Off-Island

Marlene Hauser

Krista Bourne has always been surrounded by the strength, love and wealth of her family and their homes in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard. She has never had to think for herself. Living with boyfriend Michael and her elderly grandfather, she can also summon up the comforting ghosts of her beloved father and grandmother. In vivid dreams she flies with her pilot father, and when awake remembers idyllic childhood holidays spent with her bohemian grandmother.
When Krista impulsively walks out on her career as a professional dancer, it is the beginning of a new chapter in her life. She feels unsettled and excited by the sense of imminent change around her.
This feeling turns to panic, then fear when she realises that she is pregnant and is uncertain whether or not she wants to keep the baby, bringing her and Michael to a crossroads in their relationship. Adamant that she alone must deal with the situation, Krista rejects all offers of support from him, isolating her at a time when she most needs help.
Krista’s journey and emotional upheaval take her back to her summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, where she is surprised to find out that she does not know her family history quite as well as she imagined.


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Hands down, it is the fun I have participating in the story as it unfolds—never what I original expected. I love meeting the characters, one by one, who originate as an idea and go on to become 3D. I enjoy working with editors that spin a character or a plot line in an entirely different direction, forcing me to reweave the tale. I love the surprise, the adventure.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Very tough question, but in the final analysis, in Off-Island—I would have to say Krista because she comes of age through the unexpectedly difficult and emotionally painful experience of abortion. I do equally enjoy her grandmother Ilsa.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Tea, tea & more tea. English breakfast with lemon slices, jasmine green with lemon slices, hojika, kukicha, rooibos, earl grey, white… The list is endless. Gunpowder.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I write first thing in the morning, before anything else, in PJs, crossed-legged on my bed with my laptop propped up on a pedestal of pillows with both my Jack Russell (Leche) and Bengal (Presto) curled up beside me.

How do you research your books?
Research comes from first hand experiences, the life experience of close friends and acquaintances, reading extensively on a subject that intrigues me, watching documentaries and of course the ever ready Google. I also ask more knowledgeable readers than myself to review my work and make suggestions.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I usually have an idea, rough outline—loose beginning, middle & end—Act I, II & III, and then I get going and the story does its own thing. Afterwards, with an editor stirring the pot, mystery abounds and all outlines go out the window. So a bit of both, plotter and pantser.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Does New Zealand count? Just kidding. Beautiful country. I tend to live in the fictional world that I am creating at any one moment, the book I am working on at the time. I like to revisit places where I’ve actually lived and loved.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
I would befriend some of Shakespeare’s romantic/tragic women, particularly Juliet and Ophelia. I would say “No. Stop, don’t do it.” And then they would go on to triumph and live amazing lives.

Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Publication Date: September 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages:
Genre: Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Jackson Saves an Owl

Darren Garwood and Carl Osborne

Jackson Superhero might not be a real name, but it is a story about a real boy, and as the name suggests, Jackson is far from ordinary. By day, a rare disease limits his ability to move freely, but at night he is far from grounded. When the sleeping hours come around, and weightlessness takes over, Jackson takes to the skies. He knows what it means to need the support of others, which is why when he hears a call for help, he is quickly there to lend a hand.


Darren Questions (author)

What is your favourite thing about writing books?
These stories are so personal to me and my son, but I want these stories to be bigger than us, and so when I hear from readers, and parents talking about how Jackson Saves an Owl is the new favourite book in their house, that is amazing. So my favourite part about writing really is the joy it can bring to readers.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I have plenty of bad habits, but I do try to keep them away from the writing.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? (I guess this means do you plan or just let the story flow out)
I usually have a rough idea of a story and I play with the plot in my head for quite a while, but then when I feel like I have the plot in place I just let the story flow off the cuff

Aside from your own, what is your favourite children’s book and why?
Peace at last – Jill Murphy as its Jackson’s favourite. He laughs at the ending

With your own book, what has been your proudest book moment so far?
Well this all started with Jackson and with me wanting to help him dream. He loves being read to and he loves books. He knew the Jackson Saves an Owl Story as I had been telling it to him for ages, but getting the real hardcopy in my hand felt really big and it was amazing to read the actual book to him. I do still read him his other favourites, of course, but I love reaching for the Jackson Saves an Owl book for him, and he loves it too.

Jackson Superhero is obviously written for your own little boy who is terminally ill, in what ways is he like a real superhero?
When Jackson was diagnosed he was given a life expectancy of two years and he is now four, so he is defying all the odds on a daily basis. But more than that, he is caring, he loves the nature and the earth. But he really loves a cuddle, and what superhero don’t like a cuddle?

Who or what will Jackson Superhero save next?
He saves a desert island and the local animal residents from pollution

If Jackson was to team up with any other superhero who would it be and why?
It would have to be banana man, as Jackson loves bananas

Carl Questions (illustrator)

What’s the best thing about illustrating a superhero?
The best thing about illustrating a superhero is that I can turn any kid into whoever he wants to be. With Jackson there was no limit to the powers he can have.

Aside from a cape, what is the thing every superhero needs in his costume?
Every superhero needs an identity and a signature piece that separates him from the rest. In Jackson’s case, it’s the ‘J’ on his chest.

How did you go about choosing the costumes colour schemes?
The costume colours came from Jackson’s favourite PJs, and the socks are based on his favourite teddy, a puppet called Melvin.

You open the story with an illustration of Jackson in his bean bag, which due to his illness is pretty much as he is in real life. What was behind that decision?
Well, I have known Darren for years and I know Jackson and I just didn’t feel I could ignore the reality, to be honest. It sounds stupid when I say it, but I don’t think there’s always enough reality in children’s books. Many, many kids grow up in tough lives and books are a way to help with that. They are a way to say, you are not alone. Look at this little boy or girl and look how well they do. Roald Dhal did it well, not reality, or course, but more than once he killed off the parents on the first page.

How was it illustrating a real boy, did Jackson’s family have a lot of feedback?
There was a little bit of pressure, to be honest, but I presented Darren and his wife with a few different versions of how Jackson Superhero could look, and they took bits from this one and that one. But they helped with all kinds of things that I didn’t know about, choosing colours based on Jackson’s favourite teddy bear, also his hair. I needed some pointers on his hair style.

Publisher: Untold Books
Publication Date: September 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages:
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Apotheosis

Brian Paul Bach

Butterbugs is somebody now. He has arrived – at the top. In fact, he’s much higher than that. Ultrastardom, they call it! As the world’s first ultrastar – and trillionaire – he is still compelled to act for acting’s sake alone. Taking the lead in the most ambitious film ever, he will need all his gathered resources for the staggering job ahead.
Butterbugs is a phenomenon for billions. His own depth of character and the diversity of creatures around him constitute a power and influence far surpassing any strolling player’s entertainments. However, not everyone on Earth is so dazzled. Well below his stratospheric plane, undercurrents coil in unholy pools.
The screen upon which APOTHEOSIS shines is gigantic, as befitting the story that commands it. FORWARD TO GLORY is nothing less than an epic-noir-satire. The momentum built by TEMPERING and EXPOSITION does not let up for a second. By its very name, APOTHEOSIS propels the reader toward its merciless climax with determination and grandeur.
Butterbugs is truly blessed with friends and associates who share his triumphs: Saskia and Justy – closer than ever; Sonny Projector – agent and champion; Edna Tzu – favorite director and facilitator; Hyman Goth – studio mogul with a dreaded knowledge; Mayella – stabilizing lover; Egaz – transcendent director and artistic equal; Keenah – the mate Butterbugs has waited for… possibly; The Seven Muses – who inspire the ultrastar in his most challenging role; Marshall – the disabled vet who changes the course of the nation; and Heatherette – always a force for good, who reappears at the perfect time.


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I have always enjoyed the basic fact that writing books allows for complete freedom. Freedom to invent, describe, and choose how to put it all together. Whole worlds can be created, but you have to be decisive and totally committed to defining and developing them. These freedoms are certainly enjoyable, but the writer has to be responsible for them, and that I’m happy to do. Similarly, writing that’s meant for a specific purpose, such as nonfiction or reportage, can and should be approached with some sense of creative style. Currently, readers tend to want just basic informational writing. But I think a bit of individualistic style is appreciated. Writing a book is also an ideal way of just being myself. And sometimes, for all of us, that takes some doing!

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I like Heatherette quite a lot. She’s an ongoing character throughout all four volumes of the Quartet, a bit elusive at times, but absolutely vital in the full spectrum of Butterbugs’ development as the main character. In effect, she provides a sort of framework in which he acts and reacts. She might be branded as ‘eccentric’ because she lives alone in a huge mansion full of ancient and arcane cinematic relics, and her ambience is mysterious and stylish, but her personality is profound, and her passions sincere. Her character finds complete fulfilment in vol. 3: APOTHEOSIS.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Plain, boring water serves as my main hydration while the keyboard is touched. Occasional bubble-juice, but never coffee. I know I’m an oddball in this respect, but I’m just not a caffeine hound. When reviewing the day’s digital scribblings or adding a few choice bits after dining, I take wine. A nipperkin of Fernet or Calvados or brandy or even – dare I say – Absente, serve as day’s end rewards. But booze offers no creative stamina for me. On late Sunday afternoons, whether writing or not, my wife Sandy and I take Champagne in the company of our two pups, Hudson and Bucky.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Nothing too terrible, because shirking doesn’t occur when I’m writing, only before!

How do you research your books?
Even though I initially thought the old line, ‘write about what you know’ too confining, I guess that’s what I’ve done. My books on travels in the Indian subcontinent and Calcutta architecture were based on firsthand experiences on the spot. Everything was then augmented by any materials I could get my hands on, and this was in pre-internet times, too. In vol. 4 of the present FORWARD TO GLORY Quartet, I’ve included an extensive concluding essay, ‘Notes On Sources’, that discusses all the experiences and influences, atmospheric as well as authentic, I gathered over the years to make my saga, set in the world of the cinema. Also, valuable research came in the form of a lifetime watching movies themselves.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I tend to start out as a bit of a plotter, but the pantser instinct takes over a few paragraphs later! The ‘fun factor’ is pretty important in my approach to writing. A plotline is certainly a secure notion that can always be played with, but moving forward, whether its while staggering or gliding, works the best for me. It’s the most enjoyable route to take, and the most rewarding, too. Besides, pantser material can be captured, tamed (but not too much), and adapted for any plotting requirements that will inevitably pop up.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
After I read Tolkien in my middle school years, I used to say I’d give anything to wake up one day in Middle Earth. It was an attractive notion. However, the intense realities seen in Peter Jackson’s definitive filmization of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ causes me to wake up every morning, relieved that I’m not in that compelling but totally hazardous environment! These days, I’d be happy settling down in the charming and quirky world of Rowland Emett’s delightful children’s tale, ‘New World For Nellie’. It begins with: ‘Tucked away in a forgotten corner of England, where the main lines never go, was a railroad that had seen better days. There was only one rusty old engine called Nellie, and two coaches…’

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
In earlier years, it might’ve been Milo in Norton Juster’s ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’. He was kind of a dull kid, but his adventures were amazing, and I’m sure I could’ve talked him into letting me drive his toy car for at least part of the way. It would’ve been cramped with Tock the Watchdog along, but totally worth it. These days, it’d be intriguing hanging out with Pierre Bezukhov in Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’. As a witness to grand historical events, and with a thoughtful and questing mind, he’d be an awesome brain to pick. I’m so glad he ended up with Natasha. After so much war, there was peace.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: October 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages:
Genre: Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Outremer II; Revelation Cometh

D. N. Carter

Christian-born Paul Plantavalu and his beloved Alisha al Komaty, a Muslim, share an unbreakable bond and a deep love for one another. Religion, war and politics oppose them at every turn. But most deadly of all is the resolve of an evil enemy determined to destroy their family lines forever.
Paul and Alisha’s journey takes a political turn; they must question everything and learn who to fear and who to trust as they continue their battle to safeguard the future of mankind. In accepting the burden of this grace responsibility, they must make peace with the difficult path they have chosen. Paul will struggle to unlearn everything he has been raised to accept as true; reality is much more mysterious and nuanced. It will fall to him to defend a much greater treasure than his own life – one which the Magi themselves understood – for the benefit of future generations. In doing so, Paul will help others to unshackle themselves from the grip of a self-styled secret elite with the power to manipulate religions, governments and monarchies, harnessing wealth and control for themselves at the expense of the populous. But to succeed in this challenge Paul must face his own desires and his worst fears, and if destiny dictates, he may be called to sacrifice his own family, including Alisha.
The second novel in author and adventurer D. N. Carter’s epic four-part series, Outremer II: Revelation Cometh draws upon forty years of intensive historical research by its Indiana Jones-style creator. As the reader is swept up by the romantic adventure of Paul and Alisha and their dazzling romp through the High Middle Ages in search of Templar truths and treasure, they are also challenged by the author to solve a coded puzzle hidden within the pages of the four Outremer novels, which will lead to a real-life bounty at the conclusion of the series!


What is your favourite thing about writing books?
That I am able to share information I think is important and very relevant to all of us but hopefully in an engaging and enjoyable format. I love it when I start writing about a character and how it develops, sometimes in a direction I did not originally conceive. I love how I can be writing one event and from nowhere it suddenly moves in a totally different direction.

Who is your favourite character in your books and why?
This is a very difficult one to answer with a definite individual as they all feel so real and close and all with their own distinctive character attributes. It would have to be between Tenno and Theodoric. Two very distinct but strong characters almost opposite in their natures and stature but sharing a common cause. Both have travelled extensively, were warriors and each equally highly intelligent and educated. They had mysterious pasts and were guarded in revealing too much about themselves. Tenno I feel tips the balance as my favourite. Very mysterious and enigmatic but also very deadly.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I think my family would agree it would be fair to say I should purchase shares in coffee bean suppliers.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Not using the same cup twice and leaving a long line of used empty coffee cups…in fact I leave them everywhere. Working too many hours, often well into the early hours and totally immersing myself in writing to the total exclusion of everything else around me.

