In The Plotting Shed

In The Plotting Shed
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Thursday, 22 April 2021

Any excuse to escape!

 Having completed The Katherine Wheel Series in August of 2020, just before my first grandchild was born (huge joy), I've now embarked on a new story and I wanted to tell you about my recent research trip to the beautiful Welsh island of Anglesey (all within Covid regulations, of course!). The book (its working title is Apple Island) is a sequel to The Rose Trail and features Fay and Percy's first paid gig as professional ghostbusters. Readers may remember they created their website, 'Spirit Level', in a mad moment of abandon and hubris, after escaping the clutches of the ghosts of Meadowsweet Manor.

The drive through Wales (I live on the south coast and Anglesey is right at the very top of the north) was spectacular and it just got better. 

Just like Percy and Fay, we drove through the mountains of Snowdonia through to Caernarfon but we had much better weather. They had to endure rain, hail, and wind but, for us, the weather was glorious and remained so on our trip.

Caernarfon boasts a magnificent castle bordering its harbour in a typically defensive position. However, it's unusual in that it wasn't destroyed through the centuries by civil wars or invaders.

You can see one of the many towers of Caernarfon castle here, with renovators working at ground level. It is run by Cadw, the Welsh equivalent of National Heritage and here is the link to their site if you would like to learn more about this impressive and ancient pile:
Attached to the other side of this castle tower is the old prison, seen here at right angles to the old Custom House, which is now a public house called the Anglesey Arms. The pub is perfectly placed to view the atmospheric stretch of water called the Menai Straits, which separate Anglesey from the mainland of Wales.
This hostelry has the reputation, even today, of being haunted and Percy and Fay stay there overnight, with creepy consequences. Being still under Covid restrictions we forewent such delights and crossed over the Menai Straits to Anglesey the same day.

This is the Menai Straits viewed from the sea wall in front of the Anglesey Arms. I stood there many years ago when on holiday and the vision I saw then is the inspiration for this book. 
What I saw chilled me to the bone for, standing on the beach in the distance, stood some women dressed in long, black robes holding flaming torches which they waved wildly to fend off the attackers wading towards them in the cold, swirling currents. Their long hair streamed behind them in the wind. These women were furiously angry and screaming in an eerie loud wail of distress. I felt them call to me, as if they could see me too, but it has taken me very many years to get around to responding, but as their tale is around 2000 years old, I hope they will forgive me.
Imagine my astonishment when I researched the history of Anglesey and discovered that the island was the headquarters of the Druids who were revered and respected by all Britons at the time. However, partly due to the fertility of its soil making it rich in grain, partly due to the fact that it was a hub for the gold trade between Ireland and Europe but mostly, I think, because of the threat the powerful Druids presented, the Roman army invaded Anglesey on this very spot in AD 61 and massacred them all. 
This tragedy provides the historical backbone to the contemporary part of the tale as Fay and Percy embark on solving the mystery of the spooky events haunting their destination.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Interview on

 Narberth Book Fair had to be cancelled, sadly, like so many other events and gatherings this year, but had the brilliant wheeze of putting on a virtual literary festival in its place, called Literally Online. 

Lots of gifted authors were there being interviewed by either Judith Barrow or Thorne Moore, both exceptional writers themselves. Just click on to see all the interviews. I'm there too, talking about The Katherine Wheel Series and my new project, the sequel to The Rose Trail, where Fay and Percy head off to Anglesey to rescue a rock musician whose new studio is being haunted.

You may need to subscribe to to view these interviews. The monthly fee is £1.99, far less than the price of a cup of coffee, which can be cancelled at any time as there is no pressure to enter into a  contract of any sort. There's lots of other information on the website and programmes about the paranormal (very appropriate), music festivals, books, music and events (for the future naturally!).

So grab that cup of coffee and join me in a chat!

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Alex Martin - In The Plotting Shed: New Virtual Literary Festival

New Virtual Literary Festival

Happy New Year to you all!

And hopefully, it really will be once the vaccination programme is fully rolled out. Regaining our freedom will be amazing, won't it?

In the meantime, as we can't meet readers in person, who are based in Pembrokeshire, Wales, are putting on a virtual Literary Festival online. You can join in for #free on Saturday next, the 16th January 2021 at:

where you can 'meet' about 20 authors who will be chatting to another one, the empathetic and gifted Judith Barrow, whose work can be found via her blog at

I'm on at 14.50 but there are many other authors of different genres who'll be sharing their work. So, if you are interested in children's books, mystery thrillers, domestic noir or gritty sagas you will find something to your taste, I'm sure. After each interview, the author will be available for questions from views and all the authors will come together at the end, at around 1600 hours to answer questions from the public together.

This live event can be attended for free for as long as you want, but if you'd like more you can listen to archive interviews for the paltry sum of £1.99 by subscribing to This is a monthly fee and there is no contract, so you can cancel at any time. It's incredible value as there are many other programmes to be enjoyed, not just literary ones, but music, drama, sport and festivals, in fact, all the other forms of entertainment you could wish for.

Here's the link to a previous interview I did on their 'Cover to Cover' feature.

I do hope you can join in with this #free celebration of Welsh authors - we're a diverse and interesting bunch!