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Narberth’s Book Fair

It’s only a week until this year’s event and I’m looking forward to immersing myself into as many workshops as I can.  http://www.narberthbookfair.co.uk/

Its lovely seeing familiar faces at these event. Making contacts and even friends. I’m particularly interested in – ‘Fear is the Key’: creating the darkest places for the darkest hearts. Sally Spedding, author of How to Write a Chiller Thriller, leads you through the secrets of writing horror, crime and dark fiction.

titleband-for-narberth-book-fair1

The wonderful author Judith Barrow is organising this year’s event, so in her words, this is what it’s all about.

With forty authors taking part, there will be many genres for both adults and children. There will be talks an writing and books, creative writing workshops for adults  workshops & talks and fun workshops for children, activities for the children  Children’s Page and a fun book trail through Narberth, the gorgeous little market town in Pembrokeshire.  Location.

All free!!

And, of course, there will be the chance to chat with all the authors and to pick their brains on all aspects of writing. Even to buy their books and have them personally signed.

Do you like attending these events? Or maybe the idea of mingling fills you with dread, either way share you stories. You know I love hearing from you.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

Ask the blogger: how did you get so many followers?

Milly Schmidt has asked the important question of how to get followers. The response from successful bloggers has been phenomenal. A fountain of knowledge to help all bloggers.

Milly Schmidt

I went out on a limb and contacted some of my greatest blogging idols to see if a few of them might like to lend us some of their wisdom in response to the one question we’re all thinking about: how the hell did you get so many followers?

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d get many replies. Surely these bloggers (with their thousands of followers) are far too busy to answer the many questions, emails and comments they must get every day? Turns out I completely underestimated how LEGEN – wait for it… no really you have to wait for it… sorry just a little longer – DARY these bloggers really are. Because who would answer an email from a random quote-seeking newbie like me?

Legends. That’s who.

So instead of digesting, paraphrasing and regurgitating some of their responses to make the perfect introduction, I thought I’d move aside and let the bloggers do…

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YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk Novel Writer

TAG Who am I?

Who Am I? Tag

I saw this tag over at Angie Dokos and I had to try it out, feel free to join in. If you havn’t already, then you should check her blog out!

What does my name mean?

My name, Lorraine, means: From the name of a region in France, originally meaning “kingdom of LOTHAR”. Lothar was a Frankish king, the great-grandson of Charlemagne, whose realm was in the part of France that is now called Lorraine.
What is my Myers-Briggs Personality Type? (Link)

Personality type: “The Advocate” (INFJ-T)
Individual traits: Introverted – 86%, Intuitive – 84%, Feeling – 81%, Judging – 83%, Turbulent – 81%
Role: Diplomat
Strategy: Constant Improvement

What is my Zodiac Sign? (Link)

Pisces traits

Pisces likes: Being alone, sleeping, music, romance, visual media, swimming, spiritual themes.

Pisces dislikes: Know-it-all, being criticized, the past coming back to haunt, cruelty of any kind.

Pisces are very friendly, so they often find themselves in a company of very different people. Pisces are selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back.

Pisces is a Water sign and as such this zodiac sign is characterized by empathy and expressed emotional capacity.

Their ruling planet is Neptune, so Pisces are more intuitive than others and have an artistic talent. Neptune is connected to music, so Pisces reveal music preferences in the earliest stages of life. They are generous, compassionate and extremely faithful and caring.

People born under the Pisces sign have an intuitive understanding of the life cycle and thus achieve the best emotional relationship with other beings.

Pisces-born are known by their wisdom, but under the influence of Uranus, Pisces sometimes can take the role of a martyr, in order to catch the attention. Pisces are never judgmental and always forgiving. They are also known to be most tolerant of all the zodiac signs.

Writer's guilt writing cat

Do you suffer holiday writer’s guilt?

It’s been five long weeks of summer and I still have a week and a half to go. It’s not that spending every waking minute with my two kids is difficult, (it’s a different story when they argue.) but i miss my routine. Day to day life is knocked on its head and spilt out on the floor like a vast expanse of nothingness.

Author self-doubt tumblr_nxeot3aztf1rj0hrio1_500

I spent the summer fulfilling none writing goals as my creativity has crumbled under the change in pace. I suffered a total melt down and my writer’s guilt shot through the roof. I’ve longed to write, I’ve longed for the peace and quiet so I could write. But all I got in return was guilt over being a terrible parent. Was I letting my kids down by not giving them a fantastic holiday?

This year’s weather has been awful, so beach days have been minimal. Our big family holiday is looming, so I’m on a budget too. That means no theme parks or adventure days unless they involve a picnic and nature.

Author writer reviewer Lorraine Ambers woodland faery realm

 

 

I own two other businesses that I run from home. For most weeks of the year I’m extremely grateful for my circumstances. I get to be at home if the kids are sick or on holiday. Just not in the summer. Six and a half weeks is a long time. Think of all the editing I could have achieved.

It’s not all bad, lazy days by the sea has its perks and I’ve read some great novels. Renovations on our house have resumed (come on bathroom) and I’m (smugly) ready for this year’s external audit at my fabrication business.

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Now that the countdown to school has begun I’m keen to start writing again. So this week I’ve escaped to my bedroom with a hot cup of tea and my laptop. The strangest thing happened, my kids left me alone. They’ve respected my privacy and have taken my writing seriously. Perhaps because for the first time, so have I.

This is real for me now. This is my future, my third business. The time for feeling selfish about writing has passed and I’ve emerged stronger and more determined than ever before.

How do you juggle family and working commitments? Is the summer a struggle for you too or have you developed a system that benefits everyone? Thanks for reading and sharing my world.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman

Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This fantastic book was lent to me by a wonderful bookshop owner in my home town. He has a particular fondness of fantasy novels and has dedicated a bookshelf to that genre. I was surprised to realise that I’ve read a considerable amount of that that shelf. I found in his collection The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien and snapped up the copy. I’ve previously blogged about my plight for J.R. Tolkien, so I was thrilled when the bookshop guy promised to save me the complete collection of lord of the rings.

Upon my next visit we discussed our favourite novels. He’s a huge fan of Terry Pratchet and as a vast collection of his novels. He admired my enquiry into Neil Gaiman. I was intrigued after watching American Gods, an adaptation of the novel by Neil Gaiman. I highly recommend that series, my husband and I loved it.

The bookshop guy didn’t have any of Gaiman’s books in store to sell. But he happily lent me his copy of The Ocean at the end of the lane. So, thank you kind bookshop owner. You made my day with his generosity. And a second thank you for lending me a novel that im sure will stay with me until the end of time.

Blurb.

The Ocean at the End of the Laane Neil Gaiman

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defence is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

My review.

This novel is awarded 5 stars

The ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman is a flashback to a childhood of forgotten memories. It’s beautiful, gritty and evocative. Highly imaginative, with gripping tension that captured my attention from start to finish. I devoured this book within a day.

A friend of mine said, ‘I love Neil Gaiman, the only problem with his books is that they’re too short. I wish he’d write bigger books.’

I’d have to agree. The story was creative beyond my wildest imaginings but grounded with its possibilities. From myth to fable, Gaimen tips his hat to great literature and all done through the eyes of a seven-year-old.

Even though the novel is portrayed through a young character, I felt honoured to recollect the vivid imaginings and scary possibilities of being vulnerable and at the mercy of adults. I think that’s what resonated most with me.

I’m set on having all of Gaiman’s novels for my collection. My local bookshop is set to become one of my favourite places. The only trouble is, where am I going to keep all my books. I’ll add a library/office to my wish list.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

What author have you discovered that surprised and delighted you? Do you have a story of random kindness? Share them with me – I’d love to hear about it.

Hope you’re all enjoying your summer. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2017.

 

A hundred tiny threads Judith Barrow

A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow.

I have the pleasure of hosting Judith Barrow’s latest novel: A Hundred Tiny Threads. Judith is my mentor, a friend and talented author, I wish her every success with this latest installmentof her family saga.

Judith says:-
My next book, A Hundred Tiny Threads, is the prequel to the trilogy and is the story of Mary Howarth’s mother, Winifred, and father, Bill. Set between 1910 & 1924 it is a the time of the Suffragettes, WW1, the great influenza epidemic  and the Black and Tans who were sent to Ireland to quell fight for independence from the UK. It is inevitable that what forms the lives, personalities and characters of Winifred and Bill eventually affects the lives of their children, Tom, Mary, Patrick and Ellen. And so the Howarth/Pattern trilogy begins.

SYNOPSIS

A hundred tiny threads Judith Barrow

Gritty family saga set in Lancashire in the 1900s and Ireland at the time of the Black and Tans

Winifred is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother. When her friend Honora – an Irish girl, with the freedom to do as she pleases – drags Winifred along to a suffragette rally, she realises that there is more to life than the shop and her parents’ humdrum lives of work and grumbling.

Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood echoes through his early adult life and the scars linger, affecting his work, his relationships and his health. The only light in his life comes from a chance meeting with Winifred, the daughter of a Lancashire grocer. The girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting Honora’s intelligent and silver-tongued medical student brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down and she finds herself pregnant. Bill Howarth reappears on the scene offering her a way out.


Excerpt from A Hundred Tiny Threads.

Wilfred Howarth had given Bill a beating that morning for not getting up when first called and had promised another when he returned home after his shift. He’d said he was getting Bill used to an early rise because the following day would be his thirteenth birthday; the day he was to follow his father down the mine as a putter. It didn’t bother Bill; he’d always known that pushing the small wagons along the metal plates through the workings to the passages where the horses could be hitched up to them was to be his lot in life.

Bill remembered hearing the thump and rush of running feet on the cobbles outside his house at the same time he heard the warning siren from the mine. He’d run with the crowd before even knowing what was happening; seeing with the strain on the faces and the hearing of the sobs and cries of the women and children around him that life in the village had changed forever.

‘What’s  ’appened?’ Bill caught the arm of a woman.

‘They say there’s been a flood.’ Her eyes were wild. ‘My three lads are down there. What am I going to do? I have two more bairns to bring up. Their da’s already gone; killed in that explosion last year.’ She grabbed his sleeve before dropping to her knees.

Pulled down with her Bill looked around for somebody to help the woman but there was no one; they might as well not be there for all the notice paid to them.

He dragged her to her feet. ‘C’mon. Unless we get to the gates we’ll never know who’s safe and who’s still down there.’

The management had closed the gates. The cries of despair soon changed to shouts of anger in an effort to discover what had happened. When a grey-faced man in a suit approached the crowd the silence was instant. He held up his hand to quiet them, an unnecessary gesture, before he spoke.

‘From what we can gather there was break through to an old abandoned mine that was flooded. We know some of the men are safe—’ He waited for the cries of relief to abate. ‘But we don’t know how many yet.’

Then a huddle of men, bowed, silent and trailing a thin stream of black water behind them, appeared, walking towards the gates.

Bill knuckles grated together as the woman’s gripped his hand. And then she screamed. ‘Eddie!’ She looked at Bill and laughed; a high-pitched noise. ‘That’s Eddie, my eldest.’ Then turning she shouted, ‘Where’s your brothers.’

As the young man came closer Bill saw the white tracks cutting through the black of coal dust on his face.

‘Gone, Ma. They’re gone.’ He shook his head, bewildered. ‘There was so much water–water and thick mud. One minute we were working together and then all this water came flooding through and they were gone.’

She fainted. The manager unbolted the gates and the crowd surged around her, pouring into the yard before milling around in sudden confusion.  The man’s blank gaze fastened on Bill in a blink of recognition. ‘Your da was with ‘em.’ He nodded, his voice trailing away. ‘He’s gone too…’

Bill thought his feet would never move from the spot he stood in. Then he turned, jumped over the lifeless form of the woman and ran for home, shocked by sense of release and freedom that coursed through him.

He tumbled through the doorway of the house.

‘Didn’t you hear the siren?’ He held his side against the pain of the stitch.

‘I did.’ Marion didn’t lift her head from staring into the small fire in the grate. ‘I reckon someone would tell me sooner or later what‘s happened.’ Now she did look at him, her eyes narrowed. ‘And here you are.’ She slowly moved her head up and down. ‘Here you are. You’re going to tell me he’s gone, aren’t you?’

Bill nodded, a succession of small bobs of the head. ‘Yeah. The mine—’

‘I don’t want to know. All I want you to know is that you’d better make sure you’re ready to take his place as wage earner in this house.’

It had taken months to recover some of the men’s bodies. But never Wilfred Howarth’s.


About Judith

Judith Barrow, originally from Saddleworth, Yorkshire, has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for almost forty years.
She has an MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen, a BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University and a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University. She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions. She has completed three children’s books.
She is also a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council’s Lifelong learning Scheme

Links to buy: AmazonHonno

Blog: Judith Barrow Writer & Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@barrow_judith/

If you fancy a gritty family saga, then I promise Judiths series is worth a read. Her characters still linger in my heart. Thanks for reading. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
notebook nature writer Author Lorraine Ambers

6 Tips for Twitter #writers

Building a platform and navigating the many different social media’s can be a daunting task. It can seem a step too far, especially when we’re still struggling to write our novel. But fear not, for I’m here to share my top six tips for using twitter.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

It’s important to remember you’re presenting yourself as a brand. Every interaction on the internet should be tailored towards catching your target audience and strengthening your business – you as an author.

  1. Load a profile and background image, then add a few sentences to describe yourself. Want inspiration? Check out your fellow writers and see what catches your eye.
  2. Every social media has a different way of conversing. Twitter does this by short, punchy statements. Using just 140 characters to convey your meaning. Twitter is fast moving so mistakes can be made. But that’s ok, your friends will forgive and forget. So dive in and have fun.
  3. Picture’s and Gif’s are a great way to draw attention, so get creative. Warning about copyright, please make sure you have the right to use the images.
  4. Use hashtags as a way to connect with likeminded individual. Some of my favourites are #amwriting #turtlewriters and #fantasy. Play around with them and pay attention to what similar authors use.
  5. Remember your manners and don’t spam. The fastest way to be unfollowed is by only plugging your own work. There tends to be an unwritten rule that the ratio should be 80% sharing and 20% promoting. I like to mix it up, not all of my tweets are promotional. Most are asking questions, interacting and statuses about my writing journey. Take a look at my profile: https://twitter.com/lorraineambers
  6. People tend to converse through the newsfeed and ignore DM’s (Direct Messages) because the majority of messages are spam. If you want to chat, be brave and tweet them directly by adding there @name. Try me, I’ll be happy to reply. @LorraineAmbers

There we have it, my top 6 tips for twitter. Do you have any tips to share? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2017