The end of 2015 has seen me lay down my pen on my current work – Rebekah. The novel is now complete and you can read a sample here.
The next stage is the rather lengthy process of editing, finding a publisher, and bringing the book to you as soon as I can.
Next week I will begin writing the first of a series of novels set during the Second World War. The main character is a war correspondent who will bring a totally new perspective on the conflict for most readers. I look forward to sharing the progress of this project with you.
In the meantime, I wish you a very Happy New Year. May 2016 bring you all that you hope for. May it be a year of peace, love, happiness and achievement.
‘The Guardians’ will be published this month!
It will be available in ebook format on Kindle from 20th October 2015 – just in time for Halloween!
Print version will soon follow.
The Guardians is a very different genre from Heronfield’.
It is all too easy to lose focus on what is really important in life when surrounded by the pressures and demands of modern living. It can take something extraordinary, something out of this world, to re-focus us on life’s priorities.
For archaeologist Rick Gibson the priority is to discover a ‘great find’ which will make him a household name, and he is prepared to sacrifice everything – his home, his wife, his son – to achieve this. After years of disappointment Gibson’s luck changes with the discovery of an ancient manuscript detailing the hiding place of the Aztec treasure of Montezuma. Gibson leads a dig to Mexico to uncover the famous treasure of Eldorado, but it is not as easy as he had assumed for the treasure is guarded. ‘The Guardians’ come from the world of the dead to protect the treasure and, one by one, the members of Gibson’s party suffer the consequences.
The suspense builds from a gentle beginning in suburban England to a terrifying climax with supernatural forces of good and evil battling for supremacy. Woven skilfully into the narrative are the questions which all humans face, and the answers to which will bring life, or death, for Gibson.
If you can’t wait until 20th, then take a look at ‘The Prologue’
At last! The cover for my new novel can now be revealed.
Many thanks to Lorna Gray for her talented design. She has the ability to take my ideas and create a reality which goes beyond what I had imagined.
Please follow the links to find out more about the Guardians or to read the prologue.
The Historical Novel Society has just written a review of Heronfield. You cannot believe how pleased I am to have such a positive recommendation from such a prestigious society.
If you haven’t yet read Heronfield, then I hope that this review may encourage you to do so.
So what did the review say? Well, here it is…
The Kemshall family home, Heronfield, has been turned into a convalescent hospital during World War II. Tony’s brother, David, a hero to all in his family, is a Spitfire pilot and decorated as one of the men involved in the Battle of Britain. Tony, a survivor of Dunkirk, finds himself facing several battles: fighting a father who believes him a coward, fighting for the love of the woman of his dreams and fighting to keep the biggest secret from them all because Tony is a British spy, working in occupied France.
Heronfield is a hefty tome; a large paperback over 400 pages long, an indication of the amount of story here. The course of six years is spanned, from the beaches at Dunkirk to the liberation of the concentration camps. Many of the chapters have beginnings that are akin to the Pathé News segments, telling what is happening in other areas of the world before returning to the main action in either Heronfield or St Nazaire – a brilliant way of giving the reader all the information required.
The characters are incredibly realistic; it is difficult to set Heronfield down. It would not be possible to write a story about the bravery of the soldiers or the Resistance without making sure that the reader is aware of just why they were so brave, and this is put across tactfully, but still gives the reader an idea of the horrors faced by these people.
An amazing read.
I rarely write short stories, but this was an idea that came to me and would not let go.
There are many conflicts in the world today that have been going on for years. For so long, in fact, that many people have forgotten what the roots of the problem are, if they ever knew at all. The thought came to me that if we were to transplant a similar situation into our own homes we might be better able to understand what is going on.
‘The Terrorist’ is set in a parallel world to ours. Similar in many ways, yet subtly different…
I now have a professionally proof-read copy of ‘The Guardians’ which Maxine Linnell has been working hard on for me. There is still work for me to do on the manuscript, and a cover to design, but things are coming together.
One step closer to publication!
Heronfield has just undergone a professional proof-read and re-edit. There have been no changes to the storyline, but some sections have been tightened up and a few minor grammatical errors corrected. My thanks to Maxine Linnell for an amazing piece of work. Living on different continents has not prevented us working well together; Maxine has a great understanding of my style and what I wanted – and has helped me to provide you with a great read.
If you have already purchased a Kindle version then you can download the new versions for free.
Print copies can be purchased from Lulu for just £12.99.
If you have a Kindle then take a look a Amazon where you can get a copy for just £2.99.
If you have any other type of ebook then buy your copy of Heronfield from Smashwords for £2.99.
Heronfield is a saga set in Europe during WWII following the interwoven lives of those who meet through Heronfield, a convalescent hospital. Life in the skies during the Battle of Britain, with the French Resistance, on the Home Front, in the push from D Day to final victory in Europe. Loyalty and love, anger and hatred, loss and betrayal – the characters of Heronfield bring the history of WWII to life.
At almost 295,000 words Heronfield is great value for money.
Yet another 5* review for Heronfield.
However, in my mind, the number of stars is far outweighed by the very kind comment about my writing style. To be likened to such a great author as Nevil Shute is truly an honour. Thank you lizziep
5.0 out of 5 stars authentic, 1 Nov 2013 By lizziep
Having read a number of books set in the war, I started to read this book with a certain amount of trepidation – too often authors are not able to convey the real sense of what it must have been like to be in that situation. “Heronfield” was a most ‘pleasant’ surprise (I use the word ‘pleasant’ in quotation marks as I have to admit that some of the descriptions were unpleasantly graphic – but even this added to the feeling of reality and authenticity) in that it was obvious that the author had not only spent a great deal of time researching her subject, but had complete immersed herself in it. From the descriptions of pre-war life in the big house, to the description of life in an interment camp, the whole novel had a feeling of authenticity and was able to indicate to me what it must have been like to have been alive during that whole dreadful period – not just a serving member of the forces, but also the civilians living (or existing) back at home and how they coped. Ms Balchin is a relatively new author, however, her style of writing reminds me very much of the style of Nevil Shute – an author I have gone back to time after time. I suspect that Ms Balchin will have a similar effect.
Many authors are questioning that validity of Amazon reviews at present. I can sympathise.
Some people who have read Heronfield, but not purchased it from Amazon, have tried to review the book but the reviews do not get posted. You can imagine my surprise then, on 2nd November 2013, to find a book to be published on 7th November 2013 already reviewed and ranked!
So what star rating does this unpublished book have?
10 reviews with an average of 4.1* On the kindle page Amazon states ‘This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item’. In fact it has not yet been released in any format and the reviews are from Amazon Vine. What is that you ask? Amazon says ‘Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions’.
Bearing in mind that the book has not yet been published Amazon shows a ranking (based presumably on pre-publication orders) of:
#558 Paid in Kindle Store
#4 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Fiction Classics
#10 in Books > Fiction > Classics
#12 in Books > Fiction > Romance > Historical
As an author, I know that I would like to get my books reviewed by as many people as possible, so I can hardly criticise someone else for feeling the same. However, Amazon Vine does not appear to be available to self-published authors (please do feel free to contact me and correct me if I’m wrong). All I would argue for is a level playing-field for all authors.
What is your opinion?
Do you think this system is fair?
Can an unpublished book actually be regarded as a ‘classic’?
I would be interested to hear your views.
Finally though, as a new author, I recognise that no matter what system Amazon uses reviews are incredibly important for building the reputation of an author, and for sales. I would therefore like to thank the people who have been able to post reviews for Heronfield. I value your feedback to help me to become a better writer, and to produce other books that you might like to read as well. All of your kind words and encouragement are much appreciated!
If you want action, adventure, romance, and history all rolled in to one absorbing read give this a go.
4.0 out of 5 stars I’d give this 4.5 stars if I could!
31 Oct 2013
Another book I downloaded to my Kindle while listed as free, and while I very rarely give 5 star reviews this almost managed it! Set during WWII Heronfield is set in a stately home that is commandeered for the war effort. I’d almost class this as an epic saga, we cover the whole of WWII with the characters but without ever feeling like it’s dragging.
I found Tony’s central story line pretty gripping and was really annoyed when the other characters interrupted, then almost couldn’t bear to leave them to get back to Tony!
I love my books to be character driven and this ticks the box, however there is a huge amount of historical fact woven in to the novel, the author explains this in the preface and it’s worked into the fictional story line quite well. Some of the historical info is less necessary to the plot but it does give an idea of the scale of the conflict and is interesting.
There was nothing really wrong with the story but I’m not a huge fan of massive literary coincidences and two of the male characters run into each other towards the end rather conveniently. I’ll say no more as I don’t want to give anything away but the world is a big place so it lost half a star for that.
This is a self published novel so don’t expect perfection, having said that though it has been written to a very high standard and I would highly recommend even the paid version as you get a lot of book for your buck. I believe that the author’s website states the book is being given a professional edit and I think it will benefit a little from the final polish.
If you want action, adventure, romance, and history all rolled in to one absorbing read give this a go.
Thank you Sarah for your great review on Amazon. I understand what you say about ‘literary coincidences’, they can sometimes spoil a good story. I did a great deal of detailed research for the book and would just like to put your mind at rest – The SS did send people who did that type of work to ‘that place’ towards the end of the war; the other character was with a unit that was in the area on that day. So while it was a big coincidence, it was not impossible that they would meet there!
For anyone who has not read Heronfield and wonders what that is all about – maybe you’re missing out on something!