What a journey to Radwinter!

It’s a week since I announced the publication of my first paperback!! I am still very excited, and I would like to thank everyone for their kind and positive comments about ‘Radwinter’, and thank you to everyone who has bought a copy!

The adventures of Thomas Radwinter are described as a journey – as he says “I followed the story of the Radwinters … and what an interesting journey that was. I mean journey for me in a non-literal way, but it was an interesting journey for the Radwinters, literally”. My adventures in publishing my book are also a journey!

I’ve always written, and since being grown-up (if I actually am!) I have tried again and again, times without number to find a publisher or an agent. Maybe I wasn’t lucky, maybe I hadn’t the right connections (actually I have no connections in the media/publishing world!) or maybe it was just one of those things, but I had no success… No success until I was able to write full-time and heard that it’s possible to publish e-books through Amazon… which is what I did:

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

That was in 2011… for a while I’d had the idea of writing a story about four brothers, and had even found a family name, Radwinter… in the autumn of 2013 I took part in the on-line challenge, the National Novel Writing Month, the aim of which is to try to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November. I had my characters, I had a vague notion of writing about genealogical research, and the two things came together on November 1st… thirty days and over seventy thousand (70,000+ !!) words later and I was well on my way to my first Radwinter novel.

It was published in 2014, and unexpectedly it was followed by a sequel, and then three more in the series (the latest, Earthquake, published two months ago) I then discovered that I could self-publish my novels as paperbacks!!

To cut a not very long story short, a week ago I was thrilled to announce that a paperback edition of Radwinter is now available!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RADWINTER-Lois-Elsden-x/dp/1521415196/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1498553716&sr=8-1&keywords=lois+elsden

Please let me know what you think of it and how you enjoy it… and here’s a secret, Thomas Radwinter is sorting out Radwinter VI at this very moment!

Exciting news tomorrow!!!

I’m just getting ready now, preparing for a very exciting announcement tomorrow! I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I will tell you it is something about my novels, something about my Radwinter series. Like all my published novels, the series is available as e-books on Amazon.

When I wrote the original ‘Radwinter’ it was as a stand alone novel; I had never wanted or been tempted to write sequels to any of my books, although readers had asked me to – particularly with ‘Farholm’. ‘Radwinter‘ had several story-lines but the main one was about Thomas Radwinter exploring his family history, following the Radwinters back to 1841 in Essex, and beyond to the first Warsaw uprising which started in 1830. However, once I had finished the book, it struck me that Thomas only knew about his paternal line, so a second novel emerged tracing back the maternal line, following the name of Magick, which was also the title of the novel. Thomas’s story didn’t end… ‘Raddy and Syl’, ‘Beyond Hope‘ and ‘Earthquake‘ have followed his life.

So that is the hint… my exciting announcement tomorrow will be something about ‘Radwinter’!

Who did it? Did anyone do it?

I wrote this a couple of months ago… I’m repeat it to try to tempt you to buy my book!

Maybe a crime was committed… maybe not… it all happened in 1931… Maybe one of these girls, aged between eleven and sixteen was a victim, maybe one was responsible… They were at the same school in 1931… and it all started with an earthquake:

  1. Cynthia  – Cynthia says she wastes most of her time in class trying to be funny; we think she spends all her time in class being funny! Cynthia is a very kind, helpful girl, and everyone likes her
  2. Florence Eva – little Florence is always trying to be helpful, she likes nothing better than lending a hand!
  3. Rhoda Joyce  – Rhoda’s really good at tennis, everyone wants to be her partner in doubles! Rhoda’s very clever and is always ready to help others with their work.
  4. Lilian Joyce  – Lilian is very independent, she is always ready to go of adventuring on her own
  5. Christiana Myrtle – Christiana is the most beautiful girl in the class, everyone wishes they looked like Christiana!
  6. Freida  – Freida always tries her best! Whatever she does she really tries her hardest
  7. Miriam Blanche  – Miriam is a fighter, she will always strive to do her best and achieve what she wants.
  8. Kathleen Rose – Kathleen  Rose is the strongest girl; she can run faster and farther than any of us; the teachers think she’s ‘cheeky’ we think she’s fun!
  9. Alma Mary – Alma’s motto is ‘if you can’t say something nice about someone then it is better to remain silent’!
  10. Cicely – is the most ambitious girl; the teachers say she will go far!
  11. Bertha Jean – Bertha Jean is the quietest girl; she is the best at keeping secrets!
  12. Frances May– Frances is the bravest girl; she will dive from the top diving board or walk through a field of cows when there is a bull in the field!
  13. Marjorie Violet  – Marjorie is the baby of the girls, and the newest of the girls, we wonder what the future hold for Marjorie!

This is the problem Thomas Radwinter is set in my next book, called ‘Earthquake’ which I hope will be available in May!

If you haven’t read any of my Thomas  Radwinter books, or my other novels, here is a link:

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

‘Earthquake’ is now published! Find it here, and you will find out who was murdered, how and who by!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1495403715&sr=1-1&keywords=lois+elsden

Strange goings on at the Waterside

I’m a great pub person – although, to be honest we actually don’t visit the pub more than a couple of times a week! However being that pub person, it’s not surprising that pubs feature in many of my books. In my latest genealogical mystery, ‘starring’ Thomas Radwinter (another pub person) he is commissioned to investigate strange goings on at a former pub, now a hotel called the Waterside. Here is an except, where he recounts his first impressions:

The hotel had obviously been an old pub, right on the quay side I think you’d call it, of the old harbour; this isn’t the old harbour in town, this is the old, old harbour in Hamwick – which must have been a separate little place once but is now just part of the outer edges of Strand. I don’t know anything about it, or this area and have never been here before. I shouldn’t think many people have, it’s got a seedy, desolate air, most of the businesses are closed, and look as if they’ve been closed for a long time.
It was sheeting with rain, so I’d literally run from where I’d parked in a supermarket carpark, half a mile away, run between the rather tatty very old houses to the harbour where the hotel was.
I stood looking at it and yes indeed, it had definitely been a pub – I must look it up. I guessed it was maybe a couple of hundred years old, and in the olden days it would have been busy and thriving, all those thirsty, fishermen, all the people coming to buy the fish and maybe other things. I imagined horses and carts and wagons coming to collect the bales and barrels and loads and people shouting and ropes swinging and pulleys – or whatever those things are called which lift things up – not cranes, well, maybe cranes… another something to look up.
In the funny light and with the rain making it all shiny it really did look a bit creepy. I noticed there were four parking places at the front of the hotel, two on either side of the steps which led up to it. It was a double fronted place but quite narrow, the building going back. There was an alley down one side, a very narrow alley, more like a passageway and I had a peer down there and could see that the place was fairly sizable… I’d imagined Rebecca having a small almost bed and breakfast type place… this was big… hmmm… I had a moment’s puzzle about the finances of it all but that’s nothing to do with me, her economic situation is not my concern – thank goodness!
I stood looking at it again, and took a couple of pictures, despite the light not being very good and then I had a bit of a wander.
There was like a broken pier part, the stones all tumbled into the sea, all covered in seaweed and green slime, and then there were some steps leading down to the beach with a hand rail. The beach here, which I’d never been to, looked quite nice, what I could see of it with the pounding waves. There was a bit of a harbour remaining, with some boats, so obviously it was still used to some extent.
There was the usual muddle of old buildings, some which looked as if they had been sheds, maybe for the fish, some of which were small houses, then this big hotel; even though it was bigger, it didn’t look out of place. There were a few closed shops, another pub which also seemed closed… it was all pretty desperate.
I could see how someone coming to stay here might be predisposed to thinking it was creepy, and sort of setting themselves up to find spooky happenings… This all seemed a complete load of bollocks, ‘bollocks’ is one of Paul’s words.
I came back to the hotel… yes, it really didn’t look very inviting. The rain was slackening off and I could imagine maybe on a nice sunny day it would be interesting, and certainly very near the beach. I wandered back to the worn steps leading down to the sand. An image came back to me… night time, and a dead woman lying on a beach as a ferocious storm raged all around, and I was dragged away from her, forcibly dragged away…
I’d got an appointment with Mr. S, and then I had to really dash, on dad-duty again; I’d leave this rather strange place and come again.
“What you up to, mate?” I nearly jumped out of my skin.
A big burly man had materialised behind me… he actually was huge, really tall and hefty, with a big black bushy beard and big black fuzzy hair.
“What you doing here?” he asked again on the verge of being threatening. Well, it was a public place, I was merely looking at stuff, not doing any harm…
“Just looking around, I’ve not been here before, got a bit of time to kill before I see a client,” I tried to sound manly without being aggressive; I used to be such a wimp – for most of my life I grovelled and apologised with no reason to, now I tried to stand up for myself.
“Had a few break-ins… stuff going missing…” he said grudgingly and totally unconvincingly. I really did not look like the sort of person who would break in anywhere or be responsible for ‘stuff going missing’; on my way to see Mr. S. I had my suit on and a tie (I don’t always wear ties these days but most of my elderly clients like it) and a waterproof.
“Tell me about it! Same round our way! Can’t trust anyone, not like it used to be when you could leave your doors unlocked… Huh, what is the world coming to!”
I really did say that. Kylie laughed like anything when I told her later. I said cheerio to the bloke – I actually did say ‘cheerio’ and he grunted, and then, trying not to look as if I was hurrying away, I sauntered back through the neglected and run-down little streets to where I’d left my car.

If you want to find out why Thomas was at the Waterside, what happens next time he visits, and who the big bloke with the bushy beard is, then here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1495492050&sr=8-2&keywords=lois+elsden

My featured image is of Fowey, which isn’t the least like Hamwick!

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

 

A bit of an incident with a toy car and cheese sauce

The main character of my Radwinter books is Thomas Radwinter; he does most of the childcare in the family, and because he loves food and cooking he’s the family chef as well. The stories about Thomas are mysteries; there are several puzzles in the books, genealogical and quirky and occasional involve criminals – the previous book, Beyond Hope was about people smuggling, my latest one Earthquake has two dubious characters called Mark and Andy Dune who Thomas has the misfortune to come up against.

My Radwinter stories are also genealogical mysteries, and there is  always a historical puzzle for Thomas to solve. Both these strands are set against the development of Thomas himself as a character, and how he changes as life happens to him.

I’d like to share an extract where Thomas misses a vital piece of information, by being s=distracted by his children’s antics:

I was in the middle of making dinner, pasta and vegetables with cheeses sauce when the phone rang and it was my flower shop friend Kim, my associate who I’d taken to the Waterside Inn.
He was quite excited about something, about the old, old harbour and a shop and something which I missed because at that point Kenneil decided he was going to copy his sister and start throwing things, and caught me quite painfully on the side of the face with a toy car.
I spun round, still trying to talk to Kim, cheese sauce flying off my wooden spoon and glared at Kenneil who was trying to say ‘it was Cassie’, ‘it was only a little car’, ‘Terri pushed  me’, I didn’t meant to’, ‘it was the car’s fault…’
“Sorry Kim, yes fine, speak to you later, the kids are causing ructions!”
Kylie walked into this moment of chaos with Kenneil shouting, Cassie screaming and Terri who, for some reason, had jumped onto the settee and was standing as if she wanted to climb out of the room.
I told Kenneil he wasn’t to throw things, I’d speak to him later, and after trying to be severe, I slipped on a great splodge of cheese sauce and by some acrobatic feat and a great leap, stayed on my feet. Kylie not knowing exactly what had happened burst out laughing at me which got everyone else laughing too.

The point of this incident, which I hope has an amusing aspect, is as a plot device; Thomas misses what Kim was saying and because of that things go rather badly wrong for both Kim and Thomas. I also hope it shows how difficult it is for Thomas juggling all these different things in his life.

If you want to find out more, here is a link to my book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494101312&sr=8-1&keywords=lois+elsden

Having a rethink

Since publishing my last e-book, Earthquake, I have been back to work – back to writing I mean because fortunately I no longer have a day job and can spend my time writing! While I was at work, I still wrote, but it had to be squeezed in among everything else, job, family, housework, stuff, but I completed several novels, and since I have been writing full-time, over the last five years, I have been editing and publishing them.

While I was editing, I found that the fact I was writing in odd bits of time really showed, and I had to really work hard at polishing them up, pruning them severely and knocking them into shape, before launching them on KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. As well as six or so complete novels, there were a couple of unfinished stories; so, since Earthquake, I have gone back to one of these and have set to knocking what there is of it (about 70,000 words) into shape and getting to grips with completing it.

This novel, ‘The Story of Frederico Milan’ is as you might imagine about a man with that name; three years before the beginning of the novel, his wife left him and has not been seen since. Frederico assumed she had gone off with another man, her parents think Frederico has done something to her… The police have investigated and found nothing suspicious. As you might imagine from this starting point, Frederico is manipulated/blackmailed/forced by his parents-in-law into trying to find the truth about his missing wife.

I pulled the virtual manuscript off my virtual shelf and I have begun to edit it before writing the final part. I thought this would be a good way of keeping writing without all it takes to start a completely new novel (which I actually already have in my mind) However… in the eight or so years since I wrote the first part of Frederico, my writing has changed enormously; although the backbone of my style is the same, I guess (difficult to judge objectively) much else has changed – my voice, I guess you might call it.

The editing is really hard with this story, so much has to be changed, so much rewritten, so much excised… There are parts I really like, but a key factor of the plot is not just weak but unbelievable! The characters who start off being quite engaging seem to have become mere cardboard cutouts, with ludicrous too long conversations, and immature behaviour – doing things which might be believable in teenagers but don’t ring true with adults! … and yet, and yet the core is a good novel waiting to develop and emerge!

I had planned to edit the story so far, write the ending, edit it as a complete novel and then see what happens next! I had a bit of a revelation last night and I have come to a new decision:

  • continue editing (very strictly) to the end of the story as it is
  • rewrite the really poor parts (talk severely to the characters and get them to act their age)
  • describe the characters more fully and more objectively
  • excise the unbelievable and inconsistent parts
  • take a mighty scythe of ‘delete’ to much of the conversations
  • have more action and less chat
  • improve the descriptions of the settings – they are so vivid in my mind, but readers can only read words not what’s inside my head
  • put it to one side and write something else

The last point – putting it to one side, will offer the story one last chance; if when I come back to it I still feel despondent about it then maybe it is time to say farewell to Frederico, Erin, the Burnetts, Dr Goodrich and Father Apinski, and maybe leave Frederico’s wife unfound… However, I have a feeling that if I work hard at it now, with this new end in sight, then when I come back to it at the end of the year or next year, maybe I will do so with more enthusiasm!

Watch this space for news on Frederico, and also for news on my actual new novel!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493393195&sr=8-1&keywords=lois+elsden