Category Archives: Crooked Cat

Igboland – “A great book that was hard to stop reading.”

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!”

Click here to purchase
Click here to purchase

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

 

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

New Release: ‘What the Clocks Know’ by Rumer Haven

Released March 18, 2016WhattheClocksKnow

Paranormal Women’s Fiction

Crooked Cat Publishing

~ * ~

Summary:

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.

WTCK_teaser1

** Add it! **

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29368003-what-the-clocks-know

** 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

 

~ * ~

 

Author Bio:

Rumer HavenRumer 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

Angela Wren – Messandrierre

Angela WrenI’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!

AngelaWShort 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 :

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Smashwords

Website : www.angelawren.co.uk

Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com

Facebook : Angela Wren

Goodreads : Angela Wren

AngelaW

Ailsa Abraham’s Alchemy

Reduced for one week only from 19.02.2016

Ailsa1
What would you give for a world free of war, dependence on fossil fuels, pollution and terrorism?  That is the premise for the Alchemy series

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

Ailsa2

FIVE GUNS BLAZING: a rip-roaring page-turner

Click here to purchase
Click here to purchase

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.”

Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Author’s website: https://emmarosemillar.wordpress.com/

 

Emma Rose Millar

Publisher’s Website: https://crookedcatbooks.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/new-release-five-guns-blazing-by-emma-rose-millar-kevin-allen/

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