Review: “Twenty Years: After “I Do”” by DG Kaye

Twenty Years by D.G. Kaye

If you follow this blog then you might have gathered that I’m a fan of Debby’s writing. When I spotted this new release I had to grab it right away.

The book is very accurately described in the long title: It is a reflection on one specific relationship that lasted over 20 years with many challenges, which mostly stem from an age gap and health issues. This book touched me especially since I recently got married and – like the author – live with a long – term partner with many health issues.
What Kaye does with bravour is opening up about the problems encountered and how she and her partner have mastered them. Sensitive, humorous and with plenty of heart-felt love for her partner the book addresses important specific and genweral relationship issues.
I think many of us can learn from Debby, admire her choices and identify with the moments where she admittedly struggled.
Getting her partner back to work, standing by him during cancer treatment and the effects of his illness, planning their life together as couple from the “I DO” until the “R.I.P.”
Above all this, the book is a wonderful homage to her husband, a love story, triumph of love over obstacles and a lovely anniversary gift to her husband.
Having read many of Kaye’s other books I’m pleased I found this memoir that uncovered some unknown or lesser known aspects of her life as writer and wife.
I’m sure this will find a large audience as the relationship advice given is relevant for other couples, too.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful reflections and insights.

This book is live now on Amazon! Get it HERE

Blurb: 

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

Doris Heilmann of 111 Publishing andSavvybookwriters.com, author and publisher as one of the beta readers and she endorsed the book, too:

“Twenty Years: After “I Do” shows not only newly married couples but also those in the middle of their lives how to navigate companionship challenges and show love and kindness to their partners, handling life together gracefully and in harmony.

Multibook self-help author D.G. Kaye demonstrates, using examples from her own marriage, how to really commit to a relationship—till death do us part.” – Doris-Maria Heilmann, 111 Publishing

 

From DG Kaye:

Writing this book was a true labor of love. The book stemmed from little things that popped into my head last year when my husband took ill. I was riding a roller coaster of emotions for much of the year with my husband’s health, and it got me thinking about how much had really changed through the years as his aging was happening well ahead of mine.

Okay, I’m not saying I haven’t aged, because that would be an outright lie. I have many new grey hairs that found their way into my red hair and sometimes I question the face in the mirror. But what I mean is that my husband happens to be two decades older than me, and when we first got married I let that factor slide because there were so many good reasons to get married. But it’s a learning curve when you have a ringside seat watching your spouse go through situations that become a bit more difficult as the body ages and sickness sometimes takes its toll.

It was an actual statement that my husband made one day that lit up my brain with the book idea. He made a statement – “We’ve been together twenty years.” When you read the book you will understand why that statement spurred the title of the book. And from there, well, it got me thinking about some of the day-to-day activities we do that tend to get altered as one ages, as well as some of things about the future we don’t normally tend to think about when we’re younger, but become things we have to think about and deal with.

The basic formula that I can share to keep the engines of a marriage running smoothly is to always remember compassion and kindness, listen with your heart, talk about your feelings, be a supportive partner, and don’t forget to include laughter in your life everyday!

Arizona

 

 

Here’s a short excerpt from the chapter “Taking the Plunge and Commitment” to give you a feel for what you can expect to read in this book:

 

If I commit to something, I’m in it for life. “Till death do us part” is a simple phrase often not analyzed to its fullest extent as we bask in bliss, about to commit to our chosen life partner and join in holy matrimony. After all, who wants to think about possible frightening future scenarios on what’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of our lives?

In that euphoric moment, while dreaming of a wonderful future together, we feel confident we can conquer any and everything. We feel invincible while shrouded with love as we stand before our friends and family, promising our beloved to love, honor, and cherish in sickness and health, often without taking in the truest depths of the words. We tend to discount the idea of sickness as a situation that will never happen to us—but often, it does.

Since moving away from home as a late teen, I’d had many suitors and a few marriage proposals through the years, but I had enjoyed my wings of freedom and had no desire to marry. Then I met Gordon, a man like no other I’d known. He was divorced and living it up, content to remain a bachelor. That was until he met me. On our third date, Gordon smiled at me, his sky-blue eyes twinkling with adoration as he embraced me in a warm cuddle, and announced that he was going to marry me one day. I had long resolved to never marry, but truth be told, I too by that third date had an uncanny feeling that I just might marry that man.

I laughed out loud, kissed his sweet cheek, and replied, “That will never happen.” But it did. Our dating life left me more than enough material to write another book, but suffice to say, by the following year’s end, we were living together, and within the following year, I was planning our wedding. I took the plunge after weighing all the fears I had about what the future might hold as older age set in against how much I loved and felt loved by this man. I couldn’t deny the fact that I had found my soulmate.

 

If you enjoy reading books about relationships, aging and wisdom, what changes in a marriage and look into how I’ve worked out my own formula for maintaining a healthy and loving relationship, then this book may just be for you!

You can find all my books on my Amazon Author Page, and if you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, HERE is the universal link that will take you to the Amazon page of your own country.

 

***For those of you interested in purchasing a copy of the paperback, nightmares abound with Createspace and their previewing tool (as I found out quite a few authors have encountered this lately). So unfortunately because I couldn’t preview the download I await a proof copy in snail mail from the US before I hit publish, so I’ll keep you up to date!

Update:  The paperback is now live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#BOOKLAUNCH – TWENTY YEARS: AFTER “I DO” BY D.G. KAYE

Thanks to Tina Frisco for the original post

#BOOKLAUNCH – TWENTY YEARS: AFTER “I DO” BY D.G. KAYE

via #Booklaunch – Twenty Years: After “I Do” by D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies, aka D.G. Kaye, has just released her 6th memoir,  Twenty Years: After “I Do”She speaks from the heart and bares her soul in her writing. I couldn’t recommend her books more highly.
Debby is an ardent supporter of authors, featuring guest posts and interviews, reblogs, book reviews, tips and tricks, and much more. She is an inspiration and a woman I am proud to call Sister and Friend.
Join me in congratulating Debby on launching her new book. She frequently shares her fellow authors’ posts, so please do her the honor of sharing this, or her original launch post, to your social networks. Thank you so much ♥

 

Twenty Years: After "I Do" by D.G. Kaye

Buy the book HERE
(universal link)

BLURB
May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

EXCERPT
Chapter: To the Moon with Laughter 

I’ve witnessed many relationships head south when the initial attraction fades. Sure, people change opinions, preferences, or attitudes on certain issues as time passes, but if our core values or personality change, or if the common elements of enjoyment once shared between two people dissipate, we question our happiness. If we’re not happy about our partner’s personality change or views, a little bit of laughter dies within us. It becomes difficult to feel comfortable with our partner when inner unrest grows. The new discomfort curtails our ability to remain happy and feel the familiar freedom to laugh when our partner no longer shares the same humor. Note that I’m not referring to changes such as complacency or laziness that may set in due to declining energy levels. Age will sometimes alter our agility and even certain desires, but it doesn’t have to affect our senses of humor. Age creeping into a good marriage shouldn’t be a relationship killer.

EDITORIAL REVIEW 

Twenty Years: After “I Do” shows not only newly married couples but also those in the middle of their lives how to navigate companionship challenges and show love and kindness to their partners, handling life together gracefully and in harmony.

Multibook self-help author D.G. Kaye demonstrates, using examples from her own marriage, how to really commit to a relationship—till death do us part.

– Doris-Maria Heilmann, 111 Publishing

BIO D.G. Kaye Writer

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.

Why I Write

I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

“For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

************* 

Find Debby’s other books and read the reviews on
Amazon US     Amazon UK     Goodreads  

D.G. Kaye Amazon Author Page

Connect with Debby on her Website and social networks:
Website  Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads  LinkedIn   Google+   Pinterest   StumbleUpon  Instagram About.Me
Thanks so much for stopping by ❤

Welsh Wednesdays: Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair in the Press

Thanks to the Herald for this lovely write-up:
Link to the original article at the Herald:

http://www.carmarthenshireherald.com/39501/treat-literature-fans-llandeilo-book-fair/

NEWS 

Treat for literature fans at Llandeilo Book Fair

Published by

Organised by local author Christoph Fischer, the event attracted a wide range of local authors exhibiting their work and giving readings at several venues.

Since moving to west Wales with his Welsh partner, Mr Fischer has been amazed at the abundance of literary talent on his doorstep.

Over 30 local authors gathered in the Horeb Chapel and in the Shire Hall from 10:30 to 4pm to exhibit their latest books and 14 of them held workshops and readings in shops all over Llandeilo.Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

“Although Llandeilo has the Red Cross Charity Book Shop, the town’s literary appetite is still unsatiated and demand for books and bookish events is high,” Mr Fischer explained.

While the event is smaller than the April Lit Fest the Book Fair managed to capture its spirit by bringing the authors and their readings right into the heart of town.

continue reading here:

http://www.carmarthenshireherald.com/39501/treat-literature-fans-llandeilo-book-fair/

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Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and table

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting

SINGING MY SONG IN A BOOK

Further to my own review yesterday, here’s more praise for Revital and her brave book

P.C. Zick

revital_AMAZONI recently heard from an author friend with whom I’d lost contact over the past few years.  I was happy to receive her email asking me to help format her newest endeavor. I didn’t know much about the project, except it was nonfiction–self-help–unlike her two previous books, both novels, I had read and reviewed.

When she sent me the manuscript, I felt as if I’d entered into Gladys Knight’s world when I saw the title and began reading, Revital Shiri-Horowitz’s book, It’s Just Your Imagination – Growing Up With a Narcissistic Mother Revital was “Killing Me Softly” with her words.

Not literally, of course. But I was struck that despite our different backgrounds, cultures, and details of our lives, we both experienced the same emotional responses to being raised by women who were unable to love us unconditionally because of their own mental condition.

With precise dissection and brutal…

View original post 499 more words

Review: “It’s Just Your Imagination: Growing Up with a Narcissistic Mother – Insights of a Personal Journey” by Revital Shiri-Horowitz

What an incredible journey: Growing up with a mother who doesn’t support you is a really tough challenge and one that many fail to survive. Shiri-Horovitz tells her own story with the intellect and precision of an analytical and reflective person, vulnerable but not a victim; well, clearly a victim of circumstances but not one to merely point the finger and just sit back and feel sorry for herself.
Inspiring at times, painful at others, refreshingly honest, informative and helpful are some of the words that spring to mind. Something that has the potential to help thousands of people and an amazing journey that is compelling to watch.
Having read the author’s other books it’s great to hear her own voice in a biographical context. I had no idea there had been so much pain and struggle in her life. All the more reassuring that people can pull through, as she did.
Whether your own mother was narcissistic or maybe someone else’s was, there is something to learn from this for everyone. Thanks for sharing your story, which can’t have been easy.
Highly recommended.

Buy the book on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Link to my interview with Revital and review of “The Daughters of Iraq”

711sAQyF08L._UX250_Biography

I was born and raised in Israel. As the oldest child of a family of three, I was the one who would daydream, I was the one who read like a bookworm, and I was the one who was so influenced by books, that I could act as if I were the main character in the book of real life for weeks…My father owned a small appliance shop and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. Both my parents immigrated to Israel from Iraq in 1950, but met twelve years later and married. As a kid, I remember writing poetry and some short stories. I had a journal I wrote in almost every day since I was nine years old, and up to the time I met my husband, but never imagined that one day I would become a published author in more than one language, and in so many countries, and even continents.I come from a very creative family. Three out of six of my uncles and aunt are published poets, and four of my cousins are well known musicians in Israel, so I don’t really understand why I never thought of myself as a writer (probably because I just did not have the guts…).

In Israel, after I graduated from high school I went to the army. I volunteered for special service with an army unit based in Kibbutz Eilot, located next to the Red Sea port city of Eilat. In that unit I worked in the kibbutz at the laundry, with kids ages three and ten (and loved it!), and even in the kitchen and dining room. It was an experience I will never forget, and influenced me, since this was the first time in my life that I was actually independent and away from my family.

After army service of two and a half years I went to Tel Aviv University, where I studied Hebrew Literature and Geography. I loved studying, and this is the reason I hold two Master degrees in both subjects, and a teaching certificate. During my studies I met my husband-to-be, and we moved to London for a year.

The year we spent in London was quite a shock for me. As an Israeli, I was always following the news, checking to see if any catastrophe happened, living life on a very fast track. While in London, I learned that the “hot subject” was usually the cold weather and the rain. After a year we moved back to Israel and I went back to school. A year later we married and after another year I became a very proud mom to a beautiful boy. I was the happiest woman on earth when that happened. I felt that I achieved the most important thing in life – I gave life.

Two years passed and we moved to Washington State. I love this area very much, but as an Israeli, I never got used to the cold weather, so three years (and another boy) later, we moved back to Israel, this time for about three and a half years, and then with a third son returned to the US. During our stay in Israel earned a second degree in Hebrew Literature, where I focused on Women Studies. I remember taking a class that had a discussion on Jewish women in Arab countries. I remember how upset I was to learn about these women were forgotten, weak, and had lives that lacked meaning, while I knew how powerful the women in my family were back then in Iraq. I remember speaking about this with my aunt, and her suggesting that I can write the story of the women in our family.

Am I a writer? I wasn’t very sure, but decided it was worth taking the risk. I started investigating, and taped my aunt, and decided to try and write a novel that would be based on my family’s story. That would be my best chance to reach as many readers as possible, I thought. A character came to my mind, and she was based on a neighbor I once had, who used to be a very good friend of my mom. She was also a mix of my mom and aunts. But where is she located, I wondered, and what was she doing? In my imagination she was living in a small town, and she was for sure proudly cooking I thought, Iraqi dishes. You see, in our Iraqi Jewish family a mom feeds everyone. My mom is still the same way, and food has a central role in our life.

Then came the second character, the sister of this woman whom I named Farina. She was the family intellectual, and was writing the family story because she was sick with cancer. She wanted to leave it for her children to learn later in life about their roots and origin. I named her Violet, since in Iraq they used English names because the British had ruled for many years.

The third main character was Violet’s daughter, Noa, a student in her twenties, trying to find her happiness and herself.

Writing this book took five years. Another boy was added to our family, and the book was first published in Israel. As we moved back and forth, my dream was to publish in English too, which I did.

I am now a mother of four boys, married to same husband for twenty years, writing more poetry, running a blog in “Haaretz”, an Israeli newspaper, and working for the last three years on a second novel.

Mystery Mondays: Feedback for my thriller “The Healer” #amreading

Here is the transcript from a reader’s group on the Internet where my thriller
THE HEALER was being discussed. I don’t think I’ve ever read something about any of my books like it: 

“I’m reading Christoph Fischer’s The Healer right now and it is really powerful. The writing itself is strong but the story – wow. It’s difficult for me to read given that I’m also going through chemotherapy and a host of other things and I’m finding moments where I need to just put it down and think.

I’m barely a third through and already know that this is going to be one of those books that I always remember and think back on. I want to go online to read his other reviews but I’m too afraid to, not wanting to see the reactions of other readers that are going through similar feelings of fear and desperation like myself because, well… it hurts.

Guys, I seriously cannot recommend this book enough … Once I’m finished with this book I’m going to be spamming it around my lame chronic illness groups like confetti.

My God, Christoph, whatever you went through that brought you to write this in a way that so completely speaks to the desperation I feel and the values that change… I just don’t have words. I’m so sorry.

….

Oh my god. There is a line in Christoph’s book where she lays back and accepts the pain, surrendering to it instead of fighting it, and just letting go- how it’s almost therapeutic to just let your disease wash over you and feel it for what it is for once. No denial, no pushing through. Just letting it loose and going along for the ride.

I’ve done exactly that. The first time was in hospital, and I’ve learned to do it since, kind of recognising when you need to put the barriers down for a minute.

Omg. I read that and started sobbing.

AND IM ON THE FREAKING CENTRAL LINE at rush hour!!! FML. People are starting. I’ve been offered tissue and this is a really big deal because you’re not allowed make eye contact on public transport.

Oh man. This book is going to be a freaking anthem in some of my groups. Yeesh.

thank-you-407397__180This has stopped me in my tracks yesterday. I hope the book isn’t causing any upset but I thank this woman from the bottom of my heart for her kind words, and thank you for listening!

The Healer


When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. Prayer-can-Heal-2She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/thehealerthriller 

 

It gives me great pleasure to announce that “The Sanctuary on Cayman Brac: Key to the Truth” is now available here: 

http://smarturl.it/SanctuaryCaymanBrac

http://bookShow.me/B076JJPTCS

This is not only a sequel to “The Healer” but also an ending to “The Gamblers”.

In “The Sanctuary on Cayman Brac: Key to the truth”” Arpan has set up a training school and spiritual retreat on the small island in the Caribbean. Yet, the peaceful and quiet existence he has sought soon comes to an end. The arrival of Erica teaches him that lose ends won’t stop until they’re truly healed and dealt with. Erica, out to seek revenge for past wrongs soon begins to fall under the Caribbean spell and the magic of Arpan. Torn between her desire for justice and her own longing for peace, what she discovers at the school sets her again on the path of confusion and distrust. Set in a beautiful location and spiked with a crossover from the cast of Fischer’s other mystery novel, “The Gamblers” this is another fast-paced psychological thriller about faith and deceit. Erica will finally find out the full truth about who tricked whom and we’ll all get an answer as to who will walk away with the last laugh.

All three books can be bought together in a box set under the title “Fraud or Miracle Trilogy”. – in paperback and on pre-order. (also to be delivered by Nov 1st) 


Christoph Fischer

Short Biography:

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath.  He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. “Time To Let Go” , his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions” in October 2014. His medical thriller “The Healer” was released in January 2015.

He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Blog: https://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Amazon: http://ow.ly/BtveY

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106213860775307052243

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

Mystery Mondays Review: “What about Barnum?” by Joss Landry

What About Barnum? (Binary Bounty) by [Landry, Joss]“What About Barnum (Binary Bounty)?” by Joss Landry is a wonderful story and the beginning of a promising series.
It is the story of a divorced single mother by the beach with her best friend. An Adonis like stranger saves her child from drowning, but when she sees him again he doesn’t recognise her. Then there is a business partner/ ex, who’s becoming a suspect in a police investigation, complicating matters more.
Now if you know Joss Landry and her writing then you will suspect that something of the spiritual and mystical will come into play as well, and you are right.
You’ll discover in this book that the Universe works in mysterious ways and people don’t always see it because they are looking at it the wrong way. Landry has created not only unforgettable characters but also successfully combines mystery with inspiring and uplifting themes.
The novel has suspense, romance, depth and seriousness, all in good measures. A wonderful read.

 

Blurb:

To Millicent Brewer, Barnum may as well be Poseidon when he walks out of a rip current’s swell in the Pacific Ocean to save her five-year-old son from drowning. Jonah is her whole world. However, Millie’s divorce taught her to avoid tall, gorgeous men—badasses her sister Denny calls them. And the glow in Barnum’s eyes stirs her. No. Not merely gratitude. More like an emotional alarm prompting her to remain on her guard.

Trouble emerges in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with two murders at their hotel. To prevent retribution from the Jalisco Drug Cartel, Barnum fetches Millie, Denny, and Jonah in the middle of the night to board his yacht.

One evening while walking on the beach, Barnum gathers Millie in his arms in a passionate kiss that turns black clouds into white linen, and Millie senses the two of them floating far above the ground. While the man provides for all their needs with charm and kindness, through unfathomable occurrences, Millie considers Barnum might not be human.

Get the book here:

Biography

Joss has worked as a consultant for more than twenty years, writing copy for marketing firms and assisting start-up companies launch their business. She recently made the switch from composing copy and promos, to writing fiction and prose. She is developing her style through courses and the support of other writers. She is presently working on honing three other novels for publication.Joss Landry

Blessed with four children and six grandchildren, she resides in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband, a staunch supporter, and enjoys spending time biking, rollerblading, playing tennis, and swimming. She loves creating stories as she says they fulfill her need to think outside the box.

Introducing the authors and speakers of the Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair Dec 9th: Illustration Workshop with William Scott Artus

On the day of the book fair Scott will be around the Shire Hall to promote Anne Signol’s book “Norris and Gertie Gobstopper on the Gwili Railway”, which he illustrated. But he will also hold a talk and illustration workshop at The Flying Goose at 1:45.
William Scott Artus 

– publishing and commercial illustrator talks about his career…

William will be holding a illustration talk and draw session at the Flying Goose. Bring your children and learn how to draw cartoons the quick way. He will also talk about how you can break into to this lucrative career and the highs and lows of being a book illustrator.

Scott is a writer and illustrator working and living in Bonllwyn, Carmarthenshire. Scott splits his time between illustrating for Anne Signol and doing his own projects as well as running the Gwili Steam Railways events. Scott is trying to keep the heritage of the railway alive using events and fundraising activities such as the book. All the funds raised will be used towards a new heritage railway shed at Abergwili and new track laying on the railway. The book is sold in the shop and will be available for sale at the book fair and on the Santa’s Magical Steam trains. The new Halloween books that Scott has written will be available at the Carmarthen and Ammanford library book fairs and on the railway at half term. Signed book prizes are awarded for best costume on Halloween.

Introducing the authors of the Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair: Interview with Graham Watkins

 

 

You can meet Carmarthenshire author Graham Watkins with his splendid books on Saturday Dec 9th in the Shire Hall, Llandeilo.
Graham is certainly no stranger to this blog. Here’s the latest interview with him. 

What do you love most about the writing process?

One of the things about writing I particularly enjoy is doing the research. It’s an excuse to have some fun. For example, before writing my historical novel A White Man’s War, which is about the siege of Mafeking during the Boer War, I took my wife and myself off to South Africa. My wife and I negotiated a deal. She agreed to accompany me exploring the battlefields of the Zulu and Boer Wars in return for a visit to Kruger Game Reserve to see the big five, a tasting tour of the Southern Cape vineyards, a trip up Table Mountain, Oh! and a day shopping in Cape Town. It was a good arrangement. I got plenty of material for the book and we both had a great time.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

That’s a difficult question. It’s tempting to answer Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ I first read his book when I began my business career in the 1970s and it helped me a lot. More recently I discovered two books by David Howarth ‘Waterloo’ and ‘Trafalgar.’ Howarth is a superb writer and a great narrator.

Are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Creating key characters is one of the first thing I do when planning a book. I write out a profile. Name, age, sex, physical appearance, mannerisms, hates and passions and so on. Some, like Nye Vaughn in The Iron Masters, are a composite of different real historical people, others pure invention. Writing historical fiction also enables me to include real people. Again, in The Iron Masters there are cameo appearances by Admiral Lord Nelson, Thomas Telford and others.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

I came to writing late in life, when I retired in 2003. My first book Exit Strategy was a business self help tome written to explain how to sell a company; an experience I had just gone through. These days I write mainly for my own enjoyment rather than the money and I still regard myself as a journeyman, an apprentice wordsmith, learning the craft. I don’t think we ever stop learning.

What do you think makes a good story?

What makes a good story? A strong beginning, characters that readers can believe in, a problem and a solution reached after overcoming a series of obstacles. I detest ending where everything is left in the air and the reader abandoned like a ghost ship swinging on its moorings.

What genre do you consider your books? Have you considered writing in another genre?

Yes I have. I write in a variety of genres including historical fiction, nonfiction and short stories. More recently I’ve started writing thrillers. My first attempt was The Sicilian Defence a novel about a young American heiress lured to Sicily to be defrauded. Right now, I’m working on a novel with the working title Protocol 5 set in Britain involving murder, adoption, terrorism and corrupt politicians.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

An impoverished Italian Count, an American beauty, mafia money lenders, treachery and Sicilian guile all are in The Sicilian Defence; a story of good intentions and evil plans where the past and the present collide.

What was the inspiration behind The Sicilian Defence?

In the same way that a trip to South Africa inspired A White Man’s War, it was a holiday in Sicily which gave me the idea of The Sicilian Defence. The title of the book is a chess strategy but the idea for the plot came from reading about a real American woman lured to Italy and swindled out of her fortune by a fake count. Touring the island; seeing the squalid slums of Palermo, the breathtaking beauty of Mount Etna, the sad mass of African refugees at Catania and the romance of Taormina was a story in itself. The rest, as they say, is history.

How long did it take you to write The Iron Masters?

My historical novel The Iron Masters is the biggest project I’ve undertaken so far. It’s a fifty year family saga set in the cannon foundries of the South Wales during the Napoleonic Wars. Researching the history, crafting the plot, writing and editing took two years.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?

That’s a good question and the answer is yes. While reading a draft of The Iron Masters to my wife she observed that villain’s wife was a bit dull. As a result I did some rewriting and the character, Delyth was her name, sprang to life. Murder, adultery and much more. She was great fun and totally unexpected. In fact I had trouble keeping up with her antics.

If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

It certainly would not be Delyth. She’s the sort of woman who entrances, seduces, uses and devours. I think I would spend time with Themba Jabulani from A White Man’s War. He’s a Baralong warrior at Mafeking, armed by Baden Powell – that name might ring a bell. Themba’s back story about what really happened during those 217 days when the town was besieged would be fascinating. Themba is, of course, my creation but to meet and talk with a man like him from that time would great.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

I’m told I like the sound of my own voice which must be true because I’m sometimes invited to give talks to different audiences. How good I am is debatable and I confess I once put a listener to sleep at a black tie Rotary event where I was the after dinner speaker. The poor chap almost fell off his chair. It might have been what I was saying but I suspect his wine consumption was the real culprit.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m a butterfly and flit from one idea to another. It’s a bad habit and I have to concentrate so I don’t lose track of what I’m writing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

We have an old farmhouse high in the Brecon Beacons with six acres which I call as our green gymnasium. There is always something that needs doing. Aside from looking after the house and garden, I like walking and have a wood turning lathe in the barn.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you? Not particularly to do with your writing.

Newly married, my wife and I went camping to Coniston. We pitched our tent in a nice grassy spot beside a pretty little stream and walked into the village for a couple of drinks.  It was late when we came back to the campsite and had started to rain. The rain got heavier; stair rods would be a good description. We woke in the early hours in total darkness and soaking wet. The stream had burst its banks and overflowed. Our airbed had submerged under six inches of water and the tent had collapsed around us. Everything – shoes, clothes, torch was underwater. We spent the rest of the night shivering in the car. It didn’t seem funny at the time.

Give us a random fact about yourself.

After leaving school I trained to be a marine engineer.

 


 

Links to find Graham:
https://www.facebook.com/graham.watkins.311?ref=br_rs
https://twitter.com/GrahamWriter
Buying Links:
The Iron Masters; Amazon.co.uk: http://getbook.at/iron_masters
A White Man’s WarAmazon.co.uk: http://viewbook.at/AWMW

Exit Strategy: Amazon.co.uk: http://viewbook.at/ExitStrategy