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Archive for the ‘Indie Publishing’ Category

Hello and welcome along to another post to celebrate indie publishing, where I like to shine the light on another book from an independent publisher or author and share some book love with you all.  At the moment I’m having great trouble typing as I’ve got gloves on, proper fluffy type gloves because I’m so cold right now, I’ve even got a cuppa to curl my hands round in an effort to keep them warm haha I apologise in advance for spelling errors, the gloves make it tricky to type (that’s my excuse!).

Today’s book in the spotlight is De/Cipher: The Greatest Codes  by Mark Frary and is published by Modern Books.


Book Feature:

Description:

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What code is hidden on the 3700-year old Phaistos disc?

Why is the Voynich manuscript still unsolved after more than 400 years?

Did the decryption of the Zimmerman telegram help end World War 1?

What system was developed by GCHQ to make cipher exchange more secure and how does it work?

Since we first learned to communicate, the codemaker’s craft has challenged and fascinated us. For millennia, mankind has used the transmission of encrypted messages to protect privacy, share secrets, conceal truths and win wars. Highlighting the work of famous cryptanalysts, such as Alan Turing and the Colossus computer, De/Cipher offers compelling insight into the world of cryptography, revealing the cunning and ingenuity behind fifty of the greatest codes and ciphers.

My Thoughts & Review:

Who doesn’t love a good mystery?  I know that codes and cracking them have been a fascination of mine for many years.  As a child I would sit for hours inventing a cryptic code to pass communications and try to make it almost impossible to crack unless you knew the key (or atleast I thought I did, in reality they were probably really easy to crack).  So when I saw the details of this book I KNEW I had to check it out, it appealed to the wannabe spy within.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the volume of detail crammed within it’s 176 pages, I was curious whether it would be as in-depth as I’d hoped when my copy appeared, fearing that a slim book might mean minimal content but I was completely wrong.  Containing information about codes and historic codebreakers this is a wonderfully researched and well presented book.  I found that I devoured the pages with the codebreakers of history, ones that I had no clue about as well as more familiar faces.  It was enjoyable reading about “Madame X” aka Agnes Meyer Driscoll, a cryptoanalyst and her vital work in the US in the field of cryptography but equally I was fascinated to learn about Jonas Nordby, a runologist who broke the Jötunvillur code in 2014.  This book was a brilliant starting point and I ended up researching more about these people and their roles.  

Have you ever read a Cold War thriller where the operatives use ciphers to decrypt their messages to other spies?  Well there’s an entry in here about the Vic Cipher which was used by the Soviets during the Cold War as well as enough other ciphers to make the mind boggle!  Do you know the difference between a code and a cipher?  That’s something else you find out in this book.

An interesting book to pick up and read sections at your leisure, and one I think would make a good gift for the right person.

You can buy a copy of De/Cipher: The Greatest Codes via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

** My thanks to the lovely Alison Menzies and the folks at Modern Books for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

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Hello, it’s Friday and that means it’s time for a post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”, the publisher this week is Urbane Publications, the book being featured is All The Colours In Between by Eva Jordan, a thoroughly moving and wonderful book that deserves to be loved and read by all.

I also have the lovely Lloyd Otis in the hot seat for the author feature, his debut Dead Lands was published in October 2017.


Book Feature:

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Eva Jordan’s much-anticipated follow up to the bestselling 183 Times a Year 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.

Embracing her new career as a writer; divorce, money worries and the constant battle to weather the stormy complexities of the blended family, are all but a distant memory. It’s time for Lizzie to focus on herself for a change. Stepdaughter Maisy is embracing life down under and daughter Cassie is working for a famous record producer in London. Lizzie’s only concern, albeit a mild one, is for the arrested development of her Facebook-Tweeting, Snapchatting, music and mobile phone obsessed, teenage son. With communication skills, more akin to an intermittent series of unintelligible grunts, conversation is futile. However, Lizzie is not particularly perturbed. With deadlines to meet and book tours to attend, Lizzie has other distractions to concentrate on. But all in all, life is good. Life is very good.

Only, things are never quite as black and white as they seem…

A visit to her daughter in London leaves Lizzie troubled. Cassie is still the same incessant chattering Queen of malaprops and spoonerisms she ever was, however something is clouding her normally cheery disposition. Not to mention her extreme weight loss. 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 and 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.

Harsh 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 a tale of coming of age and end of life. 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.

My Thoughts & Review:

After falling in love with Eva Jordan’s writing with her debut novel 183 Times a Year, I was ecstatic to learn she had penned a follow up that would see me catching up with Lizzie and Cassie again, but I wasn’t prepared for the raft of emotions I would feel reading this and a huge hat tip to Eva for her superb writing for turning me into a blubbering wreck.

So where to begin…..even just thinking back to this book catches my breath and reminds me of some of the most inspired and moving narrative I’d read lately.
Right, so, time has moved on from where we left Lizzie in the previous book, she’s now concentrating on her writing career and careering towards the big Five Oh, her daughter Cassie is off to London, her son Connor is exactly what you would expect from a teenager and Maisy, her stepdaughter is in Australia with her partner.  For once, life seems to be settled and everyone knows what they’re doing…..or so it would seem.  Poor Lizzie is never one for a quiet and easy life, and sure enough life finds a way to complicate itself.

Poor Lizzie, my heart goes out to her, she is a parent who wants the best for her kids.  And as most parents will agree, no matter the age of your children, they are still your babies and you will care about them and want the best for them whether they are 5 or 45.  And this applies to Lizzie and Cassie.
Cassie has a secret and despite wanting to give her her independence, Lizzie also wants to help her daughter with whatever it is that’s bothering her.
Connor is a character I could not help but like, despite his moody teenage ways he’s lovely.  All too often we forget what it’s like to be on the brink of growing up, shaking off the shell of childhood and stepping into the new adult world and I think that Eva Jordan has written Conner perfectly.  The narration from his perspective felt authentic.

When it comes to the plot, I will say that this is a book to read with a box of tissues near by.  As I mentioned above, I ended up a blubbering mess reading parts of this book.  At points I didn’t even realise there were tears streaming down my face, so strong was the emotional pull of the story and the characters.  That said, there were also bits in the book where I laughed and smiled, it’s a book that really has the whole gamut of emotion woven throughout.

If you’ve not read either of Eva’s books then I wholeheartedly recommend you do, and whilst I think that All The Colours In Between can be read as a stand alone, why deprive yourself?  Go on, spoil yourself to two new books and get lost in some exquisite writing.

 

You can buy your copy of All The Colours In Between via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications
Wordery
Book Depository


Author Feature:

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Lloyd was born in London and graduated in Media and Communication. An avid movie fan, he wrote film reviews for his university magazine and enjoyed a stint in a television production company where he helped with props and scripts. He went on to write reviews for music sites, including ilikemusic, and after gaining several years of valuable experience within the finance and digital sectors, completed a course in journalism.

Under the pen name of ‘Paige’ he has interviewed a host of bestselling authors, such as Mark Billingham, Hugh Howey, Kerry Hudson, and Lawrence Block, and has blogged for The Bookseller, and The Huffington Post. He also wrote a regular book review column for WUWO Magazine and two of his short stories were selected for publication in the ‘Out of My Window’ anthology. He has also had articles appear on the Crime Readers’ Association website, and in the Writers’ Forum magazine. He currently works as an Editor.

 

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

For me, there are many favourite things about being an author such as publication day and seeing my book in a bookstore, but most of all it’s feeling like one. That’s awesome.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

Having to do rewrites and edits with only a short time to implement them.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for its observations of a particular place and time, and Orwell’s 1984 for its amazing futuristic foresight.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

I strum a few chords on the guitar when I can so that I’ll be able to solo like Slash one day and I also read a lot too. Fiction and non-fiction.

Do you have a set routine for writing?  Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

I tend to keep my stationary environment linear without too many distractions so that I can immerse myself fully into the story. Getting a consistent writing pattern is key for me and I can’t bear the thought of missing out on writing time if I am out and about, so I write on-the-move. On the bus or on the train.

 

A huge thank you to Lloyd for taking part and for sharing some more about himself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.  Especially when they’re a guitar playing rockstar – the book world’s answer to Slash perhaps?!  Love the idea that if you see Lloyd whilst he’s out he might be writing furiously on the train as an idea hits him for his next book!
If you would like to know more about Lloyd and his work, check out the following link:

Website: https://lloydotis.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lloydotiswriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LloydOtisWriter

 

** My thanks to the ever wonderful Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

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I am so excited to share a guest post with you today by Angelena Boden about the destructive grip of obsession as part of the blog tour for her latest book The Future Can’t Wait.

