A Lover of Books

Adrian Harvey – Guest Blog Post


Earlier this year Adrian Harvey’s debut novel ‘Being Someone’ was published by Urbane Publications.  Below is a lovely blog post by Adrian in which he explains where he got his inspiration from when writing this book.

I hope you enjoy reading it.


Things are seldom as they seem

Inspiration comes from many places and in all shapes and sizes. In my case, it came from India, in the hefty form of an elephant. That elephant was long dead, and I never had the chance to meet him. It also turned out that he wasn’t even real. But his story was the starting point of my novel, Being Someone. Quite literally, in the sense that a version of it became the first chapter, but the elephant was also the inspiration for everything that followed. The elephant, who I called Iravatha, was both the starting point and the frame for the novel, and he keeps poking his very long nose into the story.

In the book, the story of Iravatha is told to the narrator in a little park in the middle of Mysore and, to all intents and purposes, it is the same story that was told to me a little park in the middle of Mysore, some seven years ago. Essentially, it is an Indian version of the story of Greyfriar’s Bobby. If you don’t know the story, it’s the ‘true’ story of a little dog – Bobby no less – who keeps returning to the grave of his dead master in an Edinburgh church yard. There’s a Disney movie, made in the sixties, about the tale. It’s very touching.

When I got back to London I checked and there was no Iravatha. The boy I had met in Mysore had been telling stories, conflating bits and pieces of truth to create an impression, an effect. And it worked; I liked it. But what attracted me most to it was the ambiguity in its apparent simplicity and honesty.

You see, there is an account of Greyfriar’s Bobby that suggests that, rather than a heart warming account of loyalty and enduring love, it was simply a wheeze dreamed up to attract tourists to Edinburgh and in fact – a little like Lassie – a number of different dogs played the role over the years. Other versions suggest that ‘Bobby’ was just one of a number of stray dogs that hung around the cemeteries of the city, waiting for the highly emotional human visitors, who would feed them.

Now, the relationship between a mahout and his elephant is deep, often lifelong. But it is also complex and problematic. Mahouts are seldom entirely kind to the animals they train and tend and, as we know, elephants have very long memories within which to hold their grudges. I started to play with the layers of truth that might be bound up with my elephant story and, for some reason, this ambiguity made me think about a marriage.

So Being Someone became a love story: a man – let’s call him James – and a woman – let’s call her Lainey – fall in love; they get married, and then things happen, as things so often insist on doing.



Since escaping the East Midlands to find his fortune in the big city, Adrian Harvey has combined a career in and around government with trying to see as much of the world as he can. He lives in North London, which he believes to be the finest corner of the world’s greatest city. Being Someone is his first novel.


‘Being Someone’ is available to buy on Amazon – http://georiot.co/3syu

You can also buy it from http://urbanepublications.com

‘The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman’ by Denis Thériault

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman

‘The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman’ by Denis Thériault was published last Friday 12th September 2014 by Hesperus Nova, an imprint of Hesperus Press.


Secretly steaming open envelopes and reading the letters inside, Bilodo has found an escape from his lonely and routine life as a postman. When one day he comes across a mysterious letter containing only a single haiku, he finds himself avidly caught up in the relationship between a long-distance couple, who write to each other using only beautiful poetry. He feasts on their words, vicariously living a life for which he longs. But it will only be a matter of time before his world comes crashing down around him…



To celebrate the publication of Denis Thériault’s beautiful and haunting novel The Peculiar Life of  a Lonely Postman,  Hesperus Press is running a HAIKU WRITING COMPETITION in association with National Poetry Day.

Send your haiku to Hesperus Press by 26th September 2014 and you could win:

1st prize: A top quality creative writing course in London, courtesy of The Complete Creative Writing Course at the Groucho Club, London and a year’s free subscription of Hesperus Nova books
2nd prize: A year’s free subscription of Hesperus Nova books

To enter either submit your haiku via Twitter including #peculiarpostman and @hesperuspress OR Email your haiku to info@hesperuspress.com by 26th September 2014.

The winner will be announced on National Poetry Day on 2nd October 2014.


The panel of judges is made up of:

John Burnside, celebrated writer and poet who has won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Whitbread Poetry Award, the Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Andrew Shimield, committee member of the British Haiku Society.
Denis Thériault, author of The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman. 


Full terms and conditions can be found on http://www.hesperuspress.com.

Interview with John Bayliss


‘A Fistful of Seaweed’ is being published today.  John Bayliss kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.


Tell me a bit about your new book ‘A Fistful of Seaweed’.

My main character is a private detective called Springer, who operates in the sleepy (and slightly seedy) seaside town of Westerby-on-Sea. He knows he’s not the best detective in the world, and he’d much rather leave serious crimes (like murder) to the police. (In fact, the police would rather he left those sort of crimes to the police, too.) Unfortunately, his cases never seem to work out as smoothly as he would like, and he inevitably gets deeper and deeper into trouble.

In ‘A Fistful of Seaweed’ Springer has the task of searching for a missing teenage girl. At one point it appears that the girl he’s looking for doesn’t even exist – until he gets a visit from the missing girl’s big sister, who tries to persuade him to drop the case. From then on, things just spiral out of control – what with an encounter with an old adversary, a lost (possibly stolen) wallet, and a weird, space age religious cult. It’s not too long before Springer uncovers what seems to be a nasty case of people trafficking, and although he doesn’t want to get too involved, he feels obliged to do something about it. Oh, and then there’s the body of an unknown man found beneath Westerby’s historic pier, too.


Where did you get your ideas from for this novel?

Many years ago it occurred to me that most of the detectives in fiction tend to be very clever, if not hyper intelligent – think of Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot – or at least accomplished investigators.  I wondered: would it be possible to write a crime novel in which the detective wasn’t that clever? Not stupid, by any means, but just an ordinary sort of person who sometimes misses the obvious clues and gets side tracked by red herrings. Would a crime novel with such a hero work? There was only one way to find out: I had to write it for myself.

So that’s what I did, and not only did it seem to work, but it gave me the material for what could, potentially, become a series of six or seven novels. Also – as the Springer novels quickly started to take a more satirical turn – they give me the opportunity to poke a little gentle fun at some of the conventions of crime fiction, especially film noir and the ‘hard-boiled’ detective genre.


Did you have to do much research for it?

Not a great deal. I did some research into the kind of work that a real private detective does (most of it being very routine fact gathering and not particularly exciting, at least not from a novel writing point of view), and – as the novel is set into 1962 – I had to do some research to get the period details correct. For instance, I found out that a pint of beer cost around two shillings (10p in modern money).

Otherwise, ‘Westerby-on-Sea’ (the town where the novel is set) is largely a fictitious creation of my own, which means I basically make things up as I go along. The procedures followed by the Westerby-on-Sea constabulary would probably make a real policeman cringe with embarrassment – it’s a good job it’s not a real police force that I’m writing about.


How long did it take you to write ‘A Fistful of Seaweed’?

This is hard to answer, because I actually wrote the first version of ‘A Fistful of Seaweed’ some time ago, in around 2002, and that draft took around six months, I think. In that version, Springer was a serious detective in the Philip Marlowe mould – in fact, he wasn’t even called Springer in those days. I have been tinkering with the novel, on and off, ever since. The character of Springer slowly changed into what he is now, and the story evolved in some interesting ways, too. Preparing the final version took about six weeks, but by then I had several older drafts to work from, so most of the characters and the plot were already well defined. So perhaps the honest answer to your question is ‘Somewhere between six weeks and twelve years.’


Where do you do most of your writing?

Anywhere I can find a plug for my laptop. I do 99% of all my writing directly onto my laptop (if you saw my handwriting you would know why), so if there is a comfortable chair, electricity (it would be annoying to get a flat battery when inspiration is in full flow) and (preferably) a source of coffee, then I’m happy. I do like silence, however – some authors like to listen to music as they write, but I find even instrumental music a distraction.

I have a table and a chair in a nice shady nook in the garden, so, if the weather is fine, I plug in an extension lead and write there – that’s probably my favourite place to write, but the British climate tends to limit my opportunities to use it.


Would you like to see either of your novels made into a film?

Yes, I would. I wouldn’t even mind if the producers decided to relocate the film to somewhere exotic like California, or even make up an original story – just as long as the character Springer remains as I wrote him. Although I understand than an actor must be allowed to find his own way of playing the rôle, I would like the Springer on the screen to at least be recognisable as the character  I’ve written about.


Are you currently working on any other writing projects?

I am always working on other projects. I think I must have a short attention span, because to me the thought of working exclusively on one project right from start to finish, without some other project to distract me, would be utter purgatory. I can concentrate on one project for perhaps six weeks to two months until I have exhausted all my ideas; then I put that project to one side and work on something completely different for a while. When I do return to the original project, I can approach it with fresh eyes and fresh inspiration.

Just at the moment, in addition to three more Springer novels (one finished all but for a final polish, one in a rather chaotic first draft, and one in the form of a few rather sketchy ideas), I have a science-fiction novel partly complete and another novel started which I find hard to classify but will probably be considered fantasy. There are several other ideas rattling around in the back of my head, too, all desperate to get my attention and become my next big project. They are definitely going to have to wait a while, however, until I can get some of the current projects finished.


Did you always want to be a writer?

Ever since I can remember. I think I must have been around eight years old when I made my first attempt at writing a novel. I was writing Tolkien inspired fantasy epics throughout my teens and wrote my first ‘serious’ novel in my twenties – one that (at first) I thought would win literary awards and make me famous, but I quickly discovered that it was pretty awful and no one would want to read it.

I didn’t make a serious attempt to get published until comparatively recently. I have become my own harshest critic where writing is concerned and I thought that if I didn’t consider my writing good enough to be published, then I was pretty sure that a publisher wouldn’t, either.



John Bayliss was born in Staffordshire and spent most of his life in the English Midlands. He now lives in a seaside town in the West Country and still can’t get over how close he is to the beach. One of his earliest memories was writing a story in primary school, and he basically hasn’t stopped writing since. A veteran of many writers’ groups and creative writing courses, he’s tried his hand at historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy and now he’s having a stab at crime–though with a comic twist.

‘News from Westerby’ website: http://johnbaylissnovelist.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @johnbayliss5

Commando Comics

Commando has been publishing stories of action and adventure to its readers since the 1960s.  Each fortnight two brand new episodes are released under the sub titles Action and Adventure and Home of Heroes.  Two classics are also re-issued, one from 25 years ago (The Gold Collection) and one from 25 years ago (The Silver Collection).  Most books are completely self-contained but there is one set of recurring characters, the Convict Commandos.

My husband is a big fan of the Commando Comics and he was delighted when the Editor, Calum Laird sent us some comics to be reviewed.


‘Deadly Enigma’ – No. 4735


‘Deadly Enigma’ is set in the late Second World War and is just one of the stories with the Convict Commandos characters.  After a number of near-fatal missions they seem to be having a well-earned rest.  But will things stay peaceful for long?

This was a super comic.  I found the story to be very exciting and I really hope there is going to be a sequel.


‘Sea Wolf’ – No. 4736


‘Sea Wolf’ tells the story of the men in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and their dangerous missions on the Motor Gun Boats and Motor Torpedo Boats as they go into action with shore batteries and e-boats.

This comic was absolutely brilliant!  I loved the action and the story made me laugh in some places.


‘Desert Hunters’ – No. 4737


‘Desert Hunters’ follows the Long Range Desert Group.  The desert is a harsh place to be in as it is.  It’s not very easy to survive out there.  So imagine having to fight a war in one.  Unfortunately for the L.R.D.G this was the case.  Finding themselves in some very difficult situations they had a tough time especially watching out for enemy vehicles.

I thought this was a very good story.  It was fast paced and thrilling.


‘Marooned’ – No 4738


No sailor wants to be stuck on a remote island, they just want to get back to sea.  It’s even worse when that particular island is being held by Japanese soldiers who are led by a fanatical officer who refuses to believe that the war is over.

This was a fantastic and action packed story.


Out of all four stories, my favourite one was ‘Sea Wolf’.  I give it 5 out of 5.


These 63-page comics are great because they are so compact in size and can easily be taken on journeys.  The covers and the artwork inside are absolutely amazing.  Some of the comics also contain a fun crossword.

The Commando Comics are excellent and very exciting and they teach us what the men and women went through all over the world during the First and Second World Wars.  They are ideal for boys and men of all ages.


I would like to personally thank Calum Laird for sending me these comics and for signing them all.  I did remember to thank my wife for getting me these.

You’re the best, Calum.




For more information about the Commando Comics visit http://www.commandocomics.com.

Subscriptions are available in print at £150.00 per year and digital at £4.99 per month.  Alternatively these comics can be bought in branches of WHSmith and cost £2 each.

‘Shop Gossip’ by Kathryn Player


Last month Kathryn Player released ‘Shop Gossip’, a short romantic comedy.


Book Blurb

When the charity shop is in danger of closing down, the ambitious Ruth (the shop supervisor) will do anything to keep it open. One cake sale later and a disastrous encounter with a Health and Safety officer, Ruth lands herself in hot water with Head Office.  Meanwhile, Molly (a volunteer) has a stab at internet dating and Nadia (her sister) has a huge crush on the shop manager.  But does Alex feel the same? What happens when a forty seven year old married woman has another try at love?

Nadia follows Alex when he goes on a date and she narrowly avoids being arrested.  She realises that she needs to leave Alex alone so, therefore, she decides to focus on her ambition to be a successful beautician.  She is determined to make it work and doesn’t miss an opportunity to give her beauty products away.  However, the dream receives a cruel blow from the bank and just when things couldn’t get any worse, Nadia finds out her husband has been having an affair. 

Nadia starts to question things.  Is she really cut out to be a beautician? And is she too old to find someone new?  Sometimes it’s easier to go crawling back to the husband of twenty years, rather than try life on your own without an income.  Does Nadia want to take the risk?  Is love really worth it?


Author Bio


Kathryn Player was a teacher for ten years before she decided to have a career break and become a stay-at-home Mum. At the same time, she launched her debut novel, ‘Moody not Broody’, which was written three years earlier. ‘Moody not Broody’ is based on her teaching antics (experiences) over the past ten years.

Kathryn’s second book, ‘Shop Gossip’ (a short romantic comedy), is about two sisters who work in a charity shop and is based on real life stories which Kathryn’s mum has told Kathryn over the last five years.

Currently, Kathryn is working on the sequel to ‘Moody not Broody’ and hopes to release it in the summer of next year.


‘Shop Gossip’ is available on Amazon:-


‘Finding Mother’ by Anne Allen


Last year I interviewed Anne Allen and asked her about ‘Finding Mother’, the second of her Guernsey novels.  You can read my interview with her here:-


Having previously reviewed Anne’s first novel I was very interested in reading ‘Finding Mother’ and recently got round to doing so.

Nicole was just three days old when Mary and Ian Le Clerq adopted her.  Now at 35 years old Nicole’s marriage is over and she feels the need to reassess her life and find out who she really is.  So she decides to search for her natural mother.  It doesn’t take Nicole very long to find her and she is soon on her way to Guernsey.

‘Finding Mother’ is a wonderful story which follows three generations of women.  It is a tale about family relationships, secrets, second chances, love and death.

I really enjoyed Anne Allen’s first novel ‘Dangerous Waters’ and I thought it was very good, but in my opinion I would say that this book is even better.  In fact it is excellent.  I liked Anne’s writing style throughout, the way she takes the reader to many different locations and her descriptions and I thought it clever how she included a couple of the characters from her first novel in this story too.  Absolutely superb!

I loved reading about Eve’s (the grandmother’s) past.  I found her tale to be very interesting and I couldn’t wait to learn more.  How she kept things to herself for so long I really do not know.

Through book reviewing I have discovered many new authors and read some fantastic books.  I can now say that Anne Allen has been added to my list of favourite authors.  I am looking forward to reading her latest novel ‘Guernsey Retreat’ and I really hope that Anne keeps writing.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

Interview with DJ Priddle

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00055]

DJ Priddle’s debut novel ‘The Honey Trap’ is being published by Percy Publishing.  It is out on Kindle from Monday 1st September 2014 with the paperback being released on 19th September 2014.  DJ Priddle kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.


Tell me a bit about your book ‘The Honey Trap’.

The Honey Trap is a story about a ‘bad’ cop, Jonas Brock, who used to work in the Metropolitan Police Force. He has made some pretty bad decisions and ended up in prison. The story focuses on his life, and his attempts to rebuild his broken relationships, but unfortunately for him, he is not very good at it. He is selfish and broken by his own past, and continues to hurt all of the people that he cares for the most. Jonas takes on some private investigator work, but is soon out of his depth with an enormous fraud case and unexplained murder.


How long did it take you to write it?

I did a lot of reading and learning before I sat down to write the book. I looked at a lot of advice pages and blogs to try to learn the process, and one quote that stuck in my mind throughout, was from Stephen King. He said, “If you haven’t finished it in three months then it’s not worth keeping.” I used this as my own rule and kept to his guidelines. I built the story in my mind for the first month and then got it down on paper in the second month. It is at this point when the real writing starts, because most people will find that the first draft is terrible. Only a small handful of people will have the perfect first draft, but for most of us, it is just a written barrage of nonsensical ideas. I edited for the third month, crossing things out and screwing up whole pages of drivel, before only keeping what works. It is very difficult to know when to stop editing, it is easy to become hyper critical of your own work, so I listened to a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci and it became my mantra, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”


Did you have to do any research?

Yes. Lots. ‘The Honey Trap’ is about things that I knew nothing about. While the story line (I hope) is about human interaction and relationships, the setting was new to me. I am a huge fan of British TV police dramas and wanted to explore those dark ideas. As I began to build Jonas Brock’s back-story, I decided that to know as much about him as possible, I would write short biographies of each of his close family. In each case, I researched the historical details of their lives, such as his mother’s role as a female in the MET throughout the sixties and seventies, and also the closure of the London cargo docks. Although very little of this research appeared in the book, I found that it gave me a far better insight into the environment that Jonas was part of.

I also enlisted the help of a friend, who works in the police force, to ensure that the procedural information was correct.


Did you always want to write?

It was not that always wanted to write, I just did. Since I was young, I’ve always enjoyed creative writing. Throughout school I wrote short stories and enjoyed studying English Literature and the Greek Classics. I had two English teachers at high school who were a huge inspiration to me, and their passion for the classic writings of Sophocles, Homer, Harper Lee and Shakespeare meant that I really engaged with them. I remember closing my eyes as they would read the books aloud to the class, and letting the ideas and images fill my brain. I was inspired by the way that the characters interacted with each other. The main storyline always felt merely like a top layer of a much more complex idea, to me, and that is what I wished to create in my own writing. As I got older, I continued to write, but never completed anything. I realised that I did not know how to write a story, to the end. I did not have the focus or the attention span to see it through. So, I had to retrain my brain and learn the craft of ‘long-distance’ writing.


Are you working on any other writing projects?

I am currently working on the follow up second and third book of the series. After finishing ‘The Honey Trap’ I realised that I had only really finished the very beginning of the story. The story is bigger than I had originally planned, and Jonas has a long way to go before his own journey is complete. I began planning the second book, ‘Blood Runs Deep,’ at the end of June this year, but as I was planning, I soon found that book two and three were so closely intertwined, that they would have to be written together. It has become a very complex story, with a great deal more characters to introduce, and I think that the only way to stay true to the original idea is to write them both, and then split them into two books.


What advice do you have for anyone wishing to write their first novel?

My advice would probably go on for pages and pages, but I will try to be brief.

  1. Learn how to write. By this I mean, don’t assume that the idea in your head will spill out onto the pages fully formed. This is rarely the case. The mind is a collection of ideas and images, connected by the thinnest and delicate threads. On paper, these ideas are less than appealing to a reader. Take the time to learn the process. There is now so much information out there from authors, teachers and editors. Trawl the Internet and you can find help groups and lessons on how other people have gone about it. I read the ‘Dramatica Theory of Story Structure,’ an idea that the story has its own mind and personality predetermined by the storytelling, and tried to implement some of its ideas into my own writing. Read anything on the Internet called, ‘How to write a novel,’ or similar and learn whatever you can.
  2. Plan! Plan! Plan! The more time that you dedicate to planning your book the better you will understand it. If you don’t know the story, how can you ever expect to narrate it to your reader? Readers are as fickle as you are, and they will quickly see through a writer who is ‘making it up as they go along.’ So, you have to believe what you are writing. Know your backdrop, understand your story and feel your characters. Laugh with them, get angry with them and cry with them. It will make the story more believable for your reader.
  3. Probably the most important advice of all is, Write. Nobody wrote a novel by staring at a computer screen. It is true that everyone has a novel inside them, but what is the main difference between them and an author? The author actually finished it.

So, sit and tap away at the keyboard, and give yourself permission to be exceptionally bad at it. Write rubbish, use terrible grammar, make spelling mistakes and lose your storyline to go on a worthless tangent, but do not stop, until its finished. Then, and only then, edit. Writing and editing are different processes; do not confuse them as one. When you write, you do just that. No sooner than the idea is formed in your mind, it is shot out of your fingertips and onto the page. Editing is a slow and analytical process, and in my opinion, where the real storytelling happens. Each sentence is taken apart, one word at a time, and reconstructed to flow and to entice the reader to read on. Write hot, edit cold. Write freely without censoring yourself in any way. Allow those creative ideas to rush out of your psyche, and hopefully you will create something wonderful. Edit as if it is the worst story that you have ever read. Be harsh, show no mercy and do not spare your feelings. Sometimes in an edit, you will have to get rid of ideas that you have come to care about. You will kill off characters, lose whole scenes of amazing creativity, and sometimes you will be sad to see them go. However, if it does not move the narrative forward, then you need to get rid of it. Be prepared to kill those ideas. Do not get precious about them. What you have at the end could be the greatest work of fiction that the world has ever seen, it probably is not, but that ‘maybe’ is hope enough for any author.


What do you like doing in your spare time?

I’m the lead singer of a rock band. No really, I am. My wife and I run a wedding and function band, and I’m the front man. I travel the country in an old transit van and perform on stage. When I am not doing that, I write press releases for an independent PR company and I present a show on local radio. I live with my wife and three daughters, which mean that my spare time is filled very quickly with DIY, day’s out and dad duties. If after all of that, I have any time left, I might watch a film.


About DJ Priddle


DJ Priddle has worked as a professional musician and actor since leaving school and drawing from his experiences from performing.  As well as filming with BBC and ITV, he has always been a keen writer of lyrics, scripts and short stories, and now his love of crime thrillers and dark fantasy novels has helped him to pursue his own professional writing career.

Now he performs weekly in a top UK function band as well as presenting on local radio, while working as a full time writer.

He lives on the Isle of Wight with his wife and three young daughters.


‘The Honey Trap’ will be available to buy on Amazon and can currently be pre-ordered:-




‘The Mill River Redemption’ by Darcie Chan


Today is the first day of this blog tour in which we are celebrating Darcie Chan’s second novel, ‘The Mill River Redemption’ which is being published tomorrow by Sphere.



I was asked if I would like to review ‘The Mill River Redemption’.  I had never heard of Darcie Chan until then but the book sounded both interesting and intriguing so I decided to give it a go especially as it is recommended for fans of Maeve Binchy whose books I absolutely love.

Josie DiSanti had no idea about what was about to happen and she certainly didn’t expect to lose her husband.  With no way to support herself and her two young children, Josie has little choice but to go and live in the small town of Mill River with her Aunt Ivy.  Rose and Emily, Josie’s daughters, are totally inseparable and look out for each other whilst they are growing up.  But then something tragic and unforgiveable happens which tears the two sisters apart and they go their own separate ways.

Many years later, Rose and Emily are contacted with news that their mother has died and they find themselves back in Mill River for the reading of her will.  Josie tried her best to get her daughters talking again but was unsuccessful in her attempts.  Still determined she has left them a task in which she hopes they will work together and reconcile their differences.  In order to comply with her wishes Rose and Emily must move to Mill River and live in neighbouring houses.  The two sisters reluctantly get on with the task at hand.  But will they succeed in completing it and will it bring them together?

I really liked the cover.  The colours go well together and it is such a lovely peaceful image.  I wouldn’t of minded living in one of those houses.  Set in 2013, this novel goes back and forth from 1983 onwards so that the reader gets to learn the whole story.  The chapters which are based in the past are clearly marked.

Out of the two sisters, Emily was my favourite.  I found it hard to warm to Rose even though she had issues and needed help desperately.  I absolutely loved Aunt Ivy and reading about her bookstore.  I could have spent hours in there!  I wasn’t sure what I thought about the twist towards the end of the story.  It was a bit of a shocker and rather drastic.

This story is about family, love, forgiveness and facing up to your problems.

Having enjoyed ‘The Mill River Redemption’, I do hope to get round to reading ‘The Mill River Recluse’ at some point soon as it is about one of the earlier character’s mentioned in this story.

I give this book 4 out of 5.



Darcie Chan is the New York Times bestselling author of The Mill River Recluse. Her second novel, The Mill River Redemption, is also set in the fictional town of Mill River. Darcie has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. She writes fiction full-time and lives just north of New York City with her husband and son.

Follow her on twitter @DarcieChan


‘The Mill River Redemption’ by Darcie Chan (Sphere) is available as an eBook from tomorrow.

Interview with Mary Papas

Mary Papas

Mary Papas has written several flash fiction stories for various online journals and websites.  She expressed an interest in being interviewed for my blog.



You have published two anthologies and one novel.  Can you tell me a bit about them?

I haven’t published a novel. I have published 3 anthologies and one single short story. My first anthology, ”Take Off Your Mask” is about people who pretend to be something they are not and eventually have to make a decision: Will they keep doing it, or will they have to show who they really are? My anthology “14 Twisted Tales to Enthrall” is a collaboration with author Ray Tullett (I have written 7 stories, he has written the other 7). The stories in this anthology are about twisted characters, living twisted lives. Mothers in law from hell, gold diggers, bitter ex’s turned into enemies all meet in this book.

Also, I recently published a new anthology called ”Murder”. Several authors participate besides me in this anthology and all stories involve a murder. A murder planned, a murder on impulse, a murder framed on someone else.Last but not least, I have a single funny short story called ”The Wannabe Author” . In this story, I talk about a new aspiring author who secretly writes her first novel while working at an office, doing a job she hates with colleagues she hates for a boss she also hates. She has no training, no idea about social media but still thinks she can be a star.   I tried to talk in a funny way about the various mistakes a new author can make.


What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on a new anthology that will be titled ”Valentine’s Day” and will have stories about Valentine’s Day and the different  way several couples spend that day.


When are you aiming to publish your next book?

”Valentine’s Day” will be ready at the end of the summer.


Have you always wanted to write?

I was always an avid reader, so writing came naturally to me as a form of expression (don’t all avid readers want to become authors?) I love that through writing I get to be author, director, actor and reader, all at once.  I love playing all those different roles and creating new worlds.


What are you currently reading?

I tend to read what I write, which is mostly short stories and flash fiction stories. I enjoy the fast pace and the tight structure and development; because of the  limited word count in flash fiction and short stories, there is no room to ramble on, you have to focus strictly on  what is really  important. Also, because I like to read a lot, short stories work best for me, as I get to finish them sooner.  I read simultaneously several stories, both to read more and to broaden my horizons, currently I am reading  the anthologies ” A Kind of Mad Courage” and  ” Stories to Read on the Train”.



You can purchase Mary Papas books on Amazon:-

Blog – http://papasmary2013.blogspot.gr/


‘Dance with the Enemy’ by Rob Sinclair + Competition


Earlier this year Rob Sinclair published his debut novel ‘Dance with the Enemy’.  The first in a trilogy, the second book should be published next year.


Book Blurb

Carl Logan was the perfect agent. A loner, with no real friends or family, he was trained to deal with any situation with cold efficiency, devoid of emotion. But Logan isn’t the man he used to be, or the asset he once was. Five months ago his life changed forever when he was captured, tortured and left for dead by Youssef Selim, one of the world’s most violent terrorists. When Selim mysteriously reappears in Paris, linked to the kidnapping of America’s Attorney General, Logan smells his chance for revenge. Pursuing his man relentlessly, oblivious to the growing trail of destruction that he leaves in his wake, Logan delves increasingly deep into the web of lies and deceit surrounding the kidnapping. Finally, he comes to learn just what it means to Dance with the Enemy.


Author Bio


Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller.

Dance with the Enemy, the story of embattled intelligence agent Carl Logan, is Rob’s first published novel and the first in a trilogy of novels following Carl Logan.

The second novel in the series is planned for release in 2015. Rob is a qualified accountant. He has worked for a global accounting firm since graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.


‘Dance with the Enemy is available to buy on Amazon.  Click on the links below:-







Three very lucky people have the chance to win a signed paperback copy of ‘Dance with the Enemy’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what books you have bought or won recently.


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 7th September 2014.

Winners will be notified within 7 days and their details will be passed on to Rob Sinclair who will send out your prizes.


Good luck! :-)

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