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.

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What genre is Searching for Summer?

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

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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.

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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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What do We Know of Wendy Janes?

I had the great pleasure to meet up with Author Wendy Janes in London a few months ago. It was a real treat to get to know Wendy in person and I wish we lived nearer one another so we could meet often. However, we don’t, so we can’t, so there it is.

Next best thing, I’ve invited her to sit by my virtual fireside and have a chat with me about herself, her writing and her goals, and I’m inviting you to join us. So draw up a chair, help yourself to tea or coffee. Hot chocolate for me – plenty in the pot if that’s your pleasure too. Oh, and help yourself to the cup cakes.

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So, Wendy, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live in London with my husband and youngest son. I feel very lucky that since my youngest son started school I’ve been able to work from home, running my freelance proofreading business and advising parents over the phone on The National Autistic Society’s Education Rights Service. While I’ve always written diaries, short stories and prose-poetry for myself, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve had the confidence to share my writing with an audience. Some of my short stories have appeared in anthologies, and in October 2015 I self-published my novel, What Jennifer Knows.

Now can you tell us something that might surprise us?

I’ve never learned how to drive. I did try when I was seventeen and gave up after the lesson when I nearly caused an accident by pulling out into a main road in front of a car. I simply didn’t see it coming. Thank goodness my instructor had dual-control. I can still feel that dart of hot-cold shock when I think about him slamming on the brakes that day.

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Something you haven’t told in an interview before — perhaps because you haven’t been asked:

I once performed at Wembley Arena. Over twenty years ago a group of us (including my mum) danced to The Trout by Schubert as part of a day of movement and dance. I think you can see how excited I was from this photo of me at the ‘Artists Entrance’!

Oh, my, look at those glasses. My only excuse is that it was 1992.

I love them! I wore glasses since I was four years old till I got contacts, and I can tell you, there are worse than yours of 1992!

And I love the ski pants. Loved wearing them back then too. And the dreamy long scarf…

I just love this photograph, Wendy. It really brings back the late 90s. And I wish I had seen you dance.

So, can you tell us something you are proud of about yourself?

At the end of the 1980s I started up a local branch of a support group for lonely and isolated new mums. We’d meet at each other’s houses, go on outings, and a small core of us would provide information and support where needed. When the group became too big to fit in each other’s houses, we raised funds to set up a mother-and-toddler group in a local community hall. I’m still close friends with five of the mums from the original group.

And something you feel you need to work on:

My husband’s untidiness.

He’s a wonderful man, but he genuinely doesn’t seem to see the piles of papers, clothes, tools and camera equipment that he leaves lying all over the place. After thirty years of tidying up after him, encouraging/cajoling/nagging, some people might say he’ll never change, but I’m still hopeful that one day we’ll live in a completely clutter-free house.

Hehe! I love that you think you have to work on your husband’s untidiness. All the best with that… 

What makes you smile, Wendy?

My granddaughters. At six years old and nine months old, the way they embrace all of life’s new experiences is a joy to see.

What makes you sad?

Unkindness.

I know you enjoy your work with The National Autistic Society. Can you tell us a bit about that please?

A small team of us help parents whose children have a diagnosis of autism to try and secure the right education for them. We each work from home offering a listening ear and giving advice via phone and email. Much of my time is spent ascertaining what the parent wants to achieve and then using law, regulations and guidance to empower the parent in reaching towards that goal. Sometimes we can come up with a way forward in a trice, other times it takes far longer, and sometimes things don’t work out as expected. Whatever the outcome, I always hope I’ve helped in some small way.

It’s an absolute privilege to do this work.

Has your work with The National Autistic Society influenced your writing?

Yes. Working on a daily basis with families has made me want to bring some of the issues into my writing. In my novel, What Jennifer Knows, Jennifer’s grandson is struggling at school and she suspects he’s on the spectrum. Here’s a link to a guest blog post I wrote which describes in more detail how my work and my writing dovetail: http://www.jerasjamboree.co.uk/2015/11/autism-and-sen-in-fiction-guest-post.html

And your work as a proofreader? How has that influenced your writing?

I’d say my nit-picky proofreading brain has meant I take an age to write anything. Not only am I prone to want to edit the words before they’ve even reached the page, but once the words are down, there’s the endless tinkering, re-working, double-checking, re-tinkering…

I’ve read books that annoyed me to the point where I wanted to throw them across the room. Sometimes because they have lacked a good editor and/or proofreader. Other times just because the story is weak or the telling of it poor. 
As a reader, rather than a proofreader, what do you think makes a good story?

Unfortunately many books are spoiled by poor editing and proofreading. A typo can completely jolt a reader out of a story, and when that happens over and over again, I’m not surprised you’ve wanted to throw a book across the room!

As a reader I think authenticity is at the heart of good writing. If a story is populated by two-dimensional characters or by characters that don’t ring true then the story won’t come alive.

What one thing has a ‘bad’ book taught you not to do in your own writing?

Telling the reader in the narrative that something is happening; telling it again in dialogue; and then, just in case readers haven’t got the point, telling them again in the narrative. I strive to avoid this mistake that turns stories into stodge.

As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories?

Believable characters
Purpose
A surprise or two
Some humour
Genuine heart

What are three things you have experienced as an author that have helped you during the writing stage?

Support of other authors. I’ve met some wonderful authors online, many are now very good friends.
Support of family. My husband and youngest son are particularly brilliant sounding boards, and excellent at reminding me that there is life outside of the PC.
Reading some wonderful fiction while writing helps me strive to improve my writing.

You said you think authenticity is at the heart of good writing, and I do agree. You also said, “If a story is populated by two-dimensional characters or by characters that don’t ring true then the story won’t come alive.” The goal of a writer is to give the readers characters they can connect with. The characters in your novel, What Jennifer Knows, are very engaging. 

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UK link : US link

What advice could you give other authors to help them find that authentic voice that speaks to readers?

Thank you. I’m so pleased you found Jennifer and her friends and family engaging.

I know some people suggest you read your work out loud, either to yourself or others. I think what can also help to hone your voice is to have someone else read your work back to you. That way, you can hear exactly how your words sound to someone else.

You have a gift of storytelling, and I know you have written many short stories, some of which appear in published anthologies, have you ever thought of publishing a compilation of your stories?

Again, thank you. Yes, in April I’m planning to self-publish a small collection of new short stories. While writing What Jennifer Knows some of the supporting characters had their own tales to tell that would have detracted from Jennifer’s story, so I’ve been working on six stories that reflect significant moments in their lives.

I hope people who haven’t read the novel will enjoy meeting Rollo, Cynthia, Sue, Gerald, Blythe and Tim, and will want to see them again in the pages of What Jennifer Knows. And for those who have read the novel, I hope they’ll enjoy their reunion with characters they met there, and be entertained by the glimpses of Jennifer as she matures from young student to grandmother.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before you started writing your first book, that you could share with eager, would-be writers?

If I’d known that a first draft of a book doesn’t have to be polished I could have saved myself a lot of early angst and self-doubt. So, my advice to would-be writers is to get the words on the page and let your ideas flow. No one else needs to see your first draft, stop thinking about your audience at this point and simply write what you want to. Then, once you have that first draft you can start to work on it.

Where should readers go to check out more about you and what you do?

Here are links to my presence on the web:

Goodreads

Facebook author page

Author Central Page, UK

Author Central Page, US

Website

Twitter

Facebook profile

Google+

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Well, I do hope you enjoyed getting to know Wendy a little better. Hope you can join me again soon. I’ll replenish the cup cakes, I promise.

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Christine Campbell is the author of six published novels: Family Matters, Making it Home, Flying Free, Here at the Gate, Searching for Summer, and Traces of Red.

You can find out more if you click here, on the sidebar of this blog, or if you click on ‘Books’ on the menu bar.

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A Day in the Life….

…of a Writer.

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My name is Christine Campbell, and I am a writer.

There, I’ve said it.

I said it and believed it for the first time after I published my debut novel in 2008.

