Category Archives: work-in-progress

Character interview with a twist…

Character interview

In most character interviews you see, it’s the character being interviewed. This time, it’s the character being the interviewer as opposed to the interviewee. My main character from A Shadow in the Past, Sarah Shand, interviewed me over at her blog, Sarah’s Place the other day.

We talked about A Shadow in the Past, the second book in that series, Shadows from her Past, author brand and other things. She asked some pretty tough questions. You can read the full interview here.

About Sarah:

cartoon SarahI live in rural Aberdeenshire with my parents, sister, and ginger and white cat, Murphy, on our farm (Gordonsfield) near the village of Kendonald.

When I’m not with them, I live in the year 1886 at Weetshill mansion with the laird Robert Robertson and his staff.

If you think going back to the past and knowing what you do now is fun, let me tell you, it isn’t. But then I’m probably telling tales out of school.

The best way to find out is to buy a copy of Melanie’s novel, A Shadow in the Past, and find out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.



I Write Like…

I Write Like…

I would have never thought it but, according to the sample I copied and pasted from my work in progress, Shadows from her Past, I write like… are you ready for it?

I write like

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like.
Analyze your writing!

I wonder, if I were to take a sample from my published debut novel, A Shadow in the Past, if the same result would occur? Hmm… maybe I’ll try that some time.

Who do you write like? Why not try this and see? You can find out by clicking on Analyze your writing in the box above or by clicking here.

I’d love to see whose prose your writing style emulates, so why not give it a go then leave a comment telling the results of your writing analysis.



The Next Big Thing…

I’ve been tagged to take part in The Next Big Thing by fellow ORWA member, Karen Smock who writes as Karen Avivi. I answer ten questions about my next book (still very much a WIP) then pass the baton on to two more authors. It’s loads of fun and you never know what you might find out about an author’s book.

So here we go!

What is the working title of your next book?

Shadows from her Past

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It started out as part two in my debut novel – A Shadow in the Past. Back then, it was in the early drafts and it was just before I was offered a contract, I decided that part one could stand on its own and it gave me a great framework for the second book in the series.

In what genre does your book fall?

YA/YA Crossover

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

The lead characters would be the same as for the first book in the series – Shirley Henderson as Sarah and Robert Carlyle as Robert.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Finding information that could change the course of history, will Sarah use it to find her way back to Victorian Scotland and save the man she loves?

Who is publishing your book?

4RV Publishing (I hope). Since it’s the sequel to A Shadow in the Past, I really hope, they accept this one.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Still working on it. I’m a little over half way through but the end is written and providing my characters don’t do something to change that, I’ll be good to go.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not sure I would compare it but Leslie Wallack of The Book Nook in Perth, Ontario said it was the Outlander series for Young Adults.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Because it’s the sequel to my first novel, it seemed a natural progression to come up with more adventures for my characters. The first book was inspired by my love of Scotland (especially the area of Aberdeenshire where my father was born).

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s a time-travel with lots of twists and turns along the way.

Now, to select two or more people to take part who will post their next big thing on May 23rd.

Mandy Baggot

Susan Meyer

and Janet K. Brown





Blair_MartinNiamh_MacIsaacThis is from one of my works-in-progress…

Since, I don’t have a cover I’ll share images of my main characters, Blair Martin and Niamh MacIsaac instead.


Second Chances


Working on an oil-rig in the North Sea can be dangerous but sometimes the commute can be deadly.

Niamh MacIsaac dreads saying goodbye to her partner, Blair Martin, every time he leaves for his job on an off-shore oil platform. Her worst fears become reality when the helicopter he’s a passenger on ditches into the North Sea. While waiting and hoping for news of survivors, a severe storm blows up and the search is stood down. Will they be reunited and have a second chance at happiness, or will the North Sea claim yet another victim?



