Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Sharing a Few Secrets...

My giggling, delightful, Doreen is sharing a few secrets over at ...

I hope you will find a moment to pop along a say hello!


Monday, 15 July 2019

Promoting Yorkshire Authors - Malcolm Hollingdrake




On my special post, Promoting Yorkshire Authors, I am delighted to welcome, Malcolm Hollingdrake.

Malcolm is here to talk about his crime series, the Harrogate Crimes, so please help yourself to a glass of bubbly and settle down on a recliner to find out what happens on the streets of Harrogate.




My name is Malcolm Hollingdrake and I write the Harrogate Crime Series featuring DCI Cyril Bennett and DS David Owen. Thank you very much for inviting me to chat with you here. It’s so rewarding to be asked to say a little about the books I write. “I write” – when I say those words, I still have to pinch myself – I look at the books, The Harrogate Crime Series, lining the shelf and feel very proud.

I have two copies of each book, both sets have the same titles but there are two different covers and to some extent two different collections of words within. Why is that so?

A couple of years ago I was lucky to sign a one book contract with Bloodhound Books and that quickly turned into a three book and then a seven book deal. If someone had said that would be the case in 2016, I would have laughed. By 2019, all seven books had been accepted and I was commissioned to write a new crime series featuring a female detective and I was offered an advance for each book. However, circumstances prevented that happening and after careful consideration I was determined to take back control of my work and publish independently. For this to be a success I would need time, acquire new skills and a degree of ‘going over the top’ courage.

The advantage of this process was that I could now re-edit the books again and refresh them. I could add elements that I realised were missing from the first editions and I could work to design the book covers. It did, however, take longer than I had anticipated but I got there and now all seven books are available in both eBook and paperback format. The first five are also available as audiobooks narrated by the wonderful Nicholas Camm.

As the series title suggests, the books are set in Harrogate, Yorkshire, but I thrive on linking the crimes to some of the beautiful places within the Yorkshire Dales. I have never had to design a set for my work … nature has done that for me!



Book Eight, ‘Treble Clef’ was released this year and looking at the growing number of positive reviews it has been well received. May I take this opportunity to thank the readers of the series for making it a continued success.



Many years ago, I wrote my first novel entitled ‘Engulfed’. It was a novel I felt compelled to write and one I am extremely proud to add to my library. Late last year, after scripting eight books, I felt as though my writing skills had become more enhanced. I wanted to breathe new life into this specific work and so ‘Bridging the Gulf’ was re-written, edited and re-covered in the style of the Harrogate Series. It will be published on 7th August.

I have now started work on book nine of the Harrogate Series with a working title of ‘Threadbare’. I’m excited to be back writing and researching a new novel and I have a publication date of February in mind.




 Although the books are written as a series, I do work very hard to ensure that each could be read as a stand-alone. More information about my work can be found at:

www.malcolmhollingdrakeauthor.co.uk  

viewbook.at/OnlyTheDead
viewbook.at/HellsGate
viewbook.at/FleshEvidence
viewbook.at/GamePoint
viewbook.at/DyingArt
viewbook.at/CrossedOut
viewbook.at/TheThirdBreath
viewbook.at/TrebleClef
viewbook.at/BridgingTheGulf

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Five Stars for The Birthday Card





Within just one day of publishing, The Birthday Card, has received its first five star review on Amazon.

So excited!

Here is the link to Amazon where you can read the full review.





You can read what Doreen has to say about the 5 ‘glittering’ stars on her Blog

Please click here

Friday, 12 July 2019

It's Publication Day



It's arrived, the day my latest baby steps out into the world!

I've loved writing this book and hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your amazing support, not just for The Birthday Card, but for everything over the years.


The blurb!

Doreen Wilkinson, a woman in her mid-thirties and single mother to a seventeen-year-old daughter, going on thirty, can never imagine life will be anything other than the daily slog of trying to keep body and soul together.

Running late for work, she hurries out of her flat and sees a balloon bobbing on a thin ribbon tied to her neighbour’s door handle. Realising it must be the old boy’s birthday she decides to get him a birthday card at the same time as she picks up a packet of cigarettes from the corner shop.

