Beyond the Story – Yesterday Today Always

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt. In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled but as their second-chance-relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal? Is fate still not done its dirty deeds?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

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I am delighted to have Author Melanie Robertson-King’s character from the novel, Yesterday Today Always, as my guest on Beyond the Story – Character Interview. Let’s get to know this protagonist and her story.
SJJ: Can you please tell us your full name and where you live?

KWM: Katherine Murphy-Whitorn, although I’m in the process of legally dropping the Whithorn bit. Aberdeen, Scotland is the place I call home.

SJJ: Wonderful! I’ve never been to Scotland, but I hope some day I will get the chance. And how do you make your living in Scotland?

KWM: I own a small independent bookstore on Exchequer Row in Aberdeen – As the Pages Turn – perhaps you’ve heard of it?

SJJ: No, I can’t say as I have. But what a lovely name for a bookstore. Have you ever wanted to do anything else?

KWM: Running this store is my dream job. I absolutely love it.

SJJ: Can you tell us, Katherine, something about you that not everyone knows?

KWM: When I was dragged off to Canada (kicking and screaming no less) by my parents, I didn’t fit in at school. I was the outsider, the ginger, the one who talked funny. My best – actually only – friend back then was a stuffed rabbit. (Melanie didn’t even know that, that’s how secret it was).

SJJ: Aw, that’s so sad. Kids can be cruel. But you sure know how to keep a secret, even from your author. Mind you, some of my characters do things I did not expect. So, I guess it’s not that extraordinary. Anyway, I hope things improved.

Switching gears here, what about regrets, do you have any?

KWM: Marrying Colin Whithorn, hence dropping Whithorn. Oops, (claps hand over mouth) I hope I didn’t create a spoiler here. Best leave it at that. If your readers want to know why I said that, they’ll have to buy Melanie’s book to find out.

SJJ: Ha, ha, ha, well played, Katherine. So, readers, if you want more information, you know what you have to do.

When you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

KWM: It has to be opening As the Pages Turn and making a go of it. The store is still in profit, despite the roller coaster the economy has been through.

SJJ: That is something to be proud of; running your own business is hard work. So, tell us then, what is your idea of the perfect day?

KWM: Being able to have a lie-in. Staying in my pyjamas all day if I want, not having to put on makeup. Just a lazy day at the flat. And if someone special is with me, it’s even more perfect.

SJJ: That does sound nice. And what do you do to relax?

KWM: This is going to sound crazy since I work with books all day, but I love to curl up on the sofa with a blanket, cup of tea and a novel. My favourite genre is crime, followed closely by women’s fiction, then romance.

SJJ: That’s not crazy at all. That’s a great way to relax after a busy day. And on the flip side, what do you do for fun?

KWM: It usually involves (faraway look appears in eyes) anything with my girlfriend, Stephanie. Shopping, girlie nights in or out at the clubs.

SJJ: Katherine, it sounds like you have a great time when you spend it with friends. What are your plans for the future?

KWM: Marrying my childhood sweetheart, Jared Martin. He was the reason my parents dragged me off to Canada. We’ve since reunited, and although it’s been a rocky road, he’s proposed.

SJJ: Congratulations! I hope you and Jared have a long and happy life together. Katherine, if a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

KWM: Well, except she’s dead, Maureen O’Hara. Her hair was about the same colour as mine, I loved her Irish accent (not Scottish, but still has a nice lilt), and in any of the films I’ve watched her in, she’s got a fiery personality to go along with her red hair.

SJJ: Who knows, with today’s technology, CGI and whatever else there is out there, that is a possibility.

Thank you, Katherine, you are lovely person, and I am happy to have met you today. I wish you the best of luck with your bookstore and of course your future with Jared.

Author Bio

A native of eastern Ontario, during her pre-school years, Melanie Robertson-King lived in a winterized cottage on the shore of the St Lawrence River. Before starting school, her family moved to Brockville where she received her education, including a post-secondary degree in Computer Programming.

Growing up as an only child, Melanie was an avid reader and remains so to this day. She knew then one day she would be a writer. When she wasn’t talking about her dream of becoming an author, she wrote stories and began honing her skills at an early age.

Melanie’s father was a Scottish national. He came to Canada as a ‘Home Child’ through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland. She promised herself that one day her feet would touch the soil in her father’s homeland. That first trip was in 1993, and she’s not looked back since, having returned to the auld country a further eleven times and is looking forward to trip number twelve. On one of her many trips to Scotland, Melanie had the honour of meeting Princess Anne (The Princess Royal) at the orphanage where her father was raised.

