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The Parliament House Books: John Mayer

We ae taking a step into the world of John Mayer today, with a look at his series, The Parliament House Books.

Why not grab yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and settle down for a read?

Over to you John…

Firstly, please allow me to say how refreshing it is not to be answering the same questions as I normally do for these things.

Well, I’m John Mayer and I write The Parliament House Books. Why? The honest answer is that having lost the community into which I was born and then lost the one where I grew up, both to City Hall ordered demolition I hoped I would find that sense of community in Parliament House; which contains the Scottish Faculty of Advocates. I didn’t. Instead, I found what Lord McEwan called ‘a nest of vipers’. So, in what I think is typical form for me, I created the community I wanted to live amongst. You might say that creating The Parliament House Books was, for me, a kind of necessity. It’s certainly a community I enjoy being amongst.

During my twenty years as an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland, having written legal text books, journal articles and been published in non-fiction hardback, I thought I could simply start writing fiction. I figured that I had many transferrable skills. After all, when writing complicated legal arguments, you only get one chance to get it right in court. So, having been very successful in my written practise and being very persuasive in oral argument, I’d be an immediate success with The Parliament House Books. Right? Wrong!

I went through two editors and a couple of thousand pounds in trying to learn. What I discovered was that – as the Chinese say about lawyers – if you started in London and laid all the editors in the world end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion. So I took what I thought were the best bits of their advice and just began to write just for myself. I quickly learned that, as with giving love and affection, if you try too hard, it comes out wrongly. You firstly have to feel that honest deep-down feeling and then find a way of bringing it to the surface. Then comes the difficult bit: imparting it in a way that makes the receiver feel that your passion is offered solely for them. That private feeling of connection between author and reader is what makes people keep turning pages.

 

As I’ve deepened and developed my writing skills, I’ve also learned something of vital importance. That is never to think that my words are chiselled in stone. As I’ve become a better writer, I’ve gone back to the three prequels and the first novel in the series and re-written certain parts. I like that Amazon gives those who’ve bought an earlier edition the chance to get the later one free. I’ve had people write to me and say they were in tears when reading the changes. That’s the phenomenon I was talking about earlier: the private connection between author and reader. It’s very intimate and thus very delicate. It’s a privilege to connect with readers to that depth.

Well, I guess it’s time to talk about the characters who populate the pages of The Parliament House Books. Despite Brogan McLane being a Glaswegian like me, and despite being an Advocate in Parliament House, he as the central character, isn’t me. McLane’s blood brother, Big Joe Mularkey, is also fictional; though he is based on someone whom I know very well. Some characters however, are real, though I lost touch with them many years ago. There is a real Tucker Queen and a real Arab. In the second novel The Order, I had permission to use a real character who is a young blue-haired beauty whose abilities with all things digital are second to none. There is a character which I very much enjoy writing and which is real. I say which and not whom because the character is a place and not a person: it’s the Calton Bar. I see the Calton Bar as the focal point of the community called The Calton in Glasgow. It’s – to coin a phrase from the 90s – a place where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Many reviewers have said the price of the book is worth paying just for the parts in that Bar.

I once wrote elsewhere that ‘Justice is not automatic. It usually has to be won and often hard won.’ That is not perhaps how we’d like the world to be, but it’s certainly how it is. It is the purpose of lawyers and courts to bring that justice to those to whom it rightfully belongs. When that purity of purpose is usurped, then injustice arrives on the coldest of all possible cold winds. That wind rips through people’s lives and often kills them. I’ve seen it happen many times. On the first morning of a court case that may have taken four or more years to get to the door of the court, clients often said to me ‘Well Mr Mayer, do you think we’ll get our justice?’ I’d have to remind them of what I said at the beginning of their case: ‘If you want justice, the church is down the street. Here in Parliament House you get your legal warrior against their legal warrior. Now keep calm and let me do battle.’

Court battles where the judge favours one side, the behind-the-scenes wriggling of The Crown Prosecution Office, the way old school ranks can close in the blink of an eye, the way personal agendas often take precedence over sworn oaths, all lead to injustice and despair. There’s plenty of injustice to be found in The Parliament House Books, but there’s a brighter side too. Especially that camaraderie found in the Calton Bar amongst people who’ve known and trusted each other all their lives. And of course, there’s the joy of winning when you’ve been on the side of the righteous.

I hope you enjoy your visits to my world called The Parliament House Books.

***

The Trust   

Amazon.com   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0 756K8X5P      http://tinyurl.com/yd3p7q dg

Amazon.co.uk  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp /B0756K8X5P

The Bones      

Amazon.com   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01 N7DKA2Q   http://tinyurl.com/y7c4rso y

 Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/ B01N7DKA2Q   

The Order      

Amazon.com   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B 013YKCAV4   http://tinyurl.com/y8xabkm w

Amazon co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orde r-Urban-Scottish-Crime-Parliam ent-ebook/dp/B013YKCAV4

The Trial       

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00 SYZRN12  OR  http://tinyurl.com/ydbkojj t

Amazon.co.uk  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0 0SYZRN12

The Prequels

The Cross       

Amazon.com               https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00 Y4GRAUE

 Amazon.co.uk            https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B 00Y4GRAUE

The Cycle         

Amazon.com            https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0 0XVOGI5S

Amazon.co.uk          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cycl e-second-prequel-Parliament-Ho use-ebook/dp/B00XVOGI5S

The Boots

Amazon.com           https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00 YBSXB76

Amazon.co.uk         https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B 00YBSXB76

All Three Prequels

Amazon.com    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06 VSSQBKM  OR  http://tinyurl.com/yaqbkco w

Amazon.co.uk  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B 06VSSQBKM

BIO

John Mayer was born in Glasgow, Scotland, a war-zone where violence and poverty reigned. In 1963 when he heard The Beatles on Radio Caroline, he decided to change his life. Aged 14 he left school because, in his opinion, he wasn’t being taught. For the next year, in all weathers, he cycled 9 miles to and 9 miles from the Mitchell Library in central Glasgow where he devoured books of all kinds and began to understand what more the world had to offer. He became an Apprentice engineer, and soon was teaching men twice his age. In the early 1970s his love of music led him to set up as a Record Producer. He built his own record company trading in 14 countries. After a disheartening court battle with global giants, he left the business world and went back into further education at the University of Edinburgh, becoming an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland. There he acted for the downtrodden and desperate as well as Greenpeace International. His specialism was in fighting international child abduction.

John has written non-fiction, legal texts and articles; broadcast to tens of millions of people on US and UK radio, appeared on TV and in print media.  Since retiring from the Law, John has enjoyed using his years of very colourful experience to create The Parliament House Books series.

The Trial is the first full length novel in this series. Set in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it is more than a nod to Franz Kafka’s book of the same title. The Trial sees crusading Scottish Advocate, Brogan McLane, fight injustices so casually delivered by Low Life in High Places in the Old Town.

WEBSITE                         https://parliamenthousebooks. weebly.com/

TWITTER URL                 https://twitter.com/johnmay erauthor

FACEBOOK                     https://www.facebook.com/thep arliamenthousebooks/?fref=ts

JOHN MAYER AUTHOR PAGE     https://www.amazon.com/author /jmayer

Author page on Goodreads   http://tinyurl.com/glay5ou

***

Many thanks, John.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

 


Opening Lines: Helen Pollard’s The Little French Guesthouse

It’s that time again! I must confess I look forward to my Thursday ‘Opening Lines’ blog spot more and more each week. 

Today, I’m delighted to be joined by Helen Pollard, who has the first 500 words (exactly) from The Little French Guesthouse to share. with us

Over to you Helen…

The Little French Guesthouse tells the story of Emmy, whose relationship with her boyfriend is getting stale. She decides on a quiet holiday in France so they can reconnect … but it doesn’t turn out as she had planned. Emmy handles it all with humour and rediscovered inner strength, and what starts out as a holiday becomes a journey of self-discovery, with mishaps, hope, friendship and down-to-earth humour all playing a part along the way.

I’d had the opening scene for The Little French Guesthouse in my mind for years, but I wasn’t writing at the time. Then, one summer, we were on holiday in a gîte in France, and I suddenly thought, ‘This is it! This is where that scene takes place!’ Once I could picture the setting in my mind, I just had to get that opening scene down on paper, so I started writing again . . . and the creative floodgates reopened. In my imagination, I developed the setting into a guesthouse with gîtes and gardens, and the imaginary local town in the book, Pierre-la-Fontaine, is loosely based on a real town that we visited several times and loved.

The fact that the publisher wanted the book to become a series was a wonderful opportunity for me to follow Emmy’s ups and downs further. It also allowed me to explore some of the secondary characters in more detail, and it meant that Emmy and thereby the reader could discover even more lovely places in the Loire region of France!

Opening Lines: The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard

I wish I could tell you it happened like it does in the movies. You know the kind of thing. The heroine standing proud, oozing restrained fury. The audience’s satisfaction as she delivers a reverberating slap across her lover’s face. Her dramatic but dignified exit from the screen.

Believe me, there was nothing dignified about it. All I did was stand there shaking, rage and adrenalin coursing through my body like rabid greyhounds, my mouth flapping open and shut as I tried to find the words. Any words. Even a simple sound of outrage would have sufficed, but all I managed was a pathetic squeak.

‘Emmy, it’s not what it looks like,’ Nathan spluttered, but of course it couldn’t be anything other than what it looked like. My view as I stumbled through the door had been graphically explicit. Even he must have known how lame he sounded. Grappling for dignity and his belt, he tried again. ‘We were… I mean, I didn’t expect you to…’

I launched into a wronged-woman tirade as though someone had handed me a bad soap script.

‘No, I bet you didn’t expect me to…’ An alarm bell clanged dimly at the back of my brain, but I ignored it. ‘How could you? You cheating bastard! I can’t believe you…’ The clanging grew louder and more insistent, moving to the front of my consciousness. ‘Shit!’ With a guilty jolt, I remembered why I’d come all the way up here in the first place. ‘Gloria, you need to call an ambulance. I think Rupert’s having a heart attack.’

‘What?’ Adjusting her dress, Gloria greeted this sudden change of subject with bewilderment.

‘Rupert. Your husband, remember? Heart attack. Ambulance.’ I gave her bangled arm a nudge to see if her brain was still functioning or whether sex with my boyfriend was more spectacular than I gave him credit for.

‘Ohmygod. Ohmygod.’ The message finally got through to her lust-addled brain cells. ‘Where is he?’

‘Kitchen.’ I headed for the stairs, my mind thankfully back on the emergency at hand and pushing visions of Nathan and Gloria romping on the roof terrace to the rear of my consciousness. For now, remarkably, there were more important things to worry about.

‘What do you mean, a heart attack?’ Gloria shouted after me. ‘Why the hell didn’t you call an ambulance?’

‘I tried, but then I realised I didn’t know the number, and besides, my French isn’t good enough,’ I called over my shoulder. ‘I thought it would be quicker to get you to do it. I had no idea you’d be so busy.’

‘Ohmygod, Emmy. He could be dead by now!’

She was right – he could be dead by now – but when we reached the kitchen, to my immense relief, Rupert was still conscious and sitting propped against the wall the way I’d left him. I’d done my best, but I hadn’t expected to lose precious moments with the melodrama upstairs. I couldn’t imagine how I would have felt if…

***

Blurb:

Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?

When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.

Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.

Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.

Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?

Buy links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Lcc8U4

Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1T1m7BO

iBooks:          https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-little-french-guesthouse/id1095841746?mt=11

Author bio:

As a child, Helen had a vivid imagination fuelled by her love of reading, so she started to create her own stories in a notebook.

She still prefers fictional worlds to real life, believes characterisation is the key to a successful book, and enjoys infusing her writing with humour and heart.

Helen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors.

Find Helen at:

 Website & blog:  http://helenpollardwrites.wordpress.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/HelenPollardWrites

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/helenpollard147

***

Many thanks Helen- great stuff.

Don’t forget to come back next week for more opening lines!

Happy reading, 

Jenny xx


End of the Month: Nell Peters is thinking April

Hang on a minute…no one asked my permission for time to pass so quickly! I am sure I should have finished this years novel by now. I obviously spend too much time reading Nell Peters’ blogs!

Why not procrastinate with me and enjoy this months fabulous end of the month special.

Over to you Nell…

 

Another month gone! Toodles, April 2018 – it’s been …

Anyone planning to watch the Eurovision Song Contest in May, coming from Portugal? I have to confess I haven’t bothered with it for many, many years – my bad.

I didn’t know that Canadian, Celine Dion won the contest in Dublin on 30th April 1988 for Switzerland (how does that work?), beating the UK entry by just one point. Yikes, that’s thirty years ago! She sang Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi (don’t leave without me) in the Simmonscourt Pavilion of the Royal Dublin Society, which was normally used for agricultural and horse shows. I just know a joke lurks there, but sadly it eludes me. Maybe just as well.

The same venue hosted the 1981 contest, but when the performers lined up to take part in the 39th sing-off in 1994, also on 30th April, it was held at the Point Theatre, Dublin. Perhaps having the psychological advantage of being on home ground helped, because Ireland won for the third consecutive year, when Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan warbled a number called Rock ‘N Roll Kids, composed by Brendan Graham.

That doesn’t ring even a vague bell for me, but the interval entertainment certainly does – the first ever performance of the Irish dancing spectacular Riverdance, featuring the Lord of the Dance himself, Michael Flatley, and Jean Butler. They are both American, although Flatley has duel US/Irish citizenship. He hung up his tap shoes at the end of 2015, after an incredible forty-six years of performing and suffering a whole range of orthopaedic problems over the course of his career – he’ll be sixty in July.

The last day of April features randomly in Dutch history, starting in 1804 when The New Hague Theatre opened. The Hague (Den Haag) is on the western coast of the Netherlands and nowadays is the capital of South Holland province; with a metropolitan population of more than a million, it is the third-largest Dutch city, after the capital Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The Hague is home to the Cabinet, States General, Supreme Court, and the Council of State, most foreign embassies and the International Court of Justice, plus the International Criminal Court. It is also one of the host cities to the United Nations.

In 1905 on this day Holland played Belgium at soccer in the first of what would become a twice-yearly match, known as a Lowlands Derby.

The Netherlands won the International Friendly 4-1, but the next time the teams played on 30th April – in 1975, the Belgians were victorious, scoring the only goal of the game. According to statistics published in 2016, the Netherlands had won a total of fifty-six games, Belgium forty-one and thirty matches ended in a draw.

Moving along, wee Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina was born on 30 April 1909, at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague to the reigning Dutch monarch, Queen Wilhelmina, and her husband Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. She was the first Dutch royal baby since Wilhelmina herself was born in 1880 and as an only child, remained heir presumptive from birth. On her eighteenth birthday in 1927, Princess Juliana officially came of age and was entitled to assume the royal prerogative; two days later her mother installed her in the Council of State (Raad van State.) She reigned as queen from September 1948 until abdicating in favour of her first-born daughter (of four) Beatrix, on her seventy-first birthday in 1980 – the same day that the Iranian Embassy siege began in London.

Celebrations of the national holiday, Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) on 30th April 2009 turned mighty sour when 38-year-old Dutch national Karst Roeland Tates, drove his car at high speed into a parade which included Queen Beatrix, her son and heir Prince Willem-Alexander and other royals at Apeldoorn. Narrowly missing the royal family, the vehicle ploughed through people lining the street before colliding with a monument, killing eight (including the driver) and causing multiple injuries. It was the first attack on the Dutch royal family in modern times and happened on the same day that the UK formally ended combat operations in Iraq. Exactly four years later in 2013, Beatrix abdicated in favour of her son, who became the first male monarch in one hundred and twenty-three years.

Cloris Leachman

One year before (the then) Princess Juliana’s eighteenth birthday, American actress and comedienne Cloris Leachman was born in Des Moines, Iowa – she’s celebrating her ninety-second birthday today. A former beauty queen, award-winning Leachman’s stage and screen credits are numerous, including Lassie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Rawhide, The Last Picture Show, Malcolm in the Middle, Young Frankenstein and The Muppets. Living in Canada, I watched US TV and remember her from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her character’s spin-off sitcom, Phyllis – very funny lady, IMO.

Judy Garland

Somewhere along the line, she managed to have four sons and a daughter with her now ex-husband, director and screenwriter George Englund – best pal of Marlon Brando. During the 1960s, the Englunds were Bel Air neighbours of Judy Garland, her third husband Sid Luft, and their children, Lorna and Joey, (their half-sister being Liza Minelli.) Lorna Luft wrote in her 1998 memoir Me and My Shadow: A Family Memoir, that Leachman was ‘the kind of mom I’d only seen on TV’. Knowing of the turmoil at the Garland home but never mentioning it, Leachman prepared meals for the Luft children and made them feel welcome whenever they needed a place to stay. Awesome …

Rather younger than Cloris at thirty-six, American/German actress Kirsten Dunst also celebrates her birthday today, as does Canadian actor, singer and dancer Andrew Michael Edgar (Drew) Seeley who shares Kirsten’s date of birth. Could have been worse; I share my date of birth with Texan serial killer Genene Jones, who is currently serving a ninety-nine year prison sentence for multiple child murder. Bringing up the rear, today UK comedian Leigh Francis (better known as Keith Lemon) will have forty-five candles on his cake – a lemon sponge, perhaps? So sorry.

Drifting slightly off-piste, on 30th April 1988, the first Californian condor conceived in captivity was hatched at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The avian celebrity was called Moloko, being the Northern Maidu Indian word for condor, thus acknowledging their respect for the birds. It was an immensely expensive project to save the condor from extinction, running to millions of dollars. Might I suggest this was the Day of the Condor? You’re right – I won’t do any such thing.

In July 1993, British forensic scientists announced that they had positively identified the remains of Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, along with his wife, Tsarina Alexandra and three of their daughters. The team used mitochondria DNA fingerprinting to identify the bones, excavated from a mass grave near Yekaterinburg in 1991. It was on the night of July 17 1918 – almost a hundred years ago – that three centuries of the Romanov dynasty came to an end when Bolshevik troops executed Nicholas and his family, plus servants, almost certainly on the orders of Lenin – the details of the execution, along with the location of their final resting place remained a Soviet secret for more than six decades.

To prove the identity of Alexandra and her children, scientists took blood from Prince Philip, her grand nephew. Because they all share a common maternal ancestor, they would also share mitochondria DNA, which is passed almost unchanged from mother to child. The Tsar was identified by exhuming and testing the remains of his brother, Grand Duke George. That left Crown Prince Alexei and one Romanov daughter, Anastasia, unaccounted for – apparently it wasn’t her cavorting with Christian Grey in Fifty Shades.

Anna Anderson

Nor was it Anna Anderson, a Polish woman who persistently claimed (amongst others less convincing) to be the Grand Duchess. She moved to Virginia, USA and died there in 1984, still maintaining her spurious heritage. On 30 April 2008, Russian forensic scientists confirmed that DNA from remains they’d tested belonged to Alexei and his sister Anastasia. This followed the discovery in August 2007 of two burned, partial skeletons at a site near Yekaterinburg. Archaeologists identified the bones as from a boy roughly between ten and thirteen at the time of his death and a young woman aged between eighteen and twenty-three years old. Alexei and Anastasia were thirteen and seventeen years respectively, when they were killed.

Aleksei

Incidentally, Alexei had inherited haemophilia B from his mother Alexandra, a condition that could be traced back to her maternal grandmother, Queen Victoria. He had to be careful not to injure himself because he lacked factor IX, one of the proteins necessary for blood to clot. It was so severe that trivial injuries like a bruise, nosebleed or tiny cut were potentially life-threatening and two naval officers were assigned to supervise him to help prevent injuries.  They also carried him around when he was unable to walk. As well as being a source of constant worry to his parents, the recurring episodes of poor health and recovery significantly interfered with the boy’s education. According to his French tutor Pierre Gilliard, the nature of his illness was kept a state secret.

Disgustingly healthy #2 GD was five on 26/4 (which doesn’t seem possible!) and her birthday party was held on Saturday – she discovered ten pin bowling when we took her during the Christmas holidays and asked to have her party there. #3 son specifically timed his periodic trip home from foreign parts so that he could attend, in his capacity as everyone’s favourite uncle. Must say it was quite painless, as staff organised invitations, food, party bags etc – all the parents had to do was herd the guests from shoe swap to lanes and back again, on to the restaurant, provide a cake and pay the bill. Oh, and make sure none of the little dears sustained injury when heaving too-heavy balls around – plus it’s advisable to have at least one adult stationed to the rear of lanes requisitioned for party use, primed to dive in and rescue any child who gets their fingers caught in the holes and ends up gliding majestically toward skittles and machinery.

Tomorrow, of course, hails the beginning of May and for us the most horrendous month for family and friends’ birthdays! I’m off now to empty my money box …

Thanks again for having me, Jen – and toodles y’all!

NP

www.Author.to/nellpeters 

***

Many thanks as ever Nell!!

Happy reading everyone. 

(Note to self- work faster, it’s nearly June!!!)

Jen xx


Interview with Patricia M Osborne: House of Grace

It’s interview time! So go and pop that kettle on, cut a slice of cake – and join myself and Patricia M Osborne as we chat about her latest novel, House of Grace.

What inspired you to write your book?

House of Grace, began as a screenplay for my BA dissertation. It was on completion of this project that I discovered my story had the potential to be developed further as a novel. Inspiration was derived from George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier and television dramas Mr Selfridge, and House of Elliott.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I prefer to write in first person. I’ve experimented in third but I feel too detached. In first person I feel everything that my character is feeling, I am my character.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I do plot in so much as I need to know the beginning, middle and end of my story but these are often subject to change.

What is your writing regime?

Mornings are for marketing, critique/editing and research. My muse tends to hit me late afternoon/evening and this is when I do the most of my writing. I never target myself to a specific number of words but I like to write every day in some form or other, whether that’s novel writing, a short story, poetry or re-working old pieces.

What excites you the most about your book?

I get very excited that readers are loving my book. I still haven’t quite got a handle on that. Regarding writing the book, stepping back in time and reliving memories that I can use to write my fiction.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I spent last year as Poet in Residence at my local Victorian park as part of my MA Creative Writing course. Researching the park’s past life inspired me to compile a fictional poetry anthology, titled In a Delightful Country, which will be published later this year.

Links:

patriciamosbornewriter.wordpress.com

Facebook: Patricia M Osborne, Writer

Twitter: PMOsborneWriter

Bio:

Patricia M Osborne is married with grown-up children and grandchildren. She was born in Liverpool and spent time in Bolton as a child and now lives in West Sussex. Patricia is a novelist, she also writes poetry and short fiction. Many of her poems and short stories have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. She is studying for an MA in Creative Writing with University of Brighton. Her debut novel, House of Grace, A Family Saga, set in the 1950s/60s was released in March 2017.

***

Blurb

Blurb for House of Grace by Patricia M Osborne

It’s 1950 and all sixteen-year-old Grace Granville has ever wanted is to become a successful dress designer. She dreams of owning her own fashion house and spends her spare time sketching outfits. Her father, Lord Granville, sees this frivolous activity as nonsense and wants to groom her into a good wife for someone of his choosing…

Grace is about to leave Greenemere, a boarding school in Brighton. She’s blissfully unaware of her father’s plans when she embarks on a new adventure. The quest includes a trip to Bolton’s Palais where she meets coal miner, Jack Gilmore. Grace’s life is never the same again.

