Author Archives: Lizzie Lamb

Bloggy McBlogface #2 – Rosslyn Chapel and the Royal Yacht Britannia

This post is part #2 of our tour of Scotland this summer, from Edinburgh to Balnakeil in the north west corner of Scotland and back to Glasgow.

I’d always wanted to visit Rosslyn Chapel – and the Royal Yacht Britannia, and that’s exactly what we did.

I was intrigued to compare the actual chapel to the scenes from the movie – but was disappointed to discovered they only filmed the scene in the crypt there. So no cabalistic signs, Knights Templar or hidden symbols connecting the chapel to the Virgin Mary, but lots to see, otherwise.  The chapel is full of the most  amazing  carvings, including a frieze of maize or Indian Corn surrounding a window. This was constructed fifty years before Columbus discovered America in 1492 – so, go figure, as they say.

(sadly, no internal photos so you’ll have to go to the website for those.) Here are my photos . . . click on each one for a description.

If you arrive before 11am you can join the FREE guided tour, which is well worth it. The guide said that the chapel was falling down around their ears and they prayed for a miracle. God sent them one in the shape of Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code. Now the chapel is being preserved for posterity. Great cafe, too, in case you wondered.

The Royal Yacht Britannia – well worth the money

We spent a very happy three hours looking round the RY Britannia. With our headsets we explored the yacht at our own pace and you really do have ‘access to all areas’, including HM’s bedroom.  Parking is free and the tour cost £13.50. Amazingly, the yacht is moored at the end of the Britannia Shopping Mall, Leith and, if at the end of your time you still have energy, there’s a great shopping centre there, too.  Here are the pics . . . click on each one for a description. Of course, being us, the tour started in the restaurant where we had tea and scones (not silly prices, either).

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tea and scones, anyone?

We spent a lot of time practising saying: The Leith Police dismisseth us, in order to prove we were sober, so we felt we’d earned our tea break.

We’ve spent many summer on the Isle of Wight and the ferry took us past the Royal Yacht moored off Cowes in the Solent. It was sad to see this grand old lady moored next to a shopping centre, IMHO, but at least we had a chance to look round which otherwise would have been denied to us. Of course, we were interested to see the bedroom and sitting rooms and they were all of show, along with boiler rooms etc.

Everything is very simple and pared back. Apparently, Her Maj rejected for the first set of plans for being ‘too grand’, she wanted a ‘country house interior’, and that’s what she got. As I was peering into Charles and Diana’s bedroom – the only one with a double bed, which Charles ordered specially for their honeymoon – the ladies behind me were quite vocal on their opinion of ‘how he done her wrong,’ even after all this time.

The yacht had to be functional as well as ceremonial and it had its own laundry, dentist’s surgery, operating theatre and sick bay. You can see why everything has to be ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion,’ can’t you?

The lone figure at the end of the pier is an Antony Gormley sculpture (creator of the Angel of the North et al) and was is life-like that, apparently,  people keep ringing the police thinking someone’s about to throw himself into  the Firth of Forth.2016-06-18 12.16.25

I hope you’ve enjoyed my second blog post and that you may be tempted to visit Edinburgh and East Lothian for yourself. Scotland is a fascinating, beautiful, mystical country and has something for everyone. Next time, we’ll travel across the Forth Road Bridge and head for Inverness, Culloden and the Black Isle. I hope you’ll travel with me. In the meantime, do check out my novels on Amazon and feel free to sign up for my newsletter.

 

 

I can’t leave Edinburgh without sharing the last four photographs taken by author Helen Barrell who took Tall, Dark and Kilted back to its roots in Scotland. Thanks Helen!

Scotch On The Rocks by @lizzie_lamb ~ A contemporary #romance set in #Scotland #Bookreview

A lovely review from Cathy Ryan for SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS. She really caught the essence of the book and why I wrote it. Reviews mean so much to authors, even a couple of lines. I’m trying to leave more reviews this month.

BetweenTheLines

  • 25849896Author: Lizzie Lamb
  • Published: July 2015 by New Romantics Press
  • Category: Contemporary Romance
  • five-stars

ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life. Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast – where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.

Ishabel (Issy) Stuart is introduced in dramatic style with a race along the causeway to Eilean na Sgairbh, against the incoming tide and an impending thunderstorm. She’s on her way home to her aunt Esme and the house she grew up in, now a B&B, along with a wounded heart and her father’s ashes…

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#FridayBookShare ~ Scotch On The Rocks by @lizzie_lamb Contemporary #Romance @ShelleyWilson72

Many thanks to Cathy for writing this fabulous review of Scotch on the Rocks.

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#FridayBookShare ~ an excellent idea created by Shelley Wilson

With the weekend approaching it’s the perfect time to seek out new books to read, so Shelley created a Friday Book Share game to help search for that ideal read.

FridayBookShare

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#AugustReviews #FridayBookShare

Many thanks to generous blogger and reviewer Cathy Ryan for leaving this review of Scotch on the Rocks on her fabulous blog and to Rosie Amber for sharing. Readers might not think that a generous, honest review of a writer’s book would mean very much to them, but believe me, I was thrilled to receive this unexpected review this morning. I think most authors would feel the same. If you go on to read the review you will learn that #FridayBookShare is blogger Shelley Wilson’s idea.

So come on folks – readers and writers alike, get reviewing, posting and tweeting – share the love.

Have a great weekend, Lizzie.

Here’s the link to the review

Scotch movie maker

 

 

HOW TO WRITE A REVIEW AND HELP YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHORS

Authors know how difficult it is to build a following of loyal readers and to gently persuade those  readers to review their book once they’ve read it. To help redress that, August 2016 has been decreed Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews and we’re going to do our bit to help.

On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote this post encouraging readers and writers alike to post a short review on Amazon for any book they’ve read and enjoyed ~ following this up, Terry Tyler is starting this initiative along with other writer-bloggers including Rosie, Cathy from Between The Lines, Barb Taub, Shelley Wilson and Alison WilliamsThe idea is that, from August 1st, everyone who reads this uses their Amazon account to post just one review on one book that they’ve read (but feel free to carry on if you get in the swing!).  You don’t even have to have read it recently, it can be any book you’ve read, any time.  The book does not have to have been purchased from Amazon, though if it is you get the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag on it; however, if you download all your books via Kindle Unlimited, as many do these days, they don’t show the VP tag, anyway.

Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next £1.99 Kindle book

No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique; I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used.  Yes, those are welcome too (!), but no more so than a few words saying “I loved this book, I was up reading it until 3am”, or “I loved Jim and Vivien and the dialogue was so realistic”, or whatever!

Why should you write a review?

  • They help book buyers make decisions.  Don’t you read the reviews on Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, or any site from which you might buy an item for practical use?  Book reviews are no different
  • If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves ~ reviews from the reading public is their one free helping hand
  • The amount of reviews on Amazon helps a book’s visibility (allegedly).  If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of making this happen
  • It’s your good deed for the day, and will only take five minutes

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Off we go, then!  A few more pointers:

  1. If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post, above.
  2. A review can be as short as one word.  The shortest one I have is just two🙂
  3. You don’t have to put your name to the review, as your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.
  4. No writer expects all their reviews to be 5* and say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star rating guide on Rosie’s post.

Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review?  If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews ~ and thank you!  2015-08-14 08.14.06

 One last thing . . .  if you haven’t read any of my books but like well-written romantic comedies with lots of sassy humour, great characters, fabulous locations and heroes to swoon over – give one of them a try. And don’t forget that review (!)

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Bloggy McBlogface #1 – Edinburgh

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My books had been working so hard to sell and promote themselves that I felt they needed a holiday. Where to go? Why – Bonnie Scotland – where else? After upgrading our caravan to one with a fixed bed, we set off for in June to tour Scotland, writing and finding inspiration for my next novel(s). Here are some interior shots of caravan #3 – no more making and unmaking the bed every morning before we could have breakfast.

 

Did I mention that the parrot came, too? Here he is, surveying his wide domain (thru the rain) and telling anyone who walked past us that they SHOULDN’T COME TOO CLOSE – this is Jasper’s house.

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First stop – Auld Reekie – Edinburgh

We camped at Davidson’s Mains just outside Edinburgh and took the shuttle bus into Auld Reekie. I wanted to take a literary /historical tour of the city and notable writers and characters associated with it – Walter Scott, Ian Rankin, JK Rowling, Grey Friar’s Bobby . Sadly, the Elephant House was too busy and we couldn’t get in or add to the graffiti in the toilets (permitted) – next time maybe.

2016-06-21 15.21.53-1An Edinburgh ‘Close’ just off the Royal Mile – couldn’t you just imagine Inspector Rebus looking for clues to a murder in its narrow confines?

We spent quite some time exploring Greyfriars churchyard and stood on the spot where the Covenant was signed in 1638 as a protest against the rule of bishops. It’s a part of history which has largely been forgotten, however, you could easily spend half a morning looking round the church and the exhibition and absorbing the incredible atmosphere.

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As you can see, the history of this incredible churchyard stretches back into the 16th century

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Memorial to the original Covenanters and those who lost their lives fighting for their beliefs

 

Next, we walked the Royal Mile to a Clarinda’s Tearooms, (bit of a theme developing here!) a cafe recommended by Facebook friends/readers. Clarinda is buried in the nearby Canon Gate cemetery and is alleged to be the lover referred to in Burns’ Aye Fond Kiss.2016-06-21 13.24.03

One of the next sites we visited (oh, our aching feet) was the Mercat Cross on the Royal Mile. It is said that while the artillery was being prepared before the Battle of Flodden (1513), a demon called Plotcock read out the names of those who would be killed. Edinburgh is such an ancient city, it’s hard NOT to believe such stories when you’re there.

 

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A view looking down the Royal Mile towards the Firth of Forth and Leith

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My ‘snap’ of the St Giles Mercat Cross didn’t show up very well, but this one is close by

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally – what of my books? Well, lovely author friend Helen Barrell (check out her debut novel via this link) went to Edinburgh earlier this year and took a copy of Tall, Dark and Kilted with her. Here are some of HER pics. If you’ve enjoyed following my adventures (with novels and parrot) watch out for Bloggy McBlogface #2 when I tell you all about touring the Royal Yacht Britannia and our visit to Rosslyn Chapel (the Da Vinci Code).

 

Take a chance on New Romantics Press –

New Romantics Press

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It doesn’t seem possible that four years have passed since New Romantics Press was launched. At the time, we each said: “We’ll be happy just to see our novel in print.”

Since then, we’ve been bitten by the writing bug and gone on to write further novels, win accolades, reach the finals of a prestigious book award and achieve bestseller status (historical romance>Scottish) on Amazon. Not to forget, hosting a wonderful book launch at Waterstones in Kensington. Between us, we’ve written ten fabulous novels and gained a host of readers who are hungry for more! With four new novels in the pipeline, we thought it time to thank our wonderful readers/supporters and to celebrate our achievements by uploading a kindle book, containing the first two chapters of each of our novels to share with you.

The kindle is almost a novel/novella in its own right – almost forty thousand word in…

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Tall, Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb @lizzie_lamb #Romance in the Scottish Highlands #bookreview #SundayBlogShare

Many thanks to Cathy Ryan for posting this fabulous review of Tall, Dark and Kilted. She totally caught the essence of the novel.

BetweenTheLines

  • 16141980Author: Lizzie Lamb
  • Published: October 2012 by The New Romantics 4
  • Category: Contemporary Romance
  • four-half-stars

Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen . . . Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it her dream of one day being her own boss. When she’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, she grabs it with both hands. But there’s a catch – the centre lies five hundred miles away – in Wester Ross, Scotland. 

Fliss Bagshawe, determined and independent, has worked hard and struggled to support herself since her parents died. A qualified holistic therapist, she works at a salon in Pimlico, doing a little moonlighting in the evenings to supplement her income. When Fliss is offered the chance to manage a salon on an estate…

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The Best Five Pounds I’ve Ever Spent!

One of the great things about living in Leicester – apart from The Foxes winning the Championship League, and finding The King in the Carpark (Richard III), is being on the main line to London.Adrienne in garden. (landscape)

 Yesterday, fellow New Romantic – Adrienne Vaughan – travelled with me to London for the best event of the summer, so far. For a mere £5 we bought a ticket to Romance in the Court, a fabulous event organised by David Headley’s Goldsboro Books. 

The event was held in historic Cecil Court on a beautiful summer’s evening.

There, amidst a fabulous gathering of romance writers, readers and supporters, I met old friends, made new ones and got down to the all important business of networking. As a writer, I’m never sure if the time I spend away from the WIP is really productive, so it was reassuring to meet new readers who said they knew me from a variety of social media: Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. And, as a result of ‘getting my name out there’, one reader had downloaded all my books. RESULT!

However, before I upload more photos, let me digress and share our bit of good fortune with you. En route to the event, I popped into Aspinalls in St Pancras (as a girl does) to buy the Swarovski ‘bag hook’ I’d been promising myself as a reward for working hard on #4. In a scene reminiscent from Love Actually , the manager  wrapped my present in an four different types of gift wrapping. He also put four boiled sweets in the bag. I know, I know it should have been a cinnamon stick, but I’m not complaining for the best was yet to come!

He asked us what we were doing in London. Quick as a flash we handed him our business cards. Mightily impressed, he asked if we would come down to his store in the autumn to an author event which he would organise: prosecco, nibbles, book signing etc. He also mentioned that he liked to’ take care of his girls’, which made Adrienne think (optimistically) that she would be getting a set of matching Aspinall luggage.  A girl can dream, can’t she? So, before we get ahead of ourselves,here are the rest of the photos. 

And there’s more. Click on each photo to see who’s who !

And, finally, a great photo of David Headley with Carole Matthews (courtesy of Carole and Kev). Many thanks to them for allowing me to use one of Kev’s photos at the top of this blog. 2016-05-27 10.14.36

 As you can see, a fabulous time was had by all. The best five pounds I’ve ever spent. I’m hoping that David will host a similar event next summer . . . no pressure, obvs.

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And, just before I sign off, keep your eyes peeled for an exciting announcement coming from New Romantics Press this summer. But, hush, hush, it’s top secret  . . . for now! 

 

How to self-publish your novel – a workshop is announced

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As some of you may know, I was a teacher for thirty four years before I became a writer. Now that I have co-founded an indie collaborative, published three novels, (one of which became a bestseller in its genre), reached the final of the prestigious Exeter Novel Prize, and written 52,000 words of my fourth novel – it seemed a natural progression that I should share what I’ve learned with other writers.

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my last day as a deputy headteacher

Over the last year and a half I have given talks  to writers’ groups, Ladies’ Luncheon  Clubs, RNA chapters,  third year Arts students at De Montfort University, Leicester and organised self-publishing workshops. I am very excited about my latest venture – outlined above – a four hour talk on how to self publish one’s novel.  It wasn’t until I started planning my talk that I realised how far I’d come and how much I’d learned since publishing Tall, Dark and Kilted in November 2012.

SELF PUBLISHING IS NOT FOR SISSIES

So what will I cover during my talk?

here’s a brief outline –

  • what to do now you’ve finished your novel
  • where to have your manuscript critiqued, edited, proofread, formatted for kindle
  • where to buy stock images/ have front cover images professionally designed
  • Amazon ISBN vs Nielsen ISBN – which is best for an indie author?
  • point attendees towards two  ‘how to’ self-help books available in the kindle library
  • explain the difference between formatting a ms for Kindle and Paperback
  • how to negotiate your way round CreateSpace and create your ‘free’ paperback
  • Tax witholding for non-US publishers
  • explain how KDP Select/ KNRP/Kindle Unlimited works for indie publishers
  • to preorder or not?
  • how Scotch on the Rocks became a best seller within two weeks of publication
  • how to form an indie collaborative

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Many thanks to Alison Knight, fellow member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association for inviting me to give this talk. Here’s Alison’s latest novel – Rosie Goes to War..

Alison Knight

 

 

 

If you are interested in attending this workshop, book a place by contacting the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre on: 01249 705500

 

 

  • I also present workshops on how to sell books through social media
  • readers – where to find them and how to keep them!
  • how to write contemporary romance
  • I am available for Weddings, Christenings and Bar Mitzvahs (just kidding)
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A recent workshop held in Leicester