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The Inspiration Behind The Story

Today, I’m discussing with the lovely Pauline Barclay the inspiration behind my latest novel White Stones. How an elusive piece of music and living in a Georgian mansion for several years, laid the foundations to the creation of Filton Shields, an Unexplained Phenomena Investigator and a haunting love story.

I’ve always had a fascination with the supernatural, not that I believe in ghosts as such as I believe all paranormal activity has a rational answer. Most can be easily explained; for the remainder, it’s more a case that the right explanation hasn’t been found yet. But, like many of us, I can’t resist a good, old-fashioned ghost story – it’s just when I hear them, I’m always searching for reasons using science and logic. Read more

Links to purchase White Stones, available in various e-formats and in paperback from 17 September 2019:

books2read.com/Whitestones 

Paperback copies of White Stones are also available direct from me. Click here to be taken to my purchase page.

FREE FOR 5 DAYS ONLY

EVERY STEP OF THE WAY – FREE FOR 5 DAYS ONLY ON KINDLE!!!!

In celebration of my new novel White Stones, my previous novel Every Step of the Way is for 5 days only available to download on Kindle for free.

This book was shortlisted in 2004 for the Harry Bowling Prize for a London novel. It tells the story of Beth, a young teenager whose world is thrown into darkness and chaos when London is hit by the 1952 Great Smog, leaving in its wake a trail of death and disruption, and changing her life in ways she never thought possible. In the emerging teenager culture of juke boxes and coffee bars, Teddy Boys and gang fights, Every Step of the Way envelops much of the social history of the 1950s.

 

In February 2019, Every Step of the Way was awarded a Chill with a Book Award, as recommended by its readers.

 

A few of the reviews for Every Step of the Way

“…brilliant depiction of early 50s culture, complete with quiffs, drainpipes and juke-boxes, set against the moral as well as economic austerity of the post-war years. The other is the spirited and engaging heroine who for much of the book is alone against the world. …I was rooting for Beth from page one and could not have left without knowing the outcome of her dramatic story. It’s no surprise that this book just missed the Harry Bowling Prize for a novel set in London and if you fancy a warm-hearted read and a touch of nostalgia this is for you.”

“This novel, set in London and Gloucestershire in the aftermath of WWII, gave me a real sense of what life was like in the 1950s, when rationing was still in place and the women who had kept the country going in the fields and in the factories during wartime, were all back at the kitchen sink. It must have been a difficult time for teenagers to grow up in and Kit Domino captures the essence of the 1950’s era exceptionally well. The depiction of the London smog and its effects on the population is particularly harrowing and poignant and this is where this story begins. We follow the life of Beth, a 16-year-old girl living in 1950’s London, who through experiencing love, life and loss, becomes a grown woman by the end of the novel. It’s a coming of age story that is beautifully written, expertly told, and one I simply couldn’t put down. Highly recommended.”

Available on Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Jg7ThD   https://amzn.to/2YgxVY1

Spotlight on: JO LAMBERT

Today I’m delighted to join in celebrating the publication of Jo Lambert’s new novel A Cornish Affair. Set in North Cornwall, this is Jo’s eighth novel, all superbly written and most enjoyable reads, but her first since signing with publishers Choc Lit under their Ruby imprint.

Having read all of Jo’s previous work, I know I’m in for a good read.

A CORNISH AFFAIR

Even in your hometown, you can feel like an outsider …

In the close-knit community of Carrenporth in Cornwall everyone knows everyone else’s business. Luke Carrack is only too aware of this. He’s been away for two years but nothing has changed – from the town gossips who can’t see past the scandal of his childhood, to the cold way he is treated by some of his so-called family.
The only person who seems to understand is local hotelier’s daughter Cat Trevelyan, although even Luke’s new friendship with her could set tongues wagging.
But Carrenporth is about to experience far bigger scandals than the return of Luke Carrack – and the secrets unearthed in the process will shake the sleepy seaside town to its core…

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Qe2vhS

BIO

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.  She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in West Somerset, was followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain, followed in 2017,

Jo is currently working on another coastal romance, this time set in South Cornwall.

When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and rock music and she often takes the odd photograph or two.

Links

Website: http://jolambertbooks.com
Blog: http://jolambertwriter.blog
Twitter: @jolambertwriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jolambert185
Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jo-lambert-6 4644530
Instagram: jolambertwriter185

Life Playlists Replayed

A few weeks ago author Jo Lambert invited me to talk about the music of my life, which I have to admit was a hard task to pick out 5 songs that had special meaning or memory for me and so thank you, Jo, for inviting me to take part on your blog, which I’ve reblogged here in case anyone missed it. (To read more about Jo Lambert and her books, click here.)

