A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “October, 2016”

Guest Post by Dianne Noble

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I am delighted to welcome Dianne Noble to my blog.  Her second novel, ‘A Hundred Hands’ is out on the 2nd November and I was really interested in knowing what made Dianne write about India.

 

What made me write about India

Imagine your shirt sticking to your back as you edge round a goat, swat at flies and cough as smoke from pavement cooking fires catches in your throat. After four hours of threadbare sleep you’re trying to find the group of street children you’ve come to Kolkata, India to teach English to as a volunteer.

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Your ears hurt with the noise – shouting, blaring horns, a backfiring bus. A cow stands in the middle of the road, munching impassively on an old newspaper, as traffic edges round it. This animal is holy and if a driver were to run into it, he would be dragged from his car by an angry crowd and beaten up.

Heat beats on your head like a hammer as you search among blackened buildings whose stonework crumbles like stale cake. There is a smell of spices and sewage, urine evaporating in hot sun.

When you see the small group it takes you an age to cross the road, weaving between rickshaws, yellow taxis, tuk tuks festooned with dusty tinsel. The children are so tiny – malnourished – with bare feet, cropped hair and laddered ribs, but they shriek with laughter when you try to speak to them in Hindi. They stroke the pale skin of your arms and clamber on to your knees as you sit, cross-legged and crampy, on the bare earth floor. They are a joy, desperate to learn English, desperate to improve their position at the bottom of the luck ladder.

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When you get back to your small room that evening your feet are gritty and blistered, your chest is raw with exhaust fumes and you are unbelievably filthy. Sweat makes white rivulets down the dirt on your face and you feel, and doubtless smell, rank.

By the end of the first week you will be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the poverty, despairing at the smallness of your contribution. How can you possibly do this for three whole months? Whatever were you been thinking of when you signed up?

Maybe, like me, you’ll start a journal and at the end of every day, no matter how tired you feel, you’ll write down every detail of your day – how the children are progressing, who made you laugh, who can now write their names, how much their poor chests rattle, who has the worst sores. It’s a sort of de-briefing you might find cathartic.

Despite having nothing, the children giggle and fool around, laugh and sing, hang on to you, desperate for cuddles, Everywhere you go in this dreadful place Bengali men and women will get used to seeing you, wave and call out ‘Hello, Aunty’ (a term of respect for women of a certain age!) At the wayside shrine even jolly, elephant-headed Ganesh will be wearing a broad grin.

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My diary covered three months and formed the basis for A Hundred Hands, which tells the story of Polly who saw the plight of the children living on the streets and stayed to help. Since then I have been back to India many times. Despite its horrors the country is mesmeric and its people a joy.

 

About Dianne Noble

I was born into a service family and at the tender age of seven found myself on the Dunera, a troopship, sailing for a three year posting to Singapore. So began a lifetime of wandering – and fifteen different schools. Teen years living in Cyprus, before partition, when the country was swarming with handsome UN soldiers, and then marriage to a Civil Engineer who whisked me away to the Arabian Gulf.

Most of the following years were spent as a single parent with an employment history which ranged from the British Embassy in Bahrain to a goods picker, complete with steel toe-capped boots, in an Argos warehouse. In between I earned my keep as a cashier in Barclays, a radio presenter and a café proprietor on the sea front in Penzance.

My travels have taken me to China, Egypt, Israel, Guatemala, Russia, Morocco, Belize and my favourite place, India. I keep copious notes and constantly dip into them to ensure my writing is atmospheric.

My debut novel, Outcast, also set in India, was published by Tirgearr March 2016. I had 32 rejections before I got a foot in the door!

 

Links

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Buy Links for A Hundred Hands which is priced at 99p/99c pre-order until Nov 2nd 2016

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01LZ03JQZ

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZ03JQZ

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/669126

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/a-hundred-hands/id1161101503?mt=11

https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=9781370663460

 

Author Links

www.dianneanoble.com

www.facebook.com/dianneanoble

www.twitter.com/dianneanoble1

 

Guest Post by PJ Whiteley

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The lovely PJ Whiteley has been on my blog a couple of times now.  He is back with another guest post, this time about his second novel, ‘Marching on Together’ which is due out next year.

 

Would like to meet …

Guest blog by PJ Whiteley

Let me introduce you to someone I’d like you to meet. He’s called Johnny Collins. Actually, his full name is Paul Johnny Collins, but somehow in childhood the middle name stuck. Also in childhood, he lost the little finger of his right hand in an accident with a car door. Fortunately, he plays guitar right-handed, in which case he presses the strings down on the fretboard with his left hand.

In my second novel Marching on Together (Urbane Publications, due February 2017), set in August 2014, we meet Johnny, his brother Allan and four of their friends, on a trip to Bruges. Johnny is still single, and at a very low point in his life. To some extent, he’s still haunted by events from nearly a quarter of a century earlier. Why can he still not listen to that Beatles song? Who is he ‘really’ thinking of in the song he has composed ‘The One Who Got Away’?

My short story Gringos Can’t Dance, published this autumn in e-format, tells a snippet of Johnny’s back story, from June 1991, when he was just 19 years old, during a tumultuous trip to South America with his best friend Pablo, son of a Chilean exile. How can one night from 23 years earlier have a bigger, deeper impact on his feelings than almost anything else, apart from losing his Mum, before or since?

The idea of a short prequel, a taster to the next novel, came to me partly through a quest for reader engagement, and partly out of thinking deeply about the characters’ back stories. I like to have convincing characters, who feel like people you’ve actually met. Relating both the recent events and an impactful flashback will, I hope, enhance the emotional engagement on the part of the reader with the character. I decided to publish the story, and offer it free, to coincide with the launch of my new author website. But it’s an experiment. What do readers of this blog think?

To receive the free short story in pdf form, Gringos Can’t Dance, register for the PJ Whiteley Book Club via this link: http://pjwhiteley.com/contact/

 

~~~~~

PJ Whiteley recently interviewed Louis de Bernieres for H Edition magazine.  His blog on the article can be read here: https://felipewh.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/louis-and-me/

 

My 5th Blog Anniversary

It’s my 5th Blog Anniversary today!  I really can’t believe how fast the past year has gone.

I am still very much enjoying my blogging journey.  2016 has seen so many wonderful books being published and I truly wish I could read them all, but I guess that would be impossible.  No harm in trying though.  Through my blogging I have attended a number of book launches and events.  It’s been truly amazing meeting so many lovely authors and fellow bloggers.

My aim is to continue supporting authors and publishers as much as I possibly can.  I want to help get all those wonderful books out there.  I want to shout about them from the rooftop.  Over the next few months there will be lots going on.  The Urbane blog event I did back in March was really popular and I hope to be doing another one next year.

 

Competition

To celebrate my blog anniversary and to thank everyone for their support I am running a competition and everyone is welcome to enter.  Just leave a comment.

First Prize – A book or books of your choice worth up to £20.00 from Amazon

Runner-up Prize – A mystery prize

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 6th November 2016.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified within 7 days of the closing date.

 

Good luck! 🙂

 

Book Launch – ‘Dark Water’ by Robert Bryndza

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Congratulations to Robert Bryndza whose much talked about book, ‘Dark Water’ is out today, published by Bookouture.  I have an extract for all of you to read but first here’s the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. Above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster  receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice and The Night Stalker, comes the third heart-stopping book in the Detective Erika Foster series.

Watch out for more from DCI Erika Foster.

She’s fearless. Respected. Unstoppable. Detective Erika Foster will catch a killer, whatever it takes.

 

Extract

Dark Water

by

Robert Bryndza

Autumn 1990

It was a cold night in late autumn when they dumped the body in the disused quarry. They knew it was an isolated spot, and the water was very deep. What they didn’t know was that they were being watched.

They arrived under the cover of darkness, just after three o’clock in the morning – driving from the houses at the edge of the village, over the empty patch of gravel where the walkers parked their cars, and onto the vast common. With the headlights off, the car bumped and lurched across the rough ground, joining a footpath, which was soon shrouded on either side by dense woodland. The darkness was thick and clammy, and the only light came over the tops of the trees.

Nothing about the journey felt stealthy. The car engine seemed to roar; the suspension groaned as it lurched from side to side. They slowed to a stop as the trees parted and the water-filled quarry came into view.

What they didn’t know was that a reclusive old man lived by the quarry, squatting in an old abandoned cottage which had almost been reclaimed by the undergrowth. He was outside, staring up at the sky and marvelling at its beauty, when the car appeared over the ridge and came to a halt. Wary, he moved behind a bank of shrubbery and watched. Local kids, junkies, and couples looking for thrills often appeared at night, and he had managed to scare them away.

The moon briefly broke through the clouds as the two figures emerged from the car, and they took something large from the back and carried it towards the rowing boat by the water. The first climbed in, and as the second passed the long package into the boat there was something about the way it bent and flopped that made him realise with horror that it was a body.

The soft splashes of the oars carried across the water. He put a hand to his mouth. He knew he should turn away, but he couldn’t. The splashing oars ceased when the boat reached the middle. A sliver of moon appeared again through a gap in the clouds, illuminating the ripples spreading out from the boat.

He held his breath as he watched the two figures deep in conversation, their voices a low rhythmic murmur. Then there was silence. The boat lurched as they stood, and one of them nearly fell over the edge. When they were steady, they lifted the package and, with a splash and a rattle of chains, they dropped it into the water. The moon sailed out from behind its cloud, shining a bright light on the boat and the spot where the package had been dumped, the ripples spreading violently outwards.

He could now see the two people in the boat, and had a clear view of their faces.

The man exhaled. He’d been holding his breath. His hands shook. He didn’t want trouble; he’d spent his whole life trying to avoid trouble, but it always seemed to find him. A chill breeze stirred up some dry leaves at his feet, and he felt a sharp itching in his nostrils. Before he could stop it a sneeze erupted from his nose; it echoed across the water. In the boat, the heads snapped up, and began to twist and search the banks. And then they saw him. He turned to run, tripped on the root of a tree and fell to the ground, knocking the wind out of his chest.

Beneath the water in the disused quarry it was still, cold, and very dark. The body sank rapidly, pulled by the weights, down, down, down, finally coming to rest with a nudge in the soft freezing mud.

She would lie still and undisturbed for many years, almost at peace. But above her, on dry land, the nightmare was only just beginning.

 

‘Dark Water’ is available to buy from Amazon:-

UK: http://amzn.to/2baBO8N

US: http://amzn.to/2bkuwRk

 

Interview with Herta Feely

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Herta Feely’s  book, ‘Saving Phoebe Murrow’ is out today in paperback, published by Twenty7.  I asked Herta all about her novel.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Saving Phoebe Murrow’ please?

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(The novel is divided into three sections: Conflict, Revenge, and Justice. And it is written from five people’s point-of-view—three adults and two teens.)

The story revolves around a cyber-bullying episode that targets the young teen, Phoebe Murrow, who self-harms by cutting. The cyber-bullying occurs in the first chapter, which ends without the reader knowing whether Phoebe will commit suicide or not. Then we roll back in time two months to see what happened to cause this in the first place.

The novel explores social media and its prevalence in teen lives, the conflict between two women with very different parenting styles, cliquish women, mean girls, self-harm in the form of cutting, and the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. And finally, it’s about a woman juggling a demanding career and the responsibilities of family, but trying her best to keep her daughter safe in a complex world.

In the final section (Justice), we experience the ramifications of the cyber-bullying on the two girls’ families and the extended community of students.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

The first draft took the length of a pregnancy, nine months, but that was followed by three years of revisions.

 

Where did you get your ideas from?

The inspiration for this novel came from a newspaper article I read back in 2008 about a 13-year-old girl named Megan Meier, who took her life after a cyber-bullying episode (on MySpace in 2006) led by a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans, whom she’d never met. After quite a bit of online bullying, in which friends she knew piled on, he suggested she kill herself and she did. Some weeks later Megan’s parents discovered that Josh was not a boy at all, but a 47-year-old neighbor woman who knew Megan and wanted to find out what Megan was saying about her daughter, with whom Megan had been friends, but had had a falling out. It was shocking to me that someone could do such a thing to a child, especially one she knew was vulnerable, as Megan was.

Almost immediately I knew I wanted to write a novel about social media and its impact on girls. The characters and key elements of my novel are very different from the Megan Meier story, though there a few similarities exist.

 

Did you have to do any research?

The primary research focused on self-harm and some medical issues, which I can’t say more about here. After writing the novel, I did quite a bit of research on social media and its impact on teen girls, in particular, and I feel quite concerned about what’s happening. I have read and heard anecdotally that girls are experiencing quite a lot of anxiety because of active, maybe over-active, participation on various social media platforms. There are many reports of suicide, and even reports of murder, the latter related to girls meeting strange men online and trusting them. Such an incident occurred recently in the US. After “meeting” a student from Virginia Tech through a Facebook group, Nicole Lovell snuck out of her house late one night to meet him and three days later she was found murdered. The student, David Eisenhauer, is in prison on murder charges. This latter case, hopefully, is an anomaly, but social media does lend itself to predation.

 

Do you think this is a story lots of parents will be able to relate to?

In a word, yes. I’ve had lots of readers respond, often saying it should be a book club choice to give parents (women, in particular) a chance to discuss the various issues that are raised in the story. I intentionally featured two female characters that fall on either end of the parenting spectrum—one too rigid and controlling (Isabel) and the other (Sandy) too lenient and wanting her daughter to be popular. This will allow readers to discuss the parenting issues they are concerned with, and to critique the choices made by the mothers in the story.

 

What do you want people to get from your book?

First and foremost, I want people to enjoy the read. And second, I hope the novel helps to stimulate discussions about parenting and about social media and its role in our lives, particularly that of young people. How does one parent effectively in this era of heavy Internet use and over-reliance on our various technology devices?

The other themes in the book too, such as mean girls, cliquish behavior among women, the importance of recognizing the need to be good role models to children, and mother-daughter relationships are topics that I hope will be discussed.

Certainly, social media has many positive attributes, especially in its ability to connect us, to enable us to keep up with numerous friends, to promote products and services, to spread news quickly and so on. However, in all of this connection, we can also feel estranged. We may experience not really being in touch with the people whose messages/images we are reading and seeing on a screen. Social media cannot (and should not) take the place of real face-to-face friendships, real activities, and so on. And yet, being active on social media can eat up considerable amounts of a person’s time. Especially young people inexperienced in the world and overly vulnerable to other’s reactions.

For example, there have been numerous suicides that resulted from cyber-bullying. A quick check on the Internet will provide you with numerous examples.

As a result of all this, parents have quite a lot of challenges these days, especially relative to social media. First, because most parents did not grow up with social media, they have a lack of familiarity with it; second, it’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing and new social media platforms—Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, Twitter, etcetera; and third, parents have to figure out how to establish boundaries and limits and then monitor use, all of which can be extremely challenging.

I hope the novel will spark conversations along all these lines.

 

Do you think it would make a good TV drama?

I suppose most people say yes to this question (I’d like to insert a smiley face emoticon or a winking one here!), but considering the contemporary nature of the topic raised in Saving Phoebe Murrow, I’d say this is a definite yes and much needed for the reasons listed in the above question. I’ve focused more on adult readers in regards to the hopes for my novel, but in terms of good TV drama, I think it would also be helpful to see this from the children’s angle. I’d love to see a drama that explores social media and its dark sides so that teens have greater awareness of the dangers and negative aspects. Certainly my novel could be seen from both the teen and the adult perspectives (just as it is written), and it could also be expanded upon, with a series that explores more and more forms of social media and how this affects girls and boys and their parents.

 

What are your feelings about social media and do you find it useful?

I do enjoy using social media (mainly Facebook and Twitter) to keep up with friends, to hear the latest news (world and also book news), and to promote my own novel. And, yes, it is useful. Sometimes, though, I find it tedious. And time consuming. I’m beyond that point where I’m worried about whether people like a post or a tweet, though occasionally I’m subject to the same anxieties I’ve read young people can have. I even question whether I’m using the media appropriately and/or effectively. So I guess I’m not entirely immune to what “other people think,” am I?

I think I’ve expressed myself pretty fully about other aspects of how I feel about social media. It’s good and bad. It’s all in how we use it and/or how we let it control us!

 

Are more books planned?

Indeed. The next novel, ALL FALL DOWN, is about a woman who reaches the pinnacle of her career (in the human rights field), only to have her entire world slip out from under her. And, I’ve discovered, it’s a love story. Between Charlotte Cooper and Damian West, a Nigerian sculptor she met at Oxford as a student. It also takes place in different parts of the world, and explores human rights violations there and the destruction of archaeological artifacts in the Middle East.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Lately, there hasn’t been much free time. But I do enjoy traveling with my husband, biking, hiking, and eating good food. I attend plays at local theaters quite often, and recently saw “Hamilton” with the original cast in New York.

 

Did you always want to be a writer?

I always loved to read…always. From the time I was about eight I began writing plays for the kids in the neighborhood to perform, and I enjoyed writing the occasional story. Once, in 6th grade, I had to write part of a play that had to do with the future. So my main character was a woman, who became the first woman president of the United States, and she had a secretary who was male. Perhaps I was prescient?!

I didn’t seriously consider being a novelist until later in life, somewhere in my early forties, and then it took some time to get my writing “legs” and figure out what I wanted to write about. Now I can’t imagine life without it.

 

What’s your advice to anyone trying to write their first novel?

First, I would say, yes, do it. Life is short and you should give it a whirl. But I also believe that people often don’t fully appreciate how much writing you need to do before you can churn out your first decent novel. It requires much practice. Becoming a successful writer requires dedication and discipline with regular and frequent bouts of sitting and writing. There’s simply no way around that. You can have the most brilliant idea, but then you need to sit down and write it.

Everyone has their own method, but I highly recommend allowing time for your idea to gain traction in your imagination and jotting down characters that come to you, snatches of dialogue or interior thoughts, and the occasional scene. It can be very helpful to do a little bit of plotting and figuring out what the main character wants and what stands in his or her way. Identifying the conflict. Doing this sort of pre-work can really help when you get stuck, staring at the computer screen and not knowing where the story is headed. Then you can turn to your notes or do a little research and that can give you the confidence or push to keep going.

And, finally, I would say that though we all write, writing fiction requires some contact with the “muse.” Without going into much detail, I believe this is the ability to open oneself up to the creative spirit and believing in it and letting it flow through you and onto the page.

 

About Herta Feely

Herta Feely is a writer and full-time editor, working with a wide array of authors and writers from around the world. Born in former Yugoslavia, she and her parents emigrated to Germany when she was three, and then to the United States at the age of seven. Her work (both short stories and memoir) have been published in a number of anthologies and literary journals, and she has received the American Independent Writers’ award for best published personal essay. In her previous work, she was a journalist, press secretary and activist, co-founding Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to saving children from unintentional injuries.

She now lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two cats, Monty and Albert. She has two sons, Jack and Max.

 

‘Saving Phoebe Murrow’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Saving-Phoebe-Murrow-perfect-mother/dp/1785770349/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1476813806&sr=1-1

 

Book Launch – ‘Single by Christmas’ by Rosa Temple

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Congratulations to Rosa Temple whose new book, ‘Single by Christmas’ is out today.  There’s a Rafflecopter giveaway towards the end, but first a bit about this novel.

 

Book Blurb

You’ve heard the saying, ‘opposites attract’ haven’t you? Well meet 27 year old Alex Marshall, a party girl with a penchant for free flowing Prosecco, and her devilishly handsome scientist boyfriend, Charlie, who loves jazz and dinner for two.

Alex and Charlie are together for 11 blissful months until Alex goes out of town and does something she will later regret. Was she drunk? You bet. Does she want Charlie to know? Well what do you think?

With the couple about to spend their first Christmas together will Charlie be the forgiving kind or will Alex be Single by Christmas?

This is a feel good, Christmas novel with very few mince pies, not much snow and absolutely no mistletoe – just a couple of best friends, a sociopathic nemesis and a lot of drinking.

 

Excerpt

You might be wondering what I was doing, sitting in a graveyard at five minutes to midnight on Christmas Eve. And if you guessed gravedigger or graverobber, you’d be wrong. But ask yourself, who sits in a graveyard when it’s cold and out and out spooky unless it’s absolutely critical? The church, where I attend Midnight Mass with my family every year, is just across the way. But sitting on that particular bench just inside the graveyard was absolutely critical.

You see, in the lead up to Christmas I managed to lose something. Well, not something, someone. Charlie; my reason for living, my heart, my soulmate …  you get the idea. And before you start crying, don’t worry, he wasn’t buried there. At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure where Charlie was, but he knew I was there. Waiting.

By the stroke of midnight I would have known for sure if I’d truly lost him. I’d asked him to join me and my family for the service. They’d arrived earlier. I smiled and greeted them all – Mum, Dad, big sister, Elise, and her husband and my younger sister, Jo-Jo. They asked where Charlie was and I managed to hide my worst fears and say he’d be along soon, that he was held up. So they just kissed me and piled inside with the rest of the congregation.

My family had been looking forward to seeing Charlie, even more so than they were me. You see, like everyone who meets Charlie, they’d fallen in love with him. Who could blame them? He’s charming, he’s intelligent, he’s sweet, kind, generous. The list could go on. I admit those things weren’t what first attracted me to Charlie. No, the attraction was pure lust and desire. He walked into that New Year’s Eve party the year before and I was stunned into silence. And I’m never silent. Tall, well dressed, mesmerising looks and those dimples that appear every time he smiles, which he does a lot by the way.

And I love Charlie’s family, too. His mum, Leeza, his dad, Don, who Charlie gets his looks and sense of humour from, and his brother. I wasn’t sure Leeza approved of Charlie having a white girlfriend, at first, but I realised that was just paranoia on my part. His family are not like that. His mum, who I grew to admire and love, was just being protective, the way some mothers are.

But, I digress. My family had no idea that I’d seen Charlie twenty-four hours prior to the service and that we’d had a heated argument and that Charlie had practically slammed a door in my face. Minutes before that I’d made a complete and utter fool of myself in front of his wonderful family and he’d walked away with such disgust and disappointment in his face my heart broke in two. He’d closed the door on me but I hadn’t stopped sending begging texts and hysterical voicemails just so he would show up on Christmas Eve – like he’d promised me. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, just praying for one. Because it would have taken a miracle for Charlie to walk towards the church, bypass the tall wooden doors, see me on the bench, push open the graveyard gates and tell me he’d forgiven me.

With everyone nice and warm inside the church, I continued to sit watching puffs of vapour appearing in front of my face from every exhale, brimming with an apology that may never be heard.

You might be saying, “If Charlie’s that wonderful, why couldn’t he just come to the church, it’s Christmas after all?” You have to know, he’d never be that unforgiving without very good reason.

Honestly? It took a whole year of knowing Charlie to finally understand what it is to love someone completely and to be loved the very same way in return and just one month to lose it all.

And this is how …

 

Competition

Hopefully the blurb and excerpt have whet your appetites and are making you want to read this book.  If so, you’re in luck because Rosa Temple is running a competition in which she is giving away 5 eBook copies of ‘Single by Christmas’.  The closing date is 1st November.

To enter click on this link: Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About Rosa Temple

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Rosa Temple is a writer of romantic comedies, chick-lit and contemporary romance. To date she has published one novella, Sleeping with Your Best Friend, and her first full length novel, Natalie’s Getting Married, was published on 14th March 2016.

She has tried her hand at various occupations, from tea lady (albeit for one morning only after being returned to the agency because half an office block suffered caffeine deprivation) to supervising the office running the London Bar Exams.

Rosa is a Londoner born and bred and still resides in West London with ambitions to escape to the country when a suitable country pile becomes available.

In 2014 she was awarded a Distinction in her Creative Writing MA from Brunel University.

Rosa admits to being a reluctant keep fit addict. She owns a yoga mat, a pair of trainers and a spin cycle that gathers dust in the corner of her writing room. She vows that she will run the London Marathon again but has been saying this since her first and only marathon, run in 2010. Hence the trainers.

Having been a ghostwriter for several years, Rosa has written several magazine articles and has penned a multitude of one off novellas and novella length series in the romance genre and in its various sub-genres to include: contemporary romance, historical, adult only, romantic comedies and sweet romances.

Rosa is a member of a writing critique group who meet monthly. This lively and hard working group keep her on her toes as she hones her writing, listening and editing skills.

Rosa’s husband and eldest son are both musicians, her second son swims at a National level for his London team.

Before devoting the majority of her time to her writing of romantic comedies and chick-lit, Rosa was a singer (that’s how she met her husband) and still continues to perform and write songs.

Early reviews show that Natalie’s Getting Married is a favourite of many readers and book bloggers and she follows it with Christmas romantic comedy novel, Single by Christmas, with plans to publish a book series in the very near future.

Rosa loves to chat (about anything really) so follow her on Twitter @RosaT_Author or visit her blog, Rosa Temple Writes, on rosatemplewrites.blogspot.co.uk

Read an excerpt of Natalie’s Getting Married on Goodreads or Facebook

 

Links

Blog – Rosa Temple Writes: http://rosatemplewrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RosaTempleWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RosaT_Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14071311.Rosa_Temple

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LY2MLIH

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LY2MLIH

Google+ : google.com/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Doorways’ by Robert Enright

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Well, the big day is here at last for Robert Enright.  His new book, ‘Doorways’, the first in the Bermuda Jones series is out today, published by Urbane Publications.  Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert and then earlier this year I did a cover reveal on my blog as part of my Urbane event, complete with an exciting countdown.  So, when Robert asked me if I would like to take part in this blog tour, how could I possibly refuse!

Franklyn ‘Bermuda’ Jones was born with the ability to see the truth; a gift and also a curse.  Declared insane by psychiatrists, Bermuda was admitted to hospital for three months.  The only human to have passed to The Otherside and returned, he is now an agent for the BTCO, a highly secret government agency.  Bermuda is stuck between both worlds and pining for the life he has had to leave behind.  Everyday things which people take for granted mean the world to him.

Teamed with Argyle, an enigmatic Otherside warrior, Bermuda is assigned the case of a missing woman who seems to have disappeared into thin air.  As Bermuda is soon to discover there is more to things than meets the eye.  With Argyle’s help will he be able to solve the case before it’s too late?

I am not a fan of science fiction as such but I wanted to give ‘Doorways’ a go having heard so much about it.  You know what?  I’m so pleased that I did because this book is actually a mixture of genres, not just sci-fi.  I was totally hooked from the start and found it so very hard to put down.  I loved the writing style and found that the words bounced right off the pages.  I also really like how ‘Doorways’ is set in different parts of London including a place I love going to.

I found myself getting really involved in the story, so much so that I wanted to scream at the woman who went missing not to walk through the alleyway.  I felt sad for Bermuda and the fact that he couldn’t lead a normal life.  It must have been so hard having to cut himself off from loved ones.  I adored Argyle, his protector and saviour.  The things he did to distract the police; brilliant!

‘Doorways’ took me on an exciting and unstoppable journey.  I didn’t want it to come to an end and I am so looking forward to the second book in the series.  I only hope there are no Others lurking in the shadows watching my every move.  Oh wait, this is fiction isn’t it?  Isn’t it??

Thanks for a great read Robert.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Doorways’ is available to buy from Urbane Publications:-

http://urbanepublications.com/books/doorways/

 

Interview with Rory Dunlop

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‘What We Didn’t Say’ is Rory Dunlop’s debut novel and it’s out today in paperback, published by Twenty7.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Rory.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘What We Didn’t Say’ please?

It’s a novel about a marriage, told by the husband and the wife.  They love each other but they separate because of a series of misunderstandings and miscommunications.  Then, two years, later they meet up.  They want to get back together but they’re each hiding secrets from the other.  It’s written in the form of a diary by the husband, with comments from the wife.

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Where did you get your ideas from for this book?

I’ve always loved unreliable narrator books, like Lolita or The Sea, the Sea.  I enjoy, as a reader, seeing things the narrator can’t.  I thought it would be fun to have two competing unreliable narrators telling the same story.  I’d never seen it done before.

 

Do you see yourself in any of the characters?

There’s a fair amount of me in Jack, the husband.  He’s a bit more insecure and anxious than me but it wouldn’t take too many changes before I found myself thinking like him.  There’s also rather a smug and insensitive barrister who appears briefly.  I don’t see myself in him.  It’s the opposite – he’s the person I try to avoid being at work.

 

Would you like to know any of them for real?

Yes! Absolutely!  I identify with Jack, I think Laura’s cool and I have a particular soft spot for Adam, who is very similar to one of my best friends.  I sent an early draft to a publisher who said ‘I love the concept but I can’t stand Jack and Laura.  I suspect Dunlop intended this but…’  I was horrified.  I hadn’t intended it all.  Jack and Laura were meant to be flawed but likeable – that was how I saw them.  I had to do an exhaustive re-draft after that.

 

Are you currently working on any other writing projects?

No.  I’m trying to earn a living!  Literary fiction is not all that well-paid and I have two children.  I would love to write another novel but I’ll just have to see how this one does.  I have a plot in mind – a courtroom drama.

 

Would you like to see ‘What We Didn’t Say’ made into a film?

Of course!  Then I could definitely justify taking the time off work to write another one.

 

Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Not really.  Just not on a laptop, otherwise it does my back in after a while.  The key thing with writing, I think, is having the time, rather than the place.  You can’t, or at least I couldn’t, write a novel in the mornings or evenings before or after work.  You need weeks at a time with nothing else to think about.  I’m extremely lucky to be self-employed and able to find that time.

 

What’s your advice to anyone wanting to pen their first novel?

Two things: get help and, if you enjoy doing it, don’t give up.  The first is the most important.  I thought, when I started, that it all had to come from me, that creative writing was an inherent talent you either had or didn’t have and that tuition was cheating.  That’s all nonsense.  It’s a skill, like any other, and there are tricks and techniques.  Go on Arvon course.  Do an MA.  Find a creative writing tutor.  I learned more about writing prose in 15 minutes with Jim Crace than in a lifetime of reading novels.

 

What made you decide to write?

There are so many reasons that made me want to write: because I love reading, because I don’t express my feelings often enough, because I’m terrified of death etc.  The novels I love most are the ones which make you think about your own life – the ones where you can see, perfected into sentences, ideas or thoughts that have fleeted through your mind.  There’s so much all of us think about that we never express.  It’s a joy to try to tease those half-thoughts out into words.  If you don’t try, there’s a part of your personality that no one will ever know, that will disappear forever when you’re dead.

 

What else do you enjoy doing? 

I love playing most forms of sport: cricket, football, tennis, golf etc.  Now, with a demanding job and two kids, I don’t find time to play cricket or golf or tennis and I’m down to one game of 5 a side football a week.  The guy who organises it, on whom we all depend, is having a baby and we’re all terrified it will come to a halt without him.  If you’re reading this, and you fancy playing football in Acton on Tuesday nights, get in touch on twitter!

 

Has social media been useful for you?

It’s hard to tell.  You put something out on twitter and you just don’t know how many people read it or how many of them take the trouble to buy or read your book as a result.  The main impact of social media, to be honest, has been to make me feel jealous.  When I read newspapers I skip over the book reviews as all the 5 star reviews for other people are a downer.  Now, on twitter following lots of writers and book bloggers, I can’t avoid it.  Every time I look, there’s ten more novels that I’m told are brilliant and topping bestseller lists.  It feels like my novel will be lost in the deluge.

 

What type of books do you read?

I like novels that have beautiful prose.  If they can make me laugh, that’s even better.  For example, I’ve recently got into David Szalay and Joshua Ferris – they’re both incredible prose-writers and very funny.

 

‘What We Didn’t Say’ is available to buy on Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Didnt-Say-Rory-Dunlop/dp/178577042X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

Book Launch – ‘The Devil You Know’ by Terry Tyler

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Congratulations to Terry Tyler whose new book, ‘The Devil You Know’ is out today.  Isn’t the cover just fab!

 

Book Blurb

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks ALL the boxes.

Everyone likes Pru’s new boyfriend—except her teenage daughter, Maisie.  Is she the only one who can see through Gary’s friendly façade?

Jake fancies Tamsin.  Tamsin loves Jake.  But then her love turns to suspicion…

Steve is worried.  Is his childhood friend, Dan, just being his usual, misogynistic self, or has a new friend’s influence taken him down a more sinister path?

Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her, and a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a character-driven psychological drama that will keep you guessing about the outcome until the very end.

 

‘The Devil You Know’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devil-You-Know-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B01LXQISIY/ref=sr_1_30?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475484232&sr=1-30&keywords=the+devil+you+know

Amazon.com:-

https://www.amazon.com/Devil-You-Know-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B01LXQISIY/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475488636&sr=1-1&keywords=the+devil+you+know+terry+tyler

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32334948-the-devil-you-know

 

Interview with Jared A. Carnie

I would like to welcome Jared A. Carnie back to my blog.  Since his last visit, his debut novel, ‘Waves’ has recently been published by Urbane Publications.  I asked Jared some questions.  I hope you enjoy reading my interview with him.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Waves’ please?

Waves is a novel about someone who thinks their life is going one way, and then suddenly it isn’t anymore. It is set in the Outer Hebrides.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

This is probably the question you get asked most when you have a book out. I wish I had a good answer for it. You know, 13 months and six days. Sixty packs of cigarettes. Something like that. To be honest, it’s really hard to say for sure. I did a lot of writing for Waves on the Isle of Lewis, but have done so many re-writes since then, and more recently been going through the proofs etc prior to the launch, that it’s really hard to think about when the novel began and when it really ended. It’s only now it’s out that I can really feel I’m done with it. This isn’t The Life of Pablo. Maybe when all books are digital people will keep tweaking them once they’re out. There’ll be a backlash against the way Game of Thrones ends, so they’ll change the ending and pretend it was always like that.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I think to a certain extent I can relate to all of them. Realistically, as a writer, you probably have to be able to relate, in some way, to all your characters, even if they’re murderers or something like that. If you can’t get inside their heads, how are you going to write them in a believable way?

 

What would you do if your doorbell rang and one of the characters from your book was standing on your doorstep for real?

Well, are we talking about the characters as they are at the beginning of the book or the end? If Alex from the start of the book turned up at my door, I’d like to think I’d treat him the same way James does in the book. I think a key part of any friendship is being able to recognise when someone needs you to give them a kickstart. If Isobel turned up at my door, I don’t know what I’d do, probably invite her in and see what she wanted to do. She’s more interesting than I am.

 

What do you hope readers get from your book?

I’d hope that maybe people get a little bit of optimism from the book. Or a desire to go do something. Or maybe they’ll even see some of themselves in Alex’s more mopey, self-indulgent moments, and perhaps try their best to not be like that in future. I think it’s a slow-burner of a book. I don’t think someone is going to slam the book down and go ‘right! My life has changed!’ but I think it might come back to people for a while after they’ve finished it.

Overall I just hope that readers enjoy the writing. I believe strongly in clean writing, and if people are willing to enjoy just rolling with the book then I think they’ll get something out of it. If you’re into plot twists and crime thrillers and things like that, this book will probably disappoint you. And that’s ok. Not every book is for everyone.

 

How does it feel to finally be a published author?

It’s a strange moment the day your book comes out because nothing really changes. And I mean that with no lack of gratitude. The day Waves was released, I was on a train to work at 7am and didn’t get back home until 8pm. The only difference was that I was checking my phone a lot more during the day – seeing the Amazon page with my name on saying the book had sold out was pretty surreal.

I guess the most ridiculous bit is when people ask you to sign copies. That’s when you can’t deny that you’re a published author. I always have to be honest and let them know I’ve been practising a signature especially. I don’t want anyone under any illusion that I think being asked to sign something is normal.

 

Did you always want to write?

Recently my girlfriend and I were at my Mum’s house. We found a box of my schoolwork from when I was six or seven. There was one of those sheets with printed sentences on where you had to fill in the blank word. Things like ‘I live with my….Mum and Dad’. One of them was ‘When I grow up I want to…’. My answer was ‘write stories.’ That made us both really happy. I let that little kid down in a lot of ways so I’m glad to be able to say I pulled that one off for him.

 

What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever been given about writing?

Henry Rollins tells this story about when he met Hubert Selby Jr. Selby told him “all you young writers, you need to get your balls out of the way of your writing.” I always liked that. I prefer first person writing, as a reader and a writer, because I tend to feel more of a connection – and that’s what I read for. But it’s important to remember that you’re writing a novel for someone to experience, and there needs to be a voice for them to experience and go along with. You can’t just scribble out your own narcissism and suddenly you’re Henry Miller.

 

Can we look forward to anymore books from you?

I’m always writing. I’m currently working on a new book called Oranges. It’s different to Waves in just about every single way. I’ve got most of the pieces in place, it’s just a case of getting it all how it should be. And re-writing. And re-writing. And re-writing.

 

If you could live your life all over again would you still write?

If anything, I’d do it more. Hopefully I’ve still got a lot of time to make up for this.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Aside from reading and writing? I listen to an ungodly amount of podcasts. I love music more than anything. I watch my girlfriend build her business, BearHugs, in awe. I burden my friends with my anxious, jittery thoughts on things. That’s why there’s so many acknowledgements at the back of Waves. I’m very lucky to have people in my life who tolerate me when I’m pretty intolerable.

 

You are given the task of living on a desert island for three months and are only allowed to take five items with you.  What would they be?

  1. My girlfriend
  2. My dog
  3. A pizza oven
  4. Tom Waits discography
  5. A copy of Waves. Matthew at Urbane would be furious if I found an untapped book market on the island and didn’t try to sell them a new book

 

About Jared A. Carnie

Jared A. Carnie lives in Sheffield. He is a Northern Writers Awards winner. His debut novel, Waves, is available now from Urbane Publications. He can be found at www.jaredacarnie.com

 

Links

‘Waves’ is available to buy from Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/waves/

Website – www.jaredacarnie.com

Twitter – @jacarnie

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