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Showing posts from April, 2020

Music to Inspire - An #AuthorOfTheWeek Blog

Three years ago, when I launched my first book, Clemency made me two CDs to take with us on our roadtrip. In many respects, those became the soundtrack for my entire family saga. But many of the songs belong to the finished novels. This blog is looking at the music which inspires me while I'm writing.

As I mentioned in last night's blog and in my #AuthorOfTheWeek interview, most of the music I listen to when I'm writing has no words. This is the safest way of ensuring I don't just start writing out the song lyrics instead of my stories! But, for the sake of this blog, I'm thinking about a mixture of songs and instrumental music, just to ring the changes!

So I've come up with 6 pieces which inspire me (there could have been many more, but I don't want to bore you!) - here they are:

1 - The last three tracks of the Gladiator soundtrack (Elysium, Honour Him, Now We Are Free) [Hans Zimmer]
I fell in love with this soundtrack from the moment I went to watch the …

People Who Inspire - An #AuthorOfTheWeek Blog

So far this week I've shared with you some places and some things which have been a source of inspiration for me. Today, I'm going to share some people who have inspired me. Some of these people are not what I would call heroes, but are people whose stories have touched my own and, in some cases, whose work I hope to continue and honour with my own writings.
I unashamedly have an obsessive nature. If I uncover a new person (usually someone from deep in the realms of history!) I want to know all I can about them. There have been several occasions when I've deviated from the research I was meant to be doing, and click through a series of links until I find myself researching someone who I have no idea how I even found them! The back button is very useful for this!
One good example of this was when I was researching for a book which is coming out next year, called The Year We Lived, which is set just after the Norman conquest. Most of my characters who are erroneously called…

Objects to Inspire - an #AuthorOfTheWeek blog

Last April I launched Beneath Black Clouds and White. It's a book of which I'm exceptionally proud for a number of reasons. Among them, is the fact that I researched and researched, not just dates and events, but the critical thinking of the time (1790s) and the classes involved.
Being somewhat limited in my interests, I have also accumulated several items which - though many have virtually no monetary value at all - are invaluable to me. Letters written in the hand of a contemporary of my book... the weave of the parchment it was written on... you can't beat the chance to hold these objects in your hands and feel the history seeping through to you.
As a countdown for last year's book launch, I shared a number of objects which I've collected. Most of them are a little later than Beneath Black Clouds and White was set, several linking in to later books which I have written.
Here are a handful, as well as an explanation of why I have and hold them...

The oldest of o…

Book Review - Mrs Murray's Home

I'm thrilled to be taking part in the book tour for this really enjoyable book "Mrs Murray's Home" by Emily-Jane Hills Orford!

Blurb
Home is where the heart is, or so they say. It’s also been said that a home is a person’s castle. But home is also with family and friends. Mrs. Murray longs for home, the family home, a castle an ocean away. The Brownies also crave for home, the same castle Mrs. Murray considers home. And Granny? Mary’s Granny hasn’t been home since she was Mary’s age. It’s time to visit the homeland, Scotland. Mary’s excited to tag along with Granny, Mrs. Murray and the Brownies. And then there’s the witch. The one they thought they’d killed. And the treasure. The one they had found. And it all ties together, for better or for worse. Join the adventure in book 3 of the popular “Piccadilly Street Series”.

Review


I loved most of the characters, in particular Brunny. He seemed human (although, of course, he's not! He's a brownie!) but I enjoyed his …

Places of Inspiration - an #AuthorOfTheWeek blog

During this coronavirus craziness, it can seem almost impossible to remember the places we've been to. We have a slideshow of photographs which come up on our computer and looking at them now is like seeing a different world.

Isn't that how it is with writing anyway? We find a place which speaks to us and, not only while we're there but every time our imagination transports us back, we move into another world. Invariably, because of the genre I write, I head back to another time, too.

Bear with me as I take you on a little journey through a few of the places which have brought me great inspiration...

1 - The Big Burn, Golspie
I don't know how many times we'd driven past the little sign for The Big Burn. It's an oddly insignificant little walk, but there is a waterfall there which you can walk up and over. Standing back a little bit, on that first walk we took there, I was struck by how strangely human it looked. The picture above was how I first met the waterfal…

Inspiration in Five Pictures

Picture 1: One Notebook of Many I love notebooks, and have many. In fact, at some point I will need a whole room just for holding my notebooks! I have lovely ones that have been gifted to me, or ones that I have bought as souvenirs. I also have some plain exercise books, and these actually tend to have been used more. This picture is of my Projects book - and you're looking at the first page in the Writing section. This is a list of all the stories I have on the go, with some labelled as "finished". The Backwater doesn't appear on here because that was already completed by the time I started the list. Some of these will get finished, but I'm guessing more won't! Still, they are nice to pop back to whenever the mood takes me!
Picture 2: Did I Mention...? Exciting! As you will have heard already if you watched my crazy interview, I was absolutely thrilled to bits to be announced as a Finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards.  The Backwaterwas written originally …

#AuthorOfTheWeek - The Very First Draft

In the beautiful photo album that my mum and dad gave me for my 21st birthday (although I should give an extra grateful nod to Mum, as I’m quite sure she put it together!), there is a single sheet of paper.
It’s that thin, cream coloured paper which looks almost like it’s what people print receipts on and, with the passage of time or just the poor quality printing, you have to squint slightly to make out what is printed on it.
It is, in fact, the oldest of my stories. A wonderful little story about Vikings, which includes fabulous lines such as:

“I used to be a warrior but I am a busy man.” Olaf gasped. “You are strong, but not in wisdom.”(Thora) relized that her mother was pushing them into the lavortry (which was only a hut with a hole in) and away they went.“Where is she? inquired Thora. That was the question that was most used.
I would have been about seven when I wrote the story, a year or two younger than the children I am teaching at the moment. I remember writing another one a…

#AuthorOfTheWeek - Communicating Through Writing

Here's another blog from Susan Crow, our Author of the Week. This time, Susan is addressing the significance of using her writing as a form of communication.
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Writing is a marvellous way of communicating ideas and opinions, experiences and memories. I enjoy sharing the positivity in my life in such a way as to rekindle old, happy memories in the reader. I also want to communicate my concerns for causes and to reassure the reader that there is something we small people can do to improve all life on this planet. I'm uncomfortable standing in front of a large group of people and telling them this. I dislike telephones. I gave up on Facebook when someone pretended to be me. The very thought of it! That there might be two of me. The world may be old and ailing but it still isn't ready for two of me. 

So, since I love words and using them to express myself in writing, it follows that I communicate that way. I have a very real need to offer some of my life experiences to the…

#AuthorOfTheWeek - How I Become Inspired

Earlier today we shared our #AuthorOfTheWeek interview with Susan Crow. You can watch it here:

But, as well as this, we have a short blog here from Susan, talking about her inspiration and how her writing is an encapsulation of her inspiration.
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From our Author of the Week:
Perhaps the most inspirational thing for me is the notion that I can make a difference with my scribblings. I have an absolute passion to improve this ailing earth. I'll never be a great speaker. I'm not a scientist. But I can, through my writings, communicate something of the wonderful richness of the natural world. Once I begin to write about the countryside, about the gardens, about the seashore and all other aspects of Nature, I just keep on writing. There's no stopping me. If I come up against something I don't know well enough, I research until I do - and I get such a buzz from doing the research. There's so much I've still to learn. If all adults shared a little of what they know…

Collating Information for Narrative Non-Fiction

Crowvus has published a new book this week: "Child of the Earth" by Susan Crow. This book is nature writing at its best, that beautiful mix between poetry and prose.

To celebrate the launch, Susan is writing a series of blog posts, and creating some videos, to help others wanting to follow in the narrative non-fiction footsteps.



Collating Information for Narrative Non-Fiction
When I started this book, I wanted to include a number of pieces I had written in the past. I rummaged through old briefcases, folders and box files. I tried to find stories and accounts which I'd sent online. It took me a while and, at the end of it, I had a motley mix of might-be-useful  stuff. Then I had to sort it all out. I realised I couldn't do that until I had the structure of the book well in place.
Another nature book. How do I make this one different? It seemed the easiest option was to use the calendar from January through to December. But it had been done many times over the years. I …

#IndieApril Interviews - Steve Exeter

Our 6th Indie Hero is Steve Exeter, author of "Severus: the Black Caesar"! This is a brilliant book to end our first session of #IndieApril interviews. Next week marks the launch of Susan Crow's book "Child of the Earth" so we'll be spending next week promoting that. We're hoping to go back to these interviews the week after.
Happy #IndieApril!

Severus: the Black Caesar



Blurb
Severus follows the amazing true story of a rebellious boy who grew up in an African province and became the first Black Caesar of the Roman Empire, the head of a dynasty that would lead Rome through bloody civil wars and rapidly changing times. As a young man, Severus hates the Romans and conspires to humiliate them. What begins as a childish prank unfurls into a bloodbath that sends Severus careening into his future. Through a tragic love affair, dangerously close battles and threats both internal and external, Severus accrues power — and enemies — in his unlikely rise to become the…

#IndieApril - Christopher Aggett

Our fourth Indie Hero is well deserving of the title. Not only is he a successful author in his own right, he also spends much of his time helping other authors on the Writing Community Chat Show. I have often seen authors asking for publicity and yet not giving back in return. Not Christopher! His Community Chat Show is a perfect way to give back to the #WritingCommunity

Thanks, Christopher!

Deep: the Climb of Truth

Blurb
"It was hard to imagine my father as anything other than that to me, I couldn't think of him as a killer" A young woman named Dee steps into a world of discovery and fear. Having been brought up isolated from civilisation she is separated from her father and her so-called home. She sets out on a journey through a world of danger and mystery; risking everything to stay alive and reunite with her father Eli. Eli who leads a secret life, entwined in dark and dangerous military experiments that threaten human existence.
"This book had me gripped from the b…