Niamh opened her eyes, looked at the sleeping baby in the small bassinet beside her bed in Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and smiled. She turned her head away to look around the rest of the room. When she’d been brought up after the emergency C-section, it was the middle of the night and the hospital room completely dark. At least, that’s how she remembered it. Exhaustion and drugs for the post-op pain clouded her memory.

“Blair? Is that you?” she groggily asked the figure sleeping in the chair on the other side of the bed.

“Huh?” Blair woke with a start.

“How long have you been there?” she asked, stretching her arm out to touch him.

“Since they brought you up from surgery.”

“Oh,” she replied flatly. “And Mum?”

“Don’t know. She left to make a few calls and that’s the last I saw her. Figure she went home. I know she wasn’t best pleased to see me turn up.”

“I’m glad you did. With the way things ended after that awful row we had, I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”

“I stormed around for a few days then did something I didn’t think I’d ever do. I drove down to Barnsley,” Blair answered.

“You what?”

“You heard me. I drove to Barnsley. Never would have done it if it wasn’t for you.”

“And?” Niamh shifted position, her interest piqued by his revelation.

“The pit’s gone. Shopping complex there now. The old house is still there. Looks as rundown now as it did then.”

“That’s not quite what I meant. What about your father? Did you see him?”

“No. He’s dead. It was the drink.”

Niamh didn’t know what to say. She knew Blair hated the man for the hell he’d put both him and his mother through. She remained quiet for a few minutes then asked, “Did you go to the cemetery to see your mother?”

“Yes. Took flowers. The bastard’s buried there with her. He should rot in hell for all eternity for what he put us through,” he said as he lowered his head.

“How do you know he’s buried with her?”

“Because it’s on the fucking headstone! I don’t know who arranged it but I’d like to…”

“Beat the stuffing out of them, like your father did to you and your mother.”

Blair sat in silence for a moment. He stood and stretched before quickly changing the subject. “That chair is bloody uncomfortable.”

“You didn’t have to stay all night. You could have gone home.”

“I know but I wanted to.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead.

“Why don’t you go home and get some sleep? You look shattered.”

“In a bit. I’m going on a quest for coffee right now. You want anything?”

“Not sure if can. I’ll be fine. You go.”

He leaned down to kiss her forehead again but this time Niamh moved her head so he kissed her squarely on the lips. “Won’t be long,” he said before leaving.

Niamh watched his muscular figure walk away from her. His tight jeans and white T-shirt made him look absolutely delicious. And that was what got her in trouble from the beginning. From the first day she kissed him while his girlfriend, Sarah, who was also her best friend was away at University, she wanted him. Didn’t love him but wanted him. She had been physically attracted to Blair for as long as she could remember but kept those feelings to herself since he was her best friend’s bloke – until that first kiss and from that point on, couldn’t help herself. Even now, she didn’t know her feelings for him. The sex had been fantastic but was that because Blair was the forbidden fruit? Once everything came out in the open and they had been caught by Sarah, things had changed. The intensity was no longer there. Blair seemed distant, especially after Niamh dropped her pregnancy bomb on him.


Long and Short Reviews + Giveaway!

NEW I was interviewed by LASR

Today, I’m featured over at Long and Short Reviews talking about my novel A Shadow in the Past among other authorly/bookish things.

a shadow in the past cover 500x773There is also a GIVEAWAY at LASR for a copy of A Shadow in the Past.

Leave a comment for your chance to win! The giveaway is open to Canada and US residents only.

Suggested tweet:

Long & Short Reviews + Giveaway ~ talking with author @RobertsoKing @4RV #Shadowpast  #YACrossover




Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Today I welcome fellow 4RV Publishing author, Janet K Brown to my blog. Janet’s debut novel, Victoria and the Ghost made its first appearance at the Kansas Book Festival last September along with mine and a second novel by our “sister” author, Galand Nuchols.

Welcome to Celtic Connexions, Janet. It’s great having you here today. Enough of the preamble, I’m going to cut right to the chase. I’ve been dying to ask this question since your cover was revealed last summer.

victoria and the ghost coverDo you believe in ghosts? And is that why you wrote Victoria and the Ghost?

