Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Little in the Micro Light!

If I said this week has been busy, and it is only Wednesday, I would be fibbing, it has been hectic.I make no bones about it, marketing my books is not easy to say the least, I feel I am forever trying to climb the steepest and highest mountain on earth...phew! But this last week as seen a tiny glimmer of light down the long dark tunnel, and before you ask, no it is not the train hurtling towards me.... at least I don't think it is!
Sorry,I digress, as I was saying, this week I've seen a sliver of light on my efforts to promote my books and last Tuesday the Redhill & Reigate Life printed an article about my books and my association with loveahappyending.

Yesterday, the e-magazine, Strictly Business printed, a full page (page 21) yes a full page no less, about moi and my association with I wrote both the articles, so feeling a tad pleased. I hope it will also translate in to a sale or two of my bubbly new book, Sometimes It Happens...

This week I have also taken on the responsibility of being Head of Communications for along with my other role there, the Editor of The Fizz. I hear you yell, "Are you mad!" Well probably, I am, but being part of this exciting new group is about helping each other. This is my tiny contribution to the group. So please when you hear my calling out loudly, look at my latest Fizz, take a peek and leave a comment. Ta!

Oh yes, meant to add, but nearly forgot....! I mentioned above only my latest book, Sometimes It Happens... because later this week I will be talking about my other two books, Magnolia House and Satchfield Hall, so please come back to find out what I am twittering on about!

Silhouette Dance Music by jscreationzs

Monday, 29 August 2011

Shirley Wells, Murder & Mystery!

Murder, mystery and mayhem....oops, sorry, no mayhem, just murder and mystery...laugh! This week sitting around my pool drinking champagne and talking about her latest book and Blog Tour is the lovely Shirley Wells. Shirley, as you know, is famous for her detective novels and whilst she is lounging around here in the sunshine, Shirley is going to tell us more about her Dillan series. But before we begin, let me pour you another glass of amber nectar, can't let this heat dry up your throat! Cheers, now you can take it away!

Firstly, thank you for inviting me to your lovely sunny abode, Pauline. Phew, it’s hot!
For those of you who don’t know, Pauline and I are Facebook Friends and Twitter-ers. Writing is a solitary occupation so it’s wonderful to enjoy a few laughs. I moan about the weather in the UK and Pauline sends me sunshine from Lanzarote. Oh yes, and we also talk about books and writing.
I suppose, for me, the most exciting part of being a writer is The Call. After months spent writing the book, you have to send it out into the big wide world. Then, if you’re lucky, an editor phones, writes or emails to say they love your book and can’t wait to publish it. It’s time to splash out on ridiculously expensive chocolates and champagne.
For me, the last ‘call’ I had was tempered with a little anxiety. I’d already sold five crime books featuring forensic psychologist Jill Kennedy and DCI Max Trentham to Constable & Robinson in the UK but, for my Dylan Scott mystery, I wanted a new publisher. After a lot of thought, I sent it to Carina Press, the brand new (so new they hadn’t released a single book!) digital-first imprint of Harlequin.

Naturally, I was thrilled when I heard they wanted my book, but I had a few concerns. Were e-books really the way to go? Would my book be well produced? Would people think Carina Press = Harlequin = Romance? I had a million concerns.

Carina Press published their first book on June 7th 2010 and my mystery, PRESUMED DEAD, was published on 26 July 2010. My concerns vanished. The book looked fantastic, and Carina Press, I soon discovered, is the ultimate in professionalism.
The good news just kept on coming, too. As much as I love e-books and read almost nothing else these days, I was delighted when I heard that PRESUMED DEAD was being produced as an audio book by As if that wasn’t enough, it then appeared in paperback for readers in the US and Canada. For an author, nothing quite compares with holding a ‘real’ copy of your book.

Perhaps the best news of all was knowing that Carina Press liked my private investigator, Dylan Scott, so much that they wanted to see him in another story. I’d realised a long time ago that I had the best publisher ever so I was more than happy to oblige. Dylan’s second outing, DEAD SILENT, is available for download now. The third book in the series, SILENT WITNESS, will be published in March 2012.

Despite my initial doubts, getting the call from Carina Press was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Thank you so much for inviting me to your beautiful home, Pauline!

Having had several hundred short stories, ten serials and ten novels published, Shirley Wells is finally getting the hang of this writing lark. She’s lived in Orkney, Cyprus and the Cotswolds, and now lives in Lancashire in the UK where the Pennines, with their abundance of great places to hide bodies, provide the inspiration for her popular mystery novels. She shares her home with her husband, two dogs, two cats and any other stray animals that fancy being pampered.

For more information, visit Shirley's website follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook

Her latest Dylan Scott mystery, DEAD SILENT, is available from
 Carina Press  Amazon US  Amazon UK  Barnes & Noble and all good e-book retailers.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Roar and Rasps!

I was reading an article the other day at the lovely Rosalind Adam's Blog about one of the sounds that fill the air, particually throughout the summer months - the roar of the lawnmower!

I have to admit,  it is a sound I have not heard in years and not because we don't cut our lawn, it is more that we don't have one - a lawn not a lawnmore, though we don't have one of those either!

Down here on the island, grass is very very rare, the two golf clubs do have grass, but for the rest of the island, it is not normal. For a start it is far too hot and secondly our rain fall is very low. Trying to keep a lawn green would be very expensive (our water is desalinated.) Instead our gardens, private and public are covered in pecon. Pecon is crushed volcanic matter and is used to dress all areas where plants and trees grow.The normal covering of pecon is black, though there is red pecon, but this is rare and expensive and tends to be used in special municipal areas.

Pecon keeps the intense heat from the sun from destroying the plants and the mositrue from watering from evaporating. It is perfect for our all year round sunny and dry climate.

So the only sound you will hear everyday, all year round, is the gentle rasp of rakes as gardeners keep their pecon looking immaculate.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Pain in the Bum!

I know of late, I've been a bit of a pain in the bum and I should say I'm very sorry, but with a big Cheshire grin on my face, it is a tad difficult. I've been somewhat overwhelmed with some of the fabby reviews I've been getting for my latest book, Sometimes It Happens... and I've got carried away!

From now on, I will try and warn you first before I start to shout and whoop loudly. On Facebook and Twitter, I will no longer clap my hands like the sound of thunder and pop all those noisy party poppers, instead I will whisper my glee adding only my book cover and the link to the review. OK? **Giggling loudly**

Thank you everyone for being such fabby peeps, listening to me shrilling, reading my books and reviewing them.....thank yoooo!

Aaahmm, sorry about that, now back to what I really should be doing......writing book 4!

The Celebration photograph is by Simon Howden from:

Monday, 15 August 2011

Rosie Still - Snapping at The Rich & Famous!

If and when we as writers ever become famous, I hope we will have photographers wanting to take pics of us like the rich and famous have done for years. One photographer who has brushed shoulders with stars for nearly four decades is the very talented, Rosie Still. I am so delighted that she has taken time out of her very busy schedule to talk on my Blog. And I've got my best smile plastered on my face, just in case the camera swings my way!OK Rosie, let's get snapping!"

Rosie, please tell us the names of some of the famous you have photographed
Having been in the business for over 38 years now I’ve photographed a lot of famous people. Back in the 70 & 80s I got to photograph The Jacksons, Queen, Alvin Stardust, Suzi Quatro, Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, … the list is endless, but besides musicians, I’ve worked with Victoria Wood, Stephanie Cole (currently Roy Cropper’s Mum in Corrie), Pauline Quirke (Emmerdale) and more recently Michelle Hardwick (The Royal).

An impressive line up there, but how did you get into photographing such famous people?
Back in the early 70s I was a hospital radio DJ and I decided that I’d like to spice up my programme a bit by including interviews with celebrities. Glenda Jackson was a local lady and had just been voted “Actress of the Year” and she invited me to her house. After the interview she asked if I’d considered doing interviewing professionally, which at the time I hadn’t. A couple of weeks later after interviewing the then virtually unknown Joanna (Absolutely Fabulous!) Lumley, she asked the same question. To cut a long story short I wrote up my next interview and sent it to all the women’s magazines. The editor of Annabel magazine (based in Dundee) was coming to London and asked to meet me.

A few weeks later I got a letter from Ken Gordon, Editor of Diana magazine (the slightly younger sister to Jackie magazine) asking if I’d be interested in interviewing pop stars & celebrities for his magazine. It took me all of half a second to decide!
In the meantime I’d bought a second-hand camera with a telephoto lens and suggested to Ken that maybe I could photograph as well as interview them. He thought that was great, but I hadn’t told him that I’d not finished a roll of film, so I didn’t even know if it worked properly …
The rest of this story and many many more can be found in my book “Still photographing the Rich … the famous … and the wannabes!” … how’s that for a plug!
But I will just say that the first person I interviewed/photographed for Diana was Jimmy Savile, OBE (which he said stood for Old Blonde Ead!) and I had the instructions on the back … ie which aperture to use according to his distance from the camera! … and he saw me looking and said “You’ve never used that bloody thing before have you?” …. Jimmy then decided that he would show me how it should be set and before I left he gave me his phone number and said “You might be needing this”. Whatever he did to it, nothing came out and so the following week I was back at the Beeb … without his help … doing a re-shoot! I found out that he liked little blondes.
I must admit though that Jim and I became good friends over the years and he was such a help to me. He had a programme called “Speak Easy”, where he’d have an audience and on the stage a panel of experts (depending on the subject matter) and throughout the programme a singer or band would perform two or three times. Jimmy suggested that I went along there during the day when they were rehearsing and did interviews and took photos. So I got to meet a lot of big stars of the time, that I may not have got the opportunity to meet anywhere else.
Although I continued with Diana I also was asked to work for other teenage magazines such as Jackie, Blue Jeans, Patches, Shout, Catch …. And I’d also take surplus slides along to IPC for them to keep on their files and I gradually had several front covers and centre spreads in their publications.

Also, by working for so many magazines I got to work with the same celebrities over and over again and people like Alvin Stardust and Suzi Quatro became good friends, so it was never like working ….. it was just such good fun.

When did the Pop sessions end?
When the Punk era came in, although I did a few like Blondie, The Damned, etc ‘Glam Rock’ was dying out and I was starting to lose a bit of interest. Also by then IPC was doing the famous ‘photo stories’! For those of you who don’t know what they are. They are cartoon stories, but instead of being drawn they have real people posing the shots with speech bubbles. I just happened to ask one of my editors if D C Thomson was thinking of doing them …… and I ended up doing them for 18 years, and for about 10 different magazines. When I stopped doing them it was like being released from prison and I finally got my life back again!! It was good money and regular work but it was hard work and although fun at the time, when the last of the magazines finally died it was almost a relief.

Is it right that you were the Jazz trumpeter/ Radio 4 presenter, Humphrey Lyttelton’s personal photographer?
Yes. I happened to be strolling through my local village in 1984 when I bumped into the late Ted Taylor (Benny Hill’s musical associate & owner of the local recording studio). I’d known his family for years and we started chatting. When he found out that I had my own photographic studio he asked for my number and said he’d be in touch. A few days later he called and asked if I would do some shots in his studio and also mine for an album that was being recorded by Humphrey Lyttelton and Helen Shapiro. I did, Humph, Helen & I hit it off instantly and I ended up doing all his sessions for the next 24 years until he died in 2008.

How did you move on to photographing actors and drama students?
Helen Shapiro is married to the actor John Judd and I started doing his Spotlight shots in 1986. He then suggested that I should use my studio for more than just photo stories (I faked a lot of locations there … from disco, café, classroom, shops, etc with a lot of props!) and Humph’s sessions, as he felt I had a gift for acting headshots. So I put an advert in the Stage and then later Contacts and although I do virtually any type of studio session, my speciality and favourite sessions are definitely acting shots. I guess I like looking at people’s faces. And since going digital it’s become so much easier (and no smelly darkroom chemicals any more!) as my clients can see instantly that they are getting the results they came for.

Have you had many famous people in your studio?
Apart from Alvin, Dollar, Squeeze, and a few other musicians of the 80s, Humph and all his Jazz celebrities, I tend to have more of the up and coming actors and drama students. But having said that, Bella Emberg, Liz Fraser, Gabrielle Bradshaw, Charlie Clements, Christopher Parker, Chris Jarvis, Zoe Heyes (London’s Burning & She’s Out) and also Maureen Sweeney (She’s Out, Only Fools & Horse, etc) have all been here. But Michelle Hardwick who I mentioned earlier was a real thrill for me.

I’d recently joined Twitter and I was being followed by Steve Huison (Eddie Windass in Coronation Street) and although I’ve still not met him, we exchanged quite a few Direct Messages and it turned out that he used to go to Rose Bruford, which is a drama school near me, and went past my house every day! I was currently updating my website and Steve tweeted to promote my work. Michelle saw this tweet and checked out for herself and a few weeks later drove 197 miles (and back again) to my studio for her current Spotlight pictures. We’ve now become good friends and hopefully very shortly her friend Venetia Deane (another actress/singer) will be doing the same journey for her new publicity shots. I’m also hoping that one day Steve will come here for his.

Talking of Twitter I believe that Fat Brenda is a friend of yours. Apparently she works on the switchboard at Street Cars in Coronation Street. She certainly keeps me amused on Twitter. Have you ever photographed her?
Fat Brenda! Another lady that I met on Twitter thanks to the lovely Steve Huison. She’s the unseen hero of Coronation Street who the characters Lloyd and Steve have mentioned a few times recently. But none of us know a great deal about Brenda, but we all love her to pieces, mostly for her outspoken manner. I’ve offered her a free photo shoot if she’s willing to travel down from Manchester to London, but it hasn’t happened yet. We actually spoke about her doing a nude centrefold, but she was worried that my studio wouldn’t be warm enough and that she’d freeze her bits off! But I did reassure her that the heating would be full on! She’s hoping to come down here one day with Steve Huison (who, between you and me and her thousands of twitter fans, she’s in love with) so I’ll keep you updated.

Tell us a bit more about your book.
Unfortunately I did a bit of a silly thing. I wrote it after I’d been in the business for 25 years and got several famous people … some of whom I’ve mention before … to kindly write something about me in their own handwriting to be included in it. It’s a book full of anecdotes rather than a photographic book, but when I finished it I hadn’t a clue what to do next.
I didn’t approach any publishers or agents …. I didn’t know which ones to go to … and instead I saw an ad in the paper asking for new writers, new manuscripts, etc. To cut a long story short, they were a self-publishing company. I would like to stress that I’ve absolutely nothing against self-publishing companies, but this unfortunately was the wrong road for me to go down. The quality of the pictures is dire and it was a case of here’s your book … now go and sell it. I did several radio and newspaper interviews – which I arranged myself and several celebrities, including Alvin, Humph, Helen, John, Chris Jarvis and actress Claire Oberman, came to my launch, which again I had to organise.
I’ve got about 600 copies in my loft that I bought back from them, so I sell them to clients or when I give talks, but I wish now that, as it includes so many celebrities in it, that I’d done it differently. Since scanning 31 years of negatives and slides, for talks and my new website, I feel that maybe I should give it another go with all my new material. But it’s all down to time, which I seem to have so little of, and really I’d have to know that at the end of it I can get it published … who knows, one day.

Tell me about your new website
For years I had a basic ‘lite site’, but early last year, I decided that I should include slide shows on it rather than just have a few pages of selected pictures. Unfortunately the site was too ‘lite’ and the only way I could do this was to teach myself how to create a website totally from scratch and do it myself. I finally, after about 8 months, got it up and running ….. but still something wasn’t right, so recently I took it off line for 3 weeks and totally revamped it and now I’m happy with it. I’ve tried to include as much as I can of the past as I can, so you can see a lot of famous faces on my Celebrities, Music and Jazz pages. On my About Rosie page I’ve included some of the written pieces that are in my book and also pictures of me with celebrities.
I should stress that I hate being in front of the camera, so I have a lot of sympathy for people who quake at photo shoots. I like to make the sessions fun and fortunately a lot of my clients come back over and over again to keep their pictures up to date.
Hope I’ve not bored you too much!
And Rosie Still …. Yes, Still is my real surname, so I guess I was destined from birth to become a ‘still’ photographer!!!

Thank you Rosie for coming along and sharing your photographic years with us, I know of all the people you have snapped away at, what a line up. I just want to wish you many more years ensuring the rich and famous keep saying cheese into your camera lens! I'm practising, just in case...laugh!

Please visit Rosie's web site to see some of the amazing photographs she has taken.

Rosie is also found chatting on Twitter most days!mailto:days!@rosie391

Friday, 12 August 2011

It's Not Me!

I just had to share this beautiful poem with you that I recieved in my email box. You'll need a tissuse!


When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in country NSW, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne . The old man's sole bequest to posterity as since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see, nurses?.What do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A cranky old man, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice,'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice the things that you do.
And forever is losing a sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding the long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten with a father and mother.
Brothers and sisters who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen with wings on his feet
dreaming that soon now a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty, my young now grown fast,
bound to each other with ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
but my woman is beside me to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my wife is now dead.
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man and nature is cruel.
It's jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcase a young man still dwells,
and now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living life over again.
I think of the years all too few gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people open and see.
Not a cranky old man look closer, see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within . ... . . . we will all, one day, be there, too!

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Sound Of Tubular bells

One of the loveliest sounds, to me, is the sound of tubular bells, particular the ones for the garden. Some years ago we bought a beautiful set, tuned to the Westminster scale. These magnificent tubular bells hang in our stairwell. Our doors are always open so the gentle breeze that filters through our villa make the bells resonate.
And to compliment the inside bells, we have another magnificent set in our pergola lounge. They mange to pick up plenty of breeze and we can hear their deep tone donging sound drifting into the garden.

I just love these sounds and they always make me smile.

What sounds do you have around you that makes you smile?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Great Reads!

This year I have tried to read only books by new authors, and what a great read year is has been so far. I have read some fantastic books. There are some seriously fabby writers out there!

A couple of months ago I listed the books I had read to date, here is an update. I hope, some, if not all of these will end up on your TBR list !

I've read them all and they are superb reads!

The Traz by Eileen Schuh

Discovery at Rosehill by Kathryn Brown

Bagpipes & Bullshot by Janice Horton

Endless Night by Maureen A. Miller

The Shoeless Kid by Marcelle Dube

Raven by Suzy Turner