19 May 2011

My giggly guest - Pauline Barclay

My name is Pauline Barclay.

I live in the Canary Islands on the lovely island of Lanzarote with my wonderful husband and our two beautiful rescue doggies, who we love to pieces. 
Before moving to the sunshine, we lived in Holland for several years and before leaving the UK in Surrey, Suffolk and Yorkshire
Despite moving around, I am a born Yorkshire lass! Even having not lived there for  decades, it seems my accent is still in evidence as many people go to great pains to tell me!
If you have never been to this amazing volcanic island, then please add it to your list of visits. 
For me it is home, I love it and it inspires me to write.

I am the author of three novels: 

Magnolia House, 

Satchfield Hall 

... and my latest book, Sometimes It Happens…

All three are very different in their storyline, but one thing they do have in common -  they are emotional reads, they will make you smile, laugh and shed a tear or two!
All three of my books are self published or Indie published as it is often referred to these days. Magnolia House and Satchfield Hall are available in paperback and Kindle, but initially, Sometimes It Happens… will be available in Kindle only.
I have no regrets publishing the way I have, but I can not stress enough the importance of having a professional editor. For book 3 Helen’s guidance and editing has been invaluable. Also for my book 3, the beautiful cover was designed by Avalon Graphics, which I not only love, but feel it says so much about the book.

Sometimes It Happens…
Chapter ONE
Nothing in her wildest dreams had prepared Doreen Wilkinson for something like this. But then, nothing had prepared her for winning the lottery either.
Several million. Several million. Eleven million, three hundred and fifty four thousand, two hundred and ten pounds and nineteen pence to be precise.
She had giggled at the nineteen pence. “Break the bleedin’ bank that will!”
The media had made the comment a headline, ‘19p to break the bleedin’ bank!’  splashed all over the Sun and Daily Mirror accompanied by her smiling face and a fountain spray of champagne. She had thought it a waste shaking that great big bottle and letting it fizz everywhere, but the reporters had told her to do it.
Giggling at the memory, dressed in her silk pyjamas, Doreen, stepped out on to the terrace. The warm morning air that caressed her face was in stark contrast to the chilled champagne she was sipping. She giggled again at drinking champagne before the sun had got out of bed. Padding to the end of the terrace, her bare feet absorbing the heat from the ceramic tiles, she looked out in awe over the Villas Bonitas complex of luxury villas. Apart from in films she had never seen exotic plants and trees, meandering tiled pathways and white-walled, red-roofed villas with sprawling private terraces. But then, she told herself, she had never won the lottery or been abroad before either. In fact she had never had a proper holiday before.
As the sun began to rise the solar lights that lit the gardens during the hours of darkness began to fade. Doreen watched, mesmerized, as the colours of the neatly maintained gardens surrounding each individual terrace gradually turned from sombre shades to vibrant greens, reds, pinks and yellows, and the shadows darkening the walls of each villa changed to a dazzling white. In the distance she could just make out the silhouette of the volcanic mountains as the rising sun cast its morning rays against their dark, jagged shapes.
Drinking the last drops of her champagne Doreen sighed with contentment. She had not known such beauty existed. Even the air had a sweet fragrance to it. She closed her eyes and inhaled the heady perfume - a high pitched shriek pierced the stillness - startled, she opened her eyes to see a yellow parrot dart past, almost within touching distance, its wings fanning her face. No sooner had the parrot disappeared into the tall palm trees, another, more muted sound rippled through the sultry, morning, air.
She frowned as she heard it again; looked left and right to locate where it was coming from. Giggled. She had half an idea what was going on and was surprised that such naughty cries could be heard at such a posh place. Grinning she went to sip her champagne, tipping the glass to her lips, realised it was empty. Pulling a face, she ambled back across the terrace and stepping through the wide open patio doors, giggled. “Someone’s enjoyin’ a good time.”
Blinking rapidly, her eyes struggling to focus after the brightness of from the terrace, squinting, Doreen looked around the lounge. “Blimey,” she cried seeing glasses and a couple of empty bottles on one of the low coffee tables. A makeup bag, its contents scattered on the dinning table and an open magazine lay on the floor near one of the sofas.
“Gawd wot am I like? I’ll clear evryfink up in a mo’,” she muttered as she reached for a packet of cigarettes and a lighter.
Taking a drag from her newly-lit cigarette, Doreen looked at her watch. It was still early, she thought, as she paused outside her daughter Trisha’s door. Should she peep in? Her only daughter had gone out clubbing the night before, no doubt got home in the early hours. Doreen paused, her hand half way to the door handle. Had she heard Trisha come in? She tried to think, but could not remember hearing any sounds; but then, she had been dead to the world, her first decent night’s sleep in weeks.
“Youngsters,” she giggled, “on the go all day, party all night. Don’t know where they get their energy from.”
Shaking her head, still giggling, she wandered to her bathroom. What she would give to be seventeen again! 

Sometimes it Happens by Pauline Barclay - BUY NOW on Kindle £3.16

As eager as I am to write my next book - already started - I must give a large percent of my time to marketing the books already available.
Everyday I can be found on Twitter and Facebook chatting to amazing people, many who have become good friends.

I also spend time updating my Blogs, reading and commenting on other Blogs and keeping my website updated. All of this helps to create awareness of me and hopefully my books.
I have always loved writing, as a child I wrote songs and poems. Back in the eighties I studied with the Open University and gained a BA (Hons) degree. It was not until I graduated six years later, that I realised just how much of my life I had given to working full time and studying.
After the anti-climax of receiving my degree, I realised I had time to think and write. I wrote two novels, but neither will see the light of day as they are now buried deep in the archives of my computer.
As well as those two early novels, I have also written fifteen short stories which, from time to time, I add to my website for visitors to read.
Until coming to live in the Canary Islands, I spent all my adult years working full time. Over fifteen of those years, I worked in communications, either in large corporate companies or working freelance. I loved this work; writing magazine articles, press releases, articles for the international press, internet and intranet sites.
If it needed writing, I wrote it!

You can keep abreast of what I am writing or doing by visiting my website or follow my blog You can also chat with me on Twitter and on Facebook.
Helen, thank you for inviting me to your Blog, I feel honoured and very privileged to know you. These last few months you have taken me under your wing as my writing guide and editor for Sometimes It Happens… or as you regularly refer to it as “Giggle”… and you have brought out the best in my writing. Thank you so much.

H.H. Pauline – My pleasure! It was a joy to show you how and where to polish your rough draft into a shining jewel of a story!

I now have to tell you who my 10 invited guests are to my imaginary dinner party.

As I love Gone With The Wind I would have to invite Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler
For someone to make us laugh, it would have to be Les Dawson
For good looks and a voice to match, Michael Bublé
For his tenacity: Richard Branson
For his imagination: Walt Disney
For her dedication: Gladys Aylward who I went to see as a child in the 1960’s when she came to Bradford
For giving children great reads: Enid Blyton, I loved all her books and her Sunny Smiles magazine
For her scary singing voice and amazing character: Hilda Ogden
For his vision on the Open University whom many have benefited, including myself. Michael Young – Later Lord Young of Dartington

Thank you for taking the time to pop along to say hello and I hope we can chat again soon.
love, Pauline

Next time:- US maritime author William Hammond

5 May 2011

Helen Hart - SilverWood Books

Helen Hart Re-visited

Meet Helen Hart in two "workshop" sessions at the HNS Conference - she will be speaking on writing for children and the pride and pitfalls of 
self publishing

Helen has already been a guest here on my blog: 
so this is a re-visit

Helen Hart
I’m so grateful to Helen Hollick for inviting me to write a guest blog… I’m extremely proud that Helen has chosen my company SilverWood Books to support and assist her with her titles.
In order to understand how SilverWood works, it’s probably useful for readers to know something about me and my background as a professional writer, because I believe this is key to the way I've set the company up, and to how it functions.

