Jackhammer Guest

Imagine having a jackhammer in your apartment; believe me until you hear it you have no idea what it sounds like. That’s the sound I’ve been listening to most of this week—concrete balcony repairs are in progress. It starts about 8:15 a.m., a short break around 10 and another break around 1 p.m., finishing at 4:30 in the afternoon; Monday to Friday as long as the weather holds; they don’t work in rain or high winds, which makes sense swinging up into the heavens on a little wooden platform is dangerous enough.  Our twenty-one story building, The Britannia, perched at the top of a hill overlooks an expanse of park and the mighty Ottawa River. Even a mild wind is gale force around The Britannia but the jackhammers continue.  Although it is a relief when the wind gets too gusty and stops the jackhammers, it also means it will take longer to finish the job.  It is difficult to work with such a noise, but not impossible, it’s a case of adapting. My morning writing time, which is before the jackhammers, continues, but recording videos for the online writing course is on hold.

Novel writing progress has been slow to none existent; my time has been spent editing, the new contemporary sweet romance Endings and Beginnings, which is now ready for the professional edit. My submission Romance at Mr. Booker’s Bookshop for the Ottawa Independent Writers anthology submitted. Many of you have asked when my next novel will be out. I expect to have the first of the new Sophie series (working title) out before Christmas. 

Sophie Romano the protagonist from Ruins in Silk and the headmaid from The Blue Pendant is the heroine for this new series. Desperately in love with a man who loves another, Sophie leaves The Sackville Hotel. The new series follows Sophie to London where she trains as a nurse and deploys to France to nurse injured soldiers in the Great War. Amid, the terrible conditions of war Sophie finds romance and even a lost love from her youth. So readers, stay tuned for regular updates.

Would you like to write? I hear this comment all the time. “I want to write a book?” But few people actually write. First Sentence to First Sale is an online writing course that helps you decide if writing is for you and gets you started on your writing journey.  Due for release at the end of April. Click here for details


Books I’m reading: No change from last week, I’m still reading Anne Perry’s latest and for non-fiction Donald Maas’s The Emotion of Character.

The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99


Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

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Preparing for the Sun!

Hello from Ottawa, Miss Penny speaking!   My boss, Susan, is busy getting ready for a trip to visit her son and daughter-in-law, in Costa Rica. How neat is that having a relative living in the sun? Our house is in chaos, not because of packing, I don’t think that has started yet, but because it is like a revolving door with activities and visitors. Granddaughter, Annabelle, left yesterday and I’m assuming the suitcase will come out today. Of course, Susan thinks that I don’t know what’s going on but dogs have a sixth sense about these things. I’m not averse to making Susan feel guilty about leaving me. I’ll be clingy, maybe whine a bit but secretly I’m looking forward to my own holiday. I’m going to visit my mom Leila. Leila lives in a house with a backyard, now that’s a great place to have a holiday when you’re a dog who resides on the ninth floor of an apartment.
Thank you to those of you who expressed sympathy when I lost my fur coat. I’m still reeling from the shock and walks in the park even with a jacket are cold. Although, this week saw the first day of spring and the fur is getting thicker. I’m doing okay.
Writing, editing and course planning has been going on all week but with so many interruptions not much progress was made. Psst! That makes the boss a touch cranky. She definitely needs a holiday. That’s all from me today, over to the boss.
I have little to add to Miss Penny report. I am preparing to unplug and enjoy a relaxing holiday. The suitcase is coming out today and it will be a joy to pull out the summer clothes. Reading is a major part of a holiday for me so I am scanning my bookshelves for easy beach reading and getting the sunscreen out.

 


Books I’m Reading:    I finished First Snow, Last Light by Wayne Johnson, I enjoyed this book. A very different kind of book with multiple points of view, which the author does brilliantly. The hook at the beginning draws you in and the resolution of the hook is not revealed until the very end. Excellent 5 stars.