How do you research your books?
I started when I was very young and simply accumulated my research over the years. It started in the library reading books about knights in the Middle East when I was living in Cyprus. This prompted visits to various castles and monasteries and even more books. I read Peter Lemesuriers book ‘The Great Pyramid Decoded’ which spoke of advanced construction techniques and codes within the dimensions of the Giza plateau pyramids and that they were not simply burial tombs. He taught me to always question everything, including the source of any material I research. My second volume of Outremer is dedicated to him. I research using academic journals, historical reference books to documentaries, ancient parchments and scrolls when given access to them. If I needed to know anything about the uniform and armour of a Knight Templar, there is a wealth of information about it. I even tried on and wore a full set for several hours to understand and experience exactly what it was like to wear, plus a full face great helmet. I learnt how to wield a sword professionally, how to couch a lance and even ride a horse. I believe in experiencing things like that in order to write an authentic account of how it feels. When researching elements of my story, such as the siege of Jerusalem and the history changing Battle of Hattin, I came across many conflicting versions of exactly what happened. To gain a true insight I had to study manuscripts and journals of scribes from both sides of the conflict. I believe I have presented as near an accurate version of what really happened, with the added propaganda duly stripped away.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I am a plotter definitely. With all the historical and religious research involved, I had to be accurate in what I was conveying. I started with a 172 page plot outline that had a beginning, the main points, actions, characters and factual historical information I wanted to detail, and the ending. It was then a case of fleshing it out. 1,234,000 words later I was finished.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
It would have to Pandora from the film Avatar. I love the idea of a totally unified way of life between its inhabitants, wildlife and nature itself. Taping into the forest trees directly and being a living part of it.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
It has to be Yoda from Star Wars. It would be great to learn how to use the ‘Force’ but also his deep insightful wisdom.

About the Author
D. N. Carter has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with archeology, cartography and the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages. He has travelled extensively across Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula and the Languedoc region of France, which has long been associated with the Templar Knights and grail quest mythology. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes, D. N. Carter enjoys adventure sports and spending time with his family between East Anglia and the South of France.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 688
Genre: Historical
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Beardies’ World

Joyce Ives

If you already have a dog/dogs or are even thinking of buying one, read this book, which shows what fun and laughter we had with ours over twenty-six years, making a lot of friends along the way.
This book is Joyce Ives’ narrative to the twenty-six years she and husband John owned, cared for and loved their four Bearded Collies. The memories shared by Joyce in this book are likely to touch the heart of anyone who has had any experience of growing up and growing old with dogs. In her narrative Joyce has been able to capture beautifully how our special bond with our canine friends often becomes so significant in our life’s journey; our experiences of joy and laughter and at times our sadness and loss.


What was it like writing from the perspective of your dogs?
I enjoyed working on it when I had time. I acquired my first Bearded Collie in 1986 with the help of a young lady who worked in the same hospital as me. Pam worked in the Pathology Lab and I worked for the Personnel Officer in Administration. Pam had four Beardies and she helped me find a litter. We were good friends for years until she passed away suffering from cancer.
I fell in love with the Breed, they were such entertaining fun dogs, bouncing around with their long hair flowing. I joined the Southern Counties Bearded Collie Club and they had a magazine which came out in the Spring and Autumn. In this magazine people wrote about their Beardies and what they were experiencing. Beardies are happy dogs and when they are treated well they let you share in their exuberance. I decided to write a diary with our first Beardie Kizzy telling what she experienced when being separated from her siblings and living with my husband and myself.
From a baby I was brought up with a Chow Chow, she was quite staid, and although we loved each other, when I got older I found her boring. My grandparents had a Pembroke Corgi who lived a few doors away, what a different character, she was always ready to share happily wherever I took her. After marrying, we had our first dog a Border Collie cross and our children grew up with her. I got an insight as to how she was feeling, we could read each other’s minds.

Back to Kizzy, it was far easier to read her mind and observing her every day, I tried to see her point of view working out in her brain what we did and why we did it. I sent off my article to The Beardie Times but it was refused and I felt totally deflated. Then the Editor changed and I submitted Kizzy’s story again and it was accepted. The Club besides showing, had three events a year, Spring Frolic, Strawberry Tea and Tramps Tuck-In. We attended all these events, mixing and making friends with other people with their Beardies. Six months later after I had submitted Kizzy’s continuation of her diary, I was getting reports back as to how Kizzy’s life including Emma’s who had also joined us, was being well received. So I continued their diaries with their point of view living with us, not the other way round for twenty-six years, including our next two dogs.

What was your inspiration for this book?
When I was about eight years old, my grandfather my father’s side handed me a beautifully illustrated book of poems following the adventures of his dog Monk in 1919. It was made-up adventures and I have always treasured it. The watercolours are still vibrant. One day I might get it printed, children should love it. Enjoying this book my grandfather wrote and reading the Beardie Times articles, this was the push I needed to write my dog’s diaries.

The hard question, who was your favourite?
All our Beardies were lovely and each had a different personality. Kizzy was the thinker and as she matured, she preferred to watch the others rather than get involved in their pranks. Emma was a very pretty girl, a fawn, biddable and had it in her to protect us, ie a Rottweiller attacked Kizzy while out on a walk and she dived straight in chasing the dog away, the owner was nowhere to be seen. We did a lot of woodland walking, and lucky to have four different woods nearby to walk in. If out in the woods a man approached without a dog, Emma immediately returned to my side keeping a close watch on him and once he had passed by, would race off again to join the others. Unfortunately, she became ill with Addison’s disease, ‘the adrenal gland stops working and that affected her whole body’, humans can get this too. So of course I returned the favour and especially looked after her keeping her comfortable for as long as I could. Muffin my third Beardie was the softest sweetest girl, who followed her mother’s demeanour. I hardly ever had to ask her to come to my side, she knew when I wanted her and would come looking up telling me ‘well I am here – I suppose you will have to call the others.’ I knitted her a soft doll which she adored and when the others were playing around in the garden with their hard toys, she joined them carrying her dolly in her soft mouth. None of them were allowed to carry it and Kizzy and Emma knew that. Solei joined us after we had lost Emma and she was my only puppy that chewed everything she could find, she was also quite a nervous girl and didn’t like sharp noises. Unfortunately, she wasn’t a healthy dog suffering with inflammatory bowel disease and had to be fed a special diet. This was followed by an underactive thyroid gland and then finally liver disease.
Every Beardie we had was extremely special in different ways, but both my husband and I agree that Muffin was our favourite.

Do you live with any dogs now?
No, even before losing Solei, I was having trouble with my knees and was finding our large garden too much as I always kept it immaculate, also my husband’s health was declining and at that time it wouldn’t be fair to have another dog. We moved down to Seaford, East Sussex into a McCarthy & Stone Assisted Living Complex. If a buyer already owned a dog or cat you were allowed to bring it with you, but once it had died you are not allowed to have another one. Another downside is that animals are not allowed in the lounge and of course not in the dining room. Beardies are very friendly sociable dogs, even the dog living here now pulls on her lead wanting to come into the lounge to say hello to everyone, it is heart breaking. Rules are rules and this rule was made because McCarthy & Stone says not everyone likes dogs.

What is your favourite thing about owning a dog?
Having a dog in your life if you are on your own, you are never lonely, although so far I haven’t experienced this as I still have my husband. On a quiet day just hearing your dog drinking from the water bowl, an occasional sneeze, coming up to you, giving you a loving nose nudge and a tail wag makes you happy. Any dog loves to be groomed, it is all part of the bonding and being loved.
Whatever the weather a dog’s needs is to go out for a walk. Opening the door and stepping outside into the fresh air, whether it be raining, windy, snowing or just a lovely day. Meeting other like-minded people exercising their dogs and having a chat and watching the dogs gambling about and chasing their balls. Their happiness is your happiness and returning home and seeing them settle down relaxing until they sense that they are going to be involved in doing something else with you.

Would you ever own a different breed of dog?
If I had the chance of having another dog again, yes, I would change to a different breed, but smaller, perhaps a cockerpoo, so again there would be no moulting of their coat. There is no room in our flat to be able to properly groom a Beardie. I would have an open mind, there are so many dogs in rescue cry ing out for a loving home.

About the Author
Ever since she was a young girl, Joyce Ives has had a soft spot in her heart for dogs. So when the time came, she decided to leave her full time job to become an owner to her very first Bearded Collie – Kizzy. After this initial decision, they soon become owners to three other beautiful Beardies – Emma, Muffin and Solei. Unfortunately, due to ill health, both Joyce and John no longer look after any dogs but Joyce will always dream of owning more. Joyce now resides in Seaford, East Sussex, and is glad to finally have had time to write her first book.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 222
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Stig Plays a Dangerous Game

Jon Claydon and Tim Lawler

An enigmatic racing driver. A bunch of kids. One hell of a ride …
Sam Wheeler may be the new boy in Bunsfold, but he’s got a feeling that all is not well either in the town or at Bunsfold High – and he’s not just talking about the maths teacher with the unfortunate flatulence. A local boy, Buster Mustang, has recently gone missing, and no one seems to care – they’re all too busy playing the highly addictive video game Xenon or getting the town ready for its very first TT race. Both are the brainchild of mysterious local billionaire PT Cruiser. Besides global domination, PT Cruiser wants nothing more than to destroy his nemesis The Stig once and for all – and his TT race is just what he needs to tempt him on to the big stage again …
Sam sets out with his new friends Minnie Cooper and Ford Harrison to uncover the truth behind all the strange goings-on in Bunsfold – but danger has a habit of showing up wherever they do, and soon all that stands between our heroes and disaster is … a taciturn man in a white suit.
Perfect for fans of ALEX RIDER and CHERUB


About the Authors

Jon Claydon
Jon wrote sell-out shows at Edinburgh while at university before plumping for a career in advertising and technology investment that has seen him become a fixture on the Sunday Times ‘Britain’s 500 Most Influential People’ list. One day, while attending to one of many sidelines – as a columnist for Top Gear magazine – Jon had a moment. Alone in a lift, he met The Stig, who non-verbally communicated that it was high time someone wrote a book for his many younger fans. Jon called Tim, they fired up their flux capacitor and returned, sliding-doors-style, to the career they’d always thought they should have had in the first place.

Tim Lawler
Tim Lawler wrote sell-out Edinburgh shows at university before spending many years in ventures such as building and filling a fringe theatre, performing stand-up poetry, living in various parts of the globe and working as an advertising brand planner.

Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Publication Date: March 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages:
Genre: Adventure
Age: MG
Reviewer: N/A
Source: N/A
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Between Darkness and the Light

Paul Mitchener

A young, bored and confused teenager is thrown into an adventurous world that he believed only existed in books and dreams. Henry is destined to become the next Host Master and to lead the everlasting fight between the darkness and the light. The Wyvern, an ancient creature of mythical powers and defender of all things living, has to find a host to be able to dwell in this world. It chooses Henry. After his encounter with Bert and the odd dog Ben in the woodland, Henry s life would never be the same again: as well as finding his only true love, he s told that his mother and aunt had kept from him that they were creatures of nature and guardians of the woodland and commanded great powers. Henry has to find a way to grow up fast and find the strength to face up to both his own demons as well as those sent by the Shadow Master, a powerful sorcerer, who has the power and the aid from dark allies to destroy life and spread darkness across the world.


About the Author

I now live in a small picturesque village called Penton Grafton in Hampshire, which consists a large duck pond, a village green where cricket is played most Sundays during the summer and a 14th century church. Penton Grafton is about four miles away from our nearest large town of Andover. Andover is briefly mentioned in my book.

One of seven children and a son of a farmer, I spent all my childhood playing in the countryside. I was born in the same house that my parents lived in for all their married life. Unfortunately, I had very pour education. That, added to the fact that I suffer from dyslexia, meant that I didn’t just struggle with the written word all of my life, but I also had to work twice as hard as others in many aspect of life. That said, I have never allowed it to hold me back from anything I wanted to achieve. I’m now retired but before that, I was a Managing/production director of company that made armoured and stretched luxury limousines for royals and dignitaries, mainly in the Middle East. I spent the best part of fifteen years travelling the world on business and met many of the royals as well as famous celebrities. Since retiring, I took a two year full time collage course in countryside conservation which is a subject that I’m very passionate about and despite my disorder, I achieved top grades and best student of the year.

Between the Darkness and the Light is my first novel but I’m now in the process of writing a sequel, my motivation for this book comes in two parts. Firstly, to become a published author has been on my bucket list for years now. I’ve always envied anyone who could write, especially writers like Terry Brooks, who have the skill to capture a moment in time and develop such interesting strong characters, so, I needed to prove to myself that someday I could write a novel. Dyslexia can be a very debilitating condition which is often overlooked, so I wanted to prove not just to myself but to others that suffer from it, that if they really worked at it, they could do the same and nothing should hold them back from reaching their own potential. I managed to achieve more than most and much more than I had hoped; but it has been a long hard uphill battle.

Secondly, I have a passion for nature and although my book is fantasy it is set in the here and now. The message I wish to get across to my readers (especially teenagers) is that we must start caring for the world in which we live. One of the main reason for choosing a teenager as the main character was to try and take others of the same age on a journey of discovery but with a teenage prospective, his first love, his new-found passion for nature and other living beings; but more importantly, discovering himself. What makes my book important to me are the characters and the location in which my book is set. Most of my characters are a mix of people that I know or have known in the past, although the people I know are interesting characters in their own right, it was fun putting them all in a mixing pot and creating new and more interesting characters. The location is set in and around the town of Whitchurch, an area where I was born and raised, the woodland was where I used to play as a child, there’re both places I still hold very dear to my heart.

The whole story of my book is set around one teenaged character (Henry Harris). Henry a confused, lazy and often very moody young man and now having left full education he has no idea what he wants from life. I’m sure most, if not all teenaged readers can relate to him, especially his relationship with his family. Henry eventually finds himself but only with the help, support and love from those that care for him most. The only message I wish to get across to teenagers is, that they don’t have to face life’s trials alone, if they have family and friends that love them and support them there is nothing in this world that they couldn’t get through.

Publisher: Brown Dog Books
Publication Date: March 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages:
Genre: Adventure
Age: YA
Reviewer: N/A
Source: N/A
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From Daughter to Woman

Kim McCabe

This book aims to make the adolescent’s journey just that bit safer, kinder, and better supported – so parents and teens can enjoy the teenage years more.
The teen years are tough – for teens and for parents. Many parents dread the moodiness, dishonesty, preference of friends over family, exam stress, and the push for greater independence. Mothers have a pivotal role to play; this is a guidebook for parents and mothers of girls in particular as they navigate the rocky teenage landscape with their daughters aged 8 to 18. It aims to help them embrace the potential of their child’s teenage years by marking this time of growing maturity for girls and celebrating it with them. We celebrate birth, marriage and death, but this important life-transition from child to young adult is nowadays rarely acknowledged within an appropriate community.


What was your favourite thing about writing this book?
Knowing that I might have found a way to reach more girls. While I wrote I thought about all the people who care about our growing girls and felt full of optimism for how this book would share what I’ve learned to help make growing up that bit easier for everyone.

How important is the topic in this book to you?
You know when you realise that you’re really good at something because it’s been important your whole life, so you’ve been working on it forever without always realising it? That’s how I feel about the plight of girls as they grow through their teens. I can really help the girls and those who care for them. These girls are the mothers and creators of the future so when we enable them to grow up well, we’re helping all future generations. That’s exciting to me.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I don’t drink enough. Always on at my children to take their water bottles wherever they go and then I forget my own. Much of this book was written in my campervan while my children danced, played football or learned Spanish. I could have made myself a cup of something herbal but I’m very focussed when I’m writing and it never felt like I could spare the time to put the kettle on.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I twiddle my hair while I’m thinking. My mum would hate to know that this childhood habit lives on!

How did you research this book?
The seeds of this book took root while I worked as a counsellor to distressed teenagers thirty years ago. I wanted to find some way of helping that would be preventative, so teens wouldn’t end up needing to starve, cut or harm themselves in other ways. My studies at Cambridge University into child psychology gave me a good foundation but it was years of working with young people and raising my own family that really taught me what was needed. It began small, writing articles for parents on my website and running year-long groups for preteen girls. In a relatively short time my waiting list for Girls Journeying Together groups was over-flowing and mothers were pressing me to write down what I was saying. I realised that the need was greater than I could meet on my own, so I now train women from across the world to deliver Girls Journeying Together groups and I gathered my thoughts into a book.

Do you have any recommendations for books which are similar to yours?
Steve Biddulph’s Raising Girls and 10 Things Girls Need Most

What was your favourite thing about your teenage years?
Sex. No I can’t say that, not publicly. In my teens I loved learning about how a dynamo worked, having boys notice me, staying out late and eating chips with my mates, doing somersaults, skinny dipping in the river at midnight, listening to Radio Luxemburg, dreaming of travelling the world, sleepovers with my best friend and the flapjacks her mum baked.

Would you consider yourself a feminist? If yes, do you know how old you were when you realised you were one?
Yes, of course. How could I not be a feminist, when feminism is the belief that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. I was born a feminist. Talking to girls, it makes absolute sense to them that they should have equal rights and opportunities to everyone else, why shouldn’t they?

Which women do you think are good feminist role models?
Any woman who is living true to herself is a good feminist role model. Any woman who is true to her beliefs and values, who cares more for herself than what others think, and who has the courage to follow her own path. Good feminist role models live next door, serve in the corner shop, teach our kids, might even be your best friend. Some good role models are on the television, but the best ones are those that you can reach out and touch. Real women who are living their lives admirably.

About the Author

Kim McCabe is the founder of Rites for Girls. As the originator and facilitator of Girls Journeying Together groups, she offers guidance to preteen and teen girls and simultaneous support for their mothers. In training other women to facilitate these groups, her dream is that every girl grows up expecting to be supported and celebrated in adolescence. Kim was commissioned to write a section in Steve Biddulph’s latest best-selling book, 10 Things Girls Need Most: To Grow Up Strong and Free.

Kim is a home-educating mother of two boys, one girl, two cats and a colony of aloe vera plants; she is wife to a Kiwi, daughter to itinerant parents, friend to a cherished few, and lover of time alone, too. She lives in the Ashdown Forest in Sussex. She sometimes shouts at her children, accidentally steps on the cat’s tail and forgets to water the plants, but she loves her work, her family and her life. She has always had deep affinity with teenage girls, and by sharing her wisdom and compassion she infects the reader with her enthusiasm for this life stage.

Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: July 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Sureness of Horses

Kevin Arnold

When divorced Wade Middleton meets wealthy Diana Buchanan, a beautiful horsewoman who relocates to Palo Alto, California, from Texas, he is introduced to the world of horses and the fox-hunt, and a whirlwind romance spins out of control. Problems arise in the relationship when Diana can’t let go of her high-horse lifestyle, nor entirely separate from her powerful husband. Wade’s love of poetry isn’t exactly embraced by Diana, either, and they are worlds apart. Yet for some reason, the two are saddled by an attraction to each other neither understands.
Add to this Wade’s unwillingness to help his friend Jorge when he needs it most, and the guilt that ensues from his having the hots for his friend’s wife, a desire he admirably suppresses to an extent. Wade has his own demons to wrestle down, but he is unprepared for the troubles to come.


Excerpt

Once they saw Cliff to the elevator, his leather jacket slung over his shoulder, Wade and Diana were alone. Wade helped her move a few more dishes into the kitchen, hesitant to start a conversation. “We can leave the rest on the table while the dishwasher runs,” she said over the whir of the machine. “Let’s sit down.”
She led Wade to an alcove next to the window overlooking Stanford and the lights of the houses in the foothills.
“Sorry about that scene,” he said. “A bit of a mess.” After he said it, he wondered why he was always apologizing.
“Yes. An embarrassment,” she answered tensely.
“That Billy’s a piece of work, for sure.”
“Billy?” Diana asked incredulously. “It was that woman. She was half-naked in my dining room. And who knows what went on in the kitchen. That laugh!”
“I thought Billy was a little overwhelming, too,” Wade said, wondering again if, even if it wasn’t rational, Diana might be jealous. Even more, he thought, could there be a tinge of racism? Was Marita meeting some stereotype Diana had placed on Latina women?
Diana took a deep breath. “That’s just who Billy is. He flirts, There’s no denying that. I’ve had long discussions with Jolene. She says she’s come to grips with Billy’s flirting. First she told Billy to look but don’t touch. ‘But now,’ Jolene told me, ‘I figure whatever he does is okay. He works so hard, and he’s always treated me as the most important thing in his life, so let him have some fun.’”
“Don’t get me wrong,” Diana told Wade. “That would never meet my standards for a marriage, but remember Jolene comes from a different background. I’m not sure what the Catholics believe. But I support her, I do. And Rob absolutely loves Billy. He was best man at our wedding.”
Wade frowned. He walked to the window and stared out into the darkness. He wished Diana could finish two sentences without talking about Rob. He said, “I see, so even with what you’ve been through, you can overlook Billy’s faults?”
“Yes, absolutely. I don’t understand you. Sometimes it seems you go out of your way to make me uncomfortable.”
Wade wasn’t sure what to say. From all of their conversations, he knew Diana was a warm person. But sometimes she could be so cold. He didn’t feel he’d intentionally made her uncomfortable, so what could he say? He didn’t dare look at her when he said, “I’m thinking about taking a trip back to the Midwest.”
Diana reached out to take his arm and turn him to face her. “Where’d that come from?”
“I haven’t been back in . . . whew, over twenty years, and SnyderSound has a sales prospect in Chicago. Ray found some hot potential customer. It may be time for me to return to where I grew up. I have a lot to figure out.”
Diana looked out toward the lights in the hills. “About us, you mean?”
Wade didn’t want to say yes, and resorted, for good or ill—to poetry. He recited the lines that had come into his mind as he wondered what to do―
“Should I part my hair behind?
Do I dare to eat a peach?
I will wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.”

“I like you very much, Wade, you and your poetry world, but you may be right. Perhaps we both need time to think.”
Rather than respond directly, Wade took the coward’s route and quoted the next of Eliot’s lines: “I do not think that they will sing to me.”
They sat silently for a few minutes overlooking the foothills until they both stood up at the same time and she walked him to the door. They stepped into the entryway. Without touching, Diana walked Wade to the elevator. After he pushed the button, they hesitated before they embraced. Wade half-expected to feel a brass breastplate, but she was as soft as his memories of her.
She gently pushed away, slowly. “Part of me is dying to invite you back in.”
She felt wonderful in his arms, but Wade kissed her on the forehead, dropped his hands from her waist, and left.

About the Author

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the US Navy, Kevin has published fifty stories and poems. He earned his Master’s in Fine Arts from San Jose State University in 2007, the same year he helped found Gold Rush Writers. He has ridden to hounds since 1999, earning his colors with the Los Altos Hounds, also in 2007. He served as President of Poetry Center San Jose for twelve years. Kevin is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, USA. The San Francisco / Peninsula California Writer’s Club recently named him Writer of the Year.

Publisher: Manzanita Writers Press
Publication Date: May 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 302
Genre: Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Writing Retreat

L’atelier des ecrivains


Have you ever wanted to be whisked away somewhere remote to get that book inside you written? And do you wish that you had expert guidance and support to help you while you did it?

If you answered yes to the above questions then you should definitely continue reading this post which is going to tell you all about the Atelier des Ecrivains (Writers’ Workshop) retreat.

Becky and Sarah who are co-hosting the writing retreat, and are both writers themselves, know that there are lots of people who harbour a desire to write a book but may either lack the confidence, the skills or the headspace to actually do it. They also know from experience that removing yourself from your daily life, with all of its pressures and interruptions, and coming together with like-minded people can be a great way to overcome those barriers. Where better to do that than in a beautiful 18th century manor house outside one of France’s prettiest villages, Aubeterre?

Helen Cross, author of My Summer of Love, which was turned into a Hollywood film starring Emily Blunt and whose other novels, screen and radio plays entertain people all over the world will be leading the workshop. She is an experienced teacher of creative writing and currently teaches on the MFA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, UK. The combination of skills and experience offered by Helen, Becky and Sarah will be invaluable to authors at all stages of their writing journey.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS

Getting started – Thursday 20 to Monday 24 September, 2018
For people at the beginning of their writing journey, this workshop will help you develop your writing skills, find your creative voice, thematic material and literary style: create credible characters and reveal them through dialogue and active, dramatic scenes: and build your world – structure, point-of-view, and narrative voice. With a small group of up to 10 writers, we are promoting an environment of creativity and support with one-to-one feedback sessions and time for questions and answers.

Keeping going – May, 2019
For people who have already started their writing journey, this workshop will enhance your skills even further, help you overcome barriers and enable you to shape your words into the brilliant piece of work you know it has the potential to be.

Getting published – September 2019
For people reaching the conclusion of a writing project, this workshop is designed to support the final stages of writing and editing, and will contain lots of useful information about how to get published and successfully market your book.

You can find out more information about the hosts, venue and workshops here. To book your place or to contact the hosts, you can visit the website here.

I don’t know about you but I would very much like to go on this writing retreat!

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