Posted in Book Review

A Path to the Lake – Elizabeth Crocket – Author Interview and 4 *Review

Kate Browning longs to experience a life of her own again after caring for her parents the past two years. However, her sister Heather’s escalating depression threatens to thrust Kate into the role of family caregiver once again.

 Hungry for companionship, Kate begins a relationship with Frank Fetiscina, who was there when she and Heather needed him.
 A part-time writer, she is offered an opportunity writing an inspiration column for the local paper by the editor, Tom Smythe. Kate is instantly attracted to him, and they begin a flirtatious and sexual relationship with no ties between them.
 While Kate is on a date at the bistro with Frank one evening, Tom walks in unexpectedly. Tired of the expectations Frank places on her and the lack of commitment from Tom, Kate tells them she is done and storms out, realizing it’s time to take charge of her own life again.

Amazon UK

 Amazon

Author Interview – Elizabeth Crocket

What are the inspirations behind your story ‘A Path to the Lake?’

Jane, I was sitting on a bench by the lake one day, when a very large man lumbered by walking his dog. We engaged in some small talk that led to an enjoyable conversation. He was kind and lovely, and the character of Frank Fetiscina was born. I already had an idea of who the protagonist, Kate Browning, would be and once Frank entered the picture, the story started to come to life for me.

Do you have a set writing process? If so, can you describe it to us, and say why it works for you?

When I started writing A Path to the Lake, I became consumed with it. I started writing at my kitchen table and went back to it at every opportunity. I have written two more novels since A Path to the Lake, and quickly became consumed each of them, too. I suppose I can say that it worked for me, just because I finished all three. I sometimes wonder if my sense of urgency had anything to do with having had a really challenging cancer journey a few years before. Or maybe it’s just my personality!

How do you create your characters, are they from real life or are they purely a product of your imagination?

One or two of the characters in my books may initially have characteristics of people I have known, but quickly the characters all take on a life of their own. The things some of my characters do, surprise even me. They become people that I can visualize, who are completely separate from me.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

If I am reading a book to relax and enjoy, it’s women’s fiction. I have also read many autobiographies over the years, and of course, a book of Japanese short form poetry or contemporary poetry is always on my coffee table.

I know you also write poetry. What made you decide to become a writer and what made you write a novel?

I have always written, in one form or another, whether it was writing poetry or journaling at the end of the day. Writing a novel was a personal goal for me.

What’s next for Elizabeth Crocket? Are you writing another novel?

I recently found out my second novel, Full of Grace will be released this fall or next spring. My third novel, The Smell of Roses, is due out sometime in 2019. All three of my books are women’s fiction, and all have a strong romantic element. 

Thank you for this interview, Jane. I am honoured to be a part of your wonderful blog!

My Thoughts…

It’s lovely to read something different, and this story is like a breath of fresh air.

Kate has spent the last few years as a carer for her parents when her mother loses her battle with cancer, the only light on the horizon is the prospect of getting her life back, but her sister’s mental health deteriorates, and she finds herself in the caring role again.

Kate’s story is poignant, heartwarming and complex. She experiences love and friendship and a creative new career as she forges a new life.

The relationships are typical of any small town, but the dialogue is unique to North America and takes a little getting used to but remains authentic and informative.

The story is peppered with short poems and inspirational quotes, which add depth to the story, and insight into Kate’s motivations, personality and thoughts.

An insightful tale of coping with illness, the importance of family and friends and giving something back.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Crimson Cloak Publishing in return for an honest review.

Elizabeth’s short-form Japanese poetry has been translated into several languages and published internationally. Her chapbook, “Not Like Fred and Ginger”, published by Red Moon Press, was shortlisted for the prestigious Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Book Award. Her chapbook “Extra Candles” was also published by Red Moon Press.

Elizabeth has had short fiction and poetry widely published online and in print. Samples of her work can be found on her website, elizabethcrocket.wordpress.com. She has a diploma from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Elizabeth is married, has grown children, and six grandchildren.

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Posted in Book Review

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate- Inspiration behind the story – Linn B Halton- 5* Review

Linn  is one of my favourite authors,  like me she believes there is more to this life than we can see with our eyes and this always makes her romantic stories special.  I asked her to tell me what inspired her latest story ‘ A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate.

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A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate – who doesn’t have a secret, or two, to hide from the world?

I suppose the idea for this novel was sparked by the way a celebrity’s life is often aired on TV, in magazines, and in daily newspapers, whether or not they are seeking the spotlight. There must be times even an A-lister wants to sink quietly into the background to keep a few things secret from the world. In a way it is nice to know that even the rich and famous go through the same trials and tribulations as their fans, but would you want to go through those awful moments in the public eye? After all – we’re all human and the path we travel is never an easy one.

