Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Casting Light Upon the Darkness

I am joining in a Blog Hop with Helen Hollick today, December 21st 2013 - the longest night
Entitled: Casting Light Upon the Darkness 

Theme is shedding light on something puzzling or unknown.

My contribution...

Shedding Light on a Traditional Pie!

One of the things I love about Christmas and that is mince pies. Many months before the festive season is even thought about, I prepare my own mincemeat, adding my own measures of spices and fruit and always left soaking in lashings of brandy. Then a couple weeks before Christmas I make my first batch of mince pies, to test of course! 
But did you know that the mince pie has its ingredient traceable back to the 13th century when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meets, fruits and spices?
The early mince pie was known by several names, including mutton pie, shred pie and Christmas pie. Typically its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits and spices - cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
But no matter where your mince pie comes from, enjoy!

To get you into the festive spirit, my 20 minute short story, Next Christmas Will Be Different is FREE to download from Amazon co uk and Amazon com

Thank you for stopping by wishing you and all your loves ones a very Merry Christmas!

Now take a peek at the other fabby posts on this special day....

  1. Helen Hollick : A little light relief concerning those dark reviews! Plus a Giveaway Prize
  2. Alison Morton  : Shedding light on the Roman dusk  - Plus a Giveaway Prize! 
  3. Beth Elliott : Steering by the Stars. Stratford Canning in Constantinople, 1810/12
  4. Melanie Spiller : Lux Aeterna, the chant of eternal light
  5. Janet Reedman   The Winter Solstice Monuments
  6. Petrea Burchard  : Darkness - how did people of the past cope with the dark? Plus a Giveaway Prize!
  7. Richard Denning The Darkest Years of the Dark Ages: what do we really know? Plus a Giveaway Prize
  8. David Ebsworth : Propaganda in the Spanish Civil War
  9. David Pilling  :  Greek Fire -  Plus a Giveaway Prize!
  10. Debbie Young : Fear of the Dark
  11. Derek Birks  : Lies, Damned Lies and … Chronicles
  12. Mark Patton : Casting Light on Saturnalia
  13. Tim Hodkinson : Soltice@Newgrange
  14. Wendy Percival  : Ancestors in the Spotlight
  15. Judy Ridgley : Santa and his elves  Plus a Giveaway Prize
  16. Suzanne McLeod  : The Dark of the Moon
  17. Katherine Bone   : Admiral Nelson, A Light in Dark Times
  18. Christina Courtenay : The Darkest Night of the Year
  19. Edward James  : The secret life of Christopher Columbus; Which Way to Paradise?
  20. Janis Pegrum Smith  : Into The Light - A Short Story
  21. Julian Stockwin  : Ghost Ships - Plus a Giveaway Present
  22. Manda Scott : Dark into Light - Mithras, and the older gods
  23. Pat Bracewell Anglo-Saxon Art: Splendor in the Dark
  24. Lucienne Boyce : We will have a fire - 18th Century protests against enclosure
  25. Nicole Evelina What Lurks Beneath Glastonbury Abbey? 
  26. Sky Purington  :  How the Celts Cast Light on Current American Christmas Traditions
  27. Stuart MacAllister (Sir Read A Lot) : The Darkness of Depression

Why Did It Have To End? Storm Clouds Gathering - Reviewed

I hope you will allow me to be a little indulgent today as I have just seen a wonderful 5 star review on Amazon for Storm Clouds Gathering. And yes, I am doing a happy, smiley silly dance!

Here is the review:

Why did it have to end?

I was crushed when this story was over. I didn't want to close the book on Barclay's cast of characters in Storm Clouds Gathering. This novel is all about wonderful, wonderful characters, strong and broken relationships, hope and grief, love, happiness and despair. Success and failure and always...the tension from those storm clouds on the horizon. Well worth the read!

Links to this review

Thanks for allowing me this moment of shouting out!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Love or Loath, They're Equal!

"Which do you prefer and which is the best?" This question is put to me often from readers about which of my books I believe is my favourite and the one I enjoyed writing the most.

In honesty, I loved writing them all. Each one has its own merits of love or loath characters. The ruthless and evil Squire of Satchfield Hall who brought so much pain. Bad boy Billy who wanted to love and leave them in Storm Clouds Gathering. Then there is the bubbly and giggly Doreen Wilkinson who won the lottery in Sometimes It Happens. All memorable characters who come alive, take your hand or in the case of the Squire, grip it, sit you down and tell their story.

But whilst I am unable to answer any question on my favourite, it is interesting to know that readers do have their favourites. Last week I spoke to a reader, I met through my weekly book promotions who purchased a paperback copy of Storm Clouds Gathering. "I'm looking forward to reading this,' she enthused, flicking through the 572 pages, 'I loved Satchfield Hall, it made me cry and angry. Sometimes It Happens… made me laugh and yes, a tear spilt down my face too, but my favourite so far is Magnolia House. I love Mrs Leonard and I felt her anger and her pain."

Interestingly, Magnolia House was my first published book and I too loved Mrs Leonard, she was a joy to create. And though I have learnt a great deal over the years, I was humbled that this reader saw only a compelling and moving story.

And this is just one of the joys about going to book promotion each week because I get to meet many readers and hear what they have to say.

Thanks for stopping by and have a fabby week, let's meet up again very soon!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

It's Only a Number!

This photo is of the magnet my friend bought me. I fear she knows me more than I dare to believe!

Last weekend we took ourselves off to a rather exclusive hotel for a few nights to celebrate my birthday, it was a milestone one. Even now I can't believe I have reached such an age. But as I remind myself it is only a number on my birth certificate not a reflection on how I feel and behave. On that I'd be waiting for the key of the door…. "Dream on," I hear you say. *laughing*

Back home and back to reality, I have found time to work on book 5. It is coming on slowly, and I am beginning to enjoy the company of my new characters. More importantly I spent time on trying to persuade Amazon to allow my festive short story to be a free download. I still await their decision!

On a positive note, yesterday Barnes and Noble added, Next Christmas Will Be Different, to their book catalogue and I am delighted to tell you that it is available to download on Nook for free!

I'll leave you with this picture of the sunrise I took from our room at the hotel and below the links to my festive short story, just in case you want to feel a little Christmassy!

Barnes and Noble - Nook Book

As always, thanks for stopping by and see you soon.
Have a fab day!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Colourful Flyers

I have just collected my new flyers from the printers and I love them!

If you would like to read for free Next Christmas Will Be Different - A Short Story, click on the link below and download your copy.


P.S. Following my post last weekend, I still have no news yet from Amazon regarding Next Christmas Will Be Different, being available for fee, but I hope to be able to bring you an update next week!
It is on their sites at 0.77pence (0.99 cents)!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Unable to Put Down!

I have received a lovely review from Nikki at Nikki's Books4U for Storm Clouds Gathering and I just had to share it with you…

"This is a book you just cannot put down," says Nikki Bywater

Set in the north of England during the 1960’s. Storm Clouds Gathering tells the remarkable tale of three different characters.

Shirley Burton works at the local mill but finds herself in trouble when her marriage to Jimmy goes through a rough patch and she is drawn to bad boy Billy.

Kathleen Mitchell is happily married to Joe, and they have a young family, she is good friends with Shirley, they work together at the mill, and they enjoy nights out together at the Bingo.  Kathleen is lucky to have a win at the Bingo. But is her luck about to change?

Anne Simpson is a caring and good teacher who goes out of her way to help her young pupils.  Engaged to school master Paul Betham her future seems to be all planned out for her.  But will it be a happy ever after?

I have nothing but praise for author Pauline Barclay, who knows how to write wonderful and moving emotional stories.  The story really draws you in for the start, and the excellent way each chapter is written makes this a real page turner. This is a book you just cannot put down, and you will not be able to resist reading on to see what will happen.

Storm Clouds Gathering is available in Kindle & Paperback from all Amazon sites.

Find out more about Nikki Bywater and her fabulous Blog at

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men!

'The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men..' may well have come from Robert Burns, Scots poem, The Mouse,  penned back in 1785 yet despite 285 years since this master piece saw the light of day, these words have been rattling around my head.

My best laid plan to launch my Christmas short story on 6th December has gone a little awry, nothing drastic, but there is a slight change to the date of availability. "Why?" You might ask.  The simple answer is that I want this publication to be free; a little festive gift to all readers from me. It's my way of saying thanks to you fabby people who have bought copies of my books. I also hope it will introduce new readers to my writing.

Smashwords allow you to set your publication to free. Perfect! But having never used Smashwords, I rapidly found out that you must format your book to their exacting standard before you can add you work to their site. To help with this, Smashwords provide a guide on how to achieve the desired result. I immediately downloaded a copy of the guide, but my initial excitement swiftly turned to dismay as I read through the pages of instructions. Not to be daunted, I sat back and carefully and slowly went through each step preparing my MSS. I had to redo several sections and it took me longer than was suggested. Next time it will be much faster as I understand what they need.

With my MSS formatted, I turned to the next stage which was to upload my short story. Smashwords also allows you to pre-book your publication date. I was onto a winner! Or was I?

My winning euphoria lasted no more than a few seconds as once I'd added the price of my short story, 0.00 a box appeared pointing out that you could not pre-book publication date with a free book! I had two choices, add a price and stick with 6th December or publish now free. Of course I could come back on 6th December and publish, but what if I did not do everything correctly and it took days to sort out? I weighed up all these little things and decided to play safe. I published my short story for free on Smashwords. But…..!

Yes, there is always a but! And that but is because I also want my short story on Amazon Kindle to be free too. At this point I realised I was asking a lot. Kindle do not allow you to publish your book for free! It can eventually be free, but that is another story.  Not to be put off, I wrote to Amazon and asked for their help with this Kindle book. They swiftly responded and were helpful suggesting I upload my book and set a price. I then had to inform them where it was available cheaper. I have done this. I await to hear from them as to whether readers will be able to download from Amazon free.

It's been a steep learning curve to offer a publication for free, but I am now prepared for the next time.

So what happens to my publication date? Well, there isn't one in the sense I had originally planned because my short story, Next Christmas Will Be Different, is available. I will be doing promotions and appearing on some fantastic Blogs over the coming weeks. So partying will be a long one instead!

If you are interested in downloading a free copy of Next Christmas Will Be Different, here is the blurb…

When the O’Reilly family gather for the festive season it is a time for catching up, eating too much and making promises, but can the promises be kept?

This short story includes a bonus of five chapters from each of my four published books.

And here is the link to Smashwords for your free download…. Enjoy!

As always, thanks for stopping by, have a fab week and see you soon.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

All Sparkling for Christmas!

How can we be in November so soon? Is it me or is time simply moving faster?

November brings two milestones for me, one I’ll be having a birthday with a zero in the number! Now that is scary because it was not ten years ago I celebrated a similar one! The other milestone, one I prefer to talk about and that is I am publishing one of my short stories for Christmas. I have written around fifteen short stories, but, Next Christmas Will Be Different is the first I have published.

The cover is designed by the wonderful Cathy Helms from Avalon Graphics and I love it. To be honest I can’t stop looking at it… *laugh* but what do you think?

Next Christmas Will Be Different will be available from 6th December in Kindle and to give you a taster of what this little story is about, here is the blurb…

When the O’Reilly family gather for the festive season it is a time for catching up, eating too much and making promises, but can the promises be kept?

That's it for the moment, have a fabby week and thanks a million for stopping by.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Consequences Collection by Melanie Robertson-King

Melanie Robertson-King is sitting round my pool for a few minutes to reveal her latest book, The Consequences Collection.

"If you could see the consequences - would you?"

Special thank you to Madliz Coles whose kind permission made it possible to use her evocative photograph as the cover image for my anthology.

The Consequences Collection is an eclectic compilation of twelve stories ranging from non-fiction through creative non-fiction to pure fiction, in prose and poetry.
The story of a Scottish Home Child is based on fact and told from the child's point of view; The Mystery Woman of Kinettles is a non-fiction article on the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a woman's body near the Wellington County House of Industry (Poor House) in 1879 Southwestern Ontario.
Some of these stories are lighter than others, and some might even beg you to leave the lights on.

Excerpt from the cover story Consequences:
Splat! The mail landed on the ceramic tile floor of the foyer. Usually, the noise was followed by the snap of the mail slot door closing. Today it wasn’t.
Something must have stuck in it. Sylvia put her coffee down on the counter and walked to the front door. A large white envelope remained suspended in the door. She pulled it the rest of the way through. The flap snapped shut and even though she was used to hearing the metallic sound, it startled her.
She’d expected a letter from her solicitor regarding her divorce from Bill but it wasn’t there. However, that one in particular had piqued her curiosity. Emblazoned on the top left corner was an official-looking crest. The addressee’s name and address were correct. It was her. Why would this person or agency be sending her a letter? She’d never heard of them before.
Sylvia turned the envelope over and worked her thumb under the flap. Those self-sticking envelopes are a bugger, she thought as she tried to rip it open. Finally, she gave up and tore down the side and yanked the contents out.
She skimmed over the letter but it didn’t make any sense so placed it on the small table by the door. It could be dealt with later. In the meantime, she looked at the rest of her mail. Nothing else untoward – just the electric bill, gas bill, and the usual assortment of junk – mail. She dropped them on top of the letter and returned to the kitchen.
The coffee she’d poured earlier had gone cold. She dumped it down the sink and turned the water on to rinse it away before getting a fresh one.
Drawn by some inexplicable force, Sylvia went back to the foyer and collected the letter and the mangled envelope. She returned to the kitchen, flipped on the radio and sat down at her small table. Why had she opened it in the first place? She should have just binned it. That’s what she usually did with unsolicited mail. But there was something strangely familiar about it. The addressee information was on a computer printed label so there was no clue there. The sororities from University had crests or emblems to differentiate one from another. She wracked her brain trying to remember what they looked like. It had been over thirty years since she’d attended. Sylvia never belonged to a sorority because she thought the girls who did were snooty and stuck-up.
She’d call her friend, Laurie and tell her about the letter. They’d been friends since childhood, attended the same elementary and secondary schools and even the same University. She could tell her anything, couldn’t she?

About Melanie

Melanie Robertson-King has always been a fan of the written word. Growing up as an only child, her face was almost always buried in a book from the time she could read. Her father was one of the thousands of Home Children sent to Canada through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland, and she has been fortunate to be able to visit her father’s homeland many times and even met the Princess Royal at the orphanage where he was raised.

She lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada a few short city blocks north of the St Lawrence River with her husband of thirty-eight years and is 'housekeeping staff' to a big, goofy, but loveable, dog (cross between lab, shepherd and black and tan hound).

A Shadow in the Past, published in 2012 by 4RV Publishing, was Melanie's debut novel.

Where to buy The Consequences Collection:

Coming soon to amazon in paperback and to Barnes and Noble for the nook and the iBookstore.

Melanie's links: