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Posts Tagged ‘Celebrating Indie Publishing’

As we’re almost half way through the year I figured that it might be a good time to round up some of the great indie books that I’ve featured so far, and some of the great authors who have given their time to take part in the author interviews.

Links to each of the book features and author features are below, alternatively if you want to use the search function at the top of the page just type in the name of the book or author to bring up the relevant page.

The books that have featured:

Book Feature Links:

Goblin – Ever Dundas
The Wreck of The Argyll – John K. Fulton
Blue Night – Simone Buchholz
The Trouble Boys – E.R. Fallon
Last Orders – Caimh McDonnell
Never Rest – Jon Richter
Spanish Crossings – John Simmons
Rose Gold – David Barker
Bermuda – Robert Enright
The Story Collector – Evie Gaughan
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter – Cherry Radford
Rebellious Spirits – Ruth Ball
Ten Year Stretch – Various
The Soldier’s Home – George Costigan
Burnout – Claire MacLeary

 

The authors who have taken part in author features, either alongside a book feature or alone:

 

Author Feature Links:

E.R. Fallon
Derek Farrell
Heather Osborne
Jon Richter
Steve Catto
Mark Tilbury
David Barker
Evie Gaughan
Cherry Radford
Anne Stormont
George Costigan

As always, I am forever grateful to the authors, publishers, and publicists for taking part in my Celebrating Indie Publishing feature.  I’m also deeply grateful to you, the reader for joining me each Friday and sharing my love of indie publishing, joining in, commenting, sharing posts and buying some of these wonderful books.

Without each of the fantastic people mentioned above, none of this would be possible!

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Welcome to another Friday, and a post to celebrate another great book from a brilliant indie publisher.  Today’s book is the magnificent The Story Collector by Evie Gaughan which was published Urbane Publications on 14th June 2018.


Book Feature:

thestorycollector-667x1024Description:

A beautiful and mysterious historical romance from the author of The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue de Paris.

Thornwood Village, 1910. Anna, a young farm girl, volunteers to help an intriguing American visitor, Harold Griffin-Krauss, translate ‘fairy stories’ from Irish to English.

But all is not as it seems and Anna soon finds herself at the heart of a mystery that threatens the future of her community and her very way of life…..

Captivated by the land of myth, folklore and superstition, Sarah Harper finds herself walking in the footsteps of Harold and Anna one hundred years later, unearthing dark secrets that both enchant and unnerve.

The Story Collector treads the intriguing line between the everyday and the otherworldly, the seen and the unseen. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, Evie Gaughan’s latest novel is full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell. Perfect for fans of Jess Kidd and Eowyn Ivey.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Every now and again a book comes along that utterly captures your attention, takes your breath away and roots itself deeply in your heart….
I’ve been fortunate enough to have encountered a rare handful of these books, Rose McGinty’s Electric Souk, Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin, and William Ryan’s The Constant Soldier instantly spring to mind, but it’s fair to say that Evie Gaughan’s The Story Collector will be joining them.

This is a beautifully written tale that captures the heart and imagination of readers as it deftly weaves together two stories from different timelines that pull a range of emotion from the audience.  Readers first encounter a hint of mysticism, folklore and sadness from the opening pages, setting the tone perfectly for what lies ahead.

The two lead female characters in this book are not dissimilar in their struggles – both trying to find their place in the world and rebuilding after heartbreaking loss.  2010 sees the reader meet Sarah Harper, an American woman on a slow spiral of self destruction.  Life hasn’t worked out fairly for her, events have robber her of joy and happiness, her marriage has broken down and she seeks solace in alcohol.
Alcohol being the catalyst for a journey that takes her hundreds of miles from home, where she discovers a diary written by Anna, a young Irish woman in 1910.
Anna is an eighteen year old woman who lives in Thornwood Village, surrounded by tales of fairies, superstition and folklore, tales that the villagers are fiercely proud of.  An American scholar, Harold Griffin-Kraus, arrives in the village with the desire to hear the tales and collect them for publishing and soon takes Anna on as his assistant.  Their joint explorations of folklore and myth are beautifully and hauntingly captured through Gaughan’s awe inspiring writing.  The tales, whilst “otherworldly” are entrancing and having an interest in mythology and folklore, I found these utterly beguiling, wanting to read more.

Clever use of diary entries give narration from Anna’s perspective and breaks up Sarah’s story, slowly giving readers a heartbreaking tale from both of the main characters.  Only when the time is right does Gaughan reveal the full extent of the tragedy that befell her characters and by doing so, ensures that readers have become invested in her wonderfully crafted creations.

The exploration of emotion and human nature is beautifully written, at times the decisions made by the characters may not be fully understandable.  But when faced with the facts of what they have encountered, you soon begin to see that the decisions, actions etc are those of a fragile and damaged person, trying to do “the right thing”, without any concrete idea what the right course may be.  The evocative and descriptive writing is magical!  I found that I could see the grandeur of Thornwood House, the cramped but homely cottage of the Butler family, the warmth of Anna’s love for Betsy the family cow, but also the vivid rawness of Sarah’s emotional state.
Initially I struggled to connect with Sarah, something about this character felt hard and unreachable but the more I read, the greater my understanding became.  I found that I needed to know what went so wrong in her life, I want to find out more about her and I wanted her to stop and take a moment to just ‘be’.

An absolutely enchanting story that captures the heart of readers and transports them.

You can buy a copy of The Story Collector via:

Amazon UK


Author Feature:

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Evie Gaughan is the author of The Heirloom, a fusion of historical and contemporary fiction set in Ireland and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, a magical story about a French boulangerie.  Her third novel, The Story Collector, will be published by Urbane Publications in June 2018.

Living on the West Coast of Ireland, which is not renowned for its sunny climate, Evie escapes from the inclement weather into a converted attic, to write stories and dream about underfloor heating. Growing up in a walled medieval city, Evie developed a love of storytelling and all things historical. With a taste for the magical in everyday life, her stories are full of ordinary characters with extraordinary tales to tell.

Evie is also an artist and has been known to hold the odd exhibit of her works in her native Galway.

 

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

Escaping into my imagination and creating something tangible out of nothing.  Seeing my manuscript make the journey from my head, to my laptop and ultimately to a book that I can hold in my hands.  I don’t think any author takes that process for granted, because from the moment that little idea pops into your head, you’re never really sure if it’s going to make it.

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

Aside from the crippling self-doubt??  I suppose, it’s having to fight to be taken seriously.  I think when people hear that you are a writer, but they haven’t heard of your books, they assume you’re delusional!  Lots of people are writers, it’s not some sacred vocation, we don’t wear robes (well, not all the time!)  So yes, that can get a bit tiring.

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

Oh my God, this is tough!  Actually, I’m going to give myself a get-out clause and choose a non-fiction book.  I wish I had written The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  It’s like a bible for creative types and has inspired millions of people around the world to pursue a more creative life.  I don’t know if I would be a writer today, had I not read that book – so yes, I would love to have written something that helps others find their inner spark!

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

Honestly, I’m not sure I know how to switch off properly!  Do any of us?  But when I do, I like the simple things in life like being in nature, being with people I love.

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

If being disorganised is a routine, then yes!  My favourite place to write is in my attic (when it’s warm enough).  I feel high above the world up there, so I put on some music and try to escape into the world I’m creating.  I’m not so much disciplined as dedicated.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

I’m slowly piecing together the beginnings of my fourth novel, which I’m hoping will be a bit like Cloud Atlas but not as confusing!

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be? 

Read what makes you happy – life is too short to read books you don’t enjoy.

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it?


The Story Collector begins in 1910, in a small lrish village called Thornwood, where a young American scholar undertakes a study to prove the existence of fairies.  He hires a local girl, Anna Butler, to help with his research, but before he can finish his work, he is thrown into prison and charged with murder.  One hundred years later, a young American woman arrives by chance in the same village, uncovering the true story that has been kept hidden for a century.

The Story Collector is a novel full of folklore and superstition.  It explores the unseen world that lies just beyond our fingertips, the fluttering of wings against the windowpane, blurring the lines between reality and imagination.

If you love stories that find magic in the everyday, then this one is for you!

 

Social Media Links:

Website: https://eviegaughan.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/evgaughan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evgaughan/

 

 

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Today I’m delighted to bring you not one but two posts to celebrate Indie Publishing, one is an author feature and one is a review.  The author feature (should have) posted earlier and now it’s time to share my review of the prequel novella Bermuda which is published today!

Book Feature:

Description:

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Discover how it all began…

Franklyn Jones is a devoted husband, a loving father and a middle manager working in London. His only secret is he can see ‘The Otherside’, a world that hides in the shadows of our own. After his claims of these creatures leads to the loss of his family and his commitment to a mental health facility, Franklyn’s life came to a complete stand still.

Eventually, Franklyn is recruited by the BTCO, a secret agency that monitors and maintains the truce between both worlds. Thrust into an advanced training regime based on his ‘gifts’, Franklyn soon finds himself out on his first case, investigating the disappearance of several people in Elvedon Forest in Suffolk.

Closely monitored by his trainer, Denham, Franklyn edges further into this new world, hunting a violent entity that lives within the trees, whilst also being watched by a mysterious warrior.

The explosive prequel novella to DOORWAYS and THE ABSENT MAN, BERMUDA takes you back to where it all started.

Are you ready for the answers?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I have been a huge fan of the Bermuda Jones series since I first discovered it last year and I was ecstatic when I heard that the author had been working on a prequel novella that explained the details of how our protagonist came to the attention of the BTCO and how his world was turned upside down by what he learned from his introductions to their ways.

The exploration of this character has always been one of the things I loved about Enright’s writing most, he has a way of bringing his characters to life and making them real for readers.  Franklyn “Bermuda” Jones is a troubled and broken soul, events in his life have conspired against him, he can see things that others cannot and this in turn makes everyone around him think that he’s lost his mind.  He’s lost those closest to him and the pain is almost too much for him.  His recruitment to the BTCO is his saving grace, the training her undergoes is the start of turning his life around, giving him a reason to live for.

The great thing of reading the prequel after reading the other novels is that it refreshed my memory of events and gave me answers for things that I had wondered about whilst reading the books.  Just how Bermuda got his nickname, what was the root cause of the hatred between Bermuda and Hugo were some of the things I had wondered about and I was so pleased to see that they were answered here, and it was brilliant getting to see more of Denham, a character that I found fascinating in previous books.

With all of these books, you can read them as stand alones, there is enough detail given about back stories etc to explain events and connections between characters without leaving readers feeling adrift as to previous events.

Highly readable and enjoyable series and one I would recommend!

You can buy a copy of Bermuda via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Author Photo

Born and raised in North West London and now residing in Hertfordshire, Robert Enright has been writing for over 10 years. His debut novel – ONE BY ONE – was self published on Amazon in March 2015, receiving critical acclaim and was nominated for Books Go Social Book of the Year 2015. The violent, revenge thriller gave Rob a path into crime fiction, but the constantly embraced geek within him went a different way. 2016 will see the release of DOORWAYS – published by Urbane Publications – the first in the Bermuda Jones series, a dark sci-fi about an agency dealing with the threat of a parallel world. He can’t wait to write the whole series – if he can put down his Xbox controller or his Nerf Guns!

For more information about Rob and his upcoming books, feel free to check him out on social media:

Twitter – @REnright_Author
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robenrightauthor

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I am so honoured to be welcome Mark Tilbury to join me today on The Quiet Knitter.  Mark has written some truly marvellous books that I’ve absolutely loved, ones that have left me feeling the heebie-jeebies, ones that have creeped me out but each of them has wowed me and left me keen to read more!

Mark Tilbury’s titles include: The Abattoir of Dreams, The Liars Promise, The Revelation Room, The Eyes of The Accused and The Key to Death’s Door.  All of these titles are available to purchase via Amazon UK now.


Author Feature:

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Author Image & bio courtesy of Amazon

Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.

After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.

He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his fifth novel, The Key to Death’s Door published along with The Liar’s Promise,

The Abattoir of Dreams, and The Ben Whittle Investigations relaunched, by Bloodhound Books.

When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.

 

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

Being in total control of the worlds I create. It’s like being God, and I get to choose who inhabits that world and what they do. I also have the ultimate say over what happens to the bad guys, and I get a lot of satisfaction from that.

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

Editing. I have to constantly tell myself that it’s necessary, but the biggest downside is realising that I need to remove large chunks of text due to my tendency to ‘let it all go’ during the first draft.

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

Misery by Stephen King. I just love the simplicity of the plot and the suspense created as Paul Sheldon tries to escape the clutches of his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. Her contradictions showed me the antagonist in a different light. I just love the way she deplored swearing, but could chop off a man’s foot without missing a beat. Priceless!

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

Playing guitar (badly), going for walks in the lovely county of Cumbria and seeing family.

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

I can only write in the afternoons. I’ve tried to in the mornings and the evenings, but it just doesn’t seem to happen for one reason or another. So I start at around two, close the curtains, turn on loud music and aim for 2,000 words.

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it? 

The Key to Death’s Door is a dark thriller to be published on 16th April by Bloodhound Books.  It’s a tragic story of death and cruelty, and two friends bound together by a fate spanning several decades. Teenager Lee Hunter nearly drowns after spending the night at a derelict boathouse with his best friend, Charlie Finch. After leaving his body and meeting a mysterious light, Lee is sent back to relive the final days of another life. A life that ended tragically.

After recovering from his near death experience, Lee begins to realise that he is part of two lives linked by the despicable actions of one man. I think it’s my best book to date. It’s original, harrowing and something I’m really proud of.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be? 

To always believe in yourself and try to enjoy what you do.

 

My thanks to Mark for joining me today and sharing some really interesting things about himself, I love the idea of The Key to Death’s Door, it sounds absolutely fascinating!  For more information about Mark’s books, follow him on social media or follow his blog.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MTilburyAuthor
Blog: http://marktilbury.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marktilburyauthor/

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Today I am delighted to welcome you to another Friday’s “Celebrating Indie Publishing” feature, and share a review of George Costigan’s The Soldier’s Home.  George has also kindly taken some time out of his busy acting work to join me for a quick author Q&A to talk all things books, writing and what’s coming next.

Book Feature:

Description:

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‘The Soldier’s Home’ is the stunning sequel to the bestselling debut, ‘The Single Soldier’, by renowned actor and writer George Costigan.

The war is over and his home was re-built … but a home is just a set of empty rooms without people and love. After surviving the war under German occupation, can a community now rekindle their lives, and rediscover their reasons for surviving?

As the soldier waits for the return of his love, the world keeps moving, threatening to leave his hopes and dreams behind.

History, secrets and painful truths collide in his troubled soul until peace arrives finally from a very unexpected source …

My Thoughts & Review:

For those who fell in love with Costigan’s writing last year when The Single Soldier was published then you will be delighted to know that the follow up is available to purchase now.

In this book, the tale of Jacques has moved on, and the reader picks up the story of Simone in 1940s America.  Through a series of heartbreaking and frustrating letters, readers share in Simone’s heartache at being separated from her love Jacques, they read about her worries about raising their child alone and her irritation that there are few letters being sent in return.  Her desperation for word from Jacques is almost painful at times for the reader, even word about the works of the house he is rebuilding or the people she once knew in France would suffice.  Her letters take on an almost one sided conversation tone, the easy flow of them making them all the more readable and you sense a passing of time despite there being no indication of dates given throughout.

Time moves on to 1988 and we then meet Enid, a woman on path that she no longer wants to be.  She makes the decision to move to France and from here the stories of Jacques, Simone and Enid intertwine.  Enid’s journey to the life of peace and solitude is beautifully written through a series of recollections.

I am loathe to say too much more about the plot, this is a book that’s best discovered at your own pace and it’s one that you want to read at a relaxed pace to fully absorb the wonderful writing.  The themes of relationships and love is carefully and intricately explored through some incredible writing.  The use of the letters in the first part of the book is clever and allows readers to see more than what’s on the surface, allows them to peek into the minds of characters to try and understand them.  The writing is powerful and complex but at the same time there’s a beautiful poetic feel to it.

An entrancing read, and highly recommended!

You can buy a copy of The Soldier’s Home via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
The Book Depository

Author Feature:

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George Costigan has been a motor-parts storeman, a trainee accountant, another trainee accountant (both failed) a steel-worker, an insurance clerk, a wood-cutter, a bookseller, a record salesman, a book-keeper for a wedding-dress business – and then someone asked him to be in a play. College followed and a career that started in children’s theatre, then took in Butlins Repetory Theatre in Filey and eventually landed him at the Liverpool Everyman theatre. It was here he met some hugely inf

luential people – Chris Bond, Alan Bleasedale, Alan Dossor and above all, Julia North. His acting career has included working with Sally Wainwright, Willy Russell, Alan Clarke and Clint Eastwood. He has directed Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite, and his writing for the stage includes several Liverpool Everyman pub shows and ‘Trust Byron’, for which he was nominated for Best Actor at the 1990 Edinburgh Festival. He and Julia North have three sons and one grandson.

 

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

The notion that a total stranger might be reading – and enjoying – something I wrote. That’s a fantastic, nourishing, thought.

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

I haven’t yet discovered a negative. Well, realising some criticism is valid and the re-write will have to be total – that’s not jolly; but must be done…

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

I’m reading Sebastian Barry’s ‘Days Without End’ Awesome. To have written a sentence of it would do me.

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

The only answer to this is – with the rest of my life … I have a career as an actor, I’m a parent, a grandparent, I love to play the guitar, the piano … the garden is a mess – etc etc

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

Absolutely none. Except that when I’m on it I’m on it and can get {and want to be} tunnelled…

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

A strange love-story I need to re-write/re-arrange and then a thriller. No, a who-dun-it. Then there’s a musical for the theatre I need to sort out. That’s been waiting about seven years. I suspect it’s just jolly bollocks and utterly unfixable.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?

‘To my readers’? Nothing at all. To anyone thinking of writing I must quote Noel Coward’s advice, ‘Do not write on a type-writer {aka computer} – because it looks finished – and it isn’t…’

 

 

Can you tell me a little about your latest book? How would you describe it and why should we go read it?

My latest, ‘The Soldier’s Home’ –  is a continuation/completion of the story I began with ‘The Single Soldier’.

It’s a long love story about a house…

The House that Jacques re-Built.

You ask why should we go read it?

In ALL honesty I have no answer to that – except I suppose – I believe you might enjoy it.

And I truly hope you do.

 

My thanks to George & Urbane Publications for taking part today to Celebrate Indie Publishing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today on Celebrating Indie Publishing I am delighted to share my thoughts of a book that was published by No Exit Press  in celebration of ten years of crime fiction at CrimeFest, the international crime fiction festival.

 

Description:

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Twenty superb new crime stories have been commissioned specially to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Crimefest, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the fifty best festivals in the world’.

A star-studded international group of authors has come together in crime writing harmony to provide a killer cocktail for noir fans; salutary tales of gangster etiquette and pitfalls, clever takes on the locked-room genre, chilling wrong-footers from the deceptively peaceful suburbs, intriguing accounts of tables being turned on hapless private eyes, delicious slices of jet black nordic noir, culminating in a stunning example of bleak amorality from crime writing doyenne Maj Sjowall.
The contributors to Ten Year Stretch are: Bill Beverly, Simon Brett, Lee Child, Ann Cleeves, Jeffery Deaver, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Peter Guttridge, Sophie Hannah, John Harvey, Mick Herron, Donna Moore, Caro Ramsay, Ian Rankin, James Sallis, Zoe Sharp, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Maj Sjowall, Michael Stanley and Andrew Taylor.

The foreword is by international bestselling thriller writer Peter James. The editors are Martin Edwards, responsible for many award-winning anthologies, and Adrian Muller, CrimeFest co-founder.

All Royalties are donated to the RNIB Talking Books Library.

My Thoughts & Review:

I utterly love books like this, anthologies introduce readers to new writers and give them a glimpse into the minds of some very talented authors who can cast a literary spell on their audience in a few pages. This one in particular features some of the top crime fiction writers such as John Harvey, Ann Cleeves, Michael Stanley, Caro Ramsey and Ian Rankin to name but a few.  I have to admit there are names on this list that I’ve heard of but not actually read anything by so it was a great delight to be caught up in their worlds and discover some thrilling reads that had me on the edge of my seat from the opening lines.

I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of Ten Year Stretch from the folks at No Exit Press and when it arrived I opted to flick through it at random, stopping entirely by chance at a story to read.  I was soon immersed in a world of intrigue and held utterly captive by the writing of Kate Ellis in Crime Scene.  This was such a thrilling and exciting story that had me guessing throughout.  I loved that so much detail and atmosphere was was tightly woven into such a few pages, the writing crisp and taut, the characterisation absolutely on point.

Strangers in a Pub by Martin Edwards was another story that grabbed my attention, brilliantly plotted and fascinating reading!  The thing I loved most about this story was the “what if” moment that it planted in my head … what if things had worked out differently in this story, how vastly different this story would have worked out, how things were down to chance.  There’s just something so brilliant about a piece of writing that can get your mind spiraling and thinking along with the story.
Fans of Ian Rankin’s John Rebus will be delighted to know that Inside the Box features the much loved detective in his usual ill-tempered and sarcastic mode.

There are so many fantastic stories in here, some of them I would absolutely love to see expanded into a full length novel.
The skill it takes to write a short story awes me, to grab a reader so tightly with a story that lasts a few pages is amazing and it’s fair to say that each of the writers here have done just this.

What a spectacular way to celebrate a decade of crime fiction at CrimeFest, and even if you can’t make it to the festival this weekend in Bristol, don’t let that stop you picking up a copy of this excellent anthology!

You can buy a copy of Ten Year Stretch via:

Amazon UK
Wordery
Book Depository
No Exit Press (Publisher)

 

My thanks to Katherine at No Exit Press for my copy of Ten Year Stretch and for being part of Celebrating Indie Publishing!

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Today I am delighted to share a review of a book that’s the second in a series that I discovered by chance last year.  Rose Gold is the follow up to Blue Gold which I reviewed back in May 2017 and follows on the story of Sim Atkins in a futuristic Earth where water has become a resource to go to war over, a mining base has been set up on the moon.

Rose Gold was published by Urbane Publications on 10th May 2018 and is available to purchase now.


Book Feature:

Description:

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Rose Gold is the thrilling sequel to the bestselling Blue Gold.

 

In the aftermath of a world war for water, geopolitical tensions remain high and terrorism is a daily fact of life in the 2030s. But a mining base on the moon offers a rare example of international co-operation and a possible solution to the world’s energy problems. Yet not everyone on Earth is keen for this endeavour to succeed…

Sim Atkins and his wife are desperate to start a family. But a shocking message from the moon base tells Sim that he is already a father and that his son’s life is in danger. The mining station is full of suspects and, worse, the woman who fathered his child. Can Sim rescue his son and save his marriage?

Gopal and Rabten – the Gurkha and monk who helped Sim on his last assignment – are on the trail of terrorists and a giant airship. What the agents discover in the cargo hold makes Sim’s mission even more vital. When they get trapped, Freda Brightwell – Sim’s old partner in Overseas Division – is called out of retirement for one more mission.

Once again, corporate greed threatens the lives of millions. Overseas Divisions finest are back at the sharp end. And this time, the stakes are far more personal.

My Thoughts & Review:

When I found out that book two of this series was available to read early I jumped at the chance.  David Barker had cruelly included an extract of this book at the back of Blue Gold that had me desperate to find out what happened next for the main character Sim and I really, really needed to know where this series was going to go next after the shocking revelations uncovered.  Thankfully this book didn’t disappoint and I soon found that once I was curled up with this book I quickly shut off from the outside world around me and was fully immersed in the thrilling action that took place on the pages.

For those who have read Blue Gold, this is a continuation of the series and goes on to give a glimpse into Sim’s life upon his return to North Scotland, before he’s pulled back into the clutches of a government department that urgently needs his help.
I guess you could maybe read this without having read the previous book, there is detail given as to who people are, the backstories between them to give readers a grounding of how things are connected, but I do think that this series works best as read in order.

This is an intelligently written novel that oozes detail and tension.  The plotting is superb, and pace is perfectly matched to the storyline.  There is an underlying menace keeps the pace of this punchy and sharp, and like the main character, readers don’t quite know who is behind the dangerous plot that threatens the lives of many.
It was nice to see the reappearance of Frida Brightwell after her retirement from active duty.  Such a strong character that I loved meeting in the first book, although I did miss her movie quotes, it was entertaining to see her TV series recommendation to Sim in light of his mission to the moon.  Seeing her back in action when she goes to rescue Gopal and Rabten when their mission goes wrong is thrilling and ultimately one of my favourite parts of the book, and I really can’t wait to see what happens in the third book!

Now the impatient wait for the next instalment ….

 

You can buy a copy of Rose Gold via:

Amazon UK

 

About the Author:david_barker-745x1024

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. Rose Gold, sequel to Blue Gold, publishes spring 2018.

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It’s always lovely to have an author stop by to help celebrate indie publishing, and I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome along the lovely Anne Stormont today.  Anne has published two adult novels under her own name and one children’s novel under the name of Anne McAlpine.


Author Feature:

Portrait websites

Anne Stormont writes contemporary women’s fiction. So far she has published two novels Change of Life and Displacement. She is currently working on a sequel to Displacement which will be out in 2018. She has also written a children’s novel called The Silver Locket published under the name of Anne McAlpine.

Anne is a Scot and she has recently moved from the Isle of Skye to the Scottish Borders. She has travelled the world and has visited every continent except Antarctica –where considering her penchant for penguins she really must go. Anne was a primary school teacher for 36 years and is also a wife, mum and grandma.

She is a subversive old bat but maintains a kind heart.

 

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

There’s a lot that I like about being an author, but probably my favourite thing is getting to spend time with my characters and discovering where they’re going to take me.

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

I find writing the synopsis, which is a one page summary of the entire book, quite a challenge. And writing the backcover blurb is even harder. Trying to reduce ninety thousand words down to about 150 with no spoilers and plenty of hooks is definitely my least favourite thing.

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

Coming up with just one is making my brain hurt, but I think I would have to go with Unless by Carol Shields. To me it was the perfect novel – so beautifully written in a calm understated style and with brilliantly drawn characters and a poignant storyline. It was published in 2002 and sadly it was the author’s final novel as she died shortly afterwards. It is written in the first person – something I like to do in my own novels and its themes are still relevant today – not least the often hidden role of women in society.

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

I go walking a lot – I aim for a daily 2 to 3 miles and regularly do longer walks. I like how walking frees my mind to go rambling too. I also do yoga – great for mind and body. I also like gardening in my spare time and of course reading. I LOVE reading.

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

In many respects, I’m a creature of routine, but for many years I had to combine my writing with a full time teaching job so I learned to write whenever the opportunity arose. And even now I’m no longer teaching, I don’t have a rigid routine. But I have fallen into a bit of a pattern which is to attend to blog posts, marketing and the general business side of the writing job in the mornings, and to work on the actual writing in the afternoon and early evening.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

My next novel is due out in the summer. It’s called Settlement and although it’s a sequel to my previous novel Displacement, it can be read as a standalone. It’s currently with my editor and I’m bracing myself for the inevitable rewrites. Meanwhile I’m sketching out the third and final book of the series, and flirting with ideas for a second children’s novel. The children’s novel will feature the same three friends as the first one which is called The Silver Locket and which I wrote using my alter-ego name of Anne McAlpine.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?

It would have to be ‘seize the day’. I’m a cancer survivor and it took my brush with mortality to waken me up to the fact that life is finite. It was the deal I did with fate – if I survive this illness, I will stop procrastinating and take my writing seriously – and I kept my side of the deal. So, if you have a dream, go for it now, because now is all any of us have.

 

Can you tell me a little about your latest book?  How would you describe it and why should we go read it?

My latest book is the above-mentioned Displacement. It’s contemporary fiction and is available as a paperback and as an ebook. And here’s a little bit about what to expect if you read it:

A story of love, courage and hope

Divorce, the death of her soldier son and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief stricken, lonely and lost. 

Forced retirement due to a heart condition leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to take stock and find a new direction for his life.

When the two of them meet in dramatic circumstances on a wild winter’s night on the island of Skye, a mutually supportive friendship develops between them, despite their very different personalities.

But with Rachel due to be in the Middle East for several months and Jack already in a relationship, it seems unlikely they’ll get the chance to take their relationship any further – much as they might want to.

Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, this book tells a story of love, home and heritage and what happens when these are threatened at a political and a personal level.

Amazon Links for Displacement:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Social Media Links:

Author websites: Anne Stormont and Anne McAlpine

Facebook Author pages: Anne Stormont and Anne McAlpine

Twitter

 

 

Displacement Cover MEDIUM WEB(1)

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It’s Friday, so that means it’s time to celebrate another independently published author and their book.  Today’s book in the spotlight is The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter written by Cherry Radford.  It was published by Urbane Publications on 5th April 2018 and is available to purchase now.


Book Feature

Description:

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After the break-up of her marriage, Imogen escapes to her aunt’s converted lighthouse on Beachy Head. Writing for a tedious online magazine but hoping to start a novel, she wants to be alone until she finds an entrancing flamenco CD in her borrowed car and contacts the artist via Twitter. It turns out that actor-musician Santiago needs help with English, and is soon calling her profesora.

Through her window, the other lighthouse winks at her across the sea. The one where her father was a keeper, until he mysteriously drowned there in 1982. Her aunt is sending extracts from his diary, and Imogen is intrigued to learn that, like her and Santi, her father had a penfriend.

Meanwhile, despite their differences Imogen is surrounded by emotional and geographical barriers, Santi surrounded by family and land-locked Madrid their friendship develops. So, she reads, did her father’s but shocking revelations cause Imogen to question whether she ever really knew him.

Two stories of communication: the hilarious mistakes, the painful misunderstandings, and the miracle or tragedy of finding someone out there with whom you have an unforeseen, irresistible connection.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is a unique book that opens with a wonderful playlist of tracks to play whilst reading the book, giving the reader a glimpse of the important role that music plays.  The connection of music is what draws two characters together, one a musician in Madrid and the other a journalist/author in Beachy Head.  The discovery of a CD in a borrowed car leading to a friendship between the two and setting off a chain of events that lead to self discoveries and uncover long buried secrets.

Imogen has sought the sanctuary of her aunt’s lighthouse following the break up of her marriage, relishing the peace and tranquility that the remote setting offers her, despite missing her teenage son terribly.  However, her sadness is only magnified when you realise that the lighthouse she is staying in has another in it’s view, the one that her father worked at and subsequently lost his life at.
The backdrop of the setting is poetically offset with the struggles that Imogen has to work through.  Heartache is something that Imogen has experienced before, but the diary extracts she reads from her father rock her and throw her into a deeper turmoil.

Musician and actor Santiago Montoya in Madrid is working on a soap opera and not able to spend as much time working on his music as he’d like, his band no longer performing.  He begins learning English in the hopes that it might open new opportunities up for him in his career and is one day surprised when a tweet comes from a woman in England saying how much she connected with this music, how it made her feel alive, made her “feel”.

Their connection through Twitter is like the beginnings of a modern day love story, social media linking them from one country to another.  Imogen’s personality shines through her messages to Santiago, her chatty happiness positively glows from the pages.   The easiness of their friendship makes for enjoyable reading, the budding friendship between them grows, Imogen helping Santi with his English and he in turn helping her with her Spanish.

The story of Imogen’s father is one that slowly unravels throughout the book, and one that I found I was desperately hooked upon, wanting to discover what drove him to take the course of action he decided upon.  The diary extracts give a great insight into the mind of her father, and an alternative view to Imogen of events from her childhood.

Themes of relationships and emotion are a huge part of the plot, this is a book that takes readers on a journey along with the characters.
Vivid descriptions of the settings help to transport the readers, from the rocky, windswept Beachy Head to the sunny and continental Madrid.

An enjoyable escape.

You can buy a copy of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter via:

Amazon UK

 


Author Feature:

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Cherry Radford was a keyboard player in a band, a piano teacher at the Royal Ballet School and an optometrist/post-doctoral researcher at Moorfields Eye Hospital before suddenly starting her first novel in the middle of a scientific conference in 2009.

Following the publication of Men Dancing (2011) and Flamenco Baby (2013) by a small Brighton-based independent, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is her first novel with Urbane Publications.

Cherry lives in Eastbourne and Almería (Spain).

She chats about writing and other passions on her BLA BLA LAND blog (https://cherryradforddotblog.wordpress.com), Twitter (@CherryRad), Instagram (cherry_radford) and website (http://cherryradford.co.uk).

 

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

My favourite thing is being immersed in the world of my novel, particularly in the last few chapters. At that point, I’m way past the dreadful 25K doubting stage, I’ve come through the plot-tangling developments, and I pretty much know how it’s going to end – but love watching how the characters take over and decide the final details. This isn’t the favourite thing for people around me, however; apparently, I behave like a woman in that antsy stage of labour, and… well, on all three occasions I’ve been encouraged to book into a hotel!

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

Although I love Twitter, Instagram and running my BLA BLA LAND blog, I have far too many technotantrums about things like managing photos, uploading stuff and trying to figure out how the hell Goodreads works.

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

I love unusual romances that are written for both men and women – what I call People Fiction as opposed to Women’s Fiction. It would have to be one of the stellar examples, such as Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. I am totally in awe of that novel.

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

If I’m not plotting, I’m researching, writing or editing a novel – or possibly two of these, on different novels! I’m always reading something – a novel or some non-fiction for research – but spend far too much time Tweeting and Instagramming with all sorts of wonderful people e.g. other authors, flamenco musicians and an engineer who goes around the country fixing lighthouses! I try to swim or walk each day (both great for ideas), and two afternoons a week I have my lovely piano pupils.

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

Oh yes. I developed stationeryphilia through years of doing scientific research, and this condition was easily transferred to my writing when I started it nearly ten years ago. I have to write in pocket-size elasticated leather notebooks you can stick a (colour-matched, Pentel) biro into. The sight of a white screen page makes me nervous; I’m much happier scribbling by hand and later filtering as I transfer to the laptop. It also stops me fussing about word count, which I think is a daft way of measuring progress (does a painter count how many tubes of paint he’s using up?). It’s getting through the chapters that counts –  and not irritating readers by having too many words in them. I’m a recumbent writer – bed, sun-lounger or beach rug – but always get my break-through ideas when in the bath or swimming.

What’s on the horizon?  What can your fans look forward to next?

More seaside! I’m writing a saga about a family who own a pier, starting in 1930. At least, I hope I am; I’m still in the dreadful doubting stage.

Finally, if you could impart one pearl of wisdom to your readers, what would it be?  

Put down the phone and read – there are so many great novels out there, and only one lifetime to read them in!

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://cherryradforddotblog.wordpress.com)
Twitter: @CherryRad
Instagram: cherry_radford
Website: http://cherryradford.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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