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Today’s Celebrating Indie Publishing is a book that came to be via a family member, a book that appealed to her and she wanted to pass it on to a fellow craft fanatic and reader.


Book Feature:

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** My thanks to the awesome Nicolpops* for my copy of this book **

Description:

This chic-lit debut is a must for knitters and crafters alike.

Claire can’t understand why her life, and her knitting, has suddenly started to unravel. Her new friend, Adrian, owner of the local wool shop Oddballs offers to help tame her woolly woes, and offers further support as she tries to get the other parts of her life back on track – one aspect being, her love life…

This humorous yarn is for the perfect antidote to cold, winter nights, and a how-to guide for online dating.

My Thoughts & Review:

When my brother’s partner sent me a message to say that she’d picked up a copy of this book in the wool shop that she works in I was intrigued, why was a wool shop selling a book? But the best part of her message was did I want to read the book after her!

Unravelled is a lovely story centred around a young woman named Claire who is at a stage in life where things have started to go wrong, a fork in the road in a way. Having just got out of a relationship that really wasn’t right for her, she is struggling to adjust to life as a singleton and looks for her closest friend for advice. At least she still has her job and her knitting, the two things in her life that she can depend on … or at least she could until her knitting started to let her down. Her purls and knits no longer work, her yarn doesn’t weave the way that it should and the skill she once was so proud of seems to have deserted her.

A chance meeting in a bookshop changes things for her, a new friendship opens a world of possibilities for her, but it takes time for her to embrace the changes and open her heart and eyes.

The writing is enjoyable and laugh out loud humorous, it’s the sort of book that you can curl up with and happily while away the hours.
Delightfully colourful characters make this quite a quirky read, and I have to say, I’ve never encountered a knitting group quite like those ladies, but I would absolutely love to spend a few hours and cuppas with them! This coupled with the descriptions of the wool shop and various knitting projects really had me itching to cast on my next project!

At the heart of this book is a love story and as is the way with life, things never run smoothly. I found that I became frustrated with the actions and thoughts of some characters, but this is a reflection of the skill of the author, creating personalities that a reader can connect with, become so invested in, that they feel the desire to shake the characters for not seeing what’s infront of them.

Unravelled really is a great book, and perfect for the wool addict and craft fanatic.

You can buy a copy of Unravelled via:

Hall Good Books (publisher)
Amazon UK

Author Feature:

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Author image and bio courtesy of author’s blog

 

 

Briony Marshall is an up and coming author from the West Midlands in the UK. She is a graduate from the University of Wolverhampton with a degree in Creative & Professional Writing with English. Briony currently lives at home with her Mom, Dad and boyfriend. When Briony is not writing she’s knitting and when she’s not knitting she’s drinking coffee. Her debut novel is to be published in 2017 and Briony looks forward to the adventures this will bring.

 

 

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

The fact that I can unleash my creativity in a way that I feel truly satisfied. I’ve been a story teller ever since I was a little girl and I love it. The fact I now get to share my stories with the world is an amazing feeling!

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

Writer’s Block. I suppose this is a common answer for many authors. But for me, balancing the day job and the author life can be testing as it is, but there is nothing more infuriating than a looming deadline, a very tight, very specific writing schedule and a huge bout of writer’s block! Having a blank mind and just staring at a clean page is so daunting, I’d say that is my least favourite thing.

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

Aww, this is such a difficult question for me, there’s so many to choose from! If I could only choose one it would have to be The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; the glamour, the period, the feel of that story, the plot itself. I remember reading that book so vividly, especially my reactions when reading certain parts. I’ll never forget it. That book may be small, but it is mighty!

(P.S: I also think The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson are works of art. Oh and if I’d be sticking within my own “genre” The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella without a doubt, to me she is a Queen! As is Marian Keyes whilst we’re at it. Okay, I’ll stop now, promise!)

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

I am an avid knitter and crocheter, so I’ll most likely be creating something woolly and wonderful. However, with our recent bout of sunny weather I’ve been more inclined to put down the needles and hook in favour of a book. I love reading chick lit or anything with a good plot twist. I’m currently reading Nevermind from the Patrick Melrose series by Edmund St Aubryn and loving it. His use of imagery is incredible.

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

My most productive time of the day is before lunch and a good breakfast is also a  great start for productivity! So on a good writing day I’ll probably be the first one up and about. I also need silence to write, so I’ve been taking full advantage of the beautiful mornings we’ve been having and writing in the garden. I always like to write with a coffee to hand too. A lot of my rituals centralise around food and drink, don’t they?!

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

I  recently sent off the synopsis for book two to my publisher, so all being well I’ll be starting work on that any day now. Besides that I have plenty more novel ideas in mind, both with and without wool, so watch this space!

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

Unravelled is my debut novel and was my baby for over ten years! It’s a hybrid fiction crossing together the genres of; chick lit, romance, comedy and knitting fiction! It’s the story of boy meets girl with a unique twist and a “will they, won’t they” plot that will keep you guessing until the very end. I feel like everyone has got a little bit of a Claire inside of them, so I feel it’s a very relatable tale that can give a reader that feel good factor.

If you’re looking for a cutesy read to make you giggle and feel all fuzzy inside, Unravelled is the novel for you!

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

Love who you are. No one else can tell you how you should feel or act, that’s all down to you. Embrace it and smile!

 

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://brionymarshallauthor.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brionywrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymarshallauthor/

 

A huge thank you to Briony for taking part today and sharing a little about herself, it’s always lovely getting to know more about authors and their writing processes. How exciting about book two, looking forward to hearing more about that  (and even better if it contains wool!).

 

 

 

*Nicolpops is a family member and not connected to the author or publisher in any way.  She is also an amazing illustrator, please do check out her website!

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** My thanks to Rachel and Helen for my copy of this and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

Christmas is coming and New York is in full swing for the snowy season. But at The Little Knitting Box in the West Village, things are about to change …

The Little Knitting Box has been in Cleo’s family for nearly four decades, and since she arrived fresh off the plane from the Cotswolds four years ago, Cleo has been doing a stellar job of running the store. But instead of an early Christmas card in the mail this year, she gets a letter that tips her world on its axis.

Dylan has had a tumultuous few years. His marriage broke down, his mother passed away and he’s been trying to pick up the pieces as a stay-at-home dad. All he wants this Christmas is to give his kids the home and stability they need. But when he meets Cleo at a party one night, he begins to see it’s not always so easy to move on and pick up the pieces, especially when his ex seems determined to win him back.

When the snow starts to fall in New York City, both Cleo and Dylan realise life is rarely so black and white and both of them have choices to make. Will Dylan follow his heart or his head? And will Cleo ever allow herself to be a part of another family when her own fell apart at the seams?

Full of snow, love and the true meaning of Christmas, this novel will have you hooked until the final page.

My Thoughts & Review:

When a book title has something to do with knitting it’s almost destined to catch my eye, and this one certainly did.  The description made it sound like a perfect read for a wintery cold Sunday afternoon so I curled up on the sofa with my kindle and a hot chocolate and soon forgot about the housework.

This is such a lovely and cosy story, with characters that readers cannot help but take into their hearts and want to hug close.  And the wool shop, well that’s got to be my favourite part of the story!  Having visited one or two wool shops over the years (ok so many wool shops), I can officially say I’ve never been to one as amazing as that described by Helen!  I definitely would like to go to it though, it sounded so wonderful.  The rainbow of shades of yarn mentioned sounded quite magical, the descriptions of the yarns, the smells, it all felt so real as if I were standing in The Knitting Box.

The way that this story is written, giving readers a glimpse at the perspectives of both Cleo and Dylan means that you get to know them both, get really see what they are like and in turn feel connected and invested in them.  Cleo’s assistant Kaisha is a lovely character, her enthusiasm and passion are wonderfully written and I’d love to see her in her own novel!
Christmas in New York is always a lovely setting and in this book it’s perfect!  It works so well with the budding romance between Cleo and Dylan, the “will they, won’t they” feel to it all just makes for a more enjoyable read.

You can buy a copy of Christmas at the Little Knitting Box via:

Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

GIVEAWAY:

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For your chance to Win Christmas at the Little Knitting Box paperback & Galaxy Minstrels (UK Only) please click on this link to the Rafflecopter giveaway

 

About the Author:

Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love. She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Helen enjoys creating strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

Website – http://www.helenjrolfe.com/

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

Twitter  – https://twitter.com/HJRolfe


And if that wasn’t exciting enough, I’ve got the great honour of sharing this exciting news with you too!

Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn (New York Ever After, Book 2)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but is it the time to fall in love? 

As the flames on the log fire flicker and the snowflakes swirl above the New York streets, maybe this Christmas could be the one that changes everything…

When Darcy returns to Manhattan, she’s put in charge of the Inglenook Inn, a cosy boutique hotel in the heart of Greenwich Village. The Inn needs a boost in bookings if it’s to survive the competition, so Darcy is convinced that hosting Christmas this year is the answer. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a face from the past, which can only spell trouble.

Myles left England behind and took a job in New York. It’s a step forwards in his career, and has the added bonus of being nowhere near his family. He’s also hoping to avoid Christmas, the worst time of the year. But when his company puts him up at the Inglenook Inn and he recognises Darcy, it isn’t long before they clash. 

When disaster strikes, can Myles and Darcy put their differences aside to make Christmas at the Inglenook Inn a success?

Publication Date – 12tth December 2017

Pre-order Now!

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

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Author: P.I. Paris

Published: 15 September 2016
Reviewed: 16 September 2016

5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Black and White Publishing in return for an honest review

 

Description:

When the residents of a Highland care home discover that the new owners are about to substantially put up the fees, they know that dramatic action is called for. But what can a group of senior citizens possibly do against a big organisation? For Dorothy, the situation is serious. If she can’t raise money she’ll have to leave all her friends, like dear Miss Ross. 

In protest, the residents barricade themselves into the lounge. However, their rebellion fails, so worldly-wise Joan suggests a most unusual way to cover the rise – a very naughty chat line for men who want to talk to older women ‘in a particular way’! As their lives take a series of unexpected turns, things get increasingly out of control …

Casting Off is a hilarious, poignant tale of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice – and how it’s never too late to try something new.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

Casting Off combines two great loves of mine, books and knitting (surely the name of the blog part of that away?).  So when Laura at Black and White Publishing got in touch to offer me this book for review I immediately jumped at the chance – the description had me chuckling instantly.

Set in a Highland care home, we encounter a variety of different characters that you instantly adopt as friends,  Miss Ross a retired head mistress, Dorothy delightfully innocent and humorous, Mrs O’Reilly the mischievous one and Joan who seems to know something about most things – including saucy chatlines.

Each character in this is wonderful in their own way, Miss Ross who may seem prim and set in her ways has an enormously large heart and cares deeply about her friends, enough to take action when this whole scandal sets in motion.  Dorothy, bless her, so innocent to the ways of the world but incredibly funny with it.  Mrs O’Reilly, well she’s a wee trickster and a half, reminds me somewhat of my own grandmother and in all honesty, she’s the sort of old person I want to be – keeping the young uns on their toes and still sharp as a tack.  Joan, well her initial appearance causes some ripples for Miss Ross, but her heart is is the right place, she’s a hoot!  She brings life to the home, her jovial manner shines brightly from the pages and the reader cannot help but smile when she suggests the plan of the chatline – it seems such a normal thing for her to say!

The serious issues that are addressed in this book are handled with sensitivity but at the same time do not sugar coat reality.  With the advancements in technology and social media the dangers have also increased, so it was good to see topics such as grooming and sexting handled to raise awareness of how prevalent they are in society.  The way that they were explained to the older generation was very well done, I hope that mini plays like the one in the book are used in schools to illustrate the point to the younger generation.
Seeing the “older” perspective of some of these issues was also quite interesting, not something I would have really given much thought to, but their attitudes were refreshing, not all  of the characters reacted as I would have imagined to certain things, I guess we write people off once they reach a certain age, forgetting they were once young and so may have faced similar situations, a hat tip to the author for reminding us that everyone is entitled to a life, a past and a future.

The humour in this book was superbly written.  I know I chuckled out loud several times reading this, my poor husband continuously looking up from his DIY to check I wasn’t laughing at him or his efforts.  There’s something so lovely about the innocent humour of Dorothy – the callers to the chatline are expecting something…..well different from what they get when Dorothy answers their calls.  Her innocence makes certain parts of the narrative exceedingly hilarious, you’ll know the section when you get to it….

The diary passages written by Miss Ross interspersed between the chapters are touching to read.  This is a character that publicly is quite reserved, not one for telling her innermost thoughts and worries, and so to see them written down gives a greater insight to this character and means the reader is able to connect more with her.

This book is perfectly described on the front cover “A hilarious, poignant story of knitting, friendship, sacrifice and saucy chatlines”.  It’s a great book to curl up with in an afternoon and enjoy some quiet time.  The short chapters make it a quick and enjoyable read, but they’re sneaky as they hook you in and keep you reading on!  I love the idea that you’re never too old to try something new, and the ladies and gents in this definitely proved that.  I won’t lie, there were many emotions reading this book, the skill of the author evoking sadness, delight and frustration shows how well written this is.

Having enjoyed this book I am keen to read other books by this author, his book The Italian Chapel set in Orkney will definitely be added to my ever groaning reading list!

You can buy a copy of Casting Off directly from the publisher or from a variety of different retailers.

About the Author:

Author, playwright and journalist P I Paris lives in the Highlands of Scotland and is best known for the historical fiction and non-fiction books he wrote about the Italian chapel, built during WW2 by Italian POWs in Orkney. His contemporary novel, Men Cry Alone, broke new ground in raising the profile of domestic abuse against men.

His stage play, Casting Off, played to sell-out audiences in the autumn of 2015. The hilarious storyline is taken to new heights in this latest novel by the same name.

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When the residents of a Highland care home receive letters informing them that the new owners are about to substantially increase fees, their quiet days of knitting, chatting and trips to the local garden centre are threatened. Dorothy faces the prospect of having to move out, something her good friend former headmistress Miss Ross refuses to accept. But what can a group of elderly people do against a big organisation? The arrival of worldly-wise, three-times married Joan soon galvanises the residents into action, stirring long-dormant passions to fight against injustice. After a protest march goes badly wrong, the residents get national news coverage when they barricade themselves into the lounge. However, their brief flurry of fame has little impact.

As the new fees eat dangerously into dwindling savings, they need to make money fast or Dorothy will have to leave. When the irrepressible Joan suggests they set up a sex line for men who want to talk to older women ‘in a particular way’, their lives take a turn they could never have expected, with consequences that soon get out of control.

 

I am very excited to welcome you to the blog today as I have a fantastic treat for us all.  I am thrilled to share a fantastic guest post with you by the author of Casting Off, P.I. Paris on how a play became a novel, knitting and humour.

Without further ado, let me hand over to our revered guest…..

Knit

Early in 2015 I began writing a stage play about three elderly women in a Highland care home who have to devise a way to raise money when new owners substantially increase the fees, the high cost of residential care being in the news a lot at the time. My characters were often knitting and this pastime subsequently became an integral part of the storyline. The title seemed obvious … Casting Off.

The play toured in the Highlands during the autumn and the response took everyone by surprise, particularly me! The idea seemed to catch people’s imagination and even on the first night, innocent Dorothy, prim Miss Ross and worldly-wise Joan played to a sell-out audience. However, as far as I was concerned that was the end of it. I had also produced Casting Off and it had dominated my life for six months.

It was an email, which I so nearly didn’t send, that changed everything. Just before the tour started I told the managing director of Black & White Publishing in Edinburgh about the play. He sent me his best wishes along with that never to be forgotten observation … great idea for a novel. A NOVEL! I hadn’t considered this but as soon as I read his reply I knew this was what I had to do.

My target was 75,000 words and the stage script was a little over 10,000, so the book was a totally different proposition. I needed to carry out further research and create many more characters, subplots, surprises and secrets!

It’s amazing how tiny incidents in life can form the basis for a scene. A couple of years ago my wife and I went into a large wool shop. Catherine wanted to knit an Aran jumper for me. But the shop had no wool. To be accurate, it didn’t sell anything with more than twenty per cent wool content.

I couldn’t help feeling I had walked on to the set of the Monty Python cheese shop sketch. We didn’t buy anything. But the incident came back to me when writing a chapter where Dorothy and some of the other care home residents are having tea at the local garden centre.

‘You can actually buy quite a good selection of wool here,’ said Dorothy, ‘in the craft section. The last time I went into a wool shop they didn’t have any.’

‘No wool?’ queried Walter in disbelief.

‘Their balls only had twenty per cent content at most. I was quite cross.’

‘Steady on, Dorothy,’ he said. ‘I hope it didn’t lead to violence.’

‘I went up to the desk. “You tell me, young man,” I said, “how you can look me in the eye and say that your balls have come from a sheep.”’

A lot of the humour in the book comes from Dorothy’s innocence, but this also proves to be one of her greatest strengths, protecting her when, desperate to raise money, the three friends set up a sex line for men who want to speak to a mature woman ‘in a particular way’.

Although the play and novel are essentially comedies they both examine loneliness, friendship and sacrifice plus how reaching out to strangers can completely change our lives. The book takes these ‘serious’ themes further, including storylines on prostitution, grooming and sexting.

Producing Casting Off proved to be a huge learning curve and a scary amount of commitment, but it was tremendous fun and I have made many new friends because of reading a newspaper article about care home fees all those months ago.

You can buy a copy of Casting Off directly from the publisher or from a variety of different retailers and don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the tour!

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