A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “May, 2015”

Interview with Hannah Fielding + Excerpt

Indescretion cover

Hannah Fielding recently published her latest novel, ‘Indiscretion’.  Hannah’s new book sounds wonderful and I was really keen to interview her.


Can you tell me a bit about your new novel please?

Although a standalone romance novel, Indiscretion is the first book in the Andalucian Nights Trilogy, the saga of a Spanish aristocratic family that spans 70 years, from 1950 to the present day. It is the story of a young woman’s journey of discovery that takes her to a world of forbidden passion, savage beauty and danger.

The setting is spring 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a half-English, half-Spanish writer, abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to reunite with her long-estranged family.

Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are riven with seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra. Among the strange characters and sultry heat of this country, she meets a man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events, and inevitable indiscretions.

What does Alexandra’s destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured onto the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed señoritas hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?

Indiscretion is a story of love and identity, and the clash of ideals in the pursuit of happiness. Can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away?


Is Andalucia as exotic as it sounds? 

Of all the regions I visited in Spain, Andalucia was the place that captivated me the most and that is why I set my story there. All year you find azure skies, dazzling sunshine and sweetly fragranced gardens… colour, romance, emotion and the flamboyant figure of a flamenco dancer or the torero in the arena, sword and cape in hand, beneath the scorching sun.

For me Andalucia, and especially Granada and Seville where the action of Indiscretion takes place, is overflowing with bygone charm. Located in southern Spain, it has a distinctive exuberant culture influenced by its hot Mediterranean climate and the country’s long ruling by the Moors. For seven centuries its history was intertwined with that of the Berbers and Arabs who crossed from North Africa to Spain and founded Al-Andalus, their rutilant empire.

Andalucia’s fiestas and ferias are charged with music and dance, conjuring an image of open air, moonlight sky and all the aromas that a warm summer’s night has to offer. Women in bright-coloured dresses and silk shawls carrying rainbow-painted fans in brilliant designs, the ladies’ secret language of love. Courting couples on horseback or dancing the most evocative sevillanas. The crowded little terraces underneath the orange trees that dot the pavements and the maze of winding, narrow streets that provide shade from the hot sun. The dazzling, quaint pueblos blancos, white-washed villages hanging on steep cliffs, their houses huddled around a ruined Moorish castle, piercing the deep blue sky. The peasants working in the fields, with their sparkling black eyes and their faces weathered like the bark of the native olive trees in the breathtakingly dramatic landscapes. The wide avenues lined with spectacular purple Jacaranda trees. The splendour of the magnificent buildings and monuments. These are some of my sources of inspiration that portray the vibrant world and fruitful diversity of the culture of Spain; but they are only the tip of the iceberg.

The people of Andalusia are fun loving, friendly and hospitable. They love to eat, sing and dance. Laidback, they are never in a hurry. If you don’t make it today, there is always mañana, tomorrow. If you take a walk to the market place in the early evening you can watch the paseo, a stroll around the square in which young people socialise with each other.

The siesta passed, people meet on the streets and in bars that overflow with laughter and noisy discussions. Experience the tapear, going from one bar to another for drinks and tapas, an essential part of the social culture of Spain. Enjoy with the Spaniards, who will immediately accept any stranger into their midst, a glass of Manzanilla or Fino Sherry with exquisite tapas, small savoury snack dishes served at little tables, standing up at the bar or even sitting on upturned barrels.


How long did it take you to write this book?

Like most of my books, Indiscretion took me nine months to write, including the research. But I had been to Spain already many times before that and had read extensively about its history, culture, customs and traditions over the years.


Where do you get your wonderful ideas from? 

‘Write about what you know’ is advice often given to authors and I totally agree with this. Place holds such power to colour a story, and I believe any story must be firmly rooted in the ‘where’. So essential to my work is research, not only passive through the internet and books, but physical, by travelling to the places where I am setting my story.

I have always been a writer who pays keen attention to setting; to describing carefully sights and sounds and smells and tastes and textures. Since childhood I’ve loved writers who really paint a scene in your mind, and I knew when I started writing romance that I wanted to transport my readers to the time and place in which I situate the story.

I have written several novels now, and vivid setting is a common factor across each. These are books born of my travels; of poking around in back streets and cafes; of meeting locals and exploring landscapes – and, of course, of reading extensively on cultures. My aim is to transport readers to places I’ve visited and loved. In a way, I am sharing my happy experiences with the person who has done me the honour of reading my book.


Would you like to see any of your books made into films?

Of course. I think it is most authors’ fondest dream… and I dream!


Do you get to visit many exotic locations? 

I love to set my writing in vibrant, beautiful countries. Burning Embers is set in Kenya, The Echoes of Love is set in Venice, Tuscany and Sardinia, and Indiscretion’s backdrop is the flamboyant countryside of Spain and its fiery people. I have since written books set on the Greek Isles, in Luxor and the desert in Egypt, the French Riviera and Lake Como.

I am lucky enough to have travelled extensively over the years, and I infuse my books with my memories of places. But where possible, I do try to visit the setting of the book I’m currently writing to immerse myself entirely in its history and culture, meet the people and experience the cuisine. I drink in the sights and sounds and smells and the very feel of the place so I can render an honest painting of the surroundings in which my characters will evolve.


Where do you do most of your writing? 

My 19th-century Georgian house in Kent, England, is a couple of miles away from the sea and from the rolling countryside around Dover Castle. I love the house because it’s my home: the place I always return to, where my children grew up and where I have spent my happiest years. In summer the weather is temperate and balmy, just as I like it; and the garden, with its orchard and its giant beech trees, is a picture postcard. The autumn and winter months bring their own charm. In autumn, when the leaves of our trees turn vibrant yellows, oranges, ambers and even crimsons, I sit under one of those trees, breathe the pure air and gaze in peaceful silence at the amazing view or go for long walks in the countryside, conjuring up my romantic plots. When it snows, the landscape changes yet again and the views of my village are breathtaking. At that time, there is no better feeling than snuggling in an armchair in front of a log fire with a book.

For the other half of the year I live in France, on the southern coast of Provence in the county of Var. My house there is a mas and has a totally different feel to it than my home in England, being modern with stone floors and flimsy voile curtains. I love that part of France because of the wonderfully warm weather, the brilliant colours of the vegetation, the Mediterranean sea with its ever-changing blues and golden sandy beaches, the array of local fish and fruits and vegetables you find at the open-air stalls in the marketplace and the happy-go-lucky, friendly people. For me my home in France spells sun, blue skies, a swim in the sea, and writing in a room with a wide picture window overlooking the ocean.


Describe a day in your life.

I’m an early riser, and the first thing I do in the morning is two and a half hours of marketing for my writing – emails, social media, blogging and so on.

At eight thirty I have a bubble bath (I prefer baths to showers) and dress. Next I have a large cup of hot chocolate in winter and in summer a double expresso/Americano coffee with milk and a lump of brown sugar.

Once my chores have been dealt with, I sit at my desk and write solidly until one o’clock, lunchtime. Lunch is half an hour, and then I go back to my desk – unless it’s a lovely day, in which case I take a walk before returning to work. I write until supper time at seven o’clock.

At eight o’clock you’ll find me either reading, watching a film or, if I’m still inspired and haven’t finished the set work for the day, I write for a little longer at my computer.



Like me, this interview has probably left you wanting more.  Below is an excerpt from ‘Indiscretion’.



For the week leading up to the masked ball, confusion had reigned on the ground floor at El Pavón. Servants had shifted out furniture, rolled up carpets, prepared tables for the buffet in the dining room, and chandeliers, wall sconces, columns and cornices had been decorated with garlands of bright roses interspersed with jasmine and orange blossom from the garden. As the evening began, and the sweeping strings of ballroom music filled the hacienda, El Pavón seemed transformed into a magical palace.

Although the ball was in full swing as dusk gave way to night, cars were still arriving. They stopped at the foot of the stairs with a rasp of gravel and young drivers in dark-grey suits and caps leapt out to open the doors.

In the garden, an array of colourful lanterns hung from arbours, dangled between fruit trees, encircling the fountains and pools, twinkling with light. While in the great ballroom, overlooking the east-facing gardens, Doña María Dolores’ guests, attired in all sorts of disguises, drank, joked and glided happily on the polished oak dancefloor.

The ballroom was long and rectangular, taking up the entire length of the house. At each end, French doors opened out on to terraces stocked with exotic plants. Down one side, more windows led to the wide green lawn at the side of the hacienda. High mirrors hung between the windows, framed with gilded beading. Supported on marble columns was a gallery with a wrought-iron balustrade where musicians in evening dress were playing romantic dance melodies from tangos to Viennese waltzes.

Alexandra paused on the threshold of the vast room, a trifle overwhelmed by the grand spectacle. All the guests wore masks of velvet, satin or lace, giving them a mysterious air. She watched for a moment as Ondine, Goddess of the Northern Seas, leant against a column, lost in a dream, her head slightly tilted to one side. In her long tunic of turquoise silk sprinkled with iridescent sequins, she appeared to have just risen from the depths of the ocean, her beautiful golden hair draped gracefully about her bare shoulders. A torero in black silk breeches, drawn in at the hips, with a waistcoat brocaded with silk, knee-length stockings and shiny flat shoes, gazed at her. Just as he had decided to approach, another gallant figure, Oreste, bearing his father’s sword in his belt, swooped in first and, bowing deeply before her, drew her on to the dancefloor. They passed a maharani wearing a magnificent sari of dark gold brocade, who was walking towards the veranda arm-in-arm with a American Indian in a headdress of multi-coloured feathers and a jacket of brown suede.

A hand tapped Alexandra’s shoulder. Startled, she turned, almost bumping into a couple of waiters carrying trays laden with appetizing tapas and small glasses of fino sherry. The intruder was a musketeer in a wide soft hat, loose breeches and a leather doublet. A black mask hid his twinkling eyes but she recognized the beaming smile.

‘Well, Cousin,’ he said cheerfully, ‘I didn’t have to search very long to find the most beautiful girl at the ball. I told you I could spot you under any disguise.’

She smiled at Ramón, happy to find a friend in this sea of masked strangers, but it was difficult to concentrate on what he was saying. Her eyes were scouring the dancefloor, eagerly scrutinizing the whirling couples from behind her velvet mask. What, or more precisely who, was she looking for, exactly? After all, she knew nothing of the mysterious Conde, except that he had a deep and seductive voice. Recalling it made her pulse run faster and her knees slightly weak. Could the peculiar episode at Mascaradas have been merely a foolish jest designed to mystify her? Surely Old Jaime would not have taken part in a practical joke? She started with indignation at the idea she might be the victim of some prank. Yet, the more she thought about it, the more that seemed improbable. It would be an expensive joke to play, after all. No, the sheer cost of her beautiful costume had to be proof of the generosity and admiration of her romantic stranger.

As the evening progressed and there was still no sign of the mysterious Conde, Alexandra was forced to admit that she must have been the victim of a practical joke. It was gone eleven o’clock, surely he would have shown up by now if he was going to? Putting aside her disappointment, she told herself it had all been merely a captivating puzzle, one that had fired her romantic imagination and aroused her yearning for adventure, nothing more. At least she had some ideas for her new hero, she reminded herself, and decided to enter fully into the festive spirit, now that she had given up on her elusive stranger.

She didn’t notice the oriental prince, wearing a costume similar in style and colour to her own, observing her quizzically from a far-off corner of the room.

A pierrot in a black-and-white silk suit with a collar of pleated tulle and a bonnet decorated with black pompons asked Alexandra for a dance. She allowed him to move her around the dancefloor, with only half an ear on the eager conversation he was making as she took in the sea of colourful guests. It was almost midnight. Don Felipe was paying court to a shepherdess in a crinoline gown. Further along the room Mercedes, disguised as a bluebell, wearing a crown of tiny blue flowers and a dress with a bodice of green velvet and an organdie skirt, with petals of periwinkle blue, was squabbling with Electra, who was sulking in a corner. Isis and Osiris were discussing something with a pretty redhead in Savoy costume.

Alexandra was once again aware of the pierrot, who drew her closer to him. ‘Soon it will be midnight,’ he whispered into her ear, ‘and the lights will go out—’

‘Excuse me señor, I’ve come to collect my wife,’ interrupted a deep, warm voice. Alexandra smothered a gasp. Her heart gave such a jolt she thought it might leap out of her mouth.

The first notes of a Strauss waltz began. Before she could recover, the stranger swung Alexandra into his arms, holding her so tightly to him she was unable to lift her head to see his face. The blood pounded in her veins. She was conscious of his strong, sinuous length against her and the turmoil of her own body as his warmth soaked into her, adding to the heat welling up inside her like a furnace. Her temple brushed against his jaw; his skin was smooth. He smelled of soap, mint and tobacco, indefinably masculine. As they twirled around the dancefloor, Alexandra was carried away by an overpowering tide that left her light-headed, almost breathless. It was as though she were under a spell, a bewitching charm of the mind and senses that had no place in the dictionary of her experience.

Eventually, the giddy whirlwind ended and they found themselves on the terrace. In contrast to the brightly lit ballroom they had left, it was bathed in an almost unreal, diaphanous light from the moon and the glowing lanterns in the trees. They waltzed in silence for a few more minutes, taking in the melancholy softness of the night.

‘I owe you an apology for stepping in just now but I could see no other way of tearing you away from the arms of your too-forward partner,’ he said, in those same ardent, deep tones that had so haunted Alexandra over the past few days.

She caught her breath, unable to reply immediately and all the while hoping he wasn’t aware of the urgent beating of her heart. He still held on to her firmly and she could only look up at him with a smile. The moon disappeared behind a cloud, shadowing his features.

The stranger was almost a head taller than Alexandra. Under his light cloak she could see that his costume was very much like hers. It was in a similar cloth of pure, ivory-coloured silk, yet less decorated. His head was clad in a plain turban, which entirely concealed his hair. In the wide faja, the silk band that clasped his waist, he had placed a navaja, much like the ones Alexandra had noticed at the station in Puerto de Santa María on the day of her arrival, the difference being his was set with genuine precious stones. His shoulders were broad; his embrace firm and close.

As a shaft of moonlight fell briefly on his face, Alexandra’s heart missed a beat. In spite of the half-shadow and the narrow mask shielding his tanned features, she recognized the stranger she had seen on the seafront and then in the Church of Santa María: the man on the prayer stool who had so deeply disturbed her. So it was the same man after all. One man who now made something inside her thrill deliciously at his nearness.

Somewhere far off, a clock struck midnight. An owl hooted, as if in response. The air was fragrant with the sweet smell of jasmine and orange blossom. Masks fell and shouts of joy burst from all sides under a shower of confetti.

The oriental prince leaned his head forward towards his sultana.

‘Will you allow me, señorita?’ he whispered, his lean fingers with infinite gentleness removing her velvet mask. His gaze delved deeply into her large, glowing green irises, reading the emotion in her upturned face as her body yielded helplessly to his touch. A rush of blood coursed wildly through Alexandra’s veins as his hand once more slipped about her waist, pausing before pulling her against him.


About Hannah Fielding

Portrait of Hannah Fielding and photos of where she writes.

Portrait of Hannah Fielding and photos of where she writes.

Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.

To date, Hannah has published three novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya, 1970; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in turn-of-the-millennium Italy; and Indiscretion, her fieriest novel yet, set in 1950s Spain.



Social links

Website: www.hannahfielding.net

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/fieldinghannah

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fieldinghannah

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5333898.Hannah_Fielding


Purchase links

Amazon.co.uk; Amazon.com; Barnes & Noble


Guest Post by Carol Wyer

grumpy_cover front

Today I have the lovely Carol Wyer on my blog.  Her new book, ‘Grumpies On Board’ is out today and to coincide with its release Carol has written a very entertaining guest post.


I live with a genuine Mister Grumpy. He makes Victor Meldrew look like one of the Chuckle Brothers. He is very, very grumpy. Grumpy people do not like holidays. They don’t like too much sun. They don’t like sitting by pools surrounded by families and children and they don’t like getting old.

I discovered years ago, the only way to drag my grumpy guts away was to offer him an alternative holiday. He needs stimulating and entertaining on holiday. He needs to explore places, be outdoors, learn facts and most of all enjoy new experiences. Guess what? He isn’t the only one who wants to enjoy adventure or active holidays.

Over 50s are turning their backs on poolside or even rambling holidays or cruises and are seeking challenges while we are still fit and active enough to enjoy them. Many are trying out glamping or gap years, backpacking around Australia or Thailand. We are willing to consider a polar expedition, go on a yodeling holiday, crew a tall ship, climb a mountain, try out bungee jumping in New Zealand, quad biking in Morocco, travel the Extra- Terrestial Highway in the USA on a motorbike, head off for a night in a converted whisky barrel and we might even be interested in Zero Gravity trips into space. We want to grab opportunities and see the world. We want to travel further, more often and stay away for longer.

ferrari surfing1


Grumpies On Board offers a vast range of holiday possibilities—including staying in a snowball to watch the Northern Lights or learning to become a Ninja—some fascinating trivia, some super jokes (yes, honest) some true anecdotes (sorry Grumpy. I know I should have kept quiet) and comments from Mr and Mrs Grumpy about each holiday choice. It is the best travel guide you will ever have and should make you laugh.

So, I’d like to off you your own personal invitation to join the Smile High Club and purchase a copy of Grumpies On Board out today.


Why not add something exciting to your ‘book it’ list? After all, we only live once!

Available to order from all bookshops or

Amazon UK


Amazon US


Safkhet Publishing



Grumpies On Board

A “book it” list like no other, with humorous suggestions for extreme active ageing trips and why grumpies should not go snuffle trunting

Fancy a holiday with a difference? Then pack your bags and get ready for some extreme active ageing. Us ‘older’ folk are heading away from the traditional hotel holiday and at last, having fun!

This humorous guide, compiled by Mr and Mrs Grumpy, offers alternatives to the usual holiday—from sensible to outrageous—to suit every grumpy guts.

Learn about Arctic boot camps, ayurvedic retreats, drumming holidays, ice blokarting, motoring experiences, skijorking, tubing, Vespa excursions, voodoo trips and discover why Mr Grumpy will never go truffle hunting again.

With over 300 suggestions of how to get the best out of your vacation and live life to the maximum, this book aims to inspire and entertain.

Read it and put some choices on your “book it” list. After all, you only live once!

Guest Post by Sunny Singh

Book Cover

I would like to introduce you all to Sunny Singh whose latest novel, ‘Hotel Arcadia’ was recently published.  Sunny has written a very interesting guest post for my blog.


I have always been fascinated by love stories, although not necessarily of the prince-and-princess kind. As a child, I found those boring, mostly because the princess rarely got to be anything more than pretty and passive. I remember complaining that all the princesses did was to sit about and wait. And I was convinced that I would not like any man who fell in love with such women.

At the same time, as a child growing up in India during the Cold War, I also had a lot of Russian books, especially beautiful illustrated editions of fairy tales. I preferred the love stories in those Russian fairy tales because the women were smart, wise, brave, and even able to “journey through three times nine lands to the thirtieth kingdom, wear out three pairs of iron shoes, break three iron staves, and gnaw away at three church-loaves of stone’ in their persistence (this line is from one of my absolute favourite stories called ‘The Feather of Finist the Falcon’).

The Russian love stories also made more sense to me as they are not only about romantic love but also about love for family, friends, even entire peoples and kingdoms. Even the fairy stories of romantic love were more complicated as they included aspects of ethics, courage, and complicated dilemmas. As an adult, I continue to seek out and read such love stories.

At the same time, I realised quite a long time ago that I never felt fully satisfied with the stories I read. There was always a sense of discontent with characters, or plotlines, or themes. So even as a child, I would write myself into the stories I loved, or entirely rewrite them in the back of my school notebooks, to be the way I wanted.

As an adult and writer, I continue to do the same. I write the stories I want to read, especially the love stories that will make me smile, weep, and smile again, even through tears. And this is why, for me, Hotel Arcadia is first and foremost a love story.

It is a story of two damaged, vulnerable, people who are brought together by circumstances beyond their control.  Sam and Abhi – my two main characters – connect with each other in ways that most of us can only dream of. They are, despite their differences, kindred spirits, or the two halves of that proverbial orange.  They complete each other on emotional, psychological, even moral levels, and which is why their intimacy is so intense and urgent.

For me, love is about bringing out the best within ourselves. In those Russian fairy tales I read as a child, great love involved wisdom and courage, as well as passion. In Hotel Arcadia, Sam can reach out to comfort Abhi with complete unconditional acceptance, and that is something he has never fully experienced or expected. At the same time, Abhi can break through all of Sam’s protective shields and remind her of her humanity, coax her into revealing how much she cares, even when it is at a huge cost to herself.  In different ways, their love for each other is necessary for Sam and Abhi to reach their best selves.

Regardless of how the book ends, I am convinced that the two of them would break through ‘three iron shoes, break three iron staves, and gnaw through bread of stone’ to reach, and rescue, each other. And to me, that is true love.  It is this kind of love that can save Sam and Abhi. And all of us.


About Sunny Singh 


SUNNY SINGH was born in India and was educated in India, USA, and Spain.  She has worked as a journalist and management executive in Mexico, Chile, and South Africa, and is currently based in London.  Her debut novel,  Nani’s Book of Suicides , was described as a “first novel of rare scope and power.” The Spanish translation of the novel won the inaugural Mar de Letras prize in 2003. Her second book, a work of non-fiction titled  Single in the City: The Independent Woman’s Handbook  (2001), was a first-of-its-kind exploration of single women in contemporary India” while her second novel,  With Krishna’s Eyes  (2006), has been commended for its “profound insight” and described as “memorable”.  Her short stories have been published by prestigious international literary journals including The Drawbridge and World Literature Today.  Her creative nonfiction and academic writing has been published across the world in key journals and anthologies. She also writes for newspapers and magazines, in Spanish and English, across the globe  She is finalising a book on Bollywood star, Amitabh Bachchan, for BFI.  Her latest novel, Hotel Arcadia, has been published by Quartet Books.

Photo credit is: Walter White.



Sunny Singh’s Website – www.sunnysingh.net

Book Trailer for ‘Hotel Arcadia – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a5XxgqgkX8

Book Promotion – ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’ by Julia Roberts


‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’  is the first book in The Liberty Sands Trilogy.  It was published yesterday as an eBook.

From Monday 25th May until Sunday 7th June a blog tour will be taking place to celebrate Julia Roberts debut novel.  Read on to find out more about the book.  There is also a very interesting author bio and some useful links.


Book Blurb

Holly Wilson has landed a dream job but there is one proviso… she must keep it secret, and that means telling lies. Holly hates telling lies.

Her latest assignment has brought her to the paradise island of Mauritius where she meets a British couple, Robert and Rosemary, who share a tragic secret of their own.

The moment they introduce Holly to handsome writer, Philippe, she begins to fall in love, something she hasn’t allowed herself to do for twenty years.

But Philippe has not been completely honest either and when Holly stumbles across the truth, she feels totally betrayed.


About Julia Roberts

Author Picture

Julia Roberts was born in Nottingham in 1956 and shortly afterwards, in 1957, contracted the deadly disease Poliomyelitis, more commonly known as Polio. After a five month stay quarantined in hospital she was discharged on Christmas Eve with her left leg in a calliper. Thanks to extensive physiotherapy, swimming lessons, and persistent parents, who wanted their daughter to be able to walk through her life unaided, Julia was out of her calliper by the age of 3.

It was at primary school that Julia’s creative and performance abilities began to shine through. Having started ballet classes at the age of three, again to help with strengthening her left leg, she was unable to attend for two years due to the death of her grandma and her mother’s ill health. Julia recommenced dancing lessons across multiple styles at the age of 9, and also began elocution lessons. She was very successful in the Nottingham Speech and Drama festivals and also in a variety of dancing competitions. At the age of ten she wrote her first play which was performed by fellow classmates at Jesse Gray School, and buoyed by that success she entered a short story writing competition, with her creation The Foundling, and was awarded second place.

Despite the challenges of a weak leg, Julia had decided that she wanted to become a professional dancer. Summer Seasons, pantomimes, a Caribbean cruise, and a stint at a theatre in Barcelona followed before Julia hung up her dancing shoes and moved into television. Initially she hit the screen as a TV extra before gaining small acting roles in TV shows such as Citizen Smith and many television commercials.  In addition to her on screen parts, Julia also secured a recording contract in the early 1980s with a band called Jools and The Fools.

As the 1980s fitness boom gripped the nation, Julia began teaching fitness classes to supplement her income before becoming one of the original hostesses on the game show The Price is Right in 1983. After 2 series of the show, Julia had a production of her own…her son, Daniel. He was followed 13 months later by her daughter, Sophie, which led her to take a short career break.

During this time, Julia decided to try her hand at television presenting, landing herself the role of chat show host for her local channel in Croydon. One of the shows she presented weekly was entitled Palace Chatback and this led her to become an avid Crystal Palace supporter. She also produced and presented features about her team for Sky Sports.

In 1993, she auditioned to become a presenter for a shopping channel called QVC and, having been offered the job, was one of the first faces to launch the channel on 1st October the same year. Julia has worked there ever since whilst continuing presenting roles for Sky Sports and several corporate productions.

Author Picture 2

Having battled against Polio as a young child, Julia had a new health challenge to face as, in April 2012, she was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. CML as it more commonly known is a rare type of blood cancer which affects only 600 people per year in the UK. Julia responded well to the early stages of her treatment but in November 2012, her BCR/ABL results showed an increase in the levels of the disease. It was a frightening time for Julia as she feared she may have developed a mutation of CML called T3151 which is resistant to any currently available drug therapy. Fortunately, an increased dosage of her treatment drug, Imatinib, brought these elevated levels of the disease down and they have continued to reduce. It was in April 2015 that Julia received the news that there is now no recordable level of the disease in her body, although she has to remain on medication for at least two more years.

Throughout her battle with CML she has continued working full-time at QVC, attempting to keep normality in her life. She signed a publishing deal with Preface Publishing for her book One Hundred Lengths of the Pool and that was a sell-out success on QVC. As a result of the publicity surrounding her book she was approached by the British Polio Fellowship and asked to become an ambassador for the charity which she readily agreed to. In conjunction with QVC, British Polio and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Julia organised a charity swimming gala where she set herself the challenge of swimming one hundred lengths of the pool while other participants took part in fun races and games. A percentage of the profits from her first book went to polio charities and a similar percentage of her latest book will go to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.



Julia QVC Blog: http://blogs.qvcuk.com/presenter/juliaroberts/

Link to Julia’s Previous Book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hundred-Lengths-Pool-Julia-Roberts-ebook/dp/B00CQ1FYGQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1430733132&sr=1-1&keywords=julia+roberts+qvc

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JuliaRobertsQVC

Book Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1DTyMv4

YouTube Promotion Video: https://youtu.be/S2GDvgkBEvY


Interview with Larry Weiner


Larry Weiner is the author of ‘Paradise Rot’ (Book One) and ‘Once Again, With Blood’ (Book Two). Larry earned a degree in film from CSULA and was an award-winning art director.  He lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two kids and a gaggle of animals.

Larry kindly answered some questions for me.


Your trilogy is currently being re-released.  Can you tell me a bit about your books please?

Its Shaun of the Dead meets The Firm, except instead of being stuck in an illegal situation with the mob; you’re doing dirty work for zombies. I really like my book blurb so here it is (is that cheating?)

Kyle Brightman—late of the advertising industry and soon-to-be-late of the 5th floor psych ward—has a job offer he can’t refuse. A new resort in the Caribbean is looking for an art director. Kyle soon finds himself on the Isle of St. Agrippina working alongside a beautiful copywriter with an icy handshake. Questions arise: Why does the resort management team sport spray-on tans in the Bahamas? How can the resort offer such cheap vacation packages? What does one do with vats of Astroglide? To get the answers, Kyle must first navigate a series of wildly unpredictable events with a cast of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including a seductress jungle assassin, her partially paralyzed talking Chihuahua, an Ivy League Rastafarian seaplane captain, Kyle’s ex-psych ward roommate, a former Haliburton mercenary, and a French tavern owner with a fondness for goats, all set to the greatest hits of the 70’s. Pablo Cruise never felt so right.


How long did they take you to write?

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“Paradise Rot,” the first in the trilogy went through numerous rewrites – about a year.

Book 2

“Once Again, With Blood,” came next and took about six months from first draft to publishing. “The last, “Hindu Sex Aliens,” now has a second draft complete and is now headed to beta reader phase (wife, friends – people who won’t have a problem telling me something sucks) I had to wrestle with this one since it was wrapping up the trilogy. About 6 months as well.


Where did you get your ideas from?

I’d worked in advertising as an art director for 15 years. It was fun for a while then I began to feel as if I were being held captive to do the work for people I found increasingly obnoxious. I’d always been a fan of books and movies that take an average citizen and toss them into an extraordinary situation. I also wanted to play with genres, which in this case were zombies and vampires and aliens.

As for ideas in general – there’s such so much out there to learn about and fantasize about – such as a company that shoots the ashes of rich and famous people into space! It exists!


Are you planning to write any other books?

I’m planning to write many more. Right now I’m interested in Polymaths – people who excel at more than one thing. The lead singer for Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, has a 4 octave range, is a world class fencer, flies jumbo jets (his band’s touring jet) and is a distiller.


Has you work been influenced by any authors?

Sure. Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Hiaasen, Hunter S. Thompson, Christopher Moore. I’m also greatly influenced by film. Directors such as Scorsese, Tarantino – storytellers. I have a degree in film, so I have the 3-act structure drilled into me.


Would you like to see your books made into a film?

I would love to see my books made into an original series on HBO or Netflix. Take time with the story and let the situations unfold at their own pace – plus more than two storylines.


Were you ever given any good advice about writing?

There’s so much advice out there to take! You really need a filter. I still revisit Stephen King’s 20 rules for writing. I read a lot of writer interviews about everything from plot to what kind of desk they write on. I live on an island chockablock full of writers such as Jonathan Evison, Claire Dederer, Rebecca Wells, David Guterson – so I’m making the rounds of buying them coffee and grilling them. AT least it’s my intention. I just met Jonathan Evison, who said, “Get me your book to read!” His novel, “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving” has just been made into a movie – great book.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a record collector so I go on vinyl safaris. I’m also a hockey Dad for my two kids so I do a lot of driving. Big film buff and reader and a fan of binge watching – right now it’s Orphan Black.



Larry Weiner’s website – http://www.larrynweiner.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/larrynweiner

Twitter – @LarryNWeiner

Guest Post by Katie Oliver

Bio Photo

I would like to welcome the lovely Katie Oliver to my blog.  Katie has written an interesting guest post about where she gets ideas for her books from.


Guest Post

What do you do when a handsome, sexy film star wants to spend time with you…but you’re already engaged?

Well…you tell him no. Obviously.

And what do you do if an equally handsome lawyer named Darcy warns you to stay away from the sexy film star or risk a broken heart?  Do you listen to his advice?

Well…no, you don’t.  Just to prove Mr Darcy wrong, you agree to spend a day with the film star, Ciaran Duncan, on a whirlwind tour of Manhattan (strictly for publicity, of course)…and eventually, you find yourself falling for Ciaran.

Even more problematic – what do you do when your fiancé, successful chef Jamie Gordon, is spending more and more time in his restaurant kitchen with his sexy new sous chef, Catherine…and less and less time with you?

If you’re Holly James, you’re facing a decision – and an unavoidable romantic collision.

In Manolos in Manhattan, three men put Holly into an emotional tailspin – her fiancé, Jamie; mouth-wateringly handsome film star, Ciaran; and the disapproving but undeniably attractive lawyer, Mr Darcy.  Can Jamie hold on to Holly’s heart? Or will his long hours and inattention curdle their love like a béarnaise sauce gone wrong?

More worrying still – is Ciaran Duncan the perfect man…or a perfect nightmare?


I’m often asked where I get my ideas when I write a book.  The answer is…all over the place!

For me, writing a new book begins with a lot of little things.  A television program…a character in a murder mystery…an article in a magazine or newspaper…an unhappy teen I notice as I’m hurrying across the airport to my boarding gate. Why is he unhappy?  Why is he traveling alone? Where is his family?

Somehow, these disparate odds and ends eventually coalesce into a story.

For instance, for my newest book, Manolos in Manhattan, I knew I wanted to write about a sexy film star who sweeps Holly off her feet.  First, I had to figure out why she was in Manhattan.  With her fiancé, Jamie, opening a new restaurant midtown, it made perfect sense that Holly would come along.  Her stint at BritTEEN magazine is over; so she offers to help her father launch the first US Dashwood and James store.

Natalie and Rhys Gordon are in New York as well, as Rhys prepares to launch the new store in Greenwich Village. With her husband so busy, Natalie feels a little neglected.  She adores Manhattan…but has far too much time on her hands.  There are only so many baby clothes, prams, and paraphernalia an expectant mum can buy, after all.

Okay – so far, so good.  But the book needed something more.  That’s when I remembered a ghost story I wrote several years ago called “Finding Daisy.”  I had so much fun writing it and I really loved the character of the intrepid 1920s flapper, Daisy Drayer.  But, alas, my publishers felt that a ghost story didn’t fit in with the series of Mr Darcy books I was writing at the time, so – reluctantly – I shelved it.

“Finding Daisy” took place in Manhattan.  It featured a couple of the same characters, Holly and Jamie, and could easily be incorporated into the new book.  So I ditched Daisy’s ghost and instead told her story through a sheaf of old letters that Holly finds, along with a portrait of the flapper, hidden in the eaves of Dashwood and James’s attic.

Now I was getting somewhere. I had an interesting tale to tell, with a solid plot, a good mix of characters, and an intriguing 1920s murder mystery for Holly to solve.

And to make things even more interesting, Ian Clarkson, the baddie from Prada and Prejudice, pops up in Manhattan to menace poor Natalie once again.

So there you have it. My books are a patchwork quilt of ideas – impressions, observations, things I’ve read, films I’ve seen, and interesting facts I’ve stored away in my brain or scribbled in a notebook.  I’m not struck by a thunderbolt from on high, nor do plots fall into my lap in a neat little package. (That would be very nice, though.)  It’s a matter of sifting through all of the things that catch my interest and finding a way to turn them into a captivating story.

Actually, I just got an idea for a new book.  Come and sit down, and I’ll tell you all about it…


Manolos in Manhattan_FINAL

Book Blurb

She’s a fiancée of good fortune…

Strutting down Park Avenue in her new Manolos, Holly James looks like a woman who has it all. But beneath the Prada sunglasses, Holly has a mounting list of decidedly unfabulous problems. Right at the top? The fact that since her fiancé Jamie started spending all his time at his new restaurant (with his impossibly gorgeous sous-chef!), Holly has practically forgotten what he looks like…and started to feel a teensy bit paranoid.

…but has Holly found the right Mr Darcy?

So being kissed by film star Ciaran Duncan should have been a much-needed boost to Holly’s ego. But losing herself in the moment is impossible, since she’s still fuming after meeting English lawyer Hugh Darcy. He’s easily the most arrogant man in Manhattan and she’s engaged to be married…so why can’t Holly stop imagining kissing him? Suddenly, Holly finds herself torn between three eligible bachelors…and it’s proving more difficult than choosing between a Manolo Blanik and a Jimmy Choo – especially since men are non-refundable! What’s a New York fashionista to do?



Website: http://www.katieoliver.com

Blog:  http://katieoliver.com/ko/?page_id=27

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/KatieOliverWriter

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/katieoliver01/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/katieoliver

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7565829.Katie_Oliver

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@katieoliver01

Blog Tour – ‘Just the Way You Are’ by Lynsey James

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‘Just the Way You Are’ was published by Carina on the 8th May 2015 as an eBook.  It is Lynsey James’ debut novel.  A number of book bloggers have been taking part in a blog tour to celebrate this book and today I am reviewing it.

Ava Clements works as a journalist.  Unlucky in life and love, Ava can’t even remember when she last went on a second date.  But things could start turning around for her if she gets to work on the dating column, a position she really wants.  Except that the office bitch gets it instead.  It’s a good thing then her two best friends, Max and Gwen are always there for her when things go wrong.

Ava has known for ages why dates with other men don’t develop into more.  You see, Ava is in love with someone else who as far as she knows she has never met.  It all started six years ago when she received a love letter from a secret admirer.  Not knowing his name, Ava refers to him as ‘Mr Writer’.  When the letters stopped she was left heartbroken.

The letters suddenly start up again and this time Ava is determined to find out exactly who is writing them.  Will she discover who her secret admirer is?

I thought that ‘Just the Way You Are’ was a really good read.  There were some truly wonderful characters, one of my favourites being Ivy.  She was just such an amazing woman who made a huge impact on Ava and vice versa.  I loved reading about Ivy’s life and I so wanted things to work out for her.

It didn’t take me long to work out who the letter writer was.  For Ava though it understandably wouldn’t have been that easy being that she was lost in her hopes and dreams.  She certainly had a bit of an adventure trying to solve the mystery though.

The title of the book has had Barry White’s song going around in my head and even now it’s still there.  The words in fact are appropriate.

I give this book 4 out of 5.


About Lynsey James

Lynsey James

I was born in Fife in 1991 and have been telling people how to spell my name ever since. I’m an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. I started writing when I was really young and credit my lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with my love of telling stories. I used to write my own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of my family (in fact I’m sure I put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told me writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, I believed her. I tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When I left my job a couple of years ago, I started writing full-time while I looked for another one. As soon as I started working on my story, I fell in love and decided to finally pursue my dream. I haven’t looked back since.

When I’m not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, I’m daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises we’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

Blog Tour – ‘The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)’ by Kate Winter

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‘The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)’ is Kate Winter’s debut novel.  It is being published in paperback on the 21st May 2015 by Sphere and is also available as an eBook.  Yesterday saw the start of a huge blog tour running over two weeks.  I am one of a number of bloggers taking part in it today.  Here is my review.

This story is based in the quiet Irish village of Ballycarragh.  Rosie Potter shares a cottage with her very best friend, Jenny.  Or at least she did!  One morning Rosie wakes up feeling strange and at first she assumes that she has just got a really bad hangover.  It soon becomes clear however that she is actually dead and has stepped out of her body.  But Rosie cannot remember how exactly she died and doesn’t understand why she is still hanging around.

Rosie’s death is treated as suspicious and as the mystery of what actually happened slowly starts to unravel, a number of secrets are revealed showing people in a different light.  In the meantime Rosie is discovering the things she can do, but she soon realises that life after death isn’t all that great, especially when you find yourself falling in love.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I absolutely loved Kate Winter’s writing style.  Even though the story was about a young woman who had lost her life at far too early an age, it was fun and refreshing and made me laugh.  Some of the things that Rosie got up to were just hilarious.  There were some really poignant moments as well.

‘The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)’ will take you on a spiritual journey where along the way you will get to learn quite a bit about Rosie’s past and meet a number of characters.

I am really interested in seeing what Kate Winter comes up with next.

I give this book 4 out of 5.


About Kate Winter

Kate Winter

Kate Winter is a journalist, novelist and storyteller from the North West of Ireland who was lucky enough to grow up with no TV (though she didn’t consider it a lucky break at the time) and lots of books. After graduating from University of Ulster with first class honours and the Ulster Television Award for her BA in Media Studies, Kate promptly forged a glittering career for herself in waitressing. Then one day, beside a swimming pool in Australia, Kate decided it was time to write a book. The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) is Kate’s debut novel.

Follow Kate on @KatiCut.

Guest Post by Christian Jensen

Author Picture

I recently interviewed Christian Jensen.  You can read the interview here:-


He is now back on my blog with a guest post.




Why we love the idea of cryptids

by Christian Jensen

Bigfoot is real. At least he’s real in my upcoming novel, Lone Survivor. I’ll tell you more about the book later, but first please allow me to introduce myself, and in doing so explain why I’m qualified to elucidate on such things as Cryptids. My name is Christian Jensen. I’m a horror writer living in the wilds of central Jersey, home of the Jersey Devil. I was born and raised here, then struck out on my own to explore such nefarious places as Florida, the Carolina’s Delaware, and various parts west. I’ve never spent a day in college studying biology, but that’s okay because cryptozoology is a pseudoscience.

I’m not really interested in telling you what cryptozoology is, anyone can Google it and come up with their own opinions. My main focus is to explain why we’re so interested in it. Creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Mothman, the Jersey Devil, and the like are considered cryptids, mythical animals to which there is no scientific explanation for, but hold a place in folklore. Why is it that intelligent, educated adults love to think Bigfoot is real? Why do normal, “sane” individuals report sightings year after year?

Is it just fun escapism, or is there a deeper need ingrained within our psyches to find a history, a backstory if you will, to the monster under our bed? Think back to a more basic time, to a land before cell phones—gasp! Let’s go even further, flipping the calendar year after year until we come to a dark time before electricity. Life is hard. People die easily. There is little understanding of disease or even personal hygiene. A family of eight shares the bath water. It’s a disgusting, smelly time in history, and to be polite humans are stupid. Leeches are medicine. Seriously? Bleeding is a cure. You’re older brother lost his left arm in a farming accident and no one knows where little Timmy went. He was last seen yesterday chasing frogs by the lake. It must have been the Moss Monster that got him. Old man Jacobs said he’d seen the smelly, slimy thing a couple days ago, and now Timmy is missing. Humans are dumb, but they can put 2 and 2 together to make 7.

Let’s look at a real life scenario. It’s a small village, somewhere in Europe around the time some uptight religious pricks are boarding ships and heading across the ocean to start a new world. They’re stupid, but at least they’re leaving. You live in a tiny village. You literally know everyone there, they make up your entire world. You have a wife and five kids. You work a small piece of land and try to make enough money to stay out of pauper’s jail. You’re trying to keep the tax man at bay by harvesting your crops, and you need the help of your kids. That’s why you had them, after all. The only problem is, kids keep going missing. The truth of the matter is that someone in your town is a serial killer, a pedophile who rapes and murders children. You wouldn’t ever suspect the local barber of such crimes. He goes to church, he works hard. He’s friendly and helpful. So it can’t be him. Besides, we’re stupid and it’s easier to believe than some shadowy monster made of animal pieces hunts the woods, flying in on bat wings to scoop up children and carry them off.

Another real life scenario involves lying to your children. It was prominent in America when the settlers were spreading out and building homesteads. Any kids that snuck out of their bed, usually one shared with all of their siblings, could realistically be eaten by wolves, mountain lions, or bears. They were prominent and deadly nocturnal hunters. Animals weren’t afraid of these people yet, just curious. And our kids are so pudgy and they smell like food… So parents would tell kids about monsters that prowled the land, threatening them with death should they leave their beds. Why scare them about the Indians any more, why tell them about the real monsters that can eat them. That shit stops being frightening after a while. Monsters are always scary.

Now we’re not as stupid as our ancestors. We have science. We know disease and can cure most of it. We live longer and pass information quicker and with more accuracy. So why are we still looking for Bigfoot and the Chupicabre? Because it’s fun to be scared? Because we want to believe? Because we want the attention?

Yes, to all of the above. It’s fun to be scared. It’s fun to think that monsters really do exist because they do, except in human form. Would you rather hear a story about some kid getting eaten by Bigfoot, or tortured, raped, and murdered by some sick pedophile? I’ll read about Bigfoot doing it all day because, and let’s be honest, he can’t really help it. He’s a Bigfoot, and they eat children like they’re bacon wrapped Eskimo pies. Besides, we have so much compelling evidence…

I chose to write Lone Survivor because I had a conversation with my friend about Zombies, and he inadvertently mentioned Zombie Bigfoot. I knew right there I had one hell of a story, and Lone Survivor is that story. I loved the idea of a giant, unstoppable killing machine. Imagine a zombie; remorseless, ravenously hungry, devoid of emotion and free from pain and fear. Now imagine a zombie eight feet tall and four hundred pounds, able to throw cars and smash through a building. Yeah…Zombie Bigfoot!

Here’s the synopsis for my book, Lone Survivor. I hope you guys check it out and love it. Let me know. You can always reach me on Facebook as Christian Jensen Author, on twitter as Hororwritindad, or on my blog, Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, at Http://www.horrorwritingdaddy.blogspot.com.

One man. One Bigfoot. One billion zombies. In the land of the dead, reanimated corpses hunt through the shadows. Man has turned against man in an unforgiving apocalypse where only death can thrive. When there is no one left to trust, nowhere left to turn, you have to fight to make it another day just to become the Lone Survivor. Jim has been making through the apocalypse on his own. A chance encounter with the mythical creature known as Bigfoot gives him an inadvertent ally, but Jim quickly learns that friendships made after the end of the world don’t last long. After Bigfoot gets bitten by a zombie during a bloody fight, the man-ape begins to turn. Now there’s more dangerous things out there than the festering corpses of man, and it’s eight feet tall and weighs more than four hundred pounds. When fate throws Jim yet another curve ball, this time in the form of two damaged female survivors, Jim must decide if he is going to help them survive, or leave them to fend for themselves. Will Jim finally become part of a group, or remain a Lone Survivor?

Blog Tour – ‘A Robot In The Garden’ by Deborah Install

Blog Tour Poster

‘A Robot In The Garden’ is Deborah Install’s debut novel.  It was published in paperback by Doubleday on the 23rd April 2015 and is also out as an eBook.  Deborah got the inspiration to write this book from her young son.  I am one of a number of book bloggers taking part in a blog tour to celebrate ‘A Robot In The Garden’.  Below is my review.

Ben Chambers wakes up to be told by his wife, Amy that there is a robot in the garden.  He goes out to check and finds it sitting underneath a willow tree.  Rusted and dented, the robot looks like it needs some attention.  Ben is puzzled as to where it has come from and decides to take it inside the house, even though his wife thinks he should just throw it in the skip.

Whilst cleaning the robot who seems to want to be called Tang, Ben discovers a battered and scratched inscription on the underside of his body most of which has worn away with age.  All he can make out are a couple of half-words and a short half-sentence ‘Property of B-‘.  This leaves Ben all the more intrigued.  Then he finds a cracked cylinder inside Tang’s crucial workings.  The fluid which is leaking out slowly is what keeps Tang functioning.

Not at all happy with Ben for deciding to keep the robot, Amy walks out on him.  Ben realising that he now only has Tang left, decides that he has to get him fixed as soon as he can and thus begins a journey.

I really enjoyed reading ‘A Robot In The Garden’.  It is such a lovely story.  Tang was an adorable little robot, though I have to admit at the beginning I thought he was a tiny bit annoying, especially when he kept calling for Ben constantly.  He soon grew on me though.

Tang was a great help to Ben who could have just given up after Amy left him.  The fact that his cylinder needed fixing was what spurred Ben to carry on and to do something about it quickly.  I loved reading about the different places that Ben and Tang travelled to together.

‘A Robot In The Garden’ is a magical story about a robot and a human who form a special bond with each other.  It will have you smiling and you might even end up having to get a robot for yourself.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

Blog Tour – ‘Hunted’ by Paul Finch

Blog Tour Poster

‘Hunted’ is Paul Finch’s latest crime thriller in the DS Heckenburg series.  Already out as an eBook, it has now been published in paperback by Avon.  As part of the blog tour I am reviewing this book along with a competition.

LightBrigade PR organised a very clever and rather creepy mailer for book bloggers taking part in this tour.  You come home one day to find that a black box has been delivered.  Wondering if it’s some nice surprise you open it to find two masks with no indication of where they’ve come from.  Scary hey!  A few of us had this special delivery.


A short while later I received more post.


I am scared of spiders so I was glad that these weren’t alive.  Luckily my proof copy of ‘Hunted’ was included in the package.  I was by now really intrigued and couldn’t wait to find out where these items fitted in the story.

A series of freaky and tragic accidents have been taking place.  A man is burnt alive in his car, whilst another is impaled through his chest with scaffolding.  These things happen right?

When DS Mark “Heck” Heckenburg is called in to investigate one of these accidents he has his suspicions.  More deaths confirm what he has been thinking.  There is definitely something sinister at play and even Heck isn’t safe.  Will he solve the case before it’s too late?

I absolutely loved ‘Hunted’.  Hooked from the very first page, this book didn’t disappoint at all.  It was fast-paced with lots of thrills and shocks along the way and it kept me guessing.  Until now I had never actually read any of Paul Finch’s books, but I was so impressed by his writing.  The man is a true genius.  I really liked DS Heckenburg and I hope that there will be more adventures with him.

One thing that I really didn’t expect was for some of the locations mentioned in the story to be near to where I live.  It was really quite bizarre and felt like a dream.

If you are a fan of crime fiction I really recommend you get yourself a copy of ‘Hunted’.  You don’t have to have read the previous books in the series as they are standalone novels.

I give this book 5 out of 5.



Like the sound of this book?  If you do then you are in for a treat.  I am running a competition where three very lucky people will win a paperback copy of ‘Hunted’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what your favourite type of read is.


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 22nd May 2015.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified of their win within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to the publisher who will send out your prizes.


Good luck! 🙂

Guest Post by Julie Shackman


The lovely Julie Shackman is back on my blog with another guest post, this time with some very useful tips for writing.


The Write Way!

My tips for writing – even when you don’t feel like it!

  • Get some fresh air first. Looking at people and places around you, can often trigger ideas and creativity.
  • Read something! Pick up the latest novel you’re reading and dive in. I find reading somebody else’s work often helps to kick-start my writing mojo!
  • Go and scribble down anything – random notes; ideas; story-lines; a bit of poetry. Sometimes doing this can just help you get into the flow.
  • Treat yourself to some gorgeous new notebooks (any excuse!) Seeing all those lovely, crisp white pages and decorated covers, will spurn you on to fill them with your latest creations.
  • If you read my Blog or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I find it very difficult to write at home – so I go to a local coffee shop instead. A couple of hours sitting writing, people watching and observing can do wonders.
  • Browse around your local Bookshop. Seeing all those lovely, glossy covers can really give you lots of encouragement.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t write as much one particular day. Any amount of words is progress, so just keep going.

Good Luck, persevere and remember to read and write every day if you can!

Julie Shackman
March 2015.


Interview with Christian Jensen

Book Cover

I would like to introduce Christian Jensen to you.  He is a horror writer and his new novel, ‘Lone Survivor’ will be out soon, published by Booktrope.  Below is my interview with him.


Can you tell me a bit about your upcoming book, ‘Lone Survivor’ please?

It’s about a man trying to survive the apocalypse alone. He knows groups attract too much attention and has seen them fail time and time again. He’s better off alone, doing his own thing. He’s happy, if not a little lonely. Until one day he meets Bigfoot. They start an unlikely partnership that works for them both, until Bigfoot gets bitten by a zombie and turns. Now Jim, our hero, has to fight scores of the living dead, help protect a couple of damaged women that accidentally find him, and kill zombie Bigfoot. The apocalypse can be rough.


Are you working on any other writing projects at the moment?

I’m always working on another project. After Lone Survivor I wrote Demonic Possession in about a week. It was a blast to write and the story just flowed. Right now I’m working on another zombie novel, Prison of the Dead.


You have had so many novels published. How long on average does it take you to write each one?

It depends on the book, but anywhere from one to four weeks for a first draft.


What is your favourite genre?  

Horror has always been my favorite genre. I love reading, writing, watching, and living it.


Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere. They pop into my head at the grocery store, while I’m sleeping, eating, talking to people, and pooping. Sometimes it’s a news story or something I read that twists my imagination and gets my muse really turned on. They come from all places at all times.


Do you find yourself having to do much research for your books? 

I try not to because that slows down my process. I try to stick to what I know, but when research is needed I always go as deep as I can into a subject. I want to sound like I know what I’m talking about, so I don’t piss off the reader.


Have you got any good advice for anyone wanting to write their first novel?

Read. Read every day, read more than you write. Write every single day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes or so, set a goal every single day and beat it. Take no days off. Ever. Work tirelessly and strive to create the best worlds and characters you can.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time? I don’t believe in it. When I have time to myself I read and write. That’s really all I do.


Can you see yourself still writing ten years from now?

I see myself writing until the day I die. I’ll hopefully write my own Eulogy. It’ll be funny and sad.


Who are your favourite authors and have they influenced your writing at all?

Every author I’ve ever read has influenced my writing in some way. I take a little piece of them with me when I finish their books. Some of my favorites (and only some, because this could take hours and dozens of pages) are: Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, Falkner, Poe, Collier, Dickens, Kipling, Lovecraft, I can keep going, but those are my classical influences, the old, dead guys that shaped me when I was a kid. Later in life I was introduced to Brian Keene, Johnathon Mayberry, Richard Laymon, Bryan Smith, Jack Ketchum, Wraith James White, and dozens of others. There are still plenty of authors that are influencing me, people that got started in the industry after me are influencing me.



Christian Jensen’s blog – http://www.horrorwritingdaddy.blogspot.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ChrsitanJensenAuthor?fref=ts

Twitter – @Hororwritindad

Blog Tour – ‘Set Me Free’ by Daniela Sacerdoti

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‘Set Me Free’ is Daniela Sacerdoti’s latest novel.  It was published by Black and White Publishing in paperback on the 30th April 2015 and it is also available as an eBook.  I am truly delighted to be a part of this blog tour.  Below is my review and a competition.



Margherita’s marriage seems to be falling apart.  After trying for a baby and not having any success, Margherita and Ash decide to adopt a child.  A few years later Margherita eventually falls pregnant and is naturally over the moon.  However, her husband doesn’t seem to be very pleased with her news and is of very little support to her.

Needing a break and some time away to think things through, Margherita decides to spend the summer in Glen Avich where she can help out at her mum’s new coffee shop.  She also feels that she needs to spend time reconnecting with her adopted daughter and young son.  Glen Avich can have a very strange effect on some people and when Margherita starts working for Torcuil Ramsay at the rather neglected Ramsay Hall things begin to change.  Margherita finds that she is happy and Lara begins a new friendship with a local boy called Mal.  But there is something about him that just doesn’t add up.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Set Me Free’ from start to finish.  The prologue which was set in 1916 had me totally intrigued.  Daniela Sacerdoti writes beautifully.  I thought her descriptions of the characters and Glen Avich were wonderful.

Most of the characters were really likeable.  Margherita was just so lovely and kind.  Lara had had a very difficult time of things at the start of her life and Margherita gave her buckets full of love and lots of understanding.  Maybe Ash simply found it hard to be a proper dad, I don’t know, but he sure didn’t deserve to have Margherita as his wife.

I absolutely loved the sound of Ramsay Hall and I felt as if I was in there with the characters.  How I would love to have explored all the rooms and spend time in the library surround by all those lovely books.

Some of the cakes and biscuits which were baked for the coffee shop sounded scrumptious.

‘Set Me Free’ is a story of love, loss, hope and pastures new.

I give this book 5 out of 5.


Black and White Publishing have produced a small recipe book containing baked products which are mentioned in ‘Set Me Free’.  I was sent a copy of it with the book and it is lovely.  The recipe book is free to download from their website:-


You can also get it free from Amazon:-




Black and White Publishing have kindly offered two paperback copies of ‘Set Me Free’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what your favourite baked products are.


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 18th May 2015.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date and their details will be passed on to Black and White Publishing who will send the prizes out.


Good luck! 🙂

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