Tag Archive | fiction

TWIG – The Writers Interaction Group

ctMitchellWhen author C. T. Mitchell and I last emailed each other, he didn’t have the slightest idea that he’d be a TWIG before the month was out! (He’s much more of a BRANCH really, but, like trees, our group’s starting out small… ).

The idea is to write a post, as usual, each month – but give a worthy author an airing, as publicity to a writer is as valuable as air!

C.T. Mitchell, a well-known Australian author of a dazzling array of murder stories – from ‘cozy’ to ‘dastardly’ – has written a plethora of Short Reads and full-length novels, which are listed below.

DETECTIVE JACK CREED SERIES

Rejection

Shattered

Secret of Barnesdale Manor

Murder on the Beach

High Stakes

Murder at Stonehaven

The Thin Line

DETECTIVE JACK CREED BOX SET

Lady Margaret Turnbull

Murder at the Fete

Murder in the Village

Murder at the Cemetery

Murder in the Valley

LADY MARGARET TURNBULL COSY BOX SET VOL 1-4

Murder at the Manor

Murder Shot

A Sugar n’ Spice Culinary Cozy Mystery

Just Murdered

Killer in the Kitchen

Cupcakes, Cider & Crime

SUGAR N’ SPICE CULINARY COZY BOX SET

Father Douglas Cozy Mysteries

Murder and the Mechanic

Murder and the Jewelery Box

SELENA SHARMA MYSTERIES

Murder by Butter Chicken

Murder of a Bollywood Star

SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Web: www.CTMitchellBooks.com  /  www.theshortreads.com

Press

The above is, you will agree, quite an impressive list of accomplishments. C.T. Mitchell and I hope you will enjoy choosing one or two, or maybe even more of his books to read at your leisure. It would be a crime not to.

Happy reading!

 

THIS AND THAT…

trapeze_med

As this post is a slight departure from the norm… I’d like to put strangers to my occasional ramblings in the picture, lest they send ‘the men in white coats’ to my door. Eldest son, Jason, is a blogger (among other things) and I have written the following in reply to his recent out-pouring of nonsense.

Who would have believed it, after all the years of shady shenanigans; coded glances and messages secreted in ancient lavatory cisterns, the truth was revealed by our eldest son to the unwitting world.

It is true, we ran a modest hotel in Bournemouth, before being pursued and approached by the Cirque du Soleil (not the Circus con Leche as stated by Jason). Seduced by our reputation – for ‘‘im indoors and yours truly were renowned for our prowess on the trapeze (despite the gathering years, and not known by many people) – the troupe were planning to ‘star’ us in a dazzling Spectacular, which would astound the public. While middle-aged, what we couldn’t do with our amazingly virile, versatile and talented forms, wasn’t worth talking about. Our stage names were Kermit and Dolly Rodriquez. Tragically, the spectacle was cancelled after Kermit developed a large corn on his big, right toe, and ‘delayed acne’ at the same time as my varicose veins became too prominent.

It was more than our lives were worth to comment further about the man with the withered hand. Then Jason suggested plastic surgery would be ‘rejuvenating,’ (and otherwise advantageous) and our planned retirement to sunny Spain fitted neatly in with the circumstances. It also meant that our other two sons wouldn’t be able to find us, thereby paving the way for our eldest son to inherit our vast estates and the oil-fields in Texas when we popped our clogs. We were astounded by his dastardly plan.

Quite a few Menu del dias and Café con leches later…

It is with huge relief that we have learned of a few, pertinent, arrests in the UK by MI5. This is most fortunate in that we were looking over our shoulders so frequently, we kept bumping into lamp-posts. We are also delighted to discover the truth about our eldest son. He arranged the plastic surgery to save our lives, which were in imminent danger at the time, and due to his magnanimous nature and a windfall from a grateful, former client (Jason was a ‘Professional Carer’ at one time, and not as he claims a Ninja assassin), he’s totally disinterested in our alleged fortune. Another massive bonus, we have been reunited with our other two sons, and so folks, as the sun sets in the Western, technicoloured sky, we are able to paddle in the Med. again with carefree hearts and be a united family..

And now for something completely different..

Three of us flying Lennicks are planning to publish a book of humorous poems, anecdotes, jokes and fifty word stories in the near future. So, do look out for The Moon is Wearing a Tutu. By Joy, Eric and Jason Lennick.

Available now for your reading pleasure – Food Glorious Food – a ten-story anthology, penned by various writers: members of WordPlay Forum. Published by Quirky Girl Publishing. A must for any occasion: beach or curled up in an armchair.

Keep an eye open (or two) for our up and coming anthology: Des Res. Another treat from WordPlay writers and the able Quirky Girl Publishing stable. (Both available from Amazon,
Kindle and CreateSpace..)

Coming soon: a brand, spanking new version of My Gentle War, a memoir written by yours truly. (No. 1 on Kindle in Memoir/Social History category.)

An interview with Dale Rominger

Scene: a sun-drenched patio in Playa Flamenca, Spain..

DaleHi Dale, Welcome to Spain and Chez Lennick. May I ask you a few questions?

Dale: Fire away!

Me: First off, would you like a cold beer?

Dale: It would be rude not to…Thanks.

Me: Would you tell us a few relevant facts about yourself: where you were born, lived and work/worked, and have you travelled much?

Dale: I was born in Summit, New Jersey in August of 1948. We moved around a bit when I was young. Actually I moved very five or six years until I landed in London, England where I lived for sixteen years. We lived in New Jersey, Washington D.C., and Ohio when I was young. I went to college in Ohio and then moved to Montana followed by California. They were both great places to live. In 1987 I moved to Great Britain where I stayed for almost thirty years. Now I’m in Seattle, Washington. I’ve been here a year and a few days and am doing my best adjusting to life back in the United States. I must confess, it’s not easy.

You asked if I have traveled much. The last time I counted I have been to 67 countries. For about ten years I was putting in about 100,000 miles a year in the air. I’ve been fortunate in this regard. I loved it, but it was tiring and now I’m settled here in Seattle.

Me: Wow! You’ve certainly burnt up some shoe leather…and clocked up some air miles! How interesting. Now, about the kernel in the shell: your writing… What inspired you to write in the first place?

Dale: A desire to write began when was in high school. I actually started writing a sci fi book then – it was crap! I never had the discipline to write and work full time, that is to write fiction. Much of my work demanded some writing of various kinds. But I retired early – around 62 – in part to begin writing in earnest and to create a website to post my writing and to provide a place for other people to publish their writing. I’m happy to say that I’m doing both of those things and enjoying it.

Me: I know everyone asks this question, but have you a specific routine or are you a more spontaneous writer?

Dale: I have a kind of routine. I’m a real night person so most of my creative time is late at night and early in the morning. I usually spend a couple of hours in the afternoon on whatever project I’m working on. That doesn’t mean I necessarily write, though I might. But more than not I reread what I wrote the day before, work on my flow charts – I keep flow charts of the narrative so I can quickly find scenes I want to look back on. I also may do some research. That sort of thing. At about 10:30 pm I go up to my study and begin writing. I’ll work until about 2:30 am, run the spell check, and then go off to bed. I love working like that. The world is quiet and it seems peaceful. And if it’s raining, I crack the window open a bit. The sound of the rain is great.

Me: Do you edit as you write or map out a rough draft/s first? And are you meticulous as regards to research?

Dale: I edit some when I write, but I’m a lousy editor of my own work – not unusual for writers. When I’ve completed a book, I print out that first draft for editing. When I’m done it goes to my wife who will go through it twice. Then it goes to a professional editor I use through the publisher. That edit is great and necessary, as far as I’m concerned. The professional editor not only makes sure the book is in the proper grammatical style demanded by the publishers, she (mine is a she) also finds plot holes, etc.

I don’t create a detailed outline or synopsis of the book before I begin. I do have a general outline, mostly in my head, but some on paper. That outline will change as I write. Those flow charts I mentioned allow me to keep a hold of the narrative structure as I write so I can see what is happening. They allow me to keep some control of the story. If I were made to write a detailed outline first, I’d never begin the writing.

I do a lot of research for both my fiction and nonfiction writing. A lot of that research is done before I begin writing, but not all. I often click on Google when I’m writing, look something up, do the research, and then return to the writing. It works for me. If you were to look at my word count each night, those nights with less words are also the nights I did a lot of research. I don’t lose the flow of my writing when I do that. And I enjoy the research as well.

Me: I have just finished your recently published book ‘The Woman in White Marble’ and I must say I was very impressed at the way the story-line just zipped along. Your writing flows really well. Do you have a clear idea of the way the complete story should go or do you let your characters lead you?

Dale: Well, as I said, I start with a general outline, but when I sit down to write, while I know in general what I will write about each evening, I often have no idea what the details will be or what the characters will do and say. Sometimes, however, a future scene will come to me in detail, so I pause and write that down in its detail so I don’t lose it. For example, I always discover the ending of my books at the beginning only a few days into the writing. I stop and write it down, either in my notebook or in a computer file. When I actually get to the end, it will change some, but I’m surprised how accurate that first imagining was.

Me: What inspired ‘The Woman in White Marble’?

Dale: You’ll notice that the book is dedicated to Peter Crook. Peter was a dear friend of mine. He died suddenly and I participated in his memorial service. A couple days after that service I was lying on the couch supposedly watching TV. What I was actually doing was remembering my times with Peter. Something happened on the TV that sparked with my thoughts and a general outline for the story just appeared in my mind’s eye. I laid there for a few minutes thinking about it, then got up, went upstairs to my study, and started writing. The book is interesting and fun because Peter was interesting and fun. It was really written for his wife and two daughters, my good friends.

Me: At roughly what age did you start writing seriously?

Dale: Depends what kind of writing we are talking about. Nonfiction probably in my early thirties. Fiction when I was 62.

Me: Now for the three W’s – Where do you write? What do you have a preference for: fact or fiction? And When is your favorite time to write?

Dale: I write in my upstairs study. Where ever we live, one of the bedrooms becomes my study. It’s filled with books, photos from around the world, and items I brought back from my travels.

I now prefer fiction, though I do nonfiction writing for my website almost every week.

