Monday, 22 January 2018

#3 #Monday Meanders with #Jodie V. Baptie

Good Morning! It's Monday but not a manic Monday for me (I hope).

My #Monday Meanders series continues and for me it's rather nostalgic. I'm welcoming an author friend, Jodie V. Baptie, who is new to Crooked Cat Books. Jodie's novel The Forgotten won't be published by Crooked Cat Books till June but it's very exciting that she's here today to give us a really early taste of what her novel is all about!

The nostalgia aspect? Read on... Edinburgh 1970s sent on by Jodie V Baptie

Welcome to my blog, Jodi. #Monday Meanders is all about the locations of a novel so what can you tell us about the setting of The Forgotten...

The Forgotten is a crime fiction thriller set in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland during the 1970s, a fascinating and somewhat overlooked post war era in Scotland
For much of this decade there was rising unemployment, social change, picket lines, crime and murder, an interesting setting for any crime novel. Poverty was rife in Scotland on a scale unimaginable today, with many families living in rat infested one bedroom tenement slums. Not forgetting the strikes and the three day week.

Glasgow-public domain via J V. Baptie
It wasn’t all bleak during the 1970s. For my main protagonist, Helen Carter, it’s a time of hope, opportunity and social freedom that earlier generations of women couldn’t have imagined – and Helen wants to live it. Throughout her life she has found herself at the pinnacle of change. She is degree educated from Glasgow University, she played football at a time when the Scottish Women’s Football Association was founded and she got to play in the first Women’s league. 

After university she found herself in dead end jobs, tiring of these she decided to follow her father’s footsteps into Glasgow City police as a WPC gaining a promotion afterwards.  Glasgow Cross Station. Demolished 1977. (image 1973) 

Glaswegian Helen is still learning Edinburgh but on a rare occasion she’s on a day off. You might find her shopping in Goldbergs, or meandering along Princes Street, or having a quiet drink in the White Cockade. If there’s a good gig on she’ll be at one of the many dance halls.

Nancy says: That definitely reminds me of living in Glasgow, which I did till 1975. I'm going to be looking out for Helen when she pops onto the printed page. 

It's probably too early for a final Blurb and Cover design but here's a gist of the novel:

They want revenge. They will never be forgotten.
Newly promoted into CID, acting Detective Constable Helen Carter has a lot on her hands. When a body is found in an abandoned cinema, no one in the team has seen anything like it before and when the business card of an ex-cop private detective is found, the case takes a chilling turn.
As the body count mounts can Helen find the killer while her own life is falling apart?

About Jodie
J.V. Baptie graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017 with an MA in Creative Writing. When not writing, she is also an actress and has appeared in a variety of children’s show and stage plays. JV lives near Edinburgh where her novel is set.

JV has a short story collection on Amazon at the moment. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited, and all proceeds go to Pancreatic Cancer UK. The Forgotten will be released on June 13th 2018 and its follow up, The Departed, later on in 2018.  Follow me on Twitter @jvbaptie, or on my website at

Fabulous! Thanks for coming today, Jodie, and the very best wishes for The Forgotten when it launches. Come back and update us later in the year!


Sunday, 21 January 2018

Well, it looks like this....#ancientmaps

Happy  Sunday to you!

If you've had a day off, I hope it's gone well. If you've been working, then equally I hope the day has been fine for you. 

I've spent a lot of the day researching extremely old maps and cartography. Why? Well, that would be because General Agricola in my current manuscript is amassing details for his itinerary which isn't a map but does record details of the landscape that he's invading in northern Britannia. I find it so hard to imagine him marching across land without having some sort of a map to guide him. Maybe he did have something very general and it's been lost over the centuries since A.D. 84. 

Whatever the truth I believe he must have had something to work from as he invaded Britannia. When growing up it was noted that he was perhaps 'too fond' of philosophy so I think he was quite an astute scholar and would definitely have been in  contact with anyone who had cartographic knowledge of Britannia. 

One 'map' he may have seen, or have used, is the one originally begun by Marcus Agrippa for Augustus Caesar. What we see below is a representation of it since the original was lost long ago. It was reconstructed in the Middle Ages from the data written down by Agrippa. 

Here is that same map rotated 90 Deg. It's not exactly how we see this part of the globe today but it's not that bad for Britannia! I's basic but it's all pointing in the right direction unlike that of Ptolemy's created around 120 years later. 
What is below is also a reconstruction,created according to the observations of Ptolemy of around A.D. 150 

However, the quirkiest map I've come across today is the one named 'Fool's Cap Map. The map maker remains unknown but from data around the map it's thought ot have been completed somewher between 1570-1590. 

