Archive for the ‘Big Book’ Category

The Shell Collector

Robert Lyons

1973: the year of the oil crisis, the secondary banking collapse, the three day working week and the collapse of the stock market. In a riotous ride through the City of London we meet the characters and events that filled the social and City pages of the press in that roller-coaster year.
Guy Magnus, an ambitious young share dealer, makes a daring takeover bid in the face of opposition from the City Establishment. Will he follow their rules, or his own: never to fall in love with a deal? Will he come to repent his challenge to the powers-that-be? Is Guy’s story fiction or fact? Was a Norfolk Broads canal boat really moored in the marina of Monte Carlo? Did a Henry Moore sculpture really become the most expensive work of art in the world? And did a bet for a lunch at Maxim’s for the first to make a million, Guy or his friend and rival Harry Griffin, bring a merchant bank to the verge of collapse?
THE SHELL COLLECTOR tells a cautionary tale of the City when its buccaneering spirit was at a peak. Whether true or false, it is never less than entertaining.


Interview with Robert Lyons

What is your favourite thing about writing books?
The private satisfaction of getting something spot-on; whether a description, an observation or a joke makes no difference.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
It has to be “Yankee” Tate, Guy’s driver. First, the name itself: almost all of my characters are named after Romans/Britons surrounding Caligula, and I was lucky enough to hit on Incitatus, the horse the emperor is said to have made a consul. Then I loved creating his down-to-earth perspective on dealing on the stock exchange. Where others in the story may have had questionable motives, he was straightforward, honest and loyal. Only a cameo role, but great fun to write.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
I’m teetotal – don’t touch a drop before teatime. I know I should keep taking fluid while writing, but I am my late father’s child: “Water’s for washing”.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Yes; I tell my wife I’m busy when she needs me. But she is very understanding, and quite forgiving.

How do you research your books?
In the case of The Shell Collector, the most important source of all was the official report of the affair, some 500 pages long, setting out more or less verbatim the evidence given to the Inspectors by various participants. This provided me with most of the detail for the financial side of the story.

I spent many days in the basement of the London Library trawling through back copies of The Times and The Daily Telegraph, both for information specific to my story, including share prices, and to put together a background diary so it could be set properly in its time (miners’ strikes, Watergate, Royal wedding). I also ploughed through back numbers of Private Eye, particularly the City “Slicker” pages.

Finally, I was able to persuade one of the participants to give me a couple of hours of his time to answer questions. Without his input I wouldn’t have been able to retell two of the more amusing incidents in the book.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Is it possible to be only one or the other? To the extent that I set out a calendar of events and dealings before I began to write, I suppose I’m a more of a plotter; but once I’m into a new chapter I tend to fly along until the time comes to put the mess into order. Certainly one of the best things I did was to take my editor’s advice to change the order of some of the early chapters. Did this make me a hindsight plotter or a bungling pantser?

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
What a question! It never occurred to me that such an option existed. I’m not sure I could have survived in the 19th century world described by my favourite novelists. I think I’d hate the inadequate lighting and the lack of the creature comforts of contemporary living, though listening to delightful young ladies playing the piano and singing prettily would have been some compensation. May I not just live in the here and now, please (despite the terrifying political mess that surrounds us)?

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
If I chose Becky Sharp, I’d risk having my face slapped. Safer to go for Milo Minderbinder, who would make me a lot better off (financially) than my publisher ever can, and give me a fun ride on the way.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 340
Genre: Literary
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Outremer IV

D. N. Carter

A great secret from antiquity is threatened; its eradication, if successful, will lead to mankind’s destruction. There can be no compromise in safeguarding it, whatever the fateful consequences to those entrusted with its continuation. Paul faces impossible choices, ones he cannot make alone. Who can he trust? How can he protect this secret as the world around him falls apart as Outremer descends into a deliberately orchestrated war of unparalleled violence, with Christianity and Islam pitted against one another? Amid the horrors of total war, Paul must decipher the secret, how it has been updated and encoded within the mysteries of Mary Magdalene and the sacred feminine, and how it must be restored if is to be preserved successfully so that mankind can claim its true inheritance, one of unimaginable power. Evil forces wish to control and destroy the secret to stop a new dawn of spiritual awakening, cultivating instead a climate of fear, anger, judgment and the eventual enslavement of our souls. Wiser, braver and nobler individuals step forwards, just as they have always done in the past to intercede against evil, and it is to those men and women Paul must turn. Just when all appears lost, Paul must find true courage, perseverance and faith, and make the ultimate sacrifice. Failure on his part will risk losing this arcane message forever. The time to act is now. Outremer IV is the final instalment of D. N. Carter’s epic historical quartet.


Top Five things about the main protagonist in Outremer

Paul Plantavalu.

He is the leading character within Outremer. Tall and handsome, fair haired with hazel eyes and of a quiet nature and disposition he was intellectually sharp, inquisitive and very much into the arts and architecture who placed honour, truth and justice above all things. He sought answers to what his real surname meant and why it was changed, Plantavalu not being his true identity. Paul fell deeply in love with Alisha al Komaty despite the many warnings he should not because she was from a Muslim family. Alisha was, in his mind, his world. His mother died giving birth to him but he learnt that his father was descended from Segisbert IV, son of Dagobert II and that all traces of their family were eradicated by the Roman Catholic Church. Paul was very much like his father Philip in both physical appearance and nature. Throughout Outremer being told, Pauls character is revealed as he grows from a young, somewhat naive and protected, some would say entitled and privileged upbringing, to manhood. It was not an easy path for an individual who sensed so much and felt things deeply…some would say too deeply at times to his own detriment.

1: He was a dreamer, in a very real sense, but learnt to use his vivid dreams that he would often experience to guide his designs, artwork and even actions in life. He became heavily influenced by several characters he came into contact with, three main ones in particular being Theodoric, Attar and Kratos. Kratos was a truly enigmatic and mysterious character who stood over seven feet tall. With blue eyes that appeared to have flecks of gold in them, similar to Alisha, he looked like a man in his early 60’s but with a full head of pure white hair and no flaws upon his white skin. No one had ever seen him ever look any different despite the passage of time. Living mainly in Malta, he was powerfully built and unbelievably strong and exuded confidence but also a genuine sense of warmth and kindness. He always carried a large staff and had knowledge beyond his time those who knew him would often claim; especially in the sciences and medicine. He would have a very deep and profound role to play in Paul’s life. Attar of Nishapur was a Persian Sufi Mystic famed for his poems. Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm, better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn and ʿAṭṭār which means apothecary. He was a poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr (The Conference of the Birds) and Ilāhī-Nāma are among his most famous works. Attar was the son of a wealthy chemist, receiving an excellent education in various fields. He initially practiced the profession of pharmacy and personally attended to a very large number of customers. The people he helped often confided their troubles in him which affected him deeply. Paul likewise was constantly affected by the people he helped and came into contact with…something he had to learn to manage carefully to keep his own sanity. Attar eventually, abandoned his pharmacy store and travelled widely to Baghdad, Basra, Kufa, Mecca, Medina, Damascus, Khwarizm, Turkistan, and India, meeting with Sufi Shaykhs and returned promoting Sufi ideas. He had a major influence on Paul’s studies and guided him wisely. He helped Paul learn how to interpret his dreams but also his growing insightful and spiritual abilities and how to trust his instincts. Then there was Theodoric. In his late sixties he was a wise esoteric maverick recluse who helped Paul to learn, but more importantly understand esoteric and exoteric codes. He also taught him martial skills of close combat. With a great sense of humour he wore an old habit and was rather pale looking and his weight often fluctuated between being thin to rather rotund, not fat as he would often argue…but always hungry. He was incredibly wise and insightful and imparted much of his knowledge and wisdom gained over several decades from many schools including Sufi mysticism and secrets of the Magi to Paul. He was a former knight with a mysterious past he kept close to his chest but Paul instinctively trusted him. Theodoric’s black sense of humour always came to the fore when he was in dire trouble with many funny comments and observations being made by him. Always calm and utterly unflappable he was an acknowledged great illusionist.

2: Paul was an accomplished artist being able to execute incredibly lifelike drawings of people and places. He drew many people in his time including some of the most famous names of the period from Saladin, King Guy de Lusignan, to Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem, Princess Stephanie and the infamous Reynald de Chatillon. He was even able to draw the enigmatic leader of the Ashashin, Al Rashid, the Old man of the Mountains himself. Paul felt that drawing people closely brought him a deeper sense and understanding of the person. But drawing in such fine detail and accuracy alarmed some people but also led to some very dire consequences later in his life as Outremer reveals.

3: Paul was fundamentally a very sensitive, kind and gentle soul…and consequently as a deep thinker his nature was at times often at odds to the scheming and violent world he found himself in. But it was Alisha who would galvanise his spirit to stand up and fight, to use extreme violence to protect his family and protect others in need when necessary; but this caused him a great personal inner conflict that he found hard to reconcile with the person he thought he was and his beliefs. As Outremer progresses Paul questioned everything he had ever known about Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

4: Having a genuine empathy for others he was naturally both loyal and courageous. Paul considered himself spiritual, not necessarily religious as he saw the two as being two totally different things. Totally believed in, and felt that all life was sacred and that humankind is inherently kind first and foremost and that love is the key to spiritually evolve. He felt that all of us are connected by the very nature of our eternal souls whether others believed in it or not.

5: Service to others before service to self was his overriding character trait. He was prepared to give up everything and sacrifice all that he loved and held dear for the long term benefit of humankind, especially when he considered with utter conviction from the things he had seen and learnt, that the information he was guarding for future generations and the planet we live upon itself, was ultimately for the very survival and advancement of our souls themselves…to guarantee we evolve. This is why he wrote down the codes of antiquity for future generations to rediscover when we again would recognise them for what they are. That generation and that time is now!

