Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Yesterday Uncovered - 1940's with Anne Allen & Echoes of Time

This month on Yesterday Uncovered we slip back to the 1940s

Sitting, in the shade, on a recliner at the side of my pool is Anne Allenthe author of, Echoes of Time so please help yourself to a glass of chilled bubbly, a plate of tapas, then make yourself comfortable and enjoy slipping back to the 1940s.

Tell us a little about yourself

I was by profession a psychotherapist but long yearned to write and I finally found the time and inspiration about 12 years ago. I won a true-life story competition run by Prima magazine and started my first novel, Dangerous Waters, which evolved into The Guernsey Novels series. I had spent many happy years on this beautiful island and wanted to offer my homage in the form of my books. I have now published 6 titles, with no 7 being written as we speak!

What inspired you to write about the 1940s?

Guernsey, like the other Channel Islands, was occupied by the Germans during the 1940s war and this left a huge impact, both on the physical character of the island, but even more on the islanders’ psyche. This is clear even today, 70 years later. Although my stories are set mainly in the modern day, they also refer strongly to the Occupation years.

Tell us little about the story and its plot without giving too much away

The story is dual-time, covering the story of Olive, a farmer’s wife in occupied Guernsey and her unhappy marriage to a bully and her relationship with a German officer. In the present day, the protagonist is Natalie, a Guernsey girl who returns from living in London to escape a bad relationship and who ends up buying what was the old farmhouse belonging to Olive and her husband. Natalie experiences weird dreams and flashbacks connected to the past and there are ghostly elements in the story. Together with Olive’s grandson, Stuart, she tries to find out what really happened to Olive, who disappeared suddenly years before.

Is any part of the story based on facts / real events?

Yes, events that happened during the invasion and occupation are portrayed accurately.

Are any of the characters based on someone real or are they pure fiction?

All the characters are fictional.

If research was necessary what did this involve?

Quite a lot of research was needed as I was keen to offer an accurate historic background to the story. This involved reading the local archives and a number of books and diaries written during and after the war. In fact I undertook so much research I wrote another dual-time book, The Betrayal, also set partly in the Occupation years!

You can find Anne at all these locations …

Thank you for stopping by and meeting Anne.

On Tuesday, Dodie Hamilton talks about 

Thank you for stopping by and meeting, Anne, please call back again very soon to catch up on news and more revisits from the 1940's


Monday, 17 September 2018

Yesterday Uncovered - 1940's with John Orton

This month on Yesterday Uncovered we slip back to the 1940s

Sitting, in the shade, on a recliner at the side of my pool is John Orton, the author of, Blitz PAMS so please help yourself to a glass of chilled bubbly, a plate of tapas, then make yourself comfortable and enjoy slipping back to the 1940s.

Tell us a little about yourself
I was born in South Shields in 1949 – a baby boomer. My parents had met during the war and had lived with my dad’s parents in an upstairs flat until they were given a council house – one of the homes for heroes the council was building. I went to the local Grammar School and won a place at Oxford where I read law. A successful career as a local government lawyer was cut short by ill health and I now live quietly with my wife and two sons, (who have still not flown the nest!) in Portishead.

What inspired you to write about the 1940s?
I was toying with the idea of writing a police whodunit set in South Shields in the 1900s when a friend of mine handed to me a dog-eared and dust covered copy of his father’s memoirs. Tom ‘Jock’ Gordon had been a Station Sergeant in the Shields Police. When he was old and frail he had gone to live with his son. He was a little depressed and at a loose end so his son suggested he write his memoirs – he was always telling the old stories so he should write them down. When I read them I realised that I had unearthed a treasure trove of tales of old South Shields. After I had transcribed and edited them I started re-writing them as a series of semi fictional stories. They were published as the Five Stone Steps: tales of a Policeman’s life in 1920s South Shields. I was writing a sequel and wanted a last story about the War years. The memoirs said little and I started researching – I had no idea how bad things became for everyone during the War, and in particular how much the town of Shields had suffered during the Blitz. There was enough material for a book.

Tell us little about the story and its plot without giving too much away
When people think of the War their first thoughts are of  the heroes of Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, Monty’s desert rats and the Normandy landings – but the battle on the home front against the German blitzkrieg was in its own way just as memorable. There was a whole army of young and old, men and women, who became ARP Wardens, street firewatchers, auxiliary fire-fighters, and ambulance crew, war reserve police,  rescue squads and the WVS (not yet royal) who took out the mobile canteens for the rescue workers. Then I discovered the PAMs – police auxiliary messengers – lads between 16 and 18 with their own bikes who would go out during and after raids to deliver messages – when the phone lines were down they were the only way of getting messages through. The thought of young lads riding their bikes in the blackout, with bombs flying round their ears, was the inspiration behind Blitz PAMs. The story of the book is how six young lads, including one who turns out to be a lass - (Jackie, who was turned away and told to go and knit socks for the lads at sea, but went back dressed as a lad), live through the blitz on South Shields and cope with life knowing that their name might be on the next bomb. Their adventures and scrapes and their pubescent fumblings paint a vivid picture of what life was like for teenagers in the war. The story is told by a 16 year old grocery delivery lad, Mossie Hamed, of mixed English and Arab stock who tells the story in a broad South Shields accent.

 Is any part of the story based on facts / real events?
Mossie, Matty, Freddie, Davey, Jimmy and Jackie – the PAMS - are all fictional characters – but their exploits – uncovering a black market racket, exposing a Policeman who is looting bomb sites, and rescuing a budgie from the ruins, are all things that happened during the war.   The descriptions of the air raids themselves, the death and damage they caused are all based on fact. A German Henkel did crash land on the seafront and the German pilot who baled out was killed when he landed on the live trolley bus wires: a 1000kg bomb did crash through the roof of the power station landing on the top of one of the boilers without exploding; a direct hit on the underground shelter in the market place killed at least 12 people who were sheltering inside; the foreman of a rescue squad was awarded the George Medal when he was lowered head first into a cellar filled with dust and coal gas, and rescued those inside, supporting the ceiling with his shoulders while an injured woman who was buried in the rubble was dug out.

Are any of the characters based on someone real or are they pure fiction?
Station Sergeant ‘Jock’ Duncan is the fictional Tom ‘Jock’ Gordon. Other real life figures such as Major Todd, the Chief Air Raid Warden, James Thomas Annis Scott GM, rescue squad foreman, and Lieutenant Brookes of the no 27 Bomb Disposal Section of the Royal Engineers all make their appearances along with other ‘fictional’ characters who also play their part.

If research was necessary what did this involve?
I only realised how little I knew about the blitz on Shields until I started my research. I live in Portishead and don’t travel much now so it was books and computers. My first port of call was the South Tyneside Local History Library’s on site photographic archive – you can find it on – during the War Miss Amy Flagg, the local history librarian and a keen amateur photographer, went out after each raid and took photographs of all the bomb damage. She also wrote a note about each raid. This is a unique and exhaustive archive of the war in Shields. It enabled me to see what had happened and to use these photos to describe the raids through the eyes of the PAMs. I then found the Pears and Ripley North East Diary !939-1945 which gives a detailed account of all the air raids on the North East during the War. (At the time of writing the web site seems to have been taken over by someone else.) Unexploded bombs were a deadly hazard as well as being a tactical weapon used by the Germans to cause disruption – the author of Disarming Hitler’s Weapons – Chris Ransted supplied me with copies of the actual war time diaries of the no 27 Bomb Disposal Squad. A little known specialist book by G. Burrows – The Trolley Buses of South Shields gave me the information needed to allow a young PAM and his Auxiliary Ambulance Driver girlfriend to have their first sexual experience on the back seat of the upstairs deck of a trolley bus during the blackout – you’ll need to read the book to find out more!

Blitz PAMS is the second in your series Tales of Old South Shields – is there a third volume?
Yes – A Chill Wind off the Tyne has just come out. The sequel to the Five Stone Steps was put on hold while I wrote Blitz PAMs. I went back to it but it was one of those works that you’re never really satisfied with and I rewrote it several times. It is a bit of a prequel and a sequel to the other books and tells of the lives of the working class in South Shields in the first half of the twentieth century: the harsh working conditions, the pit lock-outs of 1921 and 1926, the riots in Shields when Arab and white seamen fought over jobs in the streets. Life on Tyneside during the depression of the 20s and 30s was hard but folk got on with it, laughed and loved, liked a pint and a bet; bought their shopping on tick; and ate bread and dripping, tripe, brawn and cow heel pie.

