#mywritingprocess, Creative Writing, Love On The Run, Princes Of Kharova, roses, Wild Rose Press

This Writing Life…Summer Inspiration

With a heatwave forecast, I’m trying to get out of the office as much as possible. I’ve been taking some pictures around  the garden. What do you think?

High summer is hard on the flowers. The roses hang their heads in the heat, and the petals soon drop, fluttering through the air like confetti. As we’ve had lots of weddings in the village this year, we know all about that!

The lily in my greenhouse sends up two spikes of flowers like this (below) every year. I was sent a packet of seeds as part of the RHS seed distribution scheme, and sowed them carefully in a pot, following all the instructions. Eighteen months later, I got fed up of lavishing care on a pot of bare compost with no sign of any seedlings, so I tipped the compost out on the greenhouse border.

The following spring, an unusual weed popped up. As birds and insects are forever importing unusual plants into our garden, I give every weed a chance to turn into something I can identify. You never know when an ugly duckling will turn into a swan. It’s not often I get something as beautiful as this lily, though. This is only a common Lilium Regale, but I grew it myself from seed (or rather, it grew itself) so that makes it more precious to me than any expensive variety from a plant nursery.

The only problem is, this lily is in a really inconvenient place. it’s right by the greenhouse door,  and so close to the path you have to brush past it to go in and out. It’s growing so well in that spot,  I’m afraid to move it. With this lily, like a lot of plants, studied neglect works better than tender care. It’s dong fine, and I don’t want to upset it.

When I open the greenhouse door each morning the gust of warm, richly perfumed air is a real treat. In hot sunny weather like we’re having at the moment, the flowering time is only a couple of days before the individual flowers fade, but in cool cloudy weather each one can last for over a week.

I’m working on the next book in my Princes of Kharova series for The Wild Rose Press (you can see more about the first two titles, His Majesty’s Secret Passion and Her Royal Risk here) at the moment, so I’m taking a holiday from the indoor keyboard to write outside. It’s a shame to waste this beautiful weather when the English Summer is usually nothing more than “Three fine days and a thunderstorm”! I’ll be chasing shadows around the garden, as with our climate we always get too much of a good thing.  A few years ago, our house was cut off by snowdrifts from the main road half a mile away. I couldn’t get my car out of the garage for three weeks. Now we’ve got some sun, we don’t know when it will rain again. We have water butts collecting the run-off from every roof here at Tottering Towers, so we can usually water the garden whatever happens, but the runner bean plants can never seem to get enough to drink.  In a drought, I have to save all the washing-up water to pour onto them, as well. Our collection of potted blueberries gets first call on the “soft” water from the rainwater tanks. Their containers stand in troughs, to save every drop of water. Blueberries are originally bog plants, so they need all the rainwater they can get. The runner beans aren’t so fussy, and will drink anything.

My summer newsletter will be out soon. You can sign up for it here, and to keep up to date with my writing news, tips and lots more, you can “like” my author page on Facebook, here.

Cameron Dickie, Deane Saunders-Stowe, Fay Wentworth, Her Royal Risk, His Majesty's Secret Passion, Linn B Halton, Lurid Leominster, Peter Ellis, Princes Of Kharova, Trevor Robinson

A Holiday From Writing…

Waiting for opening time! Photo by Deane Saunders-Stowe

This weekend it was the Leominster Book Fair, and along with lots of other authors I spent the day at Grange Court, Leominster. The building is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland, and so lots of people called in to chat, listen and buy.

 As well as being a beautiful building in a lovely setting, Grange Court is full of character. If you’re ever in the Leominster area, it’s definitely worth a visit. As the sun was shining so brightly through the screen-printed curtain at the back of this room the detail doesn’t show up very well. It was a photograph of a courtroom scene, with the people taking part dressed in period costumes. An unusual feature, which really makes an impact. You can find out more about Grange Court here: http://www.grangecourt.org

The day was organised by Peter Ellis, and RNA member (and fellow Marcher Lady!) Fay Wentworth. Although Leominster is in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire writers were well represented. Cameron Dickie read from his latest release, Seeking The Eagle, I shared a table with Linn B Halton, and Deane Saunders-Stowe took these photographs.

Each of us got the chance to introduce ourselves and speak about our work during the day. I read an extract from the first book in my Princes Of Kharova series for The Wild Rose Press, His Majesty’s Secret Passion, and spoke to a lot of readers. I was especially pleased to meet Susan S’ari, who introduced me to The Bookshop Cafe group on Facebook.

Writing is a solitary business—as a natural loner, that’s one of the reasons I love it. I spend far too much time behind my screen. The chance to meet readers and other authors was the perfect excuse to take a day off. Now I can’t wait for the next one.

Does your town have a book fair?

army, Athan, Her Royal Risk, Krisia, Princes Of Kharova, soldier, Wild Rose Press

This Writing Life: Her Royal Risk—Publication Day!

 Her Royal Riskthe second book in my Princes Of Kharova series, has been released by The Wild Rose Press. You can find it here.

Soldier hero Athan goes underground on the mission of his life. Will Krisia expose his secret? She’s such a perfect PA, he can’t risk seducing her into silence. Or can he? You can find out more by clicking here. This is a taste of what you can expect…

To hear concern from her was a shock. What she did next gave him a bigger one. She took a step toward him. He hardened his features until her laughter threw him further off balance.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Action Man! I’m not coming on to you. My job is to anticipate trouble before it affects my boss.”
Athan drew himself up to his full height. It put more distance between them, and cast his impressive shadow over her. “I’m not worried,” he said. He was, but not about King Leo. Athan was concerned—no, it was way worse than that. He was disturbed. People never looked at him in the way Krisia stared at him now. They shouldn’t. She looked…
He frowned, forcing himself not to uses the obvious word. It made him uneasy. Why would any woman look at him like that? They were supposed to fancy him, and fawn over him. He coped with it all the time. He could ignore them. But this one…she was different.
“I’m not worried,” he repeated, expanding his shoulders, “but you should be, Kris. I’m upgrading this exercise to a Code Red. It means we’re on a war footing, until further notice. If you’re determined to shadow me, then you’d better get ready for some action.”
He leveled a look at her. Flames erupted in her cheeks, and she took a step back. Her involuntary movements betrayed her thoughts, and made him smile.

Serve her right for looking at me with sympathy.

With the power of love at its heart, Her Royal Risk was a lovely book to write. I hope you enjoy reading it.

What’s the greatest thing love has done for you? Post your comment below. There’s the prize of a signed copy of Her Royal Risk for a comment picked at random, on 17th April.

creative process, His Majesty's Secret Passion, Princes Of Kharova, Writing

Birth Of A Book, Part One: From Thinking To Writing…

By Antonio Litterio

Where do you get your ideas? is the question every writer gets asked, all the time. The answer is so simple, once you discover what it is you’ll never believe it was so hard to find. It’s in your bath. Or at the top of a tree, the bottom of a bucket, or…anywhere, and everywhere. You get the idea.

Think about the person who asked that question. They’ll have channeled a million thoughts between getting up in that morning, and putting an author on the spot. Any one of those thoughts has the potential to become a funny story, a furious rant, or even a novel.

Imagine you got caught by a traffic warden, because you were five minutes late back to the parking bay. You were delayed because you couldn’t catch your dog. If you wanted to write a romance, imagine a handsome guy came to help you. Your dog bit him, and…

…Or if you wanted to write a thriller, maybe your dog ran away because he got the scent of…what? Drugs? A body? An escaped tiger?

There are three or four embryo ideas developed from an everyday situation that could happen to anyone.

Coming Soon…

The only difference between someone who writes, and someone who quizzes writers is that one notes everything down to use in evidence…or at least, for inspiration. Get yourself in the right mindset, and you’ll find inspiration everywhere. The internet, TV and radio are good launch pads. The lyrics of a song that make you think, a local headline that intrigues you but never makes the nationals, they’re happy hunting grounds for the author.

His Majesty’s Secret Passion, the first book in my current series, The Princes Of Kharova, sprang from a competition asking for the first ten pages of a romantic novel. I’d just read this article in Time Magazine about an alternative heir to the English throne. The real-life Mike Hastings wasn’t remotely interested in staking his claim to Queen Elizabeth’s crown, but I couldn’t help wondering how unhappy he’d have been if he was forced by circumstances to take on the job. Escapist romance demands exotic locations, independent women, heroes with issues and an aspirational feel. My initial idea soon developed into an overworked career-woman forced to take a holiday for her health, who is thrown together with a dedicated doctor who had to abandoned his studies for the sake of family loyalty.

By making loads of notes, I developed my initial thoughts into the basic framework of a novel. This all happened in my spare time, before I sat down at the computer. Once there, I had to flesh out my hero and heroine. The best way of doing that is to create character sheets for each of your major characters. I’ll cover that next time. Until then, keep up to date with  His Majesty’s Secret Passion and the other titles in the Princes of Kharova series by visiting my Author page on Facebook, and clicking on the “like” button.