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 582
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Insecto-Cide

Mike Jalland

Five highly innovative and entertaining short stories that will grip and surprise the reader. Big Game hunters thought that the perfect environment had been created for them but were they really committing
INSECTO-CIDE
The World teeters on the brink of disaster, what is the incredible surprising solution?
THE ULTIMATE QUESTION IS ANSWERED
An extraordinary untold tale only recently rediscovered from archives concerning the infamous death camp
ONE CERTAIN NIGHT IN AUSCHWITZ
Was the most famous ancient relic really there? Was the world ready for it’s discovery?
GOD’S PROPERTY
A dark violent story of a parent’s unlikely revenge on an evil murderer in a seemingly safe place, how can the messenger of death possibly reach him?
TRUE JUSTICE
Introductory story to a place within our world where usually successful Hunters become prey – No return ticket required ! This story will hold extra appeal to everyone who dislikes hunting


An Extract from Insecto-Cide

Professor Bernard Rickman hummed a nameless little tune to himself, pleased with the amazing progress that he and his long time friend and colleague since their twin double firsts at Oxbridge days, Professor Alec Blake, had achieved. Alec was a leading, probably the leading molecular biologist (including also palebiology), he himself was one of the very top physicists in the world. In their early forties, they both had extremely well paid posts with huge multinational conglomerates but it was their combined secret private research funded out of their own pockets that was the cause of his, yes he had to admit it, excitement, an emotion rarely felt by his scientific, analytic mind.

Their combined brilliance had steadily made progress from the first discussed extraordinary innovative concept, and step by step their ideas had been proved viable and minitests had indicated eventual success as being viable and indeed realistic. Last night’s endeavours had been successful and now the big test was looming in the immediate future.

Bernard’s cleanshaven face with dark hair brushed back and thoughtful grey eyes mirrored exactly what he was, a distinguished, studious man who didn’t really ever expect to be wrong about anything. He stopped to ponder over matters momentarily, if it worked and it ought to work, the result and ramifications were (he frowned at the term that automatically sprang up) mind-blowing. The knock-on effects would be staggering, the financial possibilities limitless, literally “Write your own figure.” However financial gain was neither man’s priority, far from it although both enjoyed and expected a fine lifestyle in line with their IQs and contributions to science but they were men who had both high moral and ethical standards.

Bernard and Alec had always got on well together, their wives were also good friends and all enjoyed their regular dinner parties as only people who genuinely like each other can do. The two men shared the same views on politics and the realistic conservation of the world’s resources and nonexploitation. Both detested corporate greed and in particular the subject that had decided them on a suitable route for the final test, they hated any cavalier attitude to endangered species along with an abhorrence of hunting in general. They were astounded at how any sane person could get enjoyment from killing an animal and also despised any inference that any skill was required to be perhaps hundreds of yards away from any possible danger, squeezing the trigger of a powerful rifle with some poor animal in the crosshairs of the telescopic sights.

Over several generous brandies after a pleasant restaurant meal with just the two of them one night that very topic, the enormous stacking of the odds in favour of the hunter that, in all likelihood the quarry didn’t even know was stalking it, prompted Bernard to pose the question that had kickstarted the whole endeavour.

“What if the hunted creature was far, far more dangerous? What if it was stronger, better protected, had a far more lethal armoury of weapons, better senses, incredibly aggressive nature, a natural killer? I wonder what those pathetic hunting types would do then, would they even dare to risk going after such a creature?” mused Bernard.

“An interesting hypothesis,” responded Alec, “But what sort of creatures did you have in mind, some sort of mutants?”

Alec’s slightly thinning sandy hair, sometimes a little tousled, implied an academic whose appearance might well come second to inventive thought. The spectacles that he had a habit of often removing and needlessly polishing confirmed that this was a man who likely stood outside of general life, looking in, objectively.

“No not mutants,” replied Bernard, “What I have in mind are naturally already more than dangerous enough, they don’t need any improving.”

“Go on Bernard, I’m intrigued,” replied his friend.

Albert Einstein was arguably the most intelligent person of the twentieth century. It has been stated that when he was discussing science at the very highest level there were only about six people on the planet who could understand what he was talking about. Einstein also once said, “There is nothing more certain than the existence of God.” This was also a belief that the two scientists subscribed to.

Bernard continued, “I wonder if many people have ever considered just how fortunate it was for human beings that most large powerful creatures such as elephants, hippos, rhinos, cows, horses and buffalo to quote just a few, are herbivorous. They are harmless and leave mankind alone unless provoked.

Can you possibly imagine what would have happened to early man if insects were large? Most are extremely aggressive, have terrifying weapons, and are amazingly strong, I understand that the goliath beetle for instance, one of the strongest insects, has the equivalent strength proportionate to a human being able to lift ten elephants, incredible! Some have excellent armour, many can walk up walls, across ceilings, are poisonous and some fly,” waiting a moment for his point to be made he then concluded with his trump card, “and the crunch is that many are carnivorous. They would have slaughtered early man, it would have been no contest, we would have been wiped out.”

There was a moment’s silence as Alex refilled his glass. “I believe you are certainly correct however fortunately for us all they aren’t big so what exactly are you getting at?”
Bernard also refilled his glass and settled himself comfortably in the chair before gazing steadily at his old friend and with only the slightest hint of a smile said: “Well Alec, what if we MADE them big?”

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 146
Genre: Short Stories
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Influence of Piano

Liana Ainge

Why do lawyers want to learn to play the piano? At first sight jurisprudence, with its exhaustive logic, rules and standard tasks, is poles apart from the sensual world of music, but in reality it just seems so. Although this book will be of particular interest to lawyers it also will have a much wider appeal to anyone who is dedicated to learning the piano from beginners to professionals. By reading this book, you will learn how and why training in music develops logical, abstract and creative thinking, and contributes to success in every sphere of human life.


