Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Guest Blogger - Joanne Clague

A very warm welcome to a new face to my blog - Joanne Clague. I thought I would ask Joanne a few questions about her writing and her wonderful Sheffield sagas books. About Joanne herself: Joanne Clague is the author of a Sheffield-set saga trilogy that begins in The Ragged Valley with the devastating flood of 1864. The third in the series - The Watchman's Widow - is published on June 29 2023. Joanne was born and raised in Sheffield and has had a career in journalism in the Isle of Man before turning to novel writing. Find out more and follow the author HERE
Tell us more about the Watchman's Widow? Still grieving the death of her watchman husband in a terrorist attack, Rose is struggling to make ends meet when she encounters middle-class Annie, a newspaperman's wife who devotes her time to lobbying for better working conditions. With three mouths to feed, Rose is desperate to avoid making waves but she can't sit back and watch women and young girls continue to work in dangerous conditions, including her desperately sick lodger. Fearing for her daughter's future and with her husband's killer still on the loose, all Rose wants is justice.. Just how far is she prepared to go? This sounds brilliant and I love the cover!
You can get your copy of The Watchman's Widow HERE I thought you might all like to know more about Joanne and her books so I asked her a few nosey questions! Q: How many books have you written and are there any that will never see the light of day? A: I've written four books but the first, which was loosely based on the lives of my grandparents, remains tucked away in a drawer. I'd sent the manuscript to some agents and had a little bit of interest, but it was my second book that resulted in representation and a publishing deal. I might return to it one day. Q: How long does it take you to write a book? Which parts are the easiest and the hardest? A: I spend a couple of months on research and really just percolating ideas - who the characters are, what they want, the structure of the story, the themes. I usually know where the book should begin and how it should end. Then it probably takes about nine months to write. The hardest part is when I'm approaching the final chapters. I circle around a lot. I don't like leaving the characters behind. One of the joys of writing a series is that, although each book can stand alone, I've been able to revisit characters' lives, give some walk-on parts to my favourites. Q: What is your favourite time of day to write? Do you have a particular space to write in? A: I'm an early bird. On an ideal day, I write from around 7.30am to midday, or 1pm if I'm on a roll. I edit as I go, as I struggle to move forward if I'm not happy with the previous chapter. But this is an ideal day and who gets many of those?? I am lucky to have a little office all to myself, and the walls are covered with maps, pictures, scraps of text and bits and pieces from the period I write in. Q: What book do you wish you had written, or would like to write one day? A: I wish I had written Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. It's deceptively simple and absolutely devastating. I've read and reread it, and the last page still makes me cry. Thank you Joanne for a lovely interview and congratulations on The Watchman's Widow.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Guest Blogger - Verity Bright

A very warm welcome back to my regular blog guest Verity Bright with their latest release which is out tomorrow June 29th! Murder in Manhattan Of course you can grab your copy HERE Glitzy parties, sightseeing at the Statue of Liberty and strolls through Central Park with Gladstone the bulldog… Lady Eleanor Swift is loving her first trip to the city that never sleeps, until she witnesses a murder! After crossing from England on the SS Celestiana, Lady Eleanor Swift sets up her home-away-from-home in a lavish apartment in New York City. She is soon the toast of the town, with no high-class soirée complete without her presence. Of course, she drags her butler Clifford and Gladstone the bulldog along to every party too. But when she witnesses the charming doorman of her building, Marty, knocked down and killed in a hit-and-run, she finds fashionable society suddenly closes rank. The only local detective interested in helping her find the culprit is street-smart beat cop, Officer Balowski. Resolved to get justice for Marty and his family, Eleanor searches Marty’s tiny apartment and is shocked to find five rolls of banknotes tucked under the floorboards. Money talks, but Marty was struggling to make ends meet, so where did the cash come from? The next day, wealthy entrepreneur and flashy philanderer Ogden P. Dellaney – a man Marty used to work for – is found dead downtown, miles away from his swanky Upper East Side mansion. Eleanor and Balowski are sure the deaths are connected, but not even Dellaney’s wife is willing to answer their questions. Then Eleanor is served with an eviction notice and Balowski is fired from the NYPD. It becomes clear that something is rotten in the Big Apple and Eleanor is determined to get to the core of the mystery before the murderer strikes again…
Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s. You can buy the first book in the series, A Very English Murder, on Amazon now.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Guest Blogger - Sylvia Broady

A very warm welcome to Sylvia Broady talking about her new book - Orphans of War.I asked Sylvia to tell us a little bit about herself and her writing: Writing is my passion. I breathe it daily and dream about it at night. For me, writing is like a bright shining star. Each point of the star is an aspect of my imagination for me to explore, create,and write. I write sagas set in the 20th century, though I have written other periods and contemporary. I am fascinated by the city of my birth, Kingston upon Hull and East Yorkshire, both having a rich tapestry of history and people. Strong women characters’ feature in my stories set in the WW2 era. Women who fight on the home front or travel to war zones, showing courage, compassion and love. The aftermath of war brings a whole new range of unforeseen problems. But, as always, I give my stories a positive ending of hope. An avid reader and writer from a young age, I enjoy discussions with friends over a meal and a glass of fine wine. My garden in a relaxing joy, and I love to absorb myself in researching social history. Family time is a pleasure and is so precious to me, both here and in Australia, which I travel often to. This is just a snippet of who I am. My life comprises many facets, some of which I still need to explore. My thirst for knowledge continues, and my creative juices bubble over and my stories flow. Writing is my passion and my lifeline.
So what is Orphans of war about? An absolutely heartbreaking and uplifting wartime story of hardship and hope. Kingston Upon Hull, 1941. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Kirby believes she’s all alone in the world when her mother is killed ina bombing raid. But she receives help from an unexpected quarter. A mysterious aunt comes forward – an aunt Charlotte never knew she had – to offer her a home in the small Yorkshire village where she and her husband George run the local pub. Charlotte finds it hard to adjust to rural life. She can’t understand why her Aunt Hilda seems to resent her so, nor why her mother never told her she had a sister. She wants to do her bit for the war effort – but the war doesn’t seem to have reached their sleepy little village. Everything changes when a group of French orphans are brought to live in the big house. Charlotte volunteers to help look after them – and finds a new purpose in life. Then a band of Free French soldiers are billeted on the village, including a handsome young officer with the deepest brown eyes ... But Emile has a tragedy in his past – and Charlotte must uncover both his and her own family’s secrets if she and Emile are to have a chance of happiness. Fans of Nadine Dorries, Rosie Goodwin, Dilly Court, Freda Lightfoot, Anna Jacobs, Rosie Clarke, Tania Crosse, Dominic Luke, Sheila Riley, Lizzie Lane and Catherine Cookson will devour this emotional wartime saga.
Doesn't that sound like a fabulous read! You can get your copy HERE available in ebook or paperback And you can catch up with Sylvia on TWITTER orFACEBOOK or on her WEBSITE

Friday, June 09, 2023

North Devon Writing Retreat

Just a quick note to say that I have agreed to tutor a writing retreat in North Devon in November. If you would like to focus on writing a crime novel or are already an established writer but looking for a bit of inspiration or a change of direction then why not sign up? There are lots of other workshops and day courses available too. I have been delivering workshops for over twenty years, have written over fifty books now, romance, YA, Christian and historical cosy crime. I have judged several major writing competitions and won national and international awards. The Miss Underhay series has topped the charts in the UK, US, Canada and Australia and has been translated into several languages.I am a very experienced structural editor and book doctor so you will be in safe hands! Check it out HERE