Friday, October 11, 2013

Injury Timeout

I  apologize for not keeping this blog up to date but have been busy for the past six weeks tending to my wife who sustained a severe neck injury in an auto accident on September 1.  As a result I have put my writing on hold for the moment to insure she has the best care possible as she recovers.  We are about half way to the point where she should be able to shed the rigid cervical collar she must wear 24/7.  At that point, we enter a new stage of the rehabilitation process.  That's when I should be able to refocus a bit and start to think about getting the editing process for Falling from the Sky completed.  After that, it will be on to publication in the early new year.
For those of you who have been aware of our situation and have sent good wishes and prayers our way, thank you.  Your kindness is appreciated and can never be repaid.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Layered Pages Blog

Indie writers always are looking for ways to promote their work.  So when Stephanie Hopkins asked if I would like to be interviewed about Reno Splits on her blog, Layered Pages, I jumped at the opportunity.  The result can be found at the following link.  Have a look and if, after you've visited Stephanie's blog, you want to purchase a copy of Reno Splits (if you've already done so, thank you) it's available at all the usual eBook sales sites including from a link on the indieBRAG website.  Check that site out as well, where you'll find books that appeal to all reading tastes.   Sometime in September, you'll also be able to purchase a copy of my next eBook, Falling from the Sky, a suspenseful story set in World War II England and two years afterward.  I'll have more to tell you about it in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

This posting recently appeared on the website.

A Divorce Ranch Can Be A Dangerous Place 

One of the first questions often asked of an author when their new novel first appears in bookstores, particularly if they are a debuting author, is what expertise or inside knowledge gave them the necessary insight to create the plot and characters used to tell their tale?  Or maybe, what inspired them to write this particular novel?

The answer to those and many other questions is unique to each author and the story they’ve crafted.  When my first novel Reno Splits: Mystery on a Nevada Divorce Ranch made its debut last year, similar questions came my way.  Many readers initially were drawn to the story because of the title, in particular the divorce ranch reference.  Most had never heard of such a place.  What was a divorce ranch they wanted to know?  I was able to answer that question because I did know, but only because I’d grown up in the central valley of California at a time, the mid 20th century when divorce ranches existed, some would say flourished on the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains just across the state line near Reno, Nevada.  There, women, many of them rich eastern socialites and sometimes Hollywood film stars, would come to stay and be entertained on dude ranches that catered to their every need and whim while they waited to establish the six weeks legal residency required by Nevada to obtain a divorce.  I knew all that but had consigned it to the back recesses of my mind as I grew to adulthood and moved on with my life. 

Fast forward almost fifty years to when my legal career was winding down.  Beginning to think of myself as a budding author, I was busy researching and starting to write my first manuscript (which after many false starts and lots of change of direction has become what will be my second ePublication later this summer).  One afternoon during that time I found myself sitting in my ophthalmologist’s office next to a stack of long out of date magazines.  By chance I picked up a copy of Smithsonian and thumbed its well-worn pages until my eyes settled on a two page spread about the now extinct Nevada divorce ranch industry.  I suspect I smiled at what I was reading, not only because it brought back memories of a simpler time of life, but also because the story was planting a seed in my mind.  What if I was to create and write a murder mystery centered around life on a divorce ranch?  Within weeks, as the first images of what that might entail flooded my imagination, I found myself on an airplane to Reno to start the research process and to see if any remnants of the divorce ranches still existed.  With considerable assistance from the staff of the Nevada State Historical Society I was able to pull together enough material on that trip to validate going forward with the now fully germinating seeds that were spouting in my mind.  So much so that I put my first story aside and plunged ahead with what became Reno Splits 

Did I have the expertise to create the story?  Of course I did.  I’m a writer.  That’s what I do.  Did I have inside knowledge about the subject matter sufficient to tell a credible story?  A bit, certainly a lot more than most people because of the knowledge about divorce ranches I’d gained as a youngster.  But most importantly, with the help of historians with access to necessary facts, figures, and historic pictures, I’d parlayed that iota of factual information, into a story that painted an accurate portrayal of a time and place that existed for only thirty to thirty-five years.  A time that will never exist again except in history and on the pages of Reno Splits.  If you’ve read my story, I hope you enjoyed it.  If you haven’t you might give it a look.  It can found at Amazon, Amazon U.K. and other eBookstores.





Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vacation holidays are great!  We all need time to recharge our batteries--and that's what I've been doing for the past month.  We left home on May 21, arriving in London on May 22.  Immediately after landing we fled to one of our treasured places, Cornwall, where we spent five glorious days over the Bank Holiday weekend (no rain!) touring some of the area's best attractions--the Eden Project, the Lost Gardens of Heligan, St. Michael's Mount, and magnificent Lanhydrock House.  Back in London we visited some favorite museum's and took in a couple of great plays including seeing Helen Mirren's outstanding performance in "The Audience".  After visiting friends in Bognor Regis for the weekend we flew to Scotland for six days of touring through the Highlands, a place we can't get enough of and find ourselves returning to every few years.  Then it was back south, stopping for three nights in Newcastle to visit with my Godson, Henry, and his family.  He's now almost eleven and becoming quite a delightful young man.  While there, he and I were able to set up protocols for how we can better stay in touch via the various social media applications while separated by 8,000 miles of geography.  He's already so much better at that than I am.

From Newcastle it was back to London for a couple of more days, including dinner at Xi'an (located in Orpington), our favorite restaurant in England.  Then it was home to Seattle and Whidbey Island where the reality of getting my next novel, Falling from the Sky, through the last throes of the editing process stared me right in the face, that is it did when my jet-lagged body was able to concentrate. After almost a week dealing with that phenomenon and all the other things demanding attention after twenty-five days away from home, I finally am able to sit at the keyboard, string words together and begin to focus on my writing.  I'm hoping to have FFTS ready for publication by the last week of July.  Spurring me on is the fact that my incredible book cover designer, Desiree Kern, has completed her work and now I have to get something ready to go with her beautiful endeavor.

I'll keep you up-to-date on my progress and in my next blog posting will begin to tell you a bit about FFTS and the characters you'll find behind the cover. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Storm Clouds Gathering

We're having a beautiful Spring day on Whidbey Island.  The sun is shining, the hummingbirds are busy draining their feeders and the eagles, osprey and heron are flying high above in the cloudless blue sky.  It's a tough day to stay glued to my writing chair so I thought it would be a great time to invite Pauline Barclay, the founder of the FAmousFivePlus group to stop by and tell you a bit about herself and her latest novel, Storm Clouds Gathering.  So let's give Pauline a big welcome and see what her writing is all about.

Today I’ve been invited to join Phillip on his brand new blog, which looks great. I recently met Phillip when he asked to join Famous Five Plus and showcase his debut novel, Reno Splits. From this Phillip asked if I’d like to talk about my latest book, Storm Clouds Gathering. I never need to be asked twice about talking about my books!  But first I need to introduce myself to you. 

I am British and was born and brought up in Yorkshire, but have lived in several different locations including, Suffolk, UK, Surrey, UK and The Netherlands.  Today, I live on the beautiful volcanic island of Lanzarote in the Canary Isles with my husband and our two gorgeous rescue doggies.
Years ago I gained a BA (Hons) degree from the Open University, today I spend my time writing fiction. I have four books published:  

Sometimes It Happens...
Magnolia House
Satchfield Hall
Storm Clouds Gathering 

I am also the person behind the Indie Author Group, Famous Five Plus. A group I started back at the end of October 2011. The idea was to offer Indie authors a platform to showcase and share their experiences and at the same time, support others in the knowledge they would be supported in return. That concept has not changed.  FFP continues to grow and whilst it takes far too much of my time, I believe it is worth it. There are some wonderful authors in FFP who just need to have enough exposure to really make it big. 

Now back to my latest book and here is the blurb for my book 4, Storm Clouds Gathering:
Storm clouds are gathering, silently and slowly, too far away to worry about. Or so it seems. But ignoring what is brewing will have dire consequences for the people caught up in the maelstrom.
Shirley Burton is too busy cheating on her husband, having a laugh and looking for fun to alleviate the boredom of her childless marriage. Kathleen Mitchell is too wrapped up in running around after her beautiful family to worry about her health. Anne Simpson has two things on her mind: her forthcoming marriage to Paul Betham, who seems to want to control her, and her career, which she does not want to give up.
Can Shirley really expect to deceive her husband and get away with it? Can Kathleen hold it all together, and is Anne able to have the best of everything?
Storm Clouds Gathering is a story of human emotion, passion and heart-rending grief. Set against the backdrop of the mid-sixties, these three families will be tested to the limit as betrayal, loss and love threaten to change their lives forever. 

If this has given you a taste, here is….

Chapter ONE 

Shirley Burton and Kathleen Mitchell crossed the cobbled stone yard with the rest of the shift workers. The bitter cold morning made their step hurried and their breath steam as they headed for the Mill, a three-storey building, its bricks blackened with soot, smoke belching out from the massive chimney on its left-hand end. Shivering, Kathleen glanced at the thin layer of ice floating on top of the millpond that ran the length of the yard. So far as she could see, Spring was not so much around the corner as out of sight.

 ‘Morning ladies,’ the Overlooker called, leaning on the jamb of the spinning shed door, a cigarette stuck to his lips, his hands stuffed in the pockets of his brown coat. Tall, dark and ruggedly handsome, Billy Smith at twenty-eight had still not succumbed to marriage. His reputation for enjoying the ladies was well known around the millworkers. Despite the dangling cigarette he managed a cheeky smile as he watched the women march towards the clocking-in shed, their chattering voices filling the yard and creating a merry atmosphere in the grey, frosty surroundings. Raising his head and pursing his lips Billy exhaled a mouthful of smoke letting it plume into the frigid air. Nipping the end of his cigarette he dropped the tab end into the breast pocket of his coat, frowning as he caught sight of the women’s curlers. Thankfully, most were concealed by headscarves, but two always seemed to peep out at the front. Smirking, he called out, ‘Must be Friday I see,’ and gave a loud wolf-whistle, rubbing his nicotine-stained fingers together to remove bits of tobacco.

‘Not much gets past you Billy boy, does it?’ Shirley Burton called back and at the same time patted her headscarf where curlers were neatly rolled in her hair. ‘If I’m lucky tonight, it just might be the last time you’ll have a chance to squint at me dressed to kill,’ she scoffed, then nudging, Kathleen, ‘he’s a cheeky bugger and a dirty one too.’

‘Well you should know,’ Kathleen remarked sourly. She knew Shirley and Billy had been having an affair for the last three months.

Shirley snorted and linking her arm with Kathleen’s, walked into the small and draughty lean-to clocking-in shed.

Rigid with disapproval Kathleen reached for the “Out Rack”, pulled out her card and dipped it into the heavy grey machine, listening for the deep clunking sound as it stamped the time. ‘I take it you’re coming with us tonight then?’ She retrieved her card and stepped forward to push it into the “In Rack”. Turning back she looked to see how many cards were left in the “Out Rack” and scanned the names, satisfied she did not have to clock-in one of her mates. ‘So are you? You’ve not answered my question.’

Shirley sidled towards her. ‘Give over Kath. You know the score, but I’ll try and stop by before the game begins, you know me.’

 ‘That’s the point Shirley, I do know you and believe you me you are playing a very dangerous game.’

‘Just cover for me and no one will be any the wiser. No one’s going to get hurt.’

Kathleen shook her head, her tone registering her disapproval. ‘Well don’t come running to me when it all gets nasty and your Jimmy throws you out.’

‘I’m just having a bit of fun, Kathleen.’ Stepping back to the entrance, Shirley gave a little wave to Billy Smith, who was still propped against the door.

‘What are you playing at?’ Kathleen hissed, her voice thick with concern as they nudged their way through to the cloakroom. ‘You know as well as I do there’s no good in that Billy, he’s only interested in one thing and he’ll hurt you in the end.’ Tucking a strand of loose hair under the hairnet hidden beneath her turban, Kathleen saw a sly smile cross Shirley’s face and wondered what had happened to her friend that she was behaving like a common trollop.  As fond of Shirley as she was – they went back a long way – this carry on with the Overlooker was ridiculous. Shirley and Jimmy had problems, but she had not expected her friend to turn to someone like the lecherous Billy Smith, who was neither married nor interested in anything more than getting his leg over, ruining other people’s relationships in the process.

Shrugging out of her coat, Shirley answered, ‘Having some fun Kathleen, and it’s time you thought about it too. That Joe of yours is a good man, but when did he last take you out and make you feel special? Like most women of our age, I bet you’ll not even be able to remember.’

Kathleen winced, but she had no intention of having a row with Shirley so did not retaliate. Instead she repeated, ‘Like I said, he’ll hurt you. And what about Jimmy? As for me, I’ve my Joe and my kids and I’m happy enough with my lot.’

‘Billy Smith won’t hurt me, it’ll more likely be the other way round, but before I’m past me prime I’m going to have a bit of fun. Anyway, these days Jimmy’s only interested in his tea being on the table when he gets home and a bit of how’s yer father on a Saturday night. I don’t care what anyone says, we’re all too young to be sitting in front of the fire every night smoking a fag and wishing. I’m thirty-two not bloody sixty-two. I’ve done with years of wishing. Now I’m doing.’

Shaking her head, Kathleen knew better than to say any more. If Shirley wanted to play with fire by having a fling with Billy Smith then why should she care? She had enough of her own troubles. Leaving the cloakroom, she said ‘Come on Shirley, the wool won’t spin itself, unfortunately.’

Stepping through the heavy, green sliding door, the noise of the clattering machinery assailed their ears. The ever-present mist of fluff hung in the air and Kathleen sneezed as it tickled her nose, she could already feel the fine fibres lodging in her throat. Thank God she only worked the morning shift. Tightening the belt on her pinnie she pulled her sleeves down so her cardigan covered as much as possible of her arms. The fluff irritated her skin. Tapping Shirley on the shoulder, she mouthed, ‘I’ll see you later,’ and not waiting for a response hurried along the walkway towards her two looms, one on top of the other.

Stepping up to them, Kathleen checked that all the woollen threads ran smoothly and there was no slack or breaks in the yarn. She looked after ninety bobbins, forty-five on each loom. It took not only concentration to make sure the lines ran smoothly, but deftness in her fingers if a line broke. When this happened she tried not to panic, stopping the spinning bobbin where the thread had broken and at the same time speedily tying a knot to rejoin the wool. She knew that when a break occurred time was of the essence to get the bobbin spinning again. The last thing she wanted was to get her loom in a tangle, because it meant the Overlooker having to sort it out. This wasn’t too bad if it was the likes of Billy Smith. She didn’t like him much, but he was fair at sorting out any mess that happened when she couldn’t make a repair fast enough herself. One or two of the other Overlookers were less easy going than Billy and once too often she had felt the sting of their barbed tongues.

Trying not to dwell on the irritating side of her job, Kathleen focussed her attention on scanning the bobbins, thankful it was Friday. 

 Also available – in Kindle & paperback 

Magnolia House

Satchfield Hall

Sometimes It Happens… 


Blog: http;//

Twitter: @paulinembarclay

A BIG thank you Phillip for having me on your wonderful Blog site and thank you also for joining Famous Five Plus. I hope one day you’ll let me return the favour and you’ll come and sit round my pool to talk about your book and a little about you too!
The thanks go to you, Pauline, for all that you are doing to promote indie authors.   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I recently became a member of Famous Five Plus a web group created to promote the writing of Indie Authors whose passion is to succeed.  While I am still learning about the group and its members, I find myself amazed at the quality and diversity of my fellow author's tales.  They write in many genres to match the reading pleasures of a wide audience of book enthusiasts.  Check out the group's website to see what strikes your fancy.  I guarantee you'll find a lot that will.  In particular, I encourage you to take a peek at two sagas published by group members in the past week, Pauline Barclay's Storm Clouds Gathering (Pauline is the group's founding member) and D.S. Ingram's Angel Girls. And keep checking back at the website where you'll be introduced to new stories and authors you'll come to follow and recommend to your friends.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Falling from the Sky

I've just put the finishing touches on my next novel, Falling from the Sky.  It will be in the editing process for the next several weeks and I'll be working with a cover designer to come up with something snazzy and appealing.  I'll keep you posted on the progress and, when we get closer, the actual publication date.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Friday afternoon I received exciting news from the President of indieBRAG, LLC that I am delighted to share with you. My mystery novel, Reno Splits, has been awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion. The Medallion is an honor conferred by indieBRAG, LLC, an organization created “to bring together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union.” The word ‘indie’ refers to self or independently published books and B.R.A.G. is an acronym for Book Readers Appreciation Group. indieBRAG’s mission is “to recognize quality on the part of authors who self-publish . . . digital books.” In order to maintain the integrity of the award eligibility process, the identity of its reader/reviewers is “kept anonymous to protect them from criticism and influence. Authors do not know who is reading their books and readers do not know who else is reading a particular book.” The reviewers “make their decision without any influence from indiBRAG, authors or other readers and the decision to award a B.R.A.G. Medallion must be a unanimous ‘yes’”. Books that have met indieBRAG’s standard of quality are awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion and featured on the organization’s website, I encourage you to visit the website to see the ninety-two books that have been awarded this prestigious honor, including Reno Splits. You might even decide to take a look at some of the offerings at the site. For those of you who already have read Reno Splits, I send you my sincere thanks. If you haven’t, as yet, I encourage you to do so. It’s a fun read, and now has the recognition of a prestigious organization for validation. And I have a favor to ask. If you are so inclined, please share this posting with your own Facebook friends and other acquaintances. Word of mouth is my most effective marketing tool and you are my best marketing asset.