Wednesday, 21 February 2018

A Special Thank you to Lynsey Grant

Many of you know the last few months have been a rough tough time and last week we headed back to the UK for my mum’s funeral. We stayed at the Wherry Hotel in Oulton Broad where we were very well looked after. On the day of the funeral our taxi, ordered to take us to dad’s house, did not turn up and after waiting for over twenty minutes panic set in. Apart from sprinting there like a gold medal athlete, the chance of arriving on time was looking impossible! But, all was not lost, Lynsey Grant, Wedding & Function Manager for the Wherry Hotel walked into reception and seeing our distress quickly ushered us into her car and drove us to dad’s house.

Thankfully the problems with the traffic were not on the roads we needed to travel on to the village, however, the roads back to the hotel were grid locked! Sometime later we learnt of the problems and it was no fault of the taxi company but serious problems with the bridge. The bascule bridge is the main crossing for the town and due to these problems had brought much of the area to a standstill for many hours. And yes, the cortege was also caught up in the traffic and arrived a few minutes late. 

My mum hated the bridge and cursed it from the moment we moved to live in Lowestoft in January 1969 when the original swing bridge broke down within two days of our arrival. I can't help but think how strange that the bridge should have broken down on such a day! 

Once again, thank you so much Lynsey.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Storm Clouds Gathering

A new poster I designed for my emotional book
Storm Clouds Gathering.

This is what some of the readers have had to say…

“Storm Clouds Gathering tells the story of three families during the sixties in the North of England. Being originally from Yorkshire myself the setting immediately appealed to me and Pauline’s evocation of the era is spot-on. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the three stories intertwined and Pauline Barclay is adept at sweeping the reader up as the story carries you along. I became quite engrossed in the highs and lows that the different characters shared, running the whole gamut of emotions – always the sign of a good writer. This is a book that will stay in your mind long after you have finished the last page.”

“This is the third book of Ms. Barclay's that I have read, and like the other two (The Wendy House, Magnolia House), this is a real page turner! Couldn't put it down! As the title suggests- there is a storm brewing, but Ms.Barclay sets up the story in a calm peaceful way. Then the lives of these characters start to unravel. There is much emotion throughout the story, and like another reviewer said: the book stays with you.”

“This was one of the best books I've read for a long time. Three different families' stories, interwoven and brought together by tragedy and heartbreak. Twists and turns aplenty, a complete page-turned that I found myself reading late into the night.”

“Yes, the story is deeply compelling. It takes more than a compelling storyline, though, to make a great novel. For me, the characters and the extent to which I connect with them are what really make or break a story. In real life, we have an emotional reaction to gathering storm clouds because we care about the people affected by the brewing storm. In Barclay's Storm Clouds Gathering, I absolutely had emotional reactions because I cared deeply for the characters. Barclay has created realistic, vulnerable characters, characters who, like real people, have strengths and weaknesses. Her characters, each with a distinct personality, are human. Barclay brings them to life in a very powerful way, and as I read I felt very connected to each of them in different ways.”

Available in Kindle and paperback from all Amazon sites and can be ordered from High Street Book Shops

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Character Interview: Patrick Lynch from the Fly or Fall by Gilli Allan.

Today in our special character interview we meet, Patrick Lynch from the Fly or Fall by Gilli Allan.

1.        Introduce yourself and tell us where we can we meet you?
“Everyone calls me Pat, but I’m Patrick … Patrick Lynch.  I work with my dad, Bill, in Downland, on the edge of the North Downs. I live……. Look, if you can’t find me on someone’s roof, shifting bricks or pouring concrete, I’ll be in the sports club.”

2.       Why are you in this book?
“Don’t ask me!  Wasn’t my idea. ‘Fly or Fall’ is Eleanor Hardcastle’s story.  She’s the first woman since…… uh, the first woman to break through my defences. Funny thing was, she had no idea she was doing it.”

3.       Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
“Ha ha ha ha. Who’ve you been talking to? I want to be liked, makes life easier, and I work hard at it.  If I can’t make people laugh I feel I’ve failed. But for the most part everyone always seems pleased to see me … except my brother. Maybe it’s too late to mend that relationship.”

4.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
“I don’t go in for self-analysis, but….  Good humour? Popularity? Are those strengths? If it’s within my capabilities I’ll always help folk out, go the extra mile. That might just be a strategy, of course, to ensure I’m everyone’s friend. But the flip-side of being liked, particularly by the ladies, is that I’m not above taking advantage. Something I’m not proud of, but hey, I’m only human.
I have been accused of avoiding trouble and confrontation … is that a weakness? … but if you ask enough people about me, they’ll all have their own take. Few really know me. My own fault, I guess. I’m not always … well … completely honest. I tell people what I think they’d prefer to hear, what fits with their preconceptions about me.”

5.       Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?
“‘Fly or Fall’ is told from Eleanor’s point of view. What she doesn’t know neither does the reader. At first, I come across as pretty shallow, a bit glib, a bit … ‘Jack-the-Lad’. I’m not complaining. It’s the part I often play because it seems to go down well with bored housewives. Eleanor was different … out of place, kind of trapped.  She changed, of course, and that threw me a bit, and then there was the incident with her daughter! The kid’s only 14! I admit I was shocked that Eleanor believed that of me. And after that, well, I wonder if anything would have happened … if the ice would ever have been broken … if I hadn’t fallen off that ladder!  Even then I only slowly began to open up, to begin … finally … to tell her the truth.”

About Gilli

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood - a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.
After a few false starts, she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist in London, and only began writing again when she became a mother.
Still a keen artist Gilli draws and paints, and has now moved into book illustration. She regularly attends a life-class near her home, a village in Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, Geoff.
Gilli Allan has had five books published.

Also by Gilli Allan:

Find Gilli @  (@gilliallan)

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Character Interview: Oswii – King Oswii from Cometh the Hour by Annie Whitehead

Today in our special character interview we meet, Oswii – King Oswii from Cometh the Hour by Annie Whitehead.

1.        Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
My name is Oswii – King Oswii to be precise – although you’ll meet me as a small boy quite near the beginning of Annie Whitehead’s latest novel, Cometh the Hour

2.       Why are you in this book?

I’m the nemesis of the so-called hero. The author seemed to think that Penda of Mercia was worthy of a novel, but she couldn’t have written it without including me. I became a highly successful king although it seems Penda had some kind of grudge against me. I can’t imagine what that was. And no, before you ask, it’s nothing to do with trying to make his kingdom subject to mine, or breaking oaths, or my attitude to my children.

3.       Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?

I must be. None of my wives had any complaints. All right, a couple of them might have got upset when I left them alone to raise my children, and if you asked my nephew he might accuse me of bullying him. Don’t speak to the abbess Hild, either, because we’ve had a couple of run-ins. Dear God, that woman can talk, and she doesn’t agree with me about anything.  If I could silence her the way I silenced a couple of others… oops, probably said too much there. But flick through the book, and you’ll see that there’s never a dull moment when I’m in the scenes. I don’t half liven things up. If fights, double-dealings and general stirring of the political pot are your thing, then I’m your man.

4.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?

Well, it goes without saying that I’m a military expert. Obviously I had a hard act to follow, my brother being the oh-so-saintly Oswald. My biggest strength has to be my guile. I’m clever, you see, cunning, in fact. I don’t always take the straight road, especially if I think it might be blocked. No, I find ways, other means, to get what I want. Weaknesses? Wouldn’t be much of a king if I had any of those, would I?

5.       Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?

She painted me as having quite a way with the women, and she got that bit right. My current wife is a shrew, make no mistake, and pious to the point of lunacy, but I can always manage to put a smile on her face, if you know what I mean? As for the rest, well, I will hold my hand up to one or two of the crimes that the author accused me of, but honestly, you commit one or two tiny little murders and suddenly you get blamed for every suspicious death. I was particularly proud of the way I er, shall we say, persuaded, certain people to turn traitor, or accept my very generous bribes, but she seemed to think it was a dishonest way to behave. Results, Lady, I got results, and that’s what matters. Oh, and she accused me of being a bad father. Bad father? When I produced so many children? Not my fault if I had to leave a few of them behind along the way. Honestly, some people are just too judgmental and sentimental.

You can meet Oswii in Cometh the Hour: In seventh century England, a vicious attack sets in motion a war of attrition which will last for generations.
Four kings, connected by blood and marriage, vie for the mantle of overlord. Three affect to rule with divine assistance. The fourth, whose cousin and sister have been mistreated and whose friend has been slaughtered, watches, and waits.
He is a pagan, he is a Mercian, and his name is Penda.
By his side is a woman determined to escape her brutal past. She aids his struggle against his treacherous brother and their alliance founds a dynasty with the potential to end injustice and suppression, if only they can continue to stand together…
A story that spans generations, and travels from Sutton Hoo to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and back to the buried treasure of Staffordshire, this is the first volume of the tales of the Iclingas, the family who ruled Mercia, fighting to avenge their kin and to keep their people free.

Annie Whitehead is an author and historian, and a member of the Royal Historical Society. Her first two novels are set in tenth-century Mercia, chronicling the lives of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, who ruled a country in all but name, and Earl Alvar, who served King Edgar and his son Æthelred the Unready who were both embroiled in murderous scandals. She won the inaugural HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Competition and To Be A Queen was voted finalist in its category in the IAN (Independent Author Network) Book of the Year 2017. All of her novels have received IndieBRAG Medallions and Chill with a Book Readers’ Awards, with Alvar the Kingmaker also voted Chill’s Book of the Month Award in Jan 2017. She is currently working on a history of Mercia for Amberley Publishing, to be released in 2018.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Character Interview: Gabriel Templar from Reluctant Angels by Dodie Hamilton

Today in our special character interview we meet, Gabriel Templar from Reluctant Angels by Dodie Hamilton

1.              Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?

‘Hi, there! I am Sergeant G H Templar United States Marine Corps. My full name is Gabriel Howarth Templar. I was named after my Great Granpappy who was named after his Granpappy and so on right the way down the line maybe even to the original Gabriel but you can call me Gabe, most folks do As for that I guess you could drop the Sergeant seein’ as I ain’t in the Corps now. I give it up in ’46 on account of the Love of my aching heart needing me more.
You’ll find me in two or three books now, the latest bein’ Reluctant Angels by Dodie Hamilton.’

2.       Why are you in this book?
‘In this book I am here for one thing and one thing only, to protect the woman I love,  Adelia Challoner, my Other Self, the woman I will love through this life and all before and all after.

3.       Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
‘I don’t know about likeable.  I’ve been hurt in the past and not that easy to get on with. Can an Angel be likeable? When you start out an ignorant kind of guy, barely able to sign your name, it ain’t easy. You’re all the while watching your back thinking folks are laughin’ at you, and they mostly are, even your own Pa. Not all human beings are likeable. Some human beings are trash. Bobby Rourke for one, with his good looks and his quiff! I could never like him but then my remit is not to like or be likeable. It is to love.’

4.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
My strengths as a man are my love of animals and most other creatures that walk the earth. My strengths as an angel are a mystery to me. I don’t dare think about that since I have seen that I can give life and I can take it away.
My weakness is the worst weakness of all, Pride. The Holy Book says it, ‘pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall.’ I am both of those things, Haughty and Proud, which when you think about it is a damned foolish way to be for an Angel to behave and I ain’t even a novice yet. I got a plenty lives to go through before I get my wings, but then maybe not, Charlie says it, ‘one act of selfless love is enough to give the wings of an eagle,’ which sounds okay, except I never wanted to be an angel. I wanted to be a man and to do what men do, to love, and laugh and be happy.’

5.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
‘Dodie Hamilton did her best. Sometimes she got me, other times no, but then as I said, I am a Becoming Angel and I have to grow through four, maybe five books. She has to seek me out and learn about me just as I have to learn myself.  Semper Fi. I am tryin’. Tryin’ is all you can ever do.’

Also by Dodie Hamilton...

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Character Interview: Shrug from the BackTracker Series by Eileen Schuh.

Today in our special character interview we meet, Shrug from the BackTracker Series by Eileen Schuh.

1.        Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
My name is Shrug, at least that's what's on my Northern Alberta Police business card, Constable Shrug Hayes. My mama called me differently but Shrug is what my friends call me. You can meet me in The Traz and live with me through the entire BackTracker series, should you desire. I also showed up to investigate the gang massacre in Shadow Riders. Schuh said she didn't know anyone else who could get the job done. I got it done.

2.       Why are you in this book?
Let's get this straight, I am not in these books because I wanna be. I had myself written out of the story many times. The only reason I can think why I'm still in it is because of one persistent author who said she needed me there. Said I could do public. Gave me the courage to tell my story, admit my mistakes, expose my failings. She helped me shoulder the blame and keep on keepin' on.

3.       Would you describe yourself as a likable person?

4.       What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
I bloody-well have connections from God on down through to the devil, so don't be tryin' to ask me what strengths and weaknesses I have--I have 'em all.

5.       Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?
Yeah, she did. I could see that after the second book, FATAL ERROR. She did a good job. I quit tryin' to quit. Opened up. Became who I really was. That's not easy to do in public. In print. Out there for everyone to see, and analyze and judge. It ain't easy bein' a character in Eileen Schuh's books, she makes you bare your soul and breaks your heart. It ain't easy.

Eileen Schuh is the author of the crime fiction BackTracker series, which so far includes


Shrug is one of her favorite characters, and it's true that she did have to fight to keep him from writing himself out of the series. He's a very private person but there's somethin' about him. Somethin'...

Schuh also writes science fiction. Her two scifi novellas, SCHRODINGER'S CAT and DISPASSIONATE LIES, appeal to those who like quantum mysteries and futuristic meanderings.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Character Interview: Arthur known in legend and folklore as ‘KING ARTHUR’

Today on our special character interview we meet, ARTHUR – known in legend and folklore as ‘KING ARTHUR from the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy written by Helen Hollick.

1.             Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
Good morrow, this is somewhat strange as I do not think I have been questioned in this manner before. (I believe it is called ‘being interviewed’? What a quaint notion!)

It is the mid fifth century, and I am Arthur, the Pendragon, son of Uther, King of the Britons, and now that he is dead, I am King, although it has been a long, hard battle to reach this position of authority. You will find me in many tales, some more outrageous than others, some more exciting, some more believable – but in this instance, I can be found filling the pages of the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy written by Helen Hollick. The three novels are: The Kingmaking, Pendragon’s Banner and Shadow of the King, and they follow my life from spotty youth to grey-haired man.

2.             Why are you in this book?
Because I am the boy who became the man, who became the king, who became the legend.
And because Ms Hollick wanted to write her version of my life.

3.             Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
Probably not, no. I am a warlord. I have to be tough, even ruthless at times. I am also passionate, and passionate people are often quick tempered. But I like to think myself honourable and loyal to those who are loyal to me. I do not suffer fools, but I admire those with a brave heart. I adore my wife and Queen, Gwenhwyfar, although she too is a passionate woman and we have been known to have several rather dramatic fights.

Still, it is always nice to ‘make up’ after our squabbles.

4.             What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
My strengths? Dedication to my cause – bringing peace to these turbulent times here in Britain. The Romans just upped and went back to Rome, leaving Britain in a state of chaos and vulnerable to foreign invasion. There are those, mostly my British enemies, who are certain that the Romans will return, I am equally as certain that they will not, which causes friction between many of us.
 I am also convinced that the only way to achieve peace is to negotiate treaties with the Anglo-Saxons, Hengest and his brother Horsa, for instance, who are attempting to settle in what modern people call ‘Kent’ with our without my consent. I would prefer to ensure it is ‘with’, although taking Hengest’s granddaughter as my first wife was not a part of my intended plan! She is well capable of stirring trouble and is not keen on accepting that I divorced her. Frankly, I would rather have cut her throat, but that is not very honourable, or so my advisors tell me.

My weaknesses? Women and drink. And my love for my wife, Gwenhwyfar. I guess I ought to add my stubborn pride as well?

5.             Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?
As far as I am concerned, yes, but then it is debatable, in the eyes of factual history, whether I ever truly existed or not – so no author ever has the right of it where I am concerned.

In the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, though, my author did not use any of the later Medieval tales, setting my life firmly in the mid- fifth century and the early Welsh tales. There is no Lancelot, holy grail or Merlin in this version. And it is better for it, I think.

courtesy ©CathyHelms

The Kingmaking :
Pendragon’s Banner :
Shadow of the King :

About Helen Hollick

Helen lives on a thirteen-acre farm in Devon, England. Born in London, she wrote pony stories as a teenager, moved to science-fiction and fantasy, and then discovered historical fiction. Published for over twenty years with her Arthurian Trilogy, and the 1066 era she became a ‘USA Today’ bestseller with her novel about Queen Emma The Forever Queen (UK title A Hollow Crown.) She also writes the Sea Witch Voyages, pirate-based nautical adventures with a touch of fantasy. She has written a non-fiction about pirates and one about smugglers in fact and fiction, due to be published in 2018


Newsletter Subscription:

Amazon Author Page (Universal Link)

Twitter: @HelenHollick

Pendragon’s Banner You Tube Trailer

Friday, 26 January 2018

Character Interview: Kitty Costain from In the Cold Light of Day

Today in our special character interview we meet, Kitty Costain from the In the Cold Light of Day.

Introduce yourself and tell us where can we meet you?
My name is Kitty Costain, Costain being my married name, though there are times when I wish I had never heard of the name Costain, but that is my story. You could not make up what happened after my whirlwind romance with Bertie Costain. They say there is nothing like an old fool. It hurts to think that label could be readily attached to me. Away, I’ve said enough. If you are interested in finding out what I mean you can meet me in The Cold Light of Day. It is an engaging title and one that speaks volumes.

Why are you in this book?

I think this question should be addressed to Pauline Barclay as she was the one that contacted me, sat me down with copious glasses of wine and didn’t leave until I had answered all her questions. Don’t misunderstand me, I am grateful she did as it all looked so different when it appeared in print.

Would you describe yourself as a likeable person?
Yes and no. I like to think I am likeable, though it is not important to me.  I don’t suffer fools gladly, though if you read my story you might disagree. What is important to me is treating people kindly and with respect, sadly that is lacking as I found out.

What would you say are your strengths and your weaknesses?
Coping in adversity and if trusting others is a weakness, then I suppose this could be one of mine.

Did your author portray you and your story correctly? If not why?

Oh yes and more. Pauline Barclay certainly knows how to tug at the emotional strings. I’m not sure how those who have read my story faired, but I admit to reaching for the tissue box on more than once occasion as I turned the pages. I still can’t believe all that happened.

You can read Kitty’s story in The Cold Light of Day, available in Kindle and paperback.


Emotional Passionate Moving Stories
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