Music, as well as books, has always played a major part in my life: from growing up with German folk songs and classical music to marrying a part-time DJ. From Saturday mornings listening to Children’s Favourites and Sunday lunch over Family Favourites on the radio and teenage years those of the 1960s and 70s, to right up to this very day. Thus love, life, family and memories are sealed by music – the happy and the sad. So, where to begin? A German song or the first 45 single I bought (Adam Faith)? The Beach Boys, Moody Blues, The Faces, or Keith Relf’s Renaissance? …The list is endless.

For my first choice, I’ve picked music from the late 1960s. What an era it that was with so many fantastic songs and bands out there. Living in London and having a music-mad boyfriend who became a part-time DJ, I was spoilt with shows, nightclubs and concerts and discos a constant happening. One big favourite was Fleetwood Mac. I’ve chosen the instrumental Albatross because it brings back happy, memories of warm summer days and sultry nights, of being allowed to stay out all night for the first time to attend a midnight concert at the Lyceum Ballroom, London where Fleetwood Mac, among many others were playing that night.

It was also back in the 1960s I came across folk singer Ralph McTell, a prolific and gifted songwriter whose style invites you into a unique world, weaving words that can tug on your heartstrings with songs and music that are significant, poignant and sometimes amusing. It’s impossible for me to pick a favourite but this one, Let Me Down Easy, holds particular meaning from when my first marriage broke apart. However, Ralph’s music and songs have always been there for me, and always will be.

When I moved to Gloucestershire in the mid 1970s, I thought I would lose the concerts I habitually frequented in London. Thankfully, I was wrong. Bristol has two fantastic concert venues, the Colston Hall and the Hippodrome, and I was fortunate to attend both many times to see and hear Ralph McTell, Status Quo, Queen, Stevie Millar Band, Rod Stewart and the Faces, Mike Harding, Inspirational Choir and many, many more. It was at this time I also met (at a dance) the man who is my husband now for 40+ years, and no playlist would be complete without “Our Song”. For us, it’s Just the Way You Are by Barry White. I was never a great fan of Barry’s but this song says it all. It has to be his version, mind. The original and other covers don’t do it for us.

The 1970s and beyond has been filled with wonderful singers, bands and music. George Michael, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, ELO, Stevie Wonder, Abba and so much more. Amongst all of these the passion for classical music held strong, with many a summer evening enjoying what became a family tradition of open-air classical picnic concerts. Milton Keyes Bowl provided a regular location for music, song and fireworks. From Duxford airfield to the majestic grounds of Berkeley Castle, we much preferred listening to the Three Tenors than the Three Degrees. One piece in particular was a firm favourite of my family, one which we also played at my father’s funeral: the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni. From its melancholy start to the heart-tugging end, it took many years before I was able to listen to this again without the tears welling. But time heals.

Throughout all of the music world there is but one singer who can make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He came to the fore about 20 years ago with a voice often described as “The voice of an angel” and “If God could sing, he would sound like this.” Who? The one and only Andrea Bocelli, of course. His songs helped me through long convalescence when I was first struck down with a now life-long medical condition. His songs also bring back wonderful memories of holidays shared with my mother and two beloved sisters, of lying on sun-drenched Greek beaches with the beach bars close by playing his CDs. Utter bliss. Again, it difficult to choose which song from the many. Bocelli often duets with other singers, ie Celine Dion, Sarah Brightman, John Miles, his wife and even his son, but last year he duetted with another of my favourites: Ed Sheeran. A double whammy! Thus for my last shout I have included Perfect Symphony. Oh my, those hairs are on end again.

Music, in particular, classical music, is also at the heart of my recently released novel: White Stones, a haunting story of love and music transcending the barriers of time, featuring a relatively unknown real-life composer and one of his works rarely heard in the UK. In no way a frightening read, this novel may change your mind about the supernatural and how the world around us works. It’s not your average usual ghost story – it won’t give you nightmares, it won’t make you scared to sleep with the light off, but it is a thought-provoking romantic mystery full of music, intrigue and a few things that go “daa dee dee, dee da da” in the night!

Available worldwide on Kindle and soon to be released in paperback and other e-formats.

 

To obtain the book: White Stones

5.0 out of 5 stars “Loved the setting, the emotion, and the cadence of this story “…”I couldn’t put this book down…”

Spotlight on: GILLI ALLAN

I’m delighted today to announce the publication of Gilli Allan’s sixth novel: Buried Treasure.

There is an interesting and intriguing mystery in Gilli’s family that in part inspired this novel, one that gives extra life and credence to the plot.

 

BURIED TREASURE

Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems. 

https://amzn.to/2KOZX99

 

I’ve known Gilli for many years, having first met her through the RNA Bristol Chapter way back in what must have been circa 2000, and having read and enjoyed all her previous books, I know I am in for a great read, also because it has an extra interest for me in that it revolves around archaeology, a subject I love and a theme central in my own recently published novel White Stones.

Bio

Born in Kent, her hobby was writing, but her ambition was to be a commercial artist. After art school she found work as an advertising illustrator.

With marriage and the arrival of her son, a reassessment of priorities was needed. Gilli gave up the stressful world of advertising and although she’d not written since teenage, she decided to “write a novel”. Even though it was the first she had ever finished, the resulting book quickly found a publisher.  Gilli produced the cover artwork. Sadly, after publishing two of her books, the small independent publisher folded.

Now living in Gloucestershire, Gilli joined the RNA. She continued to write unconventional contemporary relationship fiction. Having failed to find a new publisher for her own idiosyncratic “take” on romance, and with the advent of the e-book revolution, she self-published three books. She was delighted when she was contracted to Accent Press and those books were republished.

Art remains an interest and in recent years, Gilli has taken on various illustration commissions.

The biggest joy and reward in the life of Gilli and her husband Geoff is that their historian son – Thomas Williams – has successfully taken up the writing baton.

You can discover more about Gilli Allan and her family backstory to this novel on her blog.

Links

https://accentpressbooks.com/collections/gilli-allan
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilli-Allan/e/B004W7GG7I
http://twitter.com/gilliallan
https://www.facebook.com/GilliAllan.AUTHOR
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1027644.Gilli_Allan
https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/rna_author/gilli-allan/

Spotlight on: FAYE AVALON

I was delighted to learn some months ago that one of my favourite authors, Faye Avalon, has been taken on by Harlequin Mills & Boon for their new Dare imprint. Writing for M&B had been a long-held dream for Faye, and finally her dream came to fruition with the recent publication of her exciting new novel Rescue Me. I love this story. Yes, like most of Faye’s books (she’s a prolific writer with at least 14 published books) it’s a steamy romp with an interesting plot line, hot sex that doesn’t stop at the bedroom door and also humour that Faye brings to her work. If erotica makes you blush then this isn’t for you, but read it if you dare (pun intended!).

RESCUE ME: Blurb

He knows her weaknesses… 
And he’s one of them!

Maddie Mallory never forgot the sizzlingly hot week she once shared with sexy, stone-cold businessman Gabe Harrington—or what it cost her. Now Gabe is “rescuing” Maddie before she marries the wrong man. All Gabe wants is a chance to prove himself. And all Maddie wants is one last lust-fueled week with Gabe…if she can keep from falling for him all over again.

https://amzn.to/2WiwmHk

Bio:

Faye enjoys writing sexy stories about strong men and the savvy women who rock their world. She has taken a roundabout journey toward her writing career, working as cabin crew, detouring into property development, public relations and education, before finally finding her passion: writing spicy romantic fiction.

You can learn more about Faye and all her books on her website.

White Stones – A Novel 20 Years in the Making!

At long last, the day arrived when my little baby matured and was finally published on 1st of June! And yes, it really has been 20+ years in the making. Out now on Kindle worldwide, and shortly to be in paperback and other ereader forms too.

The story began life in 1998, born with a different name, one which flitted between that and the published title. The first version went through the RNA New Writers Scheme, its reader recommending several agents to try. At a RNA conference, one agent asked to read the complete mss; but decided it wasn’t for her. I sent it to the book doctor, Hilary Johnson, who made suggestions, amended a few flaws and loved the story but not the then title, hence its change. She advised I would have trouble finding an agent or publisher because the book crosses several genres: romance/mystery/paranormal/timeslip/investigative/fantasy – something which at the time wasn’t readily accepted. It was also rather long, which didn’t help.

But White Stones wouldn’t die or go away. I liked the story too much, so over the course of the next few years kept tweaking and sending it out to agents and publishers. One in the USA showed interest but wanted me to change the location from England to somewhere, anywhere, in the States.

This I tried to do. I carried out a great deal of research as to where the story might work there, but it doesn’t’ allow itself to be transferred for reasons which become clear within the novel on two counts: the location is vital to the plot, as is the fact that a character (real, not fictional) within the story did not travel to America during their lifetime, and the fact this person is a crucial element of the storyline. What to do? There wasn’t a lot I could do unless I virtually rewrote the whole novel, so I put it back in the proverbial drawer and moved on to another.

That book, Every Step of the Way, proved a little more successful in that it went on to be shortlisted for the prestigious Harry Bowling Prize for a London novel in 2004, in turn leading to me being taken on by a top London agent who wanted synopses for two more similar books, hoping to secure a 3-book deal. I began writing the next, but every step of the way the agent tried, she couldn’t find a publisher for me and we eventually parted ways.

And still White Stones wouldn’t go away. It played in my head during the day. Kept me awake at nights as I tried to rework the story, tried to fathom out what was wrong with it, why no-one would take a chance on it. One night it dawned on me … no, actually it was my sister a few years later, who read the whole book in one sitting. At a certain point, she looked up and said, “At last, here’s where the action starts!” That’s when it hit me… the beginning of the novel, the entire first three chapters, was nothing but back story. No wonder I wasn’t getting anywhere. So those chapters were scrapped, with any relevant information pertinent to the plot drip fed into the new version.

Life, work, family got in the way on many levels and again White Stones was shelved whilst I wrote two new novels. And still the Stones kept knocking at my head wanting to be let out. I picked it up again and read it through from the start. Many years had gone by and, consequently, White Stones was out of touch with modern technology. People now had mobile phones, computers, the Internet and the world-wide-web ­– all things that needed to be brought up to date as they are relevant and necessary for the story to work, as were events that had taken place in the real world – important things which impact on the plot.

A few more years came and went. Having received many rejections but also many encouraging comments and feedback from some, though not all, publishers to whom it was sent, the publishing world had also changed in those intervening years. Self-publishing came along, which for a while sounded the death knell for agents and conventional publishers but, in turn, that world has again altered because publishers seem to prefer authors who have a backlist, have self-published several novels and gained a readership and following, meaning many aren’t prepared to take a gamble on a “new author”, which is what I am to them. However, I was determined the Stones wouldn’t crumble and turn to dust in the drawer. I had to release them, set them free so that I could move on.

That day has finally arrived and my baby has grown up, reached adulthood and I have cut the strings binding it to my heart.  Whether it flounders or flies, it will always be with me. I will always love it. I hope you do too. Whether you are a sceptic or not, whether you believe in ghost or angels, or if you just like reading a good love story, White Stones might steal your heart away too and leave you with some lasting memories and thoughts. It might also make you change your mind about all that you or don’t believe in. That is my intention.

Available at Amazon.co.uk  and Amazon.com and Amazon worldwide On Kindle.

Paperback and other ereader forms soon.

Brief Extract from White Stones

He blew a kiss from the doorway. “Coffee in fifteen minutes.”

In her hand she caught the love token, lay back against the pillow and listened to his retreating footfalls as he took the stairs two at a time, jumping the last two as always.

If someone had told her life could change so rapidly, become so blissfully tranquil and perfect, she once wouldn’t have believed them. But it was true. As the days and weeks had slipped by, he had filled each waking moment with pleasure, each hour of darkness with such tender love she thought her heart would burst from so much devotion.

Hounslow seemed a thousand light years away instead of a hundred-odd miles. Ten years of married hell over. Almost over, she reminded herself with a jolt. There was still the matter of the divorce to deal with. But yes, Harry was right. Life was good. Apart from one black cloud forever lurking below the horizon, gripping on at its edge, always threatening to spoil things – Alex.

Like that annoying little tune still duelling with the other inside her head, Alex wouldn’t go away. Her thoughts returning to him at inopportune moments, always skulking there in the back of her mind, waiting to pounce.

Why won’t he let go of me and let us all get on with our lives?

With every ring of the telephone, each persistent knock on the door, she dreaded it would be him. Each day living in trepidation that he would turn up at the house. It could surely only be a matter of time before he found out where she was, and he would be here, thumping on the door, demanding she come home with him at once.

There had been no remorse in leaving Alex. No pangs of guilt or tinges of sorrow, only relief when she closed the door on the West London house for the last time. But there were tears. Tears of regret that she hadn’t had the courage to do it sooner. When Harry had rushed to her that day she’d arrived at Hill House and pulled her into his arms before she was even fully out of the car, she knew she had done the right thing. Harry would always take care of her. Keep her safe. Love her.

But she feared the repercussions. Revenge was the sort of thing Alex was capable of. He’d pick a fight with Harry, come in with arms flaying, blaming everyone but himself.

This looming threat worried her, not that she had spoken of these fears to Harry. He had his own past to deal with. Her physical wounds and bruises had healed; his were still sore. Emotional scars that would be with him for eternity, so why make him suffer any more than he already had by worrying over the baggage of her past.

If only he would talk about Lorna and little Sam and Elly more, speak about the accident instead of clamming up every time she tentatively broached the subject. They were a part of him she wanted to share yet she knew so little about them. She needed to understand, to know that part she hadn’t yet been able to reach….