Posts Tagged ‘Blog hop’

‘My Writing Process’ Blog Hop

Many thanks to Liz Harris for inviting me to take part in this ‘blog hop’ – you can find her post from last week here.  All the participants have to answer four questions (see below) and then pass the baton to others.  I asked Henriette Gyland and Celia J Anderson to take part and their blogs will appear on 10th Feb so please don’t forget to check them out!  You’ll find their links and a short bio for them at the end of this post.  Thank you for stopping by!

Q & A:-

1)     What am I working on? – At the moment I’m working on the third book in my Japanese themed trilogy, which began with The Scarlet Kimono and The Gilded Fan. The final instalment is provisionally called The Snow Ghost and follows Temperance Marston on her adventures when she travels to Japan with her cousin Midori.  She’s always dreamed of travelling and thinks it’s going to be wonderful, but the reality isn’t quite the way she had envisaged it.  And when she is kidnapped by some Japanese ronin (outlaws), she embarks on the biggest adventure of her life …

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre? – I think mostly it’s the settings I choose that are different, as I often feature Japan (or other places in the Far East) and/or Sweden.  They say you should write about what you know and as I’ve lived in these countries myself, I try to follow that advice and hope it will interest readers.

3)     Why do I write what I do? – I have absolutely no idea – the stories just come into my head, triggered by all kinds of weird and wonderful things.  You could say I write romantic fiction because that’s what I love to read myself, and mostly I write historicals, as I’ve always been fascinated by history.

4)     How does your writing process work? – I think I may have mentioned this before, but I work in a very haphazard way.  My stories usually start with a scene that pops into my head unexpectedly, and then grow from that.  The scene can be anywhere in the book, so I might find myself working backwards or forwards from that point on.  Somehow it all comes together in the end – just don’t ask me how!

These are the authors who will be joining the blog hop next week (10th February):-

Henriette Gyland grew up in Denmark but moved to England after graduating from university. Before she became a writer and a freelance translator, she worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and a county court. In 2011 Henriette won the New Talent Award from the Festival of Romance. Her website and blog can be found at

Celia J Anderson – when she’s not teaching ten year olds or writing stories involving pants, this author spends far too much time on Facebook and does a lot of walking to counteract the cooking, eating and drinking which form most of her hobbies. She blogs as part of the Romaniacs online writers’ group, her website was recently launched thanks to Lucy Felthouse – and she tweets spasmodically as @CeliaAnderson, She now has an author page on Facebook to celebrate the August 2013 release of her first novel Sweet Proposal with Piatkus Entice after winning a writing competition for a contract. Her ultimate dream is to have children’s books published. Usually sea-starved in the depths of the Midlands, she can often be found wandering around Brighton visiting her two daughters and pretending to collect ideas for her next book.

Enjoy their posts and thank you again for reading this!

The Darkest Night of the Year

(Logo designed by

One Day Blog Hop – Casting Light upon the Darkness

This post is part of a ‘blog hop’, and I hope you’re reading this as well as checking out lots of other connected blogs on the above theme (see below for a list of participants).  Thanks to Helen Hollick for organising this!

When Helen told me what the theme was, my thoughts immediately went to the Swedish tradition of celebrating St Lucia on the 13th December.  I may have mentioned this before, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I repeat myself as it seems very apt.

Me aged about 3

It gets very dark in Sweden during the long winters and by December, there is only daylight between about 9am and 3pm, if that.  By the time the longest night of the year comes around (the winter solstice), any kind of light is very welcome and that’s where St Lucia comes in.

She is celebrated on the 13th of December, even though the actual solstice isn’t until 21st (- it used to be on the 13th when we still used the Julian calendar in the 18th century).  It is a rather strange tradition where the saint comes to light up the dark night and sing to you.  Most Swedish girls dress up in long white nightgowns/shifts and put candles on their heads (usually fake, although real ones can be used too), then go around and sing special songs.  Every school and every town will choose their own Lucia and the other girls are her attendants, called tärnor.  I was only ever Lucia at home (from an early age as you can see in this photo!) as to my great chagrin I was never chosen to be an official Lucia, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Little boys are made to wear strange looking hats and similar nightgowns, but some of them prefer to dress up as mini Santas instead (can’t blame them!).

Saffron buns ('Lussekatter')

It is also tradition to offer people Swedish gingerbread cookies (pepparkakor), which are not as strong as the English variety, and saffron or plain buns, shaped like an S (or cat), called lussekatter.  I make them every year as they are delicious, especially hot out of the oven!

Why St Lucia of Syracuse, Sicily, who was obviously Italian?  Apparently the poor woman suffered a sad death (some say she had her eyes put out before becoming a martyr), so she is deemed the best person to guide us through the darkness.  I have no idea how this tradition first started, but it has its origins in pagan celebrations which have somehow been connected with Christianity.  It certainly brightens up one December morning in the whole of Sweden though!

Thank you for visiting my blog – Happy Winter Solstice!

Now please continue to the next blog:-

Helen Holllick – A little light relief concerning those dark reviews! (plus giveaway)

Prue Batten – Casting Light …

Alison Morton – Shedding light on the Roman dusk (plus giveaway)

Anna Belfrage – Let there be light!

Beth Elliott – Steering by the Stars:  Stratford Canning in Constantinople 1810/12

Melanie Spiller – Lux Aeterna, the chant of eternal light

Petrea Burchard – Darkness – how did people of the past cope with dark? (plus giveaway)

Richard Denning – The Darkest Years of the Dark Ages:  What do we really know? (plus giveaway)

Pauline Barclay – Shedding Light on a Traditional Pie

David Ebsworth – Propaganda in the Spanish Civil War

David Pilling – Greek Fire (plus giveaway)

Debbie Young – Fear of the Dark

Derek Birks – Lies, Damned Lies and … Chronicles

Mark Patton – Casting Light on Saturnalia

Tim Hodkinson – Solstice@Newgrange

Wendy Percival – Ancestors in the spotlight

Judy Ridgley – Santa and his elves (plus giveaway)

Suzanne McLeod – The Dark of the Moon

Katherine Bone – Admiral Nelson, A Light in Dark Times

Edward James –The Secret Life of Christopher Columbus

Janis Pegrum Smith – Into the Light (a short story)

Julian Stockwin – Ghost Ships (plus giveaway)

Manda Scott – Dark into Light – Mithras and the older gods

Pat Bracewell – Anglo-Saxon art:  Splendour in the Dark

Lucienne Boyce – We will have a fire – 18th century protests against enclosure

Nicole Evelina – What Lurks Beneath Glastonbury Abbey?

Sky Purington – How the Celts cast light on current American Christmas traditions

Stuart MacAllister (Sir Read-a-Lot) – The Darkness of Depression