I’ve been a published author since the late 1990s. Writing under a variety of pseudonyms, I’ve been published by Scholastic, HarperCollins, Oxford University Press, and several non-UK publishing houses. My books have been translated into many different languages including Swedish, Danish, Greek and Japanese.
Readers can see more on my author site.
I’ve also worked as a commercial copywriter for SilverWood’s sister company Redwing.

My writing background means that I have a deep and intimate understanding of the writing process and how important each book is to an author. I know from my own experience how much heart and soul has gone into the creation of a book, and how important is the relationship between a writer and their publisher/editor.

When I founded SilverWood Books in 2007, it was with the aim of providing self-funding authord with an alternative to what I perceived as the unscrupulous business practices, expensive publishing packages, and poor quality books offered by so-called ‘vanity’ publishing companies. I place the writer and their needs (and their aims for their book) at the heart of what SilverWood Books offers. My aim is to offer a close, supportive working relationship and therefore a similar experience to that which the writer might have if they were signed to a mainstream publishing house.

I genuinely believe that if a self-funding author wishes to sell their book beyond family and friends, then they need a book that matches as closely as possible the output of mainstream publishers. It’s not enough that the content be outstanding - all elements of the book must be outstanding if that title is to compete in an already crowded marketplace.

HNS Review UK
Editor's Choice
August 2012
SilverWood Books offers high quality professional services. Our authors work in partnership with a small, friendly, supportive team who care about the book and the writer, and who have the skills and expertise to offer impartial guidance. Most of our authors come to us through word-of-mouth recommendation, or they are repeat customers who were pleased with the experience of producing their previous book with us.
The key feature of our books is that they aim to match the production values of mainstream publishing houses - and this means our authors stand a better chance of persuading bookshops to stock their book (often self-published titles are refused due to their amateur nature).

SilverWood offers friendly one-to-one support throughout the publishing process. Services include professional editing, proofreading, page layout, book jacket design, Print on Demand and book publicity. Authors can choose from a comprehensive range of paperback and hardback book sizes, with or without dustjackets and foil stamping. We don't use templates, so each book is individually designed specifically for its target market, just as it would be in a mainstream publishing house. We offer a selection of publishing packages which cost-effectively bundle services together. And if an author’s work isn't quite ready for publication, SilverWood can assist with manuscript appraisal and editorial support.

This is an exciting time for self-publishing, and SilverWood is excited to be involved with so many wonderful books and writers.

The SilverWood Logo
Helen Hollick:  It was with great excitement and confidence that I put my novels into Helen Hart’s good care - a decision I have not regretted one bit. Thank you Helen Hart and the SilverWood staff.

As always, my guest gets to choose ten dinner guests:
1.    Amelia Earhart - because she was such an aviation pioneer, a symbol of great courage, a brilliant role model for women... and she might be able to solve the mystery of where and how she went down over the Pacific.
2.    Charles II - the perfect dinner guest: debonair, amusing, learned. I’d like to experience that famous charisma for myself.
3.    Barbara Palmer (Lady Castlemaine) - she’d be the perfect partner to glide in on the arm of Charles II, and we could all find out if she really was as scheming and cunning (and as beautiful) as it was said she was!
4.    Eddie Izzard - for the nail varnish, the eyeliner, the brilliant timing and the lengthy, beautifully-structured comedic tales. He could entertain us all through the main course!
5.    Sarah Waters - for the plots, the twists and the wonderful denouements of novels like ‘Fingersmith’ and ‘Affinity’.
6.    David Bowie - for the glory days of Diamond Dogs and Hunky Dory.
7.    Hereward the Wake - because he’s almost been forgotten, yet he led a war of resistance against William the Conqueror for 5 years in the aftermath of 1066.
8.    My old Maths teacher - for the patient explanation of how to use a slide rule… and perhaps this time I’ll understand it!
9.    Beverley Cleary - for the ‘Henry and Ribsy’ books. A big part of my childhood!
10.  Jesamiah Acorne - so that he can conjure a tale of piracy and swashbuckling as we all sip brandy by candlelight. And who knows… perhaps he’ll leave a blue ribbon behind at the end of the evening!?

(H.H. my Jesamiah is very popular isn’t he?)