Monday, 23 December 2013

Santa's Letter

Baby's First Christmas

Santa Claus,
The Icy Pole

Christmas 2013
Dear Riley,

 On this your first Christmas, I just want to say            
How happy I am to be coming your way
I fill children’s stockings, with toys and good cheer
And something real special for Riley’s first year.


The rustle of paper, the lights on the tree
Music and laughter, my reindeers and me
So much confusion, exciting and new
This is for Riley, your Christmas debut.


You light up the room with your smile and big eyes
Great joy you bring with you, for someone your size
You’ll soon fill with wonder as family mill round       
Feasting on love on this Merry-go-round

Merry Christmas, young Riley. Ho Ho Ho Ho
Know that you’re loved from your head to your toe
Your mother and father are so happy, it’s true
For the Spirit of Christmas fills them, through


With Love and big hugs
From    Santa.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Writing Process Blog Tour.

 This blog tour is where writers and authors answer questions about their writing process. My friend, Historical Romance author, Anita Davison, posted hers last week. You can check out Anita's writing process here

Today is my Blog Tour Day and I don't even have to leave the comfort of my own favourite place in the sun.

Oh, you thought all writers were people. You'd be surprised. Here, I am Spitzli, the mini Schnauzer, named after Spitz, the St Bernard, in The Unhewn Stone. We can be whomever we please, as long as we are entertaining you. And let me tell you, this can lead to mental fatigue, especially when we pretend to be something we are not.

What am I working on now?

As you can see, very little at the moment. Generally speaking, however, I usually write medieval fiction, but my current work in progress is contemporary and is purely self indulgent. I am rewriting an old NaNoWriMo project (write a novel during the month of November) in the 1st person. It's called Cover Story and in it's original state contains 53,000+  very confused words. 

In this story, set at the turn of the 21st century,  the female protagonist reluctantly agrees to return to her hometown to attend her High School's 50th anniversary and her class's 40th reunion - class of 1959. During a week of celebrations the town gets into the swing with the '50's culture, clothes hire, movies and music...lots of music. Behind the fun, however, sinister forces have corrupted the town.  

I'm halfway through the rewrite. The protag has been to a screening of the 50's movie, Carousel, which has awakened past secrets long suppressed. She dare not reveal what she remembers  for fear of incriminating herself and becoming the cover story of the local gossip magazine. I'm up to the Reunion Ball. This was a great success, until, at the end of the night, a prominent figure is murdered. At this stage I'm considering changing the original  villain.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

When I write in the historical genre, as in my award winning novel, The Unhewn Stone, I take the opposite point of view than is usually accepted. In this story, redefining the William Tell Legend, my hero, Stefan, belongs to the Gessler family rather than William Tell's. He bears the stigma of the tyrant's name, the one who forces Tell to shoot the apple off his son's head; the one Tell finally ambushed and killed. My Stefan travels back from the present to 1307AD to prevent the legend from happening and tries to restore his family honour.

My three short stories are also different from others in their genre due to their many layers:

In Happiness Guaranteed, not only does this story show my main character's experience of happiness, but this science fiction 'birthday present' also challenges the idea of 'happiness' itself and asks what would you sacrifice for it?

 A Summer Squall, written primarily for the writer/reader, shows a writer struggling with writer's block and how she overcomes it. Written in the 1st person, this is a fictional adventure but at the same time a true story about 'imagination'.

My middle grade story, Billy the Bonsai Bull, is another true story, but told from the calf's point of view even though it's only the humans who speak. It deals with the struggle for Billy's survival as well as loneliness and bullying, and presents the reader with false friends and true as they experience life on this real Australian farm.

In my contemporary crime novel Fisherman's Row (a work in progress) the reader knows who the killer is from the beginning and this knowledge is used to rev up the suspense.

 Every writer brings his or her idiosyncrasies, sense of humour, pet aversions etc to the page. We all see life differently and we all want different things. We read to experience life from another's perspective. In this respect all writers' work differs from others in their genre. I enjoy reversing the norm for the sake of variety.

Why do I write what I do?

Modern and ancient history obsess me now, probably because I failed History in High School, so I majored in both History and English Lit. at university. I like to discover how people lived and how they coped in times less advanced than ours. To me, the craftsmanship, innovation  and brainpower seems superior to ours, in spite of our education, so I look back to learn. 

How does your writing process work?

My writing process proceeds as it will. I can't write simply for the sake of writing or because 'I can't not write' as some fortunate writers claim. I need something serious to explore, something worth researching so I can learn as I go. 

Mostly, I sweat blood over what I'm writing, clutching at outside stimuli and encouragement to keep me motivated, but when I'm on a roll, when the writing is flowing smoothly, then I'm as contented as I can be. That's a wonderful feeling of fulfilment.

Strangely, though, for me, it's the blood sweating that produces my best writing, not the joy. You might say it's a dog's life, but someone has to do it. 

NEXT WEEK - 16th December  more writers let you see into their alter egos on their blogs:

Edith Parzefall 

Thriller writer, Edith Parzefall studied literature and linguistics in Germany and the United States. She worked as an editor, technical writer, team leader and project manager. Now a full-time writer, she strives to combine her two passions: writing and traveling.

She supports a street kids project in Recife, Brazil. When she visited Grupo Ruas e Pracas, she took part in a music and crafts workshop with the children. During her stay in Rio de Janeiro, Strays of Rio, a thriller set in this city of contrasts, took shape.

In 2008 she traveled through Chile, supposedly the safest country in South America. Stopped at a red light in their rented SUV, she and her partner were sandwiched between two trucks on the Pan-American highway. An unplanned excursion to the local hos­pital and the Carabineros de Chile allowed her insights she never meant to gain but wouldn’t want to miss. A new story idea sparked: Crumple Zone.

Together with British author Francene Stanley, she co-wrote the Higher Ground Series of four post-apocalyptic fantasy adventures.

Currently she’s completing the Adventure Treks Trilogy, humorous action adventures with depth—and dizzying heights. The first book, Snow White’s Slide, has just been released.

 Stacy Green 

Mystery/Thriller writer Stacy Green was born in Indiana and raised in Iowa. Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

COVER REVEAL + E-Launch of The Consequences Collection by Melanie Robertson-King

"If you could see the consequences - would you?"


Special thank you to Madliz Coles whose kind permission made it possible to use her evocative photograph as the cover image for my anthology.



The Consequences Collection is an eclectic compilation of twelve stories ranging from non-fiction through creative non-fiction to pure fiction, in prose and poetry.

The story of a Scottish Home Child is based on fact and told from the child's point of view; The Mystery Woman of Kinettles is a non-fiction article on the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a woman's body near the Wellington County House of Industry (Poor House) in 1879 Southwestern Ontario.

Some of these stories are lighter than others, and some might even beg you to leave the lights on.

Excerpt from the cover story Consequences:

Splat! The mail landed on the ceramic tile floor of the foyer. Usually, the noise was followed by the snap of the mail slot door closing. Today it wasn’t.

Something must have stuck in it. Sylvia put her coffee down on the counter and walked to the front door. A large white envelope remained suspended in the door. She pulled it the rest of the way through. The flap snapped shut and even though she was used to hearing the metallic sound, it startled her.

She’d expected a letter from her solicitor regarding her divorce from Bill but it wasn’t there. However, that one in particular had piqued her curiosity. Emblazoned on the top left corner was an official-looking crest. The addressee’s name and address were correct. It was her. Why would this person or agency be sending her a letter? She’d never heard of them before.

Sylvia turned the envelope over and worked her thumb under the flap. Those self-sticking envelopes are a bugger, she thought as she tried to rip it open. Finally, she gave up and tore down the side and yanked the contents out.

She skimmed over the letter but it didn’t make any sense so placed it on the small table by the door. It could be dealt with later. In the meantime, she looked at the rest of her mail. Nothing else untoward – just the electric bill, gas bill, and the usual assortment of junk – mail. She dropped them on top of the letter and returned to the kitchen.

The coffee she’d poured earlier had gone cold. She dumped it down the sink and turned the water on to rinse it away before getting a fresh one.

Drawn by some inexplicable force, Sylvia went back to the foyer and collected the letter and the mangled envelope. She returned to the kitchen, flipped on the radio and sat down at her small table. Why had she opened it in the first place? She should have just binned it. That’s what she usually did with unsolicited mail. But there was something strangely familiar about it. The addressee information was on a computer printed label so there was no clue there. The sororities from University had crests or emblems to differentiate one from another. She wracked her brain trying to remember what they looked like. It had been over thirty years since she’d attended. Sylvia never belonged to a sorority because she thought the girls who did were snooty and stuck-up.

She’d call her friend, Laurie and tell her about the letter. They’d been friends since childhood, attended the same elementary and secondary schools and even the same University. She could tell her anything, couldn’t she?

About the author:


Melanie Robertson-King has always been a fan of the written word. Growing up as an only child, her face was almost always buried in a book from the time she could read. Her father was one of the thousands of Home Children sent to Canada through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland, and she has been fortunate to be able to visit her father’s homeland many times and even met the Princess Royal at the orphanage where he was raised.


She lives in Brockville, Ontario, Canada a few short city blocks north of the St Lawrence River with her husband of thirty-eight years and is 'housekeeping staff' to a big, goofy, but loveable, dog (cross between lab, shepherd and black and tan hound).


A Shadow in the Past, published in 2012 by 4RV Publishing, was Melanie's debut novel.


Where to buy The Consequences Collection:




Coming soon to amazon in paperback and to Barnes and Noble for the nook and the iBookstore.


Melanie's links:

Twitter:  @RobertsoKing



Monday, 7 October 2013

Book Review of Invaded: The Darkest Day

My review of Rosalie Skinner's Book 5 in her Chronicles of Caleath


This is a fast paced novel trapping the reader in a full-on experience of the power and intensity that dark magic has, especially on the immortal Caleath as he battles with forces of evil.

In his mission to rescue the  Kentorian princess, Corrine, and to save the planet Allorn from invaders, Caleath is thrust back into the deadly game. Caleath becomes Tag in order to hide his identity. When exposed, he suffers great physical pain from his enemies, but his impossible struggle to contain the vengeful warrior, Wrath, within himself, ignites a bloodlust he abhors and threatens to destroy his last feeble grip on innocence and compassion.

 Ms Skinner’s beautiful writing and vivid imagination delivers an amazing other world filled with such memorable characters as Merkatt, the dragon Queen;  Tallowbrand, the ghost archmarge; and the dreaded dark lord, Cassius, who wears a cloak that absorbs light and power. We also welcome back Caleath’s loyal friends, among them Penwryt the wizard; Gwilt; Raul; Etham; Jenna, the young witch bethrothed to Spider with the mismatched eyes; and Joel a young wizard. Ms Skinner skilfully uses violent Nature as the atmospheric backdrop to the violence in this story, so that Nature is almost a character in itself.

 Strap yourself in for another exhilarating, fabulous adventure in a fantasy world like no other, teeming with vibrant life. You’ll keep coming back for more of this series The Chronicles of Caleath.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013



The Unhewn Stone
placed 3rd in the Young Adult category of the International Digital Awards Contest for 2013.


 Available from    Amazon,     Barnes & Noble,    MuseItUp

This novel for older teens  reinvents the legend of Wilhelm Tell through the eyes of a Swiss time traveller who belongs to the tyrant Governor Gessler's family.

On a mission to prevent the legend from happening and restore his family honour, Stefan Gessler enters the 14th century as a stubborn, proud, arrogant, pacifist unaware of the dangers he will face and the difficult lessons he will learn.

Tour modern and medieval Switzerland. Experience life in the Middle Ages, first hand. Encounter fascinating characters while you live by your wits and maybe, like Stefan, reinvent yourself. Does Stefan make the right choices?  You be the judge

Excerpt from a review of The Unhewn Stone by Great Historicals:

This novel is suspenseful, yet humorous at times. It is a coming of age story. From its likeable protagonist to its detestable antagonist, and the plentiful adventures and suspense in between, this is a wonderful novel to savor. Luscious prose that is simple and uncomplicated, allows the reader to slip easily into the story. Can the hero alter the past to improve the future for others? That is one of the main premises in this fascinating tale.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Remembering author Laurel Lamperd

My dear friend, Laurel Lamperd  passed away on 9th June 2013.

Laurel was a wonderful storyteller. Her works reflect her wealth of knowledge, her charm and warmth, and she was game to tackle ‘delicate’ issues while keeping true to her stories.

Her historical novels include the Regency period, Substitute Bride, as well as Roman Britain, Crossroads at Isca, and her Australian saga. Book One, Wind from Danyari begins in 1712 and displays a clear understanding of Aboriginal culture. Book Two Journey from Walara begins with the Hennessy boys enlisting in the Australian armed forces in WWII.
Laurel was editing Book Three Return to Walara, which her daughter hopes to complete for her.
 Laurel's other published works include an urban murder mystery novel, Murder Among the Roses, a children’s novel, Battle at Boodicuttup Creek and several books of short stories and poems.

This is the article Laurel wrote for Calamity's Corner, August 2012, soon after she retired from her sheep station with her husband, Max,  to live in the nearby seaside town where she spent much of her time in her new garden, planting Australian natives and writing.

Writing Sagas

I have always admired writers who write sagas but I’ve never planned to write a series myself. I was strictly a one story book author.

As a child, I loved the Anne of Green Gables books and What Katy Did. When I was a teenager, I read the Jalna books by Mazo de la Roche, what I could get on my hands on. The little library in our town couldn’t afford to stock them all. I believe there are sixteen or seventeen.

When I thought about writing a book incorporating the Dutch East Indiaman, the Zuytdorp, wrecked on the West Australian coast in 1712, I little thought it would turn in four books.

The Zuytdorp had vanished without a trace. Nothing more was heard of it for over two hundred years. Then its wreck site was discovered in the 1930’s along the cliffs which bears its name. The wreck site was a treasure trove. Hundreds of Dutch schellings and double stuivers were discovered, still resting in the caves in the cliffs where the sea had washed them one hundred and fifty years before.

On the cliffs above the wreck were the remains of a bonfire which the archeologists surmise was lit by the survivors in the hope of attracting a ship. The survivors would have known that two Dutch ships, the Kochenge and Belvliet, had left the Cape at the same time as the faster Zuytdorp.

What had happened to the survivors of the Zuytdorp is anyone’s guess. One line of thought is that some of them might have integrated with a local Aboriginal tribe. Then there is the question if they did, whether they sired children with Aboriginal women.

I’d decided my main character would be an archeologist in the book I was planning to write. I’d throw in a love interest, maybe a woman living on a nearby pastoral station, or perhaps it would be a young woman archeologist who fell in love with the owner of the pastoral station.

As I continued to map my story, I couldn’t stop from wondering if any of the Zuytdorp survivors had been accepted into the tribe and what would their lives have been like and how did the local Aborigines live in 1712? That was one hundred and fourteen years before WA was settled in 1826, at Albany on the south coast, and fifty-eight years before Captain James Cook sailed into Botany Bay on the east coast of Australia in 1770 to proclaim the country for the English crown.

 So, instead of writing my one book involving the archeologist and the pastoral station owner, I began with the wreck of the Zuytdorp and the survivors in what was to become Wind from Danyari, the first book in the Walara saga.

 I hadn’t forgotten the pastoral owner so I created a character called Joe Hennessy who, at the end of the nineteenth century, left his home and a violent father, made money on the goldfields of Halls Creek, and then took up land in the Carnarvon district and built Walara, a sheep station.

Journey from Walara, the second book, tells the story of Danny and Will Hennessy who left Walara to join up in World War II.

 Danny is in the RAAF and flies a bomber over Germany. Will is in the Militia and is sent to fight on the Kokoda Track in 1942 to stem the Japanese advance.

Jack Hennessey who is against his sons joining the forces is left to manage Walara.

The third book, Return to Walara, is a wip. It follows the fortunes of Walara and the children of Danny and Will. The last book will bring the story of Walara and the Hennessys up to the present time.

The last Hennessy will be the archaeologist, for this was the idea for the four books. If there were survivors from the Zuytdorp, did they reach where modern Walara is now? Did they co-habit with Aboriginal women and have children? Maybe we shall never know, but in a fictional world everything is king.

You can find Laurel's books on Amazon  and Smashwords and  The Book Depository

Read  excerpts from  her books at Laurel’s website
as well as her lovely short stories and poems at Author’s Den #

 We miss you Laurel. Rest in Peace.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

'Blog Tour 2013 - Delusion and Dreams by Maria Savva'

 Welcome to Maria Savva's Blog Tour31st May to 20th June.
It is an honour and a privilege to be part of this, Maria.


Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. She writes novels and short stories in different genres, including drama, psychological thriller, and family saga. Many of her books and stories are inspired by her years working as a lawyer, although she has not written a courtroom drama to date. Her most recent novel is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller.

Over to you, Maria!

Thank you, Wendy,

My latest book is Delusion and Dreams, a collection of 12 new short stories. I’ve noticed that dreams are a recurring theme in my books (not intentionally), so I thought I would explore this and take a look at some of my stories and novels where dreams play a significant role.


In my first novel, Coincidences, Alice’s dream about a plane crash sets into motion a sequence of events that fuels her desire to be reunited with her father. You could say Alice was following her dream.

When I wrote Coincidences, I was quite influenced by Paulo Coelho’s book The Alchemist, which I’d read around that time. That book is all about following a dream. I wanted to write a book with a similar message, i.e. people should follow their dreams. Whether or not that comes across in the book is for my readers to decide.

There is a lot more to the story in Coincidences than just a girl and her dream, but it is the starting point for the novel, and my motivation behind writing it. I’ve always thought that dreams can guide us in our lives as well as forewarn. This may be because I often have dreams that turn out to be more like premonitions and this has coloured the way I see dreams and how they impact upon our lives.


In my family saga, A Time to Tell, the main character, Cara, has a dream shortly after she is reunited with her estranged sister, and feels as though that dream is conveying a message to her from a long lost but not forgotten friend from her past.


In my novel, Second Chances, dreams are used for comic effect and dramatic effect, and also to move the story forward. For example, there is a dream that James has that seems only too real until he wakes up, and there is a dream that Pamela has that almost opens her eyes to that fact that she still loves her estranged husband.

Those familiar with my work will also know that I have a novel called, The Dream. The dream that the title refers to is Lynne’s recurring dream/nightmare where she is forewarned not to marry Adam, the man to whom she is engaged. There is also a time slip/time travel element to this fantasy story, and the protagonist is not sure whether it’s a dream or reality.

So, as you can see, dreams play an important part in my writing. In my latest collection, Delusion and Dreams, there is one story that has a dream at its centre. Most of the stories in this collection, though, are more about the types of dreams we have in the daytime, i.e. our aspirations and wishes. There is also a lot of delusion involved. Hence the title.

I hope you’ll enjoy the stories!


Twelve stories of betrayal, greed, revenge, deception, dreams, and courage.
 We all struggle to find our way. What you see isn't necessarily all there is. This collection takes you into the grey area, because the world is never just black and white.
 Life is all about perspective. One person's delusion is another person's dream.
Includes five bonus stories.

Connect with Maria on her   Blog  where you'll find the next stop on her tour and all of her books  are listed there.
Also check out her Website
Facebook Page 

Amazon UK

Enter the GiveAway Competition

The prizes are a signed paperback and an e-book copy of Delusion and Dreams, also e-books from Darcia Helle, J. Michael Radcliffe,  Helle Gade and Wendy Laharnar. There are 6 prizes, so there'll be6 winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

It's Not What You Know . . .

With much pleasure I present Scottish born, multi lingual, multi talented, multi published, the much travelled --  the funny -- the charming --


who proves:  It’s not what you know …


Whenever I’m wrangling a new plot, the concept of ‘write about what you know’ tends to crop up.


Sometimes, rarely (!), a book just happens. This was the case with my first book to be published, Tomorrow’s Anecdote, which is semi-autobiographical. This book had a cathartic urgency to be written. I didn’t actively decide to set a book against the backdrop of 1980s journalism. It simply appeared on my screen. I needed to get the memory of those turbulent times out of my system, and I feel better for it.



Other titles involved some planning. As a student, I did some research for a thesis on the theory of comedy in 17th-century Spanish interludes. Obscure, but fascinating. I always knew I’d love to work the topic into a book, and on a trip to Loch Lomond some years ago, the character of Alexandra Milton, archivist, popped into my head. Dark Interlude, my forthcoming title with Muse, was great fun re-researching, and fans of authentic detail will be happy to know I ran it past my former supervisor to make sure I hadn’t done anything silly. He liked the blend of fact and fiction. All good.


Every so often I plunge into the new. Half Life, inspired a trip to Tromsø, required researching into particle physics and pre-war Nazis. I do like a challenge, but of course, I cheated. My professor husband is an expert in both. I warmed to the concept of using an in-house consultant. After all, I’m finally going to run out of topics with which I am conversant, surely?


Inspired by family holiday to Montenegro, I got it into my head to write a fantasy series. I do read a good deal of already (such as the Edge Chronicles, for example), but I’d never tried my hand at writing for this audience myself. After fierce scribbling, I came up with Legends of Liria and the main thrust of the story, partially based on the country’s melodramatic past. A desperate bid to outwit the dastardly Kurova Grax and her evil dynasty.


The film ‘Prince of Persia’ was all the rage at the time, and I decided to redress the balance, and have not one, but two strong female leads. The prince is agile and athletic – an expert in parkour (nicknamed PK!) – so what would the girls do? My daughter provided the answer. For many years, she attended a local theatre group called the Dream Factory where she specialised in aerial skills.

Think Cirque du Soleil, and you’ll know the sort of thing: aerial silks, trapeze, aerial hoops (cerceaux), ropes …


In addition, the advanced workshops did spinning fire poi, flags, quickfire skipping from Double Dutch to … well, you get the drift.


Again, I needed to bring in the expertise. I can’t climb a rope without giggling. I dangle at the bottom, spinning in slow, embarrassing circles. In fact, I’ve no incentive to climb, for I have no head for heights. I did a little bit of gymnastics at school, but the PE teachers banned us. Ridiculous, I know. In their minds, one did hockey or nothing. In fact, I hid in the cloakrooms doing my Latin homework, but that’s another story.



Back in Liria, Svila is queen of the air, while the younger Petra is dextrous –
fire poi, juggling, sleight of hand, diabolo … They are entertaining to write about – for between them, they can do just about anything, and with style. It seems plausible to me that with their talents, they can outwit the most dastardly enemy.


So, yes. I admit my knowledge of such skills is vicarious, but I do know something of the practicalities because I was one of the many volunteer parents at Dream Factory productions. We had quite a checklist: ice packs for sprains, giant plasters for silk burns, kitchen towels for nose bleeds (I wasn’t keen on those), liquid bandaid for cuts, tape for twisted fingers. On top of the first-aid, we also had to think quickly to fix hairdos that collapsed when the performer was upside-down, find safety pins to repair costumes that got ripped and tangled in the trapeze, ensure the younger ones didn’t sneak in chewy sweets or fizzy drinks … All great fun.


But at end of the day, I have never climbed a silk. But I have to admit, it was enlightening to interrogate daughter for every last detail. How do you create a footlock? What do you do if you feel yourself slipping? How much upper body strength do you really need? Why does it help to have strong hands? Why are oversplits better? Is flexibility a good thing?


So, Legends of Liria began to take shape, and my two heroines explore new challenges in each title, hopefully with a level of realism that will make the journey so much more exciting for younger readers.


Conclusion? It’s not what you know, but who you know.


Other friends and family members take note. For the next book, I might need your help … You know I won’t be afraid to ask.

Like to learn more about Pamela Kelt?

Follow Pam on Twitter and Facebook. Find out all the latest on her author website and blog. Or why not send her and email ?

Check out author pages on,, Goodreads and Smashwords.


Tomorrow's Anecdote – Now out on Crooked Cat

Dark Interlude – out 21 June 2013 MuseItUp

Half Life (with Robert J Deeth) – out August 2013 MuseItUp
Ice Trekker – out September 2013 MuseItUp

The Lost Orchid – out soon Bluewood Publishing

The Cloud Pearl (Legends of Liria) – out November 2013 MuseItUp