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The Future Can’t Wait is the emotive and compelling second novel from Angelena Boden, author of the gripping The Cruelty of Lambs.

Kendra Blackmore is trying to be a good mother and a good wife, as well as pursuing her pressurised teaching career. Then Kendra’s half-Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her running away from home and cutting off all contact with her family.

Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home-loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to find any way possible to discover the truth and bring her estranged daughter home…

The Future Can’t Wait is a gripping story of a mother’s love, and the lengths we would all go to in order to know our children are safe.

You can buy a copy of The Future Can’t Wait via:

Amazon UK
Urbane Publications


Guest Post:

THE DESTRUCTIVE GRIP OF OBSESSION (and the title of the book)

Many of us get mocked for having little rituals we carry out daily: checking the door to make sure it really is locked or the electric hob to test that all the rings are cold. My friend has to make a dramatic show of pulling out her iron from the socket to help manage her obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  It’s a visualisation exercise in case you were wondering. When you’ve read this blog, have a cuppa and think about the rituals that shape your life.

Irrational thoughts flood our brain from time to time like when our child is late home. We can’t concentrate on anything other than ringing round their friends or zapping out numerous text messages Call me NOW. Really worried.

Is it only a certain type of person that becomes obsessive? No. It can happen to anyone in different forms. The most talked about is obsessive-compulsive hand-washing and cleaning. Think of the TV programmes featuring cleanaholics. No doubt you’ve wondered what drives someone to scrub their house for twelve hours a day.

In The Future Can’t Wait, Kendra becomes obsessive or even addicted to consulting psychics, triggered by a casual flick through a magazine. She’s a good example of a grounded personality who, in a time a deep distress, develops a set of behaviours to help cope with anxiety. It’s about taking back some control. Whilst research into the biological factors relating to the cause and development of OCD is ongoing, there is no definitive explanation as to why one person might become obsessive in their thinking and another not.

Anxiety is certainly a trigger and a driving force behind this distressing condition, which can affect relationships, work and everyday living, (think hoarders) and it is has been proposed that there might be some genetic link.

I can talk about this a little bit from a personal point of view as from time to time I get sucked into the vortex of rumination and nothing anyone can say will end it until it’s run its course, normally four days. I liken it to having your rational mind squeezed through a colander. Mine developed along with PTSD in the mid –nineties when I needed to regain some control over events that were spiralling out of control. Many anxiety-related disorders come from some sort of conflict – inner or outer. Thankfully many can be successfully treated.

To help manager her anxiety, although she did not realise this at the time, Kendra develops an obsession with her daily horoscope. Unlike most people who dismiss it as a bit of fun, she allows this multi-million pound industry of psychics and mediums to become her oracle. Operating from phone hotlines, they guarantee success from “genuine” psychics whilst milking enormous amounts of money from the gullible and desperate.

Some research coming out of the USA about this alarming phenomenon, indicates that psychic addiction is becoming an epidemic with no boundaries. Once someone gets drawn in they find it difficult to stop.

It becomes a problem is when you consult several people over a short period of time about the same issue. Psychic dependency is now classified as having more than two readings in the same year about the same issue i.e psychic hopping. The soothing words of the clairvoyant are a life line, hence the risk of addiction. As with a substance addiction, it is always about the next fix.

Maybe some of you lovely readers might want to debate the validity of psychics but that’s for another day. My issue is about how a well-balanced individuals can develop a behaviour addiction when desperate to solve a problem and its destructive nature. There are healthier avenues to explore. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for one.

I’ve heard it said from those who are the most susceptible is that the worst thing in life is the not knowing and the desperate need to bring the future forward. Hence the title of the book.

If you’ve been affected by any of the content of this blog, here are some sources of help.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cognitive-behavioural-therapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://ocduk.org/

http://www.psychic-readings-guide.com/psychic-dependency/   Ignore the pop-ups from the sales peddlers.

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** My thanks to the wonderful Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour.

Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood.

Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

Contributions from:
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick

 

My Thoughts & Review:

For those of you who read this blog on a regular basis (you are much appreciated and I cannot thank you enough for stopping by), you will notice that I review the odd short story here and there, but never crimes ones.  The reason for this is that I like my crime reads to be meatier, to be more fleshed out and like to get carried away with the story.  But I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone and see what I was missing out on.  Reading through the list of contributing authors for this anthology, it’s like a who’s who of the brilliant and best out there and with a few names that I am a huge fan of, how could Orenda Books do me wrong?

Like many readers, when I first picked this book up I instantly wondered how this would be best read…should I just start with the first tale by Ann Cleaves and work my way through?  Should I pick out stories that jumped out immediately and read them first?  Decisions, decisions…..
In the end, I went for the option of picking my favourite authors and honing in on their pieces first.  The first tale that I read was by William Ryan, who wrote one of my favourite novels The Constant Soldier, the piece that he has written is very different from his usual style of writing and I LOVED IT!  There’s so much detail and tension packed into a few pages, the story crackles and fizzes with excitement, it oozes suspense and had me desperate to see it expanded into a full length novel to find out more about the characters, especially Angela!
Fans of Anna Mazzola are in for a real treat, she manages to pack in some of the most tense and foreboding writing into just a few pages that will leave readers gasping.  From there I quickly raced to find the piece written by Ragnar Jónasson and was not disappointed.  Each and every one of the stories in this book is excellent, all different and all utterly fantastic!  Like a child in a sweetshop, I jumped from one spot to another, deciding to read stories as they jumped out to me, and it was the perfect book to pick up in between those pesky housework chores.  Do an load of ironing, reward yourself with a cuppa and a story or two….worked for me!

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely, in a heartbeat!  If there are authors that you’re not sure about whether you might like their style of writing then this is a great book for you.  I admit that previous to this, I had not read anything by one or two of the authors listed (their books are in my ever growing “to be read” pile, but other things keep sneaking in front of them), so it was nice to get a feel for their writing and it has meant that there’s a book snuck it’s way closer to the top as I really enjoyed what I found.  I won’t mention names (certain bloggers will chastise me for my glaring omission in crime fiction).

In short, this is a cornucopia of talented writers, writing some of their best ideas and sharing them with us very lucky readers!

 

You can buy a copy of CWA Anthology of Short Stories via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository
Blackwell’s

Follow the blog tour:

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Hello and welcome along to The Quiet Knitter! It’s Friday, and that can only mean one thing (well for here anyway!), it’s time for another post to “Celebrate Indie Publishing”.
This week I am delighted to bring you a book from No Exit Press and I thoroughly recommend checking them out both as they have some cracking books to offer! Today’s book in the spotlight is Hunting the Hangman by Howard Linskey and he’s kindly taken some time out to face a grilling for the author feature.


Book Feature:

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TWO MEN. . . ONE MISSION. . . TO KILL THE MAN WITH THE IRON HEART

Bestselling author Howard Linskey’s fifteen year fascination with the assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the holocaust, has produced a meticulously researched, historically accurate thriller with a plot that echoes The Day of the Jackal and The Eagle has Landed.

2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on a man so evil even fellow SS officers referred to him as the ‘Blond Beast’. In Prague he was known as the Hangman. Hitler, who called him ‘The Man with the Iron Heart’, considered Heydrich to be his heir, and entrusted him with the implementation of the ‘Final Solution’ to the Jewish question: the systematic murder of eleven million people.

In 1942 two men were trained by the British SOE to parachute back into their native Czech territory to kill the man ruling their homeland. Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik risked everything for their country. Their attempt on Reinhard Heydrich’s life was one of the single most dramatic events of the Second World War, with horrific consequences for thousands of innocent people.

Hunting the Hangman is a tale of courage, resilience and betrayal with a devastating finale. Based on true events, the story reads like a classic World War Two thriller and is the subject of two big-budget Hollywood films that coincide with the anniversary of Operation Anthropoid.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Reinhard Heydrich was a figure that loomed largely during WWII, tales of his most evil deeds and thoughts about those he deemed of a lesser standing than himself or members of the Nazi party have been well documented over the years.  His ruthless and evil ways have marked him as one of the most dangerous men in The Third Reich, his desires driven by greed and obstinance.

Howard Linskey has researched his novel well, and in doing so has ensured that he can present a novel that does not shy away from the atrocities and harrowing moments in history, instead it states them in a very matter of fact fashion.
Whilst this is a fictionalised account of Operation Anthropoid, it is still a very interesting piece of work with some of the best characterisation I’ve ever read.  The portrayal of each of the major characters feels incredibly detailed, the way that Heydrich comes across on the pages is downright terrifying.  Linskey did well writing such a in depth and rounded portrayal of Heydrich, showing the many faces that this man possessed.  The way that the reader is privy to his thoughts, hears of his love of his father’s music, sees him as a father jars somewhat with the reality that he was one of “the main architects of the Holocaust”.

The two characters who stole my heart were Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík, from the moment they first appeared they had my full attention.  Watching them come alive through Linskey’s writing was wonderful to watch, but equally the more they came alive for me the more connected to them I felt, the more invested in them I became and in turn the more heartbroken I would become as I read on, aware at what fate awaited them with the mission they’d been tasked with.  It’s rare that I will begin to hope that an author has used artistic license in a book such as this, hoping that they will change the outcome so that characters I’ve become attached to won’t face the outcome that I know is reality, and here I did hope that could be the case.

Such an evocative read, and one that is so intensely powerful.  The writing is absolutely superb and so atmospheric, the sense of foreboding and poignancy that builds throughout is almost breathtaking.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!

 

You can buy a copy of Hunting the Hangman via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository


 

Author Feature:

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Howard Linskey is the author of three novels in the David Blake crime series published by No Exit Press, The Drop, The Damage and The Dead. Harry Potter producer, David Barron optioned a TV adaptation of The Drop, which was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of the Year by The TimesThe Damage was voted one of The Times‘ Top Summer Reads. He is also the author of No Name Lane, Behind Dead Eyes and The Search, the first three books in a crime series set in the north east of England featuring journalists Tom Carney & Helen Norton, published by Penguin. His latest book, Hunting the Hangman, is a historical thriller about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague during WW2.

Originally from Ferryhill in County Durham, he now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.

 

What’s your most favourite thing about being an author?

There are so many good things about being an author. I am my own boss to an extent and have escaped the drudge of the commute, the office politics, the need to ever wear a suit again, apart from at weddings and funerals and the insidious pressure that comes with a conventional job. I’m doing what I love and get to see a book with my name and a Penguin logo on it when I am finished, which is a lovely feeling. I get some great feedback from readers too. The very best thing though is that I am there every day when my daughter comes home from school, so I get to spend more time with her than most dads and you cannot put a price on that.

What’s your least favourite thing about being an author?

The fretting. There is quite a lot of that. For example; is this book I am writing any good or is it the biggest pile of excrement ever dreamed up by any author? Then there is; will anyone stock this book, closely followed by will anyone buy the blooming thing if they do and then will they actually like it? Somehow it always seems to work out all right in the end but I have come to realise the fretting will never quite stop no matter how much progress I make. I’ve had seven books published now and it never seems to get any easier on the fretting front.

If you could have written any book what would it be and why?

I find it hard to pick my all-time top-ten books, let alone single just one out, but if I absolutely have to, I will go for ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ by John Le Carre, which is a beautifully written novel about betrayal that also works as a mystery and a whodunnit, all wrapped up in a cold war spy story. There’s some wonderful dialogue and a wholly satisfying conclusion too. At his best, Le Carre is a marvellous author.

How do you spend your time when you’re not wrapped up plotting your next book?

Procrastinating mostly. Authors are world champion procrastinators. ‘Why put off tomorrow what we can put off today, tomorrow and most of next week’ should be our motto. Every day starts with such good intentions on the writing front but by the time I have read The Times, replied to emails, gone on Facebook and twitter, read the latest horrifying news about Donald Trump’s behaviour and checked to see if Newcastle United have finally signed a player, I have often lost hours. I then panic and have an intense burst of writing, powered by guilt. Somehow it’s quite effective and it works for me. I’ve come to realise too that even when an author is out walking the dog, driving or having a shower they are never quite off-duty and those are the moments when ideas usually come and begin to germinate. That’s my excuse anyway.

Do you have a set routine for writing? Rituals you have to observe? I.e. specific pen, silence, day or night etc.

One of the things I like about being an author is the flexibility to do things when I am in the mood to do them and not on a nine-to-five basis, so as long as I have a few hours each day and the opportunity to write a 1,000 to 1,500 words, I don’t really mind when and where this is. Sometimes I work at home, either in my office or somewhere comfy with the lap top on my knee but, if I get stir crazy and need people around me, I like to pop out and work at the local library or in a café. I even do my edits in the pub with a pint of bitter close at hand. That’s definitely one of the perks of being a writer unfortunately the beer is not tax-deductable.

 

A huge thank you to Howard for taking part and for sharing some more about himself, it’s always nice to get to know the person behind a book.  And i have to agree about Le Carre, a genius when it comes to writing and one author who’s books I cannot live without.
If you would like to know more about Howard and his books, check out the following link:

Website: http://www.howardlinskey.co.uk/

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Hello and happy Friday!  And you all know what Friday brings, yes,  its time to share another post to celebrate Indie Publishing and this time it’s Elliott & Thompson in the spotlight!   Today the book being featured is The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities by Paul Anthony Jones.


Description:

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A whole year’s worth of linguistic curiosities, just waiting to be discovered.

Within these pages you might leap back in time, learn about linguistic trivia, follow a curious thread or wonder at the web of connections in the English language.

1 January quaaltagh (n.) the first person you meet on New Year’s Day

1 April dorbellist (n.) a fool, a dull-witted dolt
12 May word-grubber (n.) someone who uses obscure or difficult words in everyday conversation

25 September theic (adj.) an excessive drinker of tea

24 December doniferous (adj.) carrying a gift

Paul Anthony Jones has unearthed a wealth of strange and forgotten words: illuminating some aspect of the day, or simply telling a cracking good yarn, each reveals a story. Written with a light touch that belies the depth of research it contains, this is both a fascinating compendium of etymology and a captivating historical miscellany. Dip into this beautiful book to be delighted and intrigued throughout the year.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Forgotten words are something of a fascination for me, actually if I’m honest, words in general are a love of mine.  I was that kid who kept a notebook of my favourite words, ones that sounded exciting or mystical, words that were funny to pronounce or just ones that I liked the look of written down.  I think I still have some of the notebooks somewhere, and occasionally I read something and think that I should start a new notebook to collect the new words I’ve found.  But then  I discovered the books bu Paul Anthony Jones, and now there’s someone out there making a book of words for me to enjoy!

Like most readers, the moment I got hold of this book I instantly went to see what word appeared on my  birthday, it’s just one of those things you do isn’t it?

hiemate (v.) to spend the winter

Derived from hiems, a Latin word for ‘winter’, hiemate is a seventeenth-century word meaning to spend or see out the winter.

What does seeing out the coldest season of the year have to do with a date at the height of summer? Well, despite the fact that the summer solstice typically takes place around 20–22 June – so that from now until the end of the year the nights are drawing in – today’s date is linked to an unfortunate incident in global exploration that led to the mutiny and death of one of England’s greatest explorers.

In April 1610, Henry Hudson set sail on his fourth trans- atlantic voyage, hoping to locate a long-sought-after easterly route through the Arctic and on to Asia. Sailing north to Iceland and Greenland, Hudson’s ship Discovery reached the Labrador
Peninsula on the far east coast of Canada in June, and from there sailed into a vast, open bay. Believing they had found the fabled Northwest Passage, Hudson spent the following months carefully mapping the bay’s shoreline – but as winter set in, no passage to Asia ever materialised. Before long the Discovery had become trapped in the ice and her crew were forced to head to the shoreline to see out the winter on land.

During the long Canadian winter, discontent began to grow among Hudson’s crew and the following year they mutinied.
When the ice retreated and the Discovery was freed, on 22 June 1611, Hudson, his teenage son John and a handful of loyal crewmembers were set adrift in a small, open-topped boat. They were never seen again.

Hudson’s fate remains unknown – but the vast bay he dis-
covered, and into which he was eventually cast adrift, still bears his name to this day.

Learn something new every day eh?

The best things about this book, and indeed the other books by Paul Anthony Jones is that you can dip in and out of them at your leisure to unearth some wonderful treasures.  If you don’t want to check up each day for the particular word, why not head to the index and randomly pick one?  For instance, lunette or yule-hole and then flick to the corresponding page to find out what they mean.  This was something I particularity enjoyed, then reading them out to my bemused husband after quizzing him on what he thought they might mean.  There were also a few that had us giggling like scugways or beaglepuss, the words themselves just funny to say and then finding out the meanings just made us smile even more.  The discovery that I could be classed as a theic did give us a laugh too.

I would say that this is the perfect book for fans of language, people who thrive on knowing the unique meanings of words, the origins and the history of phrases. I would thoroughly recommend this book, and it would probably make a great Christmas present (just in case you’ve started to think about shopping).

It’s obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into the research for this book, each nugget of information has an explanation to go with it and a beautiful image of an ornate key.  It’s the small things that capture the eye sometimes, and although not small, the cover is exceptionally beautiful.  It needs to be seen to be fully appreciated, as do each and every one of the entries in this awesome book.

I think it’s safe to say that this is a book that I will be returning to regularly throughout the year and perhaps be appearing on my top books of 2017.

 

You can buy your copy of The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository

 

** My thanks to the lovely Alison Menzies and the folks at Elliot and Thompson for my copy of this wonderful book and for taking part in Celebrating Indie Publishing **

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As part of the blog tour for her new book Punch, the lovely Barbara Henderson has written a piece on “Animals in Punch”, so without further ado, let me hand over to Barbara.

Punch cover inc. quotes

I once had a one-to-one with a commissioning editor for a big, mainstream publisher. She had taken a look at a manuscript of mine which still sits unpublished and unloved in my drawer, but one thing she said stuck in my mind:

‘It’s good that you have a dog in it,’ she said. ‘If you can put a dog on the cover of a children’s book, it’s proven to sell more. It sells most if you have a Retriever on it.’

Really? Irrespective of subject, the story itself and countless other factors?

Needless to say, the dog alone didn’t sell her my manuscript. After a polite and non-decriptly positive-ish fifteen minutes, she walked away from me and the book-that-was-never-to-be, without taking it any further.

It was an easy decision to include some animal characters in Punch.

There wasn’t a pet as such in Fir for Luck, my previous novel, but Punch needed one – it came with the territory of travelling entertainers in Victorian times, almost like a small-scale circus. I did some digging and discovered that some travelling puppeteers used a live dog in their act. Necessity meant it had to be small (can you imagine a Retriever perching on the ledge of a Punch and Judy booth?), but it made the perfect companion for my main character. I imagine Toby, the dog in my book, as a cross between a Jack Russell and something a little bit shaggier, but I don’t need to know exactly – with children’s books, the readers do an awful lot of the filling in with their own imaginations. They don’t need me to spell out what a dog looks like – they simply want to know what happens to it.

Victorian Punch and Judy with live dog, image from

But I had to be careful. Children have a pretty strong reaction to any cruelty towards animals. I discovered this to my cost in the reactions to Fir for Luck, where a cat is mistreated pretty badly in a Highland Clearances context. There is good reason to believe that the incident with the cat actually happened, so it merited inclusion, but it is the only part of Fir for Luck I have got any flak for.

In Punch, things don’t end quite so badly for the dog:  Like the cat in Fir for Luck, it is a victim of abuse, but Phin rescues it!  Toby the dog becomes a side-kick, a vehicle for low-key comedy, and a comforting presence, too. A creature who loves my main character unconditionally. Another fabulous writing tip which floats around in my nebulous mind: If you struggle to make your hero lovable, make another character love them. A dog ticks that box pretty nicely.

I was dealing with Victorian times, so for practical reasons there is also a horse – a Clydesdale, in fact. I love horses and have always found this breed particularly impressive, with its flowing mane, hairy hooves and plate-size tracks in the mud. Only recently, I visited a heavy horse centre with my family and got up close. It was easy to imagine that a small-built 12-year-old was going to find a Clydesdale pretty daunting. But I am also fascinated by the way that fear is easily dispelled by familiarity- he has to get on with it, as they say. And as looking after the horse becomes part of his everyday routine, Phin doesn’t give it a second thought. It is hired for the season and is only ever referred to as ‘the Clydesdale’, a working animal without a name and without much emotional attachment. I think that may be an accurate reflection of how many viewed horses in those days.

But there is another animal which commands our imagination in Punch, and no spoilers here – it takes up a fair bit of the cover of the book. A dancing bear. Imposing, unpredictable, dangerous and impressive, it is a memorable creature. Dancing bears, on the whole, led a life of suffering, but far from a treatise on animal welfare, Punch is more of a snapshot of how life was, or could have been, in those days of changing attitudes and increased awareness of animals and their needs. Even then, although still legal, dancing bears were relics of a bygone age.

When I first pitched the novel to my writing group, the verdict was unanimous – you had us at ‘dancing bear’. ‘More about the bear,’ my publishers asked after every round of edits. There will be more detail about the dancing bear and how it gate-crashed my story in tomorrow’s blog tour stop on the LoveBooksGroup blog.

I love the fact that the animals add colour and drama to Punch – I think it’s a better book for it.

So much so that I have gone back to add a hamster into a previously petless manuscript. We all love a good pet story, right?

Watch this space!

Punch was published on 23rd October by Cranachan Publishing and can be purchased via:

Amazon
Wordery
Book Depository
Waterstones

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