Travel with Grace through two decades as she struggles with family conflict, poverty and tragedy. Is Grace strong enough to defy Lord Granville’s wishes and find true love? Will she become a successful fashion designer? Where will she turn for help?

House of Grace, A Family Saga is available to order in paperback and kindle versions via Amazon:

http://mybook.to/HouseofGrace

***

Extract

House of Grace

Part 1

Chapter 1

 

I closed my sketchpad and crossed the room to the window. Seagulls flocked on the rocks, waves splashed high. I’d miss Greenemere but I was now a talented dress designer and full of dreams. One day, Grace Granville would change Britain’s vision of fashion.

The door creaked. Katy, my roommate, strolled back in. ‘Well?’

I turned around, mulling over her earlier words.

‘Well don’t just gawp.’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Come on Gracie, it’ll be fun. You can see how the other half lives.’

‘Wigan though.’ I twiddled my hair around my finger. ‘Father isn’t going to like it.’

‘It’s nineteen fifty, not the nineteen-hundreds, you know?’ She huffed. ‘Does he need to know about Wigan? It’s only for the dance. Just tell him you’re going to Bolton and that my Dad owns a cotton mill there.’

‘Maybe.’

‘Surely that should be respectable enough, even for your parents.’

It did sound thrilling. Would Father let me go? Katy was right, I didn’t need to tell him about Wigan or the dance.

‘Your parents are such snobs Gracie, best not mention Dad started off in a two-room terrace. Or that Mum was in service before she got married.’

After I finally agreed to phone my parents, Katy jumped off the bed, grabbed a small purse and waltzed into the bathroom.

‘What are you doing in there?’ I called.

‘Lippie.’

By that I assumed she meant lipstick. I’d never worn any. Would I need to? Should I be buying some? Maybe Katy would help me choose? I’d no idea what colour to get. I picked up a magazine with Bette Davis on the front cover. She was wearing bright red. Katy and I had seen her earlier in the year in All about Eve.

If we were going to a dance I needed to buy material to make a dress. I could see it now, a full skirt, fitted waist and belt, showing off my slim figure.

The door slammed shut as a new Katy rushed back in. What a metamorphosis. I wondered if I could change like that.

‘Dad said he’ll send his driver with the Rolls to collect us. Forgot to say, my cousin Jack can’t wait to meet you.’

Golly, she’d never mentioned him before. Better not mention Jack to Father. I wondered what Jack was like. Probably a spotty faced, lanky lad. He’d be no threat to my chastity…

***

 Many thanks for visiting today Patricia- wonderful interview.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx


Why all writers need to learn how to sell: Blog Tour with Niraj Kapur

Today I have something a little different for you. A blog from Niraj Kapur’s blog tour for his book, ‘Everybody Works in Sales.’ How true for anyone who makes their living writing!

Many thanks for dropping by today, Niraj. Over to you…

Why all writers need to learn how to sell

I’ve had several screenplays optioned, written 17 TV pilot episodes, been a writer-for-hire for shows on CBBC and Channel 5’s Milkshake. My first movie came out in 2012, I spent 3 years pitching in Hollywood and now my first non-fiction book, Everybody Works in Sales – How What you Need to Know to Achieve Success in Your Career was released on March 20th.

Many people, especially young writers, think all this writing work is due to me having exceptional talent. If you told my friends that, they would burst out laughing. Even the agents who have represented me over the year or the producers I’ve worked with will tell you I’m not brilliant. Sure, I’m have some talent, that’s important, however, the reasons I’ve had so many commissions is that I know how to sell and more writers need to learn this skill if they want to achieve more success.

Everybody Works in Sales.

Everybody.

If you work for somebody, you earn a living by selling their product or service.

If you are self-employed, you earn a living by selling your product or service.

When you buy from Amazon, they always recommended other products similar to the ones you are purchasing or have already purchased – that’s selling.

When you download a song, movie or TV show from iTunes, they always recommend more similar products. That’s selling.

When you register for most websites, they sell their products or services to you through a regular email.

When you attend an exhibition at the NEC, London ExCel, Olympia, Manchester or even a local market, everyone is trying to sell you their product.

Other examples of selling include:

  • When you’re having a job interview.
  • A child begging their parents for a present.
  • Persuading your friends which restaurant or bar to go to.
  • An advertising agency pitching for a client’s business.
  • A fitness trainer at the gym recommending how you work out.
  • An internet entrepreneur promoting their course.
  • A musician searching for that next gig.
  • A parent setting up a business to work around the school run.
  • A manager asking his staff to work on a project.
  • An employee asking their boss for a pay rise.
  • A broadband company trying to sell their packages.
  • A politician persuading you to vote.

We all have to sell. Most people don’t know how to sell or don’t want to sell because they associate selling with sleazy car salesmen or call centres who annoy you by calling you at home or your mobile. Everybody Works in Sales is designed to help you learn the skills you need.

Many writers believe if they write a good book or an interesting blog, they will find work. I wish it were that easy. No seriously, I really do, it would make my life easier as well.

Since many writers I’ve met are shy or introvert, it makes selling more challenging, but not impossible.

Here’s a bad salesperson – they’re not concerned with anyone around them, they knock down people in their way, only care about themselves and are ready to take on the enemy/the customer.

Photo by Luiz Hanfilaque on Unsplash

Here’s a bad salesperson – they’re not concerned with anyone around them, they knock down people in their way, only care about themselves and are ready to take on the enemy/the customer.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Is it really that simple?

After 3 years travelling to LA pitching events and meeting producers, manager and agents, here’s how writers find work.

  You have a strong writing voice

  You’re not a psycho

  You’re not needy

  You keep your promises (selling)

  You’re likable (selling)

  You research the person you meet (selling)

You are able to adapt your work to your audience (selling)

You ask great questions (selling)

These rules are the in the UK. Yes, you also need luck and having contacts does help.

The business world is more complex than this. The world is writing is simpler when it comes to selling.

I wish you good luck on your journey ahead.

Everybody Works in Sales is designed to help you do better in your career because we all work in sales. Available now on Kindle and paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/Everybody-Works-Sales-Achieve-Success-ebook/dp/B079T6HFQS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519641721&sr=8-1&keywords=niraj+kapur+everybody+works+in+sales

Everybody Works in Sales

We all work in sales. If you work for somebody, you earn a living by selling their product or service.

If you are self-employed, you earn a living by selling your product or service.

When you buy from Amazon, they always recommended other products similar to the ones you are purchasing or have already purchased – that’s selling.

When you download a song, movie or TV show from iTunes, they always recommend more similar products. That’s selling.

When you register for most websites, they sell their products or services to you through a regular email.

When you attend an exhibition at the NEC, London ExCel, Olympia, Manchester or even a local market, everyone is trying to sell you their product.

We all work in sales, yet few people know how to sell. Until now.

Containing 27 valuable lessons, plus 17 interviews with experts, Everybody Works in Sales combines unique storytelling and personal development to ensure you have the tools you need to do better in your career.

Purchase from Amazonhttp://amzn.to/2ET89nn

About Niraj Kapur

Award-winning executive, Niraj Kapur, has worked in corporate London for 23 years.

From small businesses to a national newspaper to FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies, he’s experienced it all and shares his insight, knowledge, big wins and horrible failures.

Containing 27 valuable lessons, plus 17 interviews with experts, Everybody Works in Sales combines unique storytelling and personal development to ensure you have the tools you need to do better in your career.

Niraj has also had several screenplays optioned, sitcoms commissioned, kids’ shows on Channel 5’s Milkshake and CBBC. His movie, Naachle London, was released in select cinemas across the UK.

He’s working on his next book while advising companies and coaching individuals on how to improve their sales.
@Nirajwriter

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/nkapur

***

Many thanks Niraji,

Jenny xx


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