Thursday, 22 May 2014

At The Rainbow's End

I took this photograph last night whilst we were eating dinner. It was a surprise to see a rainbow at this time of the year because we rarely see rain until autumn at the earliest. As beautiful a sight as this was, there was nothing more than a few drops of rain that dried before it had a chance to touch the garden.

I don't know about you, but I wonder if there really is a pot of gold at the rainbow's end. Having said this, I feel maybe I did glimpse a shadow of what the pot might look like last night, as today, I woke with renewed energy to continue with my latest book. It would be a lie to say writing this book has been easy, a walk in the park it has not been! A number of times I have said, loudly, angrily and softly, that I was not going to continue, and just as I do, it begins to flow, the characters sit down and talk. Even so, I still have some way to go before I write 'The End,' but today it is working. Maybe that pot of gold is really there!

Here is a brief glimpse into my latest story.... In the Light of Day (working title) is about two people who live a life that is in principle a lie, though only one of them realises this, but not until it is too late. These characters are not in the flush of youth, both intelligent, mature and wealthy, but one holds a secret, a dark secret, that threatens to destroy everything.

Sorry, I've not given very much away, but as soon as I can, I will. As always, thanks for stopping by and have a fabulous day. And please come back soon. Until next time.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Shades on the Sun is Shinning!

This week we are on weather alert! Temperatures are expected reach and go beyond 37c  in the shade! I don't need to tell you that is a tad warm!
So with soaring temperatures why not slip on your shades, sit back and and enjoy a taster from Sometimes It Happens... . A sunny bubbly story filled with love, laughter and one or two surprises..... !

Chapter ONE

Nothing in her wildest dreams had prepared Doreen Wilkinson for something like this. But then, nothing had prepared her for winning the lottery either.
Several million. Several million. Eleven million, three hundred and fifty four thousand, two hundred and ten pounds and nineteen pence to be precise.
She had giggled at the nineteen pence. “Break the bleedin’ bank that will!”
The media had made the comment a headline, “19p to break the bleedin’ bank!” splashed all over the Sun and Daily Mirror accompanied by her smiling face and a fountain spray of champagne. She had thought it a waste shaking that great big bottle and letting it fizz everywhere, but the reporters had told her to do it.
Giggling at the memory, dressed in her silk pyjamas, Doreen, stepped out on to the terrace. The warm morning air that caressed her face was in stark contrast to the chilled champagne she was sipping. She giggled again at drinking champagne before the sun had got out of bed. Padding to the end of the terrace, her bare feet absorbing the heat from the ceramic tiles, she looked out in awe over the Villas Bonitas complex of luxury villas. Apart from in films she had never seen exotic plants and trees, meandering tiled pathways and white-walled, red-roofed villas with sprawling private terraces. But then, she told herself, she had never won the lottery or been abroad before either. In fact she had never had a proper holiday full stop.
As the sun began to rise the solar lights that lit the gardens during the hours of darkness began to fade. Doreen watched, mesmerized, as the colours of the neatly maintained gardens surrounding each individual terrace gradually turned from sombre shades to vibrant greens, reds, pinks and yellows, and the shadows darkening the walls of each villa changed to a dazzling white. In the distance she could just make out the silhouette of the volcanic mountains as the rising sun cast its morning rays against their dark, jagged shapes.
Drinking the last drops of her champagne Doreen sighed with contentment. She had not known such beauty existed. Even the air had a sweet fragrance to it. She closed her eyes and inhaled the heady perfume - a high pitched shriek pierced the stillness - startled, she opened her eyes to see a yellow parrot dart past, almost within touching distance, its wings fanning her face. No sooner had the parrot disappeared into the tall palm trees, another, more muted sound rippled through
the sultry, morning, air.
She frowned as she heard it again; looked left and right to locate where it was coming from. Giggled. She had half an idea what was going on and was surprised that such naughty cries could be heard in such a posh place. Grinning she went to sip her champagne, tipping the glass to her lips, realised it was empty. Pulling a face, she ambled back across the terrace and stepping through the wide open patio doors, giggled. “Someone’s enjoying a good time.”
Blinking rapidly, her eyes struggling to focus after the brightness of the terrace, squinting, Doreen looked around the lounge. “Blimey,” she cried seeing glasses and a couple of empty bottles on one of the low coffee tables. A makeup bag, its contents scattered on the dinning table and an open magazine lay on the floor near one of the sofas.
“God what am I like?” she muttered as she reached for a packet of cigarettes and a lighter.
Taking a drag from her newly lit cigarette, Doreen looked at her watch. It was still early, she thought as she paused outside her daughter Trisha’s door. Should she peep in? Her only daughter had gone out clubbing the night before, no doubt got home in the early hours. Her hand half way to the door handle, she wondered, had she heard Trisha come in? She tried to think, but could not remember hearing any sounds; but then, she had been dead to the world, her first decent night’s sleep in weeks.
“Youngsters,” she giggled, “on the go all day, party all night. Don’t know where they get their energy from.”
Shaking her head, still giggling, she wandered to her bathroom. What she would give to be seventeen again!

