Life’s Rich Tapestry Woven in words by Sally Cronin: Interview & review. #SallyCronin #interview #review

Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine is a lovingly generous mix of her writing, the writings and books of her fellow authors, collaborations, poetry, book reviews, laughter and a series of articles, such as the current one on Relationships with Debby Gies.

She is a prolific writer and her books are a delight and full of life experience, warmth and imagination; What’s in a Name (Vol. 2), Life’s Rich Tapestry; Woven in Words, Just an Odd Job Girl, Media Training, What’s in a Name, Tales from the Irish Garden, Cuentos del Jardin, Size Matters, Tales from the Garden, Just Food for Health, Flights of Fancy, Turning Back the Clock, Sam; A Shaggy Dog Story and Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot.

Sally has a huge heart and her intuition hears and feels the world and people in a unique way. She has the gift of sharing her perspectives and insights through writing and there are many blessings in being connected to Sally.  Her indefatigable support for others is much appreciated, as many can attest too.

I am thrilled to bits to share an interview with Sally today.

Interview

Thank you for having me over Jane…

  1. When did you first become aware that you could see people and situations in all their layers?

We travelled to several countries with my father who was in the Royal Navy, and it meant that I was thrust into unfamiliar situations and meeting strangers from the age of 18 months. I think that gave me confidence, and also a curiosity about life and people. I apparently was one of those children who questioned everything and must have been a pain in the neck. That curiosity has persisted up to the present time and I love nothing better than a tough nut to crack. I am very happy with change and people are fascinating; as a writer, the experiences have been gold dust.

  • What is your earliest writing memory?

When we came back from South Africa when I was twelve years old, I was a year behind everyone at the grammar school in Preston I was enrolled in. They said I would catch up… It was not just certain subjects such as geography, history, French and mathematics that I was behind in. In the previous year, the girls in my class had formed their friendships and groups, and I was definitely the odd one out with my accent and tan!! I felt unhappy and isolated for the first couple of terms. Every Friday in last period, our form teacher would invite girls to stand up and read a story or a poem they had written to the whole class. One Friday, I put my hand up and delivered a poem on bullying that emphasized how everyone should be grateful they did not live in a country with apartheid especially if they were considered to be inferior. It was titled ‘We are all human beneath our skin’. There was some funny looks between the girls and also from the teacher but on the Monday there was a thawing of relations and I found myself being included a lot more.

  • Could you share with us some of your favourite books and authors?

That is very tough as I have so favourite books and authors from childhood onwards, and have gathered many more over the last 50 years. I have every book written by Wilbur Smith on my bookshelves, buying my first when I was 11 in 1964; one of the authors that I still buy in print. Also the amazing Earth’s Children Series of books by Jean M Auel which encouraged me to discover more about my own history dating back 20,000 years as part of the Oxford DNA project. To discover that I was genetically related to a woman who lived at approximately the same time as the humans in Jean Auel’s books, was a revelation and life-affirming.

  • Does where you live have an impact on your writing?

I do think that where I have lived during my life is reflected in my writing, as are the people that I have met. I have written a book set in Spain and one in Ireland and I have written short stories about many of the places I have lived and visited. I wouldn’t want to waste those experiences and encounters as they have made me who I am today. Also, I hope that I am creating a catalogue of memories that will be useful when I am in my dotage!

  • What lifts your heart in the everyday?

It has to be relationships, particularly the one I have been privileged to enjoy for the last forty years with my husband David. I had escaped from an abusive marriage and after finally obtaining my divorce after three years; I was adamant that I was not going to get married ever again. They call it famous last words for a reason. I met David when I was an assistant manager in a remote Welsh hotel when he booked in as a guest for two weeks. He asked me out on his last day and asked me to marry him the next day. We got married six weeks later. We have travelled the world, lived in 19 homes and have worked out of the same office for the last 20 years. He is my soulmate and best friend and that certainly lifts my heart every day.

And of course, there are family and friends who always have my back, including some very special online friends who have been with me every step of my blogging journey.

