Friday, 26 August 2011

The One- Link Lowdown On.....Pat Dale!

Welcome to the first in my occasional One-Link Lowdown series, where I'm delighted to have as my first guest the superb writer Pat Dale!

Pat sums up his writing as...'for fun and frivolity. For spinetingling suspense and drama. From the most innocent of characters to villains who murder without qualm...the place to find them all.' Whoa - sounds great! What kind of mind comes up with that, I wonder? Here's the lowdown on Pat, and I know you'll enjoy his answers as much as I did!

Pat, if you could retrieve one thing from your childhood, what would it be?

My innocence. It started eroding at age five and is still evaporating, day by day.

What’s the naughtiest thing you've ever done?

In the eighth grade, I was the class ‘angel’. The class ‘devil’ sat immediately behind me. I brought a roll of undeveloped photographic film to school and held the end of it while our ‘devil’ lit it with his cigarette lighter. He released it just before I did, so the burning film rolled all the way to the front corner of the classroom. Heavy black smoke billowed out and somebody screamed, “Fire!” The entire school had to be evacuated, and the upper story aired out for the rest of the day. The principal knew the ‘devil’ was in on it, but he couldn’t believe that I, the ‘angel’, could have helped. It was a stupid and dangerous thing to do, and I don’t know to this day why I did it.

What’s the worst job you've ever had?

Delivering and picking up chinchillas from all over the nation. I know, it was awful and as soon as I discovered it was a scam, I quit.

What’s the best job you've ever had?

What I’ve been doing for the past fifteen years; sitting at my desk and writing tales of romance and murder, not necessarily in the same books. LOL There is nothing to compare to a writer’s lifestyle. Sure, it has its ups and downs, but so does every job, and most do not give the same sense of fulfilment this one does. So, if it’s alright with the Almighty, I’d just as soon go on another fifteen years or so.

Tell us three surprising things about yourself, one of which is a fib - and we'll try to guess the fib!

1. I once drove a car off a highway at 70 mph, and sailed it through tree tops, circling in a perfect 360, and landing going forward on a big granite slab, bouncing over a creek, and landing in a marshy bog; all without flattening the tires or doing body damage, other than shortening the wheelbase by three quarters of an inch.
2. While serving in the U.S. Air Force in Japan, I put together a jazz quartet and we toured the mountainous regions entertaining anti-aircraft batteries that were too remotely located to afford their troops relaxation. The gig ended when our service club burned to the ground and, with it, all our instruments.
3. In college, I allowed myself to be hypnotized and given an instruction to disrupt the following day’s all school convocation by jumping to my feet and yelling, “I don’t believe a word of what you’re saying.” Of course, the message was for the college president, a dear friend and my former pastor.

Pat, you're outrageous! Wonder if I've guessed the fib right...??!! Anyway, here's my next question - what’s your favourite piece of music?

This is a tough one. I’ve loved classical music forever, and I have many favourite pieces. Perhaps it would be better to list my favourite composers. In choral music, I absolutely love anything by John Ritter! In wind music (I’m a trumpeter), Percy Grainger is at the top of a tall stack. By the by, Grainger had an amazing personal history, going from Australia to Britain, and finally to the U.S. where he taught himself to play saxophone in just two weeks, so he could pass an audition and join the U.S. Marine Band, under the direction of one, John Phillip Sousa. In orchestral music, it depends on my mood, which shifts like quicksand, between Debussy’s impressionism, Rachmaninoff’s orchestral works, and Paul Hindemith. Probably my all-time fav is Mathis der Maler, by Hindemith.

Which household chore would you happily give up for ever?

This one’s easy! Cleaning up after my nineteen year old cat, Dusty. She’s a dear sweet girl, but messy. My god, that cat’s a disaster!

What drives you seriously nuts?

Culling from a short list, I’d say it is the people who tell me they’re loving my books, only they’ve never bought them. I’d gladly send them a free copy if they’d just read the damn books! LOL

What's your guilty pleasure?

Eating biscuits and gravy! For those of you in the Isles, this American treat is a thick white gravy reduction from sausage drippings, ladled onto fluffy Missouri biscuits.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would learn the alchemist’s art of self-promotion, without losing my writing touch.

Aside from writing achievements, family, etc - what are you most proud of?

If I had never penned a single word, I would still treasure having raised five children (with a lot of help) and passed on a sense of honour and trustworthiness that seems to be in short supply these days. Sounds like an old man reminiscing, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Enough said. Cheers!'

And a rousing 'Cheers!' to you too, Pat! I so enjoyed your answers. By the way, Pat tells me that the 'fib' in his answer was No. 3 - although it's a true story that happened to his seat-mate!

Last but not least, Pat's One Link is this one which will take you to his blogspot where you can find out more about his published books.

Thanks so much for being my guest, Pat, and all the very best of luck with your writing career!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Edinburgh Fog releases 23 September!

Blurb: When Greg Morton returned to Edinburgh, it was to follow his dream of opening the smartest bar-bistro in town. Now Tellers’ is a huge success—but the truth is, deep inside, it means little without the love of his life.

Four years ago, he left Julia Brady behind in London to realize his business ambitions in his Scottish home town. By the time he’d recognized his mistake and admitted to himself he wanted her back, the grapevine told him Julia had moved on—and Greg had to face the fact that he’d been a fool.

When Julia appears out of the blue in Tellers’, he knows the only thing he should do is walk right up to her and say hello. But it looks like someone else has their sights set on her, and he’s a quick worker.

Is Julia about to disappear from Greg's life a second time - this time, for good?

Excerpt: “Another pot of coffee, boss.”

Ben shattered Greg’s getaway plans as he slapped his notepad on the marble bar-top. “And Mr. Smarty over there says could that be with hot milk, because he wants a macchiato caldo, not freddo. I told him the milk comes hot out of the machine anyway, and is Freddo no’ that wee bloke with the big feet out Lord of the Rings? Don’t get smart-arsed with me, pal, is what I really wanted to say.” Ben curled a lip and turned to face the growing crowd in the bar as he waited for Greg to top up another coffee jug. “Mind you, for a smart arse, he must have something.”

Greg glanced over at the object of Ben’s ire. “How’s that?”

Ben gesticulated with his chin towards Julia’s table. “Look at him! Manky wee ginger git, and he’s got those gorgeous babes with him. What’s he got that I haven’t?”

“Well, let’s think.” Chrissie wandered over from the other end of the bar to join in the conversation. “Wit? Intelligence? Charm and personality?” she offered, giving Greg a sly wink. Any opportunity to wind up Ben about his ways with women usually wasn’t to be missed, but tonight Greg’s heart wasn’t in it. He pulled out a wooden tray inscribed with the Tellers’ logo and set the coffee pot down. “Probably just friends from work.” He half-filled a stainless steel jug with milk, jammed it under the foamer nozzle and let it rip.

Chrissie wrinkled her nose and nodded. “He doesn’t look like the world’s greatest lover to me, Ben. Your crown’s safe, big man.”

Ben grinned as he reached for the tray. “Aye. You’re right there. Watch me go.”

Greg frowned. “Go where?”

“To show lover-boy how it’s done, what do you think?” He flicked a look over his shoulder. “Those babes’ll be nibbling their complimentary biscotti from my hand before I’m done. Man, oh, man...gimme an older woman any day. There’s no substitute for experience. What age do you reckon?”

“Twenty-nine,” Greg said, with much more precision than he’d intended to let show. “Or thereabouts,” he added lamely, relieved Ben hadn’t noticed the fact that Greg could have given him Julia’s date, time and place of birth too, had he asked.

Ben tipped his head, weighing up the facts. “A bit older than my usual conquests, but then, what’s life if not a challenge, eh, boss?” He balanced the tray high on one hand and sauntered in the direction of Julia’s table, six-pack abs and butt muscles on display, looking like a walking anatomy chart.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Coming Soon - The One-Link Lowdown

The One-Link Lowdown is a new blog feature I plan to start up towards the end of the month, here at Home Is Where The Heart Is.

I'll send interested writers a bunch of miscellaneous and occasionally faintly whacky questions, and they'll choose which ones to answer. The idea is for them to answer in a way that will grab readers the way they want them grabbed - to intrigue them, make 'em laugh, or maybe even scare the bejeepers out of them - whatever each writer thinks their potential readership would love.

We won't clutter up each blog post with endless web-links, but we'll let the writer's personality as a writer shine through. Then, we'll post ONE LINK ONLY to wherever the writer wants their readers to go next - that could be to a website, to an extract to read or maybe an interview or a contest - or just cut to the chase to a 'buy' link, whatever the writer chooses.

So, that's just ONE LINK, every FRIDAY, starting from late August. I'll give priority to new releases, and I especially love highlighting brand new authors. I'll cover all genres except erotica and inspirational, and if it's a romance, then m/f only, please.

Interested in participating? Great! Mail me at, I'll send you the questions, and we'll go from there!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Proper Kulture Like!

Heavy on the culture this weekend for the Richardson clan. Sunday was picnic and Shakespeare in the park with The Comedy of Errors - laugh-a-minute and perfect fodder for my two kids.

Saturday, however, saw us at the Royal Albert Hall for this year's BBC Family Prom - the cast of the Horrible Histories programme with the (occasionally shoe-horned in!) History of Classical Music. As Mathew Baynton's 'King of Bling' Charles II would say - 'party, anyone?'

History was never like this when I was at school. I think of my two high school history teachers who would have quite possibly spontaneously combusted if we'd suggested anything of the sort. Based on the wonderful books by Terry Deary, the whole Horrible Histories concept has moved one glorious step further with the award-winning sketch show. And quite right too. Here's another of my favourites. I know, I'm spoiling you.