Saturday 16 November 2013



Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog, Catriona. I thought it might be interesting to talk about the vexed questions of sequels.

Well, here I am, a published author at last – but what’s next? Am I going to write a sequel, or something completely different? After so long concentrating on The Book, it can be quite difficult to look at the situation dispassionately. Many writers, including me, are so fired with enthusiasm that they immediately begin The Sequel. I suppose the first novel is where you get into your stride, fine-tune your skills and realise just what you can do, and it generally leaves more to be said; hence, the sequel.

But after the first book is published, it’s natural to stop and think. Will writing a second book in the same genre consolidate your position? Or will it make it difficult to be accepted as a writer of anything else? Or will you have to start all over again under another name in order to make the change? Would it be better to write something else, something from a different genre, to establish yourself as a writer in multiple genres? Will readers like your writing style enough to follow you into other genres? Is it best to write a series of closely-linked novels? What is most likely to sell?

Had you asked me, ten years ago, if I would expect to ever become the author of a fantasy novel, I would have said no, not on your life. Not my sort of thing at all. I was a writer of non-fiction, a poet, a lyricist. But that was before I came to Dorset and fell under the influence of the magical Jurassic Coast. Nobody was more surprised than I was when Isle of Larus just poured out of my head. A fantasy novel? Me? Well, yes, and it felt natural to begin a sequel. But after my book was published, I stopped and asked all the questions above. I also wondered whether the sequel isn’t a form of laziness: I already know my characters, my place, my time. I have already answered most of the trickier questions and created a format that works. Extending the story, adding a few more characters and thinking up new challenges for them to meet was not so very difficult. I thought about it a great deal. But the tricky part of writing sequels, I discovered, lies in keeping it fresh, in not repeating yourself or using the same language too much – it’s not that easy, in fact.

So what did I decide? In the end, the answer came from the heart, and not the head. I found that I gained the same intense joy from writing the sequel as I found in writing Isle of Larus, and that matters very much, so the book will be completed. I have a third book in mind, too.

Do I want to be the author of a string of fantasy novels? Will I be able to do that and keep up with the poetry, lyric-writing and my other writing interests? I don’t know. But I’m going to have a damn good try. Meanwhile, back to the sequel…

Find out about Kathy’s novel, Isle of Larus, here:

Facebook page:
Kathy Sharp’s blog on Goodreads:

Thursday 17 October 2013

Guest Author Ailsa Abraham. Author of the Award nominated Shaman's Drum. Number One in Amazon category.


Thank you for inviting me, Catriona.

I'm sure that I have bored the living daylights out of people with advertising Shaman's Drum so I'd like to chat a bit about the above. It's a question I'm asked all the time. Well, no, whenever I say that I'm an novelist, actually, or I'm walking around in a T-shirt depicting me holding my book (shameless, isn't it?) Mainly it comes from French people. Quite logically really as I live in France and so most of the folks I get chatting to are French. Their reaction is incredulity and the question “How?” because imagination is something rather foreign to them and reserved for the select few “artistic types.”

It's rather refreshing because the usual reaction of Anglophones (go on, you've guessed it) is “Oh yes well I'm writing a book or going to or will do when I have time...” Something along the lines of an inferred “Don't think you're anything special because the world and his dog are all writing books”.

Well just for anyone who isn't writing a book or likes to know how other authors do it. I am a cinematophile. (I just invented that word but you know what I mean). I see things as films. Maybe it is a generation thing but even when reading I see it on the big screen. That is how Shaman's Drum started. Just a movie clip that sprang into my head unannounced while I was sitting out in the back garden.

Scene – a walled convent garden with a nun sat in a chair on her own, in the shade of a tree. Suddenly a man in monk's robes bursts through the wooden door in the wall and strides over to her. It is obvious to me from the expression on her face that he has come to rescue her.

I couldn't let it go. It haunted me. Who were they? What happened next? I had to get it all down and as I worked, my own background contributed. What if they weren't Christians? What if they were pagans from different orders? What if the woman had been forced into the convent for some crime as in the Middle Ages? My imagination began to run riot. Supposing that paganism had now become the dominant religion in the world? There would still be factions. I have been in this world long enough to know that pagan is as vague as “Muslim”. There are so many different varieties.

This is how, from one scene, I arrived at a whole novel, centred on lovers from different sides of the religious tracks, given one last chance to be together if they accepted a seemingly-impossible mission. Now, of course, readers are coming back and asking for more, which is highly gratifying. Iamo and Riga have found friends out there in the wide world and they are going to have to tell the back story.

So here I sit now, writing the prequel as my work-in-progress. How did the major religions get banned. What would be so important that this would be accepted? When did paganism in all its forms fill the void left by mainstream faiths? Most importantly, what was the crime that led to Riga being imprisoned in the convent in the first place. So watch out. There are already some pretty impressive movie-trailer scenes going on in my head, including the terrifying Demon Prince. So watch out for Riga and Iamo, The Beginning (except it won't be called that, of course...well it might be if it were a film!)

BIO – Ailsa Abraham retired early from a string of jobs, ending up with teaching English to adults. She has lived in France for over twenty years and is married with no children but six grandchildren. Her passion is motorbikes which have taken the place of horses in her life now that ill-health prevents her riding. She copes with Bipolar Condition, a twisted spine and increasing deafness with her usual wry humour – “well if I didn't have all those, I'd have to work for a living, instead of writing, which is much more fun.”. Her ambition in life is to keep breathing and maybe move back to the UK. She has no intention of stopping writing.

As Ailsa Abraham :
Shaman's Drum published by Crooked Cat, available on Amazon.
(nominated for the People's Choice Book Prize)

Four Go Mad in Catalonia – self-published, available from Smashwords

Twitter - @ailsaabraham

Facebook – Ailsa Abraham

I'd like to welcome Ailsa, who will be sharing with us where she gets her ideas for writing, and telling us about her books.

Friday 4 October 2013

NEWS FLASH! Guest Blog with Francis Di Plino, Author of the excellent DI Paolo Storey Thrillers.

Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Catriona. I have two pieces of news I’d like to share with your readers – and both have end of October deadlines.

Bad Moon Rising, the first in the D.I. Paolo Storey crime series, has been nominated in the People’s Book Prize 2013, but it’s up against Frederick Forsyth’s latest, so I need all the votes I can get. If any of your lovely readers would be kind enough to cast a vote, I would be very grateful! Voting is open until the end of October.

My second piece of news means two people will be winning a prize as I have arranged a giveaway on Goodreads. Simply follow the link below to be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of Someday Never Comes, the second in the D.I. Paolo Storey crime series.

Here is an outline of the story.
DI Paolo Storey and his team want to put a stop to the dark, secretive world of child prostitution. When a child is found dead, and another killed while under police protection in hospital, the tension rises as the team face a wall of silence.

Who is the mysterious Joey? How can Paolo find evidence against the suspected paedophile ring? Someone knows about these traffickers, but absolutely no one will talk. It takes all of Paolo Storey's experience and intelligence to force the investigation to a thrilling conclusion.

Meanwhile, as well as unrest and betrayal in his team, Paolo Storey's personal life is in turmoil - and the final twist leaves the door open to more problems in his future.

This novel will appeal to crime readers who like dark, intense thrillers and are not put off by difficult topics.

There are twists and turns, unanswered questions, and a wealth of undesirable characters to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Lorraine Mace is the humour columnist for Writing Magazine and a competition judge for Writers’ Forum. She is a tutor for the Writers Bureau, and is the author of the Writers Bureau course, Marketing Your Book. She is also co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam of The Writer's ABC Checklist (Accent Press). Lorraine runs a private critique service for writers (link below). She is the founder of the Flash 500 competitions covering flash fiction, humour verse and novel openings.

Writing as Frances di Plino, she is the author of crime/thriller, Bad Moon Rising, featuring Detective Inspector Paolo Storey. The second in the series, Someday Never Comes, was released on 16th August 2013.

Friday 8 March 2013

Normal life

Well, it's Friday. And I'd made up my mind to use the weekend to actually do the normal things that other people do. You know...tidy up, do the dishes, see friends, fill in forms. All that jazz.

I started so well. Putting the dishes in to soak, sorting out clothes to wash, checking e-mails etc..... It took me all of ten minutes and now, here I am , back in front of my laptop with the urge to write growing stronger by the minute. 

I'm fighting it hard because I know that as soon as I start that page with 'Chapter... ' that I'm lost. I'll look up and it won't be ten in the morning any more, it will be pitch dark and Coronation Street will be starting.

So, for the moment I'm fighting it ....and off to hoover.

Monday 25 February 2013

Rehearsal, lock-out and other stuff!

Just finished rehearsal at The Studio Theatre Company, Belfast, of 'The Real Man', the gritty modern play on at the MAC Belfast 23rd-25th May 2013.  

It was our last Monday rehearsal until April, as we turn our attention full-time to Oscar Wilde's 'Lady Windermere's Fan' leading up to its  run at the MAC on April 4th, 5th and 6th.

Tickets for both plays will be on sale through from next week. 

It has just taken me an hour to unlock my google account and be able to access this blog has more security than Fort Knox!

Given that I'm spectacularly un-techy, it's a  miracle that I managed to do it at all!

Now...back to the book edits...

Sunday 24 February 2013

D.C.I. Craig Crime Series update

Finishing off the final edits for Book Three in the DCI Craig series 'THE VISITOR' -- released in paperback and Kindle on 29th March 2013.   

Meanwhile Book Four is now with the publisher for consideration.