Saturday, 22 April 2017
This past week has vanished in a flurry of house and garden massive tidy-ups. Thorough spring cleaning (shampooing) of carpets has taken me ages but at least when I've sat down at my keyboard I now know those tasks won't be nagging at my shoulder.
Just for something different,I'm off today to be interviewed at the lovely Pam Lecky's 'Vintage Treasures' blog. If you don't know all about me yet, now's your chance! Join us HERE
I'm also now fine tuning the preparations for a big party next weekend for someone near and dear who is now - can I believe it? - 70!
Wishing you a fine weekend.
Sunday, 16 April 2017
If you are celebrating Easter Sunday have fun...and if you're not, have fun as well!
Today, I'm talking about the fabulous little city of Heidelberg in Germany, a place I love to visit. It's one of the settings that I've used in Topaz Eyes, my contemporary mystery thriller.
Hop over to Jennifer's blog HERE and read what I love about Heidelberg and why I chose that location.
All of my Crooked Cat titles are 99p/99c across the Amazon network for one more day 14th -17th April.
I did sell some copies of Topaz Eyes on Friday during my 'Booksends' promotion but I don't think they nearly paid for my outgoings. I'm off to ask my publisher for some sales figures, if it's not too soon to work them out. Updates later on that.
Saturday, 15 April 2017
Amazon network. (Clink that link to see them)
Even if you've no time to read them just now, it's a great time to pick up a bargain.
For this event, I took the plunge and paid a whack of my hard earned profits from my physical paperback sales at my 2016 Craft Fair Venues. I'd not heard of a book promotions outfit named 'Booksends' but I thought I'd try it. Approx. 100 dollars is out of my budget for all of my CC titles but I decided to throw the cash at Topaz Eyes and see how it would fare. I paid for a one day slot where 'Booksends' send the information and links for Topaz Eyes at the reduced price of 99p/99c to their huge email list of readers who are nominally interested in reading particular genre categories like mystery thrillers.
It will be amazing if the feature runs into profit since it was quite an expensive add for me. However, if it boosts the novel on the Amazon charts it might be picked up by other readers in some way I don't understand, or know of, but I'm told a meteoric rise in Amazon charts can trigger lots of mysteries!
So far I've sold some copies during my 14th April but it'll take a lot more to cover my costs. C'est la vie.
Gaining more readers is the ticket and if they like my writing they will hopefully try my other novels.
Friday, 14 April 2017
...and for others it's also a good Friday because the Crooked Cat Books SALE begins for the next 3 days 14th-17th April, 2017!
Crooked Cat Books has designed this fabulous poster for me to share.
All of my Crooked Cat Published books are available at 99p/ 99c across the Amazon network.
This link HERE
should take you to my Amazon Author page where you can click through to my novels - or you can use the sidebar on the blog.
You'll also find one of my rare short stories available #FREE in -Crooked Cats' Tales.
If you'd like a change from my contemporary or historical novels then Crooked Cat Books publish an amazing array of genres. You can use this link HERE to browse through their titles available on Amazon. There has to be something you'll love and get it at a bargain, even if you're not able to read them just now.
Enjoy! Happy reading...
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
This afternoon was not as productive as I wanted with my writing and when that happens I need a distraction. The day was cloudy but it wasn't supposed to rain (according to local weather reports) so I decided to do a spot of necessary weeding around and about.
However, it seems that procrastinating extends beyond a new writing hiatus because the minute I was outside I thought it would be a great idea to have a daffodil count.
By that I don't mean count every single daffodil around the garden but the types of daffodil. Once upon a twenty or so years ago my garden probably had about 15 different daffodil/ narcissi types of bulbs. Over time many had played out their best shows and didn't reappear. I've added new ones but quite a few types were in the back garden which became my daughter's house back in 2015.
Today's count indicated a measly half dozen but they're looking great for all that.
As I clicked the shutter here and there it was evident that not all that was yellow was daffodils.
I've been trying to control the spread of yellow aconites but sometimes those cute little monsters just pop up everywhere.
And the dandelions! Oh, i know I ought to let them grow because it's great for wildlife but when it comes down to the amount of garden time available to me I'm afraid the pinching out wins over the ecological reasons for keeping the blighters. As soon as my granddaughter and grandson see dandelion heads they are jumping with joy and blowing the dandelion clocks all over the place. Hence more daffodils this year. AKA Lady Macbeth (?) I'm afraid it was a case of "Out, Out, damned spots..."
Two hours later I'm back at the keyboard but I have got an idea for a new scene in current writing so...after I post some of today's photos onto my Pinterest board I'll be back to that other real job.
Not all the current garden colour is yellow.
Monday, 10 April 2017
I've had a few of them today already but the one worth mentioning is my brand new blog header.