My best time for writing is between 10:30 pm and 3:00 am.

Me: Have you a favourite writing tip you can share with us?

Dale: Not sure I do, except to find what works for you. I’ve read a few “how to write” book by successful authors. I enjoyed them and got some tips. But those book are really “how I write” books which have authority because they are written by successful authors. But how they write may not be how you write. I think Stephen King said you should first create a detailed outline. On the other hand, Ian Rankin doesn’t even know “who done it” when he begins writing his mysteries. They are both very successful authors, but you can’t take advice from them both.

I did read in one “how to write” books that if you never actually get down to writing something, and not just thinking about writing something, then you are probably not a writer and should go on to something else. Seemed like good advice.

Me: Who is your favorite writer/s?

Dale: To name a few: Philip Roth, Toni  Morrison, Chuck Palahniuk, Zadie Smith, Dave Eggers, Kurt Vonnegut, Barbara Kingsolver, Roberto Bolaňo, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, and Joyce Carol Oates.

Me: What’s next, Dale? Do you plan writing anything specific, or does your Muse surprise you?

Dale: I’m currently writing a second Drake Ramsey mystery – Drake is the protagonist in The Woman in White Marble. This one takes place in New Orleans so the city is a character in the book as well. I’m enjoying it very much.

Ideas are never a problem for me. I have another novel sitting in my computer – well, 4000 words of it – which I will return to when I’m done with good old Drake Ramsey.

Me: I feel I have taken up enough of your time! It’s been fascinating talking to you. Thank you for the interview. I’m looking forward to your next book!

Dale: Thank you.

*

You can find Dale at The Back Road Café

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Why I wrote ‘The Catalyst’

My first faction novel ‘THE CATALYST’ is now available on Kindle and paperback on Amazon and CreateSpace. It is about two people caught up in one of the horrendous terrorist London train bombings in 2005; the aftermath and how the support and love of family and friends – and humour – helped the protagonists recover. But that’s not all! There is a family secret and we get an insight into some of the characters’ lives too. Very few of us are islands.

For non-writers of books, can I give away a little secret here? Putting your words ‘out there’ is a little like walking down the street naked. It really is! Will someone point and snigger, or merely smile, being polite – having read the book – hopefully silently congratulate you and wish you well?! Of course a good review would be even better!

Someone recently asked me why I wrote a book about such a terrible disaster as the Aldgate train bombing. The fact is, I was affected – like so many other people – by the terrorist bombings in July, 2005 on three trains and a bus in our capital city. After all, I had, in the past, worked and regularly travelled by train to the City and West End of London, so could identify with being trapped in a train; the fear and pain caused on that dreadful day. The details of the actual explosion and aftermath are as accurate as my research via newspaper and TV reports revealed at the time and afterwards.

My story, however, covers much more than the explosion and terrible happenings and suffering on that indelible day itself, for I was very aware of the aftermath and repercussions which occurred and altered many people’s lives forever. The outpouring of grief for those killed, and sympathy for the injured, was felt, not only in London, but across the whole of the UK and further afield, for those involved and affected were of all ages; sexes, religions, cultures and from all walks of life.

Aware of the camaraderie which existed in World War 11 and the compassion and caring which many people shared, I was drawn to showing just how vital was the sympathy, love and interest of family and friends in the recovery of the protagonists.

As is the case with most fictitious ‘characters,’ I let my varied collection take me on, hopefully, entertaining/interesting journeys…but must emphasize that my main male protagonist Ian is a composite of a dear friend who sadly died prematurely in 2012. I have also used factual places where possible; and relayed the value and importance of humour.

We all have differing opinions on life and hurray for that; but I plump for ‘chance.’ I believe in optimism, hope, love and ‘humanity,’ which I have tried to convey in my story. Life is full of coincidences, ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ which you don’t need to read my book to appreciate, but it does reinforce those facts, as you will clearly see if you do! Enjoy.

A book review: ‘The Thread’ by Victoria Hislop

 ‘The Thread’ tells us of the violent periods in Greek history which were, by their nature, a catalyst for dramatic change. After the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-22, the Greeks had to later contend with warring Italians and Germans; and even after World War II ended, they suffered the torment of Civil War from 1946-49. Unrest continued with the establishment of the Greek Military Junta – a legacy of political polarization that lasted until the 1980s. But this is no dry history lesson on Victoria’a part – far from it- rather the backcloth to the riveting, enduring love story of Katerina and Dimitri, which triumphed against mounting odds. Set in Thessaloniki, it also tells of the pitiful plight of most of the Jews and Muslims, which saw only Christians remaining.

The author proves herself to be a painstakingly diligent researcher, giving meticulous attention to detail.

I likened the story to the Bayeaux tapestry, for Katerina, the heroine, literally stitches part of the thread of the title through the story with her talented hands. Embroidering exquisite dresses and other delicate items, proves a joy and balm to her which sees her through many difficult, low periods in her long life. Other characters who proved memorable, are the frail, troubled Olga, and her husband, the obsessed, cold Konstantinos Komninos. This third, skilfully written novel by the author often pulls at the heart strings – and is as equally enjoyable as her first two.