This post originally appeared on Jo Lambert’s blog
Since then, I’ve discovered how to insert HTML images from Youtube into a blog post so I’ve updated it. Hope the videos enhance your pleasure of the blog post and that I can remember how to do it next time.
When I was very young, my mother and I went to live with my maternal grandparents and two teenage uncles (Joseph 20 and Tommy 18) who spoiled me rotten and encouraged me to be precocious. NOT that I needed much encouragement. The house was filled with music, my uncles having bought a large radiogram with wages earned working in the local steel mill. They played their 78’s whenever they could, which meant I knew the words to all the latest songs and they taught me how to jive, twist etc. Later, when we moved house to England, my family’s love of popular music continued (via the radio). We listened to Music While You Work, Children’s Favourites, Sing Something Simple, Two Way Family Favourites and ground-breaking Radio Caroline. As a teenager I fell asleep listening to Radio Luxembourg via an earpiece attached to my prized transistor radio. When Radio One was launched in 1967 it was as important to teenagers, like me, as a man walking on the moon two years later.
Fast forward to listening to Radio One on the drive home from work, the transition from cassette tapes to CD’s and finally, downloading music on my iPhone. Small wonder music has provided the backing track to all our lives.
Here are five of my favourites –
(1) The Mammas and Papas
I only have to hear the opening chords of this song and I am transported back to 1967 when the hippy movement reached Leicester. I had just taken my ‘O’ levels and at the start of the summer holidays my friend Brenda Harris and I bought a bag of budgie bells from the local pet shop (much to the shop keeper’s suspicion). We sewed them on the outside seam of our bellbottom jeans, found a couple of floppy hats and ‘granny clothes’ at jumble sales and put together a ‘hippy kit’. Then we joined all the other wannabes on Victoria Park in search of the much promised Happening, which never materialised. Instead, we ended up in mega trouble for chalking – MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR on a neighbour’s garage door, after which the Summer of Love ended abruptly for us.
(2) Sguaban Arbhair – Sheaves of Corn
I often ‘stumble across’ music and this is how I found Runrig. I was watching TV and saw the group perform at Glasgow Barrowlands and was blown away, When I was a child we would often go to the ‘Barras’ a couple of times a year on shopping expeditions. That memory, coupled with Runrig’s fusion of folk, Gaelic and rock music tapped into a part of me I’d forgotten existed; my Scottishness. When Runrig came to Leicester I went to see them in concert and bought several CD’s afterwards. There I found the track Sguaban Arbhair – Sheaves of Corn. It tells how the old ways of crofting and living off the land have vanished as young people head for the cities. It’s my go-to song when I want to get into the mood for writing. In Scotch on the Rocks, my heroine Ishabel sings it at a live mike session in the local pub and the hero falls in love with her. When I listen to it, I’m transported to Eilean na Sgairbh, the imaginary Cormorant Island where I set my novel.S
(3) Ship to Shore – Chris de Burgh
Lady in Red (now sadly cliched) brought Chris de Burgh to my attention. And, of course, I had to listen to his back catalogue (first on vinyl and then on CD). I found Ship to Shore and it raised my spirits at a difficult time. My mother had recently died of cancer, I underwent a hysterectomy, we moved house twice in two and a half years and I was acting head at a large primary school of over 350 children. It became an anthem for me, the backdrop to a time when I wanted to get stuck into my writing but was forced to put my dream on hold. The line: how I wish that we could turn the clock back to the time when we were lovers, in the true sense of the meaning, inspired me to go for gold and achieve my dream. In fact, all of the lyrics have a resonance for me. I only have to hear the Morse code ‘pips’ at the beginning of the song and I’m transported back to when I saw Chris de Burgh at the NEC. A time before word processors, the internet, and Amazon made becoming a published author an attainable dream for thousands of indie authors.S
(4) Someone Like You – Adele
I discovered Adele much in the same way as Runrig. A friend had been banging on about her for months and I put my fingers in my ears and refused to listen. Stubborn, see? Then I caught Adele’s concert at the Albert Hall on TV, heard her sing Someone Like You and Don’t You Remember? and was hooked. Something in her lyrics – which come straight from her heart, the key she sang in, and her performance found an answering chord in me. Overall, I’ve had a good life and a very happy marriage. So, I have to dig deep when writing a sad/emotional scenes and Adele takes me there in seconds. So – that evening, once I’d stopped blubbing like a baby in front of the TV, I went straight on to Amazon and ordered ‘21’. It’s remained a favourite ever since.
(4) Downbound Train – Bruce Springsteen
In the 90’s we went to America, travelling from Washington DC to Memphis, thru Iowa and up to Door County. We stayed with my former teaching student and when we caught the plane back to the UK, she gave me Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. In return, I promised that I would write a romance set in Wisconsin, bringing together everything we’d experienced over five magical weeks. Once home, I played the album while preparing for returning to school after the long holiday. However, influenced by Jilly Cooper, Helen Fielding et al I put notes for my ‘American novel’ to one side and started writing a rom com instead: Tall, Dark and Kilted. But I never forgot my promise and recently returned to the MS, re-writing and publishing it as Take Me, I’m Yours, dedicating it to Dee Paulsen and her family. Apart from the anthemic Born in the USA, my favourite track is Downbound Train. Every time I play it, I’m back in Dee’s Aunt Bev’s house in Memphis sweltering in 100 degrees in the shade as we rush from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car. Now I know that I don’t have a pioneering bone in my body and would never convincingly play the part of a woman having a baby in the back of a wagon.
If you would like to read an extract, download or share about Take Me, I’m Yours, click here
- You can find all novels (downloads and paperbacks) here: viewAuthor.at/LizzieLamb
- If you would like to buy a paperback of one of my novels (below Amazon price) please go along to this page to find out more.
Which five tracks would YOU choose?
Some great pointers here from Helena Fairfax on how to self-edit your novel.
It’s time for this month’s authors’ Round Robin, and author Robin Courtright has set us another excellent topic…
How do you self-edit your books before submitting or publishing?
When I wrote my first novel I knew very little about the editing process. In my naivety, I thought
Image courtesy of Pixabay
editing involved checking for spelling mistakes and picking up on grammatical errors.
I’ve learned a great deal since then, and my ideas about editing have changed completely. Although details are important, people will generally forgive a typo here or there, or the odd time you said ‘which’ when you meant ‘that’. Unless your manuscript is riddled with this type of mistake, minor errors won’t generally make a reader put a book down.
There are some important areas that could easily lose your readers’ interest, though. In order to self-edit, you need to be able to take a step back…
View original post 1,533 more words
A big hello to author, blogger and Facebook aficionado – Anna Shenton. Anna and I met via her writers’ page on Facebook and I wanted to get to know her better. So, here we go.
Anna, tell us a bit about yourself.
Born in a village in Staffordshire, England I experienced an interesting upbringing via my English father, and German mother -together with two elder siblings Ilona and Steven, and later, Ingo, a surprise brother from Germany.
Interesting names: I would like to know more about them sometime.
I live in Staffordshire with my lovely retired policeman hubby. We love to travel with our touring caravan. We share a fantastic family of six sons and daughter-in-law’s, and millions of adorable grandchildren, no shortage of inspiration.
Did you say caravan? Small wonder we clicked on Facebook. Not that OUR caravans are anything like this one – LOL.
Share with us how the writing process works for you
I write purely as a hobby, no set rules to how I work. I rely on what, where and when. I’ve never experienced (what shall I write feeling, or I must do this). Having said that, I hold much optimism for the future and revel in the freedom of writing. A home study course with the Writing School of London helped with publication of Star Letters, Fillers, and Articles in various magazines including Writers Forum.
Indie-publishing is my ideal. I’m free, no deadlines, no criteria, no rules. Thus far I’ve created – Seduced by Mind Tricks being my debut romance novel, followed by Lust for Survival a collection of short stories, Writing Spelled Out a guide on how to start writing, and my recent release 76 Silver Street a historical romance novella.
Freelancing is always lurking at the back of my mind, too. Scanning through magazines often tempts me to submit feature articles. If they’re accepted, great, if not, I’ve enjoyed writing it.
I love social media and through it I’ve made many new friends – writers and readers alike. But it can be ‘time suckage. What do you think, Anna?
My heart has warmness to the social network. Without it I wouldn’t have learnt so much, neither would I have met so many wonderful people. Controlling usage is the key; I don’t allow it to takeover! Many opportunities are there for the taking and I do believe building a social network reputation is essential for all authors! I’ve enjoyed building a Facebook page, and creating the writers authors & readers closed group, almost 1,000 fabulous supportive members.
Tell us who or what inspired you to become a writer –
My flair to create comes from my family. My late uncle, a famous artist, and my late father, a pencil/cartoonist who contributed to the Daily Mirror. My late brother wrote his Debut Novel (Notes in the Margin) which unfortunately, wasn’t published. I hope to get this published one day donating proceeds to cancer. My Sister writes a very popular frugal blog too (Mean Queen) she is amazing. The freedom of writing, expressing your inner self and creating is something I would hate to lose. I breathe inspiration from everyday life.
If not a writer, then what
Thank you Lizzie, for the opportunity to answer this question. It holds so many diverse answers. Naturally life itself is foremost, family, sharing and savouring precious moments. Thereafter, I’m lucky enough to have time to travel with my touring caravan, to tranquil places taking my pencil drawing subjects with me. I mainly draw portraits, self-taught, from photographs and find it rewarding. Outdoor life suits me too, so lots to do beyond writing.
A sequel to 76 Silver Street is at its infancy, title coming later.
Blurb – Although she had a roof over her head, Rosa Brown couldn’t abide Dan’s drunken coercive behaviour as his housekeeper anymore. Aunt Mildred’s call from her hospital-bed sends Rosa sneaking out of town, to take over her aunt’s rundown boarding house. Met by Jack Howard on arrival, in Pemberton 1905, Rosa’s heart plummets when her eyes meet with the dingy filthy place and Jack’s dark devilish impudent manner, who thinks she’s mad and has no intention of helping to get the place up and running before it goes bust.
Rosa is shocked when faced with all the ruffians and commoners knocking on the door and struggles to keep Jack’s hands off her. Sprucing the place up and filling it with respectful paying guests, proves harder than expected.
Now, filled with fear for her aunt and her own wellbeing, will Rosa ever find true love and be free from trouble?
Jenny Lakin – 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced romantic novella of lives in the early 20th century suburbs of working Manchester . The story is fast paced and keeps you reading, I read it in one go.
S. M. Wragg – 4.0 out of 5 starsLively, believable characters. Sets the scene well at the turn of the 20th century. Running away from an abusive relationship, young and feisty Rose Brown has been left in charge of a run-down boarding house by her aunt, who is ill, a happening that brings her into contact with a variety of lively, believable characters. I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.
Lady Rochford – 5.0 out of 5 stars
This is a time when life is cheap . . . Manchester at the turn of the last century is no place for a girl like Rose. Just when she thinks she’s found safety and love she needs to draw on all her reserves of strength in order to survive. She needs a way out of the slums; and a call from her aunt provides her with just that.
Thank you Lizzie, for the kind invitation to write a guest post for your blog. It’s a delight to be here. I hope to make this post as fulfilling, interesting and joyful as I can!
You can connect with Anna Maria at –
76 Silver Street – Kindle edition https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JGQGYRQ
paperback coming soon
As we all get down to the WIP I was thrilled to be mentioned in this blog post.
The highlight of the year was publishing my fifth novel – Take Me, I’m Yours. For this one I abandoned Scotland and headed for Wisconsin where I spent a glorious five weeks a few summers ago. However, fear not, there is a Scottish connection as the hero – Logan MacFarlane and the heroine India-Jane Buchanan are of Scots descent – natch. You can read about it here. Within a few weeks it reached #1 in its genre –
If you’d like to read the first three chapters – follow this link – And if any readers think I’ve abandoned Scotland, read to the end of the blog for details of my next novel . . .
July was a busy month. Adrienne Vaughan and I arranged a Literary Lunch at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester which raised £300 for MIND. It was also a great chance to showcase our books and to thank people for supporting our writing. We are lucky to have such generous friends and readers.
It’s funny how good things happen when you least expect them. I was overwhelmed when Simon Whaley of Writers Magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to contribute to a piece he was writing on BLOG TOURS. Having taken part in two blog tours in as many months I felt qualified to comment.
June saw Bongo Man and me heading for Scotland with our caravan for a month – writing, touring, kicking back. I don’t know what it is about Scotland but it feeds my soul and my imagination. We’ll be returning there this summer, too. This time, we’ll be staying on a site overlooking Castle Stalker which was the inspiration behind Girl in the Castle.
For me, writing is all about making friends and sharing my work with others. Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve made many friends who have gone on to become readers and reviewers of my novels. I never take their support for granted. On our way up to Scotland, by an amazing coincidence, one of my proofreaders was staying on the same campsite in Kendal so I was able to thank her in person for all her help. Later in the summer, on the way to Cornwall in July we were able to meet up again at Exeter Service Station where I gave her a signed copy of Take Me, I’m Yours. Who says writing isn’t romantic? LOL.
In March I attended the RONAs with La Diva, Isabella Tartaruga, who is always first to read the rough draft of my novels and give me honest feedback. I also met fabulous JILLY COOPER – cue fan girl moment. And, in case you’re wondering, Jilly is even lovelier than you could ever imagine.
If I was to choose an author whose books put me on the path to writing, it would have to be Jilly and books such as EMILY, IMOGEN etc. And who could fail to fall for her hero Rupert Campbell-Black in her bonkbuster(s) Polo, Ride and Jump?
We’re getting close to the beginning of the year and Burns Night, which we celebrated at our Danish neighbours’ house. Go figure. As for my obsession with Men in Kilts, I encourage my husband Dave to wear his as often as possible. Purely for inspiration you understand. Here he is on his way to the Burns Night supper, looking quite the part. For those who are wondering, we belong to clan LAMONT (pron: Lam’NT, not La Mont). It’s motto is: Ne Parcas Nec Spernas (Neither spare nor dispose). Not quite sure what that means . . . but I do know that I wouldn’t have achieved half of my success without Bongo Man by my side.
I was lucky enough to be featured on other writers’/bloggers’ posts this year. Here’s a selection (including two blog tours ) if you want to take a look:
- A Night in with Linda Hill
- Books in my Handbag – A Wee Dram with Lizzie Lamb
- Rosie Travers – Comfort Reads
- Being Anne – review of Take Me, I’m Yours (blog post)
As for 2019, the events are stacking up
Carole Matthews Book Launch (February), States of Independence (March), Self publishing Conference (April), Deepings Lit Fest (May) RNA Conference (July), RNA York Tea (September), Narberth Book Fair (Wales), return to DMU to give talk on self-publishing. In addition, there’s monthly Belmont Belles meetings which I organise with mu oppo and great mate, June Kearns.
All that remains now is for me to wish you a healthy and happy 2019. I’m about to pick up the threads of the next novel which I started just before Christmas and to get stuck in. What is it about? I’ll let this tweet and the video do the talking –
Welcome to 2019 and Jo Lambert’s new novel – Wicked Game
Tell us a little about yourself, Jo
Hi Lizzie and thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog. Well, what can I say about me? I’m a country girl who despite living a few years in the city has now migrated back to village life. I’m married and share our home with my husband’s other ‘love’ a green MGB GT. We live on the eastern edge of Bath so have a great city/country life balance. I worked all my adult life in PA or Office Management roles and after reducing hours for a couple of years, decided to close the door on my 9 to 5 to concentrate on my writing full time. As an indie author I’ve written seven novels, five set in West Somerset and two in Devon. In June 2018 I signed a contract with Choc Lit for my eighth book The Boys of Summer set on the north Cornish coast. I write modern romantic sagas with plenty of drama in the mix.
What would be your typical writing day?
Every day, with the exception of weekends, I take an hour out each morning and walk. My allocated time for writing usually begins after lunch and finishes around five. I rarely set a word count for each day as it depends on where I’ve got to with the WIP. If I achieve 2500+ then I feel I’ve done a good day’s work. It’s very easy to let writing take over your life, and because of that I feel it’s important to have a structured day. So I try to set aside time for non-writing activities – cooking, regular catch ups with friends, lunch out, cinema, theatre, even shopping – the sort of things that get you away from the computer for a while.
Tell us how the writing process works for you …
I have never written a novel which has been fully plotted. Rather I set certain key events and then begin to write. So much can change during the journey from beginning to end and that for me means I have to be flexible – to have the ability to change things that don’t work and if necessary swap characters around or delete them from the story. In The Boys of Summer for instance I ended up swapping my hero and antagonist because the other way round they simply weren’t working. I also find lots of external things influence me as I write. Drama on TV, a book I’m reading, music or even having a conversation with someone. One quite innocent event or remark can take my thoughts off in a particular direction and bring about improvements to the story I’m writing. Although it would be great to be able to simply sit down and write a story from beginning to end, I guess we all write in the way we’re most comfortable with. Me? I take the scenic route. Maybe it takes longer but it works for me.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I grew up listening to stories from my maternal grandfather. He was a grand old countryman who entertained us, his grandchildren, with tales which he tended to embellish – making it even more exciting to our young ears. Maybe this rubbed off on me, who knows, but there was always something there that wanted to tell stories – and not just tell them, write them. As I got older, college, career and marriage all conspired to keep that creative spark in me pushed very firmly to the back of the queue. Eventually a story came into my head and simply wouldn’t go away. Despite having a busy life, including a full time job I managed to squeeze in the time to begin writing. The result was When Tomorrow Comes, the first book in the Little Court series and everything took off from there.
Tell us a little bit about where you set your novels
Growing up on a farm in rural Wiltshire it seemed natural for my books to have country flavour – a case of write what you know. It’s not all about country life though. I have a bit of a ‘thing’ about Italy and various locations there have featured in more than one of my novels.
Please share your favourite reviews from previous books –
Summer Moved On – ‘What I really like about Jo Lambert books is that there are never any dull moments. The drama and romance comes thick and fast. The pace of the book builds up to an amazing story. The characters in the book are so alive and real that you will become emotionally involved and fall deep into the story.’
Watercolours In the Rain –I very much enjoyed Summer Moved On, but Watercolours in the Rain is even better.
Finding out what happened to Jess, Talun and Lily – and all the other minor characters – was like hearing about friends and what happened to them.
I was fascinated to see how Jo Lambert managed to get the “right” ending – very cleverly written, I thought.
Please share the Blurb and link to your current book
Fashion designer Thérèse D’Alesandro has recently moved into Westhead Manor with daughter Felicia and stepson Marco. Joining forces with neighbour Ella Benedict, she is about to open a bridal boutique at Ella’s exclusive wedding venue Lawns at Little Court. Marco has both the looks and charm to guarantee him any woman. Any woman, that is, except the one he wants: Ella’s niece Charlotte. Marco knows he should walk away as not only is she the most exasperating female he has ever encountered she’s currently in a relationship with rock star Christian Rossetti. But the chemistry between them is undeniable and sensing trouble brewing between Charlotte and the egotistical singer he is prepared to wait.
Charlotte’s cousin Lucy has discovered Christian’s guilty secrets – ones he has been keeping safely hidden from everyone. Determined to cause mischief and at the same time settle her own score with the arrogant star, she sets in motion a chain of events which eventually brings Marco and Charlotte together. Rossana Caravello is due to inherit the one of Italy’s premier vineyards on her twenty first birthday in September. Aware this would make an excellent addition to her husband’s international business portfolio, Thérèse plots to push the young heiress and her stepson together. Rossana is already besotted with Marco, but if the plan is to have any chance of success first she needs to get rid of Charlotte…
download Jo’s new book here
Well, that about wraps up this interview. Thanks for appearing on my blog, Jo. I wish you mega success with your new novel and all your writing endevours.
Boot Camp Bride is five years old this month. Recently I re-visited Norfolk and the sites which inspired the novel. I’d love to share them with you and, hopefully, remind you of what a great romcom Boot Camp Bride is. There’s a chance to win a paperback copy (UK only) or a mobi. download (worldwide) – details at the end of this blog, so join in the fun and you could be a winner.
Blurb? I’ll allow one of my latest reviews to do the talking for me –
“Charlee is forced to attend a boot camp to get a scoop for the magazine she works for. I adored the situation set up for this story – such fun! The author is very clever at painting her characters and adding poignant brushstrokes of humour and vulnerability. Oh my, Charlee’s anecdotes will chase away the winter blues! Charlee guided me through her adventure, and I could not stop laughing. How does Lizzie Lamb manage to combine humour, adventure and romance? Charlee was feisty, fun, intelligent and clumsy – perfect. Undeterred by the alpha male, she managed to fight him with wit and stubbornness. Lizzie Lamb’s characters and style of writing sparkle in Boot Camp Bride. This romantic comedy is classic gold: it is the equivalent of comfort food and a good night out with friends.”
As the tagline says – meet Charlee Montague – your new best friend. This is how I imagined her and delicious alpha hero, Raphael Fonseca Ffinch (aka Rafa) . . .
Noel Coward was not a great fan of the county and quipped: awfully flat, Norfolk. That’s what I thought the first couple of times I visited Thornham where the novel is set. But after a time, I started to understand the appeal of this beautiful landscape. Here’s what Charlee thinks as she looks out across the marshes for the first time, Rafa at her side.
Now she was out of the wind and the sun had come out, the marshes didn’t look so grim after all. There was a stripped back beauty to them, she could see that, and the flocks of birds heading for the feeding grounds down by the shoreline ensured the view was ever changing. And she had to admit, just sitting there, eyes closed, face soaking up the weak January sun, was the perfect antidote to the last couple of manic weeks. When she glanced at Ffinch he was scanning the marshes through his binoculars, his cup of hot chocolate untouched on the bench beside him. Why did she get the impression it wasn’t the birds he was watching so intently? ‘What’s out there?’ Charlee asked, slipping on her sunglasses against the almost overwhelming expanse of bright blue sky that filled three quarters of the landscape. ‘The Wash. And over there you can see the wind turbines on the shoreline at Skegness.’ Charlee followed his pointing finger and squinted at the distant shore where almost a hundred huge turbines were turning like quiet ghosts.
Boot Camp Bride is set in Thornham, near Hunstanton. The Lifeboat Inn, an alleged haunt of smugglers, doubles for The Ship in the novel. This is where Rafa and Charlee spend their first night together – strictly business, natch – very much aware of a growing physical attraction.
“Charlee and Ffinch climbed the stairs to their respective bedrooms. Charlee was rather unsteady, a combination of vertiginous heels and the quantity of wine she’d consumed. She pulled a face and groaned, thinking of the hangover she would wake up with and the windswept salt marshes dashing ice-cold rain and sleet into her face. Ffinch walked up the stairs behind her, his hand resting lightly on her waist as if keeping a loving eye on her, whereas in reality he was holding her upright. Bidding the other guests goodnight, he whispered in her ear. ‘Smile, for goodness sake. You look as if you’re going to your doom, not a night of passion in The Ship’s best room. Stay in role.’ ‘I’m concentrating on my balance, if you must know, and,’ Charlee whipped round as his words sank in, almost falling backwards into his arms. ‘A night of passion, now hold it right there, mate. It’d take more than two glasses of champagne -’ ‘Half a bottle of Rioja, a sticky with your pudding and cognac with coffee – to do what? Make the thought of sleeping with me more palatable?’ Although he kept a straight face, Charlee detected banked down humour there.”
My friend Joan and I sitting in the hall of The Lifeboat Inn. It was at her and husband Roger’s place in Thornham that the idea of Boot Camp Bride first took shape.
It was easy to imagine Thornham Manor as the phoney Boot Camp for Brides – the front for drug smuggling on the marshes. At high tide it would be easy to land contraband on the nearby quay without arousing suspicion. You can also read an extract HERE
Boot Camp Bride is also available as a paperback and would make an ideal Christmas/ birthday present for someone who enjoys reading romance with a light sprinkling of humour and quick fire dialogue. Oh, and there’s a classic VW Camper Van featured in it, too. What’s not to like?
If you’d like to enter Boot Camp’s Brides Birthday Competition, all you have to do it FOLLOW my blog and/or share this post on any of the links below. The winner will be notified by email.
And, finally – If you’d like to read more about Rafa and Charlee’s adventures, download a copy of Boot Camp Bride – It’s 99p/99c from Wednesday 21st November for one week.