#Openbook : Open book blog hop – 18 November


How many hours a day do you write? How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I work full time during the week, maintain my blogs and also look after my family, in particular, I assist Michael with his homework. As a result the word hours in “How many hours a day do you write?” is not even a remote possibility for me during the working week. I snatch time to write by making 30 minutes here, and on a very good day, an hour there. I write when I get the chance and I am not fussy about the where of it either.

I can  write anywhere including in my car while waiting for children to finish school, on an aeroplane while travelling, during my lunch hour if my work load isn’t unduly heavy and any other conceivable place you can think of. I am also not overly concerned about the tool I use for my writing and, although I prefer to write using my laptop, I sometimes use my cell phone to write poems and little passages that come to mind or write them down on bits of paper, or, if I am particularly organised that day, in a writing book.

On Saturdays and Sundays I usually write from 6 am to 8 am and then again later in the day, if possible. I usually manage to write between 3 000 and 4 000 words on a weekend, depending on how much research is required. I aim for about an additional 500 words at least three days a week. That amounts to approximately 4 500 to 5 500 words per week.

As a result, a book takes me between five and six months to write and then another five to six months to edit and finalise for publishing. My aim is to publish one novel per year. I have also, to date, published one children’s picture book per years. These picture books comprise my Sir Chocolate picture and recipe books and are fairly short. The time saved with the writing, however, is used up through the making and photographing of the cake and fondant art  illustrations.

Writing is not my source of income, it is something I currently do for pleasure so I can’t devote any more time and effort to it than the stated 5 000 words per week. My work job sometimes extends to a nine or ten hour day and also weekend work and that has to take precedence over writing, as do my children’s needs.

What do other writers have to say about this topic? Find out by following the link below.


  1. Link your blog to this hop.
  2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
  3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
  4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
  5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Guest author: Robbie Cheadle – The Brontë Family – Patrick Brontë

I am over at Sue Vincent’s lovely blog with the first in a series of posts about the Brontë family. Thank you, Sue, for hosting me.

Patrick Brontë – the patriarch

In the beginning

Patrick Brontë, born Brunty, was the oldest of ten children born to Hugh Brunty, a farm labourer, and Alice McClory. He grew up in the small village of Drumballyroney in Country Down, Northern Ireland. At the age of twelve, Patrick was apprenticed to a blacksmith, and the to a linen draper and a weaver until he became a teacher in 1798. In 1802, he was given an opportunity to study theology at St John’s College, Cambridge, from where he received his degree in 1806. He was appointed curate at Wethersfield in Essex, where he was ordained a deacon of the Church of England in 1806 and into the priesthood in 1807.

Patrick Brontë met his wife, Maria Branwell, during his time as a school examiner at Wesleyan Academy, Woodhouse Grove School near Guiseley. The couple married on 29 December 1812 following which they moved into a house on Halifax Road, Liversedge where their first two daughters, Maria and Elizabeth, were born. In 1815, he moved on to become the perpetual curate of Thornton and his four other children, Charlotte, Patrick Branwell, Emily and Anne were all born there. The Brontë family moved to Haworth in April 1820 after Patrick was offered the perpetual curacy of St Michael and All Angels’ Church in Haworth.

Continue reading here: https://scvincent.com/2019/11/16/guest-author-robbie-cheadle-the-bronte-family-patrick-bronte/

#SoCS – Dream

Linda G. Hills prompt today is dreams. These are two published poems of mine that are about dreams.

The first appeared in a book called Diverse Verse compiled by Richard Archer. It sold for three months and all profits went to cancer research.

Can you see the butterflies?

Can you see the butterflies?

Bright splashes of vibrancy

daubs of colour

against an azure sky.


Can you see the butterflies?

On near transparent wings

they flutter and fly

deliciously light on the breeze.


Can you see the butterflies?

A cloud of beauty

acting as one

a gossamer pool of delight.


I can see the butterflies

through half closed eyes

my dreams form shapes

with fluttering wings.


I can see the butterflies

as they develop in my mind

elusive thoughts grow wings

and they fly.


By Robbie Cheadle

The second poem appears in my poetry book, Open a new door, co-authored with Kim Blades.

Colour palette of dreams

 I lie in a patch of sun;

My eyes slide closed;

Through my eyelids;

I see my artist’s palette of dreams;

Tubes of colour standing by;

Waiting to be mixed;

Bright yellows, oranges and pinks;

Shades of optimism and hope;

Add a splash of maroon

my ambitions blood;

A squeeze of bright red

symbolic of my passion;

a smudge of gold and silver;

shining achievements to date;

A smear or two of blue

my anxiety and apprehensions;

a daub of vibrant green;

a jelly fish in my sea of hope;

tinging it with caution.

By Robbie Cheadle

I decided to share these two poems about the joy, hope and optimism of dreams because we seem to be facing so dire repercussions of human greed at the moment and we need positive ideas.


You can join in Linda’s challenge here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/11/15/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-16-19/

#Bookreview – The Playground by C.S. Boyack

Book reviews

What Amazon says

The hottest new toys of the Christmas season are the Playground Network dolls. They contain a worldwide social network for children. Except the network is controlled by a ruthless businessman with dreams of power.

To reach his goals he turns to the occult. Will our children make up his personal army? Could we have an enemy soldier in every home?

Gina Greybill is a cancer survivor who stumbles into her own brush with the paranormal. She wants nothing to do with it, but may be the only one who can bring down the Playground Network. To do it she’ll have to embrace her new situation, and recover the next generation of Playground software.

There is competition for the software in the form of a brutal thug named Clovis. He’s bigger, more ruthless, and more experienced. To top it all off, he has a head start.

The Playground is suitable for mature readers, due to violence and mature themes.

My review

All over the USA, young kids are begging for their parents to by them Playground Network dolls. They are available for different age groups and for boys and girls. The huge attraction with these dolls is that they connect to a network which allows each doll to recognize other dolls and know their names. Through the dolls, the children can make friends and talk to each other on the network. It sounds great, a way for lonely children to make new friends and for kids to help each other out with things like their homework.

The creator of the network, however, does not have such innocent plans for it. He intends to use it to control the children and make them abide by his commands. He must be stopped.
Clovis is a small-time criminal who does occasional jobs for a hood called Tommy. Clovis is semi-retired but he agrees to take on a last job for Tommy and track down a programmer who has gone missing with the specific software he was developing for Tommy.

Dr Gina Greybill is a qualified doctor who is in remission from cancer. She has given up working in a hospital and taken on work as a caregiver for elderly people who are no longer able to look after themselves adequately. After the death of her latest patient, Gina obtains a new job as the healthcare specialist for an elderly man who lives in a rather creepy mansion with only his part-time housekeeper to company. Gina quickly discovers that she has been identified as the one person who can track down an evil demon who is attacking children throughout the country.

Gina is an interesting character who soon demonstrates her abilities to adapt to difficult and unusual circumstances and to reason on a high level. She is a strong female character with great determination and bravery. I really enjoyed watching her character develop as this story unfolded.

Clovis is a bit of an enigma as he isn’t truly evil, but he also isn’t a good person. He is an individual who does what he must in order to survive. He does, however, have a strong sense of ethics and morals.

The threads in this story are cleverly woven together to create an interesting and clever story tapestry which is guaranteed the reader on the edge of his/her seat. I enjoyed the technological innovation in this story and would recommend it to lovers of sci-fi, fantasy and the supernatural.

Purchase The Playground

#Writephoto – Glow

The beams of the torches bounce off the metal sides of the subterranean bunker, creating an unearthly glow.

The sight that meets their startled eyes is incredible. The contained unit has been entirely sealed off from the outside world for over fifty years with no access to food, sunlight or heat.

The reflected light illuminates the numerous shinning bodies going about their daily business in the dark below, exactly as they have been for many preceding years.

“How did they get in here?” A torch sweeps the slippery walls, looking for the hidden entrance, and stops on a ventilation pipe. “They must have fallen through there. There is no other way they could have accessed this desolate place.”

“My God, how have they been surviving down here?”

“It looks like cannibalism.” The bright light stops on a heap of corpses, bringing them into sharp relief. The dead bodies are riddled with holes and bite marks, all of which are located in their abdomens.

“Cannibalism,” the white face of the woman wrinkles in disgust.

“Yes, this type of cannibalism is not that surprising considering the communal attitude prevalent in this society. They share resources more effectively than other beings and have communal stomachs. Scientists have found that they consider the contents of their stomachs to be common property.”

“Really, I didn’t know that. Cannibalistic ants, who would have believed it.”

This piece of fiction is written for Sue Vincent’s weekly write photo challenge. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2019/11/07/thursday-photo-prompt-glow-writephoto/




#SoCS – A poem – Do you want it enough?

You tell me you want

your time in the sun

To dance in the light

that reflects from your fame

Do you really want it?

Do you want it enough?

To give up the good things

like relaxation and rest

and sleeping late in your bed

Are you sufficiently attracted?

to trade perceived fun for work

sitting in the office,

beavering away

while your friends watch movies,

eat out, drink and socialise

spending their day

having a jolly good time

Can you be disciplined and sit

at a computer for hours

tapping out words

while creating worlds,

actions and events,

that form themselves into books?

Will you watch the world passing

through the glass of your window

while you pursue the fantasy

you hope to achieve, but may not

Few things in this life

come without paying the price

and the tag that comes with fame

and its bedfellow fortune

is usually quite high

with the return not guaranteed

Are you ready to exchange

your freedom and pleasure?

for the discipline required

to chase that elusive light?

by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Written for Linda G. Hill’s SoCS prompt to write a piece incorporating a word that uses the letters “ght”.

You can join in here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/11/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-9-19/



#Bookreview – The Desolate Garden by Daniel Kemp and a short author interview

Book reviews

The Desolate Garden (Heirs And Descendants Book 1) Kindle Edition

What Amazon says about The Desolate Garden

After Harry Paterson is summoned to London following his father’s murder, he finds out that the late Lord Elliot Paterson had discovered hidden information dated all the way back to 1936… and a vast quantity of money erased from the accounts.

Mysterious initials and an address in Leningrad – a major port in former Soviet Union – are his only clues.

Together with the attractive Judith Meadows, Harry must unravel his father’s mysterious death – and figure out the mystery hidden in the files of the Royal Government Bank.

Praise from readers:

★★★★★ – “I never saw what was coming… Highly recommend this book.”

★★★★★ – “Several surprise twists, a budding romance, and a feel of having visited England are just some of the gifts of this story. For any history buff, this is delicious buffet of entertainment. Mr. Kemp has done his research well.”

★★★★★ – “Lots of twists and turns in this political thriller. If you are a fan of the genre, you will find this a fun and nicely paced read.”

★★★★★ – “Well-written and intriguing, with characters that are deep and likable. Fiction and history are mixed together in a very interesting way. I very much enjoyed this book.”

My review

Harry Paterson’s father, Lord Elliot Paterson, has been murdered and the British Secret Service are investigating the mysterious circumstances of his death. Under the guise of keeping him safe during the investigation, Harry is coerced into teaming up with a younger woman named Judith Meadows who is tasked with delving into his past and relationships with his father in order to uncover any potential leads or clues to his death. Harry reluctantly enters into this arrangement, but does not initially reveal to Judith his knowledge of certain unorthodox payments that are recorded in the ledgers of the family business, a bank that finances unusual projects by the royal family and members of government and other aristocratic families.

As the two start working together, initially working at cross-purposes, but gradually become more tolerant, and finally fond, of each other, they become steeped in a world of deception and lies by Harry’s grandfather, Lord Maudlin Paterson, whose sexual indiscretions have resulted in links between his unsuspecting English descendants and descendants living behind the “iron curtain” in Russia during the period of the cold war.

For me there were four very noteworthy aspects of this book, as follows:
1. This book is beautifully written in the most descriptive and vivid language, but is not laborious or long-winded. The entire story is subtlety compared to the life cycle of a garden and each chapter heading links up with this underlying theme. As your read this book, the cleverness and applicability of this metaphor to the story becomes more and more apparent;
2. The amount of research that has gone into this story, and the authors amazing knowledge of historical events concerning the period of history spanning the Spanish Civil War, the events leading up to the rise of communism in the USSR and the Cold War, is inspiring and I definitely finished this book with a far more comprehensive understanding of politics and social tensions during this time than when I started;
3. The authors characterisation of the main characters, Harry and Judith, as well as all of the lessor characters is very well done leaving the reader not only feeling deeply for their internal conflicts and emotional confusion, but also really getting into their heads and starting to think just like they do. I think this is an excellent writing skill that I don’t come across that often, particularly in modern books; and
4. A fast paced and action packed story that keeps the reader flipping pages and results in a real sense of sadness when the plot finally unravels and the book ends.

I listened to the audio book of The Desolate Garden, narrated by William Merryn Hill and was impressed by how well matched the reading style and voice of the narrator was with this particular book. That is not always the case with audio books and I find that a mismatched narrator can ruin a good story for me. In this case, listening to the audio book was a bonus and increased my enjoyment of this great story.

Meet Daniel Kemp

Daniel Kemp

Daniel Kemp’s introduction to the world of espionage and mystery happened at an early age when his father was employed by the War Office in Whitehall, London, at the end of WWII. However, it wasn’t until after his father died that he showed any interest in anything other than himself!

On leaving academia he took on many roles in his working life: a London police officer, mini-cab business owner, pub tenant and licensed London taxi driver, but never did he plan to become a writer. Nevertheless, after a road traffic accident left him suffering from PTSD and effectively–out of paid work for four years, he wrote and self-published his first novel –The Desolate Garden. Within three months of publication, that book was under a paid option to become a $30 million film. The option lasted for five years until distribution became an insurmountable problem for the production company.

All seven of his novels are now published by Creativia with the seventh–The Widow’s Son, completing a three book series alongside: What Happened In Vienna, Jack? and Once I Was A Soldier. Under the Creativia publishing banner, The Desolate Garden went on to become a bestselling novel in World and Russian Literature in 2017. The following year, in May 2018, his book What Happened In Vienna, Jack? was a number one bestseller on four separate Amazon sites: America, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Although it’s true to say that he mainly concentrates on what he knows most about; murders laced by the mystery involving spies, his diverse experience of life shows in the short stories he writes, namely: Why? A Complicated Love, and the intriguing story titled The Story That Had No Beginning.

He is the recipient of rave reviews from a prestigious Manhattan publication and described as–the new Graham Green–by a highly placed employee of Waterstones Books, for whom he did a countrywide tour of book signing events. He has also appeared on ‘live’ television in the UK publicising that first novel of his.

He continues to write novels, poetry and the occasional quote; this one is taken from the beginning of Once I Was A Soldier
There is no morality to be found in evil. But to recognise that which is truly evil one must forget the rules of morality.

You can contact Mr. Kemp via twitter..https://twitter.com/danielkemp6
Via FaceBook… https://www.facebook.com/dannyandpatkemp
You can also see all of his books here on Creativia… https://www.creativia.org/daniel-kemp-mystery-thriller-author.html

What inspired you to write The Desolate Garden?

One evening, having dined and wined at Berry Bros and Rudd, the oldest wine merchants in London, tasting the finest Barolo wines and sampling the chef’s menu, prudence dictated I should stay overnight at Duke’s Hotel, St James’s, a mere stagger across the road. Sometime after that occasion I dreamed about the opening sequence to the book; an attractive woman seated in the martini bar of that hotel asking Harry Paterson to tell her a joke. The rest of the story is, of course, based on vivid imagination.

I must try this wine and see if I can have such a great dream, although I would prefer an attractive man in mine and not Judith, interesting as she is.

The detail in this book about the lifestyles of the gentility in England is amazing. Did you research this aspect or is it modeled on personal experience?

A bit of both really. In order to get the chronological order of events correct then that took a great deal of research and a lot of hand written notes. Family relationships down through the generations were often a puzzle and had me pulling my hair out almost as many times as I screwed up those notes. But for the majority of time The Desolate Garden was an absolute joy to write and a period of my life I never thought possible.

It really does sound like you had fun writing this. I am sure I enjoyed listening to it just as much [smile].

Judith is a strong female character with an interesting background. Does her character reflect the characteristics of any female in your life or is she completely fictional?

Oh yes, she’s real. Intriguing, isn’t she? I don’t think I used any imagination with Judith. I know at least one person who would love me to base a book completely around her, but I won’t tell you who that is.

I think I’ll take Judith in that dream after all. Maybe she can teach me some things about life and dealing with it.

There are a number of intriguing characters in The Desolate Garden, how did you keep track of them all while you were writing this book?

The storyline to this book was, as I said, confined to paper which in itself is confusing, but being my first attempt at writing I had no idea how to go about it differently. That lacking part of my education did present logistical problems but thankfully all has now been improved upon. From what I understand everybody loves developing their imaginary characters and I’m not different in that regard, but perhaps the complexity of my past life has meant crossing the paths of a diverse collection of people both home-grown and foreign from which a vast accumulation of information has been stored away.

They do say write what you know and you seem to have done that. What an interesting life you have led.

What’s next for author, Danny Kemp?

Danny Kemp died. He was told to die before being resurrected as Daniel Kemp when approached by his current publishers. The name of Daniel sounded more intellectual than—common as muck Danny! There are three surviving stories under the deceased common name, one of them being—Falling Greenhouses and Digestive Biscuits, a fifteen-minute bestselling read on Amazon (it wasn’t but it deserved to be) was just one and typifies Danny K’s sense of the ridiculous.

Daniel Kemp, on the other hand, is a boring writer of spy trivia. Having completed a fourth book in the Lies and Consequences series, A Covenant Of Spies he is engaged to be married to the third novel following on from Percy Crow and The Desolate Garden. At present this follow-up is simply called Number Three which shows beyond any reasonable doubt how boring Daniel K is. The marriage is in its blossoming days, but to those who are aware of his wandering eye, it is scheduled to last no longer than the spring of next year.

Daniel K’s kind and understand publishers have released seven full novels and two novella’s; one based loosely on facts. The Desolate Garden is available as an audiobook and is translated into Spanish.

Amazon Author’s Page to Daniel Kemp—  http://Author.to/Daniel

Danny also has a great blog which you will find here: https://theauthordannykemp.com/

Thank you, Danny, for visiting me today at Roberta Writes with these terrific answers to my questions.

Purchase The Desolate Garden