As for secrets? Well, mine (but don’t tell anyone) is that I’m painfully shy. When I’m nervous I chat, which makes people think I’m outgoing but it really is only the nerves talking! So what’s YOUR little secret?

My latest novel is really about someone who glosses over the problems in her life because she is one hundred per cent focused on her career. But what happens when you reach those dizzying heights: you are the best at what you do? And what if one day a panic attack signals the start of a new journey?

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On the surface, Kristi Danielson has it all. She’s a lifestyle coach to the rich and famous, has a bestselling book to her name and is described by her fans as “the veritable Queen of how to lead a fulfilling life”.

But the harsh truth is that Kristi has never practiced what she preaches. Her home life is a mess, her relationship with artist boyfriend, Tom, not much better – and now she has to redeem herself before all is lost.

At her wit’s end, Kristi is driven to seek out the help of Patrick Blakeslee, a tarot card reader and psychic medium, in an attempt to make sense of the mounting panic she’s feeling.

But Patrick’s visits have an unexpected effect on Kristi, leaving her with more questions than answers – and a life-changing decision to make.

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My Review 2016-1

 A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate

Kristi, has it all, or so her fans believe. A celebrity lifestyle coach, she is famous for identifying what’s wrong in people’s life and telling them how to make it better. So, her life should be perfect, right? Unfortunately, not. Kirsti’s determined to fix it, she just doesn’t know how. She runs from her relentless lifestyle but is she taking the right path, or just inviting more problems?
A voice in her head seems to be directing her actions but she doesn’t understand it. Seeking Patrick’s help is out of character. He’s a psychic medium but she is out of her depth. Their interactions lead to more questions than answers and force them both to look at their lives more deeply.
Told in a light-hearted way, this story deals with strong emotions and tragic events. Kristi tries to follow her own life mantra’s but putting her theories into practice is not as easy as she thought and the psychic interference only makes it more difficult for her to choose the path to take.

Kristi is a likeable character full of human flaws but with a heart full of goodness. Tom, a permanent fixture in her life, is her friend/lover but is he the man of her dreams or an emotional crutch? Patrick soon becomes her mentor but he wants more.

There is a love triangle of sorts in this story which adds a little spice, in what is a journey of discovery for the main characters; Kristi, Patrick and Tom. The psychic element is intrinsic to the plot and adds an interesting dimension to this engaging romantic tale.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Little Luck, A Lot of Fate by Linn B. Halton

Linn B. Halton

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Posted in Author Blog Challenge, Inspiration

Author Blog Challenge – My Dream Writing Space

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Having  a dedicated writing space  doesn’t work for me because I don’t like being shut off from the rest of the family. I like noise and interruptions. If I’m in the mood to write, then I can write anywhere. I  have already shared my current writing space; in a previous Author Blog Challenge post. You can read this by clicking here.

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 A comfy sofa, a view of the garden and the company of my dogs and the ever present laptop is all I need to write.

 However, inspiration for my stories is another matter. I need wide open spaces and visual stimulation to come up with ideas. As I have mentioned on more than one occasion , setting for my stories is always one of the first things I decide on. So, my  dream inspiration space would be  somewhere with a view.

#LifeBooksWriting

Posted in Inspiration

More from Northumberland #Inspiration

Now I’m back from my holiday in Northumberland. I have a few more memories to share with you. The weather was less than perfect but we still managed to get on the beach with our dogs. In the evening the open fire kept us lovely and warm.

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I really do love this part of England, the coastline is rugged and wild and the castles are imposing and  full of memories of years gone by.

I particularly enjoyed staying at Letterbox Cottage , West Burton which used to be a farm worker’s cottage. Originally it was only one storey with three rooms but another level was added in 1942.

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There was a lovely walled garden, which the dogs loved and lots of wild birds came to visit. Wagtails and Jackdaws, both favourites of mine, were frequent visitors.

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The windows had views of Bamburgh castle and lots of fields with horses, cows and sheep. It was beautifully rural and lovely to see animals in the fields as they should be.

 

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#Loving # Northumberland

 

 

Posted in Author Blog Challenge

Author Blog Challenge – MotivationTechniques

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 Motivation techniques are a popular life skill for everyone, not just writers

Motivation

To achieve something, having the motivation to get there is a given. 

Here’s a few things I use to motivate me to write.

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Motivation 3

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 And finally:

 Take  lots of trips for  inspiration.

I love to visit historic houses, beautiful countryside or fabulous coastline to give me ideas for a new story.

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#LifeBooksWriting

 

 

Posted in Blogging Community

What is your favourite line of poetry about a hamster? Writers Q and A Tag

It’s ages since I’ve done a writers Q& A tag and I loved doing this one from my lovely friend Shehanne Moore and the hamstah dudes. I hope my answers meet their exacting literary standards. 🙂

Shehanne’s blog and website is a delight you can visit by clicking on the images below

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What is your favourite line of poetry about a hamster? Oh okay, we mean a small furry creature, or animal

I don’t remember a poem about hamsters but I do like this poem by an Unknown Author about-‘A Dog’s Soul’. The line that encapsulates a dog completely is this one:

Altho’ his heart may break in two
His love will still be whole,
Because God gave to every dog
An understanding Soul!

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.What was your favourite children’s book if it was not Mrs Tiggywinkle?

I loved horses as a child and read so many books about them, but the one that sticks in my mind is ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell. The chapter about ‘Ginger’ the abused carriage horse still makes me so sad.

You’re in the forest, it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s mysterious, suddenly the bushes part and there snarling before your is  a savage, giant hamster. What happens next?

I reach in to my pocket and pull out a… Peanut in its shell guaranteed to calm down even the most ferocious and hungry hamster. Maybe I would need more than one for a giant hamster?

Is there any place in the world you would like to set a book or poem and why?

I always feel inspired to write in English country or coastal settings. Northumberland and the Lake District where I set  The Dragon Legacy’ are particular favourites.

 

You can have dinner with your favourite book hamster, character. Who is it and what will the first course be? Recipes are welcome. Of course if you can’t find a hamster, just choose another animal.

 I would love to have dinner with T.S Elliot’s Cats, such an interesting group of individuals. Naturally  they would like cream and I love strawberries so the first course would be shortbread biscuits with extra thick double cream and fresh strawberries. mm delicious. 

Tell us a bit about what you are working on now.What was the last book you read?

I have recently finished ‘Past Shadows’, ‘a historical mystery romance with a paranormal twist’. The story is set in Regency Derbyshire.  I am currently working on a  romantic mystery thriller, after the surprising success of The Dangerous Gift. More about this next week on my blog.

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How much of you is in your characters or your poetry?

 Probably more  than there should be. However the elements of me  are not necessarily me now, but me  when I was younger.

Forget all this hero stuff. You’re being cast as the villain and it’s your choice who you pick so long as they are from a book.

I do love villains. I must admit I loved Xavier, my villain in The Dragon Legacy who was definitely not what he seemed…

Who or what inspires your writing?

Places inspire me first. When I visit a beautiful place or an unusual historical house, it always inspires me to write a story about it. For example when I visited Hardwick Hall a couple of years ago. I was struck by the coldness of some rooms and how ill they made me feel. I’ve stored these feelings away  for use in a future story. 

 

Posted in Author Blog Challenge, Inspiration

Author Blog Challenge – Character Inspiration – #LifeBooksWriting

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Last week turned out to be virtually technology free for me. My family and I stayed in Devon for a few days in a lovely  cottage in the Dartmoor National Park.  I knew it didn’t have a dishwasher and a tumble dryer and I was prepared. It did have a fabulous walled garden, lovely and safe for my dogs, so I was prepared to make the sacrifice.

However, what I didn’t bargain for was the almost total absence of internet. Not good when I had posts to share on my blog. So last week’s author blog challenge on  ‘6 Book Marketing Tips’, never happened.

 This week’s author blog challenge is Character  Inspiration.

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 Visual stimulation is important for me as a writer.  I plan out my story initially in my head, rather like watching a film or TV programme and as I write, I visualise what I’m writing. This makes my story very real to me and its one of the reasons having other pairs of eyes to read your work is so important. What makes perfect sense to me, may not be clear at all, to my readers, so having other people read it is essential.

Character Inspiration

 

My characters spring mostly from my imagination. I usually think about what they look like first and then  add in their personality traits. This is usually only an outline, very similar to the plot outline I have and then I start writing. The characters’ outlines develop, as they are faced with conflicts, meeting new people and situations. Once I have written the first few chapters, I read my work back in detail to make sure the characters are behaving as I thought they would and that they are consistent.

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There are of course other things that inspire my characters. For their physical appearance I use Pinterest. I create a new board for each book and pin likely heroes, heroines and antagonists, as well as setting and other key factors as they occur to me.

I’ve met lots of people in the course of my life and  the memorable ones stay in my head. Some of these I use as characters or part of characters. Observation is a core skill in character inspiration and who doesn’t love people watching?