Monday, 21 September 2015

Meet the Author - Carol E. Wyer

Grumpies On Board
Genre: humour, non-fiction
Release Date: 21st May 2105
Publisher: Safkhet
A "book it" list like no other, with humorous suggestions for extreme active ageing trips and why grumpies should not go snuffle trunting

Fancy a holiday with a difference? Then pack your bags and get ready for some extreme active ageing. Us 'older' folk are heading away from the traditional hotel holiday and at last, having fun!
This humorous guide, compiled by Mr and Mrs Grumpy, offers alternatives to the usual holiday—from sensible to outrageous—to suit every grumpy guts.
Learn about Arctic boot camps, ayurvedic retreats, drumming holidays, ice blokarting, motoring experiences, skijorking, tubing, Vespa excursions, voodoo trips and discover why Mr Grumpy will never go truffle hunting again.
With over 300 suggestions of how to get the best out of your vacation and live life to the maximum, this book aims to inspire and entertain.
Read it and put some choices on your "book it" list. After all, you only live once!
“An excellently researched insight into the world of the truly grumpy traveller. Youngsters beware..!” Nigel Vardy AKA Mr. Fostbite. Record breaking mountaineer, author and inspirational speaker.


Carol E. Wyer was born in Munster, Germany in 1960. She began her working life in Casablanca where she taught English and French in Language Schools and for companies. used to race around the streets on a clapped out VéloSoleX bike, avoiding donkeys. She changed career to become a fitness instructor in her forties and appeared in Zest magazine as a ‘success story’. No longer able to touch her toes with her hands, she has now become a full-time writer. Having written a series of educational yet amusing books for children, she turned her attention to the adult market in 2010 when her son flew from the nest.

Her first two novels Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos won several awards for humour and much attention from the media. Since then, she has won the people’s Book Prize Award with Grumpy Old Menopause and has appeared on over fifty BBC radio stations, several international radio stations, Sky News, NBC television and BBC Breakfast television discussing age-related subjects such as ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Grumpy Old Menopause’. Her writing style has been described frequently by the media as 'witty' or 'humorous' and has even been compared to the acerbic wit of Jeremy Clarkson and the humour of Robin Williams.

Carol has written articles for and featured in several national women’s magazines including Take A Break, Choice, Woman’s Weekly and Woman's Own who also wrote about her journey to becoming a best-selling author.

Currently writing a series of novels and articles aimed at the ‘older’ woman and man, Carol is also engaged in writing by-line articles and posts for magazines and websites including Silver Travel Advisor and the Huffington Post.

Carol is also a regular Loud Mouth on BBC Radio Derby.

Last year, she took a crash course in stand-up comedy and is currently doing a comedy tour entitled Smile While You Still have Teeth to sell-out audiences, proving you’re never too old to try a new experience.

1st Prize – copy of the book (uk winner a signed paperback / non UK an ecopy)
2nd Prize – Grumpy old git / cow travel mug

Tell us about the inspiration for the Grumpies books.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Once upon a time there was a lonely housewife, facing a big birthday, whose husband had taken early retirement and was shattering her everyday peace by being at home all the time. No longer could she watch afternoon television in peace or go out to the shops without her husband joining her and preventing her from buying anything she fancied.

Life become intolerable. Not only was she going through “that” time of her life but her days were gloom-filled as her husband moped about the house, refusing to take up hobbies and wishing he were still young. He griped about the roads, potholes, the economy and failing stock markets, chuntered about their son and spent hours trying to hit the resident mole over the head with a spade. However, she was determined to get him interested in something and get him back out of the house so she could continue to laze about on the sofa on an afternoon, eating her bodyweight in Jaffa cakes and watching the afternoon soap operas.

Then she had a brainwave; she would hide from her husband, begin a blog and tell the world about her day-to-day life with the grumpy guts. He was, after all quite amusing when he ranted, his little red face all crumpled up in frustration, and surely there would be other women who would understand and empathise with her.

There were. In fact, within a few months thousands began to visit her blog and loved the stories about Hubby as he was then called. She used some of the stories and wrote a novel Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines about bored housewife, Amanda Wilson, whose husband Phil takes early retirement and drives her mad with his antics. To save her sanity, Amanda writes a blog and there are twists and turns along the way to surprise the reader. 

She stayed up every night working into the early hours to complete her novel – Hubby knew nothing about it until it was published. It went down a storm. She appeared in Woman’s Own magazine as a best-selling author and emails flooded her inbox. There were thousands of women who connected with her character, Amanda, and who claimed to be married to Phil’s brother. Many wrote to seek advice on how to handle a retired man and how to survive being at home all day with him. It gave her some ideas for more books. These would be separate to her novels—they would be a series of amusing guides filled with jokes and advice on how to survive various aspects of ageing including: the menopause, (male and female), retirement and divorce.

Meanwhile, she continued her quest to cheer up her hubby now known as Mister Grumpy. She enrolled them both for golf lessons that ended in disaster when the grumpy one lost all his fluorescent balls in the lake.  She signed them up to a gym but that led to an embarrassing situation meaning they could not return there. She searched the internet and discovered hundreds of hobbies and gradually week by week, presented him with a new challenge. He had a go at some of them. Others he flatly refused to try although why he wouldn’t go bungee jumping was a puzzle to her. The result was 700 ways to entertain a grumpy old man or as it is now called, How Not to Murder Your Grumpy. Sadly, 700 ways or not, none appealed to her grumpy old husband, so she started taking him away on holidays that would entertain him and offer him even more exciting opportunities and there, she succeeded.

The two of them travelled far and wide to some exotic destination and some less exotic. Each time, she ensured there was plenty for the Grumpy to enjoy. Eventually, after several years there was enough material to write a humorous guide for all who were looking for adventure and entertainment, or were stuck with a grumpy guts on holiday—Grumpies On Board.

So, my story has a happy ending. The lonely author is no longer lonely and spends many hours happily writing novels and articles, or socialising with her friends online, or being interviewed on radio and television shows. She still spends time hiding in her office from the old Grumpy though. You know the old adage “a Cheetah can’t change its spots”? It turns out an old Grumpy will always be an old Grumpy no matter how much you try to change him.
By the way, instead of watching television, the happy author now types all afternoon and eats her body weight in jelly sweets.
The End

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Meet the Author - Eleanor Smythe

Author biography

Eleanor Smythe was born in the east end of London, however struggles to call it home as she moved away in her teens, and continued to live in many places around the UK. Raising a family to secondary school level she then went on to obtain a degree in Occupational Therapy. Although she took the opportunity to work in various medical settings her greatest passion was working with clients in the community, where she claims real life takes place.
Now retired and living in Portugal Eleanor has more time to pursue her love of writing. Always intrigued by the way in which individuals cope with life's challenges and how they overcome the twists and turns of life, her stories attempt to embrace inner emotional turmoil that her characters might feel. Her characters are brought to life by showing humour, tragedy, conflict and betrayal and emotions that many of us face daily.
Her debut book, The Other Side of Town is full such characters.  

I am thankful to Nikki for inviting me to be a guest on her fantastic blog. Not being a great blogger myself I always welcome the opportunity to share my thoughts and processes with others.

I say processes because I feel writing is a process, a transformation of thoughts onto paper. Not only our own thoughts but the imaginary thoughts of our characters. As you would have seen from my author biography I can get quite caught up with the importance of sharing emotions, how people express their feelings and deal with situations. However in real life we can only know as much as we’re told or what we see. If someone smiles and says they’re fine, we have to trust that, even if we may think it to be insincere. People are often protective about the way they truly feel. Exposing ones emotions can be fearful, can bring about a sense of vulnerability and even insecurity, all of which are emotions in themselves, as is happiness – it’s all fleeting. Then we have the taboo subjects of death, grief, disability, sexuality and what’s politically correct in our current climate. Can we actually say what we feel, for fear we may upset somone even unintentionally?

When I write and I set out my characters, I love to imagine what kind of person they would be. Are they open? Do they tell all or are they closed off and secretive? I like to dig into their emotions and how they might deal with situations. I create situations for them to deal with and then I ask, would she or he do that, or say that? One reviewer thought my characters were depressing - well maybe that’s how she read them to be. I prefer to see them as strong and who come through difficult times with their heads held high, moving forward with life. Isn’t that what we have to do, if we’re to survive? Reality isn’t always happy and joyous, however we can have humour and strength even in the darkest of moments. My fictitious characters have fictitious scenarios to deal with but I aim to make it realistic to life. I don’t write a ‘sit on the edge of your seat’ thriller or horror and I’m yet to write with raunchy passion, but I hope my readers will enjoy the emotional roller coaster that my stories aim to give.

I once read, ‘write what you know’ it must have been a quote but couldn’t tell you who wrote it.
So am I qualified to talk about emotions with such passion? Now this gets personal, but as I’ve written with such conviction about emotion, it’s seems only fair that I open up  a little. I was married very young to my first husband, it lasted all of 4 years and a few months. I was seventeen. I don’t recommend it - not the best decision I’ve ever made. I was married long enough to have 3 sons and obtain a divorce. Now I can see you’re all doing your maths. It was considered to be an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage, the fact that he used me as a punch bag didn’t actually matter at the time, it was the fact that there was no way back. I had to write my account of the marriage, convincing enough to prove the marriage was past being retrieved. I could see the judge’s face contort as he read my discription. I was pretty sure he smiled when he read the part that stated, ‘I picked up a frying pan and hit my husband over the head to free myself.’  Now that was the best short story I’d ever written. I know the judge thought so as he granted the divorce.

I later met my wonderful husband. We’ve been together 42 years and this coming January married for 40 years. He adopted the boys and we went on to have two children of our own, a little girl who died at the age of 3 months from cot death and our son who died two years ago at the age of 36. After our daughter died I read that 75% of marriages end after losing a child, because it is so stressful on the relationship, and it is, but we hung on in there.

I saw my work as a privilege. It enabled me to see deep into peoples lives, through assessment and the grace of people sharing their intimate details with me, all confidential and none of which I would use for the pleasure of writing. However I was always moved at the level of endurance people actually have, whether through physical or emotional disability. How resilient we can be never ceases to amaze me.

We have tipped the iceberg of emotion and I know that I’m not alone, everyone of us has suffering in some way. It’s not the suffering that drags us down but the way we choose to deal with it. For me, I have found creativity and escapisim in my writing, my garden and the people in my life. We are all qualified to write with emotion, I just choose to write emotional journeys about people who come out the other side.

My second book is currently with the editor. Reflections talks about a woman called Sally who has to deal with the grief of losing her father, whom she’d known for only two years before he died. After the funeral she takes time out to be alone and reflects on her life. She had to make amends with her estranged mother and half sisters, to find out who her father was. We read about the lives of her parents and why Sally had always felt abandoned. She also reflects on her recent divorce. Whilst this is happening a Mr Leriche from interpol opens an old case of a stolen painting and before long Sally finds herself in the middle of a criminal investigation and the sole beneficiary to her fathers estate, which she has to develop or walk away from. Like I say, not a ‘sit on the edge of your seat thriller’, but an emotional journey with a happy ending.

Please look out for the cover which is currently being created for Reflections.

The link for The Other Side of Town
Twitter user name @authoreleanor1

The Other Side of Town -Synopsis
Maureen and Karina had been friends since childhood. However, due to betrayal and grief their lives have taken on very different paths. The Other Side of Town tells the story of the two families, brought together by tragedy.
Maureen marries John Evans and they soon have their fair share of misfortune. An accident at work impacts on their lives, forcing them to sell their home and move into social housing and a completely different lifestyle. Maureen has to find work with a multinational IT company called Millbrooks. Tragedy finds them again and their lives become consumed with grief while trying to find justice. Amidst all this, Maureen befriends a woman called Judith and although she has a chequered past, Judith brings a sense of humour and friendship into their lives.
Karina marries Rupert Millbrook, whose family span generations and are so influential that the town is named after them. Karina soon discovers that once you marry a Millbrook, you marry the family and its history. Karina becomes Managing Director of Millbrook's IT and Maureen’s boss. However, Karina’s life is not without it’s own difficulties, she finds herself struggling with her teenage children and the issues they bring. Rupert also a Member of Parliament, has his own problems. A criminal investigation, lead by Inspector Hennessy who is on a special assignment from London, reveals links between Rupert's business deals and a known international criminal, Yakov Volkov.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

When Somebody Loves You by June Tate

It is 1936 and Elsa is running a fruit and veg stall in the local market, engaged to Peter, a local reporter, the future is looking bright for the young couple. When Peter is away chasing a story that could make or break his career, Elsa meets handsome Frenchman Jean-Paul, who is selling antiques through fellow trader Clive's stall. There is something about Clive that Elsa does not trust and although she suspects Clive and Jean-Paul may be up to something dodgy, she still finds herself drawn to the charms of Jean-Paul.

I really enjoy the pace of June Tate books. There is never a dull moment. Not only is this a love story, but with the added suspense of crime and drama, it really makes the story have added depth and you do get quite involved emotionally with the characters… They are so real and I do like a book that plays out in your minds-eye like a film. I am a big fan of June Tate books and there are quite a collection of her books to read. I have always found them an enjoyable and very entertaining read.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Meet the Author - June Moonbridge

Desiree Hart in desperate search for her kidnapped son, does everything in her power possible to find him. Due to a letter she receives after official search was closed, she changes everything; her appearance, her hometown and even her name.

When she meets Lorcan Shore, the Five Times F1 World Campion, their encounter is everything but ordinary. Out of pure fear for her life, she loses her temper and spits over everything he is absolutely certain he can do the best; how to drive.

Leaving him alone on Grand Corniche she is certain she would never see him again. But the next morning proves her being totally wrong. He was no quitter and no matter how she tries to run and hide, her heart desires at the end come back to the surface…

Will the man of her dreams be able to fulfil them all? Including the most important will he help her find her missing son?

About June Moonbridge
The person behind the name of June Moonbridge, has many names and many faces too. Although living in the same area, she was born and raised in one country  and now living in another.
She studied economics, and quickly realised she hated it. Afterwards, she found herself working in mainly male businesses; at first in automotive and later - steel products productions. She can choose for you the best steel you need, but don't, please don't, ask her which lipstick to use.
She started to write in her high school and was negatively criticised by her teacher. Stubborn as she is that didn't stop her. Under different pen names for her stories she tried to get some independent opinions, which came back as good reviews in magazines and later she published three books.
Giving birth to two children, and learning that her second child has Autism, she married the father of them and continued to work. All that together took all of her free time. But the desire to write didn't die. When life somehow sorted itself out, she decided to write her novel in English and her first submission to Safkhet was rejected… 
For what happened later… read third paragraph, second sentence.

2 ecopies of the book

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Summer Moved On by Jo Lambert

Eighteen year old Jess has always felt a much stronger connection to her Uncle Rufus than her own neglectful parents. Leo her father had always been cold towards her and no matter what she does she cannot do anything right by him. Rufus had given her all the care and love she had needed. Jess is a sensible girl with a bright future. Then she meets rough farmhand Talún. Talún has a reputation and is a ladies man with wild ways and although Jess knows she should stay away... The couple are drawn together and find they have something very much in common.

What I really like about Jo Lambert books is that there are never any dull moments. The drama and romance comes thick and fast. The pace of the book builds up to an amazing story. The characters in the book are so alive and real that you will become emotionally involved and fall deep into the story... It will take you a short while to adjust back to your real life. This is the first of a series of books and I have to say I need book two NOW! 

A word from Kate Long

I don’t know if you caught the Twitter trend #WhyIWrite, but it was fascinating. There were the obvious responses – ‘To quieten the voices in my head’, ‘To explore my deepest feelings’, ‘So that I can live forever’  and, more prosaically, ‘Because real life sucks.’ There was humour: ‘It’s a great way to avoid housework’. Then the inevitable backlash.
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You can always rely on Twitter for the full range of views.

But the discussion got me thinking. Yes, there were responses that chimed with me, especially those which spoke about the need to escape reality. Books have always provided a haven that way whichever end of the process we’re at, as authors or readers, creators or consumers.
I knew, though, that there were also impulses that were more specific to me. I’m guessing all writers have these very personal writing dynamics. For instance, there are themes to which I return repeatedly – family secrets, eating disorders, sexuality, adoption. I’m drawn to those issues and the narratives that can come out of them. I want to explore my ideas on these topics and learn more by developing them in a story. This leads me to further research, which in turn sparks off more writing.
Then there’s what I want to say about the world. Real life does suck at times, no doubt about it. Good people suffer horrendous misfortune, and evil-doers often seem to dance through their days. So as a reader, when I open a book I like to step into somewhere more balanced and just, and the same is true for when I write. The characters of mine who are decent always do triumph, and my villains are punished. Perhaps the triumph isn’t unalloyed, and perhaps my heroines don’t end up with exactly what they thought they wanted. But the endings are essentially happy because I have that power and can make them so. Sometimes we all need a break from the unfair chaos around us.
Why do we write? It’s a question authors need to ask themselves because there are times when things are not going well, we’ve had bad reviews and we’re lonely or discouraged, or the muse has packed up and gone on holiday. What incentive is there to carry on? Well, here’s the best I’ve found, the one that’s saved me several times. Above all else, don’t we write to make connections with people? If energy’s low and spirits bleak, then remembering praise from readers is the best tonic there is. We write to entertain, to cheer, to affirm. We write to stretch out a hand.
After some thought, here’s what I finally tweeted in response:
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and with my most recent book:
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If my novels have made even one person feel better-placed to face the world, then I’ve not made a complete hash of it. And what’s more, I’ll carry on writing.