Thank you for stopping by and meeting John.

On Thursday, Anne Allen talks about 

You can also read...

Thank you for stopping by and me please call back again very soon for more posts and news, and to revisit the 1940's.


Friday, 14 September 2018

Legging It!

We are already 8,370.5 miles down to road towards our 30,000 miles goal!

Nineteen amazing peeps are sharing every step they take to make sure we get to our target as soon as possible.
Anf many of these have a bronze medal for reaching 500 miles and one or two have a silver for reaching 1,000 miles!

You can join in too by sharing your miles.
For more information run over to

See you there!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Yesterday Uncovered - 1940's with Wendy Percival & The Malice of Angels

This month on Yesterday Uncovered we slip back to the 1940s

Sitting, in the shade, on a recliner at the side of my pool is Wendy Percival, the author of, The Malice of Angels so please help yourself to a glass of chilled bubbly, a plate of tapas, then make yourself comfortable and enjoy slipping back to the 1940s.

Tell us a little about yourself

I live in the South West of England, in the middle of the beautiful county of Devon. I’m a keen family historian and I write genealogy mysteries, inspired by what I uncover while researching my family tree.

What inspired you to write about the 1940s?

I heard a fascinating story on the local news about an elderly lady who it was discovered on her death, had been a Special Operations Executive (SOE) – a secret agent, in other words – during the Second World War and no one knew. I began reading about the SOEs and the dangerous work they did when they were dropped into occupied France and the story grew from there.

Tell us little about the story and its plot without giving too much away

My protagonist, Esme Quentin, a historical researcher and genealogist, is reminded of a painful past when she bumps into a journalist colleague of her late husband Tim. He asks her what she recalls about the murder of an old solider, an incident on which he and Tim reported 35 years ago. Esme declines to get involved and so pretends to remember nothing about it. But when she’s asked to investigate the mystery behind the disappearance of a friend’s aunt, Vivienne, a nurse who went missing during WW2, she finds the two incidents have a disturbing connection. As she begins to unpick the secrets in Vivienne’s story, Esme realises she may also be forced to confront the terrifying truth of her own distressing past, regardless of whether or not she’s yet ready to face her demons.

Is any part of the story based on facts / real events?

Yes - the ultimate truth of what happened to Vivienne is based on real events. I also drew a huge amount of inspiration from my research into SOEs - the horror of what the agents went through if they were caught and detained by the Nazis forms part of Vivienne’s story. There’s also another true twist which, when I read about it, caused me to gasp out loud. So I just had to include a version of it in the plot!

Are any of the characters based on someone real or are they pure fiction?

Some of the characters from the past who had a part to play in Vivienne’s fate are based on real people. The rest aren’t – other than that the usual subconscious harvesting  we authors do from people we know!

If research was necessary what did this involve?

I read some fascinating books during my research. One in particular left its mark, A Life in Secrets by Sarah Helm. It’s the true story of Vera Atkins – a key player in preparing the female SOEs for their missions in occupied Europe – who spent the years immediately after the war searching for what happened to those women who never came home. Intriguingly, Vera’s own life wasn’t quite what it appeared and the book is an attempt to unveil Vera’s past as well as to record the often disturbing fate of the SOEs themselves.

You can find Wendy on all of these links…

Thank you for stopping by and meeting Wendy.

Next Tuesday, John Orton talks about 

You can also read...

A Snap Shot from the1940's 

Conspiracy of Lies

 Thank you for stopping by and please come back again soon.


Monday, 3 September 2018

Yesterday Uncovered - 1940s with Kathryn Gauci

This month on Yesterday Uncovered we slip back to the 1940s

Sitting, in the shade, on a recliner at the side of my pool is Kathryn Gauci, the author of Conspiracy of Lies so please help yourself to a glass of chilled bubbly, a plate of tapas, then make yourself comfortable and enjoy slipping back to the 1940s.

Tell us a little about yourself

Hi, Pauline, thank you for inviting me to chat by your lovely pool with a glass of bubbly. It’s great to be here. I was born in the UK. After studying textile and carpet design at Art College, I embarked upon a career as a designer. I lived and worked as a carpet designer in Vienna for one year, and Athens for six years. After a brief spell in New Zealand, I eventually settled in Melbourne, Australia, where I established my own home textiles design studio. After almost thirty enjoyable years, I decided I needed a sea-change and became a writer. Drawing on my background has been invaluable for me.

What inspired you to write about the 1940s?

I’ve always had a fascination with WWII. Maybe that’s due to being born not long after the war. I grew up with WWII stories, the music of Glenn Miller and other big band musicians, and of course, the films of that era. This interest was further fuelled when I lived in Vienna.  After the war, Austria was under Allied Occupation for ten years, and the village and factory where I worked, had been under in the Russian Sector. The melancholic mood of the film “The Third Man” was still very much in evidence, and one of my designer associates had fought at Stalingrad. In Athens, I discovered that I lived a few streets away from one of the most famous heroines of the Greek Resistance in WWII – Lela Karagiannis, whose famous descendant was Bouboulina, the first female to be given the title of Admiral after using her fleet of ships to fight the Turks in The Greek War of Independence in 1821. Unfortunately, Lela was betrayed and executed by the Germans.

Tell us little about the story and its plot without giving too much away

The story begins in 2001 when a letter from France causes Claire Bradshaw to suffer a heart attack. Her recently divorced daughter, Sarah, decides not to let sleeping dogs lie and starts investigating Claire’s past. Mother and daughter eventually go on holiday to France together where Claire tells her story within the French resistance from 1939 onwards
Part historical, part romance and part thriller, Conspiracy of Lies takes us on a journey through occupied France, from the picturesque villages of rural Brittany to the glittering dinner parties of the Nazi Elite, in a story of courage, heartbreak and secrecy.
In 1940, With the Germans about to enter Paris, Claire Bouchard flees France for England. Two years later she is recruited by the Special Operations Executive and sent back into occupied France to work alongside the Resistance. Working undercover as a teacher in Brittany, Claire accidentally befriends the wife of the German Commandant of Rennes and the blossoming friendship is about to become a dangerous mission.
Knowing that thousands of lives depended on her actions, Claire begins a double life as a Gestapo Commandant’s mistress in order to retrieve vital information for the Allied Invasion of France, but ghosts from her past make the deception more painful than she could have imagined.

Is any part of the story based on facts / real events?

The story is based on actual events and only in the plot do I take creative license.

Are any of the characters based on someone real or are they pure fiction?

The protagonists are composites of real women whose biographies I read, especially those who worked for the Special Operations Executives or the Free French. Apart from these larger than life figures, life itself throws up an assortment of personalities and with a little tweak here and there, they often find their way into the book.

If research was necessary what did this involve?

I don’t think anything can substitute visiting the settings in your book. Breathing in that same air seeps into your soul and for me, gives authenticity. Of course this is not always possible and you have to read everything you can lay your hands on. Combined with the internet, this covers most of my research. I have walked through many a street and countryside via satellite. Thank goodness for technology. But you still can’t smell those distinct smells, or taste the food through the internet.

Thank you for asking me to drop by. It’s been great to chat with you, and the bubbly was most enjoyable.

You can find Kathryn at all these places…

Thank you for stopping by and meeting Kathryn.

Next Tuesday, Wendy Percival talks about

You can also read...

A Snap Shot from the1940's

 Please call back again very soon as we revisit the 1940's


A Snap Shot from the 1940's

The Eve before Yesterday Uncovered launches, we take a look at a few dates from the 1940’s that changed the lives of everybody forever.

1940 – Battle of Britain. Germany had only one enemy left- Great Britain. They decided to take over Britain by bombing them and taking over there airspace. Although the Germans continued to bomb Britain by October it was clear that the British had won. This was the first defeat of the Germans in WWII

1941 - The car Jeep was invented.

*1942 - radio programme Desert Island Discs first broadcast on the BBC Forces Programme, presented by Roy Plomley. Vic Oliver is the first castaway.

1943 - Capture of Tunis ends the campaign in North Africa.

1944 - World War II: final preparations for the Normandy landings take place in the south of England.

1945 – First Computer built.

1946 - The UN was founded in 1945 after WWII to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue.

1947 - Raising of school leaving age to fifteen. (UK)

1948 -  Rowntree's introduce Polo mint sweets.

1949 - George Orwell's dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, is published in London by Secker & Warburg.

*Also in 1942 – Celia Bryant-Smythe’s indiscretion set in motion a chain of events that resounded through the next four decades.

Moral standards where high in 1942, at least Henry Bryant-Smythe believed them to be, especially for his daughter, but she disgraced him. A wealthy and powerful man, Bryant-Smythe had no intentions that a war or immorality should get in his way of dealing with the situation his daughter had brought home. He dealt with it with a totally disregard for anyone.

Satchfield Hall is available in Kindle and paperback

Yesterday Uncovered, the 1940’s starts tomorrow with, Kathryn Gauci.

 Please do come and back and, please, share the 1940’s with your family and friends.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Proofreading - Special Offer

Special offer!

Proofreader, Julie Dexter, has been an avid reader all her life, with emphasis on classic literature, history and philosophy. During the last couple of years she has been proofreader for an award-winning author. Today, Julie is offering her services to authors who would like their final draft proofread. To launch her new scheme, Julie is offering TWO authors a free proofread. If you are interested, please leave a comment on how I can contact you with your name and book genre. I will pass your details to Julie who will contact you personally.

Chill's Newsletter - September & A new Award!

September Newsletter 2018

This month Chill Awards celebrates its
2nd Anniversary

Can you believe this? I can't.

So before we begin let's raise a glass to Chill Awards... Clinks glass, cheers!

Now with all the bubbly consumed, let's make Chill Awards even better in it's 3rd year. And, to mark this important milestone there is a new Award and special promotion for Chill Awardees.

Chill with a Book PREMIER Readers’ Award is new!

The Premier Readers’ Award offers flexibility to recognise more than one book in a month which receives exceptional high praise from Chill Readers.

And, because of this, from this month, September, the Premier Readers’ Award will REPLACE  Book of the Month Award.

This year’s Book of the Year Award will consider all books that have received either a Book of the Month Award or a Premier Readers’ Award.

Yesterday Uncovered is a new promotion for books that have received a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award.

From September there will be a different era covered each month and authors can participate with an awarded book that has a story line to match the era. 

The eras covered for 2018 will be: September 1940's, October 1960's, November 1920's and December 2000's. For 2019 monthly eras will be announced later this year.  

It is scheduled that posts will be published every Tuesday and on certain Thursdays when there are more than four posts per month

All authors who have received a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award were sent details via a personal email last week.

Now to announce this month's Awards

Readers' Awards for August
Book of the Month

Book Cover of the Month

A HUGE thank you to Cathy Helms at AvalonGraphics for being our fabulous Judge for Cover of the Month Award.

All Authors who receive a Chill with a Book Readers' Award will be considered for a 
Readers' Premier Award in the month they receive their Award.

All authors who receive a Chill with a Book Readers' Award will be considered for BOOK COVER of the MONTH in the month they receive their Award.

All Awardees of Book of the Month received until August 2018 and authors who receive Readers' Premier Award are automatically shortlisted for 
Premier Award of the Year 2018.

All Awardees of Book Cover of the Month 2018 are automatically shortlisted for
Book Cover of the Year 2018

 All Awardees of PB Special Award in 2018 are automatically shortlisted for
PB Special Award 2018

The key stone to Chill Awards is its readers and READERS are "always" NEEDED!
Chill can never have enough readers... 

If you love to read, why not read for Chill Awards?

If members of your family or your friends are interested in joining Chill to be a reader, please ask them to email me. Pauline

Chill readers receive Amazon vouchers so they can download to their Kindle / e-reader any book they choose from the Award Programme and no reviews are required.

More information Here

Huge congratulations to all this month's Awardees

A very special thank you to all Chill's readers who read and evaluate the mountain of books submitted.

This month's newsletter is another milestone for Chill Awards as we enter into our third year of recognising and awarding great reads.

I thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart for being part of this amazing Award Programme and making sure we are able to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary and move into our next era.

Raising a glass to you in celebration.  Cheers and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.

Until next time sending sunny smiles