Today I’m Incredibly Excited To Be Interviewing Linda MacDonald Author of Meeting Lydia

colour-crop-2Meeting Lydia- Linda MacDonal. 

Today I’m incredibly excited to be interviewing Linda MacDonald Author of Meeting Lydia

Welcome Linda, please tell us a little about yourself and your book.

I am a retired psychology teacher, originally from Cumbria and now living in Beckenham in south-east London. I’ve always loved to write as a sideline and completed two full length novels over a period of twenty years during my early working life. I call these my practice novels. In the back of my mind I’d always wanted to write a book about the long-term effects of childhood bullying. But I didn’t have a plot until 2001 (see below for the inspiration!)

What inspired you to create Meeting Lydia?

I began writing Meeting Lydia in 2001 after an encounter with a former classmate via the internet. He was in the same class as me when we were nine. I was the only girl in the class and I was bullied. He was the only boy who was never horrible to me. Reconnecting with him somehow laid the ghosts of the past to rest: ghosts that had haunted most of my adult life. Soon after, I was struck with the idea for Meeting Lydia. I thought, if I spice up the reality and create a childhood crush situation, I may have a novel here; a novel about childhood bullying, midlife crises and internet relationships.

Your main character Marianne suffered bullying at school. What made you write about this topic in your book? What is your take on the effects of bullying long after school ends.

I dreaded school when I was young. On Sunday nights I used to feel sick at the thought of what the forthcoming week might bring. Although I loved learning, the bits in between lessons were often a nightmare. Things began to get better by the time I was eleven, but the damage had been done and lurked in the background throughout my teenage and adult life.  

Recent research suggests that bullying has long-term effects on most people, particularly on self-esteem. This may then affect relationships, academic achievement and even career prospects. In recognising this, I believe more needs to be done to address the issue. By writing about it in a novel, I hoped to create discussion with view to finding solutions. But it is in the nature of most animals to establish a pecking order – and in the case of humans, to bully. That is why it is so difficult to eradicate.

Do you think if Marianne’s husband would have been more open with his feelings that she would have gone in search of Lydia?

That’s an interesting question Katrina – and one I’ve not considered before because if she hadn’t gone looking for Lydia, there would have been no book! However, irrespective of Johnny sharing his feelings, I believe once Marianne discovered Friends Reunited, she would have searched for Lydia. Whether she would have become so involved, though – perhaps not.meetinglydiaaudible2-2

Did you have a favourite place you like to go while creating your book?

Mostly I create on a desk-top computer so that defines where I am. I need to feel nice and cosy. I wrote Meeting Lydia while I was still teaching so much of it was done late at night. But I often work on plotting ideas and even dialogue when I’m taking a break and walking outside. The natural world is inspirational and even though I’m in south-east London, there’s a copse behind where I live. It’s full of lovely trees and there are birds, squirrels and foxes which I’m much more likely to see during the day than if I were in the country.

Describe what your Muse looks like to you in three words.

Looks are not important to me Muse-wise! However, my Muse is charismatic, enigmatic and has integrity.

Meeting Lydia is in audiobook. Tell us a little about the process you went though creating your audiobook.

I adapted the original print novel to make it suitable for audio. In particular, I shortened or removed the email headers as these can be scanned when reading the print book, but would have been tedious to listen to in an audiobook. It was then handed over to Essential Music to produce and publish. Once Harriet Carmichael completed the narration, it was edited and then chapters were sent to me to proof check. It’s possible to do the whole thing independently, but this requires some technical expertise and significant skill as a reader. There’s no way I could have brought it to life as Harriet has done.

I have recently written an article for the Self-Publishing Magazine on producing an audiobook. Here’s the link: https://www.selfpublishingmagazine.co.uk/audiobook-indie-author-i-learned/

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you be and why?

Holly – Marianne’s daughter. She’s 18 and on the threshold of adulthood. She’s had a great childhood and is a strong, confident young woman. If I could re-live my life, I would like to see what would have happened without the bullying.

Are you a planner or discovery writer?

Both. I like to know what the end will be before I start to write. And also a few key happenings along the way that will make it an interesting plot. However, my characters have so far been very willful and sometimes take the lead in the direction they wish to go.

Which character did you like writing about the most? Why?

Taryn – Marianne’s best friend. She started out in the background as someone on whom Marianne could offload. But when they met – quite late on in the novel – she became far more than the clichéd ‘kooky’ friend that one finds in many books and films. I loved writing her pithy comments and her take on men. So much so that she becomes one of the main characters in the stand-alone sequel, A Meeting of a Different Kind. I wanted to know why she was the way she was – and I knew she had the capacity to cause mayhem in other people’s lives. Perfect fodder for fiction!

Who are your favourite Authors?

Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, David Lodge, Fay Weldon, Margaret Atwood, Kate Atkinson … Yet some of my favourite books are not by these authors: Life of Pi; The Magus; Gentleman and Players; Engleby …

What was the best advice you’ve ever had while working on your book?

“Your novels are about people, yet there are no people on the covers.” I’ve rectified that with the Audiobook and the forthcoming The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. I’ve always known covers were important, but I didn’t know how best to convey the type of books I was writing. I made the mistake of being too subtle. My cover designer has done an excellent job on these latest two pieces of work.

What projects are you working on next?

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is the fourth novel of the Lydia series. It also stands alone and is about psychological abuse, emotional infidelity and the difficulty of leaving a long-term destructive relationship. It is due out in May although the ebook will probably be released before that.

I would very much like to bring out my second novel – A Meeting of a Different Kind – as an audiobook. It continues where Meeting Lydia ends, but from the perspectives of Edward ad Taryn, telling their stories, but also including what happens next with Marianne. Having heard Harriet Carmichael’s interpretation of Taryn in the audiobook of Meeting Lydia,  I can’t wait to hear what she would do with her in the turbulent scenes in A Meeting of a Different Kind

Do you have any advice for fellow writers who maybe undertaking creating their first book at this very moment?

Patience and persistence. Think ‘North Pole’: one step after another and you will eventually get there. Turn off the rubbish on TV and write a hundred words. Very often, once you do that, you will write a hundred more.

Any final words you would like to add?

Thank you very much Katrina for hosting me on your blog. I’ve very much enjoyed answering your questions and look forward to connecting with your readers.

Book Title –  Meeting Lydia

Publisher –  Matador (paperback and ebook) Essential Music (Audiobook)

Twitter – @LindaMac1

Facebook Author Page –  https://www.facebook.com/MeetingLydia/?modal=survey_dialog&survey_id=364441543939123

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33211499-meeting-lydia

Your Author Website – Web page at Troubador http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=1462

Links to Books

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-MacDonald/e/B00884ATWE/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Fiction/Meeting-Lydia-Audiobook/B01N51TTV8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1487587213&sr=1-1

Thank-you Linda for taking time to do this blog interview, it has been a real pleasure to hear about your novel, Meeting Lydia. I wish you well with your novel and all other writing projects you may undertake in the future.

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My Review Of Meeting Lydia By Linda McDonald.

Meeting Lydia was a very interesting and somewhat an emotional Journey for Marianne as she comes to terms with getting older, and her feeling of the bullying she suffered as a child that still affected her life as an adult. This along with her husband’s lack of attention to her emotional needs prompts her to go in search of Lydia’s distant comfort from her school days.

I also found her daughter Holly to be a very likeable character who is strong and open and also travelling down a different road herself. While trying to deal with the clear distance between her mum and dad.

I found the topic of bullying and how it doesn’t always end when those bullying stop very interesting and the fact that when she searched out Lydia, it had a profound effect on how she felt about the pain from those days she had in her heart after they made contact. Will Marianne ever meet Lydia? Or reconnect with her husband? Get this Audible book to find out. 

I would recommend this book if you like stories about relationships, finding oneself and stories with interesting characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Birthday and Finding Destiny’s Paperback Publication Day.

20170302_214822My Birthday

and

 Finding Destiny’s Paperback Publication Day.

Yesterday was my birthday, it was a lovely day spent with family, my boyfriend and friends. It reminded me how lucky I am to have lots of people in my life who love and care about me so much… And chocolate birthday cake is always nice too.

I got gifted with some lovely presents and great advice  on my birthday.  I read lovely stories and some lovely happy birthday cards and messages. Drank hot chocolate and watch a movie. It was a real magical birthday and all the more special spending it with loved ones.

Also I published Finding Destiny’s Paperback on my birthday. Which felt very special as it was the very first novel I wrote, it was lovely to be able to publish it with the lovely drawings of the character inside and its new cover.

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Here is the Prologue

I carried Sarah while walking beside Ma, who swayed slightly after her drinks at my mate’s wedding reception. The moon looked full and the sky black, unlike this morning when the sun had cast a beautiful glow over Travis’s bride as she said her vows and kissed him with such hunger. I could tell they were soulmates.

I wondered what that felt like, kissing someone who loved you so deeply, they were willing to do it in front of your family and friends.

Sarah and Ma sat in the third row down. Ma had tears in her eyes and Sarah clapped her little hands like this was the first wedding she had attended. It wasn’t. We had been to four and this was the last of my mates to get hitched.

I thought how my mates had teased me all week telling me my hair was as wild as a chipmunk’s tail and how I looked more like a twelve year old, with my pale smooth complexion and green eyes, than the seventeen year old I was now.

Jack’s advice on why I hadn’t got even a girlfriend had made me roll my eyes; what’s wrong with being a hard worker? Giving my little sister the tea parties she would have played with Pa? Besides, Ma could never have kept the place going without me and as long as she was happy that’s all I cared about.Alex

“Alex, you look like a penguin in your dress-up. I’m a princess, can you tell?” said Sarah.

“You sure are, the prettiest princess I have ever seen,” I said.

Sarah shook her head, her ringlets bouncing about her face covering her eyes.

“No? Who is, then?” I said.

Sarah sucked on her bottom lip as she pondered my question. “Destiny is the best princess,” she said.

I snapped out of my thoughts as we turned into the front garden. Ma clumsily un-did the door and went to the sofa, flopping herself down. I ran upstairs and tucked Sarah into bed and looked out of her window. I noticed Destiny’s barn door open as the outside light flicked on and off again.

Oh, crap, was my last thought as I raced down the stairs and out of the back door.

I entered Destiny’s barn hoping the pony was still inside…

“Destiny! Are you in here, girl?” I yelled. I looked at the broken stable door and fingered the purple ribbon Sarah had tied there to remind everyone this was her pony. I felt sick as I raced outside, looking left and right.

Sarah was going to be heartbroken if I couldn’t find that pony! Why didn’t I check the gate? My mind raced as I looked up at the house. I couldn’t go back inside and tell Ma I had messed up again.

“Destiny! Destiny! Where the hell are you?” I yelled, leaving my home behind me.

OC Madam MoonFighter

 Amazon Link to Finding Destiny’s Paperback. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Destiny-Katrina-Hart/dp/1543052487/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1488647193&sr=8-4&keywords=Katrina+Hart

 

Have a lovely week all… 

 

 

Finding Destiny’s Paperback. New Cover The Process of Interior formatting with Penoaks Publishing.

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Finding Destiny’s Paperback.

New Cover 

The Process of  Interior formatting with Penoaks Publishing.

This month I’ve been getting Finding Destiny ready to publish in paperback. And I’m excited to say it should be out in early March with a new cover and beautiful inners that reflect the story. So I thought I’d do a post on my experience with Penoaks.com for the inside of my book and I’ll also drop a link to the cover designer I used for the paperback cover as well. I have to say she did a great job and really captured what I wanted my cover to look like.

I came across Penoaks when looking for someone to format the inside of my paperback. I was rather excited to find the site again after coming across the interior formatter Rachel in 2014 when I first thought about having Finding Destiny put into paperback. So I had a look at the new site and emailed Rachel to see if she could fit me in to have the paperback worked on. And she did at a time when I was ready and felt I had everything I needed to have it all put together.screen-shot

Rachel is very creative and her design for my paperback was just what I wanted. And nothing was too much trouble for her to change or replace etc… until I was happy with it. It was a lovely experience and I even got to have those lovely sketches of all my characters I’ve put on my blog over the last year inside the paperback as well as a nice owl design near the chapter headings, which added just the right feel to the novel I’d written I thought.

Penoaks Publishing offers all kinds of different formatting experiences such as E-book and Paperback custom design formatting or even templates.

I went with their custom designed paperback – with this they offer 85’000 words of the paperback formatting, 15 images (if you have images you want added) an eBook conversion file for if you require your book in e-book as well and a numbered table of content etc.. This costs $119/£98.54 and she has a 5-10 turn around on the first draft and from there will tweak anything  you don’t like until you are happy with it. Also she does the pages in the sizes you like for example if you are using Createspace to publish the book etc…

I thought this was rather nice for paperback and authors who want something a little different for the inside of their books. And working with Rachel is a real joy because she’s very creative. 

I would recommend this site for book formatting because I enjoyed the process and the finished design. Now I can’t wait to get my proof of my paperback from Createspace, so I can see it all put together..

Link to Penoaks Publishing http://penoaks.com/services/formatting

Link to cover designer https://www.fiverr.com/germancreative/design-creative-ebook-cover?funnel=26d97df9-a3fa-4a52-955d-961f48ed5479

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Will be available early March.

So have you embarked on doing a paperback version of your book? How have you found having your book formatted or cover design? Do you have an interior designer or cover designer you’d like to recommend? Share your experiences in the comment box below.

I hope you all have a nice week.

Katrina.

  

 

 

 

 

My Review Of The Essence by Denise Ersalah Erguler

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The Essence

by Denise Ersalah Erguler

I just finished The Essence a story I’ve been looking forwards to reading since December. This story has great character, other worldly rules and a lot of heart running through the story line. I  felt the characters were very well-rounded and interesting to follow and the storyline kept me up until the wee hours just wanting to read more.

The story itself follows Fiona as she goes about her daily life dreaming of a guy who stirs her blood and who feels like a friend to her in some ways. However, things take a huge turn in her life one night and soon she finds herself in a place she’d never been before with rules and battles she now has to face too. Will she get back to her old life? Will her dream guy give her advice? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

I loved how Denise puts so much wonder and emotion as well as magic into her characters. And how throughout the story you really want them to overcome and   live the lives they are destined to do. I also found  the concept of an Essence that bonds too people very interesting.

If you love books that feel worldly and magical as well as has great character and a great adventure to follow you’ll love this book. I would recommend this story to anyone who like fantasy/ Si-Fi  stories with lots of surprises along the way.

 Denise author photo

Blurb

How far would you go for the man of your dreams? To another town, another country or … another planet?
On a perfectly ordinary day in Central London, the perfectly ordinary Fiona falls through a sink hole and wakes up on the Planet Nageena. There, in a parallel world, war is raging between two factions, the Geenans and the Kwades, and both sides believe that Fiona has the secret that will save their world.
All Fiona knows is that she has finally come face to face with the man she has been dreaming of – literally – every night for as long as she can remember … and he doesn’t want to know.
Can Fiona possibly save Nageena? And how far will she be risking not only her dreams but her own life to do it…?

Check out Denise’s other books.

Link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Denise-Ersalahi-Erguler/e/B01I6G6RQ0/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Sadly very recently I discovered Denise  passed away. She is a very talented Author and my thought are with her family at this very heartbreaking time. x

 

Valentine’s Day Kindle Book Giveaway Bundle book by Kshitij and Katrina Hart.(End 12th February)

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Valentine’s Day Kindle Book Giveaway Bundle (Ends 12th February)

Books written by Katrina Hart and Kshitij

Sarah Smith won 

I’ve email your books to you.

We’re well into the first month of January and it’s high time to start thinking of Valentine’s Day. Doesn’t matter if you’ve got that special someone in your life who makes you smile and feel bless every day that you have each other or if you’re still looking/ happy being single. Why not celebrate, however, you’re feeling with some great reads or read with those who you love.

I remember many Valentine’s Day curled up reading about characters that found love or went on great adventures full of hope and in some cases becoming true hero on Valentine’s Day with a nice cup of hot chocolate and one of my cats curled up on my legs listening intently to my voice. Stories can take us many place especially on days when it is nice to feel the warm and fuzzy even if it’s through the pages of great books and the eyes of wonderful characters.

However, last year I celebrated Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend, a very magical day and we read stories together. It turned out to be a very lovely way, to celebrate a part of our Valentine’s Day together, by enjoying the adventures of a good  story together.  I think it’s the time you spend with someone you love or care about that makes for a lovely Valentine’s Day.

So this year I’ve put a small E-book bundle together for a giveaway and the winner will be announced on the 12 February, so all book will be email for Valentine’s Day to the winner.

 

Books in the Valentine’s Day giveaway E-book bundle.

Finding-Destiny. (2)

 

Finding Destiny. (Novel )by Katrina Hart

When eighteen year old Alex’s little sister’s pony goes missing, he sets out to look for her and finds himself in a strange gypsy camp in the middle of a forest. The pony is being cared for by a young girl called Faith. When Alex accepts a drink from Faith’s grandmother, he wakes up later to find himself transported into 2038 to a technologically-advanced, very colourful world inhabited by humans and robots.

Alex soon discovers that he is now twenty, married and has a magical little baby girl. A magic he only seems to notice. He soon finds out that he will have to defend his little girl from the half-breeds with everything he has. He travels back through the magic pages of books to try and save her before it is too late and she is lost from him forever.

 

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The Naked Sleepwalker’s Christmas (Short Story) by Katrina Hart.

Fayre is house-sitting, all alone, at Christmas. As midnight chimes, she’s confronted by an intruder, who just happens to be sleepwalking – and naked. As Fayre’s outrage turns to passion, she wonders if this man is hers for life, or just for Christmas?

 

 

 

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The Flower Angel (Novella) by Katrina Hart

The Flower Angel: Two strangers. One past. Can the Flower Angel help Lara and Chris find love? Lara and Chris are strangers when they meet at Forget-Me-Not-Inn, the place where lost and lonely souls come to find love. Drawn to one another from the start, Chris soon realises that they have a traumatic secret in common – something that Lara will find challenging to forgive… Will the Flower Angel be able to work her magic and help Lara and Chris find true love together? Anything’s possible at Forget-Me-Not- Inn.

 

 

 

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Until You Came Along (Novel) By Kshitij

Just as mysteriously as Alyssa appeared in Estella’s life she disappeared. Who was Alyssa, really? For all their years of friendship in college, Estella has no idea why Alyssa left without saying goodbye after graduation. Now, after all these years, Alyssa leaves a recording on Estella’s voicemail –an RSVP to their college reunion! Trembling with delight and dread, Estella has only one question: Why? 

Alyssa has been searching for something all her life—her future. She believes in nothing but success and winning. Manipulative, wilful, emotionally cold is the best way she can describe herself. To the world and her college mates, she’s glamorous, confident and has life on a silver platter—men dream of having her and women dream of being her! But Alyssa is blind to everything except success… until she meets Kurt, a dreamy exchange student, who challenges everything she believes, while his touch runs through her body like the sweetest flame, making her want things she knows she shouldn’t have! Kurt wants her heart and that’s the one thing Alyssa can’t give him.

Through seven years of silence, Estella and Alyssa discover life is ever changing—just as their perception of themselves…yet, how could they ever know tragedy and joy are from the same tears of life?

 Check out other books by Kshitij: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kshitij/e/B00J352O3Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Check out other books by Katrina Hart: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Katrina-Hart/e/B013KPPUGK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1485051165&sr=1-2-ent

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 If you would like to enter please comment in the box below with 3 words that sum up your feeling about someone you love or a day in your life that truly felt magical. Leave your email Address or I won’t be able to send you your books..

I hope you all are having a lovely 2017

Katrina

 

 

 

Merry Christmas All.

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The Night Before

A Quill City Christmas.

It was the night before Christmas and all through the street not a robot was hammering to a country Christmas beat. Nor were there giggles from children playing with toys that raced down their arms and tickled their feet.

The stockings were swaying around the owls’ Christmas tree, hung in the hopes of some festive treats to fly by,  for sooner or later Santa-bot would take to the sky.

The children and magical fairies were snuggled inside a magical land, with thoughts of moving  hamsters, talking dollies and red teds, all dancing inside their heads.

Mum was in her nightgown, and I in my onesie as we both snuggled up together with our favourite teddies. When out by the toy shop there was such a loud ringing of bells,  I jumped from my bed to see if all was well.

I sprang to the door, pushed down on the handle, swinging it open as I grabbed a lit candle.

The moon so full it sparkled and shone, showing off the magic from the creatures below. I couldn’t believe my eyes as Santa-bot appeared, guiding so slowly with eight of his best robot reindeer’s.

Santa-bot smiled and turned around quick, he nodded a cheerful greeting and  stopped in mid-air for what looked like a reindeer meeting.

“Hurry Dasher! Hurry  Dancer!

Hurry Prancer and Vixen!

Now Comet!  Now Cupid!

Higher, Donner and Blitzen!

Over this tree, above these magical lands,

Higher and higher we have no time to stop and hear the flowers’ band.”

As snowflakes fell and the sleigh did move, a witch flew past on a magical broom. Santa-bot did swivel and the robot reindeer nearly lost their balance. As they flew like the wind pulling Santa-bot and  all his presents.

I looked up to see where they had to land. I squinted my eye and to my surprise  on the roof Santa-bot jumped in a flash, a travelling disk holding on to his toy sack.

I stood very still, my mouth fell open wide, as  I tried to make a choice should I race to meet him inside?

I got so excited, I raced inside and watched from a corner as Santa-bot arrived.  His red and silver suit was all covered in a dusting of ash, as he swung his toy sack over his back.

He seemed so jolly as he moved near our tree, he reminded me of the old man who makes toys at house three.

His cheeks were so red, his nose pinged from side to side, his smile so happy like mine when I saw he’d arrived. He held a travelling disc high above his head, like a halo it did look as he stroked his white beard. His round belly did shake as he laughed very loud and flecks of ash fell to the ground.

I watched as he laid all the presents under our tree, he had to chase a few as he moved closer to me.

I couldn’t stop myself from  chuckling, for watching him was so funny. When he was done, his legs shook like Grandma’s Christmas jelly.

He turned towards me, holding a red travelling disc and told me in a jolly loud voice to get myself  back to bed.

I did as requested as I knew I shouldn’t be awake. In a flash I was back in my bed with dancing toys in my mind. As Santa-bot flew past my house  just in time, and  bellowed so loud I could see  his beard shake.

”Merry Christmas My Friends And To All  A Goodnight.”

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Merry Christmas all. As this is my last blog post of this year. I thought I’d put up my take on ”Night Before Christmas’ for you all to read. I want to thank all my lovely friend, reader, writer who have inspired me. My lovely boyfriend and my lovely family for making the best part of this year lovely.

Wishing You All 

A Very Merry Christmas!!!