The days have become longer, the sun is shining-mostly!- and there is a chance for some downtime. Downtime makes for a cracking opportunity to catch up on reading. From the graphics above, you can see that there is something of a diverse range on offer. There are the two gardening books, one romance novella, a two novels and series of short stories.
With June and July, the growing season becomes apace. If you have more courgettes than you know what to do with, or really want to know about Aloo gobi-that’s spuds and cauliflower, then those are for you.
Retreating to Peace and Postcards from Peace are my contributions to the Peace Novella Series. A stable of different authors awaits if you fancy having a look at the rest of the series. With RTP, Devan Coultrie arrives in Montana with something of a broken heart. There is follow up in Postcards as we get another look into his life.
Fragments is a great big of six inter-related stories as it considers what happens when we lose the people- and animals-that shape our worlds. Kangana sees Gorbind-he appears in Fragments-have a no straight forward romance. There are also snatches of Birmingham, with Lucifer from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery making an appearance.
Click on the image above and download your copy. Don’t forget to join in with the facebook event as well.
Picking up where Retreating To Peace left off, Postcards from Peace sees Devan Coultrie settle further into town.
We get to see his family, a few more of his friends about town and also the perils and pitfalls of his relationship with Aditi Rao.
Devan Coultrie is settling into Peace. Life as he knows it, is becoming really quite interesting.
Devan was being chased by a horde of wild-haired, completely psychotic, marauding banshees. They wanted him.
Every inch of him.
Resistance was futile, he was fair game. The Banshees were out to get him.
Waking with a jolt, Devan cursed loudly as both his elbows hit the curved sides of a very cold bath. He looked down toward his feet to see his ever-present Oxblood Dr. Marten’s thump against metal.
He was in the bath.
How the hell did he end up in the bath? Devan tightly closed his eyes to rack his brains. The last few days were incredibly blurry around the edges.
Don”t forget where it all started. Retreating to Peace: A Peace Series Novella saw Devan Coultrie head off to Peace, Montana. You might want to read that too!
It’s February, so the world and his wife is obsessed with hearts and flowers. With the feast of St.Valentines slap bang in the middle of the month, it’s impossible to move for commercialism.
Most years, I have an Anti-valentines plan. Something, that I can do solo, enjoy and not feel compelled to feel bad for not having a significant other. One year, there was pizza, Pinot Grigio and I think the Brit awards were on….even watched Down with Love.
Last year, I saw a live relay of Twelfth night; by far the best Valentine’s night I have ever had! This year, it is most likely to be book, blankey and junk food. Though a certain streaming service does have an Eric Bana show on that I do rather like the look of; I will watch anything with that man in. (Yet to watch love the beast, and Romulus, My father; both on the list.)
So, books. I will probably be curled up with one about the Medici’s-research, of a sort. Funnily enough, there’s romance, sex and intrigue in that too.
You know, it’s okay not to have a date on Valentine’s day. No one say’s you have to, and enjoying your own company is severely underrated. Plus, the day before and the day after-what I call the heartbreak days-are the one’s where folk’s need understanding the most.
I’ve been thinking, therefore. As cynical as I might be, I’ve written stuff with hearts and flowers in. Despite its over arching themes of grief, loss and bereavement, Fragments is actually quite hopeful. There is romance in there; Lydia and Matthew, with Albie and Lilly are probably the most standout examples. Retreating to Peace, is a contemporary romance, with Devan Coultrie eventually being loved. Kangana, is a romance with characters of Indian ascent, but not your average Bollywood drama. It deliberately has a rainbow cover, and Arjun’s story is a thread that is really important.
In a few weeks, Retreating to Peace will be joined by it’s follow up. That you will have to keep an eye out for. There will be pre-order stuff, very soon.
On January 19th 2019 Retreating to Peace is officially one year old. A title from the Peace Novella series, we read about how Devan Coultrie moved to the States with something of a broken heart. What he didn’t bank on was being followed by Aditi Rao, a woman with home he has history.
If you pop along to the petal FB page, you can share your thoughts on RTP and maybe even win a copy of the paper back.
