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Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Sarah

Letters from Elsewhere

Today’s visitor is one of the cleaners at the Tower of London. She’s called Sarah, but where she comes from, in the soon-to-be-released novel, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London by Jennifer C. Wilson, she doesn’t even have a name. On top of that, she’s the victim of a specific prank played by the ghostly residents of the Tower. This puts her in the unfortunate position of having to clear up the mess left by people she doesn’t even fully believe in, so it is perhaps only fair that she should be allowed to tell her side of the story.

Sir,

JenniferCWilliams Tower of LondonI am writing this to you formally, because although I fear it may spread and make me look a fool, this needs to be documented. I know we have discussed a couple of incidents informally in the past, but this summer it has gone a step too far.

You were there, the morning I radioed about the Bloody Tower, but I will say again, I did not touch that display. Everyone knows I hate that building, and I am the last person who would mess with anything in there. Add to this the number of spilled drinks I have had to deal with in the vicinity of the Bowyer Tower, and other displays being moved about overnight, and it simply is no longer funny.

So I ask again: do you know of any reason why somebody is trying to scare me? I’ve been subjected to weeping, wailing, rattling chains – it is time to investigate this properly, and establish who is behind this malicious campaign.

And don’t you dare mention the word ‘ghost’. I am a grown woman, and although the history of this place hasn’t always been pleasant, I refuse to accept that 1) there are any spirits hanging around, or 2) even if there were, they would be wasting their time on me. It would also imply a particularly childish sense of humour, one which does not sit well with those who supposedly still walk among us, if you believe the rumours. Which I do not.

I have sought advice in the writing of this letter, and am therefore asking you, in an official capacity, to look into these events, or I will need to reconsider my position here, and take the matter further. I have worked here for ten years, and never in all my time have things been as bad as this.

I look forward to receiving your reply.

Kind regards,

Sarah.

Well! Are you intrigued? I certainly am.

About Kindred Spirits: Tower of London

JenniferCWilliams Kindred Spirits-Tower of LondonA King, three Queens, a handful of nobles and host of former courtiers…

In the Tower of London, the dead outnumber the living, with the likes of the Howard girls, Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, rubbing shoulders with one man who has made his way back to discover the truth about the disappearance of his famous nephews.

Amidst the chaos of daily life, with political and personal tensions running high, Richard III tries to take control, as each ghostly resident looks for peace in the former palace, where privacy always was a limited luxury.

With so many people wanting so many things, will they all find the calm they crave?

Kindred Spirits: Tower of London is released by Crooked Cat Publishing on 27th October, and is available from Amazon UK or Amazon US.

About Jennifer C Wilson

JenniferCWilliams in Leicester CathedralJennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she has since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online.

Jennifer blogs at https://jennifercwilsonwriter.wordpress.com/.

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Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Hannah

Letters from ElsewhereI’m delighted to welcome Hannah, who seems to feel she has to plead her case with you. She is the almost mother-in-law of Jen, main character of recently released Taming Tom Jones by Margaret K Johnson. But she’s more than that, as you’ll see.

Over to you, Hannah.

Dear Reader

I know what you think – that I should tell Jen the truth. Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. I care too much about her, and I fought so very hard to keep her in my life after what Luther did.

I don’t remember being so angry with my son before, ever. I could hardly take in what he was saying to me, standing there in his wedding clothes, unable to look me in the face. It was as if he was six years old all over again. Five. I know it was you with that pea shooter, Luther; don’t lie to me. Martha saw you, behind the wall.

I wanted to shake him; to take him by the lapels of his expensive morning suit and make his teeth rattle. I wanted to yell. How could you do such a thing to that wonderful girl? I’m so ashamed of you!

But then he began to cry; great choking sobs that forced me to comfort him. Because after all, I was his mother, and whether it was his fault or not, he had lost his Jenny. She would not be marrying him that afternoon. She would not be moving in to that new home the two of them had spent months locating. She would not be having his children.

But there and then, while I held him in my arms and let him weep, I decided I would not lose touch with her. I’d loved Jenny from the very first moment Luther brought her home to meet me, and she would be – had to be – a part of my life still.

I have to go out, I told him as soon as he began to pull out of my arms, and I wouldn’t tell him where I was going, even though I think he knew. I left him with his best man and I went to Jenny’s house and forced Marcia to let me see her. It was the best thing I ever did, and now, even though my son isn’t the father of her child, I shall be its grandmother in every way possible. I look forward to that so very much.

So please, if you have any mercy within you, don’t say anything to spoil it. Let us be. In life, there is a time to speak up, and a time to stay quiet. This is a time to stay quiet. Trust me.

With my good wishes and my thanks, in expectation that you will do as I ask.

Yours,

Hannah

About Taming Tom Jones

Taming Tom Jones coverJen’s partner Michael has never been in a relationship for more than four years, so with their fourth anniversary coming up, she’s getting understandably nervous. Especially as she’s just discovered she’s pregnant, and she knows Michael doesn’t want any more children other than Kyle, his teenage son.

Jen means to tell Michael about the baby right away, but then he comes home on a brand new motorbike, having traded in his sensible car, and the moment is lost. Is Michael having an early mid-life crisis?

Jen decides to do some detective work about Michael’s exes in an effort to save their relationship, and embarks on a journey that will take her as far afield as North Norfolk and Cuba. But she has no idea of the can of worms she’s about to open.

Why do all Michael’s relationships break up? And what’s the big secret he’s hiding?

Taming Tom Jones can be bought at Amazon.

_DSC2275_ppAbout Margaret K Johnson

Margaret K Johnson began writing after finishing at Art College to support her career as an artist. Writing quickly replaced painting as her major passion, and these days her  canvasses lay neglected in her studio. She is the author of women’s fiction, stage plays and many original fiction readers in various genres for people learning to speak English. Margaret also teaches fiction writing and has an MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East Anglia. She lives in Norwich, UK with her partner and their bouncy son and dog.

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Bullying Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Beth

Letters from ElsewhereHave you ever written a letter you didn’t send? I have… once or twice. I didn’t know how the letter would come out when I started it. But when I finished and read it through, I knew it was too revealing. No, I’m not going to tell you the details, but I will let you read the letters (or notes) that Beth didn’t send or give to her mother. Three failed attempts to tell her mother what she couldn’t say. I think they speak for themselves, but there is an explanation below.

Three crumpled sheets, tear stained and blood spattered, escape from the bottom of a torn bin bag…

Kimm1

Kimm2

Kimm3

Once Removed

Once Removed: CoverA silent cry for help…

Suspecting self-harm, newly qualified teacher, Abriella Garside, risks everything for a troubled pupil. An incident with a craft knife and unexplained injuries are not enough to secure help for the girl.

Unsure whether Beth is being bullied or has problems at home, Abby tries to win her trust and the two begin a friendship. But has the teacher gone too far?

In the midst of Abby’s own complicated life, Beth disappears. Rumour and suspicion ignite, fanned into an inferno with Abby at its heart.

Two lives hang in the balance.

Once Removed is available in digital and paperback formats from:

Once Removed: Banner

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Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Dr Deeds

Letters from ElsewhereWe’ve probably all received a rejection letter at some time in our lives. Most of us have probably received several rejection letters. But I doubt any of us has received a rejection letter quite like this one. It’s written by a certain Dr Deeds, who comes to us from Scott Perkins’ novel, Howard Carter Saves the World.

Deeds LetterheadDear Applicant:

The admissions committee has carefully reviewed your application for admission to our Egregious Engineering program here at Arkham Tech and found you very much lacking any actual qualifications. After much consideration, we regret to inform you that we think you seriously have got to be kidding us.

We are aware that this message may come as something of a disappointment to you, but probably not since you must have been aware of how woefully and hilariously underqualified you were for the program.

Your application was lackluster at best and your dossier is simply lacking any of the qualifications we look for in a candidate. Where are your extra-curricular activities? No Zombie football? No after school work teaching maniacal laughter to school children? You presented not one single example of your willingness to build alarmingly large robots to set loose upon the screaming populace in an orgy of wanton destruction! Your school transcripts are completely devoid of laboratory explosions or attempts to replace the faculty with mindless automatons.

Furthermore, you made no attempt to poison, blackmail, or bribe the admissions committee in any way. Not one of our loved ones was kidnapped and held for ransom, and no one in the committee reported so much as a breathy phone call in the dead of the night. There’s just no evidence presented in your packet that you have a meaningful desire to achieve your evil aims by any means necessary.

You apparently don’t even have an amusing accent or a really good maniacal laugh going for you.

Yours in the Mad Sciences,

Dr Villainous Deeds, PhD

P.S. We have found that you are, however, perfectly qualified to join our Disposable Minions Initiative. Please find that application enclosed. We look forward to performing unethical and dangerous experiments on your brain while giving you hilariously menial tasks to perform around the lab.

About Scott PerkinsScottPerkins

Scott is a writer, artist, humorist, and puppeteer.

His debut novel Howard Carter Saves the World is the story of a boy, his mad science teacher, giant robots, alien puppets, secret agents… the usual “coming-of-age” stuff. It was published in the US and UK in April 2015 by Crooked Cat Publishing.

He may or may not write from a secret island lair somewhere in Washington State, where he lives with his wife and an astonishing assortment of puppets.

Sometimes he’s serious, but he tries not to let it happen very often.

Scott blogs at: Pages to Type

Howard Carter Saves the World is available on Amazon and elsewhere.

Oh yes…

The poor, rejected applicant probably applied in response to this recruitment poster:

RecruitmentPoster

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Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Nairn Malcolm

Letters from ElsewhereToday I’m happy to welcome Nairn Malcolm to my blog. Nairn is an escapee. He’s had a hard time getting away from that evil author, Nancy Jardine. But I’ll let him tell his own story.

Hello Miriam. I’m glad to come and visit you because I’m quite intrigued about these CATS that my creator, Nancy Jardine, often speaks about. There are loads of you CATS who write for Crooked Cat Publishing out there in the real world, but it’s just as well for me that this is a virtual visit since Nancy Jardine has made sure that I’m not at my mobile best. Actually, she’s not my favourite person right now, because of the way she’s treated me, so it’s great to escape from her clutches for a little while—otherwise who knows what she’d do to me next.

And please don’t dare ask if you can take a photo of me for your blog because that answer is a definite NO. I’m not usually a vain guy but she’s really done a number on me…at least at the beginning of my story. I mean, come on! What guy wants to meet the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen when he’s looking like a splodged advert for a hospital emergency department?

I generally like to make a good impression when I meet new clients, or potential business contacts, but Nancy Jardine made that darned near impossible. In fact, I’ve more than one bone to pick with her…and said bones are presently about as sensitive as my ego.

I thought that the guys in contemporary romantic novels were all about making the lassies swoon with their dashing good looks and impeccable stylish dress but that’s not what Nancy had in store for me. Oh, no, I had to be the untypical highland hero in her novel Take Me Now. Granted, she gave me a restored castle and all of those lovely methods of travel for the debonair contemporary hero —like my floatplane, jet and catamaran— but she also made sure I couldn’t manoeuvre any of them. Though, I guess it could have been worse if she’d popped me into my kilt. That would have made me into a real spectacle if it had fallen off. Ahh! Forget I said that in case she writes a new scene into my story, thinking it would amuse Aela Cameron.

 I just bet she had great fun writing those first chapters where she made me seem like a comatose idiot in front of Aela when she came for an interview. Making Aela the only person I could employ as my general factotum—office help and general driver of all my vehicles— was cruel when I wasn’t in any shape to complain about it. And you know, I don’t even think Nancy Jardine realised just how embarrassing it is for a guy to meet a woman who is so dazzling when he’s not at his best.

Though I guess towards the end of my story Nancy at least made the situation a bit better for me, because by then I’m a lot more like myself. It’s just as well that Aela Cameron has a great sense of humour, isn’t it? Did I mention that Aela’s also the best DIY detective ever who helped solve the mystery of my unknown saboteur?

Mmm. I think it’s time to say goodbye to you in case I divulge all of my secrets in Take Me Now. It’s been nice to meet you, Miriam.

Lovely to meet you, too, Nairn. So glad you were able to get away for a bit!

About Take Me Now

TakeMeNow - Nancy JardinePatience isn’t Nairn Malcolm’s strong point when he finds himself and his business mysteriously under attack. He needs a general factotum immediately— someone with exceptionally varied skills who can ferry him around, help him keep his business running smoothly and be available to him 24/7. He doesn’t expect the only candidate who arrives at his Scottish island castle for an interview to be so competent… or so incredibly attractive.

Aela Cameron’s range of talents is perfect for Nairn’s current predicament. She loves transporting him all over the globe, adores his restored castle, and is thrilled with his hectic lifestyle. Dangerous situations don’t faze her, in fact they make her more determined to solve the mystery of Nairn’s saboteur. She’s not into passing flings—yet how can she resist her new boss as time runs out on her temporary contract?

Can Nairn persuade Aela she’s the woman for the long haul as the mystery is solved?

About Nancy

(who really isn’t evil at all. I know – I’ve met her.)

NancyJardineNancy Jardine writes historical romantic adventures (Celtic Fervour Series); contemporary mystery thrillers (Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, Topaz Eyes-finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014); & time-travel historical adventures for Teen/ YA readers (Rubidium Time Travel Series). All historical eras are enticing and ancestry research a lovely time-suck. She regularly blogs and loves to have guests visit her blog. Facebook is a habit she’s trying to keep within reasonable bounds. Grandchild-minding takes up a few (very long) days every week and any time left is for reading, writing and watching news on TV (if lucky).

Find Nancy at the following places

BlogWebsiteFacebookLinkedInAbout MeGoodreadsYouTube book trailer videosAmazon UK author pageRubidium Time Travel Series on Facebook

Twitter: @nansjar — Google+ (Nancy Jardine)

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Books Israel

Summer News

The first bit of news is that it is cooler than it was when we arrived home. Phew!

The second is that I will write about my trip. Maybe even tomorrow.

The third is that my first in a series of articles has appeared in the English Informer in the UK and the English Informer in France.

The fourth is that my publisher, Crooked Cat, is having a book sale on Amazon, but not for long. A large collection of excellent books is up for grabs. So is mine. Mine, too. (If you’re not in the UK, search for ‘Crooked Cat Publishing’ on your Amazon.)

CrookedCatSummerSale2015

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Books Interviews

A Couple of Revolutions: Interview with T.E.Taylor

Today I’m lucky enough to be visited by Tim Taylor, who, like me, is published by Crooked Cat Publishing. He has a new book out in five days.

Tim TaylorHello Tim and welcome to Jerusalem. Have you ever visited Jerusalem in the flesh, as it were?

I’m afraid not, though it’s a city I’d like to see some day. I love places that are steeped in history. Thank you for the opportunity to make a virtual visit, though I’m sure it would be even better to come in person!

Tell us about the new novel.

Revolution Day

Revolution Day will be published by Crooked Cat on 30 June. It follows a year in the life of Carlos Almanzor, the autocratic ruler of a Latin American country. Now in his seventies, Carlos is feeling his age and seeing enemies around every corner. And with good reason: his Vice-President, Manuel Jimenez, though outwardly loyal, is burning with frustration at his subordinate position. When his attempt to augment his role is met with humiliating rejection, Manuel resolves to take action. But how? Since Angel, the Head of the Army, is loyal to the President, he must be patient and cunning if he is to find a way to undermine Carlos’ position.  

 Interspersed with the main narrative are excerpts from a memoir being written by Carlos’ estranged and imprisoned wife Juanita, in which she recalls the revolution that brought him to power and how, once a liberal idealist, he changed over time into an autocrat and embraced repression as the means of sustaining his position. In time, as Manuel makes his own bid for power, Juanita will find herself an unwitting participant in his plans.

That sounds very interesting. Unfortunately, it’s a plot that rings very true. Does this novel have any connection with your first novel – Zeus of Ithome, published by Crooked Cat in 2013?

Zeus of IthomeThere is a connection in that both novels involve a revolution. But in most respects, they are very different novels. Revolution Day is set in the present day – albeit with some reflection on previous decades – and in a fictional country. Zeus is set in a real place (southern and central Greece) in the fourth century BC. It describes actual historical events – the struggle of the Messenian people to free themselves from three centuries of slavery under the Spartans, and the wider events that formed the backdrop to their final revolt – albeit through the lives of (mostly) fictional characters. Diocles, the central character, is a seventeen year old helot slave at the start of the book. Forced to flee his home, he falls in with ageing rebel Aristomenes, who still cherishes dreams of revolution and wants to seek advice from the oracle at Delphi. Later, Diocles’ travels take him to Thebes, where he meets Epaminondas, a historical Theban general who also has no love for the Spartans. As war brews between Thebes and Sparta, the conditions at last become right for Diocles and Aristomenes to return to Messenia and begin their revolt in earnest.  

Have you visited Greece? Can a visit help in any way with a novel set so long ago?

I had been to Greece in my teens – a good while ago! – and visited some of the places that feature in the novel, such as Delphi (and more recently to Crete, which doesn’t). I think those rather distant memories were of some help in giving me a feel for the landscape. For example, there is one scene where Diocles crosses the Gulf of Patras in a small boat and is impressed by a mountain looming above the shore behind him. I remember admiring that same view myself – albeit from a car ferry!

Where else did you get background information from?

I already had a good background knowledge about ancient Greece, having studied Classics at university. I read the ancient sources for the period and some books by modern historians, and did lots of internet research, for example about details of clothing and authentic Messenian names. I made extensive use of Google Earth in tracking the topology of the places the characters travel through. I was delighted (and relieved!) when readers who had been to places in the novel I have never visited – such as Mount Ithome, the ancient sanctuary of the Messenians – verified my description of them.  

How did you manage when you had questions that couldn’t be answered?

One of the fun things about writing historical fiction – particularly when it’s set in ancient times – is that where evidence is lacking you can make things up, provided that they are plausibly consistent with the known facts.  

I see we have at least two other interests in common: music and walking. Where has music taken you?

Hmm. Well, in my twenties it took me up and down the motorway to such exotic places as Dover, Northampton and, um, Stevenage! Nowadays I play mostly for fun, but I do still play in public once in a while.

You said somewhere that you like walking up hills. I’m not sure I do. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I reach the top and the knowledge that I can now walk downhill. What do you like about walking up?

When walking up I am buoyed by the expectation of reaching the top where I will experience that feeling of accomplishment, which I agree is often the best thing of all (sometimes the view may be even more rewarding). There is a certain satisfaction as you reach prominent points on the route and see lower hills drop below your line of sight, knowing that you are that little bit closer to your goal. On the way down, although there is the afterglow of that sense of achievement, you no longer have the same sense of purpose. Also, if the hill is steep, I find walking down very hard on the knees and toes – I do genuinely prefer walking up!

What’s the next novel going to be?

It will probably be a follow-up to Zeus of Ithome, taking in the early career of Philip II of Macedon. As a teenager he was in Thebes, where he came under the influence of Epaminondas, shortly after the time when the first novel ends. I am doing some research on this right now.

So you’re doing what I’m planning: to write a novel that’s very different to the first and then write a sequel to the first.

Thank you so much for coming, Tim, albeit abstractly. And lots of luck with your new book.

You’re welcome, Miriam. And thank you very much for hosting me!

Links

Revolution Day on Amazon UK

Revolution Day on Amazon US

Zeus of Ithome on Amazon UK

Zeus of Ithome on Amazon US

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Twitter

Website

***

I’m taking a break until the beginning of August. Have a great summer (or winter if you’re in the other hemisphere).

Categories
Books

Anniversary

Today I celebrate a special anniversary. On this day, a year ago, my first novel, Neither Here Nor There, was published. I will always be indebted to the people at Crooked Cat Publishing for making that happen.

NeitherHereNorThereCoverLast month, I posted a poem based on the acknowledgements. Today I want to reflect on some of the things that have happened to me because of that event:

  • I met a wonderful group of authors, some of whom I have highlighted in various posts.
  • I joined Toastmasters and continue to learn how to give speeches.
  • I gave several online interviews.
  • I wrote several guest posts that were published around the blogosphere.
  • I read from my novel, first to the attendees of my offline launch party and later to a larger audience.
  • I took part in Indie Authors Appreciation Week, organised by Carmilla Voiez.
  • I gave my first author talk.
  • And shortly there will be a very special event that I will tell you about in August.
Indie Authors Appreciation Week Poster
My flyer for Indie Authors Appreciation Week
Categories
Books Interviews

Triple A: Author Ailsa Abraham

I think all human beings are interesting, but sometimes it’s hard to discover the interesting parts. That’s not true of my guest today – ex-biker, shaman, Bipolar coper, expat, caravanner, author, knitter and much more. Her magic carpet brought her to a walled city, though possibly not the walled city she expected to find.

Ailsa on Yamaha

Hello Ailsa. I’m awarding you the dubious privilege of being allowed inside the walls of my world. I’m afraid it’s just me in here, so not much to see.

Rubbish, came to see you and it’s great to be here.

Part of me is now smiling. The other part is thinking: it’s nice of you to say that, but….

You’ve had your own experiences of mental health problems. Is there anything you want to tell us about them? What message do you want to give readers that might change their attitude towards mental health issues?

Yes, I have. The worst was being misdiagnosed for thirty years, which is not uncommon for Bipolars. We don’t present to the doctor when we are up so generally get wrongly-classified as depressives. This results in us not getting the correct medication which makes the situation worse. Since I had the correct diagnosis of Cyclothemic Bipolar things have been much better. It means my mood changes are very rapid over a day or two. Other Bipolars can stay in one phase for months or even a year. I’ll be on stabilising medication for the rest of my life but that is fine.

Message? Yes. Please give people a bit of slack. You don’t know what kind of hell they might be going through and make allowances, especially if they then apologise. I am still hurting very much because people I snapped at when having an extremely difficult time with my Bipolar, won’t accept my most sincere apologies and refuse to speak to me. That is their decision but I still cry about it.

Generally people with mental health problems aren’t dangerous. No, it isn’t easy to cope with someone whose moods change unexpectedly but if you make the effort to manage that, they are very grateful and make loyal friends. We’re just happy that anyone will bother with us. Mental health problems interfere very much with self-esteem so no matter how bad YOU think I am, I’m thinking worse, believe me!

“Generally people with mental health problems aren’t dangerous.” I wish others would remember that, although I understand why it’s hard. When you read that a particular murderer is a loner, it’s easy to imagine that all loners are potential murderers.

You’ve lived in France for a long time. What do you miss most about the UK?

Interesting question. I’ve been here so long that it’s home. The UK is a foreign country and I love visiting but don’t miss it. The Old Feller goes back to visit family and buy teabags which are the only thing we can’t get over here, well, not good, proper ones. I visit my family in Scotland and other friends in England but in general it’s people I miss, not places.

What are you pleased to have got away from?

Overcrowding, pokey rooms and tiny gardens!

Four Go Mad in Catalonia

What’s your connection to Judaism?

Easy. My father and grandfather were Jewish but, like the Old Feller, goy mother so not considered Jewish myself (except by the reformed Synagogue). When my father was dying, a Jewish neighbour looked after me to free mother to go to the hospital. Auntie Wyantie (Mrs. Wynant) talked to me in Yiddish and made me apricot dumplings etc. A lot of that is stuck in my mind.

Tell us a little about magic.

Wow! I could write a short book but it would meet with disapproval from so many other magic-users. OK – in a nutshell it is an ability to control energies. Often it is applied human psychology which means that when people have asked me to “work on” something for them they are more confident that it will go right – the placebo effect. Similarly if I were to tell someone I was exacting justice on them for a wrong done to someone, that might play on their psyche too. I always liken it to any other ability like being musical or able to paint. One can take lessons but it helps to have an innate gift. Also, practice, practice, practice. I hate to think how many hours I’ve spent in meditation trying to control my mind and link into energies.

No we do not need to cover ourselves in odd garments, dance naked or use esoteric paraphernalia. If you really want to know how real witches work, read Terry Pratchett. Weatherwax, Ogg and Magrat are more like my types – a bread knife and a chipped teacup rather than ornate daggers and chalices. Intention is all. I could go on. Remember, however, that where you have three magic-users in the same place you’ll get six different opinions on the same question.

Ha-ha! That sounds like what they say about Jews. How does all that use of magic relate to your novels?

The ones written under my own name, very much. My experiences working with covens and knowing other pagans was essential. I couldn’t have written the books without it and one has to have “lived” it to understand it. There is a high price to pay for manoeuvring energies which is not understood by outsiders. I was involved in pagan religions and so know the rituals inside out therefore the books ring true. The philosophies quoted within are real.

Crooked Cat Books

I enjoyed your two Crooked Cat-published novels very much. What do you have in store for us?

There has been a demand from readers for more adventures of Iamo and Riga from the first two books and I would like to see more of Adrian and Helen who are non-magical but some of my favourite characters. Dagda is kicking me to write a fourth with him as the main character which would be very tempting as a Native American Black Shaman is too good to leave hanging around without a story. I’m also in the middle of writing my comical memoirs of twenty-five years in France. That is going to be self-published for translation reasons but Crooked Cat are being very helpful with it. The title will be “Knitting With Eels” and I hope to have it out by Spring next year.

Thank you so much for coming, Ailsa. You may leave now… if you can find the way out!

BIO – Ailsa Abraham retired early from a string of jobs, ending up with teaching English to adults. She has lived in France since 1990 and is married with no children but six grandchildren. She copes with Bipolar Condition, a twisted spine, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and increasing deafness with her usual wry humour – “well if I didn’t have all those, I’d have to work for a living, instead of writing, which is much more fun.” Her ambition in life is to keep breathing and maybe move back to the UK. She has no intention of stopping writing. Her other passions are running an orphanage for homeless teddy bears plus knitting or crochet now that she has had to curtail her activities on her beloved black Yamaha motorbike.

As Ailsa Abraham:

Alchemy and Shaman’s Drum published by Crooked Cat available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Four Go Mad in Catalonia (comical memoir of a holiday) – self-published, available from Smashwords

Twitter – @ailsaabraham

Facebook Group

Website and blog

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Books Rhymes

Two Poems

As part of the May Mayhem challenge, I wrote two poems this month.

For the first, I took the acknowledgements from my novel, Neither Here Nor There, and turned them into rhyming verses.

Acknowledgements for Neither Here Nor There

NeitherHereNorThereCoverSeveral people a role they took.
Without them there would be no book.

Gill reappeared from a thorny past —
One that I had tried to cast
Away. She helped me understand
Myself, and taking me by the hand,
With friendship, advice and support,
She showed me the ball was in my court
And told me with tact and sobriety
All about social anxiety.

I joined a local writing group.
Its members formed a merry troupe.
They helped me learn how to write,
Critiquing till I saw some light.
Of David the mentor I’m in awe.
He always finds what no one saw.
Judy, who ran my other group,
Brought fresh ideas into my hoop.

Romance themed Sally’s excellent workshop,
Where I created a heroine and a heartthrob,
And devised a plot with conflicts in heaps
That threatened to separate these struggling young peeps.
Sue and Gail, course-made friends,
Critiqued my drafts from beginnings to ends,
Turning the words that came from my head
Into a novel that could be read.

I hadn’t let anyone close to me read,
Expecting disapproval I didn’t need.
But after acceptance Other Half found
Bloopers. So glad they left the ground.
Crooked Cat Publishers, Steph and Laurence,
Introduced me to authors in their torrents,
And produced an opus with delightful cover,
My name below its troubled lover.

A big THANK YOU to those and others, for they
Provided support and showed me the way.

Here are the original acknowledgements for comparison:

Several people made this novel possible and I will always be grateful to them.

Gill Downs, who has been my friend, advisor and supporter ever since we remet twelve years ago.

David Brauner and Judy Labensohn, who taught me about writing.

Sally Quilford, who ran the excellent pocket novel workshop that led me to consider writing a romance.

Sue Barnard and Gail Richards, who spared no time or effort in helping to turn my draft into a real novel.

David Drori, who pointed out several problems when I thought there were no more left.

Laurence and Steph Patterson of Crooked Cat Publishing, who accepted me into their warm basket of cats and used their professional expertise to produce a volume of high calibre.

Thank you to all, and to everyone else who gave me encouragement along the way.

***

In a rather nonsensical poem, I varied the number of lines in each verse: 9, 7, 5, 3, 1. Someone has probably done this before and given the form a name.

Eye Spy

I wonder why
There is no Y
That I can spy
In “shepherd’s pie”
But there is a Y
In “your red tie”
Which lost its dye
In a wash that I
Set too high.

It makes me sigh
And even cry
When in your eye
I see that I
Am seen as shy.
It’s a lie
That I decry.

The bread that I
Like best is rye.
It makes my
Smile wry.
Does that apply?

Saying “Hi,”
Drinking chai,
By the by.

Hello goodbye.

I’ll tell you how well I did with the challenge in another post, later today. Sorry it has to be today because it’s the end of the month. See you soon….