Category Archives: Scotland

Today I’m Michelle Betham’s guest on her Meet the Author Feature. I’d love it if you dropped by her blog and left a comment.

Suggested tweets:

Meet the author – @RobertsoKing talks about her writing inspiration with @michellebetham #shadowpast #4RV #lahe #readers

Meet the author – @RobertsoKing talks about her writing inspiration with @michellebetham #shadowpast #4RV #FFP #readers

Happy Hogmanay!

Dec 31st says goodbye to the current year in anticipation of what is to come in the next year. Known as New Year’s Eve in many countries, in Scotland, it’s a special celebration known as Hogmanay. Great street parties with entertainment take place in major cities. Edinburgh’s celebration is the most widely known. You can see what’s happening in Scotland’s capital to ring in 2013 here.

But before I pop the cork on the champagne, I want to take a look at 2012 and reflect on all the good things that happened to me during the year.

In early January, fellow Writers’ Ink member, Joe Mossman, and I did a spot for the local cable TV’s program, Readers’ Corner and talked about our group.

Joe Mossman, myself and host of Readers' Corner, Doreen Barnes
Joe Mossman, myself and host of Readers’ Corner, Doreen Barnes

A few days later, I was assigned my editor. We hit it off immediately which made the revision process a lot more fun. My gorgeous cover designed by Aidana WillowRaven was revealed here on January 18th.

My novel's cover created by Aidana WillowRaven
My novel’s cover created by Aidana WillowRaven

In February, I was honoured with my First Book award from the Ottawa Romance Writer’s Association.


March came and with it, I received the Versatile Blogger Award from associate reader, Susan Livingston. I had been an associate reader for myself since June 2011 and on May 21, 2012 (my son’s birthday), I became a featured author!

June brought about the new Melanie Robertson-King “brand” reveal.

website header
The weekend of Sept 14-17 (okay Friday to the following Monday – weekend plus) took me to Kansas for the debut of my novel… and best of all, I got to hold it in my hot little hands for the first time. It was brilliant meeting my editor, Carla, for the first time and my publisher, Vivian Zabel, and fellow 4RV Publishing authors Jacque Graham, Janet Brown and Galand Nuchols.

Janet Brown, me, and Galund Nuchols with our books that debuted at the Kansas Book Festival
Janet Brown, me, and Galund Nuchols with our books that debuted at the Kansas Book Festival

My short story, Cole’s Notes, that had been accepted for publication became available for the Kindle in Carrick Publishing’s first cross-genre anthologyEFD1 Starship Goodwords Cover – EFD1 – Starship Goodwords, and classed as literary fiction, no less!

Home from Kansas and the following weekend I hosted my hometown launch at the Wedgewood Retirement Resort in downtown Brockville.

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One week later, I embarked on a 21-stop 15-day blog tour starting off at and ending at Author Roast and Toast.

In October, I created a blog for my character, Sarah, and filmed another program for Readers’ Corner – this time talking about my novel,

readers corner

was invited to join Famous Five Plus and woo-hoo, I got my first 5-star review for A Shadow in the Past!

November came along and with it, my first kick at the can taking part in NaNoWriMo, and a number of appearances and signings – Ladies’ Night at Green Things Garden and Gift Shop, the Mallorytown Legion’s Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale, and finally downtown Brockville’s Christmas Open House at Leeds County Books.

December and another signing – this time in Gananoque at All About Books Internet Cafe and I was awarded the Liebster Award by Joanne Clancy.

A great year for sure, and now I’m looking forward to what 2013 brings! So now that I’ve rambled on long enough, it’s time to pop the champagne corks and ring in the New Year.

champagne 5

champagne 4

Happy New Year! Happy Hogmanay! Or Happy whatever you call it in your part of the world. May 2013 be good to you and yours! Cheers!

A Shadow in the Past currently #2 in Preditors & Editors Readers Poll

My novel's cover created by Aidana WillowRaven
My novel’s cover created by Aidana WillowRaven

I’m so excited. My novel, A Shadow in the Past, is currently sitting in 2nd place in the YA category at the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. If you’ve not done so already, I would appreciate your vote. Help me make it to #1.

If you’ve already voted – Thank you! Follow the instructions here.

