Tag Archives: Second World War

Dear Reader #16

Dear Reader,

This week, I made good progress with the first draft of Snow in August, Sam Smith Mystery Series book sixteen. I write the first draft of every story at a fast pace before slowing down with the second draft. The second draft is basically the story you read, after minor adjustments during two rounds of editing. Once the second draft is complete I never make radical changes. When I write, the book is about word selection, not story building. The story building takes place during the planning and storyboarding stages. Watching a documentary this week I noticed that Alfred Hitchcock used to meticulously storyboard his movies. Personally, I think it’s a great way of storytelling, whether through the medium of movies or books.

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Alfred Hitchcock

Delighted that Sam has found new readers, in Sweden 🙂

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Pictured, a view of the Stora Sjöfallet National Park

Suzan is recording audiobook versions of Escape and Victory, to complete the series. I just listened to chapter one of Escape and Suzan’s narration is excellent. Normally, I don’t like rereading or listening to my words, but Suzan‘s narration drew me into the story.

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Here’s an example of Suzan’s narration https://hannah-howe.com/audio-books/

My latest translation, the Spanish version of Victory. Irene translated all five books in this series and it was a great pleasure working with her.

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Earlier this week, I watched North By Northwest for the first time. I will write a review of the movie on another occasion, but for now would like to mention Eva Marie Saint who, in her nineties, I am pleased to say is still with us. Eva Marie Saint offered an elegant performance in North By Northwest and is the main reason for watching this movie. She also excelled in 36 Hours, a James Garner World War Two noir movie. That movie relied on a simple, but highly effective, plot device to knit the drama together. Without giving the plot away, it relied on fingers and thumbs. I love old movies and, in all truth, the old stars were a mixed bunch. Some of the stories about them would make your toes curl. But I’ve read no such stories about Eva Marie Saint. On and off screen, she exuded class.

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Eva Marie Saint with Cary Grant in North by Northwest, 1959

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #2

Dear Reader,

The editing of Victory, Ann’s War book five, has gone well this week and now I’m at the ‘polishing’ stage, tidying the occasional word and phrase. This is the last story in my Ann’s War series, so it’s sad to part company with the characters. That said, it’s encouraging that the pre-order sales for this book are the best in the series and that I’ve received emails from my local library informing me that readers are keen to know when the book will be published. When the book is available, from 20th July, I will donate a copy to my local library. Copies will also be sent to all the major libraries in Britain and Ireland. I’m delighted to say that all my books are featured in these libraries.

This week, I’ve been storyboarding The Fifth Man, a novel set in 1948. During the storyboarding I had an interesting experience when one of the characters, Laura Lewis, ‘disagreed’ with my intentions for her. These author v character clashes sometimes occur and I think they are a good thing because it shows you have created a strong character. When these clashes occur the character always wins. This will mean more work for me as I redraft the storyboard, but I don’t mind because ultimately it will mean a stronger story.

From this weekend, I will step up my book promoting. To be honest, I don’t enjoy this aspect of the business, but it’s all part of publishing. I’m an author, a storyteller, and that’s what I love doing. However, if you want readers to discover your books you have to promote them. It’s amazing to think that Sam’s Song has been in the top fifty of Amazon’s private detective chart for four years. The book has reached #1 on six occasions, which is beyond my wildest dreams. As time moves on, chart positions become less important to an author. The real satisfaction comes when someone says they have enjoyed your book, or they are looking forward to reading the next one.

It’s been an indifferent summer so far, but today I’m planning a barbecue. I’m a vegetarian, so veggie burgers for me. My family are meat eaters, and I have no problem with that. Sam is also a vegetarian. Sam shares many of my traits, but she is not me. Maybe the best way to phrase that is to say Sam isn’t me, but maybe I’m Sam 😉

I always find that music is the perfect accompaniment to any barbecue, and here’s the track that’s playing on my jukebox at the moment.

As ever, many thanks for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Dear Reader #1

Dear Reader,

This week I’ve been editing Victory, the final story in my Ann’s War Mystery Series. I used to find editing the hardest part of writing, but after publishing twenty books I think I’m getting the hang of it 😉

I’ve also been outlining ideas for two Sam Smith novels, Snow in August and Stormy Weather. Climate Change will be the theme of Stormy Weather. These will be books sixteen and seventeen in the series, with more planned. 

Storyboarding is one of my favourite parts of writing and currently I’m storyboarding The Fifth Man, a spin-off from my Ann’s War series, a novel set in 1948. The National Health Service will be central to this novel because 1948 saw its birth. With talks of privatising the National Health Service gathering momentum it seems appropriate to write about this subject. Pictured, Aneurin Bevan, the ‘father’ of the National Health Service.

Reading the political columns of The Guardian and Independent newspapers brought to mind the concept of civil war, when friends, family and neighbours become enemies over political, ideological or religious beliefs. This is fertile ground for a novelist, so I played with some ideas.

I don’t know enough about the American Civil War to write about that subject and the English Civil War of 1642–1651 does not appeal to me because neither Cromwell and his Puritans nor Charles and his Royalists are heroic figures. So my thoughts turned to the Spanish Civil War. This period of history resonates with today and already characters are filling my notebooks. I might develop this idea into a novel, or a mini series, depending on where my characters take me.

Away from writing, I love listening to music. In particular, I’m a big fan of Apple Music. I have thousands of songs on my personal jukebox and I play them on random. This song popped up first this morning.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Research, Cover Reveals and Translations

Having stepped off the Amazon eBook promotional treadmill, I wondered if I’d want to climb back on. After a period of reflection, the answer is ‘no’. Been there, done that. Why go round in circles when there are so many paths to follow? Besides, I’ve achieved all I want to achieve with eBook sales. Time to move on.

Currently, I’m researching my latest Ann’s War story, Escape. This story is based on a true event, the mass escape of 76 German prisoners of war from Island Farm POW Camp 198. This plan shows the facilities at the camp, which included a concert hall, a coffee shop and a football pitch. You will also notice two escape tunnels indicated on the plan. More of them later.

Island Fam Map

This week, I published Boston, Sam Smith Mystery Series book fourteen. Meanwhile, here is the draft cover for The Devil and Ms Devlin, book fifteen in the series. The Devil and Ms Devlin with be published in the spring of 2019, and will be available for pre-order soon.

The Devil and Ms Devlin eBook Cover

To celebrate the fact that I published four books this week in four different languages – Bulgarian, Dutch, English and French – I have a new section on my website, Translations. You will also find books in Italian and Japanese in this section with many more to follow.

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Diary of an Authorpreneur #1

My books are in good company on Google Play 🙂

Delighted that Cristina has agreed to translate Invasion, book two in the Ann’s War Mystery Series, into Italian. Cristina did a very professional job with Betrayal, book one in the series, and that book is now on its way to retail.

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An amazing week for Betrayal. The book reached #1 on the Amazon mystery, history and literature charts.

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More translation news. I’m delighted to announce that Minea has agreed to translate Saving Grace into Finnish. For the eighth consecutive week, Saving Grace is an Amazon Hot 💯 New Release. Meanwhile, this is Sker House, the Grange in Saving Grace, photographed this week.

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My latest mini mystery for the Seaside News

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Snow and Sales

This week saw a record-breaking mid-week sales day for my books. The Big Chill topped my personal chart, maybe because of the snow that fell recently.  Incidently, in this picture the book under The Big Chill was written by Howard Marks who hails from the village next door to me. I’m also pleased to report that Mariel is making good progress with the translation of Sam’s Song into Spanish. More news of that in future posts.

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Invasion, Ann’s War Mystery Series book two, is now available as an audio book from iBooks, Audible and Amazon. In partnership with my narrator, Suzan Lynn Lorraine, this is my tenth audio book. More will follow, including Smoke and Mirrors, Sam Smith Mystery Series book nine; Blackmail, Ann’s War book three; and Saving Grace. The paperback copies of Invasion arrived from the printer this week and are now available from my Store.

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Pictured, Helena Normanton. In the 1920s, Helena Normanton was one of the first women to practice law as a barrister in Britain. I’m working on an idea to create a mini-series about a female barrister set in the 1920s. I had in mind two support characters and while writing this a third character, her brother, has suggested himself.

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The editing of Saving Grace is going well. For me, the editing process is about polishing the words. I storyboard everything before I write the story, therefore when I edit I never alter the plotline.

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In the coming months I will be publishing an eMagazine, called Mystery. If you would like to follow progress and receive a free copy of the magazine please like my Facebook Page

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In case you missed it, here is my second mini mystery for the Seaside News.

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 More news next time. As ever, thanks for your interest and support.