Update on the New Book – 14th November 2016

First of all, this post is partly an apology. This is for all those who are yearning to read the final book in my series and perhaps wondering why it’s taking me so long! So I will start this blog by saying I’m sorry for the long wait but… this final book has ended up enormous!


With so many characters and converging story lines, I suspected it would be a lengthy saga. At some point, in Spring, I was actually starting to panic when I thought about the material that I still needed to write in order to conclude the series. The good news is, the entire book is now written. But in order to get something published sooner rather than later, I decided to split into two parts. The first part “Phase 1” looks to be slightly longer than the last book Pleasures (556 pages) but it is impossible to cut it down any more without sacrificing vital story elements. Now it has been given a complete overhaul, I have just send it out to Beta readers. The next stage will be to go over it again (in what I refer to as a ‘polishing process’) where I’ll be working on the writing style to inject as much colour into my descriptions and sharpen up the dialogue. After that will be a rigorous grammar check followed by a final professional proof read.

Realistically, I am hoping to launch in April 2o17.

The 2nd part, “End Game” possibly won’t be finished until the summer of 2017 but at least the draft is written; it just needs to undergo the same process as above.

This novel promises to deliver a mammoth read with an explosive plot, huge characters and a powerful emotional theme throughout. Every loose thread will be tied – and among the more shocking content, there will be some happy scenes interwoven into the mix.

  • In Book 4 Retribution, readers will discover a gangland sub-plot that infiltrates the town of Rosebrook…
  • What is Ben’s epic revenge plan?
  • Will Dominic be charged with Murder?
  • Will the mystery of the politician’s death be solved?
  • Will Eleanor find her long lost father?
  • Will the Barton-Wells family get their ancestral home back?
  • What is the sinister secret that binds all these characters together?

It will be dark, gripping and at times, devastatingly shocking but…. BUT there will be love and hate, passion and vengeance, so many relationships and a few more babies…

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Revisiting London Episode III – October 19th 2016

With the first draft of Book 4 Retribution undergoing a complete overhaul, it’s time to re-visit my research from our recent trip to London, where part of the novel is set in Chelsea.

The year is 1993 and one of the story’s main characters, Elijah (now a student) attends an Exhibition at Earl’s Court with a bunch of college friends. Many years ago, I used to attend shows in Earl’s Court myself, my favourite being the Apple Show. I was a huge fan of Apple Mac computers, with the newest trends in desktop publishing and photo editing software. It was in the 90s, Earl’s Court was host to an array of trade shows and events and in the context of my book, nothing fitted this story line better than the International Interior Design show.

Earl's Court

Described in ‘Retribution’ as an ‘amazing, yet contemporary piece of architecture with a curving facade and colossal windows that scale the height of the entire building,’ it was a bit of a shock to discover it was no longer there… Earl’s Court was demolished in 2014 to make way for a new residential and retail estate on the site, (which is expected to be completed in 2033) but there is nothing left but a building site.

So on to Chelsea; it is here, another of my story’s main characters, (antiques dealer, Avalon) spends much time visiting the various markets and auctions, of which Chelsea was notorious. In this chapter of the book, it seems almost fated that these two characters will bump into each other and following their journey, I found myself wandering from Earl’s Court, all the way down King’s Road where traces of its antiques heritage were evident. There used to be an notorious antiques market here but no more…

Today, it comes across as a quiet area, surrounded by Regency houses and traditional pubs. There is a splendid array of shops, many of which are filled with exquisite furniture and home furnishings. It is a home-maker’s paradise but definitely not cheap!

Chelsea, London

Putting aside Avalon’s antique’s hunting and Elijah’s exhibition visit, the two young people will eventually find a pub where they are about to engage in a very long heart to heart. In the story so far, their lives are in turmoil, their community destroyed by a powerful enemy, along with his gangster allies. It is in this scene they rediscover their friendship and as childhood sweethearts, could it be the start of something even more meaningful? You will have to wait and see…

Chelsea Pubs

Whichever pub I feature for this scene, I am spoilt for choice  – there are so many. Chelsea lacks the bustle of other parts of London (Covent Garden for example) yet it is a beautiful area to visit with sophisticated shops, cafes, an abundance of floral displays, plenty of colour and very photogenic. It was useful to get a feel of the place for this scene which I have only just started editing and with plenty to inspire me.

