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Archive for the tag “Urbane Publications”

‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia

‘No Way Back’ is Kelly Florentia’s second novel. It was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st September 2017 by Urbane Publications. I would like to say thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy to review.

Audrey Fox was due to get married, until that is her fiancé, Nick Byrne dumped her. Totally heartbroken and confused she jumps on a plane to join her parents in Cyprus so she can convalesce. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she’s not sure she’s even ready for.

Audrey’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she finds out that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident. Should she go and visit him in hospital or not?

Though distraught, Audrey is determined to look to the future. She has to decide what to do, follow her heart or listen to the well-meaning advice from her family and friends. Because sometimes, no matter what, it’s the people that we love who can hurt us the most.

I loved, loved, loved this book. I really liked Kelly Florentia’s style of writing and from the very first page I just knew I was going to enjoy it. There were so many shocks and surprises throughout the story and I really didn’t know what to expect next. Just when I thought things had settled down a bit for Audrey, something else happened. Great cover too!

There were some interesting characters in this book. I warmed to Audrey from the start. She came across as a very caring and loving person despite what she was going through. Life became rather complicated for Audrey and she had some big decisions to make regarding her love life. At one point it felt like practically everyone was keeping secrets from her. I really liked Audrey’s parents too and her brother was just lovely.

The ending left me dying to know what is going to happen next and as a reader I really can’t wait for the sequel to come out. Will the shoes tempt Audrey? Kelly Florentia’s writing is magical and I could kick myself for not having read her first novel and her collection of short stories yet. This author is going to go very far indeed.

‘No Way Back’ is definitely one of my favourite books of the year.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘No Way Back’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Way-Back-must-read-intelligent-ebook/dp/B0745DM4GR/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510411765&sr=1-1&keywords=no+way+back+by+kelly+florentia

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Blog Tour – ‘All The Colours In Between’ by Eva Jordan

‘All The Colours In Between’ was published on the 19th October 2017 by Urbane Publications.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour which the lovely Michelle Ryles has organised.  I have an extract for all of you to read and there’s also a fantastic Rafflecopter giveaway being run throughout the tour.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

It’s not a life, it’s an adventure!

Lizzie is fast approaching 50. Her once angst ridden teenage daughters, now grown and in their twenties, have flown the nest, Cassie to London and Maisy to Australia. And, although Connor, Lizzie’s sulky, surly teenage son, is now on his own tormented passage to adulthood, his quest to get there, for the most part, is a far quieter journey than that of his sisters. The hard years, Lizzie believes, are behind her. Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem… A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. And that is just the start. Add to that an unexpected visitor, a disturbing phone call, a son acting suspiciously, a run in with her ex husband plus a new man in her life who quite simply takes her breath away; Lizzie quickly realises life is something that happens while plans are being made. Gritty but tender, thought provoking but light-hearted, dark but brilliantly funny, this is a story of contemporary family life in all its 21st century glory. A story of mothers and sons, of fathers and daughters, of brothers and sisters, and friends. A tale of love and loss, of friendships and betrayals, and coming of age. Nobody said it would be easy and as Lizzie knows only too well, life is never straightforward when you see all the colours in between.

 

Extract

Connor

The handle to the shed door slowly turns. Thank god I locked it. ‘Who is it?’ I shout. Muffled giggling drifts under the door and I wonder if it’s Cas, only it doesn’t sound like Cas. Maisy, maybe?

‘Can we come in?’ a familiar voice asks.

‘Shit, It’s my bloody nan!’ I exclaim. ‘Robbo, put that dooby out NOW!’ Robbo looks at me, grinning, as smoke escapes from the corner of his mouth. The Rickmeister grabs the spliff from Robbo’s hand, takes another quick drag then stubs it out, placing it in the sacred tin. I grab the deodorant can out of my bag and spray the shed to within an inch of its life, manically wafting my hands around like some demented ballerina. Everyone starts coughing and I realise I’ve sprayed way too much deodorant. Jake unlocks the door and we all fall out of the shed, desperate for some fresh air.

We are greeted by my smiling nan and Aunt Marie. ‘Hello boys,’ Nan says. ‘Ooh, smells very nice in there,’ she continues as she sticks her head inside the shed. To my surprise, Nan asks us for a smoke.

‘But, you don’t smoke?’ I reply.

‘Aunt Marie used to,’ Nan says.’

‘When?’

‘About forty years ago.’

‘What? And she just happens to fancy a smoke now, forty years later?’

Nan explains that Aunt Marie is a little stressed right now. ‘As am I, so I’ll have one, too.’

‘Did you used to smoke as well, when you were younger?’

Nan shakes her head. ‘Nope, but I know I could do with one right now.’

We all follow Nan and Aunt Marie back into the shed. I explain that we only have baccy and Rizlas so they’ll have to wait a minute while we roll them one.

‘Or they could have a drag of the one we’ve already made,’ Jake suggests, tapping the sacred tin.

Panicking, I look at his huge grinning face. ‘No. Jake.’ I reply through gritted teeth, ‘we’ll make them a new one.’

‘Oh, don’t roll a new one just for us,’ Nan replies, ‘we’re not fussy.’

Before I know it, Jake has lifted the spliff from the tin, lit it and passed it to Nan and Aunt Marie.

Aunt Marie takes a drag then pulls a strange face. ‘Tastes different to how I remember,’ she says, expertly blowing smoke from her mouth as if it was something she did all the time.

Aunt Marie passes the dooby to Nan who drags heavily on it and then starts to choke. I pass her my can of fizzy shit, which she greedily drinks then, to my surprise, I watch as Nan takes another huge drag. Jake, Robbo, the Rickmeister, and I all look at one another. We each wear the same look of horror as we watch the spliff get smaller and smaller. I tell Nan that I think I can hear someone calling her and somehow, we manage to push the two very high, very giggly, old ladies out the door.

‘Shit man,’ Robbo says, ‘your nan rocks.’

I can’t help thinking there may be hell to pay for this later but that doesn’t stop me laughing my arse off.

 

Giveaway

There’s a chance to win 2 x signed paperbacks and 2 kindle eBooks of All The Colours In Between (UK only).  To enter click on this link – Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

About Eva Jordan

Eva Jordan, born in Kent but living most of her life in a small Cambridgeshire town, describes herself as a lover of words, books, travel and chocolate. She is also partial to the odd glass or two of wine. Providing her with some of the inspiration for her novels, Eva is both a mum and step mum to four grown-up children. Her career has been varied including working within the library service and at a women’s refuge. She writes a monthly column for a local magazine and currently works as a volunteer for a charity based organisation that teaches adults to read. However, storytelling through the art of writing is her passion. All The Colours In Between is Eva’s second novel.

 

Links

‘All The Colours In Between’ can be purchased from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/all-the-colours-in-between/

Amazon UK – http://amzn.eu/3kKSFbb%20

Amazon US – http://a.co/25M1oMD%20

 

If you want to know more you can find Eva at all the usual places. She loves to hear from readers and reviewers so please feel free to contact her.

Website – http://evajordanwriter.com

Twitter – @evajordanwriter

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia

‘No Way Back’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st September 2017 by Urbane Publications.  I am currently reading this book and am enjoying it immensely.  For those of you who are planning to read ‘No Way Back’ I can tell you now that you are in for a real treat.

I am thrilled to be taking part in this wonderful blog tour for which Kelly Florentia has written a really interesting guest post.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

When two eligible and attractive men are vying for your heart, it should be the perfect dilemma…

Audrey Fox has been dumped by her unreliable fiancé Nick Byrne just days before the wedding. Heartbroken and confused, the last thing she expects when she jumps on a plane to convalesce in Cyprus is romance. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur and father-of-one Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she’s not sure she’s ready for. Audrey’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she discovers on her return to London that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident that’s left him in intensive care. Distraught yet determined to look to the future, Audrey must make a decision – follow her heart or listen to well-meaning advice from family and friends? Because sometimes, no matter what, it’s the people that we love who can hurt us the most…

 

Guest Post

Creating Characters

On the bus the other day, a pregnant lady sat opposite me with her little girl – about four-years-old, blonde hair tumbling over her narrow shoulders, blues eyes, incredibly cute. Her legs dangled over the seat, feet almost touching my legs.

“We used to go to that park,” she announced suddenly, pointing out of the window. “The one with the brown gate.”

“Yes,” Mum replied, smiling, “Highgate Woods, and we’ll go there again when the weather warms up.”

“Yes,” said the girl, “Highgate Woods.”

She gazed out of the window for a few moments, swinging her little legs over the seat, then took a sip of water, ate a few gummy bears that her mum handed. It wasn’t long before her pink canvas shoes collided with my knees. She looked at me, eyes wide, clinging to her mother. “I kicked that lady with my feet,” she said warily. Mum looked at me, apologised, and I smiled warmly, said it was okay.

“The lady knows. It’s okay,” she told her.

The little girl studied me for a while, chewing on a gummy bear, then said, “Mummy, I think you’ve got bigger feet than the lady.”

Of course, I glanced down at mum’s feet, I think we all did, and yes, mum’s feet were considerably larger than mine. But I’m not sure she wanted to share this information with the entire bus.

“Yes,” Mum said dryly, “I think I have.”

And I smiled again because in that instant I recognised that little girl. She’s Lily from my second novel No Way Back. I took snapshots of her with my eyes and brought her to the forefront of my mind whenever I wrote a scene about her. And that’s how I create some of my secondary characters.

 

About Kelly Florentia

Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. No Way Back, released 21st September, is her second novel.

Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut The Magic Touch (2016), she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell a Tale or Two… is a collection of her short tales.

Kelly has a keen interest in health and fitness and has written many articles on this subject. Smooth Operator (published in January 2017) is a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.

As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, yoga, drinking coffee, and scoffing cakes. She is currently working on the sequel to NO WAY BACK.

 

Links

‘No Way Back’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2xGjZMe

Website – http://www.kellyflorentia.com

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

Twitter – @kellyflorentia

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kellyflorentia/

‘No Way Back’ Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/user/11135145039/playlist/0IbxzB3L6ZPdbrFiUY5fAI

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Trouble Boys’ by E.R. Fallon

Today I have an exclusive cover reveal for you all.  ‘The Trouble Boys’ is being published on the 22nd February 2018 by Urbane Publications and we would love to know what your thoughts are on this cover.

Here’s what ‘The Trouble Boys’ is all about:-

 

Book Blurb

The Godfather meets Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, but with Gaelic complications, in E.R.Fallon’s thrilling new novel. Trouble Boys is an historical crime novel about the Irish mob in New York City from the 1930s to the 1950s. The story opens in pre-WWII Europe when young Irish immigrant Colin O’Brien settles with his family in New York City. There Colin befriends a Cuban-American boy named Johnny Garcia. Life in America isn’t what Colin’s family expects and he experiences a shocking tragedy that alters his life. As Johnny and Colin grow into men, their friendship changes. They begin working for different crime syndicates, with Colin joining the ranks of charismatic Tom McPhalen’s Irish mob and Johnny becoming a member of debonair Tito Bernal’s Cuban gang. As Colin’s rise in the ranks of organized crime becomes increasingly more brutal and demeaning and his friendship with Johnny deteriorates, he begins to question his place in the seductive yet violent world he’s found himself in.

 

Guest Post by Beverley Harvey

I am delighted to welcome Beverley Harvey to my blog.  Her debut novel, ‘Seeking Eden’ was published last month by Urbane Publications.  Beverley has written a guest post which I hope you all enjoy.

 

Are older women having a moment?

By Beverley Harvey, author of Seeking Eden, Urbane Publications, from July 2017

When I first wrote Seeking Eden in 2015 I contacted a well-known and hard-hitting female editor regarding a critique.  I badly needed a professional and external view as spending the best part of a year making stuff up and creating imaginary friends (otherwise known as creating plots and characters) can be an insular business and over time, one stops seeing the wood for the trees.

It was a sobering experience – and a body blow to my ego. One of the reasons my partial manuscript was deemed unviable was the age group of my main characters; a collection of forty and fifty somethings who converge on the brink of their respective midlife crises, in Home Counties suburbia.

Briefly I considered making my cast younger, but after seeking the opinion of friends and family, the general consensus (especially among my forty and fifty something friends) was that they loved Seeking Eden because of the age group of the characters, not in spite of it.

So I pressed on, looking for a publisher and to my joy found Urbane Publications which specialises in breaking new authors and exploring new genres; its founder had no such reservations and was supportive of the depth and realism of my characters and their plotlines.

And no wonder. According to *ONS figures from 2015, there are around 4.6 million women in the UK, aged between 45 and 55.  That’s a lot of ladies!

Baby boomers and those bubbling just beneath that age group tend to be voracious readers, hailing from a pre-social media era – in short, we like technology but we love books.  So it stands to reason that we want relatable heroes and heroines, doing stuff we do ourselves – which is much the same things as people do in their twenties and thirties; fall in love, fall out of love, have children, make and lose friends, change jobs and so on.  Our hair may turn grey but our lifestyles do not.

For authors, the lives of older people are a rich seam to mine. Seeking Eden tackles a range of dilemmas: whether to have children in middle age, empty nest syndrome, infidelity and materialism.

If we step sideways for a moment into telly land, British networks have already made the leap that older women are hot, hot, hot.  Who can resist Gillian Anderson as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson in The Fall, Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood in the gritty and compelling Happy Valley, or gun-toting beat-pounding duo Scott and Bailey?

My money is on Kay Mellor’s forthcoming TV drama, Girlfriends, becoming the hottest must- see since Broadchurch.  Airing later this year, the series stars Phyllis Logan, Miranda Richardson and Zoe Wanamaker; all women of a certain age and British acting royalty.

More of it I say.  High octane drama, whether in literature or on screen is for everyone – and not just for people under forty.

 

[*Overview of the UK population: March 2017 ]

 

About Beverley Harvey

Beverley Harvey is a former PR professional, and is now a freelance writer and author who lives and works in Kent with her partner Mark and their naughty terrier, Brodie.  More at : www.beverleyharvey.co.uk

 

Links

‘Seeking Eden’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/seeking-eden/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seeking-Eden-Beverley-Harvey/dp/1911331892/

Website – http://www.beverleyharvey.co.uk

Twitter – @BevHarvey_

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Lighterman’ by Simon Michael

‘The Lighterman’ was published in paperback on the 8th June 2017 by Urbane Publications and is out as an eBook as well.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour.  Having loved ‘the Brief’ I just know that this is bound to be a winning series.  I have an extract for all of you to read and a competition at the end, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne.

Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne. The Lighterman provides more of Charles’ personal history, dating back to the war years when he worked on the River Thames with his cousin Izzy.

When Izzy is accused of murder Charles must dig up the secrets of the past to defend him. But brutal gangland leader Ronnie Kray will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Charles for the events of An Honest Man. Can Charles save his cousin…and his own life?

Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

 

Extract

Prologue
September 1940

Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann releases his bombs at 03:45 hours. His Dornier 215 is in the middle wave of the attack and although several of the escorting Messerschmitt 109s have been shot down, the approach has been easy. The cloud cover as they crossed the Channel had melted away, and the bomber squadron had simply followed the meandering line of the Thames, deviating slightly every now and then to avoid the puffs of smoke from the anti- aircraft fire and then returning to its course. Ahead of Schumann clusters of incendiaries continue to rain onto the city, dropped by the leading bombers in his formation. As each new cluster falls there is a dazzling flash followed by a flame soaring up from a white centre, turning the underside of the barrage balloons silvery yellow and throwing up great boiling eruptions of smoke. And as each burst of black smoke clears in the breeze, the great river reappears, a black snake in a brightly-illuminated landscape of uncontrolled fire.

As he releases his payload, Schumann is able to look down and obtain a perfect view of the U-shaped bend in the river known by the Britishers as The Isle of Dogs. He watches the bombs drop, becoming tiny black dots before they are swallowed up by the great orange and yellow tongues of flame which leap hundreds of feet into the night air, as if making futile attempts to lick the belly of his Dornier. The Port of London is burning to the ground, and to Schumann’s eye it is both terrible and beautiful.

It takes the 1000 kg bombs 42 seconds to hit the ground. This is what happens on the ground during that period of 42 seconds:

Hallsville Junior School, Agate Street, Canning Town is heaving with over 600 East Enders – men, women and children – awaiting evacuation. Almost all of them are homeless, their houses and schools having been destroyed in the first few days of the Blitz. Some have gathered together a few treasured possessions; some have a cardboard suitcase or two; some, recently dug out from collapsed buildings, have nothing but the nightclothes they stand in, their modesty covered by borrowed blankets, soot and building dust. Almost all have lost family members and the majority carries injuries; the walking wounded of working class London.

New dazed families continued to arrive at the already overcrowded building but, despite all, spirits have been reasonable for much of the day. Then, as the hours pass and the promised transports fail to materialise, muttering turns to anger and anger to shouting at the hopelessly overrun authorities. They are sitting ducks, they protest, with no air raid shelter to protect them and another bombing raid inevitable. By early afternoon a blind eye is being turned to the dozens of East End servicemen who desert from nearby postings to slip into the school and spirit their families away.

The unrest turns to barely-contained panic when the air raid starts. Children shriek with terror and cling to their mothers’ legs as the bombs scream down, shaking the ground with each impact, and the drone of the oncoming Luftwaffe planes goes on, and on, and on, wave after wave, dulling the senses, making it impossible to think beyond the thundering engines and the rising hysteria.

40 seconds.

Harry Horowitz, tailor and furrier, lately of British Street, Mile End, and his wife Millie Horowitz, milliner, huddle at the very end of a corridor at the back of the school with their boys, Charles aged 14 and David, 12. Despite the noise of the German planes, the bombs raining down all around them which shake the entire building, and the thick dust-laden air which catches in her throat, Millie’s lifelong debilitating anxiety is focused mostly on David. Her younger son had been running a fever when dragged out of their damaged home two nights earlier, and he now lies in her arms, sweating and shivering uncontrollably. Crouched next to them on the floor of the narrow corridor are four other families, one being that of Millie’s best friend, Sarah, who along with her husband and three girls had arrived earlier that afternoon to claim the last remaining floor space just inside the door leading out to the playground.

30 seconds.

Another bomb – one in fact released by the plane preceding that of Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann – screams down towards Agate Street and for a few seconds every adult in the school building holds their breath and falls silent. It lands with an almighty impact and the entire building shakes violently, but it misses the school, destroying instead the row of buildings on the opposite side of the road. Pieces of masonry and shrapnel ping off the cobbles of Agate Street and several heavy pieces of debris crash into the school roof at the front of the building.

‘That’s it,’ announces Harry. ‘We’re leaving.’

Harry Horovitz is a short, dapper man, always perfectly turned out in a three-piece suit, a watch chain across his slim torso. He works long hard hours in his little East End factory which produces high-quality fur coats, stoles and hats for the carriage trade. When he returns to the family home, invariably late and tired, he speaks little, preferring to sit in his armchair by the coal fire in waistcoat and shirt- sleeves and read the newspaper from start to finish in silence. Everyone knows that Millie, sharp-featured and sharp-tongued, wears the trousers in the Horovitz household. However, few realise that on the rare occasion when Harry put his foot down, Millie always complies without a word. She stands and lifts David to his feet, turning to her friend.

‘You coming, Sal?’

Sarah looks up at her husband, who nods his assent.

The nine East End Jews grab their pathetic suitcases and shoulder their way through their terrified neighbours and friends, shouting their apologies over the drone of the aircraft and the explosions all around them, and emerge through the door into the playground.

15 seconds.

‘Run!’ shouts Harry, as he leads them across the playground.

10 seconds.

Charles hesitates, looking back down the corridor as the rest of his family hurry outside into the orange tinted, dust-filled, cacophony of the air raid. Further down the corridor, into the bowels of the school and just outside its combined gymnasium and hall, is another East End family. The Hoffmanns live only 30 yards from the Horowitz household and their house had, like that of the Horowitz family, been almost completely destroyed in the raid two nights before. The two families often queue together with the same ration books; eat the same sparse food; speak essentially the same language in their respective homes, and have much in common besides. But they never speak beyond an occasional nodded greeting. The Hoffmanns, although refugees from Hitler like many in the surrounding streets, are not Jewish, and Millie and Harry Horowitz’s social circle simply does not include non-Jews. Their lives simply revolve around their home, their business and their synagogue. The Hoffmanns are, simply, “goyim” – of “The Nations” – and accordingly outside the circle. But the Hoffmanns have a daughter, a slim, fair and blue-eyed girl of fourteen, named Adalie. Unknown to either set of parents, while walking back from school every evening Charles Horowitz and Adalie Hoffmann have become friends. They have shared their thoughts on their teachers, their homework and on Hitler. And at Adalie’s instigation, they have shared several sweet, chaste, kisses.

So Charles lingers for a second or two, trying to catch a last glimpse of Adalie, and as a result very nearly loses his life. The rest of his family have stumbled across the rubble- strewn playground and are disappearing through the rear gates of the school. Outside on the street the air glows, backlit by orange flames on all sides; the fires of hell.

The shriek of Luftwaffe Hauptmann Heinz Schumann’s bomb fills the air as Charles, having given up his quest, races across the playground after the shadowy figure of his mother, the last of the party to disappear through the school gates ahead of him. Charles reaches the gate and takes two steps up Agate Street.

Impact.

The 1000 kg bomb scores a direct hit on the school. Charles is blown off his feet and finds himself sailing eight feet into the air, the explosive pressure drop making him feel as if his eyeballs are being sucked out of their sockets. He lands in an adjoining garden, destroying the rhododendron bush which breaks his fall, and suffers a bruised back and a cut to his scalp from a piece of flying masonry from the school wall. Everyone else in the family is unscathed. Although winded, Charles manages to roll back onto his feet in a single movement and continue running.
Harry Horowitz, soft-spoken East End tailor, has saved the lives of his family.

Later that day the government places a “D Notice” on the event, preventing accurate reports of the number of casualties to avert a collapse of morale in London. Officially 73 people died. Locals know that of the 600 or so men, women and children in the building, over 450 were killed instantly, many more in the hours thereafter, and almost all of the survivors suffered injuries. The Hoffmann family were blown to unrecognisably small pieces.

Four days later the Horowitz family unfolds stiff limbs and climbs down the steep steps of a bus in the centre of Carmarthen, and are introduced to the farmers who are to take them in. Four weeks of regular enforced chapel attendance later, Charles runs away and jumps on a Great Western milk train to London where he spends the next, and best, years of his life, running wild on the rubble-strewn streets of London and the one artery the Luftwaffe never managed to close: the River

 

Competition

Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications is very kindly giving away a paperback copy of ‘The Lighterman’ for each stop on the blog tour.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you thought of the extract.  Has it left you wanting to read more?  Are you totally intrigued?

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. tonight, 13th June 2017.

The winner will be randomly selected and notified by the end of this week and their details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prize.

 

‘The Lighterman’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-lighterman/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lighterman-Book-Charles-Holborne-x/dp/191158300X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497331771&sr=1-1&keywords=the+lighterman

Guest Post by Richard Whittle

Big congratulations to Richard Whittle whose new book, ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ is out today published by Urbane Publications.  Richard took part in my Urbane Blog Event in March and it is a real pleasure to have him back on my blog with a guest post.

~~~~~

Sonya, thank you for inviting me to write a Guest Post, I really appreciate it! In March you were kind enough to interview me and to publish an extract from my novel, The Man Who Played Trains, which will be published on 25th May by Urbane Publications. My publisher calls it an intelligent thriller.  What more could I ask?

The Man Who Played Trains is not my first novel. Fifteen years ago I was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger Award and received a runner-up prize, presented by Ian Rankin – who, tongue in cheek, asked me not to set any novels in Edinburgh. He also told me to keep writing, encouragement I didn’t need at the time but which I would have appreciated many times before, and since, that day. Like so many writers, I’d had short stories published, but no full-length novels. I had been submitting novels to publishers and agents for years, receiving those negative responses we all know so well. Also, occasionally, a few words of encouragement.

The best writing advice and encouragement I ever had was from Random House. Years before my modest success with the Dagger I submitted the typescript of a full novel to the company (probably as part of a scattergun approach to publishers and agents, I cannot even remember which novel I sent). Somehow it fell into the hands of one of the company’s directors and he personally edited, with a lot of red pen, the first three chapters of my book. The letter accompanying the returned typescript ran to two single-space pages of helpful critique and suggestions. He ended by assuring me that one day I would be published. He did add that it might take some time. He was right.

A few years ago I became so disheartened with the responses to my submissions that I gathered up all my correspondence and ceremoniously shredded the lot. Regretfully, the Random House letter died in this purge – though if I am honest with myself I see little point in keeping such things – I read somewhere that we are known for what we do today, not what we have done in the past. That is not always true (think Mandela, Einstein, Pankhurst, Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky…) but it is sound advice that keeps me on my toes.

So where are all these novels, you might ask? Complete and incomplete typescripts litter my hard drives – stories not dead but merely sleeping, awaiting modification and renovation. Many stem from a stage when I wrote only for myself (I had spent far too much time submitting my work to agents or publishers and not enough time writing). During this time, a period of about four years, if I tired of the novel I was writing I put it aside and started another. It is rather like having a big garage full of old cars, some in bits, some almost ready to run (apologies for the analogy if you know nothing about old cars. I am sure you can think of another).

One of these restarts and rewrites was Playpits Park, a novel I self-published on Amazon. To my surprise it acquired more 5-star reviews that I could ever have wished for. The Kindle version was downloaded more than six thousand times.

So who do I write for now, myself or the reader? That is not an easy question to answer. When you read The Man Who Played Trains you enter a world I inhabited before you, a world built from real and imagined places, real events and fictional events. I believe Robert Harris said it first – there are holes in history that you can fall through. This story, set in Edinburgh (sorry, Ian), the far north of Scotland around ten years ago and in Germany in wartime, is a crime novel, a mystery, a thriller and adventure story. My greatest wish is that you enjoy reading my work as much as I enjoy writing it. That makes it all worthwhile.

I wrote at the start of this post that The Man Who Played Trains is not my first novel. Nor is it about trains, though they do appear now and again. Thank you for reading this guest post until its end. That, too, makes it worthwhile!

 

Buy The Man Who Played Trains from Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/books/the-man-who-played-trains/

Also at Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Amazon and all good bookshops.

 

Blog Tour – ‘Blue Gold’ by David Barker

Congratulations to David Barker whose debut novel, ‘Blue Gold’ was published yesterday the 11th May by Urbane Publications.  For a taster of David’s book click on the link below:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/extract-from-blue-gold-by-david-barker/

It’s my turn on the blog tour celebrating the publication of ‘Blue Gold’ and I am delighted to be hosting a guest post written by David Barker.

 

Water, water, everywhere…

And not a drop to drink, as the Ancient Mariner once said. Hopefully by now you know that Blue Gold is a thriller set in the near future during a world war for water. Articles about water shortages are becoming more common. I’ve been thinking about this for the past seven years or so as I tried to craft a setting for my novel. So, what’s the problem and why is it getting worse?

Many of you may know that only 2.5% of the world’s water is drinkable, the rest being seawater. And two-thirds of the freshwater is locked up in polar icecaps or glaciers. That in itself is scary but not a problem; our ecosystem has always been like that.

The problem is a combination of three factors: demographics, economics and climate change. The demographics part is quite easy to follow. Over the next twenty years the global population is expected to rise by 20%, that’s 1½ billion people who need food and water. Unfortunately, most of those extra people are likely to be born in regions of the world already stressed by water shortages: Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Many of the countries with the biggest populations are showing economic success, raising families out of poverty towards better incomes. That, of course, is fantastic news – and an oft forgotten aspect of the global inequality debate – but richer families tend to consume more water. Their diets shift away from vegetarian to meat-based. Cattle require ten times as much water as crops do to grow. And when a family can afford its own apartment, with their own bathroom, they use more water.

So, it’s obvious that demographics and economics will boost the demand for water significantly over the next 20-30 years. The effects of climate change are more subtle. A hotter atmosphere doesn’t change the amount of water in the ecosystem. But extreme weather events – droughts and floods – are becoming more common. California just went through its worst drought in over a thousand years. Floods, oddly, are unhelpful for water supplies too because rivers and drains can’t cope with the deluge; the excess water is often contaminated and can’t be stored. The effective supply of rainwater is declining with weather extremes.

What can we do about this problem? In the first instance, we simply tap into the underground stores of water known as aquifers. But these take millennium to refill, and the rate of depletion in most suggests a looming problem.

People often assume that desalination – removing salt from seawater – can solve the problem, but even with technological improvements it’s still expensive. It leaves behind a concentration of salt that can be devastating for the local environment. Water is very heavy. If the city you are trying to supply is miles from the sea, or as in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, 7000 feet up an escarpment, you can forget about desalination as a practical source of freshwater. And desalination uses a lot of energy. It will be hard enough for us to meet the Paris Agreement on carbon emissions without the extra burden of powering desalination plants and transporting water inland.

The real solution lies in using our freshwater more carefully. Educating households and businesses on the importance of looking after this precious commodity. Reducing pollution in our rivers. Building homes that catch rainwater and use that to flush our toilets. Modernising our sewage systems. Inevitably, all of this will require a helping hand from Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’. The price of water will have to rise significantly to persuade people to take the issue seriously and to reward the innovators.

What will happen in the poorest parts of the world then? It was probably no coincidence that the Arab Spring of 2010-12 occurred during a period of rapid increases in the price of flour and bread. People like to grumble when luxury items become more expensive. People riot when basic, essential items becomes unaffordable. I hope it doesn’t come to that. It’s one prediction I’ll gladly get wrong.

 

Find out more about Blue Gold and me on my website:

www.davidbarkerauthor.co.uk

 

About David Barker

David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. He is married to an author of children’s picture books, with a daughter who loves stories. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time.

David’s writing ambitions received a major boost after he attended the Faber Academy six-month course in 2014 and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf and surfing.

 

‘Blue Gold’ can be purchased from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/blue-gold/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Gold-David-Barker-x/dp/1911331655/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488657122&sr=1-1&keywords=blue+gold+by+david+barker

 

Final Post – My Urbane Blog Event

Well, my Urbane Blog Event is over.  I have really enjoyed doing it and I really don’t know where these past two weeks have gone.  I’ll let you all into a little secret now.  Whilst organising this event I had a few doubts.  I thought I had lost the ability to organise another blog event.  As it goes, it all went very well.

I’d like to thank all my fellow book bloggers, authors and of course the Urbane authors for taking the time and trouble to share my posts.  I really was and still am totally overwhelmed at all the support I got.  You Urbane authors really are like one big happy family.  I’d also like to thank Matthew Smith for providing me with the book extracts.  Long may your publishing business continue.

I have decided that I would really like to feature Urbane authors on my blog on a monthly basis, about two or three posts a month.  If your book is due to be published do feel free to get in touch with me anytime.  I am always open to hosting guest posts and doing interviews.  I will also be reviewing lots more books.

Thanks again everyone!

 

Love from Sonya xx

 

Book Review – ‘Reunited’ by Daniel Gothard

‘Reunited’ is Daniel Gothard’s second book to be published by Urbane Publications. It came out in October of last year and seems to have been getting some very good reviews. I bought a copy for my kindle.

It’s 2012. Ben Tallis is thirty-six years old, has achieved his ambition of becoming a journalist and he’s engaged to a very ambitious lawyer. But there seem to be a couple of problems within the relationship. When Ben receives an invitation to a 20 year old school reunion he really doesn’t want to go. By mistake he mentions the reunion to his editor who smells a great feature article and insists that Ben returns home, faces his past, and writes a feature on how much we change and yet in so many ways we stay the same. It doesn’t look like Ben has much choice. So he reluctantly returns home, re-engages with his past and realises that you can never run from the truth or who you really are. The reunion gets Ben thinking back to 1992 when he was still at school and his best friends, including one he was secretly in love with. How will Ben get on at the reunion? Well, that’s for you to find out.

I started reading this book straight after ‘Simon says’. Again, the cover is very retro and bright which is a good thing as it stands out. Having read and enjoyed Daniel Gothard’s first book I was looking forward to ‘Reunited’, although to be honest I wasn’t entirely sure how I would get on with it. My school days aren’t exactly something I like to think about and I would never even consider going to a reunion. As it goes I really enjoyed this book.

I think going back between the past and present worked extremely well. I did on a couple of occasions get a bit confused though, as in I thought I was still reading about Ben’s school days when in actual fact the story was back in the present. Maybe this is because I got hooked and wanted to know what happened next in Ben’s past. Ben and one of his best friends had a really hard time because of bullies. I think going back home and meeting people from his past really helped Ben to put things into perspective.

I am looking forward to reading future books by Daniel Gothard and will definitely be buying a copy of ‘Reunited’ in paperback to add to my collection.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

Links

‘Reunited’ is available to buy from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/reunited/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reunited-Daniel-Gothard/dp/1911129546/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489950517&sr=8-1

 

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