Filter:

Latest Posts

The Numbers Game

Posted on 3rd April, 2020

Well, I've never done this before - published two blogs in one day. It's necessary because the previous blog was about The Deserter's Daughter being free on all e-platforms worldwide for today only. So, in order to stay up to date, I'm finishing the day the same way I started it - with a blog.

 

The Deserter's Daughter is featured in three of Amazon UK's charts - women's historical fiction; women's sagas; and British & Irish historical literature. First thing this morning, the book was at numbers 604, 846 and 955 respectively.

 

By the evening, this is how it was faring:

 

 

 

 

So there's lots of people out there who have downloaded it to give it a try. To all of you - thank you for your interest and I hope you enjoy it.

 

Have a good weekend. Stay safe xx

 

 

One Day Only

Posted on 3rd April, 2020

Morning, all.

 

Just a few lines to tell you that today, Friday April 3rd, The Deserter's Daughter is free world-wide on all e-platforms.

 

"A real page-turner that will tug at your heartstrings."

Anna Jacobs, author of, among many others, the Rivenshaw saga, tha Traders series and (my personal favourites) the Kershaw Sisters books.

 

 

"A gripping, mouth-watering, twist-fuelled read from start to finish . . .A measure of all good books is simply, does the reader want to read on? And the answer here is, without a doubt, yes!"

Carol Rivers, author of 20th century sagas set in London's East End, including A promise Between Friends, A Wartime Christimas and the Lizzie Flowers series.

 

So if you haven't read it yet, and fancy giving it a try, head for your favourite e-platform today.

 

For more information about The Deserter's Daughter, click on the tab to take you to the book's own page, where you'll find photos, reviews and a radio feature from BBC Radio Berkshire.

 

 

 

Goats!

Posted on 31st March, 2020

We had four Great Orme goats in our garden a few evenings ago. They come down from the Orme quite often in the dark and trot through the streets in single file, stopping to help themselves to a snack from gardens along the way.

 

Fortunately, I happened to be on the way upstairs when they jumped over our wall and I saw them from the half-landing window. They are very good about being shoo'd off, which is just as well, as they are HUGE. I wish I had a photo to share, but I was too busy rushing outside to save the lives of my plants!

 

I do, however, have this photo to share . . .

 

 

 

With Llandudno in lockdown, and the streets more or less empty, the goats seem to have moved into town permanently. About a dozen of them have set up camp in the car park of Eglyws Trindod Sanctaidd (Holy Trinity Church).

 

 

 

The TBR Challenge

Posted on 29th March, 2020

I hope that you are coping with the lockdown situation and that you and your loved ones are safe and well.

 

Social media is awash with all kinds of ways of passing the time. I wonder how many of you are doing extra reading? Fortunately for me, I had borrowed a mass of books from the library before the lockdown started. Here are some of them:

 


 

As you can see, as well as writing sagas, I also love reading them!

 

On her Catherine's Cultural Wednesday website, Catherine Boardman has set herself and her followers a TBR (To Be Read) challenge. You can read about it here. What I love about this blog of Catherine's is the descriptions of how she came by these books in the first place.

 

Incidentally, Catherine has also put together a list of museums which have virtual tours - so that you can indulge in a spot of culture during these difficult times.

 

Back to the books! While we're all living in lockdown, I thought I'd share some of my reading with you in case you're looking for more titles to add to your Kindle carousel.

 

An excellent first book in a new saga series. Deceit, tragedy and emotion are the themes in Terri Nixon's latest novel, set on the beautiful Cornish coast. The characters are drawn in depth and develop throughout the story as each one is tested to the limit. It's a very twisty-turny plot and you definitely need to pay attention as you get towards the end, but, crikey, is it worth it. This is the first Terri Nixon book I've read and now I'm looking forward to reading her Oaklands Manor trilogy.

Here is a link to Terri Nixon's Amazon page.

 

I've been up to my ears in edits all week - hence this being the one and only blog of the week - but I'll be keeping in touch more after this.

 

Sending very best wishes to you all xx

 

 

New Reality

Posted on 22nd March, 2020

I was due to go over to Gladstone's Library in Harwarden in Fintshire a day or two ago. It is a favourite place of mine, with its quiet atmosphere and everything geared towards writers and mature students. It is a place where it's very easy to settle down and get a lot of work done. At the same time, it has a friendly atmosphere and a wonderful restaurant.

 

 

In the event, I didn't go, because of the situation with the Corona Virus.

 

I had intended to take some photos while I was there, of places where certain scenes in my books were written - as a follow-on to a blog I wrote a few weeks ago, in which I shared pictures of some locations in Llandudno where I sat to write. In particular, I wanted to show you where I wrote some of the early parts of A Respectable Woman and a scene in the second novel in the Surplus Girls series.

 

But, like so many things now and for the foreseeable future, that blog has had to be put on hold.

 

As I write this, it is a glorious day here in Llandudno - blue skies and sunshine. I spent some time in the garden this morning, digging over the soil and putting in some plants, including a coupe of new euphorbia. I hope that, wherever you are as you read this, you are finding ways of coping with our new reality and that you and your family are well.

 

Stay safe xxx

 

 

 

Tales of the Unexpected

Posted on 16th March, 2020

How many of you out there remember watching Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected back in the 1970s? Or, if you don’t remember any of the programmes themselves, I bet you remember the opening credits, with the silhouette of the girl dancing in front of what I imagine was a psychedelic background. I can’t be sure about the psychedelic bit, because our telly was black-and-white. I can recall only one of the stories, which featured Susan George as a housewife who cooked a joint of meat . . . and if you don’t know the significance of this, I’m not going to tell you. I’ll just say the story had a very clever twist at the end.

 

We all enjoy a good plot-twist, don’t we? One of the things about being an experienced reader is that it is rare to be truly surprised by something that happens in a book – though I want to make it clear that this in no way lessens the enjoyment of reading it. It is particularly true for readers of genre fiction, where certain conventions and expectations exist within whatever type of story it is. I once wrote a blog called A Promise Between Friends, which was about the ‘contract’ between the author of genre fiction and the reader. The author writes a stirring story within the conventions and the reader meets the writer halfway. Even so, a good plot-twist is always welcome.

 

Take Hope at Holly Cottage by saga writer Tania Crosse. The idea of the husband or father drinking his wages and then knocking his wife around is well-known to readers of sagas and historicals, but Tania Crosse takes this familiar idea and gives it a new lease of life. Yes, Anna’s dad has bouts of violence, but the reason behind them is one I haven’t come across in a saga before and it adds extra depth to the tragic dynamics of the family situation.

After packing the opening chapters with drama and emotion, Tania Crosse then takes the heroine off into a completely new place for the next part of her story, changing not only the setting but also the atmosphere, and giving Anna something new to strive for.

 

And if you have read Lizzie of Langley Street by Carol Rivers, then you need look no further than its sequel, The Fight for Lizzie Flowers, for a truly unexpected beginning.

 

The first book ends in just the way the reader hopes it will, but the expectations that this creates for what will happen in book 2 are decisively blown to bits in the very first chapter of The Fight for Lizzie Flowers, which opens the continuation of Lizzie’s story in a thoroughly unexpected manner, paving the way for a dramatic and compelling story in which Lizzie – and the reader – can take nothing for granted. As with every Carol Rivers saga, there is a pacey story with well-drawn characters and a strong sense of family feeling.

I was going to end this blog by saying something along the lines of how good it would be if we could have more breath-taking plot-twists, but now I’m wondering whether that might result in too much of a good thing. After all, one of the reasons we all admire a devious plot-twist is because it’s unusual. And perhaps that’s the way it should stay – as a special treat in the occasional book.

 

The Deserter's Daughter at the Library

Posted on 13th March, 2020

Following on from the blog I published earlier this week, here are a few more snippets from my library loan stats for the lending year July 2018 to June 2019.

 

My most borrowed large print book was The Deserter's Daughter.

 

 

The Deserter's Daughter was also my second most borrowed title, if you add the hardback and paperback books, large print and audiobook loans together . . .

 

. . . although, the hardback and paperbacks of The Deserter's Daughter were borrowed fewer times than the hardback and paperbacks of The Sewing Room Girl.  

 

In case you came straight to my blog without stopping to look at the Welcome page, The Sewing Room Girl is currently featured in the Amazon Kindle spring sale and is priced at £1.19.

 

 

 

And the Most Borrowed Book Is...

Posted on 10th March, 2020

You may know that writers, illustrators, audiobook narrators etc all get paid a small amount each time a work is borrowed from a public library in the UK. The lending year runs from July 1st to June 30th. The statements are then put together and the authors etc are informed of the lending figures early in the following February, with the payment for that year being made towards the end of February.

 

Currently the amount per loan is 9.3 pence and this is divided between those who have contributed to the book, eg as the sole author of a print book (as opposed to an audiobook), the author receives the whole amount; but with, for example, a children's picture book for which the author and the illustrator are two different people, the 9.3 pence is shared between the two of them. Likewise, the payment for an audiobook loan is shared between the author and the narrator.

 

A few weeks ago, I received my statement for the year July 1st 2019 - June 30th 2019. At that point, The Deserter's Daughter and A Respectable Woman had been available all year as hardback, paperback, large print and audio. The Sewing Room Girl had been out in hardback for seven months and the paperback for five or six weeks. The audio had only just been released and the large print was as yet unpublished. And The Poor Relation had been published in hardback in May 2019 and was in the lending statistics for just five and a half weeks.

 

I am proud to to tell you that my most borrowed book for the year was A Respectable Woman, with a total of 9,417 loans.

 

h

Huge thanks to all of you who borrowed it and I hope you all enjoyed it.

 

 

Romance Reading Month Interview, Part 2

Posted on 5th March, 2020

Earlier this week, I posted the first part of my Romance Reading Month interview. Here now is the rest of it.

 

* * * *

 

What was your favourite read of 2019?

I read the first two books in Jean Fullerton’s Ration Book series – Pocketful of Dreams, which was recently rereleased as A Ration Book Dream, which I thought was the best book I’d read all year until I read the sequel, A Ration Book Christmas. Jean Fullerton knows her stuff and has thoroughly researched the details of everyday life during the Blitz. Her stories are filled with emotion and drama and Dream is outstanding because it chooses an unusual focus. The third book, A Ration Book Childhood, is approaching the top of my TBR pile.

 

 

Do you read other romance authors and who would you recommend?

I love sagas and Carol Rivers is a favourite of mine, especially her Home Front stories. I also love books by Anna Jacobs and Dilly Court.

 

I recommend Another You by Jane Cable, which is in places tough to read because the heroine is in such an emotionally painful situation, but which is a wonderful mixture of romance and mystery.

 

And if you enjoy warm-hearted rom com, try Come Away With Me by Maddie Please.

 

Was there a point in your life that a book helped you get through, if so which one?

I was widowed young and for a long time afterwards had trouble concentrating. I would start reading a book and then simply not be able to focus. Then I picked up Without Charity by Michelle Paver and I was captivated. I remember feeling enormously grateful to the author for enabling me to escape into the world of the story.

 

Is there anyone that you would like to mention and thank for their support of your writing?

I’d like to thank the Canadian romance author Jen Gilroy. We have been friends since 2014, having met through Twitter long before we met in person. When I decided to try for publication, it took me two years of re-writes before I got an agent and at one point I seriously considered stopping. After all, I had already had one dream come true by moving to North Wales – how could I expect a second dream to come true? Jen had no idea I was having doubts, but she sent emails, encouraging me not to give up – and I kept going. Jen is always there to lend an ear or to share a groan or a laugh. She is a much appreciated constant in my writing life.

 

If you had the power to give everyone in the world one book, what would it be and why?

My choice of book is Norman Longmate’s How We Lived Then: a History of Everyday Life During the Second World War (Hutchinson, 1971), which is a comprehensive and informative account of life on the Home Front that also happens to be hugely readable and entertaining. I would share this because it is about human resilience and the ability of ordinary people to cope with whatever is thrown at them. And I’d like to offer readers the chance to have it as an audiobook, because I think that being read to is one of life’s great pleasures.

 

What are you working on now?

As Polly Heron I am writing a 1920s saga series for Corvus. The first book, The Surplus Girls, was published at the beginning of 2020. Book 2 is already written and now I am working on book 3, which is going to be a Christmas-themed story, something I have wanted to write for ages and am making the most of.

 

 

Lastly, do you have any questions for your readers?

The question I would most like to ask is: what is your favourite era/decade for a story?

 

* * * *

 

The Surplus Girls on UK Amazon

 

The Surplus Girls on US Amazon

 

 

Romance Reading Month Interview, Part 1

Posted on 3rd March, 2020

You may remember my mentioning that February was Romance Reading Month. As part of the celebrations, members of the Romantic Novelists Association were featured on the Love Reading book blog site. In case you missed it, this is my interview.

 

* * * *

 

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey, please?

I was a child-writer, mostly writing boarding school stories. In my teens I loved historical novels and started writing them. When I was in my 20s, I had a literary agent who loved what I had written, but nothing ever came of it. I then spent years writing purely for pleasure before I decided to aim for publication again and I wrote three novels in order to have a body of work to offer. Laura Longrigg at MBA signed me up. Those three books, plus another one, A Respectable Woman, have all been published by Allison & Busby. I now also write as Polly Heron for Corvus.

 

Can you tell us how you became involved with the Romantic Novelists Association and what it means for you to be part of it?

Like so many writers, I joined the RNA as part of the New Writers Scheme, in which you can submit a novel to be critiqued by a published author. I put three books through the process and the feedback was invaluable, so I am grateful to the RNA for that. The other wonderful thing about the RNA is the writers I’ve met and become friends with. Writing can be a lonely business – for years no one else knew I wrote – but now I can’t imagine being without the support of fellow writers. The RNA throws great parties too!

 

What was the inspiration behind your latest release writing as Susanna Bavin?

The inspiration behind The Poor Relation came from reading about the lives of suffragettes. I also wanted to write about a heroine who was determined to become a writer, but could only achieve this against the odds. And the will, which causes so much trouble in the book, was based on a real will. Trust me – it’s a very sobering moment when you’re told that you have inherited something, but you can’t have it until another person dies.

Do you find it hard to let your characters go when you finish writing the book?

I feel very invested in my characters. It’s my job to know them inside out, so when the story finishes, there is a little moment when I gulp at the thought of not being with them again, but then it is time to start work on the next book and – hurrah – I have a new set of characters to become involved with. As Polly Heron, I am writing a trilogy for Corvus and some characters carry on from one book to another, so I don’t have to say goodbye to them just yet!

 

* * * *

 

That's the first half of the interview. I hope you found it interesting. I'll post the second half later this week.

 

* * * *

 

The Poor Relation on Amazon UK  and on Amazon US