Today’s book signing…

Things went well today at All About Books Internet Cafe all about booksin Gananoque. Owner Debra Savoy, was a lovely and gracious hostess. We hit it off immediately and before the end of my time there, we agreed to a date to do it all again in 2013!

My table set-up

According to Debra, Saturdays are slow at her shop but traffic was brisk during my two hour time frame. There were the regulars who come for coffee/tea and a chat and folks off the street.

We had the opportunity to talk before people came into the shop about writing in general, my inspiration to write, my journey to publication along with some good “girlie” chat.

Having a good natter
Posing with my book and one of the “regulars” in the background

I took some time to pose for a picture with my book (hubby came along to take pictures in addition to fetch and carry). Suffice it to say, he was quite chuffed when the box of books was lighter on the walk back to the car.

Signing a copy for Debra

My first sale of the of the day, and personalizing the copy for my wonderful hostess.

The afternoon went well. I sold 4 books and left a further 5 copies there. Debra assures me she’ll be able to sell them  with no difficulty.

What can I say other than I’m chuffed to little mint-balls to make this contact!

I’m looking forward to returning on February 16, 2013 (weather permitting). Winter in these parts can be truly unpredictable but we’ve got plenty of time to work things out and come up with a game plan for my next visit.







A Special St Andrews Celebration!

For those of you who don’t know, St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. He is celebrated on this day with feasts and ceilidhs and good friends coming together. Something else that you might not know about November 30th, is that it’s the opening day of haggis hunting season but we’ll save that for another St Andrews Day post.

But, there something even better than that happening at Celtic Connexions today. I’m thrilled to welcome, Dumfermline, Scotland native, author Ali Bacon to my blog today. Oh, and look, she’s got a paperback copy of her novel – A Kettle of Fish with her.

You’re looking very “Scottish” today, Ali, all decked out in your tartan. I take it you’re ready for a good old-fashioned ceilidh – Canadian style. Here come sit by the fire, take the chill off (escorts my esteemed guest to one of the tartan wing-back chairs facing the crackling fire). I’ll summon my manservant, Donald, to bring us some refreshments. Would you care for a wee dram? Perhaps Glengoyne – Scotland’s only un-peated single malt? (rings bell and gives manservant instructions)

I think you’ll like what I have in store for you at the ceilidh tonight, Ali. I tried to get the Old Blind Dogs but they weren’t available. However, I did manage to secure their tribute band, the Senior, Sight Challenged Hounds.
(swish of swinging door as the manservant returns with a tray carrying a decanter of whisky, two glasses and water). “Your whisky, my lady,” he says as he places it on the table.

“Thank you.”

As the manservant straightens to leave, I cry out… “Donald, where’s your trousers?” because so unlike him, he’s wearing a kilt!

Overcome by the shock of seeing him dressed in that fashion, it takes me a moment to regain my composure. (fans self with copy of Leopard Magazine).

Well, while we wait for our meal to be ready, Ali, let’s chat about your novel. I’m really interested to find out more about it and your creative process. I know A Kettle of Fish is a coming of age story. Is it YA or YA Crossover or another genre?

Believe it or not, I wrote the novel as adult fiction and it was only during the writing that Ailsa – my eighteen-year-old heroine – took over the central role. To be honest I think it still belongs in the adult genre and none of my readers (so far!) has quarrelled with that, but I think books about young people will often attract a young readership and so if pushed (go on, push me!)  I suppose I’d say it’s adult with YA crossover – but maybe not for under 15s in view of some of the steamier scenes.

What made you choose that title? Or did the publisher suggest it?

Previous titles were ‘The Water’s Edge’ – too bland, I thought, and ‘The Treatment Room’ – too grisly!  When I chose ‘A Kettle of fish’ I was looking for something a bit quirky that reflected the themes of the sea and fishing. I was very pleased when the publisher wanted to  keep it.

Your cover is really intriguing with the foot dipping in the water. Did you have any input into its design?

Oh yes! Before being taken on by Thornberry I was about to self-publish and had already asked my daughter – a graphic designer who is now working freelance – if she would take on the design. Thornberry allowed us to carry on with this although they of course had the final say. After some discussion I hit on the rock pool as the image to go with because I wanted to convey something ‘lurking’ in the waters of Ailsa’s past. Ellie took it from there – it was fun to be involved and to see how the design process works. Luckily we all agreed on the end result!

