Broad Thoughts from a Home

Here I am on Sue Barnard’s blogspot, talking about the writing journey, and my new book, The Ashentilly Letters (third in the Calgary Chessman sequence, published 18/11/16).

Walking on Wild Air

A haunting story of love lost, and of the healing only time can bring.

wowa publicity pic tablet

At the summit of a bare hill, on a quiet island in the bleak west of the world, a storm was brewing. Lightning flickered and dark clouds glowered over the hilltop, their rain-heavy bases lit from within by sullen flashes.

A bolt split the sky and the rain sheeted down, half hiding the ground with its jumbled boulders and sparse coating of grasses. For a moment the scene flickered, like a jerky film noir, and then a figure could be seen on the hilltop, curled up in the foetal position, unmoving.

Thunder cracked overhead and the man raised his head, hauling his body wearily after it. He climbed to his feet and pressed them against the ground, as if testing its ability to hold him. On one buttock there was a red mark, where a rock had pressed into his side, but as he stood in the rain the mark bruised and faded, leaving no trace.

He squared his shoulders against the deluge as the clouds roiled overhead. A great shaft of lightning hit the hilltop precisely at his position, limning his figure for an instant in a halo of blue and white. He looked down at his fists, unclenched them and regarded his hands as if seeing them for the first time. He put his head back, staring upward as the rain poured over his face, drew in a deep, shuddering breath, and howled a cry of pure anguish.


My Best Books of 2014

the rothko room back coverthe rothko room front cover

Never mind anybody else’s Best of 2014 list. Here are some books I’ve actually read and still want to shout about. Prose works and Poetry. Some of the words below are taken from my Amazon reviews of these works.
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
It’s not often I wish Amazon allowed the award of six stars. This is one of those books. I’d award it maximum points for its use of language alone: Ice Cream Star speaks to us in a patois of childspeak, mutated grammar and sophisticated reasoning that is compelling to read. She has a unique voice.

The story itself is a beautifully written realisation of a harsh, unforgiving world. It’s full of hardship and misery, and the kinds of half-baked systems that you would expect to be invented by children left in charge of their own future. The plot is horrifyingly plausible: a brilliantly realised dystopian vision, with Ice Cream Star front and centre; a reluctant heroine we cannot help but love.

Diamonds and Dust, and Honour and Obey by Carol Hedges
From one of my fellow Crooked Cat authors, these are beautifully written and very readable.
Superbly written melodrama with not one but three strong female characters. Diamonds and Dust is grittier than Pullman, darker than Dickens, more amusing than Shaw and drops more names than Debrett’s. I’m reduced to name dropping myself as I can’t come up with adequate superlatives to describe this story. It made me laugh, more than once – it’s clever, funny and very, very good.

I settled down with a pile of biscuits and the first chapter of Honour and Obey, expecting to enjoy it as my evening read for the rest of the week. Three hours later I had to force myself to put it down. I only stopped reading because my eyes were closed and I couldn’t see the words any more.

It’s a grimy, warts-and-all portrayal of Victorian London, with foul deeds galore and a nasty mystery to solve – just another day in the lives of London’s finest at Scotland Yard. As usual there is a cast of great characters, including one of my favourites, Trafalgar Moggs, who appeared in Diamonds and Dust. There are no swooning heroines – simply a number of feisty, clever, capable women sorting out their own lives – which might, or might not, include a little romance. Eventually. I loved every dastardly deed and bout of derring-do.
Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? By Kenneth Koch.
Not new (it was published in 1998) but new to me – by far the most wonderful book I have read on teaching poetry to children. It has a lot to say to any of us who fancy our hand at rhythm and rhyme, and it’s full of the most wonderful verse created by children who worked with the author. And what a gorgeous title!
The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion, poetry collection by Kei Miller
Winner of the 2014 Forward Poetry collection prize. I just want to stake my claim – I saw it first! This is a wonderful collection, and it’s even better read in Kei Miller’s own voice – check him out on Youtube. Every now and then I treat myself to a single-author collection of poetry, and this is the best I’ve read in a long time. Here’s my Amazon review, titled ‘A Map on Human Parchment’:
I confess I came to Kei Miller through listening to him online. I wondered if the poems would have the same magic when I read them in my own head, in my own voice. They do. There’s a careless joy in some of these works, mingled with a pain so deep you can feel it. Even when he’s consciously poetic (as an artist may be painterly) it works – putting the construction of his work on display is like laying out the mapmaker’s tools on the desktop before the map is begun. I feel for the cartographer, trying to map his literal way through the human soul. I hope he makes it.
Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan
On the face of it this is pretty standard mainstream Romance. However – there’s something different about it. It’s Archer Hale, the heart and soul of this book (though not its protagonist). Sheridan came up with a great idea here, and the book’s all the better for it. Far better than the usual run.
The Rothko Room by Russell Cruse
This is a wonderful, blackly comic fest of action and intrigue that leaves all competitors gasping in its wake. I first read it as a working project on, and rushed out to buy this self-published work as soon as I could. Available in e-book and print versions. By far the most original and enjoyable read of 2014.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This counts because I read it in paperback, which wasn’t released until 2014. I loved this little gem of a book. Compared to some of Gaiman’s work it’s spare and restrained – and it really works. I’ve always been a fan, but never quite felt he hit the spot (although one or two have come close). The Ocean at the End of the Lane received mixed reviews, and of course it demonstrates Gaiman’s trademark plundering of world mythology for his own uses. For my part, I think it’s the best thing he’s ever written.

Here is my interview with Yvonne Marjot

My blog interview with Fiona McVie. Thanks, Fiona.


Y Marjot author pic Aug 2014

Name Yvonne Marjot
Age 52
Where are you from? I was born in England but grew up in New Zealand. Now I live on the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Yvonne Marjot was born in England, grew up in New Zealand, and now lives on an island off the West Coast of Scotland. She has a Masters in Botany from Victoria University of Wellington, and a keen interest in the interface between the natural and human worlds. She has always made up stories and poems, and once won a case of port in a poetry competition (New Zealand Listener, May 1996). In 2012 she won the Britwriters Award for poetry, and her first volume of poetry, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, was published in 2014 by Indigo Dreams Publishing.

She has worked in schools, libraries and…

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…yeez’ll never guess… what do Crooked Cat Publishing, the Middle East, and Tobermory on the Isle of Mull have in common?…

…yeez’ll never guess… what do Crooked Cat Publishing, the Middle East, and Tobermory on the Isle of Mull have in common?….

The Calgary Chessman book launch – all welcome

Ever fancied a visit to the Isle of Mull? This Saturday, 6th September would be a great time to go. Not only is the weather still warm, with the prospect of sunshine, but the local book (and fishing gear) shop, Tackle and Books, will be hosting the launch of my novel, The Calgary Chessman. 11am to 1pm. I’ll be reading excerpts, signing books and enjoying a glass of wine or two with friends and visitors alike. It’s going to be great!

Of course, if you can’t be there you can still soak up the atmosphere of Mull by buying the print or e-book version of the book. It’s available from Amazon, Smashwords and direct from the publisher,

TCC first copy at Green Rooms Aug 2014

A crannog?

Crooked Cats' Cradle

For CCThis post is by Nancy Jardine.

It’s also a sort of a cheat because I’m doing a ‘reblog’ of the post on my own blog today.(Nancy’s Novels)

If you’ve never heard of a crannog, then you’re in for a treat- historically speaking. There’s an explanation of why this crannog sparked my imagination when writing my Crooked Cat novel  – The Beltane Choice – Book 1 of my Celtic Fervour Series.Image1

For more information on this fabulous structure click HERE.

I do have another reason for posting here and that is because The Beltane Choice has its 2nd anniversary tomorrow- 31st August. To celebrate I’m offering 2 chances to win an ecopy of my novel if you haven’t yet read it!

Pop into my blog tomorrow ( 31st August 2014) to find out how that could be YOU!

You can also by all three novels for less than…

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The Calgary Chessman – new book by Yvonne Marjot

Thanks, Angelika, for coming up with a really fun interview – and for hosting me on your blog.

Angelika Rust

Yvonne Marjot, the name rings a bell, doesn’t it? Right, over the past months, she contributed greatly to my little PublicTransport PoeTry project. Today, her book The Calgary Chessman was published. I’ll admit, I haven’t yet finished reading it, but I’ve read the first few chapters when it was still on authonomy, liked it a lot and thus was delighted when she asked me whether I’d be willing to bang a few drums for her.

So let’s move straight on to what she has to say.

WhoY Marjot author pic Aug 2014 are you?

My name is Yvonne Marjot, and that’s also the name under which I’m published. I did think about having a pseudonym, but my surname’s pretty unusual and I hope that means I stand out. Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to pronounce it – even my family aren’t entirely sure!

Until now, I thought it’d be with a j as…

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Crooked Cat at Edinburgh Bookfest 2014

My lovely publishers with a great range of books on offer at the Edinburgh Festival Bookfest. Pop down and take a look.

Crooked Cat at Edinburgh Bookfest 2014.edinburghadultfictionshelf

The Calgary Chessman today

My first novel is published today, by Crooked Cat Publishing, Edinburgh. Here’s the release info from the top of my launch page on Facebook:

RELEASED TODAY, the quite individual Scottish tale, Yvonne Marjot‘s THE CALGARY CHESSMAN

Buy in the UK:

Buy in the US:

And order yours in all major book stores.

Join us at for some good craic, and the chance to win some Calgary Chessman related goodies.TCC cover art front

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