Friday, 29 July 2016

Friday Fun with Ailsa Abraham!

It's Friday again and I'm delighted to say that I've got my lovely friend, Ailsa Abraham, paying a return visit to contribute to my summer writing theme. 

Ailsa's no stranger to these pages but today she's here to give us a summer update on what has prompted her to do some of her recent writing. 

Ailsa Abraham
Welcome again Ailsa! What's new with you?

Hello Nancy, thanks for inviting me over. I'm glad to get out of my house at the moment because a war is raging. No, not between me and the Ancient Mariner, it's my characters. Do you find that?
I don't know how many other writers find that their inventions take over their lives but it certainly happens with me. Of course, we all start out with them in our heads but I wonder if other, better-adjusted authors then put them away in a box like ventriloquists' dolls.

No, I'm totally disorganised. You know that I wrote Book 2 of my Alchemy series first, don't you? Then when the readers were complaining about lack of background I had to return and write Book 1 as a prequel. That's about standard for me. I didn't plan on it being any more than that, maybe a trilogy characters had other ideas.

The rot set in when I went to visit my darling Aunt Muriel in Scotland. She had seen a talk by Navajo Rangers (John Dover and Stan Milford) advertised and bought us tickets thinking, this is just the sort of thing Ailsa will enjoy.
Courtesy of Ailsa Abraham
She was right! These lovely men specialised in the paranormal and I was fascinated but in the middle of the talk I was being gently kicked in the ankle by a moccasin-clad foot. It was someone who, while not a minor participant, wasn't a lead rĂ´le in Books 1 and 2. 

He is Native American and I was getting very strong messages that he had to have a book of his own further down the line; I dutifully took notes. As he is a Black Shaman and they were discussing Dark Arts and Skin walkers, it seemed that Fate was pushing me.

Readers were informing me at the same time that he was very popular but they wanted more of Iamo and Riga the main players from Alchemy and Shaman's Drum.
Courtesy of Ailsa Abraham

I'm now juggling three Works In Progress including one which had been packaged and tied up until THOSE characters decided they didn't like their names. Whole plot done, spot of polishing to do and I have to start changing both names of both of them throughout. Blessed be the “Search and Replace” facility!

This is why it is war at home. My Native American wants my attention. Riga and Iamo need to tell me of their next quest and the other project is getting very antsy about being on hold for so long. So, yes, I'd love another cup of tea before I get back on my magic carpet and go home to slave over a hot computer. Thanks for having me, darling, and do come on over to the Bingergread Cottage soon. We'd like to hear your news too.

Nancy says: I promise to visit you at the Bingergread Cottage soon, Ailsa!

More about Ailsa Abraham:
...she writes under two names and is the author of six novels. Alchemy is the prequel to Shaman's Drum, published by Crooked Cat in January 2014. Both are best-sellers in their genres on Amazon. She has  also written gay romance under her brother's name, Cameron Lawton.
She has lived in France since 1990, enjoys knitting, crochet and until recently was the oldest Hell's Angel in town . Her interests include campaigning for animal rights, experimenting with different genres of writing and trips back to the UK to visit friends and family. She runs an orphanage for homeless teddy bears and contributes a lot of work to Knit for Africa. She is also addicted to dressing up, saying that she is old enough to know better but too wise to care.

That's a great update, Ailsa. Having had the pleasure of meeting your Auntie Mu a few years ago, I hope she's doing well these days. I can see it as the kind of event she'd love to attend. Thanks for visiting and best wishes with your writing. 


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

My reading rate has slowed down recently since there's been a variety of things competing with reading for leisure time but I have managed to read some very different novels during the last couple of weeks.

Here's my thoughts on a book by a fellow Crooked Cat author- Angela Wren who featured on this blog a few weeks ago. Her mystery novel is called Messandrierre and is set in rural France.

Messandrierre by Angela Wren 

Who did what and when? There’s plenty for Jacques Foret to find out in this story that’s a nice cosy / police mystery. There are various interlinked threads in the story and sufficient clues to make it reasonably easy to work out who has done what and why - the dates on the timeline good indicators for this, though the insertions of these are slightly confusing at first.   
I’d like to think that a policeman’s job in rural France wouldn’t normally be so interspersed with disappearances which turn out to have deadly consequences but the situation does make the day a bit busier and a lot more interesting for Gendarme Foret. Amusing interludes and minor dramas of domestic situations in the rural setting are dealt with by Jacques in a competent and sympathetic manner though the reader can tell that this aspect of his job at the beginning of the novel isn’t really satisfying him. A good aspect of these daily dealings is that it allows the author to introduce a neat range of secondary characters for Jacques to interact with. However, investigation is much more appealing to him yet he’s not an intense and driven cop.

Beth has previously had some emotional traumas to deal with, and new shocks to contend which seem even worse, yet I’m afraid I didn’t really empathise with her. She initially comes across to me as very selfish, though that’s less evident towards the end. The romantic element adds a bit of tension as the story progresses and works towards a happier conclusion.

This was quite an engrossing read! I recommend it to the lover of cosy 'whodunits'.

You can get a copy of it:


Monday, 25 July 2016

Summer Suns are a-Glowing' with Miriam Drori

It's time again for my Monday Moments slot and the summer theme of 'Summer Suns are a Glowin'.

Today my friend, Miriam Drori, has popped in to tell me how the summer affects her writing. Miriam has a great chance of getting more warm sunny days than I tend to do in Scotland, as you'll see in her excellent photos, but I'll let her describe to you why that's the case...

Hello Nancy and Nancy Jardine’s readers. It’s always a pleasure to be here.
Here in Jerusalem, we have perfect weather. That’s not to say we don’t complain about it. After all, every country has rain that falls on drying clothes and washes out sporting events. But of the options – rain all year round, rain mostly in summer or rain only in winter – we have the last and I think it’s the best.
Nancy says: That sounds like a perfect combination to me! 
Courtesy of Miriam Drori- Miriam writing in her garden
In addition, Jerusalem, being high up, has better heat than, for example, Tel-Aviv. It’s dry and usually cools down in the evenings.
All this makes Jerusalem a perfect place to write outside – in the summer. And that’s even truer when you have a garden as fantastic as ours, planned and maintained by OH and enjoyed by us both.
So I pick a spot in the shade, put my phone down beside me and sit down with my notebook and pen. Yes, the phone makes noises sometimes, but I can ignore them in a way I can’t ignore notifications on the computer when I’m typing on said machine. It’s to do, I think, with the fact that they flash up in front of me or beep straight at me. An email, a Facebook message. I must just have a quick look. An hour later, it’s time for lunch. Where did all the time go?
In the garden, I look at the phone during a natural break. I control the phone. When I’m typing, the computer controls me.
Nancy: Ah, such control, Miriam! 
What am I writing this summer? I’m finishing off a project in which I’ve been collaborating with Emma Rose Miller, joint author of Five Guns Blazing. It’s based on the painting The Women Friends by Klimt and the first novella in the series will be published by Crooked Cat Publishing early in 2017.
I’m writing blog posts, of which this is one.
I’m writing short stories.
And I plan to return to three unfinished novels. I don’t plan to finish all three this summer!
Courtesy of Miriam Drori
I look up from my writing to watch the fish lazily swimming around the stalks below round green leaves and pink flowers. There’s a gold-coloured fish, a silver one and a red one. There are smaller fish, born in our pond. Water trickles into the pond. Nature is all around. If I ignore the sound of traffic on the road below, this is perfect.
About Miriam:
Despite having lived in Jerusalem for much longer than her previous home town of London, Miriam Drori still likes the flavour of salt ’n’ vinegar crisps and always adds milk to her tea.
Following careers in computer programming and technical writing, she’s been writing fiction for about twelve years. She’s the author of Neither Here Nor There, a romance set mostly in Jerusalem, and is excited about the soon-to-be-published, above-mentioned novellas. As well as being published by Crooked Cat, Miriam also edits for them.

When she’s not writing, Miriam loves doing Israeli folk dancing.

Find Miriam at:

Thank you for contributing to my summer theme, Miriam. It's great to see your lovely photos and to read that there's someone, like you, who has such great control over NOT using the computer for writing! I confess that I hardly ever write with pen and paper these days but it makes more sense in summer since I can't ever get the shading correct to do writing outside on my computer. The bleeping of Facebook and other things  - I agree are a terrible distraction. 
You're always welcome, Miriam, so pop in again soon and give us an update to your summer plans. 

Today is meant to be one of my few writing days of the week but it's actually warm and sunny outside, my grand kids are already physically popping in and out of my house and garden (living next door makes that so easy with open doors) but I'm definitely aiming to do a few good hours of writing today!