Work-In-Progress blog tour

Thanks to Colleen Story for inviting me on this work-in-progress (WIP) blog tour, which allows me to introduce the new project and to get off my bum and back on the blog. The rules for the tour are to include the first sentence, or a few, from the first three chapters of the work-in-progress and then to nominate four other authors.

Before I get to that, though, here’s Colleen’s post on the WIP tour:

My WIP is very loosely based on my own adoption and reunion story. It’s a novel rather than a memoir. I’ve chosen that because I think that a memoir, which would require me to stick to the facts of the story, would not allow me to fully reveal the Truth of the story. At it’s core, this work isn’t about adoption — it’s about deconstructing identity, legitimacy, and duality; it’s about finding home, within the self as well as in the world. So, here are the first bits of the first three chapters. For now, anyway. It will be interesting to see which, if any of these, remain as opening lines when I’m finished.

The image below is the entry to the former Eastern General Hospital, where I was born. It was originally constructed as a poorhouse (the last poorhouse built in Scotland, in fact) and served a variety of functions before it was demolished a few years back.

eastern general crop


The clatter of them, across the tile entry of the semidetached sandstone villa. The five of them: Mrs. MacInnes, rigid and slim, her face permanently askew and her glare dripping through her glasses and down her nose, scrutinizing every little thing; big Jock MacInnes, her husband, hulking in behind her, box in hand, oblivious. James, 16, came next, the eldest child; only one big foot planted on the tile, thick rugby-players’ legs taking the stairs three-at-a-time to get up to the wee room at the top, the loft conversion he’d spied before they even had a look in. His, his, his.


April awakens the whole country with frost, Dunnet Head to Lizard Point. There’s no sun to give a little sparkle; rather, a low-hanging grey holds the sky low. Refusing to fully open, the day inches forward. Morning isn’t yet finished when Iceland sends a deep depression south, spitting rain the east of Scotland. The west is drenched. Water chucks it down. Glaswegians slosh their way home. All through the night and the next day, the rain continues above Hadrian’s wall. Gale force winds sweep the water horizontal in the air. While England is settled and sunny and lovely, the ships docked at the Port of Leith, near Edinburgh, creak and roll. Eiders who come for delicious mussels and shelter near the mouth of the Water of Leith  tuck in to themselves; even these heaviest and fastest flying of the country’s ducks are no match for this.

In a mothering home near the docks, Mary wraps yarn around  her fingers and then around the knitting pins – through, around, over, out, again and again – making baby clothes by the front window.


There are no Beltaine Fires anywhere near 3 Crescent Lane. There are no real fires whatsoever in this tidy townhouse in Edinburgh; the fireplaces have been filled in with new electric fires. This May evening the air holds a chill, a tendril of winter still wrapped around them. It’s just the kind of night on which Mrs. Allen might sit herself down with a wee cup of tea — a spot of milk, no sweetener — and watch the coils heat, black turning to red, the ‘flames’ rolling up the false logs and the bottom. Perfect. All the heat of a fire with none of the unpredictability or mess. There will not be the luxury of that this evening, though. There’s the new foster baby to settle in. Jayne.

Coming soon are posts from these folks on their works-in-progress:

Nan Lundeen

Carla Damron


Originally posted on The Reading Room (Seòmar Leughaidh):

Rachel at Moniack Mhor Writers Centre contacted me this week wondering if it would be OK for them to completely fund a course at the Centre as the prize for the New Writer Section of the BP. As you’d expect I said “Nah, that’d be too much”…….and that is A fiction!

So if you haven’t thought your work is up to publishing quality before now or been terrified of rejection why not enter our friendly competition this year with the theme, “Dough”, and you could win a FREE residential course working with THE top writers in the country. For example:
Poetry Retreat: Let Us Begin 25-31 Aug
This course, aimed at poets just beginning to be poets, also heralds the official beginning of Moniack Mhor as an independent writing centre.

And none other than National Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy is leading this.
You could be part of Moniack 2015 and…

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A look at settings from The Thorn Tree

I’m just back from Great Britain. I began with the Scottish launch of The Thorn Tree, in the Isle of Skye, travelled south to Glasgow and west to Arran — all settings in the novel. The Thorn Tree got a wonderful reception at the Skeabost Hotel near Portree. As always, it couple of images of places dear to Agatha. (And if you haven’t picked up a copy of the book yet and would to, links are below the photos.


Agatha may have tread this ground on the southwest of the Isle of Skye. Her beloved Cuillins are in the background.

Arran's peaks loom in the distance -- the view Hope might have had if she'd only opened her eyes in the car on the way to Agatha's

Arran’s peaks loom in the distance — the view Hope might have had if she’d only opened her eyes in the car on the way to Agatha’s

Interview on

Last Saturday, I had the delight of teaching a workshop on setting as character to a writing group in Greenville, SC. Everyone was warm and engaging. Each of them was working on at least on  compelling writing project. They took me to lunch after. And one of them – Edie Melson – asked if I’d be willing to be interviewed for her blog. Of course! Here’s the interview (thanks Edie):

The Thorn Tree: audio excerpt of Chapter 3

Please click the link below to go to the third audio excerpt of The Thorn Tree. This is a section in the middle of Chapter 3, during Margaret’s first morning alone, after Hope has left for Scotland.  You can find the first two audio excerpts under The Thorn Tree tab. Thanks for listening.
Please click a link below if you’d like to buy the book.

The Thorn Tree: audio excerpt of Chapter 2

Please click the link below to go to the second audio excerpt of The Thorn Tree. This is the beginning of Chapter 2, in which Hope arrives in Scotland.  You can find the first audio excerpt under The Thorn Tree tab. Thanks for listening.

Please click a link below if you’d like to buy the book.

Thanks for reading.

U. S. Launch of The Thorn Tree

Jill Hendrix
Fiction Addiction

Celebrate the Launch of Greenville Author Heather Marshall’s Debut Novel

Greenville, SC, May 27, 2014 - Join Greenville novelist Heather Marshall for a party celebrating the launch of her debut novel, The Thorn Tree (MP Publishing, paperback, $14.95) at a free event at The Metropolitan Arts Council at 5:30pm on Thursday, June 26th. Refreshments will be served and Fiction Addiction will have books for sale at the event. To reserve a copy of the book or to RSVP for the event, please contact Fiction Addiction at 864-675-0540 or

The Thorn TreeSince 1978, Agatha Stuart’s cottage — perched between rising hills and the pebbled shore on the remote edge of Arran, an island off the west coast of Scotland — has served as temporary refuge for women of the Stuart family from around the world. Though Agatha didn’t set out to become caregiver to so many, she finds herself relishing this role and anticipating her latest guest on a typical Scottish summer’s day. Fourteen-year-old Hope Carver makes her way to Arran from South Carolina, exiled after her mother caught her taking the same pills to which her father was addicted, the same pills that ultimately caused him to abandon the family. When Hope’s father disappeared, he left a void between Hope and her mother, Margaret, that rapidly increased. Margaret remains in South Carolina, struggling to regain her emotional footing in the face of her disintegrating dream of home and family. Though Agatha seems rooted in her sense of self, the story of her development in the aftermath of her father’s death when Agatha was 13 reveals wounds left untended decade after decade.

Bound by the thin threads of family and abandonment, the three women maintain their emotional distance until an accident in the dark in Glen Rosa thrusts them together and forces them to see each other fully.

The Thorn Tree takes the reader across continents — from Hope and Margaret’s first fraught confrontation in South Carolina the emigrations of Agatha’s sisters to England, America, Canada, and Australia — and through generations — from the death of Agatha’s father in the seas of the coast of Skye in 1938, through World War II in Glasgow, and on to the present day. Witty, intelligent, and painfully human, Hope, Margaret, and Agatha come of age, come to terms with mid-life, and reckon with death, respectively, while they grapple with honoring their differences and strenghtening each other.

If you can’t make the event but would like us to get a book signed for you, please email us or call us at 864-675-0540. Personalized copies will need to be prepaid.


Originally from Kilmarnock, Scotland, Heather Marshall is a writer and yoga teacher currently based in the foothills of South Carolina, where she lives with two of her three children, a pair of Labrador-mix dogs, a set of bagpipes, and a Royal Enfield motorcycle. Her fiction and creative nonfiction are published in a variety of periodicals — most recently inNorthwoods NowPrime Number and Six Minute Magazine. Her debut novel, The Thorn Tree, will release in the summer of 2014 from MP Publishing. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte and is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance.

In her fiction and creative nonfiction, she likes to explore the connection — or disconnection — between characters and the natural environment. Through yoga and meditation, she practices deepening her connection with whatever environment she finds herself in, on and off the mat. When not at work, you can find her tromping or riding over the hills near her home, and when she can get away with it, on the other side of the Atlantic.

Her classes, workshops, and coaching work focus primarily on helping people access their own stories. This might be to process their past, as is the case for her work with members of the adoption triad; it might be to help people envision a path forward; it may be to capture family stories to hand down to the next generation; it might be to work with concepts like gratitude or forgiveness; it may also be creating fiction or creative nonfiction with a view to publication. Whatever the reason, she seeks to help writers engage fully with their stories and to draw out the best work possible.


Fiction Addiction is a local, woman-owned, independent bookstore established in 2001. The store carries a mixture of new and used fiction and nonfiction, including children’s books, as well as gift items. We have recently moved to a new location at 1175 Woods Crossing Road (in the shopping center with Five Guys and Fried Green Tomatoes). For more information, visit our website at or call us at 864-675-0540.