2018 Plans and Resolutions: Jan Harvey and Paula Martin. @TheJanHarvey @PaulaRomances

Today in this series I have posts from Jan Harvey who writes split time novels and Paula Harmon who writes Irish romance novels. Perfect reading on what is currently a snowy day for many. 

Jan Harvey – It’s Going To Be Busy

I have a very exciting year ahead of me with a variety of projects to look forward to. 

My second book is written and will be published in September. It draws on the themes of the The Seven Letters in many ways however, instead of The French Resistance, I have explored the human stories behind the Special Operations Executive. I came across these when I was researching the social history aspects of World War 2, a subject that intrigues me. Once again it is a split time novel set in The Cotswolds and Liberated Paris in 1945 with the two stories linking together to culminate in a dramatic ending.  I thought the ending was not as heartbreaking as the final outcome for poor Claudette in The Seven Letters, however, my first ‘test readers’ have reported that it is very moving and has left them deep in thought for days afterwards, so I may be wrong!

I was honoured to win prizes in short story competitions last year and this led to a new collaboration with theatre maker, Adrian Brooks. Our exciting project, ‘Allotment’ will see professional actors reading six of my short stories whilst the characters appear one-by-one in a diminutive, yet beautifully constructed theatre. Seeing the characters emerge from someone else’s viewpoint was quite a significant moment for me, but Adrian has worked his magic to perfection and I am really delighted with the results.

I am also a professional artist and I am taking part in two exhibitions in 2018. I am hosting one at my studio, as I usually do for Oxfordshire Artweeks, exploring the theme ‘New Horizons.’  The second exhibition is at The Earth Trust in Long Wittenham near Dorchester-on-Thames, where a trio of paintings of the nearby Sinoden Hills, will be on display. I paint in acrylics and watercolour, but my new medium is fused-glass and I am fortunate to be tutored by glass expert, Helen Slater.

Outcrop by Jan Harvey

This year I would love to learn more about poetry. I have always been very moved   by the war poets and it is something I would enjoy exploring further. I was lucky enough to hear Pat Winslow reading her work this year.  I also attended a performance by Selena Godden at The Chipping Norton Literary Festival. Both are very inspiring ladies.

I have a full and busy twelve months ahead of me and that’s just how I like it, but my New Year’s resolution is most definitely to read more. I have just finished ‘Out Stealing Horses’ by Per Petterson, and I am still living inside the book because it was so captivating. The writing was perfect, the story steady and slow and the characters were absolutely convincing. That’s how I like my books so I am on the look out for more of the same for 2018.

Buy a signed copy of The Seven Letters here: https://www.janharveyauthor.com/shop

 

About the book:

When Claudette Bourvil is recruited to the French Resistance the last thing she expects is that she will be sent to work in the heart of Paris to spy on senior Nazi officers.

Claudette learns how to survive in a city ravaged by war, where the citizens are murdered on the whim of the occupying force. Constantly under threat of discovery, and in danger of losing her life, Claudette risks everything when she falls in love with the wrong man, the worst kind of man.

Over seventy years later, in rural Oxfordshire, Connie Webber discovers seven letters linked to a famous playwright, Freddy March. The letters will eventually lead her to Paris where she discovers the horrific reason behind Freddy’s life long depression. As his mother’s story unfolds Connie uncovers a dark past that the city has tried to erase from history.

Author bio:

Jan Harvey is an author and artist living in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. After thirty years working as an editor and designer of business magazines, Jan became a full time writer in 2011. Her first novel, The Seven Letters, was published in February 2017. 

Jan is working on her second novel due for publication in Autumn 2018.

When Jan is not writing or creating art she enjoys reading, watching old black and white movies and dog walking. 

https://www.janharveyauthor.com

Paula Martin – My hopes for 2018

I’m hoping 2018 will be a more settled year for me, after the upheaval of 2017. Last April I received the devastating news that my publisher was closing due to ill-health. I’d been with her for over 5 years, and she and her team were the most supportive and friendly people any writer could ever wish to work with.

For several months, I felt as if I was floundering in quicksand as I wondered what to do with my nine published novels, but, as they say, ‘when one door closes, another opens’ – and in this case, the door was opened by Tirgearr Publishing, an independent publisher based in Ireland.

In November, I was thrilled when they re-published four of my novels – which just happen to be set in Ireland! These four books are stand-alone stories, with different heroes and heroines, but they are all linked in some way to ‘Mist Na Mara’, the Victorian house which featured in the first of the series.

My main priority at the start of 2018 is to finish the fifth book in my ‘Mist Na Mara’ series. I started writing this last January, but lost the motivation to continue it in the middle of the year. Now, after what seems a long time in a dark tunnel, I can at last see the light at the end, and am determined to finish it in January, 2018.

I’m also hoping that Tirgearr Publishing will be willing to re-publish some of my other novels this year. Since it’s several years since I wrote these, I’ll be spending some time editing them again before I submit them.

After that, I have another new novel simmering in my mind. I actually wrote a couple of chapters of this during my ‘floundering in quicksand’ period. After setting my last five books in the west of Ireland, I’m looking forward to a different location for this story, as my hero and heroine will be visiting some of the wonderful castles in Yorkshire and also trying to solve a medieval mystery.
Author Bio:

Paula Martin had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She returned to writing fiction after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.
‘Mist Na Mara’ series (all set in the west of Ireland):


Book 1 Irish Inheritance: Will their Irish inheritance bring Guy and Jenna together – or drive them apart?

Book 2 Irish Intrigue: Can Charley and Luke reconcile their differences and find love?

Book 3 Irish Secrets: Will Kara and Ryan find a way to heal the rifts created by all the secrets?

Book 4 Irish Deceptions: Can Ellie and Dan overcome the obstacles threatening their future together?

Available from: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martin_Paula/ (this has links to all the major e-book distributors)

Coming Soon (I hope!) -Book 5 Irish Shadows: Will the shadows of the past destroy any chance of a future together for Rose and Liam?

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2018 Plans and Resolutions : Tana Collins and Rebecca Raisin. @TanaCollins7 @jaxandwillsmum

I am over the moon today to bring you two posts from two fabulous authors, Tana Collins and Rebecca Raisin. I’ve only recently discovered Tana’s books so not yet had time to read any but I am a huge fan of Rebecca’s work and already have her next book on my kindle waiting to be read.  So grab a mug of something hot, it’s too cold for anything else, settle down and enjoy!

Guest Blog – Tana Collins

It’s hard to follow 2017 which has been a truly phenomenal year for me. I’ve had two books published following the thrill of receiving a three book publishing deal with Bloodhound Books in October 2016. 

What is there to look forward to in 2018? I’m delighted that I will be appearing both at Noir at the Bar in Edinburgh in March and at the Newcastle Crime Writers Festival in April. The same month also sees the publication of my third novel in the Inspector Jim Carruthers series, Mark of the Devil, so it will be a busy time. I’d say my books are a cross between police procedurals and crime/thrillers! They can be read as standalones but the personal lives of the characters do move on in the storyline so some people may want to read them in order. 

I’ll be attending Crimefest in May and hopefully Iceland Noir and Bloody Scotland.  There’s also the possibility of other exciting things afoot but they are only in the discussion stage at the moment so I have to do my best to keep quiet! 

As with the other two books I’ve really enjoyed both the writing and researching of my third novel and I’m very excited about its forthcoming release. My books are very personal to me in the sense that I always incorporate true life events that have really happened to my family. As some of you will know our main protagonist, Detective Inspector Jim Carruthers has a brother who has a shock heart attack in the second book, Care to Die, which is modelled on my own Mum’s recent heart attack.  It was Allan Guthrie who came up with that idea! He thought I would be able to write convincingly about it as I was my mother’s main carer. I could see the sense in that but it was nonetheless very difficult to do as she was still recovering in bed at the time. However, I do feel he was right and I believe it makes for a stronger novel. 

And part of the storyline of Mark of the Devil, publication date 24th April 2018, was inspired by a true life crime that occurred about fifteen years ago in the South East of England.  Sadly my lovely Mum (why does it always happen to my Mum?) was the victim of a serious and heartbreaking antique theft.  Five masked men broke in to her house in the middle of the night and made off with her beloved grandfather clock which had been in the family for over 70 years! 

Apart from having to research international art crime for my third book the research also took me to Tallinn, a destination I fell in love with, having previously been there on a summer crime writing course with British writer, Peter Robinson.  I’ve managed to weave in quite a bit about the fascinating political history of Estonia under Soviet rule. It’s been wonderful to see the novel take shape. The next thing to look forward to will be the book cover reveal. I have absolutely no idea what it looks like yet! 

New Year’s resolutions for 2018? 

Perhaps take a breather before I seriously start book 4 and try to claw a bit of time back for myself? I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do that though. The ideas for the storyline for the fourth book are already starting to fizz around my brain although I suspect that Jim Carruthers may stay in Scotland this time. After all, he’s already been to both Iceland and Estonia in the last two novels. I do love to write books where I manage to incorporate a wee bit of a Nordic or European theme. 

On a personal level I would love to get out and do some environmental work but it’s just finding the time. For the last few years I’ve wanted to become a recorder for Butterfly Conservation having been a member for several years. And I have a bucket list of things I’d like to do as long as your arm which includes going panning for gold and metal detecting (don’t ask me why. I know this all sounds a bit odd. I blame the Detectorists!) but let’s not get too carried away here. I suspect I might have to reign myself in and focus on publicising the books instead!

Oh goodness and if I had a chance to visit my beloved Arsenal at the Emirates that would be great. Now I feel as if I’m writing my wish list to Santa!

All in all there’s a whole heap of wonderful things to look forward to in 2018. I’m also looking forward to spending more time with fellow authors, bloggers and readers. It really is a wonderfully supportive family and I really am blessed to be part of it. 

The Book Bit:

Struggling with his demotion back to DI and his concern for the grieving DS Andrea Fletcher, Jim Carruthers is thrown in at the deep end when the body of an old man is discovered stabbed to death in a nature reserve- a ball of cloth rammed into the back of the victim’s throat. The only suspect is a fifteen-year-old neighbour who is known to the police for antisocial behaviour. But the teenager has an alibi. 

When a second elderly man is also found dead at the same locale, with the same MO, Carruthers starts to wonder if they have a serial killer on their hands.

On discovering that the first victim, Ruiridh Fraser, has an estranged son living in Iceland, Carruthers flies out to interview the man, now convinced that the reason behind Fraser’s death lies in his past.

But what does the disappearance of a twelve-year-old boy forty years before, the brutal murder of a former journalist and a bitter local dispute about a nature reserve, have to do with the investigation?

Can Carruthers and Fletcher solve the case while battling their own demons?

And are they hunting for one killer or more?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tana-Collins/e/B06X3Q4HBH

Author Bio:

Edinburgh based Tana Collins is the author of the popular Jim Carruthers detective series, set in Fife. Her debut novel, Robbing the Dead, published February 2017,  became a No 1 Amazon kindle bestseller and her follow up Care to Die was described by Peter Robinson as “A finely plotted mystery.” Her third novel, Mark of the Devil, is to be published 24th April 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/Tana-Collins-490774634440829/

https://www.twitter.com/TanaCollins7

My plans for 2018 -Rebecca Raisin

Thank you for having me on your blog, Sandra! I’m really pumped for a busy year ahead, with lots of work projects and also some personal projects to look forward to. While I didn’t make resolutions per se, I have got in mind some goals I want to achieve and to work towards for the coming year and beyond. 

They are:

Learn Indonesian: we travel to Bali every year because it’s only a three-hour plane ride away and a very cheap place to holiday. We have Indonesian friends who we adore, and we love heading over there to just chill out. Each visit we’ve picked up more of the language but I’d like to make it a priority to learn more so I can have a conversation in Bahasa whenever we go back! 

Get fitter: I know, I know, yawn, right? I’ve been doing Muay Thai for a year now and I love it so much, but feel like I really have to step up my training this year if I want to grade. It’s a great personal challenge for me because I am the Queen of excuses, this hurts, that hurts, I’m tired… You name it, I’ve said it! But this year I want to cut the excuses and push myself harder and see what results I get! 

Focus on work: It’s so easy to be distracted when you work from home. In saying that, I’m fairly good at sitting down for the day and working, however, I could really focus more and Facebook less! So this year I’m going to aim to double my word count and switch off social media until my writing is done for the day! Can I do it…? 

I also want to be more organised in terms of all the other things that go along with writing, like updating my newsletters and building my networks, things that tend to get overlooked when you’re on a deadline. I have a shiny new diary so I’m sure this will solve all my problems!  

Switch off more: Like most writers I’m glued to my phone 24/7. This year I want to keep weekends tech-free if I can. Or at least switch off a lot more and be present for my family. It’s tricky when I’m in a different time zone and all my blogger friends are awake as I’m sitting down for the evening, and I love chatting to them! 

Say yes more: I tend to avoid going out much, especially at night. I like hanging out with my family more than anything, and then I miss out on all these social events, especially writing catch ups, because I just want to chill out after a long day. This year I will make more of an effort to say yes to these events and try and expand myself socially. 

What are some of your goals for 2018? 

The Book Bit

I’d love to share with you the blurb for The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees which is being published in March! 

What is French for falling in love?

When Del leaves small town America to compete in a perfume competition in Paris, she thinks it is just the next step on her five-year-plan. It’s an exciting opportunity. What started out as just a dream for Del and her twin sister is nearly in her grasp. If she wins this competition, they are on their way to opening their very own perfume boutique!

Arriving in Paris, watching the sun glinting off the Seine and wandering the Champs-Elysees, Del discovers the most perfect perfumery she’s ever seen. Yet, as the competition dawns Del realises that whilst she might have had the best nose in her small village, her competitors seem to know more than she could ever have dreamed. This competition isn’t going to be easy…

Del has the romance of Paris to sweep her away from her worries, but as the competition heats up, so does her desire for that which she cannot have! If only the dashing owner Sébastien didn’t smell so seductive, look so handsome and make her heart flutter like it never has before. They say love smells as sweet as a red rose in bloom, but Del would tell anyone that true love can’t be bottled – it’s beautiful and unique to everyone…even herself. With everything on the line for her future, can Del really let a little attraction get in the way of securing her dreams?

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Perfume-Champs-%C3%89lys%C3%A9es-Paris-Collection-ebook/dp/B00W7Y9VGQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Perfume-Champs-%C3%89lys%C3%A9es-Paris-Collection-ebook/dp/B00W7Y9VGQ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1516159602&sr=8-4&keywords=rebecca+raisin


About the author:
  Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines. And now she is focusing on writing romance.

Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships and believe in true love.

Facebook – Rebecca Raisin

Twitter –@jaxandwillsmum

2018 Plans and Resolutions : Jacqueline Evans and Jennifer Hines.  @JEvansthewriter

Today on my 2018 Plans and Resolutions series I have not one but two authors for you today.  

Jacqueline Evans

There are a couple of really exciting things happening in the New Year. My first grandchild is due in January and I’m so looking forward to that! We already know it’s a girl…so as a mother of two grown lads, I will finally get the chance to relive my doll years and all things girlie and pink and fluffy. 

There is also a new book cover in the making for my first book, Nostra Dame, which came out mid-2016. It’s my true story and tells of my childhood, growing up with a sixth-sense and how it was discouraged. Following a near-death in my mid-twenties, my psychic ability went off the scale; leaving me little option but to explore it further. The things that happen to me are nothing like what other ‘psychics’ describe; in fact I dislike the word psychic because it conjures up images of everything I am not. 

The new cover really means a lot to us as a family…it’s based on a photograph of me from the nineties; with a cartoony slant, created by a Concept Artist – currently working on the Game of Thrones video game!

I am also writing book two at the moment but have no deadline or release date in mind. Being an indie author and still very much someone who keeps the home running smoothly, it suits me fine. The second book will delve far deeper into my dreams and the strange things that happen to me every day. I hope to convey just how extreme this gift/curse really is; as well as answer some of the many questions I have been asked since self-publishing Nostra Dame. 

As for resolutions – I have only one and that is to be more disciplined with my writing schedule! Finally, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to take part in your blog post and wish everyone a very happy, ‘book-reading’ New Year!  


About the book:

Nostra Dame, the true story of a woman trying to make sense of a mysterious world. Suppressing what came naturally for most of my early years; a pivotal moment in my mid-twenties opened a door to what lay dormant. The depth of knowledge that ensued began to snowball, leading me to predict global events and high-profile murder investigations. Each piece of information imparted in fractals, like pieces to a puzzle; and it was down to me, to put the pieces together.

Buy link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nostra-Dame-Story-Jacqueline-Evans-ebook/dp/B01HORM4PA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1516187515&sr=8-2&keywords=Jacqueline+evans

(Note: The cover picture above is the current cover, not the new one that Jacqueline mentions in her post.)

Jennifer Hines

Currently, I am writing my fifth novel (working title “Candle Trees”) also set in Australia.  I am at first edit stage about half way through and depending on time, am hoping to finish in Spring/Summer of 2018. 


You can check out my previous work on my web-site: http://www.Writzendbook.com, where hopefully you will find an insight into my writing style and genres.


About the author:

A born romantic, Jenna Hines has finally followed her dreams. As a child she spent all her spare time in the public library, engrossed in stories of romantic fiction that enthralled her. In her early teens she craved to write her own stories, but it was much later in life that Jenna found the opportunity to fulfil her ambition. Victorian/Edwardian history had always captivated her. She re-familiarised herself with the era and began a new career, writing romantic stories set in the period. 


About the book:


An Australian Dream
Will the sisters ever see each other again?

When two sisters from Blackburn Lancashire lose their parents, the eldest girl sells the family bakers and sets off on an adventure to the other side of the world, leaving her bereft sister behind. 
On the journey to Australia, Marjorie Rawlinson encounters a young woman, who isnt all she seems. Lily Palmer tells Marjorie her reasons for emigrating, but has no intention of following her plans through. When Lilys forgotten secret re-immerses; it changes the course of her life forever.
Saul Goldstein and Thomas King are friends travelling together; they meet Marjorie and Lily and the four become close, but Marjorie unlike her friend, is not interested in becoming involved in a romantic relationship.
Beatrice left behind in Blackburn marries Charles Wainwright. When their first child is born, she feels dispirited, wondering if her daughter will ever meet her Aunt Marjorie.
Some heart breaking news from England sets Marjorie on a different course.
An historical, adventurous, romantic, novel set in England and Australia between 1893 and 1912.
Buy link:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Australian-Dream-Jenna-Hines-ebook/dp/B075VSC3H9/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516188966&sr=1-1&keywords=An+australian+dream







2018 Plans and Resolutions : Anne Stormont. @writeanne

Today I am thrilled to bring you a post from Anne Stormont, someone who sounds a lot like me due to her love of making lists although bullet journalling is something I have yet to try.  

Resolved and Raring to Go
I’m not all that keen on New Year resolutions. At least not ones of the lose lots of weight, become super fit, and become a better person variety. Been there, done that, failed miserably.

But I do like to plan. I love lists – master lists, sub-lists, mini-lists – lists of lists. I love post-it notes, notebooks and my latest passion – the bullet journal. When a friend recently introduced me to the concept of the life-planning notebook for uber planners like myself, I almost cried with gratitude. Two of my most favourite things – lists and stationery – had come together.   

At first I searched online and in real world stores but couldn’t find my dream bullet book and then one day while browsing in my local village bookshop, there it was – The Little Bullet Book. With sections such as: 

  • Life Overview
  • Task Tracker
  • Monthly Me
  • Wardrobe Detox
  • Day Planner
  • Project
  • My Goals

It was my perfect match. And with the help of this most excellent piece of stationery I am poised for a productive 2018 – both in my writing and in my personal life.

2018 Writing Goals:

  • Launch my latest novel in March. It’s called Settlement and is a sequel to Displacement
  • Write my next children’s book – like its predecessor The Silver Locket it will be aimed at 10 to 13 year-olds. It’s working title is The Silver Spider
  • Continue to blog and to network with fellow authors, book bloggers and my readers
  • Keep learning – about writing itself and about book marketing

2018 Personal Goals

  • Finish our house renovations. 
  • Visit our daughter, son-in-law and the grandchildren in Australia in July
  • Make time for me 
  • Keep up the daily 5k walk and my yoga practice
  • Go on the walking holidays, the weekends away, and do all the other nice timeout things that the last two years of upheaval haven’t allowed for
  • Spend more time with those who mean the most 

And that’s it. I have a plan. Although I’m mindful of John Lennon’s famous quote: Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans – so I’ll keep an open mind and expect the unexpected too. 

Do you make resolutions or plans? Whatever, I wish you a happy, peaceful and productive year.
Author Bio:

Anne has so far published two novels, Change of Life and Displacement. She is currently working on the sequel to Displacement.

Anne writes thoughtful, grown-up, romantic fiction where the main characters are older but no wiser. She thinks of her genre as Romance Plus – Plus realism, insight and grit. 

Anne also writes for children using the name of her alter-ego Anne McAlpine.

Anne blogs:https://putitinwriting.me

Twitter: @writeanne https://twitter.com/writeanne 

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/annestormontauthor/ 

The Little Bullet Book is by David Sinden and is published by Bluebird/PanMacmillan

Displacement’s Back Cover Summary:

From the Scottish Hebrides to the Middle-East, Displacement is a soul-searching journey from grief to reclamation of self, and a love-story where romance and realism meet head-on. Divorce, the death of her soldier son and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief-stricken, lonely and lost. Forced retirement leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to find a new direction for his life. When Rachel meets Jack in dramatic circumstances on a wild winter’s night on the island of Skye, a friendship develops, despite very different personalities. Gradually their feelings for each other go beyond friendship. Something neither of them feels able to admit. And it seems unlikely they’ll get the chance to because Rachel is due to leave for several months to visit family in Israel – where she aims to re-root and reroute her life. Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, Displacement is a story of life-affirming courage and love.

If you’re interested in reading Displacement before its sequel comes out then you can get it here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Displacement-Anne-Stormont/dp/0992930332/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511456623&sr=8-1&keywords=Anne+Stormont

#Review : On a Beautiful Day by Lucy Diamond. @LDiamondAuthor @panmacmillan

I am delighted today to bring to you my review of Lucy Diamond’s latest novel.  As a long standing fan, having discovered her work around 5 years ago, I was thrilled to get a copy of this book from Netgalley.  I would like to thank Pan MacMillan for authorising my request and letting me read this book.
Blurb:  It’s a beautiful day in Manchester and four friends are meeting for a birthday lunch. But then they witness a shocking accident just metres away which acts as a catalyst for each of them.

For Laura, it’s a wake-up call to heed the ticking of her biological clock. Sensible Jo finds herself throwing caution to the wind in a new relationship. Eve, who has been trying to ignore the worrying lump in her breast, feels helpless and out of control. And happy-go-lucky India is drawn to one of the victims of the accident, causing long-buried secrets to rise to the surface.

This is a novel about the startling and unexpected turns life can take. It’s about luck – good and bad – and about finding bravery and resilience when your world is in turmoil. Above all, it’s about friendship, togetherness and hope.

My Rating: 4/5

Review:   Having an unexpected weekend off and needing something quite different from the book I had just finished, Hydra, I chose this as my next read. I was excited about the release of this book, being aware before Christmas that it would be out in January and I wasn’t disappointed.  

The story starts off perfectly normally with 4 friends meeting up for a birthday celebration but then, while they are there, they witness a van crash that barely misses them. The suddenness of the crash and the outcome of it highlights different aspects of the friends lives that they are unhappy with, avoiding or hiding. This story is about them dealing with these issues, how they deal with them and what the outcome of that is. 

Life can change in an instant. I know this as I have experienced it myself so I understand completely how it makes you reconsider your own life and any aspects of it that you aren’t 100% happy with.  Despite having 4 main characters, all of whom are different and lead different lives, I felt that the shock and personal consequences of such a dramatic incident were handled well. The incident and it’s consequences were never downplayed or dismissed and it was clear that it affected each person differently, as it would were it real. 

I really enjoyed watching the characters change and grow through the story but I did find it a little confusing sometimes as to who was who when the story changed character.  In addition to the 4 main characters there were family members, work colleagues and other friends or people mentioned and I think that perhaps there were just a few too many for the story. 

While there is an ending for the story it is done in a way that fits with real life, there is an end point but you can see that the characters lives will continue although we will not be reading about them anymore. It’s like the reader is dropped into their lives for a period of time to see how they cope in the aftermath of the van crash and is then plucked out when they no longer need to see, like Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee leaving when they are no longer needed. 

Despite the changes, some very significant, happening in their lives I loved that the little every day things such as dishwashers and ironing were not forgotten about.  While this is a story of change it doesn’t forget that while some things change other things like ironing clothes will always remain a necessary part of life.  I also enjoyed reading about a group of people of similar ages to me whose lives are all different and not perfect. It made a nice change to the projected images of the perfect life or weekend that are see in social media and in magazines.

All in all this is an excellent book from an excellent author. If you’re a fan of Lucy Diamond then you will enjoy this and if you’ve not read her books before then this is definitely a good place to start. Be warned though, you will need tissues to hand particularly in the second half of the book.  

2018 Plans and Resolutions : Elizabeth Ducie @ElizabethDucie

Today I have a tiring blog post from Elizabeth Ducie. I’ve read it twice now and each time I come away feel exhausted, I don’t know how she fits everything in. Either that or I am more disorganised than I thought, which is entirely probable!  So read on and find out exactly what I’m talking about.

2018: A Very Bookish Kind of Year 

As a former scientist and an extreme list-maker, it will come as no surprise that I work in a highly structured manner (or at least, that’s the theory).

I write my fiction to an annual schedule, beginning in November with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I then do little of no writing in December (too many parties and lunches to attend, presents to buy and wrap, cards to write), so my first task from New Year’s Day is to convert fifty thousand words into the first draft of a full-length novel, which I will edit between February and July, then publish in August. And this time around, it’s Corruption, the final part of my Suzanne Jones series set in the sometimes-murky world of international pharmaceuticals.

I also write and lecture on business skills for writers and in 2018, I am planning to relaunch my Business of Writing series. This involves updating books 1-3 (Business Start-Up, Finance Matters and Improving Effectiveness); writing book 4 on the business aspects of self-publishing; and developing a companion workbook for writers who are feeling their way through the whole process.

Despite the fact that such illustrious authors as Charles Dickens and Marcel Proust independently published some of their own work back in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the current incarnation of self-publishing, incorporating ebooks, audiobooks and Print on Demand, is only a few years old and is still evolving. As an authorpreneur, I find the marketing and sales aspects fascinating and spend around 50% of my time on non-writing activities. I have recently invested in the Self-Publishing Formula’s Ads for Authors course and will be spending a chunk of time each afternoon learning and putting that learning into practice.

I am also in the middle of a major rewrite of my website, trying to bring it under my own control, and learning how to update it myself. I aim to finish that within the next couple of months.

In 2017, I set myself the challenge of reading and reviewing at least one book per week. As I write this in early December, Goodreads tells me I am just about on track to meet my target. So, always up for a challenge, I will be upping the target for 2018 to 60.
Outside of my writerly life, I will be joining large swathes of the population in attempting to overcome the excesses of December and the New Year by reducing my calorie intake and upping my exercise levels. I already manage 2-3 exercise classes each week and walk as much as I can every day, but in January I will also be taking part in a rowing challenge at my local gym, the Newton Abbot Leisure Centre, when teams of 10 will be aiming to row 500 kilometres in January.

And in my spare time, I will be continuing with my research aimed at the discovery of the thirty-six hour day!


Author Bio: Elizabeth Ducie trained as a scientist and worked in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years before deciding she wanted to make a complete change of direction. She gave up the day job, began studying the craft of creative writing, and has now writes fiction more or less full-time. Her latest novel, Deception!, was published in August 2017. It is the second in the Suzanne Jones series of thrillers set in the sometimes murky world of international pharmaceuticals.

2018 Plans and Resolutions : Richard Dee

Today I am thrilled to welcome Richard Dee to my 2018 Plans and Resolutions series.  I loved science fiction books in the past and am trying to rediscover them again so it’s no surprise that I am taking part in the blog tour for Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe next month.  So, read on and see if science fiction is something you want to try out this year.

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Hello everyone, and thank you for the opportunity to post here. I’m Richard Dee. I’m a retired Master Mariner and Thames River Pilot, living in Brixham, Devon.

 

 

 

 

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, which I choose to self-publish through my own imprint, 4Star Scifi.

I currently have seven novels and two collections of short stories available, plus a piece (that I’m rather proud of) in a collection of historical fiction called ‘1066 Turned Upside Down.’

 

Please don’t ask how a sci-fi author ended up contributing a short story to that. I’m not really sure myself, but it seemed to fit and several people told me that they quite liked it. In 2017 I managed to write over 500,000 words, completing four novels and starting several more. As well as adding to my ongoing series, I have also introduced a new character, accident-prone amateur detective Andorra Pett. Think Agatha Raisin – in space!

I’ve decided that 2018 is the year when I’m going to start marketing my work a bit more actively and increase my online presence. To be honest, I’ve always been a bit nervous of marketing, I think that my books are great, the few reviews I’ve had are good but the idea of trying to persuade people to buy my books is difficult.  Sometimes I think that I write to keep me too busy to attempt marketing. But of course, the books won’t sell themselves. I’m lucky to belong to the Exeter Authors Association and between us; we are raising each other’s profile by attending and hosting events. I post weekly on my website and I’m dipping my toes into the world of blog tours and reviewing.

Now before you say that you don’t like Sci-fi or Steampunk, there’s some good news. To enjoy my work, you don’t need to. I try not to make that a requirement. Naturally, the science is there, it’s as logical and realistic as I can make it but it’s not over intrusive, or the main reason for the story.  It’s more of a vehicle for a tale that could be set anywhere, an extra character if you like.

And that’s not me saying that, here’s a review of ‘Ribbonworld,’ a conspiracy/chase story I set on an airless planet. “I’m not usually a fan of Science Fiction but Ribbonworld is a thriller that would work in any genre.”

To me, that means I’ve achieved what I set out to do, I’ve not put any readers off, but included enough detail for the aficionado.

Most of my stories are built around the main themes of love, loss and redemption, which are pretty constant; they will still exist in humanity when we are the masters of the Galaxy.  The stories just happen to be set in space, or in the future.

You can find more information about my work at www.richarddeescifi.co.uk, where there are lots of freebies and extracts, as well as purchase links for my novels. I’m also on Facebook as RichardDeeAuthor

I look forward to seeing you there.