There’s Only One Rule About Back to School…

…but it’s a biggie!

One of my sons asked me to look out a photograph from when he started school. He’s all grown up now and it’s been a while since I last saw that particular photo so I had to go digging through the zillions of photographs we’ve gathered over the many years of our family history.

We have a family WhatsApp group and I started posting various photographs I thought would give the kids a laugh, ending up with a whole raft of them and a lot of fun and laughing emoticons. What treasure my afternoon’s digging unearthed.

From the sublime…

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…to the ridiculous!

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…and many in between…

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It was a real nostalgia trip – which brings me to

The One Rule About Back to School

Treasure it.

Treasure everything about it. It’s so quickly gone. One day, you’re sobbing as you watch them go through the school gate for the first time, the next, they’re all grown up and married and you’re comforting them as their little ones go off for their first day of school.

I remember my first day. I got into trouble for talking. Now there’s a surprise!

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That’s me, second from the left in the first row (on the bench), proud in my school blazer, squinting myopically at the camera. I don’t remember being told not to smile 🙂

What about you? Do you have memories of that eventful day in your life? You might even be in that photo with me 🙂

Why not share your memories in the comments – photos too, if you’ve got them.

~~~

Music and Drama in Writing

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Yep! That’s what’s happening right now in my WIP. And I can’t get the song out of my head! It’s an old one, from the sixties when part of the book is set, and though there have been more recent covers of it, I’ve been using the original – You Don’t Own Me by Lesley Gore – since that’s what my character would have listened to at the time.

The novel I’m working on is called Gold Plated and the main character, Rosanna, is remembering being eighteen in the late sixties and being let down in love. She goes home to her mother to be looked after while she gets over the break up.

‘My mother knows straight away that something is wrong when I arrive home late that evening, but I tell her I don’t want to talk about it. Wise woman that she is, she leaves me in peace that night and for the first few days I’m home. Days when I hardly leave my room. Days when I don’t get out of bed, or don’t dress if I do. I leave my room only to go to the bathroom or to return the tray Mum so kindly brings up at regular intervals with some tasty treat or other on it along with a warm drink and a loving smile.
I dig out my records and play a series of heartbreak songs, followed by a series of angry songs, ending up with playing Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me over and over again, convincing myself it was I who set myself free from the hold of his caresses and whispered endearments. He had my heart in his hands and he couldn’t let me go, so I had struggled free.
Most of the words don’t fit my situation, but there is something in the tone of the song, something in its power that resonates with me.
It is an unusual choice to become my anthem in that I am not often roused to great passion. I am not someone given to temper tantrums or dramatic outbursts, nor do I let anger simmer dangerously inside me. My default position is to accept the inevitable, in whatever form it takes, and get on with things.’

So I’ve been playing this track over and over while I’ve been writing and it’s time to move on to another scene, but the song lingers in my head as I write, keeping the mood, holding on to the anger, the hurt, the angst.

Do you remember the original Lesley Gore version? Or Dusty Springfield’s from a few years later? Among other versions, there is a recent one by a singer called Grace. Perhaps you’ve heard that one.

As a reader, do you find it helpful to listen to music that’s mentioned in a book? As a writer, do you like to use music in your writing? For me, the answer is a resounding, ‘Yes!’ on both counts.

#sixtiespopmusic #novel #amwriting #amediting #contemporarywomensfiction

Hope you enjoy the track and do share your thoughts. I’d love to read them.

~~~

If you are interested to read any of my novels, here is the link to my Amazon Author page, where you will find details of the seven novels already published both as paperback books and on Amazon Kindle. They are all Contemporary Women’s Fiction and are clean reads, as in no swearing, sex or violence. #CleanIndieReads #CR4U

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Dialogue Tags – Again #wwwblogs #writingtips #amwriting

Great reminder about dialogue tags: what they are, the work they do, and when they are needed – or not.

Alison Williams Writing

writing-dialogue

This is a subject I’ve written about several times in the past, but it is an issue I keep coming back to, time and time again.

I’m a huge fan of self-publishing and of independent authors. I’ve read some absolutely amazing books by indie authors and have worked with some amazing authors that have self-published. There are so many great indie authors out there and many that are as good as, if not better than, traditionally published authors.

However, one thing that sets apart the majority of (but by no means all) traditionally published authors from some self-published authors and authors published by small presses is the proliferation of complicated dialogue tags in the work of the latter two. Now, I’m not saying it’s all indie authors that do this, but there is a lot of it about, and it’s usually a sign of an author who hasn’t had their…

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5 Facts You may not have Known…

…about Family Matters, the first book I ever published.

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  1. Its inspiration
  2. What it’s about
  3. How long it took to write
  4. Its reviews
  5. Its revamp

1. The inspiration for this book came from a ‘what if …’ chain of thought. What if you had been abandoned and wanted to find the person who had walked out of your life. Where would you start? How would you go about it?
When I wrote the first draft, I had fresh in my mind how I had traced my birth father – and that had started my fascination with searching for those who are lost to us for whatever reason.

2. This is the blurb on the back of the book,

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but let me tell you more about Family Matters:

David, the main character’s son, searched for his father as I had searched for mine. Unlike me, he had memories of his father and missed him. Sarah, the main character didn’t particularly want to find her missing husband, but she wanted to know where he’d been for eleven years, why he’d gone, and what he’d been doing. Well, wouldn’t you?

Family Matters and all of my other published books are called ‘clean reads’ because they have no sex scenes, no swearing and no gratuitous violence.

3. It took me years to write this novel, not because it was difficult to write, but because I still had my family at home to care for and allowed getting on with life to put my writing into a position of low priority. I suspect that’s what many writer-mums do.

Once I had written, edited, had it beta read, edited, had it proofread and polished, it still took me a while to pluck up the courage to publish, first as a paperback in 2008, then on Amazon Kindle in 2013. It took me those years to believe that digital books would really catch on 🙂 To be honest, it still freaks me out that some of my readers read my books on their phones while they commute to work. Amazing how far technology has advanced in the last few decades.

4. Happily, once I was brave enough to publish Family Matters, it was well received. I don’t think I breathed properly until the first few letters, emails, cards and reviews started to come in. I have a box where I keep the treasure that is the cards and letters I have received about my books over the years, mostly from people I’ve never met. Heartwarming is the word that describes the feeling every time a new one comes in. And what of the Amazon reviews? Again, heartwarming, thrilling, exciting!

“Strong, sensitive, well observed and tender – I had to read this cover to cover as I couldn’t put it down.”

“With it’s many twists , the story touches your heart as it takes you through a mother’s guilt and pain of losing her child. It has many happy scenes about family life that brought back memories of my own childhood. Family Matters is a book that teaches you how much family matters!”

“It felt like a breath of fresh air to read a story set before it was possible to locate someone at the click of a mouse. Sarah turns detective to try and find out what happened to David, and, as David did before her, uses the good old-fashioned telephone directory and records kept on microfiche. Her research leads her to locate long-lost family members, and she uncovers far more than she’d bargained for.”

#missingpersons #familymatters #amazonkindle #mustread #novels #paperback #familyrelationships 

5. Lastly, let me tell you about the revamp of Family Matters. I decided to update the cover to the one at the top of the post, and correct the few typos etc. that had been discovered since the book was first published. Thinking I might want to make a few changes in the story, I set out to edit my way through the whole book again. I did make a few small changes, but, much to my surprise and delight, I found I still enjoyed the story I had written. 🙂 I hope you do too.

Are you like me? When I consider buying a book I like to examine the cover, read the blurb on the back and the first page. So here it is for you, the first page of Family Matters:

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I hope that has whetted your appetite. Family Matters can be purchased as a paperback or a digital book.

Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and other similar outlets.

It can also be ordered in any bookstore or from FeedaRead.com

Enjoy!

~~~

 

101 Names to Conjure With

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These are my published novels. Don’t you just love the covers?

I’m looking forward to showing you the cover to the next novel, called For What it’s Worth, which will be coming soon. I’ve done the writing, the rewriting, the editing, the proofreading, the polishing, the cover is underway, and it’s almost ready to go to the publisher. Yay!

So what’s next, you may well ask. And I’ll tell you.

My next WIP is called Gold Plated. I completed the first draft some time ago and am about to embark on the second draft. This is the time when my mind keeps going back to the story and the characters. I’ve let it marinate for a few months, since November actually. It was my November 2016 NaNoWriMo novel, so it has marinated for almost eight months and it’s started to bubble up into my consciousness again.

During the writing of the first draft, I became unhappy with the name I had chosen for one of my characters, and I am ready to think about what she should be called instead. She’s not a Rose or a Violet, nor is she a Tabitha or a Geraldine. Because she is my character, created in my imagination, I can call her whatever I want to, but I’d like it to be a name that fits her and the story.

She is a feisty, Scottish lady in her early fifties, but she was named by her much gentler, artistic mother. If you stop and think about it, a mother has no idea at all what her child will turn out like, so she can hardly choose a name that will describe that child’s nature as she grows and matures. It’s a fortunate coincidence when the name happens to fit in real life, an easier thing to pull off by the creator of fiction. So am I looking for a name a gentle, artistic soul might name her daughter, but that actually suits the daughter’s stronger, feisty nature? Or might it be fun if it turns out the mother chose a name that really doesn’t suit at all? Any thoughts?

I put this question to a group of FaceBook friends, and we had a lot of fun with their suggestions. I must have at least 101 names to conjure with, and a short list that’s not much shorter. I wondered if you’d care to join the fun and help me out at the same time.

Just tell me in the comments what you think would be a flowery, artistic name that a feisty, fiery lady would love or hate to be called. Either way, it will be fun to get your suggestions. They may add to my shortlist or help me whittle it down. Who knows, you may be the one who comes up with the name I settle on.

