Writing ‘Sky Dog’, by Mark Rogers

I’m tempted to say my crime novel, Sky Dog, was inspired by a dream, but that wouldn’t be fully accurate. The idea did come to me in the middle of the night in the hours before dawn. I’d awakened and the sounds of the Mexican night were the usual mix of complete silence intermittently pierced by the howls and yapping of distant dogs. Instead of falling back to sleep, my half-conscious mind conjured up the image of a Bangkok vigilante named Sky Dog. The details filled in without any effort on my part, as though I was watching a film. Sky Dog would be: “…a shadowy figure, a homeless guy who wandered back and forth the length of the Bangkok Skyway, the city’s elevated train. Sky Dog was an orphan born to a Thai prostitute and a black G.I. Tall for a Thai, and dark-skinned, he wore combat boots, Madras shorts, […]

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Oney, My Escape From Slavery, by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley

Post by Diana Rubino I wanted to write a bio novel about Martha Washington, but do something different. The idea to use Oney as narrator hit me like lightning one day out of the blue. I asked my friend, popular African American romance author Piper Huguley, to help me and the result is Oney, My Escape From Slavery. In 1793, a decade after General George Washington led America to victory in its fight for independence from Britain, the general reluctantly accepted a second term as president of the new nation. But in his heart he wanted to go back to being a farmer. And being a farmer means he has slaves. Lady Washington, equally opposed to her aging husband serving another term, was unable to persuade him to give up his public ‘duty’. Lady Washington began to confide in her ‘personal servant’ – her young slave Oney Judge. Oney was a […]

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Scandals, Intrigues, Family Feuds, Murders, Hatred, Love and Envy: Episode 14

‘Where do you get your ideas?’ People tend to ask that question when they hear that you write novels. But ideas are everywhere, available to everyone: you only have to recognise them, and store them in your mind until you have a need for them. This process can take years, or decades. Along the way, ideas can change, or head off in a new direction. You simply have to drift with them. As I did on one long journey before that first idea finally became a book. The year I joined the staff of the anti-apartheid newspaper, The Rand Daily Mail, in Johannesburg, we moved into a brand new building. Almost immediately, an altercation broke out between News and Advertising, each department accusing the other of purloining working space. News departments can be snooty, looking down on Advertising, and matters had got fairly heated until somebody discovered that there was a […]

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Czar’s Man by A. V. Denham

I am not the first to be fascinated by the history of the Caucasus. Alexander Dumas (of the Three Musketeers fame) wrote Adventures in Czarist Russia and Adventures in the Caucasus, (translated and edited by A. E. Murch, and published by Peter Owen Ltd in 1960). This somewhat unknown part of the world has had a romantic and violent history and, although I admit to embroidery, my story is based on fact. Russia, of course, had the Empress Catherine, and Georgia had Queen Mariam (about whom I am now writing). But apart from royalty, most women were definitely second class. Eliza is intelligent, feisty, brave and, though she is subservient to men, these qualities win her eventual happiness with her czarist cavalryman. Czar’s Man is my first foray into historical fiction. I have written a number of relationship novels (published by Robert Hale) and I am excited also to be […]

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Interview with Jeanne Whitemee

Jeanne Whitemee is the author of over forty novels and short stories. She started out as an actress, before realising her ambition of becoming a fulltime writer. The Lost Daughters chronicles the intertwining lives of two young women in 1950s England, whose lives are beset by personal loss, and their remarkable journey to the capital, to exceed the expectations of their gender and embark upon remarkable business ventures. How did you come up with the idea for The Lost Daughters? And why did you decide to start the story in 1955? I’m always fascinated by the way a meeting between two people can influence their lives and I think that the fifties was an interesting decade – a world struggling to reshape itself after WW2. Although they occasionally meet, Cathy and Rosalind tell their own separate stories. What made you decide to have two protagonists instead of just one? The […]

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Scandals, Intrigues, Family Feuds, Murders, Hatred, Love and Envy: Episode 13

By Joy Martin In my novel, Seeking Clemency,  Carrigrua, the graceful, blue-grey Georgian manor on the shore of Lough Derg, belongs to the Conroys, an Irish Catholic family.  But Carrigrua was built at a time when Roman Catholics were still banned from holding rights to property and its first owners were well-to-do Protestant settlers: the only Catholics to set foot in it then would have been servants, or skivvies. After independence in Ireland in 1922, Georgian houses, with their unified style derived from Palladian architecture, were viewed as a symbol of British rule and alien to Irish identity. Nevertheless, wealthier Catholic families bought them – and felt that, in doing so, they had come up in the world. In Seeking Clemency,  the cruel matriarch, Olive Conroy sees Carrigrua as a fulfilment of her social aspirations. But to her grand-daughter, Caroline, Carrigrua is more than that. Much more. For Caroline’s fragile sense of […]

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The Book a Drug Giant Wanted Banned… By Douglas Stewart

When White Lodge first published my book, The Dallas Dilemma, in the late 1980s and it was selling well, my Monday morning was spoiled on receiving a letter from attorneys for an American drug giant threatening me with a $10 million lawsuit for alleged defamation. However, I was confident that I had a good defence to the allegations, and so did the publishers. Unfortunately when I jetted over to the FDA archives outside Washington DC, the records on which I had relied had been removed (presumed stolen). Senator Edward Kennedy could have been a good witness on my behalf but he declined to get involved. Such records as I had were then supplied to an expert in the UK who fell onto a railway track in London and the documents were blown away. (There must be another thriller in what really happened involving the expert!). Along with the publishers, we were […]

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Death Trap by Patrice Chaplin

Death Trap  offered a chance to go deep into the often misunderstood world of Co-Dependency. I work for a Charity using “Creativity Against Addiction” – and I had come to understand Co-Dependency was not as I supposed, a clinging SM pain-seeking exchange with ever reducing returns, but an addictive state which stemmed from the same place as other addictions. The victim is rarely masochistic, but looks for fulfilment and warmth and this is not gratified through pain. The perpetrator, usually male, cannot survive without controlling – so causes pain. He has often been abused as a child. The victim with too few boundaries and too much need for closeness is open to attracting a partner who needs to control and punish. The initial fix is his initial charm, and the victim’s submission. The bond is ecstatically complete. The too good fit. The locked horns of symbiotic closeness lead to ever more […]

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Eliza Jumel Burr, Vice Queen of America by Diana Rubino

Abandoned at childhood, Betsy Bowen finds out she’s George Washington’s daughter and escapes the streets of Providence to become Eliza Jumel Burr, New York’s richest woman. She pursued Aaron Burr, the love of her life, for decades and he finally proposed when he was 80 and she was 56. She divorced him on adultery charges, and he died two days after being served the papers. Who was her lawyer? Alexander Hamilton, Jr., the son of the man Burr killed in the famous 1804 duel. Eliza believed George Washington was her father. Nine months before she was born, her mother spent one night with the general and became pregnant. Eliza’s manyattempts to reach her father gained her an invitation to Mount Vernon weeks before his death. She met the love of her life, Aaron Burr, at President Washington’s inauguration. While Aaron was in the capital serving as a senator, Eliza met […]

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How I Wrote My First Novel, ‘Blood Will Be Born’ (Part 3)

By Gary Donnelly Part 3: Whether you focus on the journey or the destination, completion is the key to successfully writing your first novel. Writing a novel is a bit like embarking on a regime to avoid chocolate or mid-week wine in the run up to Christmas. Both are easy enough to start, harder to remain on board with and a true challenge to see through to the end. According to Stephen King, novels are completed one word at a time, and let the story be boss. Plot at your peril and fear not; as you dig, it will be revealed. I don’t dare suggest he’s wrong (check out his list of published works) but his way may not be right for you. Certainly, King’s approach helped me cover a lot of ground, but by the time I went to Crimefest 2016, I’d lost my way. CJ Carver, speaking on a […]

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