Thursday, August 13, 2015

An interview with Robin Stewart, talking about 'A LIFE IN THE WILD'

Today my guest is an old friend, now turned author. You may know him better as Mike Abbot from Bless this House, the British sitcom with Syd James, but I know  Robin Stewart from my time living in Yarramalong. I witnessed his love of the Australian bush, the animals and especially his horses and dogs. It came as no surprise to hear he had written A Life In The Wild. The story of an old man and his journey through life. The companions who keep him company, the dogs, horses, cats and their importance in his world.

Robin has a unique voice as he writes. His descriptions and understanding of the animals and the landscape draw the reader into his world.
I 'interviewed' Robin while he was hospitalised and recovering from a bout of ill health. His enthusiasm for his writing wasn't dampened. He asked for the interview to keep his mind active and off his surroundings.
I hope his recovery is rapid and complete. There are more stories waiting to be written. 
Meanwhile... Meet Robin Stewart as he talks about his latest book...



Robin, what do you hope people will take away from the story?
I think that inside all of us is an old something, be it a person an animal, or even a stuffed teddy bear. So with this tale it would be of great joy to me if the reader got lost in the ways of simplicity  and occasional heartbreaks of what I consider to be normal living, if we have the opportunity to give it a chance to blossom. This does not have to be a fantasy, it can easily be a reality if only we can free ourselves to live it. Mother Nature is after all a ruler supreme, or so I personally would like to think.

What genre  would you put this book into?
I think maybe that is something for the readers imagination to decide, I just wrote the words.

Please tell us more about your affinity with the animals you shared time with.
That is a very hard question because as a kid I would visit the wolves in Regents Park zoo. Standing on what one would call the free side looking in, I tried to imagine what they saw when they looked at me. Did they think that they were on the free side and I was trapped in something that seemed to go on forever with no ending, so I was the one that was lost. I have always thought that the relationship between the animals I have had the good fortune to be involved with actually cared as much for me as I did for them, rightly or wrongly. It was, I suppose,  part of my fantasy of having a friend that did not speak the same language yet could pass their feelings over to me with a glance or a twitch or even by turning their back on me, as if to say ,bullshit.  I liked to think we were close. I know I missed and loved them whether they were there or not. They were a major part of my being.

What inspired you to write "A Life in the Wild"?
It was there to be written.       (I love Robin's answer.) 
My head needed to have a clear out and I wanted to see what was in there, and out came all my friends.  I just put them all together and wrote it down. Thanks to Val George, my editor and inward looker at my story, it became the book it is today. All of the animals are taken from reality. I consider myself lucky to have been able to be involved with them. I am lucky that they put up with my idiosyncrasies, even though to them they would probably have been simplicities. We are the ones who make things complicated. Mother Nature just rolls along repairing our mistakes or destroying our failings, hopefully before we destroy her rectifications. Gosh, that sounds deep. hehehe.
Very deep, but very like you! 

Can you please explain your writing process?
My writing process is strange. I firmly believe that 'time', as we know it, is man made. So it does not matter to me if it is dark or light.  I must admit I do prefer working through the night, only because there is a stillness that seems to surround me that I like.  Yet I can just as easily work with the TV on, music on, anything happening around me is cool, except I find it very hard to continue on a thought process when it is interrupted by something or someone. Normally someone who I have no control over that just enters my special space. As with this book the confines of toads abode and takes me away from my fantasy. 

I find that is more destructive to my writing than possibly hearing in the background that there has been a tidal wave. The wave is a passing part of information that travels into and out of the story, where as the interruption demanding my attention breaks all contact that I am involved with within the story per say. This might sound selfish, but it is my fantasy or my dream, or if you like my story, it has not been handed over yet so it is still very private and is in nurturing stage not in battle stations.
Sharing work before it is ready is always awkward. Like baring your soul, without a chance to strap on a mask.

What do you do to prepare your story for publication? 
Preparation is tricky. I was extremely lucky. There was only my editor and my publisher. There were no beta readers used and I was given the freedom to just let go and write. How lucky was that?
Free rein is what most writers dream of, Robin.

Thank you for taking the time to be a guest here today.

I hope your health improves and stays that way.


More information and links to Robin's books...

A Life In The Wild by Robin Stewart
The horses in this extraordinary book are the poetry
 in motion that charts an old man’s life of love, 
loss and longing, so that in the end the 
horse and human are almost interchangeable. 
Gradually, as the man travels his inward 
journey, he answers for himself – 
with help from the magnificent companions at his side 
– life’s greatest question – who he really is.

A Life in the Wild is published by 
New Haven Publishing Ltd UK and 
is available from the following retailers:
United Kingdom: Waterstones

Singapore: Fishpond Singapore

Norway: Adlibris and Tanum

You can also order A Life In The Wild at your local bookshop.

Being Mike Abbott by Robin Stewart with Paul Burton
In this publication, Stewart recalls the years in which he played the role of Sidney James’ son, Mike Abbott, in the Seventies’ Thames TV sitcom, Bless this House...

As well as providing a fascinating and affectionate tribute to his days in the much-loved domestic comedy, Robin also offers an insight into other parts of his life and career.

In short, Being Mike Abbott is a light-hearted read which will appeal to fans of the actor and the series that made him famous.

Here's what people are saying....

"A brilliant and candid insight into Robin's life and career and I would advise you all to get it post haste. It was a good read from cover to cover" - Richard W

"A fascinating trip behind the scenes in television, theatre and film. Recommended" - Colin H

"Great read about golden age of british telly" - Richard M

You can order copies of Being Mike abbot from the following retailers
Feedaread (Paperback)
Amazon (Paperback)
- Amazon (ebook)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

EXILED: Autumn's Peril on the shelves at BOOK WAREHOUSE Coffs Harbour

Images from the book launch during the Grassroots Writers Weekend in Coffs Harbour... and photos of the book on the shelves in our local bookshop.

The display. Including flowers from family who couldn't be there, and books and cards from Wendy Laharnar. Another grassroot writer.

Yvonne and Rosalie introducing the book.

A display of mediaeval weaponry

Ray and Colin from Coffs Sword Club

On the shelves of the BOOK WAREHOUSE among the other fantasy novels

AND...on the front desk
Thanks to Museitup, Chris, Julie and the team at Book Warehouse Coffs Harbour and all those who have helped support the Chronicles toward this moment.

Friday, May 1, 2015

They are here!!! Paperback books arrive...EXILED: Autumn's Peril is in PRINT

With the book launch scheduled for next Saturday the excitement has increased now, to unprecedented levels. The books have arrived.
Safe and sound.
Despite heavy rain, flood warnings and not being home to greet them, they are now warm, dry and ready for their launch.

Opening the first of four boxes.
Safe and sound.

Map is clear and legible.

Back cover, inside, white space and font look good. 
 They look good enough to read... again!!!
Roll on Saturday.
With luck the rain will have washed itself away and next weekend will be fine and sunny, even if there is a winter chill in the air...Red Sparrow Tea company tea, cake, refreshments and champagne will add warmth to the event.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Paperback available. Exiled: Autumn's Peril is now in print.

PRINT copy of EXILED: Autumn's Peril

The book launch only a few weeks away. 
Books are ordered and on their way.
is going to be on hand with tea tasting.
Light refreshments, yummy cakes and finger food should be the perfect accompaniment to fill any crevessas while the hot tea should warm the cockles if the 9th May proves to be a wintery day.


I am busy working on my workshop notes for World Building and the panel discussion on Publishing, Ebooks and Self publishing.
The GRASSROOTS WRITERS' Weekend is already booked out. The program is amazing. The weekend should be a blast. Last year Dorrigo hosted a the inaugural weekend. This year Coffs Harbour Writers' Group is carrying on the tradition.

Preparations are going well and with the books now ordered and on their way my nerves have settled.

It is going to be fun.

I have even organised prizes and giveaways at the book launch, as incentive for people to attend. Does that sound desperate?

I am attending a book launch on Wed night, and there will be giveaways etc there. The author is with a mainstream publisher, with books on shelves and a marketing department behind her, so I don't think my incentives sound THAT desperate. ;)

I am a Grassroots Writer and happy with what I achieve. :)

To me the support and enthusiasm from my friends, readers, and the people I have met through my writing are important. They are the reason I write and work to help other authors.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

AGENT OF LIGHT by Kyla Phillips... where fallen angels meet shapeshifting pumas...

Vayne is a light elemental and bounty hunter for the supernatural world.  Her partners, Giovanni, a capricious fallen angel, and Donovan, a shape shifter with anger control issues, work with her during their rehabilitation. During the coldest winter Cincinnati has ever seen, the threesome run into a case where temporary, and violent insanity strikes powerful elementals seemingly at random. Vayne soon finds herself the victim instead of the hunter, and working on the wrong side of the conflict.  How can Don and Gio pull her back from the brink? How will she reveal the perpetrator and bring him before the chopping block?

PRE ORDER AGENT OF LIGHT 

Kyla, congratulations on the release of Agent of Light
Thanks so much Lady Rosalie. It has been a long process to get here.

Would you introduce your characters? I know readers will find them a fresh and interesting crew.

Well I have a cast of four main characters: Vayne Andrews, light elemental and head of the team; Donovan Cortez, shapeshifter and team rookie; Giovanni a fallen angel, and Saryll a jinni.

Which one would you choose to be, if it were possible?
Oh that’s a tough one.  I feel like I should say Vayne because she’s smart, strong, and the glue that holds a diverse group of wild characters together. Still the ability to change into different animals is one I couldn’t pass up if given the chance, so Don.

What made you choose to write paranormal fantasy?
Had to. I’m a character writer. All my writing starts with some unique, vibrant characters, and no ordinary world would be able to contain them.   Agent of Light started with the team. I pictured a puma sleeping on a window sill,  a jinni curled up in the closet, and a fallen angel lounging around. Then the question came, what kind of person could lead this bunch and Vayne was born.

What is your writing background?

I started writing in third grade when we got an assignment to create a myth. Mine dealt with how the Nile River was formed by the god Ra.  Ever since then I have loved writing about mystical creatures an far off worlds. I love writing Fantasy and Scifi with equal passion.  Agent of Light will be my first full novel to be published.


Being published is an exciting journey. Have you had any moments when you wanted to jump for joy or roll on the floor laughing? Even crawl into a corner and cry? It isn’t all a bed of roses. (I should get a demerit point for clich├ęs.)
Writing and editing this novel has taken me through more emotions than I thought I had. There were moments when I felt good. When I got a scene just right or got a smiley face back from my editor I was through the roof. My mom told me when she was beta reading it that she cried at certain scenes (not telling which ones) each time she read them.  There is no greater compliment to me than to know my writing touched someone emotionally.
Then there was the stress of trying to write a novel, work, and take care of family. When I started writing Donovan I tried to make him be a vampire because I always wanted to write a strong vamp character but he just didn’t feel right. I wrote ten chapters trying to force him into that type before I got so frustrated I wanted to scream.  I thought about giving up on the whole thing at that point but I knew Vayne and her bunch deserved better than that I so I started over and pushed through.

What are you plans from here? Are there any more Agent of Light books on the horizon?

I plan to write four Council of Light books featuring each of the main characters, going from Vayne to Don, Gio, and then Saryll.  I also have a SciFi novel that I’m working on now. My writing plate is full

Do you have any unusual marketing or promotion ideas?

I don’t know if this counts but I love libraries. My mother worked in a library and we always used to go at least once a week.  My plan is to visit as many as will have me to do meet the author talks. Starting in Akron, Ohio where I live down to Cincinnati, Ohio where the book is set, and branching off from there.

Libraries are a great place to start. I have found our local library to be very supportive. With book launches and workshops. They also loan ebooks now..

Thanks for being a guest on my blog.

Thanks for letting me ramble. And thanks for all your help shaping Agent of Light.

It has been fun working with your characters. They are indeed an unusual crowd.

Kyla became a SciFi/Fantasy addict at age three watching Doctor Who on late nights up with her mom. She discovered her love of reading and writing in the third grade reading Robert A. Heinlein and Piers Anthony and trying to create stories like her heroes.

Currently she lives in Ohio with her grandmother and her dog, Mya – named after a SciFi character. She is inspired by the musing of her fellow writers in the Entropy writing group and hanging out at Barberton Public Library.
PRE ORDER AGENT OF LIGHT 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

ANOTHER Update...on a previous post. Six Father figures, Three Mothers, One Family…

FIRST POSTED ON 9th August 2013....
It’s funny how families evolve. 
Try doing a family tree with six father figures and three mothers. 

Ok, one set are in laws. So that’s easy. Still…

I haven’t really been careless, but I have lost four ‘fathers’, misplaced one and I am keeping tabs on another. I have more luck with mothers. My mother in law, now ninety two,(93) but doesn’t know it, is doing well. My adopted mother and birth mother are both thriving.

Lost: Four fathers, who have left their legacy of laughter and love. Losing my adopted father and father in law in the same year taught us about grief, but the memories that remain are of happy times.

My adopted Mum remarried and introduced a wonderful ‘Grandpa’ into the lives of my children. They grew up with his love surrounding them. We are all richer for having known him and been blessed with his love. He passed away the day after his eightieth birthday. 

My ‘bonus’ family arrived via a letter from the Salvation Army. Discovering my birth mother, half sisters and their family is another story in itself… During a trip south to meet the family I was lucky to get to know and grow to love my birth mother’s husband. Sadly he passed away shortly after we met. Those few days were precious and a godsend. 

Misplaced: There hasn’t been a moment that seemed quite appropriate to ask my birth mother about my birth father… so he is still a mystery. Not lost, just misplaced. Perhaps one day I will learn more about who he was. 
UPDATE: I have spoken to my birth mother about my birth father. I have a name but am still to go through the process of searching for him. I am told though that he was at times, a stage hypnotist. So, there you go. Another sliver of information regarding one of my 'dads'. 
May 2015...
I have met and been in contact with my birth father. He is all I could ask for, kind, considerate, intelligent and a perfect gentleman. I am so thrilled to have him as part of my life. 
UPDATE JAN 2015
Exciting news. I have found my birth father, and we now keep in touch. I have also discovered a half brother and two sisters. So, it's been a great year already. 
Keeping track of: At the sprightly age of eighty six Mum remarried a young doctor eighty five years old. He is doing well. I care for Mum, while an aged care facility take good care of this ‘father’ for me!
UPDATE: Mum has turned 90 and is fine health. Her dear husband though is not so well. Mum now resides in the same aged care facility and they spend most of their time in each other's company. They cherish the four years they have shared.
UPDATE FEB 2015

Sadly my step father died last Saturday. He was laid to rest on Thursday, only days before his 91st birthday. 



 Rosalie Skinner, 
  author of 
The Chronicles of Caleath 


Hunted by alien assassins, haunted by ghosts,  homesick for a planet light-years away, Caleath’s quest is to survive and escape.

Friday, February 20, 2015

FIVE STAR REVIEW for EXILED: Books 1-4 and a chance to grab a BARGAIN


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Series : Exiled books 1-4 2 February 2015
Verified Purchase
A beautifully written, very descriptive story of a complex tale combining both fantasy and science fiction, which is so full of act it certainly a real page turner. Full of wizards, witches, dragons and alien creatures sent to keep the main character, Caleath and his followers fighting to the very end of the series (1. Exiled: Autumn's Peril, 2.Exiled: Winter's Curse, 3. Exiled: The Legacy of Lathraine's Pledge & 4. Exiled: The Battle for Enderseer Hold). As soon as I finished one book I was straight into the next one.

The main character is secretive and as you keep reading you find he certainly has had a chequered past. It will make you question what it takes to be the "good guy"?

I loved this series of books and for all you fantasy, science fiction readers out there I hope you are up all night reading like I was.