Her Last Betrayal: New Release from Pam Lecky

Today is Publication Day!

Initially, I hesitated to write a story set during World War 2, unsure what I could bring to it that would be unique. And then it dawned on me that few had written about the war from a neutral Irish perspective. Luckily, all I had to do was delve into my family and local history and Her Secret War, the first novel in the Sarah Gillespie Series, was the result.

Essentially, the stories in the series are about spies and fifth columnists, a subject covered in some depth by Tim Tate in his book, Hitler’s British Traitors. This was the source for much of my background information and threw up a few plot ideas too (always a bonus!). [Buy Link: Hitler’s British Traitors]

Betty Lecky, Birmingham, 1940s

My mother and her sisters left rural Ireland to work in Britain during WW2. One aunt followed her boyfriend, who had joined the RAF, and she worked in a munitions factory. Another aunt wanted to study nursing, and my mother was a ‘clippie’ (bus conductress) on the Birmingham buses. Neither book is their story, but there are glimpses of their experiences hidden throughout the fiction. The German attack on North Strand, which opens the first book, happened only a few miles from where I grew up. As a young child, I passed the bombed-out sites regularly, knowing nothing about them. I was in my late teens before I heard about the bombing and the relevant history.

Her Secret War by Pam Lecky

For me, the greatest challenge was getting up to speed on day-to-day life. I knew a lot about the overall timeline and events of the war, but it was the nitty-gritty details of life on the Homefront which would ground the stories in reality. Thankfully, there is an enormous amount of material out there, from eyewitness accounts and books to newsreels.

My heroine, Sarah Gillespie, is Irish, and the first novel in the series begins with the infamous bombing of neutral Dublin by the Luftwaffe in May 1941. The opening chapters take place during the bombing and its aftermath before the story moves to England. Like many Irish, Sarah has family living in the UK. They welcome her to their home when her own family is killed. Without giving away the plot, Sarah’s nationality leads to complications, and she is forced to decide where her loyalties lie. The complex relationship between the Irish and their ex-colonial masters interests me, and I explore it to some extent in both novels.

Her Last Betrayal by Pam Lecky

Her Last Betrayal continues Sarah’s story. She is now employed by MI5 and must work with a new colleague, a US Naval Intelligence officer, who is hostile and suspicious of her motives. There mission is to track down IRA members who are facilitating British fifth columnists and Abwehr agents entering and leaving the UK. Just as they appear to be making progress, one of the MI5 team is revealed to be a German mole. Their mission thrown into chaos, Sarah and Tony must learn to trust each other if they are to survive.

Again, I referenced Mr Tate’s excellent book only to find that the port used by the IRA was only alluded to as being in South Wales. I knew the UK National Archives document reference number, but the text in question was only available to view in person, not online. Due to Covid, I could not travel to Kew to look at it. So, in the meantime, I had to make an educated guess (Fishguard seemed likely as it connected Cork and neutral Lisbon at the time—a possible route).

As the deadline for finalising the book approached, however, I panicked and took a chance and messaged Mr Tate directly through social media. A few weeks later, he responded and emailed all the information I needed. But, as it transpired, the identity of the port used by the IRA for smuggling people in and out of the UK, remains a mystery. The document Mr Tate had seen only mentioned South Wales. And then the bombshell: the British Secret Service had destroyed the other file which identified the exact location. Although disappointed, at least I had an answer. And let’s be honest, a bit of mystery is music to the ears of a writer of espionage tales!

Her Secret War was published in October 2021 and is available in all good bookstores and online. Her Last Betrayal is published today, 14th April 2022 and is available in all good book stores and online. I am currently working on the third novel in the series, as yet unnamed.

Buy Link: Her Secret War

Buy Link: Her Last Betrayal

In Conversation with Mary Clancy

Today, I am delighted to host fellow Irish historical fiction author, Mary Clancy.

Pam thanks so much for inviting me to feature on your blog.

Mary Clancy

Let me tell you a little about myself. I live with my family in Co. Kildare just outside Naas, with Michael and two of our three sons. My youngest is eighteen, I don’t know where those years went to. I mustn’t forget to mention our treasured dog Coco who is still sprightly at the grand old age of fifteen.

I look forward to having my books in the book shops when I can have a real live launch. (Most important.)

Having retired from my job as a social worker, I took to writing, a hobby which I had enjoyed for much of my adult life. Being offered a three book deal from Poolbeg Press in 2020 was such a dream. And here I am.

In Conversation with Mary Clancy

New Release from Pauline Morgan

Good afternoon and thank you, Pam, for inviting me back to chat about my latest book.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about my second standalone cosy romantic story, Secrets Under Spanish Skies which is available now for pre-order. It will be published on St Patricks Day. Link: https://geni.us/kGf8uB

The idea for the book came from a conversation with a divorced woman who had an offer of starting a new life in Spain or to stay put in Scotland. The writer in me set about thinking if I could expand on the conversation, I could have the bones of a story.

In the past, I have visited Fortuna in Spain quite a few times and thought it would be the perfect setting to start a new life for my character. The book starts off with Moya’s life crumbling around her. She losses her home, has no money and can’t see a way forward.

Her best friend from working in the sewing factory offers her a life-line; to join her in Spain. At this part of the story, I enjoyed bringing in new characters and my story began to unfold.

Tiny plots entwined to reveal the larger plot, along with surprises to keep the reader on their toes. I enjoyed bringing out the bitchy side of my characters and the softer side too.

Before I start writing a book, a good author friend of mine advised me to use a notebook. I usually start with a title, synopsis, the big plot, then figure out were smaller plots can fit into the story. This helps me to see were my arcs will be in the book. I spent some time searching for the right Spanish names; a must, as they have to match up with my characters’ profile. I always write a profile for each character as it helps to create the characters likes or dislikes plus many more distinguishing abilities.

A question many people ask me is what time of day do you sit down to write. I can write at any given time and the same would apply to a location. In the past, I have found myself writing in car parks while waiting for my husband at the hospital. Busy cafes surrounded by people is another great space to lock yourself into the world of make-believe characters. If you are lucky, you might find something random to add to your book or overhear conversations that convey people’s emotions. Cafes and people-watching are a must for any writer. Over the years, I have picked up many tricks of the trade from writer friends or by joining online writing groups. 

Along with my husband, I enjoy visiting local beauty spots for walks and picnics. If an idea pops into my head I immediately whip out my mobile and key it into my notebook.

Do I have any plans for further stories? The answer is yes. At the moment, I am in the middle of a complete rewrite of an old story I had lurking in the back of the cupboard. I hope to inject new life into the story with the skills I have learned along the way.  Tucked away in a brand new notebook are a title and almost a blurb too. I get excited about the thought of starting a new story.

My third book, a Christmas story with a spooky touch, will be published in November 2022.

Secrets Under Spanish Skies

𝐀 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐲. 𝐀 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭.

Moya moved from Dublin to Nottingham when she was a teenager and met Kevin. But, after they were married, he became increasingly controlling and her only solace was attending Spanish and book-keeping night classes.

When Moya finds out Kevin has cheated on her – worse still, re-mortgaged their house to support his now pregnant mistress, she is devastated and left broken hearted.

At an all-time low, Moya’s oldest friend suggests she join her in Spain. Taking a leap of faith, Moya decides a fresh start in a new country is just what she needs.

But upon her arrival a prediction by a Spanish gipsy’s unnerves Moya…

𝙄𝙨 𝙈𝙖𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙇𝙖𝙬𝙮𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙝𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙨𝙚𝙚𝙢𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚 𝙤𝙧 𝙞𝙨 𝙈𝙤𝙮𝙖 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙣 𝙪𝙥 𝙋𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙤𝙧𝙖’𝙨 𝘽𝙤𝙭 𝙩𝙤 𝙎𝙚𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙩𝙨 𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝙎𝙥𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙨𝙝 𝙎𝙠𝙞𝙚𝙨.

 Pauline Morgan, Author

Retired housewife, Pauline Morgan, relocated to her native Northern Ireland and has been writing since 2000. She decided to write about her experiences in various houses she lived in and, as a result, self-published the paranormal Special Houses. Pauline previously joined the Romantic Novelist Association and participated in their New Writers Scheme. She is a member of an online writing group, Writers Ink VIP. Also, Pauline has written four short stories which were published in Woman’s Way magazine and two which were published in the iconic Ireland’s Own Magazine. She enjoys entering Flash Fiction competitions and was long-listed in the Kanturt Flash Fiction Competition. Her first poem, Airborne, was posted on the Pendemic.ie website in March 2020. Pauline’s primary focus is on women’s fiction.

Sex & Sexuality in Tudor England Blog Tour: Dress to Impress

Today, I am delighted to host Carol McGrath’s book blog tour for Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England.


Whilst researching a book recently published on the subject of Tudor Sex and Sexuality, I especially enjoyed researching provocative fashions for an era that had strict fashion codes including what colours and fabrics particular sections of society could not wear. The cod-piece was a fascinating aspect of this research.

In paintings and manuscript work, young Renaissance men appear utterly gorgeous, jewelled and colourful. The images aim to show beauty as a signifier of inward purity and Godliness, and therefore nothing to do with sex. But they are sexy, and doubtless they appeared so during the sixteenth century, depending on who was looking. Hose colours were significant: green hose suggested youthful vigour while red suggested passion. Fashions shown on illustrations are often outrageous, suggestive of the exotic, foreign and mythical.

Sex & Sexuality in Tudor England Blog Tour: Dress to Impress

A Conversation with Marcia Clayton

This evening in the Library we have ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Marcia Clayton who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

Good evening, and thank you for inviting me for a chat, Pam. I live in North Devon in the South West of England, and I am a farmer’s daughter. I left school just before my sixteenth birthday, and worked for seven years in a bank before leaving to start a family. I held a variety of jobs for several years, working around looking after our three sons but then in 1990, I became an admin manager at our local college. It was at this time I decided to further my education by taking A levels in English and History, and went on to achieve a degree-equivalent qualification in management. In 2006, I moved to a job with the local authority as the Education Transport Manager, and I remained in that post until I retired in 2016. I am now enjoying retirement with my husband, Bryan.

A Conversation with Marcia Clayton

1940: A Blitz Christmas

Keep Calm and Carry On!

This could not be more appropriate when describing what became known as ‘Blitzmas’. In December 1940, Hitler’s Luftwaffe was doing its best to wipe British cities off the map. But the British public were having none of it and were determined to have the best possible holiday they could. Time magazine reported that Christmas parties were being held in the larger air-raid shelters, which provided safety for over one million people. Even the London theatres put on the usual Christmas Pantomimes. However, everyone suffered. It was not a normal Christmas by any means.

Gifts were difficult to come by. However, the Evening Standard reported that the Oxford Street pavements were congested and had a pre-war atmosphere. Luxuries such as silk stockings or French perfume were not to be found, but there was still liqueur chocolates available, and if you were lucky, you might find some figs or Turkish delight. Wine and spirits were plentiful but brandy was rare. The most popular present that Christmas was soap!

It was a ‘recycle’ Christmas. At home, decorations for the most part, were handmade, often by the children. Due to a paper shortage, scraps of paper, old Christmas cards, old newspapers, and brown paper were used to make ornaments and decorations. Presents were often homemade gifts wrapped in brown paper or even small pieces of cloth. Hand knitted items, such as hats and scarves were made by unravelling old jumpers and war bonds were bought and given as gifts, which helped the war effort. Homemade food items, such as chutneys and jams were popular and practical presents, along with items associated with gardening, like wooden dibbers for planting.

Manchester Christmas Blitz

There was little reprieve from the misery of Blitzkrieg. Greater Manchester bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe’s attacks that Christmas. On the night of 22/23 December 272 tons of high explosive were dropped, and another 195 tons the following night. Almost 2,000 incendiaries were also dropped on the city over the two nights. It became known as the Christmas Blitz. In total, 684 people died and a further 2,300 were wounded with districts to the north and east of the city badly affected. At least 8,000 homes were made uninhabitable.

The royal family had to spend the holiday at a secret location in case the Nazi airmen attacked while George VI was giving his Christmas broadcast. But as a mark of solidarity with the British public, the royal Christmas card was a picture of the king and queen in the grounds of the bombed Buckingham Palace. Traditional carol singing was cancelled due to the bombing and black-out, festive lights were not to be found on the streets, and many people had to work on the 26th of December, Boxing Day, which was a public holiday.

Due to rationing and high prices, most could not afford the traditional turkey or goose. Housewives had to use all their ingenuity to find substitutes. Luckily, the Ministry of Food provided lots of information (see recipe below) and even films on the subject. (The Imperial War Museum has many examples of these.) The only concession came in the week before Christmas in 1940; the tea ration was doubled and the sugar allowance increased to 12 ounces.

It can’t have been easy to celebrate a normal Christmas with many families separated by war and loved ones fighting overseas. Even though there was a small respite from the bombing in London on Christmas and Boxing Day, by 29th December, many families were rushing for the safety of air raid shelters once more. The King’s speech on Christmas Day must have been the highlight for many families but in December 1940. the outlook still looked bleak.

The future will be hard, but our feet are planted on the path of victory, and with the help of God we shall make our way to justice and to peace.” King George VI (Christmas 1940)

In Her Last Betrayal, the sequel to Her Secret War, Sarah Gillespie spends Christmas with her family in Hampshire and is delighted to be involved in the Hursley Amateur Dramatic Society’s production of Hayfever, which they put on for the locals just before Christmas. However, it is to be a tragic Christmas that Sarah will never forget …

Her Last Betrayal will be released on 14th April. Cover reveal in the new year but pre-order now available:

Pre-Order Now!

New Release from Pam Lecky

Abbey Gardens, where it all started in No Stone Unturned

It has been a hectic year, working on many different projects, including Her Secret War and Her Last Betrayal for Avon Books UK. However, as you probably know, my Lucy Lawrence Mystery Series is very close to my heart. Therefore, I am delighted to announce that the third book in the series, The Art of Deception, is now live for pre-order on Amazon worldwide. This title will be released on Friday 10th December.

New Release from Pam Lecky

New Release from Suzie Hull

I am absolutely thrilled to bring you news of Suzie’s debut novel. I’m so very proud of her achievement for she is an inspiration, proving without a doubt, that hard work and perseverance really do pay off. I will be tucking into this book over the weekend.

A little bit about Suzie

Suzie Hull lives in Northern Ireland with her family and numerous rescue cats. She originally dreamt of being a ballet dancer, but instead trained as a Montessori Nursery teacher and has spent the last thirty years working with children. She has always had an enduring passion for history and books, and since she came from a long line of creative women it was only a matter of time before she turned to writing . A member of the RNA, In this Foreign Land is her debut novel.

New Release from Suzie Hull

It’s Publication Day for Her Secret War!

I am so thrilled to share the news that my new release is out in the world today. Her Secret War is the first of two books based around a young Irish girl, Sarah Gillespie. Sarah is the only one of her family to survive the North Strand bombing in May 1941 which kills 28 people and leaves hundreds homeless. Her plight resonates with the thousands who survived similar incidences throughout the war, all over the world. From the ruins of her life, Sarah must make some difficult decisions. Like many Irish, she has family in Britain and when they hold out the offer of a new life and a job, Sarah decides to leave Ireland. Unfortunately, her new life slowly falls apart as her family history catches up with her, and she is drawn into the dark world of WW2 espionage.

It’s Publication Day for Her Secret War!