It’s been nearly nine months since Retreating to Peace was published. It seems at though barely any time has passed since I first opened a notebook and tried to think of who I might write about. Devan Coultrie started life as blue and black ink scrawl and was literally a day-dream as I tried to exercise my imagination. He has a love interest, Aditi Rao, who was also plucked from thin air.
Only this man has a story; why on earth would he want to up sticks and fly half way across the world to start again.
Retreating to Peace is by no means a sad story. It’s a hopeful one; the sort of story that might make you smile. It is also one of many, with nineteen stories written by different authors converging on the fictional town of Peace, Montana.
Nine months on, I am reflective I guess, of how RTP (as I have lovingly christened it) grew from the seeds of an idea to blossom and bloom. I like Devan, he’s the sort of dude you might want as your ‘yeah, all right,’ wing-man. He was also borne out of frustration; there are not many romance books out there who have characters of Indian-ascent. Devan’s dual heritage was something I reflected upon a great deal. With Aditi as his foil, there was a huge opportunity to craft and combine culture when this doesn’t normally happen.
Since then, I’ve gone onto explore that further with Kangana, but only as I was able to nurture Devan and Aditi. These two gave me a great deal of courage to pick up an idea and run with it.
I think Devan is happy in Peace, Montana. He’s made an interesting new start for himself.
I don’t think he’s done, either.
Devan Coultrie was at a loss. His world had been shaken, his heart fractured and emptied by death. In search of a way to heal and shake of the damage, Devan sticks a pin a map with the intention of going wherever it lands. Leaving the shores of the United Kingdom, he ends up Stateside, deep in the heart of Montana. With all of his worldly possessions, Devan drives into Peace and onto a plot to land to start life over.
Like him, the farm and its acreage is downbeat, derelict and defeated. When Aditi Rao arrives in Peace, Devan’s plans for himself and his home are disrupted. He has history with Aditi and she’d quite like to write another chapter. Can he show Aditi that his retreat to Peace is more than just a plot of land and on a different continent? Can he find a way to share his home, his heart and a new beginning?
A month ago, I was starting to pace up and down. Book number five was lined up to go live. My fifth book in four years, there was a lot of anticipation hanging in the air. There was fear, anxiety, but also some level of excitement too.
Of all the books, Kangana makes me smile, and I am only just starting to figure out why.
Kagana is my ray of sunshine, rainbow book. A book that signals a change in me, my mind-set and subsequently my writing mojo.
It marks the end of what has felt a jumbled up, chaotic time. A time during which my life has gone through all sorts; there’s been growth, development, sadness, joy, not to mention lots of interesting adventures. The last five years have been wonderfully formative, giving rise to five very different books. Five. I still don’t know how that happened.
Previously, I have noted that writing about gardening was some of a multi-layered metaphor; this blog, has evolved and grown from the seeds of an idea and continues to do. Writing two gardening books, was much about my growth and development as much as it was about my allotment.
To this day, I cannot tell you why I made the leap into writing fiction, writing stories that couldn’t be more removed from roses, mud and raspberries. I remember the moment when; mid morning, tapping my pen-a green biro-against lined paper. I had an idea.
The genesis of Fragments came from grief, bereavement; it is not an easy, soft, all is rosy book. Fragments is a whirling tornado of emotions, humanity, tears and pain. Don’t get me wrong. In the same way that every grey cloud has a silver lining, so does Fragments.
Fragments is a book about getting up again having fallen down; about dusting yourself off and moving on. It is a book about finding strength, even when don’t think you have any. This is a book that shook me sideways, and at a time when I was feeling broken; this was my way of finding out my depths and layers.
When Fragments went live, I remember feeling wounded. I’d written this book, eighty something thousand words, and it hurt. I had this massive great big hole, as though something had been wrenched out of me. Absolute internal pain, and it throbbed. I remember feeling as though I had been kicked in the stomach.
What the flip was a girl to do?
Well, she waited four weeks and decided to go find the Peace Novella series.
You’ve heard a lot about RTP-that’s Retreating To Peace. I feel bad writing this, but Devan Coultrie was definitely a band-aid. A sticky plaster to fix into place what ever Fragments had done.