Sometimes It Happens ... is available in paperback and Kindle, here are the links to go and grab your copy:

Thanks as always for stopping by and I hope the heat didn't get to you! Have a great week and catch up again soon.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Sitting Round My Pool - The Amazing Madalyn Morgan

After our week in Leiden, Holland it is wonderful to feel the hot sunshine on our faces again and even more so because today, I have the wonderfully talented Madalyn Morgan sitting round my pool. Madalyn is famous as an actress, DJ, Radio presenter and top selling author. So please help yourself to a glass of bubbly, settle down on one of the recliners and enjoy chatting with my fabulous guest.

Thank you for inviting me to sit by your pool and chat about Applause, Pauline.  After working for such long hours to get it finished, I can’t think of anything I would rather do than relax with a friend.  
I began working on Applause, my second novel, six months before I published my first, Foxden Acres.  A literary agent kept me dangling for that amount of time before I decided enough was enough, and self-published.  I wanted to launch Applause on the first anniversary of Foxden Acres.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy, because of the research I needed to do, but I was determined.  I pushed myself too hard and ended up stressed.  Now it’s out there, and being well received, I’ve convinced myself it was worth it.  However, I have learned my lesson.  Most of the action in the next book, China Blue, takes place in France with the SOE, French Resistance, and Gestapo.  You can imagine how much research I need to do.  I have already started, and I’m loving it, but I won’t be announcing a date for publication until I have the finished manuscript in my hand.   

Is this part of the Dudley Sister’s books?

Applause is the second book in a quartet, but it doesn’t follow the first, Foxden Acres, Bess Dudley's story.  Applause is the story of the second Dudley sister, Margaret (Margot).  Margaret moves to London to be with her husband who works for the MoD.  In the early years of World War 2, she works her way up from usherette to leading lady in a West End show.  She is driven by blind ambition and becomes immersed in the heady world of nightclubs, drink, drugs and fascist thugs – all set against a background of the London Blitz.  To achieve her dream, Margot risks losing everything she holds dear.  Although the novels are linked by family occasions, and the dates and facts of WWII, both stories stand on their own and can be read in any order. 

On the eve of 1939, twenty-year-old Bess Dudley, trainee teacher and daughter of a groom, bumps into James, heir to the Foxden Estate.  Bess and James played together as equals when they were children, but now James is engaged to the more socially acceptable Annabel Hadleigh.  Bess takes up a teaching post in London but when war breaks out and London schoolchildren are evacuated she returns to Foxden to organise a troop of Land Girls.  Traditional barriers come crashing down when Flying Officer James Foxden falls in love with Bess.  But by this time Bess has come to know and respect Annabel.  Can she be with James if it means breaking her best friend’s heart?  Besides, Bess has a shameful secret that she has vowed to keep from James at any cost… 

It is set in WW2 is this a time in history that excites you?

The time in history as far as women are concerned excites me tremendously.  The First World War to the Second World War – and the years in between – were some of the most important in history for women.  The role of women in society changed dramatically during WWI.  When tens of thousands of men went overseas to fight, women stepped into their jobs.  It was after WW1 that men’s attitudes towards women began to change.  However, it was not until women were given the vote (The right of women to vote and work) that the law recognised women as equals.  The 1918 Qualification of Women Act, granted partial suffrage to women, but the 1928 Equal Franchise Act extended women’s rights to vote, putting them on equal terms with men.  After WW2, the school-leaving age was raised to 15 and free education was provided.  The barriers to social mobility lessened giving access to education for all.  During this period, increasing numbers of students enrolled in higher education – and the number of women students grew.

Sorry to get on my soapbox, but at last women had a right to education.  In addition, they were being educated in previously prohibited professions, like medicine and the law.  The class system and ‘old money’ still played a part, but women were finally moving in the right direction. 

Do you call on your own acting years to help bring together the scenes in Applause?

Yes, and it helps to make my characters believable.  I put myself in their place, walk in their shoes as much as I can.  I’m a method actress.  When I was working, I believed whole-heartedly in the characters I played, often becoming them.  I believe in the characters I write about in the same way.  If I don’t believe in them, how can I expect the reader to?
I also used the theatres that I have worked in in the West End to set Applause.  Descriptions of the backstage area, dressing rooms, stage, auditorium and rabbit warren, are a combination of The Vaudeville on the Strand and The Theatre Royal, Haymarket.  Having worked and lived in London for so long, I’m familiar with the areas I write about in Applause.  It helps to create atmosphere.  And it gives the reader a sense of reality, of being there, and of the time it takes to get from place to place. 

 A view of Shaftesbury Avenue in 1939.
Applause and Foxden Acres - billboards by Gary Walker

Is Applause in Kindle only?

No, it is in paperback as well.  Formatting to Kindle is quicker because you can proof read on your PC, or on Kindle.  To proof read a paperback takes longer.  The print on demand companies have to print the book, and then post it, but it is worth it.  I think Kindle is a brilliant invention.  To access books while travelling, or on holiday, is fantastic.  However, I love the feel of a real book in my hand.  And I love my packed bookcases; they are very important pieces of furniture. 

Will there be another book that follows the Dudley Sisters?

Yes.  I am pleased you asked me about other books.  There are two in the genre.  One will be a novella about George Derby Bloom and Natalie Goldman – how they met and how they help Jewish students to escape Nazi Germany.  George Derby Bloom (a dancer in Applause) is at finishing school in Switzerland when she meets Natalie Goldman, the Jewish wife of the owner of the Prince Albert Theatre.  The story begins in a cafĂ© on the Swiss-German border when Natalie Goldman is getting her German Nanny out of Nazi Germany.  It will be a short tense thriller with a happy ending.
The second book that invades my dreams and excites me most will be called, The Foxden Hotel.  Like Foxden Acres, it begins with a New Year’s Eve party.  Instead of New Year 1938, it is New Year 1948.  Most of the estate, which was turned into arable land at the beginning of WW2, has been sold off to local farmers.  What is left, the beautiful lake and parkland has been restored.  The Foxden Hotel brings the Dudley sisters and the characters in the quartet of books together for the hotel’s grand opening.  During the celebrations ex-BUF fascists gate crash.  Bess recognises the thug who raped her in 1939.  Could he also be the Nazi who stalked and threatened Margot a couple of years later?  Enough said.  The Foxden Hotel is a crime thriller.

The third book in the Dudley Sisters quartet, China Blue, is Claire Dudley’s story – and it is a love story.  The fourth is, The Bletchley Secret, and is the youngest sister, Ena Dudley's story.  I also have two contemporary novels outlined.  One is about a young guy who seduces, and then tries to get the better of an older woman who is an actress.  He breaks her heart and almost gets away with her money, but she is stronger and much cleverer than he is, and turns the tables on the hapless devil. 
The other is more of a Memoir about my time in America when I lived on a Native American Reservation in Minnesota with my aunt (my mother’s sister) and my uncle who was full-blooded Dakota Sioux.  His mother, the Elder of the Dakota Sioux, and the great granddaughter of the last Great Sioux Chief, adopted me into the tribe.  I was eleven and the Native American children taught me to swim, after I had almost drowned in the Minnesota River.  I slept in a tree house, tracked wild animals in the woods, came dangerously close to a skunk, and swapped my pretty dresses with matching shoes and hats for sneakers, pumps and bobby socks.  What fun!

Some years later, Grandma told me about her grandmother who was on the trail of tears.  She told me about the last Sioux uprising and other fascinating stuff, which one day I shall write about. 

I have been an actress for more than thirty years working in repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.  I’m a radio presenter and journalist.  And I write articles for magazines.
I was brought up in a busy working class pub in the market town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire.  The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live.  There were so many wonderful characters to study and accents to learn.  At twenty-four, I gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.
In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, I taught myself to touch type, completed a course with The Writer’s Bureau, and began writing.  After living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write.

Madalyn Morgan - Fiction Blog:
Madalyn Morgan - Non-Fiction Blog:

Madalyn Morgan - Actress Website:

Now you see what an amazing lady Madalyn is, thanks for sitting round my pool and I hope you will read Madalyn's best selling books.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Windmills & Bicycles

It's been a whirlwind of a week. Last week we left our little pebble in the ocean and returned to Leiden in Holland. We lived and worked there for a number of years and our return brought back many memories. I'd forgotten how cold the wind could be! But the plus side out weighted the chilly weather as it was great to catch up with friends and work colleagues. Oddly enough the years slipped away and it seemed as if we had never been away.

We wandered round the beautiful canals and cobbled streets keeping an eye out for the thousands of bicycles that fill these narrow streets. Remembering we were one of those when we lived there. The bicycle is king in this small country which is just as well because if all those cyclist took to a car, the roads would be grid locked.

Funny how when you are having fun the days fly by and before we knew it we were heading back to the airport to check in for the two flights to bring us back home. Our suitcases were full with extra goodies, our hearts filled with the love of friends and our heads crammed with happy memories.

Now as my feet settle back on terra firma it's time to get back to writing my latest book, sadly it took a back seat whilst away, though the storyline and characters continued to shadow me. It's not been the easiest of books to write, but Kitty and Bertie Costain refuse to let me give in call it a day and write another book! So I continue to travel down their road until we reach the end.

That's my little news. I hope your week was a good one. Have a fabulous week and catch up again soon.