Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - my year of writing dangerously

What a strange year. Five book launches, two short stories, four video competitions and a whole lot of travelling.

Here's a review of the past 12 crazy months.

Happy New Year to family, friends and acquaintances old and new, and thanks to Crooked Cat Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Bluewood Publishing and SmashWords.

Click here or on the screenshot to view.

By Pamela Kelt

Friday, 27 December 2013

Anecdotal value from Pamela Kelt

Newsroom mystery book bargain. Tomorrow's Anecdote for just 77p on Amazon.co.uk.

Just another day in the the newsroom? Hardly.


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Voting for Ice Trekker in video contest

My teen fantasy adventure Ice Trekker is in the You Gotta Read Reviews Video Contest this December. It's video entry #2 - currently on page two.


Voting will be between today, December 21 and December 27. Here's a guide if you're new to the process.

Start by clicking on 'Video contest'.

Find the vote button and scroll down to see Ice Trekker at #2.

Check the box.

Go to the bottom of the list and click 'Vote'.

That's it! Thanks.

By Pamela Kelt

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Tomorrow's Anecdote - on the road

Thanks to Crooked Cat Publishing, my first novel is now on its first outing.

Find out more here:

It's been popping up all over the place. Here's what to look for ...

Just another day in the the newsroom? 


October 1987. Clare Forester is an overworked and under-appreciated features subeditor on a provincial paper in Somerset. She spends her time cheerfully ranting about her teenage daughter, the reclusive lodger, her spiteful mother, the Thatcher government, new technology, grubby journalists, petty union officials, her charming ex – and just about anything else that crosses her path.

If things aren’t turbulent enough, on the night of Thursday, October 15th, the Great Storm sweeps across Britain, cutting a swathe of destruction across the country.

Things turn chaotic. Pushed to breaking point, Clare finally snaps and loses her temper with gale-force fury – with disastrous results.

As she contemplates the chaos that her life has become, Clare soon comes to a bitter conclusion.

Never trust the past.

It lies.


Available as an e-book or in print form:
CC - Tomorrow's Anecdote 
Tomorrow's Anecdote: Amazon.co.uk: Pamela Kelt: Books

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Eat Your Peas! Speaking to the middle grade reader

Concluding the series of articles to celebrate the launch of The Cloud Pearl, here's fellow MuseItUp Publishing Kai Strand with some excellent points about tuning into your audience.

Welcome, Kai. Over to you:

Eat Your Peas! Speaking to the Middle Grade Reader

Voice in children’s literature is crucial. It’s a safe bet to say that if the narrator sounds like a parent, your book probably won’t be read by more than your friends and family.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Lost orchid - for real

Orchid fans are buzzing with the news that one of the world’s rarest orchids has been rediscovered after 175 years.

Richard Bateman and Paula Rudall, from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, found the green-flowered plant on a wind-swept mountain ridge they compared to a scene from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World.

At first the team had focused on two kinds of butterfly-orchids, but by using morphology and DNA sequences, they were able to distinguish between the widespread short-spurred butterfly-orchid and the rarer narrow-lipped butterfly-orchid. It was only when the team surveyed an orchid population on top of a volcanic ridge on the central island of Sao Jorge that they made a surprising discovery: a third species.

On their return from the island of Sao Jorge in the Portuguese Azores to Britain the scientists realised that another botanist had first seen the orchid 175 years ago – but had never realised what he had discovered.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Gothic inspiration

Guy’s Cliffe house is the epitome of the Gothic. Crumbling towers, croaking jackdaws, a rushing weir.

One late summer’s day, I found myself walking the dogs round Guy’s Cliffe, a Warwickshire beauty spot by the River Avon, not far from home.

Monday, 2 December 2013

The Lost Orchid set to bloom

I've just heard the delightful news that Paulette Rea of Bluewood Publishing will be the editor for The Lost Orchid.

It's a tale of botanical shenanigans set in the 1880s when orchid fever was at its height.

The story set in and around Kenilworth. Expect photos!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Scottish connection

It's St Andrew's Day today. I took this shot over the ancient rooftops of old Kenilworth the other week. It seemed appropriate.

It's similarly dazzling today. In fact, I may just take a turn around the castle - and pick up a haggis on the way back.

If I can catch one. It's a little known fact that they roam free on Kenilworth Common and they're quick as the devil as they shoot through the bracken.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Voting for Half Life - not long to go ...

Voting closes today for the Yougottaread November video contest.

I'd love a vote for Half Life. It's a film noir-inspired 1930s romantic thriller, co-written with my husband Rob Deeth. Nefarious Nazis, northern lights, nuclear fission ... and cyclotrons!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Making fantasy real - author Rosemary Gemmell

Continuing the series about writing for younger readers to mark the launch of The Cloud Pearl, this week we hear from talented writer Ros Gemmell, author of The Jigsaw Puzzle.

The epublishing business is wonderfully global, however it was delightful to connect with a fellow-Scot. Rosemary and I have exchanged many an email over the past few months, so it's pleasure to have her as my guest today, to talk about interweaving fantasy with real-life issues.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Seeking votes for Half Life

Half Life has reached the shortlist for the Yougottaread November video contest.

It's a film noir-inspired 1930s romantic thriller, co-written with my husband Rob Deeth. Nefarious Nazis, northern lights, nuclear fission ... and cyclotrons!

To vote, go here. Voting is from 21-27 November.

Scroll down to number #12 and click to vote if you like it.

You can also see the video here:

Friday, 15 November 2013

Picture power - thoughts from cover artist and writer Marion Sipe

The Cloud Pearl: cover design by Marion Sipe
Continuing the series about writing for younger readers, here's an interview with design artist Marion Sipe, who created the wonderful cover for The Cloud Pearl.

Welcome, Marion! Let's get straight down to business.  Apart from reading the cover artists forms, how do you set about designing a book cover? Do you ever revert to pen and paper, or is it all high-tech design?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Seeking votes for Half Life

Just back from Berlin doing research for the sequel of Half Life, our 1930s mystery adventure and guess what? I see the Half Life trailer’s in this month’s You Gotta Read Reviews Video Contest.

It’s entry #12 and you can see it here.

If you like a bit of ‘film noir’, do vote from November 21 and November 26.

When it comes to the day, to vote, visit the site, find the red, white and blue voting button between those dates and click on the appropriate number.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Boost your book - tips from Beth Overmyer

A warm welcome to fellow MuseItYoung author Beth Overmyer.

This is the third article in a series on books for the teen/tween market, to mark the launch of The Cloud Pearl (Book One: Legends of Liria). Today, the author of In a Pickle shares her tips for boosting your book.

Writing a Teacher’s Guide

Congratulations! You’ve written a book and now you want to make a teacher’s guide to accompany it.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

E-books and e-readers – are we expecting too much?

This is the second article in a series on books for the teen/tween market, to mark the launch of The Cloud Pearl (Book One: Legends of Liria).

I’m in the classic demographic to possess an e-reader. Female, mother, and of a certain age. I woke up to the revolution two years, submitted several manuscripts and I have now have six books deals. They are all initially e-books.

I assumed everyone was familiar with e-readers, even if they didn’t own one. Well, I think I’m horribly wrong.

I was at the hairdresser’s, a classic place to catch up on my reading. I left my e-reader on the table and a crowd formed. Not one of the women there had ever seen one before – and it was a wide age range, from late teens to post-retirement. When I showed them the cover of one of my books on the screen, there was a general ooh and aah. Far from being flattered, I was horrified.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

How old are you? Writing for younger readers ...

Hi Pam!  Hello Pam's followers! waves coffee mug enthusiastically.

How old are you?

Thanks so much for inviting me to contribute to this discussion because although I don't consider myself a YA writer, as in so many things, it comes down to reader's choice.

For example? I still read and treasure some books that came to me in childhood – Alison Uttley, Beatrix Potter, the Narnia Series, Henry Treece's Viking trilogy, apart from all the classics. I have used the Wind in the Willows in magical ritual (yes, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, of course) and  taught English to adult students with early-reader  books where the pictures tell the story and the words are there for vocabulary-gathering.

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Cloud Pearl - launch day

Today is the launch of The Cloud Pearl, book one of Legends of Liria.

The book's now on Amazon.com and Smashwords, among others. Hop over for some questing banter and epic pictures of swords and monsters. There's a giveaway, too.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Five stars for Ice Trekker

As I'm gearing up for the release of teen/tween fantasy The Cloud Pearl, I found this five-star review on Amazon for my previous adventure, Ice Trekker.

***** 'I read the whole book in one go - just could not put it down! If you like the Hobbit or the earlier Harry Potter books you will love this. It is full of weird and wonderful creatures - incredibly imaginative. This is the third book I've read by this author - all are completely different and all are cracking reads.'



Saturday, 19 October 2013

Coming to a PC near you …

Latest video: The Cloud Pearl book trailer
When I plunged into the unknown waters of epublishing, I had no idea what I was going to experience. I was quietly confident. Hey. I’m a sub-editor. I can do formatting.

Serves me right for being so cocky.

First step. Buy e-reader. Check. That was the easy bit.I began to submit manuscripts. It was odd because I had to do was ‘unlearn’ all the fancy submission documents I used to do. No footers, headers, no page numbers! Still, simple is good. I’m basically a low-tech kinda gal. I could down-size.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

New Liria cover - The Cloud Pearl

I'm a great fan of teen fiction and fantasy. I'm delighted to introduce Legends of Liria, a six-part tween/teen series in six parts. The Cloud Pearl is book one.

It's inspired by my daughter Lauren's aerial skills acquired through the amazing Dream Factory, Warwick, mingled in with a fantastic trip to the inspiring country of Montenegro. A heady mix.

For more on the series, do check out the blog. http://legendsofliria.blogspot.co.uk/

Here's the blurb:

Monday, 7 October 2013

Science + fiction

I've been watching a lot of film noir lately. British Intelligence, 1940, with Boris Karloff. Night Train to Munich with Rex Harrison.

I love the old movies - and there's always a bunch of science of technology lurking in those film noir shadows.

Hence Half Life. So, what a lovely surprise to get a mention in a science newsletter. And here it is.

Bringing chemistry to life, courtesy of the University of Warwick.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Why I love Flash Fiction – by Tom Gillespie

Please welcome fellow Crooked Cat writer Tom Gillespie, today. Author of the highly-acclaimed darkly surreal thriller, Painting by Numbers, he's sharing his passion for a different style of writing.

There's a bonus: he's written an exclusive piece for us all. It's fabulous and more than a little unsettling ... but what else would you expect? 

Here's Tom:

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Calling all young readers

Blogging today chez author Kai Strand. Chatting about Ice Trekker and writing for young readers.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Catching up with Frances di Plino

A warm welcome to fellow Crooked Cat writer, Frances di Plino (Lorraine Mace), author of the D.I. Paolo Storey series, among many other titles.

She's taken time from her hectic schedule to share some fascinating insights into her writing, her family's past and her future plans:

Frances di Plino is a striking name – very powerful. It looks just right on the cover of a psychological crime thriller. How did it come about? Do you have an Italian connection?

Friday, 27 September 2013

Talking to Tina

This week, meet fellow Crooked Cat writer Tina Burton, author of the delightful Chapters of Life.

Hi, Tina. Welcome to the blog.

I'm guessing you're still celebrating the launch of your book, Chapters of Life. How did it come about?
I'd been in a bookshop, and thought how nice it would be if they had a cafe so people could sit with a coffee whilst reading, and suddenly had this vision of a bookshop with a cafe on the first floor. Then everything else came to me, the characters and setting etc.

Are the quirky characters in Chapters of Life drawn from actual people, or are they, perhaps, composites – or complete fiction?
Well, there's bits of me in Jo who manages the bookshop, and Graham has some of my husband's traits, but all the rest are complete fiction.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Great little city

Bath. A great place. Read in my latest blog visit about how it inspired a macabre mystery, Tomorrow's Anecdote.

I was there in the late 1980s and based all the locations on real places. Even the house the female protagonist lives in was based on our modest Victorian terraced house in Eastville.

Take a look - what a wonderful place.

Thanks to Michela for inviting me - and for coming up with such a great theme.

By Pamela Kelt

Monday, 23 September 2013

Attack of the graphics

How many people have tried their hand at fantasy novels with a ‘quest’ theme? The answer is, I suspect, just about anyone who’s enjoyed Lord of the Rings. That’s a lot of folk.

Some years ago, I began to develop a story set in the icy wastes of the north. It was based on a trip to northern Norway. The story only took off on the third edit, when I tried a different approach. I decided to ditch the traditional fantasy scenario and go for the flavour of a graphic novel.

Not everyone likes graphic novels. Our favourite country pub is owned by a chap, a former graphic artist, who’s lined the walls of the establishment with original front covers of graphic novels from the 1970s. Catwoman, the Incredible Hulk, Superman, The Shadow. Others were more obscure, but the powerful images are filled with exciting promise.

In my view, the figures and backdrops are striking and brilliantly drawn – with obvious good and evil connotations. This made them the perfect inspiration for an adventure story for teens and tweens.

Some say it doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you read something. This sentiment was often quoted to assist teachers hoping to encourage youngsters, especially boys, to read. So, I thought I’d try and create a graphic novel – without pictures.

So, what are the key ingredients to a graphic novel? After some poking around the web, I came up with some ground rules.

Graphic novels require super-human heroes and heroines. I wasn’t about to create new wonder-beings, so I didn’t worry overly about this aspect, although I made sure the characters were strong, with my young heroes achieving staggering feats of endurance against unpleasant villains.
Action is paramount, and descriptions are relegated to a few brief words of scene-setting. This seemed to make sense. The characters jump in, enabling the reader to be there in their imagination. This is just another way of saying ‘show not tell’, I suppose.

Memorable scenes, those staggering set pieces where the imaginary camera takes in the action, are a must for the so-called ‘visual novel’. Instead of describing the lousy weather, I tried to create an image of my stalwart heroes stranded in a snowstorm as a villainous army of mutant creatures moving in. No escape! Duh-duh-duh.

In graphic novels, captions and word balloons are critical. When it came to language, I went for a direct, simple style, as contemporary as possible without being too ‘street’. In every plot twist, someone restates the predicament so less experienced readers know what’s going on.

Obviously, word balloons weren’t feasible (it’s not illustrated), but I tried different routes to express thoughts, such as different punctuation, style, typefaces – although too many exclamation marks weren’t deemed such a great idea by my editor. I have to agree. They looked out of place.

In a sidebar, I once had the oddest translating job. It was to convert the speech in the bubbles of a graphic novel from American English (‘Jeez, bud. You’re so dumb you drive me nuts.’) to British English (Hey, mate. Stop being such a plonker.’) The difficult thing was, we had no access to the graphic artist, so I literally had to make the words fit the space.

Back to Ice Trekker. When I read the stunning The Edge Chronicles, I could hear the forest, the strange animals, the evil armies moving in the undergrowth. I’m not saying I wrote ‘thunk’ every time someone fell off a rock, but a good bit of onomatopoeia works wonders.

Good graphic novels have terrific back-stories, some as powerful as myths. This seemed like fun, so I created a few myths to explain my mythical planet and the creatures upon it. (I put the full version on the blog for anyone who’d care to read it – http://icetrekker.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-legend-of-mount-vulkanen.html.) Such mythology reinforces the moral tone, and I feel younger readers enjoy learning from myths and fables about good and evil, and how the world should work.

Good graphic novels have a tight script, often laced with dark humour. Humour is how people often deal with tension, so I allowed myself a dry comment here and there. Unleavened seriousness can be a bit much. For example, our intrepid heroes are under attack and have to defend themselves, but they don’t have much. The cook pitches in: “I’ve got a few kitchen knives,” said Big Ben, who popped his head up. “And there’s a fair bit of damage you can do with a milk frother if you set your mind to it.”

A vital aspect of the graphic novel is the impact of cinema. I was brought up on books by John Buchan, with pages of worthy descriptions of the lay of the land. Today’s generation sees things from the cameraman’s point of view. Every time I created a new scene, I tried to think of interesting angles, extreme close-ups, panning, long shots, wide or panoramic shots, scenes over the shoulder, a bird's eye view. They’re all worth exploring.

A part of this is the use of landscapes. In graphic novels, landscapes set the mood for the whole novel. It’s time to have some fun – but the characters should interact with it. The aim must be for the reader to ‘see’ the story and its themes rather than realising they’re reading about them. 

Well, now you can decide for yourself. Here’s a short extract of Ice Trekker, due out on MuseItUp in September.

Extract from Ice Trekker

“Hide!” hissed the old sailor, eyes white with fear. He slithered across the icy decking and burrowed into a tangle of fishing nets lying on the dock.

Midge turned his face upward. The navy night sky turned green, laced with purple and orange like oil in water.

“What is it?” he asked, ducking into the doorway of a battered wooden boathouse. A rippling movement swept over his head in a giant tidal wave of light. He held his breath as though he were being sucked under water.

“Skythons!” came the terrified reply. “You gets them in Krønagar. But never seen ’em so big before. Horrible things. Horrible!”

Midge stared upward to watch a shimmering snake-like pattern weave and twist across the sky. The effect of long, rippling muscles struck him as so strange and beautiful that he forgot to feel afraid as he gazed at the shifting colours.

“They mean bad luck,” howled the sailor, arm over his eyes.

Up in the cold sky, colours still shimmered. “Surely it’s just superstitious nonsense?” Midge said, still staring. “They can’t be real. Just a trick of the light.” He couldn’t drag his eyes away from the sight as the shape swooped toward the dark line of mountains, arched up, over, and back toward where he stood on the little jetty. He jolted as he thought he saw a giant violet eye, bloodshot and terrible, staring right at him. It was so close he could see it gleam.

Looking round quickly, he found an old fish head. He scooped it up and flung it as far as he could into the harbour waters where it landed with a loud splash. The purple eye swivelled, following the movement of the bait, and the Skython swerved, changing direction with the ease of a supple salmon, skimming the dark waters. Then it snatched at the water, and zoomed upward, the fish head in its claws, before cresting the distant hills.

Ice Trekker is the companion blog. Orchidmania is for orchid fans.

By Pamela Kelt

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Seeking votes for Dark Interlude

If you've a moment, my video for romantic thriller Dark Interlude is on Yougottareads this month. I'm canvassing for votes among my fellow Muses!

Just go to this link - http://yougottaread.com/category/video-contest/

Then scroll down below the red and blue voting button until you come to the numbered list. Click on #5 if you'd like to vote for Dark Interlude. You can see the video here - http://yougottaread.com/september-entry-5-dark-interlude/

It's a romantic adventure set after Armistice Day, 1918, when dark forces are at work ... and revolution is in the air.

'A strange death ... a deadly mission ... a city on the brink.
Who says the war is over?'

Voting is open from today, 21 September (my 28th wedding anniversary, by the way) until 27 September.

Thanks so much,

By Pamela Kelt

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Confessions of a fantasy fan

I’ve always loved tales of fantasy, whether in books, movies, comics or television. I'm especially proud of actually writing one myself. Ice Trekker is now out on MuseItYoung.

This is me, gaining inspiration from some Tromsø scenery

I used to share fantasy books with my daughter as she was growing up. I was always at my local library, pouncing on the latest Edge Chronicle or whatever, or rummaging through the boxes of books to be reviewed when I worked in magazines.

Some years ago, I turned my hand to writing myself. I began writing books for adults, but this changed overnight when I was lucky enough to accompany my husband on a work trip to Norway. Guess which part? Tromsø, 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. What an adventure. It took three flights to get there. We felt like Polar explorers ourselves.

While Rob worked at the University, I went exploring. Tromsø is a beautiful city, laid out on the island of Tromsøya, surrounded by vast mountains. It has a beautiful Arctic cathedral, the most northerly botanic garden in the world – and a picturesque harbour lined with weatherboard buildings. This is where I started and stumbled the quaint Polar Museum (Polarmuseet).

It told of the wild, woolly adventures of Polar explorers and it was like stepping back into the 1920s, with its dusty glass cases, yellowed labels and sepia photographs. My favourites were the scenes with figures of fur-clad wilderness men sitting in a log cabin. And then there was a type of fairground booth. If you looked inside, there were models of biplanes, zeppelins and hot air balloons they used in desperation to rescue missing expeditions. I’m convinced that Philip Pullman visited the same place before he wrote Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass), the first of his Dark Materials trilogy.

My imagination started to tingle when I came across old sea charts, crammed with all manner of strange sea monsters. And then there models of sailing ships, skiffs and assorted coracles. Painted wooden chests, packed with supplies. Astrolabes, binoculars, sextants …

I began to ponder a story about a fantasy land, where a group of adventurers would race against time to save their country.

It all came together when I visited museum number two, Polaria, a totally different experience, with sleek modern displays all about how precious yet fragile the Polar regions are. The highlight was the aquarium, including the ugliest fish I’d ever laid eyes on – the wolf fish – and suddenly I had the two final elements to the story. An eco-challenge, which I thought had an urgent, modern feel … and monsters! Weird, deadly, scary and gigantic.

So that’s where it all started. Muse signed me up late last year. I’ve since written others YA books, mainly inspired by family holidays. Coming soon to Muse is The Cloud Pearl, the first book of a six-part series, Legends of Liria, is based on the stunning scenery of Montenegro. We plan to visit Mexico later this year. I wonder what ideas will spring from there? I can’t wait.

Here’s a short extract from Ice Trekker to whet your appetite. 

Midge, a young Grell from Hinderland, has just landed in Krønagar in search of a job on the king’s vessel, but he’s set upon by thieves …

A distant Aurgel squawked and Midge stirred as a sliver of light touched his eyelids. His head felt heavier than a sack of grain and his body was like a block of ice. He was used to the cosy rooms he shared with family above their shop. Hinderland weather wasn’t  warm, but compared to Krønagar, it was positively tropical. After a night in this frozen place, all his body warmth seemed to have bled into the ground. And he was still hungry. And something smelled really, really bad. He sniffed. His nose hairs quivered. His own body odour could fell an ox. He needed a hot bath.

Groaning, he heaved himself to his feet, but stumbled. The ground seemed to be moving. Those Abominaballs were downright nasty, he thought, feeling dizzy, wondering when the foul eel poison would wear off.

A bell clanged. What time was it? Oh, no! A memory clambered back into his brain. The king’s flagship was due to leave at dawn. He shook his head and looked all around him, before stopping short. There was no sign of his pack, the jetty, the harbour, or even the flagship. Just a lot of surging greyness. He rubbed his eyes and refocused. He was on the deck of a small ship. To judge by the movement, he was at sea.

Midge scanned the scene, his gaze still a little fuzzy. He stood aboard a small vessel with two grubby sails and a funny snub-nosed prow. A stack of crates lay on dark, damp timbers alongside the wheelhouse. A cargo boat, he guessed and groaned aloud as the horrible truth sunk in.

Instead of sailing off to adventure on a fine royal clipper, he had been robbed, and was now stuck on a grubby little tub, in the middle of a freezing cold ocean, heading goodness knew where.

In his mind’s eye, Midge pictured the stately Solvestia, its sails crisp as fresh sheets, slicing the waves as it headed north, its harebell blue flag tugging in the breeze. Beyond, the northern mountains stretched upward, their rounded tops dappled like reindeer with the first winter snow...

Midge dropped to the deck, head in his hands, sick with disappointment. Thanks to those Minax, he’d missed out on his once-in-a-lifetime chance. His ship really had sailed.

Krønagar should have a big unfriendly sign at the border reading “DANGER. ENTER AT OWN RISK.”
It probably did have one once, thought Midge darkly, but someone must have nicked it.


Find about more about Pamela and her books at pamelakelt.weebly.com or visit the Ice Trekker companion website.

By Pamela Kelt