The Multi-Talented Clarie Boley

I'm saying  hello to Claire Boley on my blog today.  Not only has Claire written a successful novel but this multi- talented lady has also published a book on the craft of hand spinning and natural
However more of that later.

So welcome Claire, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

.When did you start writing?
 Ten years ago. I read an article by a friend and decided that perhaps I could write one about hand spinning as at the time I was running workshops plus having solo exhibitions on the subject across the South West of England. The article was accepted by Country Smallholder. A year later Good Life Press gave me an advance to write a book on hand spinning and natural dyeing. After finishing this book I thought perhaps I should attempt to write a novel. I never dreamt that a publisher would take it on.

That must have been really exciting for you. What is your novel about?
The story of If Only I’d Listened is based in 60s London when 16 year old school girl Samantha Smithson gets pregnant by Peter Knight a 6th form student from Samantha’s school. All this happened in an era when pregnancy outside of marriage carried a stigma.
Peter comes from a middle class family and is studying for his A levels with plans to go to university. These plans are scotched as soon as Samantha mentions that she is pregnant as he wants to stand by her and the baby, so he needs to find work and accommodation suitable for him and his young family.
Sam comes from a lower class background, lives in a tower block with parents that drink a lot and a father that is abusive. She spends most of the nine months in hospital worrying about her future and wondering if she should have an abortion.
Pete visited Sam in hospital most days but is encouraged by his mates to go out and about enjoying himself in both clubs and pubs.

Where did you get the inspiration for If Only I’d Listened?
      I lived and worked as a nurse in 1960s London for four years. I took most of the ideas from my life at the hospital.

         How did you research the book? 
     From the worldwide web where I found out about the buses and tubes – where they stopped and the London A to Z where I looked up the names of the roads.

     Did you plan the book? 
     I do not plan my writing. For me the first paragraph for writing  anything is the hardest. Once I have written that I am away until I get writers block – if I get that I find it hard to get going again.

How do you organise your writing time? 
My brain is at its most creative in the morning. I get up at 8am and start writing at 9am and finish at lunch time unless I am on a roll then I continue until about 3pm.

 Will there a follow up? 
Most probably and I will send Pete to University. 

Having written one craft book have you continued with your creative lifestyle? 

For the last ten years I have been writing articles for the national magazines on different subjects including hand spinning, ceramics, cooking and gardening. 

Please tell us a little about the book. 
I have enjoyed many years of hand spinning and have been a full member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen where I showed and sold my designer knitwear. In the past I have held regular workshops for hand spinning along with solo exhibitions across the South West of England.
In 2011 I was offered an advance to write the craft book Hand Spinning and Natural Dyeing by the Good Life Press.
This book takes you through the complete process of hand spinning explaining how to spin wool using your fingers a drop spindle and a spinning wheel. It also guides you through spinning different types of yarn from the most basic to the elaborate. I also share recipes for producing wonderful colours from plants that I grow in my garden.

Thank you so much for coming along Claire.  I am in awe of such a talented lady. It takes me all my time to sew on a button!

.Links Amazon for If Only I’d Listened
                 for Hand Spinning and Natural dyeing

Links Amazon for If Only I’d Listened
                 for Hand Spinning and Natural dyeing

What is happening in my writing world?

Two things are on my mind at the moment.  Resolutions received an excellent review from InD'tale magazine.  If you can read it, sorry it's a little small, this is the review.

This has qualified it to go through to go through to their RONE awards. It's a huge surprise as I'm in the steamy category - well I never!

My fellow author Susan Clayton Goldner is also in the running , but for the much more respectable mystery category for her novel, Redemption Lake.

Voting happens during next week (21st - 27th May).
Apparently anyone can vote, after registering, but only once. I'm hoping as many of you as possible will go along and vote and coerce your family and friends to do the same. It would be amazing to get through to the last five.

Don't worry about finding a link. I'll be all over social media throwing them around like confetti, next week.  Maybe some will be left over from 'THE' wedding!

The second thing on my mind is my new novel.
I've been asked on a few occasions if I'm writing a second novel. Yes, I am...sort of. It's going painfully slowly. I know what I want to write, I have a good idea of the plot and characters but life and time don't always play fair.  I also have to admit I am a terrible procrastinator.

However, thanks to my friend, author Paula Martin, it does now have a title. I really needed one to focus on and despite throwing various ideas around nothing worked. However I have settled on...
 'Summer's End'.  I love it- it's perfect for the story.

The first chapter has been re-written quite a few times now, so I'm feeling a little happier with that. The book has a long way to go yet, I'm probably only a quarter of the way through the first draft. However here is an excerpt from the beginning.
What do you think?


Lyn narrowed her eyes and peered across the grassy expanse of the outer bailey. Were her eyes playing tricks on her, or was a man leaning against the castle wall, near the ruins of the medieval chapel? He was motionless, and seemed to be gazing out across the sea.
The castle had closed over fifteen minutes ago, and she’d watched the remaining few visitors heading past the stark ruins of the tall stone tower towards the exit. She was positive all the visitors had gone.
It was probably a trick of the light. In the past few minutes, ominous black clouds had rolled in over the bay, and it was difficult to see anything clearly in the gloom.
She squinted again at the shape in the distance. When the figure started to walk slowly along the wall toward the headland, she knew she hadn’t imagined him. But why was he still here? Hadn’t he realised the castle closed to the public at six o’clock?
Cupping her hands on either side of her mouth, she called out, ‘The castle has now closed. Please make your way to the gate.’
The man continued to walk. Obviously he hadn’t heard her. The only thing to do was to set off in his direction, and ask him to leave the castle grounds.
A rumble of thunder reverberated in the distance as she jogged across the grass. She waved to try to attract the man’s attention but doing so caused her to stumble over a clump of grass. Regaining her balance, she checked the ground in front of her. When she raised her head again to continue running, she frowned.
The man had vanished. She screwed up her eyes, scanning the length of the wall, but there was no sign of him. Confused, she swivelled in a half-circle. She’d only taken her eyes off him for a few seconds. Where on earth was he?
Another clap of thunder made her jump. At the same time, cold drops of rain fell on her head. Any minute now, the heavens were going to open, and she’d soon be drenched.
She wavered in indecision. Should she continue running to where she’d last seen the man in the hope of finding him? Or should she return to the café and tell Tom there was still a visitor somewhere in the castle grounds?
A cold gust of wind made her shiver, and whipped long strands of her dark hair across her eyes. As she struggled to push them back, the rain, already coming down more heavily, plastered them against her face.
Most of the outer bailey was now lost in the misty half-light, and she’d get soaked if she continued her search. Instead, she turned back toward the café, just as a jagged flash of lightning illuminated the area.
She blinked in surprise when she saw the man close to the stone wall of the Great Tower. How had he managed to get across from the outer wall so quickly?
But at least she could keep him in her sights now. He was walking toward the Master Gunner’s house, the eighteenth century building which housed the museum and café. Oddly enough, he didn’t seem to be in any hurry, even though the rain was hammering down.
Shivering as water soaked her thin jacket and dripped down her face, she increased her pace. She expected to close the gap, but somehow the man seemed to keep the same distance away from her. Maybe that was simply an optical illusion, created by the driving rain in front of her.
As he reached the wooden picnic tables in front of the house, she assumed he would turn left toward the exit. Surprise jerked through her when he continued walking to the house.

A light shone from the café window. She knew Tom was in there. He’d arranged to meet her, having promised to show her how to cash up the day’s takings. If the stranger had gone in there, he’d be able to deal with him.
Lyn ran the last few yards towards the café. After pushing the door open, she stopped for a moment while catching her breathe and shook the rain from her hair.
Tom stood by the counter and looked up, smiling at her. “At last! I thought you’d got lost.” His smile faded and he frowned. “You’re wet through.”
Lyn took a gasp of air. “Not lost, but trying to follow a visitor, or one of the actors, who’s still in the castle. He came in here a few seconds ago.”
Turning her head she surveyed the small room. “Where is he?”
Tom looked at her blankly, a look of puzzlement in his eyes. “No one has come in here, only you. I’ve not left here for the last hour or so. Are you sure you saw someone?”

Her shoulders slumped and she leaned against the window ledge. “He came through the door as clearly as I did. There’s a man around her somewhere, who doesn’t realise the castle is shut for the day. I saw him wandering over by the curtain wall across the headland but lost sight of him. Then I spotted him walking this way.”

Welcome Paula Martin talking about her latest release.

I'm delighted to have Paula Martin along today. Many of you will be familiar with Paula's 'Irish' series of books. They are also well known as the Mist Na Mara series. 

If you've not read them yet I do highly recommend them. The first in the series is Irish Inheritance.

Her readers are eagerly awaiting the fifth book called Irish Shadows. Paula's books combine mystery and history with a great romance, all set in wonderful Connemara scenery.

However today we are talking about Her Only Option, another of my favourite books which, is  re-released and currently available for pre-order. The links are below.

1. Where did the inspiration for Her Only Option come from?
From the Nile cruise I did in 2010, which had been on my ‘bucket list’ for many years. For most of the week, we were busy visiting many different ancient sites and temples, and I hadn’t even thought about writing, let alone the plot of a new novel. But on the final day of the cruise, we had a free afternoon to relax on the sundeck of our cruise ship at Aswan. The cruise ships are usually moored four abreast, and our sundeck was at the same level as those on the neighbouring ships. I found myself idly wondering if it was possible to vault across the three or four-foot gap from one sundeck to another. Not that I had any intention of trying it, you understand, but I had a mental image of the hero vaulting over the rails to join the heroine. In fact, it never actually happened in the story I eventually wrote, but that was the moment when the story was first conceived. Within the next twenty-four hours, I had decided that the heroine was a cruise ship tourist guide, and the hero was an archaeologist.
Moored cruise ships

2. Ross is an archaeologist. How much research did you have to do into ancient Egyptian tombs and hieroglyphics for example? What was the most interesting part of the research for this novel?
During the cruise, we visited several tombs in the Valley of the Kings, so I had plenty of memories to draw on. In the week following the cruise, we stayed at a hotel overlooking the Nile at Luxor, and I bought what turned out to be an invaluable book about the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Having been a history teacher for twenty-odd years, I already knew a fair bit about Ancient Egypt, but I still needed to do a lot of fact-checking. I love researching, and it was fun to include throwaway lines like ‘early development of the offset axis’. Having said that, I think the most interesting part of the research was finding out fairly trivial details about modern day Egypt, such as ‘Are there any pizza takeouts in Luxor?’ and ‘How long is the train journey between Aswan and Luxor?’

3. Did you know who was going to be the ‘baddie’ and threaten Ross’s work all the time you were writing the novel?
When I first started thinking about this story, I didn’t even know there would be a baddie! Originally, it was going to be a ‘relationship’ novel i.e. a heroine torn between two lovers. The ‘intrigue’ side of the novel crept up on me and took me by surprise, and then I had to work out who was doing what and why. I actually thought about three different ‘baddies’ before I eventually decided who it was! Then it was a case of introducing a few ‘red herrings’ to keep the reader guessing, too.

4. Where did the idea for Wasim, the Elvis-singing boatman, come from?
A Nile boat similar to Wasim's
Actually, I have no idea, because he simply appeared! I was doing a ‘filler’ scene, where Ross takes Neve across the Nile to visit the Valley of the Kings. As they walk along to where the motorboats were moored, Ross says, ‘I always use the same private motorboat. Elvis should be moored along here.’ He then explains how the boatman sings Elvis songs – and I’m thinking, Where on earth did that come from? because I hadn’t planned it all! But I ended up loving my Elvis-singing Nile boatman and decided (or maybe he decided?) that he needed a bigger role in the story, which ended up as quite a pivotal role. It was one of those wonderful occasions when the characters take over the story!

5. If this was made into a film, the scenery would be stunning. Who would you like to see play Ross and Neve in a film?
Definitely Hugh Jackman for Ross! In the movie ‘Australia’,

 Hugh appears at a charity ball in a white dinner jacket – and I think there was a collective intake of breath in the cinema, because he looked so amazing. I’ve replicated that moment in my story when Neve sees Ross in his white dinner jacket!
As for Neve, I can picture her in my mind – and my cover artist found a perfect picture of her, but I’m not sure which actress would be right. Maybe the one who played Sybil in Downton Abbey?

6. You’ve just written your fifth book in the Irish Mist Na Mara series. Do you think you’ll ever return to Egypt for a sequel or a new stand-alone novel?
My visit there was just three months before the revolution in January, 2011, and since then unrest and also terrorist attacks have increased. Although I’d love to go to Egypt again, I don’t think I will get there. One of my reviewers did suggest a possible spin-off story about Joanne, Neve’s friend, which occasionally flutters through my mind, so – never say never!

7. How do you organise your writing day/time?
Organise? You must be joking! I have no excuses because I’m retired, my family (including my two grandsons) are grown-up now, and I live alone. But my muse is a night-owl, and so am I. So, although I can edit and write blogs etc. during the day, I tend to do all my writing in the evenings, as that is when my brain goes into creative mode.

