I Made it Home!

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been busy running my novel, Making it Home, through the Kindle Create program in order to give you, the reader, a better ebook reading experience. There should be no formatting problems in the Kindle edition now.

Plus, I have tidied up things like punctuation, a couple of spelling mistakes and given the book a general health check, and it’s ready to greet the day with a smile, face washed, teeth cleaned. Yay! Feeling fresh and good.

During this health check, I was willing to make any adjustments that seemed necessary, no matter how small or how large. Much to my joy, I found I still love the story and I’m still happy with how I wrote it – in fact, sorry to sound immodest, but I enjoyed my own novel tremendously.

Making it Home has had some lovely reviews over the years and it would be great if this new, spruced up version gained some more. If you haven’t read it already, there are a whole bunch of readers who could assure you you’d enjoy it, so why not give it a read?

It’s Women’s Contemporary Fiction, has a generous touch of romance, a good helping of friendship, a soupçon of intrigue, a pinch of humour, and a shake of mystery.

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Kate had a home, but her heart wasn’t in it – or in her marriage. So she left them both.

Phyllis had a home. Her heart was in it, but she was lonely. So she shopped.

Naomi had no home and her heart was in cold storage, frozen by grief and fear. So she shopped.

They found one another in a department store, shopping. There’s a problem with retail therapy – you can overdose.

As friendship grows between these three women, they help one another face up to their problems, realising along the way, that every heart needs a home and it takes more than a house to make one.

A contemporary novel about three women who want more.

At some point in the future, I hope to give the paperback version the same health check, though the formatting has not been a problem there. Meanwhile, you can be assured the story is unchanged and reads as happily in either version, paperback or ebook, and is available on Amazon. The paperback is also available in WaterstonesBarnes and Noble, or can be ordered in any good bookstore.

To find out about all my books:  Amazon Author Page

 

Gold Plated Reading

Looking for a book to take to the beach? To read on the plane? Or to cosy on the couch with? Do you prefer a paperback copy? Something you can see in the sunshine, something that feels good in your hands?

Well, Gold Plated is now available in both paperback and ebook format. And according to the early readers of the ebook, it’s a great read. Perfect for summer or winter reading, whichever way you prefer to read.

 Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage. Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul. What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

Is this the kind of book you’re looking for? A love story that spans five decades, but is under threat and may not survive any longer. One with this sort of recommendation? —

“An excellent story.”

“I was hooked from the first line.”

“I started reading Gold Plated at this at 7 am this morning. And finished it late this evening. First book I’ve read from beginning to end in a single day in quite some time. I simply had to devour it!!! Thank you for an exquisitely entertaining read! A beautiful treatment of love, betrayal, and resolve where self-love triumphs ultimately.”

“Loved it! What an enjoyable read!”

“Through life’s ups and downs this story was very enjoyable to read. I loved the different settings and how clearly I could see them along with the characters from the descriptive writing. Gold Plated is a perfect title and this book took me on a lovely journey into Rosanna’s life which is inspirational… I believe it’s never too late to start again, I will also now think differently when I hear something is gold plated. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting a good read.”

“I have just finished reading Gold Plated, and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

N.B. If, when you go to Amazon, you read that this book is ‘out of stock’, don’t worry. It’s never ‘in stock’. Amazon don’t ever store a stock of POD books. They are what the acronym indicates. They are Printed On Demand. So do go ahead and order the book. It shouldn’t take long to pop through your letterbox.

It is also possible to order Gold Plated through Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, FeedaRead or any good bookstore.

Enjoy!

 

Life in Fiction

Writers, what do your characters DO? When they’re not catching criminals, falling in love, crossing the ocean or solving mysteries, what to they do?

Readers, have you ever thought outside the book? Have you ever wondered what the characters you’ve come to know and love do when they’re not cavorting across the pages of your books?

Or have you, the author, told your readers already? Have you included the characters hobbies and interests as part of their story, part of revealing their character? Because, let’s face it, we all do something in our spare time, even if it’s sitting in front of the tv, or falling asleep on the couch. Our interests and hobbies tell a lot about us.

If someone tells you they like to go scuba diving and hillwalking, you quickly get the impression they are pretty active, energetic, out-doorsy. If they say they like to go fishing, taking the dog for a walk in the park, doing a bit of gardening, you’ll think of them as a little less adventurous but still active and still enjoy being in the fresh air. What about stamp collecting, video-gaming, knitting, reading – quieter pursuits? Perhaps they’re altogether quieter and prefer to be indoors.

