Last Chance to Register! #TeaWithTheAuthor at #DeBaryHall

Hope those of you who live in area will consider joining me for this always-fun event! If you want to come, you must reserve your seat as soon as possible, no later than Monday morning, 12/4.

Here’s the scoop!

Recap: The $25 charge includes catered lunch, my custom-blended teas (named for characters in my books), a reading and Q&A session, and a signed copy (your choice) of one of my books.

Reservations should be made as soon as possible (no later than Monday morning), so we know how many lunches to order. Call Tracy at 386-668-3840 or email at tmestre@volusia.org and reserve your place today!

Can’t wait to see you then!

Join Me on a #MeetTheAuthor #EcoTour on the Fabulous St. Johns River

Cruising the St. Johns Aboard the Naiad

11062822_943785592320452_1852699023677234279_n

Start your new year off right! Spend two hours on the fabulous St. Johns River, surrounded by scenic beauty, fantastic birds and wildlife, and a bit of Florida history.  Join me on Saturday, January 14, for a fun afternoon tour, with a  brief pause midway for a reading from my latest book. When we return to the marina, I’ll be available to sign books for anyone interested.

meandhappylightsmall
Me, with My Son & DiL’s Dog, Happy.
(Sorry. You’ll Have to Settle for Just Me on the Tour.)

This is the tour that inspired my Riverbend series, and while we’ve had to say a sad goodbye to Captain Jeanne Bell (who will live forever in our hearts), Doug Little will share his extensive knowledge of the river’s wildlife and history with you. Doug is a first-rate photographer, and thus, was the inspiration for Gunnar Wolfe in Swamp Ghosts, a fact he will be sure to share with you.  😀

0038-107-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Barred Owls Are Often Seen on the Tour, Up Close and Personal

0003-72-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Breathtakingly Beautiful Purple Gallinules Nest on Portions of the St. Johns

The tour leaves Highbanks Marina, in DeBary Florida, at 1:30PM, but be there earlier. Perhaps 1:00 to 1:15. You don’t want to get left behind.

For reservations, call 386-626-9004.

I hope you folks who are in the area will come along for a great afternoon. It’s a terrific, peaceful way to unwind, accompanied by lots of moments of high interest and/or excitement when something really cool is spotted. Large alligators, baby alligators, birds of all kinds, manatees, deer, and even black bears have been seen while cruising on the Naiad, so mark you calendars now!

Here are a few of the things you might spot!

036
BIG Alligator

03Jul2013_011-149-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Not So Big Alligators

0058-127-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Florida Black Bear

500
Southern Bald Eagle

059
Raccoon

10885479_900464076652604_9015322408528827143_n
Great Egret
(Though probably not in breeding plumage this time of year.)

Remember: Call 386-626-9004 for Reservations!
Hope to see you there!

~~~

51bfsz59fxl-_uy250_  51eimlgojbl-_uy250_

Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel
Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2
That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3 (Coming Spring, 2017)

 

#MeetTheAuthor St. Johns River #EcoTour @marciameara

11062822_943785592320452_1852699023677234279_n

Join me on Thursday, December 8, at 1:30pm, for a two-hour ecotour on the beautiful St. Johns River, with a brief break mid-point for a reading and some Q&A. See the REAL Florida from the comfort of the Naiad, while enjoying nature in all its glory. Birds, alligators, manatees, bears, deer, and more can be spotted during these tours. Some pretty amazing wildlife (and that’s not counting ME! 😀 ) And there will be time for a book signing afterward, too.

The ecotour departs from Highbanks Marina, in DeBary, and is the best bang for your buck in all of central Florida. Call Doug at (386) 626-9004 to make your reservations today! You’ll be glad you did!

Hope to see you there!

DSCN1991

Meeting Local Readers – #StJohnsRiverEcoTours – Conundrum Book Club

con1
The Conundrum Book Club
(All Photos by Alicia Keenon Photography)

Taking a brief break from publishing Harbinger to share a couple of pics with you guys. This is the last group of folks I joined for an ecotour on the St. Johns River, and they were just so much fun! Don’t know when I’ve laughed harder, or had readers with more thoughtful questions and sweeter compliments. Such engaging folks!

I don’t want to start rumors, but I was told they call themselves wine drinkers with  a reading problem. I can only add to that by saying they arrived for the tour with coolers full of wine and yummy snacks. I suppose that might have been one of the reasons they were so much fun.  😉 All I know for sure is that I can’t wait to meet with them again! 😀

Hope you are each looking for ways to meet your readers, too. Even without coolers of wine, it’s a great way to have fun while building a local readership. Try it. You’ll like it!

con4
Me, with some of the women . . .

con3
. . . and some of the men!

#StJohnsRiverEcoTour #MeetTheAuthor Friday, 5/27/16

0038-107-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20Come Say Hi to Me, and This Guy!
(Barred Owl)

I’m up for one last eco-tour this Friday, until after the weather cools down a bit. Want to join us on the beautiful St. Johns River, for some wildlife viewing, bird watching, local history, and a brief reading from yours truly?  I’ll be doing more in the fall, I’m sure, but this will be my last one for this summer, I think.

These tours are the best two hours you can spend in central Florida, you know . . . even without MOI! 😀 The river is always beautiful and lush, and the wildlife can be amazing. Even this time of year, when many animals are hiding in the shade, you always see something wonderful. Plenty of birds, for sure. If you live in the area, join us Friday for a great time.  Call for reservations ( 386-626-9004), as the boat is almost full. Bring your cameras!

0058-127-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Help Us Spot One of These!

#InspirationBoardSunday #SundayBlogShare #StJohnsRiverEcoTour

eco1small
All Aboard the Naiad

I added a new photo to my Inspiration Board today. Nope, not a picture of anyone who inspires a particular character of mine, nor a scene that might lead to another story. Probably.  🙂 

Instead, I added a photo of the wonderful group who joined me aboard the Naiad for a fantastic eco-tour of the St. John’s River, yesterday. This particular group was almost completely comprised of book lovers I’ve met at various events over the last six months, most of whom have read some, if not all, of my books. I asked myself today,  what could be more inspiring than these lovely people, who are already invested in my stories and characters ? Who else am I writing for if not these wonderful folks,  and others just like them?

So, voila! Here they are. Eighteen terrific folks–friends, now–who got to experience a St. Johns River Eco-Tour with Captain Jeanne Bell and Doug Little, and see some central Florida birds and wildlife. They were very attentive when I read the prologue from Harbinger, and I think at least some of them will be eagerly awaiting the latest book in the Wake-Robin Ridge series. Fingers crossed. I am blessed to call each of them a friend, now! And I am INSPIRED!

eco2small
Captain Jeanne Bell
St. Johns  River Eco Tours

 

 

#StJohnsRiverEcoTour Tomorrow!

11062822_943785592320452_1852699023677234279_n

Off on a Meet the Author Eco-Tour, with a group of local readers tomorrow, aboard the Naiad. This is one of the most fun things I’ve been lucky enough to take part in. Captain Jeanne Bell and hubby, wildlife photographer Doug Little have been so supportive of me and my books, and these tours are just the best!

We might see these:

0052-121-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Swallow-tailed Kite

Or these:

0038-107-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Barred Owl

And certainly, these:

03Jul2013_011-149-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Baby Gators

But if we see one of THESE:

0058-127-800-750-80-wm-right_bottom-20-DougLittle-255-255-255-20
Florida Black Bear

…you’ll hear me hollerin’ all the way to wherever you are! (Still haven’t seen one in the wild, after all my many years of birding, hiking, and canoeing in Florida.)

Have a great Saturn’s Day, everyone, and I’ll check in with you when I return to civilization again! 🙂

 

Self-Publishing Workshop at #DeBaryHall

debary-hall-two-7136-hdr-edit
DeBary Hall Historic Site, 198 Sunrise Blvd, DeBary, FL

Two weeks from today, I’ll be giving a self-publishing workshop for beginners. I stress the “beginner” category, because I am not an expert in self-publishing, by any means. All I know is what worked for me. But at every Meet the Author talk I give, I’m asked detailed questions on how to go about publishing a book on Kindle and through Createspace, so it seemed like a good idea to set up an event where we can focus on the process.  I’ve published four novels and a book of poetry, so I do have a lot of tips to share, and plenty of suggestions for what authors should NOT do.  😀

If you are a new writer, or at least new to self-publishing, and you are in the area, please consider joining us for a three-hour discussion, with handouts,  at DeBary Hall, from 1:00 to 4:00, on Saturday, April 23. Reservations are required, so call Kayce Looper  at (386)668-3840 to reserve a seat. Hope to see you there!

Deltona Authors’ Fair & Other Events

bigblue

Just a reminder that Saturday, April 2, there will be an author’s book fair at the Deltona Library. It’s a great chance to meet authors, get signed books from them, and support the library. I’ll be there, so if you get a chance to stop by, come say hi!

Also coming up for me, a “Self-Publishing for Beginners” workshop (reservation only) at DeBary Hall, on Saturday, 4/23, from 1:00 to 4:00, and a Power Point Presentation at the Heritage Museum in Enterprise Florida, entitled “Swamp Ghosts: Using the Wildlife and Rivers of Central Florida as the Setting for a Romantic Suspense Novel.” The presentation will start at 1:00pm. Hope to see you at some of these events. 🙂

Poster with Speakers

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger @ThorneMoore

FFGB Graphic

Known Knowns and Unknown Unknowns

“Write about what you know” is useful advice. I thought it would be very easy to follow, when writing my latest book, The Unravelling, which will be published in July. First of all, I would be looking at the world as seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old, in the mid-1960s. She would be living in a town quite similar to Luton, on a council estate that was just beginning to replace the prefabs, which had been thrown up to provide quick emergency housing, after the war.

 I was a ten-year-old in the mid-1960s, living on the edge of a council estate in Luton, and, walking to school, I witnessed the demolition of the prefabs, including the one my grandparents had lived in. Simple.

Thorne1

Post war prefabs

It is remarkably easy to remember every little detail of my world, 50 years ago, from the cotton frocks our mothers made for us, to the pink custard served up at our seriously stodgy school meals. I remember the posters on the classroom walls, the smell of the corridors (a mixture, I suspect, of polish, vomit, urine and very strong disinfectant). I remember the streets, dark lanes and open parks I would walk through on my way, to and from school – a serious walk, but no one would have dreamed of being taken to school by car. I remember the shops, and the sweets they sold – sherbet flying saucers, fruit gums, penny chocolate bars. I remember the kitchen wallpaper my parents put up, as horizons began to expand, covered with exotic vegetables like aubergines (eggplants), courgettes (zucchini), chard and red peppers – vegetables we never saw in the shops, but rumour had it that foreign people ate them and may even had liked them.

thorne2

The estate where I grew up. I watched the tower blocks go up as I walked to school.

So much for the 1960s. I then had to look at the turn of this century. The Millennium. Equally easy, I thought. Everyone knows some of the events that happened then, and others are easy to check. It was only 15 years ago, and I lived through it as a mature adult. Surely I can remember just how it was. Wrong. It is next to impossible for the memory to keep pace with the technological changes that are sweeping past us, establishing themselves so quickly and firmly that we can’t believe they haven’t been around for at least 30 years.

How did you search for someone, in 2000, as my heroine has to do? You use the internet, of course. Except that, in Britain, broadband connections only began in 2000, and nearly everyone was reliant on impossibly slow dial-up modems, with rocketing phone bills and shouts of fury from other people in the house who wanted to use the phone. Have I really only had proper access to the World Wide Web for 12 years? Then, finding someone today, you might try Facebook. But there was no Facebook. Or you could Google them. But back then, Google was a new boy on the block and everyone used Yahoo, or Alta Vista, and the chances were, you wouldn’t find anyone anyway. People didn’t have an on-line presence. You want to trace a marriage that happened 30 years ago? Today you do it with the click of a mouse. In 2000, you got on a train.

I used my own early researches into family history in my first book, A Time For Silence, in which my heroine tries to track down details of her grandfather and aunt. Now I know that today, you simply go to Ancestry.com or FreeBMD, and have it all at your fingertips in minutes. When I first started researching my family history, there was no internet, and searching meant getting on a train to London, to trawl through huge tomes of indexes. Not so bad, when I only lived 30 minutes from London. When I moved to Wales, I found that the National Library of Wales, in Aberystwyth, had similar records, and I spent many happy hours going blind, trying to decipher blurred microfiche and microfilm records. I gave my heroine the same pleasure.

thorne3

My eyes hurt, just thinking about it

However much I use my own experiences to write, some research is nearly always needed. In A Time For Silence, I had to write about life in rural Wales in in the 1930s and 40s. Before my time, but there were plenty of people around me who could remember it well enough, and I was able to trawl through local newspapers of the time. That was so absorbing, I couldn’t resist letting my heroine do the same.

But the trick, with research, is to know how much of it not to use. It’s so tempting, when you become immersed in a fascinating topic, to want to filter it all into your story. A Time For Silence features a German prisoner of war, and I wanted to know more about the POW camp, which was set up a few miles from where I now live. I knew, as everyone round here knows, that it began as a camp for Italian prisoners, who decorated one of the Nissan huts as a Catholic Chapel, which had been preserved.

But after the surrender of Italy, the camp was used for German prisoners, many of whom worked on the local farms. I needed some basic facts for my story, such as when exactly the camp closed, and who was kept there, so I finished up appealing for any information about Henllan Camp from the National Archives. What I received was a huge collection of official inspection reports for the War Office, which give a riveting insight into army and bureaucratic behaviour.

The site remained open until the spring of 1947, and many of the German prisoners were rounded up and taken there after the war. The function of the camp was to assess how Nazified they were. They were allowed to apply for repatriation and then they were classified as white, grey and black Nazis. The white were simply Germans caught up in the war, with no ideological commitment, and could be allowed home. The grey were believers who were open to persuasion that they had been deceived, and could go home as soon as they were sufficiently re-educated. The black were committed Nazis, who would never be swayed in their beliefs. They were to be kept.

At regular intervals, the government sent inspectors to report on conditions in the camp, number of prisoners, state of discipline etc. This was obviously a box-ticking exercise. Each inspector reported that the camp was well run by its commander, accounts were properly kept, and order was smoothly maintained by a splendidly efficient sergeant major. Then, just before the camp closed, a new inspector arrived – one who was less of a box-ticking pen-pusher and more of a perceptive psychologist. His report explained that while the commander loftily fulfilled his duties, blithely unaware of any trouble, the sergeant major, who dealt personally with the prisoners, was a rabid German-hater, looking for revenge for his brother, who had been killed in North Africa, and he had been systematically destroying the prisoners’ written requests for repatriation.

thorne 4

The Italian chapel at Henllan

 This was a great story, that I just had to use – but I didn’t, because it wouldn’t have been relevant to my story. The key to using research is to know which bits of it matter to my characters and to get details right, when they are needed, but to let the bulk of it lie beneath the surface, just out sight. And there’s always the possibility of another book that might put my research to deeper use.

thornemoore
Author Thorne Moore

Thorne Moore was born in Luton, near London and the sludge of the Thames estuary, and now lives in Pembrokeshire on the Atlantic coast, with a lot of hills (small, but we call them mountains), woods (we call them forests) and villages (other people would call them road junctions with a house or two). No cities anywhere near.

She was advised to study law, so she studied history instead, in order to avoid a future career as a lawyer, as she was obviously going to be a writer. Since it took her forty years to get published, she filled in the time working in a library, running a restaurant, teaching family history and making miniature furniture (Pear Tree Miniatures). Her first book, A Time For Silence, was published in 2012. Motherlove followed in 2015, and her third, The Unravelling, will be published July 2016. She lives in a Victorian farmhouse, which occupies the site of a Medieval mansion. Several cats share the house and several woodpeckers share the garden.

Mlcover     Timeforsilence

Motherlove (Amazon UK)
Motherlove (Amazon.com)

A Time For Silence (Amazon UK)
A Time For Silence (Amazon.com)

Thorne’s Amazon Page
Website
Facebook
Twitter
: @ThorneMoore