For more information on my research in relation to this story, please visit my previous posts: Revisiting East London – 2nd September 2016
and Revisiting London, Episode II – 16th September 2016

Posted in England, Fictional Characters, Locations, Research, Social History, Story, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mystery Mondays with Helen Christmas

I just thought I’d re-blog this, since I haven’t had a lot of time to write any of my own lately. Christoph Fischer does a wonderful job helping other writers like me and here is what he wrote for Mystery Mondays…

Today I have the pleasure of introducing Helen Christmas, a writer whom I have known for a long time. I’m delighted I could persuade her to take part in my Mystery Mondays series. Hello Helen…

Source: Mystery Mondays with Helen Christmas

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Revisiting London, Episode II – 16th September 2016

Following on from my last post, I may as well chronicle the pathways I followed through London, on our recent trip. The story started in Shoreditch. It therefore made sense to venture south to Whitechapel and eventually Wapping which is where the next part of the story took off.

It seemed strange to disembark outside the Whitechapel Gallery: this is where I found myself in April 2011 when I was writing and researching the first book in the series, ‘Beginnings.’ That book took place in 1972. So I wondered what I would discover about Wapping, 1992, which is the time and place, scene II, ‘Retribution’ is set.

London Docklands

Wapping’s proximity to the river gives it a strong maritime character, retained through warehouses and riverside pubs, such as the Prospect of Whitby. The area was transformed during the 1980s by the London Docklands Development Corporation; the warehouses converted into luxury flats and office blocks. From its seafaring past, an area notorious with pirates and criminality, it is easy to see how my anti-hero and arch villain, Ben, would be drawn to its modern cityscape – stockbroker by day – yet determined to pursue his darker criminal activities at night.


Further east, is Limehouse, an area close to Commercial Road (as described in Beginnings and home to the notorious park, Eleanor and Jake were chased across) but it was when I visited Limehouse the first time, I noticed it was also a popular area for joggers. There is a steel barrier that links to a walkway circumnavigating the wharf and this gave me masses of inspiration for another chase scene – but this time at night, when Ben is desperate to escape the surveillance of the police.

Ben is not about to be deterred. He is desperate to be accepted into a criminal gang run by London’s most terrifying king pin, even if it means taking a run around the docks under the cover of darkness, to throw the police off his scent. The place is quiet, where the proximity of the river Thames, its secluded steps and shadowy tunnels lends itself a scene that can be quite sinister in its portrayal…


So this the scenario and this is Wapping…
… and with two more areas to blog about, there’ll be a bit more coming soon.

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Revisiting East London – 2nd September 2016

It’s hard to imagine it’s been 6 years since I first took off to Whitechapel to do that much needed research for my first novel, ‘Beginnings’ but this summer, we had a rare opportunity to spend the entire August Bank Holiday weekend in London!

My husband, Peter, has been vying for an opportunity to play in the London Open Backgammon Tournament, a perfect opportunity for me to explore. So I’ll be posting this experience in four separate parts, each covering the diversity of areas I found myself in. It was largely thanks to a friend, we got to stay in a lovely flat in Bounds Green and not only that, she was a mine of information with regards some of the best haunts in this vast city. The touristy side is not for me – especially given the book I am currently writing, which is Book 4 of my decade spanning thriller series ‘Same Face Different Place.’

Book 4 ‘Retribution’ actually kicks off in Shoreditch, East London and here is a brief outline: 18 year old Elijah Jansen is as keen as ever to pursue a degree in design, but preferably at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham. His girlfriend, Caitlin, has different ideas; hoping she can convince him to join her in London where she wants to study fashion. Her quest drags them to the London College of Fashion, in Curtain Road Shoreditch. All goes to plan until a road sign looms, halting him in his tracks – places associated with the horrors of the 7os, (where the dark mystery of ‘Beginnings’ was set.) But that’s not all. It is only when they think they are safely hidden in a nearby pub, a stranger wafts through the door like a bad smell. It is no-one he recognises until he passes on a sinister warning which can only mean one thing; the criminal underworld of London are onto him and they have his card marked… It is only a little later, Elijah realises who he is up against. His name is Alan Levy, reputed to be London’s most feared ‘King Pin.’

The 10 Bells

The 10 Bells

About the Area

Once I ventured into the heart, Shoreditch was a far cry from the towering cityscape of office blocks and cranes depicted on Googlemaps. The area was a lot more ‘arty’ than I imagined with vast, multi-coloured murals painted on buildings and walls, a sprinkling of art galleries and as the streets expanded, I saw a few more cafés and pubs. From Great Eastern Road, I crossed Shoreditch High Street before it ultimately branched into Commercial Street. I was looking for a pub for this story; stumbling across a traditional alehouse ‘The Golden Heart.’ Except further down and a little more tucked away, I discovered the ‘The 10 Bells.’ Yes, this was definitely the one! A little off the beaten track, dark windows and a perfect setting for my scene.

A Lighter Side

Thanks to the guidance of our friend, the area was home to Spitalfield Market which she recommended was worth a visit. ‘The area has changed quite a bit and is increasingly hip with lots of students. Spitalfields Market is a skip away. A real foodies paradise…’

Yes, it’s an amazing place, steeped in history and with a fabulous array of stalls. I enjoyed a sausage bap in the ‘Market Tavern’ for breakfast, mulled over the beautiful creative gifts on display and even managed a little shopping. The variety of foods is staggering – just about every type of food and nationality you can think of.

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I tried to find Columbia Market with no success but after losing myself in ‘Liverpool Street’ somehow ended up back at Curtain Road (where I started), before returning for a much needed cup of goji berry juice – delightfully refreshing and healthy. Last of all, I headed down Brick Lane – a cultural explosion! It is an extremely bustling place, young and vibrant, lined with trendy shops and eateries, (not to mention some of the wall art which is breathtaking.)

I was on my way down to Whitechapel and Wapping but that is another story…

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Retribution First Draft – 4th August 2016

It’s been a very long wait, I know – but I’m excited to announce, the first draft of ‘Same Face Different Place Retribution’ is complete.

Front cover Image for Retribution Phase 1

Front cover Image for Retribution Phase 1

I feel delighted to have finished it at last, especially since it has taken me a whole year. That’s right – it was August 4th 2015 when I drafted out the prologue and first chapters of this book and after 12 months of total dedication, I tied up every loose end, solved the mystery behind the series and included a few more twists, no-one will see coming.
(See one of my last updates published exactly a year ago.)

This is book that stretches beyond Britain. The continuous references to British politics and religion, TV, fashion, culture and music through the 90s are embedded in the fabric of the novel but as the story progresses, characters will find themselves scattered across the globe, from former Yugoslavia, Holland, Spain, France, Hungary and even the Caribbean.

With the first draft complete, now starts the editing process; so over the next months I will post regular articles about the chapters, from additional research (with photos) to relevant topics in the news. Unfortunately, with so many characters and so many loose ends to tie up, the book is looking to be huge. It is for this reason, I am splitting it into two books: ‘RETRIBUTION Phase 1’ and ‘RETRIBUTION End Game.’ But I don’t want to keep readers waiting for any longer than necessary. My ambition is to publish both parts simultaneously in order to deliver this 4th and final instalment.

Front cover Image for Retribution End Game

Front cover Image for Retribution End Game

The concluding book of my ‘Same Face Different Place’ series is now written and will be coming out fairly soon…

Posted in Fictional Characters, Novel, Self Publishing, Story, The Decades, Thrillers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Quick Ways To Write A #BookReview And Overcome Your Fears #MondayBlogs

A simply great article from Rosie Amber, to kick start “August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month!”

Rosie Amber

Authors WANT  Reviews

Make an Author's Day

Simple! How many times have you read pleas on social media for readers to write reviews? – Probably Loads.

Does the thought of writing a book review send you racing to the hills? – I can see plenty of you nodding in agreement.

WHAT holds you back?

Reading Soft edge

6 common replies:

I can’t write.

I can’t write paragraphs about a book.

I don’t know what to write.

I’m afraid of what people will think of my review.

I’m an author and don’t want a backlash on my own books.

I don’t have the time.

Let’s turn this around

I can’t write – I bet if you can read, you can write.

I can’t write paragraphs about a book – Good News, Amazon accepts one sentence reviews now as do many other sites.

I don’t know what to write – Ah! Quick Question – Why did you like or Dislike…

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