Friday, 27 September 2013

New books on my shelves: Feature and Follow Friday #168

New books on my shelves: Feature and Follow Friday #168

New books on my shelves include:
Creepy, suspenseful thriller with unexpected plot twists

The second book in this exciting series










Love all the Gillian Flynn books. This is her first novel but the last one of hers I've read. I hope she comes out with another one soon!









WHERE DO I LIKE TO READ?
Here's a beautiful spot in the park where I like to take a book sometimes. It's a Japanese garden. Very peaceful!




Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Thank heaven for showers!

I thought I'd share with you a little more background info on life in a mining village during the 19th and first half of the 20th century. This will give you an insight into the world of THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER.
In my grandmother's house I always remember a tin bath hanging on the wall because of course there wasn't an actual bathroom in most colliery houses. The toilet was outside (a flush one thankfully by the 1940's) and most washing was done at the scullery sink. Often the tin bath was kept out in the yard.
Pit baths were available for miners after a shift was done, which really eased the workload of the miners' wives but some miners preferred not to use them.  Info from The People's Collection of Wales reveals that some miners refused to wash the coal dust from the small of their back because they thought it would diminish their strength.
  Most often bath night was on a Friday. It took place in the kitchen - the nerve-centre of the house. The tin bath was taken down, put in front of the fire and filled with kettlefuls of hot water. Later, some houses had small electric water heaters installed in the scullery making it  easier to access the hot water, but in the early days you simply had to boil the kettle on the hob.
Getting a bath was hard work! In a large family bathing was usually in age order. Women draped sheets over a clothes horse and bathed behind it for modesty's sake (National Coalmining Museum for England). Check out this first hand account of bath night using a tin bath.
If you have any more info you'd like to share from your own family history, just leave a comment. I'd love to hear!
© National Museum of Wales
photo credit: The National Museum of Wales / Amgueddfa Cymru
PITMAN'S DAUGHTER UPDATE! Check out the latest amazing review on Goodreads! The book is also available at McNally Robinson and Barnes and Noble.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

OOPS!!!THREE IMPORTANT MESSAGES!



Miners' wives hang out the washing(1940's)


#1 - Thank you for all your support with my new release THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER! Sales are really starting to take off, particularly in the UK (Thanks to all of you in the North-East) with some in the USA, some in Canada and some actually in Germany! This has also improved sales of THE FOREVER ONES. Also, I made some enquiries, Amazon.ca has lowered the paperback price of THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER"to a more reasonable one.

#2 - OOPS! If you ordered a paperback version of THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER, you may or may not have noticed a typo on the back cover. It reads "Their relationship is complicated by the tragic Maggie, abused wife of seven children and Ella, the childless street gossip with her nose in everyone’s business." No it's not THAT kind of story. It should read, "Maggie, abused mother of seven children."
My apologies for that oversight. It's being corrected as we speak but that means you have a unique version of the book.

#3 - If you're not from the North-East of England, you'll notice there's a great deal of local dialect in THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER that you may have trouble understanding. here's a couple of common words used in it:
 "ard"  = old
 "wife" = woman, usually an older, married one so an "ard wife" is an old woman
"bairn"= child
"lugs" = ears
"cloth lugs" = not listening, hard of hearing (not clinically)
"gannin" = going 
"gob" = mouth
You can find out more about this dialect from The Durham and Tyneside Dialect Group


Friday, 13 September 2013

CAKES, CAKES, CREATIVE CAKES!

Laura's latest cake!








Giant cupcake with roses



Once in a while it's great to feature something totally different. To step away from fiction and focus on something really delectable, fun, yummy and decadent. Something that just makes you happy. I'm talking about cakes. And not just any cake. I mean the CAKE BOSS TYPE!    Check out these gorgeous cakes made by my daughter,  Laura. She's a designer and this is her latest interest. These cakes were custom made for some very special people.

The Vegas Cake complete with fondant dice!
   
Bowtie and suspenders                   Barbie Girl

I think they're gorgeous and one thing's for sure - they made the recipients very, very happy so why don't you take a break on this Friday 13th and make, buy or order the most decadent cake you can think of. Or better still - get Laura to make you one! You'll feel way better for it.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

FINDING THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER



Today's post is just a quick one. I'll be putting something longer out next week! For my Canadian followers, I just want to let you know how to find a PRINT/PAPERBACK version of THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER. Go to Amazon.com to buy it here (direct link to my page). You'll find the reasonable price of $12.95 +postage.
If you go on Amazon.ca they're charging about $32 and I have no clue why.  That's not the price I fixed.  Customers on Amazon.co.uk are fine. The price is the one I set. Otherwise, if you live in my city, both of my books, THE FOREVER ONES and THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER will be available at the wonderful McNally Robinson Bookstore. The Forever Ones is there now in the Teens section and The Pitman's Daughter will be available there next week.
Pay a visit to your local bookstore and ask about my books. They can order them if you ask OR you can get them to contact me directly and I'll supply them.  It's a complicated business but that's the publishing industry for you nowadays!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

ALL ABOUT CHARACTER



This post was inspired by another terrific blogger +Jennifer Ricketts .  I read her post and got thinking about how writers often struggle with character development because it really is the most important aspect of writing a book.  It's a writer's biggest challenge to create unique characters that take on a life of their own and infiltrate the reader's life so completely that saying goodbye at the end of the book is worse than a teen breakup! Memorable characters often stay in the reader's mind forever, conjured up again when someone else reads the book and reminds them.

So how do writers come up with characters?  Here's a few ideas on that:

  • the writer often uses aspects of their own character or the person they'd secretly like to be 
  • the writer takes aspects of people they know (friends and particularly family) and combines quirks, habits, physical attributes into a composite character. (Beware friends/relatives of authors.  You could become part of a fictitious character!)
  • Another technique is to google pictures of people you think look interesting or who seem to "speak to you".  Print their pictures, create character profiles for them, make a diagram that links them together in unusual ways.  They'll soon start telling you their stories and maybe (in some cases) you'll really fall for them!
  • Use lists of questions to develop you character.  They're all over the net - like this one.  Click here
  • the writer actively watches real people in real situations.  Listens to them speak, watches them interact, observes their physical attributes and keeps notes in a journal.  Like a character bank. I've done this in a coffee shop.  Watched as different people entered and made notes about them. Created imaginary lives.  Here's an example of one of my musings:
When the first man walks into Starbucks and stands by the cobalt blue sofa, I see the moon shift in the sky. A swish of rainy night traffic blows into the room, and the air crackles with static.  
 His grey corduroy pants are flecked with black paint.  His fingers are tapered – long, bony and dusted with freckles, fingernails are edged in charcoal.  An artist’s hands.  Wheaty, billowing waves of hair- curl onto his shoulders – like a platinum halo under halogen lights.  
            When the girl at the counter leans forward to hear his order, her cheeks flush flamingo pink.  She has piercings in her eyebrows and silver rings glint along the curve of one ear.  I touch my nose and wonder how a small diamond stud would look above the flare of my nostrils.
            He takes a small espresso – to go - black, a dash of sugar, toys with a cellophane wrapped biscotti, lingers - returns it to the plate.  A strand of hair tickles the corner of his mouth as he hands a small, white card to the barista.
            I look away. He goes.   
.            I’m on espresso number three when the man in a charcoal suit enters.  He wears a white gardenia in his lapel and I nickname him the prince of darkness.  I picture him at a walnut conference table speaking with flat detachment about war, invasion and gun prices.  His toupee gleams too black – like vinyl hair – a plastic man who smells of eucalyptus and tastes of gin.  As he leaves, the hem of his coat brushes my hand, a door slams and darkness slides in like a silent viper.
            Loneliness is its venom.
Hey - maybe I have the beginnings of a thriller here.  Watch out for it!