Unicorn' for posting this review which perfectly captures what I was trying to achieve in telling a personal story within such a tragic timeframe of WW1.
Here's the review:

"1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and a great source of WW1 15 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I literally had a lump in my throat at the end of the story. You must be thinking why I am talking about the end of a book at the beginning of the review? The reason is because a great ending is what MAKES a Good Book, and Daffodils is a Good Book!

It is the story of two working class British citizens - Katy and Jem, whose story will take you through hardships that are personal at first, but then that will see the First World War. We see a joining of two hearts - reluctant as it was on Katy's part- but that blossomed into love. They fare through a loss so great, it divides them, and this is what makes Jem sign up to serve his country. He leaves frail Katy behind, and she battles each day without her love. She is alone, and confused of what could have been of their marriage. She questions her behaviour, could she have done more to make him stay?

On the news of Jem's possible death at the front line in France, and a marriage proposal on the same day, Katy is more confused than ever. She knows she has one choice - finding Jem. She decides to go and find her husband.

From a working class girl to a person who acquires great prestige, Katy makes sure she works hard. She becomes friends with two unlikely girls had the war not have happened, and she witnesses things too terrible to withhold! Jem's story is just as enlightening and horrendous as Katy's, when he joins the army. He makes many friends but loses that many too, as bombs and bullets spare only a minimal. My heart goes out to Jem but I also feel proud of him.

Alex Martin has dedicated a lot of love, care, and attention whilst writing this splendid book and we learn a lot about WW1 on a personal level, rather than a textbook read. Daffodils has opened my eyes on many aspects of that period that is lost on many of us, such as women driving ambulances, women nursing injured men, women fixing vehicles and attending clerical work whilst the war rages on.

I enjoyed reading about the interaction between fellow war comrades no matter what rank they were. The detail of this part of history is vastly relevant to the story, and a delight to digest. I couldn't stop and the story had me turning the pages - I needed to know what happened next!

I salute Alex Martin for bringing a great book to us to commemorate the First World War!"

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Latest, much appreciated, reviews of Daffodils #http://amzn.to/19iDLtI

4.0 out of 5 stars Provocative story of World War I in Europe from perspective of English familiesJuly 22, 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
The author weaves together a tale of English families--aristocrats and servants--into a story that leads into World War I. Character development was fascinating, especially the blurring of class distinctions brought about by the war, leading to changes in English society. The heroine of the book goes through many phases from childhood playmate on the manor to servant to mechanic for English troops. A very worthwhile read!
 beautifully written book in difficult war years
excellent read, and I learned so much more about the war years, I did not want to ut this down
5.0 out of 5 stars DaffodilsMay 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
5 star rating for Daffodils and kept as a favorite on my Kindle Fire. This story depicts so many aspects of
areas of life with great insight. Stayed up into the wee hours reading this "couldn't put it down book".
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!May 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
Incredibly well written and captivating, this book draws you in to the point you can not put it down! Wonderful!

5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and poignantMay 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Daffodils (Kindle Edition)
the author did a great job of placing you in the moment of the war and how it affects the lives of people dealing with the war no matter their station in life right down to the feel of the uniform to the taste of the food in the military camp.

A big thank you to every reader who took the time and trouble to write a review of Dafffodils. It's now notched up 38 in the US, 20 in the UK and 8 on #Goodreads, making a total of 66 in all. Each one is very much appreciated!

Monday, 21 July 2014

YAY! #Daffodils has made it into the premier catalogue at #smashwords

Phew! It takes a bit of doing getting the formatting right but I'm pleased to announce that Daffodils is now listed in the Premium catalogue on www.smashwords.com As far as I can work out this means it gets into other outlets across the world too.
Feeling a little smug! even if it took me ages to get there!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

At last! #Cover reveal for Peace Lily!

Here it is at last!
The cover for my new book, which I hope to launch in September this year.
It is the sequel to Daffodils - spot the theme?

Here's the blurb:

After the appalling losses suffered during World War One, three of its survivors long for peace, unaware that its aftermath will bring different, but still daunting, challenges.

