Saturday, 20 June 2015

Midsummer Glen - the cocktail

Elderflower cordial? Grapefruit juice? Well, this might work. Variations on a theme are definitely allowed.

Full rcipe on the cocktail blog.

By Pamela Kelt

Seasonal inspiration

A literary friend is hosting a short blog about how Midsummer Glen and other recent short stories came about.

Take a visit to Linda's 'Reader's Entertainment' to read my guest blog 'Sun, moon and stars ...'

Thanks, Linda! Druids unite.

By Pamela Kelt

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Screen test

How valuable are book trailers?

Well, after spending a few hours doing my latest one for a supernatural mini-book, I'm trying to justify the time.

I put Midsummer Glen on Smashwords as a free story, and it's heading for a hundred downloads in a couple of days. That's super.

Now that the video is on Youtube, will I notice an increase?

Frankly, even I don't, I'm not sure I care. It was fun to make and concentrates the mind wonderfully.

It gives you a new perspective on the cover - does it work? Choosing the music is time-consuming, but I felt more equipped to chat about the book, having thought long and hard about the atmosphere. In general, the creative process is a welcome antidote to other forms of PR. Sorry, I hate filling in author bios, composing quizzes, offering prizes and all the rest of it. I'm not even a regular blogger, these days. I just ping out a little post when I feel like it! QED.

Back to the trailer. Halfway through, one finds one has to produce more images - screenshots, et cetera - and condense the story into cinematic soundbites. All grist to the mill for future PR. You also spot author profiles and other online snippets that could do with updating. To my horror, I discovered (actually my husband Rob discovered), that Youtube had switched off all my other trailers and set them to private. Honestly!

Finally, I feel it really comes into its own by the time you do the credits. In fact, it's heartwarming to see all your titles in one place. It certainly made me feel as though I'd achieved something, for writing can be such a solitary and even soul-destroying caper.

Midsummer Glen is book three of a seasonal quartet. Having seen how the three now look with their respective online presences, I'm fired up to complete the last one. Early, I hope! Gotta leave time for the vid.

So, early this week, I insisted to myself that I come up with the fourth title of the series - and I've even sorted out the plot.

Watch out for EQUINOX for autumn. And yes, I already have the music, which I find is the perfect place to start. Without giving too much away, it has a bonkers, 1950s sci-fi 'creature feature' feel, which should help set the tone.

By Pamela Kelt

Monday, 15 June 2015

Stones of a certain standing

Summer Solstice is a well-honoured tradition in many cultures and the quintessential image for most is Stonehenge.

But there are so many other stone circles, and over the past twelve months, I’ve been adding some to my collection. My first experience was some years ago, when we took a trip to the spectacular Ales Stenar, a megalithic monument in Skåne in southern Sweden (pictured above). The 59 boulders form the outline of an oval stone ship, eerily stranded on a treeless headland. We were there in May, and dozens of skylarks fluted above us in a dazzling, blue sky. Our daughter, Lauren, was under two and enjoyed the trip from the comfort of the kiddie backpack. 

My recent fascination was revived by another family trip, this time to Avebury late spring last year, where we spent a happy afternoon stalking around the mysterious stones against the backdrop of pale yellow fields and blue skies worthy of an Eric Ravilious landscape. I wonder if subconsciously his painting Runway Perspective somehow inspired the story ...

A few weeks later, I had the good fortune to take a trip to see the ancient stones and monuments of Kilmartin Glen in Argyllshire with my daughter, Lauren, a History of Art graduate who has developed an interest in all things medieval. 
Our favourite site was Temple Wood, an intriguing stone circle in a magical place even if your name doesn’t have Celtic origins. It simply begged to be written about, and I hope I’m forgiven for changing the name to Ivy Cross in my latest short story, Midsummer Glen.
Well and truly hooked, we headed yet further north to Aberdeenshire, which is littered with prehistoric stones. The Easter Aquhorthies not only had the coolest name, but the most mystic circle, with its nine stones, eight of granite and one of distinctive red jasper.

And just last month, after being inspired by a wacky episode in season three of the BBC’s Father Brown series which is filmed not far from here, I realised there was a stone circle within a 40-minute drive. Off we headed to the infamous Rollright Stones. It is an atmospheric ancient site located on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border and consists of three main elements, The Kings Men stone circle, the King Stone, and the Whispering Knights. They say if you go round the circle, counting the stones, and try again, you never get the same number. We tried and I have to agree. 

Experts reckon there are 77 stones of heavily weathered local oolitic limestone, which were poetically described by William Stukeley as being “corroded like worm eaten wood, by the harsh Jaws of Time”, which made “a very noble, rustic, sight, and strike an odd terror upon the spectators”. Although I’m a circle aficionado, I was particularly taken by the Whispering Knights, a group of stones huddled conspiratorially together in a nearby field. 

Where next? I still haven’t got to Stonehenge yet, but the Hebrides beckon. 

Captions: Ales Stenar, photo by Anders Lagerås
Temple Wood
Easter Aquorthies
Rollright Stones
Midsummer Glen is now free on Smashwords. It is book three of a seasonal quartet. Book one is A Walk in the Park, while book two is Last Spring. Look out for the final book, Equinox, due in September.

By Pamela Kelt

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Midsummer Glen - sneak peek

Here's the cover of the latest short story ... Midsummer Glen.

I'm just doing the final formatting before putting it up on Smashwords. It'll be FREE. I'll post the link soon.

Midsummer Glen is the third part of a seasonal quartet, inspired by the astronomical solstices and equinoxes.

Here's the blurb so far: 

June 1939 ... 
Hitler’s shadow is falling over Europe. But young Alistair McCompton is heading for a very different war ...
The destiny of mankind is at stake, and there's not a bomb in sight.

As you can deduce from the title, the story is set in Scotland, inspired by a wonderful trip to Kilmartin Glen.

More in a few days ...

By Pamela Kelt