~~~

To read more about, or buy any of  my published books:

Please click the link to

Christine Campbell Amazon Author page

~~~

 

#TheBloggersBash 2017 – Time to turn virtual hugs into real ones.

I didn’t manage to be there to meet all those fellow bloggers, but it looks like a good time was had by all. There are a load of great blogs represented by their authors, so why not click on a few of the links and enjoy some interesting and entertaining reading.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Firstly, it goes without saying that enormous thanks must go to the team who have spent what little spare time they have, money and a great deal of effort in getting this event off the ground three years ago and organising it again this year.  These wonderful people can be found at these links and I do recommend that you follow to enjoy their entertaining, interesting, nostalgic, legendary and always superb posts.

Sacha Black – http://sachablack.co.uk/about/

Geoff Le Pard – https://geofflepard.com/about/

Ali Isaac – https://aliisaacstoryteller.com/about/

Hugh Roberts – https://hughsviewsandnews.com/

Geoff began the day with a magenta beard (courtesy of the lovely Sacha) but unfortunately by the time I moved in for my first real hug with him it had faded to a very fetching pink.  However I thought this photo showed off his unique fashion sense.

Virtual vs. Real Hugs.

For me the highlight of the day was exchanging real hugs with those that I…

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Guest author: Wendy Janes – Turning negatives into positives

A super positive guest post by Wendy Janes on Sue Vincent’s blog.
When things don’t turn out as you planned, can you turn the negative to a positive? Wendy Janes finds a way.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Thank you to Sue for inviting me to write a post for her lovely blog.

There are occasions when we feel we’re not getting anywhere or we’ve taken a wrong turn. Such negative situations can be really demoralising, but they aren’t necessarily a wasted experience. I’ve chosen two examples to illustrate how initial failure and disappointment don’t have to result in a dead-end. If you can’t shake off an old regret or you’re currently pouring your heart into something that doesn’t seem to be working, I hope this post will give you a lift, and maybe a little nudge towards a positive way forward.

The first example takes us back to the 1980s. After three years of studying for a Bachelor of Education degree at Goldsmiths College, it became clear I could write jolly good essays on the philosophy, history, psychology and sociology of education, but my ability to teach a…

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How can we encourage more readers to leave reviews for our books?

Oh, yes, please! It would be lovely to have more reviews for my novels, and this article by Sally Cronin is a great one for readers and writers alike. For readers, there is a great section with some questions you might care to answer in your review of a book. Very helpful if you’re unsure how to write a worthwhile review. For writers, the article gives some great suggestions as to what to put at the end of your story, on the very next page, in the hopes that those who enjoyed your novel will care to write a review.
Excellent suggestions all round. Thank you, Sally.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

I am very keen to make reviews a prominent feature of the book promotions and encourage readers to review the books that they buy and enjoy, or not as the case may be.

Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool that anyone who is selling a product benefits from. Authors are no different, and our books tend to be judged by the number and quality that they have received.

Part of the problem is that those who are not writers of books or blogs are uncomfortable in offering reviews and feel that what they have to say is not important. Many who do review a book, leave just one line after their star rating, simply saying that the reader enjoyed or disliked a book, but they do not elaborate.

That is obviously very welcome. But whilst a potential reader does not want to read three pages filled…

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The Thief of Time

Time.

Such a precious commodity. We all have exactly the same amount of it in a day.

Twenty-four hours. No more, no less.

So how can it be stolen? And who steals it?

Does someone break into the house, gather it up in his fists or stuff it in a rucksack and make off with it?

How come I keep hearing folks say time’s run out? How can it run out? Where does it run to?

The short answer is that time doesn’t run out. Of course it doesn’t run out. It’s fixed. Twenty-four hours every day. Sixty minutes every hour.

So, where does it go?

Something happens to it, that’s for sure, because I never have enough of it in any one day. It doesn’t seem to matter when I get up or when I go to bed, there are things I just didn’t get time to do. Know the feeling? I decided to play detective and follow the clues left lying around the house. You know the ones: the half done Sudoku, the iPad on charge …

And right there is the main culprit. The iPad. I love my iPad. I know a lot of folks have moved on to doing everything on their phone, but I find my phone screen is just not big enough to enjoy a good game of Spider Solitaire – oops! – think I’ve found another clue as to where my time’s going.

Right! That’s Spider Solitaire removed from my iPad – again! I keep taking it off and it keeps reappearing. Well, it doesn’t really just appear – I keep putting it back on. It gets me every time. I fancy a couple of games of Spider Solitaire, tell myself it honestly, honestly will only be a couple of games – or three. Three’s a nice number. But I’m an addict. I can’t have just one game, or even three. Hours can pass unnoticed while I’m moving four onto five, three onto four … you know the game. Hours that I wanted to use for something else. Like writing a proper blogpost.

The other clue I found was the number of retweets I had on Twitter. There can only be retweets if there’s been tweets. How long had I been tweeting? Too long. But there’s purpose to tweeting, isn’t there? Don’t I keep reading that an author needs an online presence? Well, yeah! But how many hours would I need to be chirping away, tweeting on Twitter, to build up any sort of meaningful presence? I don’t know the statistics, but there must be more tweets per second than there are milliseconds. Twitter is a monster of a moving machine. Try it! Write a tweet and watch it disappear under the avalanche of new tweets before your very eyes. It’s scary! Fortunately I’ve never become addicted to Twitter, so I can minimise time spent there quite easily with no loss of pleasure. Done!

FaceBook, Instagram, emails, WhatsApps and texts – well, I’m just gonna have to learn to control them, because they do serve a useful purpose. They keep me in touch with friends and family, especially those in far-flung corners of the globe …

Now there’s another thing! How can a globe have corners? Hmmm! Think I’ll Google who thought up that saying …

~~~

If you’ve got the time, why not check out my novels on Amazon.

Reading a good book is always a good use of time.

~~~

One Day Only

One Day Only

You’ve got one night day only, one night day only
That’s all you have to spare
One night day only
One night day only … as the song almost goes …

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For today, the 16th of March only, you can download the first book in The Reluctant Detective series, Searching for Summer, FREE on Amazon Kindle.

As a special ‘Thank You’ for bearing with me while I have been ‘missing in action’ and not posting much here lately, I thought I’d give you this special opportunity to pick up one of my novels as a gift from me to you.

So here it is, but you’ll have to be quick. It’s only FREE today, 16th March.

~~~

What genre is Searching for Summer?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, a #CleanIndieRead, with no swearing, sex or violence.

~~~

What’s it about?

Mirabelle’s daughter, Summer, disappears one Friday night, and Mirabelle would dearly love to rewind that day and live it differently. Instead, she is left not knowing if Summer is alive or dead, went of her own accord or was taken against her will. Casting all other concerns aside – food, sleep, work, relationships – in her desperate need to find the answers, she takes to the streets of Edinburgh in search of Summer. Searching along wynds snaking behind old buildings, through ancient doors and tiny spiral stairways, showing Summer’s photograph to everyone she meets in shops, museums and nightclubs, Mirabelle becomes a reluctant detective, gathering clues, trying to make sense of them in order to find her missing daughter.

~~~

What do other’s think about it?

“It is unfair, in a review, to spoil the story for the reader by telling the outcome. So, you won’t find the answer to whether Mirabelle finds Summer from here. What you will find is an enthusiastic encouragement to read “Seaching For Summer”. This is so much more than a mystery to be solved. It is an endorsement of life lived with determination and, most importantly, hope.” ~~~Barbara A. Martin

“Searching for Summer confounded all my pre-conceived ideas of what a book about a missing teenager would be like. Of course there is despair and self-blame, but Summer’s mother Mirabelle is such a large, intense personality that I was instantly involved with her search around the streets of Edinburgh…” ~~~ Lizanne Lloyd

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Don’t forget, Searching for Summer is FREE for

One Night Day Only!

Click here to download your copy now.

~~~

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