New cover for MYOPIA

MYOPIA is my YA novel exploring the effects of bullying and how a victim responds with creative non-violence.

It is dedicated to anyone who’s been on the wrong side of bullying. Being a victim is never your fault. The problem is with the bully NOT you. Stand strong and always believe in your individuality.

One reviewer wrote: “Myopia is a poignant, beautiful and heart-wrenching story that resonates with truth, hope and above all, the immeasurable power of human compassion . Thoroughly recommended.

Here is the new cover:

Myopia - new cover

The shadow and background represent the sinister nature of bullying, but the clenched fist also suggests a triumphant gesture of victory over adversity.

The old cover presented an abstract section of an eye, to fit in with the title and theme of short-sightedness. Its pixilated nature shows the blur of myopic vision.

myopia3

Now the new cover gives a stronger indication of the drama, angst and struggle confronteded by Jerry and other characters in the novel.

As well as a new cover, the text has been edited and revised into a fresh edition.  If you know any teens or young adults looking for a great read then click on one of these links.

Smashwords

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

WHAT THE REVIEWERS ARE SAYING ABOUT PICA

“One of the most charming fantasy novels I’ve read in years. An engrossing and original story, beautifully told. Wonderful!”

Michael Moorcock

Pica AccentYA

“It’s one of those ‘one of a kind, never read that before’ books … it’s a great read that will change your perceptions of the world and make you think twice about what humanity really is.”

Confessions of a Book Lover

“Pica is beautiful, complex, forceful and always gripping. Jeff Gardiner is undoubtedly one of the greatest storytellers.”

Paulo Brito, Porto VIII

“I loved this book, it’s just so unique and eye opening. The story never gets dull. As the magic and fantasy aspect gets deeper and bigger, so does reality. It was an incredible read.”

Paperback Cities

Available HERE

Indigo’s Dragon by Sofi Croft

I’m delighted to introduce YA author Sofi Croft to my blog. She is here to tell us about the Dragon of Krakow, which inspired her new novel, ‘Indigo’s Dragon’.Her post below also includes an intriguing extract. There are purchase links at the end of the post. Don’t miss out on this brand new Accent YA adventure. Over to you, Sofi…

Indigo dragon

The Dragon of Krakow is a famous dragon from Polish folklore. He lived in a cave in Wawel Hill, on the banks of the River Vistula, and spent most of his time terrorising the population of Krakow. The cave, located underneath Wawel Castle and Cathedral, is now free of the dragon and has become a popular tourist destination. A metal dragon can be found outside the cave, breathing fire every few minutes.

Stories about the Dragon of Krakow have been told since at least the 12th century, and as with most stories of that age that are many different versions. All of the ones I have found end with the dragon being destroyed; sometimes slain by a prince, but more often poisoned by a tailor or shoemaker using a sheep stuffed with sulphur.

The Dragon of Krakow was one of the inspirations for Indigo’s Dragon. I took the story and thought what if …? I expanded it, weaved in other threads, and twisted it into another tale.

Like living things stories often grow, evolve and reproduce, and I hope by borrowing and changing the story of the Dragon of Krakow I have not done it an injustice, but helped to keep it alive.

Here is a short extract from Indigo’s Dragon, which features the indestructible story of the Dragon of Krakow:

Indigo dragon

Rue sat and pushed her fingers into the sand. ‘He grew up in Krakow, when the city was young. It was beautiful. Cobblestone streets, wooden buildings, roofs painted gold and blue, willows drooping into the clear blue waters of the River Vistula, and a stone castle on a green hill overlooking it all. The people were peaceful and happy.’ She turned to Indigo and her eyes darkened with anger. ‘That was before Smok came.’

‘The dragon?’ Indigo sat next to her, and she continued.

‘Krakow never recovered from the damage he did. Dragons can be so destructive.’ Rue shook her head. ‘Over time the smoke cleared, the ash washed away, houses were rebuilt, crops grew back, livestock recovered, and trade returned. But it wasn’t the same. Every family had lost a loved one, either killed by Smok, or by the starvation he caused. The people changed from peaceful to warlike. They built armies and weapons. They were scared, suspicious, and selfish, thinking only of self-preservation. Orava was a tailor. He made beautiful clothes for the king and the princess. Smok turned him into a killer.’

‘Orava killed Smok?’ Indigo felt a pang of grief. He had thought Smok was alive – Omi kept pointing to the sky and saying his name, as if she were waiting for him.

Rue nodded. ‘Orava filled a sheepskin with explosives, sewed it up, and planted it near Smok’s cave.’

‘Boom,’ Indigo whispered, remembering the picture on the side of Opi’s book.

‘Orava never forgave Smok for making him do that, or for what he did to the town. He’s still angry about it, and the anger eats away at him.’ Rue looked at Wojtek, who was now swimming towards them. ‘So you see he has good reason to hate him. To hate all dragons.’

‘Indigo’s Dragon’ (Indigo’s Dragon #1) by Sofi Croft is a children’s fantasy novel full of adventure, mystery, monsters and dragons.

It is published by AccentYA on 23rd June

You can find out more about Sofi and her books on her website www.soficroft.com

Author Interview: Astrid Arditi

allard_eng_0012I’m delighted to introduce Astrid Arditi, fellow Crooked Cat author, whose first novel, A Cunning Plan, is out on Friday.  It sounds like a delightful and insightful read, for both men and women…

  1. What are the main ideas or themes in your book?

A Cunning Plan is a romantic suspense with a strong dose of humor. It’s about women, their insecurities, their own brand of crazy, and how unexpectedly strong they can be.

  1. What is the setting or context of the narrative? Why is it important?

Sloane lives in London. Her life is small, predictable, and she likes it that way. She’s a normal woman to whom incredible things happen.

  1. Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.

Sloane Harper has been married most of her adult life. As such she feels she can’t manage life on her own. She’s shy and weak willed, a human doormat. When her husband, the main reason for her insecurities, leaves her for another woman, instead of embracing it for the blessing that it is, she feels compelled to get him back. She stalks his mistress, which puts her in the middle of an investigation she wants no part of and threatens to shatter life as she knows it.

Cunning Plan - High Resolution

  1. How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?

I write a novel like I’d do a puzzle. First I start with the outline then I start filling in the blanks. I spend a few weeks writing random scenes from the book, snippets of conversation, interactions between my characters. When the story begins feeling real enough that it can surprise me, then I write in a more linear process.

  1. What advice do you have for less experienced writers?

Write for yourself first. Get excited about your story. If you see writing as a job it will make the whole process tedious. Keep it fun. Publishing does not make you a writer, writing does.

  1. What are you working on currently?

Book 2 of the Sloane Harper series.

  1. What would your perfect day be?

An island, the feeling of the sun on my skin, a nice breeze and a nap! With a toddler and a newborn at home, I am so tired these days!

  1. Name a book or a film that means a lot to you.

Life of an Unknown Man from Andrei Makine. Just beautiful.

  1. If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?

You don’t need a reason to be happy. Just decide to see how lucky you are to be alive.

BLURB FOR A CUNNING PLAN:

Cunning Plan - High ResolutionDetermined to put her family back together, Sloane Harper stalks her ex husband and his annoyingly stunning mistress, Kate. But she’s not the only one. Handsome IRS agent Ethan Cunning is surveying them too, but not for the same reasons. He is attempting to nail Kate’s playboy boss.

Ethan and Sloane decide to help each other, which sends Sloane’s wobbly life spinning out of control. She’ll have to face danger, humiliation, and scariest of all, the dating scene, to lure her daughters’ father home.

Losing control was the best thing to happen to Sloane… until it turned lethal.

AUTHOR BIO

allard_eng_0012Astrid Arditi was born from a French father and Swedish mother. She lived in Paris and Rome before moving to London with her husband and daughter back in 2013.

After dabbling in journalism, interning at Glamour magazine, and teaching kindergarten, Arditi returned to her first love: writing.

She now splits her time between raising her kids (a brand new baby boy just joined the family) and making up stories.

A Cunning Plan is Arditi’s first published work.

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cunning-Plan-Astrid-Arditi-ebook/dp/B01D7H7O42/

Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Cunning-Plan-Astrid-Arditi-ebook/dp/B01D7H7O42/

IBooks https://itunes.apple.com/fr/book/a-cunning-plan/id1102554468?mt=11

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-cunning-plan-astrid-arditi/1123657004?ean=2940152965568

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/a-cunning-plan-5

CONTACT INFO

I blog at www.astridarditi.com

Facebook Astrid Arditi author https://www.facebook.com/Astridarditiauthor

Twitter @astrid_arditi https://twitter.com/astrid_arditi

 

Shakespeare: the Naked Truth by Sue Barnard

Fellow Crooked Cat, Sue Barnard, gives us a timely reminder of Shakespeare’s importance to all writers – and speakers – of English…

This coming Saturday (23 April 2016) commemorates the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.  Many people believe that he was England’s greatest ever poet and playwright.  Whether or not this is true is a matter of personal opinion, but in any case he’s definitely up there with the front runners.

1564-1616 englischer Dichter.Bedeutendster Dramatiker der Weltliteratur.CDV-Foto 5,4 x 8,3 cm, nach einem Gemälde,  Nr.1198.

One thing which cannot be disputed is how much Shakespeare has contributed to the English language. A surprisingly large number of words and phrases in common use today were first penned by the Bard himself.  If you’re on a wild goose chase and find yourself neither here nor there, feeling faint-hearted (having not slept one wink), waiting with bated breath for the naked truth, and all of a sudden find yourself saying “Good riddance” as those who have eaten you out of house and home whilst playing “Knock, knock, who’s there?” vanish into thin air – you are quoting Shakespeare. The world is [your] oyster, but for goodness sake, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve and end up looking a sorry sight in a fool’s paradise.  Truth will out, and it’s a foregone conclusion that you can still have too much of a good thing.

shakespeare-writing

The Bard of Avon has certainly inspired much of my own writing.  One of my first successes as a poet was winning a limerick competition, in which I summed up the plot of Macbeth in five lines:

          On the strength of a witches’ conjection

          a regicide’s planned to perfection,

          but revenge is prepared

          by a tree-moving laird

          who’d been born by Caesarean section.

One of my long-term projects is to produce a limerick for each of the plays.  That’s still very much a work in progress, but in the meantime, two of Shakespeare’s other plays – Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar – formed the basis of two of my novels.

TGF front

The Ghostly Father takes a new look at Romeo & Juliet, and asks the question “What might have happened if the events of the story had taken a different turn?”  If, like me, you love the original story but hate the ending, here is your chance to read an alternative version – one with a few new twists and a whole new outcome.

TUCOA front

The Unkindest Cut of All is a murder mystery set in a theatre, during an amateur dramatic society’s performance of Julius Caesar.  What really happened to the actor playing the title role, during the final performance on the infamous Ides of March?

Shakespeare-themed celebrations will be taking place all through the anniversary weekend.  My humble contribution to these celebrations is to offer a special discount on the ebooks of these Shakespeare-inspired titles.  For a few days only, they will cost you just 99p each.  That’s two books for less than the price of a regular cup of arty-farty coffee.  And if you usually prefer to spend a little more and go for a large coffee, then why not splash out another 99p and treat yourself to my other novel, Nice Girls Don’t, which is also reduced?  This book isn’t directly Shakespeare-themed, but the Bard does get a couple of mentions.

Just click on the book titles above to be taken to your local Amazon links. And you’ll still come away with change from £3.

Happy reading!

About the Author:

Sue Barnard author picSue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase “non-working mother” would be banned from the English language.

Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she’d write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014.  This was followed in July 2014 by her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t.  Her third novel, The Unkindest Cut of All (a murder mystery set in a theatre), was released in June 2015.

Sue now lives in Cheshire with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.  You can find her on Facebook, Twitter (@SusanB2011), or follow her blog here.

 

Beatrice Fishback – ‘Birthing A Book’

BeaWelcome to Beatrice Fishback, whose new Victorian-set romantic novel Bethel Manor is just out from Crooked Cat Publishing. She has put together an interesting post about the joys and difficulties in writing a book. To buy a copy please click on a book cover below. Over to you, Bea…

What happens when you finally birth that baby? Your first book, I mean.

Although I’ve been published in the non-fiction world, had numerous articles and stories in compilations and magazines, Bethel Manor, an inspirational Victorian romance, is the first fiction piece I’ve had released. I learned so much from those other experiences, but the launch of Bethel Manor has brought on a whole new world of emotions I never expected.

It reminds me of when I learned I was pregnant with our firstborn. I didn’t really believe women when they said it could be difficult. I ignored the warnings that pain would definitely come during labor. After all, this was me. I would rise above the occasion, and be stronger and braver than those who went before.

But I soon discovered that those who endured labor were right. And those who’ve written novels were correct, too. Let me give you four valuable lessons I’ve learned during the delivery process of my book:

  •  Just like childbirth, I can attest to the pain. It is labor intensive to write 80,000 + words and when you’ve reached the first 10,000 you wonder if you can endure any more contraction.
  •  I guarantee it will be more work after it’s born than when you first conceived it. You might not believe me, but there is a lot of work to be done after you’ve managed to write your book. There is marketing, promoting, encouraging and any other ‘ing’ you can think of to make the world aware that you’ve birthed this grand idea.
  • You want the world to think your newborn is as adorable and cute as you do. You carry your book with you, and like a doting parent you show anyone you meet your masterpiece. You coo about how sweet the storyline is and what wonderful characters romp around in its chapters. No one could possibly love your novel more than you do, but you sure hope others are willing to take a chance and read it.
  • You desire that it will grow and mature. And as it does, you hope and pray it will discover a life of its own. Every writer dreams their book will be the next New York Times bestseller, or that at least others besides their mother and father will brag about this book.

Okay, so delivering a baby might be just a tad more difficult than writing your first novel. And you might not believe me when I say it’s a whole lot harder than you think. If nothing else, maybe you’ll remember I warned you when you decided to try writing something yourself. One final thought. Having a child is the most amazing thing in the world. So is your first book. So take a chance and start with one word. You’ll be so glad you did. In fact, I’m working on the sequel to Bethel Manor. Having birthed one, I’m ready to start on another.

By the way, could you stop by Amazon.com and order your copy of Bethel Manor today? I don’t want my darling to grow up and you never having a chance to read her.

Bethel Manor

Extract from Bethel Manor:

(Protagonist, Clare Shaw is speaking to her father)

“Father. Men are all the same. They think a woman is purely for child bearing and maintaining a home. I’m pleased that you understand a woman needs to be educated as well as a man and allow me access to your books and manuals. I’d go mad if you didn’t.” She patted the book now resting on her lap.

“Could you at least show a bit of interest in James? He looks as if he feels awkward and out of place.”

“He is awkward. And he’s definitely out of place. Besides, why should I bother to get to know him?” She rolled her eyes. “He’ll be gone in a day or two, and most likely we’ll never see him again. It’s very kind of you to want to help strangers, but…”

“But?”

“Well, honestly, he is one of the skinniest young men I’ve ever seen. His cheeks are concave, and his coloring looks like the sheets flapping on a line in the wind.” She brushed her fingers in the air as if dismissing James’s presence in the house with the move of her hand, and then picked up her book.

Bethel Manor

PICA launched at The London Book Fair

 

LBF6On Tuesday 12th April 2016, Accent Press launched their YA novels at The London Book Fair – including my own YA fantasy, PICA.

LBF

The London Book Fair – held at Olympia – is  an incredibly overwhelming experience. I wandered around for two hours and didn’t see it all. But I was lucky enough to hear author Peter James talk about research and plotting over at Author HQ.

LBF7 (2)

Accent Press had their own stall showing their fantastic array of titles with beautiful covers.

LBF1

At 4pm, AccentYA was officially launched with an annoncement, plus drinks and nibbles. It was a great opportunity to meet the Accent team, fellow authors, plus sellers and others in the book trade.

LBF4

LBF3

Some were lucky enough to take away a bag of goodies.

LBF5

We were all well looked after by the incredibly friendly Accent Team, and treated to a delicious meal in Notting Hill. It was an exciting and fascinating day.

Thank you Accent Press.

To get connected with Accent Press and AccentYA:

https://www.accentpress.co.uk/

http://accentya.com/

Tom Williams launches ‘Back Home’.

Tom williamsI’m delighted to welcome fellow Accent Press author, Tom Williams, to my blog. His new novel, ‘Back Home’ completes his Victorian London series, The Williamson Papers. The tagline on the cover reads: ‘Desperation can drive you to do terrible things’… Tom offers us an insight into his world followed by a short extract with links for further details.

People often think that historical novels are form of escapism, and I guess many of them are. But the stories that people tell about history often reveal more about the world of today than about the past. Many years ago, when China was just opening to the West, we were able to visit there. We soon realised that in a country where open criticism of the government was impossible the stories that people chose to tell about their history were often not especially subtly coded comments on the political events of the (then) 20th century.

My series of books about the (fictional) John Williamson and his adventures around some (very non-fictional) events of the mid-19th century was always intended to allow me to raise issues that are more about 2016 than 1850. Back Home completes the trilogy and is the most overtly political of the books.

Back Home

While The White Rajah and Cawnpore explored issues around colonialism, Back Home sees John Williamson back in England and it looks at the social structures in this country that underlay Britain’s colonial adventures. The London of 1859 shares a surprising number of characteristics with the London of today. The city was undergoing a period of massive growth, much of it fuelled by cheap immigrant labour (from Ireland). The gap between rich and poor was enormous with the poor seeing few benefits from the economic success of the country. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, left-wing political extremism abroad was spreading to this country with Communism establishing itself here. The state responded with intensive surveillance and, where necessary, the substantial use of force.

We still hear, occasionally, politicians talk about returning to Victorian values. In Back Home John Williamson returns to the country where these values are being formed. Perhaps, before we blindly follow our leaders back 150 years, it is worth joining him on his journey to discover what those values actually were. This is where that journey begins:

When I had last been in England, King William was on the throne. Sailor Bill had seemed a cheery fellow. The war with France had ended less than twenty years before and King William’s reign always had something of a celebratory feel to it. Now, though, our monarch was Queen Victoria, and England presided over the greatest Empire the world had ever seen. Even in the Devon countryside, life moved with a purpose. Every man toiling in the fields, every woman hanging out her laundry – all played their part in the business of Empire, bringing, though the labourer might not have the leisure to appreciate it, unparalleled prosperity to the nation. Here was the very mainspring of that machine that sent its armies and its missionaries across the globe, to bring civilisation and Christianity to the peoples of the world, though, in my experience, they might be ignorant of their want of either.

The sight of so much industry was at once both impressive and unnerving. I felt as if I were a mere bumpkin, plucked from some obscure backwater and suddenly at the busy heart of things, but the people that I met were civil and, when I stopped for refreshment at a tavern, the ale was good and the landlord as friendly as might be. So I carried on my journey in an uncertain frame of mind, part excited and happy to be back in England, part apprehensive at the changes that I found.

Accent Press
Back Home
is published by Accent Press on 18 April.

 

LINKS

The White Rajah: myBook.to/WhiteRajah

Cawnpore: myBook.to/Cawnpore

Back Home: mybook.to/backhome

And here are the stories about James Burke.

Burke in the Land of Silver: myBook.to/LandofSilver

Burke and the Bedouin: mybook.to/Bedouin

Burke at Waterloo: myBook.to/BurkeWaterloo

 

I blog at http://thewhiterajah.blogspot.co.uk/

My Facebook author page is https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams/

My Twitter handle is @TomCW99

Back Home

‘Thou Shalt Not’ – Anthology Launch

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My short story ‘Dionysus’ appears in this new anthology from Tickety-Boo Press, edited by Alex Davis.

There are ten stories – one for each of the ten commandments. My story corresponds to the first commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me…”

The Greek god, Dionysus, has always fascinated me, since seeing the Greek tragedy ‘The Bacchae’ by Euripides. Dionysus is an arrogant and angry god, demanding people worship him. Those that do are still punished. He gives his followers wine and offers them a life of sensual pleasure.

I’ve often thought that if Dionysus came to our modern world then he would be a rock star or a drug dealer. I have nothing against rock music – in fact I’m a fan of rock and heavy metal. But today, rock and pop stars, actors and other celebrities often come unstuck due to their hedonistic lifestyle. My story doesn’t moralise (neither did Euripides). Readers are free to respond to it however they wish. A parent won’t feel the same way about the celebrity their own child worships. The cult of celebrity is with us whether we like it or not. What are you going to do about it?

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Blurb

The Ten Commandments were laid down in the earliest days of mankind, a guiding set of principles for our everyday lives. For centuries these tenets have shaped our morality, our laws, our societies. But what happens when these commandments are tested – and even broken?

Step inside for ten tales exploring the dark consequences of stepping outside these most ancient and sacred of rules…

Featuring stories from Jeff Gardiner, Amanda Bigler, Clare Littleford, Stuart Young, Laura Mauro, Danuta Reah, Pat Kelleher, Mark West, Jasper Kent and Jacey Bedford.

Purchase Links

http://shop.ticketyboopress.co.uk/index.php?id_product=104&controller=product

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thou-Shalt-Not-Alex-Davis-ebook/dp/B01DRBA4YK/

News about my novels, short stories and non-fiction.

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