Sometimes you meet someone who likes a real mixture of all of the above. Maybe most of the people you know like doing a good mix of things.

But, whatever it is they do, it can shape how they live their lives. It dictates how they use their time, how they spend their money, how much they interact with other people.

As writers, if we want to make our characters live on the page, if we want our readers to identify with them, feel they know them, almost expect to bump into them on the street, then we need to think about what our characters do when they’re not rushing about through the main plot of the story. We might only allude to it in passing, or we might build the story round it. Either way, it can enhance our writing to give our characters a hobby, an interest, a passion.

As readers, do you find it helps you identify with the character who enjoys gardening, as you do? Or who scuba dives like you’d like to? Who horse rides? Or who plays video games? Or knits? Or sews?

In my latest release, Gold Plated, my main character, Rosanna, loves to paint, to design clothes and to make them. She’s enjoyed these pursuits since she was a young girl.

Can you imagine her lying on the grass in her mother’s garden, sketching the shrubs and trees, painting the flowers? Or sitting at the patio table taking inspiration from the colours and shapes of the flowers for the next dress she intends to design and make?

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What about now she’s older? Can you picture her sitting in her conservatory, looking out at her garden, still allowing nature to inspire the dresses she designs

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What does her interest in such a pursuit, and the fact it has been the interest of a lifetime, tell you about her? She’s turned seventy now and it’s still her passion. Does that help you picture her?

Perhaps if she tells you about the dress she’s designed and made for her Golden Wedding Anniversary party:

“The dress I’m going to wear tonight is hidden in the wardrobe till later. I want it to be a surprise for Paul. He hasn’t seen it yet and has no idea of the peaceful hours I’ve spent sewing while he’s been out and about. It makes me smile every time I open the wardrobe door, push aside the things it hides behind, and see my handiwork hanging there. Inspired by the pale, creamy-yellow, woodland primroses that bloom in our garden every spring, designed and fashioned over the summer months after their faded beauty folded and faded further, it has been such a delight to make. Impossible to improve on nature, all I could do was allow the delicate flowers to inform my eye and guide my hand as I sketched and painted, desiring to capture the essence of their beauty in the spring to infuse into my work in the summer.
The chiffon material I sought out is gossamer thin and beautiful, the colour soft as sunshine on a misty day, and the dress slips over my still-trim figure in flattering, floaty, fluted layers to just below my knees.
Being so fine, it is one of the most difficult materials I have ever worked with, but worth every painstaking moment of the hours and days it took to cut and sew. Even the buttery silk lining had to be handled gently. Never have I worked so slowly and never have I been so rewarded for my care.
My fingers melt with pleasure as they linger on the fabric, and I long to feel my creation slip over my body to caress my skin.
I thrill with contented anticipation.”

~~~

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul.

What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

Gold Plated is available right now on Amazon Kindle. You can read it FREE if you have Amazon Prime. And the paperback will be published in a few weeks.

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Click here to buy Gold Plated on Amazon Kindle

Give yourself a treat!

Enjoy!

Music in My Fiction

Music in Fiction

Last year, I wrote a series of guest blogposts about Music in Fiction, in which we discussed books that featured or mentioned music as part of the story.

There are many devices writers can use to help bring our writing to life. In that short series of articles, published on Chris The Story Reading Ape’s blog, I took a fairly light-hearted look at just one of them.

Music.

Music plays a large part in Gold Plated, my latest release – in particular, the music of the sixties, and I’ve included a playlist at the end of the novel, with links to YouTube videos of the original versions of some of the songs I’ve referenced.

The story begins with Rosanna and her daughter, Heather, meeting up to continue planning Rosanna’s Golden Wedding Anniversary party. As she wanders through the garden centre on her way to meet Heather, her own version of a popular song from her youth runs through Rosanna’s head:

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When a third stranger smiles at me, the realisation dawns not only am I humming an adapted version of Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit, It’s My Party, as I meander among the flower beds, but also, I sport a silly grin – and the blush of embarrassment that follows the realisation. But I can’t help myself.

There’s a party in the offing and, for a change, the butterflies fluttering about in my chest have gossamer wings rather than tackety boots. I’m not often a party-person, being more comfortable as a wallflower than a poppy, but …

“It’s Paul’s party and I’ll smile if I want to, smile if I want to, smile if I want to. You would smile too, if it happened to you.”

~~~

It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To – Lesley Gore – 1963

Gold Plated is now available on Amazon Kindle – paperback will follow shortly.

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Click to buy Gold Plated

If you’d like to read the series I wrote about Music in Fiction, click here.

Enjoy!

 

Gold Plated

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http://mybook.to/GoldPlated

We were walking on the beach in Embo in the North of Scotland, September 2016.

Often, walking together is a great time to chat, sharing thoughts and dreams, decisions and schemes, but today we were silent. There was a heavy mist on the North Sea and the horizon was hiding, taking our words with it. There was something about the haar: it silenced birds, the wind, the whisper of long grass as well as our words – but it couldn’t silence the continuous rolling waves as they broke onto the beach – and it couldn’t silence our thoughts.

Often, thoughts would tumble out of our silence and we would share them. There was no reason not to today – yet we didn’t. We were enjoying a world shrouded in a soft, white veil, from which rays of sunshine struggled to break free while the sea, ruthless, relentless, ripped through to crash on the shore.

I didn’t ask what my lovely hubby was thinking, but concentrated on the story that was forming in my mind.

We were here on vacation with our family and there, set like a pearl in the middle of the two weeks, was our anniversary. Forty-nine years of married bliss.

But that’s never true, is it?

No-one is perfect, so no two imperfect people can forge a perfect marriage – not even us. We’d had ups and downs – never ins and outs – and some years were better than others – but we’d never not wanted to be married to one another.

Our children asked how we wanted to celebrate our 50 years of marriage next year, our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

I got to thinking about it. What did we want? What would we do? What were the children plotting? We told them, ‘Nothing much. Nothing expensive, no silly gold ornaments that we don’t need, golden gifts that we’ll never use. It would be nice just to be together.’

The conversation still swirled in my mind as my husband and I walked in our misty, magical silence. 

Then, in a sudden rush of gold, the sun won the struggle to light the world, compelling us to pause to take a few photographs.

I stood at the water’s edge.

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Wave after wave of water rolling in, breaking with cold white froth over the landscape of the beach – year after year of life rolling in, breaking with warm love over the landscape of our marriage.

But what if?

What if it had been different?

So I wrote a story about a love that spanned more than fifty years.

Or did it?

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul. What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

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Gold Plated is with the publisher now so the paperback should be launched soon. Meantime, it’s already available on Amazon Kindle.

To the woman who tutted at me using the disabled toilets…

It’s so sad when people make a judgement call without knowing any of the facts, when they judge by the mere appearance, with their eyes and not their empathy.
I really felt for this lady, and hope that, by sharing, I can add another voice crying out for understanding.

So Bad Ass

Dear lady who loudly tutted at me using the disabled loos,

I know you saw me running in, with my able bodied legs and all. You saw me opening the door with my two working arms. You saw me without a wheelchair. Without any visible sign of disability.

You tutted loudly as I rattled the handle with my hands that work perfectly and my able voice call to my kids that I’d be out in just a minute.

My lack of wheelchair may have suggested to you that I was some lazy cow who didn’t care. Some inconsiderate bitch who was using something I wasn’t entitled too. (I actually carry a card to explain that I’m entitled to and have a disability key if you’d have cared to ask). You may have seen my face blushing as I caught your eye and assumed I was showing guilt at blagging the…

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9 Questions Before You Become A Blogging Statistic

Why do I blog?
Kirsten Nador has some thoughts on why people blog, why some keep blogging, and why some don’t.
So, why do I blog?
I love it!
I am passionate about writing, about life, about family and friends.
I love interacting with people.
I hope to help my readers find things of interest, things to make them think, things to entertain them, my books, oh, and did I mention my books?
And I hope they enjoy passing a few moments in my company from time to time.

Oh no, you didn’t! Oh, yes, I did!

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All double boiled, dried and folded, ready to be put away.

But why on earth would I be doing this after ten o’clock in the evening on Christmas Day?

Well, a little Boxing Day story for you, friends. Sit back with your cuppa and have a chuckle at the pantomime in our house yesterday.
My better-half and I are ill. He’s much worse than I am, but I’ve been fighting what he’s got and just feel mince.
And I was feeling the cold. It’s winter here in Bonnie Scotland and, though we have no snow where we live, others have, and it’s certainly cold enough for it. The old radiator in the living room was not very hot, though the others throughout the house were, so I decided it needed bled. Now, I know how to bleed radiators. I’ve been doing it for thirty-odd, very odd, years, since we got our first central heating system. Piece of cake!
It was nearing dinner time, so, while the oven was warming up, ready for me to cook the huge, gorgeous half side of salmon hubby had got for a song and a sixpence. I went through to do the job.
Did I mention it was an old radiator?
I turned the key a little. Whoosh! Water started pouring out. I tried to turn the key back. Nothing happened. If anything, the water seemed to shoot out faster. Maybe I was turning the wrong way? (Panic set in early) I tried turning the other way. Nothing! Just more water, and even more water, coming out at an alarming rate. I tried turning it back again. Nothing! Nothing but more water.
The valve had popped out…no, shot out…to say hello. There it was behind the piano. Hello!

I tried to stop the flow with my thumb, but, of course, by now the water was coming through roasty-toasty!
Better-Half was up in bed sound asleep. He really isn’t well. I shouted and shouted to no avail. Meanwhile, the blister that was forming on my thumb was getting very painful.
Did I mention the water was hot now?
I tried to turn the radiator off at the regulator at the bottom, but it didn’t seem to slow the flow at all.
Meanwhile, the oven was still on, nothing in it and I could smell burning.
I changed thumbs. Water spurting everywhere…but not on the fire in the kitchen!
I screamed for Sleepy-Better-Half. Loudly! Again and again.
Poor soul woke up wondering what on earth was happening, assumed I was being attacked and came stumbling down the stairs in his boxers to save me.
I yelled for him to turn the oven off and check what was on fire, bring every towel he could find in the downstairs bathroom, and turn the central heating pump off…in any order he chose as long as it all happened NOW. I thought turning the pump off might help slow the flow of water. It didn’t.
He then changed places with me, putting his thumb over the hole, while I ran to check for fire and phone for help.
Did I mention, by the way, that it was Christmas Day?
Fortunately, there was no fire, just an uncleaned oven…blush for shame…burning itself clean…bless it.

After several unanswered calls to several different numbers, one plumber answered. I told him the situation in the calmest panic voice I could muster, and, after he asked me if I could tell him again after taking a breath, he told me I should turn off the valve at the other side of the radiator. That one needs a spanner, of course.
Hubby and I swapped places again, with me trying to hold back the tide with my blistered thumbs while he ran upstairs to get some trousers on to go out to the hut in the sleety rain to get his spanners. Did I mention that he really is quite ill and really should be in his bed?
Do you think there was a spanner to fit? Was there dicky-bird! We tried the pliers, we tried the shifting spanner, we tried our teeth….well, slight exaggeration, but that’s how it felt. It would not budge.
Swap over time again, while I went to phone the plumber and hubby took over the little Dutchboy exercise.
The plumber agreed to come…for 150 pounds sterling callout fee!
Did I mention it was Christmas Day?
Fifteen long, wet minutes later, he arrived with his tools and set to work. ‘Oh, this valve’s well stuck,’ he grunted as he wrestled with the appropriate-sized spanner.
Tell me about it!
‘Oh, and this on/off regulator valve is burst!’
Yeah?
‘Oh, and so is this one! It’s lost the valve.’
Mmm-hmmm.
We were now slopping about in water that was a delightful shade of brown sludge, into which I was throwing my lovely clean towels, trying desperately to keep the water away from various vulnerable plugs and things.
But he got it stopped! I think knowing what he was doing helped. That and the right tools.
I cheered…hoarsely…did I mention I had a sore throat? Did I mention I had hardly any voice left? Did I mentioned I’d had to shout and scream…a lot…and loudly?
I have to say, the plumber was very kind, got the radiator fixed, measured for a new one, helped hubby move the piano and lift the rugs so we could mop up, and left us to it…at the reduced price of 100 quid because he felt sorry for us….and it’s all we had in the house.
Meanwhile, the oven was cold again and no sign of any kind elves, pixies or fairies coming to make the dinner, so, while my poor sick hubby mopped, I cooked, and we both flopped onto the couch at 8.30pm to eat the dinner I’d started preparing at 5 o’clock, thinking we’d watch Downton Abbey while we ate.
Had we recorded it? Of course not!
Why spoil the perfect day?

~~~

Welcome!

It’s good you could visit.

I’m new to blogging, so I do hope you’ll bear with me while I learn.

My aim is to fill the pages with interesting things about writing, reading, crafting, people and life…but it’ll take a while, so do look back from time to time to see how I’m doing.

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