 

 

I have moved on to my favourite author Anne Perry and her latest Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery Murder on the Serpentine, just released in paperback. Thomas, head of Special Branch that looks after the country’s security, is summoned to the Buckingham Palace by Queen Victoria. He is asked to investigate a suspicious death that might involve the Prince of Wales. Secrets, mystery and intrigue that Anne Perry does so well.

My holiday reading will be composed of Anne Perry’s An Echo of Death a William Monk series and two light romances by Debbie Macomber. If I have browsing time at the airport, you never know what I might pick up.

All books available on Amazon.

 


The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99


Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

A Great Green Day!

A great green day can only be St Patrick’s Day. CTV News interviewed an Ottawa downtown bar owner who said, St Patrick’s is his biggest day of the year, bigger than Canada Day. I often wondered why a good part of the world celebrates St Patrick’s Day with such enthusiasm. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Irish; I love Ireland and visited many times both north and south. Ireland is a truly beautiful island; the people are fun, amazing people with a hint of mystery surrounding them. Perhaps, that’s the answer, the mystery. Happy St Paddy’s Day everyone! Drink green beer, wear a green jacket and enjoy a fun day because green is still white in Ottawa from another week of snow. The boots came out again but with a week of sunshine forecast they are back in the closet. Miss Penny is sulking because the picture above is of a strange dog. Sorry, Miss Penny but you don’t have a green hat. 

A Typical day on a canal narrowboat

My writing progress is slow at the moment comprising the boring stuff of editing, Endings and Beginnings, but exciting in the sense of polishing. As I worked through this manuscript, I realized how much of me has snuck into the story. Divorced, Katie is trying to find purpose in her life. I remember feeling that way. I even wondered if the path Katie takes; running a B&B and having a romantic encounter on a narrowboat with a good-looking doctor, was my secret wish, except my doctor was the divorce part. The new historical romance series based on Sophie’s character from The Blue Pendant and Ruins in Silk is now in the outline stage. As soon as I learn more about nursing in the Great War and about Sophie, who lost her parents very young. An event that will influence her adult life, compounded by the horrors of a bloody war. How will Sophie react? After researching I will switch my brain into a creative mode and create a new series.
First Sentence to First Sale online course is on temporary hold as I get my smile fixed. The gap in my front teeth is more pirate-like and the lisp that comes with it not the impression I’m after. April 26th is the tentative release date.


Books I’m reading: I am enjoying Wayne Johnson’s book Last Snow, Last Light, he is a marvellous author for developing characters and taking you right inside their lives. But a slower read than the fanciful romances or Victorian mysteries and a nice change.

 

 

In nonfiction reading, I am still reading The Emotional Wound Thesaurus by Angela Akerman and Becca Puglisi’s. My focus is, as explained above, characters suffering psychological wounds in early life—Sophie losing her parents.

 

 


The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99


Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

Rain, Read & Write!

Hello, from Ottawa on an unusually mild February day. Raised in the U.K. where the main topic of conversation was the weather and generally the subject, rain. When I moved to Ottawa Canada weather was always front and centre but with more variety; snow, ice, freezing rain, temperatures from +40c to -40c, winds even hurricanes and humid heat in the summer. But, always, summer and winter, lots of blue sky and sunshine. I must be crazy living here but all I have to do is look up and see the blue sky and sunshine. On those grey days or when it’s too cold or too hot, I indulge in my favourite pastimes, reading or writing.
Have you ever thought of writing? There is an old saying that everyone has a book in them or a story to tell. However, few of us actually put pen to paper. Encouraged by a friend to write my story I registered for a workshop, learned how to write and fell in love with writing. I had found my passion.
Some of you reading this will remember I taught several writing workshops just a couple of years ago and then The Sackville Trilogy took up most of my time. The trilogy finished, I am teaching again.
First Sentence to First Sale is a course for writers and want-to-be-writers; designed to give you an overview of the writing process; overcome self-doubt, focus on one idea, schedule writing and most of all help you decide if writing is your passion. The online version of First Sentence to First Sale is divided into three separate courses. Course one will be available at a reduced price for beta testing and feedback by the end of March. If you would like to be a member of the beta team, please contact me.