Here's the same map in colourised version. Which do you like best? 

I'm off now to write a bit more of Agricola's attempts to make his own maps.


Saturday, 20 January 2018

#Saturday Shorts- Rhia Ashton from #Monogamy Twist

Happy Saturday wishes to you!

It's time for another short and snappy interview but instead of a fellow author, today it's a character from my contemporary romantic mystery #Monogamy Twist. The questions are only a little different to those I'd be asking my author friends, so if you've not yet read the novel, meet the main female character, a lovely young lady...
Welcome to my blog. please tell us a little about yourself. 

Hello there! My name is Rhia Ashton. I’m an ancestral family tree researcher who used to work in the cut-throat world of the museum scene in London but I swapped that to come and live in rural Yorkshire. I now run my own ancestral research company and love living in my small cottage just along from the gates of Greywood Hall. My main company now is my fabulous Irish Wolfhound, Thor- though very soon that’s about to change…

When is your best time to write?

Thor is a large, energetic dog that needs walked at least a couple of times a day so I tend to be up early for him and at my desk somewhere between 8 and 9 a.m. I try to set aside most of the day for my researching, and note-taking so there isn’t really a ‘best’ time for me. I confess to often writing my reports in the evening though I’m not a workaholic! 

Which social media platforms do you find most comfortable to use?

Ah, what a question. That can very much depend on whether I have a good internet connection, being out in the boondocks! I left most of my friends and acquaintances behind when I left London but I use Facebook when I want to connect with by best buddies.

Please tell us what your latest work is all about.

Well, here’s the strangest thing. Right now I hardly know the answer to that because, as of yesterday, not only have I got myself involved in a new research job up at Greywood Hall, I’ve also entered into a completely different sort of contract alongside that job. I don’t want to jinx things too much by talking about it before the ink is properly dry on the contract—actually I’m expecting to sign that later this morning—but the best I can tell you is that I’ve also signed up to be an official errr... companion to the new owner of Greywood Hall. 
Once the contract is signed I can give you lots more details about the whole weird situation but I can tell you that I’m absolutely itching to get into the rooms up at Greywood Hall to see what I can find there.

Did anything in particular influence you to take this new contract?

Well, let’s say there was a bit of persuasion, maybe even a touch of coercion by the brand new owner of Greywood Hall who, by the way, is probably the most gorgeous man I’ve ever clapped eyes on. Now (i.e. since yesterday afternoon) I’m beginning to realise he’s manipulative but also one of the most attractive men I’ve ever met. 
Can you see my dilemma here?

Will the research at Greywood Hall be particularly specialised?

I imagine my skills learned at University and my previous work in a London museum will be well used to unravel the secrets that are up in that old house. My main task is to find evidence which will support why Luke Salieri, the new owner, was chosen as the beneficiary of Amelia Greywood’s Dickensian will- and I really do mean the quirkiest will conditions anyone is likely to come across!  

What do you know of Luke Salieri?

At the moment? Not a lot! He was born in Australia. His mum is an Aussie but he said his dad was Italian, hence the Italian surname. He told me his background has been in the construction business but he came to England some years ago and has been mainly involved in renovating sizeable old properties, making them fit for corporate retreats and hotels with conference facilities- that sort of thing.

What’s Luke’s greatest weakness?

You’ll have to ask me that when I get to know him properly.

What’s his greatest strengths?

From one meeting, I’d definitely say he’s persuasive, maybe even ruthless.

Do you think you’ll enjoy the new job?

I’m going to adore all of the historical research and all of the cataloguing up at Greywood Hall. The other aspect of the contract, living with Luke Salieri for a whole year, just might be an unbearable burden!

What’s your favourite leisure occupation?

Taking Thor for long walks!

Do you have a favourite place to ‘hide’ out from life?

Well, that’s essentially why I moved to my cottage in Yorkshire. It was to hide away from my past life in London, not to mention being somewhere that I’d never meet up with my conniving ex- partner ever again.

Favourite food and drink?

I love a really rare steak and a glass of Malbec to wash it down. Mmmm. You're making me hungry. I have to  pop into the kitchen for something to nibble on. 

Thanks for being a great interviewee, today, Rhia. Best wishes for that new job of yours, you've a lot of challenges ahead! 

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