There can be few things more validating for a new writer than to hold years of hard work in your hands. Feel the paper smooth on your fingers. The weight of your very own book, the smell of it, the sound of pages as you run your thumb over their edge, letting them flip one against the other. The sight of the words you penned months before, tumbling over one another to fill hundreds of pages, painting the pictures from your imagination in words and letters, to tell your story.

It’s intoxicating.

But how did it come to that point?

What does a writer’s day look like?

For me, the day probably looked a lot like anyone else’s.

I had a husband, a family, responsibilities.

Writing was what I did in secret, what I did in snatches, in corners, in cafés. Not because I was ashamed of what I did. Not because my husband didn’t encourage and support me. Only because I didn’t believe I was a Writer with a capital W.

Then ‘Family Matters’ was published and I held in my hands the evidence that I was.

I am a Writer.

My days look different now.

Brazen, I sit at my computer while the dishes sit by the sink. My fingers fly across the keys making that special music of storytellers, while the washing churns in the machine. Dinners are simple affairs the days I’m writing well, more elaborate when I have thinking to be done. As I chop the carrots, I set out plot points in my head. As I brown the meat, my head fills with neatly turned phrases and enticing story twists.

If you pass me in the supermarket and I don’t seem to see you, I probably don’t. I’m somewhere else, in the world my characters inhabit, doing something else altogether. If I didn’t rouse myself occasionally to check my shopping list, goodness knows what I’d remember to pop in my trolley for tonight’s dinner. Whatever my protagonist fancies, I suppose.

Hours can pass and I think it’s a moment since I sat down to write.

A day in the life of a writer doesn’t look so very different from a distance. On closer inspection, it belongs to a different world, a different time capsule.

My family are grown now, and my long-suffering husband smiles at my passion and shares the washing-up. The washing gets done, the beds get made, no-one is neglected. But time is set aside to write, to edit, to think, to plan, to research.

It’s what I do.

I am a Writer.

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Getting the Most from your Writers’ Retreat

You’ve gathered a few writing buddies together and you’ve booked a cottage in the country, you’re all set to try your hand at creating a Writers’ Retreat. So, how are you going to get the maximum benefit from it while putting the minimum time into planning it? Because, let’s face it, we’re writers.

We want to write.

Not spend hours and hours organising ourselves to write.

Do have a meeting or a virtual meeting before you go, to decide the main things in advance.

My friends and I have tried different approaches and each time we have gone away for a week, we have structured it a little differently so perhaps the most helpful thing for me to do would be to tell you some of the things that work well, not necessarily the things we have done.

One of the things to remember is, although you are going to your retreat to write, you will also need to eat, so planning a rough menu beforehand is worth considering. Shopping for that menu can be done in advance if you have room in the car for the shopping. Failing that, perhaps locate the nearest supermarket to you cottage and, after you unload the car, you can go back out for a shopping trip.

This is where the planning meeting is useful. You can decide things like:

Will you share the cooking, perhaps on a daily rota? Or will everyone fend for themselves?

Will you share the shopping or will one of you volunteer to bring the supplies to the cottage and everyone chip in with their share of the cost?

Your meals need not be elaborate affairs. As long as there are plenty of basic things like bread and cheese, salad and fruit, wine and coffee, everyone is usually happy to see to themselves for breakfast and lunch, with one or two being responsible for producing a simple evening meal.

Simplicity is the key.

No-one wants to spend the best part of the day in the kitchen — unless cooking is their passion, of course. In which case, enjoy!

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Something else you might want to discuss beforehand is whether you want to use the retreat as a quiet place, conducive to writing, where you can each get on quietly with your WIP uninterrupted, or would you like to also have some structured writing time.

Starting the day with a little light physical exercise, like a short walk or such, followed by a timed writing exercise or two can be useful to wake up the body and the writing muscles. Similarly, it is important to incorporate short breaks in the day to stretch out the muscles, get some fresh air and refresh yourselves.

After eating the evening meal, it can be pleasant to spend time relaxing together for a while, perhaps watching a film, playing music, or just sitting chatting over a glass of wine.

This might also be a time you would enjoy reading out some of your day’s writing to one another and getting some feedback.

Set goals.