Want to know more about Susan’s course and books. Click here 

What have grey skies and rain, prompted me to read? I know it’s odd to have rain in February in Ottawa. As I’ve turned my writing hand to contemporary sweet romance I read Debbie Macomber’s Rose Harbor series. These books are light, romantic and nice easy reads. And who doesn’t want a little romance in their life? Having exhausted my need for romance I returned to my favourite author Anne Perry.

Anne writes Victorian mystery set in London U.K. I am catching up with the latest William Monk series and reading Revenge In A Cold River. Anne Perry is a master of mystery. Her descriptions and detail immerses you in Victorian London.

 

As an author, I am constantly learning about the art of writing and for my nonfiction book I am reading The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. The deeper you understand characters the better the story. I can highly recommend this book.

 


The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    Sarah’s Choice Book III

First in series The Blue Pendant  on sale on Amazon .99c

Anna’s Legacy and Sarah’s Choice E-book at all online retailers $4.99


Free e-book available Ruins in Silk prequel to the trilogy. A perfect summer afternoon read.

“Her mother’s death sets a path of tragedy; betrayal, misguided love and even murder ” 

Click to download free e-book

Who’s Who at the Sackville

You often hear the expression, the characters develop themselves in a fictional story. I’m not sure if that comment comes from a writer or a reader. If you are a reader the chances are that you have identified in some way with one or more characters and their experiences feel real to you. If you are the writer the character is just as real but you have the advantage of knowing what it is that made the character who they are.So who’s who at the Sackville. Anna Neale is the heroine. She starts out with a strong independent streak but her efforts are interpreted by her peers as snooty and a spoiled brat. Bill, a kind gentle soul, the sous-chef, befriends her early on. At first, she is annoying and most of us want to give her a good talking too. Bill does that for us and Anna grows up and we quite like her now, she’s strong with youthful innocence, she works hard and knows what she wants. Mr. Lytton her immediate supervisor is also a kind person but Anna is incompetent and she pushes him into losing his temper, Mr. Lytton appears to have two sides to him. Mrs. Banks, head housekeeper also has two sides and Anna is not sure if she can trust this woman. She is severe looking, tough on rules but has a soft side when it comes to the well-being of the female staff. The villain, general manager Mr.Pickle is harsh and cold and we get a hint that things will get worse. This is an account of the situation as the novel begins but, dear readers, if these characters didn’t interact with each other and ultimately change and grow you would very quickly discard the novel.

Don’t miss out on The Sackville Hotel updates news. Cross my heart, I promise no spam.  I hate it too. Join here 


 The Blue Pendant Book I     Anna’s Legacy Book II    

The equivalent of 900 pages for less than $10 keep turning the pages all summer long. Warning…could cause sleep deprivation.

Also a prequel Ruins in Silk


Don’t miss out on The Sackville Hotel updates news. Cross my heart, I promise no spam.  I hate it too. Join here  

 

Weeping Window – Poppies come to Derby

Photo courtesy of Sandra Goodwin

Derby Silk Mill displays poppies. You may recognize the poppies from the Tower of London, Blood Swept Lands and Sea of Red created by artists Paul Cummins and designed by Tom Piper to commemorate 100 years 1914 – 2014 since the beginning of the First World War. Each ceramic poppy represented  888,246 military lives lost and the sea of red around the moat of The Tower of London made us remember and never forget that terrible war. The poppy sculpture is now on display at select cities in Britain including my home town of Derby U.K. The Derby Silk Mill contributed to the war efforts by grinding corn and making medical supplies. Derby is also known as home to famous Rolls Royce engines that developed the Eagle engine.

My mum, Betty Jennings, who just turned 97, (an amazing lady) went to visit the poppy display at the Derby Silk Mill, part of the Derby Museum and Gallery. Her father my grandfather Alex Walker fought in the First World War, he was one of the lucky ones that came home. If you read The Blue Pendant you will be familiar with Alex as he was a major character, Anna Neale’s beau at The Sackville Hotel; another significant connection is the story and cover of the prequel Ruins in Silk the story, set not only in Derby but at the Derby Silk Mill and the cover displays a picture of the Derby Silk Mill.