RTP is a romance, yes; a contemporary romance. It’s not fluffy though, Devan and I both had dents. So we both fixed them, together. I rebelled, I wasn’t willingly going to write a fluffy romance. I still couldn’t find it in my soul to do so. I remember asking my fellow Peace writers to read it, but wincing in anticipation.
I’ve never been so scared to let anyone look at my work. (Team Farmah never get a look in, honest) I sat there, with the handwritten manuscript pressed to my chest. I didn’t want anyone to read my romance novella and then beat me with it. I struggled with the concept that all romance novellas were full of bow-chick-wow-wow that defied the laws of Physics. Full of bodice ripping country squires and doe-eyed damsels.
But I took stock, received positive feedback. I prized the manuscript from my chest, and did a really funny happy dance. The ladies of the Peace Novella series , picked me off the floor to dust me off. I stood up, held my head high.
Then I bit the bloody bullet.
Off went RTP, released into the ether and unto the masses.
There was something very nice, warm and fuzzy about having written RTP. Devan Coultrie was a lovely, faith-restoring band-aid, and I am most certainly not done with him.
The ladies of Peace, were sent to my universe for a reason.
I took the summer off, decided that I was I need of a break. Both Fragments and RTP had changed my head space, and now there was a scope for sunshine after the rain.
Taking a walk to Sarehole mill with my sister, I let the greenery of Middle earth talk to me. That was August. I went home, wrote three thousand words, then put my notebook away. I was not in the mood to do any more writing.
Autumn and winter passed. I got busy, and there were too many things happening for me to be creative. One Saturday, I sat with my soft pastels and decide to make rainbows. Three were created in varying configurations. Rainbows had been very much on my mind, especially with counselling therapy. I even had a set of oil paints and tried to paint one with the EMS as a reference. In my mind, rainbows demonstrate the power of the universe. Light after dark, hopefulness. The way that light bends with water to give the different wavelengths. It makes great scientific sense, but its wonderfully magic.
Putting aside the pastel creations. I went looking for my notebook. I looked at the three thousand words and knew that one character from Fragments was my next venture.
That character was Gorbind; a bit part character that had a sliver in a chapter. You could literally blink and miss him. As with Devan Coultrie, Gorbind was borne out of a lack of Indian romance books. This continues to annoy me, so perhaps I can do something about it.
I was writing yet another romance.
Kangana was now being forged; I had a chapter list, a sequence of events and also a playlist. I had also more than once visited Birmingham’s Museum and Art gallery, where seeing the Lucifer sculpture and Rosetti’s Porsepine fueled my imagination further.
For the next ten months, my poor parents heard Dr.Zeus’ Kagna-two versions-, Hallelujah-three different versions of that-, Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla, not to mention Cyndi Lauper’s ‘At last’ on loop. This made a huge change from Jolene, two thirds of Adele’s back catalogue and all of Maroon 5’s as used in RTP and Fragments. I do have to say though; for some daft reason, halleleujah has occured for all three fiction books.
Kangana has made me laugh, it has made me smirk. It has also made me think of Gianluigi Buffon in a whole new light.
Well, most of my main characters have faces as I write them. Gorbind was the esteemed Mr. Buffon. Devan Coultrie, was Aidan turner. In Fragments, Jamie Dornan inspired Christopher and Adelphi. One day, all the rest will have faces. Albert Finney, is Grandad Albie.
Kangana is a lighter book. It does have its dark bits. All rainbows do. Kangana is a book that marks a change; it’s a book that marks a movement forward into a different direction.
No idea what that direction is. There is a stack of writing projects sat on my desk.
Two have been pulled out for development. The one, is labelled Hades. Yes, him of the underworld. The other is identified as Aurelia and involves vampires.
That is all I have for now. I have no further details as my mojo is at rest until Spring. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be planning and gleaning the universe for inspiration in the mean time.
All in all, this means a break from intense hot-housing and slowing down to regenerate. For now, I am going to bask in a rainbow and colour my soul.
Go grab your copies, try to do the same.
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