At the planning stage, it is good to discuss together what each member of the party hopes to achieve. Whether some of you want to set yourselves a daily word count, or a weekly one, whether the aim is to edit a certain number of pages, poems or chapters, the best way to achieve the maximum benefit from your retreat is to set clear goals and encourage one another to work towards them.

Respect one another’s space.

Respect the silence.

Respect each other’s writing.

At the end of your week or weekend together, celebrate!

Discuss what worked and what didn’t, what helped and what hindered, and plan your next retreat.

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What about turning your annual vacation into a personal writer’s retreat?

If your friend or your spouse likes fishing, skiing, white water rafting and you don’t, why not book a log cabin where he or she can do their thing and you can write, sharing a meal together in the evening, a glass of wine by the fire or in the evening sun, sharing the stories of the day.

My husband and I do this from time to time, where he pursues his interests during the day while I enjoy some quiet writing time and we share the evenings together. It works.

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I would love to hear your suggestions.

What have you tried?

Have you enjoyed the luxury of a Writers’ Retreat?

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Meet The Author – Christine Campbell | Reading Head

It was fun to see myself on someone else’s blog!

Thank you Liza Shaw for giving me this opportunity to let your readers get to know me a little.

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Searching for Summer    pastedGraphic_4  THE book cover pastedGraphic_2  Featured Image -- 1966

Meet The Author – Christine Campbell

Welcome all.

Today I’m very lucky to interview Christine Campbell, author of Searching for Summer and four other novels.

Christine Campbell

Hi Christine, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Thank you, Liza, it’s very kind of you to ask. Perhaps the first thing you should know about me is that, although I live near Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, in my imagination, I live somewhere much warmer, where I can still run up hills and swim in the freshwater pools under waterfalls, and I am 26 years old.

I know, I know, my oldest child is well into his forties, and I have ten grandchildren, but, in my heart, I’m 26 years old.

I don’t intend getting any older, no matter what age I look, no matter the walking frame, the poor hearing, the poor eyesight, the poor health. I am rich in so many other ways.
At a cuddly 4’11’, I’m also tall, slim and beautiful.

Read the rest of this interview via Meet The Author – Christine Campbell | Reading Head.

Always Nice to have a Visitor.

20140811_092437My guest today is Zenobia Southcombe, Zee to her friends, and she lives in Aukland, New Zealand, a bit far for her to travel just to pop in to sit round the fire and chat with me, but isn’t the internet wonderful? I can throw another log on the fire, cuddle up with my iPad and ‘chat’ to Zee on the other side of the world, perhaps even ask her to play a tune on her ukulele.

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Take it away, Zee….

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When Christine agreed to host a blog post by me, she asked me to write about marketing and a bit about my writing process. Marketing is such a massive area to tackle, and so I decided to look at one aspect that has been new for me – a blog tour.

Why a blog tour?
Well, I’m having a physical launch here in Auckland (New Zealand, or Middle Earth in case you’re not sure) but I want to push the eBook sales as well.
Quite frankly, eBooks are cheaper and far less hassle to produce, so on the financial side eBook sales are the way to go. In addition, there’s a global audience out there numbering more than New Zealand’s population, and I want to reach a larger audience.
A blog tour is a way to get publicity – to get my author name out there in the blogosphere to touch some of the people who might be interested in my work. Hopefully, it helps the blog hosts as well, by introducing some of my current readership to their blogs.

Finding blog hosts
Now, I know there are many services that do this for you, and I did look into them. There’s still a bit of work involved though (like, I would still have to actually write the posts!) and there are pretty strict timelines. I didn’t want to have to fork out money for something if I was still having to put considerable energy so I took it upon myself to do it independently. For a blog tour of 10-20 stops throughout the month, I was looking at between $70 to upwards of $125 (US dollars).
It was actually easier than I thought to find willing victims, uh, hosts for my tour. I put an open call for hosting a guest blog out in my main writer forums: the Coffeehouse on Google+ and a small NZ Indie Writers group on Facebook. I got back (at the time of writing) fifteen responses! And that’s just an open call – I didn’t ask any bloggers directly.
Once I’ve written up the fifteen that I have, I’ll reach out to blogs that offer author interviews and spotlights as a regular feature. There’s a great list on Chris the Story Reading Ape’s site, and I’m using this as my starting point.
http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/authors-resources-central/guest-author-friendly-blogs/

What to write?
Each was different. For some it was an interview, which is the most straightforward as I don’t have to come up with the content. If you have the option for an interview – take it!
Because the point of the tour is to publicise my launch, I’ve tried to ensure that the content links to my book somehow. For example, I’m writing about marketing for Christine’s blog, but I’m using The Caretaker of Imagination’s launch to do so.