  • Is writing your main creative pursuit?

With the blog, poetry and books it has certainly taken over much of my life, but in a good way. Writing takes us out of ourselves and mentally and emotionally offers so many benefits. It might involve a little too much sitting on a day to day basis. but I hope it means I will keep my marbles until they carry me out the door, gripping my mouse in one hand and the keyboard in the other. Hopefully, wherever I end up they have Internet!

  • Do you have a favourite time of year?

I spent so much of my life from a baby in sunny climates including 17 years in Spain, that for me it has to be summer. If I am not writing then I am reading, and to sit outside with a cup of iced lemonade, a good book and feel the warm sunshine is bliss. I love colour in the garden and early summer when there is still blossom on the trees is magical.

  • When life tumbles and falls, what centres you?

There have been a number of close calls physically and emotionally, and I know that having someone who is supportive and loves you come what may, is essential. I also learnt to be self-sufficient growing up as a nomad which helps, as does the knowledge that I am a survivor. No life is perfect and it is the tumbles and falls as well as the highlights which make us the person we are. Some bring with them invaluable lessons that benefit us on a daily basis.

  • What would be your ideal day?

I would say that apart from a little more sunshine on a daily basis, most of my days are pretty ideal. I cannot imagine not socialising with my friends around the world online, meeting new authors and bloggers, laughing at funnies on Facebook or smiling at videos on YouTube. I certainly cannot imagine not writing every day, be it a health post or book promotion, a short story for my next collection or a poem in response to a weekly challenge. Life does not get much better than that with good health, lots of laughter and a bit of luck thrown in.

  1. Do you have an outline for each book, or does it evolve as you write?

My stories start off in my head, including the longer novels. Usually when swimming or on my treadmill when my body is occupied and my mind is free to wander. Then I sit down at the computer and dump it all out as fast as possible. Then I go back and read again and again until it is condensed and flowing to my satisfaction. Then I leave for a week or so and come back to it and read again and tighten before I am satisfied.

Thank you so much Jane for inviting me over to share my thoughts with you and your readers… I have enjoyed your questions very much.

Sally’s latest book is a collection of stories and poetry, ‘Life’s Rich Tapestry; Woven in words’ and she kindly shares one of the short stories from the collection with us here:

A moment of alignment

The child walked the darkened streets unafraid of the shadows. With bare feet, she disregarded the grit and gravel underfoot and skimmed across the surface of the odd puddle or two in her path. Her shoulders were back, and her head held high, with arms swinging confidently by her side. A faint smile touched her lips as the ring around the moon glowed brighter.

It was almost time for the perfect alignment of the sun and moon and for a brief moment, there would be a window of opportunity. She only had minutes to reach her destination and she quickened her pace. From the shadows, a dog barked in warning to those within their homes to remain inside. The animals knew how special this event was and were unafraid, but knew their human masters would cower in fear of the unknown.

Inside a house in the square, a woman sat in a rocking chair before a dying fire, tears falling onto her chilled hands as they rested on her lap. The house was silent except for the ticking of the grandfather clock in the hall; a sound that reverberated around the empty rooms. Empty of life, but also of love and hope, snuffed out like a candle a year ago when her daughter had been taken by scarlet fever. Her beautiful child, the light and love of her life; gone with a last faint breath.

The girl reached the edge of the deserted square and hurried towards the blue door so rarely opened to the light these days. As the two celestial orbs reached their perfect conjunction in the sky, she knocked three times with her small knuckles. She heard footsteps on the tiles of the hall behind the door, and then a click as the latch was raised. The door opened and the woman stood silhouetted against the gas lamp on the wall. She gasped and fell to her knees at the sight that greeted her.

In the diffused light from the hidden sun, she saw her lost daughter smiling at her, and warmth spread through her body and into her broken heart. She reached out a hand to touch the girl but it passed right through her. Mesmerised she stared at the apparition as it began to fade.

‘Mama, I can only stay for as long as the moon is ringed by fire, but I came back to see you for this brief moment, to tell you to grieve no more.’

As the sun began to peer around the moon’s edge, the girl turned to walk away but looked back once more. ‘You have love to spare mama, give it to others who need you.’

With that, she disappeared completely, and the woman remained on her knees for a long time as the street became bright with sunlight.

The years passed and the house in the square became a sanctuary for many homeless children, and the rooms and halls were once more filled with love and hope. But on the days when the sun and moon were in perfect alignment, there would be three taps on the door, and for a brief moment, mother and daughter were reunited.

My Review of Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in words

Sally Cronin is a natural storyteller and this book is a wonderful collection of verse, micro fiction and short stories.  Her breadth of life experience and wisdom show in her words and the writing style draws the reader in.

Sally’s verses cover everything from life, past times, emotions, our furry companions and nature. ‘Romance’ had me scrolling back to re-read her words and ‘Rejection’ & ‘Betrayal’ struck heart chords long buried. I found enchantment and magic in her fairy verse and in the shapes of the words and poems on the page.

Her micro fiction ‘Broken’ raised a smile and ‘Musical Interlude’ moved me to tears. A potion from The Witch’s Handbook will have you laughing and many of us will find ourselves in that one!

None who read this book will forget Jimmy or the Elephants, yet my favourite story is ‘Great Aunt Georgina’. There is so much packed into this short story and it is one that will stay with you.

In reading this collection, I feel you will want to meet Sally and sit at her kitchen table, hearing her stories and feeling her warm wisdom. I hold hope that she will share with us again in this way, as it is a loving showcase for her gifts.

You can buy Life Rich’s Tapestry at:

Amazon Worldwide

Amazon UK

Click this link for all Sally’s books and reviews

For all those who wish to connect with Sally and keep up to date with her latest creativity the online links are below:

Blog:  Smorgasbord Invitation

Twitter: sgc5

Facebook: sally.cronin

LinkedIn: sallycronin1

It has been a pleasure to welcome Sally here today and I know you all join with me in wishing her every loving sparkle in her creative endeavours. ❤

Connecting…

When I was working on the psychic line I received a telephone call that found it’s way into my heart memories and I discovered it there recently.

The lady who called was terminally ill and started the call with,

“I don’t have any questions as such, I just wanted to ring.”

In that instant, I dropped every label/shield that I was holding, as I instinctively knew she had no expectations. I wasn’t a medium, psychic, woman, mother, or anything else. I was simply one soul connecting to another.

We talked about fresh washing hanging out on the line, the sound of children’s laughter, wrapping in soft towels after a bath, birdsong at dawn, a large amount of rubbish on the telly (even though there are umpteen channels), the wisdom of avoiding the news, knitting, an absorbing play on the radio, a clean kitchen floor and the grace of expression through writing.

I shared with her a story of being out shopping with friends and two of us squealing with delight when we saw a new range of notebooks. One (somewhat pithy) member of our group commented,

“Surely one notebook is enough?”

“One? I don’t understand the question.” I replied.

We giggled over the pure joy of finding a notebook with a great cover and found ourselves agreeing that writing with heart and our own voice gifts connection. Sitting quietly she had found herself imagining stories for children and we ended our call with her intention to write them down.

‘The Magisters’ by Jack Eason; interview and review…

Jack Eason’s blog “Have We Had Help?” is an eclectic mix of his magical writing, book excerpts; thoughts and observations of the world around him. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is unafraid to stand by his beliefs. It is a refreshing space to stop for a visit, and I am grateful to have connected with him in our Global Village.

Jack lived in New Zealand for forty-two years until 2000 when he returned to his birthplace in England. As far as he is concerned, he will always consider himself to be a Kiwi. After military service in the 1960s, he travelled the world, visiting exotic lands and making many friends. Now in his early seventies, he is content to write and travel via the Internet. Besides writing novels and short stories, he contributes to his own blog “Have We Had Help?”  His literary interests include science fiction, history, both ancient and modern, and humorous tales like those written by his fellow writer Derek Haines, such as “HAL”. Now retired, he lives in his hometown surrounded by his favourite books, ranging from historical fact to science fiction. His literary icons are J.R.R Tolkien, George Orwell, Arthur C Clarke and John Wyndham.

Over to Jack…

When you are writing how does it make you feel?

Tired mainly. When I’m in full writing mode, I tend to start between midnight and 1AM.

Do you have a writing ‘spot’, or do you find you can write anywhere?

Where I am as I answer your questions – in front of the TV in my ancient recliner with a laptop.

When did you start writing?

1995

Do you draw upon the characters of people you know in your stories?

I tend to use traits and quirks observed during my lifetime.

What inspires you?

Mainly history and archaeology.

Do you miss your travelling days?

My travelling days are over.

Where do you feel your creative energy springs from?

An inquiring mind.

Do you have an outline for each book, or does it evolve as you create it?

I tend to let the story tell me where it wants to go.

What annoys you?

Don’t get me started…

Do you have a turning point in your life you wish to share?

Two – the deaths of my wife and son in Vietnam back in the nineteen sixties, and suffering a complete mental breakdown a few years ago.

Writing is my coping mechanism…

Jack’s latest book is ‘The Magisters’ a sci-fi novella with a difference.

My review

This book is an engaging read that left me wanting more.

It challenges our accepted beliefs about ancient monuments and civilisations and the author’s imagination carries us into ‘what if’ scenarios and pins them into current situations.

We are living in times where political systems are shuddering at their foundations and ‘The Magisters’ gifts us a different way of looking at things.

Yes, please to Book Two.

The Magisters‘ can be purchased on Amazon UK & Amazon.com

Jack is a prolific writer and his other books Race Against Time, The Guardian, Cataclysm, Autumn 1066, Turning Point, The Forgotten Age, Goblin Tales, The Next Age, Celeste, The Adventures of Ursus The Bear, Goblin Tales for Adults and Onet’s Tale can be purchased from his author page on Amazon UK & Amazon.com.

For all those who wish to follow Jack and keep up to date with his latest creativity his online links are below:

Jack’s Blog ‘Have We Had Help?’

Jack on Facebook

Jack on Twitter

It has been my pleasure to welcome Jack to my blog today and great to discover him in our Global Village. Wishing you much creative energy, Jack, always. ❤

Interview with Allan Hudson, featuring his book ‘Shattered Figurine’

Allan Hudson’s blog ‘South Branch Scribbler‘ is a wonderful mix of his writing, book excerpts; Drake Alexander Series, Jo Naylor Adventures and Box of Memories, and interviews with fellow authors. His generous spirit shines through and it is obvious that writing to him comes as naturally as breathing.

He started writing later in life, inspired by one of his favorite authors, Bryce Courtenay, who began his writing career in his mid-fifties. It has been one of his most rewarding pastimes. He’s been an avid reader all his life and it started with Dick & Jane which his mother brought home from her work as a schoolteacher and she taught him to read at an early age.

Allan’s joy and gratitude for the adventures in his life, a loving and supportive family and many good friends are evident.

Now let’s hear from the man himself…

I would like to thank you, Jane, for having me as a guest today.

What project are you currently writing?

I have recently finished a historical fiction story, as yet untitled, and is going through the editing process at present. It begins in Scotland in 1911 and covers ten years of my young protagonist’s life. Due to his father’s untimely death and his mother’s dire situation, Dominic Alexander must go live with his bachelor uncle. Forced to earn a living, the eleven-year-old boy must become a man. Growing fond of his uncle, he learns his trade and life goes on even though he fights through the loneliness of missing his family. Tragic events lead him to rethink his future. He decides to emigrate to Canada and begin anew.

The story follows Dominic through the ups and downs life has to offer. The benevolence and love of his uncle carry him through.

I expect to publish in the summer of 2020.

Do you have a favourite genre?

When I’m reading, I enjoy a good mystery or detective novel. Some of my favourite authors are Chuck Bowie, Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Joseph Finder, John Grisham, to name a few. I also love writing detective or vigilante-style novels.

The premise for my first two novels is a former soldier that has the time, money, courage and a sense of right or wrong to hunt down criminals that have evaded the law. Manhunter, vigilante, frontier justice; call it what you may, it’s what he does. I have a third manuscript three quarters finished of another Drake Alexander Adventure.

The new Detective Jo Naylor series is a change-up from common detective novels. More of a novella, it is fast-paced and a different format. I am presently working on the follow-up story to the ‘Shattered Figurine’ as well.

I also enjoy historical stories from such enjoyable authors like Bryce Courtenay, Edward Rutherford or James Michener. These types of stories are what inspired my latest WIP of Dominic Alexander.

Was it difficult to write your personal book ‘Box of Memories?’

It was actually quite enjoyable. The whole idea began with my own boxes of memories. Mementoes, papers, souvenirs and vestiges of my past are stored in three file boxes and every once in awhile, I like to go through them and reminisce. They were the original inspiration for the short story and eventual title – ‘Four Boxes of Memories’.

Most stories are based on a memory of the past. Not necessarily of my own experience but of something I saw or heard as well. The short story, The Food Bank, for example, came about from a personal visit to our local Food Bank to deliver some canned goods my wife and I had collected. I mean, I never go hungry and can’t imagine anyone not having enough to eat but it happens, all too often unfortunately.

‘Reaching the Pinnacle’ is a short story inspired by a moment in my uncle’s life which I found most touching.

‘Two Boys, One Wagon and a Secret’ was inspired by my own adventures as a boy while collecting returnables from the roadside with a neighbour friend of mine.

‘Pioneers in a Hurry’ was inspired by memories of outings shared with my two brothers-in-law, one of which actually passed away as in the story So, some of the stories have a personal connection but not all.

Does where you live have an impact on your writing?

I believe it does, if even subconsciously. I have the good fortune of a quiet writing spot that faces the Bay across the road from my house. I’m an early riser and enjoy the peace of the morning where I can concentrate. The community, the small island near my home, the sunrises, etc, are all included in my writing. Sometimes by name as in the new historical fiction, or by descriptions of certain locales and moods. At moments when words fail me, I only have to reflect on the moody waters for inspiration.

Is writing your main creative pursuit?

At present, writing is what I enjoy most and do so as often as possible. Being a self-employed carpenter, I also enjoy woodworking and making stained glass. One of my side projects is refinishing older furniture and adding stained glass to it in some fashion. For example, I acquired a dresser from one of my elderly clients’ which was a wedding gift to her grandmother. Not in great shape, I had to patch and polish the exterior, make the drawers work again. I also had to make a new top in the same style. In the new top, I routered a small area that will hold a stained-glass panel I’ve yet to design and create, hoping the motif will reflect the history of the piece. 

I also have a small wall cabinet to refinish and the doors will have stained glass.

Not sure yet if this will generate any interest or extra income, I’m having fun but writing will always remain my first love.

Do you have an outline for each book, or does it evolve as you write?

I’m definitely a ‘panster’.  I have a brief outline of how the story will start, what it will be about and perhaps how it will end but the rest just comes at the moment. I’ve always admired authors who make efforts to create a guide for their story but I always felt that in-depth outlining is time away from the actual writing. Ideas change. I like the way a story evolves as it is written.

I also edit and research as I write. There are usually several drafts to my stories but I like to make corrections as I write. I can’t leave a blank in the story and come back to it so I research as I need it. There was a lot of research for my historical fiction. In the beginning, I had no idea what I might be looking for but as the story unfolded, I required factual historical data and I would go looking for it as needed. This is another aspect of writing I thoroughly enjoy.

I don’t believe one way is better than the other, just what works for each individual author and this seems to work for me.

Do you have a favourite time of year?

Where I live – the east coast of Canada – we experience the four seasons full blast. Hot summers, cold, snow-filled winters, colourful autumns and renewable springs. I’ve always enjoyed and been active in the winter with snowshoeing and snowboarding but as I get older, I find the cold more bothersome. Summer, of course, is always a treat with warm days, sunshine and the beach, warm rain. Autumn brings the many glorious colours of the dying leaves and grounds but I’d have to say that Spring is my favourite time of the year.

I look forward to the greening of the grass, the new growth on the trees, the softening of the ground, almost like new beginnings. I am always anxious for the day when my wife and I dig out our patio and gazebo furniture, making new plans each year for small changes and additions to our collection of odd chairs, benches, swings and decor. I actually enjoy cutting my lawn and trimming the small trees on my property and the coming of nightly bonfires. The anticipation of outdoor adventures and enjoyment makes Spring most pleasant for me.

Allan’s latest book is a detective thriller – Shattered Figurine – and he kindly shares an excerpt with us here:

By 8:30 the sun begins to melt the ice from the cadaver, turning the white, twinkling coating into clear drops of water that pool in the body’s cavities or run like tears. The crystal perched upon the head flashes rainbow-colored rays when Jo moves. She walks a wide arc around the body, knowing she should stay away. But she can’t, so she creeps closer. The frost groans with each step she takes. She crouches down near the head, thinking the girl might have been pretty once. She peers closely at the crystal. The figurine has only one leg and it props up the glass animal’s nose. Focusing on the tiny head, Jo gasps when she sees the horn is broken off, only a short stub to suggest there had ever been one. The image strikes her like a fist. She shrinks back from the discovery, losing her balance and falling abruptly on her ass. The shock is too great. She panics, arms flailing and feet scrambling, wanting to flee the awful truth.

Holding a hand to her mouth to stifle her sobs, she runs aimlessly along the edge of the forest. Her moans break the eerie silence to echo through the trees. Tears stream across her temple and are absorbed by short dark curls that stick out below her toque. When she stops, she bends to put hands on knees, panting from the exertion of crossing the field to the opposite corner. Deep breaths once more ease the tension she’s feeling. She needs to think clearly. Staring at the stubble by her feet, she loses focus. Indecision and disbelief rage in her mind. Foremost in her thoughts is that it’s impossible for the person who had bought the unicorn to have committed such heinous crimes. It can’t be, she tells herself. She’s known the man all her life.

My five star review of ‘Shattered Figurine’:

A surprising and gripping detective story…
 
The storyline is a surprise and a difficult one to tackle. Allan Hudson does this with skill and I was gripped from the first page. Jo Naylor and her supporting characters are engaging and I cared about them from the outset. The plot twists are also unexpected.

This is a different kind of detective story and the pace is tight with beautifully descriptive writing that carries you right into each scene.

I eagerly await the next book in this series and am going on to read other works by this author, as he is a talented discovery.

‘Shattered Figurine’ links:

‘Shattered Figurine’ Amazon UK

‘Shattered Figurine’ Amazon USA

‘Shattered Figurine’ Amazon Canada

Links to Allan’s other books:-

‘A Box of Memories’ Amazon UK

‘A Box of Memories’ Amazon USA

‘A Box of Memories’ Amazon Canada

‘Dark Side of a Promise – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 1 ‘ Amazon UK

‘Dark Side of a Promise – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 1’ Amazon USA

‘Dark Side of a Promise – Drake Alexander Adventures Book l’ Amazon Canada

‘Wall of War – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 2’ Amazon UK

‘Wall of War – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 2’ Amazon USA

‘Wall of War – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 2’ Amazon Canada

For all those who wish to follow Allan and keep up to date with his latest creativity, all his online links are below:-

Blog – ‘South Branch Scribbler

Facebook

Twitter

Linked In

It has been a delight to welcome Allan to my blog today and a joy to discover him in our Global Village. Wishing you much creative energy, Allan, always. ❤

‘Writing on Water – Self-Awareness’ Review by James J. Cudney IV ‘This Is My Truth Now’

I am touched and humbled that Jay has taken the care and time to review my book. Thank you, Jay. This feels like blowing my own trumpet, yet I want to acknowledge his support.

Jay’s blog is jam-packed with information, advice, reviews, his own books and is well worth a visit. ❤

About the Site

Book Launch for ‘Andorra Pett and her Sister’ by Richard Dee

I am delighted to welcome Richard Dee on the launch day for the third book in his wonderful Andorra Pett series ‘Andorra Pett and her Sister‘.

Richard has written thirteen Science Fiction and Steampunk adventure books, three of which chronicle Andorra’s exploits as a reluctant amateur detective.

Take it away Richard and may the loving energy in our Global Village lift your launch.

Links to get in touch with Richard are at the end of this post.

Title and author: Andorra Pett and her Sister
Series: Book 3 in the adventures of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective, published on October 15th by 4Star Scifi.
Genre: Crime/mystery fiction
Available at: http://mybook.to/Andorra_and_her_Sister

Bio

I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon. I was never a writer, at least not for ages. I made up stories in my head, based on dreams and events in my life, but I never did much with them. Life, a wife, three daughters and now three grandchildren have kept me busy.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything I could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of The Rocks of Aserol, a Steampunk adventure, and Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space, the first of a series featuring Andorra Pett. Sequels to most of them have either followed or are in production. I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects.

Interview

Do you need silence to write?

I used to have music in the background all the time, now I find it stops me concentrating on the action that I’m trying to describe.

Does writing flow for you and fit into gaps in your daily routine, or do you need to set specific time aside?

I try to write early and late, but I can get an idea at any time. I’m lucky to be retired, so I can pretty much pick and choose when to write. In fact, I only started writing when I retired. It was as if the voices in my head were waiting for when I had the time to listen.

What has changed for you, since you started on the published path?

I never intended to write more than one book, but I’ve found that ideas for sequels, prequels and spin-off novels keep coming along. That’s as well as new ideas. Andorra Pett started as a short story, this book is the third, I have at least two more in development. And that’s before you get to the Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures that I also write.

Here is an excerpt from Andorra Pett and her Sister.

Chapter 1

The fluorescent tubes flickered in their yellowed plastic fittings; the air was rich with the smells of stale alcohol and unwashed humanity. It was as unfamiliar to the lady standing in front of the desk as the surface of the moon.

“You can have one phone call,” said the uniformed man behind the desk, three stripes on his sleeve, which would make him a sergeant, she idly thought. Behind her, an assortment of people sat sprawled, drunk and bloodied, the result of another busy Friday night in Greenwich. She carefully avoided all eye contact, if she didn’t look, then they weren’t here, and neither was she.

More uniforms bustled around, the air was thick with words, shouted and slurred. She shifted from foot to foot, her soles sticking to whatever it was that adorned the worn plastic tiles; she didn’t really want to speculate on its origins.

The uniform was still talking. “Before we record your possessions and take you to the cells, do you understand the charges against you; and your rights?”

‘Oh God!’ she thought, it sounded so final, and such a surprise. When the doorbell rang, the last thing she had been expecting was the group of suited detectives, with uniformed officers in tow. They swarmed over her house and garden. Cupboards were emptied and holes were dug in the immaculate turf. Muddy boots trampled over the shag pile. Dogs panted and strained to sniff in all the corners. Her computer was disconnected and placed in a box, together with all the papers from her business. It felt like an invasion, and yet all her pleas for an explanation were met with silence. In the eyes of the searchers, she could see contempt and the world-weary presumption of guilt. In desperation, she faced one of the uniformed men and shouted into his face, “What are you doing in my house? What do you think I’ve done?”

Again, there was no answer; she grabbed the man, wanting to shake a response from him. Instantly she was spun around, her arms were forced behind her back and handcuffs were fitted, digging into her wrists.

“Don’t make it worse,” the policeman hissed in her ear, his breath hot on her neck. “You’ll add assault to the list if you’re not careful.” She forced herself to calm down, rage would get her nowhere.

The charges against her were read out as she was cautioned by one of the detectives; they were the second stage of the nightmare. Until a week ago, she wouldn’t have had a clue how they fitted into her life. All she did was run a modest shop, selling ethnic goods, cane furniture, ceramics and hand-woven fabric cushions. It was Fairtrade; for goodness’ sake!

They said that she was receiving controlled substances and laundering the proceeds of criminal activity. But she was forced to accept that they were, on the face of it at least, correct. The way she found out, had been just as bad. But she was saving that for the statement she knew she would need to make, sooner or later, so she said nothing. And now she was here.

The nightmare started a few days ago. She was unpacking a delivery when she knocked over a vase that she was putting on display in her shop. There were a few small plastic bags of something white taped together inside it, they were mixed in with the broken shards and her heart sunk. Stupidly, as it now turned out, instead of calling the police, she threw everything away, double wrapped in black bags and tried to pretend that she had never seen them.

“Who do you want us to call?” the police sergeant repeated. “Husband, partner, parents, solicitor?”

As he suggested each, she thought, ‘No, I haven’t got any of them,’ and if she was honest, even some of her so-called friends would not want to be associated with her now. And at this time of day, they probably wouldn’t answer or be too smashed or stoned to be of much use. In their world of dinner parties and liberal values, they all professed to despise the police and authority in general as instruments of the overbearing state, they would avoid being seen in such a place voluntarily if they possibly could.

There was only one person who could help her sort this mess out, and she still hesitated, even though there was no one else to call. To say that they had had their differences over the years would not be an exaggeration but she knew that she would come through, now that it really mattered. Because when the chips were down, that was what you did.

“Call my sister,” she said. “I’ll get you the number.” She fished around in the bag laid on the counter.

The policeman looked mystified. “Your sister? It’s up to you entirely but most people ask for their solicitor. You are aware of just how serious all this is?”

“That’s fine,” she answered, still desperately hoping that it was all a fuss over nothing, that in the end, common sense would prevail. “Just get her, she’ll know what to do.”

She passed him the card; in her purse so long that it was rubbed and scuffed by all the coins it had pressed against. He took it and peered at the writing.

“Is this some sort of a joke?” he asked in a puzzled tone. “AC Couture, a clothes shop in Greenwich? It’s been closed for years. And Andorra Pett, the Andorra Pett? That’s your sister? Won’t she be on that space station, out near Saturn, or wherever it is?”

The woman nodded. “That’s her. Just use the mobile number; it should still be the same. Tell her that her sister Argentia’s in deep trouble and that she should get here as quickly as she can.”

The sergeant dialled. “It’s ringing.”

~~~~

As well as a special launch price of £1.99, the first two Andorra Pett adventures are currently reduced to £1.49.

You can find them at http://mybook.to/Andorra and http://mybook.to/AndorraPettonMars

Links

I’m Richard Dee, as well as the Andorra Pett series, I write Sci-fi and Steampunk adventures.

My website is richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors. There’s even a bit of cookery!

You can find all my titles on my Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Dee/e/B00CN4TTCG

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi and I can also be contacted at mailto:richarddeescifi@gmail.com

Writing on Water…

My bank of dreams has held a precious one for over forty years and during the last few months I have been getting up early to sit and write. A loving friend Pete (grandfathersky) suggested I put a board up on my wall, so I could pin all the ideas and titles for the pieces I was writing. He had the feeling it would all come together in that way and he was right.

Over the past few months, as I sat creating with my sewing, an inner drive to reach out and offer practical support to others grew. The dream became more than writing and it evolved into offering a service uniquely tailored to individual needs. Over the years I have held various training and therapy roles under different corporate umbrellas and I now wish to do it in my natural style. I felt by writing a series of books in an open and heartfelt way, that others in need would feel ‘seen’ and able to ask for support.

Pete (grandfathersky) stepped in and formatted the chapters for me and dug me out of a few technical holes, for which I am so grateful. I was in such a pickle that I was tempted to eat my own body weight in chocolate and his encouraging suggestions came from the heart and were ‘spot on’. ❤

So, here I am with my first eBook published on Lulu:

Writing on Water; Self-awareness

With a web site to support it

Jane Sturgeon