Friday, 23 March 2018

Cover Reveal #2 After Whorl Bran Reborn

It's Friday already!

Since my Monday cover reveal, I've spent most of my writing time doing even more re-edits to Books 2 & 3 of my Celtic Fervour Series. It's hard to believe how much time that is taking, but the new editions will be so much better for the latest editing.

I'm again champing at the bit to do a cover reveal for Book 2 - After Whorl: Bran Reborn  - since the covers created by my cover designer Karen Barrett are absolutely fantastic. So, wait no longer- here it is!

What do you think this one will say to potential customers?


Monday, 19 March 2018

#Monday Magnificence - Cover Reveal!

There's Monday Magnificence in my brand new cover designs for my Celtic Fervour Series! 

For weeks past, I've been in correspondence with a graphic artist named Karen Barrett who took on the job of designing a matching series of covers for my Celtic Fervour Series. Karen's a highly respected and successful graphic artist, but designing covers was going to be a new venture for her.

I am so delighted to be her first customer for book cover design and can totally recommend her to anyone who might be needing covers designed for them!

Creating book cover designs for historical novels isn't always simple. For some eras there may be loads of images to choose from e.g. the Victorian era,  but eras of antiquity do not have plentiful, readily available and affordable images to use. I'm absolutely delighted with what Karen has put together for the series and can't wait any longer to share them with the world!

I'll be revealing the first three covers one at a time, so today's reveal is unsurprisingly that of Book 1.

My previous covers were designed with a very Celtic perspective in mind and I've always loved the iconic Celtic knot images that were chosen.
I'll still always have a sense of pride in my Crooked Cat Books covers but what they did not do was indicate any Roman involvement. At my Craft Fair events I've often had to say to potential customers: "Yes, my stories are about Ancient Celts but as the series progresses the involvement of the Ancient Romans increases. No, I know the cover doesn't show that but you'll know if you read the stories."  

Now, I'm hoping that people will see the cover and immediately say: "Ah, it's all about Celts being invaded by the Ancient Romans."

When I knew I'd soon be self- publishing my series I decided that new covers needed to show the Roman elements in a highly dramatic way without losing the Celtic elements. In my non artistic mind, I wanted The Beltane Choice's new cover to have merged images indicating that my story is one where the Iron Age Celts of northern Britain are being invaded and dominated by the Ancient Roman legions.

I really do think that Karen Barrett's design shows exactly that!

But...what do you think? 

My thanks go to Karen for a fantastic set of covers. Look out for the next cover reveals coming very soon!


Saturday, 17 March 2018

#Saturday Shorts – with #Sue Barnard

It's #Saturday Shorts time! 

Today, we get a brief glimpse of Sue Barnard, a fellow Crooked Cat author. We've now been virtual friends for about five years, but I'm delighted to say I've also met Sue in person. Always willing to share her knowledge, Sue is also a brilliant writer, editor and general helper in all things writerly!

Good morning, Sue, and welcome again to my blog. Slip onto that comfy chair and let's get some updates on you and your writing...

Describe yourself in a couple of sentences

I’m a British novelist, poet and editor, and the mother of two grown-up sons. I live in Cheshire with my extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

When is your best time to write?
Afternoons.  Mornings are usually spent catching up on other tasks, and by evening my brain has gone on strike.  But I always keep a pen and paper handy, just in case I get a light-bulb moment when I’m away from my computer.

 Nancy says: That sounds so organised! (* wink, wink- and what every author ought to do! But do I remember?)

Which social media platforms do you find most comfortable to use?
Facebook and (to a lesser extent) Instagram.  I’m gradually getting better with Twitter, but I still find it a struggle.  Some writers swear by it, but I usually end up swearing at it.
Sue Barnard

Nancy: I've not yet joined Instagram but don't count out any social media options. Twitter and I don't get anything at all! 

Please tell us what your latest book is about and its genre.
Heathcliff (due out later in 2018) is a Wuthering Heights spin-off novella which speculates what might have happened to literature’s favourite anti-hero during the three years when he disappears from the original story.  I’ve no idea what genre it falls into (if any!). 

Nancy: That definitely sounds like one I'll love reading. 

Did anything in particular influence you to write it?
It all began with a chance remark from a former school friend:

“Sue, I love the way you’ve based your book on what we did at school.  What are you going to do next?”

We were chatting just after the release of my third novel, The Unkindest Cut of All, which features a performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  This was the play we’d studied for English Literature O-Level (as it then was, back in the dark ages before GCSEs).  The novel set for the same exam was Wuthering Heights.

“Well,” I chuckled, “there’s always Heathcliff…”

At the time, it was just a passing joke between two friends who recalled crying on each other’s shoulders as we’d struggled to make sense of the vagaries of the plot, tried (and mostly failed) to decipher Joseph’s incomprehensible dialect, and attempted to understand the book’s complicated inter-personal relationships.  The latter was not made any easier by the characters’ confusing similarity of names.  Emily Brontë had clearly never read the rule-book about this.  Three of the characters have names beginning with the same initial, one of them has a first name which is the same as the surname of another, and two others have the same name entirely!

But somehow, the idea just wouldn’t go away.  I recalled how our teacher explained how “… by having the story narrated by Nelly Dean, Emily Brontë avoids having to tell us exactly what happened to Heathcliff during those missing three years…”

So – what might have happened to him?  Could I try to get into his mind, and write a story which attempts to answer that question?

 Nancy: That's a fabulous reason. 

Did it require any specialised research?
Yes, very much so.  The whole thing proved to be quite a challenge, as the dates in Wuthering Heights are very precise.  Heathcliff disappears from 1780 to 1783.  My first idea was that he could have spent his missing years as a pirate (which would certainly be in keeping with his character!), but I quickly discovered when I started my research that the golden age of piracy was several decades too early.  Then I wondered if perhaps he could have made his fortune in the American or Australian goldrush, but the goldrush years were not until the mid-1800s.  Eventually I did find something which fitted with the correct dates, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what that was!

 Nancy: That's such a tease but I will! 

Who is your main character?
Heathcliff.  Yes, that is THE Heathcliff.

What’s your Heathcliff's greatest weakness?
An inability to forgive those who have hurt him.

What’s your Heathcliff’s greatest strength/s?
I think he has an amazing capacity for love.  It is tragic that this is never fulfilled.

You're an editor for other authors, but do you enjoy editing your own work?

What’s your favourite occupation? (apart from writing!)
I love reading.  As a book editor I’m never short of stuff to read!

Do you have a favourite place to ‘hide’ out from life?
I love the Isle of Anglesey, and go there as often as time permits.  In fact my fourth novel (Never on Saturday) is set partly on the island.

Favourite food and drink?
Where do I start?  It would be much easier and quicker to list what I don’t like!  But if I have to nominate just one of each, then the food would have to be fish, and the drink would be beer.  And it must be a pint.  Halves are for wimps.

Nancy: Spoken like a beer aficionado! I'm drinking an occasional beer since my son-in-law set up Fierce Beer Co with a fellow beer enthusiast. They're too busy creating it to be drinking themselves but I'm enjoying their brilliant combinations of Craft beers.  

Links for Sue's work 
I don’t have a link for Heathcliff yet.  Other books can be found on my Amazon page (see below).

Contact Sue here: 

Blog   Facebook   G+   Twitter   Instagram   Amazon  Goodreads  

Thank you for popping in today, Sue. I'm definitely looking forward to reading Heathcliff. Best wishes for all of your writing projects.