Thursday, 24 December 2015

Damascus Cover by Howard Kaplan (The Jerusalem Spy Series Book 1)

Ari Ben-Sion is a spy who has undergone a number of missions. Now feeling older and that he is been passed over missions to younger agents and sensing his last mission did not go all that well. In a last attempt to try and save his career he decides to accept a mission he would never usually even consider. The mission is to smuggle a group of Jewish children out of the Damascus ghetto. But all is not what it seems, when things start to go wrong and things do not fall into place. Then when he begins to fall for an American photographer, Ari's world is about to spin out of control putting everything at risk including his life.

One of the things I really enjoy about reviewing books is that sometimes it allows you to step away from your comfort reading zone and to be able to read books you would never usually have ever considered reading and I would have missed out on so many good reads like this one. This spy, suspense novel really surprised me. I was afraid I may find it too complicated and that it would not hold my interest, however from page one I was gripped and pulled into the intense storyline and I could not put the book down. I am left wanting to read more and to find out what happens next. This great story is been made into a major motion picture and I cannot wait to see it on the big screen.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Meet the Author - Carol Arnall

I always promised myself that one day I would write a book. After being involved in a serious car accident in the late 1980s, and finding that I could not return to work, I decided it was a golden opportunity to follow my dream of writing.
I wrote Birmingham Girls and I was pleasantly surprised how well it was received. I then settled down to write my first novel Dancing with Spirits, followed by the sequel Spirits of the Lights.
Since then I have continued writing and my latest novel Another Time, Another Place will be my eleventh book.
Introduction to Another Time, Another Place
Ann leaves home to escape her strict parents but, unfortunately, finds herself in a similar situation with a controlling boyfriend who is a speaker at the local Spiritualist Church. He makes her life miserable. Can she find a way to leave him and set up a business teaching tarot cards?
Previous to Ann leaving home she had experienced a time lapse and found herself living a life as a clairvoyant in 1965. Will she discover the reason for her living this past life?
Will Ann eventually find love after her disastrous first relationship?

Sue’s husband tragically dies after two weeks of married life. To earn her living, Sue works the psychic fairs as a clairvoyant. She believes in life after death and is desperate to contact her husband through a medium.
A doctor visits her for a tarot card reading but to her dismay he becomes dependent on having readings, almost on a daily basis. At times, Sue feels as if he is taking over her life.
Packed with mystery and intrigue, Another Time, Another Place will hold your interest to the very end.
Here is the link to my Amazon Page
Twitter Link
Facebook Link

Thursday, 10 December 2015

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

Hayley Walker is a single-parent facing the new year with no job and an uncertain future. Happy she can escape her worries for the Christmas holidays to stay with family in New York. She knows her daughter Angel has one wish and she hopes to make it come true. A chance meeting in a restaurant with billionaire business man Oliver Drummond leads to an attraction and makes her heart a flutter. Oliver feels the attraction, but will he overcome his fear of ending up broken hearted?

Author Mandy Baggot has created the perfect Christmas magical romantic story that will fill you up with Christmas spirit and joy. A true fairy tale romance with all of the wonderful sights and sounds of the New York we know and love in its winter wonder of the Christmas season.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Breakup Doctor By Phoebe Fox

Brook Ogden is a love guru. The person people turn to when their love lives are falling apart. She gives therapy, counsels through meeting one-to-one with her clients and through a weekly advice column. She has all the know how and experience and the licence to prove it. In her working role she is nothing but professional.

However things are the exact opposite in her home and personal life. While she is busy giving advice and helping her clients through their break ups, her own love life is falling apart and she finds herself engaging in the very behaviour she is advising her clients not to do.

This is one of those fantastic books that pulls you in from the very first sentence, with its fast flow and witty wording, your interest is immediately drawn into the story and you are kept fully entertained from start to finished. This is the first of the trilogy of books in this series by Phoebe Fox and I cannot wait to lose myself in book two.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

My Big Fat Christmas Wedding by Samantha Tonge (Games of Scones #2)

Following on from the first story, Pippa Patterson is now running a tea shop on a small Greek Island and living with her fisherman fiancé Niko. Having left her busy business lifestyle in London behind her she is starting to feel that her new life has become a little dull and different from the hectic busy life she once lived, when a chance to fly to her ex's engagement party in London comes up, she jumps at the chance to return to the bright lights of the big city. Could it be that the romance between her and Niko was nothing more than a long summer holiday romance? And it is now time for her to go back to reality?

A nice easy romance story that is not too Christmassy so can be read anytime of the year. The book does cover and show some serious up to date issues that the author really researched. There is also some good references to Greek traditional customs too, which add a dimension to the story that makes it more real and less fairy tale. Although this is the second book in the Game of Scones series it can be read as a standalone. Author Samantha Tonge knows how to tell a good story. This is a book not to be missed.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Squaring Circles by Carolyn Mathews

Following on from Transforming Pandora, we catch up with Pandora Armstrong, now happily married to Jay, she is shocked by the sudden death of her mother and finding out she has a secret half brother called Theo who was brought up across the Atlantic.

When her mothers grave is disturbed and broken into not long after the burial. Pandora decides to investigate to find out what happened. She discovers her mother belonged to a mysterious group called the Isis circle. What exactly went on at those meetings? Pandora is keen to find out and see if it holds the key to explain why anyone would go to extreme circumstances of breaking into a grave.

I like this book because it covers a lot of genres. There is a little bit of everything in the story, romance, crime, mystery, fantasy and just a little touch of the paranormal all go into the mix to create a wonderfully told story. There is a great cast of characters who bring the story to life and you can almost feel the words breathe off the page as you read. I do recommend that you read the first book Transforming Pandora before you read this book, there are a lot of characters and it is easier to know who everyone is, if you have the background from the first book.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Choosing the right name for your romantic hero in 6 easy steps! by Marie Laval

The start of a new novel is always the start of a wonderful adventure, and my very first step has to be naming my characters, especially my hero and heroine. As soon as I have done so, they become alive and turn into real persons I can talk to, dream of and shout at. Choosing the names of your romantic characters, like picking the name of your baby, can be a long and stressful process because names are full of meaning. They give the reader an immediate impression of the characters' personality and background, of their social status and physical appearance, and even of their age. A hero's name can be so attractive the reader is immediately drawn and falls in love with him, or so off-putting she will stop reading.

So, what do you need to consider when choosing a name for your hero if you write romance?

1. Consider the time period.

If you call the hero of your Regency Harley, Bailey or Zane, the reader will not find it credible and may be turned off (or indeed intrigued). On the other hand, names like Ethan or Micah which may sound at first too modern, were actually quite common in Puritan English families in the 17th century. Talking about Puritan names, you should however steer clear of Fear-God, Fly-Fornication or Die-Well for your hero!
2. Consider the setting.

If your novel takes place abroad, then it is logical to have a cast of characters with names from that country, and that includes your hero. However too may unfamiliar sounding names might put the reader off, so you may have to chose names which work well both in English and French, Spanish or Russian - or whatever nationality your hero is. For example, I think Gregor, Alexei, and Dimitri would work well for a Russian hero, whereas Ermolei, Evgeny or Miron may not work so well.

3. Consider also the letter your hero's name begins with.

I have read that it was better to give your hero a name beginning with a 'hard' letter like B, G, J, K, R, V, because a hard, tough man must have a hard, tough sounding name. Well, I may have got that right with Bruce McGunn, the hero of The Dream Catcher, but all my other heroes had names starting with supposedly 'soft' letters: H (Hugo Saintclair), L (Lucas Saintclair), and F (Fabien Coste) and yet there was nothing soft about them!

4. Consider the meaning of your hero's name.

There are many books or internet sites about the meaning of names and it's always a good idea to check first, especially when you want to use a foreign name. For example, you might find the following names lovely but be put off when you find out that Amos means 'troubled', Vaughn in Welsh means 'little', and Cameron in Scottish means 'crooked nose'!

Why did I choose Bruce? It just popped into my mind when I was thinking about my Scottish hero. I knew straight away it would be perfect for the kind of man I had in mind, and of course it was the surname of Robert the Bruce, the Scottish hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland.

5. That brings me to the hero's surname, which is just as important as his first name.

McGunn wasn't my first choice of surname for the hero of THE DREAM CATCHER, but then I thought it would be fun if Rose, the heroine, could make fun of him and of his dark moods by giving him nicknames such as 'McGlum' or 'McGrump'. So this is how Bruce McGunn was born!

6. Lastly, consider your heroine's name too, because the hero's and heroine's names must work well together. You should practice saying them aloud. I did and I really liked the sound of 'Bruce and Rose'.

Author Bio
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years. ANGEL HEART, her debut historical romance, has just been re-released by Áccent Press, together with award-winning THE LION'S EMBRACE. She also writes contemporary romance with A SPELL IN PROVENCE, which was published earlier in 2015. THE DREAM CATCHER, Part I of her historical romance Trilogy DANCING FOR THE DEVIL, will be released on November 26th by Áccent too.

You can find her at

Can her love heal his haunted heart?
Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.
Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land in the far North of Scotland. Discharged from the army where he was known as the claymore devil, haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad, he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn's ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable - a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.
But Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master - the man she calls McGlum.
DREAM CATCHER is the first of the DANCING FOR THE DEVIL trilogy and is followed by BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Special Guest - Bonnie Trachtenberg


By Bonnie Trachtenberg

 After the thrilling success of my two romantic comedies, Wedlocked and Neurotically Yours, I was a bit reluctant to write the novel that had been occupying my mind, because I knew I’d established a certain expectation from my readers. Something drove me to it anyway—despite the fact it has been a slower going process to write than I’m used to. The novel, Seven Minutes in Heaven, features some humor, as well as romance, but unlike my others it was inspired by more than twenty-five years of personal research into a topic that I find more fascinating than almost any other: What happens after we die?

I know many people may think that to be a morbid theme, but it really is quite the opposite. After all, what could be less dark and depressing than finding out that we never really die? That those who have flat-lined and been revived by medical doctors (sometimes after no brain activity was recorded for hours) often have amazing stories to tell us about what they saw, heard, and felt while detached from their bodies. These are not recalled dreams either; they are experiences that are often described as “more real” than our lives here on earth. Medical personnel have verified that some patients have detailed knowledge of events in and around the operating room that they could never have known due to their bodily perspectives and medical conditions.

After years of incessant and widely varied study on this topic, I’ve come to my own logical conclusion that the soul does indeed survive bodily death. Therefore, how could I ever discount the experiences of those who have crossed over and returned to us—especially because when they do, they are often transformed into very different people who radically change the way they live the rest of their lives.

That is the premise of Seven Minutes in Heaven. My protagonist, Lindsay Baines Davenport, is an uber-successful party planner in New York City who has, in a sense, lost her soul. She is controlling, callous, and cunning. Deep down, she is in pain. The woman who seems to have it all actually has very little of the things that truly matter. So when a near-death experience (NDE) reveals her life to her through an omnipotent and stunningly new perspective, she returns with advanced knowledge and amazing gifts that ensure her life will never be the same.

I hope the readers who enjoyed my other books will keep an open mind and check their expectations at the door when they read my latest. If they do, I don’t think they’ll be disappointed! Stay tuned for release dates.


 Bonnie Trachtenberg is the multi-award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel, Neurotically Yours: A Novel, and The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking. She writes a monthly relationship and advice column for Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle Magazine. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. She lives in New York with her husband, four cats, and a dog.

Learn much more about Bonnie at her website:
Follow her on Twitter: @Writebrainedny

Buy Wedlocked
Barnes & Noble:

Buy Neurotically Yours
Barnes & Noble:

Buy The Fine Art of Delusional Thinking
Barnes & Noble:

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Dark Tides by Mark Piggott

This is the second book in the Forever Avalon series.

This is an epic fantasy adventure that can be read as a stand alone book, even though it is a follow on book. This book goes into full detail about everything that happens in book one. This story is like reading two different books at the same time. In part we learn about Bryan's life in medieval Avalon when he was separated from his family. We also then have the modern day story about how Bryan's family are now doing since joining him in Avalon.

With a mixture of magic, fantasy and lots of imagination, we see the dark forces rising in Avalon to fulfil a prophecy. They want to bring back and resurrect Morgana le Fay, a very powerful sorceress from the past. If they succeed, she will be able to unleash the Dark Tides to cause destruction so big. It would change the whole of Avalon forever.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It’s A Kind Of Magic – Book Covers! By Linn B. Halton

I’m sure many readers wonder why authors sometimes change the covers of their books. As the author of 8 novels, 3 novellas and 1 true story, most of my books are traditionally published. But three of them are self-published at the moment. Now the pros and cons for self-publishing versus traditionally publishing is another topic in itself, but it can also be one of the reasons for cover changes. In fact, there are a whole host of reasons and as I’ve just gone through a similar process with three of my novels, it’s a hot topic for me to talk about at the moment!

It’s often difficult to get the cover right first time, even for those who have been working in the industry for a long time. Remember that a cover has to reflect the content of the book, appeal to the readers of that genre AND stand out from the crowd.

From my personal experience this is what I’ve discovered:

A. Traditionally published books:
1. If there is a cover revision it will most likely be because the marketing team feel a change will enable the book to appeal to a wider audience.
2. Seasonal covers are popular – my Harper Impulse ‘A Cottage in the Country’ has both a summer and a winter cover, and I love that!

B. Self-pubbed books:
Being self-published means that YOU are in the driving seat: which is great on one hand, but on the other you don’t have the benefit of a marketing team’s experience to help you make good decisions. Whenever I’ve changed any of my covers it’s for one of the following reasons:

1. It’s a steep learning curve and what seemed like a great cover at the time can quickly turn out to be a BIG mistake. Don’t beat yourself up over bad decisions, just learn from it and move forward.
2. Trends change and while your book has to stand out, you want it to be easily identifiable as a part of the genre it falls within.
3. A cover may be eye-catching, but it might not quite reflect the subject matter. This makes it difficult for readers to connect with it and easier for them to pass over it.
4. As an author you will, over time, find a way of presenting information about yourself that reflects your personality. This style will be conveyed via your website, Twitter and FB accounts etc. You might then want to have an element of that tying into your covers. This is more difficult if you write in more than one genre, but can still be achieved by use of the same fonts/style/colours.
5. Linking books together, not necessarily because they are a series but, in my case, to give my three self-pubbed novels a sense of linked identity.
6. Sometimes a book that has been traditionally published is only contracted for a set number of years. When ‘the rights’ revert back to you, whether you decide to self-pub it, or submit it to another publisher, a new cover has to be designed.

Two things are very important to understand:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
We’re all very different…

If you look at any bookshelf you will see covers you love, covers you hate, and those that make you feel indifferent. To some people it’s the cover first, when it comes to choosing their next read. To others it’s cover AND blurb. Some people will be influenced by online reviews and personal recommendations. We are each unique and another ‘plain truth’ is that you can’t please everyone all of the time. Me? I go with my heart and my gut instincts, tempered more and more by experience as time goes on.

My latest cover changes were triggered by getting the rights back for The Restaurant @ The Mill. It seemed the right time to give my self-pubbed books a sense of linked identity. But the new covers also reflect the way I’m feeling more comfortable with my own style. The important thing is to realise that nothing stands still in this fast-paced world and to embrace everything change has to offer – including new directions!
C:\Users\Linn\Desktop\Var Graphics\Promo graphics\Linn B Halton new covers med.jpg

If you want to read about the photo shoot for the new Never Alone cover, you can read the story here: It’s just one example of … let’s say ‘diversity’, for this writer!

You can visit me at:

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Forever Avalon by Mark Piggott

Twelve months after her husband disappeared at sea, Stephanie and their three children set of on a chartered boat trip off the coast of Bermuda to pay their respects at the spot he was last located. After a terrible storm they are left shipwrecked on an island and things go from bad to worse when they soon find out they are now in another world… On a mythical island called Avalon. A medieval time, which is ruled by the descendants of King Arthur.

Considered outlanders that can be punished by death, Stephanie and her children, Ashley, Rose and Hunter soon find themselves pursued by bounty hunters, but when the Gil-Gamesh steps in to rescue them the adventure as just begun.

I found myself lost in this novel and before I knew it I was almost at the end. A fantasy story that the author's imagination goes into full overdrive, that makes this book enchanting and addictive. A very intriguing story, that references every mythical and magical being you can think of and any missing I hope to find in book two. I was swept along into the adventure and colourful characters. I enjoyed the whole magical experience of the book.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Going To See The Elephant by D.M. Harrison

Rose has taken care of her family, two brothers since her parents passed away. When one of her brothers loses their home and land in a foolish gamble with the town's Mayor, in exchange for what seems to be a worthless piece of land at the other side of the country, after tragic events Rose has no choice but to go see the elephant and take the chance of travelling on the dangerous wagon trail. The journey is quite an adventure as well as avoiding Indians and dysentery, Rose finds herself trying to avoid the attention of two beaus, Cash and Boyd, when all she wants to do is find a safe place to settle.

This is my first Western book… I have ever read! Imagine that! How wonderful to finally after all this time to discover a new genre and what's more. I really enjoyed it. I like stories that have women as strong independent leading ladies and although this book is set in 1850 and most women in books of this era are usually in the background or just doing girlie things, it is great to see Rose as a feisty, young woman who knows her own mind. This is not a romance novel. This is a book filled with non-stop action and adventure. I will look forward to reading more books by D.M Harrison.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Thicker Than Water by Mary O'Sullivan

A small community of people who live on the Hawthorn Estate in the rural Irish town of Ballyderg, each with their own dark secrets. Four girls have disappeared without trace in the past eighteen months. Maeve, Linda and Jan are three friends who must face a storm that is coming... Which will change each of their lives for ever.

Thicker than Water is a chilling psychological crime thriller with murder and mystery that keeps the reader on the edge of your seat in suspense from beginning to end. I had chills running down my spine as the story is sometimes told from the murders point of view, captivating a very dark and unhinged mind that tries to rationalise the despicable acts that they are carrying out.

This is an intriguing and tense read from author Mary O'Sullivan. The words of the story really make the reader feel the emotion of the dark atmosphere to the story. I was guessing who did it right up to the end. I could in no way predict what was going to happen next and that is what I like in a book. I like books too that play out in your minds-eye because the characters are so real and this is what you will find reading this book. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Meet the Author – Sue Fortin

I was recently lucky enough to be able to give up my day job to fulfil my ambition of writing full-time. My husband has been really supportive and, it’s fair to say, that without him, this just wouldn’t be possible.

So, how was I going to fill my days as a writer? Cue rose coloured specs as I imagine myself with my own office, maybe even a summer house, typing away, only interrupted by telephone calls from my editor in London, long lunches discussing book signings, both London and New York, guest appearances on Richard & Judy’s Book Club, champagne swigging literary events and calling everyone ‘Darling’.

Yeah, well, as it turns out, it’s not quite like that.

I try to remember two pieces of advice. One from Nora Roberts about sitting down to write and getting on with it; the books aren’t going to write themselves. The other from J K Rowling, to guard your writing days. Don’t be tempted to accept invitations to coffee and shopping trips. Your writing days are precious and should be kept that way.

Of course, it’s easier said than done but I’m working on it and try to be at my desk by 9.30 every morning, attacking my To Do List.  I tend to break up the spells of writing with household chores that need doing, such as, washing, cleaning, tidying, shopping, cooking – all the usual stuff that, if I were at work, would have to wait until the evening.

If I’m working on promotional pieces or plotting, it’s easier to fit everything in as there are more opportunities to take a break but if I’m right in the midst of my work in progress, it’s harder, especially if it’s going well.

So, how does my day run as a full-time writer – definitely a lot busier than when I had a day job but I’m certainly not complaining as I thoroughly enjoy every minute of it.

Author Bio

Published by Harper Collins' imprint Harper Impulse, Sue Fortin writes romance, mystery and suspense.

Her originally self-published debut novel was awarded the INDIE Brag Medallion and later when published by HarperImpulse was short-listed for the Joan Hessayon Award (2014). Sue was also short-listed for the Festival of Romance, New Talent Award (2013). Her second novel, Closing In, reached number one in the Romantic Suspense Kobo chart at the end of 2014. Sue blogs regularly with the on-line writing group The Romaniacs ( and in 2014 they released a charity anthology 'Romaniac Shorts'.

Lover of cake, Dragonflies and France. Hater of calories, maths and snakes. Sue was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex.

Sue is married with four children, all of whom patiently give her time to write but, when not behind the keyboard, she likes to spend her time with them, enjoying both the coast and the South Downs, between which they are nestled.
You can catch up with Sue at

The French Retreat Blurb

With Christmas on the horizon, losing her job and her home wasn’t on Marcie Grainger’s wish list. In a bid to reassess her life, she heads off to the only place she has ever felt truly content - her brother’s farmhouse retreat in rural France.

Marcie isn’t the only one looking to escape. Ex-soldier Will hopes the gentle pace of French life will banish the ghosts of his past and offer him the fresh start he desires.

However, all is not what it seems at The Retreat. Fuelled by local rumours and strange happenings, Will and Marcie are pushed together as they try to discover who or what is behind it all. In so doing, they end up finding more than they bargained for.
The French Retreat is a story of human compassion, hope and love.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Racing Heart by June Moonbridge

Racing Heart is a romantic and deeply emotional novel about a young woman called Desiree and the heartbreak she is going through searching for her missing young son.

When Desiree is working in a perfumery in Monte Carlo and the Monaco Grand Prix is in full throttle, Desiree has a chance meeting with Formula One driver Lorcan Shore. The two get off to a shaky start, but fate is about to come crashing into them at full speed, taking them on a quite a drive of emotions.

Set with the backdrop of Formula One creating the setting for this this intense and beautifully told story. The motor racing is not the main focus of the story, so if like me you do anything to avoid the Formula One season when it begins, don't let it put you off reading this book. I found myself having   to pit-stop between chapters as they are quite long, but I liked the pace of the book with it's slow start building up to a satisfying finish. I do like to escape into a good romance and yes I admit I love scenes some may find a touch too sentimental than sexy, so if like me you like an adult fairy-tale… Then this is the book for you.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Special Guest - Carol E. Wyer

Any writer today knows how important it is to maintain a profile on social media and get those reviews to keep the reading public interested in their books. It can get very tiring and authors who notice a dip in sales can become disillusioned. It is then when they might turn to one of those adverts that have appeared in their inbox to advertise or promote a book or, to take a chance at winning a book award and earn an accolade that will help launch their literary future.

Take it from one who has learned the hard way, there are very few competitions you should enter. Many charge a fee but it does not end there. Surprise, surprise you will be short-listed along with many others in your category. For some awards there are loads of categories so it seems as if everyone who entered won a semi-finalist award. That earns you bragging rights—which only serve to further promote the award itself—and the opportunity to purchase stickers for your books, badge or medal should you wish.

In my salad days, I believed that winning an award would allow me to garner attention from the media and promote my book further. Grumpy was not happy. He did not want me frittering away my hard-earned money on awards. He took some convincing but I applied. I won three – two Indie medals – all bright and shiny—the size of dinner plates. I also won a gold medal from Readers Favourite where I got a wonderful review and jumped about the room in excitement. Grumpy remained unimpressed by the size of my gong. “How much did that lump of metal cost you?” he grumbled. He was right. I should have saved my money. Did they help? No. Journalists were interested until I mentioned my award. “What’s that then?” they replied just before they decided it was not newsworthy. When it is an award from some obscure site that is unheard of in the UK then just forget it. It is not worth your time, or your money.

It didn’t dampen my ardour and I continued to seek out well-known awards. One of my books, Just Add Spice was entered for the Costa Awards (Ha, even Grumpy had heard of them). Then, my publishers, Safkhet Publishing, put one of my books up for The People’s Book Prize Award.

Founded by Dame Beryl Bainbridge and with Frederick Forsythe as its patron, this is a superb platform for authors who wish to be recognised. Entry is free. If your book is selected from the many, you will be showcased for three months, during which time the voting public will be able to vote for it. If you are then one of the lucky three to go through to the finals, you will have one further week ahead of the award ceremony to promote and ask readers (or your family) to vote again.

The ceremony takes place in London. It is a glitzy affair with a touch of showbiz about it. Sky television film for the entire evening and all finalists get the chance to show off their books.

It’s not just about the award. You have a wonderful opportunity to write about your book on social media, show it off and attract more readers. The People’s Book Prize award is dedicated to promoting literacy and showcasing lesser-known authors. You can let local press know you are a finalist and you may well find yourself appearing on radio shows or television. All of which all leads to sales and the feeling you have climbed onto the bottom rung of Z-list celebrity fame.

Some of you many know I won the award last year for my non-fiction book Grumpy Old Menopause. I can’t tell you how thrilled (and surprised) I was. Sales for the book jumped that month and I had a few manic days where I felt I was achieving what I had always wanted. My book was being read. I was making people laugh. Grumpy managed a smile—yes, a smile!

Now my humorous travel guide, Grumpies On Board is up for voting. It was compiled over several months and we have been researching it for some considerable time. It is more than a travel guide. It will give you ideas and suggestions to change how you travel or indeed make you want to try out all sorts of previously unheard of stuff. It’s stuffed full of fun and laughs too. You can find out why Grumpy will not go Snuffle Trunting again.

Given my beloved Grumpy wrote all the daft comments in it, he is rather hoping to cajole a few votes for it. If you have five minutes, could you please head over to the website, register and vote for it. I would love to see him collect an award. Heaven knows what he’ll say if it happens but be assured Sky will be televising it and we’ll all find out.

Vote HERE:


Monday, 12 October 2015

Meet the Author - Jan Ruth

Wild, Dark and Silent.

Wild, Dark and Silent: A testimony to the Welsh Hills.

The close of July saw the re-release of WILD WATER.

Although this is the second title Accent Press have released, it’s actually my first novel, a book which has endured the longest journey of all to arrive fully polished and published. It began as a humble paper copy – remember those? – and went through several transformations before arriving in a much less frazzled state.

This is the story of Jack Redman, the wronged alpha male who’s trying to make the best decisions for his family but more often than not, gets kicked in the teeth. How often we read novels in the contemporary genres which consistently root for the female character – nothing wrong with a strong woman of course – but no one seemed to be telling these stories from the male viewpoint, at least not twenty years ago when I began my quest. Divorce still seems heavily weighted towards the partner with the children, and the mother is usually awarded custody unless there are extenuating circumstances which can be proved. Most of the time this is all well and good, but there are a great number of cases where our ancient system is fully exploited. Sadly, a lot of the initial storyline was prompted by real-life experience but there’s no better starting point than this for fiction in the family-saga genre. Jack Redman is a victim not only of the court system injustices but of its inability to deal with the speed and complications of contemporary family life.

The Wild Water series is strongly rooted in Conwy, a medieval town in North Wales. In the main I’ve used real places, and I do love the mix of historical buildings as a backdrop to a modern tale. Links to Welsh history and heritage are unavoidable in Wales and it’s the visible remains of quarries, castles and farmsteads which give the area a strong sense of the past. And there’s richness in the landscape here which has certainly inspired my writing. St. Celynin’s seventh century church in the hills for example, is an evocative piece of living history and a landmark which is included throughout the series. It’s exactly the sort of place Anna, with her natural spiritualism, might seek sanctuary. Nestled in the hills 927 feet above the sea, its pretty inaccessible and best approached on foot, but this is no hardship.

Some of the area is chocolate-box pretty, a lot of it isn’t. The struggle to make a living in this community is mostly based on farming or tourism, although the mussel industry is alive and well. Since I know little about these subjects, Jack Redman emerged as an estate-agent. I like to be slightly unconventional with my characters because another great killer of readability is sameness, and cliche.
It was both daunting, and a pleasure to write the follow-up, Dark Water; to be republished by Accent Press on October 8th.

The story picks up three years after the end of Wild Water and Jack is in for another bumpy ride. Dark Water is, as the title might suggest, a darker story partly because my writing style has changed over twenty years, but also because I introduced an element of crime. It’s too easy to become lazy with a sequel and repeat much of what has gone before. The resurgence of Simon Banks created plenty of tension, and a fresh challenge for me to write some of the story from his perspective. New characters such as Clarissa Harrison-Smith and Peter Claymore, breathed new life into the original cast. When I brought Claymore into the story, he had to have a purpose and a passion, and his persona took root in one of the most fascinating buildings in Conwy – sadly in a state of disrepair – but the real life situation fitted perfectly with what I had in mind for the plot.

This house was built in 1589 by the vicar of Conwy. Since then it’s been a pub, a tearoom and an antique shop. It’s full of spooky atmosphere with cellars, trap doors and secret passages, and apparently there used to be an escape tunnel which led to the quay. Haunted? Most certainly!

It’s exactly the sort of place someone like Claymore would want to renovate and bring to life, and the perfect setting for Anna to develop in her own right as a serious artist. Her portrait of Llewellyn the Great is the centrepiece of her launch but of course, this is fiction and nothing goes to plan! The comedy and tragedy of Jack’s life rumbles on. In his own words: ‘Raping and pillaging is still rife, even in the modern world.’





Wild Water 1:
Dark water 2:

Youtube trailer: