In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
Click on The Plotting Shed to get your FREE stories

Thursday, 9 April 2020

First review for Woodbine - 5 Stars!



Woodbine has its first review and I'm thrilled to report it has gained 5 Stars. It's a comprehensively written review and contains no spoilers.
Here's the review:
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 April 2020

I very much enjoyed the Katherine Wheel series, following the fates of Katy Phipps and Cassandra 
Flintock Smythe at Cheadle Manor through the early decades of the 20th century, so I was delighted
to find that the story continues into the next generation, with Woodbine, focussing on Katy’s son Al
and Cassandra’s daughters, Lottie and Isobel. A triangle involving two young women and one
young man is bound to spell trouble at any time, but the drama in this case is quadrupled
by the setting of World War II. Family and friends are divided by internal disappointments and shocks,
but then they are divided even more by war, with Lottie marooned in occupied France, Al determined 
to fly and Isobel joining the land army. The feel of the times is brilliantly conveyed, in the interminable
boredom of waiting, the moments of panic and the shock of real and sometimes horrific action, all
uncomfortably realistic. All aspects of the story are gripping, with Lottie especially emerging as a 
heroine in heart-stopping scenarios, but we are left at the height of the war, so I desperately await 
the next volume.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Launch of new book: Woodbine! https://rxe.me/R119YD

We're living through a strange time, aren't we? My heart goes out to anyone who is suffering from Covid-19 or has a loved one who is currently poorly, and I send every good wish to all patients with this cruel disease for a speedy recovery. 
However, I do think that books can be a great solace when you feel stressed, frightened or lonely. A book will not answer you back, it is not on a schedule that you may have missed. A book will wait patiently for you to read it, at whatever time suits you. It won't go out of date or change but will be a constant resource to escape the grim reality we each are facing right now.
It is my humble hope that Woodbine can be an escape for its readers. There are resonances in the story with this world war we are all fighting against a silent, invisible killer. World War Two was a tough time too and many people died who didn't deserve to. There were heroes then as well and, as I researched extensively for this new book, I kept seeing similarities between that global conflict and the worldwide struggle we now face. 
Woodbine is Book Five in The Katherine Wheel Series and I was struck how this second World War was really unfinished business from the first one, depicted in Daffodils. (Daffodils remains #free for now) In Woodbine, it is the children of Katy and Jem, Cassandra and Douglas who must battle their way through these difficult years. 

 Woodbine cover

Lottie, her sister Isobel and Al, the man they both love, are on the brink of adulthood and the Second World War in Woodbine, the fifth book in The Katherine Wheel Series.

Trapped and alone in occupied France, Lottie must disguise her identity and avoid capture if she is to return and heal the bitter feud over the future of Cheadle Manor.

Back in England, Al is determined to prove himself. He joins the Air Transport Auxiliary service, flying aeroplanes to RAF bases all over the country.

Isobel defies everyone’s expectations by becoming a Land Girl. Bound by a promise to a dying woman, she struggles to break free and follow her heart.

Woodbine is the penultimate book in The KatherineWheel Series.



Woodbine

Friday, 3 April 2020

New Book, new cover!

Excited to reveal the new cover for my new book, coming out very soon:


As you can see, Woodbine is Book Five in the Katherine Wheel Series.
Ivy, Book Six, will hopefully follow soon as it is part 2 of Woodbine, in a way!


Lottie, her sister Isobel and Al, the man they both love, are on the brink of adulthood and the Second World War in Woodbine, the fifth book in The Katherine Wheel Series.

Trapped and alone in occupied France, Lottie must disguise her identity and avoid capture if she is to return and heal the bitter feud over the future of Cheadle Manor.
Back in England, Al is determined to prove himself. He joins the Air Transport Auxiliary service, flying aeroplanes to RAF bases all over the country.
Isobel defies everyone’s expectations by becoming a land girl. Bound by a promise to a dying woman, she struggles to break free and follow her heart.

I'll keep you posted when it's fully published!

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Cooking a book #http://mybook.to/Willow

Writing HQ has temporarily decamped to the dining room. So many notes and files have been accumulated for Ivy now that it became necessary to spread them all out and reorganise. In researching anything to do with the Second World War, it's impossible to avoid plumbing the shocking depths of man's inhumanity to man (particularly in viewing the scenes of the Nazi death camps) but also total heroism in the sacrifice of so many lives to win the peace for future generations. We are very lucky. However, it's been fascinating piecing the drama together and, even though the outcome, seen in hindsight, wasn't in doubt, there were moments of high tension in its replay during crucial times when you can see no-one knew how things would turn out. It is truly humbling to learn what the combatants of that fierce conflict went through and only hope I can do them justice in my next two books.
Lottie, Cassandra Flintock-Smythe's eldest daughter, is deeply embroiled in this war but her story is emerging through the chaos. She's impressing me as a character, and hopefully, readers will love her too, when the story is finished. The other characters in 'Willow', Isobel, Al and young Lily, all have their own parts to play in this epic battle and I'm enjoying listening to them as I guide them, not always willingly, towards the destiny already carved out for them. Ah, the power of the pen!
 Hopefully, publishing will happen later this year, when 'Woodbine' will probably be released at the same time as 'Ivy'. In essence, they are two parts of the same whole and should be read together. It's a little strange, as a writer, not to publish when a book is completed, as Woodbine is, but the details may change a little as Ivy develops, and further fact-checking may need retrospective correction.
'Willow'  (only 99p for the kindle copy) is out now. It's only a little book but it introduces the characters of Woodbine and Ivy as children and bridges the gap between the generations of the first three books in 'The Katherine Wheel Series' and the two to come, 'Woodbine' and 'Ivy', which will conclude it.


Friday, 13 December 2019

1,110 ratings and reviews gained for #Daffodils!



Woke up this morning to find that, as well as the previous 547 reviews for Daffodils, nearly five hundred more ratings have been added to the mix in both the US and the UK. The average score remains at 4.4 out of 5 stars overall - not bad out of 1,110 verdicts!
Willow, a short novella and book four of The Katherine Wheel Series, has recently been published with both Woodbine and Ivy to follow in the new year. This will bring the total of books in the saga to six.
Daffodils is currently #free.


Daffodils #FREE for now!Daffodils

Friday, 22 November 2019

Willow Published Today!

I'm proud (and nervous) to announce that Willow, the fourth book in The Katherine Wheel Series has been published today.
Here is the link to the product page: Willow




The stifling heat of a summer’s day lures four children to the cool green waters of the river running between Cheadle Manor and The Katherine Wheel Garage.
Al captains the little band of pirates as they blithely board the wooden dinghy. Headstrong Lottie vies with him to be in charge while Isobel tries to keep the peace and look after little Lily.
But it is the river that is really in control.
Lost and alone, the four children must face many dangers, but it is the unforeseen consequences of their innocent adventure that will shape their futures for years to come.


Book Four of The Katherine Wheel Series may be small in size but it packs in many surprises for the children of Katy and Jem and Douglas and Cassandra. Willow bridges the generation gap between the last three books, Daffodils, Peace Lily and Speedwell, and Book Five, Woodbine, when the four children are on the brink of both adulthood and the outbreak of the Second World War. The series will conclude with the sixth book, Ivy, in the most surprising way, as the war draws to its agonising conclusion.
For fans of historical fiction and Alex Martin's work in particular, Willow makes the most perfect stocking filler!


Willow is novella sized and is a story about children so it could be read by any age group but it sets up the group dynamic for Woodbine despite its simplicity and length. Woodbine will be published early in the new year but I've yet to complete Ivy, which is as complex as Willow is simple, due to the immense amount of research involved. By contrast, Willow was a joy and delight to write this summer in the same hot, sunny weather as Al, Lottie, Isobel and Lily enjoy on the river Cheadle. I hope readers will enjoy the innocent adventure in the long-forgotten era of the 1930s in the English countryside.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Award!

Absolutely thrilled to be able to display the award given by the New Apple Literary Services to Daffodils




Winning Category: 2016 and Older – solo ‘Medalist Winner’


http://rxe.me/BPUQAY4 Daffodils Click on this link if you want to read Daffodils for #FREE!

I'm working hard on three more sequels to the Katherine Wheel Series, of which Daffodils is the first book. Two - Willow and Woodbine - are finished but I want to complete the final book, Ivy, before I release them. That's why it's taking so long for me to publish anything since I wrote The Rose Trail. Ivy will bring the whole saga to a surprising and satisfying conclusion. Like the first book in the series, Daffodils, it involves a worldwide war and therefore a truly daunting amount of research, something that is impossible to rush. Progress is being made and hopefully, it won't be too long before I can release it.