The stalking of Rosa

Here is an extract from a novel I wrote some time ago and published on Amazon as an e-book five years ago in 2012. I have begun to edit my books to publish on Amazon as paperbacks, and I hope this will be available in the autumn of 2018.

The Stalking of Rosa Czekov… Tyche is out on a run in the country near the small seaside town of Easthope:

She trotted on until she came to the bottom road to Oak and on an impulse took it. She had slowed, losing the impetus, disrupted by the phone call. The road was narrower and she stepped up onto the verge and ran on the grass as two cars passed. It was a mistake coming along here, it wasn’t wide enough and there were too many bends and high hedges. She ran on, wondering whether she should turn round but she was half way to Oak so she pushed on. She was tiring; she had gone further than she intended and deviating to Oak added extra miles.
There was the sound of a car behind her but glancing back it was not yet in sight. There was nowhere for her to step off the road now, the verge had petered out so she increased her stride to get to a place she could wait. The car was creeping along and she wondered whether to stop for it to pass. It was bugging her now. She glanced over her shoulder and it was in sight, and it looked like one of the two which had just passed her.
She was filled with fear; was this him? She had a spurt of energy, resisting the urge to keep looking back. It was a maroon off-roader, she didn’t know enough about cars to know what sort. It was crawling along; it could be the stalker or it could just be some creep ogling her as she ran. She couldn’t go on at this pace and she stopped. The car stopped. She turned and trotted back towards it and it went into reverse. Angry now, Tyche found some strength to run.
And then suddenly with a crash of gears it was accelerating towards her.
Oh shit!
She turned and ran seeking some escape. There was a wooden fence instead of the hedge and she ran and jumped and managed to scramble her way over, catching her foot on the top and catapulting headfirst into a field. She lay winded for a minute. The car had slowed on the other side of the fence then drove slowly away.
Tyche sat up, panting. The front of her vest was grass stained and there were marks on her knees. She was rubbing at her legs when she heard the car; it was in the field, it had come in an open gateway further up and it was bumping over the rough pasture towards her. She sprang to her feet and ran off across the field, the car was accelerating now and she had no doubt that the driver intended to run her down. She jinked sideways and ran towards a tumbledown cattle shed. She was at the limit of her stamina and strength and the car was roaring after her. She slowed and the car slowed behind her; he was playing with her, he could have knocked her over before now. She slowed more and so did he.
She suddenly leapt forward and ran as fast she could and he accelerated. She gave a flying jump and somehow managed to vault the old bath which served as a water trough; she slipped as she landed and rolled away but it didn’t matter, the car had gone straight into the bath with a satisfying crash.
Exhausted though she was, she sprinted away from the shed, not knowing whether she would be pursued on foot. She knew where she was now, knew where she was going. She climbed another fence into a field of maize and made her way down a row pushing between the plants.
She was spent, only fear carrying her on. There was a noise behind her and a plume of smoke rose from the field, it had to be the car. She pressed on and came at last to another fence, climbed wearily over into the garden and made her way through the shrubs and then across the overgrown lawn. Remembering Rosa’s words, she counted along the ornamental bricks at the edge of the patio, lifted one and found the key. She went to the back door, let herself in and switched off the alarm and then with the door shut and locked behind her she sank to the floor, shattered.

©Lois Elsden

Radwinter – the paperback!!

I wrote yesterday that I had a surprise, some exciting news… maybe you guessed what it is… Well my exciting news is that my novel Radwinter is now available as a paperback, an actual book, a real book you can hold in your hands!!

To fill you in on the background to this, in case you don’t know, it has been my ambition for as long as I have known anything, to write books; all my life I have written, it has been my passion, but when I gave up the day job I was able to write full-time. I began to publish my work as e-books through Amazon KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. Now I can publish my books as paperbacks on Amazon!!!

My first paperback is the first of the Radwinter series, called, of course, Radwinter! It is a genealogical mystery –

Thomas Radwinter goes in search of his family roots; using the internet he traces his family back to war-torn eastern Europe, and follows their journey from arriving in England in the 1830’s, across southern England. However, the more he finds out about his family’s past, the more he sees his own family, his brothers and his wife differently. His relationship with them changes… and he begins to understand his own character, and to find out as much about his present life as his family’s history.

As well as writing my next novel, I am also preparing my other Radwinter stories, and all my other e-books for publication as paperbacks… which is jolly exciting I can tell you (as Thomas might say!)

Self-publishing on Kindle… again… for anyone who missed it!

I had one of my writing groups this afternoon, and we rather went away from what I had planned and veered off into self-publish on Amazon for Kindle – KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. I shared something I wrote a while back, and then thought I might share it again here:

I have always written, and before I could write I told little stories to my sister and I continued to write, first of all short stories, and then longer novellas and novels. My first three complete novels are embarrassing to look back on, apart from one where there is a enough to maybe use and rewrite… we shall see. I wrote a couple more novels which were okayish… and then I stepped up a gear and began to write properly. During this time I sent off my work to agents, publishers, entered it for competitions, and all without any success at all… I had many empty promises, I had my hopes raised so many times… but it came to nothing. It didn’t stop me writing.
In 2011 I was able to give up my day job, and what joy to be able to write full-time… and in a casual conversation, someone mentioned that it was possible to publish for Kindle through Amazon. What? Really? And How much does it cost? Nothing? Nothing??!!
I went on the site:

…and I found it very accessible and it seemed as if it would be easy to use. I decided I would try and see how I got on, and chose my shortest novel, Farholm, as it was my first venture into this new world, and I wanted a manageable book to work on.
Suddenly the editorial process became much more focused; there was no-one but me to check the story, to look for spelling mistakes, grammatical and punctuation errors, to spot inaccuracies and inconsistencies, continuity glitches… and boring bits!  Knowing I was going to have an audience (I hoped) I had to look at my novel in a whole new way. I worked really hard and spent hour after hour, day after day for a couple of months trying to make this, my first published novel the best I could make it.
Ready to rock, I went back to the site and signed up and began the process; it was all so easy I wondered if I had somehow made a dreadful mistake. There are a series of pieces of information you have to submit (but there is an easily understandable guide to everything you have to do, bit by bit, not all in one massive document)
You have to

  • submit the book name (title)
  • subtitle if there is one,
  • edition number if there is one (if it’s part of a series)
  • publisher (that’s you)
  • description (I’ll write more about this later)
  • contributors (you and anyone else such as illustrator)
  • language,
  • ISBN (there’s information on this)
  • publishing rights (whether it is in the public domain or not, and if not that you have the rights)
  • target audience for your book (a drop down list gives you suggestions)
  • age-range (optional)
  • key words (really important so people can find your sort of novel – for my Radwinter series I put in ‘genealogical mystery for example).
  • You can upload your own cover, or KDP will help you create one – I’ve never done this so I don’t know how the process works.

You can save all this at any time; you don’t need to do it all at once and then publish; in fact it’s better to spend a while doing it to make sure you have the right description and keywords. Finally, and this is the exciting bit, you upload your file and if you’re sure you can press publish, if not, press save and think about it!
Once you have done all that there is a more complicated page about rights, and price and various other things, but again there is very clear support through drop-down boxes. I will write about this next time.
Description: it is really, really, really important to get a description – a blurb, which will intrigue and interest people, it needs to be specific and despite feeling modest you have to get over it and blow your own trumpet, and really try and promote and sell your book. Look at other blurbs to get ideas if your brain is empty! You might like to quote some lines from your masterpiece just to give people a taste.
There is something called Author Central where you can write about yourself and your writing, with an inviting photo – this to my mind is quite important to, so your readers engage with you and then want to read more things by you.
My author central page
Lois Elsden was born and brought up in Cambridge, but spent most of her life in Manchester; she now lives in a small Somerset village by the sea.
Having worked at Manchester Airport, as a white-van woman, in a pickle onion factory and as a waitress, Lois taught English as a second language in Manchester and Oldham, before working with young people not in school.
Lois writes full time and has just published her twelfth novel through Kindle Direct Publishing. Her most recent novels have been in her Radwinter series; Thomas Radwinter not only unravels genealogical mysteries, but is commissioned to find missing people and investigate kidnappings and abduction, attempted murder and secret sects. In his latest adventures he investigates a supposedly haunted hotel and tries to discover the truth about the death of a schoolgirl… which happened in 1931.
Lois now leads two creative writing groups, travels round the country to live music events, and watches the world go by in her local pub

Here is a link to that first ever book I published, Farholm:

… and to all my other books:


I didn’t realise!

I post about many things here, but a lot of what I share is about my books, and trying to promote them and get people interested in them. I always link to my Amazon page, and link to the particular book, but I didn’t realise I can offer an excerpt…

For example, here is a link to the first few pages of my latest Radwinter genealogical mystery, Earthquake – please follow it and have a look!:

If you follow this link you will be taken straight through to the opening chapters of Earthquake. I hope you will do that, and I hope you will want to read more and find out what happens next… and if you do, I hope you will make a comment, or message me with your thoughts!!

Here’s a link to my Amazon page:


You’ve got to make it happen

When I was much, much younger, Steve McQueen was my favourite actor; I saw just about all of his films that were on at the cinema or shown on TV, but before the access we now have to media, there were quite a few I haven’t seen. I  was amazed at how he had come from such a troubled childhood to being one of the top stars of the film world; now, his life and the problems he had including massive substance abuse, is known to all.

One of the things which I read about Steve when I was quite young, was his motto ‘You’ve got to make it happen‘… and for a long time I puzzled over this.

  • I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer – how could I make that happen? I trained as hard as I could but this ambition was knocked on the head by glandular fever when I was twelve – off school for six weeks then a long, long recovery and it was over a year before I had caught up with my swimming times… by which time it was too late, I was ‘past it’ – except in fact I never would have made an Olympic swimmer! I didn’t actually have the temperament, I got very nervous,  I was just not competitive enough, I was too good a loser – by which I mean I would whole-heartedly congratulated whoever had beaten me, instead of being angrily determined to beat them next time!
  • I wanted to go to Cambridge University – how could I make that happen? I worked so hard at my studies, and however well I did in my class work, this did not translate into exam success; in exams, despite the mountain of revision I had done, once again temperament conspired against me. Although in every other way I was (and am) confident, suddenly in exams I would become almost paralysed by nerves; I was also really good at revising the wrong thing, misreading questions and lacking focus so I would write reams and reams on the wrong part of the question.
  • I wanted to find true love – how could I make that happen? I had plenty of wonderful boy friends, but I always fell for the most unlikely and unobtainable people: a handsome German who returned to Germany to become a doctor, another someone who was probably gay,  a different someone who was unsuitable in every possible way – and more, and then someone who had commitments elsewhere… Luckily in this case I did find my true love – my mum always said I would marry a tall dark handsome man, and nearly twenty-six years ago I did, and have been wonderfully happy ever since!!
  • I wanted to be a best-selling author – how could I make that happen? I’ve mentioned here so many times that I have always told stories and written them for as long as I can remember. I have written so much over the years, stories, novels, poetry, and sent off manuscripts to publishers without number, more agents than I can count, entered every competition I come across… and apart from a few short stories in a magazine when I was twenty-two, no published success at all. I had no J.K. Rowling moment, I wasn’t picked from the top or bottom of a slush pile and launched to the top of the book sale charts…

So… back to Steve, ‘You’ve got to make it happen…’ I used to puzzle over this because I tried my hardest to make it happen in terms of swimming, going to Cambridge University, finding love, publishing a book… So was Steve wrong?

Looking again at those four things…

  • through the swimming club I made some amazing, life-long friends, I had tremendous fun, I won loads of medals, cups and awards and broke club, city and county records. I had a life other than swimming and training, and the swimming and training I did I loved… would I have loved it if I’d had to go further? Would I have left my friends behind? Would my school and family life have been disrupted? Probably! So what did I make happen through swimming? Friends, fun, success, fitness – and I learned to keep going when things were tough, physically and mentally – and that must have made a big difference to every other part of my life! Also… I probably won’t drown!
  •  I didn’t go to Cambridge University, I didn’t get into any university, in fact I didn’t even make it through ‘clearing’. However by some fluke, and I have no idea how, I was invited to Manchester Polytechnic. I did a fantastic degree which has been of benefit throughout my life – English, history and French subsidiary. It was taught by some wonderful teachers and lecturers, and the three course ran parallel so when I was doing C19 English. European and social and economic history, I was also studying C19 English literature and poetry, and French literature and poetry. I made some fabulous friends, one of whom is still my best friend and the nearest thing I have to a brother, I fell in love with Manchester and the northwest and lived there for longer than anywhere else in my life. if I had gone to Cambridge – the city of my birth and childhood, I’m not sure I would have got a very good degree – not being good at taking exams! I’m positive I wouldn’t have met such a broad range of different people from different backgrounds, parts of the country and actually different countries. I wouldn’t have become as independent – we had to find out own accommodation, no halls of residence for us, and Manchester in the 1970’s was such an amazing place with far more life, and a much better music scene! Not going to Cambridge University changed my life much more and for much better than going there!
  • There’s nothing I can say about not finding love when I was in my teens, twenties or thirties… I found my true love at the perfect time, my tall dark handsome prince! And we have a great family too!
  • Not getting published – this let me live my life outside of an ivory tower; I’ve done some amazing things and met some amazing people, which has given me the stories I now write! Yes, I still want to see my books in book shops – but what I’ve achieved so far with my books I’ve published myself through Amazon as e-books on KDP – Kindle Direct Publishing – well, they really are my own work, all my own work, and, Steve, I made it happen!

Here is a link to my books:


Any minute now!!!

I am so excited to announce, and you’re the first to know – I have launched my next book, Earthquake, and it’s just uploading to Amazon; it will be available through Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) within the next couple of hours.

It is the fifth in my Thomas Radwinter series; as in the other books, Thomas has some genealogical research to undertake – this time trying to unpick what happened to a group of adopted Chinese girls in 1931… there was a death, but was it an accident? He is also commissioned to investigate a haunted hotel; he is deeply sceptical, but doesn’t anticipate the dangers he will face while looking into it. As usual, Thomas’s family life is complicated, three brothers and their families, and his own growing brood keeps him busy… keeps him more than buys, and he begins to feel as if he isn’t coping.

Here is a link to my Amazon page, where before long you will be able to find Earthquake, and my other novels too: