Mandy's Musings

Mandy's Musings

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Sharon Goodwin Writes a Fantastic Review for Cross Stitch!

I would like to thank Sharon Goodwin for her brilliant review of my second time travel book - Cross Stitch. Sharon reviews so many authors and I am honoured to have such high praise for my novel. Her wonderful blog can be found here. The review is below. At the end are links to both Cross Stitch and A Stitch in Time :)

Cross Stitch is the sequel to A Stitch in Time  and while there is some backstory in Cross Stitch, to experience the uniqueness of the plot I would recommend you also read A Stitch in Time.

Usually receiving a warning before travelling in time, on her wedding day Sarah receives no warning at all.  This isn’t the only thing that is different (but I can’t say why – no spoilers!).

While those at home are very concerned, Sarah has travelled back to 1939 and Veronica Roth. 

Veronica plays a key part in the story.  I really enjoyed her character development … we see her grow from lack of confidence and fear into quite a spectacular woman.  Telling lies to get into the school where Sarah teaches results in mayhem in the classroom … and this isn’t the only chaos she causes in Sarah’s life!

One of the choices that Sarah makes causes John to be angry (yes easy going John can be a monster when he’s fighting for what he believes in) and their relationship hits a rocky time.  I agreed with both their opposing views so wouldn’t have made a good mediator, unlike John’s dad Harry.

It’s not only their relationship under the spotlight in Cross Stitch, two more important people share a surprise too.  The banter had me grinning.

There’s intrigue with John’s sister Lucy and her husband Corbin.  I loved how this fitted in with the plot.

Totally involved with this story, I read it quickly - I couldn’t wait to see where Sarah would go next, the purpose of her being there or even if she would come back. 

I loved the idea of the ‘Cross Stitch’ and how unpredictable time travel was (and the reason behind it!).  It’s hard to write a review where you really want to share something but you know that if you do, you’ll give a spoiler …

Tension from the challenges faced on the time travel journeys, friendship, family and romance have made this a totally absorbing read for me.

Highly recommended if you like your romances with something different!
Amanda James, you are a genius :)

I would like to thank the publishers for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Cross Stitch Release Day!

So excited to announce that Cross Stitch, sequel to A Stitch in Time is released today! 

Fans of  Stitch in Time will be happy that Sarah Yates will once again be up to her time travelling antics, despite the fact that she really only wants a quite life and to settle down with her true love John Needler. The past year has seen Sarah whisked away to 1913 London and the suffragette movement, 1940 Sheffield during the Blitz , 1876 Kansas to a grasshopper plague and finally to 1928 London and possibly the biggest medical discovery of the modern world. So ... Sarah figures she’s due some normality at last and is overjoyed that it is her wedding day.

However, Sarah and normality don’t often spend much time together, and on that day of all days she is once again hurled back in time to 1939. And if this isn’t enough, once there, she gets entangled with a very disagreeable creature – Veronica Ratchet, an ‘old school’ school teacher who seems extremely reluctant to disentangle herself from Sarah’s life.
The meeting with Ratchet leads to more adventures, thrills and spills than Sarah can shake a stick at. It is exactly what she doesn’t want and about as far away from normal as you can get. No, actually ... Ratchet and the 1970s Punk Rock era is just that bit further.

I so enjoyed writing this book, and I hope you will enjoy reading it. 

Cross Stitch can be found here and A Stitch in Time here.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Meeting My Main Character Blog Hop

Thanks to the very marvellous Chris Stovell for passing the baton on to me. You can read all about Chris's main character, May, in her latest book Follow a Star which came out last week! I have a real live copy sitting on my table and can't wait to get my teeth into it.  Of course I don't mean literally, what do you take me for? No, don't answer that ... right where was I? Oh yes, you can meet Chris and May here.

Writers like to burble on about their main characters and I am no exception. So without further ado, here goes. Actually there is one further ado. I need to tell you the title of my latest book and show you a picture of the cover. Here it is.

Actually the title is on the cover so I don't need to tell you it. Clever, eh? Okay let's get cracking...

What is the name of the main character? Is she real or fictitious? 

Her name is Karen Ainsworth, but she might also have another name that I can't divulge here as it would spoil the surprise. And given that she is in a novel, I think it's a safe bet that she's not real. Having said, that she's real enough to me. She has bits of me in her,( not internal organs, but character) and bits of other people who I may, or may not have met. 

When and where is the story set?

It is set in the present and in Cornwall not far from where I live.

What should we know about Karen? 

She is slim, blond, thirty and very happily married to a doctor, Tristan Ainsworth who is the GP in a sleepy little Cornish village. Think Doc Martin but without the very scary Martin Clunes. Tristan is much nicer and much easier on the eye. Sorry, Mr Clunes if you happen to be reading this. Yes I know it is unlikely, but one never knows. For the record, I think Mr Clunes is a fantastic actor and probably very nice in real life. Karen has two children and a phenomenal singing voice. 

What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Karen is not as happy as she would have us believe. Oh yes, she adores, Tristan, but since moving to Cornwall at Tristan's behest, she has become withdrawn, reclusive an secretive. She was fine when they lived in Swindon, so what has Cornwall to do with the change in her personality? Moreover she loves to sing, it lifts her spirit and brings untold happiness, so why does she now keep silent? Well, that would be telling wouldn't it? Can't say too much on this, but she does have issues with her past and that does tend to mess up a person's life. However her husband has one or two problems of his own relating to his past also. There is a dark secret that one of them has, and if that secret is divulged, their marriage, their family, and even their freedom could be at stake ... But what is it, and which of them is keeping it? Again, you'll have to read it to find the answer.

What is Karen's goal?

She wants a happy life and to enjoy singing in the choir and living by the sea with her husband and children. Is it too much to ask? 

What is the book's title?

Blimey you have a short memory, it's called Somewhere Beyond the Sea and can be examined again here if you so wish.

Thanks again to Chris for passing on the baton. 

I am now delighted to hand it over to the incredibly talented Juliet Greenwood. You can find out all about her books and main character here  I am dying to find out what she has to say and I'm sure you are too!  

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Guest Post - Alison Morton

Today, my writing friend Alison Morton launches SUCCESSIO, the third novel in her award-winning Roma Nova series featuring sassy detective Carina Mitela. As writer and broadcaster Sue Cook says, it’s a “A real edge-of-the-seat read, genuinely hard to put down.”

I know Alison as a RNA colleague and Twitter friend. I’ve followed her progress and although I write time travel, I’ve often wondered how different or difficult is was to write in an alternate history setting. And just to complicate things, she adds a feminist twist, but has plenty of love interest! 

So, Alison, Romans in the 21st century - how do you write that?

“Thanks, Mandy. All the usual good ‘craft’ rules apply: cracking story, attractive and hopefully slightly quirky characters, emotional pressure, dilemmas and conflict, snappy and purposeful dialogue and, of course, a badly tangled love life.
The tools for writing alternate history are similar to regular historical fiction, plus an over active imagination!

My top tips:
  • Identify the point your alternative timeline diverges from the standard historical timeline and research that point thoroughly so you can set the scene accurately;
  • Anchor the divergence point story with references to the past;
  • Use elements from the historic record carefully, but not fearfully;
  • Think through the setting that has formed your characters;
  • Make sure your characters live naturally within their world including, and especially, seeking and finding love.

What’s SUCCESSIO about?

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat to her happiness is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun to the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…

 And here’s a trailer with some exciting music:

SUCCESSIO is available through your local bookshop (paperback) and online as ebook and paperback at multiple retailers.

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing here on her blog at
Twitter: @alison_morton

Alison Morton writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with strong heroines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French, German and Economics, a masters’ in history and lives in France with her husband.

A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…

Both INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series, which was also shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award, and PERFIDITAS, the second in series, have been honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion®, an award for independent fiction that rejects 90% of its applicants.  Alison’s third book SUCCESSIO is being launched 3rd June 2014.

Monday, 5 May 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Thank you to my fellow Choc Lit author and wonderful friend, Chris Stovell for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. She has her new book due out in the summer and I for one can't wait! Follow a Star will be her third novel and I'm sure will be just as brilliant as her first two, Turning the Tide and Move Over Darling. You can find out more about Chris here

Follow a Star (July 2014)
I also need to say thanks to Sharon Booth who nominated me a while ago but for one reason and another, er ... things went awry! Sharon is a lovely lady who is always very supportive of my writing which means such a lot. She is currently writing book two in a series and you can find out more about Sharon here

Okay, so what am I working on at the moment?

This is a picture of part of the magical Tintagel Castle about half an hour from my home. I got some of my idea for my new work in progress Summer in Tintagel when I visited earlier this year and the rest from walking along the cliff paths near by. It will involve aspect of mystery, romance and the paranormal. It is in the very early stages but I think I like where it is going.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I guess because I always like to have lots of often separate but interlocking threads running through my stories. I enjoy setting puzzles for the reader too and having a dialogue with them. As a reader I love to try and guess what is going to happen, or who has a secret. Therefore I try to write what I enjoy reading.

Why do I write what I do?

I have always written. Well, not always. A new born baby writing would be very disconcerting wouldn't it? But since I was around eight-ish I wrote short stories and poems. It is in my blood as they say. I get jumpy if I have nothing on the go. I enjoy losing myself in the writing and creating new characters and situations from nothing. It is kind of playing make believe when you are a kid in a way. The thing is, I have never grown up and don't intend to. 

How does my writing process work?

I have no set pattern to my work in that I don't get up at a certain time, sit at my laptop (pictured above) and crack on with it. I tend to just do it as and when, but normally I do writing of some description every day for a few hours. Neither do I plan very much. I am not a post-it note and scene-by-scene type. I just write the title (can't write without one) and a few key points, hit return on the keyboard a few times so I have a blank page and then go for it. My books although are similar in some respects - they all have a love story within them and a few twists and turns, but they are very different too.

You can see them below:

I am delighted to now pass the challenge on to fellow Crooked Cat author, David Robinson on the 15th of May. David is a phenomenally successful author and lovely with it. His 'cozy' crime Sanford Third Age Club Mystery series are always riding high in the charts. I think he has written thirteen books in total. If I'm wrong I am sure David will put me right :) You can find about more about David and his books here