As many of you know I am a Reiki Master and a great believer in serendipity but this week has been amazing even for me with another unexpected connection with the Sackville Apartments, once The Sackville Hotel in Bexhill. More on that next week. The full story will be available later this week in Susan’s Readers Group News. Click here to subscribe


NEW! UNIVERSAL LINKS TO THE RETAILER OF YOUR CHOICE

Ruins in Silk –           https://books2read.com/u/bw8DjY

The Blue Pendant: – https://books2read.com/u/mlK7YP

Anna’s Legacy –       https://books2read.com/u/m2XAxO 


NEW! Nonfiction – 

 

I Decided to Self-Publish – https://books2read.com/u/bzp5r2


Join Susan’s Reader Group and receive updates, events and book releases. I promise no spam, I hate it too. Join here


 

Ideas that Pop!

Ideas that pop often happen when I think my mind is barren, which is what happened this morning. My intention was to continue the 1960s research as Book III of The Sackville Hotel Trilogy progress but my brain said differently and there was nothing, nadder, blank and then this intriguing picture popped up. Perhaps it reflected my mood, a writer so small and the typewriter so large or is it the hands. The hands that do all the work.

To my amazement, this is a mural or graffiti as it was titled. I couldn’t help but wonder who had painted it, was he or she a writer and an artist, what was she/he thinking. Such talent and the photographer’s eye, catching the women sitting below giving perspective. Food for thought.




A sneak preview of a little book that is to be released later this week called

I Decided to Self-publish – A little bit serious, mostly tongue in cheek. a novice author’s experience of the self-publishing process.

My personal experience of trying and succeeding to self-publish my books.

 

 

Book News!  this month Free on Kobo Susan’s Singles

 NEW! UNIVERSAL LINKS TO THE RETAILER OF YOUR CHOICE

Ruins in Silk –           https://books2read.com/u/bw8DjY

The Blue Pendant: – https://books2read.com/u/mlK7YP

Anna’s Legacy –       https://books2read.com/u/m2XAxO

All things 1950

Happy Easter!

I’m blaming the Easter bunny for my tardiness, late delivery.

 

 



One of the most interesting tasks an author does is research, and for me, it is retro research. The Blue Pendant and Ruins in Silk both started in the early 1900s and Anna’s legacy is set in 1948 -1950.

Baking, ironing, cleaning and being glamorous — spells happiness!

 

Scrolling through pictures and adverts of 1950 I thought about the mindset and expectation, which were not only naïve but misleading, whether the ad described a vacuüm cleaner, a washing machine, a new dress or face cream the message was the same–‘it’ any of the above would make, not just you, but your family happy.

 


 

 

This ad for a catalogue intrigued me for two reasons, one I thought it a bit risqué for the times and the size range. The smallest size is 9/10 and the largest is 20. Not a hint of tiny, ever diminishing  0 -8 sizes or ever-expanding 22 and up plus sizes.

 

 

 

I don’t recall my mother ever vacuuming in a party dress but I do remember her wearing earrings and makeup, no matter what the chore.

 

 

 


My email address and comment box can be found on my websites: Book Clubs: A Reader’s Guide and Questions for Discussion can be found at the www.susanajennings.com under Book Clubs.

Book News! Free e-book – Prequel to The Sackville Hotel Trilogy – Ruins in Silk is available from KOBO.Book I – The Blue Pendant and Book II – Anna’s Legacy book II is currently featured on Kobo.

NEW! UNIVERSAL LINKS TO THE RETAILER OF YOUR CHOICE

Ruins in Silk –           https://books2read.com/u/bw8DjY

The Blue Pendant: – https://books2read.com/u/mlK7YP

Anna’s Legacy –       https://books2read.com/u/m2XAxO

 

Anna’s Legacy – Kobo Feature

April 1st, I am looking out of my window at snow, and this is no April fools joke. Last week’s blog, On The Cusp of Spring, was meant to imply winter was over. So depressing and to be honest it is hard to be upbeat but I will try to be grateful for two things today. 1: Sarah’s Inheritance (working title) Book III is well underway and 2. Kobo has included Anna’s Legacy in their new and promising book promotion.

 

I am grateful that Kobo is featuring Anna’s Legacy Book II of The Sackville Hotel Trilogy for the next two weeks, which will lead into the official launch at the end of April, details will be announced through Susan’s Reader Group email. Click to register.

Here is the introduction to Anna’s Legacy.

Anna’s Legacy: Book II of The Sackville Hotel Trilogy opens a new chapter in Anna’s life. While the first book in the trilogy, The Blue Pendant, was inspired by real events in the lives of Anna, Bill and Alex, Anna’s Legacy takes that foundation in an entirely fictional direction and none of the stories presented in this book are founded in any way upon real events. Anna’s Legacy continues Anna’s journey and although the story could be a standalone, it is written as a sequel with minimal explanations of the events preceding the start of this novel. Therefore, it is recommended that the books be read in order. I had fun writing Anna’s Legacy and I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Whether it’s a review, an email or a comment, I always appreciate hearing from my readers. Without readers, I would not be an author. I love chatting about my characters, those that you like and engage with and those that you loathe—Mr. Pickles, comes to mind as the most hated character in The Blue Pendant.

My email address and comment box can be found on my websites: Book Clubs: A Reader’s Guide and Questions for Discussion can be found at the www.susanajennings.com under Book Clubs.

Book News! Free e-book – Prequel to The Sackville Hotel Trilogy – Ruins in Silk is available from KOBO. Book I – The Blue Pendant and Book II – Anna’s Legacy book II is currently featured on Kobo.

A Dark and Stormy Night!

A dark and stormy night! No, never!  One of the first things I was taught when I studied creative writing was to avoid referring to weather in an opening scene. So, I was very surprised to read an article in the March 17th  Publishers Weekly by Ben Platt about how many famous and successful authors do refer to weather in their fist line or first paragraph.

Danielle Steele uses a reference to the weather in the opening line of 46% of her 92 novels. In contrast, John Grisham opens with weather in only 4% of 28 novels. Perhaps a dark and stormy night is not such a bad way to begin a story.

Two more no-nos Ben Platt referred to were clichés and exclamation marks. James Joyce used 1105 exclamation points in 3 novels and Ernest Hemingway used 59 in 10 novels. My editor has a fit if I use more than Hemingway. When it comes to clichés I have noticed a certain amount of righteousness on the subject.Whether it’s fellow writers, instructors or editors, clichés are considered to reveal really bad writing and yet James Patterson is at the top of the list with 160 in 22 Alex Cross novels and James Joyce is right up there with 118 in only 3 novels. Jane Austen had only 45 in 6 novels, not surprising as many common clichés were not around in Austen’s day. Clichés are part of our language and I have often argued the use of clichés especially in dialogue and in my humble opinion, a well-placed cliché can enhance a scene. However, too many or inappropriate clichés do scream novice writer but for experienced writers like James Patterson and others like Steven King and Gillian Flynn who are also in the over 100 list, clichés do not affect sales.

I wonder if it has more to do with an author’s ability to tell a story. It could be argued that many of the ‘popular’ books are not considered to be well written in a literary sense but it is hard to argue that point, when James Joyce is at the top of the list.

I took a look at my own writing The Sackville Trilogy Book 1  The Blue Pendant, I mention the weather on page two. Book ll  Anna’s Legacy there is no weather reference in the beginning and the same with the Prequel Ruins in Silk  I am not sure if that is good or bad. To purchase click on the titles. Please note Ruins in Silk is free on Kobo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like updates on Susan’s book releases and reader’s trivia join Susan’s Readers Group.