Lifting The Lid Off Christine’s Kist O’ Stories

I’ve copied this post from my private FaceBook group, ‘Lifting The Lid Off Christine’s Kist O’ Stories’, to illustrate the type of post I offer those interested in finding out more about my novels and their settings and inspiration. I’m always happy to welcome new members to the group, so please do request to join here, if you’re interested.


This beautiful photograph is of the West Bow/Victoria Street in Edinburgh, only 150 metres from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile, in the heart of the World Heritage site of the Old Town of Edinburgh. Here is the photographer, Dale Kelly’s, link if you’d like to have one of the limited run of prints he’s doing.
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In my novel, Searching for Summer (Click here for kindle, here for paperback) Mirabelle would have walked this street many times, and often at night. In daytime, a busy street, with many tourists trying to capture its essence on camera, seeking treasures in its interesting shops, easy for someone to mingle and get lost among them. At night, a place for the lost and lonely to wander in search of a quiet close or stairwell in which to sleep.
Perhaps you can picture Mirabelle, searching here during the night, peeping in every hidden nook and cranny, searching for Summer.
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Excerpt

She never tired of the secrets hidden in the Royal Mile, high above the gardens, its cobbles leading from Castle Esplanade to Holyrood House. Sometimes its secrets were the colour of Summer.

One day, she was halfway down the Mile when a girl caught her eye. A young, flame-haired woman who quickly looked away, head bent, and increased her pace.The colour of Summer.Mirabelle felt her heartbeat stutter. “Excuse me!” she called, boldly following her through one of the archways into a tiny, paved courtyard, bumbling out in embarrassed confusion when the person turned a stranger’s face in enquiry

“Can I help you? Are you looking for someone?

Mirabelle shook her head in apology, tumbled back into the High Street and continued down the mile of history: the Via Regis.From Lawnmarket to Cannongate, the Royal Mile buzzed with visitors, students and lovers.

She barely noticed the tourists; studied the students and lovers. As she searched their faces, looking for that one special one, they’d sometimes turn, a smile warm in their eyes, happy to share their glow with someone they must have imagined a tourist herself, her colouring declaring her part-Jamaican, her loose, colourful clothing more suited to the Caribbean than Edinburgh’s austere Calvinism

Should she walk its length every day of her life, she reckoned she’d uncover something she’d missed before: wynds snaking behind old buildings, ancient doors leading who knew where, tiny stairways spiralling up into special places. Tourist shops and museums served those without time or inclination to wander from the street, tiny theatres and history rewarded those who did.

And shades of Summer that failed to yield her daughter.

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Searching for Summer is available on Amazon Kindle or as a paperback.

A Mountain of Memories

Happy days!

My latest release, A Mountain of Memories, is now available to purchase on Amazon Kindle at http://mybook.to/Mountain

The paperback is also available now from the publisher, feedaread.com

Meanwhile, I thought perhaps you’d like to know what this book is about:


A childhood trip from Edinburgh to explore Caitlin’s family’s history results in tragedy on a mountainside above the village of Kinlochleven.
As an adult she is still affected by the events that took place there, though most of her memories of that day were lost as a result of its trauma.
Over a century earlier, Caitlin’s great-great grandmother, Mhairi, watched the village of Kinlochleven being born, suffering through its birth pangs.
Caitlin and Mhairi’s lives are linked by their common heritage, and as their stories become intertwined, Caitlin is drawn back to the question that has haunted her for eleven years.
What really happened on that mountainside?

I hope you enjoy author readings, because here I am, reading the first part of A Mountain of Memories:

What one early reader is saying:
“This is an absolute MUST read! I was utterly captivated from the very beginning.
A Mountain of Memories is completely immersive, strikingly intelligent and enticingly interesting with a twist you will not see coming. This book explores something all of us can relate to and is written with a depth of feeling, warmth and understanding using words and language with such care and attention, characters so full of depth that they are left in your heart well after turning the last page!
Find a cosy chair, get a cup of something hot, put your phone on silent, curl up and enjoy!”

ebook: http://mybook.to/Mountain

paperback: https://www.feedaread.com/books/A-Mountain-of-Memories.aspx

Hills of the Dead End – Remembering Patrick MacGill

When researching for the historic strand of the contemporary novel I am writing, I came upon this blog post and found it very interesting and beautifully written by Cameron McNeish. It gives a great taste of the subject matter I will be exploring in my novel. Having also read Patrick MacGill’s novel, Children of the Dead End, as part of my research, I find myself deeply respecting the men who built the Blackwater Dam, for their bravery and courage and incredible ability to work in the conditions they endured.

CAMERON McNEISH, Writer & Television Presenter

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The poignant Blackwater Dam graveyard

IT was one of the most poignant destinations of any route I’ve walked. We had tramped from the Kinlochleven side of the dramatically named Devil’s Staircase and then dropped down alongside a water pipeline that ran from the Blackwater Reservoir high above the birch banks of the River Leven. There was a sheen of newly minted green on the trees and the sky was blue. Spring was turning to summer and birdsong, especially that of the ebullient skylark, filled the air. It was hard to imagine the desolation, the strife and the sheer pathos of the industrial scene that dominated this landscape a hundred years before.

In the distance a long, low wall ran across the horizon, the line of the Blackwater Dam, and as we approached it a dumpy, drumlin-like hillock took our attention. Fifty metres from the track and pipeline a wooden fence…

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Smorgasbord Summer Reading – Rusty Gold (Third book in the Reluctant Detective Series) by Christine Campbell.

The lovely Sally Cronin has featured my books on her blog under ‘Summer Reading’.

Launch Day

Three … Two … One … We have lift off!!

Released today!

Rusty Gold small

The third novel in The Reluctant Detective Series.

‘Find her,’ Agnes Donald begged. ‘Find my daughter.’
The words of a dying woman force Mirabelle to take on another case for the unofficial Missing Persons Bureau she runs from her Edinburgh flat.
Along with her assistant, Kay, she heads for the island of Skye where Esme Donald was last known to be. But is someone else looking for Esme too? And could Mirabelle’s own daughter, Summer, be in danger?

Rusty Gold is available as a paperback and an eBook on FeedARead,  Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Waterstones and can be ordered through most bookshops.

Get your copy today.

Enjoy!

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New to The Reluctant Detective Series?

Here’s a bit of a catch-up.

Mirabelle had thought she and Summer were happy. Being a single parent may not be ideal, but they coped well with their situation. Sure, bringing up a teenaged girl on her own was hard work, and they had their ups and downs, but they were pals as well as mother and daughter. She might not have planned her, but she was certainly glad she had Summer, and would not have liked to be without her. They’d built a life together, sorted out some kind of routine, and were happy. On a day to day basis, Mirabelle reckoned that’s all you could ask for.

 Then Summer disappears one Friday night and Mirabelle is left searching for her daughter, 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.

Meanwhile, Mirabelle gains a reputation for finding missing people and reuniting them with their loved ones. As people turn up on her doorstep asking for help, her kitchen becomes the hub of an unofficial missing persons agency.

Traces of Red, the second in the off-beat Reluctant Detective Series about Mirabelle and missing people, is the sum of several interwoven stories about an abandoned baby, two missing young women, a missing husband … and a dead body. Why did one of them abandoned a baby in an Edinburgh pub? Which one of them lies face-down in the river? Mirabelle finds herself running an unofficial Missing Person’s Bureau from her flat in Edinburgh, and DI Sam Burns seems happy to use her expertise to help him find these people, and learn how their stories interlink.

In Book One of this series, Mirabelle’s search was centred in Edinburgh, widening out to include the Scottish countryside further North in Book Two. Now, in Book Three, Mirabelle is off to the Island of Skye.

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Traces of Red

It’s here! It’s here!

Traces of Red

Book Two in The Reluctant Detective Series

Traces of Red

Traces of Red is the sum of several interwoven stories.
While searching for her daughter, Mirabelle finds herself running an unofficial Missing Person’s Bureau from her flat in Edinburgh, where Kay comes to ask for help to find her missing husband.
Meanwhile, an abandoned baby is found in an Edinburgh pub and DI Sam Burns is happy to use Mirabelle’s expertise to trace the mother and the young woman who went missing with her.
Somehow their stories interlink and, when they find a body in the burn, they can’t help but wonder how many of them they’ll find alive.

Once again, much of Traces of Red is set in Edinburgh, but in this book, some of the action takes place further North in Scotland. If you’ve ever driven up the A9 towards Inverness and looked out at the hills, you may have wondered what it would be like to walk there, to climb some of these beautiful hills. But how would you feel about being lost in them?

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Contemporary Fiction, A Cozy Mystery with a Woman Sleuth,

Traces of Red is available to download now on Amazon Kindle

or if you prefer the paperback, it can soon be ordered on

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

and all good bookshops.

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It can already be bought

on

FeedaRead.com

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I know, I know.

I should have waited until the paperback is ready in all the other outlets too, but so many of you, having read Searching for Summer, have been asking when Book Two of the series, Traces of Red, would be ready. I got overexcited and had to share it with you straight away as soon as the ebook was up and running.

The paperback shouldn’t be long before it’s showing on the other sites too, if that’s your preference, but it can be bought now, hot off the publisher’s press at FeedaRead.com 

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Book One of The Reluctant Detective Series, Searching for Summer, is still available at the discounted price of 99p/99c if you haven’t read it yet, and it is available now from:

Amazon

FeedaRead.com

Barnes&Noble

Waterstones.com

and can be ordered from all good bookstores.

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Happy Reading!

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Planning a Story with Zenobia Southcombe

It doesn’t seem so very long ago that, if you wanted to communicate with someone from the other side of the globe, you would write a letter that would seem to take forever to reach them, or you might make a phone call that would cost an arm and a leg and last just long enough to allow you to say, ‘Hi!’ and, “How are you?’ with a lot of crackling and interference on the line. We thought it was wonderful.

And it was.

It was amazing that the postal service could carry your words across oceans and land masses to deliver them to your loved one’s door. Even more amazing that your words could wing their way across those same oceans and continents. Awesome.

But now!

Well, it’s instantaneous, isn’t it? It just takes my breath away.

What an awesome, amazing, fantastic thing the internet is.

Once again, I have a visitor on my blog, and once again, it is children’s author Zenobia Southcombe, and she lives in New Zealand, the other side of the world from Scotland, where I live. And I can communicate with her as though she was sitting right here beside me. I can even see her as she explains how she plans her books.

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And here is the guest post Zee has written for us:

How to plan a story ~~ Zenobia Southcombe

In the mighty pantsers vs. plotters debate, I find myself very much on the plotters side. I tried ‘just writing’ with the seed of a story and a couple of characters, but it stalled to a halt in no time.
From there, I knew I needed to plan – but didn’t know how, except for the very basic:
Orientation.
Problem.
Solution.
I spent the next couple of weeks researching narrative structure. There were a few books specifically on children’s stories that I found at my local library, and obviously a wealth of information online.
For my first written story, The Caretaker of Imagination (my very first book was a wordless picture book, so it was a little bit different!) I used two planning structures:
Three-act structure
Linear narrative structure
I talk about them more in the video, and there are graphics you can download below.
By the time I was writing the sequel, Lucy’s Story, I’d been able to tweak the outlines I’d used as well as come up with my own ideas to add depth and suspense.
After highschool, I’d studied to become a classroom teacher. In our Drama class, we’d learnt a warm-up game that would be played in a circle. The first person would start with ‘fortunately…’ and the second person would say something related but start with ‘unfortunately’ and so it would continue. This plays on the reader’s want for conflict, but also our need for hope.
Along the whole story, I would try to write scenes so they matched the fortunately / unfortunately pattern.
In the three-act structure, we talk about rising action. I realised that throughout a story, there also has to be rising emotions – or at least, rising strength of emotions. The reader should want the character to come out on top more and more as the story goes on. By including this in my planning, I could add to the story, and again, build suspense.
Because I’m not only a planner (or an over-planner) but a perfectionist as well, having multiple structures to follow help me ensure that I include all the elements of storytelling that have been created, tweaked perfected over the many centuries that stories have been around for.

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And a couple of infographics she has prepared for us:

narrative structure linear-1

three act structure

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Thank you, Zee, it was great to have you visit.

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Z. R. Southcombe
WRITER & ARTIST

http://www.zrsouthcombe.com
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

Lucy's+Story

‘Lucy’s Story: The End of the World’ is now available on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo & other eRetailers.

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How to Plan a Writers’ Retreat

Ever thought about planning your very own Writers’ Retreat?

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I suspect most authors dream of a quiet cottage somewhere away from the day-to-day routine, somewhere to concentrate on getting that first draft finished, or that tricky edit done, a place conducive to writing with as few distractions as possible.

The ones you see advertised in writing magazines always look terrific, but are often expensive. Then there’s the uncomfortable feeling that you won’t know anyone. What if you have to share a room? What if there are people there that you just don’t gel with? What if not everyone is serious about getting on with writing and they see the week as an excuse to party?

So many reasons to never get around to indulging in the luxury of a writers’ retreat.

But what if you were the organiser? You, or your friends? Many of these doubts and worries would be alleviated. You could choose the location, the price, and the company. You could set the tone.

For the past few years, that is exactly what my writing friends and I have done.

So, how do we go about it?

Perhaps the first decision has to be who to go with. That was an easy one for us because we had already formed a small Writers’ Club, PenPals. We are friends who got to know one another through our love of writing, and, although there are some ten or so of us, nominally, there are three of us who meet regularly, so three of us who have gone away together the last few years. The first time, there were four of us, but we haven’t managed more than that at any one retreat. We have found three or four to work well, though I can imagine six or eight would still be manageable, if you found a large enough cottage.

The beauty of the smaller number is privacy.

When we went away in March, this year, the cottage was large enough that we could have a room each, great if someone snores! And great for being able to write without distraction.

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The second decision is where to go.

This is not difficult. There are always going to be a few deciding factors: price; availability, and suitability among the important ones.

Let’s deal with suitability first.

Suitability might include size. How many of you are committed to the venture? Are you willing to share two to a room? These factors will help determine the size of cottage you need.

Suitability might also include location. How far are you willing to travel? Is there an obvious halfway point between your various homes? Is there a pleasant area nearby, where there are holiday cottages for rent? Is the cottage somewhere suitably quiet? Renting one in a holiday park may not be conducive to quiet reflection and peaceful writing.

Next, you might consider price.

How much will your share of the rental, the petrol and the food be? How much are you each willing to pay? If you have a figure in mind, it might help you narrow down any options.

Obviously, the price will vary depending on the size of the cottage, but it will also vary depending on when you choose to go. Most holiday cottages are cheaper ‘off-season’ when the demand for them is lower.

Armed with information like that, you can then go on-line to look for your retreat.

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This last time, in March, we went a little further afield than usual, paid a little more than usual and had a bigger cottage. The main reason was because one of our members was writing a book set in that particular area and we wanted to support her in exploring it. We didn’t regret the decision to go there. It was a fabulous cottage in a stunning location, here in Scotland on a hill overlooking Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.

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Okay! So let’s say you have chosen your company, your location, your price. You’ve booked your cottage and you’re ready to go.

What now?

How do you turn a few friends holidaying together in a cottage into a Writers’ Retreat?

In my next post, we will discuss what to do to get the maximum benefit from your inspirational break.

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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.

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