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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: The Last Days (of Martians) Continues; a Chat with #Author Colin Powell!

Well, hello #October! This month I'm thrilled to feature #authors who have books releasing soon. First up is #writer Colin Powell. He is a multi-genre author who definitely knows how to tell a story! I've read several of his books, including his The Last Days series set in Victorian England; it's a clever follow-on to H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. His latest tale, The Last Days of the Wake Men's release is imminent. Are you ready to see what happens next with those death-ray Martians? Let's chat with Colin:

Q1. Colin, I'm a huge fan of your Martian books set in Victorian England. Your tales are engaging, exciting, and vivid in description. Can you tell readers what led you to write these tales and the research/locations behind each story?

Thank you for your support, first and foremost.

What led me to write this first story came about be accident at my local writing class. Our tutor would set us a 1,200-word homework test each week. Tale with a twist, A slice of life, etc. All manner of topics were conjured up. One particular week, my tutor asked us to do a small piece from someone else’s story but from a different perspective. I chose an imagined part of the War of the Worlds set in Victorian Britain. A part of the tale when HMS Thunder Child is sinking. When this was read out in the writing class, the constructive critic and encouragement to do a full story set me off on the journey. I basically had the end before the beginning.

Q2. You have a new Martian tale hitting the bookshelves that I'm so looking forward to reading, The Last Days of the Wake Men: The Martians Invade Victorian Fenlands. Your cover is striking, can you tell us what this latest adventure is about?

I’ve imagined stories in various areas I have lived. I now live in the Fenlands of Eastern England. There are dikes built by Dutch engineers back in Henry VIII’s time. In some places, the rivers and the canal drains are higher than the fields. The fields have flood ditches. I imagined what would happen to the fields if the dike walls were blown and the Fens were allowed to flood. I also imagined what would happen if huge pipe systems with air circulation units (Like in mines) were quickly assembled along the flood ditches before the flooding happened. Lookout towers and under water pendulum mines, etc. In short, a load of old colonial Victorian Brit Soldiers finding a way of fighting back. They are referred to as Wake men. They hide in the underwater tunnel system. They come out when mines bring the Fighting Machines down. They engage the disabled machines and the Martians, while wearing gas masks, like in the images on Twitter. It's all rather Steampunk/Victorian in feel.

Q3. In addition to your Martian tales, you write other genres as well that I've thoroughly enjoyed such as the historical fiction tale; Meeting Boudicca and the scary tale: Never Let Them Kiss You; A Dark Fairy Tale. How do you decide when to write what? Any marketing tips you can give to writers who have multiple genres?

The Fairy Tale came about, once again, from writing class homework. One week we got Fairies as a subject. Fairy stories! Me? Lol. I had no desire to do this but my tutor, once again, asked me to try and do something. She was always very persuasive and encouraging. Therefore, I wrote a short story of two women taking a black Labrador dog for a walk in the snow. I tried to make it more of a supernatural horror. One lady is telling her friend a story of her husband being rushed to hospital and then I had this mild horror story that I had to complete.

The Meeting Boudicca story is really about another Queen of Roman Britain called Queen Cartimandua. She was very successful and ruled for many years but is relatively unknown. I wanted to do something about her. Therefore, I had to develop a hypothetical but credible situation where by both Roman British queens could meet one another.

For marketing tips, I do an Author Facebook page. I’m constantly doing all sorts of things on this page. Odd little images with written pieces. A lot of War of the Worlds placed themes but also other topics. I always try to engage people who ask things of me or leave comments. Often, I cast a net out there asking for opinions. Perhaps a fantasy image. I’ll ask what do you (the audience) imagine the story of the image to be? Over time, this develops and more people come to the site. Sometimes I run a target marketing add for seven days. It’s rather geeky science fiction stuff mostly. Plus, subjects to do with WWII tanks. I have a tank war story that sells very well too.

If someone has a niche, (For instance – Murder, Mystery, Suspense.) run an Author page like this. Perhaps feature an image of a story and ask a question of your audience. People like to answer questions you may put out against an image. Perhaps a Sherlock Homes image or a TV detective like Columbo. Ask a question of your audience. What would Sherlock or Columbo do in this situation, etc. People really like to give an opinion. There are also lots of ways to target market a potential audience with images, etc.

Q4. I know you're a prolific reader as well--can you share books you're looking forward to reading this final quarter of 2021?

In the near future, I would like to read The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. This has been on my bucket list for some time. There are also a crime stories I enjoy. Ones set in the past. Like Matthew Hawkwood stories by James McGee. Hawkwood is a Bow Street Runner around the years of 1816 to 1825 times in London. Bow Street runners eventually became the policemen of London. I also like the Matthew Shardlake stories set in Tudor England during 1530s to 1600. They are written by C. J. Sansom. They are very entertaining murder mystery stories. Whenever new stories like this come out, I always read these.

Q5. Enquiring minds want to know--what's in your #writing queue for the remainder of 2021 and 2022?

I have started another WWII story of a French tank crew and a British Artillery unit. It is set during the Battle and fall of France in 1940.

I also plan to write a fifth and final story called: The Last Days of the Four Horsemen. Set in South-West Scotland – just over the North English border. It has a credible over all end to the selection of Last Days stories. At least, I hope it does.

Colin, thank you so much for being my guest this week. I can't wait to read your latest Martian tale and again, many congratulations on its release! If you'd like to know more about Colin's works, check out his links here:

Twitter: @RetroBrit

Such a creative #writing and #reading world we live in! It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

The stories of Christmas Bizarre ❄Rikkhe St. Claire Hygge & Bisous Holiday Mysteries

Today I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the stories in Christmas Bizarre and show the pictures I will be using to promote each story...What do you think? ❄🎀📚👠

Noel A Versailles

Millicent is a young lady with a mind of her own in 1920s Paris. When she decides to build a replica of Marie Antoinette’s regal playhouse, the Petit Trianon, many think she’s lost the plot. A mysterious Advent calendar brings glamorous gifts of the season, until one fateful night…

Lady H

The ruins of an antebellum home with a heartbreaking past are in need of a major renovation. Will the ghostly inhabitants help or hinder the latest heir of Plum Hill and his architect?

The Ornament

Two cousins are off to celebrate a recent graduation on a European river cruise. As they tour the city ports, they join the quest to find an ornament from an elderly woman’s childhood. The search seems hopeless, until the magic of Christmas lends a helping hand.

The Rocking Horse

A nanny takes her first assignment with an expat family living in an historic home in Stockholm. As Christmas approaches, strange happenings are going bump in the night. Will the ghosts of Christmas past finally get their peace?

Moving Pictures

A holiday gala gets a major boost when a beloved screen star agrees to participate. As she makes her guest appearance, a mysterious man comes to her side. Will heartbreak turn into Christmas joy?

Hard to believe it's less than a month away 'til the November 1st release! Who's ready for Christmas?! 🎀🎄 #HoHoHo

Time travel romance this week from the writers of Twitter...

Author J.G. MacLeod, The Future Bride (The MacLeod Scottish Time Travel Rom Com Series Book 1) 5

Dashing through the forest, Brigid is trying figure out what has turned her world upside down. She went from standing in her coffee house supply closet to being dressed in a wedding gown and transported to a foreign time and place. Her jilted groom has sent his henchmen to find her, will she be able to escape being caught and figure out what has happened?

Fate does intervene, bring Brigid into an alliance with a brooding man who has vowed to see her safe. Ferghus doesn't quite know how to take Brigid's outspoken opinions, but slowly comes to respect her fearless manner as they fight off the rival clan who is out to find them. Brigid surprises them all with her quick karate movements and skills, but will they be enough to keep her from being sent back to the irate man she left standing at the altar?

Author Macleod weaves a charming tale of the perils of time travel sprinkled with romantic banter as Brigid's and Ferghus's friendship blossoms. The characters, settings and dialogue will keep you amused throughout. You even get two alternate endings to this tale---which will you choose?

Next up in the #reading queue:

Living #Hygge

"How to Hygge? Light candles, drink hot chocolate, snuggle up in blankets, read a good book, show people you love them, wear thick warm socks." Hygge

I've got the candles lit and twinkle lights sparkling all around the house these days. This week I've been going through my scarf inventory to pull out a few favs to wear in the next few weeks. We're still a bit warm here in SoCal during the days but my cotton print scarves are just right. I'm loving all the colors---everything just seems to pop this time of year. I even have new glitter slippers with fleecy lining to make my tootsies glow and feel all warm and cozy. It's a very good thing...🥰

Welcome to my world. Enjoy the rest of your #week and #weekend friends!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Had to show this pic coming down the mountain from our trip to Big Bear last week. I love the clouds fluffing around the tops of the hills, magical! Gemma and Rikkhe approve. 💖👑

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Oct 06, 2021

Another great post, Veronica. Great to get to know Colin, and J.G. MacLeod's book sounds terrific, too. I'd love to learn more about hygge—it sounds like it might be right up my alley.

Breathtaking photo of Big Bear!

Have a great day! 😘👑

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Oct 06, 2021
Replying to

TYSM, definitely good reads, Amy! Enjoy tour week! xo 💖👑


Oct 06, 2021

Every Wednesday is wonderful with you Veronica! Lovely to get to better acquainted with author Colin Powell. From ”Tangled Webs” to “Christmas Bizarre”- tantalizing how your images tell the stories, too. Thank you for my weekly “dose” of beauty and inspiration!

Veronica Cline Barton
Veronica Cline Barton
Oct 06, 2021
Replying to

Thanks so much, Jena! Colin's books are wonderful reads. I appreciate your kind words so much and that you always make my Wednesday too! Enjoy your week, xo 💖👑

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