In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

#amwriting Dylan Thomas's Boathouse

I got so much from visiting Dylan Thomas's boathouse at Laugharne yesterday. You can just see his writing shed above amongst the autumn trees in this picture. It was this shed that inspired me to building my very own Plotting Shed up the end of my garden. I don't have a watery view like Dylan's but I can see the Welsh mountains, including the tips of the Brecon Beacons.
All I need now is a touch of his genius. Maybe some will have rubbed off...

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

#Speedwell background story. http://amzn.to/1SjD4cD #amwriting

I never thought I would be researching country garages in the 1920's but that's one of the best things about writing. Your imagination takes you down paths logic never would!
I started the story of Daffodils because I was fascinated by the history of the village we lived in when our kids were born. One thing lead to another, as it so often does. So, after writing Peace Lily, I had to find out what Katy Phipps would do with her engineering experience, how Jem would react to his wife becoming an entrepreneur and how it would test her friendship with the aristocratic Cassandra, and wrote Speedwell. http://amzn.to/1SjD4cD
My Dad, now nearly 94, had an uncle who had a garage in just this era. As a very young boy, he would ride, Toad of Toad Hall-like, through Battersea Park in London as the mechanics test drove the cars. He imparted that enthusiasm and excitement to me as he recalled the sheer joy of those trips in open-topped cars.
But as well as picturing the scene in my head, I had to do some serious investigation into, literally, the nuts and bolts of starting up an enterprise like The Katherine Wheel Garage in the post-war 1920's.
Here's some pictures from that fascinating journey:

Very neat storage of tools
So many makes!
Quite sophisticated bit of kit here
This is just how I pictured the office at the back of the workshop at Katherine Wheel Garage. I think it would have had a flat cap on the cabinet until Jem returned from America!
 

 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Rosy Research

Yesterday, my dog, Sky, and I zoomed up and down the motorway for over 200 miles just to go for a walk. I'm researching a little known battle in the Civil War for my new story, The Rose Trail. It was a cracking walk, if a little far to drive to. The weather was perfect at home, bright and sunny with a crisp autumnal snap to it. At my destination I found a roiling sky of threatening clouds, which only added to the dramatic landscape.
Having fended off no less than three terriers who wanted to steal my picnic, I bumped into a lady with a kind, intelligent face. I had a hunch she'd know about the history of the place, which I needed, having jumped in the car on a whim that morning. I had not prepared for the trip at all. I had brought none of my helpful research books, or even a map of the territory. This lovely woman told me where the battle had started and that the rout covered the whole of the countryside next to me, literally for miles.
I stood alone, after she had left, having given instructions on where to walk, and pictured the scene almost 400 years ago. I swear I could hear thundering hooves.
Here's a few pictures of what I saw.
 




 
Anybody recognise it?

Saturday, 10 October 2015

refreshing review of #The Twisted Vine http://amzn.to/XHVZeD

on October 10, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A very refreshing romance/adventure novel that will make for a perfect weekend read while you soak up the Autumn sun.
The main heroine, Roxanne, travels to France so she can have a break from all the drama that followed the breakup with her boyfriend. She decides to go grape picking, which sounds like a great way to keep your hands busy and mind distracted with the new scenery. She meets new friends and spends her time pleasantly in their company, drinking wine and tasting French cuisine… However, the stars have other plans for her, and her ‘escape’ turns out to be an adventure. Someone she meets there is hiding a twisted secret, and so this romantic suspense story turns into a mystery.
The original setting of this novel and the beauty of colorful places that Roxanne visits really drew me in. This book was a lot more than I’d expected, because aside from the romantic aspect, there’s a great deal of humor, fantastic friendship, and entertaining dialogue. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes women’s fiction.
How lovely to receive this review after all this time.
 
I loved writing this book. I remember feeling that it was like getting a rubik cube to come together when the plot worked. (not that I've ever solved a rubik cube, you understand!).

Thursday, 8 October 2015

#Gower - my playpark

 
This is me with my border collie, Sky and his new friend, spaniel Oscar. We had a cracking walk from Pennard down to Three Cliffs Bay (the limestone triangular rock on the beach behind me) this week, in the charming company of Richard Hardie.
Richard writes Young Adult fiction and I'm currently enjoying his first book, Leap of Faith, which is set on Gower.
Here is the link for this book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Leap-Faith-Richard-Hardie/dp/1909841269/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444329493&sr=8-1&keywords=leap+of+faith+by+richard+hardie

It's a lively tale involving smugglers, caves and secret coves. A salty taste of time travel and, for me, animating the scenery and seascape I have come to love since I moved here way, way back in 1989.
The dogs weren't this well behaved the rest of the time! They got on like a house on fire and encouraged each other to wallow in muddy puddles.
The weather was sunny and breezy in defiance of the miserable forecast. Richard and I talked books the whole time.
Time well spent.

 
                                      Richard Hardie, author of Leap of Faith and other tales.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Pauline Barclay : Alex Martin Sitting Round My Pool

Pauline Barclay : Alex Martin Sitting Round My Pool: Sitting round my pool today is the lovely Alex Martin who writes poignant World War One dramas. Describe yourself in 3 words ...