Final Cover AIllustrator Edition A

So now, you know about my launch, and you’ve gotten a glimpse into one of my marketing strategies. How’s that for a win-win?
It is important to consider the blog host’s audience. A lot of my host blogs have a large writerly audience, and while they might be interested in my books (especially if they have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews) most are interested in reading about my marketing & promotions strategies, or my writing process.
It’s a good idea to have a few different photographs, as well as book covers, to send the host. Sometimes they will specify what they want.

Call to action
Generally, at the end of a blog post – especially a guest post – a call to action is advised. What do you want the reader to do when finished? Again, the blog host’s audience of utmost importance and so I have a few options (and I wrote them down in my planning for each post). If you’re a romance writer, chances are you won’t be interested in a slightly offbeat children’s fantasy book! But, you might be interested in my marketing strategies on my writerly blog.
The options include:
-sign up to author mailing list
-visit writerly blog
-visit author website
-participate in online launch (for posts published during launch week)
-buy my book(s)
-pre-order my book(s)

Would I do it all again?
I have a decent number of blog hosts for my ‘tour’ but not many of them are reviewers. This is something that blog tour companies would be great for, and the only thing that has me considering hiring one for my next launch in July. I have reached out to a few reviewers, and some people have agreed to give me a pre-release review in an exchange for an advance review copy (ARC).
What I will most likely do is a self-organised one like the I am doing now, and in addition do a small reviews-only blog tour with a tour company.

A bit about my writing process
And what about the actual writing? I’m onto my third book now, so I have a good idea of what works for me.
I’m a planner, and I plan my stories with a strong narrative plot – I use the three-act structure well-known by scriptwriters, and a general narrative structure to make sure my bases are covered.
From there, I do my drafting and revise it before sending to my editor for a manuscript assessment, or developmental edit, to tackle the big issues. I revise based on those notes and send it to my illustrator, who pretty much has free reign on the illustrations. We have decided that she’ll do the cover art first, so that I’m not putting pressure on my graphic designer to come up with a cover quickly.
At the same time, it goes to my beta readers and I revise after each of those are received. I send it to one or two final beta readers and then it goes off for proofreading and formatting (I have a formatter now, thank goodness!).
I write short books (about 12,000 words long) but even so the process takes a while. However, they overlap (e.g. I am working on Book 3 while my formatter has Book 1 and my illustrator has Book 2) so schedule-wise it works out wonderfully.

For more information and reflections about my writing process, author mindset and marketing strategies, visit my writer’s blog http://zeesouthcombe.com

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Searching for Summer Book Trailer

If you know me at all, you’ll know I love to chat. Today it’s not about me chatting, it’s about the beautiful trailer for my latest novel, Searching for Summer.

I’ll let it speak for itself.

I hope you enjoy it.

Searching for Summer by Christine Campbell

Searching for Summer

http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00TDYRLGK

A Team Pow Production

http://www.timpowfilms.net

Wild Mountain Thyme – Aimee and Tim Pow

Christine Campbell Fascinating I Am

Usually, I try not to make WriteWhereYouAre all about me, by reblogging interesting articles from others’ blogs, or writing about things other than my books. Occasionally I share one of my poems or a poem or short story someone else has written. All in an attempt to interest and entertain you.

As part of the promotion of my new novel, Searching for Summer, I have the privilege of writing some guest posts for other bloggers, being interviewed by some others, and having my book reviewed by yet others, so please bear with me over the next few weeks as I share these various posts here on my own blog.

I shall try to intersperse these promotional posts with posts about other things and other people, but I am kinda hoping you’ll forgive me for being a wee bittie excited about my new book and wanting to talk about it more than a wee bittie!

Author and blogger, Anna Stenhouse, invited me to write a piece for her blog, Novels Now. Her theme for guest pieces is ‘Fascinating I am,’ and she invited me to share five fascinating facts about myself. Well, I wrinkled my brow, scratched my head, and hummed and hawed, and came up with five facts about myself. Whether they fascinate is another matter, which I shall leave up to your judgement. I hope you at least find them interesting.

Novels Now

Christine Campbell Christine Campbell

Christine Campbell, novelist, Women’s Contemporary fiction is the first Fascinating I Am subject of 2015. welcome to Novels Now, Christine.

First of all, I have to say, “What a heading to live up to!” I doubt if ‘fascinating’ is an adjective often used of me — but I like it!

Fascinating Fact One:

I don’t have a favourite colour, book, song, child or grandchild.

Just as I love different colours for different reasons because they are all different, so it is with books, songs, my children, and my grandchildren. I think it is amazing how love stretches and deepens. When stretched, it doesn’t get thinner so it can go further. It just grows and makes it possible to love more.

Fascinating Fact Two:

When I was approaching forty, I decided I’d like to trace my birth father. The only thing I knew about him was his name…

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Balancing Act

Samantha Dunaway Bryant was kind enough to ask me to be a guest on her blog, Balancing Act, and I’m delighted to share the post, and to direct you to her excellent blog:

http://samanthadunawaybryant.blogspot.co.uk
Balancing Act
Guest Posting: Christine Campbell, Author of Searching for Summer
Posted: 16 Feb 2015 03:00 AM PST
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Christine Campbell, a new novelist friend of mine, and someone who understands balances family and a writing life. Enjoy her guest post! Love, Samantha.
_____________________________________

Searching for Summer FinalIn my latest book, Searching for Summer, Mirabelle, the main protagonist discovers at a young age that writing has power:

‘Learning to read and write turned lights on for Mirabelle: the realisation she had such an awesome tool of communication shone brightly for one so young. Stories in her childish printing lined the classroom wall, interspersed with those of her classmates, although praise and recognition had dried up at home since her father’s departure.
Writing made her feel good.
She instinctively knew she held in her hand the ability to reach other people, even her father in his distant home. She had looked at the map in the classroom, standing on a chair, her little finger tracing the distance from Scotland to Jamaica, her young brain computing, if the whole island in which Edinburgh was a tiny speck, smaller than the full stop she’d learned to put at the end of her sentences, if the whole island of Great Britain was narrower than her finger, then the large expanse of ocean wider than both her hands put together meant Jamaica was a world away. Out of reach of her presence but, thanks to the postal service she had learned about at school, not out of reach of her pencil.’

In that respect, at least, I have something in common with the character I created — or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say she has something in common with me. Like Mirabelle, learning to read and write ‘turned lights on’ for me.
From very young, I used books as a refuge, a place to escape the harshness of reality, and writing as a way to express the effects of that reality.
As I grew up, married and had a family, reading and writing still played an important place in my life, but it had to play a lesser part to the day to day needs of my children, so I wrote short stories and an occasional column for the Women’s page of a weekly newspaper. But there were novels bubbling away inside my head, stories that couldn’t be told in a mere 1,000 or 2,000 words. They needed a bigger canvas. So, as my children became less dependent on me for filling their needs, I started writing novels.
I have been richly blessed in my life because I met and married my best friend, and he has always understood my need to write in order to make sense of the emotions and stories that swirl about inside me that can only be expressed that way. He is ‘an enabler’ and he has always tried to give me space and time to write.
Still, it is a balancing act. Everyone has obligations to fulfil, whether they be work, children, older parents or dependent spouses. Whether we have meals to prepare, books to balance, shelves to stack or boards to sit on.
Writing, for most people, has to be balanced against these other responsibilities. And that’s not always easy. There are those whose work is their writing, and perhaps the rest of us envy them, thinking it would be luxury. I doubt it. If writing is their work, then it, in itself, becomes an obligation.
But the lights ‘turned on’ by learning to read and write have never dimmed for me. Reading and writing give so much joy. I am passionate about them both. Now that the children are all married and having children of their own, I have so much more time to indulge that passion, to feel that joy. My days now would feel empty if I was prevented from tapping out my novels.
Just as learning to read and write turned on lights, so too did discovering the power of the author. As creator of our characters, we have the power to dump our negative emotions on their shoulders: ‘There you are! Get out of that one!’ We can allow them to sample pleasures we may never have time or opportunity to sample ourselves: ‘There you are. Is that not wonderful?’ And we can give them the comeback lines we wish we’d said.
Such power. Such pleasure. Such joy.
There are many things in my life that I juggle with, many things I love and want to do well, but I hope writing will always be one of the clubs twirling up there in the stratosphere of my imagination, falling neatly into my hand and onto the page.

~~~

IMG_0463

Searching for Summer is my latest novel, and the first in a new series about Mirabelle, a very reluctant detective.
It is set in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland.

“Mirabelle loved living in Edinburgh: loved the atmosphere created by a city whose main shopping street looked across the road to a castle, Edinburgh Castle standing guard over Princes Street, its severe façade softened by the gardens skirting it, the gardens themselves cocooned from the bustle and noise, folded into their own tree-lined valley, with paths dipping into and out of its depths.
She knew the adage, Edinburgh was ‘all fur coat and nae knickers.’ She was well acquainted with its underbelly, its darker side, saw its dirty linen, but loved it anyway.”

And, as the blurb on the back of the book says:

“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.”

So Mirabelle leads us through the streets of Edinburgh, up hills and through wynds, into parks and garden, and hidden courtyards. We get to see Edinburgh and Mirabelle at their best and worst as Mirabelle searches for her daughter — and keeps finding other people.

Searching for Summer
Available to buy now
on Amazon
http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00TDYRLGK

FeadaRead.com
http://www.feedaread.com/books/Searching-for-Summer-9781785104879.aspx

or to order in bookstores
ISBN 9781785104879

 

Searching for Summer

Yes, I know! I’m a bit early. We’re still waiting for spring, here in Scotland.

That’s if I was searching for summer, all lower case. But I’m not.

I’m Searching for Summer, or, at least, the main character in my brand new novel is.

Searching for Summer

The first book in the The reluctant Detective Series.

Searching for Summer Final

And, before I tell you anything about the book itself, I have to tell you how delighted I am with the cover! The artwork is by Michelle Campbell, and I am delighted to have the original 27x36cm, signed, framed painting on my wall. It is beautiful.

There is more of Michelle’s paintings on her Instagram page, SHELLSBELLSART, and she can be contacted on fragglecamp (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in commissioning her for your book cover.

Tim Pow converted the painting into the book cover, another great job, and Tim can be contacted via his website http://www.timpowfilms.net

He made a fantastic job of the back cover too:

Back Cover with blurb. PNG

~~~

 So what is Searching for Summer about?

The first novel in The Reluctant Detective Series.

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.

~~~

Set in Edinburgh, Searching for Summer could be called Kaleidoscope Fiction: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, a relationship novel with a hint of romance, a soupçon of crime, and more than a dollop of mystery.

If you don’t know Edinburgh, you will get to know it as Mirabelle wanders its streets and wynds.

Mirabelle loved living in Edinburgh: loved the atmosphere created by a city whose main shopping street looked across the road to a castle, Edinburgh Castle standing guard over Princes Street, its severe façade softened by the gardens skirting it, the gardens themselves cocooned from the bustle and noise, folded into their own tree-lined valley, with paths dipping into and out of its depths.

She knew the adage, Edinburgh was ‘all fur coat and nae knickers.’ She was well acquainted with its underbelly, its darker side, saw its dirty linen, but loved it anyway.

A novel to take you through a multitude of emotions as Mirabelle searches for Summer.

Trouble is, she keeps finding other people.

~~~

Searching for Summer

Available NOW

On Amazon

FeedaRead.com

or to order in bookstores

~~~

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