Neve Dalton loves her job as a tour guide on a River Nile cruise ship as much as she values her independence. She isn’t ready to settle down with her Egyptian boyfriend, despite his repeated proposals and his father’s desire to see him married.
Nor is she ready to meet Ross McAllister, a compelling and fascinating archaeologist. She struggles against her growing attraction to him until she can no longer ignore what her heart is telling her.
When she starts receiving cryptic messages, and Ross’s work in the famous Valley of the Kings is threatened, Neve has to make a heart-breaking and life-changing decision which she feels is her only option.
Can they discover whose enmity is forcing them apart before it’s too late?

HER ONLY OPTION will be released on May 23, 2018, and is currently available for pre-order at only 99c/99p

Twitter: @PaulaRomances

On my travels part 2. Kiel Canal and Warnemunde.

The regal wave to the crowds who gathered to watch our ship enter the lock which would take us into the Kiel Canal.
It took us about eight hours to cruise the canal.  I didn't take many photos as it was mainly heavily wooded on both sides and it rained all day!
However it was an interesting experience and one we had on our 'to do' list. We've visited the Baltic twice but each time it was on a ship too large to go down the canal.

The first thing that greeted us, on arrival in Warnemunde were these barrel organ players. Something I hadn't seen since childhood. In fact they were on every street corner.  The town was filled with music. It is a lively, busy spot and the weather was excellent.
Der Alte Strom (or Old Channel) reminded us very much of Nyhaven in Copenhagen. it was lined with bars, restaurants and shops. We especially liked the boats, moored alongside, selling fish and chips.  Warnemunde is now a port call for the larger ships going into the Baltic. Many passengers take advantage of a trip to Berlin from here.  I've been to Berlin a few years ago and was glad I didn't miss this intriguing place.
 It was originally a fishing village and still has many of the charming fishermen's cottages.  There are lovely squares and back streets to explore.
Warnemunde used to be in East Germany and was a popular holiday spot then. You can see why.
It's coast line is the Baltic and it has the most amazing, huge beach.  The sand is dotted with thousands of the towns trade mark wicker basket sun lounges. They spread out in every direction. Along the long promenade, it was busy with stalls and fairground attractions. There was plenty to eat and drink if you needed it.
The Neptune hotel was pointed out to us, as of particular interest.
Apparently during the time of the 'Cold War' it was a popular meeting spot for spies and double agents and the like. How true that was I don't know, but its an interesting thought.

On my travels - Bremen and Kiel canal

I had no idea what to expect when we visited Bremen. We'd taken a cruise, sailing through the Kiel Canal and Bremen was the first stop. Bremen is on the river Wesser. While many larger ships dock at Bremerhaven, we were able to sail into the port. The city centre was just a few minutes tram car ride away.
 We arrived first at the Marktplatz. Here you can visit the Ratshaus the Ratskeller or just have a coffee and watch the world go by.

Bremen is an enchanting Hanseatic city, with a long history. The architecture flows from the 10th century, through medieval and Germany's 1930s and 1940s to modern day.It's like walking through a living museum
The gilded entrance to Bottcherstrasse.
The Glockenspiel House

Bottcherstrasse (in medieval times was the street of the barrel makers) was transformed in the late 1920s. This became an inspired mixture of Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings. The Glockenspiel House has a carillon of Meissen porcelain bells.

Walking towards the harbour area, we came across Schnoor. This is well preserved lanes of fisherman's houses and now includes artisan shops and art galleries. It's narrow lanes, old buildings and cobbled lanes reminded us of the Shambles in York.

A visit to Bremen has to include at least a photo of the statue of the Town Musicians.
The Town Musicians
This portrays a donkey, dog, cat and a rooster of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale.

After leaving Bremen we were to sail through the Kiel canal and on to the intriguing and surprisingly lovely city of Warnemunde.  More of that later.

Two extra-ordinary writers for the price of one!

I'm delighted to have Jane Risdon on a return visit to my blog. Jane has brought along her co-author on Only One Woman, Christine Jones. 

Only One Woman is receiving Five Star accolades on Amazon. Here is a taste of what readers are saying 
'A wonderful trip down memory lane.'
'Beautifully crafted.'
'Both women tugged at my heart.'
'A fantastic read.'

 Hello Carol, it is great to be able to tell you about working together on Only One Woman, thanks for asking us. J&C.
Jane Risdon

How did the two of you first meet/get to know one another?
J I’ll let Christina answer this one, I am sure people have heard enough from me…
C We knew about one another for some time before we actually met. I was involved in pop journalism and became the Fan Club Secretary for Jane’s boyfriend’s group… So we exchanged letters for ages before we met in person. We liked each other immediately – recognising kindred spirits – and we’ve been friends ever since.  

From whom did the initial inspiration for OOW come?
J We both always wanted to write together. Personally I couldn’t think how, or even why Christina would want to write with me. She had a fabulous well established career as a best-selling, award-winning author and I was involved in the music business, with dreams of being a crime writer. So, how we could write together and what we could write together was somewhat of a dilemma. I’ll let Christina expand on this…
C Both of us! We were both playing around with the idea of writing together – but as I write froth and bubble rom-com and Jane writes gritty crime, our styles were oceans apart so a collaboration seemed highly unlikely… until we met one day and said of course the one thing we had in common was our experiences of life and the music scene in the 1960s… it was a real light-bulb moment – and the embryo idea for OOW was born!
J I remember the meeting well. Peter Robinson was at a local Waterstones signing his latest book and Christina is a huge fan (and me too) and we decided we’d go to his signing. Also, he has mentioned her in one his books and later he told us his wife - in real life - is a huge fan. Christina didn’t want to introduce herself, being shy, so I put my music management hat on and introduced them and he was chuffed to meet her, and said his wife would be so jealous. After the signing Christina and I went to a local watering-hole for a natter about writing together.

Do you share the same taste in music and reading for example?
J I love anything well written, performed and well produced. Most of my career in music I’ve worked with a variety of musical genres, including Chinese Opera, Classical Opera, Thrash Metal and Hard and Heavy Rock, R&B and Pop/R&B and Dance. I’ve never worked with anything I didn’t love. The 1960s is a special music-wise for me, but not the early Rock ‘n’ roll or some of the singer-songwriters of that era, though I love their material performed by others. Bob Dylan is a prime example – I cannot listen to him but love his songs. I am also a fan of the musicals from the early to mid-20th century and I adore Doris Day and Howard Keel, Glen Miller and the big band sounds of the 1940s.
C I think my musical tastes are far more poppy than Jane’s – and of course we both love 60’s music – but honestly, I love tunes from all musical genres, classical, modern – all of them – oh, except a lot of the 21st century manufactured all-sounds-the-same stuff – oh, and the current trend for solo boys strumming a guitar off-key and wailing out of tune… lol – oh, and I can’t do with rap or hip-hop or whatever they’re called these days… Goodness – I’m clearly very old lol!
J Join the club. I cannot abide anything Indie, Rap or Hip/Hop etc. The poetry of the lyrics can be clever, but the ‘music’ hits a nerve at the back of my brain, and it ain’t pretty.
Books – yes we both love crime novels, police procedurals and thrillers! From Agatha Christie to the present day.
J  I agree and I love anything to do with Espionage as well.

How different/similar are your writing styles?
C Miles apart lol! As I’ve already said I write feel-good bucolic frolic fiction – happy ever after stories and love and laughter. Jane writes brilliantly at the other end of the spectrum. However, as the writing style of OOW was a sea-change for us both, we managed to adapt really well. Eventually…
J Cripes, I’d read Christina’s work and I loved it, but I never thought I could ever write well enough to - in all seriousness - ever write with her. She’ll tell you, I was always worrying about dragging her down to ‘my level’ and ruining her reputation writing with me, I was so filled with self-doubt and anxiety…before we’d even started any writing, but she read some of my stories and like them, so in the end I had to get a grip! I think getting our styles right so they fitted Only One Woman has been amazing. I have no idea how we managed it, but it seems to have just happened.

How did you decide who wrote which part/ break down the writing?
J I’ll let Christina answer this one
C That was the easy part I think. Once we’d agreed on the outline of OOW we knew the only way it would work was for each of us to assume the identity of one of the characters – and to make the novel narrative work, we decided to let our characters tell their stories via their diary entries… As we’d also agreed to use part of our own backgrounds for Renza and Stella and fictionalise the rest, the story had to start with Renza’s story, so Jane kicked it all off…
I call tell you, Jane had a blue fit when she realised she’d be opening the book and trying to capture the reader long enough to read past the first page! No stress at all…

Which was your main method of communication – email? Phone? Did you have the opportunity to meet up?
J Again, I’ll hand over to Christina to answer this one…
C We spoke on the phone occasionally if we had a complicated bit of story to unravel, but as we don’t live close to one another we didn’t meet at all - however we emailed all the time – winging the latest bits of OOW back and forth – BUT to start with Jane wrote all Renza’s parts from start to finish then she emailed me the manuscript and I slotted Stella’s story in.. then we phoned, emailed, texted and each added more adventures for the girls… it was all very 21st century for a very 20th century novel!
J Such a cool way to write together. Thanks goodness for the internet. Imagine doing it by snail-mail…

Be honest now! How difficult/easy did you find it, collaborating with someone writing a novel?
J It was a little daunting writing Renza, Scott, and the characters in the early part of Only One Woman and then sending it to Christina for her parts, since she didn’t know what to expect and had to very cleverly fit in with what I’d set-up, some the characters who’d feature in her parts had been established by the time she came to write. She’s done a fab job too, it must have been difficult. Also I didn’t know anything about Stella, her family or friends, when writing the earlier parts. I’ve never done it before, and I am not sure how it would have worked with anyone else. It was easy, no stress and good fun.
C I’d never done it before, and I’m not sure it would work with someone I didn’t know well,  but I think because Jane and I know each other inside out, are such good friends, and we’re very close, it was easy. Also we’re very similar laid-back ladies without egos… so, yes, it was a fabulously enjoyable experience.
J Oh cripes egos! Had enough of those to last a lifetime working with singers and musicians. Cannot be doing with it.

What happened if one of you came up with a piece of writing or an idea that the other really didn’t like?
J Fortunately, it didn’t happen. Writing together was easy, we both knew the story we wanted to tell.
C It didn’t happen! Honestly. I guess if it had we’re good enough friends for us to be able to discuss it and come to an amicable decision without coming to blows lol. 

Did you edit/proof read each other’s work?
C Oh – we both read it through over and over and over again – we didn’t edit each other’s pieces, we left all that to our professional editors – but yes, because we added so many additional story-lines to the original outline and had to make sure the continuity worked each time, we read it so often that we both said in the end we could probably quote the whole 500 pages off by heart lol.
J I agree with Christina, we didn’t really edit for each other, we had an editor to do all that. My poor long suffering husband read every word over and over, as I wrote, until he could recite my parts in his sleep. He also had to check musical facts for me. I don’t know if Christina’s husband had the same joyful experience. Interestingly, my husband said that he thought men would enjoy the book as much as girls. He was right. We have had lots of men read and review Only One Woman for us.  We were asked to add to the 130,000 words already written when we thought we’d finished the book – it is about 160,000 words now and yes, we know the 500 pages off by heart. War and Peace for the 21st century but a fast read so we are told.

Would you write another book in collaboration with another writer again?
J I have been asked a few times, but I am not sure - probably not - unless with Christina. We both have quite a few stories we could still tell…
C With Jane. Yes. With someone else? Probably not…

Did you agree on covers etc/
I’ll hand over to Christina for this one

C Our publisher chose the cover – we had a different one originally – neither of us liked it – and the publisher did agree to change it for the one we have now with the generic hippy 60s rock-chick with flowers in her hair… and Narnia’s Children’s yellow band-bus (Jane’s suggestion) in the background

Perhaps Christina could tell us a little about herself?
·         OK… Um… Here goes… (Carol – this is my official bio – please, please cut out all the irrelevant stuff here) I’m the only child of a schoolteacher and a circus clown, and have written all my life (long before I thought I’d ever be published). As well as writing romantic comedy novels, and pop interviews and stories to the teenage magazines, I’ve also contributed short stories and articles to many national magazines and newspapers.
Christina Jones
I’ve won awards for my writing: Going the Distance was a WH Smith Fresh Talent Winner; Nothing to Lose, was shortlisted and runner-up for the Thumping Good Read Award with film and television rights sold; Heaven Sent was shortlisted in The Melissa Nathan Comedy Romance Awards and won a Category Award; Love Potions won the Pure Passion Award; The Way to a Woman’s Heart was short-listed for the Rom-Com of the Year; and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding won The Reviewer’s Choice Award.

I’ve written 21 romantic comedy novels:
Dancing in the Moonlight; Going the Distance; Running the Risk; Stealing
the Show; Jumping to Conclusions; Tickled Pink; Nothing to Lose;
Walking on Air; Lavender Lane; Honeysuckle House; Forever Autumn;
Summer of Love; Hubble Bubble; Seeing Stars; Love Potions; Happy
Birthday; Heaven Sent; Moonshine; The Way A Woman's Heart; Never
Can Say Goodbye and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding.

I’ve also written and/or contributed to 11 e-book-only novellas/short
stories/compilations: Those Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days; Mitzi’s Midwinter Wedding; Bucolic Frolics; Happy Ever After; Snippets; Shiver; Holiday Fling; Wishing on a Star; Chicklit Lovers Vol One; Chicklit Lovers Vol Three; and the Milton St John Box-Set.

I’m chuffed to bits to say that  the love and peace and rock’n’roll 1960s story: Only One Woman – co-authored with the wonderful Jane Risdon - was published as an e-book in November 2017 and will be available in all shops/libraries/outlets as a mass market paperback on May 24th 2018.

My next novel – Marigold’s Magical Mystery Tour – will be published in September 2018.

All my novels are currently available, either in paperback or e-book format, and after years of travelling and a million different jobs, I now live in rural Oxfordshire with my Toy boy Trucker husband and several rescued cats.

J & C Thanks so much Carol for asking us to tell you about Only One Woman and writing together, it has been fun.

Only One Woman Accent Press

Only One Woman Facebook

Patsy Collins - The Travelling Writer.

Welcome to my blog, Patsy Collins.  Patsy is a prolific short story writer, having many published in magazines, in many different countries. She has also published a number of short story anthologies and novels.
Patsy and her husband are inveterate travellers. They publish some of their wonderful photographs on social media.
Many of us know Patsy as the editor of Womagwriter blog. She keeps us up to date with the ever changing world of magazines which accept short stories. We are all grateful for the work she puts in, with this blog and with her 'free competitions' blog. I shall let Patsy tell you more about herself.

Thanks for inviting me over, Carol.

I'm Patsy Collins – a short story writer and novelist. Several of my writing friends refer to me as 'the travelling writer'. That nickname is appropriate in several ways. For one thing, my short stories are regularly published in women's magazines in the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, Ireland and South Africa. (A few of these stories have been reproduced in themed collections, such as Through The Garden Gate, Slightly SpookyStories I, No Family Secrets and All That Love Stuff. There's also a shorter collection, Not A Drop To Drink, which is available as a free ebook.)

Another way I get about a bit is online. As well as a website and the usual social media, I have two writing related blogs. Womagwriter provides all the official guidelines and news needed by anyone wishing to submit fiction to women's magazines. There's often advice, tips and interviews from those involved in the industry too, plus information on fillers, non-fiction and pocket novels.

My other blog regularly provides links to free to enter writing competitions. I'm very keen on these, partly because my first novel, Escape To The Country, was initially published as a result of my winning one. You can imagine how much that boosted my confidence. Free competitions have also resulted in my work being performed in the House of Commons, read by Jeffrey Archer and A.L. Kennedy, translated into Greek and winning me cake.

The most obvious reason for my travelling writer nickname however is that I do much of my writing in a campervan. My husband is a maritime photographer, so we travel with his work and I use some of the places we visit frequently in my novels. It's great being able to write on location and literally walk in my character's footsteps. So far I've used Portsmouth, the New Forest, Dover and South Wales for novels, and places in Scotland, Sweden, France.  I like it so much that Leave Nothing But Footprints is actually set in a campervan... er and involves a photographer. (That doesn't stop people asking me where I get my ideas from!)

The non-fiction book From Story Idea to Reader, was written by me in England, France and Scotland, whilst my co-author Rosemary J. Kind worked on it in Yorkshire and Switzerland. Isn't the internet useful?

I don't just write in the van, I use it to visit writing friends and sometimes to give talks to writing groups or run workshops. (To travel to them, I mean – any events held inside the van would need to be very exclusive and intimate!) It's lovely to meet up with people I know online and that's something I hope to be doing more of this year.

Patsy has provided kindly provided links to her blogs, website and her books. Please go along and have a look.

Through The Garden Gate –

Slightly Spooky Stories 1 –

No Family Secrets –

Alll That Love Stuff -

Not A Drop To Drin –

With Love And Kisses –

Escape to the Country –

Leave Nothing But Footprints –

From Story Idea to Reader –

The Multi-Talented Clarie Boley

I'm saying  hello to Claire Boley on my blog today.  Not only has Claire written a successful novel but this multi- talented lady has al...