Patricia’s Pen celebrates Indie Authors

Friday 18th June 2021 brings debut novelist Suzi Bamblett to Patricia’s Pen with time slip novel The Travelling Philanthropist.

Writing a time-slip novel

Suzi Bamblett

My fascination for the time-slip novel began when I read The House on the Strand. In Daphne du Maurier’s novel, protagonist Dick trials a drug invented by a university friend and soon finds himself back in the 14th century. The story is time-slip rather than time travel as Dick’s physical body remains in contemporary time, leading to untold dangers…

Both time-slip and time travel require a suspension of disbelief, although there’s definitely some overlap between the two genres.

Time travel stories tend to use a mechanical device to transport the protagonist to the past (or the future). In H G Wells, The Time Machine, the time traveller invents an actual machine, Doctor Who has the TARDIS and, in Back to the Future, ‘Doc’ drives a DeLorian. In time travel the protagonist is more in control and journeys are generally planned by design.

In time-slip, there’s still a link between the present and the past – for example, Kate Mosse’s Languedoc Trilogy, but often the characters do not fully leave their contemporary life. The time-slip protagonist has less control and little understanding of what’s going on. I personally find time-slip allows more creativity, with the inclusion of magical, fantastical and sometimes ghostly elements. The Time Traveller’s Wife has a genetic cause, in Outlander, the protagonist time travels while walking through standing stones and, in my novel, The Travelling Philanthropist, protagonist Anna is accidently transported back to 1752 while a second version of her remains in a parallel world.

Here are the things I’ve learnt about writing a time-slip novel:

Plot – To paraphrase Kate Mosse, you’re basically writing two stories before weaving them together. Both stories must have a carefully planned structure and arc.

Setting – Each time frame must be distinct and equally well-researched. Scenes in both time frames need to be equally believable.

Theme – The two time frames require a common theme. Underpinning the time-slip in The Travelling Philanthropist, is the theme of someone missing. Anna searches for her birth mother in the contemporary world and embarks on a quest for a lost foundling in the eighteenth century. This drives the tension, conflict and suspense in both time frames.

Dialogue – It’s important to make the dialogue realistic. Eighteenth century language sounds vastly different to contemporary speech.

Page turning – Each time frame must retain reader interest. You want the reader to engage with both to the point that they’re almost annoyed by the interruption of the time change. Create cliff hanging chapter endings to leave the reader impatient to find out what happens next.

The seed for The Travelling Philanthropist was sown several years ago. Training to become a teacher, I was planning an article drawing together my two teaching subjects – Religious Education and Mathematics. It was during this research that I stumbled across the shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar…

The Travelling Philanthropist is available as Ebook or paperback from Amazon.

Great insight from Suzi Bamblett about writing a time-slip novel. The Travelling Philanthropist is a superb read and a fantastic introduction to Suzi’s novel writing. And what’s more, Suzi has a few more stories up her sleeve and hopes to release her next book later this year!

About Suzi Bamblett

Suzi Bamblett graduated from Brighton University with a distinction for her MA in Creative Writing. Her Imagined Dialogue is featured on the Daphne du Maurier website. Suzi write psychological thrillers and suspense for YA and adults. Her poems and short stories have been published in three Brighton University Anthologies – Small Worlds (2014), Reflections (2015) and Resistance is Fertile (2018), and her short story, The Girl on the Swing, was published by Shooter Literary Magazine – Issue 11 Winter 2020 Supernatural. Besides writing, walking and generally ‘being creative’, Suzi is a proud mum, ‘hands on’ granny and bereavement befriender for Twins Trust.

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Purchase a copy of The Travelling Philanthropist from HERE

Patricia’s Pen celebrates Indie Authors

Thursday 17th June 2021 brings novelist Anna Shenton to Patricia’s Pen with Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction

Anna Shenton

It’s such a pleasure to have been invited Patricia, to join in the celebration of Indie Author Week on your wonderful blog. Thank you so much, I hope you, and all your followers enjoy reading about my journey so far.

Initially, I fancied writing romance for Mills & Boon, so after much research and analysing I felt I had captured the desired requirements to join the publication. It took eighteen months to write my first romance novel, Seduced by Mind Tricks, which incorporated fictional characters and some life experiences. Satisfied I’d met the criteria, I forwarded my manuscript to Mills & Boon only to receive a positive rejection letter. “As much as we like this story and we think you have potential could you change some things, give it a polish, then resend?”

Sorry no, I didn’t want to change a thing, apart from dotting the i’s and crossing a few t’s. Therefore, I went on to self- publish. Was I right or wrong?

I believe each author has a desired motive. I longed to write and create stories, my stories. Also at my leisure, in my own style. So yes, I have made the right choice and feel lucky to have had the option to self-publish rather than trawl many agents, publishers and have all the pressure of meeting deadlines.

I’m content to have a steady readership, it suits my life style. Some wonderful feedback from readers spurred me on to write a two book historical novella series, Sleep With One Eye Open. Again, I made a decision to switch genre and had so much fun doing so. Research is a wonderful thing; I learnt and enjoyed the journey living in the 1900s. My characters did too and acted out their individual roles in a most amazing way, taking over the page and telling me what they wanted to do.

I hold my head up high, knowing I have done everything myself. Writing, creating, editing, formatting, print setting, book design, marketing and much more. It doesn’t come easy, much hard work is involved but if you want something enough, you too, can have a go at becoming an Indie author, it’s exciting and rewarding.

I invite you to spend a few minutes to look at all my books on the link below. I’m so proud of them all. And once again, handing back to the very lovely Patricia M Osborne for giving me this fabulous opportunity to join in the Indie Author Week, so appreciative and honoured to have so many wonderful author friends.

If you fancy a fast-paced read – you can find Anna Shenton’s books on Amazon HERE.

About Anna Shenton

Anna Maria Shenton from Staffordshire, World Poetry Day Prize Winner 2015 at Vind & Vag Publishing House.

Her boys flown the nest, Anna took a home study course which led to publications in various  magazines, including Writer’s Forum. Anna’s flair to write continued into fiction where she enjoys creating many wonderful characters and story plots.  Family life experiences are her book of inspiration, often creeping into her stories. She independently published her debut novel, short story collection, writing for beginners and novella series.

Anna loves to write from home and in her caravan when enjoying travels with her husband.

Support an Indie Author today

Purchase a copy of Anna Shenton’s books from HERE

Patricia’s Pen celebrates Indie Authors

Wednesday 16th June 2021 brings non-fiction writer Joan C Harthan to Patricia’s Pen with Dream Interpretation

Dream Interpretation

Joan C Harthan

As an Indie author, I give thanks to the god that is Amazon. If it hadn’t been for Jeff Bezos I would have twenty manuscripts sitting on dusty shelves and perhaps an inbox full of rejections. Amazon have given me the freedom to publish what is in my heart; my own truth, uncensored by what publishers think the public want. My only disadvantage is that marketing is my nemesis and so I don’t do it. Fortunately, my non-fiction books are popular because I’m quite well known in the global dreaming fraternity. My best seller Working With Dreams is a course book for a Dream Interpretation Teacher Training programme at Atlantic University, USA.

I have been a strong dreamer since childhood and so it’s no surprise that dreams have always been my passion. They are a window into the soul. They reveal our genius and also our shadows.

I began running dream workshops for my local education authority in 1993 and I guess that marked the launch of my semi-professional career in dream analysis, (my PhD is in Chemistry but that is a dream story for another time). My first book, Working the Night Shift was published in 2004 with Trafford Publishing but, although there were sales, I never received any royalties. A lesson learned. The book was based on the techniques I used in the workshops. In 2011 after many powerful dreams that were directing me to become a fulltime author, I left academia and launched myself into a writing career as an Indie author. The first thing I did was take back the rights on my first book and re-publish on Createspace, (now KDP). I followed this with another six dream books; all of them designed to help readers explore their dreams.

As well as assisting self-awareness, dreams are incredibly creative. They use wonderful analogies that contain the seeds of ideas that the conscious mind would struggle to invent. They speak in the language of poetry. Which brings me to my latest book, Creative Writing for Dreamers: Release Your Inner Daemon. It is for writers who want to explore ideas, emotions and associations that exist beyond their conscious awareness and incorporate those discoveries into their writing to sculpt inspiring narratives and fascinating characters.

Another of my non-fiction books, Working the Day Shift, is all about dream incubation which is a technique I use regularly to develop fictional plots and eliminate writing blocks.

Because my dreaming life is so productive, I have also published nine fiction titles and two travel memoirs, all of which have sprung from, or been inspired by, my dreams.

As this is Indie Author Week I want to shout from the rooftops that self-publishing is wonderfully rewarding. If Indie authors take all the necessary steps to ensure their books are of good quality (structure and copy edited, critiqued from other writers, feedback from beta readers etc…) there is no reason why their progeny cannot compete with, and even out shine, traditionally published books. Especially if they listen to their dreams.

Great insight from Joan C Harthan about dreams. Her books are not only valuable resources to those interested in dream interpretation but will make great gifts too.

All of the above books are available for purchase on Amazon HERE

About Joan C Harthan

Joan has been dream journaling since 1990 and has recorded almost ten thousand dreams to date. Her dreams inform both her writing and her life. She is a long-standing member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD), having made presentations at international conferences and contributed articles to their magazine Dreamtime. Her mission is to help others explore their dreams for self-development, problem solving and creativity.

She also enjoys writing fiction and makes no secret of the fact that all her novels were birthed during NaNoWriMo and guided to completion by her dreams.

Find out more about Joan C Harthan and her non-fiction on her website HERE

Find out about Jo Harthan’s fiction on her website HERE

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Purchase a non-fiction Dream Book Purchase a Fiction Book

Patricia’s Pen celebrates Indie Authors

Tuesday 15th June 2021 brings debut crime fiction author Colin Ward to Patricia’s Pen with crime fiction novel To Die For

Writing Crime Fiction

Colin Ward

“Good cops do the job to catch the bad guys, and to protect and serve justice…”

I love writing Crime Fiction for the escapism into a darker world where awful, devastating things happen, tragedies occur, and there’s no false promise of a happy ending. Villains can be as depraved or deviant as I need them to be. Heroes can be as flawed or morally ambiguous as I like. But we’re free to explore them cathartically.

Diving into a bloody good yarn – pun most definitely intended – allows the reader a way to explore their darker thoughts within the safety of the world of story. No one actually gets hurt – besides the occasional paper cut, I suppose.

The process of writing is a very personal thing. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but I believe the reader’s experience should be always the focus. I don’t agree with writers who say they “write for themselves” or “write what I like” and pay no heed nor appreciation to the reader’s experience. Perhaps it is my experience in theatre that makes me adamant in this, having sat and watched audiences respond to my writing. I’ve seen it work, and when it didn’t. I’ve taught it for over twenty years. After all, how can we expect our readers to care about what we’ve written if we don’t care enough about how they read and experience it, and what they think?

I focus on how the reader is going to unpick the mystery. How am I going to lead them down a path, have them caught in webs and tangly undergrowth along the way? Extending the metaphor, woodlands and trees seem to feature in a lot of my writing.

My readers wake up on page one already lost in the woods. A loosely carved path is fraught with danger and many turns. They must follow the clues of human activity. Broken twigs, dead bodies, blood trails, and the endless paraphernalia of crime.

Their heart must beat faster. It will get dark, and they will trip. I will provide a tour guide, but he will probably get killed an hour or so later – especially the likeable ones. The creepy guy with one-eyed dog, carrying blood-encrusted cleaver, usually turns out to be nothing more but the local butcher.

There’s always a fine line between the procedurally accurate, and what can be allowed as dramatic licence to keep readers engaged. Stray too far either side of that line and the pendulum stretches from ludicrous to documentary boredom.

The voice of the narrator should be clear in the over-arching message the story is trying to communicate.

I am currently finishing off my second novel of a trilogy. It’s taken a long time for many reasons, and the plan is to throw as much of an emotional journey at the reader than just another police procedural killing fest.

“…but the best of us do it to protect and serve innocence.”

(From Innocent Lies, coming soon.)

To Die For is available as Ebook or Paperback from Amazon

Great insight from Colin Ward about writing Crime Fiction. Innocent Lies will hopefully arrive later this year and a little bird told me that Colin is already working on Book 3 the final instalment in this crime fiction trilogy.

About Colin Ward

Colin is an author and self-publisher with lots of experience writing in many different forms, including novels, short stories, poetry, theatre, and even composing musicals. He originally read Theatre at Warwick University and then trained to be a Secondary Drama teacher. Unlike most of his colleagues, he had neither the taste nor the budget to stage large school productions of well-known shows, so he just wrote his own – scripts, lyrics, music and all. After doing this for years, he left secondary teaching, dabbled in Primary for a bit, and finally closed that book. That’s when he first got the chance to pen his debut crime fiction novel and begin a new wordsmithing journey.

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Purchase a copy of To Die For HERE

Patricia’s Pen celebrates Indie Authors

Monday 14th June 2021 brings children’s writer Sue Wickstead to Patricia’s Pen with Writing Picturebook Stories.

Writing Picturebook Stories

Sue Wickstead

My name is Sue Wickstead and I write children’s picturebooks, many with a bus theme. If you’ve ever travelled on a bus, you’ll know it’s a slow, bumpy ride but fun to watch the world pass by as you journey on the top deck. The buses in my books are based on real Playbus projects.

My original book was the Bewbush Playbus photographic history book about a real Playbus. The Playbus was a converted double-decker which provided a safe cosy place for children to play with toys and arts and crafts. It was this Playbus which inspired me to write my bus story picturebooks.

My first bus story was Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus. Jay-Jay got his name from the original bus number plate JJK261. In my story I show Jay-Jay being rescued from a scrap yard and turned into a Playbus for children at the local airport. This followed with two more stories about Jay-Jay.

Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure

Jay-Jay is invited to an island where the children have never seen a double-decker bus – and certainly not one full of toys!


Jay-Jay and the Carnival

Jay-Jay has had an eventful summer and is ready for his journey to the carnival.

After finishing the above books my muse kept me busy with lots more ideas and characters.

Would Daisy become one of the forgotten buses?

Daisy Daydream the Nursery Rhyme Bus

Playbus projects were used for children’s entertainment over the school summer holidays which inspired me to write the following stories.

Gloria the Summer Fun Bus

Sparky The Dragon Bus is a story around a bus specially converted to allow children with disabilities to play alongside able-bodied children. It is fitted with a stair lift as well as an exit slide from the top deck of the bus. Like all the other Playbuses Sparky is exciting and full of fun and adventure.

In addition to bus stories some of my stories relate to my teaching and other experiences along the way.

I have more stories in production, not always a bus, but always a bus included somewhere.


Age range for Sue’s children’s books – 4 – 8 years

To find out more about Sue Wickstead’s picture books and BUY – visit her website HERE

Books also available to buy from Amazon HERE.

About Sue Wickstead

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and author. She has currently written seven children’s picture books using a bus theme as well as a photographic history book about the real bus.

Sue once worked with a playbus charity based in Crawley. This led her to write the photographic history book about the project. Bewbush Playbus was published in 2012. She later wrote a fictional tale about the bus. Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name. This has been followed by six more picture books which all have a bus connection and link to her teaching journey.

Support an Indie Author today

Purchase one or more of Sue Wickstead’s Playbus picture books via her website or Amazon

Patricia’s Pen celebrates Indie Authors

Sunday 13th June 2021 brings short story writer Patricia Feinberg Stoner to Patricia’s Pen with At Home in the Pays d’Oc and Tales from the Pays d’Oc


(a writer’s day)

Patricia Feinberg Stoner

My writing day began today at 3 a.m.  I blame the worm.

If you are a writer, you know the worm. It’s that little voice that pipes up just as you are drifting peacefully to sleep or – worse still – when you suddenly find yourself awake in the small hours. Here’s an intriguing plot twist, it murmurs seductively. Here’s a snappy bit of dialogue. Here’s a character you never knew you needed.

Of course I fought it.  How I fought it!  I played word games, I tried to recall what my Spanish teacher said about imperfect subjunctives – that usually does the trick. All to no avail. I was wide awake, and I just had to get to my computer.

My writing day, and it is a fairly typical one, goes something like this. I wake, as I have said, in the small hours. Ten minutes’ wrestling with the worm convince me that I simply have to write.  A further ten minutes are wasted hoping I can sneak out of bed waking neither husband nor dog. 

I silence the dog with craven promises of food, and we tiptoe downstairs together. I am careful to shut the bedroom door tight against later canine incursions. I switch on the kettle, feed the dog, open the kitchen door for the dog to visit the garden, make a cup of tea. All the time the worm is nagging at me; my head feels like a hard-boiled egg as I try to retain all the deathless prose that is forming in my brain.

At last I am seated at my desk. My fingers fall over themselves with urgency; they fly over the keyboard, spellchecker galloping behind me waving its fist.  I ignore it – don’t bother me with details!

I type without stopping. This is the time to be indiscriminate, to put down everything just as it comes to me.  I bounce from thought to thought, putting down here a snippet of dialogue, there a vivid description, there a note about how a plot could develop.  I know that most of it will be dross, but I am hoping that at the end there will be the occasional small nugget as well.

Time for a coffee break: fifteen minutes or so with the local news. Then, with luck, another hour to work before the household is stirring.   This second tranche of work is a lot more serious than the earlier, heady session.  It’s time for a critical read of what I have been writing.  Sometimes it will surprise me by being better than I had hoped.  Often, though, it’s a case of reaching for the figurative blue pencil.  Over-writing is every writer’s joy and bane.  It’s fun to do, but it’s tedious for the reader on whom it is inflicted. 

I spend an hour or so structuring, tightening and often re-writing.  By this time there are definite signs from above – the bedroom, that is, not divine inspiration – and I know it’s breakfast time.  The morning routine is set in stone:  breakfast, then out for a walk with the dog. The day is filled with other demands, so I don’t usually get back to my desk until around 4:30, and then with none of the fine careless rapture that informed the morning’s efforts.  The last push is the hardest.  After a few hours away from my desk I come to it with a fresh eye: I polish and cut ruthlessly and, if I am really lucky, by the end of the day I have something I am reasonably pleased with to show for my efforts.

I count myself lucky that I am not a novelist.  Short stories, articles and the odd bit of comic verse satisfy the writer’s itch in me, and I doubt if I would have the stamina for a sustained effort.   My writer’s day over, I can go to bed with a sense of accomplishment, and so to peaceful slumber… until the worm bites again.

Purchase a copy of At home in the Pays d’Oc or Tales from the Pays d’Oc HERE

Patricia is also writing Murder in the Pays d’Oc published in instalments FREE on her website HERE

About Patricia Feinberg Stoner

Patricia Feinberg Stoner is a British writer: a former journalist, advertising copywriter and publicist.  She studied French and English at Trinity College, Dublin and trained as a journalist with the Liverpool Daily Post.  In 2003 she and her husband became accidental expatriates in the Languedoc, southern France, and lived there for four years.  It is here that her award-winning Pays d’Oc series is set.  She is also the author of two books of comic verse.

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Purchase one of Patricia Feinberg Stoner’s books HERE

Patricia’s Pen celebrates Indie Authors

My Writing Journey


Steven Smith

My journey to becoming a published author starts way back as a child. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. I was reading Stephen King novels a fair bit earlier than might be advisable. On a completely unrelated note, it was around that time my loathing of clowns began. Go figure. At primary school, I remember a lesson where the entire session was given over to creative writing, crafting a story from our imaginations. I used to love these sessions, coming up with characters and adventures for them to take part in. Sadly, secondary school with all of the preparations for exams and qualifications somewhat got in the way and creative writing fell by the wayside for me.

I continued to read though. From time to time I’d dip my toe into something different, but often found myself reading and rereading the same things, often something by Stephen King or Terry Pratchett. In a bid to try new authors, I started a book review blog in 2015. Through this I discovered many new authors I’d not considered or come across before. It was from here, the idea of writing again struck me. It was one thing to review a book, but what was it like to be on the other side and actually try to write one?

I started out with an aim – to write a historical fiction novel based upon Jack the Ripper. I took a tour in London, got hold of maps of 1880s London and dove headfirst into some really indepth research. I was determined to get all of the little facts and details right. Sadly, this approach took its toll on me and my work. I lost my enthusiasm. After restarting more than once, ultimately, I gave up on it. I had written a few short stories around that time, but ultimately this seemed like the end for me and writing.

Then a spark of an idea struck me. It hit in the summer of 2019. It was just a little part of a character. Then another character came to me. And some snippets of conversations between them. Suddenly, ideas flowed and throughout the end of 2019 and on into 2020, I ploughed headlong into writing my steampunk adventure. Those characters became Captain Edison Crow, the leading man in my debut novel Chasing Shadows, and his childhood friend and accomplice Selah. Finishing the story was a time of mixed emotions. By the middle of May 2020, my journey had ended. These characters and locations I had spent so long creating and living with had said and done all that needed to be said and done. It was bittersweet. I was ecstatic to have completed the novel, but sad all the same. Chasing Shadows released on the first of April this year. The moment I held the first printed copy was something special.

During the lockdowns of 2020, I signed up to contribute a short story to a collection from authors ranging from novice to experienced. Over the last year I have continued to work on short stories to build my own collection in time. I am also working on the sequel to Chasing Shadows, As the Crow Flies. Now that the writing bug has well and truly hit me, I think it’s safe to say it is here to stay!

Thank you Steven for sharing your writing journey. I am sure readers are now itching to buy a copy of Chasing Shadows. I know I am.

To snap up a copy of Chasing Shadows pop along to Amazon for Paperback or Kindle or if you fancy a signed copy then contact Steven via the contact page on his website.

About Steven Smith

Steven Smith lives in Bedfordshire, UK with his wife and cat. He has always been an avid reader and enjoyed writing at school. Since 2015, he has reviewed books on his blog, Books and Beyond Reviews. In 2019 he set to work writing his debut novel, a steampunk adventure titled Chasing Shadows, which reached number one on Amazon. His short story Coming Home features in the collection of short stories, Connections. When he isn’t writing, reading and reviewing books, he loves to travel, go to theme parks, build Lego and play video games.

Find details about where Steven’s social media links HERE

Support an Indie Author today

Purchase a copy of Chasing Shadows HERE

Patricia’s Pen celebrates Indie Authors for Indie Author Week UK

The following authors will take part in ‘Celebrating Indie Authors’

on Patricia’s Pen Saturday 12th June 2021 – Saturday 19th June 2021

Steven Smith

Patricia Feinberg Stoner

Sue Wickstead

Colin Ward

Joan C Harthan

Anna Shenton

Suzi Bamblett

Patricia M Osborne

Something for everyone.

Steampunk Sci-Fi – Short Stories – Children’s Picture Books – Crime Fiction – Dream Interpretation – Historical Fiction – Time Slip – Family Saga

See Line up below for 12th-19th June 2021

Don’t miss it.

Interviews and Articles

Since 2017 I have appeared on many blogs with either an article or interview. Over the next few months I will share a link to an interview, or publish an article.

The first link is an interview from September 2017 conducted by Jen Med’s Book Reviews. We chat about my book love choices.

Read the interview here


House of Grace is the first book in my trilogy. Signed paperbacks can be purchased via my SHOP HERE.

Read the latest review:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous First in the Series

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 May 2021

Verified Purchase

I absolutely loved this story and couldn’t put it down. The author brought the characters to life from the first page. Grace is a lovely lead character, a strong and independent girl, who is determined to go her own way and marry the boy she loves, in spite of being born into aristocracy. Following tragedy she uses her skills and talent to support her young family, facing many obstacles she is determined to succeed in her chosen career. I highly recommend reading this and following on with the rest of the series.

If you prefer a Kindle version you can download for FREE on Amazon or buy.

Series with one click

House of Grace

Read more reviews on Amazon.