‘Treading On Dreams’ Nominated for an Award!



TREADING ON DREAMS has been nominated for a RONE Award by ‘In D’tale’ magazine.


However … I now need votes to get through to the next round which then involves judges reading the books. So I only need your vote once.

If you can find it in your heart to vote for this struggling, indie author, then please follow the link below and vote. It will only take a few moments and I’ll explain what to do.


You will need to sign in and then look for TREADING ON DREAMS under the category ‘Contemporary: Sweet’. Tick the box and click ‘Vote’.

That’s all there is to it. Thanks for your wonderful support – hugely appreciated.


Jeff x



Yvonne Marjot – Life on Mull

Yvonne Marjot is the author of The Calgary Chessman, an archaeological mystery published by Crooked Cat. It tells the story of Cas Longmore and the discovery she makes at Calgary Bay, on the Isle of Mull in western Scotland. Its sequel, The Book of Lismore, will be published in 2015.

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These days I live in Tobermory, the largest town on the Isle of Mull, with around 800 souls, but when I first moved to Mull I lived in an isolated house near the village of Dervaig, in a situation not too different from that of Cas, the main character in The Calgary Chessman. So today I’m going to tell you about island life, as it was for me back then.

The island is very beautiful. It’s not as famous as Skye, holy as Iona, or striking as Jura, and we can’t compete with Islay because we only have one whisky distillery. But in many ways, Mull is a microcosm of the all the islands of the Inner Hebrides, with high mountains and broad upland moors, pretty beaches and rocky outlooks, tiny island outliers, and everywhere the untamed wildness of the sea. The place where I lived was very beautiful – a single-storey house on the edge of a babbling brook, with views towards the loch and forested hills behind. I was delighted, the first time that I did the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, to be able to list grey heron and buzzard as birds that came to my garden.

Being an island, Mull’s weather is pretty equable, although it can be wetter than the mainland. However, the day we arrived, on a grim November afternoon, the sky was spitting lumps of sleet and you could hardly see a hand in front of your face. Within a month of moving in, a massive Atlantic low coincided with the full moon and we found ourselves cut off from the village by flooding across the road. Our pretty stream had turned to a raging torrent (the classic Scottish ‘spate’ river) and within hours burst its banks. It came within two centimetres of flooding the house. The next day we woke to find the waters had receded, like a drunk’s nightmare, leaving only the hangover of debris and a ruined garden behind.

I made some good friends in and around Dervaig, but I didn’t see them every day. One woman warned me, ‘you have to like your own company if you want to survive the winters here.’ I soon found out what she meant. Each morning my husband would head off in the car, leaving me at home with a toddler and a baby. The road past our front gate wasn’t busy, by mainland standards, but there was no footpath and the verges were boggy and dangerous. There was a single bus service, into Tobermory in the morning and back late in the afternoon, too long a day to spend in town with very young children. I soon found myself becoming more and more isolated.

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On the rare occasions when I had transport, I would bundle the boys into their waterproofs, whatever the weather, and headed for my favourite place: the curve of white sand and turquoise water that is Calgary Bay. Calgary is a lovely place –green hummocks of machair edging a white shell-sand beach shelving gently into a broad, sheltered bay with views out to the west. In calm weather it looks like a tropical paradise – although dipping a toe into the water at any time of year will soon put you right. I’ve swum there, but you have to be hardy to take that first plunge! In the full force of a winter storm, it’s wild and crazy and wonderful. Best of all, two small boys who have been shut up at home for too long can run, and jump and shout to their hearts’ content.

I would huddle in the shelter of the machair, sipping coffee or soup from a flask, or rubbing my hands over a tiny campfire, while the boys raced the length of the beach and back again, yelling at me, the sky, each other, or rushing up to show me what they’d found. Machair is a unique product of the west coast of Scotland – a thin layer of grass, herbs and flowers holding together the surface of dunes and levels made up of wind-blown shell sand. It’s both lovely and fragile, and wonderful examples of it may be found on the outer islands, but Calgary Bay is a small and precious example. The wind and high spring tides undercut its edges, gradually nibbling away at it. I worried that I’d found this beautiful place only to watch it disappear before my eyes.

A few months after moving in, I watched a TV program about the British Museum’s greatest treasures. That night I had a nightmare that I was running along the sand at Calgary Bay, pursued by something faceless. I looked down and saw an object lying at my feet. It was one of the Lewis Chessman, featured on the program the night before. That dream gave me the germ of an idea, which eventually became The Calgary Chessman.

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If you like the sound of The Calgary Chessman, you can read a sample of the book here:


or here:


The Book of Lismore, published July 2015, will tell you more about the town of Tobermory, on the north-eastern tip of Mull – and about another beautiful Hebridean island, the Isle of Lismore.

You can follow the progress of these books, and my poetry writing, on facebook by joining The Calgary Chessman group (https://www.facebook.com/TheCalgaryChessman)or liking The Calgary Chessman page, on twitter @Alayanabeth; or follow my blog, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, at http://yvonnemarjot.wordpress.com .

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. Her archaeological romances The Calgary Chessman and The Book of Lismore are published by Crooked Cat Publishing.

She has worked in schools, libraries and university labs, has been a pre-school crèche worker and a farm labourer, cleaned penthouse apartments and worked as amanuensis to an eminent Botanist. She currently has a day job (in the local school) and teenage children, and would continue to write even if no-one read her work, because it’s the only thing that keeps her sane. In her spare time she climbs hills, looks for rare moths and promises herself to do more in the garden.

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Passion and Conviction

Do you write with passion and conviction?

Nuts and Crisps

Like buses, no posts for months then two come along at once…

Jeff2014Jeff Gardiner is the UK author of three novels, a collection of short stories and a work of non-fiction. Many of his short stories have appeared in anthologies, magazines and websites. He’s also recently signed a three book contract with Accent Press for his ‘Gaia’ YA trilogy, which begins with Pica, a novel of transformation and ancient magic. Today he tells us about the need for passion and conviction in the search for that elusive goal of publication.

The first novel I wrote was ‘Treading On Dreams’, but it wasn’t the first one published. I had to go through the dreaded rejections and yet keep faith in my treasured work of art. My second novel ‘Myopia’ found a home sooner than ‘Treading On Dreams’, and I was even completing a third novel, ‘Igboland’ before my first was finally accepted…

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Nancy Jardine: A Twist in the Tale

Celtic fervourToday’s special guest is my good friend Nancy Jardine. She is author of a number of wonderful books: contemporary mystery, Topaz Eyes; the historical Celtic Fervour series that begins with Beltane Choice. And now her latest release from Crooked Cat is the delightfully titled Monogamy Twist. I’ll hand over now to Nancy who will tell you more about the novel, and she’s also kindly provided a free extract. Buy links are below – or you can click on the cover photo…


Hello Jeff,

I’m very pleased to be invited back to your blog to tell your readers about my latest re-release from Crooked Cat publishing—Monogamy Twist . A new version of my fun romantic mystery was published on the 27th March 2015 and at £2.99 for a full length novel, it’s a great buy.

Monogamy Twist, a light-hearted contemporary romantic mystery. The fabulous quirky new cover, designed by Laurence Patterson of Crooked Cat, reveals a grand house at the centre of the story which is a really excellent image since the plot is based around a Dickensian theme. Luke Salieri finds he’s been bequeathed a dilapidated mansion in Yorkshire…but he can only fully inherit after some weird and antiquated stipulations are fulfilled! He’s never met his benefactress; hasn’t even heard of her but Luke’s never one to back down from a challenge. He needs expert help, though, to find out why Amelia Greywood chose him and Rhia Ashton seems ideal. Rhia, a historian and family tree researcher, initially appears to be perfect but it turns out that she has her own ideas of what will make Luke’s strange request worthwhile. Compromise is the name of the game for Luke…and for Rhia as they unravel the mystery of the archaic bequest.

It’s probably no surprise that the plot for the novel came about as a combination of my watching the current BBC TV Charles Dickens serial of late 2010  while I was also attempting my first forays at researching my own ancestral background. I found a decidedly black sheep in one of my great-grandfathers: Rhia finds a good few family surprises for Luke in Monogamy Twist! Rhia and Luke were lovely characters to invent but some readers have told me that they love Thor, the Irish wolfhound, even more!

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Blurb for Monogamy Twist:

When Luke Salieri inherits a dilapidated English estate from a woman he’s never heard of— with quirky conditions attached—it’s a mystery he wants to see resolved immediately. But there’s a catch: he needs a woman to meet his needs, though just how far will he have to go to persuade her?

The job of researching Greywood Hall and its fantastic contents is enticing, but can Rhia Ashton see herself living with gorgeous Luke Salieri for a whole year and then walk away? Rhia has her own ideas about what will make it worth her while.

But neither expect love to enter the game.


About Nancy:

ccnancyjardineNancy Jardine lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She currently shares a home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, 3 year old granddaughter and 1 year old grandson. It’ll continue to be a busy household till late summer of 2015 when the new build home will be completed for the young ‘uns on what was Nancy’s former back garden. The loss of that part of the garden won’t be missed since there should now be more writing time available this spring and summer! Childminding is intermittent over the day and any writing time is precious. (If interested in how a new house is built these days, follow my blog posts named ‘Gonna build a house’ )

All matters historical are a passion; Ancestry research a lovely time-suck. Nancy regularly blogs and loves to have guests visit her blog. Facebooking is a habit she’s trying to keep within reasonable bounds! Any time left in a day is for leisure reading and the occasional historical series on TV.

Author links:



Twitter @nansjar

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG


Amazon Author page for books and to view book trailer videos:

US http://amzn.to/RJZzZz

UK  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nancy-Jardine/e/B005IDBIYG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Novels also available from Barnes and Noble; W.H. Smith; Waterstones.com; Smashwords; TESCO Blinkboxbooks; and various other places.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my news with your readers!

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Extract from Monogamy Twist:

“Why hadn’t you phoned ahead?”

“Good question.” Luke laughed at himself. “Perhaps the fact that I left London at three in the morning had something to do with that?”

Rhia’s sudden gleeful grin slayed him because she was now finding his predicament funny. Strange woman. He ploughed on, even more determined to get her on board his ludicrous venture.

“Anyway, I’m not known to be idle. I came to Greywood Hall to take a look around. I thought that even if I couldn’t get into the house, I’d be able to see the grounds.” The rocking chair played a steady thump on the wooden floor.

“But the main gates were locked when I first passed with Thor.”

“Sure, the main gates were. I tried them first, though I didn’t have cutters in my car, or anything to force the padlock, or break the chain with. It was the police who cut them open when they came to arrest me, Miss Ashton.”

He waited though she ignored his little jibe. She eventually responded after a long tense silence.

“So how did you get in?”

Luke wondered how Rhia regularly got in as he answered. “I found a back entrance to the stable block on the far side of the property, also padlocked of course. I left my car on the verge and nipped over the wall. From there, as you know already, I entered the house via that pantry window. It had a faulty catch that I was able to manipulate.” His smile was tight. “And the rest is history – except not quite.”

“I don’t understand why you were checking all the windows if you’d already broken into one. Your movements were pretty sneaky.”

Her questioning was measured and purposeful. Needed the fine details tuned, did she? Well, he guessed she deserved to know since he needed her to help him one hundred per cent.

“It’s my job,” he answered, perusing the photographs hanging in a montage on her wall.

“What? But you said you weren’t…”

“A burglar? Of course, I’m not.” Encouraged by her naive responses sardonic laughter spilled forth. “I’m a Chartered Surveyor. My current focus in the UK is renovation of old properties.”

“So you were checking all the windows as a professional?” That rosy little blush stained her cheeks, though he contrarily wished it hadn’t. “I’m sorry about that.”

Brushing off her apology with a terse wave of his hand, Luke enjoyed telling her more of his farcical story, though she had a cute little way of squirming up her nose when she was working something out, which distracted him from the main purpose.

“What did you mean ‘and that’s history, but not quite’?”

“My being willed the Hall isn’t as straightforward as it seems. That’s where you can help me.”

He had a gut feeling she was going to be perfect for his needs.


Her bewilderment was exhilarating. He soared up in front of her.

“We’ve established that I’m not a burglar, but you, Miss Rhia Ashton, are a multiple trespasser.” He let his index finger gently mock in front of her nose. “You’ve been trespassing on that property for some time.” His tongue clicked against his teeth. “Disregarding the law.”

“Gus told me it would be fine to walk Thor there.” Her voice faded to nothing.

Creasing his dark eyebrows in doubt, Luke determined Gus needed to be eliminated from her life.

“Neither you, nor Gus had permission to be there. So here’s the thing. Unless you want to go back to the police station and be charged with quite a few offences, I think you might need to listen to the proposal I’m about to put to you.”

“But they said nothing at the police station about my trespassing. They brought me home.”

Deliberately placing his hands on the chair back, one on each side of her shoulders, he effectively trapped her, finding she was easy to be near. He had to keep his mind out of his pants, though, because he needed Rhia Ashton to satisfy other needs.

She inched back from him, her head lolling on the cushion.

“Didn’t you wonder why they let you go without a mention of the fact that you’d been wandering at will all over that property for ages? Doing who knows what damage?” His gaze not wavering a single blink, his body leaned conspiratorially closer.

“Of course, I wondered!” she cried. “But I never ever damaged anything.”

“Well now, it’s like this. You have me to thank for the lack of charges,” he mocked, finding her lips were way too close for comfort. “I chose to tell them that they didn’t need to proceed with the trespassing charges…for the foreseeable future.”

“The foreseeable future?”

He persisted, knowing he was unnerving her. “Not for ever you understand, just for the coming months.”

“Are you blackmailing me?”

“Blackmail?” He pulled back, calling a halt to her siren song. “You and me both. This is where the old lady excels. She has the last laugh.”

Startled bewilderment battled with piqued interest as she leaned forward.

After a circuit of the room, he halted in front of her, one hand raking back his thick hair. She needed to be told all the facts. Well, perhaps not about the tight deadline: he could leave that little snippet till after she complied.

“Okay. I told you it’s a bloody Dickensian nightmare. Here’s the real deal, Rhia. I only become the completely legal owner of the property after I fulfil some very quirky terms which you can help me with.”


A rabbit snagged in a deadly snare couldn’t look more horrified. He was okay with that. He held up his hand in front of her.