In The Plotting Shed

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Thursday, 23 October 2014


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 #

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! (UK) link (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 @ 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 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.

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


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

"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."

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


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:
(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.