Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘author’

If you missed me talking live on Radio Woking about all things astrology you can now listen to a recording of the show.

I was in coversation with the fabulous presenter Sharon Galliford on her Sunday morning show The View From Here.

Read Full Post »

Virginia Woolf famously said, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” So, what do we do if we don’t have both of these much desired essentials? Do we throw ourselves down on the floor screaming, “I’ll never be a writer!”? Not at all. Writers are made of far stronger stuff.

Camping in Dorset

Yes, I have space at home to write, as many authors do, but that doesn’t mean that I necessarily have the freedom to write without constant interruptions.

For several weeks of the year I create that much needed ‘room of her own’ in which to write. I pack my little car to the hilt with camping gear and head off to Dorset. On a fabulous campsite with views across Chesil Beach we pitch our tent. It isn’t a fun-park, theme-park type of campsite, especially not out of season when I choose to go. It’s tranquil. Bordering a nature reserve, the noisiest things we hear at night are the owls hooting in the trees overhead, and the waves crashing against far off pebbles. Unless it’s harvest time and the farmers have to work all night to get their crops in before it rains! On those nights we hear combine harvesters rumbling across distant fields, and rush out to see them lit up like spaceships manoeuvring in the dark. It’s all part of the fun.

Now, I expect you’re envisaging a little two man tent and a camp fire flickering under the stars. Nothing quite so romantic, I’m afraid; but I expect you’ve already sneaked a peek at the photo, haven’t you? My tent is a veritable mansion! The label says it sleeps six adults, and yes, there are only two of us. Furthermore, we cheat. We pay a bit extra so that we can have an electric hook-up to power my laptop, run a light and boil a kettle. When it’s really cold we also plug in a heater. This enormous space is no longer a tent: it’s the author’s hub.

My partner and I use the main living area for sitting and chatting, and eating together. We cook in the little front canopy. The sleeping area we fill with king-size inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags and extremely warm duvets. It can get very cold in Dorset in September. Of an evening, this sleeping compartment becomes my ‘room of her own.’ After supper I say the now famous words, “I’m going in.” My partner nods sagely and switches the kettle on. Once inside my room, with the partitioning flap zipped up, I sit cross legged on my mattress, set up my laptop, and pull the duvet around my shoulders. After a while my partner calls, “Tea’s ready,” and I unzip the dividing flap just enough to reach out and be handed my mug of tea.

From then on I write, mostly straight through until morning. Zipped in my secret room, with the light filtering through from the living area, I’m in a world all of my own. It’s magic. Every so often I pass my empty mug out through the flap, and miraculously it gets filled up again with hot tea. It’s very much like having a room of my own with service!

Please don’t think that I totally ignore my partner. During the day we go for long walks, and I take photographs of the wildlife: or we go into Bridport, West Bay or Weymouth and meet some of the locals. Every Saturday in Bridport there’s a flea-market, and we love to go along and have a good rummage, pick up something vintage or a few crystals from one of our favourite stall-holders. Speaking of crystals, in West Bay you can find pieces of calcite along the cliff faces, and fossils as well if you’re lucky.

Rainbow over the Fleet - DorsetSometimes we just walk and talk. On one such occasion we were walking along the Fleet from the campsite to Old Fleet Church, having great fun discussing and enacting a fight scene I was in the process of writing in Saving Anna. Passers-by must have thought we were completely mad, as we kept pretending to strike one-another with a knife, which to them would have been quite invisible. At times a piece of driftwood stood in for the weapon, and then we had to explain that I was an author, and that we weren’t really having a punch-up and trying to hurt each other. By the time we got back to the tent, some three hours later at dusk, we’d finalised the fight scene; every move choreographed to perfection, every word spoken flowing smoothly. We were excited. It was so well planned.

“I’ll make supper,” my partner said. “While you go in and get it written down.”
So, in I went, the action we’d outlined fresh in my mind. I read through the couple of paragraphs I’d already written leading up to the fight scene, drank tea: then began typing.
Within fifteen minutes I called out, “Sorry!”
My partner rushed to the partitioning flap and whispered, “What’s happened?”
“As soon as I started writing, Talbot went and did something completely different,” I explained. “I couldn’t help it. He just didn’t want the fight to end up like that.”
My partner sighed, heavily. “That man Talbot’s a rogue. You can never trust him to follow orders.”
We laughed, but you see, this is what happens, when a woman has a room of her own in which to write fiction. In the peace and solitude of one’s own space, the story takes on a life all of its own.

Saving Anna is the second book in the Jake Talbot Investigates series: due for release this autumn. Book 1 Visiting Lilly is available on Amazon and free on Kindle Unlimited.

Visiting Lilly free on Kindle Unlimited

Read Full Post »

I’ve been writing fiction for many, many years, and during this time I’ve met numerous aspiring authors. It doesn’t matter whether we write detective mysteries or period romance, we all tend to have one thing in common – self-doubt. We constantly wonder whether an agent will like our work, whether a publisher will accept our work, and most of all, whether the readers will relate to our work and take our characters to their hearts.

So, how do we overcome this demon?

For my own part I remind myself of the high praise I received from one of the world’s top crime writers, P.D. James.

At the time I was living on the Isle of Wight and an active member of two exceptionally good writing groups. One group focused on critique and perfecting craft, while the other had built a strong list of famous authors who were willing to attend as speakers. When this latter group decided to run a nationwide competition, they invited P.D. James to judge the finalists, and select the winner. Graciously, she accepted. The theme was: The First Chapter of a Novel.

As a group we were all encouraged to enter something to support the competition, but as it was we needn’t have concerned ourselves about lack of entries, because we ended up with well over a thousand submissions. The piece I submitted was from a work in progress, a rather complex novel I was busy plotting, that had three time-lines I was trying to thread together. I’d written about 15,000 words. For the competition I decided to polish my first chapter, which started, “I know I am in a dream,” written from a man’s first person viewpoint. I was happy enough with my submission, but with so many entries flooding in, didn’t concern myself over winning or losing.

When the big day came for the winner to be announced, and the prize to be handed over, the only person who knew the outcome was P.D. James herself. Not even the writing group’s chairman was privy to the result. The meeting hall we’d booked for the occasion was packed, and the event started with P.D. James giving a talk on her writing methods, and explaining how she drew inspiration from newspaper headlines. A story would pique her interest, usually a topic that had social impact, such as adopted children being permitted to trace their birth parents; then she’d set to researching facts and building characters.

Once we’d all taken a break and afternoon tea had been served, we sat down to hear the results of our competition. Third prize: not me. Second prize: not me. P.D. James started to say how very much she’d enjoyed the winning entry and how extremely well written it was. Then she named the winner. First Prize goes to… Oh my goodness me! That was my name! I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned.

P.D. James asked if the winner was in the room and would they like to step up to the table. I stood.

“I don’t believe it!” she exclaimed. “I thought this piece was written by a man.” She stood, her face alight with excitement. “You’re a woman writing in a man’s viewpoint. I was completely convinced it was a man’s voice. This makes it an even stronger winner. I read your name and assumed you were a man!” She applauded me. This great crime writer stood and gave me a standing ovation. Then she shook my hand and handed me the best prize ever, her praise.

This took place back in the late ‘80s. Shortly after this amazing occasion, life events hit me hard and I suddenly found myself thrust into having to cope with exceptional circumstances. My writer friends told me not to worry if I couldn’t find the time or concentration to write, and assured me that I was building a storehouse of experiences which one day I would draw upon and use in my novels. They were absolutely correct.

I never did finish the complex novel P.D. James so loved, but she gave me the confidence to never stop writing. Since then I have written many other novels, and never given up on my dream of becoming a published author. In 2014 when Booktrope accepted Visiting Lilly, my dream came true.

Book 2 in the Jake Talbot Investigates series, Saving Anna, is due for release this autumn.

If you’re an aspiring author, what keeps you going, and pushing beyond self-doubt? I’d love to hear your story.

Read Full Post »

I’m thrilled to bits!

My mystery thriller novel Visiting Lilly is now available on Amazon and already has a five star review.

Visiting Lilly by Toni AllenVISITING LILLY

Why should a man at a Surrey police station go ballistic because someone tries to visit Lilly, his elderly grandmother?

Detective Inspector Jake Talbot is intrigued, and this little puzzle might serve to distract him from sorrows of a Christmas past. Soon he is entangled with Frankie, an odd young man who claims to have met Lilly in her youth. Talbot dismisses the notion of time travel, but then discovers the Ministry of Defence has been monitoring Frankie since his friend disappeared ten years previously. Forced to work with the MOD, Talbot unearths family secrets and betrayals. The families act ruthlessly to prevent him from discovering the facts, colluding to ruin him.

If Frankie is innocent, Talbot won’t let him be victimised. An uneasy understanding grows between them as they follow the evidence, for only the truth will allow Frankie to visit Lilly.

Find out more about Visiting Lilly by joining me on:

Twitter https://twitter.com/Listansus

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VisitingLillybyToniAllen

Read Full Post »

Weekly Horoscope 2nd July to 8th July 2014

12 zodiac signsOn the 3rd July Mercury the planet of communication goes direct again, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief and start mopping up the mess its retrograde motion created. Or can we? Midweek, relationships come under pressure from every direction as the planets briefly align in a cardinal square, indicating that any actions taken during this phase will have long term consequences. Hence this week’s theme is ‘A moment in time can change your life forever.’

Aries star signAries are determined to use their communication skills for maximum impact, but some people will be confused as to whether you’re speaking to them as a friend or merely a useful contact. Home life is good, with a fleet of fascinating friends keeping you amused; but do try avoid talking about work all of the time, or they’ll be turning up the stereo and forcing you to lighten up.

Taurus star signTaurus are determined to cash in on their words, so anyone who writes reports, stories or lyrics can do extremely well. You’ll be offering full support to loved one who have to rush away and deal with a crisis. Philosophical or political arguments can be strained, so bring out the wine and forget about winning or losing, because being bull-headed will get you nowhere.

gemini star signGemini are using their words to play, and are up to their usual verbal tricks, having fun and not caring what the rest of the world thinks of them. It’s all light hearted banter, yet it can bring great success at work and impress the boss, hence it’s a good time to pitch for a higher salary or apply for a new job. Romance is fun, but don’t forget to ask that special person for their number before you leave the party.

Cancer star signCancer are busy exploring the meaning of life and keeping their thoughts and words to themselves. Any time spent with children or youngsters is rewarding, but their apparent freedom gets you wondering what your own future has to offer, and makes you yearn for a change of career. This is a great week for study and laying down the foundations for a new life direction, which may include relocation or foreign travel.

leo star signLeo are masking their troubles with a lot of jovial banter and everyone will see you as the life and soul of the party. Deep down family and financial issues force you to be serious and take on responsibilities, while work appears to be one long stressful chore. Teaming up with a chum and taking an impromptu trip to an exciting location will offer some much needed fun and relaxation.

Virgo star signVirgo are successfully bringing positive change into their lives, but breaking with the past will feel painful for a while. A determination to succeed makes you extremely popular at work, and many new connections made now will prove beneficial in the future for both career and finances. There’s romance to be found while out socialising, but given the choice of two love interests go for the sensitive one, because the fascinating one is only after some fun.

Libra star signLibra are still struggling with personal relationships and in a quandary as to what to do. Whether to move house or not is something else you’re in a dither about, and you don’t know how best to keep your scales balanced. Seeking answers in spiritual pursuits, and meeting up with like-minded people who enjoy debating the meaning of life brings respite from your worries. It’s a time to talk and think, not act.

Scorpio star signScorpio travel plans may get disrupted, but you’re pretty good at muddling along with anyone your left stranded with, and surprised that people openly share their secrets with you. You’re trying to start new projects, but the old ones refuse to end gracefully. Household duties and children take time, energy and money, but a delightful trip to ‘home from home’ is worth every penny.

Sagittarius star signSagittarius are on the brink of changing their career as they endeavour to incorporate more play into their work. Long standing friends test you to the limits, but exciting new acquaintances bring a smile to your face. Reading up on a favourite subject gives you pleasure, as well as sitting home alone watching a film or listening to music.

Capricorn star signCapricorn are networking like crazy and making excellent new contacts for both work and play. Business meetings and public presentations go extremely well, but don’t measure success by financial reward because there isn’t much there yet for your efforts. Let others wine and dine you, impress them with your sparkling wit, and don’t be surprised when your romantic partner compliments you. This week you’re shining.

Aquarius star signAquarius are making great strides with work projects. You appear to be at the centre of a social hub with lots of chit-chat and quirky jokes flying around. Deep and serious talk is of greater interest to you, and you find plenty of people to discuss personal projects and pet subjects. If you have a creative idea don’t talk about it, start to make it happen.

pisces2Pisces want to play, but everyone appears to be too busy to join in, so you may feel at a bit of a loose end. Work is irritating, and large groups of people stress you out, so take off to your favourite spiritual sanctuary, or health spa, and break the bank finding like-minded people. There’s nothing wrong with pampering yourself and hunting down new play-mates.

If you’re having fun reading this blog why not come along and join me at ToniAllenBooks as well

Read Full Post »

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to C Desert Rose whose new novel ‘If Death Should Love Me’ will shortly be released by All Authors Publishing House. This will be the first novel in C Desert Rose’s Youth/YA Paranormal Collection called the “Fate’s Endeavour Series”

A love story. A fantasy. An adventure. If Death Should Love Me tells a tale of “fate” far beyond the normal meaning of that little four letter word. How else would you explain why Sophia wonders what would happen If Death Should Love Me?

C Desert Rose

Plotline

A dull roar, that’s all I could hear. Souls, that’s all I could see… So many people. Some good. Some bad. Some breathing. Some barely breathing. All souls. It was funny what you could see when you stood in the middle of the Emergency Room. Who survived. Who didn’t. All of them, every one, a soul. A soul for the taking.

So begins your introduction to the floating, clustered world of souls that will have such influence on Sophia, the young Puerto Rican-American girl who has just lost her closest ally, her grandmother, “Abuela”. It is just after the funeral, at the cemetery, where Sophia meets the tall, almost angelic man who will play the most unexpected role in her life.

You can keep in touch with C Desert Rose via Facebook or on her blog

Read Full Post »

I have now signed my contract with Booktrope to publish my novel Visiting Lilly.

The next phase in publishing via Booktrope is to build my team, which will include a Book Manager, editor, copy-editor and cover designer.

Being new to the Booktrope publishing process I stared at theVisiting Lilly Cover Image inner sanctum of their website and felt completely overwhelmed. I was advised to make friends and build contacts, which I promptly did. Then to my absolute delight I was approached by someone offering to become my Book Manager and help pull my team together.

I am thrilled to let you all know that I shall be working alongside the very dynamic and professional Mindy Halleck. Out of several books Mindy Halleck was sent to review she opted for Visiting Lilly and is truly passionate about my work.

Rather than daunting the process has now become exciting.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: