Peace Lily, Book Two of The Katherine Wheel Series, #FREE for a short while

Grab your chance to get the sequel to Daffodils for free for a limited period!

Book Two of The Katherine Wheel Series

I’m really excited to announce that www.bookbub.com are hosting a promotion for Peace Lily for the first time and as Daffodils remains free for the moment, you can now get the first two books in The Katherine Wheel Series for absolutely nothing for the next few days! Even if you have read them, please let your friends know about this opportunity to get stuck into the saga of Jem and Katy, Cassandra and Douglas as they fight their way through the many challenges of World War One in Daffodils, only to face more in its aftermath in Peace Lily. The series now numbers six books in all and concludes with a pair of books designed to be read together, Woodbine and Ivy, as the next generation of Phipps and Smythes face more life-changing dramas in the Second World War.

Also, welcome to my new website at The Plotting Shed, hosted by WordPress. I was sad to say goodbye to my old familiar Blogger site but I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to retain the domain name and my new site offers many new toys for me to play with (once I get used to it!).

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy writing a new story, Triskele, which will be the sequel to The Rose Trail in the Spirit Level Series of ghostly tales. Fay and Percy, those slightly mad mismatched psychic detectives, embark on their first paid assignment on the Welsh island of Anglesey, once home to the Druids. It’s a complicated tale with connections to spirits who lived there over 2000 years ago but, as they investigate the weird happenings in a rock star’s studio, they discover startling revelations that resonate deeply with the challenges we all face in the 21st century. Hoping to publish Triskele this autumn and am now working on the second draft. Its publication will be announced here, of course.

Book Two in The Spirit Level Series, Triskele, coming soon!

Magic

Something magical happened to me yesterday. Not only did I write \’The End\’ in my new novel, Triskele, (previous working title Apple Island) but all the random parts came together in a seamless rush.
When a writer starts a new book, there is the germ of an idea. In my case, it was the intuitive sighting of a terrible massacre that took place over two thousand years ago. I had to weave a story around it.
Readers may have met Fay and Percy, two mismatched psychic detectives, in The Rose Trail, book one of the Spirit Level series. These two women were the ideal characters to take on the challenge.
The magical part came towards the end of the book, when I realised that, without conscious thought, all the elements of the story I had written had a purpose and without each one of them, the conclusion would not have come together. It was almost as if I\’d been guided by some unseen hand.
I suspect my subconscious mind had been working on this project for years when I first had the idea but was too busy with other ones to give it my attention. Whatever it was, it made for an exciting finish, I can tell you! I found myself saying – oh so that\’s why he had to do that in the beginning! And, that\’s why it\’s set there! It made for a thrilling and satisfying moment when I typed those important two words – The End.
Of course, it\’s only a first draft and I\’m now going through it with a fine toothcomb before my beta readers get their mitts on it.
Watch this space. If it passes muster with them and my editor, the final version will be announced here.

Bookbub promotion for Daffodils, Book One of The Katherine Wheel Series

 I\’m so excited to have secured a promotion with Bookbub today! 

Daffodils, Book One of The Katherine Wheel Series, is the Featured Deal on https://www.bookbub.com/books/daffodils-by-alex-martin?ebook_deal today and it\’s #free. 

Copies of this book are whizzing out fast and already, a few hours into the promotion, Daffodils is #1 in Sagas/Free and #7 overall in the US free selections. This is the first time Bookbub has selected Daffodils since The Katherine Wheel Series was complete so I\’m hoping for lots of follow-on sales of the five sequels.

Plus, Daffodils is now available as an Audiobook on #Audible, narrated by the author! I do love \’doing\’ an accent and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of recording Daffodils in a professional studio loaned by the generous Grant Eden of http://www.oystermouthradio.com/ who helped me find my confidence and listened with patience and kindness.

Any excuse to escape!

 Having completed The Katherine Wheel Series in August of 2020, just before my first grandchild was born (huge joy), I\’ve now embarked on a new story and I wanted to tell you about my recent research trip to the beautiful Welsh island of Anglesey (all within Covid regulations, of course!). The book (its working title is Apple Island) is a sequel to The Rose Trail and features Fay and Percy\’s first paid gig as professional ghostbusters. Readers may remember they created their website, \’Spirit Level\’, in a mad moment of abandon and hubris, after escaping the clutches of the ghosts of Meadowsweet Manor.

The drive through Wales (I live on the south coast and Anglesey is right at the very top of the north) was spectacular and it just got better. 

Just like Percy and Fay, we drove through the mountains of Snowdonia through to Caernarfon but we had much better weather. They had to endure rain, hail, and wind but, for us, the weather was glorious and remained so on our trip.

Caernarfon boasts a magnificent castle bordering its harbour in a typically defensive position. However, it\’s unusual in that it wasn\’t destroyed through the centuries by civil wars or invaders.

You can see one of the many towers of Caernarfon castle here, with renovators working at ground level. It is run by Cadw, the Welsh equivalent of National Heritage and here is the link to their site if you would like to learn more about this impressive and ancient pile:

https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/caernarfon-castle

Attached to the other side of this castle tower is the old prison, seen here at right angles to the old Custom House, which is now a public house called the Anglesey Arms. The pub is perfectly placed to view the atmospheric stretch of water called the Menai Straits, which separate Anglesey from the mainland of Wales.

This hostelry has the reputation, even today, of being haunted and Percy and Fay stay there overnight, with creepy consequences. Being still under Covid restrictions we forewent such delights and crossed over the Menai Straits to Anglesey the same day.

This is the Menai Straits viewed from the sea wall in front of the Anglesey Arms. I stood there many years ago when on holiday and the vision I saw then is the inspiration for this book. 

What I saw chilled me to the bone for, standing on the beach in the distance, stood some women dressed in long, black robes holding flaming torches which they waved wildly to fend off the attackers wading towards them in the cold, swirling currents. Their long hair streamed behind them in the wind. These women were furiously angry and screaming in an eerie loud wail of distress. I felt them call to me, as if they could see me too, but it has taken me very many years to get around to responding, but as their tale is around 2000 years old, I hope they will forgive me.

Imagine my astonishment when I researched the history of Anglesey and discovered that the island was the headquarters of the Druids who were revered and respected by all Britons at the time. However, partly due to the fertility of its soil making it rich in grain, partly due to the fact that it was a hub for the gold trade between Ireland and Europe but mostly, I think, because of the threat the powerful Druids presented, the Roman army invaded Anglesey on this very spot in AD 61 and massacred them all. 
This tragedy provides the historical backbone to the contemporary part of the tale as Fay and Percy embark on solving the mystery of the spooky events haunting their destination.

Interview on www.showboat.tv

 Narberth Book Fair had to be cancelled, sadly, like so many other events and gatherings this year, but www.showboat.tv had the brilliant wheeze of putting on a virtual literary festival in its place, called Literally Online. 

Lots of gifted authors were there being interviewed by either Judith Barrow or Thorne Moore, both exceptional writers themselves. Just click on www.showboat.tv to see all the interviews. I\’m there too, talking about The Katherine Wheel Series and my new project, the sequel to The Rose Trail, where Fay and Percy head off to Anglesey to rescue a rock musician whose new studio is being haunted.

You may need to subscribe to http://www.showboat.tv to view these interviews. The monthly fee is £1.99, far less than the price of a cup of coffee, which can be cancelled at any time as there is no pressure to enter into a  contract of any sort. There\’s lots of other information on the website and programmes about the paranormal (very appropriate), music festivals, books, music and events (for the future naturally!).

So grab that cup of coffee and join me in a chat!

Alex Martin – In The Plotting Shed: New Virtual Literary Festival

New Virtual Literary Festival

Happy New Year to you all!

And hopefully, it really will be once the vaccination programme is fully rolled out. Regaining our freedom will be amazing, won\’t it?

In the meantime, as we can\’t meet readers in person, www.showboat.tv who are based in Pembrokeshire, Wales, are putting on a virtual Literary Festival online. You can join in for #free on Saturday next, the 16th January 2021 at:

https://www.showboat.tv/programmes.html

where you can \’meet\’ about 20 authors who will be chatting to another one, the empathetic and gifted Judith Barrow, whose work can be found via her blog at https://judithbarrowblog.com/

I\’m on at 14.50 but there are many other authors of different genres who\’ll be sharing their work. So, if you are interested in children\’s books, mystery thrillers, domestic noir or gritty sagas you will find something to your taste, I\’m sure. After each interview, the author will be available for questions from views and all the authors will come together at the end, at around 1600 hours to answer questions from the public together.

This live event can be attended for free for as long as you want, but if you\’d like more you can listen to archive interviews for the paltry sum of £1.99 by subscribing to www.showboat.tv This is a monthly fee and there is no contract, so you can cancel at any time. It\’s incredible value as there are many other programmes to be enjoyed, not just literary ones, but music, drama, sport and festivals, in fact, all the other forms of entertainment you could wish for.

Here\’s the link to a previous interview I did on their \’Cover to Cover\’ feature.

https://www.showboat.tv/programmes/0073/index.html

I do hope you can join in with this #free celebration of Welsh authors – we\’re a diverse and interesting bunch!