It's near impossible to get a really appropriate Ancient Celtic / Iron Ages Scotland image that I like and is a good branding for my writing.
I recently used an image of the Arch of Titus in Rome but it's time for a change. I've settled for the lovely bright image above and hope you like it as much as I do.
I acquire the use of most of my images from www.123rf.com and thank them for this one.
Now, after that slight dalliance to make my new blog header, I'm off to add a bit more to my current work in progress... since my allocated writing slot yesterday, for new writing, was eaten into by guest post writing instead.
Friday, 7 April 2017
My blog posting has been sparse for a variety of reasons of late.
I've been involved in local politics, delivering some campaign information to a few hundred households, since Scotland has local elections coming up on the 4th May, My reading pace may be slowing down, or it may just be that I'm reading more daily newspapers and flagged up political articles but they are taking up an enjoyable chunk of my mornings. Reading about the damages that BREXIT from the E U will have on Scotland in general, and the potential of a future Scottish referendum, are very important to me just now. I don't often include politics to posts on this blog but it's been my desire to have an Independent Scotland for many years now and it may be that in the near future there are more mentions!
I've been entertaining some relatives during this last week and planning for a special joint 70th birthday party at the end of April (my OH and my B_I-L). Even more time will be vanishing in the coming weeks for that exciting event!
All of the above means my writing has been on hold but I did notice that my contemporary mystery - TOPAZ EYES - has a 10th 5* review on Amazon UK. It is lovely to note that the lady who posted it had picked up her copy and read it after my last author presentation in Aberdeen, Scotland in February. I look forward to finding out if she does buy more of my work and hopefully if so, she will post another review.
It's short but is certainly does the trick!
"I meet the Author who talk about her books. Topaz Eyes is a very good read and will follow on with more books from Nancy Jardine."
Sunday, 26 March 2017
As well as being spoiled on 'Mother's Day' I'm also out blog posting. You'll find me over at the One Stop Fiction Readers Blog discussing locations used in my contemporary novels and I'm also sharing a little secret about Topaz Eyes.
Click HERE to read the post.
Monday, 20 March 2017
The characters are well-drawn and the action is fast-paced as befits the idea of a computer game. As Aran, Fianna and Bruce attempt to complete the tasks set by Callum, we are swept back to a time far more dangerous than our own and are able to explore the risks of time travel from the comfort of an armchair.
This is the first in a series and the underlying premise of a particular kind of time travel promises well for future stories."
My thanks to Myra Duffy, (aka the amazon customer) who has posted this review.
Now I need to persuade a few more people (like thousands of) to try it out -
Now why is this Monday any more hectic than the usual? It would be mainly because I've got an extra piece of blog posting to fit in today. I also need to play domestic catch up after having been away for a long weekend.
My reason for being away was to attend my FIRST EVER writers conference. I hopped into the car last Friday lunchtime and drove the 140 miles or so to get to Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, Scotland. The Scottish Association of Writers (SAW) conference was being held at the Westerwood Hotel, a very nicely appointed conference/leisure facility.
I wasn't attending the Friday evening session which kicked off the conference because I was staying with my relatives who live approximately a mile and a half from the hotel. That proved to be an inadvertent mistake because I missed hearing Myra Duffy, the adjudicator of the Barbara Hammond Trophy competition giving her updates on Friday evening. Unbeknown to me at the time, my time travel novel was placed second = and I missed the public announcement.
All of the SAW awards are only disclosed at the conference (some adjudicator updates are Friday night and some first thing Saturday morning) many of which are entered using pseudonyms to promote fairness during the selection/reading and finalising processes. This means that no-one knows in advance if they are a competition winner or are 'runner-ups'- but I din't know all of that till the Saturday when it was too late!
The Barbara Hammond Trophy for Best Self Published Novel is a fairly new award from the Scottish Association of Writers.
When I joined SAW a couple of years ago, I looked at their competition listings which are very extensive. Many of them are for poetry and short stories but there were a couple for full length novels, and ones for fiction for younger readers.
In autumn of 2016, I decided that my self-published time travel novel The Taexali Game fit the self-published criteria for the Barbara Hammond Trophy so I sent off my submission. Then I forgot about it till just before the 2017 conference. Since I found no updates anywhere to tell me who won, I reckoned that I hadn't been successful.
On arrival at the hotel I knew none of the sea of faces surrounding me, the conference being a large one with hundreds of attendees. However, I'd 'virtually' met a fellow Crooked Cat Books author, Rosemary Gemmell, and we met during the extremely brief coffee session before the first workshops. After greeting each other her words made no sense to me in the throng. I had to make sure to talk to a woman named Myra Duffy who particularly wanted to speak to me. The first opportunity came at lunch time. To my great surprise she commended my novel highly, told me she had really enjoyed it and had had a very difficult time choosing which novel should be placed first. She had ultimately chosen another novel to be first and placed The Taexali Game second.
Her adjudicatory comments on The Taexali Game are exceptionally well received by me and I look forward to the reviews she has promised to place on Amazon.
The conference workshops I attended were varied and entertaining and I had a thoroughly good day. The hotel is to be recommended for excellent decor, food and friendly service. I'm pretty sure that I'll probably do the whole '3 day ' conference next year.
Now to get on with more writing!
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
It's the Ides of March, the 15th, and it's always a great day for me since it's my birthday. I've been given some fabulous gifts so I'm returning the favour to my readers.
As I indicated in my recent spring newsletter, I have some special gifts for you on this day of Mid March Madness.
The Taexali Game, my historical time travel adventure for early teens, is now available on Amazon at the seriously reduced price of 99p/ 99c/ 0.99 euros so now's a fantastic time to hope on over and get your bargain copy HERE!
FREE **competition** for you!
My WINNER will receive a signed copy of one of the above contemporary romantic mysteries.
THE RULES are simple. To WIN:
- Like my Author Page on FaceBook (click this link to access the page)
- Tell me which of the covers shown above that you prefer and why.
- Tell me which of the titles you think you would like to read and why.
**Competition** open till Midnight Sunday 19th March 2017. (UK time)
But neither expect love to enter the game.
Can Nairn persuade Aela she’s the woman for the long haul as the mystery is solved?
Monday, 13 March 2017
She's been doing a series of 'tips to help before and after your story is published'. I really was unprepared back in 2011 when I got my first publishing contract but with some help and guidance that needn't be the case for someone in 2017.
You can find my guest post HERE.
Sunday, 12 March 2017
This time it's called Thunder Moon by Joanne Mallory.
Saturday, 11 March 2017
I posted this a five star read on Amazon and Goodreads - though I'm aware that the subject material might be just too graphic for some to handle.
Friday, 10 March 2017
Just Kindle Books today, Friday 10th March 2017.
I haven't tried this site before for marketing my novels so I'll be keen to see if there's any movement of Topaz Eyes on Amazon.com.
If you haven't yet read Topaz Eyes but love a deep mystery that has yet another mystery to solve just when you think you've cracked it then you can grab a copy on the Amazon US site for only $2.45 or £1.99 on the UK site. Other Amazon domains have it at an equivalent of £1,99.
If you've been to #Amsterdam or #Vienna or #Heidelberg or even #Edinburgh you'll love the descriptions of these cities as my characters move around the world to find the Tiru Salana emerald collection that was once in the hands of Geertje Hoogeven, a member of an Amsterdam 'jewellery store' family in the 1880s.
Other locations in Minnesota and the US also feature as my main characters Teun Zeger and Keira Drummond avoid the nastiest of the cousins who are also seeking the long lost 'family jewels'.
Just click the link HERE if you fancy an engrossing weekend read.
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
~ India Drummond, author of the Caledonia Fae series
The case is further complicated by unhelpful senior officers who make pre-judgements on colour, creed, race and sexuality. Yet the insight of the investigators helps them uncover a sinister plot, although they too have something to hide: their own fledgling relationship.
Will Angus and Raff be able to solve the murder without giving away their secret?
The best and worst of human nature is represented in this story, which is why it is suggested for over 18s only.
Friday, 3 March 2017
It's a bright and lovely morning, a great start to the day. It was also lovely to find that one of my novels, The Beltane Choice, was given a Discovering Diamonds Award today.
The Discovering Diamonds site is a prestigious one and the awards are given out sparingly which means it's great to get one regardless of what the reviewer likes or dislikes about the historical novel.
I agree with the reviewer that The Beltane Choice is a more standard romance than the next two books in the series but it's also not a historical romance in the normal sense either.
There's a little point to mention, though, that the reviewer says that I mention Boudicca throughout the novel when I actually don't mention her at all- though I do mention the northern Brigante Queen Cartimandua a number of times.
I can now use the logo on my blog and will be delighted to do so.
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
|National Library of Scotland|
|Sir George Mackenzie|
Monday, 27 February 2017
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
How it can possibly be Wednesday again is a mystery. The days have flown past but I've not entirely been idle. My current manuscript slowly grows and I've written a number of guest blog posts and a guest interview.
You can catch the interview at the One Stop Fiction Blog HERE.
And today I've posted an article on the Wranglers Blog about how many characters are too many in historical fiction? How does the author cope with lots of characters having sections where it's their point of view that's presented? You'll find that partially re-blogged below.
Sunday, 12 February 2017
I thought that I'd have a mainly writing day incorporating a little drive for research purposes. That will happen but some unexpected book marketing tasks have taken up some time this morning.
Amazon is a fabulous vehicle for selling books on but they do seem to have their unexpected moments. It was brought to my attention that #3 of my Celtic Fervour Series - After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks was priced at £2.13 for the PAPERBACK version. That is seriously cheap since it's normally £7.99!
It probably won't stay at that price for long but grab a copy if you still love reading a paperback version.
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
It's that time of year when romance authors are hoping for lots of lovely people to read their books. And I'm no exception. I sometimes focus on the historical aspects of my writing and let slide the fact that I also write contemporary romantic fiction.
But don't worry- I've not forgotten it this February.
My Corporate Sabotage Humorous Mystery - Take Me Now - is in a month long competition run via the OneStopFiction website. There are fabulous prizes to scoop up and everyone is a winner! You can't not win if you enter. It's that crazy!
There are loads of paperback novels on offer; or $50; or a choice of 14 different ebooks to choose from, of which my Take Me Now is one of them.
Just click the link HERE to enter.
Sunday, 5 February 2017
I haven't shared any of my work for a while so here's a tiny excerpt from my current writing.
At this point in the manuscript, my character - Gnaeus Julius Agricola - is making his first appearance. Something's not well at his camp near the Springs of Ythan...
I hope you enjoy it.
(The following is from my 'unedited' WIP)
|image from : www.123rf.com|
Thursday, 2 February 2017
It's been a busy day for me. In the virtual world I'm out guest blogging at Vanessa Couchman today being one of her 'History People. Just click the link to read that post.
I've also been out and about in Aberdeen, Scotland, visiting the Deeside Golf Club to give a PowerPoint Presentation to the ladies of the Petroleum Women's Club of Scotland.
I had a wonderful time speaking about my books and about Roman Scotland. They were a fantastic audience who asked some really excellent questions and even better some of the audience were from their book group which had read The Beltane Choice as their book for January. Their comments were wonderfully favourable.
I sold 18 novels to them and some of those were contemporary novels because the ladies had already read my Celtic Fervour Series. So rewarding to me as an author.
They won't be writing reviews on Goodreads or Amazon (sadly) but it's so wonderful to speak one-to-one with readers who love my writing,
It's been a long day so I'm off to bed in a bit. Sleep well.
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
In the Celtic Calendar the festival of Imbolc begins on 31st January and goes into 1st February, the Celts beginning a new day at the end of each evening.
In my part of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, today was a dreich, dreary, misty day with miserable rain. Not an inspiring start to what is effectively the beginning of the spring season though, in all honesty, we have not yet had a 'proper' winter so it's hard to imagine spring just around the corner. the festival of Imbolc was thought to have centred around the lambing time and the first appearances of particular plants so it's hard, for me, to imagine it as a 'fixed' celebratory day.
As far as I've read, there's no fixed evidence that Imbolc was definitely celebrated in north east Scotland in Celtic/late Iron Age times but when parallels are made it's likely if there was a Celtic/ Druid culture lasting for centuries in this area of Europe, then they probably had something similar to what has come down to us in writing regarding Imbolc celebrations in Ireland.
Instead of a dreary photo of my garden, here's a lovely fresh image of a well-bloomed yellow rose.
In past years at Imbolc, the beginning of February, I've had signs of spring in my garden. The yellow aconites pop out around this time and brighten up the otherwise dull and tired flower beds. However, since I don;t have as much garden as I used to, and since aconites can be a wee bit poisonous to the unwary, I don't really expect any to flourish any more. If any appear, they'll have somehow self planted themselves but since it's a tenacious plant that might not be an impossible scenario. Since I can't quickly lay my hands on one of my own photos, here's an image from Wikimedia Commons.
The weather might not be spectacular but I have beginning of February compensations.
Tomorrow, the 2nd Feb., I'm off to present an author talk to a prestigious and well established group in the Aberdeen area - the Petroleum Women's Club of Scotland.
My PowerPoint presentation is all prepared and I'll be giving my brand new projector screen it's first proper outing along with my dinky little projector.
Before then I hope to do some writing....
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
Since I was writing a post for another BLOG today, on Burns Day, it seems very relevant, to me, to write a similar post for my own blog. I've written before on Nancy's Novels about Burns poetry and songs, HERE for example, but I don't think I've yet properly included the poem Ae Fond Kiss.
|One of a pair of inherited Burns plates.|
Some Burns songs are lively and humorous but most of them are slow and heartrending—love songs and laments—mirroring Burns somewhat busy and very complicated love life as he fell in and out of love with one lass or another.
I think this is one of the best recent renditions. Robyn Stapleton has the most beautiful clear voice and my dad would have LOVED to hear this version.
This one, by Andy Stewart, is more like the versions I grew up with and I still have a vinyl copy of it in one of my cupboards.
P.S. Eddie Reader is pretty good, too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27nEe5yFtr8