An Extract from The Influence of Piano

I teach lawyers to play the piano. Not only lawyers, but the majority of my adult students are lawyers. Whoever hears about that for the first time is surprised. What a weird thing! Why do lawyers want to learn to play the piano? At first sight jurisprudence, with its exhaustive logic, rules and standard tasks, is poles apart from the sensual world of music, but in reality it just seems so.

Professional musicians possess well developed analytical skills and spatial, abstract and creative thinking. Music is not only feelings. Music is feelings and logic, creativity and planning, unpredictability and all about meeting expectations. When adults who have a stable personality and a wide range of knowledge and habits begin studying music they re-discover themselves, find new aspects of their personality and begin to think and behave in a more effective manner.

While listening to music, the limbic system, which controls emotions and feelings, is activated. When you learn to play a musical instrument, your logic, responsible for information planning, analysis and synthesis, starts operating. When creating music, logic, abstract and creative thinking are activated and emotions and feelings are set in motion. Music develops emotional intellect and protects you from emotional exhaustion. Continually evoking new images and emotions, it forms new neuronal connections and improves the interaction between the cerebral hemispheres.

We use the same movements in everyday life and while working. Our motions are of a repetitive kind on a daily basis. Some muscles work more, others work less and some are out of use. The same activity makes us both act and think in the same way. We get used to thinking in non-random patterns. After all everything that is repeated several times becomes either a thinking pattern or a behavioural one.

Neurobiological studies show that the fabric of the brain of a musician is different from that of a nonmusician. Each of us looks at the world through the eyes of the profession that takes up most of our time. If you look at the world through the eyes of a lawyer, an engineer, a teacher, a biologist, a phsycologist or other profession, you can widen your horizons by trying to see the world through the eyes of a musician. Just start studying music!

We are used to using existing patterns but in order to develop thinking we need to search for new activities and learn them. Learning to play the piano is learning new movements with two hands working at the same time. Non-typical movements form new connections between the brain cells, and that is the reason why we start to move in an atypical way and also why we start to think that way. Music influences us physically, it changes our perception and thinking, and that is the reason that learning to play the piano at an adult age expands the brain, decreases pain and delays the aging process.

Music is my life, my love and my profession. Not everybody can think in this way. After all we are all very different, but I know that music is like sport, it can be for everybody.
Each can engage in music in a different way and with a different purpose, and it is available for everybody. My youngest student to date was four and the oldest was 85. Studying music at any age with any experience develops musical thinking, the primary characteristic of which is flexibility.

Music is an artistic reflection of life, a way of communication, a way of cultural study and selfdevelopment. In this book I will explain how and why children and adults learn music and how it effects health, intellect, studying, work, business and daily routine. I will describe my method of teaching the piano, which takes into consideration students’ fundamental thinking skills. Not everything is about music, and not everything is understood through personal experience, so I explore scientific research and use the data gleaned therefrom while teaching students to play the piano. I would like to share the most important elements of that data with you.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 146
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Spirit of Life

Niaby Codd

To read this book is to take the first step towards a life of consciousness. To read this book is to take the first step towards a life filled with love and abundance. To read this book is to take the first step towards knowing who you truly are.
For millennia, man has searched for purpose and meaning in his life but that journey has often led him to search in all the wrong places. It has been said many times that to connect with self is to connect with God and to connect with God is to connect with love, but our definition and understanding of what God is has become so misunderstood that many of us can’t even say the word, let alone connect with it.
By reading this book, you will start to realign yourself with the true definition of God, in all of its glory and all of its wisdom. By reading this book, you will start to realign yourself with the true meaning of self, in all of its beauty and all of its uniqueness. By reading this book you will start to realign yourself with the true meaning of love, in all of its expansiveness and all of its entirety. By reading this book you will take the first step towards the revolution of consciousness, the revolution of our hearts and minds, the revolution that will help us to find peace in ourselves and peace on our planet. The revolution that has been forever prophesied but never seen. The revolution that IS coming to our planet…


An Interview with Niaby Codd

Where did you write this book?
I wrote this book all over. I wrote on aeroplanes and at airports. I wrote whilst travelling around the Mid West of the U.S before going to Burning Man, whilst chilling by myself on the Perenthian islands in Malaysia and on trains whilst coming back from various trips. But whether it be as simple as writing in the living room or my bedroom or as exotic as sitting in a beach hut in Malaysia, I remember exactly where I was for every insert that I wrote – which is saying a lot with my memory!

There is, however, one very special memory that I have whilst writing this book. I was due to trek to Everest base camp on the 31st October 2015 but due to my suitcase arriving a day late, my trek had to be postponed by one day which meant that I started the trek on my dad’s first birthday since passing from cancer.

After a day of trekking I sat in a cabin on a breathtaking mountain and started to write another insert for my book. As I sat there writing I soon started to realise that the words that were coming were, in fact, concluding my book and so, I wrote the final pages of my book on my late dad’s birthday having taken my first steps into a journey of the unknown.

Much like that mountain, my journey into being ready to get this book published has had its ups and downs, highs and lows and bends and forks in the road. I have cried, I have laughed and at times I have simply wanted to give up.

Much work was needed to be done on self before I could consider myself to be ready to handle all that will come with the launching of this book. ‘The spirit of life’ holds great power and secrets within and with great power comes great responsibility. It was therefore necessary for me to journey very deeply into self, expelling self doubt, limiting beliefs, negativity and fear for how can I ask others to do so, if I haven’t at least started that journey myself…?

Now it seems that I am ready to start that journey, although self doubt still knocks at my door. But at least now I am ready to hold the hands of all those that are ready to start their journey too, for what is the point in holding such wisdom, if you are too afraid of what others might say to share it with them?

And so, my journey into the public eye begins, and with each brave step forward that I take, I hope that the writing of this book will also help to encourage others into taking their own brave steps into becoming exactly who they were born to be.

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I was inspired by spirit to write this book. As a developing medium, I was required to do an impromptu trance mediumship class during one of my courses and during this session, much to my surprise, I connected with an incredibly enlightened wizard!

Through connecting with him on two occasions throughout two different classes, I made the decision to sit with him at home and write as I recognised the language being used by him as being very similar to that which comes through in my writing.

I knew that spirt was helping me with my writing but I had no idea that it was this one particular spirit guide. By reading this book, you will bear witness to those conversations from start to finish – no editing, no changing, just as it came!

The spirit of life is a book of inspiration and meaning so it is of no great surprise that I first had to be inspired by spirit myself to be able to bring such words of wisdom into the public eye.

It is my hope that the words that come through in this book will help to inspire many people to make the changes that our world so desperately needs to see. By helping each individual to recognise that they all come to this Earth with a gift – a gift that will help to heal the rift, is to empower each individual to take action for themselves. Not by staging marches, protests and sit ins, but rather by using their passions as a guide to help them walk their own path, and in so doing, finding their way to make their own impact to affect that positive and loving change that we all so need to see.

How long did it take you to write this book?
It only took me six months to write this book, sitting with spirit for roughly one hour a day as the words flowed through me. However, I often sat for hours afterwards, reading and rereading the powerful words that had become manifest through me, blown away daily by the infinite wisdom that was being presented through this connection with spirit.

I am still blown away now, 3.5 years after writing it, as each and every time that I read it, more words of wisdom jump out of the page at me.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love life! I do anything that makes my soul sing. I travel, I dance, I’m learning to sing. I’m facing my fears and learning to dance with my demons. I’m opening up to new things and new journeys and experiences. I’m learning to listen to the call of my soul. I’m learning to trust myself. I’m learning that you can party sober and still have fun. I’m learning how to balance my fun side with my spirituality. I’m learning that it’s ok to be exactly who I am. I’m learning to live with a full and open heart. I’m learning to love and to forgive. I’m learning to be me…

What is your favourite book?
I would have to say the Conversations with God books. They are of a very similar ilk to my book and I am always blown away by the similarities that come through in both Neale Donald Walsch’s books and in my own. But then I have to remind myself that, in fact, it should not be at all surprising seeing as all of the information is coming from a higher source. Truth is truth – you can argue with it all you want but it doesn’t stop it from being truth.

Through this series of books, Neale Donald Walsch has been very inspirational to me in terms of dealing with any criticism that may come as a result of putting this book into the public eye. His books, due to the nature of the source, have come under some harsh criticism from some, as may mine, but when I see what he has accomplished through the reach and scope of his books and recognise the many lives that have been positively impacted due to him facing his fears and putting his work out there, I realise that I too must face my fears and allow for the powerful words of spirit to be heard.

What is your favourite thing about being an author.
Well, as a first time author, I guess I’m about to find out but I would say knowing that people have the chance to be inspired by your work. That your words have the ability to provoke deep change in the lives of those who are drawn to read it. That your words may, indeed, provoke deep debate but that such deep debate is needed if we are to start to see the change that our world so desperately needs to see.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 198
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Beginning to End

Paul Hughes

The real story of ‘swinging’ London in the wild and crazy 1960’s as seen through the eyes of two New Scotland Yard detectives – D I Andy Spearing and D S Kevin Devlin. (Book 1 in the series) – Drugs and booze flow like rivers resulting in depravity and corruption from the highest levels in the UK establishment down to the common working man. For some the 1960’s were their halcyon days, but for so many others it was the start of a fall into depravity and those were the lucky ones who survived!


An Interview with Paul Hughes

What is your favourite thing about writing books?
It is mostly being able to create characters and mould their lives.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
It started out with Detective Devlin as I had an affinity with him coming from the Glasgow area in Scotland. As I developed the Detective Spearing character I began to like him more as does Detective Devlin in the storyline. Then I began to develop the character of ‘The Fox’ – the assassin and now waver between all three.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
To be honest it started with a glass of wine with lunch as I continued writing into the afternoon, but the glass turned to a few glasses, so nowadays it is usually tea!

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Lots, but the main one is lack of concentration on the immediate story line – usually my mind wanders into how I develop the story and I continually have to pull myself back to the immediate story line.

How do you research your books?
The first three books in the series I used personal experiences in the music business with groups in the 60’s and 70’s, plus friends who worked with New Scotland Yard. I also used my work experience in the defence industry. I also used Google a lot to help with dates and happenings.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
To be honest a bit of both – I usually have a basic plot, but as the plot develops I do play a lot by the seat of my pants!

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
A world without religion or hate. I don’t think I have to say why?

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Detective Bosh from Michael Connelly books – A real character with all the human failings – not a super hero.

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 391
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Scotland and Aye

Sophia Wasiak Butler

What could possibly go wrong when a London girl, (or penniless student armed with a hefty collection of literary gems), falls in love with a much older and dashing Scotsman, and tries her hand at goat-keeping, vegetable growing and life in a tiny Scottish hamlet?!
Sophia Wasiak Butler grew up as an inner-city London teen who always fostered a dream of country life. After graduating from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne University with her English Literature degree in her pocket, deaf to the unappealing and empty promises of the rat-race, she invites us to accompany her as she takes the daring jump into a world where the universal melds seamlessly with the personal. The path is bursting with literary sages, Eastern wisdom, the gritty reality of dirt-stained nails, self-reflection and a good dose of common sense on this adventure, always interwoven through the multicultural tapestry which defines the author.


An Interview with Sophia Wasiak Butler

Why did you write this book?
My book started it’s life as a series of articles in a newspaper. The editors thought that the subject of a newly graduated London-girl moving to remote hamlet in the Scottish countryside had it’s merit in times of economic hardship and recession. And so, my monthly column began. Writing on demand with serious deadlines and a stern editor, are wonderful things for somebody without discipline and a solid routine! Little did I know, that writing was my life-saving companion, along with cheap wine and cigarettes! I found myself seriously balancing on the tightrope of love and life. It was unknown territory and I was insecure on all fronts. And then, a magical thing happened. Readers started to respond to my story, to the point that I got advice on small-holding, life-long penpals and invitations to other let’s say ‘pastures’! Writing became my life, and my life made sense because of it.
This transition into ‘real life’, (however that looks for each of us), felt so personal at the time, but I have come to realise, it is a fundamental moment, which marks a before and an after for all of us. That’s why I wanted to share it.

What was your favourite part of writing this book?
My answer now is different to when I was writing the book. At that time, writing became my outlet, the way in which I processed life. Re-discovering writing as a primal need for me was incredibly special, after churning out essays and dissertations on command at university.

At this moment, I am supremely grateful to have been able to leave a tangible chronicle of my first steps into being a grown woman. As much of a cliché as it may sound, it is when we affront what we are carrying in our ‘backpack’, whilst juggling ideas of what life is ‘meant’ to be. At which point we step on a rake and come face to face with what is really there.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
No hesitation on this one! Definitely red wine.
After leaving my ‘Lambrini’ student tastes behind, I was determined to join the realm of writerly sophistication, after being impacted by the words of Galileo: “Wine is sunlight, held together by water”, and those of Hemingway, “Wine…offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” I began a journey!
Countless bottles were put to the test, (even the odd unforgivable carton), to hone a decent palate. I arrived to the conclusion that I favour a chilled glass of pinot noir on a summer’s evening, or a heavier rioja on a winter’s night. However, now that I live in Galicia, I enjoy Mencia (red wine) when it’s nippy outdoors and a chilled glass of crisp cava when it’s hot. It’s worth mentioning that both are best when accompanied by Galician octopus and Padron peppers!

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Yes, when I’m writing mode, I’m uncharacteristically unsociable. The first sign is glasses, not contacts and the most crucial is the donning of the bright-orange beret. This ensures that I will not leave the house!

For me, the creative process is intrinsically hermitic. It is lonely. Often we forget what stirs within, whether it be a creative idea, or our own feelings. All reflection requires silence. Thankfully, my stoic companion who lays by my feet, is fluent in hermit, mantras, Polish, English, Spanish and non-verbal communication! He also comes with an inbuilt timer for playtime!
I live in awe of writers with such self-discipline as Isabel Allende who writes for an allotted time each day and produces a novel per year on average.

How would you entice people to read your book?
I hope that my book encourages people to take a chance in life and to help them not to go where the world is going, out of inertia, but where they want to go. Live your dreams, don’t just dream them, test them out! If you find that they are a huge disappointment, that they are no longer relevant, or that they evaporated the second they manifested: make new dreams. And if people ask: how many times can you start over? Be sure to tell them, ‘As many times as it takes’. When you don’t like the world around you, or you are stagnant, it’s time to change it. If you find yourself fighting for something which you believe in, and all around oppose you, be more stubborn than a mountain full of donkeys and find nourishment from others of the same mind.

The dreaded ‘unlived’ life must surely be the biggest regret. Don’t let it be yours.

Do you think you’ll write any other books?
It’s like pulling on a loose thread in a tapestry…you can’t stop!
Life certainly doesn’t cease to surprise me and I find myself cured of searching for that intangible feeling of home, in a 135 year-old traditional stone house in Galicia, Northern Spain. This is where I want to be and I wish to share the wonders of the Spanish “Fiesta Siesta and Manana” with my readers, so watch this space…

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Definitely one where animals could talk and good prevails! I would happily live with the hobbits or the elves in Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, just as I would go to Narnia, my dog is actually called Aslan in homage! I think that we crave a connection with the natural world which peoples before us have always had.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?

It would definitely be Mary Shelley’s creature in ‘Frankenstein’. He is the embodiment of the innate innocence and vulnerability of all children and his journey is the one we all go through. I would talk to him for encouragement, and then to his creator Viktor Frankenstein, because his rejection of responsibility and subsequent victimisation of himself is a story which has not ceased to repeat itself. So many people live with the childhood wounds which Viktor inflicted on his ‘child’ and these things mark us so strongly that we continue to perpetrate the cycle ad infinitum.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: July 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 140
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Counterplay

Dennis Norman

Karl has been stealing money from Tesanee. When he realises that she has uncovered his deceit, he flees.
Tesanee’s son Ashley, furious about the betrayal, approaches a close friend of his late father, Alain, and asks him to find Karl and retrieve Tes’s money.
Alain has nothing much to do and is happy to honour his dead friend’s memory by helping his wife.
Alain and his brother set off together to track down Karl and confront him. Each time they close in, Karl manages to outsmart them, and disappears.
A game of cat and mouse is set in play. Alain has no idea what he’s let himself in for.


Favourite Things About my Protagonists

by Dennis Norman

The main protagonists in this story are Alain and Toby Dansen.

My favourite things about Alain are he is quiet and unassuming with a soft heart but he is also brave, with a tough exterior and a sense of humour. If he could he would help everyone but knows he can’t. I like his never say die attitude, striving to complete any task through the toughest opponents or the biggest obstacles. He also has a quick mind, unlike mine. He’s a problem solver with an opinion on everything from right to wrong. He is noble and thinks he ‘Does the Right Thing’. If he can solve something by himself, he will, if he can’t solve it, he will persuade someone to help him. He is good with people.

The thing is he’s not cut out to be Superman. He is a thinker, not a body builder or a fighter. He is a scene setter, working in the movie industry where nothing is real. He is an ordinary guy, husband, father. However, when his friends need him, he will go out of his way to help.

He loves gadgets and uses them extensively, not big flashy gadgets like the Bond movies but the small subtle ones that hide in plain sight. He has no interested in expensive cars or clothes or guns.

He’s not Mr perfect though by any means. He needs to support his family, so he has a price. If he thinks the task is a worthy one, he will work out a way to benefit from his solution.

He likes to spend time by himself, but his biggest fear is loneliness, he wants everyone to like him in some way. This is all in his mind as his character won’t allow him to be. He is a very likeable person, somebody somewhere will always like or even love him.
I like to think there is a bit of every hero in Alain. I suppose I wish I was him.

Then there is Toby. He is the opposite of Alain, he’s tall, strong and likes a fight. He literally would do anything for Alain. He’s supposed to be Alain’s bodyguard/minder but he’s not making a very good job of it. He likes a joke and keeps cracking them right through the story. He is honourable and cares for his brother dearly. So much so he gets upset when he feels he’s let him down. He also loves his wife and gets embarrassed when Alain askes him to dinner with another woman to make a foursome.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: July 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 180
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Power, Beauty and Legitimacy of Adolescence

Susan Jane Broda Tamburi

Power, Beauty and Legitimacy of Adolescence. Understanding the teenage years, from their complexity in reality to some fictional representations in Anglo-Saxon, French and Italian literature.
Based on thorough experience in teaching, pedagogy and parenting, this book is a helpful guide for parents and teachers who want to help teenagers, the best way they can, in becoming adults.
Susan Jane Broda Tamburi provides an instructive, yet very simple approach to a full understanding of the complex mechanisms of adolescence. The author also analyses some enlightening representations of teenagers in literature.


An Interview with Susan Jane Broda Tamburi

Why did you write this book?
I didn’t wake up one morning thinking, oh it would be nice to write a book, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I absolutely have to write a book about adolescence and how badly it is understood and dealt with. I felt a strong urge to do it.

What was your favourite part in writing this book?
My favourite part was finding passages in fiction that coincided so well with what I describe in the first part of the book. This constantly encouraged me as I was finding material that kept on backing up my theory on education and teenage/parent relationships.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Green tea because my only worry when sitting and writing for hours is that I am not working out therefore drinking green tea takes the guilt out of immobility.

Bad habits when writing?
I have no bad habits, no smoking, no drinking, just a little chocolate binging when writing in autumn and winter in Switzerland and mango sorbet binging in spring and summer when writing in California.

How would you entice people to read your book?
By telling them that it will change their life and their relationship with their teenagers as well as their outlook on youngsters as a whole.

Do you think you will write another book?
I already have. I made the adaptation of the book in Italian and have already started another one but I don’t want to reveal what it is about just yet.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
I don’t need to live in any other fictional world because I dive into one whenever I open a book but I do have a preference for the atmosphere of 19th century American and English novels. There is a world I would like to get away from though and which seems fictional but is in fact reality and that is what I see on the news every day. It’s unbelievably terrifying but true.

If you could befriend any fictional character who would you choose and why?
Most certainly Jane Eyre. She would be the perfect friend for me. I love both her fragility and her strength, I love the fact that she spoke out for all the children that were mistreated in Victorian times, I love the fact that she managed to succeed in spite of the odds that were against her and to make her own living . I admire the way she made Rochester head over heels in love with her giving Blanche no chance whatsoever, thanks to her intelligence, wit and sensitivity. I love the fact that by pure coincidence I have the same name as her.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: June 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 168
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Masks

Nataly Restokian

Masks is a dark fictional tale, based on true-life events. It narrates the adventures of a young Armenian girl born in Lebanon in the seventies. She dreams of fame and power in Lebanon and the Arab world and shows resilience and motivation beyond her years. The novel delves into the world of the protagonist, Anna, who is surrounded by social, religious, and sexual taboos. She fiercely breaks the chains to enter the world she has strived to reach, in a seemingly conservative society barely emerging from a civil war. She builds her success on her remaining values, challenging her fate and sparing no way means to attain her goals.
As a disappointment to her parents, she walks the challenging paths alone, making her way toward fame and fortune despite lacking the support system to do so. Doors begin to open for her, and she enters the world of Arab celebrities. She is now a public figure in the Middle East, living an immoral married life in a materialistic world surrounded by influential business people and royal family members. She tries, in vain, to fill the void in her soul with sexual adventures and controversy by taking a wide variety of lovers. Her adventures invariably end in misery, doing nothing to awaken her from her numbness. Still, her vivid, out-of-control personality helps her move forward while simultaneously getting her in trouble. In the early stages of her life, she has suffered the unthinkable, being bullied and raped, with the civil war a constant backdrop throughout most of her childhood. The novel delves deep into Anna’s mind as she has flashbacks of the trauma she has suffered, offering the reader a hint of an explanation for her behavior.
In a society in which men dominate women, she is one of the few who realize that fashion, social status, plastic surgeries, and bright smiles are not the answer to happiness. She lives in a world where a girl is only worth as much as her virginity, where women do not dare to ask for a divorce, where the fear of retribution keeps them locked in a cage that is very rarely gilded.
As fame, money, and power slowly eat at her soul, the arrogant Anna falls in love with a total stranger—a young, single bachelor from Canada—after a night of secret passion. That is where the story begins to unravel as she returns home with a scandal in her back pocket, her eyes and ears and heart tuned to this man instead of her husband. Anna realizes that neither her marriage nor her achievements have ever made her happy, so she decides to throw it all away. The lies and deceit that fill the so-called glamorous life she has been leading are floating up to the surface, including her husband’s infidelity and the critical steps she has taken to reach the top.
Marriage, family, career—all destroyed to be united with the stranger. She starts a new battle, this time struggling to change her destiny for someone she barely knows, who lives oceans apart and offers her nothing except his heart.
She risks everything, turning her whole life upside down. Anna realizes that her happiness, inner peace, and love are found worlds away from her own, with someone she would never have expected to be her soul mate. Still, Anna’s sacrifices are not behind her, and the struggle has not yet ended, although she has found what she has needed all her life: redemption and unconditional love.
The stranger enigmatically hints at emotions in Anna that have been hidden for a long time behind the masks of her dark and shallow lifestyle.
The characters in the story are the voices of so many who do not dare to speak up in a world where social and religious standards openly chastise the very actions that behind closed doors have become the ultimate paradigmatic way of life.


An Interview with Nataly Restokian

Why did you write this book?
Giving voice to many who do not dare to speak up, write about ideas that could inspire others, at the same time I feel writing books for me is a relief of pain ,of anger, of sadness and at the same time a colourful world where my joy, my imagination and my hopes are limitless and can have any ending I can choose.
As if I am giving life to new concepts and it is fun, it is my world where I am the one in control of all characters and events, and all could be decided by my own will, something none of us can do in real life.

What was your favourite part in writing this book?
Honestly I love all characters, but Anna the protagonist is my favorite character, because she is so controversial, she is charming, jealous, rebellious sexy somehow, sometimes evil, other times very soft and caring, she judges herself, she knows her faults, confesses her mistakes, and she is courageous, she never gives up.
She is so everyday character we see in ambitious women who do not give up in life ,she is the typical character of so many brave women who do not yield to any obstacles in life ,and though to reach their goals they give up a lot such as values in a male dominant world however they are beautiful souls who realize in the end that happiness is not based on money power or fame but on true love, a thought that unfortunately people rarely believe in its existence nowadays.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Coffee, I drink coffee with milk, then with cream, with different flavours such as with Mocha, Irish cream, vanilla, etc., I also drink hot chocolate, I think my stomach becomes a living walking coffee shop.

Bad habits when writing?
Where can I start? Besides drinking coffee, I eat a lot; my laptop needs to be cleaned every couple for hours. I talk out loud to myself, then suddenly I stop writing.
I call my husband to say I love him, weird, I know.
I scatter papers everywhere on my table, on the sofas in the basement, on the floor, because I write everything on papers then I copy them on the laptop.
I use colourful pens from dollar stores and write in different colours, and all my fingers will be painted.
I do not accept guests and do not chit chat with anyone except my husband.
I do not advise anyone to be around while I am writing, trust me; I am not fun.

How do you research your book?
I do not do any research my book; my life is my research.

Are you a plotter or pantser?
I think I am a little bit of both, I plan ,I think, then I write ,sometimes I plan then I change my mind, my imagination takes me to a different idea, I do not really know I think I am a plantser..(honestly I didn’t even know what I should answer, I got confused, all I know is that my heart leads my plans and my persistence makes me plan the story )I hope my answer is okay.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
No thank you very much, I do not wish to live in any fictional world, I mean let us think for a second in our daily lives we meet so many wicked people, and they hurt us enough with no magic at all, why will I want to to go to a world where heroes fight but also villains have super or magic powers? Seriously prefer the world.

If you could befriend any fictional character who would you choose and why?
I would choose the fairy godmother of Cinderella’s is so nice, caring and loving.
All I must do is to keep the promise be back home at midnight and she can make all my dreams come true with her magic wand.
She is the best I love her.

Publisher: Tellwent Talents
Publication Date: March 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Genre: Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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