Woman Walks Into A Bar….Rowan Coleman on behalf of Refuge.



In a moment you can hear from Rowan Coleman all about her book and the things she is trying to achieve – I caught up with her and asked a few questions. Before that though….

First of all I’m going to tell you the most important thing about today’s post. You can help support Refuge and get a great story to read to boot, by clickety clicking the link and purchasing Woman Walks Into A Bar. 100% of royalties will go direct to Refuge and the aim is to raise £10,000. We can do that…right? Its a great cause and a lovely thing that Rowan is doing and if you love reading it is a fun way to help out if you can of course.



So I talked a little to Rowan about it all and here is what she had to say.


Domestic abuse is an emotive subject – were you surprised at the response you got when researching for your writing?


Surprised and shocked, and horrified. I suppose, like many people I thought that abuse with in a relationship was rare, happened to people far away, who lead very different sorts of lives. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, it affects women, men, children. And yet its still a problem that exists in the shadows and behind closed doors.


Are the characters in “Woman Walks into a Bar”  based on anyone you know?


They are not. Its funny, when I wrote that book I had Sam, the lead character very firmly pictured in my mind, she was very vivid to me. Its been nice to get responses from people who’ve read who feel sure she is a real person. Also when I wrote Sam’s daughter, my daughter was 5, she is 12 too now, and I recognise a lot of traits in her!


Tell us a little bit about Refuge – the charity that you are supporting.


Refuge was founded in the year I was born 1971, and it was one of the first organisation to seek to offer help, advice and a place of safety to women and families seeking to escape an abusive situation. It’s done amazing work in brining the problem of domestic abuse into the public eye over the decades, and continues to work hard reaching out to people who need help, giving them the support and courage they need to make the break. I am very pleased to be able to do my small bit to support them, although its mainly the bloggers who are helping me spread the word and especially the readers that download the book, that are the ones to thank. So, thank you! xxx


Thank you Rowan and good luck! I will certainly be purchasing a copy and I will review it on site soon.


Book Synopsis

A night out with the girls changes Sam’s life forever…

28-year-old single mother Sam spends her days working in the local supermarket and her Friday nights out with her friends letting her hair down at the White Horse. Life hasn’t been easy for Sam and her daughter, Beth (who always looks on the bright side) but she’s always hoped that one day she’ll break free from her past and meet The One.

But after a series of terrible dates with men she’s met through an internet dating site, that have all been as awful as her daughter’s terrible jokes, she’s starting to lose heart – until her friends tell her they’ve set her up on a blind date. Sam’s horrified but finally she agrees to go. After all you never know when you might meet the man of your dreams; just maybe Sam’s happy ending is just about to begin….

But will Sam have to face up to her past before she can find a new future?


Find out more about Rowan and the books here: http://rowan-coleman.tumblr.com/

You can follow on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/rowancoleman


To find out more about Refuge and how they help : http://refuge.org.uk/


Happy Reading Folks!



Lets Talk Serial Killer Thrillers…..Don’t be scared!

So I love a good thriller – even more so when it involves a shadowy figure whose motives are difficult to fathom…the Serial Killer. Thomas Harris and Silence of the Lambs was the first novel I read in this genre and I still shiver when I think about it. It was also one of those books that was turned into a superb movie..with Anthony Hopkins becoming the definitive Hannibal..Fava Beans and a nice Chianti anyone? I tracked down three authors who have written great books of this nature and asked them the same 4 questions. Here is what they had to say….


Lets start with Michael Marshall. Author of the superb Straw Men trilogy amongst other great books, he created a killer like no other…and he had some friends. Here is what Michael had to say.


Was your Serial Killer inspired by any real life case or book you had read?


No. In fact, what I was trying to do was collate everything I’d read and thought about a range of serial killers, to try to find unifying themes or underlying connections between their behaviours. Each killer manifests in their own way – though usually not as cinematically or glamorously as the ones we see in movies or books – and each case follows its own course, shaped and constrained by environment and happenstance. Underneath that, however, these events share a common root, something that is far more telling about fractures in human nature and fault-lines in our species’ minds, and that’s what I was trying to look at.


Is it difficult to write the “evil” characters and make them scary?


I don’t know – in the sense that I don’t know whether the ‘evil’ characters I write are scary or not – that’s for other people to judge. I think the hardest thing about making bad characters credible and affecting is making sure that they feel *real*. They can’t just be being evil for the sake of it – nobody ever is. They have to either believe in what they do, or feel compelled to do it – manifesting extreme forms of behaviour that the reader can recognise at least a little of in themselves. That’s what makes the bad guys scary – the idea that they’re not so different.


Do you have a favourite “Serial Killer Thriller” book that you have read or film you have seen?


I think the best novel about a sociopath that I’ve ever read would be THE KILLER INSIDE ME, by Jim Thompson. Spare first person style, chilling and yet oddly approachable and compelling. In terms of non-fiction, I think Elliott Leyton’s HUNTING HUMANS is the most insightful I’ve read.


Why do you think people in general are so fascinated by these types of killers?


Because they know they’re not that different to the rest of us. Worse, but not different. We find it very convenient to demonise – staring with awful fascination at Hitler, or Bin Laden, or Ted Bundy. It helps us put our own bad thoughts on the other side of a fence, where we think they’ll be safe. They’re not. We’re a great species, but we do bad things. We need to understand that and face up to it. Looking carefully at serial killers is one way of starting that process…

Thank you Michael!

You can follow Michael on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ememess


Review: The Straw Men


Ward Hopkins returns to his parents home after they are killed in a car accident. Whilst at the house, he discovers a note from his father…and so begins a journey into his past and that of his loved ones, a dangerous journey of discovery that may not end well. Meanwhile a young girl, Sarah,  has gone missing and former LA Detective John Zandt, a man fighting his own demons, begins his own journey of discovery. Is it possible that Ward holds the key to saving Sarah from her fate?

This is a beautifully crafted story. One part leading to another to another a bit like Russian dolls – as Ward moves ever closer to learning the truth about his life, so John perhaps moves further away from himself and his own conscience….the terrible things they both face draw them together but also tear them apart. The mystery itself is well imagined – Serial Killer Thriller? Yes. And No. Or maybe. You decide. Certainly the author has created a rich mythology here – using real life events that we will all recognise he has woven an intricate tale and its extremely clever. Ward’s growing incredulity at what he is discovering will mirror your own as reader and looker on of events as they unfold. The supporting cast all do their bit – but its Ward and John that will interest you. And perhaps The Upright Man….

All in all fantastic. This is probably the third time I have read this book and each time I discover something new. Mr Marshall may smile when he learns that I’ve only just got the point of Sarah’s “safety” blanket – how many times have I read the name and it didnt sink in. You know what Im talking about…Don’t you Mr Marshall?

I’m not waiting. The Lonely Dead is next. Bring it on – what will I discover that I missed this time? You’ll have to await my next review.

Happy Reading Folks!



Next up is Joe Conlan. With this debut Thriller “Nameless” he created a wonderful example of a fictional killer – with a very cold heart…..

Was your Serial Killer inspired by any real life case or book you had read?


I can’t say that Shem Chassar was modeled after any one real-life serial killer.  A lot of his characteristics and personality traits were purely a figment of my imagination.  I did draw inspiration from some of my favorite serial killer authors such as Thomas Harris and movies such as Copy Cat and Seven.  With regard to Shem’s penchant for blood and other gruesome qualities, there were a few serial killers of the past such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Denis Nilsen whose disturbing and vicious MO’s were always a fascination.


Is it difficult to write the “evil” characters and make them scary?


Yes and no.  I wanted to stretch my imagination to the limits to create the most evil character possible.  Many ideas came easily, especially those related to the development of Shem’s personality.  Describing  the murders did get very difficult.  For instance, there were several times while writing the scenes involving Hannah’s murder that I had to stop and settle myself.  Believe it or not, I wouldn’t harm a fly and I have a soft spot for older ladies.


Do you have a favourite “Serial Killer Thriller” book that you have read or film you have seen?


I’ve already mentioned Copy Cat, Seven and Untraceable.  I found the serial murderer in each of those stories quite chilling and compelling.  I’m especially intrigued with the brilliant ones.  I can’t forget Jeffrey Deavers’ The Bone Collector either.  Great stuff.  I absolutely loved all 4 books and movies.  The Hanibal Lecter series is right at the top of my list as well.  I would have to say that he is my favorite fictional serial killer.


Why do you think people in general are so fascinated by these types of killers?


That is a very good question.  I have often wondered about that especially with regard to my fascination for them.  It has made me worry about myself.  I’ve read some articles about the subject.  There are all kinds of theories.  For me, it’s kind of like one of those horrible or disgusting things like a terrible accident on the road that you really don’t want to look at but you can’t keep your eyes off of it.  I also love to hate them.

Thanks Joe

You can follow Joe on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/conlan_joe


Review: Nameless


A terrific twisted tale of a serial killer and the FBI agent bound and determined to catch him, this novel is a no holds barred ripping yarn bound to keep you up at night. For once you get a proper background for the killer – the novel is as often told from his point of view as it is from the view of the main protaganist and I strangely ended up feeling at times quite sympathetic towards him despite the fact that he is evil personified. Not for the faint of heart – the violence is properly violent as all real such acts are – and adds a nuance to the story often missing in this type of novel where the authors worrying about the sensibilities of the reader may overcome the more natural urge to write it as it is. Don’t get me wrong – the violent scenes are not overtly intrusive, and only there when the telling of the tale requires it, but they do ensure that your reading heart is entirely with FBI Agent Falcone as he follows the trail, often to his own detriment, to the bitter end. It twists and turns – the “filling out” of each major character you meet is cleverly done – you are left in no doubt as to the motivations for their actions, even when you are screaming at them to stop being so completely idiotic (as some of them, most especially for me Daniel’s wife, often are). The ending was superb and very unexpected – therefore this authors next book is high on my list of reading priorities. If you like crime fiction, most especially “serial killer” thrillers then I would say they don’t come much better than this



Finally I caught up with Luca Veste – His debut novel Dead Gone will be released towards the end of the year and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to read it. His Serial Killer is dark indeed….


Was your Serial Killer inspired by any real life case or book you had read?


The overall idea came from one of the first psychology lectures I attended. It took a little longer than others, but I eventually started studying a couple of years ago as a mature student. It was one of those lectures which is designed to ease you into the course and ended with the lecturer talking about a whole bunch of experiments which psychologists carried out in the past. Most of these were carried out on animals, which (in my crime writer/reader mind) instantly led to the thought “what would happen if these experiments were on humans instead?” Thus the book was born. The serial killer is inspired in part by fictional creations (real-life serial killers are far too f*cked up to be believable!). John Doe in Se7en was an influence, as was Stuart Nicklin from Mark Billingham’s ‘Scaredy Cat’.


Is it difficult to write the “evil” characters and make them scary?


There’s a fine line between scary and ridiculous, I found. It’s difficult to stay on the right side of that line, but some of the most enjoyable parts of writing the book involved the evil parts. I was also very aware that I was entering a crowded genre, so I had to get the “evilness” right. Hopefully that’s the case.


Do you have a favourite “Serial Killer Thriller” book that you have read or film you have seen?


I have one of each. Favourite serial killer book would be Dark Room by Steve Mosby. A highly original idea, combined with some of the best prose in crime fiction. A stunning novel, which I wish I could describe more, but I don’t want to spoil it. It’s fantastic. Read it.



Favourite serial killer film is Se7en. I love the bleakness of it, the fact it rains pretty much throughout the film until the final (heartbreaking) scene. It’s relentlessly dark and has one of the best endings committed to film.



Why do you think people in general are so fascinated by these types of killers?


Well…this is just my opinion, which probably isn’t shared by all! I think we as a species are, in the main, terrified of randomness. Serial Killers are the embodiment of randomness, killing a whole range of people, strangers the vast majority of the time. That scares people. The idea that they could be targeted without realising, not seeing something coming…it’s scary. Combine that with the idea that people use fiction to safely explore their fears, it’s no wonder serial killer books are so popular. It also gives the reader the chance to peak behind the curtain; to see what the motivations of those killers are. It’s a way of investigating our fears from behind a veil of safety. We know, for the most part, that “good” will conquer “evil” so all will be satisfactory at the end. It’s that safety in reading fiction which attracts readers to these types of stories..


Thanks Luca!

You can follow Luca on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LucaVeste


Review: Dead Gone


In Dead Gone we meet DI David Murphy – a man who has suffered a terrible loss – as he attempts to track down a killer. Not unusual you might think. But actually it is. This is a new breed of serial killer and David, alongside his partner in crime DS Laura Rossi will find themselves entering the darkest recesses of the human mind.

So lets talk for a moment about that group of books commonly known as “serial killer thrillers”. There are many out there – good ones, bad ones, scary ones…go into a bookshop and you will find plenty. To my mind the best ones have been written by Thomas Harris, John Connolly and more recently Joe Conlan.  I would also like to give a nod to The 50/50 Killer by Steve Mosby – a fairly stunning example of its genre. Now you can happily add Luca Veste to that list…This I can say with certainty. Its not easy to avoid cliche when writing a book of this kind, its also not easy to give it a new “voice” but this is what Mr Veste has managed to do and with terrific success. Engaging, frightening, genuinely shocking in places it will grip you to the last. Flowing storyline, terrific writing and a nod to those that have come before, this is an amazing debut.

So. Characters. You all know I love great characters yes? You will find a fair few in the pages of this novel. David Murphy, haunted, searching for reasons, has great depth to his character. I loved that he often set off down the wrong path – made assumptions then had to correct – not the perfect policeman who you are always sure will eventually solve the case but a realistic nod to investigative technique.  He is open to development – a great thing especially when you know that this is the start of a series. Laura is intriguing also, especially in her background and ties to family. I look forward to finding out more about them.

The mystery elements are well imagined and will keep you guessing – the very heart of any crime read. Its complex – no easy trail to follow here but always intriguing and never dull. The resolution will not disappoint. This is going to be a terrific addition to the genre. And if this is the first book, gosh, what is to come? I will wait to find out. Impatiently.


Happy Reading Folks!


Thank you to all the authors who took part today – some terrific answers there, fascinating stuff! Please see below some purchase/pre-order links.

The Straw Men:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Straw-Men-Michael-Marshall/dp/0006499988/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378712019&sr=1-1&keywords=the+straw+men

Nameless: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nameless-ebook/dp/B00BTIMY0Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378712062&sr=1-1&keywords=nameless

Dead Gone: http://www.amazon.co.uk/DEAD-GONE-ebook/dp/B00E31D9J6/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1378712096&sr=1-1


All 3 come highly recommended from me! I will be getting Mr Marshall back on site soon to talk about his other great novels and Luca Veste will tell us some interesting things again upon the release of Dead Gone.

In the meantime…Happy Reading Folks!























Meet Nick Quantrill…..And Joe Geraghty.



Nick Quantrill is a Hull based writer of short stories that have been published in Volumes Eight, Nine and Ten of “The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime” and the Joe Geraghty series of novels, which I love. This week saw the release of the third book in the series, The Crooked Beat, and I caught up with Nick and asked him some questions. Here is what he had to say.


I love Joe – Is he based on anyone or did he come solely from your creative mind?


That’s very kind. Joe’s very much defined by what he isn’t. I was conscious that writing about a PI in Hull wasn’t necessarily going to be an easy task, more that I had to make him relevant in some way. I wanted to move away from the PI clichés of femme fatales walking in with cases to solve, bottles of whiskey in the desk drawer and wise cracking when the chips are down. Joe is a fairly regular, if resourceful, northern man.


Which book did you enjoy writing the most?


I think the right answer to that one is always the current one. Once a book is finished, I quickly lose interest in it. I want to be pushing on with something new. In terms of the Geraghty novels, I’ve enjoyed writing all of them so far. “Broken Dreams” was the first one, so by definition it was exciting and different. Having the death of the city’s fishing industry in the background was a real opportunity for me to engage with my home city, too, and its history. “The Late Greats” looks at a reforming band, and given music is one of my passions, I had a lot of fun with that novel. Probably too much! “The Crooked Beat” instinctively felt more complex, both in terms of plot and the moral ambiguity in it, so the challenge felt that bit bigger.


Do you have any writing habits?

Only so far as trying to do a bit every day, be it editing or research if I’m not writing, every single day. If you do that, you keep your head in the story and you’re always making progress. In terms of place and time, I try and make the best use of what’s available.


Kindle/E reader or Print Book?


Tough question. Can I have both? No? I’m going to say my Kindle, but only because I don’t get to bookshops all that often these days. Kindle is just too convenient and easy, isn’t it? Weirdly, if I’m reading for research, it has to be print.


Ye Olde Dinner Party Question – top 3 favoured guests dead or alive and why?


Seeing as I’m a writer, I should invite a wordsmith. John Steinbeck is my absolute favourite, so he’s a must. His books are full of warmth and compassion, so I’d really like to confirm he was the same. I suspect he was. I’d also really like to invite my dad. He died just before my first book was published, and although he knew it was happening, it would be nice to tell him about all that’s happened since. Lastly, I would definitely want Billy Whitehurst to join us. He was my boyhood hero as a Hull City AFC supporter. He’s what you’d politely call ‘old school’. Alan Hansen is quoted that although he’d played against the likes of Maradona, it was Billy he feared the most. Literally. If we had any problems with the service or the food, Billy would sort it for us.


What one item would you save from a burning house?


We’ll assume my wife, daughter and cat aren’t ‘items’, so I’m looking at my pile of precious things, books and music, and what not. I really don’t want to sound like a raging egotist, but I have a box of cuttings and posters that I want my daughter to see when she’s a bit older. I’d hate to lose that. I’d also hate to lose my signed copy of Luca Veste’s debut novel, “Dead Gone”. It’ll be worth a fortune soon! Other things are just ‘stuff’. I also back my work up regularly to a SkyDrive, so no worries there…


Thanks Nick!


Review: The Crooked Beat.


The third in the “Joe Geraghty” series finds Joe all at sea and unsure where his life is going – when his brother ends up in trouble though his immediate path is clear. Find the truth. Make things right.

This series has been steadily getting better and better and hey it was terrific in the first place. I particularly loved the use of past and present timelines in this outing – Buried secrets always make for a great reading experience and Joe is going to discover plenty. Cleverly intertwined, the two tales slowly come together to form the whole – with many surprises along the way.

The sense of place is fantastic..I have never visited Hull but after reading this and the previous novels I really feel like I have – and thats a talent to be sure. The backdrop adds great depth to the story and gets you involved.

As I’ve said before, the “private detective” in fiction is rarely used as successfully as your standard “DI with a past” but Mr Quantrill, like John Connolly and Robert Crais before him has managed to write a character you can get behind. And he’s British – whats not to love?

I would recommend these novels to anyone with a love of crime fiction. Perhaps slightly overlooked in the genre, that should be rectified. Start with “Broken Dreams” and take it from there…..

My thanks to the author for the copy of this book for review.


Find out more about Nick here: http://www.nickquantrill.co.uk/


Follow him on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NickQuantrill


Clickety Click for purchase information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nick-Quantrill/e/B003QNKHO2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1


Also Available:




Happy Reading Folks!



Liz Currently Loves….The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald.



So today its all about “The Cry” from Helen Fitzgerald, a book that touched my heart and made me sob. Beautifully written and evocative, you can see my review shortly, but Helen kindly agreed to answer some questions for me and here is what she had to say.


Was the cry difficult to write from emotional point of view?


It was torture. I’ve never been inside someone’s head to this extent, and Joanna’s head was a bad place to be. I had to imagine I’d lost my child, that I believed it was my fault, and that the only person at my side was the wrong person, a bad person.  I intended to write the whole novel from her point of view, but after 50 pages I realised I had to get out. So I introduced the ex-wife, and alternated between the two of them. I’m glad I did – a large theme in the story is about the relationship between two women who’ve been hurt by the same man.


How much, if at all, did real life stories of abduction influence the story?


I think we all grow up with one particular crime story. Mine was the Lindy Chamberlain case. While holidaying at Ayers Rock in 1980, a dingo took her baby from the tent while she and her husband were socialising with other campers. She was the first huge trial by media over there. It’s all anyone in Australia talked about for months, years even. And everyone thought she was guilty as hell. The courts agreed, only to discover her innocence after she’d done three years in prison.

The Cry is different – we know the parents are guilty very early on in the book, albeit by accident – but I drew on the trial by media of the Chamberlain case, and on the terrible tendency we have to accuse and crucify women who don’t fit our perception of the “good mother” and the likeable woman.


Did you always know how it was going to turn out?


Yes. I usually know the ending, even the last line, when I start writing. I think that’s what made it hard to write all the way to the end, because I knew I’d probably cry a lot.


Can you tell us anything about your next project?


I’m editing the next thriller with Faber, out Sept 2014.  I remember visiting my grandmother when she was in Nazareth House in Melbourne. Whenever I visited she’d say “That nurse is trying to kill me.” I look back on it now and worry that I dismissed her panic as the ramblings of a woman with dementia, when the nurse could well have been trying to kill her. My next book is about an 82 year old with dementia (Rose) who believes something sinister is going on in her care home. Rose was a children’s author and illustrator, and draws pictures when she’s connected to remind her of what’s going on so she can alert people. Of course, no-one believes her… and there is something very sinister going on.


The top 3 authors you like to read currently?


Alissa Nutting (Tampa). Clare McGowan (The Lost), Karen Campbell (This is Where I am).


First thing, apart from loved ones and pets, you would rescue from a burning building.


Nothing. If my husband and kids are safe, I wouldn’t care about anything else at all. I’d just run very fast, making sure they’re ahead of me.


Thank you so much Helen.




Thank you kindly to Helen Fitzgerald and the Publisher for the advance copy of this novel.

Baby Noah goes missing from a roadside in Australia and the media attention is intense and extreme. Battling their loss and the attention, Noah’s parents Alistair and Joanna slowly start to fall apart. As the search heads ever closer to the truth of what happened to Noah, the blame game begins…

I’m not sure how best to describe “The Cry”. The blurb calls it a “psychological thriller” and yes I suppose it is in a way. But I have to say I read it more as a family drama – the characterisation is pure and oh so realistic and Ms Fitzgerald has used real life to great effect – we have all seen on the news many high profile missing children cases where first sympathy abounds then suspicion begins…and how social media can play such a huge role in the pressure put upon parents and the police in these situations. What she has done is put a human face on it – the public can’t see what goes on behind closed doors when the 24/7 news cycle goes mad but in this fictional story thats exactly what we get. Brilliantly done.

Timeslips are used to great effect – we see Joanna and Alistair’s journey with Noah from leaving Scotland, on various legs of the flight to Australia, at the same time hints and teasers about what is actually going on now. As the strands come together the whole picture emerges…in a fascinating way. There is no real attempt at hiding secrets here – although what you see may not always be what you get – its very much about the emotion behind the mask and how you can never know what really goes on in someone elses head. As Joanna heads further and further into what could almost be called insanity, you will feel for her…and for those around her.

Its an amazing book to be sure. I have read some fantastic books lately, this has been a terrific year for terrific novels – yet I sense that this is the one that will stay with me for a long time. Beautifully written, characters you will relate to and feel for and a story that could so easily be truth you should certainly not miss this one. Cry? Oh yes. Indeed I did.

Happy Reading Folks!


Find out more here: http://helenfitzgerald.wordpress.com/


You can follow Helen on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/FitzHelen


To purchase clickety click here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cry-Helen-FitzGerald/dp/0571287700/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378274587&sr=1-1&keywords=the+cry+helen+fitzgerald


Happy Reading Folks!

His Fathers Son by Tony Black. Wonderful.



So, a departure from Crime Fiction for Tony Black and a wonderful novel all about family. A book I loved a great deal, you can see my review shortly, but first Tony kindly answered a few questions for me and here is what he had to say.

 “His Fathers Son” is a huge departure from crime writing – is it something you have wanted to do for a while?

I have to say, yes. Much as I love the gritty crime stuff there’s only so far down that one particular rabbit hole that you can go. I started off writing more general fiction and sort of drifted into crime and much as I’ve enjoyed exploring the world through Gus Dury’s eyes, and a few others, I’ve just got too many ideas outside the crime genre not to explore those too.
It’s a heartfelt story – does it resonate on a personal level for you?

Yes. My publicist describes it as ‘semi-autobiographical’ and much of it is lifted straight from my real-life experiences. I was born in Australia, like Marti, and grew up in Ireland; moving to Galway on the west coast at the same age as Marti. I used a lot of those early experiences to colour the novel and the time period is the one I remember.


I loved the settings especially – what made you choose emigration and Australia in particular as a backdrop to Joey’s story?

Well, they were both countries that I know and love, and luckily on opposite sides of the world – that kind of contrast was heaven sent for this story. When Marti arrives in Ireland the rain and the cold and the grey of the buildings is a shock compared to the blue-skies and sunshine of Oz. I also had a family background of immigration to draw upon, my own parents being ‘ten-pound poms’ in the 60s so again, a lot of the book’s content is my story too.


Are you intending to write more books that are outside of the crime genre?
Yes, definitely. I have a non-crime book coming out next year called The Last Tiger which is quite similar to His Father’s Son in the themes it explores. It’s about a family of Lithuanian refugees who think they’re en route to the USA but wash up in Van Diemen’s Land, the once notorious prison island of the British Empire. The infamous Tasmanian tigers are running wild and the father of the family utilises his old skills to trap and kill them for the government bounty, much to the upset of his young son, Myko. It’s a bit of a heart tugger too and draws again on an earlier generation of my family who were Lithuanian immigrants.


Which one book would you like to have if stuck on a desert island?

Probably the Yellow Pages, it would be most use for fire-lighters. But if I couldn’t have that then, A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemingway.

 Food: Healthy or CHIPS!

Chips. With pizza.

Favourite thing to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Chill out with the papers, I don’t buy them through the week but still manage the Sundies. Then, maybe a long walk with the dog – we have a Cairn terrier puppy right now and he just can’t get enough exercise.


Thank you so much Tony!




First of all my grateful thanks to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy of this wonderfully moving book. Tony Black, well known for his outstanding crime fiction takes a break from that and I for one am very pleased that he did.

Joey Driscol moves his family to Australia in the hopes of a new beginning. For a time the family live happily but when Joey’s wife disappears back to their native Ireland, taking their son Marti with her, Joey is forced to follow if he is to see them again.

This is such a beautifully written story – the characters and the settings come to life and the ups and downs of daily life and those things that can haunt us are brilliantly imagined but oh so realistic. The relationship explored between father and son is magnificent, not just Joey and Marti but Joey and his own father- heart wrenching and appealing, the demons Joey must face from his past in order to secure his and his families future will keep you turning the pages until you are done. My heart was with his wife – Shauna – she suffered as I suffer – a lot of what she has to face to deal with the “Black Dog” are things that I have had to face myself. What made this all the more wonderful for me was seeing the other side. Joey lives with Shauna’s issues – decisions they take and have taken both separately and together make up the world that Marti finds himself living in….if the family are ultimately going to find redemption, its going to be a hard road. I felt for each and every one of them.

This is an emotional story to be sure. Poignant yes. It also has its humour – cleverly paced and bittersweet I highly recommend that you pick a copy of this up as soon as it is available. Mr Black can write more than crime fiction thats for sure. I hope he continues to do so.

Find out more about Tony Black here http://www.tonyblack.net/

Follow him on Twitter here https://twitter.com/TonyblackUk

To purchase clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/His-Fathers-Son-Tony-Black/dp/1845026365/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378196453&sr=1-1&keywords=his+fathers+son


Happy Reading Folks!


Liz still REALLY loves….What Lots Wife Saw by Ioanna Bourazopou​lou



So I was lucky enough to be one of the first in the country to read this amazing novel from Ioanna Bourazopoulou, where she has created a mad and wonderful post apocalyptic world filled with wonderful characters and strange goings on. Winner of the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature you are unlikely to have read a book quite like it before. You can read my review shortly, but in the meantime I caught up with Ioanna and asked her a few questions. Here is what she had to say…


What Lots Wife Saw has a post apocalyptic setting and a unique one. Where did the idea come from?


I am not really sure, I’ve never been able to trace the origins of a story and discover the first thought or feeling behind it. Probably because the original idea undergoes so many transformations as the book progresses, generating new interpretations and dilemmas, that it metamorphoses completely. All I can say is that I love creating dark, dreamy or even grotesque settings, where characters find themselves in strange and ambiguous situations facing unexpected challenges. Consequently, they are forced to become resourceful and daring and, through them, I am forced to become resourceful and daring too –which perhaps explains why I adore this type of fiction


This is very much a character driven novel – Do you have a favourite?


The main characters are two types of ‘survivors’ who have struggled to create new lives after losing everything that mattered to them –their family and country, their dignity, their faith, their self-esteem. Some are full of anger and hatred, others of guilt and self-pity. The first type of survivors reside in the Colony and serve the Consortium of the Seventy-Five, an international company which has found a way to benefit from human desperation. The second type encompasses people like Phileas Book –too weak to fight back, too hurt to recover, too small to make a difference. Although being on opposite sides of the Mediterranean –and opposite sides of morality– these two types of survivors will manage to communicate and change their fate. I feel closer to Phileas Book, I confess he is my favourite, but I acknowledge that without the screams of the damned, his virtuous prayers would have never been answered.


How did you come up with Phileas Book’s peculiar brand of “crossword”?


By making a series of poetic assumptions –a freedom this type of fiction allows. I wanted to invent a way of communication between people who have never met, but have similar needs and desires. Assuming deep feelings which words fail to express create certain vibrations that are detected only by sensitive recipients, Book can communicate with his crossword solvers, as a writer can communicate with his/her readers: between the lines. It’s not scientific assertion, rather wishful thinking; Book, as his name suggests, embodies many of my literary pursuits and fantasies.


The mystery element of the novel is clever, complicated and compelling – did you always know the ultimate outcome or did the characters tell you on the journey?


I usually know the end, it is a knowledge I consider vital in order to have a destination and avoid wandering in the fog without a purpose. I never know how to get to the end, it is a state of ignorance I consider equally important in order to become resourceful and productive. My aim is to get to the end using the roads less travelled, walk down strange and dim-lit paths, following deceptive signs and misinterpreted clues, which will lead to many dead ends and false leads, and will hopefully make the journey interesting for both the reader and me.


You won the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature. Can you put into words how that made you feel?


Surprised, thrilled and a little worried, to be honest. The book was nominated for other prizes also but failed to win and I was beginning to feel very comfortable with that; it was an ideal situation, being among the better but not the best, I had the publicity and the credit of the nominee but not the responsibility of the winner. When awarded I wondered what that would mean for me, how much freedom I would lose, would everything become too serious? I soon realized that winning is not so bad after all – it only relates to the specific book; a new book has a new and untested writer behind it, who is eager to challenge the previous one, invent new writing techniques, experiment, take risks and surprise. All in all, winning was a very pleasant and useful experience.


Can you tell us anything about your next project?


It’s a peculiar adventure set in a lake which belongs to three different countries, and which is the birthplace of a sea-monster. I feel very privileged and moved because the National Book Centre of France has given me a scholarship for this specific book, as part of a generous scholarship programme supporting Greek writers, a financial and, more importantly, moral aid and encouragement which I will never forget. I so hope the book will satisfy both them and the readers.


Thank you SO much to Ioanna for taking the time to answer these questions. And I am VERY excited to read what she brings us next.


Review What Lots Wife Saw.


Well. What can I say. Having just finished this sprawling wonderful expanse of a novel, peppered with the most unlikely characters you will ever have the joy to encounter, and set in a future where the world we know has changed in indescribable ways, I am feeling quite honoured to be amongst the first in this country to read it. Winner of the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature, quite deservedly so in this reader’s opinion, this is post apocalyptic fiction at its best. Not only that, Ioanna Bourazopoulou has managed to write a mystery, a thriller and an adventure all tied up into one wonderful package.

Rising oceans have engulfed much of the planet and changed the landscape forever. From amid this new world a strange “salt” peppers the earth, addictive and hallucinogenic, and controlled by the mysterious “Consortium” of the 75. In their strictly controlled Colony, their employee’s live and work to a tight, unyielding rule of law, overseen by the governer and his six star bearers. When the governer is found dead, it is clear that chaos may well ensue, but what exactly are the 75 up to?  Meanwhile, away from the colony, Phileas Book creates and publishes his strange and wonderful “crosswords” made up from letters sent to The Times, until one day, approached by a representative of the 75, he finds himself thrust into the mystery of what exactly happened in the immediate aftermath of the death of Governer Bera. By reading the letters of the six, he is asked to extrapolate a theory by using his “crossword” methods…but Book is suspicious. Of the Consortium, of the Six and of the motives behind the request. Was it murder? Or even something more sinister….

This is an extremely clever story…utterly insane in its concept in the best way possible, it will have you tied up in the most amazing literary knots – and the ultimate resolution may well take your breath away. It certainly did mine, because really, despite all the information being freely available I never actually came to the correct conclusion whilst engrossed in its pages. A lot of that may well be to do with the brilliant writing – the scene setting is superb and a lot of your head will be wrapping itself around this strange new world…and perhaps even imagining what your place in it might have been. And so the author distracts you from the clues you might otherwise have picked up on – with hindsight it was all perfectly clear but I would like to bet that the majority of you will scratch your heads just as much as I did both during and after reading the book. Which you must. Don’t miss it! Phileas Book is perfect – through his eyes you will discover what went before – as one of the original survivors of the change, he leads us through the terror and the emotion – and why he now stagnates, creating his puzzles, but not really living in any real sense. The six all have their own brilliant mindsets – I wonder which you will sympathise with, hate or love….When you have read it come back and tell me. Enquiring minds want to know. This is inspiring writing – originality and the ability to surprise and delight has definitely not been lost as far as this author is concerned. I hope to see many more marvellous creations in the future.

To finish I must thank the publisher for sending me an advance copy of this novel, and I hope that the above review has done it justice. If you follow me on Twitter I will be talking about this one a lot – and pointing you in the right direction to find out more. Happy Reading Folks!


What Lots Wife Saw was brought to us by Black and White Publishing. You can follow them on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/bwpublishing


If you fancy getting yourself a copy clickety click here http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Lots-Wife-Ioanna-Bourazopoulou/dp/1845025474/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378108364&sr=1-1&keywords=what+lots+wife+saw


Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Currently Loves…..The Memory Game by Sharon Sant.



So today see’s the release of “The Memory Game” By Sharon Sant ,a book I absolutely adored and that had me reaching for the tissues. A review plus a little competition for you to win your very own copy will follow shortly – first however I tracked Sharon down and asked her a few questions and here is what she had to say.


The Memory Game was an emotional read. Was it just as emotional to write?


When I’m writing I tend to be quite focused on what I’m doing from a technical perspective, particularly during the first draft, so although I must be getting emotionally involved, I’m not really aware of it. When I read it back is when I notice a draft affecting me emotionally, probably because I try to read it with fresh eyes, almost as though someone else has written it. I’ve read The Memory Game back three times now to edit and proofread and each time I’ve found myself crying. There’s another proofread to go, so I need to get some tissues to hand this time!


Was the ending set in your mind from the start or did it evolve with the characters?


Yes, the ending was pretty much set from the start. I remember discussing it with my writer friend, Mel Sherratt, on a train journey last year when I was telling her about the story that was in my head, and I mentioned the idea I had for the ending back then. For me, I don’t think there could have been any other ending that would have made as much sense.


Bethany was a wonderful emotive character – was she based on anyone you remember from your schooldays?


Thank you!  Actually, I think you mentioned in your review that we all knew someone like Bethany at school and I think most of us did (or do if we’re lucky enough to still be at school!).  I had a best friend (in fact, we’re still best friends now) at school who, while she wasn’t quite bullied in the way Bethany is, still got a really hard time.  Her parents were quite strict and were also devout Christians, which made her stand out immediately.  My friend has this staggering IQ, she’s incredibly witty and interesting, a talented artist, and generally very cool, but people at school didn’t see that, they just saw this slightly old fashioned girl who wasn’t allowed to do the stuff the rest of us could. When she did get picked on, to my shame, I didn’t defend her like I should have done.  Looking back, I think I was afraid that if I did, I would become that girl instead.  I only ever just managed to stay on the right side of socially acceptable myself – my parents struggled for money and I was never one of the cool kids.


Tea, coffee or cake?


Um, can I have tea AND cake?  I don’t drink coffee very often; it makes me go caffeine crazy!


If you could take one book to a desert island, what would it be?


This is so hard, why only one?  I’m not sure, honestly, but my first instinct is the book I always mention, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I should probably say War and Peace – it would last me longer!


3 people alive or dead you would like to go for a drink with?


Oh dear, I’m sure I’m supposed to give an answer that includes people like Alfred Nobel or Einstein.  But I’m going to show just how shallow I really am now by saying Colin Morgan, Matt Smith and Bob Mortimer!


Thanks Sharon!


You can follow Sharon Here: https://twitter.com/SharonSant

Find out more about her here: http://sharonsant.com/

Purchase Information: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Memory-Game-ebook/dp/B00EU7R1GA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378024812&sr=1-2&keywords=the+memory+game




First of all thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book for review. No REALLY thank you it was amazing.


David died at 15. But he is not gone. Weeks after his death, he wanders his home village, unable to interact with anyone or anything…and unable to understand why, as he seems to be the only ghost around. Suddenly he realises that there IS one person that can see and hear him…her name is Bethany. An outcast and loner, they had no contact in life so why is she the only one who can see him now?


This was such a beautifully written story it tugged at my heartstrings. David was not a particularly nice person in life – certainly not in his attitude to girls like Bethany – and as he watches his best friend behave appallingly he comes to some understanding of who he himself was and how different things would be now if only he could get that life back. In the relationship with his Mother, his Stepfather and with Bethany. I suppose in a way, you could call it a coming of age story..except of course David will not have the chance. The relationship that develops between the two youngsters – one living, one dead, is almost what I would like to call “Anti Twilight”. No angst, just a rather strange friendship and mutual respect that you wish with all your heart they could have in life. And yet…if David was alive they would never speak.

As Bethany tries to help David discover just why it is that he is stuck, they learn more about each other and themselves. She really is an amazing girl who has suffered her own share of tragedy…and we all knew girls and boys like her at school, some of us WERE those people – the slightly odd, and seemingly sad misfits. What Sharon Sant has done is give you a glimpse behind the mask – a possible reason for being. It makes you wonder….what if you had simply spoken to a girl like that rather than avoiding them or making fun – what hidden depths might you discover and who knows what friendships are missed because this simply doesnt occur.

And of course its a darn good story to boot – you will WANT to know what David’s purpose is, why he is the only spirit, why is Bethany the one chosen to be able to see and hear him. There are some humerous moments as David tries to accomplish those things that film ghosts always seem to be able to do – moving things, scaring people..but mostly it is an emotional and heart wrenching ride towards the final resolution. Will David be doomed to walk forever with only Bethany for company? I would suggest you read and find out!



Win your very own copy of The Memory Game by commenting on this post with the answer to this question.

If YOU died and only one person could see and hear you, who would you choose and why?

Please also state whether you would prefer Ebook or Paperback and be aware that Paperbacks will be despatched at the end of this month (UK only for Hard Copy)   Entries will be judged by an impartial observer and the winner announced on Facebook, Twitter and here on site.


Happy Reading Folks!


Love Dr Brennan….terrific novels from Kathy Reichs.



So today the latest Dr Brennan novel from Kathy Reichs is officially released and as I adore these books I thought it would be nice to tell you a little bit  about the Author, the books and if you havent yet picked one of these up then perhaps I can inspire you to do so…..


The Author


Taken from http://kathyreichs.com/

Where you can find out a lot more information about Kathy, the novels, and the popular tv show inspired by them.


Dr. Reichs is one of only eighty-two forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from American University, in Washington, DC (1971).  She earned a Masters in Physical Anthropology (1972) and a PhD in Physical Anthropology (1975). The American Board of Forensic Anthropology certified Dr. Reichs as a Diplomate (D.A.B.F.A) in 1986.


Her novels are inspired by her life which gives them a unique authenticity – For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec.


Dr. Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


One amazing Lady I would say.


The Novels

In the beginning….





Her life is devoted to justice — for those she never even knew.

In the year since Temperance Brennan left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina, work has often preempted her weekend plans to explore Quebec. When a female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in trash bags, Tempe detects an alarming pattern — and she plunges into a harrowing search for a killer. But her investigation is about to place those closest to her — her best friend and her own daughter — in mortal danger. . . .



My first foray into Dr Brennans world and one I remember fondly to this day. One of those books that along with Stephen King’s “The Stand” and John Connolly’s “Every Dead Thing” made me realise that this was an author I was going to be following forever, I was hooked from the beginning. Its perhaps not for the faint hearted – the nature of the work Dr Brennan takes on can make for some gruesome reading, but its all very realistic and completely entralling.  I especially loved that Dr Temperance Brennan is by no means perfect…moody yet dedicated, as a recovering alchoholic she has her own demons to fight…and yet she will place herself in very real danger to achieve justice for the dead. Kathy Reichs has a terrific writing style…and to this day that has not lost its charm for me. I look forward to each new Brennan adventure with a great sense of excitement. You can start here…I envy you the journey!


And the latest…..






One of my favourite Authors would be Kathy Reichs, I have followed Dr Brennan’s adventures from the get go so thank you kindly for the advanced copy from netgalley.

This instalment finds Doc Brennan investigating the hit and run death of an unidentified young girl, whilst trying to help a soldier in Afghanistan who is accused of an unlawful killing during an assault on a local village. Reluctantly leaving her “Jane Doe” behind she travels to the war torn country to investigate…

Following many strands in that unique way that Ms Reichs has, as usual this was brilliantly done. Its no surprise given her background that these are some of the most authentic tales you will find in this genre and her knowledge and experience as always shines through during the more technical portions of the book. And yet even someone who has zero knowledge will know what is going on – there is always a handy character hanging around who is dim witted in these matters that the good Doctor has to explain things to in common language – Slidell usually, a character I have what is close to adoration for, he brings a lot of light relief to the drama as always.

Another thing I’ve always loved about this particular style of writing is also prevalent here – Each chapter ends with a short, snappy sentence that somehow, someway, even if its mundane, means you have to read at LEAST a page of the following chapter before putting the novel down. If you can. As usual I found this hard to do! Its not even that there is a cliffhanger at the end of each portion – its just something. It can be an addiction – I did read late into the night again…its a side effect Ms Reichs books have on me. At least now I’m used to it. And I look forward to it.

I have the greatest admiration and respect for this author anyway. She has done an awful lot with her life, not only just for a career but as a calling and has helped an awful lot of people. And hey, she can write. A great story, a terrific page turner, and now you can watch Temperance Brennan on the small screen in “Bones”. A different incarnation again – don’t expect the books – and a terrifically entertaining show.


The End?


Well no of course not….because we also have…


The Television Series.





I remember being so excited to hear that a set of books I loved so much was going to be the basis for a new tv show…and starring none other than David Boreanaz, an actor who I had a secret girlie girl crush on since his “Buffy” days…so I sat down to watch with great anticipation.

I was surprised by what I found…and kind of delighted.  The Temperance of the tv show, whilst having the same background as her book counterpart was actually completely different. Surrounded by a whole new cast of eclectic and hilarious characters she may be a forensic anthropologist who helps out on the most gruesome of cases but she is also quirky, unpredictable and completely annoying in the best way possible. Perfect chemistry between Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz makes for some sizzling and downright brilliant scenes – and the mysteries are always terrifically imagined and intriguing.

I am a couple of seasons behind now – an error I will need to rectify as soon as possible….


So there you go. Read one of the books, watch some of the show, and enter the amazing, sometimes horrifying, always compelling world of Temperance Brennan. And by proxy…Dr Kathy Reichs.


You can follow Kathy on Twitter here : https://twitter.com/KathyReichs


Purchase info http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kathy-Reichs/e/B000APED9E/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1377767639&sr=1-2-ent


Happy Reading Folks!



From the very Beginning….Meet Amie.



So today I want you to meet a lovely friend of mine, Amie Johnson. As well as being an amazing singer with her acoustic band “In Your Honour” and a teacher she is also attempting to embark on a writing career. Reviewing both books and bands she is already making a bit of a name for herself.  I’ve read bits and pieces of her preparation so far and I think she might write rather a good novel. As a blogger, reviewer and lover of all things books I thought it might be interesting, and something a bit different, to follow the writing process from initial decision to writing to (hopefully) success. Equally its possible that things may not go as planned. Either way lovely readers, we will be with Amie all the way, with updates over the months and for all the ups and downs that are to come.


So I will hand over to Amie – she will tell you about her idea, her decision to write and her process so far. Enjoy!


Amie – From the Beginning


However cliche this may sound, or however silly, the idea for my current book came to me in a dream…

I was on a summer holiday in Gran Canaria and I remember waking up, crying for my brother. I don’t think I’d drank many cocktails previous to me going to sleep! And within seconds the dream came flooding back to me in vivid detail. I knew at that moment it was something I wanted to write. I wanted to turn my dream into a written piece of art.

I don’t know how well my dream will translate on paper, if well at all, but I want to try, to make those tears seem worth while. To make them mean something more than just another nightmare.


NanoWrimo is what awakened a passion in me to write novels. At university, in my last, year I wrote a very “in-yer-face” script set around the theme of prostitutes and drugs. It was performed by my class mates on a large scale production – tickets were sold and everything – and it was a great success. So, after being challenged to the great NanoWriomo … -That is to write 50,000 words in 30 days – I decided I would turn my play into a street drama novel. Unfortunately, that year (2011) I did not achieve the full 50,000. So, I made it my goal to accomplish it for 2012. And, after many sleepless nights and anti-social days, I did. I wrote a chick-lit book titled ‘The Other Side’ and it was a very proud moment for me. It was about an actress who lead a perfect life in front of the camera, but behind the camera everything was going wrong. I would love to share this novel with you but due to my lack of backing documents up and my friends lack of computer skill (you know who you are!) I lost the whole novel. 50,000 words gone, vanished into a cyber space and never to be read again. Of course I had other, shall we say more experienced, people look to find it but alas, it wasn’t to be.

Now I want to avenge my story with another and this dream couldn’t have come at a better time – and don’t worry, I’ve learnt to back up my stuff!!


In the future, once a great war has settled and there are only two islands left, a new Government ‘The Regime’ is in play and with elections around the corner, there is a lot going on. Annie works for the local school helping people with disabilities to read and write. She is happily settled with her boyfriend who saved her from a, common, street attack. Her Father, after being recruited into the Regime’s army ‘The Crafters’, went missing and Annie’s Mother joined The Crafters as a communications officer in search of him. Annie’s brother works in a warehouse by day, but by night he is part of a much more life threatening group – ‘The Rebels’. They work against The Regime with hopes of one day performing an overthrow. Annie has a good friend in The Regime, Eman, who is favourite to win the election, but once he does, many of the dependents opinions change. Eman calls for a human cleanse, meaning anyone who, in his eyes, do not contribute enough to their society will be outcasted.

How badly will the cleanse affect Annie and her life?

Do the Rebel’s succeed in an overthrow?

Or will humankind be altered again?


When I started to write a plan it honestly just flowed. Every spare second I had on my holiday I was on my phone typing away, letting my imagination run wild, and it felt great. Once home, I typed it all up and printed out a chapter by chapter synopsis. Names for characters come easy to me and as I began writing the story, naturally the plot changed slightly. Two chapters would merge into one, things like that. The first ‘bump in the road’ I reached was names for things like the new Government and even now I am unsure of what to call my two remaining Islands. My first idea was to have ‘districts’ but this is becoming very popular in young adult novels and so I moved on from that, deciding I should create a name – so this is still a working progress.


So far I am on 6,314 words and am still thrilling over the idea of getting it all down. A lesson I have learnt on a writing course I am currently studying for is to write down your story, having planned each chapter, and then go back to each chapter and turn your drafted words into a masterpiece. Whether I have the skill to produce a masterpiece is another question! For me, I struggle with filling chapters. Most of mine are about 1,000 words which, when I think about your average book, should be more. Maybe once I have finished the big job of writing the book in its entirety, before going back to chop and change things, and on completion of my writing course, I will be able to master this technique better and produce lengthy chapters, after all practice makes perfect!


I did have a moment of weakness however, which i’m told is apparent in most writers careers. I lacked the confidence to continue, my characters stopped talking to me and I didn’t know where to take them. I know what I want to happen in my story but finding the words was proving difficult. My problem is I ramble on and although I have 1,000 words a chapter, it becomes too wordy. My style of writing at the moment is blogging, but it needs to be better. Say three lines in one sentence kind of thing. This is something I am now working on to advance at. Wish me luck!


And that brings you right up to date with my process. It’s a working one and no one is perfect, but I hope you have 1. learnt something 2. were excited by my book blurb and 3. look forward to my next entry here. That latter hope is a big one, I have to say, but please do.


With thanks to Liz, as always, an inspiration and influence to my passion. x


You can follow Amie on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/amieblinks

And her blog here: http://amielou89.blogspot.co.uk/


Thanks Amie. I look forward to hearing more….and reading more as we go!


Happy Reading Folks!

Liz Simply Adored..The Summer We All Ran Away by Cassandra Parkin



So, Happy Bank Holiday Monday everyone, I hope you all have a great day. Today I am revisiting a book a read a little while ago – the wonderful “The Summer We All Ran Away” by Cassandra Parkin. Recently nominated for the Amazon UK Rising Stars Award, quite rightly so in this readers opinion, this was a lovely heart warming story with a myterious heart. You can see my review shortly, first however Cassandra kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me and here is what she had to say.


The Summer We All Ran Away has so many terrific characters – do you have a favourite?


I’m so glad you like them – I am very fond of them all too, having spent quite a long time in their company. I don’t know if I have a favourite, exactly, but I do rather like writing about lost boys, and both Jack and Davey satisfy my need there. And I do have an especially soft spot in my heart for Pris – she’s so tough and rude and cynical, but also very sweet underneath it all.


Did you always know their full story or did it evolve as it was written?


When I started, I definitely had an overall direction in mind, but the story evolved quite significantly as I wrote. I think most writers have the experience where suddenly, your characters start arguing back – they won’t do what you want, they won’t say what you want, they have their own agenda and suddenly, you’re not in control of the story any more. Once that happens, you know you’re definitely getting somewhere.


You have recently been shortlisted for the Amazon UK Rising Stars award – Can you put into words how that feels?


It still hasn’t really sunk in yet, to be honest – I keep checking back on the page to make sure that it really is “The Summer We All Ran Away” on there! I’ve loved so many of the previous Rising Stars nominees – Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”, S J Watson’s “Before I Go To Sleep”, Elizabeth Haynes’s “Into The Darkest Corner”. Being one of the twelve nominated novels for 2013 is just amazing.


Are you working on another book? If so can you tell us anything about it?


After revelling in a glorious, decadent country mansion, I thought it would be interesting to try writing a story that’s set in the smallest possible space. So my next novel, “The Beach Hut”, is about a grown-up brother and sister who build an illegal beach-hut on a Cornish beach in the autumn, and the impact that their arrival has on a widowed pub landlord and his daughter.


Favourite Author to read (A difficult one I know!)


Oh my goodness – that’s such a hard question! The author whose books I always, always take with me wherever I go is Jane Austen – I haven’t left home without at least one of her books since I was about fifteen years old. She’s a writer you can go back to over and over again, at any age and at any stage of life, and still discover something new.


Favourite comfort food


I love chilli, nice and hot and with far too much garlic to be remotely civilised afterwards. It’s my Meal Of Shame – I make it when my husband’s away and I know I don’t have to meet anyone the next morning. I also really, really like chocolate raisins to eat while I’m writing, because I can pretend to myself they’re healthy.


One thing apart from people you would rescue from a burning building?


I’m dithering between my Chinese lion-dog (he’s about two thousand years old and it would be terrible if anything happened to him on my watch, so to speak) and our back-up drive, which has copies of all the family photos, plus every word I’ve written for the last ten years. No, I’ve thought about it some more and I think it’s going to have to be the hard drive, and hopefully my lion-dog will somehow make it through the inferno. Unless pets aren’t included in “people”, in which case it would have to be my family’s two cats and two guinea-pigs. They’re as daft as brushes and they’d probably all panic and think they were going to the vets, but I love them all to bits.
Thank you so much Cassandra!

Thank you kindly to Legend Press and Cassandra Parkin for the copy of this novel via netgalley.

In an abandoned house in the West Country a small eclectic group of people gather – including young Davey, escaping from life , who is welcomed into their midst with one caveat – he asks no questions. 30 Years previously, Musican Jack Laker is writing a comeback album…and in abandoning one girl for another sets into motion a wave of events that will ripple through the years until  they reach Davey’s shore..

I have posted this review under Fiction – you might also consider it as a mystery novel but for me it was all about the beautiful characters and flowing almost poetic prose – sometimes its hard to put a book into a single genre. Cassandra Parkin has created some wonderfully witty and heartfelt folk here – I loved each and every one of them from the hilariously honest Priss (my favourite) down to the less than likeable but still intriguing Evie. As you follow events both in the past and the present, you will get inexorably caught up in their world…a world as harsh as it is breathtaking. The house is almost a character in itself – there is a definite atmosphere about it and you know it is hiding secrets…but what those secrets are it refuses to tell.

The story unfolds over both the time periods in a charmingly delightful manner – it is gentle yet fascinating. You care less about what they may be hiding from than you do for the people themselves and what they might do next. The Summer We All Ran Away is the closest I’ve come expressively speaking to Agatha Christie – you feel like you are reading an age old tale yet in a modern setting. Of all the wonderful books I have read lately this is the one that has made me feel true nostalgia for those early days of my reading life – when wide eyed I would emerge from a story and suddenly realise it wasnt real. But it feels real when you are in it…doesnt it?



Find out more about Cassandra here  http://cassandraparkin.wordpress.com/


You can follow her on Twitter here https://twitter.com/cassandrajaneuk


Find out all about Legend Press and their other titles http://legendpress.co.uk/


Purchase Information for the book http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Summer-All-Ran-Away/dp/1909395315/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1377498941&sr=1-1


Happy Reading Folks!