Time flies!

Well, I seem to be averaging two blogs a year at the moment! Not brilliant for a writer. In my defense, we have moved THREE times this year and I’m mindbogglingly shattered. Still, I am writing – plowing on regardless – but it’s slow process. I’m still working through book 1 of the murder mystery series and trying to find new ways to promote the trilogy. If anyone fancies reading and reviewing any of the Eshla books, please let me know. I’m happy to send a free mobi file, for use on kindles, or a pdf.

It hasn’t all been hard work though – got in a few good days at the beach (with best friend in picture below) and an amazing 12 hours on the flying Scotsman in vintage luxury (strictly for historical research you understand!).

I’m back! New job, new country, new hair colour, new writing project…

It’s been a long and fairly difficult, but also exciting, Summer. I haven’t blogged in ages but I’m back in front of a keyboard once again!

So first, the new family member…

IMG_9533 This is Daisy – I think the expression on her face says it all!

Then the short, dark hair (we won’t mention all the extra pounds, ahem)…

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The new country is Wales! I’ve wanted to live here for years – Land of my Mam and my lovey grandparents.

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But I had no idea how hard it would be to move 200 miles! With a four month hop into rented accomodation in Middleton, after selling my house, I felt as if my whole personality was packed into a cardboard box for most of the summer.

The new job is fantastic, and very exciting. I’m a virtual teacher now for a company called Academy21. They offer schooling for students who cannot access mainstream schools for whatever reason (like my son, with ME). It’s got me really excited to teach again.

Finally, I’m about to start writing my new novel, having researched the life out of the 1920’s! Inspired by my Gran’s antics in London as a housemaid, I am re-imagining her as a Lady’s maid turned sleuth! Much more on this in the following months. Meanwhile, meet my new protaganist (also my real life Gran!), Megan Jones…

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Meanwhile, if anyone out there would be interested in reviewing my children’s books – The Eshla Trilogy – please let me know. I’m happy to send Amazon vouchers to download them on Kindle, or send a pdf if you prefer! Thanks x

Review! Charlie Robot

‘Charlie Robot’ by Benedict J Martin exceeded all expectations. The notion of a man trying to pass himself off as an android promised to be funny, and I was interested to see how he would get out of it in the end. What I actually ended up reading was a witty, intelligent novel that nearly drove me mad as I tried to second guess the various twists.
Unlike some science fiction novels, there were no tedious and inexplicable explanations that you need a degree to understand. Martin manages to be very clever whilst using everyday language. There are moments where the humour reminded me of a British comedy called, ‘Red Dwarf’, which has a cult following over here (and which I love!), and moments where the writing style was reminiscent of ‘A hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy’- Charlie has that everyday-man, Arthur Dent-ish quality that makes the character so appealing and easy to sympathise with.
‘Charlie Robot’ would make a great movie and will be enjoyed by readers of a wide range of genres from comedy to mystery.
Charlie Robot by Benedict Martin http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00N9NSVZQ/ref=cm_sw_r_udp_awd_pXD0ub1ABST3M

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Review! The Water Travelers: Heir of the Unknown by Daniel Waltz

A great new fantasy adventure aimed at the young adults market but enjoyable for adults too! 

Aaron and Madi are from different worlds but facing very similar problems – trying to find their way in the world in the face of parent pressure and increasing responsibilities.
Both characters are easy to sympathise with and the relationship that forms between them is very naturally written. Waltz has created a unique world and the way it links to ours is just a brilliant idea. He has also come up with a compelling scenario that urges the reader on to discover how Aaron will deal with his impossible situation.
Great twists and a good pace. An unmissable read.
It’s free! Get your copy here:

Two very different books by the same author.

I’ve just been introduced to Lulu – or, more specifically, http://www.lulu.com. I’d almost forgotten there are other online bookshops, besides Amazon! Anita Kovacevic has two books published on there in two contrasting genres.

The first, is Winky’s Colours.

A beautifully illustrated story, which follows Winky, the adorable penguin, on his quest for colour. Along the way he discovers danger, friendship and oodles of cuteness! Younger children will love this book, the illustrations are so appealing – forget Pingu, Winky should have his own TV station!

As a teacher and a parent (albeit of a 17 year old teenager!) this book had several elements I really appreciated. Anita Kovacevic is an educator who really understands how to engage children. The book is punctuated with questions and little tasks that raise this above a basic storybook, for example: Can you describe Winky’s family? Can you draw them? Who is your favourite?

I can imagine a parent and child on a rainy weekend, sat at their dining room table, reading this story and working through the various activities, questioning and exploring together.

This will help children develop reading skills that older children are often lacking. I cannot recommend it enough to parents.

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Buy Winky’s Colours here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/anita-kovacevic/winkys-colours/paperback/product-22000468.html

 

The second book was ‘The Threshold.’

Original and gripping from the first page. I wish I’d waited till the next day to start this, I couldn’t really afford the late night! I defy anyone to stop reading, ‘The Threshold’ once they start.

The mysteriously tantalising opening chapter introduces the legend of ‘The House’ and captivates the reader from that point on.

The main character in the first part, Josephus Clarence Thibedeaux III, is elegantly created in a style reminiscent of Charles Dickens: ‘and proceeded to hide his falsehood and ego under smooth eloquence, well-mannered posture and gentlemanly elegance.’ He is responsible for both the building of the house and the mystery that surrounds it. Years later, and a host of fascinating individuals take on the legend.

The story is filled with twists and turns, which culminates in an ultimately satisfying ending.

Anita Kovacevic is a skilled writer with a well-paced plot and beautifully crafted phrases: ‘Mrs Poole’s pride was her most precious possession, and she wasn’t going to roll it out like a rug for ruthless people to walk all over.’

Recommended to anyone who likes mysteries, thrillers, suspense and wonderfully written prose.

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Buy The Threshold here:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/anita-kovacevic/the-threshold/ebook/product-21998977.html

Cress in Waterbee

Another fantastic book by an independent author – those agents and publishers are really missing out! Here’s my review for Amazon and Goodreads:

It’s quite hard not to go over the top when reviewing ‘Cress in Waterbee’ by Joye Johnson. As an English teacher with a literature degree I’ve read a lot of the classics, and this felt from the start like it was in the same category.
Born in America in the days of segregation, Cress – with her dark skin and pale eyes – was never going to have an easy time. It falls to her equally unconventional guardian to carve out a life for them both in the small town of Waterbee. They settle there with a supporting cast of terrible people, terribly kind people and some who are a bit of both. The plot carries you through the seasons of Cress’ life till you almost feel responsible for her yourself!
This story is original and stirring – I can’t remember the last time I was so desperate for two fictional characters to thrive and succeed.
Well written with clever twists and heartfelt descriptions, this is a novel to laugh and cry with and should certainly be around for generations to come.
Now, I have to return to a far more mundane world and wait patiently for the sequel, ‘Cress on the Bay’.

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If you are an indie author and would like to read and review my book in exchange for me doing the same, please get in touch!

Buy ‘Cress in Waterbee’ here.

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Community Gardens by Karin Boutall

‘Community Gardens’ is the debut novel from Karin Boutall and introduces The Garden Suspense Series.
When Joan loses her husband in an aviation accident, moving back to Sand Hill Cove, Mississippi, with her son, Zack, seems like a smart move. There she can pursue her dream of running a local garden shop and raise her son with the help of local friends. However, it quickly becomes clear that, like most small towns, Sand Hill Cove has its secrets!
This book is perfect, ‘curl up on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of coffee and a good read’ material. The characters are well drawn and appealing – as a single Mum for 16 years, I could certainly relate to Joan’s Xbox concerns!
The genre is what is known as ‘cosy’ (or ‘cozy’ if you’re in the US) murder mystery and this first book spends a lot of time helping the reader to find their way around Sand Hill Cove, getting comfortable with the settings and inhabitants, all of which adds to the enjoyment of the story.
The actual mystery – and more importantly, the characters’ response to it – reveals more about the community and sets the reader up nicely for the sequel, which is available now.

A well written book and highly enjoyable read which I thoroughly recommend.