Whilst the cigarettes will go up in smoke, the purchase of the birthday card will change her life forever.

The Birthday Card is a feel good, light-hearted read that will have you laughing out loud.


“Very touching look into the life of Doreen Wilkinson, and how she handled the surprise of her life. Fun and funny, Doreen is an endearing character with a big heart that will have you cheering for her. An excellent prequel to Sometimes it Happens. Delightful!” Julie Dexter


“Ms Barclay has an ability to take a reader from sorrow to mirth in an instant.”
The Birthday Card is available from all Amazon sites






In her own words, Doreen Wilkinson talks about the publication on her own Blog!


Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Just Three Days to Publication day...


“Ms Barclay has an ability to take a reader from sorrow to mirth in an instant.”


Just three days to publication day for, The Birthday Card... yes, I'm Counting!


The blurb!

Doreen Wilkinson, a woman in her mid-thirties and single mother to a seventeen-year-old daughter, going on thirty, can never imagine life will be anything other than the daily slog of trying to keep body and soul together.

Running late for work, she hurries out of her flat and sees a balloon bobbing on a thin ribbon tied to her neighbour’s door handle. Realising it must be the old boy’s birthday she decides to get him a birthday card at the same time as she picks up a packet of cigarettes from the corner shop.

Whilst the cigarettes will go up in smoke, the purchase of the birthday card will change her life forever.

The Birthday Card is a feel good, light-hearted read that will have you laughing out loud.


“Very touching look into the life of Doreen Wilkinson, and how she handled the surprise of her life. Fun and funny, Doreen is an endearing character with a big heart that will have you cheering for her. An excellent prequel to Sometimes it Happens. Delightful!” Julie Dexter



The Birthday Card is available to pre-order from all Amazon sites




Monday, 8 July 2019

Yesterday Uncovered with Susan Appleyard


Today, on Yesterday Uncovered, we slip back to 1800s



Sitting round my pool is Susan Appleyard the author of, historical novels, so please help yourself to a glass of chilled bubbly, a plate of tapas, then make yourself comfortable and enjoy slipping back to the 1800s.

Tell us a little about yourself

I write only historical novels. To date, I have had two traditionally published (before my career went in the toilet) and I have published eight Ebooks. I have just completed the first draft of number eleven. I live in Ontario for half the year and Mexico for the other half. Lucky me.

What inspired you to write about the 1800s?

Empress Elisabeth of Austria inspired me. I first came across her in a podcast and was immediately fascinated and decided to write a book about her. During that process, I came across her cousin Ludwig II of Bavaria. I can’t say why these two people attracted me anymore than I can explain why I like chocolate and not cheese. My present wip is set in the thirteenth century but I would like to visit the 18th again.

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

It is a novella that tells of the last months of Ludwig’s life and how he was the victim of a conspiracy by his own government to depose him. Ironically, the pretext was that he was insane, but he was followed in the kingship by his brother Otto who had been declared insane several years earlier.



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

Within the parameters of historical fiction and perhaps my own bias, it is all true.



If research was necessary what did this involve?

Mostly my research concerned reading about Ludwig’s life and the times he lived in. I was fortunate to be able to visit the beautiful province of Bavaria and some of the castles he built or was associated with. That was undoubtedly one of the joys of writing about the 18th century as opposed to the medieval period where so much is in ruins.




Please add all your social media links below and make them hyperlinks if you can.

My blog: www.susanappleyardwriter.wordpress.com
My facebook page: 
https://www.facebook.com/susan.appleyard.9
My Twitter account: 
https://twitter.com/Mexisue1

Friday, 5 July 2019

Promoting Yorkshire Authors - Chris Turnbull




On my special post, Promoting Yorkshire Authors, I am delighted to welcome back, Chris Turnbull.



Chris is here to talk about his latest book, The Planting of the Penny Hedge, so please help yourself to a glass of bubbly and settled on a recliner to learn about a new detective in town!




Blurb
WHITBY 1891
When an unknown man is discovered dead on Whitby beach, it is assumed that he has drowned. However, when the police arrive at the scene it soon becomes clear that there is more to this case than a simple drowning victim.

The chief calls in newly appointed Detective Benjamin Matthews to look into the case. Matthews, originally from Whitby, has been living these past two years in York as a PC, and is less than happy with his transfer back to the harbour town.
With a relocation, a family conflict and now a new case to solve Matthews is well and truly thrown in at the deep end; and the more he delves into the young mans complex life, the darker things get. 



Inspiration
The detective in this book is in fact the detective that appeared in one of my earlier works (D: Whitby's Darkest Secret) and after the publication of Darkest Secrets in 2015 I began to draw my attention to the detective. I wanted to know more about this man (because in Darkest Secrets he is more of a secondary character) and I wanted to explore further into his life. I also loved setting one of my books in Whitby, as I adore the place, and was keen to go back there through my writing.

The Planting of the Penny Hedge story came to me in 2016 and with other projects already started I simply worked on it at small intervals at a time. Finally at the end of 2017 I began working fully on the story, and over the course of a year plotted out and wrote the first draft.

Keep up to date with what I am up to here:
Twitter.com/christurnbull20
instagram.com/chris.turnbull20



Monday, 1 July 2019

Available for Pre-Order, The Birthday Card



It is an exciting and nervous time as my latest baby is about to be set free into the big wide world. The Birthday Card, will be published on 12th July in Kindle (paperback to follow later this year).

Over the last months, Doreen Wilkinson and her daughter, Trisha, have sat at my side and giggled away telling me their story. They have made me laugh out loud, chuckle quietly and occasionally, Doreen, has made me feel a little emotional. How can fictional characters do this?

Over the years, I have enjoyed writing all my other books and loved my characters equally. Yet this book has been a joy to write and as much as I want it published, it is always hard to let your characters go, but, and I do say but, who knows, maybe, there could be another book in the future with these two wonderful characters.

The blurb!

Doreen Wilkinson, a woman in her mid-thirties and single mother to a seventeen-year-old daughter, going on thirty, can never imagine life will be anything other than the daily slog of trying to keep body and soul together.

Running late for work, she hurries out of her flat and sees a balloon bobbing on a thin ribbon tied to her neighbour’s door handle. Realising it must be the old boy’s birthday she decides to get him a birthday card at the same time as she picks up a packet of cigarettes from the corner shop.

Whilst the cigarettes will go up in smoke, the purchase of the birthday card will change her life forever.

The Birthday Card is a feel good, light-hearted read that will have you laughing out loud.


“Very touching look into the life of Doreen Wilkinson, and how she handled the surprise of her life. Fun and funny, Doreen is an endearing character with a big heart that will have you cheering for her. An excellent prequel to Sometimes it Happens. Delightful!” Julie Dexter



“Ms Barclay has an ability to take a reader from sorrow to mirth in an instant.”

The Birthday Card is available to pre-order from all Amazon sites




Saturday, 22 June 2019

Cover Reveal: The Birthday Card





I am so excited to reveal the cover for my new book, The Birthday Card, designed by the wonderful Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics.

It is just like my character, Doreen Wilkinson, colourful and bubbly!




Thursday, 20 June 2019

The Mock Up!

Goodness, yesterday I received the mock up for, The Birthday Card, cover. Wow! It is beautiful. I can't stop looking at it. *laugh*

Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics has done an amazing job and I can't wait to share with you all, but for now I have to be patient... *sighs*

The Birthday Card is a prequel to Sometimes It Happens…




Winning the lottery was just the beginning for Doreen Wilkinson, nothing prepared Doreen and her seventeen year old daughter for their holiday at the luxury Villas Bonitas and nothing prepared Villas Bonitas for the Wilkinsons.

Sometimes It Happens...as a cast of characters, all have secrets and as Doreen and her daughter mingle with the rich, they find that deception, love, lies and laughter turns their holiday into one they will never forget.

"Sometimes It Happens that I come across a thoroughly enjoyable story that makes me laugh out loud at the antics of the characters within. This is one of them!"

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Update: The Birthday Card


It’s been a very busy week as my editor, Nicky Galliers, returned my MSS. Thankfully not too many changes, but enough to know how amazing she is.
Whilst I work through these, Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics is designing the cover. It’s an exciting time and I’ll be keeping you updated on everything.

The Birthday Card is a prequel to Sometimes It Happens…



Winning the lottery was just the beginning for Doreen Wilkinson, nothing prepared Doreen and her seventeen year old daughter for their holiday at the luxury Villas Bonitas and nothing prepared Villas Bonitas for the Wilkinsons.

Sometimes It Happens...as a cast of characters, all have secrets and as Doreen and her daughter mingle with the rich, they find that deception, love, lies and laughter turns their holiday into one they will never forget.

"Sometimes It Happens that I come across a thoroughly enjoyable story that makes me laugh out loud at the antics of the characters within. This is one of them!"

Friday, 14 June 2019

Death is not always the end with Marla Skidmore




Death is not always the end.
A journey into the Afterlife with King Richard III


Today, I have the lovely Marla Skidmore sitting round my pool talking about... well let Marla tell us. In the meantime, do help yourself to a glass of bubbly and settle in one of the comfortable loungers.
It's all your Marla....




Thank you so much Pauline for inviting me to contribute to your Blog and for the opportunity to tell your readers about my book.  ‘Renaissance – The Fall and Rise of a King,’ is my debut novel.  To my delight, it became a winner in the fiction category of the Georgina Hawtrey-Woore ‘Words for the Wounded’ National Writing Prize for 2018 and in addition was reviewed by Helen Hollick’s highly respected ‘Discovering Diamonds’ team of Bloggers and awarded their logo. 





Once again, the Medieval Festival Season is upon us – Barnet, Tewkesbury and Bosworth are all taking place within the next few weeks – sadly this year the Richard III Festival at Middleham Castle has been cancelled, but the organizers assure us that it will be back again in 2020.  Since the discovery of King Richard III’s grave and his reburial in Leicester Cathedral these events have a special poignancy for all Ricardians.


Last August I attended the Bosworth Festival for the first time as an author and had an amazing time –  giving readings from my novel , answering questions and meeting so many wonderful and enthusiastic people – all of whom knew their Wars of the Roses history – it was also enormous fun having lively and good natured debates with Tudor supporters – I even managed to get a couple of  them to rethink their opinion of King Richard – and they also bought my book!  At this point I would also like to express my gratitude to the lovely group of Indie Authors – Facebook friends - whom I met up with at Bosworth - their encouragement, guidance and advice made what initially was going to be a daunting prospect, a hugely enjoyable event for this novice



Betrayed and savagely slaughtered on Bosworth Field, Richard’s body was unceremoniously buried in the Quire of the Greyfriars monastery church in Leicester.  When it, like most monasteries, became a casualty of Henry VIII’s Reformation and was destroyed in 1536, a persistent rumour arose - that Richard’s remains were tossed from Bow Bridge into the River Soar – never to be seen again.  Their whereabouts remained one of history’s enduring mysteries - until Philippa Langley, screenwriter and Richard III researcher, made it her mission to find his burial place.  The miraculous discovery of his grave, beneath the letter ‘R’ in a Leicester city car park, ignited a debate about where he should be reinterred - it raged on for over two years – his final resting place was to be in Leicester Cathedral much to the disappointment of many - what was of the most importance to most Ricardians however,  was  that at last England’s last warrior king has a fitting tomb – something that was denied him by Henry Tudor at the time of his death.



In the late summer of 2014, I met with a group of old university friends for our usual quarterly get together in York. Scientific testing done by Leicester University had by then confirmed that the re-discovered remains were indeed those of King Richard III.  The myth of the deformed hunchback king with the withered arm had been exploded - most of us were rather sceptical anyway - about that and the villainous image of Richard created by the Tudor propaganda machine and accepted by numerous traditional historians. 



During lunch, the topic of his reburial place came up in our conversation.  It was generally accepted  that as an anointed king, he ought to be reburied in Westminster Abbey, or in York Minster – believed to be his preferred choice.  During a quiet moment, I found myself speculating about  Richard’s reaction to the current controversy - if he were alive - and also to the defiling of his reputation.   Another member of the group, a fellow Ricardian and a highly respected Medieval historian - being aware of my love of weaving stories - challenged me to write one about him.  Her words were: “write about Richard - in blue jeans – bring him into the 21st century.”   She had sown the seed – fragments of a story began to circulate in my mind - but there was so much already written about Richard III – fiction and non-fiction.  How to entice historical fiction readers into reading my story and avoid a ‘not another book about Richard III!’ reaction, was the problem I was facing.  To solve it, I knew that an entirely different perspective was required - so I made the decision to begin my novel where most books about him end - with his death on Bosworth Field.



To enable readers to witness the key events in Richard’s life, I took a new approach – set the story in the framework of his own recollections in the Afterlife.  On regaining consciousness on the bloody plain of Redemore, he is fearful and bewildered to find himself still alive.  His gaze takes in the carnage surrounding him to see Henry Tudor standing triumphant over a mauled and battered corpse – which to his utter horror turns out to be his own.  And so, the reader is taken with Richard on a harrowing journey of atonement, accompanied by his celestial mentor, Father Gilbert, a Franciscan monk.  During this journey he tries to come to terms with actions he took, their consequences and the legacy of the Tudor Propaganda machine, which turned him into one of the worst villains in history.
I  try to take readers into the medieval mindset – where Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and the Garden of Eden are all utterly real –  give them a look into Richard’s psyche – to see the king pared down to the tough uncompromising man behind the crown; and also to see the torment of a soul who believes that his honour and reputation have been defiled and forever destroyed.



The concept of a soul in Purgatory is not new – Dante Ailghieri’s epic poem, ‘The Divine Comedy’ which was written in the 14th century, tells of his own soul’s journey through hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil.  The second part of his poem ‘Purgatorio’ gave me the idea for the setting of ‘Renaissance.’  Dante with Virgil as his guide, climbs up the seven levels of suffering and spiritual growth that make up Mount Purgatory, until he finally reaches the earthly paradise of Eden.  Allegorically Purgatorio symbolises the penitent Christian and Eden represents the attainment of the state of innocence that existed before Adam and Eve fell from Grace – which Dante’s journey represents.  In my novel Richard, with the guidance of Father Gilbert, achieves Eden but is then unwilling to take the final step to heaven; Gilbert makes him examine the reasons for his reluctance which results in Richard becoming a witness to the reburial of his rediscovered remains in Leicester Cathedral, where he is faced with one final and very crucial decision that will affect his soul’s destiny throughout all eternity.  By setting my novel in the Afterlife I was able to make a dead man speak – tell the reader himself what led him to that fateful battle on the 22nd August 1485.

I’ve also attempted to  tackle History’s biggest murder mystery – whilst researching for the book, I came across some little known detail – held in the archives of St George’s Chapel, Windsor – which allows me to give, what I think to be a plausible answer to the question of ‘who killed the princes in the Tower?’

Finally,  in the writing of  ‘Renaissance,’  a number of questions arose  – about history – how we perceive it, how it is written and portrayed and there is also the question of an Afterlife – if it exists – how does a soul deal with the besmirching of his/her reputation after death – in Richard’s case – when there is no one left to defend it.   With my novel I wanted to do my own small part in trying to redress the balance – the victor always writes history – for too long the  image of Richard Plantagenet has been painted the deepest black.
       
  
About the Author



Marla grew up in a small medieval city in North Yorkshire where she met and married her soldier husband.  For a number of years, they lived a typical military life – in various postings around Europe and the UK – until she returned home to study for a degree – she emerged with a dual Honours degree in English and History and a Master’s degree in Literature and went on to become a College Lecturer.

Having dabbled in short-story writing and poetry, since her university days, she began her first novel – a romantic murder mystery set during the Peninsula Wars - when a serious health issue forced her to take a prolonged career break.  It was put aside when King Richard III’s grave was rediscovered.  ‘Renaissance – The Fall and Rise of a King,’ is the end result.  Promising herself that she would immediately return to her earlier novel once ‘Renaissance,’ was written.  Marla finds herself diverted  again.  During her research about the life of Richard III, she became fascinated by the myths surrounding his greatest friend. Francis Viscount Lovell – a man of peace who turned implacable avenger after Bosworth – fanning the flames of rebellion against Henry Tudor.

When not writing, she can be found enthusiastically grubbing around in her large garden, clambering around ancient ruins and taking long walks with her West Highland Terrier, Stanley, in the North Yorkshire Dales.


Social Media Links:

Website (work in progress) https://www.marlaskidmore.co.uk/


Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Writing - the pain and the joy by Gilli Allan




Buried treasure, wouldn’t we all like to find some? Today just might be the day you do because, Gilli Allan is sitting round my pool talking about… Buried Treasure! So please help yourself to a glass of bubbly and make yourself comfortable and let’s see what we can find…


I hate writing.  No, I’m exaggerating.  What I hate is starting a new book.  But so far, I’ve always been won over and begun to love it, but only when I reach the precious moment when I cease trying to tell my story where to go, and it begins to tell me. 

It had been too long since I wrote something new.  There were always other things to do, and anyway, I’m not one of those lucky writers who brim with new plot ideas and can’t wait to commit them to paper (or the screen).  I have often said that for me beginning a new book is like carving a lump of granite with a teaspoon.  The urge to create, however, is quite another thing.  This becomes increasingly demanding even when I don’t know what I want to create.  And so it was, last year, when I eventually began BURIED TREASURE.

Of course, I didn’t have a title.  (Until very late on I just called it ‘New Book’.) Neither did I have characters, a basic plot nor even a location!  But I trusted in the fact that once I actually began, the scenario would come into focus, the characters spring to life and the plot would gradually unknot and spool out in front of me. 



There are always personal elements in the stories I write – something I’ve experienced, or events I’ve been told about or seen. In order to come up with a background theme I began by reflecting on subjects I already had an interest in, or an understanding of.  And I already knew that I had a few building blocks to play with.ocks. 



I’ve always had an interest in archaeology, probably stemming from the fact that my great uncle Sydney Ford uncovered a hoard of silver Roman table-ware on his Suffolk farm. Known as the Mildenhall Treasure it is now one of the most famous discoveries housed in the British Museum.  

And I have been involved for more than a decade in the organisation of biannual conferences held at Queens’ College, Cambridge.



So …. if I made my hero an academic archaeologist, and my heroine an events & conference planner, and the back drop for a proportion of the story a university college in Cambridge, I could use my own experience to flesh out the detail and then trust, once set loose in this world I’d created, my imagination would do the rest.  After all, I had an academic archaeologist and historian I could call on to advise on the plausibility of my plot, and to check I’d made no howling errors - my son, Thomas Williams, author of ‘Viking Britain’ and ‘Viking London’.    What could go wrong?  This book was going to be easy-peasy.

In reality, BURIED TREASURE was probably the most difficult book I have ever attempted.  I won’t go into the whys and where-fores, it would take too long and bore you to death.  But it was a total joy when I realised how to navigate the maze, iron out the wrinkles, and unravel the knots.  (Apologies for the mixed metaphors!)

I am sure you will agree that when something has been struggle you love it even more. For those of us who have given birth – need I say more?  And it is a proud and thrilling moment, but also sad, to release your book into the world and wave it goodbye. All you can do is wish it well.



Blurb:

Educating Rita meets Time Team. Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems. 


About Gilli…



Gilli Allan began to write in childhood - a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.
After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother. 
Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.
She is published by Accent Press and each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL has won a ‘Chill with a Book’ award.
Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. His most recent work, published by William Collins, is ‘Viking Britain’.


Gilli’s Links









LIFE CLASS:    http://myBook.to/LifeClass






TORN:   MyBook.to/gilliallansTORN   Trailer:  http://youtu.be/u2eIP16ERcI