The Fabulous Anne Williams





Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today, Carol. I’m Anne, and I write about books on my book blog, Being Anne (www.beinganne.com). I live in Wetherby in West Yorkshire - a lovely place to be - and since taking early retirement from my Civil Service job four years ago, it’s been so good to be able to spend my time doing things I enjoy. And one of the things I enjoy more than anything else is reading - and then telling other book lovers about the books I’ve read.
 
The lovely Anne.
I started my blog nearly five years ago, and in those days there weren’t quite so many book bloggers around. I’ve been writing reviews since I first had a home computer, sharing them on book-related sites, but starting the blog meant that I could save them all in one place. When people started reading my posts and commenting on them, no-one was more surprised than me - I thought i’d only be talking to myself and the few friends I’d told about it. People contacted me, asking me to review their books - and publishers started too, offering me books for review. I realised I just couldn’t review everything I wanted to, so I started to add interviews and guest posts to draw attention to books - and amazingly people seemed to like those posts too.

By summer of 2016, the blog had 220,000 views - and I decided I’d like to move things up a notch and build a better platform. So I taught myself the IT skills, bought my own web domain, and moved everything across to Wordpress - and felt so proud of myself! When I relaunched, it was a real thrill when #BeingAnne trended on Twitter - me and Kim Kardashian, eh?! I now usually post six days a week, sometimes more than one post a day, and have over 6000 followers on social media.

The rise of Twitter and Facebook has totally changed the way I do things - I now also have a page on Facebook too (https://www.facebook.com/beinganne/), and particularly love being part of the Book Connectors group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1466353170351020/) which makes it so much easier for bloggers and authors to make connections. I tweet about my posts, and share those from people I know to help them get a larger audience. I always copy my reviews to Amazon too, and that really makes a difference for authors - I’m a Top 500 reviewer there. And the real cherry on the top was when the blog became a prizewinner - it won the Best Pal Blog Award at the 2016 Annual BloggersBash, and for a second time in 2017.
 
Making lots of new friends.
So why do I do all this? There’s absolutely no money involved - I do receive copies of books for review, but probably buy even more. I do it for the sheer joy of doing it. I’ve discovered the most wonderful books, and it’s been a real delight to share them with other people. It’s so difficult for any author to get their book noticed these days, especially when they self-publish or are with a smaller independent publisher, so it’s really lovely to be able to help with that. I’ve also made so many friends among authors, publishers and the wonderful supportive book blogging community. There’s a great social side too - I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to some wonderful book launches and parties. Most of the events are in London - but that’s only two hours away by train, and I do have my pensioner railcard!


If you read any of my reviews, you’ll find they’re always positive - I may criticise, but never end on a negative note. There are books I may not enjoy (and when I really don’t, I rarely finish) - you’ll never see them on the blog, but I do share my thoughts with the authors and publishers. And I’m delighted to report that I’ll be reading Carol’s book, Resolutions, for a review I’ll publish on New Year’s Day - and really looking forward to doing so. 










The Swan's Road by Garth Pettersen.

Welcome to Garth Pettersen, my fellow Tirgearr author.

Garth's fabulous sounding book, The Swan's Road, is released today.  This is definitely one going on my 'To Be Read' pile!

I'll let Garth tell you all about it.





In the eleventh century, Cnute, the Viking king of Engla-lond and Scandinavia, sails with his son, Harald, and his shield brothers to Rome. Thrown off course by a storm, they follow the route up the Rhine. When Harald hangs back to assist Selia, a beautiful Frisian woman, his path turns perilous. Newfound enemies, retainers of Robert the Devil, Duke of Normandy, pursue them. Harald, Selia, and their companions fail to rendezvous with King Cnute, and are forced to travel cross-country on horseback. If Duke Robert's plan to assassinate Cnute succeeds, an invasion of Engla-lond will follow. Can Harald and Selia reach Rome in time to warn the King?

Bio:
             Garth Pettersen is a Canadian writer who lives in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, British Columbia. When he's not writing, he's riding horses and working with young, disabled riders.Garth's short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, and in journals such as Blank SpacesThe Spadina Literary ReviewandThe Opening Line Literary 'Zine. His story River's Rising was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Short Story America 2017 Prize, and his fantasy novella, River Born, was one of two runners-up in the Wundor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. His debut novel, The Swan's Road will be released November 15th, by Tirgearr Publishing.
           

Links:

Welcoming Paula Martin

Today I am welcoming my good friend, the wonderful author Paula Martin.  Many readers, including myself, have loved her Mist Na Mara series set in beautiful Connemara.  If you haven't read these yet, I highly recommend them.

Setting my novels in Ireland

I prefer to set my novels in places I know, or at least have visited, and as I’ve done quite a lot of travelling, I have a wide choice of possible locations. In a sense, however, I don’t actually ‘choose’ because as soon as I start thinking about a story, it seems to decide its own setting.

That was certainly the case with ‘Irish Inheritance’. Although my original idea grew from an article about a Paris apartment which had been abandoned over 70 years ago, I knew my story would be set in Ireland, not in Paris. I even had the first few sentences in my mind:
“A house in Ireland?” Jenna Sutton stared over the mahogany desk at the lawyer. “Someone I’ve never heard of has left me a house in Ireland?”

I then had to make a decision about exactly where in Ireland this house was going to be, but that was fairly easy to decide, as the part of Ireland I know and love most is the west coast – especially the counties of Galway, Clare, and Mayo.
Connemara


Clifden Bay
 I deliberately kept the exact location of the house fairly vague, apart from saying it was a couple of miles from the small town of Clifden in Connemara, the western part of County Galway. 

Even though I knew there were no large Victorian houses in the specific area I was actually imagining, I used artistic licence to locate ‘my’ house overlooking Clifden Bay.



Killiney Bay, near Dalkey

When Jenna and Guy, my hero and heroine, take a trip across Ireland to the east coast, I was able to draw on my own similar trips, and so they visited some of the places I’ve visited, such the remains of the medieval Glendalough monastery, the wild area of the Wicklow Mountains, and the small town of Dalkey.








'Skelleen'
For ‘Irish Intrigue’, the first spin-off story from ‘Irish Inheritance’, I needed a small village not far from Clifden, and so I ‘invented’ a village and named it Skelleen. When one of my readers said she had studied a map but couldn’t find Skelleen, I had to admit that I’d actually amalgamated two different villages by ‘moving’ one from County Mayo and linking it to another in Connemara! Artistic licence again.


Clifden 
I used my own photos of various Irish locations to help me set the scenes, and Google’s ‘Street View’ was a godsend for refreshing my memory of many places. In fact, by the time I visited Clifden again while I was writing the fourth book in the series, I’d ‘driven’ around the town so many times with Street View that I knew the place like the back of my hand.

I did, however, take my friend on a ‘special excursion’ to a retail park in Galway, simply because I wanted to see where one of my characters would need to park his car to watch for someone leaving the cinema! Fortunately, she’s a fan of my Irish books so she didn’t mind.

Knowing my setting allows me to see places in my mind while I am writing and, hopefully, that helps my readers experience these places, too – just like one of the first reviewers of ‘Irish Inheritance’ who wrote, “I felt that I was there with them.”



The Mist Na Mara series is currently available for pre-order at the special price of 99cents/99pence for each book until November 13th. Links for all 4 books can be found at http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martin_Paula/ (Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Nook)


Bio:
Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.
She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.
Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places. She has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.


Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/KtlU6Y





A jolliday in Lincoln. Part 2

Lincoln Castle is a fascinating place. It was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068. It is a place of Kings and Convicts.  Henry VIII and Catherine Howard visited here in 1541 and stayed at the Bishop's Palace, where so many Kings also stayed.  It is said that during their visit to Lincoln Catherine met with Thomas Culpepper and their fates were sealed, both would be executed a year later.

It is now possible to walk the full length of the medieval curtain walls.  This gives a fine view of the town and an impressive view of the cathedral. One of the towers, known as Cobb Hall, held the dungeons for condemned prisoners. They would be taken to the top of the tower and there publicly hanged.

 The executed prisoners, both men and women, were buried by Lucy Tower, in unconsecrated ground. Their graves can still be seen.




The Victorian prison is a very interesting place. You can wander around the cells and get a true feel for life within these wall. Here, they practised a separation system, where prisoners were kept isolated from the corrupting influence of their fellows. This was even applied in the chapel, where each prisoner was kept out of sight of any other. It still has an austere and atmospheric feel to it.


From here we went on to see an original Magna Carta, which is kept at the castle. However, we were to be disappointed. The document cannot be kept on view all the time. It obviously needs to be carefully tended and protected. It was explained to us that it had gone for a much needed rest in a darkened room. I know the feeling!

Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the Bishop's Palace either, as it was closed for restoration.







A jolliday in Lincoln 1

Lincoln is one of my favourite cities to visit. It's not too far, probably about an hour and half - two hours, depending on traffic. W were blessed with lovely weather on the day. We headed towards the cathedral for our first port of call.



I always make a point of visiting Katherine Swynford's tomb when I'm there. She was an amazing woman, first the mistress of John of Gaunt and then his wife, it is from her that most of our royal family and those of the continent are descended.
She is the great grandmother of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII. Her brother in law was Geoffrey Chaucer, of Canterbury Tales fame.




The cathedral was looking beautiful as the sun streamed in through the stained glass windows and threw colourful patterns on the floor and pillars.


 An interesting place, often over looked, is the cathedral library.  This was built by the then Dean of Lincoln, Michael Honywood. He commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to design it, It is one of the only two Wren libraries still in existence.
 Honywood bequeathed his five thousand books to his library, many of them originals, and they are still there. This includes one of the 250 surviving manuscripts of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
After spending some considerable time here we moved on to the castle.

Busy Times and Bookmarks.

Ever since RESOLUTIONS was published (August 9th) life has got a little hectic.  I've been lucky enough to be invited along to a give some talks on writing and my novel or just chat to people at meetings.

Following my earlier recording for the audio magazine, I was invited along to a coffee morning in the main Huddersfield library, to meet some of the volunteers (readers) and the people who use this service.


A few announcements were made about the changes coming to the magazine. One significant change was that the magazine would be going out weekly from January instead of every other week.  This was met with a round of applause and cries of delight. It is obviously a popular and much needed service.

I managed to give out a few of my bookmarks. I was also informed that there was a waiting list for the library copy of RESOLUTIONS!

Earlier in the week, I went along to a member's meeting run by the Central England Co-operative. This is the co-op who run the store in our village. I was asked to talk about my creative writing group and it was announced, at the start, that my first novel had recently been published. Whilst giving out my bookmarks, quite a few people wanted to stop and chat with me about the novel. This was followed by a lovely afternoon tea - there are some perks!




I was asked many times about how the book came about and how I got it published. I was surprised and delighted at the level of interest the novel generated. Many people said they would be downloading it - so fingers crossed!

I have no idea what had been said but something obviously made me laugh.


I recently attended a friend's  birthday party, well armed with bookmarks. Quite a few friends, by now, were asking for one. You only have to catch my eye and there is a bookmark in your hand!
We were laughing at the irony of the situation. I have an ebook published but I'm giving away bookmarks.


It's all good fun and a talking point - who knows I hope the bookmarks lead to a few sales! If I do bump into you, please ask me for one, I guarantee I'll have some in my handbag.

THANK YOU FOR STOPPING AND READING MY BLOG. I'D LOVE IT IF YOU'D SAY HELLO!

A fascinating experience

Yesterday I went deep into the bowels of Huddersfield Town hall. It's not a place I have ever visited before. I didn't know any of this existed.
I'd been invited to be featured, as a local novelist, on the Audio Magazine, which is organised by our local authority.
The Town Hall is a grand place, with a wonderful concert hall, organ and marvelous acoustics. Many musical evenings, concerts, orchestras, operas and choirs play there. However I was whisked away far from the grandeur down to a place few ever see!
The small room we were in, used to be the studio used by the BBC when they recorded events in the hall. These days a huge van and trailer park on the street for the outside broadcast.
It really was like being in a cubby hole! There were no windows or natural light at all. I talked about Resolutions, my novel, initially. After this, I was asked to read one of my short stories. We finished by recording some of my poems. These will not all feature on the same magazine, the poems will used over a period of several months.
This is a wonderful organisation. As with many things it could not function without its volunteers. One volunteer may read the news, sport or ex-servicemen's magazine. Another lady talks about local history, places and artefacts. Yet another, will deal with the admin of getting the MP3 players distributed and returned. Each magazine will have a feature, maybe a local author (like me!) or a representative of another organisation, for example, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
I was delighted to know that all the listeners, loved e-books. I assume that this is because the font can be adjusted to each person's sight requirements.
The magazine goes out to between 400 and 500 listeners. Some of them overseas, as far afield as Barbados.
I don't expect the magazine I'm involved with will go out for another couple of weeks, so that brings us to early October. At that time a podcast will be available for a week on the Transcription Service facebook page (KRTN). However I will put a link on my own facebook page at that time. Unfortunately I can't give you an exact time for my piece.
So, thanks to Penny for looking after me and making me feel so welcome. I'm sure everyone of your listeners is very grateful for the work you, your colleagues and the volunteers do.

Book Launch at the Library

The village library invited me to hold my book launch on their premises.  I was absolutely delighted to accept. They even contacted the local Women's Institute to ask if they would prepare some baking for the evening.

Posters and flyers were issued and preparations begun!

My husband kindly made and printed off bookmarks for me, so that I had something to hand out- which also had a timely reminder how to purchase the book!
I was delighted with them.

On the evening itself he and some friends set up the hall. We arranged tables and chairs around which suited an informal get together where we could enjoy the coffee and cakes - the important bits!

I was overwhelmed when my friend presented me with this wonderful cake. It must have take her hours to ice! It seemed a shame to cut into it but it was worth it, it was scrumptious.

My talk seemed to go well. Everyone laughed in the right places and I didn't see anyone nodding off. After a I'd answered a  couple of questions it was time to get down to the serious business of the event. It was lovely to meet up with everyone, eat cake and have a good natter.

I'll leave you with a few photos which tell their own story.




Congratulations and many best wishes

Wednesday August 9th was a special day for me. RESOLUTIONS, was published, as an e-book, by Tirgearr Publishing.

To be published is the dream of just about every writer I have ever met. Few of us really believe it would ever come true. I'm one of the lucky ones - although that 'luck' took five years of hard work. It took five years of re-writing and editing in between bouts of  hiding the manuscript away, in the belief it was total rubbish.

With the encouragement, belief and enthusiasm of family and friends I eventually reached the point where I hoped the novel was acceptable enough to be submitted.

Within a  few days Tirgearr contacted me to say they were interested and August 9th proved just how interested they were.

Congratulations, best wishes and lots of goodwill flowed my way on that day, with messages and presents arriving all day long.

A huge thank you to everyone that contacted me. You made the day totally unforgettable.



http://amzn.to/2uCzJvK -UK kindle
http://amzn.to/2uSAzny -US kindle
http://bit.ly/2wFZ2Pd -    smashwords
http://apple.co/2vtIPxF - apple
http://bit.ly/2uRZ18s    -  kobo
http://bit.ly/2hUZEwR  -  nook

RESOLUTIONS - A short extract for you.

A short extract from RESOLUTIONS (published on August 9th) and photos of the inspiring locations.
Carly settled into the passenger seat and took the opportunity to look at Ben as he drove out of town. He looked tired and drawn, very different from the cheery person she had met in Bella's or the man who had been so full of fun at the fair.
Once they were out on the quiet moorland road, he eventually spoke. His voice was almost a whisper. "I lied to you. I did try to ring you but I didn't want Savannah to know."
Carly narrowed her eyes. “I know you phoned me. I felt an idiot when you denied it."
"I’m sorry."
Why didn’t you want Savannah to know? Is she your girlfriend?"
Ben stared straight ahead, his hands gripping the steering wheel. "It's complicated.”
She pushed him further. "An explanation would help me to understand why you denied ringing me. We've got plenty of time, unless Savannah is expecting you back?"
Ben shook his head. "No, she’s not. Look, I think we should go somewhere where we can talk. We can’t really talk while I’m driving. Do you fancy stopping for something to eat? There’s an old inn, not far from here. Why don't we get some lunch?"
Within a few minutes Ben turned into the car park of an old thirteenth century inn. It perched on top of the moor with sweeping views around it. Carly caught sight of a reservoir, as the weak winter sun gave a slight glitter on water, at the bottom of the valley.
She smiled in appreciation. “This looks lovely. I bet the views are stunning in summer.”
As they entered the inn, she was charmed by the mullion windows, which faced the valley, giving diners a superb outlook. The walls were covered in horse brasses and old sepia photos of the inn in the past couple of centuries.

Drawing nearer

In seventeen days my first novel RESOLUTIONS will be published by TIRGEARR PUBLISHING.

Exciting times!  It's available now on Amazon for the great price of 99p/99c.
http://amzn.to/2uuKa7h

I've had quite a journey learning how to organise some of the pre-sale marketing and PR. My publisher has been very helpful with advice and support.  My local community has also stepped uo to the mark for me.

My husband came up with this lovely frame for me to take to my reading group and WI meetings.
 This created some interest and even convinced a few of the ladies to pre-order there and then from their phone.

The local paper has printed an article about me, which also created interest and a lot of amusement.
I have a few 'events' going into the diary, including a talk for next year and a publication 'party' in my village library.

It's been quite a learning curve, contacting book reviewers and bloggers, all who (so far!) have been very receptive and supportive. Friends and family have been supportive in sharing my posts also. There are many other ideas floating around and I'm off to explore them shortly. First though I have to get ready for my 'photo shoot' which is being sent to the WI regional magazine! Now where's the hair spray?


Resolutions - an excerpt.

Would you like to read a little from the beginning of the book? Well here you go...
 CHAPTER ONE

The large, dimly lit sign appeared momentarily through the driving rain.
YEARDON
WELCOME TO OUR TOWN
PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY
WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR STAY
Carly Mitchell pulled her car over to the grass verge at the side of the road. Indecision gripped her as her heart hammered against her ribs. Did she drive on into the town, back to the place where she believed she was hated, or should she drive straight through and not stop?
Darkness shrouded the long road across the bleak moors. A thick swirling mist was broken only by the beam of her car’s headlamps. The windscreen wipers were the only thing which moved, as if bored, by the effort of clearing the rain. She stared at the sign until the glare of oncoming headlights made her blink and bite her lip. This is it, her decision, her choice. Could she do this? She nodded to herself. She knew she could now. Twelve months ago she’d have been in pieces at the thought of what she intended to do, but not now. She had changed, grown-up, learned to stand on her own two feet. The old Carly Mitchell wouldn’t have dared make any decision, like this, for fear of upsetting someone. But her life had changed and for the better, and so had she.
Taking a deep breath, she slowed down her heart beat and controlled her shaking hands. A few minutes to recover her equilibrium were all she needed. Then she would drive into the town. She would do what she had come to do and leave. After that people could say and think what they wanted. She wouldn’t care.
It was past midnight when she drove into the quiet town. The wet road glistened under the street lights. Driving down the empty streets of the old Yorkshire mill town, her stomach churned. How well she knew all of these buildings.
 A large Victorian mill loomed up before her. The grey stone walls and rows of neat windows were highlighted by the street lamps. It almost resembled a barricade, another warning. Slowing down to look at the building, she smiled at her own foolishness. You’d never know inside were some charming tourist and gift shops and the little tea shop. She drove over a stone bridge where the road crossed a small river. In the dark she could hear the water as it babbled and gurgled over the boulders that lined its path.
Would she ever be able to walk through this town and into the shops again and receive a warm welcome? What sort of greeting would anyone give her now? What sort of greeting did she deserve? Yeardon had been a wonderful place to grow up. It was one of those towns where you knew everyone and they knew you.
Her mind a maelstrom of anxiety, she tightened her grip on the steering wheel. Who would have believed anyone’s hands could shake so much?
On the far side of the town she turned into a drive, which led down a short, narrow lane to an hotel, a converted mill owner’s house. After finding a space in the car park, she switched off the engine, but remained in the car for a few minutes. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes.
The drumming of the rain on the roof was not re-assuring. The weather seemed to be giving a further warning to leave now while she could. She peered through the rain- splattered screen at the sign above the front door. In copper plate script, it read Resolution Hotel’. The building looked well-kept and fresh. Business must be going well for Jim and Abi.
“Well, here goes.”
Her words, spoken out loud, helped to break the tension as the knots tightened inside her. After all she couldn’t sit there all night, could she? Inhaling deeply, she grabbed her overnight bag and willed her legs to move. Her head down against the biting rain; she ran up the five steps and pushed open the heavy oak front door.

It's here - available for pre-order!

I'm delighted to say that the publication date of 'Resolutions' draws near, August 9th. Meanwhile my first novel is available for pre-order on Amazon.


Please go along and take a look. It's on at the special pre-order price of .99p - an absolute bargin.

Tomorrow I'll be back with a couple of excerpts to whet your appetite

Best wishes
Carol

Where do you write?


I have recently returned from a Baltic cruise. It was a fabulous holiday, of which the high spot was St. Petersburg and Catherine The Great's fabulous blue and white palace.

While touring the palace, snapping away, my interest was piqued by some of the writing desks on show.

These desks are from the days when writing was an art and letters were written daily. I think to day we are in danger of losing that art as so few of us actually 'write' letters.

I do occasionally write long hand and recently used a gift voucher to buy myself a good pen, a Cross, rather than any old freebie pen which seemed to end up in my bag from hotels etc.

Of course, many of our greatest writers sat at their desks writing long hand, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen to name but two.


 At least with my laptop, or which ever device you favour, we have the ability to move around the house and garden at leisure and continue writing. Dicken's desk looks very elegant and yet comfortable. I can't believe Jane Austen wrote such masterpieces (in my opinion) when sat at such a small table.

The Bronte sisters all sat around the dining table when writing. I believe when they wanted to discuss things or read aloud they would all stand and walk round and round the table.

So I can hear you asking.  I think I can hear you asking. Where do I write? Sometimes I'm on the patio, in good weather, sometimes in the kitchen when it's cold. Generally, as now, I'm here.
So where do you write?




The Fabulous Anne Williams

Thank you for inviting me to be your guest today, Carol. I’m Anne, and I write about books on my book blog, Being Anne ( www.bein...