Blog

Bringing my characters to life

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks. Not only did I complete the first draft of my next novel and start working on the review process with my mentor, Daphne de Jong, we also did a photoshoot for the cover. As I’ve previously mentioned, this book is a historical work set in the 1850s. Those who know me will be aware that I never like to do things by half, so for the past month, I’ve been making an 1850’s ensemble.

DSC_0123

I was lucky enough to enlist the help of photographer, Liesl Wolmarans and model, Lauren Alexander. Both of whom brought their hard work, dedication and many talents to the project. With their assistance, I’ve been able to bring the vision of my protagonist, Florence Thackeray, to life (thank you, ladies and also Robyn, for the use of your garden). I look forward to turning one of the many incredible images we captured into the cover. The hardest part will be choosing which one.

This novel has the current working title of ‘The Moral Compass’ and will be the first in a series titled ‘Shaking the Tree.’ The best bit about writing a series is that we’ll be able to do more photo shoots. I’ve already started planning the 1870s ensemble – bustles, here I come!

 

It’s my birthday month and you get the pressies

To celebrate yet another birthday (really? Another one?) I’m running a promotion for my novel ‘Throwing Light’ and the two short prequels ‘Shame on Who?’ and ‘Missing the obvious.’

Between the 4th and the 8th of May (the 5th and the 9th in NZ) the ebook of ‘Throwing Light’ is .99c (US) and the two short prequels are free. So there’s no excuse not to pop over to Amazon and download them all. You can read Amazon ebooks even if you don’t have a kindle by downloading the free Kindle App. Your books are available to you anywhere, anytime on your desktop or mobile devices.

 

In other news, I am just over 90,000 words into my third novel which is set predominantly in New Zealand in the 1850s. Writing a historical manuscript has required huge amounts of research. Fortunately, I’m a complete geek and love nothing more than burying my head in history books and then weaving what I discover into my writing.  The working title is ‘Shaking the Tree, Part One: A scandalous Affair.’ Yes, it does look like it’s going to be the first in a series. This prospect is both exciting and a little daunting.

Here is a snippet from the first draft. It may or may not end up in the finished book as it is or completely altered—you’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Ambleside, The Lake District, England

August 1852

Florence clambered to the apex of the rock jutting monolithic from the grass. She spread her arms and inhaled. Mrs Branson insisted on lacing her so tightly into her stays she suspected that her chaperone, who appeared on the outside to be a kindly matron, had a hidden cruel streak. The old woman constantly reminded her that she must appear and behave at all times as the lady her father expected her to be. This meant a demure manner and a waist no larger than eighteen inches.

But, with Mrs Branson and her strong fingers hundreds of miles away visiting her sister in Bournemouth, Florence had been dressed this morning by Mary the parlour maid.  As a result, she was able to breathe a lungful of fresh air, even after enjoying a sizable breakfast of bacon, eggs and devilled kidneys.

Florence rested her hands on her waist and surveyed the lake. The dimpled water glinted; squeezed between its banks into an irregular, serpentine form.

Father had been right, a few weeks away from the noise and bustle of London was a tonic from which they would all benefit.  He’d carried a dark cloud over him for weeks and, while Florence didn’t fully understand the cause, she knew that he needed relief from the stresses of his work in the city.

She lowered herself onto the lichen-coated rock.  The Lady of the Lake cut across the surface of the water far below, leaving a shimmering wake. A trip on the steamer would be this afternoon’s adventure.  She leant back, her arms braced against the rock, and regarded the puffy clouds suspended in the blue dome above her. She could become accustomed to such a place and while she knew that Father would never agree to permanently leave the city, even if the Yorkshire air had improved his temper, she could still dream of one day settling in a fine house in a village or small town surrounded by countryside.

“Good morning.” A heavily accented male voice cut through Florence’s daydream.

She gasped and leapt to her feet. Her skin prickled with mortification. To be discovered like this, unchaperoned and sitting on the ground like a common farm worker; Father and Mrs Branson would never forgive such an indiscretion. Her hands flew to the sides of her bonnet, ensuring that it was not askew.

The owner of the voice strode across the grass below her, a thick wooden cane with an ornate silver top in his hand.  He leapt onto the base of the rock with surprising grace, looked up at her and tipped his hat.

“Good morning, I say again.”

Florence, not wanting to appear rude, gave a small curtsey and lowered her eyes.“Good morning, sir.”

 

Two free books to give away

I’m giving away two paperback copies of Throwing Light through Goodreads. If you’d like to enter, follow this link.

front-cover-throwing-light-cover-option-4-copy
And don’t forget that you’ll receive free e-book copies of my two short story prequels to Throwing Light: Missing the Obvious and Shame on Who?  if you sign up for my mailing list. Just click the big red box on the welcome page of this website.

missing-the-obvious-copyshame-on-who-short-story-cover-small-file-copy

Throwing Light is published and I have a pressie for you

Good morning. My second novel, Throwing Light is now live on Amazon as an ebook. The paperback will be available in a couple of days.

front-cover-throwing-light-cover-option-4-copy Throwing Light is a mystery/thriller with romantic elements and according to my beta readers, it’s a real page-turner.

Here’s the blurb –

Grace is trying to come to terms with her mother’s death and handle the unexpected arrival of Tom, her ex-boyfriend, when a mystery document she finds in a box in the attic turns her life on its head and raises questions she is compelled to answer.

In her search for the truth, she stumbles into the middle of a missing person cold case in a small town where the inhabitants have kept a secret to protect one of their own for twenty-five years.

Grace’s investigation unearths long-held rivalries and opens old wounds, causing the past to collide with the present with terrifying results.

 

missing-the-obvious-copyTo celebrate the release of Throwing Light, I’m giving away free copies of the ebook Missing the Obvious which is a short prequel to Throwing Light. All you have to do is sign up to my newsletter. There’s a link on the front page of this website.

Three years before ‘Throwing Light’ begins, Tom and Grace find themselves thrust together at the wedding of their old friend, David. Grace is trying hard to ignore her inappropriate crush on her best friend’s big brother, but when he starts to flirt with her, she wonders if tonight will be her opportunity to finally act on her hidden feelings.