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!:

https://read.amazon.co.uk/kp/embed?asin=B06Y18H8JR&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_C5jhzb38TZ8W0

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:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

 

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:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

Farholm, five years on

Five years ago today I published my first book through KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon – it was an e-book, Farholm, a story I had actually written sometime before when I was still at work and not a full-time writer. I was so excited, and it gave me the courage to go on and put other books out into the big wide world –

  • The Stalking of Rosa Czekov came four  months later, another novel I had written while at work
  • Loving Judah in the November
  • Night Vision in 2013
  • and Flipside in the September of that year

All these books I had tried to get published in print, without success, but now, there they were bravely out in public!

At the end of 2013 a different thing happened; I took up the challenge of writing 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November; this was the first new thing I had written in my new life as a writer – and the words just flowed… the result was that in February of 2014 the first of my Radwinter books appeared. I never dreamed I would write a sequel, let alone a series… but look…

  • 2014 Radwinter
  • October 2014 Magick
  • April 2015 Raddy and Syl

I returned to my completed novels in 2016 and worked hard on editing a far tool long story of dark love and betrayal and murder, before returning to the Radwinter family:

  • The Double Act
  • Beyond Hope
  • and then another long novel which needed a lot of work – Lucky Portbraddon

All my life I have wanted to be a writer and now I am!

This is a celebration day for me, but I have to say a lot of thank yous. I have to say a massive thank you to my family, all my family for supporting me and putting up with me! I have to say a great big thank you to all my friends near and far, and those I have never even met in real life but only through social media. And I have to say thank you to all the people I don’t even know who have bought my books. THANK YOU!!!

I hope my next novel, another Radwinter story, Earthquake will be out in May… watch this space!

… and if you haven’t read any of my stories, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

 

Biscuits

The world is full of biscuits these days, there are even shops which just sell biscuits – ok, so actually they call them cookies, but in essence they are biscuits. My mum was a great cook and baker, and there was always something in the cake tins which she had made – and not just cake also scones and buns, but apart from Viennese whirls and melting moments (which we called cookies) there were no biscuits. We did have packet biscuits sometimes at home, not often it’s true, but we might have jammy dodgers, or custard creams or even occasionally chocolate Bourbons. perhaps home biscuit-making wasn’t popular, maybe there weren’t the recipes available, maybe for some reason she just didn’t make them.

A recipe I’m sure would have been popular in our house is for walnut and date biscuits; dates were an ingredient we always had at home – they were sold in solid blocks of compressed fruit ( we also had boxes of single plump dates, but that was only at Christmas time) The blocks of date were cut or shaved and the fruit used in puddings, cakes and desserts – and also, when we visited my aunty who was on a very limited income and lived a bedsit – date rolls! Date rolls were small bridge rolls, split, buttered and filled with slivers of dried dates.

The main variety of nut when I was a child was the peanut, and they were sold either in their shells, or in their red skins, or roasted and salted. Other shelled nuts were used throughout the year in baking, mainly walnuts and almonds, but also occasionally Brazils and hazelnuts. At Christmas there would be nets of fresh nuts, what a treat – although my grandfather who had spent some time in Manaus,  always said Brazil nuts weren’t fresh because the nuts didn’t come down the Amazon until the end of January.

Her is the recipe:

Walnut and date biscuits:

  • 180 g flour
  • 180 g butter
  • 350 g castor sugar
  • 225 g chopped walnuts ( plus some whole ones for decoration)
  • 1 egg
  • 350 g chopped dates (I like them in fairly big pieces)
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp bicarb dissolved in boiling water (I  just use self-raising flour as I don’t like that bicarb tang)
  1. cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  2. mix in the egg and vanilla
  3. mix in the rest of the ingredients and you will have quite a sticky mixture
  4. drop spoonfuls onto a greased and line baking tray, flattening slightly (I use a fork)
  5. decorate with the walnut halves and bake at 180° C, 350°F, gas mark 4 for about 12 mins until golden brown

My featured image is of my grandpa who lived in Manaus for a while; I’m sure he would love these biscuits – with string black tea!

Pre-launch reread through

Having decided that my next e-book, Lucky Portbraddon will come out on Monday, 12th September, and having been through it goodness knows how many times, I suddenly had a crisis of confidence as I realised I’ve not done what I always do with my books before sending them out into the big wide world, I haven’t read it aloud to myself!

One of the great things about self-publishing through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon) is that it really is all your own work; one of the disadvantages is that you don’t have any editor other than yourself, and if you’ve written the work, it is really difficult to be objective enough to spot any mistakes. However wonderful spell-check is, it only does so much… and quite often the so much isn’t the right ‘so much’…

I am lucky that I have a dear husband who reads my stories for me; he is great at spotting spelling, punctuation,grammar mistakes, and missing words, and continuity glitches or not fully explained things. However, some things which need changing are perfectly correct in every way, except maybe it’s the wrong choice of word, or too much or not enough emphasis, or it becomes apparent that a name isn’t quite right, or a description doesn’t actually suit the character… only the writer can see these things.

