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Archive for the tag “novella”

‘Away for Christmas’ by Jan Ruth

Congratulations to the lovely Jan Ruth whose novella, ‘Away for Christmas’ is out today as an eBook. Jan asked me if I would like to review her new book and provided me with a copy of it.

Set in Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales, this story starts off in December 2015. Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year but it doesn’t look as if it will be for Jonathan Jones. Losing his job just a few days before the festive period, Jonathan is really under pressure to get the novel he’s written published and for it to become a bestseller. But things aren’t that easy. To make matters worse his partner drops a bombshell of her own. The festive holiday already looks set to be a disaster.

Jonathan is bequeathed a failing bookshop in their seaside town and he starts to feel as if some of his prayers have been answered. However, it turns out that his publishing company are not what they seem. Then Jonathan’s ex-wife declares her romantic intent and he’s left totally confused as to what to do for the best.

Is everything lost or can the true meaning of words, a dog called Frodo and the sheer magic of Christmas be enough to save Jonathan’s book and his skin?

I firstly want to mention the cover which I adore. It is absolutely stunning and with its bright colours it looks so inviting. I almost wished that I could climb into it and walk into the bookshop. Somehow I think I would be stuck in there for hours.

This is the first Christmas story I have read this year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the opening paragraph and I really liked Jan Ruth’s style of writing throughout. The way she describes things is wonderful and you can really picture scenes in your head. I enjoyed reading about Beachside Books and the progress made to restore it.

Jan Ruth is an experienced writer and so she is able to tackle the subject of the different avenues of publishing and book promotion very well. Jonathan’s burning ambition was to finish writing his books and to get them published. In a way it was as if losing his job opened up other options for him. Thinking everything was above board with the publishing company, he found out the hard way that they weren’t what they claimed to be. As soon as I read about them I thought, dodgy! They didn’t even liaise with him properly with regards to the book covers.

As well as the issues Jonathan faced with getting his books published, he was also having problems in his personal life. I read on with great interest wondering what would happen. I absolutely loved Frodo the dog. He sounded just so adorable. The last chapter left me with a nice warm feeling. Things had changed so much for Jonathan and I was really happy for him. I like how everything came together. There was even a little unexpected surprise.

‘Away for Christmas’ is a lovely read. It is the ideal book to snuggle down on the sofa with on a cold winters day.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Jan Ruth

The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. She failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day struggles to make sense of anything numerical.

Her first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of an agent who was trying to set up her own company, Love Stories Ltd. It was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing.

Many years later Jan’s second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane Judd, literary agent. Judd was a huge inspiration, but the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher. It didn’t fall into a specific category and, narrated mostly from the male viewpoint, it was considered out of genre for most publishers and too much of a risk.

Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing; opening up the market for readers to decide the fate of those previously spurned novels. Jan went on to successfully publish several works of fiction and short story collections and after a brief partnership with Accent Press in 2015, has returned to the freedom of independent publishing.

 

Links

‘Away for Christmas’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://mybook.to/Away4Xmas

Website – http://janruth.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JanRuthAuthor

 

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Interview with David John Griffin

David John Griffin

David John Griffin recently submitted a short story for my Halloween event.  Since then his novel, ‘The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb’ has been published.  I asked David some questions.

 

I have really been enjoying ‘The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb’.  For the benefit of my readers can you tell me a bit about your book please.

The first draft of The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb was written over 40 years ago when I was a student at Medway College of Art & Design (as it was called then). It took two years to write the first draft. As it was written on a mechanical typewriter, the second draft meant typing the whole lot out again! No computers, cut & paste, etc., in those days, of course. Over the years, it has undergone another 2 or 3 major revisions, and many minor ones. I’m not sure now where the ideas came from though I was highly influenced in style at the time by Mervyn Peake’s books The Gormenghast Trilogy. The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb has been described by one reviewer as “Dickens with a dose of the psychedelic”. It’s published by Urbane Publications, a dynamic and up-and-coming indie publishing house.

Here is a description:

The turn of the last century and Theodore Stubb’s manor house resides in the quirky village of Muchmarsh. A renowned entomologist, he is often within the attic adding another exotic specimen to his extensive collection of insects. But Theodore is also a master hypnotist, holding the household in thrall to his every whim. Theodore’s daughter-in-law Eleanor – returned from the sanatorium two months before – is a haunted figure, believing that her stillborn child Alastair lives and hides in the shadows. Then she falls pregnant again, but this time by the hypnotic coercion and wicked ravishment of Theodore. A dreadful act begets terrible secrets, and thirteen years later the boy Alastair Stubb begins to lose his identity – it is not long before mystery, intrigue and murder follow gleefully in his wake. The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb is a gothic terror of the highest order, delivering a dream-like and hallucinatory reading experience that promises to reveal secrets both disturbing and astonishing.

 

Is this a genre you are particularly interested in?

It’s strange that with The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb I had no thoughts of its genre while writing it. It was only ten years ago or less when a reader described it as gothic. I realized then, oh yes, so it is! Also the aspects of magical realism weren’t consciously added with any thought of “I’ll add magical realism” – I wrote it with the sheer love of creative writing. I’m not sure if I’d ever write another gothic novel. I’ve visited that genre and that’s satisfying enough, I think.

Though I’ve realised that magical realism is important to me and has found its way (and will) into future novels.

 

I see that you’ve also got a novella out which I’ll be reading soon.  Are you planning to write any more?

I enjoyed the novella form very much. The original idea for Two Dogs At The One Dog Inn was for a short story but once I started writing it, I realised it needed more pages than that. Although I learned a lot, in as much as pushing my imagination to the limit then pushing some more, I don’t think I’ll visit the novella form again – though we wait to see. I prefer the novel form (with all its complications and headaches) even over short stories.

 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m half way through the first draft of a fantasy novel. It’s turning out very strange indeed. Again I’m pushing my imagination – I only hope its not too strange even for my readers! The title of the novel is secret at the moment! I hope to have it finished, final draft, by mid-2016.

Here’s a work in progress description:

Stave Swirler is lost in a nightmarish dream. Or is he? His given mission is to save his Realm before it’s too late. A fantastical journey of strange discovery, in conflict with the malevolent agents of Tremelon Zandar. A surreal and imaginative tale of fantasy and love that will captivate you from beginning to end.

 

Do you have a favourite place to do your writing?

I write mainly in an upstairs bedroom which I call the studio. I used to compose electronic music and had my own recording studio in a spare room so any creative space now with a computer is called the studio.

I also have a writing desk in the corner of my garden shed where I write, during the summer months, on an iPad. If it gets dark, I light candles so it’s very atmospheric.

 

Did you always want to be a writer?

From the age of five! I remember way back then, in class at primary school, when the teacher gave us a piece of paper and a pencil each and asked us to write a short story. After I had filled the first page, I went up to the teacher and asked for another sheet of paper. She replied, in a delighted tone, “Another piece of paper?” I must have asked for at least another three sheets and the encouraging remark with a smile was always the same.

I knew I wanted to write. Though towards the end of this first story, my writing became half inch high letters – despite the thirst to write instilled in me then, I was too young to know what I wanted to write about.

At the age of fourteen, I wrote a 100 pages in longhand at my parents’ dinner table, an unusual science fiction story. Reading it recently, I was struck as to how surreal and naive it is! But that’s to be expected, I guess.

Which leads me up to the ‘70’s when I wrote Alastair Stubb at art college, the urge to write strong within me.

Despite that, my second novel wasn’t started until another ten years after, in the mid 80’s. (Called Infinite Rooms, due to be published May next year by Urbane Publications).

 

How has social media helped you?

Twitter has been the main help – I found my publisher via Twitter and many nice people, all to do with writing mainly. Goodreads and Facebook are fine too and have offered some good contacts and friendships as well.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

When writing a novel first draft, or even a short story first draft for that matter, keep going from beginning to end without looking back. Don’t read what you’ve typed, don’t correct or revise, just plough on to the end. Revision and correction happen in the 2nd and subsequent drafts.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Walk our two dogs, Bullseye and Jimbo, spending time with my wife Susan, occasionally the cinema or out for a meal. The usual really! I also create apps for the iPad as a hobby.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

I have many favourite authors, new and old, but I’ll only mention the ones who have had the greatest influence on me and who I have admired and tried to emulate in certain aspects of creative writing: Charles Dickens, Mervyn Peake, Leanora Carrington, Angel Carter, Jorge Louis Borges, Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, John Wyndham. I could carry on, but leave it there!

 

 

Links

Website – http://davidjohngriffin.com

Amazon: Author Page – http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-John-Griffin/e/B00NQ1GUPY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1449688005&sr=1-2-ent

Twitter – @MagicalRealized

 

Guest Post by Valerie-Anne Baglietto

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Book Blurb

Christmas in Fools Castle will never be the same again.

Nothing much happens around here, but that suits Antoinette Ellis perfectly. She wants the cocoon the village provides. Fate has taken too many of her loved ones, and all she has left is her brother, and their late sister’s daughter, Tabitha. Antoinette gave up her future to look after her young niece, but her sacrifice hasn’t gone unnoticed.

When a stranger called Rufus moves into the grim, grey house opposite her cottage, odd things start to happen in Fools Castle. He admits he’s not the person he appears to be, but he won’t reveal who he really is. And what secrets lie within that little old book of his, which no one is allowed to look inside?

A miracle is long overdue, but the season for miracles is just around the corner…

THE LITTLE BOOK OF LOST HEARTS is an enchanting, festive, contemporary novella perfect for fans of Cecelia Ahern and Sarah Addison Allen. 

 

Valerie-Anne Baglietto has kindly written a guest post for my blog….

When I set out to write a festive story, I instantly homed in on the quote by Calvin Coolidge: ‘Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.’ The season ought to be about kindness and generosity and selflessness, yet those things shouldn’t be reserved only for December. So I wrote about a heroine who’d made a huge sacrifice in her life and how a little magic from an unusual source might help put things back in perspective for her. I also hoped I could capture some of the essence of those Christmas movies we all love to watch year after year, over and over. It’s a Wonderful Life, Nativity!, Elf (fast becoming a classic!) We all have our favourites. I wanted something almost cinematic for an ending, a grand gesture, a glittering homage to my own feel-good mini ‘movie’… Possibly I was being ambitious, but I sincerely hoped it worked (even on a small scale)!

 

About Valerie-Anne Baglietto

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Valerie-Anne Baglietto wrote her first fairy tale at the age of four. A story about a little boy whose mother’s nose was incredibly long and spiral shaped. It should have been obvious where her predilection lay. Fast forward a couple of decades, when she won the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Award for her debut novel THE WRONG SORT OF GIRL. After three more romantic comedies – with no magical elements whatsoever – life with her young family took over.

But on Christmas Eve 2011 Santa brought her a plot to play with. It became ONCE UPON A WINTER, which reached #1 in both the Fairy Tale and the Contemporary Fantasy Charts on Amazon UK. This was followed by THE TROUBLE WITH KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOUR and two short stories in the Belinda Jones’ Travel Club SUNLOUNGER anthologies.

Valerie-Anne’s Christmas novella THE LITTLE BOOK OF LOST HEARTS is a standalone story but introduces the village of Fools Castle, where her next full-length, modern day fairy tale will be set (due out 2015).

Guest Post by Nicola May

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The lovely Nicola May has kindly written a guest post for my blog.

 

All I want for Christmas….. by Nicola May 

Writing a Christmas novella is not always easy as you have to get your head into a sparkly, snowy mood way before the actual event.

However, for someone who loves Christmas this is not a problem at all. I even went out and brought some mince pies and mulled wine whilst writing Christmas Yves to get me in the mood. 

My perfect Christmas requests are very simple – Family, friends, snow, sherry, scrummy food, and ideally someone to cuddle up to in front of the fire. Mr Right is on my Christmas list. So come on Santa, push him down my chimney!

 

About Nicola May

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Nicola May lives in Ascot with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, drinking bubbles and eating flapjacks. Christmas Yves is her first novella. She has written 5 novels and a non-fiction guide on How to Create & Maintain your author profile, plus increase Amazon Sales.

‘One Hundred Christmas Proposals’ by Holly Martin

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One Hundred Christmas Proposals is out now, here’s the blurb:

The eagerly anticipated follow-up to One Hundred Proposals.

If you thought Harry & Suzie’s life couldn’t get any more sweepingly romantic than Harry asking her to marry him at the end of One Hundred Proposals – think again!

It’s Christmas in a snow-kissed London, and the.PerfectProposal.com have vowed to carry out one hundred proposals in December. No easy task at the best of times – made even more complicated by Harry & Suzie trying to plan their first Christmas and a visit from the dreaded in-laws. But one hundred deliciously Christmassy proposals later they find themselves asking if everything is still perfect in their own relationship….

Welcome back to the divinely warm world of One Hundred Proposals – with a sprinkling of pure, joyful, festive magic.

Have yourself a very merry Christmas indeed with Holly Martin’s Christmas novella.

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I love this story and I’m so excited about you guys reading it too.  I never thought I would write a sequel for any of my novels, but catching up with Harry and Suzie, two of my favourite characters, in London at Christmas was a story that was begging to be told.  What I love about this story is instead of Harry proposing to Suzie, we get to see some of the amazing proposals they organise for their clients and we learn a little about their clients lives too.  One of my favourite proposals in this story is the sightseeing flight over London with the proposal written in flowers on a boat on the Thames.

Now you can win a sightseeing flight over London too and experience some incredible views of our capital.

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This experience gives you a unique perspective on the sights of London. After a short pre-flight briefing, you’ll board a Piper Seneca twin-engine plane for a fantastic half hour sightseeing trip.

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After taking off in Essex you’ll follow the Thames west into the heart of the city, getting a unique view of the capital. You’ll see the O2 arena, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, the towers at Canary Wharf, The London Eye, The Shard and the Houses of Parliament. Then turn north to fly over Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, before heading back east to land in Essex. You’ll get an amazing perspective on the geography of the city and the beauty of its landmarks, so whether you’re a tourist or a Londoner, you’ll see the capital in a whole new way. And if flying isn’t your thing, this would make the perfect Christmas present for someone in your family.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is copy one of the pre-prepared tweets below, tweet it and you’ll automatically be entered into the draw to win this prize bundle.  The more you tweet, the more times you’ll be entered.

The competition will run until midnight (UK time) on Sunday 14th December so plenty of time for tweeting.  Every time you tweet, you’ll be entered into the draw.

Good Luck

 

Tweets

One Hundred Christmas Proposals by @hollymartin00 is out now, a gorgeous, sparkly story to curl up with this winter http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Join Harry & Suzie as they celebrate Christmas in a snowkissed London,100 Christmas Proposals is 59p @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Celebrate Christmas in a sparkly,snowkissed London, a beautiful love story to curl up with this winter @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Christmas lights,overcooked turkey,plenty of cake,glistening snow. 100 Christmas Proposals is only 59p @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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What will Harry give Suzie this Christmas? 100 Christmas Proposals is only 59p, a sparkly,snowy sequel @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Harry & Suzie are back celebrating their first Christmas in a snowy London,100 Christmas Proposals.59p @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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Fairy lights, candles, snow, flowers and beautiful music, how to create the perfect Christmas proposal @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

 

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100 Christmas Proposals is only 59p,a gorgeously romantic snowkissed story to curl up with this winter @hollymartin00 http://amzn.to/1vwnL4e

Book Launch – ‘Round and Round’ by Terry Tyler

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Today sees the publication of ‘Round and Round’ by Terry Tyler, a romantic/paranormal story.  Her ninth published work, this is a 36K word novella, i.e., between a third and half as long as a full length novel.

 

Four Valentine cards – from four different men!

Sophie Heron’s fortieth birthday is looming, and she is fed up with her job, her relationship, her whole life – not to mention her boyfriend’s new ‘hobby’, in which she definitely doesn’t want to get involved…

Back in 1998 she had the choice of four men, and now she can’t help wondering how her life might have turned out if she’d chosen differently.

The person to whom Sophie had always been closest was her beloved Auntie Flick, her second mother, friend and advisor.  Before her death in 2001, Flick said, “when I’m up there having a cuppa with St Peter, I’ll have a word with him about making me your guardian angel, shall I?”

As Sophie’s fortieth birthday draws near, she visits her aunt’s special place: a tree by a river, hidden from the world.  Here she calls on Auntie Flick to show her the way forward – and help her look back into the past so she can see what might have been….

 

‘Round and Round’ is available on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Round-Terry-Tyler-ebook/dp/B00M17PHGW/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406099356&sr=1-11&keywords=terry+tyler

 

‘The Christmas List’ by Chrissie Manby

Christmas List

I loved the sound of ‘The Christmas List’ and was really interested in reviewing it.  Chrissie Manby kindly sent me a copy of her new novella when it was ready.

As children, Milly Arnold and her sisters always made a Christmas list on the 1st of December which was then sent off to Santa via the chimney, a family tradition continued by her married sister.  Milly who has always loved Christmas is especially looking forward to it this year, but things change within minutes when she unexpectedly gets dumped.

The last thing Milly wants to do on the 1st of December is go to her elder sister’s house for lunch, but she doesn’t really have a choice.  When her nephews sit down to write out their Christmas lists they insist that she also does one.  Milly doesn’t really expect to get any of her requests, but just goes along with it.  However, things can work in mysterious ways.  Will Milly find the happiness she truly deserves?

I really enjoyed ‘The Christmas List’.  Though predictable in places this was a magical little read.  I recommend getting a copy of this novella.  It’s bound to get you in the mood for Christmas.

I hope Chrissie Manby writes more novellas like this.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

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