Welcome to my blog. I am not a very regular blogger, but I try to keep this site updated with news and information. If there's none of the above I may just share my random ruminations.

Saturday, November 28, 2020


 The title of the post is the concluding sentence of my wonderful, new 5 star review on Amazon. My grateful thanks to 'fiction reader' whoever you are.

"This is an unusual book that crosses genres but is all the more satisfying because of it. The two main characters are quirky and don’t immediately strike the reader as likely romantic partners.
Jane is a rather nervous events organiser and when she has to organise a conference at a university she crosses paths with the rather offhand and frosty academic Theo. Theo is an archaeology nut intent on investigating a site that is due for development, and uncovering any finds from the site.
Meanwhile Jane can remember her family treasure from her farm back home, and the fact some of it went to a museum. There is a puzzle about it though (I can’t say more – spoilers!).
Both of these characters have buried pasts (Theo’s gold-digging ex is particularly vile) and this is why they take some time to trust each other. This is a well-written book written in short chunks from different points of view. This keeps the story moving and enables us to see both perspectives as the story unfolds. The parents of both protagonists are extremely realistically depicted and the author writes particularly authentic dialogue.
This is a little buried treasure of a book and well-worth reading."

Saturday, October 31, 2020



BURIED TREASURE may have nothing to do with Halloween, but I've chosen to offer it for the BARGAIN price of 99p from today until my birthday, on November 8th.

Just in case In case you don't know, Buried Treasure is a love story across what seems like an unbridgeable chasm of class, education and background.

From an ordinary family, Jane Smith grew up in the shadow of her brainy sister. She left school early and has self-esteem issues. Initially empowered by an affair with her boss, she is ultimately humiliated by his coercive controlling behaviour.

Theo Tyler has spent his life in academia. Now a lecturer and desk archaeologist, he distances himself from his background, a complicated mix of high and low class. An early love affair, while still a student, becomes abusive. Unable to respond in kind, he feels helpless and un-manned in the face of his partner's abuse.

Apart from the damage they have both survived, the only other common connection between Theo and Jane is archaeology. Her interest is personal, a family connection to a historic find. His is intellectual. His professional expertise is being ignored and he needs proof to back up his theories.

Their separate stories intertwine, reaching a surprising conclusion. They both discover that treasure is not always what it seems.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Gilli Allan is coming....

Using my tried and tested method of ... ignore the instructions, because you won't understand them, but use good old trial and error ... I have just taught myself how to make a trailer.  This is the thirteenth version!

I am inordinately proud of myself, but for the moment cannot work out how to put it in a tweet.  I think it's too long, but I am sharing it here if I may.  


 If it's muted do make sure you turn on the volume - the music track is supplied by Driftway, one of the folk rock bands which my son, Tom Williams, is a member of. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


The subject of this blog post, Tom Williams, is the author of the Burke series of historical adventure novels, set during the Napoleonic wars. 

(For an explanation of why I often refer to him as 'the other' Tom Williams, do look at the previous post.)  

Over to you Tom....  

  Gilli has very kindly offered to carry an interview on her blog so that I can shamelessly plug Burke in the Peninsula, to be published at the end of the month, but she has decided to get in a guest interviewer. I hope he's up to the job.

TW: Gilli has asked me if I can interview you because she can't think of any good questions to ask.  How do you feel about that?

Tom: I can understand how she feels. The world seems to have gone mad right now. Putting interview questions together is just more than you can expect anyone to cope with.

TW: Would it be fair to say that you are hiding away from 2020 by writing books set in the early 19th century?

Tom: That's probably pretty fair, though the Napoleonic Wars were even worse to live through than coronavirus. There were enormous numbers of young men killed in the fighting, which left farms short of labour. There were food shortages and lots of social disruption. There was quite a lot of support for the French in Britain and the government was seriously worried about revolution here as well. And, of course, taxes were going up. There may well have been plague to add to the awfulness – there certainly were huge numbers of troops who died of what was probably typhoid fever on an expedition to the Netherlands and it seems likely they would have brought it back with them, but with so many people dying anyway, it's unlikely anyone would have noticed. 

On balance, 2020 may not be so bad.

TW: So far.

Tom: Well, yes. I suppose the way Brexit is going, war with France can't be completely ruled out.

TW: If writing interview questions is proving so difficult, how did you manage to write a whole book? 

Tom: I wrote the book a while ago but there were issues with my rights to the series so it's taken a while to get it published.

TW: That sounds boring and depressing.

Tom: It was. Can we talk about something else?

TW: OK. Did anything good come out of the delay?

Tom: Actually, yes. I've decided to self-publish. It gives me a lot more control. I've taken the opportunity to republish all the existing Burke books with beautiful new covers.

TW: They are, indeed, gorgeous. Do you have any here for us to look at?

Tom: Strangely enough, I do.


TW: As a completely impartial interviewer, I can only say that I’m blown away by these covers. Are the books available in paperback as well as on Kindle, so people can admire these beautiful covers on their shelves?

Tom: They are indeed – and at a mere £6.99. There are details of all my books on my website at http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk/my-books/

TW: And what about the new book, Burke in the Peninsula?

Tom: That will have a beautiful cover too.

TW: I'm sure it will, but what will it be about?

Tom: Burke is sent out to Spain to liaise with the guerrillas fighting the French – but it turns out that not all the guerrillas were the good guys. Working out who to trust and who not to takes him a while. After that it’s back to irregular warfare against the French, while the estimable William Brown ends up in the front line at the battle of Talavera. According to the history books, Talavera was a famous victory. William Brown would probably beg to differ on that .

So Burke in the Peninsula is the mix of spy story and military history that readers will probably have come to expect by now. And, yes, there's a beautiful woman. (Regular readers may remember her from an earlier story. I liked her so much, I just had to bring her back.)

TW: And when will Burke in the Peninsula be out?

Tom: I'm aiming for the end of September, but I'm trying to whip up some interest first. If you all write to me, promising faithfully that you're going to buy it, I'll probably try to sneak it out a few days earlier.

TW: What an excellent idea. I’m sure that hundreds of people will be in touch. But how do they get hold of you?

Tom: You can contact me through my website: http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk/.. Or there’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams. And I’m on Twitter as @TomCW99.

TW: So you mean I didn’t need to have interviewed you at all. I could just have looked you up on social media.

Tom: Pretty much, yes. But this has been fun . And can I say that you're a really good interviewer?

TW: Well thank you. And you've been a brilliant interviewee.

Gilli intervenes to bring the mutual congratulations to an end.

TW: And, Gilli, can I just say how much I enjoyed reading your Buried Treasure?

Gilli immediately books me to interview her next week.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Known to me as the other Tom Williams, the author of the Burke series of historical novels reviews Buried Treasure

Before you read this embarrassingly glowing review, I need to clear up any misapprehension. Its author is not a relation! 

(Although confusion can arise - even for me - when I spot tweets from him, or find his emails in my inbox.) My own son - known to friends, relations AND his parents - as Tom, is also a writer!  Called Thomas Williams for publishing purposes, my son is the author of Viking Britain, Viking London and the yet to be published Lost Realms (the working title of a history of the lesser known Anglo Saxon Kingdoms.) 

Review reposted from Tom Williams' blog Writing About Writing

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"I’m not a huge fan of Romantic Fiction, so the blurb for this book was not enticing:

Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.
Within the ancient precincts of the university the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again.

It looks like the beginning of every trite and predictable chicklit romance. “My god, Jane, with your glasses you look quite intelligent.” “And you, Theo, once you’ve had a style makeover, could be the man of my dreams.” But I have “met” Gilli Allan online and I know how much she puts into her books which she prefers to think of as “contemporary women’s fiction” rather than Romance. So I snuck a copy onto my Kindle and decided to find out just how bad it could be.

And the answer is: not bad at all. In fact, it’s rather good. Her characters are properly realised with back-stories that are entirely credible and rather sad, but both Theo and Jane are trying to move on with their lives and overcome their emotional issues. They are active and engaging agents in their own lives, rather than the creations of a writer who knows that the path of true love can never run smooth until the lovers have overcome one or two largely imaginary obstacles to their happiness. In fact, neither Jane nor Theo is “looking for love”. Indeed, both are actively fending off unwanted suitors while concentrating on making successes of other aspects of their lives.

Jane is starting her own business as a conference organiser and Theo is trying to climb the academic ladder as an archaeologist. Gilli Allan knows a lot about both conference organising and archaeology and the details of the lives of the two protagonists are interesting and convincing.

As their work means that they begin to run into each other more and more often (she is organising a conference at the Cambridge college he is working at) so an unlikely friendship forms. Will it blossom into love, or will one of the various other potential romantic partners derail the affair before it has even started?

Gilli is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, so a happy ending is more-or-less guaranteed. (One of the reasons I generally dislike Romantic Fiction is because most readers and writers consider that a happy ending is required.) Even so, I was not sure things were going to work out. The characters are complex, the back-stories elaborate. The story is told in the present tense, an affectation that usually annoys me but which works here because it delineates the main story from the quantities of back-story (past tense) that could otherwise get very confusing. There’s also quite a lot of plot. Actually, there are so many sub-plots I began to lose count, though I was never confused. All the characters, even the most minor, are clearly drawn so that even I couldn’t muddle them up. And Gilli keeps the plots so interesting. One rather important one centres on some sharp practice in a town planning department and the provision that should or shouldn’t be made for an archaeological survey before a supermarket is built. I’ve sat in on the odd local government planning controversy and it takes real skill to make them remotely interesting, but Gilli Allan does.

I’ve found this a difficult book to review because there is so much good stuff in it, but it seems to be scattered all over the place. It is a measure of the author’s skill that she manages to pull so many disparate strands together into a highly readable and wholly enjoyable book.

I do strongly recommend this, even if you hate Romantic Fiction."

Thank you Tom.  I am indebted to you for this review.  




Sunday, September 13, 2020


 the Media Senses that there is a Human Interest Story behind the Headlines about the new Archaeological Discovery.

Jane Smith is the first of the two principals to be grilled by a woman interviewer. 

“Do you mind this?” The interviewer lays down her recording device, and only switches it on when Jane shakes her head.  “Now … I see from my notes that you were born in Essex?”

“Yes.  But the family moved into Suffolk when my father got his promotion to bank manager.”

“Branch manager.…”  Jane does not fill the interviewer’s pause.  “After Oxford, your sister followed in his footsteps. But you left school at fifteen?”  

“I’m not brainy. Rachel inherited Dad’s love of maths, figures and statistics, but she went into the City not High Street banking.”

“Still, you did well in what amounted to your first job at Lew Chapman Roofing Solutions.”  

“I began there as a trainee” 

“But by the time you left you were the boss’s PA and Events Manager. Why did you leave?”   

Jane looks down into her lap and twists her hands together. She hopes there’s no outward sign of the shudder that zips icily down her spine. “I had gone as far as I could within the business.”  

“So you set up from scratch as An Events and Conference Planner. That was a bold move?” 

“I … I had some money. I didn’t want to be at the … at the beck and call of anyone else ever again. Fresh start. Sink or swim.” 

“You wanted to be your own boss?  The conference you organized at Lancaster College was a big deal for someone just starting out on a new venture.”

“It wasn’t the first job I’d undertaken. There were a few smaller events earlier in the year.  And I did have experience of doing the same sort of thing with…..   But yes, I’d never before planned anything on that scale, involving a stay-over of several days, accommodation, multiple meals.  But there's a dedicated hospitality department at the college who I worked with, and they were very professional.” 

“Until they tried to change your arrangements?”

“Partly my own fault.  I’d not paid close enough attention to the small print, and didn’t realise there was a degree of leeway in the contract…..   They changed the room we’d agreed to use for registration”

“That couldn’t have gone down well. I’ve heard it said, you’re a perfectionist.” 

“I’m not very … um … flexible. Some might say driven. I have to get thing right!” 

“Hence the melt-down?” 

Jane looks up wide-eyed. “Who told you … Theo?”

“No. Not Dr Tyler.  Although, after you met by chance in the pub near the college, wasn’t it Dr Tyler who tried to resolve your problem? I understand a …  “free-range” sandwich? … was involved.” 

“Oh that!”  Jane smiles broadly for the first time in the interview.  “Both problems were resolved. The sandwich immediately, in fact he ate it.  And later on the glitch over my use of the Geffrye Room which ultimately was as a result of Theo’s … Dr Tyler’s intervention.”

“And despite the differences between the two of you, you became friends?”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Just that your backgrounds are very dissimilar.”  

“We found we had interests in common. He’s a medievalist and an archaeologist and I’ve always been interested in the subject...”

Dr Tyler was not your only friend with “Archaeology” in his CV.  You went out with a Dr Adam Wiseman….?”

“Oh, him.” Jane says dismissively.  “I met him at a book fair I organized. He’s a writer. We did go out a couple of times but I suspect he was always more interested in the hoard unearthed by my mother’s uncle, during the war, than he was in me.”

 “That’s the Maidenhill hoard, isn’t it?” Jane nods.  "I’ve heard about it. Hasn’t there been a recent discovery relating to the original find?”.

 Jane blushes, recalling the circumstances of that discovery.  “Yes.  I think there has.”

The interviewer looks at her intently for a moment and then turns her attention to the notes on her tablet.  

So … what you’re saying is that you and Dr Tyler became friends through shared interests.  Wasn’t there more to it than that?  After all, your first meeting was not a success?” 

“Where are you getting all this?  All right, if you must know I initially thought he was pompous, pedantic, high-handed and patronizing. And old!” 

“Oh, come on!” The interviewer seems suddenly almost defensive.   "He is not old!”  

“I know.  I didn’t get a good look at him the very first time we crossed paths.  I only saw his white hair.  Anyway, I’m sure you would agree, first impressions are not a reliable guide to future relationships.”

“Relationships?” Again, the interviewer gives her that intent, questioning look. 

“People are complicated,” Jane goes on, uncomfortably. “You should never jump too soon to hard and fast conclusions.  You’re allowed to change your mind.”

“Indeed,” she nods.  “Your change of mind inspired you to help him track down the vital evidence he needed to halt the proposed development at Beacon’s Hill.”

“Luckily it was easy. If the individuals concerned had moved house or died, it could have proved a lot more difficult, if not impossible.”  

“And he in his turn helped you?”

“In many many more ways than one……………..!” 

Theo Tyler is the next to be interviewed. 

“Doctor Theo Tyler?  How do you do.” The interviewer sits down and puts her recording device on the table between them.  “I see from your web page you describe yourself as a historian and a desk archaeologist. What do you mean by that?”

 “You can be historian without being an archaeologist, but you can’t be an archaeologist without being a historian.  My life isn’t spent excavating.  My archaeology is mainly theoretical. By interpreting landscape, place names and documentary evidence where it exists, a lot can be inferred about past events and where settlements might have been established.” 

“So, what in your background drew you to this area of study?"

He smiles slightly “Most boys are interested in the Vikings, aren’t they? A boyhood fascination developed into a more general attraction to the period from the fourth to the twelfth century. 

“The Dark ages?” 

“A rather reductive term. It doesn’t mean the peoples of these islands were mindless primitives. Those centuries are only so-called because the documentary and material evidence from the period between the Romans’ departure and the arrival of the Normans is far more limited than before or after. I prefer Early Medieval as a descriptor.” 

“You’re upbringing was unusual.  The debutante and the punk rocker…?” She smiles and arches her eyebrows at him. 

“I have no wish to talk about my family. “

“But life was hard after your father died,” she pursues. “Your mother didn’t cope well….? 

“It certainly wasn’t easy. My mother is … was…..” Theo clears his throat. “Needless to say, we survived the trauma and the press intrusion.  It took her awhile to come to terms with his death, but as I said, it’s not a time of my life I want to revisit.”

The interviewer clears her throat, “Fair enough. Um … you went to a red brick university for your under-graduate years? You could have attended Oxford or Cambridge, but you chose not to?” 

“My rebellious phase.” 

“And that was when you began a relationship with Aniela Sobieralska? I’ve heard it said it was fiery?”

“Not at the start. It grew into a tempestuous association. But she’s moved on. I hope she’s happy now.” Theo lifts his hand and circles his finger-tips at his hairline, above his temple. ‘”I hope her husband has given her what I couldn’t, or wouldn’t.” 

“To get back to your rebellious phase. You’re teaching here now. Do you repudiate your youthful idealism ….?””

“Not at all. I’m just older…”

“And wiser?”

“I’m more pragmatic. I have less energy to expend on trying to overthrow the class system.”  

“And yet you’re…?”

“Just a temporary university lecturer at Lancaster College, filling in for a permanent member of staff who is engaged in a research project.” 

“You’re hopeful of tenure here?”

“One day.  Here … or somewhere else.”

“How did you react to Jane Smith, when you first met her in the Spring of 2016?” 

Jane?”  Theo pauses, his mouth quirks up at the corner. “It was a very brief encounter. There was no time to respond.”

“Your first impression then?” 

Theo covers his mouth as if to disguise his expression, but then nods.  “I was a bit put out, to be completely honest. It was a surprise.  She and her associate were established in the room I usually use in the college.  The colours she was wearing were very … gaudy.  And she was…...” He shakes his head as if he’s decided against pursuing the subject.  


“It doesn’t matter.  Whatever I thought of her was unexpressed and I had no expectation of ever meeting her again.”

“So how did that come about?”

“A few months later we met in the pub over the road from Lancaster. It was a pure fluke that we were both there at the same time.  But if it hadn’t been for her free-range sandwich……….” 

“Can you explain that?”

“She misspoke.” He shakes his head and now there is a definite smile hovering around his mouth. “Jane was there filling in time before an appointment. We got talking, slightly unwillingly on her part. But I’d remembered she had been engaged by the NITP to organize a September conference at Lancaster College. As I was thinking about holding a conference myself, I thought her expertise might be useful to me. I decided to put aside any preconceptions and raise the subject.”

“And did she help?”  

“She gave me an overview of what I needed to take into consideration. But to be honest the subject rather went onto the back burner after she told me what her appointment was about.”

“Which was?” 

“She was obviously upset. She’d come in to talk to Lancaster’s conference manager about an imposed change to her arrangements with the college. Strangely her problem intersected with one of mine.  It raised my suspicions of an improper relationship between the hierarchy of the college, a developer, and the planning department of Beacon’s Hill council … for whom I’m the archaeological consultant.”

“That sounds complicated.”  

Theo nods.  “You could say that. Had it not been for that coincidence and the subsequent discovery that she had a strange story to tell about her own family connection to a wartime find of a Viking hoard … well, none of it would have happened….” 

Saturday, July 18, 2020


On the release of BURIED TREASURE into paperback with its brand new cover, I thought I would gather together some of my old Book Blogger - pre-face-lift - reviews. 

All right - so maybe the image I've chosen is a bit of an exaggeration...........

Donna Maguire of DONNA'S BOOK BLOG said:

I really enjoyed this story, it was well written and I loved the characters!

The two main characters are very different as the book’s blurb does say, but they compliment each other brilliantly and I loved finding out more about them both as the book progressed.

The story is a mix of genres with an underlying romantic theme and I thought that the plot worked really well as it is not always that easy to mix the genres and make an additive story as the author has done here!

It is 4 stars from me for this one, I thought it was a really enjoyable story – highly recommended!


I love to read something a little different, this story is a mix of genre, there is a gentle romance. which is slow-burning, ridden with internal obstacles to its success. There is a mystery, with historical roots, that draws the couple together, when it seems, in the beginning, they have nothing in common, except that they irritate each other. There is also a strong emotional thread in this story, as the first part of the book reveals, why Theo and Jane are unwilling to trust again, this poignancy makes the characters easier to empathise.
The believable setting is contemporary and well researched, and has intrinsic interest. Your primary focus is always on Jane and Theo in this character-driven story. The subsidiary characters both past and present are complex and realistic. The flaws and emotional baggage carried by the two protagonists make them authentic.
An easy to read, engaging romance with an intriguing mystery set against a politicised contemporary background.


Although this story is a romance it has an eclectic mix of other genres threaded through it. The prologue gives an intriguing indication to one aspect of the treasure. There’s also other threads relating to treasure which have an added mystery as both main characters have different treasures they seek to discover.

The potential couple are university lecturer, Theo, and event/conference planner, Jane. Their backgrounds and attitudes initially appear polar regions apart, but as the story progresses and their relationship develops their similarities are revealed. The story is largely told from the points of view and events involving these two characters with background information regarding them shared through their memories. Both are influenced by relationships in their past and I really liked how they develop through the story and how their attitudes to life, love and events are influenced by getting to know each other.

There is also a wide range of secondary characters, many of whom are well developed. Influential relationships, especially those with parents and siblings, marital, work colleagues and, probably most importantly of all, with oneself are all explored throughout the story. The archaeological explorations are fascinatingly described, too.

It is a very different story and the first that I’ve read by this author, but I’ll definitely look out for more by her in future. I was particularly impressed by how she uses dialogue to move the story on and to make revelations. Read it to discover that title really is appropriate – buried treasure is not always what it seems!

I requested and was gifted a copy of this book and this is my honest opinion after choosing to read it.
Although this story is a romance it has an eclectic mix of other genres threaded through it. The prologue gives an intriguing indication to one aspect of the treasure. Influential relationships, especially those with parents and siblings, marital, work colleagues and, probably most importantly of all, with oneself are all explored throughout the story. The archaeological explorations are fascinatingly described, too.

It is a very different story and the first that I’ve read by this author, but I’ll definitely look out for more by her in future. I was particularly impressed by how she uses dialogue to move the story on and to make revelations. Read it to discover that title really is appropriate – buried treasure is not always what it seems!

BOOKS ARE COOL (@llamamum) said:

This book centres around two main characters, Jane and Theo. Just as it real life, it takes a little while to get to know them and to understand what makes them tick. And when we do we can really enjoy this story about them, although it’s not all plain sailing for them.

It’s not a straightforward romance for a variety of reasons, and there’s so much more going on too. We get a good look into the worlds of academia and conference organising, both of which are very interesting, if competitive. We see how the need for continuous ‘improvements’ and ‘steps forward’ can be at loggerheads with respecting and conserving history. This historical facet concerns the buried treasure that is referred to in the book’s title.

There is an edginess to the novel. There are some dark skeletons lurking in cupboards that need to first be let loose and dealt with. They have a lot of issues to deal with to move on and at least try to find some happiness in their lives.


This is my first read by Gilli Allan and it most certainly won’t be my last. I love the mix of romance, politics and historical mystery happening in Buried Treasure.

Gilli Allan has created really impactful characters. Jane and Theo have their pasts, which are rather dark, making them damaged in the earlier parts of the story. I loved watching their stories unfold and their characters growing and coming to terms with their pasts. It was really well written.

I loved the mystery. Gilli Allan plants seeds throughout the story and satisfied my curiosity with the resolution. I had trouble putting this one down because there was such fantastic writing and it created a sense of intrigue. I was very impressed.

Wonderful writing, intriguing plot, and an unexpected love story (and well-rounded characters) Gilli Allan has created a great gem of a novel that I recommend checking out!

FNM (@fnmbookreview) said:

This is definitely a different sort of romance story, it contains quite a few different elements which all seem to run seamlessly through each other to make for one very entertaining and intriguing read.
The prologue was enough to get me hooked on the story for this one, what I did have a bit of trouble with was completely liking both of the main characters, Jane and Theo, straight away. I warmed up to Theo first and by the end of the book was completely team Jane as well. The way the author was able to go into details about archeology, as well as some of the event planning, was a great addition to the book, she had obviously done her research and I think that really showed as the story progressed. The background of both Jane and Theo was an integral part of the story and it really helped set up everything else that was going on. An awesome four and a half star read!


I didn’t immediately warm to Jane, finding her, as Theo himself does, a little prickly, but then, as the snippets of her past relationship with Lew began creeping into the narrative, your picture of her shifts, and you really do feel for her. She’s had a challenging past, with a perfect sister to compete with, and a horrific ex who has managed to stay firmly lodged in her brain. Likewise Theo, socially-awkward, but ultimately endearing, and trying to do the right thing in his job as an archaeological consultant.

I particularly enjoyed with Buried Treasure, the slow-burn approach, to both getting to know the central characters, and them getting to know each other. This gave plenty of scope for the central threads of mystery and the political drama of town planning to be given time to develop, rather than feeling like backstories, added to give flavour without much further thought.

As the threads of the book came together, I found myself racing through the pages, desperate to see how everything worked out for Jane and Theo, hoping they could each resolve their personal and professional dilemmas. I would definitely recommend this for any fans of a romance with an element of mystery to it, as well as anyone who has had the misfortune to become entangled in planning, either town or events!


Buried Treasure is the story of Jane, a woman haunted by a decade long, abusive affair she had two years prior to the novel with her boss, as she tries to piece her life back together. Her family are responsible for a large amount of Viking treasure in the British Museum, and there’s rumors and belief there is more hidden in her Aunt’s house. This is also the story of Theo, a man so rigidly in control of his life, he’s never fully lived to his potential, and how he and Jane help one another through their lifelong problems.

Written in 3rd person, present tense, with either Jane or Theo as the main character of a chapter, this novel is styled in a very interesting way, in that there’s very little internalization. Until the last few chapters, or when Jane is thinking about her ex-boss, everything we’d need to know is told through dialogue and omission, nothing more. I find this fascinating, as scenes are set, characters move around, and yet even without exposition or internalization, I knew what was going on. I can’t say I know one character more than another or could reel off who Jane or Theo is in the same way I could with deep 3rd or 1st, but this storytelling technique allowed rich, vivid imagery and a pace which flowed effortlessly as it was never held back by thought. It reminded me a lot of visual media, like a TV show or movie, where we wouldn’t be given thoughts so easily, which was intriguing.
Something I thoroughly enjoyed about this novel is the research, and the history which has carefully been put in. A lot of time has gone into making this as realistic and exact as possible, and it showed in an effortless way. I also enjoyed the varied interactions and relationships, all which show just as much care and consideration. This novel obviously took its time to be made, and I applaud the author for that.

Now, this isn’t a fast, gory, or crime filled novel. Neither is it psychological in any dramatic sense, but if you’re looking for a book which allows the characters to develop and tell their story in a demure way, this is something to check out. 3rdperson present is a rare sight to behold, and Allan has conquered it so well.

If I had to be completely honest, the ending didn’t do it for me. Compared to the rest of the novel, it felt fast, which does absolutely match the scenes happening and emotional charge created, but for me, it should have been quieter, slower, and gently finished. That’s just personal preference, but you know I’m a stickler for an ending… and am rarely totally happy. Other than that, though, this was a beautiful novel. It reminded me a lot of Cultivating a Fuji, or The Pelican, not in plot, but in atmosphere, which I greatly enjoyed.

All in all, if you’re looking for a gently written, demure novel which tackles shockingly powerful topics in a sensitive way, as if plucked from a rose tinted 50s film, this is something to absolutely check out. Equally, if you don’t need upfront character backgrounds and development which is mentally relayed, give this a peek. It’s one to have a look at.

Lynne Fellowes of JUST 4 MY BOOKS said:

The title of this book caught my attention, together with the mention of an archaeological puzzle.  I expected mystery and red herrings, but wasn’t ready for the slow-burning, burgeoning romance that ensued, particularly between the two main characters Jane and Theo.

The prologue instantly intrigued, but then, if I’m honest, I struggled to get into the crux of story.
For the first 20% (Kindle reader here 😉 ) neither Jane nor Theo “excited” me to the extent that I cared enough about them.  Early chapters contained a lot of flashbacks and backstory which made it hard to follow. I was constantly flicking back to get facts straight in my head.

Things became much more interesting after that, though, so my perseverance paid off. The couple, with such different backgrounds and life experiences, seemed incompatible – or, possibly they fulfilled the old adage that opposites attract. They clearly had different treasures to uncover, and all that earlier backstory made sense of their behaviour and expectations.

I loved the detail of the archaeological explorations – as I knew I would – and that aspect of the story shone for me with a believable, and obviously well-researched setting. Much as I chose to read this book for the mystery of finding treasure, it became a much more character-focused story with a solid, emotional element running through it.

A story that proved to be much more than it said on the cover.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

She was almost killed, now she writes novels...

Reposted from Magic of the Muses - Eileen Shuch: 

Interview with Gilli by Gilli Allan

Gilli Allan, author

You know you're in a pandemic when your author friends interview themselves for your blog.

With the Covid19 crisis taking an emotional toll on me and robbing me of a good percentage of my stamina and sanity, my good friend Gilli Allan prodded me to help her promote her novel, Buried Treasure, re-released with a brand new cover.

Feeling less than able myself to muster up an appropriate congratulatory blog, I let her go it alone. She's a great writer. I love her books. I love her attitude. Take a listen to what she wants to tell you, not about her book but about herself:

Gilli Allan: Thank you for the invitation to your blog.

When and where were you born?

Gilli: I’ll tell you the where but not the when.  Orpington, in Kent, in the United

Where do you live now?

In Gloucestershire in the West of England, in an area known as the Cotswold Hills. But not the posh and sedate part, beloved of Tory grandees, but in a village near the far more counter-culture and alternative town of Stroud.

Have you ever been in a life or death situation?

During the summer of my thirteenth year, I was crossing the road outside my house and was hit by a van.  It was a serious accident; I was thrown about fifteen feet and landed on my face, and apparently there was a lot of blood. Fortunately, I’ve never had any memory of it although still suffer from mild PTSD if I have any kind of a shock.

Luckily a police car happened to be cruising the area and alerted emergency services. I was carted off to hospital very swiftly and actually made a fairly swift recovery (although I still blame my creaky knees on being hit by that van, and the dis-function of my thought processes is obviously due to undetected brain damage!).


What is your favourite colour?

It’s got be yellow, the colour of sunshine, daffodils and baby chicks. When PVC was all the rage, I had a yellow oilskin (a proper sea-going garment).

You didn’t go to university.  Why not?

My performance at school was indifferent.
The only subject I was good at was art. (I have belatedly come to the conclusion that I’m dyslexic.  I can tick nearly all the pointers.) I left to go to art school at sixteen but dropped out after 2 years.

When did you first start writing?

I first decided to write a book when I was around ten, but the urge to create was soon blighted by the difficulty of dreaming-up a coherent story. I resurrected the hobby in my young teenage years and carried on writing – beginning but never finishing – a number of ‘books’. 
did it to please myself, never considering it a serious ambition.

What were you doing when the idea ‘to take writing seriously’ occurred to you? 

I was doing the ironing, while listening to the radio. I had a three-year-old son, and was unenthusiastic about the idea of trying to resume work as an illustrator in advertising.  What else could I do that would enable me to
stay at home?  What else was I good at? 
radio programme came on about Mills and Boon, and the light bulb went on.

But you say you are unable to write a category romance, what do you mean?

I fully intended to try to write this kind of book but found I couldn’t do it. Once I’d put pen to paper the plot instantly took a very non-M&B direction. I am not dissing the genre, but in giving myself permission, as it were, to try writing seriously, I was instantly gripped by the magic and potential.  I
knew I HAD to finish the book that was unfolding before my eyes, whether or not it proved a commercial prospect.

How have you been coping in the Covid 19 emergency?

I am well aware of our good fortune. I can only imagine the desperation of those with young children who are financially insecure, and are forced to live cooped-up in a high-rise block! 

I have always been pretty self-reliant and self-sufficient.  In the current bizarre situation, it probably helps that I don’t have grandchildren and not many close friends. All the people I am most deeply attached to live several hours drive away, so at the best of times, we don’t meet-up that often.  Living in London, my son and his wife are hyper-aware of hygiene, and are probably the most unlikely people to catch the virus.  I’d love to see them, of course, and also my best friend and my brother and sister and their partners, but life is what it is.  I don’t spend time fretting about what I can’t do.  I just
get on with what is possible.

Do you have strongly held spiritual beliefs?

I am fairly fatalistic about life. My accident is a case in point. Had the van been travelling faster, had I not been a fairly resilient, strong-boned individual, had the police car not been cruising the area, who knows? I have a code I live by which could broadly be described as Christian, but I am more political than religious. I don’t take my skepticism about the super-natural as far as Richard Dawkins.  His certainty about the materiality of life annoys me, as his position discounts many people’s mystical and paranormal
experiences. My own experience and that of members of my family, leads me to the sense (I wouldn’t put it as strongly as belief) that there is more to life
than meets the eye.  

Have you achieved what you wanted to
achieve in life?

The trouble with ambitions is that they are either unreached or if they are, you don’t notice and fix your sights on something further off in the distance.  

As a child I wanted to be rich and famous.  As art was the career I seemed to be heading for, a famous artist was the goal.

I then decided I wanted to go out with and ultimately marry a pop star.  Every girl at school would envy me. The fame would come vicariously.  Or I could be a famous fashion model.  I was forever pulling ‘the face’ in mirrors,
and wishing other people would see what I could see. Any flaws could be overcome by dieting, a growth spurt and good lighting.

When I decided to try my hand at writing seriously, the ambition was to be published. 
That happened so quickly that my ambition instantly changed to becoming 
a bestseller and going on chat shows.

I have reached a point in life where becoming famous would be a nuisance. I certainly don’t crave ‘things’; I am proud of re-using, up-cycling, and making-do and mending.  I have garments in my wardrobe that go back to my twenties! 

Now, I just want people to read mybooks.  

Oh, I’ve just had a thought. A major movie deal would be nice! 


Find Gilli’s other books TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL at

Contact Gilli at

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


At last...

BURIED TREASURE goes into paperback and I can now reveal its new cover.  It has seemed like years not a months since I began the process, but that impression has probably been exacerbated by the paralysing effect of Coronavirus.  

I am very much indebted to Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics.  I commend her skill and her patience.  

In some ways, the delay since it's publication a year ago has benefited its second entrance onto the stage, as I now have many wonderful reviews. Here is a quote from just one: 

BURIED TREASURE was.... “A compelling read. It was so many things: a love story, a hunt for clues to lost secrets, a fascinating look at how our past experiences shape us, and how we can heal even after damage.” Clare Chase.

Hyper-sensitive about her lack of education and damaged by a disastrous love-affair begun when she was a teenager, Jane Smith is constantly driven to prove herself and to shore up her fragile self-esteem. More importantly, she has to get everything “right”. In the early stages of carving out a career as an Events Organizer, Jane arrives at Lancaster College (part of an ancient university) to scope it out as a possible venue for a conference she is organizing. 
Theo Tyler is a ‘desk’ archaeologist working as a part-time teacher at Lancaster College. His background makes him a curiosity to some – had his mother not been a rebel, overthrowing family expectation and privilege - his own passage through life would have been gilded. The reality was chaotic, further marred by a destructive relationship.  He hates people’s fascination with his parents notoriety rather than in his present achievements.
There is no necessity for Jane and Theo ever to connect. He is part of the faculty, but she is there to meet and be shown around by the hospitality manager, so their first encounter is unplanned and unpromising, but….
Jane has a family connection to a significant historic archaeological discovery and Theo wants to organize a conference.
The story follows the gradual interweaving of their interests and the breaking-down of their preconceptions.  The unlikely friendship that grows up between them leads to a place neither expected, proving that treasure is not always what it seems.

Friday, July 3, 2020

What's so Hard About Designing a Cover?

It seems to me that I ought to say something about my upcoming Cover Reveal and the launch into paperback of my book, BURIED TREASURE.

Although I once worked in advertising I am happy to admit that I know little about identifying a market and working out the most effective way to sell my product to that market.  I wasn't even what used to be called 'a creative' or 'a visualizer'. These were the people who dreamed up advertising campaigns and translated ideas into images.  I was a workhorse.  I was told what to draw and I drew it. And remember, these were the days when ads were initially produced with pens, paper and paint.

When it comes to book cover design, I am very literal.  I can appreciate a clever quirky cover, but I am not able to to produce a visual interpretation of some inner metaphorical truth about a story while at the same time, making it a desirable and intriguing image to the buying public.  Nor do I have the requisite skills on a computer to actually achieve the designs I would ideally like to produce.

Although I had produced a cover for my Indie book BURIED TREASURE, it did no more than satisfy me, and was provably not setting anyone else's imagination alight.  So from early on I had decided I would redesign my cover and relaunch the book when it went into paperback.  The latter went on hold while I wrestled with the design.

I had a notion of a cut out title, in the manner of the book Love in La La Land.  But showing through the 'window' of the title would not be images of sunny California, but an Anglo-Saxon hoard.  I played around with this idea for a long time.  There obviously is a way to do it, but I did not have the necessary skills.  But while I was still trying to achieve my aim, I suddenly realised that I could create my title using pieces of Anglo-Saxon treasure (in combination with a photograph my son gave me)

And this is how I came up with a new cover that I was delighted with.  Others in the business, with more expertise about what appeals to the public than I have, were not so convinced.  A book about relationships and not one but two archaeological mysteries looked more like a thriller or even a horror story.

I eventually put my cover into the hands of a professional, Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics.

She confirmed that, other considerations apart, my design is not in the right format to translate successfully into a physical print version.  Back to square one!  But you'll have to wait until the 9th to see what  Cathy has come up with.  I am more than delighted with the result and thank her very much for her hard work and patience.

And waste not want not, I have had a lot of fun making teasers for the cover reveal.