About Judith Barrow

Pattern of Shadows was my first novel, the sequel, Changing Patterns was published in May 2013. The last of the trilogy, Living in the Shadows was published July 2015. In August 2017, the prequel to the trilogy, A Hundred Tiny Threads,was published. In March 2010, The Memory was published by Honno, a contemporary family saga. I also have an eBook, Silent Trauma, a fiction built on fact novel, published as an eBook. I have an MA in Creative Writing, B.A. (Hons.) in Literature, and a Diploma in Drama and Script Writing. I've had short stories, poems, plays, reviews and articles published throughout the British Isles, notably in several Honno anthologies. I am also a Creative Writing tutor and run workshops on all genres and available for talks and workshops.My blogs are on my website: https://judithbarrowblog.com/ where I review mainly for #RBRT. and also interview other authors. My personal posts are on, https://www.judithbarrow-author.co.uk/ . It would be great if you could check me out there. When I'm not writing or teaching creative writing I spend time researching for my writing, painting or walking the Pembrokeshire coastline

Introducing Jan Baynham, Author of Her Mother’s Secret and a worthy Romantic Novelists’ Association contender for the Joan Hessayon Award. #WritersLife #WriterWednesday

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I am so pleased to be talking with Jan Baynham on my blog today. Having known Jan for some years and seen her writing going from strength to strength I was thrilled to hear that she is one of the contenders for the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) 2020 prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers, the award for all the authors whose debut novels have been accepted for publication after passing through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme.Before I knew this I’d read, loved, and reviewed her book. This is my review: Her Mother’s Secret.

Her Mother's Secret: The Summer of '69 by [Jan Baynham]

I began by asking Jan what was the inspiration behind Her Mother’s Secret. This is her reply:

I have always been intrigued by family secrets and the fact that these sometimes do not come to light until after a person has died. I read of someone who was sorting through her mother’s things after her death and found a diary. In there, the young woman learned about a part of her mother’s life she knew nothing about. The ‘what ifs?’ started in my head. At the time, I’d been reading a novel where the rustling in the trees sounded like whispers and inanimate statues took on the form of ghosts of the people they represented. Perhaps the whispering could show the presence of a past family member. Always fascinated by the bond between mothers and daughters, this was basis for Her Mother’s Secret. Very often, the close relationship between mothers and daughters means that they would know things about each other no one else would. I wanted to explore how my character, Alexandra, would feel when she found out about her mother, Elin’s secret life. How could her mother have kept this from her? How would she feel? I needed Elin to have been able to keep her secret from everyone, even her own mother, until she died. Did Elin have a conscience when she left her diary to Alexandra?

I decided that Elin would be an artist, having just finished art college. She travels to Greece to further her painting skills and while there, something happens that she never mentions again. I chose a setting where the colours would be more vibrant and intense perhaps than in her home country of Wales. Having visited many times and being struck by the wonderful palette of colours seen in every landscape, Greece was my obvious inspiration. Elin’s daughter, Alexandra, arrives on Péfka, a small island off the Peloponnese in Southern Greece, to follow in her mother’s footsteps to find out what happened there twenty-two years earlier. Péfka is purely fictional and is not based on one particular place; it’s an amalgam of areas I’ve visited – a beach or street here, a taverna or workshop there where I’ve met characters when getting out into Greek villages. Every holiday has inspired me with contributions to create characters and settings that are hopefully authentic showing the climate, the vivid colours of the sea and the flowers as well as the warmth of its people.

Her Mother’s Secret was published in April this year by Ruby Fiction. I’m grateful to the Romantic Novelists’ Association for the role its New Writers’ Scheme played in helping me realise my dream of becoming a published author. The novel was critiqued on two occasions by experienced scheme readers. The first time, I’d submitted a partially written manuscript that was followed by the full manuscript the next year. The helpful and incredibly positive advice I received on both occasions was invaluable and gave me the motivation to submit my novel to publishers. Having ‘graduated’ from being unpublished to published via the scheme, I am eligible to be a proud contender for the 2020 Joan Hessayon Award along with twenty other debut novelists.

Blurb for Her Mother’s Secret:: A secret left behind in the summer of ’69

It’s 1969 and free-spirited artist Elin Morgan has left Wales for a sun-drenched Greek island. As she makes new friends and enjoys the laidback lifestyle, she writes all about it in her diary. But Elin’s carefree summer of love doesn’t last long, and her island experience ultimately leaves her with a shocking secret …

Twenty-two years later, Elin’s daughter Alexandra has inherited the diary and is reeling from its revelations. The discovery compels Alexandra to make her own journey to the same island, following in her mother’s footsteps. Once there, she sets about uncovering what really happened to Elin in that summer of ’69.

About the author:

After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction. From then on, she was hooked! She soon went on to take a writing class at the local university and began to submit short stories for publication to a wider audience. Her stories and flash fiction pieces have been longlisted and short listed in competitions and several appear in anthologies both online and in print. In October 2019, her first collection of stories was published.  Her stories started getting longer and longer so that, following a novel writing course, she began to write her first full length novel. She loves being able to explore her characters in more depth and delve further into their stories. She writes about family secrets and the bond between mothers and daughters. Set in the last year of the ‘60s, Her Mother’s Secret takes you to sun-drenched Greece, her favourite holiday destination.

Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband. She values the friendship and support from other RNA members and regularly attends conferences, workshops, talks and get togethers. She is co-organiser of Cariad, her local RNA Chapter.

‘Her Mother’s Secret’ is available on from Amazon:

You may find out more about Jan here:

Twitter: @JanBaynham  https://twitter.com/JanBaynham

Facebook: Jan Baynham Writer  https://www.facebook.com/JanBayLit/

Blog: https://janbaynham.blogspot.com/      

And more exciting news: Well, two pieces of exciting news, really…

Jan is on the Not the Booker long list https://bit.ly/31nyGBo

And…   

Jan’s second book,Her Sister’s Secret: The Summer of ’66, is now available to pre-order: https://amzn.to/3k5xjzU   

  Another wonderful sixties saga from the author of Her Mother’s Secret.

How far would you travel to find the truth?
It’s the 1960s and Jennifer Howells is a young woman with the world at her feet, just on the cusp of leaving her Welsh village for an exciting life in the city.
Then the contents of an inconspicuous brown envelope turn Jennifer’s world upside down. The discovery leaves her spiralling, unsure who she is. Overnight, Miss Goody Two Shoes is replaced by a mini-skirted wild child who lives for parties and rock’n’roll.
But Jennifer’s experience with the excesses of sixties’ culture leaves her no closer to her true identity. She soon realises she’ll have to travel further – first to Cardiff, then across the ocean to Sicily – if she wants to find out who she really is …

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update -#Reviews – #Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Fantasy D. Wallace Peach, #Memoir #Teaching Pete Springer

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the first of the Cafe updates this week with recent reviews for books on the shelves.

The first review is for the recently released collaborative anthology with contributions from around the world, compiled by Marjorie Mallon,which also included her three month diary of life under lock down and some of her creative flash fiction and poetry.  I can recommend This is Lockdown which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.

About the collection

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience…

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The Covenant and the World of Tom Mathias

Evocative photographs from Thorne Moore here… a tantalising hint of her next book, The Covenant.

Thorne Moore

When I first moved to Pembrokeshire, back in the early 1980s, a fascinating discovery had just been made in the area: a cache of negative plates taken by a local photographer,Tom Mathias, 1866-1940. The plates had been rescued and restored by another photographer, James Maxwell Davies, and were put on display in the village where I’d just arrived.

Four Generations

I was fascinated by them and bought several copies as they are so atmospheric, so inspiring in their portrayal of life at the start of the 20th century. The life of the local gentry was there: the mansions, the hunts, the carriages, the fat babies and scholars, the dignified gents and stately ladies posing for the camera.

Not just the gentry though. Their servants are there, gathered en masse for a photographic record but also at work, along with a myriad of photographs of ordinary people leading their…

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries 2020- Pot Luck #Writing – Why to avoid “ing” words in fiction by D. Wallace Peach

Excellent post from Diana and hosted by Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives… and I will be picking two posts from the blogs of those participating from the first six months of 2020. If you don’t mind me rifling through your archives… just let me know in the comments or you can find out the full scope: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020

This is the first post for Diana Wallace Peach and this week some help when navigating the grammar rules regarding the ‘ing’ words..

A few weeks ago, I had a blog-conversation with Jacqui Murray of Worddreams  about editing out “ing” words. I’ve heard many times that these words should be avoided when writing fiction but never understood why. While some writing no-nos stab me in the eye every time I read them (such as filter words words), “ing” words never really bothered me.

So, a…

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Three Items Writers Hate to Write    

Writers nightmare, or not.T A great post from Mae.

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! Mae here with you today. Thanks for joining me as I ruminate over three items writers hate to write. Seems odd, doesn’t it?

Most of the time, we love to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and let inspiration fly. But, if you’re like me, there are several writing tasks that make you groan. Let’s take a quick look at each.

THE SYNOPSIS
I love writing the synopsis for my novel—said no author ever.

Exhausted female writer with head down on desk, laptop open, tablet nearby
Well, maybe that’s too harsh. Some authors write the synopsis before the manuscript, so they know exactly what journey their characters are going to take. Not me. For most of us, writing a synopsis after completing a 50K-90K novel is sheer torture. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit the mere thought gives me a pounding headache. To make it easier, I keep the following in mind:

Each…

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Book Release: The Memory by Judith Barrow #familylifefiction

With many thanks to Mae Clair for a lovely post here.

From the Pen of Mae Clair

I have a new guest on my blog today. I “met” Judith Barrow through Story Empire, then invited her to share her latest release The Memory. Please make her feel welcome as she gives us a behind the scenes look at what inspired her to write the book.


Thank you so much, Mae Clair, for hosting this guest post and promotion for my new book, The Memory.

Introduction
Many people have asked what was the inspiration for The Memory and my answer is always – memories: memories of being a carer for two of my aunts who lived with us, memories of losing a friend in my childhood; a friend who, although at the time I didn’t realise, was a Downs’ Syndrome child. But why I started to write the story; a story so different from my other four books, I can’t remember. Because it was something I’d begun…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #FamilyDrama Margaret Lindsay Holton

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

I’m a passionate blogger and have been blogging since February 2014. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my posts on blogging tips. I’ve learned…

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Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s weekly Tanka Challenge -#Butterfly Cinquain – Washed Up by Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to this week’s poetry in response to  Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge 187 Photoprompt  and I was very honoured to have supplied the image. I have written a Butterfly Cinquain

Image Credit: © Sally Cronin

Butterfly Cinquain – Washed Up by Sally Cronin

Washed up
are words that haunt
those that feel they have failed
to meet expectations in life
and love.
If they look closely however,
even the sea’s rejects
provide us with
beauty.

©Sally Cronin 2020

If you would like to participate in the challenge here is the link again: Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge 187 Photoprompt

You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have enjoyed.. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews -#Poetry Miriam Hurdle, #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #Fantasy, #Paranormal C.S. Boyack

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

The first review is for award winning poetry collectionSongs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitudewritten by Miriam Hurdle.About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

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A Covenant of Blood

Great post giving the insight to Thorne Moore’s next book

Thorne Moore

My new novel, The Covenant, is due out on August 20th and religion is at its heart. It’s ironic that I am, and have always been, an avowed atheist, since religion fascinates me (I even studied it at university). That’s as well because there’s no escaping it in The Covenant. It’s a story focused on the family that produced John Owen, who rules the roost at the cottage of Cwmderwen in A Time For Silence.

John Owen is a Godly man. He comes from a Godly society. A chapel society, Calvanist in its strict purity, and inclined to be more concerned with sin than with divine love and with exclusivity based on precision of belief (everyone else being Wrong).

There is a joke that a Welshman is cast up on a desert island. Years later, a ship comes by to rescue him. The crew discover that…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews #Mystery Noelle Granger, ##DystopianSciFi Terry Tyler, #Mystery Anne R. Allen

Read the work of all three authors today on Sally’s Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore. Can thoroughly recommend them

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the first of the Cafe updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first authors is N.A. Granger with a review for her murder mystery Death in a Dacron Sail: A Rhe Brewster Mystery (The Rhe Brewster Mysteries Book 2)

About the book

Death in a Dacron Sail is the next in the Rhe Brewster Mystery series. On a cold February morning, Rhe Brewster, a tall, attractive emergency room nurse with a type A personality, a nose for investigation and a yen for adrenalin, is called to a dock in the harbor of Pequod, a Maine coastal town. Because she is a consultant to the Pequod Police Department, her brother-in-law, Sam Brewster, who is Pequod’s Chief of Police, wants her to look at a discovery by one of the local lobstermen: a finger caught in one of his lobster traps. There she meets the…

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The Covenant: The Weaker Vessel

Yet another great post from Thorne. Can’t wait to read The Covenant

Thorne Moore

I write domestic noir. Or is it historical fiction? Or family sagas? Whatever it is, I do like my main characters to be struggling against the odds, which is probably why they have all been women. Because, even today, being a woman gives a character a head start in the “up against it” league. Set a book in the past and they have been so up against it that they might just as well have been trying to swim up Niagara.

The misogyny of the past had many causes – fear of the other, desperation to keep power, Biblical teaching or just animal brutality – but it was pervasive and it reduced women, in the West, to a level of inequality and subservience that we now condemn, with shock and horror, in other cultures.

The lead characters in my more contemporary novels –Shadows, Motherlove, The Unravelling– don’t have…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Thriller Allan Hudson, #Poetry Joyce Murphy, #Paranormal #Romance Marcia Meara

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Allan Hudson

I live by Cocagne Bay in Eastern Canada where the summers are hot by the seaside and the snow is deep in the winter. I married the greatest gal on earth, Gloria, and have a wonderful son Adam, two great stepsons Mark (Nathalie) and Chris (Mireille)Young. Three grandchildren Matthieu, Natasha…

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The Covenant and the low heat of technology: Bookish words by Thorne Moore #MondayBlogs

Interesting post here from Thorne Moore, whose new novel, The Covenant, is coming out in August, and is set in West Wales in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. Set a novel in that period in a city, in London or Manchester, and it wouldn’t be difficult to paint a period that everyone with any knowledge of history would recognise.

My characters would be flag-waving for the Empire and possibly their sons would be out there, carrying our trade and accompanying our adventurers around the world, whether the indigenous people wanted us or not. They might be soldiers embroiled in Afghanistan (plus ça change) or crushing rebellions in China and fighting wars in South Africa and the trenches of Europe. They could be participating in administrations that were starving millions in India, or they could be at home working in the clamour of industry, in cotton mills or ironworks, in banks and shops.

Motorised vehicles were appearing and my characters would travelling around on bicycles or in omnibuses. They would be totally at home with the railways that could carry them to every corner of the land. If they were very daring and very rich, they might even be taking to the air. They would have gas lighting in their houses or, if grand enough, might be installing electricity (although my mother, living in Cardiff in the 1920s and early 30s, still had gas lights in the living rooms and candles upstairs). Their world would have been quite recognisable to the reader, industrialised, confident, profiteering and surging forward.

But a novel set in rural West Wales is going to lack most of those markers that would help a reader place it in time. It’s an area that, until recently, has existed in an alternative time zone out of kilter with the rest of the world. It wasn’t surging anywhere. Even when I moved to the area in the early 1980s, I felt I was slipping into somewhere still marooned in the 1950s, if not earlier. Researching for my first novel, A Time For Silence, set in the 1930s and 40s, I read newspaper articles on the introduction of electricity in the 1950s – and that was just in the towns. Official reports had noted the poor housing, hygiene and malnutrition prevalent in rural Wales at the start of the twentieth century and it was still being blamed for the high level of TB in 1939. A diet of potatoes and tea was not uncommon.

In the 1980s we were told about an old lady, in living memory, who used to live a few doors away in what must have been a traditional long house, with cows occupying one half of the building. Each morning the cows would come in, through her front door and hall,  politely tilting their heads so their horns wouldn’t disturb the pictures on the walls, as they made their way into the milking parlour. 

The gentry of the area would not have been troubled by primitive housing or malnutrition and they probably had homes in London as well as their country estates. They would have been au fait with everything fashionable, modern and advanced, but ordinary people, who had never moved far beyond their own parishes, were still living in a world only a very small shuffle removed from the world of their ancestors one or two hundred years before.

West Wales was not totally isolated in world terms. Ships were sailing to America from ports like Cardigan, Newquay and Aberystwyth in the 19th century, but inland the area lagged behind. Railways had been threading through the country, expanding horizons spectacularly since 1825, but branches only extended into North Pembrokeshire towards the end of the century – to Cardigan in 1886, and Fishguard in 1906.

the Cardi Bach

Motor cars began to appear in the 1890s – the first one was driven on British roads in 1895. By 1900, when Prince Bertie acquired one, there were still only a few hundred in Britain. Very few would have made their way to West Wales, especially to isolated villages where roads were still mud tracks.

In the big world, agriculture was becoming ever more mechanised, with mowers, reapers and binders, seed drills, steam engines and, finally in the 20th century, tractors. But these were not for the small-scale farmers with a few acres.


In The Covenant, a relatively wealthy farmer acquires a tractor in the course of the Great War, but the Owens, with their 24 acres, 1 rood and 8 perches, continue to rely on sickles and scythes. Partly poverty and partly an obstinate but pious determination to labour as Adam had done.

By 1919, the wealthy farmer has the luxury of a Ford Model T, but the Owens are still using a horse and trap or taking a daring ride on the charabanc from the nearest market town.

Newspapers were in circulation and, like every other community in Britain, from the largest city to the smallest hamlet, my characters feel the impact of the Great War, the shared patriotism and the private grief. But it is their little patch of land that really matters to them, not the fate of the Empire. It’s their minister’s decision to become a missionary that really opens up their horizons and that’s a matter of the next world, not this one.

The Covenant

published by Honno Press August 20th 2020

available for pre-order now

www.thornemoore.co.uk

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – July 2020 – Calling All Fixers!

Something to think about.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the July edition of Realms of Relationships

Calling All Fixers

Are you that person who has a dire need to fix the people you care about? Are you that person who thinks nobody can fix things like you can? Let me tell you, I was one of those people, and I learned that there are definite limitations when it comes to thinking we can repair others—despite how much our hearts truly wish we could.

Our compassion and love fuel our desire to want to help our loved ones when we sense something is off. But it’s a fact that some issues are better left for the professionals—psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, etc. Yet, sometimes our overwhelming desire wins out, and we just can’t help but feel emboldened enough to think we’re capable of taking on the task, because, after all, we know that person intimately. We love them and take…

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