Encouraged to study Highland Dancing, she competed locally. Her final competition took place during the summer of 1969, a few short months after her father’s death, at the 1000 Islands Highland Games. In that last event, she won the Silver Medal in the Sword Dance.

Melanie began her professional writing career in non-fiction. She published eight of her articles. One graced the cover of an international publication. At the same time, she continued to develop her writing voice: short stories as well as novel-length work.

When she’s not sequestered in her cave writing, plotting or editing, you’ll find her out about. In addition to writing, she loves to travel, prowl through cemeteries (the older, the better), and photography.

Melanie’s Links



Connexions Blog

Facebook Author Page


Twitter @RobertsoKing

Beyond the Story – Sea Scope

Sarah Collins needs an escape. Mourning her brother’s death and the impending breakup of her marriage, she returns to her childhood home in South Carolina, where her family operated an inn.

Sarah hasn’t been back to Sea Scope for twenty years; not since she and her brother Glen discovered a body by the nearby lighthouse. She never understood why her parents left Sea Scope so suddenly, or the reasons behind her father’s suicide.

After Sarah returns to the inn, she faces long-buried memories, text messages and strange clues. Something is not right in Sea Scope. Reunited with people from her past, she tries to figure out what’s going on in her childhood home.

When past and present collide, Sarah must face truths about her family, and what happened that summer day by the lighthouse. But will she survive to tell the tale?

Welcome to another Beyond the Story character interview. Joining me is a character from Debbie De Louise’s novel, Sea Scope.

SJJ: Good morning, can you please tell the readers today your full name and where you live?

SC: My name is Sarah Collins. I live on Long Island but am originally from South Carolina.

SJJ: And what do you do for a living, Sarah?

SC: I’m a children’s book illustrator.

SJJ: Now, that sounds like a fun job. Is this your dream job or is there something else you’d like to do?

SC: I enjoy what I currently do and would like to continue doing it, but I also hope to be a mother. I consider that a job and one I would be honored to do.

SJJ: Can you tell us what is the biggest obstacle preventing you from achieving your goal?

SC: My husband Derek and I have had trouble conceiving, and he is against fertility treatments.

SJJ: I’m sorry to hear that, but I am sure it will happen for you some day. Now let’s switch gears here and please tell us something about you that not everyone knows.

SC: I discovered a body with my brother when we were children. It was near the lighthouse by the Inn where we lived as children in South Carolina. It was the body of a guest who’d we’d befriended and was thought to be suicide.

SJJ: Wow! That must have been quite a shock. Now you say you lived at an Inn, were there any defining moments in your life that made you who you are today?

SC: My years at Sea Scope with my brother and two friends had a great deal of influence on me. I remember them fondly, even though they were cut short by a tragedy.

SJJ: Sarah, it sounds like you faced some tragic moments as a child yet despite that also have some fond memories. But what about regrets. Do you have any?

SC: I regret that I wasn’t closer to my mother and that I blamed her for being weak and drowning herself in alcohol. I now know the reason she did it and am sorry for all that lost time with her.

SJJ: Sarah, I think you are not alone in your regret. Is there anyone you look up to, consider to be a mentor, either in the past or right now?

SC: My aunt Julie was always and still is a role model for me. She is strong, independent, and artistic.

SJJ: So, artistic talent certainly runs in your family. Sarah, when you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

SC: When I learned that I was finally pregnant.

SJJ: What??? Well, you had me fooled. I told you it would happen for you. Of course, I had no idea you already are expecting. Congratulations, I am happy for you. Okay, one final question and I will let you get back to your book. Are you happy with the way you told your story?

SC: Yes. I tell most of my story in first person except in the past where it’s told in third person. Some of the other characters also tell their stories in different chapters. You won’t get confused, though. The past and present come together in an interesting way. People have said they enjoyed that, and I like to read stories that are written that way, too.

SJJ: Thank you, Sarah. I am happy you could join me today on Beyond the Story.

Author’s Bio:
Debbie De Louise is a reference librarian at a public library. She is a member of the Cat Writers’ Association, The Long Island Author’s Group, Sisters-in-Crime, and International Thriller Writers and the author of seven novels including the four books of her Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. Her latest release, Sea Scope, is a psychological mystery.

She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and three cats.

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Positive Focus

I believe in the law of attraction and have seen it work both positively and negatively. And whether you believe in it or not, you have seen it work too.

Take for instance that time when you forgot to turn on your alarm clock. First, you wake up late. In your haste to drink your coffee, or whatever, you spill it down the front of your shirt. Now you have to change. As the morning progresses you get more frustrated causing other little irritations to occur. Finally, you’re in the car (or maybe you take public transportation). For some reason, you hit every red light possible, or get stuck behind a school bus or other slow-moving vehicle.  When you do make it to work, you’re ten minutes late, maybe more. You keep focusing on these events that made you late, replaying them in your head, telling them to your co-workers. Your day goes from bad to worse. And the more you keep focusing on all those frustrating, irritating, “bad luck” things, the more you’re going to get. You are setting yourself up to receive more because of the negative energy you are putting out into the universe. It’s like you are advertising, “Hey, look at all this crap I’ve dealt with today” and the universe responds with “Hey, you keep focusing on all that crap and sending out all that negative energy. You must like it, so here’s some more. Deal with it.”

Same thing happens when you’re having a great day and everything keeps going your way. Why? Because you are happy and that converts to positive energy and the universe responds with “Hey, you must like all that stuff, let’s give you more.”

Ever notice that the people who complain a lot, seem to have a lot to complain about? – Law of Attraction.

Right now, we need to collectively focus on positive and good news. The terrible things that are happening are filling us with negative thoughts which produces more negative energy.

“Energy is in everything. As we see and feel things, the Universe responds to the messages and energies we are sending out in this world.” – Lynne Demers

Let’s focus on the good, send out positive energy for the world and ourselves. Start small and tell me something good that happened to you today; look for that silver lining.

Beyond the Story – A Character Interview

Welcome to Beyond the Story, where readers can learn a little more about their favourite (or not so favourite) characters.

I introduced you to Author Brian L. Porter just a few weeks ago and this week he would like for you to meet one of his characters from the Mersey Mystery Series.

SJJ: Hi Andy, and welcome to Beyond the Story. Thank you for taking some time away from capturing criminals to answer a few questions for your fans. And who know, maybe you’ll get some new ones too. 😊
Now, let’s get started so you can get back to the Merseyside Police Headquarters.

Can you please tell us your full name and where you live?

Andy: My name is Andrew (Andy) Ross and I live in Prescot on the outskirts of Liverpool on Merseyside in the United Kingdom.

SJJ: How would you describe your personality?

Andy: I’m definitely something of terrier when it comes to my personality. Although I consider myself to be a loving, soft-hearted, loyal and faithful husband to my wife, Maria, a local GP to whom I’ve been married for over twenty years, when it comes to my work, I have a never say die attitude and that’s a trait that I try to instill on all the detectives who are part of my team, the Merseyside Police Special Murder Investigation Team. Once I embark on an investigation, I can become obsessed with solving the crime and apprehending the murderer(s). So far, it’s a trait that has stood me in good stead, as the team has so far never failed to bring the perpetrators of the cases we’ve been assigned to justice.

SJJ: What do you do for a living? What is your dream job?

Andy: I’m a Detective Inspector in the Merseyside Police and lead the Merseyside Police, Special Murder Investigation Team, based at Merseyside Police Headquarters in Liverpool. I run the day-to-day front-line investigations of the cases we’re assigned to, working under Detective Chief Inspector Oscar Agostini, who was once my partner when the two of us were beginning our careers as police detectives. The team was set up to handle the more unusual and sometimes complex crimes that occur within the Merseyside area, often with international connections. My dream job is exactly the one I’m now doing. When the former head of the unit, DCI Harry Porteous, retired, I was offered promotion and the opportunity to head up the unit, but turned it down as I didn’t want to spend most of my time behind a desk, and far prefer the cut and thrust of the hands-on task of the murder investigations my team is involved in.

SJJ: Tell us something about you that not everyone knows.

Andy: Not everyone knows that I have both Portuguese and Indian ancestry. Back in the 19th century, I had a great-great grandfather of Portuguese origin who married an Indian lady and established himself as a merchant ship owner, with a fleet of three ships, operating out of Macau, which carried cargo around the world. I’ve only learned of this part of my family history recently and I am involved (in my spare time), with investigating my family tree, in an attempt to trace any potential relatives still living in that part of the world, so far without much success.

SJJ: Are there any defining moments in your life that made you who you are today?

Andy: It came late in life, just after I’d been appointed as the DI to head up the Special Murder Investigation Team. It was when my new assistant and second-in-command, Detective Sergeant Clarissa (Izzie) Drake was appointed to the team. Almost from the start, we hit it off as partners, and before long we developed a special relationship and the ability to virtually read one another’s thoughts. That ability has helped us to solve more than one case and makes it so easy for us to work together. Working with Izzie has helped me to become a better investigator, and I certainly miss her at present, as she and her husband Peter recently had a baby girl and Izzie is now away on maternity leave. I definitely miss her input on the team, though I have a new Detective Sergeant in the form of DS Fenella Church who is a real go-getter type of police officer. I still look forward to Izzie’s return though and us being able to continue our unique mind reading investigative technique.

SJJ: Do you have any regrets?

Andy: My biggest regret is that I never got to know my maternal grandmother as well as I might have done. Sarah Jones died when I was quite young and was the one person who knew the most about my family’s Indian and Portuguese roots. I’d have loved to have been able to learn more from her about my family history, but I was only in my teens when she passed away and hadn’t thought about such things until I was more mature, by which time it was too late.

SJJ: Is there anyone you look up to, consider to be a mentor, either in the past or right now?

Andy: When I was a young police constable in uniform, I worked under a Sergeant Alfie Bailey. Alfie instilled in me the need to view every case as important, not to discriminate between victims and to treat people with respect at all times, not always easy, as he readily admitted. I’ve always tried to live up to his simple mantra, and hope it shows in my dealings with everyone, from my team to the victims of crime, and even, surprisingly, to the perpetrators we apprehend.

SJJ: When you think of all your accomplishments, what is your proudest moment?

Andy: Without a doubt that would be my wedding day, when the beautiful Maria Kendall walked down the aisle of the church and became my wife.

SJJ: What’s your idea of the perfect day?

Andy: Wrapping up a complex case, criminals in custody, followed by going home to Maria, and enjoying a romantic meal together before having an early night, and…I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

SJJ: What do you do for fun?

Andy: I’m a great fan of Everton Football Club and when time permits, I love going and watching my team in action. Sadly, that doesn’t happen too often nowadays.

SJJ: What do you do to relax?

Andy: I like to relax by listening to classical music or watching one of my favourite thriller/adventure DVDs in the company of my wife, Maria, accompanied by an excellent bottle of red wine and a Chinese Takeaway.

SJJ: What are your plans for the future?

Andy: I plan to go on doing what I’m doing at present, fighting crime and protecting the public from the worst elements of our society by bringing them to justice and ensuring they’re locked away where they can do no harm. Maybe, in a few years, I might contemplate early retirement so Maria and I can take time to enjoy our lives together, but for now, we’re both happy with what we’re doing, each of us serving the community in our own way.

SJJ: If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

Andy: I’d love Liam Neeson to play me, (OK, he’s a lot taller than me, but it’s just a movie, right? If he was unavailable then I’d go for Tom Hardy, another great actor, who I think even looks a bit like me.

SJJ: Are you happy with the way your story was told?

Andy: Definitely, as no one knows me better than the author, who has presented the stories of my most important cases perfectly.

Bio – Brian L. Porter

Writing under three different names, Brian L Porter is an Amazon best selling author, with numerous bestsellers to his name.

All Brian’s novels plus his short story collection, After Armageddon have been signed for movie adaptation in a franchise deal with ThunderBall Films, including his most recent release, the highly successful A Mersey Killing.

Brian has also become thoroughly integrated into the movie business since his first involvement with Thunderball Films LLC and is now also an Associate Producer and Co-Producer on a number of developing movies, as well as being a screenwriter for many of the movies soon to be released by Thunderball.

You can find information on the works of Harry Porter and Juan Pablo Jalisco on their individual book pages.

He is a dedicated dog lover and rescuer and he and his wife share their home with a number of rescued dogs.


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Book Review – Christmas Voices

Christmas Voices

Christmas Voices by John Callas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s tough growing up on a farm and even tougher growing up poor. But John Daily has faith, and he believes one day he will be rich and will be able to help those less fortunate. He even promises a better “life” to the figurines of the Christmas village his father builds every year. John works hard and attains his goals, but will he remember the promises he made or will he get lost along the way?

Christmas Voices is a fast paced and touching story. It is an easy and short read that pulls you in with a few unexpected events. If you enjoy heartwarming tales, this is a perfect story for the holidays.

While I enjoyed this novella, I think it would have had a stronger impact if it were longer as it would allow for more depth to the characters. It is also written in present tense, which while not bad, does take some getting used to.

I look forward to reading more of John Callas’ books.

View all my reviews

Author Interview – Ian Parson

My guest this week and last interview of the year is Author Ian Parson.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

The first book that had an impact on me was probably When the Lion Feeds – Wilbur Smith.

It opened up worlds I hadn’t known existed before. It made me realise that books can take you literally anywhere you want to go.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I first realised I wanted to write whilst still at school. I used to enter competitions and offer articles, just to see my name in print.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

My favourite author is George Orwell; without doubt his essays are important works.

My favourite novelists are Wilbur Smith and John le Carre. I find nobody describes Africa’s vast open spaces like Wilbur Smith. As a child I fell in love with Africa under his spell. Something that developed into a lifelong fascination. Alternatively John le Carre keeps the suspense in his writing so tightly wound it’s practically claustrophobic. Perfect when describing Berlin during the Cold War.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

My favourite thing about writing is creating something that didn’t exist previously. I consider good writing to be Art. I feel connected to a long line of artists, both those gone before and those yet to come.
My least favourite thing about writing is not being read.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of my ideas come from true life, particularly the history of London.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I also play the guitar and used to do gigs in pubs. Some years ago an artist I very much respect said I couldn’t be a writer and a musician, I should choose one or the other. I still play, but only at home.

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

Inside the Dream Palace by Sherill Tippng. It’s the story of New York’s Chelsea Hotel, surely one of the greatest gatherings of artistic geniuses ever.

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

They are generally a mixture of more than one person. I take traits from various people to create one character.

9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

As much as I’d love to say ‘yes’, its a ‘No’

10. How do you come up with titles for your books?

With great difficulty. The title changes constantly as the book progresses, until finally I make a list. It usually takes a few days to whittle down to one. However you always think of a better title when it’s too late.

11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I’ve recently completed a romantic comedy that I’m quite excited about. That one is in the production line waiting to be edited I believe. Currently I am working on a story about a computer hacker with skills everybody wants and a personality nobody likes. It’s going to be another comedy with a window into people’s secret/private lives.

12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

Not yet.

A Little More Personal

13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

I would like to speak at a literary festival

14. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

In the days before mobile phones I was surfing a remote island to the north of Lanzarote. One thing led to another and I got stranded, meaning I would have to sleep alone in a little cave.

I had seen rats on the rocks that day, so knew they were about. I thought I’d be smart and hang my meagre food supplies on a string above me. I thought my close proximity would put them off stealing my breakfast of bread, cheese and ham.

In the morning when I awoke all the food was gone. Meaning I had rats crawling on me whilst I was asleep!

15. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

I once saw a neon green light rise in the dusk sky and shoot off horizontally at high speed.I went about for the next few weeks telling anyone who would listen that I had seen a UFO.Until I met a third year geology student outside a bar. She told me that what I had seen, and more importantly where I had seen it (above a volcano) was explained by hot gases rising. I’m no scientist but she was (practically) and I believed her. So, I still haven’t seen a UFO.

16. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I do not consider myself at all superstitious. I gently mock those that are. However when I sneeze three times in a row, it means I can make a wish that will probably come true!

17. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

I tend to err on the side of plain with exotic food, although I once ate an ostrich egg. I found it too gamey.

18. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

Not really. I like to be on the move when in new places. I’m not somebody who can sit by the pool for two weeks, although I am somebody who can sit in the shade in a hot country and write for two weeks and more.

19. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

One of my favourite childhood memories is going to the FA cup final at Wembley in the 70s. It was a rare day out with my dad, and one I’ll never forget. Although my team lost and I cried at the end.

20. What makes you happy?

Writing something that I’m proud of makes me happy. I think achievements make us happy. Not money or possessions, but the things we do. No matter whether it’s a well-swept floor or a fully functioning robot, achievements are good for the human soul.

21. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

I’m a horticulturist, so I’ll be gardening. In my other free time I like to walk. City streets or country lanes, I’m not fussy, I like to explore.

22. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

Ann Cleeves, author of the Vera seriesKim Wilde and Paul Nicholas, entertainersNasty Nick from EastendersThe Chuckle Brothers

Ian’s Links