News

New Cover for Heirs of Power!

Hi guys. I’m so excited to show off the gorgeous new cover for Heirs of Power! Feast your eyes on this beauty…

 

 

This incredible piece was designed by the very talented Olivia from oliviaprodesign and I’d recommend her to any authors out there looking for a new cover.

 

The new version is available now, and you can grab a copy from Amazon today!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

In other news, book 2 of The Constellation Saga, The Mage-Lord’s Legacy, is getting close to completion. The first draft and most of the second draft are done, and I’m hoping to be releasing it early next year. So, watch this space.

 

 

The Henge

Hi guys, today I get to share an except from Devra Robitaille’s latest fantastical YA book, The Henge. So cosy down, read this intriguing piece, and make sure you catch up with the other blog tour stops here.

 

Excerpt of The Henge by Devra Robitaille

 

Author Photo

Devra Robitaille, author of The Henge

Concinnity recognized the moment and started to move her hands.   Everyone mirrored her movements.  Then she said in a clear voice above the chanting, “I am Concinnity of the Noble House of Song, I am the Noble Keeper of the True Sound and I offer this tone to you as I command that the stone remembers the covenant of our ancestors and rises up now……”

The stone began to tremble.  The gathering was trembling too, no one dared to move or stop chanting.  The stone grew brighter as if the light within it came from an endless and beginning-less flame that was being fanned by the chanting; an eternal flame that would bring blessings to the land and to the people.

The chanting was loud, the sound was echoing around the quarry and bouncing back and forth between the stones and the trees, the sky and the land.  The vibrating became so pronounced that the very ground under their feet was shaking.  And then it happened.  Steadily it began to rise.  The part of the stone that could be seen above the jade pool at the base of the quarry got bigger; it rose up steadily now.  It was out of the water.  It hovered above the jade lake.  It rose higher and higher as the sound defied gravity, and the stone was free from confinement.  Up above the quarry now it seemed to be hovering, it was levitating effortlessly, floating as if it had no mass or weight.

Concinnity moved her hands, turning away from the quarry.  Everyone mimicked her, the stone quivered for a moment and then moved away from the edge of the quarry.  It started to float down the small hill towards the boat that had been prepared to receive it.  The crowd had been told that under no circumstances, no matter what happened, must they stop chanting.  The chanting continued loudly and robustly as Concinnity guided the heavy stone along the grid of bright energy lines towards the boat.  She was almost running now, hands still in the air guiding and directing and the crowd followed as the glowing stone seemed to glide along on an invisible track.

At last the stone was hovering in the air above the boat which was moored in the stream nearby.  The chanting reached a crescendo now as the stone very gently came down like a feather to rest in the boat.  Concinnity made a signal and the chanting stopped abruptly.  The glow became dimmer now and then the light went out.   And Concinnity of the Noble House of Song crumpled at the edge of the stream in a dead faint.

 

 

Blurb

Away to the north of the Noble Village of the Arts there is, buried in a jade lake at the bottom of a quarry, a stone with magical properties—a stone that sings. Izraziti the Dreamer has seen the stone through the eyes of an eagle as he soars over the quarry at night. Concinnity Song and her twin brothers, along with the council of twelve must mobilize all the hunter-warriors to raise the stone and transport it across the land, and build a henge to protect it, according to the covenant with the ancestors for the future of civilization. To do this they must tap into the true tone that will levitate the singing stone and its companion blue stones out of the quarry. They will have to battle their enemies, not just the human kind, but a cataclysmic flood and catastrophic fire that threaten to wipe them all out. As they travel across the land with the stones, the people come together and create an amazing civilization on a journey that will culminate in one brilliant night, the night of the solstice, when all the stones will be raised together to form…The Henge.

 

Looks amazing, right? So, if you’d like to find out more about Devra and her books visit her Amazon Author Page.

And you can get a copy of this great new release for yourself from Amazon.

 

Crown of Beauty

Hi everyone, I’m so excited to be able to announce that the second book of Cecily Wolfe’s Cliff Walk Courtships series is released today. Take a look at these gorgeous teasers, and then go grab yourself a copy!

 

 

Crown of Beauty, Cliff Walk Courtships, Book Two

 

Catherine has everything she needs and all of what she wants. Or does she? Raised in opulence in New York City and the beautiful shores of Newport, Rhode Island, she has never wanted for anything, but when her parents begin to pressure her about marriage, she insists that she doesn’t want one arranged for her. She would much rather stay home and read than socialize or, worse, select a husband who might not approve of her reading habit. Her father insists that she spend time helping at her brother’s homeless shelter to understand how privileged she is, and her wariness of love and marriage is tempered when a mysterious young man with intense blue eyes is brought, cold and wet, to the shelter doorstep one night.

 

Will wakes up in a strange room with vague memories of being caught in a thunderstorm as he began to search for shelter for the night after making his way to Newport from New York City. A beautiful girl sits beside him, but she leaves his care to another in what he assumes is shyness. The shelter offers assistance in ways he could only dream of, and as he searches for work and a home of his own, he finds himself drawn to the girl who ran from him when he first woke up. The two are drawn to each other, sneaking glances in spite of her brother’s disapproval, but Will’s secrets will test the love that grows between them.

 

Book two of the Cliff Walk Courtships series features Arthur’s sister Catherine in her own discovery of faith, love, and hope against the backdrop of gorgeous turn of the century Newport, Rhode Island.

 

Interview with CeDany

Hi guys, today I get to welcome a wonderful author with a style as unique as her name! Meet CeDany…

Hi CeDany! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a loner, always been – the one that’s always out on her own. The quiet one keeping to herself.

CeDany pic

 

When did you first decide to write a novel? And Where did the ideas for your books come from?

One night back in 95, in the summer, I jotted down an idea, an outline of the story after completing another book where the characters considered themselves monsters and deserving on hate, betrayal and death. I wrote the complete contrary.

 

You say that you’re a private person and use a pen name, how did you come up with CeDany?

A conversation between Papa and a work colleague – “she is not Ce! Please, don’t call her that. Her proper nickname is Dany…” the colleague then replied: “Fine, CeDany it is – she’s a girl after all, Dany is more for a boy only!” In 1965.

 

 

What styles do you most enjoy reading and writing?

It’s easier to say what I don’t enjoy reading – Erotica, as well as stories that are full of swear words in every lines and anything to do with bestiality – Yuck! I used to read certain biographies, lately, they’ve been disappointing.

Otherwise, I read fiction and non-fiction, conspiracies, UFO’s, magic, witchcraft, vampires, history and Royalty. Shakespeare, Sci-Fi and Based on True Stories!

As for writing, it’s always been the same style from the beginning. Which will be answered fully in the question about my own unique style!

 

If you could spend the day with any fictional character, who would you choose and what would you talk about?

Henry of BirkeLand (Trieste’s maternal grand-father) – he’s a laugh a minute – definitely, to speak about the ancient time aka the old days – from 15th to 19th century.

 

 

You write in your own unique style, what makes it different and how did you develop this way of writing?

Going back to school and my childhood for this. Papa was a story-teller – myths, legends and stories of yore aka very nostalgic. He would retell these in four languages. Very often he would use real-life situation to make up stories. That is where my own style, which is known as Epistolary, comes from. I’ve created an imaginary story but making it as real-life as possible. Told from where the idea came from – Genealogy reports.

Multiple points of view – all things going on at once – not something traditional, very much – out of the ordinary. If you read my short stories on my website – once done, you’ll wonder – did this really took place or is it all make-believe?

Simply story-telling… Smile!

 

What would be your idea of a perfect day off?

Oh, but one day is not enough for time off – LOL! A three-day weekend of Pizza and Pasta in Italy – hence why all my characters have origins in this beautiful country – it’s on the bucket list…

If I only have one perfect day off – sunny from 8 in the morning until 10 at night – a slight breeze only; a quiver full of arrows – a horse under me and my bow, plus multiple targets. Think Merida in Brave!

 

 

What is your favourite book or series, and why?

Favourite books – An Old Friend of the Family (Ace June 1979) – author Fred Saberhagen Link Here! His book was a catalyst in one-day writing my own books. Another take, very down to earth approach, of Dracula by Bram Stoker.

The second favourite one is no longer in print – so, finding a copy is impossible – Memories of a Canadian dog – can’t remember the author. However, the story is extremely touching about a Dalmatian dog who’s the mascot of a Fire Brigade and his master. So real-life when you read it – you can feel what they went through, day in, day out.

Favourite series – The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris (2001 to 2013) it’s very well written and definitely, without a doubt, the series of books were far better than the television series aka True Blood. After the latter’s season 3, I gave up. I still read the books to this day.

Second series covers quite a few books – the whole of Rick Riordan’s Mythology. I love everything about Ancient History: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Vikings, Norse – the olde world – and Riordan fulfils this with a blend of swashbuckling and conquest.

 

Tell us all about your book!cedanybook

Simply, it’s the Life’s story of The WynderMyre Family – the Origins of the True Vampires, Witches and all Magical Creatures… Here’s the Synopses.

 

 

What interview question do you wish someone would ask you? Answer it!

What does clean reads mean? It means, absolutely not a swear word in sight, not even the description for the mild sex scenes aka no dirty words whatsoever!

 

Thank you so much for joining us today, CeDany!

 

If you’d like to connect with this great author, check out these links-

Website

YouTube

Instagram

 

If you enjoyed this interview, why not check out this hilarious chat I had with Ian Ferguson?

 

Amy J Hamilton Introduces Radish Fiction

Radish what now? I’d never heard of it before either. What, you have? Well, go and read my books then.

For the rest of you, here’s the background.

Radish Fiction is a free app containing serialised fiction in bite-sized chunks or episodes. (Like radishes, get it? Bite-sized.) It’s aimed at those who like to read a bit at a time. Which, to be fair is me. We’re all busy, but we can generally manage ten minutes of reading here and there.

 

The first three episodes of any book will always be free.

 

There are three ways books are priced:

 

Some books are totally free.

 

In others, episode 4 onwards will become free at a rate set by the author, say a new episode every week. But, the reader can unlock an episode early by paying 3 Radish coins per episode (around 30-42p per episode). Those who don’t want to pay, just need to wait until the next episode is released for free.

