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