Click on the image below to see me read the opening few pages of MYOPIA, my novel about bullying in schools.
Click on the image below to see me read the opening few pages of MYOPIA, my novel about bullying in schools.
A lovely new review has just appeared for ‘Igboland’ on NetGalley:
“Set in 1960’s civil war era Nigeria, this book tells the story of Clem a Methodist Missionary and his wife Lydia who settle in Biafra/Igboland to work with the local populous and churches, clinics and schools. The story is told from Lydia’s point of view and grips from the very start with such attention to the smallest details whilst opening your eyes to the cultural, religious and political differences that they are challenged with.
“Set over a few years it shows the strain that a missionary’s wife has as someone without a ‘role’, ie she is not the missionary, but his wife and the search for self-recognition and finding her own identity. However, war, love, the local villagers and illness all drive wedges between the couple and the pressure on their relationship is huge.
“The story is very well written and you are there with them as they face West Africa together and come to terms with their lifestyle adjustments. The author has created something very special here that really gave me cause to want more of this style of writing that’s alive and thoroughly researched.
“A great book that was hard to stop reading!”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Book 2 of the Sloane Harper series.
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!
Life of an Unknown Man from Andrei Makine. Just beautiful.
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:
Determined 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.
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.
I blog at www.astridarditi.com
Facebook Astrid Arditi author https://www.facebook.com/Astridarditiauthor
Twitter @astrid_arditi https://twitter.com/astrid_arditi
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About the Author:
Sue 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.
Paranormal Women’s Fiction
~ * ~
Twenty-six-year-old Margot sets out on a journey of self-discovery – she dumps her New York boyfriend, quits her Chicago job, and crashes at her friend’s flat in London.
Rather than find herself, though, she only feels more lost. An unsettling energy affects her from the moment she enters the old Victorian residence, and she spirals into depression. Frightened and questioning her perceptions, she gradually suspects her dark emotions belong to Charlotte instead.
Who is Charlotte? The name on a local gravestone could relate to Margot’s dreams and the grey woman weeping at the window.
Finding a ghost isn’t what she had in mind when she went ‘soul searching’, but somehow Margot’s future may depend on Charlotte’s past.
Woven between 21st century and Victorian London, What the Clocks Know is a haunting story of love and identity.
** Add it! **
** Read it! **
Amazon US – http://amzn.to/21DZoCw
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/1QsiFfr
Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1Qsj1Tr
iBooks – http://apple.co/1QsjaWS
Kobo – http://bit.ly/1QsiQre
Smashwords – http://bit.ly/1Qsj69I
~ * ~
Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. She debuted in 2014 with Seven for a Secret (in which a Jazz Age tragedy haunts a modern woman’s love life), and her award-winning short story “Four Somethings & a Sixpence” (about a bride who gets a little something she didn’t register for) was released in 2015. What the Clocks Know is her second novel.
Learn more about Rumer at:
Website – http://www.rumerhaven.com
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/rumerhaven
Twitter – @RumerHaven
I’d like to welcome author Angela Wren to my blog. She’s going to tell us more about her writing and why she loves France as the setting to many of her books, particularly her well-received crime novel, Messandrierre.
Having spent most of my life to date travelling and spending time in France I’m now at a point where I find myself re-visiting old haunts or exploring places I’ve just driven through in the past. But one thing that never changes is the camping experience. There is always something to laugh about, cry about or be shocked by. And most of these experiences – and yes they are all mine – are the starting points for my James et Moi stories which feature every other week on my blog. Next month I’m starting a series of stories that are all based on things found in showers. And that’s got you thinking already hasn’t? Later in the year there will be a whole series of stories dedicated to my abject and total failure to handle things electrical or mechanical. Naturally, it has taken me a lifetime of study to perfect this. I mention this so that you will understand that in writing my James et Moi stories I am speaking not just from personal experience but also with the gravitas that comes with lengthy and detailed research!
Short pieces of comic and amusing fiction are one thing, but my time in France has also provided me with a wealth of material for much longer works. Couple that with a scrap of an understanding for putting words together and I found I had my first novel in a series of four even though I only set out to write one. And that story is Messandrierre, set in the Cévennes – a rugged and sometimes wild area that’s sparsely populated and covered with vast forests – and featuring Jacques Forêt. When I thought about my setting, a rural village nestled in the shadow of Monts Aigoual and Goulet; I knew the story had to be a murder mystery. Using a real village that I know very well as my model, I took some time to completely people it with characters – well you never know when you might need someone to be a killer or a victim! Then I moved the chateau, added a tiny gendarmerie, felled a few trees that obscured the view from my heroine’s hunting chalet and then began the serious task of putting the words on paper.
I hope you will enjoy my story if you decide to read it. You can find it by following the links below :
Website : www.angelawren.co.uk
Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com
Facebook : Angela Wren
Goodreads : Angela Wren
Reduced for one week only from 19.02.2016
An accidental discovery solving the problem of fossil fuel brings this Utopian vision closer but at what cost? Could there be unforeseen consequences and how dire would they be? Who could fight demons if all established religion had been abolished?
Put aside demons and add two people more doomed than Romeo and Juliet who are forced to fight alongside each other. Mix in some very energetic Goths and an undercover Christian Granny for an explosive result as the stories move at breakneck speed into the near-future blending magical realism with pizza, ritual with slang, deepest hatred with impossible love, shape-shifting with public transport.
Book 1 Alchemy
Book 2 Shaman’s Drum
Five Guns Blazing by Emma Rose Millar is an unforgettable historical adventure whose main character gets caught up in poverty, crime, slavery and piracy. It was justly awarded first place in the Legend category at the Chaucer Awards.
What the reviewers are saying:
“Hoist sail without delay and get your copy of Five Guns Blazing today, as it launches to the wide world. You’ll not regret it!”
“Disconnect your phone. Don’t answer your door. This book, a pot or two of coffee, and a comfortable chair, and you’re set for the day with this rollicking, seat-edged adventure.”
“You won’t want to put it down.”
“A gripping account … well researched and written with great sensitivity.”
“A dark, compelling tale, which captures the imagination, wonderfully written, rich, treacherous and jaw-dropping.”
“Rich in historical detail and vibrant characters the story pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages.”
“A fast paced, rip-roaring adventure from the filthy backstreets of London to the pirate seas, which kept me guessing right until the very end.”
“What a fabulous book; had me completely hooked from the beginning. Would recommend without reservation.”
“This is a real page turner with a central character you will connect with from the very start.”
“Kept me up several nights to continue reading and pulled me into the story right from page one.”
Author’s website: https://emmarosemillar.wordpress.com/
I’m delighted to welcome Shani Struthers back to my blog today.
Shani writes fantastically readable supernatural mysteries. Her brand new novel EVE: A CHRISTMAS STORY is a stand-alone prequel to her Psychic Surveys series that begins with The Haunting of Highdown Hall. I also recommend her novel, Jessamine, a powerful romantic and supernatural tale.
Thank you for hosting me on your blog today! My new book, Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story launches on the 24th November on Amazon and is the prequel to the popular Psychic Surveys series. Featuring two of the Psychic Surveys team – Theo Lawson and Vanessa Patterson – it’s set between 1899 and 1999 and is loosely inspired by a true event.
In my fictional re-telling, Theo and Ness are asked to investigate a town weighed down by the sorrow of what happened 100 years before…
What do you do when a whole town is haunted?
In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community, refusing to let them forget.
In 1999, psychic investigators Theo Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The past taints everything.
Hurtling towards the anniversary as well as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle, fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in the most dangerous of ways.
They’ll need all their courage to succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall, who shouldn’t even be there…
As Theo turned round to face the double doors, she had a feeling that someone – something – was rushing at her, as fleetingly as whatever had been in Adelaide’s house. Refusing to let fear get a stranglehold, she turned back, her aim to confront it. A black wisp of a shape, like wood smoke, sideswiped her, before fading into nothing. Staring after it, wondering what it was, something else caught her attention. At the far end of the second room was something more substantial: a little girl, staring at her.
Theo’s eyes widened. “Oh darling, darling,” she whispered. She took a step forwards, tried to remember the names of the children on the list from earlier: Alice, Helen, Bessie, Adelaide’s ancestor, Ellen Corsby perhaps. Which one was she?
She inched closer still. “Darling, your name, tell me what it is.”
The little girl’s arms moved upwards, she stretched them out, her manner beseeching although she remained mute. Theo tried again, told the child her own name.
“It’s short for Theodora. I bet you’re called something pretty.”
The girl had a dress on; long, brownish, a course material – linen perhaps? Nothing special but if it was her party dress then maybe it was special to her. Her boots were brown too – lace ups, sturdy looking. She was around eight or nine but it was hard to tell. She could have been older just small for her age. Her hair was brown and tangled; she had a mane of it. Everything about her seemed to be brown or sepia, maybe sepia was the right word, as though she’d stepped out of an old photograph.
“I’m here now, sweetheart, I’ve come to help. You’ve been here for such a long time. Too long. You need to go to the light, go home, rest awhile.”
Up closer, Theo could read her eyes. The longing in them stirred her pity.
“Let me help you,” Theo persisted, her voice catching in her throat. As glorious as the other side might be, she still felt it unfair to be felled at such a young age. Often this was a good existence too and it deserved to be experienced fully.
She was close now, so close and still her arms were outstretched.
Harriet – the name presented itself whole in her mind.
“Your name’s Harriet. Is that correct? It’s lovely, it suits you.”
Was that a smile on the child’s lips, the beginnings of trust? Soon she’d be able to reach out and touch her. What would she feel like? Cold? Ethereal?
“Darling, I’m here,” she repeated, no more than a foot between them. “I’m here.”
Joy surged – one spirit had come forward – it was an encouraging start.
Just before their hands touched everything changed. Hope and joy were replaced with confusion as something sour – fetid almost – rose up, making her feel nauseous.
“Don’t be afraid,” Theo implored. Yet there was nothing but fear in her eyes now. No, not fear, that was too tame a word – terror.
“I’m not here to harm you,” she continued. “I’m here to help.”
As the words left her mouth, other hands appeared behind the child, a whole sea of them – disembodied hands that clawed at her, forcing her backwards.
“No!” Theo shouted. “Stop it. Leave her alone!”
But it was no use. Her words faded as the girl did. She’d been torn away, recaptured; the one who’d dared to step forward. Theo could feel sweat break out on her forehead, her hands were clammy. She clutched at her chest, her breathing difficult suddenly, laboured. Her heart had been problematic of late, a result of the pounds she’d piled on. She must go to the doctor to get some medication. Struggling to gain control, it took a few moments, perhaps a full minute, before her heart stopped hammering. And when it did, she remembered something else. The girl’s eyes – her sweet, brown, trusting eyes – when the expression changed in them they hadn’t been looking at her, they’d been looking beyond her. Was it at the thing that sideswiped her? Theo couldn’t be certain. She wasn’t certain either if that ‘thing’ was a spirit or much less than that – something with no soul, but with an appetite, an extreme appetite: a craving. Something, she feared, was insatiable.
Brighton-based author of paranormal fiction, including UK Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall. Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, is also available and due out in November 2015 is Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story – the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series. She is also the author of Jessamine, an atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and described as a ‘Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.’
Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street is in progress.
All events in her books are inspired by true life and events.
Catch up with Shani via her website http://www.shanistruthers.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9