Archive for September, 2013

The Light Between Oceans

M L Stedman
between oceans 2A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper’s island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision.
They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.

As we were sent this book unsolicited it took a while for me to pick it up and read it, and when I did I wished I’d started earlier. We first meet Tom who is a lighthouse keeper on the coast of Australia (as in the Light of the title), he has survived the horrors of World War 1 and is happy to have a quiet life, the complete opposite of his time in the trenches. Tom comes across as a thoughtful, caring man, toughened up by life, he has learnt hard lessons from his experiences and now seems content, but changes are on his horizon.

A change in posting sends him to Janus, the most lonely Light, furthest from shore. On his way there he has to stay for a few days at the nearest town and he meets Izzy. There is an instant connection between them, but Tom doesn’t think any woman would want to be with him alone out at the Lighthouse. He under-estimates Izzy who is a strong, and for the time especially, independent and free thinking woman, they eventually get married and go to live at Janus together. M L Stedman beautifully describes the island the life is on and their life there. In some ways it almost comes over as quite idyllic. However as time passes Izzy has miscarriages and they have to cope with this alone, really in the middle of nowhere things get harder.

Then, as the blurb says a baby washes up to them and to Izzy this feels like a miracle, but Tom is not so sure. As you can guess from the blurb too they do keep the baby, much against Tom’s better judgement and for a while everything is wonderful, but as Tom’s conscience continues to prickle life is not as charmed as it might appear. Big decisions still lie in store for everyone and the consequences of their actions are far reaching.

I really enjoyed the way that we got to know Tom and Izzy and watched as their unique relationship grew and blossomed, it made an excellent basis to watch again as they have to deal with disagreement and tough times and to see whether or not their relationship would overcome adversity. The build-up also enables us as the reader to fully sympathise with both Tom and Izzy as they make decisions that many people would just see as being wrong. There is a real challenge here to think about what we would do in the same circumstances. It is not always easy to do the right thing, and the right thing is not always clear either! I also liked the way that the changing fortunes of the couple made me re-evaluate them as people, I felt quite differently about Izzy by the end of the book.

Verdict: A great out working of a complicated moral dilemma, wrapped up in gripping prose and unforgettable characters, gripping!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Black Swan
Publication Date: May 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 464
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Model Misfit

Holly Smale
Model Misfit“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”
Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.
What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.
With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.
Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.
Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?

Ok, so when I heard that there was a Geek Girl 2 I was so pleased because I am Geek girl’s biggest fan (I even have the glasses!) so pleased in fact I read it in 2 days flat. (Not quite a personal record but very close!) So Harriet Manners is 15 and she is a Geek… and a model, spotted a year ago unexpectantly by a top modelling agency (if you have no idea what I’m on about then read my last Geek Girl review) she is kind, clumsy and it’s her GCSE final today and after that she will have the whole long summer holiday ahead of her. So she does the exam and announces to her friend Nat that she has the summer holiday planned out. Nat tells her that because she was caught trying out eye shadow in Boots instead of practising her French GCSE so she has to go to a desolate farm in France to practice there. Suddenly Hattie has a lot of time on her hands…

After ruining yet another modelling opportunity she thinks her modelling career is all over until her agent tells her that she is going to Tokyo and all she has to do is convince her parents…

When she gets there she meets her Grandmother, her ex-boyfriend and some new friends… or foes. After being attacked by an octopus, getting stuck in a box with a cockroach, slipping over in a lake and wearing high-heeled shoes in a Sumo wrestling ring, I think she could say her modelling career has been well, interesting.

Find out about new friends, new enemies, new family members and a whirlwind trip to Tokyo. Boyfriends, best friends, babies, bugs and loads more in a book not to be missed!

Verdict: you will die if you don’t read this book. Enough said.

Reviewed by Daisy (12)

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 356
Genre: Contemporary, Humour
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy(12)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Dixie O’Day: In the Fast Lane

Shirley Hughes and Clara Vaulliamy (illustrator)
dixie O'dayIntroducing Dixie O’Day and also, of course, his friend Percy! This dashing duo are always getting into adventures – here they enter the All-Day Car Race little knowing what is ahead of them! Dixie and Percy run into all sorts of peril, as does their arch enemy, Lou Ella. But who will win, and will Lou Ella get her comeuppance?

It gives me great pleasure to introduce two dashing gentlemen, Dixy O’Day, the bow tie wearing, responsible car owner, and his best friend, co-driver, and all round good chap, Percy. These furry fella’s enjoy the simple things in life; Sunday motoring in the country, picnicing at the seaside and relaxing in the evening with a good cup of tea and their favourite biscuits. Not that they are adverse to a little excitement, which is handy as they do seem to get themselves in to tricky scrapes with alarming regularity!

While we still enjoy sharing our favourite picture books, my six-year-old daughter has started to request “grown up” chapter books for her pre bed reading. Although these books are written for early readers, with simple stories that appeal to her interests, I have found that the leap from picture book to chapter book to be a steep one. Particularly when I am reading an un-illustrated segment, I have noticed that my daughter’s concentration wanes mid chapter and without a visual reference and in the absence of descriptions she has trouble keeping track of the secondary characters.

From the very first page you know that you are getting something different. Dixie O’Day is a very British book about a pair of well-mannered British chaps. Beneath the excitement of the great Didsworth to Dodsworth car race there are some very gentle lessons about taking care of your possessions, consideration for others, manners and doing good deeds.

In a world full of apps, technology and extra digital content it was a delight to watch my daughter interacting with the book in a much more traditional way- exploring the included character interviews, games and maps – these added extras have pulled us back to the book as much as the story itself.

The chapters were the perfect length to maintain a fidgeting child’s attention, but long enough to that my daughter didn’t feel short changed at bedtime. The chapters each ended on a gripping cliff hanger and on more than one occasion I gave in (gleefully*) to my daughters pleas of just one more chapter.

In my experience the illustrations in similar books are usually black and white. While the illustrations in Dixie O’Day benefit from the edition of just red, pink and grey, the use of different retro prints add to the overall texture of the pictures and makes the overall book feel as if a much larger colour palate has been used.

I loved the retro 1940-1950’s styling. Everything from the illustrations themselves, the language use, even the compact size of the book, all nod to a past era. Although I was born long after the mimiced era, everything about the book made me feel nostalgic for my own childhood. Saturday mornings watching wacky races on the television, rummaging in charity shops for very British books about adventures, midnight feasts and lessons in morality.

Verdict: With it’s fast paced and exciting chapters and vibrant illustrations on every page Dixy O’Day is the perfect bridge between the chapter books my daughter craves and the picture books we already love.

* another step closer to creating a mini bibliophile

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Bodley Head
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: ARC
Pages: 128
Genre: Children’s, Humour
Age: Early reader
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Self Published Sunday: Interview with David L. Atkinson

This week we welcome David L. Atkinson.

inceptusIn this fifth Steele novel, Patrick tackles the person who has been surreptitiously dogging his footsteps over a number of his adventures. This is not without risk, and when the focus of his love, Naomi Kobayashi, disappears, Patrick’s ability to function is seriously affected. We begin to find out more about the man himself as the adventure takes him to Eire, France, the USA, before he returns to resolve the issue in the UK. Will Patrick finally rid himself of a deadly enemy? Can our hero rescue his love, or is it already too late?
Inceptus is another tension-filled, action-packed Patrick Steele adventure with the support provided by the team he has developed over the years

What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing seriously about four years ago although I have written poetry for many years. I began writing because I’d reduced my work to part time and knew that I wanted to produce a novel.

What is your writing process?
The only things I tend to do is a brief outline that includes beginning situation and central characters and title pages, acknowledgements etc.

What prompted you to self publish?
I had submitted about 8 times with the usual rejection letters then saw an article in Publisher’s Weekly recommending Completely Novel and I’ve never looked back.

Tell us a bit about your self-publishing journey – just how did you do it?
I have half answered this question above but there was further justification in the blogs I’ve read from fellow indie authors. Added to that it seemed to me that anyone who is a celebrity can get published because their name is going to sell books irrespective of quality. The growth of self-publishing and the scope that is available for marketing has kept me in the indie game.

Can you tell us about the challenges and the achievements you have experienced in your writing and self-publishing journey?
The challenges have honestly been very few, mostly around formatting which varies between companies. Similarly, I have not had many achievements of any great significance apart from selling books in the USA, Canada and Europe.

We hear a lot about collaboration in self-publishing – do you work with other people (editors, marketers, publicists etc) when publishing your works?
I have worked with three different people on editing – that is all the collaboration in which I’ve been involved.

How do you get feedback on your work? How valuable is it to read the comments and reviews of others?
I am not one for looking at reviews because I believe that writing is an art and the reviews are almost entirely subjective. I will write irrespective of what people think. Those reviewers who criticise grammar or punctuation are like someone criticising the brand of paint an artist uses. Those who criticise style and content are entitled to their opinion but obviously it won’t coincide with mine.

Have you considered traditional publishing?
Yes. I still would like to be published out of a sense of vanity, I suppose, but I’m not that desperate.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Would you recommend self-publishing?

To answer in reverse order I definitely believe that self-publishing is the way to go. Advice for aspiring writers – well writing a book is rather like eating an elephant – you can only do it one mouthful at a time. Seriously though, if you’re writing a novel write the first 3 chapters before you review your work. I have spoken and read about many people who have written their first chapter, reviewed their first chapter and started again and they’ve done this several times! If you write the first three then review the beginning you will be happier with the style and content and are more likely to continue rejuvenated at your prowess.

Just for Fun:

If your book was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?

Jason Statham

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?

Mark Knoffler

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee

Write at home or outside?

Home

Pen or PC?

PC

Email or letter/postcard?

email

And the all-controversial: print book or ebook?

Yes – both. My experience is that people who like reading have both.

image003Born in Sunderland, David L. Atkinson went to college in Bradford where he trained to be a teacher, a profession he followed for 34 years. After leaving the teaching profession he worked in a bank before taking up retirement. He remained in Yorkshire where he now dedicates his time to writing. David always had the ambition to write and eventually began writing in 2009. He has now completed five novels and is working on a sixth. He blogs daily at http://david-latkinson.blogspot.com, where you can find short stories, poetry and recipes, as well as commentary on the writing process.

Inceptus is available to buy from CompletelyNovel (here).

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What Endures

Katie Lee
what enduresJason Kincaid is young, hot and successful.
An All-Star outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, he finally had everything he ever wanted, including a second chance with his high school sweetheart, Megan Williams.
But their hopes for a ‘happily-ever-after’ are dashed by tragedy.
A horrific car accident wipes out most of Jason’s memories. Unable to recall anything from the last fifteen years of his life, Jason is suddenly adrift, his once charmed life now in ruins.
Megan finds herself in the untenable position of having to deal with the fact that the man she’s helping to rebuild his life may look, and even act, like her beloved fiancé, but in reality, isn’t any longer.
Trying to protect herself, as well as Jason, Megan fights the attraction between them. . .to no avail. As their potent connection inevitably draws them closer, Megan wonders,
With the memories of their relationship gone, can love endure?

When I started What Endures I was expecting a candy floss read; boy meets girl, they fall in love, boy loses memory, boy and girl fall back in love, culminating with a cheesy Hollywood ending. Every now and then I want the pure escapism and comfort of a light, sweet and predictably fluffy story. While I would have been happy to sate my sweet tooth with a rush of sugar, Katie Lee had other ideas, giving me more substance to chew over.

After four agonising weeks of constant bedside vigil, Megan’s prayers are finally answered and Jason wakes from the coma caused by the horrific head injuries he sustained in a car accident. Doctors predict that while physically Jason should make a full recovery, the return of his memory is less certain.

While Megan has the experience of loving Jason for her entire adult life, Jason can’t recall a single memory of the previous ten years with Megan. Ten years of ups and downs, of heartbreak and healing. Laughter and tears, all wiped out in an instant. Not only that, but having lost all memory of his adulthood (reconciling with his stepbrother, independence from his controlling father, his glittering sporting career), who is post-accident Jason? Will he fall for Megan? And without the experience of their life together, is Jason still the man Megan fell in love with?

What Endures was an emotional journey, not only through the couples experience of Jason’s physical and emotional recovery, I was frequently teary-eyed as I empathised with Megan’s’ heartbreak and Jason’s bewilderment, but also through the exploration of a realistic long term love story with all of the inconvenience, hard made decisions, compromises and hurts of “real life”.

Verdict: A lovely read. I will be seeking out this indie author’s future work.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Self published
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 346/462KB
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: New Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Via blog tour
Challenge: Debut Author
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Geek Girl Giveaway!

Following the huge success of ‘Geek Girl’, Holly Smale has returned with Model Misfit.

Model MisfitHarriet Manners is back and she is still a geek.
Harriet Manners knows a lot of facts.
She knows that humans have 70,000 thoughts per day.
She knows that Geek + Model = a whole new set of graffiti on your belongings.
And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.
But Harriet doesn’t know where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives. And with her summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get away. Can Harriet cope with the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes?
Will geek girl find her place on the other side of the world?

To learn more about Harriet and her adventures visit the series Facebook page here
Geek Girl will be published on the 26th of September and is available to pre order from Amazon (here)

To celebrate the release we have teamed up with Harper Collins Children’s Books to offer you the chance to win both Geek Girl and Model Misfit!

UK POSTAL ADDRESSES ONLY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Splintered

A G Howard and Rebecca Gibel (Narrator)

splintered audiobookThis stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Puberty is a difficult time for any girl, your body is changing, you are under the influence of raging hormones and plagued by acne, bloating, cramps, the voices of bugs and plants…. Nope, me neither. For Alyssa, her transition into womanhood also heralds the onset of her families curse. Ever since the Alice Liddel scrabbled out of that rabbit hole her female decendents have be stricken with serious mental health problems and fixations with Wonderland.

Having grown up witnessing her mothers descent in to madness and her resulting treatment within an asylum, Alyssa has learnt to disguise her anxiety about her cruel birthright and ignore the incessant voices. But a shocking incident at the asylum forces Alyssa to reconsider everything she thought she knew about her mothers condition, and instead of hiding from her heritage, Alyssa actively seeks out answers

From the very first paragraph we learn that Alyssa is no wall flower, no bumbling ditzy girl next door. She is fierce, strong, and in the words of her father, level headed and together. Taking creative revenge on her multi-limbed and be-winged tormentors Alyssa isn’t one for sit around bemoaning the hand she has been dealt, hoping that someone will save her. Instead she takes action, throwing herself down the rabbit hole to face her fears and save her family.

It’s not unusual for a YA book to suffer from a glut of love interests, sparking many a team X verses team Y debate, with each group zealously defending their selected beau. Many times I have found myself rooting for a particular outcome or a particular coupling. With Splintered A G Howard has me completely torn, with no clear choice.

On the surface these men couldn’t be any more different in appearance, manners and temperament. Scratch the surface however and our good boy and bad have much more in common than initial appearances would lead us to believe. Both have dark pasts, history with Alyssa, and both see and accept Alyssa for who she truly is, even before she recognises it herself. They even share the same almost paternalistic, over protectiveness of Alyssa, although the motivation and the manifestation of this fault is uniquely their own.

I adored how A G Howard took a world familiar to many of us, and didn’t so much re-imagine the story but create a spin off series to complement the original. I loved layering my experience of Splintered over my knowledge of the original Alice story. Comparing my childhood memories of the books and Disney movie with the naive and innocent recollections of a traumatized young Alice Liddel. Then discovering, along with Alyssa, the darker, uglier truth of Wonderland and its inhabitants. Familiar and yet unique, I couldn’t help listening to just one more chapter, anxious to discover where Howard would take her story next, never foreseeing where the next twist or turn would redirect us.

The record quality was consistent with no skipping, repeats or weird changes in tone or volume. Narrator Rebecca Gibel did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life, capturing the creepiness and otherworldliness of the many supporting characters and performing the main characters consistently, each clearly defined by a unique voice, allowing the conversations to be followed without confusion. I particularly enjoyed the Billy Idol like British accent she created for Morpheus, it certainly added to his mischievous bad boy persona.

Verdict: A book as captivating as its stunning cover.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Audiogo
Publication Date: May 2013
Format: Audiobook (unabridged)
Duration: 11 hrs 20mins
Genre: speculative fiction, fantasy
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: Debut Author

The Hardback of Splintered was published in January 2013 by Amulet Books

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Self Published Sunday: Interview with Tom Evans

Today we welcome Tom Evans, author of The Zone

the-zoneWe know intuitively when we are in the zone. We know all too frustratingly when we are out of the zone. What we don’t often know is where this mythical zone is. Sometimes we end up there more by accident than design. When we’re out of it, there’s no map to get us back there.
The Zone is that map that shows us that there is not just one zone but many. We have Doing Zones and Being Zones. We can even get trapped in Danger Zones. It explores where the boundaries of the Zone lie and how to get past Border Control without a passport.
The aim is to end up in the Magic Zone. This is a place where we can live a charmed and enchanting life. It’s a place where we go with the flow and we stop pushing water uphill.
If you perform live as a sports person or on stage as a singer, musician or presenter, you will find much here to help you keep at your peak. If you work in the creative sphere where you are performing too but off line, this book will show you how to deliver high quality output consistently. If you are in business, there is much here you can use to give you a competitive edge.
When you are fully immersed in The Zone, life becomes a breeze and takes on a magical quality.

What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I wrote my first book by accident at 35,000ft over the Atlantic in a 747. It was called 100 Years of Ermintrude and tells the life story of a centenarian in just 33 poetic stanzas. As a result of writing it, I ended up walking around London in a bra for 26 miles, for Walk the Walk, and becoming an author’s mentor and a specialist at clearing writer’s block.
What is your writing process? (i.e., do you follow a regular routine?)
I write from 8:30 to 11am most days but only after meditation and either Mind Mapping or doodling around the subject I am about to write about. This tunes me into my Muse and gets the left and right brains working in sync.

What prompted you to self publish?
The last book I had traditionally published took them a year after getting my final edited draft. I wrote the sequel just after completing it and was able to publish the sequel 9 months ahead of its prequel by using CompletelyNovel.

Tell us a bit about your self-publishing journey – just how did you do it?
After publishing my first three books with traditional publishers, I had just finished the last chapter of my fourth book, opened up my emails and there was an email from CompletelyNovel. I uploaded the draft that day and got a printed copy back in a week (which makes proof reading so much easier). So it’s fair to say that self-publishing found me, not the other way around. Now it’s my first choice for speed and control.

Can you tell us about the challenges and the achievements you have experienced in your writing and self-publishing journey?
The only challenge I face, common with other writers, is spreading the word about my books. I found, though, that having a publisher made no real difference. What is great these days is that authors support each other and social media gives us global reach.

We hear a lot about collaboration in self-publishing – do you work with other people (editors, marketers, publicists etc) when publishing your works?
Yes, I have an online TV vodcast and audio podcast channel, and I interview other authors where there is overlap between our works. This promotes both of us.

How do you get feedback on your work? How valuable is it to read the comments and reviews of others?
I love all reviews. Good ones make my day. Not so good ones make me a better writer. I had a 1 star review the other day in a sea of 5 stars. It was really clever and funny and made me laugh and not take myself too seriously.

Have you considered traditional publishing?
Yes, I’ve done it three times and was not impressed. If the right publisher came along who was serious about marketing and taking a 21st century approach, I’d be open to having a chat though.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Would you recommend self-publishing?
My advice is to write something every day, no matter how small, as this exercises our linguistic neurological centres. Then share it via blogs, ebooks and in print. Only by sticking our heads above the parapet will we learn, and the doors it opens for us will amaze and astound us. I got my second publishing deal within 24 hours from a single blog and tweet that had nothing to do with the book. Just making connections allows serendipity to flow.

Just for Fun:

If your book was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?
My last but one book, This We Know, would be a TV documentary and be narrated and fronted by Stephen Fry.

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
It would have incidental music by Moby and an opening song by Ed Sheeran.

Tea or Coffee?
I’m a tea man. No sugar but an accompanying digestive biscuit is my reward after each writing session.

Write at home or outside?
Both, I am mobile.

Pen or PC?
Tablet – my iPad is used for all first drafts, Mind Mapping and even cover design

Email or letter/postcard?
Email

And the all-controversial: print book or ebook?
Both but with ebook first to test the market and get reviews then an audiobook as this is the best way ever to proof read followed by print.

tom_whitebgTom Evans is an author, author’s mentor and wizard of light bulb moments.
He has spent 30 years in the cutting edge of product development in the broadcast and Internet industries. He has a knack for explaining complex concepts in simple terms. More recently has been researching the psychology and physiology behind inspiration and is lifting the lid on the mystery of where ideas, and thought, come from.
He has written three books on the creative process. Blocks explores what stops us being creative. The Art and Science of Light Bulb Moments is all about those special types of thought that appear in less than a second, yet change our world forever. Flavours of Thought is an exploration of the different types of thought that appear in our heads.
His books, Planes of Being and This We Know, are philosophical explorations into what it means to be human and where we might be going as a species.
His latest book, The Zone, explores how to get into that creative space where our productivity soars and we get things done in ‘no time at all’.
For more information visit Tom’s Website (here) or his his facebook page (here), alternatively you can converse with him on Twitter (here)

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What Endures Blog Tour: Character Spotlight

We are delighted to host the latest stop on the What Endures Blog Tour. Today we are going to find out a bit more about Tyler Adams.

what enduresJason Kincaid is young, hot and successful.
An All-Star outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, he finally had everything he ever wanted, including a second chance with his high school sweetheart, Megan Williams.
But their hopes for a ‘happily-ever-after’ are dashed by tragedy.
A horrific car accident wipes out most of Jason’s memories. Unable to recall anything from the last fifteen years of his life, Jason is suddenly adrift, his once charmed life now in ruins.
Megan finds herself in the untenable position of having to deal with the fact that the man she’s helping to rebuild his life may look, and even act, like her beloved fiancé, but in reality, isn’t any longer.
Trying to protect herself, as well as Jason, Megan fights the attraction between them. . .to no avail. As their potent connection inevitably draws them closer, Megan wonders,
With the memories of their relationship gone, can love endure?

Character – Tyler Adams

Hair – Blond

Eyes – Blue

Occupation – Journalist

Age – 28

Lives – Los Angeles, CA

Likes

• Sports
• Writing
• Women – maybe a little too much!
• Gourmet food found at his mom’s store, Delights
• Secret alley hideaway behind Delights
• Talks with his BFF, Megan Williams
• Playing video games with his ex-stepbrother, Jason Kincaid

Dislikes

• Arguing with his ex-stepbrother, Jason
• Taking his own advice
• People quitting when things get hard
• Dealing with his ex-stepfather, Bruce Kincaid

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Self Published Sunday: Interview with Sarah Honeysett

Please give a warm Big Book Little Book welcome to Sarah Honeysett.

severe-discomfortMarried for over thirty years, Lyn and Terry Walker bicker their way through an enforced early retirement in the house where they raised their two sons, resentfully supporting and depending on each other. Injured in a road traffic accident some years previously, Lyn takes comfort in her role of ‘Nana’ while husband Terry, unfit for work after two heart attacks, bitterly resents his loss of status as a skilled working man. But an anonymous letter triggers an investigation into their disability benefit entitlement by the Department for Work and Pensions, and the Walkers’ income is cut in half as a consequence. Worse, they are told they must repay over of fifty thousand pounds.
They seek help from the ‘Solent Welfare Rights Project’, where Terry’s case is allocated to awkward young trainee Sally Archer and office comedian, Toby Novak, while Lyn’s caseworkers are political activist Martin Connolly and veteran adviser, Hilary Carrington. The team will need all of their experience and ingenuity if they are to win the Walkers’ cases – but can they possibly succeed?
Topical and controversial, Severe Discomfort presents a sympathetic, claimant’s-eye view of the complex Social Security system and the tea-fuelled world of a cash-strapped independent advice project, with its eclectic workforce, peeling paintwork, second-hand furniture and eternal optimism.
Read the opening chapters and order the book at: http://www.completelynovel.com/books/severe-discomfort–1

What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I wanted to give a voice to some of the people I’d seen in crisis during my work as a benefits adviser: I’d written a lot of serious reports about the Social Security system, but nothing to capture the imagination of someone not already involved with that line of work. Of course, I can’t write about real clients or their cases, but ‘Lyn’ and ‘Terry’ can be found in the waiting rooms of Citizens Advice Bureaux and Law Centres the length and breadth of the country every day of the working week.

What is your writing process?
‘Severe Discomfort’ started as odd episodes written during my husband’s weekly evening at the pub with his chums! These were stitched together, reviewed, distilled and rewritten, during the damp days of last summer until I had the finished story. I wrote something most days, and often spent all day writing! I’m currently redrafting a story with more ‘cases’ from the Solent Welfare Rights Centre, which I started immediately on finishing ‘Severe Discomfort’ and its sequel. That’s been happening spasmodically, but I’ll be more systematic about that when the nights draw in and the weather stops me gardening again.

What prompted you to self publish?
Impatience! The benefits at issue in ‘Severe Discomfort’ are being phased out over the next few year; the argument over whether this is right or wrong is happening right now and I want my book to play a part in that debate.

Tell us a bit about your self-publishing journey – just how did you do it?
Impulsively! I didn’t really want to use Amazon – they were getting panned for their tax affairs at the time and so hardly seemed a suitable vehicle for this project – and I couldn’t afford to squander hundreds of pounds on a glitzy ‘vanity publishing’ package. Trawling the Internet, I stumbled on CompletelyNovel’s website and really liked the friendly, co-operative feel of it, the eco-friendly ‘print-on-demand’ scheme for producing proper paperback books, and the quick, helpful responses I received to my queries.

Can you tell us about the challenges and the achievements you have experienced in your writing and self-publishing journey?
My biggest challenge is that I’m quite shy and not comfortable self-promoting, so I tend to apologise when asking people to read or review my books: it’s a lot easier now I’ve decided to donate any profits to Stoke-on-Trent CAB and I’m lobbying for a good cause. I’m genuinely proud of finishing ‘Severe Discomfort’ and its sequel, as I’m not great at completing projects. I’m also chuffed to have done quite a decent job of the cover and typesetting, thanks to CompletelyNovel’s online toolkit.

We hear a lot about collaboration in self-publishing – do you work with other people (editors, marketers, publicists etc) when publishing your works?
I’m sure I should, but apart from involving a trusted friend as proofreader, it’s been largely a solo project so far.

How do you get feedback on your work? How valuable is it to read the comments and reviews of others?
I tried the first draft out on close friends and family, and had some really helpful suggestions for edits from them. When I promoted the paperback through a campaigning organisation for disabled people, I got a couple of super reviews on Amazon and a request to make the book available as an ebook for better accessibility.
Best of all, I’ve had praise for my writing from people I really respect and who I can trust not to flatter me. One friend even declared that reading the book had made him ‘a better person’, which was extremely touching.

Have you considered traditional publishing?
I did try to interest several literary agents in ‘Severe Discomfort’ in the autumn of 2012 but as it didn’t fit neatly into any genre, and was quite open about its political nature, I wasn’t especially surprised to be rejected.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Would you recommend self-publishing?
Definitely, but don’t be haphazard and nervous about marketing and promotion as I’ve been. It’s no good being shy; if you’re proud of your work, tell everyone you know and don’t apologise for doing so!

Just for Fun:
If your book was made in to a film which actor(s), past or present, do you envision in the lead role(s)?

It would suit the book to cast ‘unknowns’ in all the roles, although there are a few jokes about a certain character bearing a passing resemblance to George Clooney, so…?

If your book had a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
It would have to include Uprising by Muse for Sally Archer and some Abba for Lyn, plus a few chords from Puccini’s Tosca at key moments in Hilary’s story.

Tea or Coffee?
Tea. Gallons of it!

Write at home or outside?
At home, on my own or in the evening. Especially J’s pub nights!

Pen or PC?
PC at home and work; pen for proofreading and notes on the narrowboat.

Email or letter/postcard?
I use email a lot, but when time permits I love writing, and receiving, letters.

And the all-controversial: print book or ebook?
I’m a Luddite at heart – it’s because I wanted to produce ‘real’ books that I opted for the CompletelyNovel publishing package

DSCN3517About Sarah: After working in Welfare Rights and Housing for twenty-five years in Hampshire and then Staffordshire, I took voluntary redundancy from Stoke-on-Trent Citizens’ Advice Bureau in the spring of 2011 to set up as a self-employed gardener. And there I was, fork, trowel and spade at the ready, when the ‘summer’ of 2012 came along… ‘Plan A’ was effectively rained off.
Missing my colleagues, clients and the world of welfare rights advice, I started to write about it. A few months later I had the first draft of Severe Discomfort and when the final version remained utterly resistible to several literary agents, I found CompletelyNovel online and through them self-published this first book and its sequel, Continual Supervision.
I rejoined Stoke-on-Trent CAB at the beginning of August 2013 in a training role, and I’m now donating any profits from sales of Severe Discomfort and Continual Supervision to this organisation, as right now we need all the help we can get.
I also write a light-hearted gardening blog with an occasional splash of social commentary at sarahhoneysettsgarden.blogspot.co.uk and comment seriously on Social Security policy at raggedskirt.blogspot.co.uk

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