In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Narberth Book Fair

Had a great time at the Narberth Book Fair  (  ) last weekend. Sold lots of books, met fabulous readers and other authors who inspired me. The event was well attended, despite the Welsh rain, or maybe because of it! Perfect reading weather, after all. Who wouldn't want to curl up with a new book on a wet afternoon at the end of September? Lots of people bought books as Christmas presents, which was especially satisfying.
I had no new books to sell as they are all still waiting in the wings, but I can announce that Willow and Woodbine are finished and Ivy is well on the way - although it's a massive challenge.
I hope the new book cover for Willow will whet your appetite. (No pun intended!)

Willow is novella sized but will still be printed as a paperback, and will bridge the generation gap between Speedwell and Woodbine.
Katy and Cassandra's children have an adventure on a river lined with willow trees. They set off in high spirits, never realising the consequences that will unfold from their spree. The repercussions will ripple on for years and influence events in Woodbine too.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Daffodils has won an AWARD!

Just received this astonishing email from Apple Literary Awards!

"Your book 'Daffodils' was chosen as the solo "Medalist Winner" in the 2016 and Older category of our Summer eBook Awards!

Throughout the coming months, New Apple will roll out the prizes associated with the awards including social media announcements, digital awards certificates, press releases and digital medallions to place on your ebook covers.

We'll be sending you a winner's questionnaire in the next couple weeks.  Once we have gathered all of that information, we'll post the complete list of Medalist Winners and Official Selections on our website and begin the coming year of online promotion.  Congratulations!"

Awards Coordinator
New Apple Literary Services for Independent Authors

Helping independent authors find success

Monday, 12 August 2019

Youtube - what a resource

I'm deeply embroiled in finishing, yes finishing, Woodbine. Remember me discussing Woodbine and Ivy? Well, it's definitely going to be two books, possibly even three, to round off the Katherine Wheel Saga. I've had my head down all summer, writing and, inevitably, researching. I do pop up occasionally to greet friends and family and share a glass or two but mostly, I've been back in the 1930s.
Here's a wonderful newsreel from the pivotal year of 1939.
Luckily for me, it's a review of the entire year and is an atmospheric reminder of the build-up to World War Two. You really get a sense of propaganda in the tone of the announcer's voice, trying to make out that the impending disaster is somehow thrilling instead of terrifying, as it must have been - especially to those who had already lived through the previous great conflict.
Woodbine involves the children of Katy Phipps and Cassandra Flintock-Smythe as they face the danger and impending threat of Nazism spreading across the globe.
I've yet to pen Ivy, the final book, and it's a daunting challenge but it's a good feeling to have got halfway through this ambitious project.
Here's the newsreel:

Review of the year 1939Britain prepares for war in autumn of 1939

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Great to chat with book blogger, Fiona Mcvie today

Fiona is a Mum and a Granny, though she doesn't look anywhere near old enough, and loves to get to know authors whose books she has enjoyed. Obviously, she loves to read but also enjoys baking. You can read interviews with lots of other authors on her website - see link above.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019


I have just completed the first draft of Woodbine - remember I've been banging on about Woodbine and Ivy for a very long time? Well, it really is going to be Woodbine...and...Ivy. Two books, instead of one, will complete the Katherine Wheel Series.
Why? It's such a huge story. I thought the research for World War One was immense but that for World War Two dwarfs it. I've found it equally fascinating but the era is so very different. What is clear though, is that WW2 was in effect part two of the same conflict - unfinished business, you might say.
My poor characters, the children of Jem and Katy, Cassandra and Douglas, whom you may have met in the sequels to Daffodils, are really put through the wringer in this second global conflict.
I have begun to write Ivy, the fifth and final book in the series, when I hope to bring the whole saga full circle.
I daren't say more at this stage but will wait, on pins, for my editor's verdict.
Did you know that woodbine is another, country, name for honeysuckle?

Friday, 26 April 2019

Research trip

The writing life is a wonderfully varied one. Not always, of course. A great deal of time is necessarily spent alone, tapping the keyboard (on a good day) or staring out of the window, hoping for inspiration and focus to miraculously move the story onward. Done a lot of that lately!
However, there is fun to be had.
Yesterday took me to The Heritage Centre, Maidenhead. There, I 'flew' a simulated World War Two Spitfire plane. At last, I could understand why one female pilot of the Air Transport Auxiliary service (who have their museum house at the centre) felt that the little fighter plane had been designed for a woman, so responsive was it to her touch.
I only had fifteen minutes and no danger to sharpen my wits but I managed to lift off, loop the loop and attempt to fly (unsuccessfully) through and under London's Tower Bridge. The landscape, as you can see from the photo below, was simulated on three computer screens and very realistic, especially when the simulator banked dramatically! The instructor was endlessly patient and managed to convey a lot of detail in a few minutes.
I was surprised to find two pedals, one for each foot, which acted as rudders during take-off. The steering mechanism, or joystick, is circular and so easy to manoeuvre it only takes one hand, the right, while the left hand is deployed on the forwards and backwards motion of the throttle.
Other exhibits included the uniforms, log books and anecdotes of over 1200 pilots plus ancillary staff who made up this essential service during the second world war.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

I've just had my 2000th rating on #Goodreads - an enormous book club used all over the world.
My batting average is 4.09*stars out of a maximum 5*. This was achieved over six books - the same number as Jane Austen published in her short lifetime. Her average is 4.01* stars so I'm very happy with my score.
Goodreads is a website well worth getting to know if you are a bookworm. It covers all genres and tastes and has a reputation for harsh critiques, no holds barred.
At first, I found it hard to navigate but it's worth pursuing. You can connect with other avid readers and discover books through their recommendations that you might not find elsewhere and delve into genres that tempt you out of your comfort zone.
There are groups and friendships you can join and you can chat in forums to your heart's content.
Check it out if you haven't already found it!