 

The third option allows authors to be paid for their work. All episodes after the three free ones cost 3 coins.

 

Authors are invited to write for Radish, unlike other platforms where there is nothing to stop anyone from publishing a book. So, we have been vetted and deemed fit for publication. (What? How? No, seriously, I have!)

 

My latest book is available exclusively on the Radish Fiction app.

Missing Remnants latestMissing Remnants is a Sci-Fi murder mystery following a detective called Track. He has been forced totake three months off, just as a woman dies at his front door after asking for his help. Suspecting an outbreak, the Authority submits Track to a gruelling decontamination process, while someone ransacks his apartment and dismantles his pet robot dog, Banyon. With little help available to him, Track undertakes the investigation the Authority closes within hours. He’s being followed. He has no backup. His trusted colleagues are avoiding him. Someone is pretending to be his dead husband. Will Track survive to solve the mystery of the Missing Remnants?

So, download the app and read some bite-sized serialised fiction. Preferably mine…

https://radish.app.link/XzeRhS95lG

https://radishfiction.com/users/AmyJHamilton

 

As well as the nearest coffee shop, Amy J Hamilton can be reached here:

Twitter https://twitter.com/WriteNaughty

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15275986.Amy_J_Hamilton

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ajhworld/

Blog http://barkingmaddj.blogspot.co.uk/

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/djcooper

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amy-J-Hamilton/e/B01N0ZHDEC/

Email ajh@djsworld.co.uk

 

Guest post by Amy J Hamilton

Radish what now? I’d never heard of it before either. What, you have? Well, go and read my books then.

For the rest of you, here’s the background.

Radish Fiction is a free app containing serialised fiction in bite-sized chunks or episodes. (Like radishes, get it? Bite-sized.) It’s aimed at those who like to read a bit at a time. Which, to be fair is me. We’re all busy, but we can generally manage ten minutes of reading here and there.

 

The first three episodes of any book will always be free.

 

There are three ways books are priced:

 

Some books are totally free.

 

In others, episode 4 onwards will become free at a rate set by the author, say a new episode every week. But, the reader can unlock an episode early by paying 3 Radish coins per episode (around 30-42p per episode). Those who don’t want to pay, just need to wait until the next episode is released for free.

 

The third option allows authors to be paid for their work. All episodes after the three free ones cost 3 coins.

 

Authors are invited to write for Radish, unlike other platforms where there is nothing to stop anyone from publishing a book. So, we have been vetted and deemed fit for publication. (What? How? No, seriously, I have!)

 

My latest book is available exclusively on the Radish Fiction app.

Missing Remnants latest

 

Missing Remnants is a Sci-Fi murder mystery following a detective called Track. He has been forced totake three months off, just as a woman dies at his front door after asking for his help. Suspecting an outbreak, the Authority submits Track to a gruelling decontamination process, while someone ransacks his apartment and dismantles his pet robot dog, Banyon. With little help available to him, Track undertakes the investigation the Authority closes within hours. He’s being followed. He has no backup. His trusted colleagues are avoiding him. Someone is pretending to be his dead husband. Will Track survive to solve the mystery of the Missing Remnants?

So, download the app and read some bite-sized serialised fiction. Preferably mine…

https://radish.app.link/XzeRhS95lG

https://radishfiction.com/users/AmyJHamilton

 

As well as the nearest coffee shop, Amy J Hamilton can be reached here:

Twitter https://twitter.com/WriteNaughty

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15275986.Amy_J_Hamilton

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ajhworld/

Blog http://barkingmaddj.blogspot.co.uk/

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/djcooper

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amy-J-Hamilton/e/B01N0ZHDEC/

Email ajh@djsworld.co.uk

 

Guest post by Amy J Hamilton

Reader Interview- Caz Pollard

Hi guys, for my reader interview today I have privilege of introducing Caz Pollard, an awesome BookTuber with a huge variety of reading interests. Her channel is brilliant too, I highly recommend her April Fools Book Tag video!

 

 ehhh
Hi, tell us a bit about yourself.
Hey I’m Caz, I like reading, taking photos, cats and Yorkshire Tea!

 

 

 

The-Raven-Cycle-Series

What makes a book cover catch your eye? Have you got a favourite?

I don’t really have one ‘thing’ that catches my eye on book covers, but I do love nice typography – this may be because I generally don’t look at covers when browsing books. Most of my ‘in real life’ book browsing happens in charity and second hand shops, so it’s more the spines that can catch my eye. I’ve never picked up a book *just* because of the cover / spine though, it has to sound like something I would genuinely be interested in. I can tell you that I don’t like girl in dress dramatically looking over her shoulder, but who does?

A few I will mention are The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater (these just work great as a set), Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz  (remember when I said I love a nice bit of typography?) and The Taste Of Cashews by Will Hartzell-Baird (which just does a great job of bringing the story to life in a picture)

 

 

When you’re reading a blurb, what would make you want to try that book? What would put you off?

This is a hard question, because I look for completely different things in for example fantasy, and in contemporary, but a punchy, to the point synopsis with a little about the world and/or the characters that doesn’t give too much away is a good start.

I’ve read a blurb before that mentions a road trip, and 150 pages into the book there hadn’t been one yet, so I’m not a fan of too much information leakage. A character death, a certain set of circumstances, an important ‘are they / aren’t they’ being revealed as one or the other on the back of the book are all no-no’s. Also World War anything. I literally get to ‘World W..’ in a synopsis and I’m like ‘nope’ and put it down.

 

 

What makes you love a character? Who are your favourites from the books you’ve read and why?

I mean come on guys, we all know sarcasm is the number one rule for ‘awesome characters that I love and will defend to the death’!

But yeah, I think just a character that actually has a personality is a good start. There are too many main protagonists that just blend together in a big ’16-year-old-brunette-short-not-like-other-girls-girl’ blob, so whenever someone actually feels like a real, well rounded, multifaceted person they stay with you. Basically pick any character, main or side, in The Raven Cycle and that’s what makes a good character.

Characters > plot. I recently read The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, and for some reason it just didn’t captivate me like it did every other person in the world, but the fact that I was introduced to Nikolai made it all worth while! I like characters that are a bit angry, a bit angsty, a bit socially awkward and a bit broody (actually broody though, not ‘cool broody’) In the All For The Game trilogy by Nora Sakavic basically every character is a complete mess, and that’s why I love it so much!

 

 

What keeps a plot engaging, and makes you want to stick with a book/series until the end? Tell us about your favourite books!

If we’re talking high fantasy, distopian, urban fantasy, sci-fi etc then the over all arc – where are the characters going / what are they running from, and what happens between point A and point B has to be engaging and exciting. Being able to actually picture the surroundings due to great world building, showing growth in characters, having plot twists that are not obvious a mile away and having some cool shizz happen makes for a good story.

Lets take the ACOTAR series by Sarah J Maas for example – the first book, ACOTAR, is pretty much painting by numbers romance, with enough engaging shenanigans and twists to keep you involved, the second, ACOMAF is absolutely stunning, the characters, the world building, the fight scenes, the grey morals – perfect. Then the conclusion, ACOWAR completely stumbles to an end. Rehashed love scenes, lack of peril, obvious outcomes.

If we are talking contemporary, which I would probably go as far as to say is my favourite type of book, then I like it dark. If I’m not crying at the end of a book, did I even read a book? I like reading about dark subjects – basically think of anything that has the potential to have Trigger Warnings and that’s my jam.

These types of stories are very character driven, how do people deal with issues? Why do some people do one thing, and others act the complete opposite? How is life affected? This probably stems from my interest in psychology and true crime (and from starting out my reading career with Jacqueline ‘every-home-is-a-broken-home Wilson!) But let’s not forget the number one rule for character faves! Dark humour is the best humour!

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera is a book that destroyed me, for a third of the book I was crying. Abuse, suicide, violence, internalized hate, memory loss and the affect on family and friends – five stars!

 

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about reading?

Yes, reading should be enjoyed.

I remember a few months ago I was browsing the books in a charity shop, and I over heard a woman telling her teenage son that he had to choose ‘harder’ books, ‘adult’ books, books that he won’t actually enjoy, but will push him as a reader. And while it is important to learn and get a better understanding of vocabulary and structure, it was so hard to not turn around and say ‘No! If you want to read a book, read it!’. Being forced to read books we have no interest in is probably one of the biggest reasons why a lot of people don’t read for fun.

So if I, a 26 year old woman, want to read about Percy Jackson, which is aimed at 12 year olds, you can bet your ass I’m going on that journey!

 

 

Thanks so much for sharing your take on reading, Caz! 

If you’d like to find out more about Caz and her BookTube channel, Catsandcamera, check out these links-

Goodreads

Instagram

YouTube

 

 

If you’d like to be interviewed and rant about books you love, either Contact Me here on the website or message me on Facebook.

If you enjoyed this, check out my last reader interview with Erica Graham.

 

Reader Interview- Erica Graham

Hi guys! Joining us to talk books today is Erica Graham, a wonderful lady with a great taste in literature 😉 

 

Author Photo

Hi, tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello. Thank you for having me. My name is Erica Graham. I am the author of the Talking Tales children’s series, but I am also an avid reader. I live in the US and enjoy time with my family, outdoor activities, and a good cup of tea.

 

 

What makes a book cover catch your eye? Have you got a favourite?

It is hard to pinpoint what makes a book cover catch my eye. I have great appreciation for artists who design a cover to be a piece of artwork, not just a simple image with a title and name, such as the classic covers on many of the Lord of the Rings books. However, simpler covers similar to Three, by Ted Dekker, have also drawn my eye.

 

When you’re reading a blurb, what would make you want to try that book? What would put you off?

If I read a blurb and then find myself thinking about it again 5 minutes later, I will go back and read the book. A blurb has to hook me in a few sentences and make me wonder what will happen next. If it is confusing, requiring multiple reads, or doesn’t leave me with a question, I probably will not pick the book up again.

 

What makes you love a character? Who are your favourites from the books you’ve read and why?

Though I enjoy a wide variety of characters, ones that are relatable are my favourite. I love average people who are turned hero by circumstance. A little sarcasm is always appreciated as well. I also enjoy gifted characters that have social deficits, but are strong in other areas. Some of my favourite characters range from Kitty Fairlow to Sherlock Holmes.

 

sherlock

 

What keeps a plot engaging, and makes you want to stick with a book/series until the end? Tell us about your favourite books!

Books that are filled with action or suspense keep me intrigued. Especially if there is a character or outcome I can root for. I find myself thinking about these books when I am not reading them and looking forward to finishing whatever I am working on so I can pick up the story again. I have been enjoying a lot of fantasy and even young adult reads lately. Some of my favourites have been The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, Heirs of Power, by Kay Macleod, The Unicorn Hunter, by Del Henderson and Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about reading?

When I was growing up, I lost my love of reading for a short time. Luckily, like many other teens I knew, my love for reading was rekindled after a friend recommended a truly addicting series, Harry Potter. I now enjoy reading various genres and firmly believe in the saying that there is no such thing as people who don’t love reading, just people who have not found the right book.

 

What an honour to be included among such brilliant authors! Thank you so much Erica.

You can find out more about Erica and her own work at-

talkingtalesbooks.com

 

puppy

 

Hi, tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello. Thank you for having me. My name is Erica Graham. I am the author of the Talking Tales children’s series, but I am also an avid reader. I live in the US and enjoy time with my family, outdoor activities, and a good cup of tea.

 

Author Photo

 

What makes a book cover catch your eye? Have you got a favourite?

It is hard to pinpoint what makes a book cover catch my eye. I have great appreciation for artists who design a cover to be a piece of artwork, not just a simple image with a title and name, such as the classic covers on many of the Lord of the Rings books. However, simpler covers similar to Three, by Ted Dekker, have also drawn my eye.

 

When you’re reading a blurb, what would make you want to try that book? What would put you off?

If I read a blurb and then find myself thinking about it again 5 minutes later, I will go back and read the book. A blurb has to hook me in a few sentences and make me wonder what will happen next. If it is confusing, requiring multiple reads, or doesn’t leave me with a question, I probably will not pick the book up again.

 

What makes you love a character? Who are your favourites from the books you’ve read and why?

Though I enjoy a wide variety of characters, ones that are relatable are my favourite. I love average people who are turned hero by circumstance. A little sarcasm is always appreciated as well. I also enjoy gifted characters that have social deficits, but are strong in other areas. Some of my favourite characters range from Kitty Fairlow to Sherlock Holmes.

 

sherlock

 

What keeps a plot engaging, and makes you want to stick with a book/series until the end? Tell us about your favourite books!

Books that are filled with action or suspense keep me intrigued. Especially if there is a character or outcome I can root for. I find myself thinking about these books when I am not reading them and looking forward to finishing whatever I am working on so I can pick up the story again. I have been enjoying a lot of fantasy and even young adult reads lately. Some of my favourites have been The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, Heirs of Power, by Kay Macleod, The Unicorn Hunter, by Del Henderson and Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about reading?

When I was growing up, I lost my love of reading for a short time. Luckily, like many other teens I knew, my love for reading was rekindled after a friend recommended a truly addicting series, Harry Potter. I now enjoy reading various genres and firmly believe in the saying that there is no such thing as people who don’t love reading, just people who have not found the right book.

 

What an honour to be included among such brilliant authors! Thank you so much Erica.

You can find out more about Erica and her own work at-

talkingtalesbooks.com

 

puppy

 

If you’d like to be interviewed and rant about books you love, either Contact Me here on the website or message me on Facebook.

If you enjoyed this, check out my last reader interview with Helen Picca.

 

Reader Interview- Helen Picca

Hi guys, up today I have another amazing reader interview. Helen Picca is here to tell us all about her love for reading.

Hi, tell us a bit about yourself.  

I am a former marketing exec from NYC and have a BA in English from Marymount College.  That is where I learned to love the written word.  I am an avid reader and like a variety of genres.  Having moved around the country, and have packed and unpacked many times, I no longer buy books, though I do prefer to read a book over an ebook.  Thankfully, we have a great library system, where I can get just about any book I am interested in reading.

 

What makes a book cover catch your eye? Have you got a favourite?

I don’t really choose books based on the book cover.  I am more interested in what the book is about, so read the jacket or back cover.  But if you placed 5 books in front of me, and told me to pick one, I would go for a book with a cover that had soft colors or a photo of a setting that I liked.

 

When you’re reading a blurb, what would make you want to try that book? What would put you off?

I want to read anything that has a secret or a mystery, or anything related to WWII.

What puts me off is anything macabre or truly dark.

 

since we fell

 

What makes you love a character? Who are your favourites from the books you’ve read and why?

I guess I like to see their humanity, their struggle.  One character I really liked recently was Rachel Childs from Lehane’s Since we Fell.  She was flawed and troubled, just trying to get through the day.  I also like Sage Singer in Picoult’s The Storyteller.   She is conflicted and struggling with a physical handicap.  I tried very hard to endow my character, Jennifer Long, with a great deal of humanity, as well as conflict, and hope I was successful

 

What keeps a plot engaging, and makes you want to stick with a book/series until the end? Tell us about your favourite books! 

I always want to know how it ends, perhaps that is just human nature.  It is rare that I start a book and don’t finish it.  I love when a book unfolds, revealing its secret, little by little, that is what keeps me engaged. Some authors are masters at that, like Dennis Lehane, or Patricial Cornwell, Michael Connelly.  I like mysteries and read a few series, like Kay Scarpetta, Harry Bosch and Jack REacher.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about reading?

Yes, reading keeps your mind active.  Whether you read non-fiction or fiction, you learn something from every book.  Whether it is about an event or a place, or just about humans, you are learning which is good for the brain.

 

Thanks so much for chatting today with us, Helen!

 

If you’d like to check out Helen’s book you can find it here.

 

last frontier

 

If you’d like to be interviewed and rant about books you love, either Contact Me here on the website or message me on Facebook.

If you enjoyed this, check out my last reader interview with Angel Chadwick.

 

Reader Interview- Angel Chadwick

Hi guys, and welcome to another fantastic reader interview. This week we have Angel Chadwick here to tell us what she looks for in a book.

Hi, tell us a bit about yourself.Snapshot_20141110_1

Hi, my name’s Angel Chadwick. I’m a mom of a ten year old son who is autistic. I’m an avid reader, blogger and reviewer.

 

 

What makes a book cover catch your eye? Have you got a favourite?

The book cover doesn’t really make me want to read the book. I can look at a pretty or appealing cover and that is as far as it goes with me. I’m not a reader of other readers’ reviews either. What catches my eye is the title of a book. The title has to be unique and original. The title is what actually draws me into reading a book. The original content and the uniqueness of the writing will have to hold my attention throughout, since I have a very short attention span and get bored very easily and very quickly. If it doesn’t have that going for it. A pretty cover isn’t going to do it for me. No, I don’t have a favorite unless it’s in classic literature. I like dark books. The book must hold me with emotion, authenticity, intensity, passion, description, setting, very good character development and plot. The complex and compelling. Depth. Rawness. I’m not a strictly romance reader.  Meaning, if romance is the central theme I’m not interested. It can be in the book or not there at all. If it’s there there has to be another genre or subplot mixed into it to keep me interested.

 

When you’re reading a blurb, what would make you want to try that book? What would put you off?

The blurb being short and to the point with an air of mystery or atmospheric undertone to it would make me try a book. What would put me off  would be a book length blurb. You’ve told me everything I needed to know about the book, why would I want to read it, when basically I’ve already read it from the blurb. Other readers and reviewers in other groups on Goodreads have also said the same thing. (So I’m not alone in my thinking and feeling on this).  For this reason, I don’t make a habit of reading blurbs, if they’re too long. I also don’t read books with lengthy (like book report long) blurbs. To me it’s like going to a movie after you’ve been told all the spoilers or a good bit of them.  I don’t like spoilers. I rather find out what happens and have my own thoughts and opinions about it.

 

RWE

 

What makes you love a character? Who are your favourites from the books you’ve read and why?

Their emotion, depth, growth, strength, flaws, complexity. Like I said I like the dark stuff so Edgar Allan Poe and his works are one, but I also like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bret Harte, Tennessee Williams, William Shakespeare,  Washington Irving, Sylvia Plath to name a few. I love how deep, raw, tragic their characters are. Ralph Waldo Emerson I like the value of his words, their authenticity. These authors works speak to me in depth on so many levels.  I can relate to it.

 

What keeps a plot engaging, and makes you want to stick with a book/series until the end? Tell us about your favourite books!

Relatability, emotion, depth, complex characters, originality, uniqueness, eye-catching title.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about reading?

No.

 

If you want to see what books I’ve read and reviewed click here.

 

 

Thanks for telling us about your reading habits, Angel! 

 

If you’d like to be interviewed and rant about books you love, either Contact Me here on the website or message me on Facebook.

 

If you enjoyed this, check out my last reader interview with Bobbie B. Free.

 

 

Interview with James Collins

Hi guys, in the spotlight today we have a fascinating writer who is living the dream! Let me introduce James Collins.

Hi James! Tell us a bit about yourself.

James 2013I was born on the edge of Romney Marsh, in southern England, grew up there and moved away when I was 18. Cut to 36 years later and I am living on the Greek island of Symi, in the Dodecanese, with my husband-to-be. We have been here 15 years and for the past ten, I have been able to make my living from writing.

During those 36 years, I was involved in various occupations but also found time to write four stage musicals (and direct them), two choral works, perform in various cabaret shows and theatre pieces and write my first novel. I’ve always been creative and spent a lot of time creating with music. Now, I create with words.

 

You write different genres of books, blogs, screenplays, and more! How did you discover your passion for writing? Did you always see yourself branching out into so many areas?

I am still not sure where it came from, this need to create. My grandfather was a brilliant pianist and organist, so perhaps that’s where the music came from, but I also had excellent teachers at school. I was encouraged to write creatively from an early age and found that I enjoyed doing so. I was also encouraged to take part in school stage productions and fell in love with the idea of creating stories with words and music. My music teacher, when I was 17, asked me to write a revue for the school, which I did, and we staged two before I left at 18. The theatrical side went from there.

As for writing in other ways, books and screenplays, I started on my first novel when I was on holiday here on Symi, on my own. It’s that kind of inspiring place. That first novel was accepted by a small publisher, which gave me great hope to write more. Sadly they went bust before it came out, but the acceptance gave me the confidence to carry on trying. These days, with indie publishing, it’s even more rewarding. I can spend time writing rather than chasing agents and publishers.

As for the screenplays, that came about by accident. A friend was involved in a small production company who wanted a low budget horror script and asked me to have a go. After much reading and film watching, I came up with a script, it was accepted, worked on and finally filmed. The original story changed somewhat as the process went on but, keen to tell my story as it was first imagined, I wrote the novel version, ‘The Judas Inheritance.’ The film, now titled ‘The 13th‘, had been doing well on the film festival circuit, has picked up 18 awards so far and, it is hoped, will be distributed before too much longer.

As for branching out into so many areas, no, I never thought I would end up doing that. I wanted to be an actor but soon realised that I would rather create stories than play them out. I have always written something; business plans for theatre companies, reviews, website texts, articles… As Billy Crystal says in ‘Throw Mamma From the Train’, “A writer writes.”

 

 

Are you a big reader? What types of books do you enjoy?

Because of my interest in many genres, and in cross-genre storytelling, I read a wide variety of books, but yes, I am a reader – when I am not writing. I have an interest in history and read many factual books. I also read books akin to my genres, though not as many as I should. I love a good conspiracy theory, though don’t believe many of them, and read books on the subject. I’m always on the lookout for a good, true-life mystery that I can adapt to fit a story.

My favourite book in the horror genre is Dracula, though it’s more a romance than a horror in my opinion. My favourite non-fiction writer is Bill Bryson and, as I have written three books about moving to Greece and am working on a fourth with travel tales, I find him an inspiration.

 

Your (almost) daily blog, Symi Dream, is packed full of beautiful photos and posts about your island life. Where did the idea for this blog come from? Tell us a bit more about it and where your inspiration for the content comes from.

Long story short: years ago a group of us looked into the idea of setting up writing courses on Symi. Part of this was to have a website, which I designed and called Symi Dream. The courses never came about, but the site stuck. It grew from a once per month update to a blog and, as blogging became popular, it grew to what it is now, a six times per week update on whatever I am up to and whatever is going on in Symi. We had a photo shop for 11 years, and the blog helped publicise that; Neil, my husband-to-soon-be, is the photographer but, as he is now writing rather than owning a shop, I tend to be the one out and about snapping with the camera. He contributes from time to time.

Sometimes the content comes from a ‘sensible’ idea; I will talk about how to get to Symi, what to expect when you are here, etc. I’ll put together a travel piece for the blog as I am always keen to promote the island. At other times, it’s a case of talking about my day to day work, because that’s what I do. From six in the morning to five in the afternoon I’m at the desk, most days, and so there’s not a lot else to talk about. It depends on what mood I am in and what I have been doing. On Some days, usually after a party the night before, it’s only a few photos of the Symi scenery.

 

 

What kind of art do you love?

My mother is a brilliant artist, and I love her work; Sarah Bassett in Cornwall. I’m also rather drawn to abstract works and artists such as Mondrian but appreciate Impressionists too. I guess I am eclectic. Some of my favourite works of art are the ancient Egyptian tomb paintings and sculptures; they never cease to impress me.

 

Out of all the books you’ve written do you have a favourite?

It’s always the one I am going to write next because it is going to be better than the one before. No, honestly, it’s a hard question to answer, a bit like asking a parent who is their favourite child. But, being honest, my favourite to date has to be ‘The Saddling’, the last novel I published. For this story, a mystery set on the Romney Marshes, I delved into the local Kentish dialect and old ways of life. The village of Saddling where the story is set lives in the past in many ways, and so it was important to have characters use dialect. I love playing with words and was able to invent some of my own, as well as using real (though sometimes now obsolete) words from the county.

 

saddling ebook

 

I also took more time with this story, it took about four years from the first idea to finished book and started as an idea for a Hammer Productions type screenplay. I am very proud of it, and the reaction to it has led to me writing a follow-up, which is due out early next year, called ‘The Witchling’, and that has led me to consider writing two more set in Saddling. Four books, four elements, four village festivals, it all seems to make sense. So, my favourite has to be ‘The Saddling’ and, as I think about why, it’s also because I was able to make my main character a gay man without making him a typical/stock gay character. Through ‘The Saddling’ he comes to terms with who he is (and that realisation saves his life). In ‘The Witchling’, his love (for Barry, one of the villagers) is tested, and he is able to totally accept himself. What will happen to this gay hero in books three and four remains to be seen, and the books are not ‘gay’ stories. They are mainstream mystery/thrillers but I think it is about time we had more action heroes and main characters in mainstream genres who just happen to be gay.

 

There’s a quote on your author page, “James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties, and in reporting what he sees with kind humour and a writer’s eye for the details essential to lively travel writing.” Tell us your favourite amusing story from your travels.

First, I want to say that I am very proud of that quote. It was written by Anne Zouroudi, the author of The Greek Detective Mystery’s, published by Bloomsbury. It’s my favourite review so far.

Funny you should ask this question as I am currently putting together a book of travel (and other) pieces. ‘Symi, Stuff & Nonsense’ will be out in November and is a collection of travel tales, starting from when I was 16 and coming up to almost the present day. The trouble with this question is, there are so many amusing stories. So, forgive me if I don’t quote one. They are rather long anyway. As long as you have the eye for it, you can turn even a trip to the shops into an amusing travel story. Mine range from being bored to death by a milk-float spotter on an overnight ferry to Holland (did you now that in North London they used to use a P3-67D type electric motor in their class six floats?), to being led into the Hilton Hotel, Luxor, at gunpoint. Failed skiing attempts in Scotland to presenting an award for ‘The Best Threesome’ at a European gay porn awards ceremony. (Don’t ask.)

 

Describe your perfect day.

This would be any day when I have the whole day ahead of me to write. We will get up before sunrise, go for a three-mile walk up the mountain road and down again, watching the sun rise and clearing my head for the day to come. I will then be free to write – the best days are when I am editing a manuscript I have spent months writing, and the hard slog is over. Neil will take care of the household duties (he is incredibly supportive) while I edit away improving something and being harsh with myself, checking my overused words and improving the story. Later, in the afternoon, I will finish that and join Neil at the bar where he works a few hours. We will have a couple of glasses of wine and watch the village world go past, meet with friends and visiting tourists before returning home to watch a good film, or, better, sit on our balcony overlooking Symi harbour, with music playing as we watch the stars and boats, and remind ourselves how lucky we are to have achieved this way of life.

 

 

I see you’ve won lots of awards, congratulations! What has been the high point in your writing career and what are your next goals?

Receiving any five-star review for a book on Amazon is always a high point. More specifically, winning a British Arts Council Award for creativity back in 2000 for a musical I wrote is probably near the top. Being asked to present an award at a film festival is another one, and seeing the number of awards ‘The 13th‘ is currently winning is a third. I look at that and think, ‘If my mind hadn’t created that story, these people would not be receiving this positive publicity for their work and their own creativity.’

But the ultimate? It’s an odd one, and it goes back to ‘The Saddling.’ The idea for that story came to me in a dream, as a few story ideas have done. But I had never dreamt about one of my characters until one night, after finishing the fifth draft, I think it was, I dreamt that I was in the village of Saddling where I met Barry, one of my favourite characters. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to actually meeting a person I’ve created; a Frankenstein moment perhaps. I’m pleased to say, he was as much fun, just as naughty and as sexy as he is in the book. It’s probably a high point because it’s never happened before or since, but it made me wonder if these characters are real and out there somewhere living in a parallel world of my own creating.

 

Tell us all about your latest release! (Or an upcoming one if you have a new release soon.)

honestly___ebook_1560x2500The next books out are to be ‘Symi, Stuff & Nonsense’ and we are aiming for November, followed by ‘The Witchling’ early next year, and I’ve mentioned them just now. ‘The Saddling’ was my last full-length novel, but after that, and more recently, I have brought out a novella, so that’s the most recent.

The story goes:

Last year I released my gay/straight body-swap comedy, ‘Remotely.’ This story pokes fun at British reality TV and talent shows in particular. With it comes the mysterious character of Miss P, a timeless lady who casts spells on those who need them. In ‘Remotely’ she mends a broken friendship by swapping the two lads’ bodies, so they experience what it is like to be each other. This brings them together, and together they save the day and the show, and so on. Because Miss P was so loved by readers, I wrote ‘Honestly’ as a short novella (25,000 words) to see if the character still works. I am pleased to say it looks like she does.

In this story, ‘Honestly’, she helps a young writer overcome writer’s block (having done the same thing with Shakespeare in the past – she is, after all, timeless). Mark has moved to a small fishing village with his mother, and there they find resentment because they are outsiders. Mark longs to write but can’t, and doesn’t understand why. Miss P does; It’s because he has no friends. She puts a spell on the village to make them speak honestly to each other for the day of their annual Fisher Festival. Comedy and a bit of bawdiness ensue, Mark and his adversary Billy, actually want to like each other, and through their honesty, they become friends. In the end, Mark is able to write and, as Billy knows the history of his village, they set about writing a book about the village together.

That’s the kind of story I like. It’s not a gay story, there’s no ‘gay’ in that one, but it’s about friendship.

 

What interview question do you wish someone would ask you?

‘Did you know you just won the Booker Prize?’

No, joking aside – I’m never going to do that. The question might be:
“Why do you write?’

 

Answer it!

For many reasons. I like to tell stories and entertain people. I like the process of creating plots, characters, twists and everything else. I like the planning stage, and I like inventing stories in my head. I enjoy the editing and see it as a way of improving my skills. And, many years ago, when I was being interviewed for an important promotion at the day job, I was asked: ‘Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?’ I replied, ‘Living on a Greek island writing books.’ I was, and I still am.

 

Thanks for joining us today, James!

If you’d like to find out more please visit these links-

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Grab a copy for yourself of these books by James Collins-

The Saddling

Honestly