Your novel is set in Fife and Edinburgh. Did you have to do a lot of research to get the two areas right?

Well the book is set in Dunfermline, where I grew up but that was (ahem) a while ago. My memories were refreshed by a trip north a few years ago, but I did pick my sister’s brains quite a lot and spent lots of time with Google maps. Edinburghwas a bit easier as the city centre is so well known, but another trip in 2011 was a real help in remembering the feel of the place.

I have to ask this one… how did you come up with the names for your characters? I loved the name Tom Robertson. I had an Uncle Tommie Robertson (my dad’s oldest brother).

Funny you should ask! I have to admit I put names in my first drafts pretty much by pulling them out of the air and they usually stick. I think I choose the Christian name first and that is pure instinct. The last name is added afterwards just to sound right and to go with the picture I have of the character in my head. I have just discovered there was a real Scottish artist called Tom Robertson although long before ‘my’ Tom’s time, and my sister says she remembers a teacher of this name too, but I have no conscious memory of him. Who knows, maybe I bumped into your uncle somewhere too!

What’s your next project? Do you have another novel started?

Oh dear, I do and I don’t! While writing Kettle I stumbled on a (real) Scottish Victorian artist with an amazing life story and connections to Dunfermline. Since then I’ve been working on a historical novel inspired by him, but there’s a lot of research involved and at the moment doing things like visiting Canada for St. Andrews night is so much more fun. Fingers crossed for progress in the New Year!  

The manservant returns and tells us that dinner is served… so we pick up our drinks  and at the first skirl of the pipes, wait for him to enter the room and we get piped in to the formal dining room (I wish I had one of them, too) to the strains of The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie for a feast of Cullen Skink, Roast Lamb and Potatoes, served with a rose wine (red is too much and white is too light so I’m splitting the difference) and fall fruit with vanilla rice pudding for our sweet afterwards.

Wow this is my kind of menu, especially the rice pud! Best not eat too much though or I won’t be up to the dancing. There is dancing, isn’t there?

Oh, plenty of dancing. The band will be arriving shortly and will set up in the ballroom. The rest of the guests will be along shortly after that.

And don’t forget you are invited back to for a return visit on Burns Night 2013 where we’ll be addressing the haggis as well as the world.

Strip the Willow, anyone?

A Kettle of Fish is a rollercoaster family drama set inScotland and published by Thornberry Publishing

Buy it from
Amazon UK (Kindle and paperback)

Amazon USA(Kindle only)

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Happy Birthday Bram Stoker!

Yup, today is Bram Stoker’s 165th birthday. While he’s best known for his novel, Dracula, (of which both Cruden Bay in Aberdeenshire Scotland and Whitby in Yorkshire, England take credit for inspiring because of their rugged North Sea cliffs) he has also penned Dracula’s Guest, Lair of the White Worm, The Man, The Jewel of Seven Stars, and The Lady of the Shroud.

So, happy birthday to you, Bram Stoker!

My First 5* Review for A Shadow in the Past!

Cover by Aidana WillowRaven

I’m so excited right now. I’ve got my first 5* review! I admit that from the time my book was a real “physical” thing and out in the world, I didn’t know if people would like it or not. As a matter of fact, I was terrified people would hate it. And admittedly there will be people out there who won’t.

You can read my 5* review at goodreads and a slightly more condensed version over at

Will these reviews entice you buy A Shadow in the Past? I certainly hope so. If you’re feeling so inclined to purchase your own copy, you can buy it from the following links:

In Canada:


and if you’re local to Brockville, you can buy it from Leeds County Books, 73 King Street West.

In the US:

4RV Publishing:

Barnes & Noble:

And in the UK:

My character, Sarah Shand, now has her own blog!

In a moment of, shall we say lunacy, I set up a blog for my main character in A Shadow in the Past, Sarah Shand. Hopefully, she’ll behave herself and not let out any spoilers from my current novel, or ideas that I have percolating for subsequent works.

Sarah has been a delight to work with and I’m looking forward to doing it again. She blogs at Sarah’s Place. I know, not the most creative blog name but I’m sure if the two of us put our heads together we’ll come up with a cracker.

And if you have any brilliant ideas for a blog title for her, leave a comment here or over at her blog.