My Review of Kindling by author Paula Harmon.

My Review of

Kindling by author Paula Harmon.

Wow! Kindling, a book of short stories is one of my favourite reads. I loved how each story was different. Some were emotional and others were magical, but all of them were gripping and enjoyable reads.  I loved Mirror Girl the most because the story felt magical. I could imagine the scene of a young girl looking at herself in her mirror and beyond her minds’ eye’ seeing someone else who felt the same once upon a time . My second favourite was Catching the Post because this story really resonated with me, I could feel the emotion and the meaning of how sometime you have to take the plunge before it’s too late and you can’t make things right.

This book  has many different short stories inside, some a page length, others longer. These stories follow many interesting  characters throughout. One such story called Kindling follows a married woman as she goes out in the middle of the night and comes across some woodland creatures. Will she give them what they ask for and make it home before daylight? You’ll have to read this book of short stories to find out.

I felt author Paula did a fantastic job in creating the right atmosphere in each of her stories. When I was reading them I went on a journey of all different emotions and feelings. I felt rather sad when my two hours of reading was up and I’d finished the book as I could have read these stories all evening.

If you like books with short stories that take you into magical journeys along with interesting characters to follow then I would highly recommend checking out this book

Amazon Link to Kindling

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kindling-Mrs-Paula-Harmon/dp/1539081516/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1493879170&sr=8-1&keywords=kindling+paula

 

My Review of Because I Was Lonely by author Hayley Mitchell.

My Review of

Because I Was Lonely by author Hayley Mitchell.

Because I Was Lonely is a very gripping and emotional read.  I was very hooked on the characters especially Rachael and Adam.  Rachael is clearly suffering with postnatal depression and has distressing thoughts about her kids. I felt her husband was not really there for her and this made her problems so much worse. Although this book has a serious undertone, I think the characters have great personalities, which makes this book a very enjoyable read.

The story itself follows Rachel after she has her second child and she becomes overwhelmed, lonely and stuck in what seems like a loveless marriage. But she soon discovers Facebook and finds an old friend whom she begins messaging. Will this lead to something that will destroy what is left of her marriage?  Will she find this person fills the loneliness just a little too well? Read this very interesting and thought provoking  story to find out.

I thought that author Hayley did a great job at showing all side of their married life through both characters’ eyes. I also thought that the profound effect that happened when two people connect after feeling like their life has fallen apart was pretty amazing in this book. I  felt that touching on the mental health conditions of Adam and Rachael, as well as how this affected those who loved them the most was very well written.

The end had a nice little twist as  the last few chapters set your mind that the story will end one way, but then it turned to another, which make this book a page turner from beginning to end.

I would recommend this book to everyone especially if you like stories that very much move forward with the characters, and that also consist of a very interesting and gripping storyline underneath. Give Because I Was Lonely a go.

Amazon Link to Because I Was Lonely 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Because-Was-Lonely-Hayley-Mitchell-ebook/dp/B06XD3TTZN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493734434&sr=8-1&keywords=because+i+was+lonely

Big Thank you to all the authors who were the part of my blog this month.

Big Thank you to all the authors who were the part of my blog this month.

This month I’ve had many authors, characters and books on my blog from a variety of genes. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone and my pile of TBR books had grown into a mountain. So many great books to read!

I’ve also enjoyed reading many great books this month, such as Where She Will Shine by Sylvia Anderson, Manumission by EH Harding, The Bay of Shadows by Samantha Wood, as well as This Is Nowhere, The Mess of Me by Chantelle Atkins, The Third Note by Virginia King, She Looks Pale and Fruit Woman by Kate Rigby, Riverside Lane by Ginger Black. So if you’ve not checked out these books you might want to give them a look. Likewise, if you missed this month’s posts go check them out because I’ve had some wonderful and inspiring posts from authors and some amazing interviews through the eyes of their characters.

I want to thank all the authors who have taken time out of their writing to be a part of my blog and I wish you all the best with your future books and projects.


I hope everyone is having a great weekend!
Katie.

Welcome Guest Julia Thum Talking About Her Inspiration and the Setting for Riverside Lane.

FINANCIAL FEATURE.
GAYNOR PENGELLY AND JULIA THUM, WHO WRITE TOGETHER AS “GINGER BLACK”. THEY ARE CROWDSOURCING FUNDING FOR THEIR THRILLERS SET IN AN ENGLISH RIVERSIDE VILLAGE SUCH AS BRAY.
18-12-2015 Pic by Ian McIlgorm

Thank you so much Katrina for welcoming me to your beautiful blog to talk about our inspiration and the setting for Riverside Lane, the first in a series of four village mysteries we are setting along the river Thames. 

The Thames has been an artery of artistic inspiration for centuries and making it the setting for the Riverside Lane series has given Gaynor and I a perfect excuse to enjoy the mercurial muse that has inspired musicians, writers and artists since before the Magna Carta. The section of water from Marlow to Bray is littered with literary landmarks and punctuated by poetry and blue plaques and this stretch of river provides the narrative spine to our stories, giving life blood to our plots and flowing through every character and chapter that we write.

We were delighted to launch our first novel, Riverside Lane at The Marlow Bookshop in a town whose literary history dates back to when Thomas Love Peacock wrote his Gothic satire Nightmare Abby and his friends, Percy and Mary Shelley composed The Revolt of Islam and the horror story Frankenstein. Seventy years later Jerome K Jerome returned from his boating honeymoon on the Thames and wrote part of his comic novel Three Men in a Boat at the Two Brewers pub. T.S Elliot is said to have expressed his resentment at the entrapment of marriage in ”Ode on Independence Day, July 4th 1918″, written from the house he and his wife rented together in Marlow’s West Street.

“The river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.” (Kenneth Grahame)

The watery wanderings of Wind in the Willow’s characters were dreamed up within earshot of Cookham where we have set the second novel in our series. The Wild Wood is an image of Quarry Wood on the borders of the neighbouring town Bourne End and follow the river further into the village and you come across The Edwardian Boathouse said to be the model for Mr Toad’s boathouse, then the riverside garden that inspired Enid Blyton.

Further downstream is Monkey Island, featured in Riverside Lane and where Rebecca West and HG Wells conducted some of their affair and she wrote her novel, Return of the Soldier, telling the tale of a young war hero pining for his first love, the innkeeper’s daughter on Monkey Island.

“You can’t walk by the river at Cliveden Reach and not believe in God” (Stanley Spencer)

A writer aspires to a literary snapshot and we often pass people sitting pen in hand, toes in the water and head in the clouds. Another common sight along the banks of the world’s most painted river is an artist and easel. A hundred years ago Stanley Spencer, who produced some of the Thames most legendary paintings, transported his brushes and equipment along the towpath in a pram.

Many famous artists have been caught by the river.  JMW Turner depicted Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Sounding Arch in ‘Rain, Speed & Steam’ and Edward Gregory famously painted Boulter’s Lock, a popular place to visit after Royal Ascot when the wealthy and well known could be seen passing through on their way to Cliveden at the end of the nineteenth century. Shortly afterwards Henry H Parker depicted a more peaceful scene in his painting “The Silent Waters of the Thames”.

“Sweet Thames, run softly, ‘till I end my song.” (Edmund Spenser & T S Eliot)

Edward Elgar is said to have composed his Violin Concerto from The Hut on Monkey Island, his refrains audible to fishermen and artists sitting quietly by the river.  It is also recorded that the exquisite notes of Australian opera star Dame Nellie Melba, practising her arias in Quarry Wood carried along the river on the breeze.  Nearly a century later the Thames’ creative pulse still beat when Kate Bush sang of “that old river poet that never, ever ends”.

While Gaynor and I have no delusions towards the literary excellence cited above, it is hard not to feel inspired by the beauty of the Thames.  Perhaps, if we stand silently with the herons and the fishermen as it meanders with quiet purpose through its serpentine curves, the ghosts of this magical river might just tell us a tale.

Ends

Blurb for Riverside Lane

After arranging a house swap with an antiques dealer from a quaint English village, a darkly handsome American named Luca Tempesta arrives in Riverside Lane.

Luca, who claims to run a detective agency in Los Angeles, is supposedly on holiday – but the inhabitants f the village are unconvinced: someone turns up a Russian connection, and there are hints of espionage …. As they attempt to discern the truth about the stranger in their idst, however, it transpires that there are more than enough secrets to go around in the village itself.

The tension set off by Luca’s appearance begins to mount, taking in an MP and his uptight, ambitious wife; a has-been former game show host, a local journalist desperate for a career-reviving scoop and, most enigmatic of all, an elderly church organist who appears to be the repository of the town’s deepest mysteries …..

Behind perfect privets and brightly painted front doors, and between dinner parties, cricket matches, evenings at the pun and charming festivals along the Thames, the lives of the village’s residents slowly unravel, culminating in an unexpected death that brings them all together ….

Tautly paced and sumptuously set, this debut novel peels back the genteel façade of a picture-postcard village while gently satirizing middle-class English manners

The  ebook Version of Riverside Lane is now 99p for this month.

Links

1) www.GingerBlack.ink

2) Amazon Link to Buy

3) Twitter

Today I’m Incredibly Excited to be Interviewing ER Harding author of Manumission.

Today I’m incredibly excited to be interviewing ER Harding author of Manumission.

Welcome ER Harding please tell us a little about yourself and your book.

Hi Kate, it’s great to be here, and thanks for talking to me. I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years, mostly administrative apart from a short spell as a motorcycle instructor. I didn’t start writing until the company I worked for was reorganised three years ago, and I was made redundant. I started writing and got a second dog to add to my collection of rejects, and it worked really well.

 What inspired you to create Manumission?

Well, I never meant to write science fiction. I only wanted to write something entertaining, but there’s just something about speculating on scientific discoveries and then taking that speculation as far as possible. It was the only possible thing I could write at that time. Besides, Meilinn has been bothering me for years, and I felt I ought to tell her story. She’s not really the main character, but it’s her story.

What is your writing routine? Are you a pantster or planner?

I always mean to be a planner, but it never works. I always draft a synopsis and plan the progress. I even flesh out the characters, usually in far too much detail, and then I lay that notebook aside, start typing, and never refer to my notes again. So I guess I’m a pantser!

Did you have a favourite place you like to write, while you were creating your novel?

There are only two places that I actually can write; at the kitchen table, which is severely prone to interruption, or in my tiny office next to the kitchen. I’ve thought about taking a notebook into the garden and writing long-hand, but I’m too easily distracted and every tootling bird would derail my trail of thought. Even at my desk, I find I’m breaking off to let the dogs out, or sort laundry. Or vacuum. Or something!

Describe what your Muse looks like to you in three words.

I really struggle with the concept of a muse. Creative, intelligent, kind. That about covers it.

What part of writing your novel did you most enjoy? E.g. First draft, research, editing…

The first draft is always wonderful. It’s like a kind of typed doodle, with occasionally useful or clever bits. It’s just pure imagination and I never worry too much about how it’s going to work. The first draft is usually easy, specially the first half of a new book. After that, it’s a solid three or four months of hard work while I wrestle with it, and try to turn it into something that‘ll hopefully be readable.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you be and why?

I’d be Meilinn. There’s no contest there, because the freedom and power she has would be wonderful, and she’s so independent, which how I’d like to be. In a perfect world, I’d never actually need anyone, but I might choose to be with them.

Which character did you like writing about the most? Why?

Philip Moss. He was hilarious because he’s real. I can’t say his real name in case he recognises himself, but it was enormous fun describing him. I laughed a lot while I wrote his bits. It’s definitely libellous, but that’s why it was such fun.

What’s your favourite subject to write about? Why?

I’m sorry to say that I really enjoy killing people on paper. I’m a committed and total pacifist and animal lover in real life, so I don’t know where that streak of nastiness comes from. There’s nothing quite like inventing a character and then deciding he or she has got to go. I actually talk to my dog, sometimes, while I’m creating the most shocking and unpleasant scenarios. Bless her, my little dog doesn’t understand a thing, but she always looks interested because she has very good manners!

If you could describe your main character in three words what would they be? 

Dumb, handsome, and lucky.

What is the darkest thing any of your characters have ever done?

Well, that’ll be a spoiler, but Errik has a plan to take over control of the Metaform by effectively double-crossing, and potentially killing Gabriel. He actually loves Gabe in his own weird way, so it’s difficult for him, but he does it anyway, out of sheer, very ugly ambition.

What does the Metaform Corporation  hope to achieve by bar-coding people in your book?

The Metaform doesn’t actually bar-code them; the government does that, so they can track everyone and keep the peace. You can’t avoid the law or do anything criminal if the government can keep an eye on you all the time. It’s a good idea for peacekeeping, and keeping tabs on one’s children, but a terrible one for personal freedom. Bar-codes can be removed, but it’s extremely illegal and quite dangerous. Only organised criminals can do it, or, of course one can do it if one happens to be very wealthy. Everything’s easier if you’re rich!

Do any of your characters have any strong beliefs or fears, if so what are they?

A theme that runs through the narrative is hatred of the Metaform, which had in many ways come to take the place of a religion. Opposition to the mighty computer is seen as a kind of godly crusade, and Tobias, who isn’t in the book for very long, is a kind of evangelist and demi god, because he genuinely believes that he’s helping to save humanity. His son, Gabriel, starts with a similar outlook at first, but that certainty begins to fade away, as he leaves his father’s influence behind. Pretty soon he’s as confused as most of us.

Who are your favourite Authors?

I love the sci-fi classics: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein, of course, but of the modern writers, CB Droege is one to watch out for. His stuff is well-written and intelligent and it was great relief to come across his books after reading rather a lot that weren’t all that great.

What was the best advice you’ve ever had while writing your novels?

I haven’t really listened to much advice, as most of it seems to be: read a lot, and write as much as possible. I always read, every day, any genre and any writer, and I always have, so that’s ok. And I don’t think I necessarily agree with writing a lot. From experience, I’ve found that it’s very hard to delete one’s own work, specially when it represents blood, sweat and tears, but it absolutely must be done. No-one will ever want to read every single word you write, so I think it’s better to write good stuff sparingly, and not bang out masses of fluff just so that you can post online that you wrote ten thousand words in one afternoon!.

What projects are you working on next?

I’m writing the sequel to Manumission now. It had better be the final volume, because I’ll be drawing it out too much otherwise, and I don’t want it to get boring. I’m also writing a historical novel and a crime thriller, but those are on the back burner until this sequel’s finished.

Do you have any advice for fellow writers who may be undertaking creating their first novel at this very moment?

I’d say just start writing and keep going ‘til it’s written. It does work, and you’ll end up surprisingly quickly with an actual novel. But I wouldn’t forget that it’s going to need editing and editing until you’re sick of the sight of it. No matter how literate one believes oneself to be, one is always too close to see what needs correcting or cutting out, so make the last edit a professional one.

Any final words you would like to add?

I’d be more grateful than I can say for any review of Manumission. Reviews, even bad ones, are almost more important than sales. They’re a wonderful thing on Amazon or Goodreads so it’s a great way to show some love. But, and this is important: if you hate sci-fi, please don’t give it one star and say you hate it because it’s a terrible genre. That’s just unkind, and writers have very sensitive feelings!

Thank you ER Harding for taking time to do this blog interview, it has been a real pleasure to hear about your novel, I wish you well with your novel and all other writing projects you may undertake in the future.

Thank you so much, Kate. It’s been fun.

 

My Review of Manumission Author ER Harding…

My Review of 

Manumission Author ER Harding

Wow Manumission is gripping whirlwind SI-FI, where a Metaform Corporation  set out to save people from death or illness by downloading their consciousness for centuries to come. I thought this concept was both gripping and eerie in a way, especially in scenes where people’s bodies die, leaving his/her soul storied away for when it can be downloaded. I loved Conner and Meilinn as they were unusual and interesting to follow in what felt like a very realistic world.

The story itself follows Gabriel, who under influence of alcohol dares to  confront his father, the leader of the cult . However, things go horrible wrong and a fight breaks out leading Gabriel himself to become the new leader. Following this Gabriel hatches a plan to bring down Metaform Corporation with his long standing mentor-Errik.. However, will his plans go wrong? Will he find more than they bargained for when they look into the Metaform Corporation? Read this fantastic Si-fi book to find out.

I loved how the author ER Harding was able to get across a true sense of what it was like to be stored in the hope that you’d be reunited with  your loved ones someday, even if it means leaving your human body behind. As well as how lonely it could be if you were one of the ones who were floating around trying to keep everything up and running. I also like the role of the dog in this story as he helped look for Conner. The scene made me giggle a bit. I also like that this book was a little emotional in places which helped me feel for the characters more.

I thought the end was really interesting and gripping.  I wonder if there would be a squeal at some point in the future, or it was just me hoping there would be one because I really enjoyed the storyline and characters in this book

I would recommend this story to anyone who loves SI-FI or just loves a great read, with interesting characters and a gripping storyline. Give this book a go and find out just what happens when people’s consciousness get uploaded and stored for future use

Here is the  Amazon link to Manumission

Guest Post by Rachel Burton Author of The Many Colours of Us.

Guest Post by Rachel Burton.

Author of The Many Colours of Us.

It started in a coffee shop in Cambridge. I was re-reading my old, battered copy of Dickens’ Bleak House and considering another soy latte when the idea popped into my head – a “what if” moment that would take me on a three-year journey to publication.

I’d been writing for years – from short stories at school, to my postgraduate thesis, to local history articles for a London newspaper. I wrote my first novel in 2005 – I sent it off to Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown who wrote back to tell me the story was terrible but I had a very distinct voice and must keep writing. I’ve kept that letter ever since, it motivates me to keep going. I wrote two more novels that nobody was interested in. I was considering giving up again.

I’ve always loved Bleak House, I love the intrigue and the drama and the interwoven storylines. But in that Cambridge coffee shop I was thinking about Esther Summerson’s part in the story. Esther had never known her parents, but there was a young lawyer in London who did, and his revelations helped her to find out where she came from.

How would that play out now? I wondered. What if a young woman had no idea who her father was? What if her mother had never told her? And what if there was a young, handsome lawyer somewhere in London, in possession of some letters that could reveal the truth?

I needed a house to base the action around, and the first one that came to mind was one in Kensington that used to belong to friends of my parents. A house I’d spent a lot of my teenage years in. It wasn’t until then that I realised Julia’s story had been with me for longer than I knew, waiting to be told. Perhaps for once I was on to something? Perhaps I’d finally found a story worth telling?

I wrote most of the first draft in a week on a writing retreat in Somerset. It was long and clunky and had a series of ridiculous subplots that even Dickens wouldn’t have put his name to. I called it Letters to Julia, got rid of subplot or two and created a second draft. I put it to one side for a few weeks.

Life got in the way. A few weeks turned into a year and it wasn’t until April of 2016 that I finally re-read that second draft, tore it apart and re-wrote it completely. On Halloween of last year I took a deep breath and sent it out to twenty agents and two publishers on the same day.

It was mostly rejected. A couple of agents asked for a full manuscript and then said it wasn’t what they were looking for. I was wondering what to do next, considering giving up again, when two things happened within days of each other – HQ said they wanted to publish it and Darley Anderson said they wanted to represent me.

I spent January simultaneously reeling with shock and re-writing the book again – I took out another clunky sublplot, expanded Edwin’s story and we re-named it The Many Colours of Us. I got line edits and a cover reveal and my book went up on Amazon and Goodreads and none of it seemed real. People started reading proofs and falling in love with Julia and Edwin. I started obsessively checking reviews and sales figures.

And tomorrow my little book, that started in off as the germ of an idea in that Cambridge coffee shop, flies out into the world. I hope the world loves Julia and Edwin as much as I do.

 

Blurb

‘Gorgeous, touching story, wonderful heroine, and I’m totally smitten with the hero.’ – Cressida McLaughlin, bestselling author of The Canal Boat Cafe

Fall in love with Rachel Burton’s stunning debut novel, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Adele Parks and Sheila O’Flanagan

What if your life was built on lies?

Julia Simmonds had never been bothered about not knowing who her father was. Having temperamental supermodel, Philadelphia Simmonds, as a mother was more than enough. Until she discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late, great artist Bruce Baldwin, and her life changes forever.

Uncovering the secrets of a man she never knew, Julia discovers that Bruce had written her one letter, every year until her eighteenth birthday, urging his daughter to learn from his mistakes.

Julia begins to dig deeper into the mysterious past of her parents, opening up a history she’d never have imagined, but as she discovers the truth she needs to decide if she is willing to forgive and forget…

Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. In 2013 she finally started making one up that was worth writing down.

She has a BA in Classics and an MA in English and has never really known what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a legal secretary, a yoga teacher and a paralegal. She never quite made it to law school.

She grew up in Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes. 

Twitter: @bookish_yogi
Instagram: @bookish_yogi