But how to see them? How to find them? The words are so familiar, that it is really difficult to stand back sufficiently. I have several things I usually do. I read the whole text from the computer screen; I download it onto my own Kindle and read it there; I read it backwards, last chapter, penultimate chapter, antepenultimate (last but two) chapter, preantepenultimate (last but three) chapter, propreantepenultimate chapter, and so on… (I’ve learnt some new words!)

The best thing of all is to read it aloud to myself; not mumbling away under my breath, but actually reading it as if I have an audience there listening to me. This of all methods is the best, and I’m sure, picks up most mistakes – even tiny ones like missing commas, missed capitals or capitals in the wrong place, a need for italics…

Why haven’t I read Lucky Portbraddon out loud? Because it is so long – this is no excuse! …I wondered whether I should… then I decided I wouldn’t… I  thought again that maybe I ought to… and then felt I’d checked it enough – read it through twice on the screen and three times on my Kindle…

But now, sixty hours before it leaves me, I have realised that I must, I actually must, read it aloud… even if I have to stay up all night, I actually have to read it aloud. So over the last couple of hours, I’ve started… and I was justified in this decision because I have already spotted some micro-errors; some wrong words which no-one else would realise, some punctuation mistakes which I know eagle-eyed readers will see… except now they won’t because I’ve changed them!

Here is a link to my other novels, if you haven’t read them yet you can find them here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

 

A week today!!

I’m excited (and very relieved) to announce that a week today my next novel, Lucky Portbraddon will be available from Amazon as an e-book! I started writing it over ten years ago, having had the idea of it for longer, and finished the first draft about five years ago; it sat on my virtual bookshelf until earlier this year when I set about editing it – a much bigger undertaking than I realised!

I’m doing the last little checks, I’ve chosen the cover and am just tweaking that too, and I am just getting ready for the launch! It’s a relief in a way – but I shall be so sorry to say goodbye to my characters, the Portbraddon family! Once they are out there on people’s Kindles, they are independent – like a load of children going off to school and away from their parents.

The Portbraddons are a big family of cousins; the reader gets to know them through a visitor who is also meeting them for the first time – she’s lost her contact lenses so they are all a bit blurry and she only identifies them a few at a time, which I hope, will help the reader properly identify them. Some names don’t appear until much later!

Here Ismène meets a couple of the wives: Even without her contact lenses and eyes sore from cold, she could see that the woman was very beautiful, her golden hair held back with a blue Alice band and falling over her shoulders, tumbling down her breast… “I’m Alison, Ally, I’m Alex’s wife…” Like Alice in Wonderland, the blond hair, the blue hairband.
The door opened to the other two women and their names came to her, Ruby and Carla. Ruby in a high-necked red sweater with auburn hair, easy to remember Ruby in red and even with her blurry vision Ismène could see her ready smile, an easy person to like.

At dinner she meets the rest of the family, and again I give descriptions first before names to try and help the reader: …a massive woman in black with a wild mane of ebony hair… The man sitting next to her made conversation, a blurry face, bearded and with blue eyes…

Some of the characters, the children for the cousins are not ‘introduced’ until much later in the book, once the reader has, I hope, established the main players.

Next Monday, 12th september, you’ll find Lucky Portbraddon here, with the rest of my novels:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_2_6?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C141

The nuts and bolts of the craft…

Because I’m so passionate about writing and telling stories, I’m always keen on getting others to do the same. I’m always saying to friends (and anyone else) when they tell me something interesting, an experience, a family story, whatever, ‘write it down!’, ‘you ought to write it down!‘ When people say they have a book in them I try my best to encourage them and always want to help them if I can in any way. I’m also very pleased if they have success – so with my creative writing group I push competitions at them, and writing courses, and I’m thrilled if they win or receive some accolade.

So why, if I am so keen for people to get their work ‘out there’ do I feel so miffed when a celebrity in another field has their first book accepted for publication, having only started to write a couple of years ago? I won’t reveal any names, but you might have seen the article in a national paper about someone who had a very successful career in TV for many years, and has still got a high profile, and also has a very successful daughter. The article mentioned that ‘Two years ago I did a creative writing course.’ Well, good, hurrah, excellent! I applaud her! ‘It gave me the nuts and bolts of the craft and I can’t thank them enough’… Really? well, ok… but then she wrote a novel and her agent submitted it to a publisher and now it is about to be published… well I am glad, it’s great for new books by new authors to hit the bookshops… But…

The nuts and bolts of the craft in two years? Really? Hmmm…

I don’t have an agent, or a publisher, but I have self-published on Amazon for Kindle! :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden