In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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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

https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/here-is-my-interview-with-alex-martin/

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

Woodbine

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

https://www.goodreads.com

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!


Thursday, 11 April 2019

Peace Lily on #Kindle Daily Deal TODAY!

I'm beyond excited that Amazon chose the sequel to Daffodils, PEACE LILY, to be on the Kindle Daily Deal today.
At only 99p and with Daffodils #Free, you can get two novels for under a quid - but only for today.
And it's already reached No 3 in the Daily Deal charts this morning and placed Daffodils nicely within the top 100 #Free books!

Ending the day with a #bestseller flag! It's the achievement of a dream:

Friday, 5 April 2019

Audio book for Daffodils now published!

I'm genuinely excited to announce that the audiobook for Daffodils is now available on 

Audible, iTunes and Amazon 

via these links:





It is for you, dear reader, to judge whether I made the right decision to narrate Daffodils myself.
Listen to a free sample via these links and see what you think!
With my fear of public speaking, it was a real surprise to find I really enjoyed the experience. Bringing the characters from the Cheadle Manor villages to life was exhilarating. Speaking their words made them more real than ever to me as I lived through their emotional ups and downs all over again.
Editing was a steep learning curve and curiously addictive, but incredibly time-consuming.
It's amazing how you can actually read the morphology of certain sounds through the audio programme. Familiar words like 'the', 'and', etc can, with repetition, be recognised by their shape, almost like a musical score. As can certain consonants - the plosive 'p' and the sharp cutting sound of a 'k' or a 't', the sibilance of an 's' or 'sh'. Fascinating. I soon learned to recognise 'Katy'.
It took three months to complete the project and I can't wait to start another, so I'm hoping to narrate the sequels Peace Lily and Speedwell shortly.
All this audio work has distracted me from writing Woodbine and Ivy but I'm longing to return to it. The first draft of Book One (Woodbine) is now roughly complete and work has begun on Book Two (Ivy) where things are really hotting up, but I won't reveal any spoilers just yet.
My plan is to publish both books before the end of this year (2019) but progress is slow while I make some big changes to my life - all positive ones, I'm happy to say.

 Daffodils