Katy trained as a mechanic during the war and cannot bear to return to the life of drudgery she left behind. A trip to America provides the dream ticket she has always craved and an opportunity to escape the strait-jacket of her working class roots. She jumps at the chance, little realising that it will change her life forever, but not in the way she'd hoped.
Jem lost not only an arm in the war, but also his livelihood, and with it, his self esteem. How can he keep restless Katy at home and provide for his wife? He puts his life at risk a second time, attempting to secure their future and prove his love for her.
Cassandra has fallen deeply in love with Douglas Flintock, an American officer she met while driving ambulances at the Front. How can she persuade this modern American to adapt to her English country way of life, and all the duties that come with inheriting Cheadle Manor? When Douglas returns to Boston, unsure of his feelings, Cassandra crosses the ocean, determined to lure him back.

As they each try to carve out new lives, their struggles impact on each other in unforeseen ways.



Comments most welcome!


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

#selfpublishing thoughts

A fellow writer, who lives in Tasmania, has asked me for my thoughts on my experience of going 'indie' as a writer of historical fiction. Prue Batten ( http://pruebatten.com/blog ) has been asked to sit on a panel at  the HNS-Australasia Conference in Sydney in March 2015 and talk about self publishing. She wanted to represent the views of other writers too, so this is mine:


 "I did try and go the traditional route and then I got bored with waiting for replies! The rules at that stage were that you could only submit to one editor at a time and each one took six months to respond in the negative. Meanwhile my life was slipping by and, having come late to writing, I couldn't afford to waste more time. I joined a peer review website, run by the Arts Council in the UK, called www.youwriteon.com. Encouraged by the anonymous reviews of my work on there, I decided, with the assistance of a writing friend met via the site, to go 'indie' and self publish. Having taken the plunge, I met another set of authors on Facebook who helped and supported me in my endeavour. In some ways, calling it independent publishing is a misnomer, as I had so much assistance from unpaid wellwishers. I've since earned money from my two books, The Twisted Vine and Daffodils, money I would not have otherwise had and have therefore realised my personal dream of being paid for putting words in print. Learning to accept reviews on the chin at www.youwriteon.com was a great precursor to the same process with the general public, who have, on the whole, been kind and receptive of my work. The feedback has spurred me on to write a sequel to Daffodils, Peace Lily, and I have absorbed their comments and know this has improved my writing further. Being 'out there' in the public eye is both brave and foolhardy but readers are the best judges of whether a book works. Agents and publishers, as far as I can see, want books that sell. Indie writers have more freedom to write stories that move them, where they can bare their souls, reach out to kindred spirits and touch hearts, if they can, without trying to fit a particular genre, and it gives me immense satisfaction to know that I have achieved that. It is here that genuine exploration can occur, without the mercenary ties of making it pay (though very welcome!) and I think it is here that future great writing will be found, not exclusively of course, but the licence of independence gives creativity an unfettered playground in which to chase that elusive muse. The whole experience for me has been very positive and enjoyable. It is the future."

Monday, 14 July 2014

Peace Lily cover ... again!

Couldn't get the copyright on that wonderful painting. It's back to the drawing board.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Cover of Peace Lily

The lovely Jane Dixon Smith has been putting up with me pestering her about the cover and we've come up with a stunner. Rather belatedly I'm checking out the copyright on a beautiful painting we've used as a backdrop. Fingers crossed, toes too, that permission to use the artwork is granted, or we'll have to go right back to the drawing board.
So, no reveal just yet - wish I could!

Monday, 7 July 2014

#5* review on #Goodreads for #Daffodils http://amzn.to/141yEIG

Thrilled with this 5* review for Daffodils that appeared out of the blue on Goodreads today:


"I really loved this book..... After I finished it, it was as if I had seen a movie... I had to keep reminding myself that I didn't see it, I read it! It was just so vividly described and emotionally well-thought out. There is an element of grief to the story that is very realistic and even though the elements of faith are in a negative vein, the theme of grace and mercy and forgiveness still comes through... very moving story...."
 http://amzn.to/141yEIG
Daffodils
Hoping to launch Peace Lily, the sequel in September this year!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

#Joanne Harris - Keynote speech from #Winchester Writer's Conference

A dear writing friend, who would have loved to have come to Winchester, asked me about Joanne Harris's keynote speech. There was so much to inform and absorb at the conference that I had forgotten some of the delicious nuances of Joanne's inspiring talk, so I was glad of the prompt. Here's what I remember:

                                     
"Oh, you asked about Joanne Harris - she was truly magnificent. She didn't chat with any delegates but gave the most wonderful, fluent keynote speech. She spoke for 50 minutes without pause or notes and it was totally entertaining. She began with a laugh, saying that she rambled when she talked or wrote, and even convinced me for a while that she was, but there was a point to every word. She cleverly brought the beginning, which seemed funny but irrelevant, back into the point she made at the end. A masterpiece! She encouraged us all. She had, despite her wonderful humour, a lot of gravitas and spoke with clear diction, without fuss or hurry in a friendly chatty way, as if across the kitchen table, and just with you.
She told us about how she was an underage but avid fan of her local library, Bradley, I think - in Yorkshire, anyway. She wangled her way in, despite her mother's outspoken misgivings, to the adult section at the age of 9. The librarian and her mother monitored her choices closely, so she discovered that if she took books on myths and legends she could access all the adult subjects of blood, gore, murder and sex, with their innocent approval. She had a favourite book in this section, whose title now escapes me, but after talking at length about how this early reading informed her later work and especially how society, wherever it is in the world, is composed of small, bound, communities where resentments and slights can simmer for years, she tried to buy the book for her own daughter. Her childhood library had sadly closed, as had so many others, so she searched on line for ages until she eventually found a copy. When it was sent to her house and she opened it, Joanne had one of those spine-tingling moments. Inside the cover was the library ticket, stamped with her library number, over and over again. It was the very copy she had read so many times in her youth and was now dog-eared to prove it. It had come home to her and now belongs to her daughter. Her writing took her to the Congo where she canoed up the river to an old woman, who was dying of sleeping sickness. Joanne's first cookbook's royalties were assigned entirely to the Medicines Sans Frontiers charity and particularly to help people suffering with this curable disease. She met the old woman - 97 years old - whose family surrounded her with pleas of letting go into the next life, all of which she repudiated with spirit. The medicine cured her. She and Joanne had many long chats about life and Joanne discovered that the community dynamics were just the same  in the depths of the Congo as they had been in the Leeds school in which she had taught French for many years. The old lady went off, full of wellbeing and determination, back into the forest with the parting shot of - 'keep writing your stories, Joanne'. And thankfully for the rest of us, she's following those instructions.

As you can imagine, the applause was deafening! A real privilege to have been there."

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

#blurb - just playing with words for Peace Lily

Writing the blurb for a book is by far the hardest part. Writing the synopsis is hard enough! Condensing your paintstakingly crafted 90k words into a mere 100 takes a lot of brain strain.
Here's what I've come up with for Peace Lily so far:

(Title:)

Peace Lily

by

Alex Martin



(Strap line:)
Although the war is over, its aftermath is anything but peaceful.

(Blurb:)

Peace lily takes up the story of three of the characters in 'Daffodils', after their return home from World War One.

Cassandra Smythe has fallen deeply in love with Douglas Flintock, an American officer she met while driving ambulances at the Front. How can she persuade this modern American to adapt to her English country way of life, and all the duties that come with inheriting Cheadle Manor? When Douglas returns to Boston, unsure of his feelings, Cassandra crosses the ocean, determined to lure him back.
Katy trained as a mechanic during the war and cannot bear to return to the life of drudgery she left behind. A trip to America provides the dream ticket she has always craved and an opportunity to escape the strait-jacket of her working class roots. She jumps at the chance, little realising that it will change her life forever, but not in the way she'd hoped.
Jem lost not only an arm in the war, but also his livelihood, and with it, his self esteem. How can he keep restless Katy at home and provide for his wife? He puts his life at risk a second time, attempting to secure their future and prove his love for her.

After the appalling losses suffered during World War One, these three fighters long for peace, unaware that its aftermath will bring different, but still daunting, challenges.
In Peace Lily, Cassandra, Jem and Katy struggle to carve new lives and their stories interweave,impacting on each other in unforeseen ways.








 Tell me, readers, would you be tempted to read on?