I don’t believe in séances, witches, or trying to communicate with the dead. What I do believe: the Almighty God of the Bible invented the supernatural (as we humans think of ghosts). We can’t understand angels, impossible or invisible beings, or any of the mysteries of the universe that God created.

On the other hand, if God sees a young woman like Victoria who needs and asks for His help, He can use any means at His disposal. Even a ghost.

I post about “Are ghosts real.” Find it in the archives on Wed., April 4, 2012 on my site:

At fifteen, Victoria, a city girl, loses her mother’s love and copes with country isolation, no friends, and no one who cares, until she meets a ghost.

When her mother leaves the family to become a Dallas trophy wife, Victoria’s dad moves her and her sister to a North Texas farm to herd cattle and raise chickens. Refusing to believe this is more than a temporary set-back, Victoria tries to make new friends which isn’t an easy task. The first one stabs her in the back with gossip and a sharp tongue. Meanwhile, her new stepsister takes Victoria’s place in her mother’s heart. Rejection and anger stalk Victoria like a rattlesnake in the cemetery. Good thing she makes friends with a ghost and through him, a good-looking teenaged cowboy.

Is Victoria and the Ghost your first novel?

In 2005, when I started studying the writing craft and trying my hand at finishing a novel and submitting it to editors and/or agents, my policy was if one was rejected, I started another one. Therefore, I have completed seven novels and am 2/3 through with my eighth.

Victoria and the Ghost was the first one I sold. I will always be thankful to Vivian Zabel and those at 4RV Publishing for taking a chance on a new author like me. Victoria and the Ghost is my only YA, but my work in progress now is the sequel.

My sentiments, too, Janet, not to mention my work in “lack of progress” is the sequel to my novel.

How did you find your publisher?

When I attended my usual Romance Writers of America chapter here in Wichita Falls, Texas, the year of 2010, two of the members, one from Altus, Oklahoma and one from Durant, Okla. told us about the organization of OWFI (Oklahoma Writers Federated International). They explained the wonderful conference they do each year in May in Oklahoma City. Since I live two hours away, a writer friend and I registered for the next conference.

I attended in May, 2011 for my first time. I carried with me a proposal for Victoria and the Ghost and made an editor appointment with Vivian Zabel. I met her at breakfast the first morning and found her delightful. When I heard her name mentioned, I told her I had an appointment later with her. She listened to my pitch at the designated time, showed interest, and requested I send her the full manuscript.

I sent it and received a contract my e-mail shortly afterward. I spent the next week dancing all over my house and calling or contacting online everyone I knew to share my excitement.

Your experience with Vivian sounds similar to mine, except I pitched to her at the MuseItUp online conference.

Have you written anything else?

I’ve written short stories for both teens and adults for several years selling most of them to Sunday school take-home papers, but others to magazines or newsletters. I continue to do that. I contract with one publishing company to write thirteen stories at a time. That helps the old cash-flow. Ha!

My completed novels are romance or women’s fiction. One is a coming-of-age romance. They are in various stages of editing or submitting.

I’m glad to hear that you’ve not given up totally on your other completed novels. It’s all a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

On December 6, 2012, Pen-L Publishing released my one and only non-fiction book titled Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness. Since I struggled for years with compulsive overeating, this book came from old journals and memories, so it is a book close to my heart.

Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?

I’m 2/3 through with a sequel to Victoria and the Ghost. For those who read that one, they will remember Victoria’s irritating friend/enemy, red-headed Shelley. This will be her story of a country girl who must move to the city without friends or horses.

Her father gets a job of cleaning an old courthouse. When he fights alcoholism, Shelley covers for him by doing his job. I explore the ghost legend at the old courthouse of McKinney, Texas. My working title for the manuscript is A Ghost for Shelley.

I plan on once again attending the OWFI conference and pitching it to Vivian Zabel. I can only keep my fingers crossed.

Purchase links for Victoria and the Ghost

Thank you for your kind welcome, today, Melanie.

It’s been my pleasure, Janet. Our writing journeys have paralleled each other’s in a number of ways.

About Janet…

Janet BrownJanet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles. She began writing while her three daughters were kids but did not study the craft or submit her work until she retired in October, 2005. Writing became a second career.

4RV Publishing released Janet’s debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, July, 2012.

She studies her three grandchildren for help with teen expressions and actions.

Pen-L Publishing released Janet’s non-fiction book, Divine Dining Dec. 3, 2012. It’s a 365 devotion book to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.

Janet belongs to such writing groups as ACFW, OWFI, CWFI, and RWA and continues to write short stories for teens and adults.

She and her husband love to travel with their RV, visit with family, and work in their church.

Contact Janet at:

Facebook: Janet K Brown Author
Twitter: @janetkbrowntx

You’ve heard Janet’s take on ghosts. Do you believe in ghosts?

I’ve been awarded The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

I was pleased to discover that my Scottish author friend, Janice Horton, awarded me with The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Before passing it on, I need to provide seven random facts about me… here goes.

  1. I’m Canadian by birth but Scottish in my heart.
  2. I’m the proud(?) owner of the dog with the $1000 ear (affectionately referred to as the “alarm dog”.
  3. I recently placed 3rd in the 2012 Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll in the YA category for my novel, A Shadow in the Past.
  4. In 1999, I met the Princess Royal at the former orphanage in Scotland where my father and four of his nine siblings were raised (Quarriers Village) near Bridge of Weir.
  5. I’ve lived in and around Brockville my entire life.
  6. I work for a trucking company (not a driver but in the office) and have a background in computer programming.
  7. When I’m not reading, I’m working on the second book in my Shadows series – Shadows from her Past.

Now to pass the gauntlet on to seven more intrepid bloggers, so here goes. The names are in a hat. Mr MR-K is reaching in. The tension is building. And we have our first recipient! Yay!

  1. Brook Cottage Books – Jontybabe JB Johnston
  2. Romance that Rocks Your World – Nicky Wells
  3. Scribbles – Pauline Barclay
  4. Chris Longmuir, Crime Writer
  5. Sarah’s Place – Sarah Shand
  6. Sheryl’s Ramblings – Sheryl Browne
  7. Between the Lines – Ali Bacon

Congratulations ladies!

Author Interview with Jack Durish

Durish-46-4x5Celtic Connexions welcomes US author Jack Durish. He’s got a lot on his plate these days, so without further ado, I’ve put him in the hot seat to allow him to get back home as soon as possible.

What is the one book you want us to read (title, genre, and availability)?

7470956Rebels on the Mountain: Historical Fiction available in all ebook formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

What is your one sentence synopsis?

A childhood crush evolves into romance when Nick Andrews, a U.S. Army spy, reconnects with Lucia Comas, an American-educated mulata, in Cuba while he is there to unravel the diplomatic mess created by Fidel Castro’s revolution.

Who are the main characters and who would you like to see portray them in a movie?

Nick Andrews: A U.S. Army Ranger and Korean War Veteran who has made a career of reconnaissance patrols behind the Iron Curtain – possibly portrayed by Stephen Amell.

Lucia Comas: An American-educated, island-born mulata, daughter of the second wife of don Carlos Comas, a Cuba sugar plantation owner, and love interest of Nick Andrews – possibly portrayed by Christina Milian.

Emma Regan: An American socialite whose husband, a retired pediatrician operates a free clinic on the sugar plantation she inherited, and sister to the don Carlos Comas’ second wife Sigourney Weaver.

Fidel Castro: The charismatic leader of the revolution that overthrew the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista – possibly portrayed by Jsu Garcia.

Che Guevara: The Argentinian doctor who became one of Castro’s most notorious lieutenants and his executioner following Fidel’s rise to power – possibly portrayed by Guillermo Diaz.

Ernest Hemingway: Nobel Prize winning author and Havana resident who mingled freely in the halls of power in Havana and purportedly supported Castro’s revolution – possibly portrayed by William Hurt.

Tell us about the story without revealing too much.

Nick Andrews uses the cover of a pleasure trip with friends, the Regans – a retired doctor and his socialite wife who own an estate in Cuba – to infiltrate the island from its halls of power in Havana to the rebel camp in the mountains at the eastern end of the island. Unexpectedly, he rekindles a childhood crush with the island-born niece of the Regans, and makes friends with a loyal Fidelista rebel. Romance, rum, rumba, and revolution layer themselves into a thrilling tale of intrigue, action, and suspense.

What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take?

I was slated to pilot a vessel from Galveston Bay to the Chesapeake, with a stop in Havana, when I was a young sailor, but the trip was canceled due to several factors including the fall of the Batista government in Cuba. I suppose that I never let go of the disappointment of missing that adventure. Thus, I followed events in Cuba closely and studied the history of the island and its people during the intervening fifty years. I spent another two years cataloging and studying my research, and another year and a half to write and edit the manuscript.

What other books have you written?

Dream Pirates – Fiction for young readers with impaired reading skills and new English speakers
WordPerfect: Creative Applications – Technical manual
Infantry School: A Soldier’s Journal – Personal memoir
Vietnam: A Soldier’s Journal – Personal memoir
Trifles: Literary Dessert – A collection of short stories to be published soon.

Which authors inspired you, your style?

Many including…
Ernest Hemingway: Voice
Mark Twain: Irony
Charles Dickens: Memorable characters

Where can we learn more about you and your books? contains my personal blog as well as my biography, a synopsis of all my books and links to them, and recommended websites for anyone interested in reading.

How can we follow you? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

Twitter: @jackdrsm
Google+: Jack Durish

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I am currently working on my second novel featuring Nick Andrews as a young soldier in the Korean War. Also, I have been posting to my blog a series of articles built from my research into Cuba with special emphasis on the love-hate relationship between the island and the United States. Most expect a change in US-Cuban relations when Fidel Castro dies, and Americans will begin looking forward to visiting this Caribbean paradise which has been off limits for so many years.

Thanks for stopping in, Jack, and sharing your story with us.


“I’ve got the LOOK!” (The ziggy zig zag challenge)

I don’t know who exactly started this, but a week or so ago I was tagged with “I’ve got the LOOK” by the wonderful Gilli Allan. She sent me the challenge of talking about my latest work in progress. The idea is to search for the word “look” then post some of the surrounding text or paragraphs around the choice you have made.

So my latest WIP is my NaNoWriMo project (there I go mentioning it again) but I found umpteen mentions of the word “look” but I think I’ve found a great excerpt from my piece tentatively entitled Shadows from her Past

Jenny (ignored his jibes and) ran back to Weetshill clutching the foreign object tightly in her hand. “F-father,” she yelled as she charged through the front door. “L-look wh-what I f-found!”

Mrs. MacEwen intercepted her. “Slow down child. Whatever has you in such a state?”

“I-I f-found th-this,” she stammered holding the foreign object out.


Robert entered the great hall from the library. He knelt by Jenny and looked at what she held in her hand. Was this the thing that Sarah was so upset over losing when she first arrived at Weetshill? The advanced technology of it was nothing like he’d ever seen before. “Calm down, Jenny. Deep breaths and tell me where you found this.”

Jenny nodded. “A-a t-tree. S-saw it b-bigger. F-found th-this in th-the g-grass n-near it.”


The challenge to this is coming up with a few good paragraphs and not include spoilers, which can be a pretty tall order, but as this is a work in progress, there’s not guarantee this snippet will still be there when the final product rolls off the line.

Now I have to bestow this honour on five more people… and they are:

  1. Janice Horton
  2. Dorothy Bush
  3. Barbara Ehrentreu
  4. Janet K Brown
  5. Gina Dickerson