Accidental Damage: Tales from The House That Sat Down by Alice May @AliceMay_Author #BookReview

Accidental Damage

Accidental Damage

Alice May

(review written on 10/05/2020)

Accidental Damage has been patiently waiting on my to-be-read list for FAR too long. My apologies to Alice May for taking so long to get to it.

Alice sent me a beautiful paperback copy of this book and I’m sure you can agree that it is the most beautiful cover! It’s actually a painting by the author herself. Stunning, or what!? Thank you again, Alice.

Bearing in mind that this is based on true events, it seems a bit wrong to say that I found a book about this family’s house literally collapsing around them highly entertaining, but the way Alice May tells this story is highly entertaining. That’s quite a talent given how hopeless the situation must have seemed at the time. I guess it’s partly the beauty of hindsight, but mostly proof of this family’s resilience in the face of disaster. They are such a lovely family and I truly felt for them and their plight. It must be absolutely devastating. I’m pretty sure I would have been found rocking in a corner somewhere! Don’t get me wrong our heroine has struggled. Struggled with guilt, blaming herself for an apparent insurance mix-up and as a result gave up one of her true loves, painting. It was good to know that this love wasn’t lost forever.

As a mother I totally understood the heroine of this tale and my heart went out to her. I loved that the four children are referred to by nicknames and her husband sounds adorable. A solid family unit, possibly closer than ever for sticking together through this tragedy.

This story is full of feeling. This family still managed to make many happy memories throughout a far from ideal situation. It’s quite inspirational really and told with endearing humour.

I LOVED it and I think you would love it too.

I’m looking forward to catching up with the family again in the second book of the trilogy.

Via AmazonUK

If you think the normal school run on a Monday is entertaining you should try doing it from a tent in your back garden surrounded by the jumbled up contents of your entire home. It is vastly more diverting.

Our heroine has survived the sudden collapse of her home – or has she?

Certain events two and a half years ago led her to deliberately destroy an important piece of herself, hiding away all remaining evidence that it ever existed. What happens when she decides to go looking for it?

Does she really deserve to be whole again?

Inspired by a true story, this is an account of one woman’s secret guilt and her journey in search of forgiveness!

 

Alice May is a multi-tasking mother with four not-so-small children and she is fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet. They live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country. Her conservatory is always festooned with wet washing and her kitchen full of cake.

Following many years exhibiting as a mixed media artist, Alice decided that 2016 was the year she would write her first fictional novel. ‘Accidental Damage – Tales from the house that sat down’ simply wouldn’t leave her alone until it was written. Over the two subsequent years, Alice wrote Restoration – more tales from the house that sat down, followed by Redemption – moving on from the house that sat down. Thus, the Trilogy from the House That Sat Down was complete.

happy reading 🙂

 

#Interview with #author Graeme Cumming @GraemeCumming63 #Carrion

I am delighted to welcome Graeme Cumming back to Chat About Books today! 🙂 Graeme’s second book, Carrion, was published yesterday (check out my previous post if you missed it).

Today I have the pleasure of sharing this interview with the author himself.

Graeme Cumming - Author

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your books please?

After many years of ‘not getting on with it’, I started writing properly (i.e. reasonably consistently), about fifteen years ago, though it took five years for me to finish the first draft of a novel. Ready for a break from it, I decided to focus on another, which I completed in eight months (I’d learnt a lot in those five years), and took another year to get it into shape and ready to publish.

That book was Ravens Gathering and I decided to publish it myself after a lot of thought. Partly because of my age – I was fast approaching fifty – and the realisation it could take years to get an agent on board, let alone a publishing deal. Also the fact the book wouldn’t neatly slot into a genre meant I’d have to be exceptionally lucky to get a break. Besides, having worked for myself for twenty years, I liked the idea of keeping control.

Ravens Gathering

Carrion was the first story I’d started and I have returned to it at different times over the years. It’s a story I felt I needed to tell, but have struggled to get right. I’m delighted, though, with the final outcome and feel the time and effort I’ve put into it has finally paid off. Now it’s available for the public to read and I’ll be interested to see what people think.

 

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

Ideas come from all kinds of places. You spot something and your imagination takes off as you wonder why it happened and what led up to it. But you can also be inspired by things you read or watch on TV or at the cinema. I remember reading the blurb for a book once and thinking it sounded like a great idea. I didn’t read the book, but I picked out an aspect from the blurb and included it in Carrion. Similarly with songs. I’m a massive fan of Thin Lizzy, and saw them live many times in the 1980s. Something that struck me is how many of their songs have their influences in pulp fiction. It’s a bit of a leap, but my thinking took me to the idea of a book series about an ex-cop living and working in the borderline between the law and the criminal underworld. I’ve already outlined the first four books in the series – and there will be more.

 

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Not consciously. Some of my own traits might show up occasionally – though it’s probably better if I don’t declare which ones. But aspects of others put in an appearance sometimes, and I won’t realise it until I’ve written about the character for a while. It was only a year or so ago that I began to recognise something of my son in Salin, a key character in Carrion.

 

How do you pick your characters’ names?

It will vary, depending on the story. Carrion was an interesting one because I needed a lot of made-up names. The period I’ve written about is fictional so the names had to be different. Some of the characters have names specifically linked to the natural world – Flint, Beck, Sorrel – while others, as far as I’m aware, have no basis in reality. Even so, with a relatively large cast, it was important to make sure they can be distinguished from one another. As new names appeared, I made sure there weren’t many that sounded alike or started with the same initials.

 

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

Plot it and plan it, including chapter plans. It doesn’t work out exactly how you intended, but it does make the process easier to follow. I did it with Ravens Gathering, but I didn’t with Carrion. I’ve no doubt at all that Carrion would have been published a few years ago if I’d planned it.

 

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

This changes all the time, but at the moment the authors I go to when I want to be sure of a good read are:

 

Harlen Coben

 

Steve Cavanagh

 

Lee Child

 

Robert B Parker

 

Robert (but I call him Bob now, because I’ve met him) Crais

 

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Mark Billingham. And the question would be: “What are you drinking?” I wrote a blog post about not getting on with his first Tom Thorne book, Sleepyhead, but trying again later with the second, Scaredy Cat, and really enjoying it. In the post, I said I’d try to pluck up the courage to offer him a drink when I saw him at the Harrogate Crime Festival next time. He read the post and tweeted me to say he’d take me up on it! Just a shame I’ll have to wait until next year now.

 

Were you a big reader as a child?

Yes, but only when I dragged myself away from the TV.

 

When did you start to write?

I’ve been writing stories since I was a child, even getting a series published in the school magazine. But I’ve only really taken it seriously for the last 10 years or so.

 

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

I don’t think I’d dare. I’d hate it if someone else rewrote the end of any of mine.

 

Is there a book you wish you had written?

Only all the ones still going round in my head…

 

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

Cumming By Name…

 

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

As I can’t stand the taste of coffee, nobody – though it’d be interesting to meet Flynn Patrick O’Flynn from Wilbur Smith’s Shout At The Devil. He was portrayed by Lee Marvin in the film, and I suspect there was some typecasting went on there, and we’d have to meet in what the great Phil Lynott would have referred to as a sleazy bar.

 

Tell us a random fact about yourself

I once walked across twelve feet of burning hot coals and it felt like walking on newly cut grass. So I did it again the following year, but wasn’t concentrating properly, so ended up with some minor burns on my feet.

 

What are you working on right now?

I’m just debating what to do next. The Thin Lizzy inspired series is calling to me, but I also have a crime trilogy vying for my attention. I’ve outlined all of those and done a first draft of the first one. Now Carrion has been launched, I know I need to make a decision and get on with one of them.

 

Tell us about your last release?

Like Ravens Gathering, Carrion is a blend of genres. This time, the setting lends itself to fantasy – and there are some fantasy-like characters in it – but it’s also a thriller, with lots of action, and a very dark villain in it.

Here’s a little teaser:

Cordane, Willow and Vangor had thrown themselves to the ground. As they began to sit up, Cordane looked across at Salin.

“All right, now I’m convinced about the sword!” he shouted.

“It wasn’t the sword!” Salin called back as he ran towards them.

“Well if it wasn’t the sword,” Willow demanded as she climbed to her feet, “what was it?!”

Salin had reached them now and was helping Vangor up, his head twisting and turning. “There!” he yelled.

And suddenly the troll didn’t seem very scary at all.

 

Do you have a new release due?

Not any more! Carrion was released on the 9th May, so it’s out there for all to see and read.

 

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

I’d love to think I had enough books out for publication day to be an event that I generally did something for. This time, though, my day was full of sharing stuff on social media so I could get the word out. These books don’t sell themselves, you know!

 

How can readers keep in touch with you?

They can follow me on my website and blog, Facebook page, or Twitter

www.graemecumming.co.uk

 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Graeme-Cumming-1638108329841072/about/

 

www.twitter.com/GraemeCumming63

 

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

These are interesting times, unprecedented for most of us, but most of us aren’t as isolated as we could be. We still have phones, social media and other ways of connecting we didn’t have in times gone by. There are also some good things happening. People are exercising more, air pollution is falling, and more books are being read, according to some reports. As writer – and a reader – that’s great news. Buy a book. Read it. Escape from this world for a while. (If you’re feeling careful with your money at the moment, Carrion is only 99p until the end of the month.)

Whatever you do, though, look after yourself and the people around you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Graeme! 🙂 Keep well and stay safe.

 

Carrion_eBook

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY. WORDS HAVE POWER.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

happy reading 🙂

 

Carrion by Graeme Cumming @GraemeCumming63 #PublicationDay #BookPromo

Happy Publication Day to Graeme Cumming! 🙂

Carrion_eBook

Carrion is OUT NOW for you all to read and enjoy! I’m so looking forward to reading it. Watch this space for my review!

I read and loved Graeme’s first book, Ravens Gathering. Here is my review, ICYMI – Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming @GraemeCumming63 #BookReview

Carrion

Choose your words carefully.
Words have power.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

Buy your copy…..

happy reading! 🙂

About the author

Graeme Cumming - Author

Graeme Cumming lives in Robin Hood country. He has wide and varied tastes when it comes to fiction so he’s conscious that his thrillers can cross into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as more traditional arenas.
When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking. He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club. Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and loves the cinema.

Weblinks:

http://www.graemecumming.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Graeme-Cumming-1638108329841072/about/
http://www.twitter.com/GraemeCumming63

Where to buy Carrion:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08774Y72T/
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08774Y72T/

Don’t miss my interview with Graeme Cumming, right here on Chat About Books, tomorrow…..

 

“You can’t hide anything from me. Remember that.” There was a certain gratification in the dread he sensed in them. “But you’re right, I do like to leave something behind for the birds.” He could never explain to anyone else the surge of energy he got from that simple act, and he had no intention of trying now. He didn’t need to.

It was time to let the ravens loose…

A Walk In The Woods: and other short stories by Esther Chilton @esthernewton201 #BookReview

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods (and other short stories)

Esther Chilton

(Review written 07/05/2020)

This brilliant collection of short stories has kept me glued to my kindle paperwhite screen for the last two nights. I could have quite happily read it all on the first night had I not started reading too late (lightweight, I know!).

All the stories in this collection are very clever and unique.

‘A Walk in the Woods’ is the first story and what an introduction to the collection! Heart-breaking! ‘Jake’ is equally emotional and heart-wrenching. All are emotional tales, in one way or another, and very much character led. ‘The Letter’ is particularly hard-hitting, especially considering it is only one page long. ‘The Brat’ had me holding my breath in hopeful anticipation. ‘The Battle’ broke my heart all over again. ‘William’ proves that there is always hope.

I think ‘Operation Flora’ is my absolute favourite story. It left me with a smile on my face. Closely followed by ‘A Walk in the Park’ with another happy ending. ‘The Lover’ is a very intelligently written tale of revenge. ‘Home’ is an extremely powerful story. We should all treat each other as we would want ourselves and our loved ones to be treated. A hard lesson learned by some. ‘Gus’ made me smile. I loved his story! It was a perfect one to end the collection with.

Overall, this is a beautifully written, thought-provoking collection. If you love a short story, then I’m sure you will love these. I highly recommend!

happy reading 🙂

 

Perfect Daughter by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse #BookReview

Perfect Daughter

Perfect Daughter

Amanda Prowse

(Review written on 05/05/2020)

What a beautifully told story Perfect Daughter is. I have thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in Jacks’ and Pete’s story.

When we first meet Jacks, in the prologue, she has just married Pete. However, the story is set nineteen years later when Jacks’ life is nothing like the life she envisioned.

I had conflicting feelings about Jacks throughout this book. Don’t get me wrong, she is a very likeable character and I could totally understand her frustrations. She’s only in her late thirties and has lost herself to her demanding lifestyle which mostly involves looking after everyone else. She has a heart of gold and a strong sense of duty but is also quite resentful at times which I imagine is only natural given her circumstances. She is living in an overcrowded house with Pete and two children, one now an adult, as well as her aging mother with every increasing personal care needs. No disposable income to speak of and no time to herself.

We all tend to sometimes want what we don’t or can’t have. Many people wonder what if? It’s human nature. I really felt sorry for Pete though as he seems to suffer the brunt of Jacks’ frustrations and often can’t seem to do anything right despite being a hard working husband and father doing his best to provide for his family having lost the chance of a footballing career due to injury. I warmed to Pete straight away and he grew on me more and more as the story progressed. He has very different fears to Jacks when it comes to their daughter and my heart went out to him.

I do think we’re all guilty of not appreciating what we have right now instead of focusing on what we don’t, and this made Jacks very real and believable. She has a lot on her plate, and I can totally understand her fears for her daughter and not wanting her to struggle in life as much as they have. There is a lot to be said for love and happiness though, far more important than money. As many would say around here, you can’t take it with you! (I won’t attempt to write the potteries slang version!)

I could talk about this book for ages, but I don’t want to give too much away. I very much recommend you read it for yourself.

A very powerful family drama full of love, commitment and sacrifice. It is so full of emotion and I’m sure most readers will relate to it in one way or another. It has a very positive lesson for us all also.

We all find our way in the end and this story certainly ends on a high which left me crying happy tears.

I LOVED it!

ICYMI

#TheArtOfHiding by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse #BookReview #Netgalley

The Idea Of You by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse #BookReview

happy reading 🙂

 

Toxic Triangles (DCI Christopher Timothy Book 7) by Alison Lingwood #BookReview

Toxic Triangles

Toxic Triangles

(DCI Christopher Timothy Book 7)

Alison Lingwood

(Review written 04th May 2020)

Toxic Triangles is another excellent read in the DCI Christopher Timothy series. If you haven’t read any of this series as yet, then you really are missing out.

It has been lovely catching up with Chris, his team and his family again although sad to see tensions and unhappiness within the Timothy household. I can only imagine what it must be like to be married to a police officer. I am married to a soldier (now Veteran) so I guess the fears and frustrations must be similar in some ways. I can understand and sympathise with both the wife and the husband. I love the personal aspects of these stories.

DCI Timothy and his team truly have their work cut out for them this time. They are called to a hit and run incident in a quiet residential street in Newcastle-under-Lyme (my hometown so I know exactly where this happened!). An old man has quite horrifically been knocked over, reversed back over and run over again. Amazingly he isn’t dead at the scene, but things aren’t looking good, not surprisingly. What possible motive could anyone have for such a coldblooded attack on an elderly gentleman?

This investigation is so full of twists and turns I was as baffled as the team, but absolutely immersed in their attempt to solve this mystery. Throughout the course of the investigation we come across all sorts of interesting characters and it reveals obvious tensions within the victim’s family unit. Grown up children who have never accepted the new woman in their father’s life, despite their parents being separated long before she came on the scene! I’ve known ‘kids’ be like that within my own family.

Who would likely benefit most from this father’s death?

Honestly, I started to suspect everyone. His children and ex-wife aren’t very likeable people and his partner comes off as being quite cold about the situation at times which I found quite sad, but then she does seem to have put up with a lot from his family over the years.

When another member of the family is found murdered there is no way it could just be a coincidence. What on earth is going on with this family to justify such a waste of precious lives?

I thoroughly enjoyed the fight for the truth and what a conclusion! I did not see that coming!!

Brilliantly written, as I expected it would be by Alison Lingwood.

All the stars from me!

Via AmazonUK

On the afternoon of 15th July 2018 sport, firstly tennis and then football, dominated the television coverage and millions of fans stayed indoors on one of the hottest days for years.A hit-and-run incident in a quiet residential road in Newcastle under Lyme was witnessed only by a small boy, and the police investigation made little progress until, in nearby Stoke on Trent, the murder of a young woman raised new questions. Was somebody trying to annihilate the whole family and, if so, why?

New to this series?

Start here with Book 1 –

happy reading 🙂

 

#Interview with #Author JM Williams #TheNightingale

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming JM Williams to Chat About Books!

JM Williams has recently re-released his fantasy novella, The Nightingale.

The Mightingale

I will include purchase details later on. In the meantime I have an interview with the author himself for you all the enjoy…..

JM Williams

For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?

Well, my name is JM Williams. Currently, I am the head of the Of Metal and Magic (OMAM) StoryVerse for my publisher Fiction Vortex. The StoryVerse is our concept of a collaborative shared universe, where multiple stories from multiple authors interact and intersect (think Marvel comics/films). My job as head is to manage the six other authors (e.g., being a deadline nazi) and also make sure that all the content fits within the canon and plot framework of our high fantasy world. In addition to writing two series for OMAM, I write other stuff on the side. I have published around 50 short stories in a wide variety of venues, self-published a couple story collections, and I am working on my second novella. I have a B.A. in English, with as much of an emphasis on writing as I was allowed, and an M.A. in History.

 

Where did/do you get your ideas from?

I get a lot of my ideas while listening to music or podcasts in my car. On the one hand, I will often get a specific scene from a piece of music, which I will then later expand into a full story. With podcasts, often some fun fact of science or history will get me thinking, and that will eventually turn into a story (most often science fiction). The idea for the novel I am currently writing came as I was listening to an audiobook biography of Genghis Khan by the wonderful Jack Weatherford.

 

Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?

Rarely. I wrote an SF short story once where the lead was based on a friend of mine, but this isn’t typical for me.

 

How do you pick your characters’ names?

I don’t worry about names so much for modern or SF, but with fantasy I have a basic procedure. First, I decide on a cultural reference for the people I am writing about, then I search for names from that reference base (for example, in my book In the Valley of Magic, the upper-class names are all Old Saxon and the lower-class names Old Norse). That way I can be sure that the names (and also exotic words) sound consistent. For book I am currently working on, all names and exotic words are derived loosely from Mongolian.

 

Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?

There’s supposed to be a process?

 

Who are your top 5 favourite authors?

Terry Pratchett and uh…I honestly don’t read as much as I should. There are plenty of books I like, but Pratchett is the only one whose books I will grab anytime I see them. Maybe Douglas Adams. Tolkien?

 

If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Again Pratchett, and I’d ask him if Death is all he suggested it would be.

 

Were you a big reader as a child?

A little. I read Jurassic Park and The Mists of Avalon in elementary school. I read a whole lot more if you count text-based video games as reading. The script for Chrono Trigger is supposedly 140k words!

 

When did you start to write?

I started writing stories, real and complete stories, in the 6th grade. This was due in large part to the encouragement of my teacher. Probably wouldn’t be doing this now if it weren’t for her.

 

If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?

Stephen King’s IT. I’d end it about a full third earlier. Man, that book was bloated.

 

Is there a book you wish you had written?

I’ve got plenty of my own book ideas that need writing to be thinking about other people’s books.

 

If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?

Why Don’t You Just Pick a Career Field Already?

 

If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?

I still have a crush on Cassandra Pentaghast from the Dragon Age video games. Don’t tell my wife. But really, I would love to have coffee with Scheherazade, the heroine of The Arabian Nights. Listening to her would be like taking a master class in storytelling.

 

Tell us a random fact about yourself

I have also been published academically, under my real name (which is TOP SECRET).

 

What are you working on right now?

My current novel, The Fierce, is an origin myth of sorts for the shared fantasy universe I manage. The main character is based in part on Genghis Khan and the story overall is influenced by Mongol history, Greek myth, and now most recently, the Arabian Nights. The book itself has a complex, multi-layered structure with an epistolary frame. And footnotes!

 

Tell us about your last release?

The last thing I released was actually a re-release of my fantasy novella The Nightingale. It is a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The book was first published two years ago by an indie publisher, Fantasia Divinity, but I have done some extra editing and made a new cover for this second edition.

 

Do you have a new release due?

I will be working on a re-release of my Of Metal and Magic novel Call of the Guardian, which was also first published almost two years ago. I need to make some adjustments to get the story back in line with the updated canon of our shared universe. I also hope to have The Fierce out by the end of the year. Additionally, I am putting together a fantasy novella based on a flash serial I originally published with Altered Reality Magazine. That one should be out relatively soon.

 

What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?

Eat, drink, and sleep too much. Publishing is tiring!

 

How can readers keep in touch with you?

You can follow my blog at: http://www.jmwilliams.home.blog

You can also reach out on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/jmwwriting or http://www.facebook.com/ofmetalandmagic

And lastly, you can tune into my writing podcast The Fantasy Writers’ Toolshed, which I record with a fellow author named Richie Billing, available on a variety of platforms, including YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCETCYd6obiN5cytHRcEMFRw

 

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I love talking about writing and fantasy, and enjoy mentoring new writers. So, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

I am also looking for fantasy writers to pen some flash and short stories for the upcoming Of Metal and Magic website. So, if you read some of our work and enjoy our world, why not try writing something for us?

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

 

King Gregor of Eriari is on the verge of his sixtieth year. The kingdom is tense, awaiting the selection of his heir from among the three royal siblings. Kari understands the feeling all too well. She has only recently learned that she will not inherit her family’s smithy, despite her skill being far superior to that of her younger brother. Everything is a mess and nothing seems fair. Princesses can inherit the kingdom, but village girls can’t even take over a forge. Kari wonders if she will ever find a place for herself. That is, until she stumbles upon something in the royal forest that changes everything…

A fantasy reimagining of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, The Nightingale is an epic tale of magic and intrigue, courageous heroes and cunning villains. Fast-paced and filled with colorful characters, this is one you won’t want to put down.

From readers of the First Edition:

“Williams stays true to the fairytale style of the source material, adding a dash of magic and palace intrigue for good measure. This could be a great book for young readers though it’s also enjoyable for adults.”

“The characters are warm and relatable, and the action is believable. If you like a slash-em-up, this isn’t for you. If you like real people working to make their world better, give it a try.”

“This reimagination is awesome, and its fast pace keeps you hooked to the end.”

“This retelling of the fairy tale ‘The Nightingale’ is filled with deception, intrigue and a cool cast of characters.”

happy reading 🙂

 

A #GuestPost by Graeme Cumming @GraemeCumming63 #CountdownToPublication #Carrion

Today I have the pleasure of joining in with the run-up to publication celebrations with Graeme Cumming.

Carrion will be published on Saturday!

Carrion_eBook

That’s Entertainment

by Graeme Cumming

As a child, I spent an enormous amount of time in front of a TV screen – which was no mean feat considering there were only three channels and, aside from a brief burst of Watch With Mother in the mornings, they didn’t actually start broadcasting until late afternoon. And we only had a black and white set until I was in my early teens.
Even so, there was plenty for me to get excited about – from Thunderbirds to Tarzan, and Batman (Adam West, of course) to Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). There was a lot of variety in it, from the sci-fi to the supernatural, with superheroes, detectives and adventure along the way.
I read as well, and went for books well above the expected reading ages. When I was ten, I read my first Ian Fleming – though only because Roger Moore (my hero from The Saint and The Persuaders!) was about to appear in the film version of Live and Let Die. By the time I was thirteen, I’d read the whole Bond series, and was making steady progress through the works of Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley and Clive Cussler, as well as a whole range of other authors whose works haven’t stood the test of time.
In my mid-teens, I stumbled across John Gardner, who gave an interesting take on the Cold War, especially in the Herbie Kruger series.
By now, I was writing my own stories, although with no expectations of publication beyond the school magazine. I wrote about all kinds of things, what we’d now consider to be mix of genres – though it didn’t seem to matter much at the time.
John Gardner was a gateway to John Le Carre and spy thrillers became a big part of my reading, until I was introduced to the joys of horror and fantasy – Stephen King and Graham Masterton in particular. But Gardner did something else for me and my approach to writing. An early series he wrote featured a character called Boysie Oakes. On the covers of each book was the phrase: A Boysie Oakes Entertainment.
Even as a teenager, I liked the concept. My creative influences, from TV to books to movies, were wide and varied. But the key ingredient in everything I watched was that it was entertaining, whether it was The Goodies or Star Trek. It didn’t matter to me whether the stories were set in the Wild West, Arthurian times or modern day. Nor did it matter whether the hero was a scruffy cop, a shaolin monk, or a bionic man.
I knew I was never going to write great literature. Frankly, the idea appalled me, because it sounded boring. I wanted readers to come away from the experience excited and wanting more. So, even forty years ago, I made a commitment to myself. I wouldn’t write in a specific genre; I’d write what I enjoyed and crossing a few boundaries wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It has been tempting to include a similar caption under the titles of both my books: A Graeme Cumming Entertainment, but it doesn’t feel right somehow. Even so, it’s what I’m thinking whenever I write.

 

“You’ll die for that!” one of the guards yelled. He raised his sword, ready to charge. Behind him, the others were preparing to do the same.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
He probably saw the doubt in their eyes before they registered it themselves. It wasn’t enough to feed off yet. But it would be when it turned to fear.
“Have I introduced you to my friends?” He didn’t wait for an answer. The wings were beating before he’d finished speaking.

 

What do you think?

 

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY. WORDS HAVE POWER.

A sheet of black filled his vision as hundreds of birds dived at the cottage, pointed beaks thrust forward. From this angle, he couldn’t see many of them striking it, but the few he did see held nothing back as they hammered into the shutter. The scale of the attack was beyond anything he’d seen or heard of. And bloodied casualties littered the ground: skulls shattered, wings broken, innards spilling from them. The fact that so many of them continued with the onslaught in spite of this filled him with even more dread.

Salin has always wanted an adventure and, when the opportunity presents itself, he grabs it with both hands, taking his friends along for the ride – whether they want to or not.

With strange lands come strange creatures that stand between them and their goal. And that goal is the same for someone else, a man who believes the prize is worth every sacrifice – especially when the sacrifices are made by others.

The future is about to change. But who for?

CLICK HERE to pre-order

happy reading 🙂

 

#FlashbackFriday May 2020 with @colettemcauthor @KathrynFreeman1 @katmezzacappa @MerrynCorcoran @morgenwriteruk & @MishaHerwin #BookReviews

Hi, and welcome to my Flashback Friday feature!

Flashback Friday

On the first Friday of each month I like to have a little look back at what I was reading during the same month in previous years, since starting my blog.

Feel free to join in! 🙂

Here are my reviews from May 2019 (including a link to previous FBFs)…..

Not My Brother's Keeper cover

Not My Brother’s Keeper by Colette McCormick @colettemcauthor @AccentPress #BlogTour #BookReview

 

Crikey a Bodyguard_FRONT RGB_150dpi

Crikey a Bodyguard by Kathryn Freeman @KathrynFreeman1 #BookReview @rararesources

 

Tuscan Enchantments Cover

Tuscan Enchantment by Kate Zarrelli @katmezzacappa #BookReview @rararesources

 

The Peacock Room cover

The Peacock Room by @MerrynCorcoran @RedDoorBooks #BookReview

 

Hitman Sam

Hitman Sam by Morgen Bailey @morgenwriteruk #BlogTour with #BookOnTheBrightSide @BOTBSPublicity #BookReview

 

Bridge Of Lies

Bridge of Lies (Adventures of Letty Parker Book 2) by Misha Herwin @MishaHerwin @penkhullpress #BookReview

 

#FlashbackFriday May 2019 with @emmacurtisbooks Alison Lingwood, Keith Bullock & @CKovachAuthor

happy reading!

 

#AfraidOfTheLight #Anthology #BlogTour #CrimeFiction #ShortStories #Reviews #Samaritans

I am thrilled to by joining in with the fabulous blog tour for Afraid Of The Light!

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Afraid Of The Light

(Review written 27th April 2020)

 

Afraid Of The Light is an excellent collection of short stories written by some extremely talented authors who have donated their talent in aid of The Samaritans.

Many thanks to Jo Furniss who invited me onto the blog tour and to Dominic Nolan for providing all the necessary information. A big thank you also to the authors and publisher for my ARC.

Afraid Of The Light starts with a meaningful, from the heart forward by Alex North which highlights the invaluable work of The Samaritans during these unprecedented times, and always. A lovely introduction.

As I often do with short story collections, I will be sharing my thoughts on the individual stories which I wrote as soon as I had finished each one. I read them all over the course of today and thoroughly enjoyed the entire collection.

 

Are You Listening?

Adam Southward

Wow! What an excellent start!

Are You Listening tells the terrifying story of seven year old Ava. Ava begins to behave very oddly. Her parents are understandably disturbed, as I would be. Ava insists her behaviour is due to instructions from the home’s listening device, which highlights many people’s concerns about such devices. However, there is much more to this story than meets the eye. It made my blood run cold!

 

Daddy Dearest

Dominic Nolan

A seemingly tragic tale with a short, sharp, shock at the end which made me free quite queasy, and not much shocks me these days.

Very clever writing.

 

Deathbed, Beth Dead

Elle Croft

So much emotion and grief in so few words. Talk about having your life turned upside down in more than one devastating way. I can’t even begin to imagine how I would react. My heart went out to Miss Peters.

 

Loveable Alan Atcliffe

SR Masters

The saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” sprung to mind when I read this story. I think it can also be applied to people. Some are not at all who they seem to be and you never know what sinister secrets they might be hiding behind closed doors.

 

Sleep Time

Phoebe Morgan

Oooo, this is a terrifying tale. It made my heart race and gave me serious goosebumps! I’m giving nothing else away!

 

Coming Home

N J Mackay

A heart-breaking story of grief and PTSD but also one of hope. It brought a tear to my eye.

 

Sausage Fingers

Victoria Selman

Woah! Deliciously dark and disturbing. I have no other words!!

 

Just A Game

Rachael Blok

A chilling tale of a sinister game with murderous consequences.

 

Drowning in Debt

Heather Critchlow

Lucy and Paul are desperate. They have years of mounting debt and seemingly no long-term escape from the bailiffs.

Desperate times lead to desperate measures.

They devise an elaborate plan which seems foolproof to Paul but Lucy has her reservations. Paul is a controlling influence though and Lucy gives in. When she gets cold feet along the way Paul forces her into a split second decision that will change her life forever. Possibly for the better!

 

To Evil Or Not To Evil

Jo Furniss

Well, this was just terrifying!

Anything involving robots freaks me out. It scares me how easily AI could dominate our lives if allowed.

This story certainly left me with the chills and panicking about what the future could look like!

 

Sheep’s Clothing

Robert Scragg

My heart was almost hammering out of my chest throughout this story!

I felt quite disturbed by the deceit and secrecy. The insinuations made me feel quite sick, but all is not as it seems. The conclusion was quite a relief despite the heart-breaking circumstances. Very clever writing. For such a short story it certainly packs an emotional punch.

 

Frantic

Clare Empson

This is indeed a frantic tale and I found myself easily swept along. Thinking the grass might be greener is a common mistake made by many. It rarely ends well. One woman’s lustful lapse in judgement threatens to collapse the life she knows around her. The ending was not at all what I expected.

 

Planting Nan

James Delargy

This is a sinister story which is oddly amusing as we see it through the innocent eyes of a child.

Very entertaining!

 

Shadow

Kate Simants

A truly chilling tale of obsession and revenge.

 

These stories set a very high standard. All are coffee break length and each one is unique, similar only in quality. I think any reader will appreciate such clever, often hard-hitting and compelling writing.

Why not treat yourself to a copy and help to raise funds for The Samaritans at the same time as enjoying a good read.

Afraid Of The Light cover

Some people are scared of the dark. But it’s the light that exposes the secrets.

A young boy with nightmares faces up to his demons. A deathbed confession turns the world on its axis. A five-year-old watches his parents bury a body in the garden. A soldier returns from the war to find the horror isn’t yet over.

Afraid Of The Light brings the imagination of fourteen bestselling crime writers together in a collection that will keep you up all night. From a deadly campfire game to a holiday gone wrong, to an AI assistant with a motive and a love affair that can only end in murder, this is a gripping, twisty set of stories to send a shiver down your spine.

“The stories are wildly entertaining in their own right, but they also address the concerns and fears we all feel: isolation and loneliness; guilt and grief; justice and punishment. And perhaps most importantly of all: redemption and hope.” — Alex North

CONTRIBUTORS
Are you Listening? – Adam Southward
Daddy Dearest – Dominic Nolan
Deathbed, Beth Dead – Elle Croft
Loveable Alan Atcliffe – S R Masters
Sleep Time – Phoebe Morgan
Coming Home – N J Mackay
Sausage Fingers – Victoria Selman
Just a Game – Rachael Blok
Drowning in Debt – Heather Critchlow
To Evil or Not to Evil – Jo Furniss
Sheep’s Clothing – Robert Scragg
Frantic – Clare Empson
Planting Nan – James Delargy
Shadow – Kate Simants

All author royalties from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Samaritans.

Samaritans is a charity working across the UK and Ireland to reduce the number of people who take their own lives and help people who are struggling to cope with how they’re feeling or with life’s challenges. When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year.

You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit http://www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

happy reading 🙂

This collection has introduced me to some new-to-me authors. I have many more books on my TBR list now!