Thursday, August 15, 2013

My latest novel Under a Grecian Moon, was published last week. This is a traditional romance - and don't you just love the cover - telling the story of Lander Drakos and Evie, two lovers who were parted in very sad circumstances. They meet again only they are haunted by what happened in the past and of course there is a child, Helena, who must be protected at all costs.

I had a very nice interview in the local paper. The journalist who is super, always puts my age, he must keep accurate records because he always gets it right and moves the years on! It had me wondering, how do readers feel about a writer's age, does it put them off reading the novel?
If they are a nineteen something would they think they do not want to read anything by someone who is 60 plus, and vice-versa does a 50 year old think they will pass on a book by a l7 year old?
It could be it happens. What do you think?

Under a Grecian Moon
Published by

available in print and as an e-book from the publisher and

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book covers

Are book covers important, and if so how important? This thought came to me when I was sent a draft of the proposed cover for my new book.  Immediately I liked this cover, it was perfect. The novel is called "Under a Grecian Moon" (out in August 2013) and the cover echoed the title perfectly.

When I am looking for a book to read I confess I am drawn to the writer. The cover is way down my list but if we want to attract a new reader then I would think the cover is very important. It will tempt the prospective reader to pick up the book, I would surmise first they will read the blurb and then the first page.

I don't generally like my characters on the cover. I have a specific idea in my head how that character looks and feel an artist's view would not echo with mine. However, Jinger Easton who designed my cover for "Eden's Child" caught my heroine Maddy perfectly. I was over the moon with that cover. What do you think? I had similar feelings about Kerensa on the cover of A Fatal Flaw. However, there are no pictures of the men in my books. Oh no, I definitely would not like to see my heroes on a cover. They live in my head.

Another Artist David Young does beautiful covers, for my books he has always covered two scenes from the novel. Very clever! (See A Poisoned Legacy).

What do you think? How do you like your covers? Do you like uncovered men? Do you prefer a scene or a character. Come on, give me an opinion - I really want to know.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pauline Holyoak

I am very happy to welcome to the blog the fantastic writer Pauline Holyoak. Welcome, Pauline.

 About Pauline - I grew in Southeast England, in a coal mining village my husband calls, “The place that time forgot.” Look at my article, below to find out why. I immigrated to Canada, in search of adventure and a new life, when I was twenty one. I now live in Alberta (Western Canada) with my sports crazy husband, adorable sheltie dog and cantankerous ginger cat. I am the proud mother of two grown children and one adorable grandchild.

About my trilogy - Merryweather Lodge, was inspired by my own experiences in a remote and mysterious little cottage near Stonehenge. This cottage was called Scotland Lodge and belonged to my aunt and uncle. My family spent their summer holidays there when she was a child. It was my fairytale kingdom, with a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all of my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland and was lead to concocting this story and writing this trilogy. This wonderland and my childhood fantasies were the catalyst for my writing career and the inspiration for my trilogy.

The first book in this trilogy, Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge, was the Readers Favorite 2011 Silver Award Winner for paranormal fiction. Book two, Merryweather Lodge – Malevolent Spirit, was an award finalist. The release date for book three is July 1st. I have also written two children’s books and had twenty five articles published.

A Tribute to the Mining Village where I grew up. The place I will always call home.

Aylesham - A Lady in Her Own Standing
Nestled between the notorious city of Canterbury and the medieval town of Dover you will find her, growing rapidly in population, yet retaining her mining roots. Looked down on by some, dismissed by many, she shrugs off the loftiness and prestige of those around her. The place of my childhood, Aylesham Village, lovingly nicknamed Sunshine Corner. My husband calls her, “The place that time forgot.”
Established in 1926 as a mining community, Aylesham attracted and embraced miners from all over the British Isles. Some came out of necessity, desperately seeking work. Others were rejected by their own pits and labeled militants. They all came seeking a new life and prosperity, with their pockets empty but their hearts filled with determination. The diversity and uniqueness of her original settlers have molded and shaped the character of Aylesham and made her what she is today.
I left the village when I was 21 years old and immigrated to Canada. I went in search of adventure and a new life. That vast and majestic country has housed my form, nurtured my soul, provided me with a career and a wonderful family, but England will always been home. Now as I’m growing older, I tend to reminisce more often; the memories of my childhood entertain my thoughts frequently and fill me with nostalgia.  I remember vividly the profusion and delicate fragrance of the wild roses scattered throughout the village. The leisurely walks through the wooded Spinney Lane in the spring, with her carpet of primroses and later, in a mist of bluebells. The regimented cuisine of fish on Fridays, salad on Saturdays and the ever-reliable Sunday dinner. I recall the congregations of women, standing outside the shops adorned with colorful aprons and metal curlers, exchanging the local gossip, as they rocked their big-wheeled prams back and forth. Packs of mischievous dogs roaming and littering the streets, unsupervised and uncared-for; a mixed breed of canines, coming and going as they pleased. Rows and rows of clothes lines with their fresh white linen blowing in the breeze, generally on Mondays. The Welfare Grounds, where we watched our dad play football on a Saturday afternoon. Its primitive play equipment and all its nooks and crannies where lovers stole forbidden, romantic moments, was an adventure land for us kids. The unforgettable, annual, seaside trips, sponsored by the working mans club. Like a regiment of soldiers, laden with goods, we would march to the station, fill the train to capacity and leave the village abandoned. We would make sand castles on the beach; wade in the sea and anticipating the thrill of the fun fair and the taste of candy floss at the end of the day. Oh, what simplicity! Oh, what joy! As a child, Aylesham was my haven, my place in the world.
The people of Aylesham are unique in many ways; they have a distinct accent and vocabulary of their own. They have a strong sense of humor, love for the absurd and a habit of poking fun at what they love without meaning disrespect. Most of the people that live there are descendants of the original settlers and are quite familiar with each others history. They show a genuine but inquisitive concern for their neighbors which might be considered intrusive by some. There is an invisible bond that binds them together. Strangers are cautiously welcomed. Although these Aylesham people may appear to be a tad unsophisticated at times, they are the cheeriest, kindest, friendliest and most caring breed of folk you could ever wish to meet.
The negative stigma that has attached itself to the village has always puzzled me. Although she does have her share of illicit and unscrupulous characters, the same can be said of any other town of her size. I have always believed that her reputation is unjust. Those that would harshly judge her have not lived among her people and felt the comradery of such a close-knit community. Although her amenities are limited, she is slowly coming to terms with contemporary life; just at a more leisurely pace than some. She has weathered the storms of nature’s wrath, tragedies, mining strikes and the closure of her life’s blood, Snowdown Colliery, but still manages to retain the essence of her mining roots. She has absorbed the verbal abuse and discrimination from those around her with dignity. She has nursed, nurtured and sustained her own. She is indeed a Lady in Her Own Standing and I am proud to call her home!

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Margaret.
My books are available in print or eBook format at  or Book three of my trilogy will be released on July 1st.

Please come visit me at   read about my fascinating life and view my videos.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Welcome John Lindermuth

Our visitor today is the prolific writer John Lindermuth. John writes many exciting novels in a variety of genre as well as fantastic short stories.

(Sooner Than Gold, published in April by Wild Oaks, division of Oak Tree Press, is the second of J. R. Lindermuth’s mysteries featuring Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman. It’s the summer of 1898. The nation, just coming out of an economic slump, has been at war with Spain since April. And Sylvester has a murder victim with too many enemies.)

I’m Luther Longlow of Arahpot, Pennsylvania, one of those small farm communities on the fringe of the commonwealth’s anthracite coal region. Everybody knows in these waning days of the 19th century the coal region is nearly as violent as anything you’ll find in the Wild West.

Sylvester Tilghman is our sheriff, as was his daddy and his granddaddy before him. Normally, Sylvester does a fine job of keeping the peace. But lately our town’s tranquility has been shaken once more. A fellow by the name of Will Petry was found dead out at Nathan Zimmerman’s coal mine. Problem is, Syl says he has too danged many suspects. It don’t make it any easier that Zimmerman is town burgess and Syl’s boss.

Claude Kessler was standing over the body with a knife in his hand, but he claims he didn’t kill the man. Rachel Webber, Petry’s surly teen-aged stepdaughter, admits she committed an act meant to cause him harm. And then there’s a band of gypsies claiming Petry stole one of their young women.

I can’t for the life of me see how Syl’s gonna get to the bottom of things. But I have faith in the boy. He’s worked out tough problems in the past.

If this murder isn’t enough to complicate Sylvester’s life, that scoundrel McLean Ruppenthal is threatening his job again, there’s a female horse thief causing trouble and an old gypsy woman has been making scary predictions.

I’d like to see my stubborn daughter Lydia give in and marry Syl. Lord knows, he’s asked her enough times. I know it’s not easy for a big man to go down on one knee, let alone humble himself to ask the same question time and again. Lydia is one of those new-fangled independent women. You’d think it’d be enough accomplishments for her since she already runs the general merchandise store I founded, is postmistress, head of the Women’s Temperance League, a Sunday school teacher and sings in the Methodist church choir. Most women are plenty satisfied with just being a wife and mother.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

I’ve never been over fond of tight places and I was just about as uncomfortable as I had been riding in Hiram’s machine as we descended into the depths of the mine on the hoisting carriage. We’d been met at the top by a miner who was to be our escort.

“Why are we here?” I asked.

“I dunno,” the miner said. “Mister Zimmerman just told me to bring you down.”

It was my first time descending the shaft and I’ll confess to being nervous about it. I was glad it was as dark as it was so Doc and the miner couldn’t detect any possible sign of fear on my face. Whether it was there or not, I’m not sure. I do know I felt uneasy. Doc has been down countless times so I’m sure he had no trepidation about the journey. It was probably a daily experience for the miner, so I guess it didn’t mean a thing to him either.

The miner must have sensed my nervousness. “Don’t you worry none, Sheriff,” he said. “This is a safety carriage. It’s built of wrought iron instead of wood like they used to be.”

“I’m not worried,” I told him, hoping there wasn’t a quiver to my voice.

“It’s got dogs to hold the carriage in case the rope breaks or the machinery fails.”


“You know—a safety clutch. And there’s a roof over us so nothing’s gonna whop us if it falls down the shaft.”

That should have calmed me, but it didn’t. My stomach went all queasy as the machinery hummed and the carriage began to drop. The air around us was suddenly damp and cold. We were shoved up against one another in that tiny space. I could hear both men breathing and the miner’s body odor mingled with Doc’s familiar barber scent.

After what seemed another eternity we struck bottom and exited out into the shaft. The miner lit a carbide lamp on his cap and led us down the dark tunnel. I drew my jacket closer around me and turned up the collar against the chill. Water dripped from the ceiling and I did my best to ignore the scurrying heard off in the shadows. Off in the distance, the murmur of voices soon became audible.

Though ours is mainly an agricultural community, everyone knows coal mining is a dangerous profession. The men and boys engaged in the profession go off to work daily, facing the possibility they might not come home at the end of their shift. Hardly an issue of local newspapers can be read without finding account of some fatal accident. The most prevalent and dangerous risk to the miner seems to be a fall of coal, slate and rock from the roof, ribs and face of a chamber.

That’s another reason I’m glad law enforcement has been my family’s profession since my grandfather’s time. It wasn’t like I went hunting for the job. Truth is nobody else wanted it. And, since my father held the post before me, folks figured that was qualification enough.

Not that it’s usually that taxing a job. There isn’t normally a whole lot of crime in Arahpot. We have our occasional chicken and livestock thefts, a bar fight now and again and sometimes people want to go faster than they should in their carriages. Thinking on that last, it could get worse when more people own fast horseless carriages like that one of Hiram’s.

We rounded a corner and came into a larger chamber brightly lit with a series of lanterns hung from timbers. A cluster of men in dark clothing and with carbide lamps on their caps like our guide stood in the center of the chamber and turned to gawk when we entered.

“About time you got here,” Nathan Zimmerman barked, coming out from their midst. He’s a square-built man in his middle fifties with a round, red face and thinning gray hair parted down the middle. You could tell he didn’t work down here since he was decked out in a fine dark olive cassimere suit. His shiny black bluchers were specked with mud and grit and I’m sure that annoyed him to beat all. The other men were miners, all of them appearing to be uncomfortable in his presence.

“Why’d you call for us, Mr. Zimmerman?” I asked, being as polite as I could.

“Because we got a dead man, and it looks like murder.” He stepped aside and we saw a body stretched out on the ground between him and the others. “Bad enough I keep losin’ workers to this danged war without them killing one another.”

“What happened?”

“I’ll let him tell you.” Zimmerman jerked his thumb at a man next to him.

The man stepped out and I recognized him. Alex Mettler lives in Arahpot and I didn’t recall he’d ever given me a lick of trouble.

“Hello, sheriff, Doc,” he said with a nod.

“Never mind the pleasantries,” Zimmerman snapped. “Just tell ‘em what happened.”

Mettler nodded again and got to it. “I’m inside boss. The men on the day shift for this slope found the gangway closed up by a fall from an older breast. The men on the night crew—Elmer Teats, Joe Gibson, Willis Petry, Claude Kessler and George Shankweiler, a driver, with his mule—were all shut in.

“They called me and we found we were able to converse with the men on the other side of the obstruction. We learned they had good air, but one man was serious injured or maybe dead.”

I recognized some of the names. Teats was a married man with several children. Shankweiler was also married. Joe Gibson was a fifteen or sixteen-year-old kid who lived with his parents just down the street from Hiram and me. I knew Kessler, too. He had a reputation as a hothead. Petry I couldn’t place. “Which one’s dead?”

“We’ll get to that,” Zimmerman said. He motioned for Alex to continue.

“I set the crew to work diggin’ and we had them out in a couple, three hours. We found they went to work about six o’clock yesterday evening and the slide occurred at about midnight. In all, they was trapped about twelve hours.”

“Never mind that,” Zimmerman said. “Tell ‘em about the murder.”

Mettler dipped his head in obedience. “Teats, Shankweiler and the boy were in the chamber where we broke through.” He pointed at the body on the ground, “Him and Kessler were in a little alcove around the corner. When we came in, Kessler was standing over Petry with a knife in his hand.”

“But I didn’t kill ‘em,” Kessler said. “I swear I didn’t.”

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Friday, February 1, 2013


I am always fascinated by the questions the audience ask after a talk. Sometimes you are really put on the hop but I do love a challenge.

One lady asked me if there was any book that I had written that I no longer like. I thought quickly and realised there wasn't Was there a book I thought could be improved? Well yes absolutely, but if it comes to pass that years on I decide I don't like a book I have written what does that say about me? In all crafts you learn as you go along and I am sure it's like that with writing - well it is with me - and somethings now I would do differently. It was challenging to have to answer that question and it did require a lot of thought.

A popular question is about titles, how do you think up a title for your novel? Do I have to have the title before I write. No. What I do have to do is have the names of my leading characters. That is so important, without those I can't write a word. However, titles are often as problematical as blurbs and synopsis. I can spend ages on those. Quite often I dip into Shakespeare and steal from him, other poets too. "Fortune's Folly" came from Romeo and Juliet, The Longest Pleasure, a poem by Lord Byron. Other are more about the novel. Tilly's Trials, my heroine is called Tilly and boy does she have some trials (and some of them of her own making). Spanish Lies was SO easy, that is one title that came to me before the book was half way written. There were lies and they generated in the country of Spain. Easy! I wish I knew how Eden's Child came about, it just tipped into my mind and readers will know the reasons are obvious but it was a long time before it actually came to me.

When do you write, is also a popular question. How do you choose your setting is another one. Well the last one is fairly straight forward. My next novel "Under a Grecian Moon" was born because I was looking out on a cold, grey day and wished to take myself somewhere warm and sunny. I thought, "I'll go to Greece - perhas a Greek island, that would be fun and it would be warm, so off I went. Ah the pleasure of being a writer and to have the imagination to wish yourself somewhere nice.

I wonder how you would answer these questions - if you are a writer do share!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Do all ex-girlfriends have to be nasty? I was wondering about that while writing my latest novel.
I don't think it's necessary. In Tilly's Trials my hero has a new girlfriend. She is, I think, justified in being very wary of Marsh's ex-wife. She isn't popular with his family but that is to do more with them realizing that she isn't right for him. I don't think she is particularly nasty just human,.we have all been there I'm sure!

My next book out has a real humdinger of a love rival. She is a genuine nasty piece of work.I loved thinking up the tricks she got up to. However, was that also her nature? Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca was an unpleasant woman, her malign presence, even though she is dead, haunts this novel, she is kept alive by the equally horrid Mrs Danvers. These women can really take over a novel. Care is needed to sometimes reign them in.

Is my rival for Lander's affections justified in being an arch manipulator? Of course not. Certainly she could be hurt and upset but she takes it much further. She is selfish and unkind and not only to my heroine but to her daughter as well. There is no excuse for her behaviour.

However, it can be tedious if all our love rivals are downright wicked. In Beloved Deceiver the hero's ex-girlfriend has a generous nature.At first I was nervous about how it would work but fortunately the novel was well received and I think everyone liked Fabia. Of course even Fabia hadn't to outshine the heroine, or why else would Mars Collingwood choose Flora?  That was not difficult to do. I won't tell  you how I did it, find out yourself!!

On the whole though my love rivals have not been particularly nice. Sometimes it is not that they are still in love with the hero. Sometimes they just can't help themselves, like Maddy's twin sister Milly, in Eden's Child. Upbringing, lifestyle choice and an inbred instability make it impossible for Milly to be anything other than malign.

Let's face it really bad girls are fun to write about - rather more enjoyable than bad men - but that's only my opinion  What do you think?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Saddest Month

T S Eliot wrote that "April is the saddest month" I don't understand why he did that. For me April is new beginnings, it is early Spring, all around new life is coming forth. There are daffodils along the hedgerows and by the Lakes in the magical Lake District. A primrose peeps up in a wood. Buds are on the trees. It can be cold and blowy, it is possible for snow to descend but there is never anything sad about April for me. Of course there is Easter and Good Friday if you are a Christian, and that is a very sad day but there is Easter Day with the promise of life and all good things.

For me the saddest month is November. It has nothing to do with dark nights (although they can really make you feel miserable) or the fact that the leaves have all but left the trees and lie in soggy piles on pavements. No, it is none of these. I think of the 11th November. The day the Armistice was signed. A recent television programme related the little known fact that because the signing was at 11.00 a.m. young men were still being killed on that day. Stupid generals were insisting their men still fought on. I think the last soldier to die was a young American at around 11.00 a.m.

November makes me feel so sad, it always has. I think of my grandfather and other lads like him fighting in a war that brought them nothing. Remembrance of the First World War should never be forgotten, even though it is for me the reason that November is the "saddest month."

I remember going to Ypres and to the daily ceremony at the Menin Gate. There were lots of school children there, chatting in the way they do and I thought oh what a shame they don't realise the significance. Me of little faith - the moment the Fire Brigade band came they fell silent and respectful. They were wonderful.

Let's think of all service personnel this month. We send them to war zones I never hear them complain. In the words of a cheerful song "Bless 'em All."