19 Jan 2019

Psychedelic Kate

Hello my little chickadees and welcome to my New Year Blog. Did you all have a good one? I couldn't wait to get Christmas out of the way and get on to the New Year. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful family Christmas but i couldn't wait to get the New Year started, just so that I could work out what day it was.

So then for your delectation we have the lovely Kate Rigby. Kate is as screwball as me, so why else would I have her on my blog? Mind you she has written more books than me but I'm busy with a reader challenge for the UK Crime Book Club. Every time I start a new book I put a pound in a jar. Who knows, it just might pay for my next dirty week end away. Hah! Just kidding, I'm usually reading or writing come the week ends.

Up you come then Kate

Hi I’m Kate 

As you can see from the photo I’ve turned funny colours with the prospect of being held hostage here.

Tee: Oh I haven't got started yet!!

Q. Where in the world do you live Kate?

A. In my head mostly. It does have its advantages but it would be nice to headhop every once in a while. As you can see from the photo this also represents that fogginess inside my head at times, bwahahaha.

Q. Introduce your family

A. This could well be the same answer to Number 5. If I give you an excerpt from Lost The Plot (which changes its author name every so often) you will get my drift. (Take note this was conceived nearly 20 years ago so I have many more children since.) Please pardon the swearing but as I’m being held hostage in this cave I may as well earn by punishments.

Tee: And there may well be many. 

Vignettes of my first six children and a taste of their upbringing. 

SPLIT: Intense and serious, from just outside Liverpool. Motto: "Fantasy is reality".
GRIT: Anarchist with a pink Mohican and violent childhood. Motto:  "Let's shock".
SHIT: A London drug addict.  Motto:  "Life's a head-fuck".
DITSY: Reflective and rambling.  Motto: "I don't have one, do I?".
WIT:  Multiple personality.  Loves sun, sand, sea, fast cars. But caught in a cul-de-sac. 
          Motto:  "Say hi to Madame Two Swords".
KLIT: The colour of tennis lawns.  Triple goddess.  Motto: "Change the balls, duck".

My kids have all been sent out into the world, even GRIT who was hoping for a second flush of success. They could phone me at least, or drop a line to let me know they’ve arrived safely.  The silence always makes me nervous.  Are they being taken seriously?  Is it a full fat silence or an empty silence?  A stuck-in-the-backlog sort of silence.  Maybe they haven't even met that all-important guy yet: you know, the one who can help them get on in the world. I've known that silence before, I’ve felt hopeful and encouraged by it, but they keep coming back to mum, sure as eggs.  

But I don't let them sit around at home.  You can't. As a mother I've got to boost their morale.  So I'll give them a pep talk and send them out into the world again. You mustn't let standards slip. You must keep dressing your kids in new clothes, even though they may not get as far as removing their coats.  Even though new clothes cost a pretty penny.  Or I might perform a bit more surgery if this is what’s needed.  Just a bit of Botox here, a bit of liposuction there, a bit of enhancement, or a new implant. You need to re-invent yourself, I'll say, if you're not making the right impression in the right places.  Now off you go again, I'll say, ever the optimist.  Well, you have to be, don't you?  

Though sometimes I'm ever the pessimist.  You're slouching your whole body, KLIT.  You’re like the Courier font on my computer. Too bog standard, even a bit hefty. We could go for something more Script.  Why can't you be more like Ms Dunmore's children?  Or Mr Hornby's?  Why can't you meet a nice publisher, marry one?  One who'll take care of you and look after your interests, if not for life, then a good many years?  (Though you feel a right old-fashioned pillock, coming out with all that, let me tell you)  OK a fling then.  That'd be better than nothing, kids. 

Well, you feel you've failed as a mother, don't you, if your children don't get on in the world.  Naturally you want the best for them.  But you need to be impossibly perfect in today's world, and my children, like most, have their flaws.  They're only human.  

Next day -
KLIT came home.  That P word again.  Not enough plot plot plot. 
And they want us to write with balls – (but KLIT is full of balls!) - they want us to stand out in a crowded market place and draw attention to ourselves and be distinctive, they want us to be risk-takers, and then what do they do?  They follow the herd!     

It's not sour grapes, really it isn't.  Well, maybe a bit then.  Well, a bloody truckload if the truth be known.  But everyone's saying what a ridiculous business it is these days, publishing.  Entrenched. Concentrating on the big cheeses and celebs and no help for us struggling single mums.

I've found a category for each of them.

Well you did ask!

Tee: Sits chewing on her left toe while Kate continues her tirade.  Gets bored with toe and thinks about sitting her in the electric chair. I told you she was mad.

Q. Have you any pets

A. Not here. But my mum (who I see regularly) has a rescue cat, Sheba.  As you can see from the picture she seems partial to sounds just like me.  We always had a cat growing up. My mum is 90 by the way and…

… was the one who first inspired me to write a book though I always enjoyed making up stories


Q. Have you a favourite genre to write in

Non-genre! I once wrote a blog called the L Word (L for literary) and another one called the Most Misunderstood Genre, which is why I prefer to use any other name I can think of – like grit lit, or edgy lit, or contemporary or retro lit.  Or coming of age. Oh and I have done a bit of non-fiction before. 

Q. Preferences regarding publishing and s/publishing 

I have been trad published, small pressed published and now indie (or self-published). I think we all like that vote of confidence and self-belief that traditional publishing affords, not to mention all that free marketing and whatnot. Having said that, I hear tell that the lines have significantly blurred between the two since I had my 15 minutes.  I must say I do like the control over the finished product you get with self-pubbing too.

Q. What really bugs you about the world in general

I have a WIP on this very subject – you mindreader, you. Very early days yet: the clay is just being shaped, so to speak.

Q. Now that you’re in my cave you have a choice of being hung from chains (as in meat being hung) or the electric chair. Which do you prefer, bearing in mind the cave is remote and your screams will never be heard.

You’re all heart ;)  Put me on the chair, Tee.  I am always so cold I could do with a shot of the warm stuff.

Q. You can bond with any animal from the beginning of time to present day. What would you choose

A. Cats every time.  But a cow or a pig or an otter might be interesting…

Q. What are your feelings about the way books/ promotion is done now compared to perhaps the last 30 years. Which do you prefer

A. Mixed.  As I say I like being in control of promotion in some ways but it’s a real time sucker, it’s tedious and can be expensive (for paid promotions).  I am endlessly grateful though to all the wonderful book bloggers who give of their time freely and take the trouble to post reviews. They are the real unsung heroes.

Q. How many books have you written

A. Somewhere in the region of fifteen (excluding short stories).  I’m losing count and possibly the will to live ;) Here's one.

Q. Is there a work in progress

A. See answer above.  But much further on in the progress is a follow up to Down The Tubes, one of my more hard-hitting books inspired by years of working in the addictions field

Q. How do you feel about social media in general and do you consider it to be useful as a marketing tool in our line of work

A. The main social media platform I use is Facebook (or F***book as I tend to call it when it doesn’t play fair. Not sure if swearing will land me a few highly charged volts!)  The marketing side of it I keep restricted to groups for that purpose or Facebook Pages.  But you have to think of creative ways to self-promote otherwise it is completely tedious. My most successful self-promotion was in fact the opposite – in the (now defunct) Amazon fora I created a thread called Reverse Self-Promotion and authors seemed to love it. You know, a place where you could undersell your book, your self and put off readers with gay abandon.  The wit, irony and creativity was much more fun to do and to read, rather than endless threads imploring readers to ‘buy my book now!’

Q. Favourite drinks hot/cold

A. Tea tea and more tea!  (Not cold tea though) 
Ginger beer
I used to like wine spritzers but wine doesn’t like me any more sadly

Q. Favourite food

A. Pizzas, chips (but they have to be the right sort and cooked the right way), huss, skate, scallops, home-made apple crumble with ice-cream, lemon meringue pie, anything with lemon or ginger, Whiskas, Dreamies…

Phew!  Have I survived intact?  Th-thanks for h-having me here, T-tee. It has been most f-f-fun.

Tee: Have you still got all your faculties. Arms, legs etc?

Kate: Yes I think so (Does a random check to be sure)

Tee: Then you've survived woman.

Links to Kate's work:






So there you have it. The lovely Kate Rigby banged to rights. 

Laters Potaters 

29 Nov 2018

Jillian Ward's sense of humour

Hello my little chickadees

This week on my blog I have a fellow author that I have known for a considerable time. Ironically she has made herself at home in my cave and not only suggested a few alterations but actually shifted a few bits around !!! I'm gonna get her!!!! 

Right then so I'll just lull her into a false sense of security....

Hello Jillian my lovely, would you like to introduce yourself?

Tee:  See what I mean

Q. Who is Jillian Ward?

Well, let’s see. She’s a woman of a certain age who was born and bred in the North West of England, and who 18 years ago fled across the border to God’s Own Country (Scotland) to start a new life after chucking in the 9-5 rat race. There life began anew. There she could pursue her dream of being a writer, made new friends (one very special friend in particular ), involved herself in her new community, etc.

Personality: Jillian has a sarcastic sense of humour, verging on wicked, but also a romantic streak a mile wide and a heart that loves unconditionally - earn her loyalty and it is yours for ever. She hates injustice, loves to learn new things (like Polish), and is practical (they call her the flat pack queen). She is idiot intolerant (particularly orange ones), slow to anger, but can hold a grudge for eternity. She can be introverted to the point of hermit-hood and she writes stories to live vicariously through her characters because they are her way to do/say/visit/experience things/places she can’t in real life. She has eclectic tastes in books, movies and music, lives in baggy sweaters and leggings, has never eaten an oyster and is allergic to kiwi fruit and borage. 

Q. Where do you live? 

 I live in Aberdeen, NE Scotland, former oil capital of Europe, and I’m proud to do so. I love it here. The part of the city I live in is known as Old Aberdeen with very old granite buildings and cobbled streets, and the house I live under – in a basement flat – is a 200 year old former manse with a beautiful garden. Lovely Seaton Park is close by and across the road from my front gate is St Machar’s cathedral. I’m a mile from the beach in one direction, two or three from the countryside in the other, a mile and a half from the city centre. Being a stone’s throw from the main campus of the University of Aberdeen the area bustles with students from all over the world. So, historic yet very cosmopolitan. Aberdeen is having a bad time at the moment after the oil industry tanked, but it still has some marvellous architecture and history to appreciate and enjoy, even its own dialect (Doric). When it’s dreich, the people are all hunched and murderous looking, like a casting call for Deliverance. Then the sun shines and the city sparkles and faces unfurl and it’s a beautiful place full of beautiful people. I’m never leaving. I can’t. All my characters live here.

Tee: I love that blue door to your property in the top photo of the Chanonery. Is that the Aberdeen skyline and that beach looks a bit bracing to be honest. Is that bottom photo the Inversnecky where you eat? Looks nice! Not as nice as my food here though.

Q. Tell us about family members 

 My household is male dominated, even the dog. Although I have 3 sons, 2 of them live away so there is just the youngest (21) at home. There is another male presence, but we don’t talk about him. I have other family living back in England but I haven’t seen them for over 6 years. My real family members, the ones who matter most, live in my computer. My Facebook friends are as real and as important to me as any flesh and blood body sitting in my living room. 

Q. Have you any pets?

Only Archie, my bad tempered Jack Russell terrier. He’s 15 now, losing his sight, a bit broad in the beam and unsteady on his pins, but he’s happy enough in his own doggy way. 

Tee: Some of my previous inmates would have liked him. Happily they are no longer around giving grief.

 Q. Where do you go to find solace when you want to get off the world?

There’s a lovely cabin I go to just outside of Nairn, about an hour and a half away. It’s called the Studio (because it’s a former artist’s studio) in the grounds of Glenferness House, surrounded by miles of woodland and the river Findhorn outside the door (and 100 ft down a steep slope but I try not to think about that). It has no TV, no phone and no internet. Just birds and deer and sheep and quiet. Absolute bliss. As long as there is clean water, the leccy stays on and nobody comes a’callin’ I’m good.

Tee:  Too clean for me. I prefer my cave and its natural ambience.

Q. Favourite food/drink? (Please tell me it’s haggis)

I do like haggis, with neeps and tatties and onion gravy. My favourite food though is cheese. Like Wallace I love a punchy tangy cheddar. Yum! I also adore chocolate and bananas but as I eat a very low carbohydrate diet as a rule, these are rare and exotic treats. As for (alcoholic) drink, I’ve been dry for a long time. However, if I feel I’m able to handle it I like a (very) small glass of Krupnik Wisniowy which is a cherry flavoured Polish vodka liqueur. My favourite day to day drink is of course coffee, lots and lots of coffee, with the odd cup of tea in between to keep the kettle warm.

Q. Tell me about your writing. What thrills you and what drives you nuts?

I’ve been writing something or other for as long as I can remember. I was pretty precocious when it came to reading and writing. I could do both before I even went to school. At school I read everything the library could throw at me and I also wrote stories, winning a gold star and the English prize for ‘A day in the life of a penny’. 
Now I’m an adult I write because…cue a string of well worn clichés... because I can, because it’s a kind of therapy to get down on paper all those things dancing around in my head, to still the voices, because the characters tell me to, because I have to. Sounds silly, sounds trite, sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? But as any writer will tell you, it’s true. Basically, writing is the one thing that stops me from going batshit bonkers!

What thrills me about writing? Well, not just the blank page and the cursor blinking with potential, but the research that goes before, during and after. Sure there’s the ‘thrill of the chase’ that comes with banging out those initial pages to really get my pulse racing, but the research always brings the biggest challenges…and the biggest reward () Writing ‘the end’ always fills me with both satisfaction and sadness; that someone has read one of my stories and liked it, the ultimate joy. 
What drives me nuts about writing? Well, wanting to write and not being able to. Not only when the well of ideas runs dry and I’m struggling for momentum, but also day to day. The constant bloomin’ interruptions that pull me out of the zone. Have you seen this (insert pathetic meme/video/post from interwebs)? Where’s my socks? Do I have a clean shirt? What’s for tea? Urrrgggghhhhh! Leave me alone! Can’t you see I have a knife in this person’s literary tripes ready to spill them all over the floor (or put them in a pie)? 

And when the book is done, there’s the task of getting someone (or hopefully a lot of somebodies) to read the work. Marketing is really hard work, very time consuming and needs to be done just right. I’ll put my hand up. I’m a writer not a salesperson. Writing is easy compared to getting readers and spreading the love. But, it is a necessary evil and I try my best. #sigh

Q. Do you like my victim cave? I think it has such a lovely ambience about it.

I really like what you’ve done with the place since you kicked the last victim to the kerb. Kind of homely in a serial killer meets Colin and Justin on crack kind of way. Snug and dark. I live in a basement already so I feel quite at home. Being in solitary means I can finally get some sleep. 
The water dribbling down the wall is a nice feature. It pays to stay hydrated. The air freshener leaves a bit to be desired, though. Eau de Vomit if I’m not mistaken. It quite cleared out my sinuses. However, I think I’m allergic to the straw. I seem to have come out in a rash. Or it could be the lice. FYI, the previous occupant seems to have left some bits of him/herself behind. I put them in the corner for the rats.
All you need is a few cheap fairy lights and a wind chime and it would be perfect.

Tee: There you go again with the redesigning ... Thinks... it will soon be Christmas though and she's with me on the orange idiot.

Q. You’re given an all expenses paid holiday. Where in the world would you take off too? Would you go alone or with company?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I don’t like to travel (I get terrible motion sickness) and I enjoy my own company, so my ideal all expenses paid holiday would be if someone would pay me to either stay at home with my laptop and my DVDs and books, a supply of cheese, chocolate and coffee, with a padlock the size of an Orc’s fist fitted to the door to keep interlopers out, or spend a couple of months by myself up at the Studio in perfect isolation. 
That being said I did enjoy my first solo trip to Shetland last year (on a boat!) and I rather fancy going again to see the Up Helly Aa fire festival next January. Also Poland looks friendly. 
So with the right tour guides, smooth seas and enough Avomine I could be persuaded to change my mind.

Q. I believe you’re involved in charities would you like to tell us about them?

I’m a great supporter of military charity Combat Stress. Royalties from In the Garden of Stones go there. Also royalties from Offshore go to Pound for Piper who maintain the Piper Alpha Memorial monument, and monies from On The Fly go to Fishing for Heroes. I donate a lot of clothing, toiletries etc to the local Cyrenians who help the homeless, and also support Social Bite which is a café run for and by homeless people. I volunteered for a while at the local Forces Support shop until it closed down. 

Q. Hobbies 

I’ve dabbled in this and that over the years and I’m not really good at anything apart from knitting and crochet. I can make clothing and blankets and all kinds of things from yarn and a hook or needles, so it’s not so much a hobby as a post apocalypse survival skill.
 I tried painting in the Bob Ross fashion for a while and that was quite successful, but oil paints are expensive and they smell really bad so I had to give that up. The whole house stank of linseed. Essence of roses compared to the pong in this place though. I think your drain hole is bunged up. 

Tee: Leave my drain hole out of this thank you very much. There's a lot of blood and gore gone down there.
Blimey did you crochet them? Respect <stop it; you're starting to go soft>

Q. What gives you a real buzz?

Bees. Wasps. Mosquitoes. Only joking. Let’s see. A book sale. A (good) review. A royalty cheque. They give me a real boost. An exam success for my son. Managing to conjugate an irregular Polish verb. Completing a really complicated crochet/knitting project and it looks great. That’ll do it. 
You know that saying, little things please little minds? Well that’s me all over.

Tee:  I can see I need to strap you to the electric chair.

Jillian: Oh goody I could do with a bit of jerky, general movement, I'm getting stiff here.

Q. What genre do you write in? Does it vary at all?

Whatever takes me at the moment. I’ve dipped my toe in various genres - romance, thriller, psychological, paranormal, horror, a saucy romp (ooh matron!) to varying degrees of success.  I’ve avoided historical, steampunk and science fiction because I consider them ‘specialist’ and as I don’t know anything about those genres and they have never pushed my buttons, I’ll stick with the ones that I can really get my teeth into so to speak.  I don’t have a favourite, but if pushed I would tend towards crime and/or horror. That way I can take out all my murderous urges without actually harming anyone (even if they deserve it) 
I also write under pseudonyms. It was kind of an experiment. I wanted to see if a woman with a genteel name like Lucy Pepperdine could be taken seriously writing horror, and I also used a gender neutral name, Dale Henderson, for a grittier drama to see if it made any difference. The jury is still out.

Q. Do you characters take over at all and if so how do you deal with it?

Too right they do! Cheeky devils. Always wanting to trot off and do something/somebody. Then we have to sit down and have a serious chat about who’s actually in charge of this story. And more often than not it turns out they are. So I let them have their way and if it goes wrong give them the old ‘told you so’, then we try it my way. Usually though, they are right and I am relegated to mere story relater rather than creator.

However, some characters have taken over not only the story but ME, the person. Nathaniel made me fall in love with him, as did Adam and Hamish, but Henry…oh my beloved. Based on a real person, he captured my heart completely. How do I deal with it? I love them right back of course, Henry most of all.

Q. Have you a favourite place to go where you live?

Plenty. Out of town, when I need fresh air and exercise I have a stroll through Seaton Park. If I have plenty of time I’ll walk out to the beach and along the boulevard. Quite often I find myself down at the harbour watching the ships coming in and out. It’s a habit of mine to watch the Northlink ferry leave every day and carry my best wishes to my friend in Shetland. 
I don’t have a particular favourite place IN town but if I’m feeling peoply and it’s a nice sunny day I’ll take a coffee and a book and sit under a tree in Union Terrace Gardens and read and people watch, often accompanied by the skirl of a piper.

Q. Would you like to contribute any body parts to my cave? I accept anything that’s on offer to improve the musky look and smell. The more rancid it is the better.

Well, if you’re willing to insert the tube and have a 55 gallon drum to hand I can donate a few kilos of spare body fat. You can melt it down like whale blubber, stick a wick in it and use it to light the place. It might be a bit smelly but it’ll save a shilling in the meter. 

Tee:  Hm There's a thought. I could use a couple more candles in here.

Q. Have you any WIP at the moment, or anything due to be published?

I have two WIPs on the go at the moment which have been sadly neglected. Both are former NaNoWriMo projects – Stitch Bitch Kill (for which the lovely Poppet has already designed me a fabulous cover), and O.I.Hell which is awaiting some more research. I switch between them as the mood takes me or a good idea pops up. It’s slow going, but I’ll get there….eventually. Something about Rome and a day… I doubt they will see the light of a publishing day before 2020, but writing keeps me from walking the streets, so it’s all good.
On the plus side I’ve recently contributed a short story – Stocking Killer - to recently released Christmas anthology of which I am rather proud.

Tee: Do you mean this? I contributed to this with a short story called A Corpse at Christmas. Some of my previous victims contributed when I'd finished with them. It's probably where they got all their ideas from. I saw a link for it somewhere.

 Ah here it is... 

Thank you for having me in your cave, Tee. It’s been quite the experience. These festering boils are coming along a treat. Look at the head on that one. Look at it throbbing. Any chance of some antibiotics? Or a sharp stick?

Tee: Er.... No of course not! What makes you think I'm nice. Oh wait, you think because I made nice comments about your photos earlier I'm now mellowing. Hah no chance doll face. In fact take that, and that....

Jillian: Arrrrggghhh that electric probe really hurt Tee...

Tee: Job done <grotesque smile and a heinous cackle for effect>

Jillian: Do widzenia! (Polish for goodbye)


Book links as Jillian Ward

Saving Nathaniel         

Keeping Christopher   

He, She and Him         

Watch Your Back         

Three Way Street         

On The Fly                  

Book links as Lucy Pepperdine


(also in audiobook from Audible)

In The Garden of Stones 

(also in audiobook from Audible)

Anima Mea                    

Book links as Dale Henderson

Coming Clean            

Full details of all books are available at 

Book cover images:
Established works:

Current work in progress

Well there you have it. 

Laters potaters