Archive for the ‘Big Book’ Category

Hidden Intentions

Dave Flint

Toby could… and Toby would. ‘Enjoy yourself as you rot, old man. And you’re not my dad – you never were.’ Southern England, September 1957. When thirteen-year-old Toby Mitcher’s mum collapses, never to wake up, Toby’s alcoholic stepfather becomes his legal guardian. He thought life couldn’t get much worse, but was he wrong. Time passes, and an orderly direction comes into his life. That is until problems start and the disappearances begin. No more being put upon or allowing bad situations to happen. From now on, Toby is in control. Or is he?


Extract

The summer holidays were over for what good they had been, and Toby had hated every minute. The last six weeks had left his body with multiple bruises from where his stepfather had struck him. Whenever a task had not been completed the way his stepfather had wanted it, which was more often than not, Toby had born the results of his brutality. His stepfather’s belt stinging him, his fists pummelling his body, and all because he was told he was useless at everything he did. It had been six weeks of hell, and he realised it would never end.

Living on the outskirts of the village of Collinston, a few miles from Portsmouth in Hampshire, Toby felt older than his thirteen years and wished school was over and done with.

Pulling on a colour-faded shirt, Toby winced at the bruise under his armpit. It was changing to a blackish-purple in colour, besides another on his upper arm and cursed his stepfather for the umpteenth time. Stood there in his ill-fitting clothes, Toby wondered what the rest of 1957 had in store for him.

Slouching to the open sash window, Toby looked out over the tree-lined fields leading towards the village of Collinston. Wearily, he looked down at his old bike still in bits leaning haphazardly against the collapsing garden shed, rusting away like most things around the place. Everything in the house was either damaged or broken and needed renewing. Even his bed had a broken leg that was now wedged with different blocks of wood. His stepfather had told him to fix it, but he thought sod it – why should he? He loathed this suffocating life but, as always, it was his stepfather that was causing him all his problems.

Slipping his finger down the dirty windowpane, Toby let his imagination wander before being distracted by his mum as she moved towards the clothesline at the back of the house, struggling with a basket full of wet washing. Suddenly, she looked up and waved, beckoning him to come down. Pushing away from the window, he sat heavily on his bed, wishing he’d stayed there, and realised another chore was coming his way.

Retrieving his socks and plimsolls from under the bed, Toby pulled them on and resentfully left the room. On the landing, he listened to his stepfather curse as a glass smashed and stood still a moment, before making his way steadily and silently downstairs. Stopping just before he got to the bottom two steps, Toby hesitated before carrying on, when his stepfather’s aggressive voice bellowed.

‘That you, Toby?’

Toby wondered if he was coming out to bawl at him as he usually did, and listened to his stepfather curse again as he rattled through some more glasses in the sideboard. The kitchen clock on the wall showed ten past nine. Christ, he’s started early he thought as he carried on warily, ignoring another bellowing call. Pulling open the back door, Toby moved out of the house, making his way along the path, wondering what his mum wanted. Turning the corner, he was greeted by his mother kneeling on the ground with wet washing all around her, clutching at her chest, gasping for breath.

‘Get William – hurry, Toby.’ Her eyes reflected the fear her body felt.

The door banged open against the water-filled sink as Toby ran into the kitchen, heading towards the living room and slammed into his demanding stepfather.

Bang! His stepfather’s calloused hand caught him powerfully across the side of his head, throwing him violently against the tiled fireplace. Toby wiped a trickle of blood from his mouth and tried to speak through a split lip as his stepfather’s legs settled around him.

‘It’s mum; she’s in the garden, she—’

A brutal hand grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, bringing him face to face with bad breath and a scowling intoxicated figure.

‘The next time I speak to you, you answer me. You hear me, boy?’ He shook Toby, throwing him back across the floor. ‘I’ve had enough of your moody ways of late.’

Climbing to his knees, Toby spoke again, ‘It’s Mum, she’s—’

Another clout caught him, landing on the other side of his face as he tried to clear the pain throbbing through his head. This time, Toby shouted at his stepfather as he attempted to make himself heard. ‘Mum’s collapsed in the garden!’

Slowly the stockily built figure took in what was being said. Kicking Toby to the floor, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and headed out of the room, taking his drink with him.

Toby stood up and held onto his face as tears welled, and wiped the blood seeping from his lip as his stepfather ambled unsteadily through the kitchen and out of the house.

Toby spoke as soon as he left. ‘You bastard!’ He never understood why his mum married him, he had told her he was a drunkard, but she insisted he loved her and that they needed a man around the place. And that’s when everything had begun to go wrong in their lives.

Within a few moments, Toby’s stepfather came in and shouted at him from the kitchen.

‘Boy, get out here. Now!’

Holding his face, Toby walked into the kitchen and watched his usually harsh, ill-tempered stepfather wipe perspiration away from his reddened face with the loose material of his vest. He was agitated and shaken.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: July 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 303
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Blue
Source: N/A
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Fix: Sex, Lies and Banking

Lily Temperley

What’s love got to do with it? Patrick Harrington is handsome, wealthy and successful. He is also a high-functioning addict that craves his next fix. His vices of choice are money and women: taking risks at work and pursuing multiple sexual conquests. Determined to get what he wants, as he always does, Harrington fixates on Alexandra Fisher – the latest pretty young thing in his office. Relationships are not a test so why cheat? Alexandra Fisher is in love with a man at work. And love makes you do crazy things. Fisher is marked with a flashing neon sign of vulnerability, a result of both the tragic loss of her father and her limited romantic history. Patrick Harrington, the eternal bachelor and playboy Investment Banker, is happy to exploit her susceptibility and his pursuit of her is relentless. An intense liaison develops. Harrington pushes Fisher deep out of her comfort zone, submerging her into his world of deception, depravity and excess. Yet, Harrington finds himself similarly off-kilter, as Fisher teaches him that love doesn’t have to fit the fairytale mould that other women have tried to force upon him. At the risk of their careers, the torrid romance begins to take on a life of its own. Fix is the ultimate high-fliers diary based on a true story, set in London against a backdrop of banking and greed. A boy meets girl story where rules are learnt to be broken, money is no object and love gives way to ambition.


Author Information

Lily Temperley is now based in an exotic location after fifteen years of living and working in London. She arrived in London at the tender age of twenty with a dream: to dominate the world and see as much of it as she could while doing so. Reality soon bit with paying her rent becoming paramount, and so it was that she shunned everything she learnt at law school and opted for a shiny, lucrative job in the city.
Roll the clock forward more than a decade, she was married, she was single; she was armed with a list of more than fifty countries visited and had some money behind her. She was hit by an epiphany. After a lifetime of being known for both her tendency for amateur dramatics in everyday life and storytelling riddled with hyperbole, she confirmed to herself that, actually, her dream had always been to write.
What life had done in the time preceding this revelation was provide her with rich material, amazing experiences, and deep relationships on which to base her prose. To crystallise her declaration that she was now a writer, she promptly resigned from the city job, bought a new laptop and began to write.
The basis for her first book is her own life experience. She grew up in an investment bank. She’s had jobs working in the executive suites of two of Britain’s largest firms and has seen both these companies handle catastrophes on a global stage. Interwoven with that, she had an intimate relationship with a very senior executive, providing a real-life romantic angle to the corporate setting. True life is stranger than fiction and our stories – however shameful or hurtful – must be told.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LilyTemperley
Instagram: http://instagram.com/lilytemperley_

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: Nov 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 218
Genre: Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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The First Law of Fate and The World’s a Minefield

Felix M Temple

The Russians, Chinese and Americans are planning to control satellites. The French program secret additional functions to a satellite. The Italians are working for a number of Gulf States to include secret interception facilities.
The Russians know about the French plans, so do the British. Secret files are hacked from some US military systems.
François Duhamel investigates for the DGSE. CIA agent Bruce Waller flies to Paris. Sir Charles Beresford of MI6 has to work out why the President of the US thinks there is a British double agent. The three friends work together for their mutual benefit.
The British think Michael Cocke is responsible. The Turks buy intelligence from him. They believe he has double-crossed them.
The Russians obtain a copy of American agents in Russia, and the British discover a list of Russian agents in the Middle East. The Indians obtain a Chinese document they give to MI6.
As the problems are resolved, Michael Cocke’s life is expendable. The Turks hand him over to the Russians; the Americans and Russians have time to get their officers out; the Chinese agree not to attack the British in exchange for the return of the secret document; the French avoid a collapse of the government.


A new type of autocratic politician dominates the political landscape.
With the deliberate appointment by the Prime Minister of an unsuitable candidate for the top job of C in MI6, trouble begins. The new man sweeps people out. Most of them die by accident or suicide.
Sir Charles, a loyal subject and member of a family that has been part of the ruling elite for generations, knows he will be next. He and his colleagues from Australia, France, and the United States of America have to find out why they are being attacked. They must meet the challenge; failure will mean certain death.
Caught up in the maelstrom facing the security services of the western world, the plans of a crook go drastically awry when one of his political contacts dies in a young man’s bed. The international threads of business intertwine with the greed of politicians as a few loyal officers save the Service. Love blossoms between those caught up in the business, and in a small house outside Marrakesh, Katharine acts to lift the black pain inflicted upon her after the brutal death of her lover in 1973.


Author Interview

What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Trying to write unambiguously and with clarity. Expressing emotions as accurately as possible.

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I do not have a favourite character, but if you press me, I can say that Elizabeth Bottreaux in The First Law of Fate is some woman. She edged her way into the novel towards the end, in Paris. Where else? She is an intelligent human being with a free spirit. She is her own woman. You do not tell her what to do.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Thoughts of a cool Chablis in the summer, or a single highland malt or armagnac when the fire crackles during the winter. Not eating, drinking or listening to music when writing enhances the pleasures when you stop for the day.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Being too serious? Concentrating too much? Thinking about that piece of chocolate with morning coffee? If silence is a bad habit, then so be it, but I can and do write on railway trains, aircraft and in cafés.

How did you research your book?
I collect bits of paper: torn from newspapers, magazines, leaflets; reading around the topic, always reading – then planting the paper on the top of the pile, watching it swell in size, only to exhume the entire heap of titbits when the time comes to work out the plot. Hours are then spent looking through, taking, discarding, making notes. (Do you want to have a photograph of the next pile?) Asking knowledgeable people about technical points.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I have to work out the plot before beginning to write. By having a plot (which can change), the writing comes naturally.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
It has to be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Charles Dodgson created the world in all its hypocrisy, but unlike the real world, those that deceive, or claim the right to political leadership, are found out. This does not occur often enough in the real world.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Philip Marlowe from The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler. Mr Marlowe knows how to make long coffee – by using a Cona coffee maker. Of course, Italian espresso is something else, as is Turkish coffee and Yemeni coffee. I’d like to discuss Aram Khachaturian’s Concerto for violin and orchestra with him. He doesn’t think it’s up to much. I’d like to persuade him otherwise.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: June 2020
Format: Paperback
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adult
Source: N/A
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A Cellist Soldier

Robert J Fanshawe

A British Battalion moves up ready for the World War One 1917 battle of Arras.
A much loved Regimental Sergeant Major is blown up, the man taking his place intensely disliked.
A patrol is sent into No Man’s Land to rescue a casualty crying for help.
One soldier, a cello player, throws his rifle away when the wrong casualty is shot in frustration.
Threatened with Court Martial, he walks alone to find the real one, imagining playing his cello.
He finds him, legs impossibly injured, pulls him from the mud and carries him towards a German medical station.
The casualty, Sergeant John Wall, a real soldier shot for desertion in 1917,
dies and the cello player is taken prisoner. He runs from the medical station wearing a red cross apron.
On returning to his own line he is arrested.
Witness a flawed Court Martial and a bizarre final ‘victory’ which is to have a profound effect
on Ben the cellist’s friend and the fundamental question of justice in war.


Author Interview

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
My favourite character in this book is the cellist – Marcus. I have outlined the reasons above. Of course he is the main protagonist and he is also nothing like me. So writing his character was a challenge and I enjoyed it.

What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
My favourite drink while writing is I think red wine.

Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Bad habits while writing – loads. It takes me ages to started in the day and often I don’t start till late. That could be because I have other things to do. I try to get them done. But in reality I’m not that organised so I end up not doing the things I should have done before writing.

How did you research your book? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
How did I research my book, plotter or pantser. I’m definitely the latter. I research minute by minute when I need some information. The internet helps in that respect as some much detail is at your finger-tips. But a more detailed approach to research is definitely called for on my part.

If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Living in a fictional world; I would probably choose Paris in the 1920s. It is a fictional world now, almost a surreal one. It had a sort of carefree romance though which appeals, though as with everything there was a dark side.

If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
The fictional character I would chose to be would be Jack Reacher of Lee Child’s series. He is the ‘Righteous Avenger’ that most men would somehow like to be in an ideal world where wrongs can be put right. He is also big and always wins fights, though it is not in my nature to get into them. Then of course he usually gets the main female character as well though there is never any commitment which is not in my nature either.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: June 2020
Format: Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: Adult
Source: N/A
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If Only They Could Talk

Ian Walker

Miles Goodyear’s whole life has been planned out for him. Born into a wealthy brewing family in Chesterfield between the wars, he knows he will go to the local grammar school, followed by St John’s College, Oxford. After graduating, he will then follow his older brother into the family business where he will remain until the next generation eventually takes over when he retires.
But life – and a series of bad decisions – go against him and, as a result, things turn out very differently from what was originally planned.
If Only They Could Talk is the story of one man’s reflection on his life, his failed relationships, his regrets and his dashed hopes. It’s about someone born with so much, who loses everything as he struggles to cope with a changing world. Or at least that’s what his relatives are led to believe as they clear out his house following his death.
Gradually, the house reveals its secrets, but nothing his relatives find there can prepare them for the final twist to Miles’s story.


Five Favourite Things About My Protagonist

On the face of it, it’s difficult to like too many things about my main character Miles Goodyear. For a start, he is one of life’s losers. Most men can only dream of the start in life that he had. After all, he was born into a wealthy brewing family and was destined to have the best possible education at the local Grammar School. Following this, he would go on to study at the illustrious St John’s College Oxford. This would have prepared him to take up a job for life as a director in the family firm. Yet despite all the privileges that his upbringing bestowed on him, he still managed to lose everything. Miles is also a drinker, an adulterer and a person who abuses his position at work. Nevertheless, you can’t help but like him. Would I want to go on a night out with him? Yes, I would. Would I want him to run my company? No, never! Would I ask him to give me advice regarding affairs of the heart? Absolutely not.

At the centre of Miles’s story is his friendship with Sprout and Herman. He meets the two of them on his first day at school and they remain close friends for the rest of their lives. That is something not many of us manage to do and it demonstrates the type of person he is.

In some ways, Miles is a bit like King George VI. Miles was never meant to run the family business. In the same way – albeit further up the social ladder – George VI was never meant to become king. Those were the roles their brothers were destined to take on, but didn’t. As a result Miles is a person who is deeply conscious of precisely what his family has achieved. He is fully aware of the responsibility he has to pass that legacy onto the next generation. In many ways it is a chain around his neck, a burden he has to bear. However he realises it’s his duty and he refuses to shirk his responsibilities both to his family and his employees. That’s despite the fact that he would have been financially better off if he’d decided just to sell up.

Miles is also a trier. As the world is changing about him and all his competitors start to fail, he strives to adjust, to bring in new ideas and new products in order to save his family business. Ultimately he’s not successful but at least he can say he tried his best.

One of the great things about Miles is that he is able to re-invent himself. Having failed as a businessman he tries his hand at something completely different. I’ve always admired people who are able to succeed in two quite distinct fields. People like George Forman who went from being a professional boxer to selling his grill on TV, or Glenda Jackson who successfully changed career from being a famous actor to becoming an astute politician. Nobody could claim that Miles was a successful businessman. But at least he was able to start all over again as a teacher in the school where he was a pupil in his youth. Eventually he even becomes moderately successful and is relatively happy in his new profession.

Finally, Miles is no cold fish. He’s the type of person who usually lets his heart rule his head and ultimately this leads to his downfall. We all love a flawed character like him. It’s the same reason why Nelson has a column in Trafalgar Square, despite the fact he was both impulsive and an adulterer. In contrast, the cool, calculating Wellington only has a very practical pair of waterproof boots named after him.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 270
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Walk a Narrow Line

Rod Graham

Driven on unrelentlessly not to be beaten down by failure, this is one man’s extraordinary true-life story, which highlights the ever-present need to find your way in the world. Across the diverse life adventures over a seventy-year period, a picture is painted of a life that has led from neglect to success and from abuse to knowledge. This book will inspire those who read it to do better.


Extract

That 1976 summer was¬¬¬ proving to be a really hot one; it’s on record as being one of the driest summers we’ve had; which is interesting because we had never heard of ‘climate change’ in 1976, it was just a great summer. If you thought about it; you could just imagine yourself jumping in to the river off a boat deck, splashing about in the water, creating waves, wild swim¬¬¬ming, the whole scene seemed to beckon ever harder with each longing thought you gave it.

This cabin cruiser was no Queen Mary, what did you expect for £50 in 1976? She was made of wood; marine ply, to be exact, you could be forgiven for being apprehensive about stepping aboard her, after all, wood was the customary material used to build boats for years. However, this particular craft may have been one of Noah’s castoffs; except that he probably didn’t have access to what looked like white emulsion paint. The whole boat had been liberally coated in it, you could see that someone had done a real job of freshening her up with a very clumsy hand and brush; even the windows had not been spared a daub or two of paint.

Our son Trevor; who was eleven years old at the time, couldn’t contain his excitement at the thought of this adventure. On to the boat he jumped right behind Nigel, the owner, a scruffy guy with long greasy brown hair, who was either a really good salesman or very proud of his vessel. He certainly had the gift of the gab. My wife Frances and I gave each other a sidelong look of disappointment at the sight of this shipwreck. My heart sank; like this boat probably would. I remember thinking, ‘what a mess; well… one man’s meat is another man’s poison’. Still; we both tried to keep an open mind.

There were indeed four bunks, which, amazingly, all seemed to be dry, there was a galley area with a gas cooker and sink. Nigel told us that you call the kitchen area ‘The Galley’ on a boat. There was a cassette toilet that smelt and looked a bit like an old-fashioned sewerage farm with a small sink for washing beside it. The mirror above the sink was interesting in that you couldn’t actually see your reflection in it properly for grime. I turned around and looked to make sure Nigel wasn’t watching me as I quickly drew a smiley face on the mirror’s dirty surface. I’m lucky in that I have a fairly good memory for faces; especially mine! The thing is, if you wanted to clean yourself up, comb your hair, shave or make yourself look pretty; you were going to need a good memory for faces with this mirror. The shipwreck did have a nice sitting area at the back, or stern if I’m to be correct with an outboard motor that had its own removable fuel tank, I noticed that Nigel didn’t offer to start the engine; he just pointed it out, saying that it was a good runner. But no matter, as this trip looked like it had been a waste of time anyway.

We climbed off the boat, although I had to practically drag Trevor off, as he already thought he owned it and was involved with cruising down the Caribbean, so he had a reluctance to end his adventure; Paula had not dared to come aboard, she remained on dry land pretending to be disinterested as she stroked someone’s golden Labrador that had wandered over inquiringly from another boat.

I told Nigel that we would like to look around, as there were other boats for sale in the marina.

Well, after looking over a few of those boats and hearing the amazing sums of money their owners were hoping to sell them for; it has to be said that Willie – that is what the shipwreck was called – started to look like a good proposition; after all, beggars can’t be choosers, she was still afloat, she had an engine and was dry-ish inside; we could hopefully make something of her.

Back to see Nigel we went, then after a bit of haggling for the boat and for the mooring which was rented, we were shortly the proud owners of Willie our very own cabin cruiser.

Every Sunday for the rest of that long hot summer would find us doing what must have been the equivalent of an hours training in a gym; just pulling the cord trying to start that outboard motor. Messing about on the river usually had to wait a while! Some days though, things would be messier than others.

There was that time when our daughter, Paula; who was a year older than Trevor; got a little too boisterous in the stern section and nearly fell overboard. Yes, she could swim but we were cruising along with the outboard motor running at the time and she went over the stern right beside it. As I watched her loose her balance, I had visions of my daughter being chewed up by the engine propeller. Don’t ask me how, but I turned around from steering the boat and caught her in mid-air before she even hit the water and hauled her back into the boat. It was one of those moments of magic. I have no idea what happened, or how I managed it, just like when you knock something off a shelf by accident, then react so fast, that with no effort at all, you actually catch it before it hits the floor and breaks, I expect you will have done that yourself.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 156
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Change Leadership

Bill Mann

80% of change projects fail. It’s a staggering amount. The most common reason is a reluctance to change by the people involved. It’s not surprising really: people make up a business and it’s those same people who must accept and adapt to change. The difference between change management and change leadership is making the connection between organisational change and the human impact on all involved. This book will show you how to lead change, not just manage it. Bill Mann, founder of The Keep Calm Guy, has learnt the hard way about change. After a long career delivering change projects for many businesses it was his personal experiences of coping with the trauma of a suicide bomb attack, and losing his wife to cancer, that taught him how to find a path through change that other people will follow. www.thekeepcalmguy.co.uk.


Extract

Businesses of all sizes, and across every industry, are constantly changing. It may be organically by growing or evolving products and services, or maturing and optimising, or possibly even declining and downsizing. It may be by specific actions such as a merger or acquisition, or a reorganisation, relocation, or simply by recruiting and moving staff to new positions. It may be something seemingly small such as changing the reporting lines of one individual, or something that affects the entire organisation. It could even be something routine such as an annual performance appraisal and pay review. Whatever the reason no business stands still – change is constant.

Walk into any business with more than a handful of staff and there will be change planned, being made, or people struggling with the unintended consequences of change. Structures will change, people are promoted, moved in to new roles, or even demoted or fired. The larger the organisation the larger the change programme you will find. If may be a formal transformation programme, or it may just be a collection of smaller changes spanning the organisation.

Change is always made for good business reasons at the time, and with the best intentions of those leading the change. There will be an objective regarding the future of the business and goals set that have to be achieved. Much work will be done looking at future sales, markets, competition, organisational performance, budgets, resources, operating models, functions, staffing levels, resource levels, roles, etc., etc. All of these are the nuts and bolts of the business, and the organisational design puts it all together to achieve a desired end state. There is only one thing missing, one thing hardly ever considered – the emotional engagement of the people that will either make it work or not. Winning their hearts and minds. This is not simply communication, people management, or a token gesture towards keeping staff on-side to be seen to be doing the right thing, it is an authentic and genuine care for the impact on people, and delivered with complete integrity.

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first.”
– Richard Branson

The people that make a business what it is are not ‘Human Resources’. Resources suggest a business asset to be utilised (which is how many see them), and ‘Human’ is just a depersonalised term to refer to the fact they are living breathing human beings. The people that walk through the office door every morning are husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, friends, carers, and so on. They have ambitions, fears, worries, stresses, beliefs, and values. They have ups and downs, good days and bad. They are all unique and how they respond to change is what makes the difference to any business. The best plans and models will be extremely painful and costly to deliver without the support of the people that will make it a reality. In practice people are pushed, cajoled, bribed, and otherwise encouraged and forced into the organisational structure and new roles. If they don’t fit, then ultimately, they are pushed out. They are simply expected to ‘get on board’ with the changes.

Every change has an effect on the most important component – the people that run the business. From boardroom to shop floor everyone one is potentially impacted by even the most modest of changes. How they respond has very little to do with their role, skillset, or career path. It has everything to do with who they are as a person, what else is going on in their lives at that time, and what they value. By making sure every individual is understood and supported through the change with empathy and integrity, many if not all can be kept completely engaged – the critical difference between success and failure. This should not be dismissed as being ‘soft’ or unnecessary, this should be encouraged as enlightened leadership. Emotional intelligence is widely reported as a critical leadership skill for the 21st century.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 116
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Music as Medicine

Daphne Bryan PhD

Music can play an important part in our lives yet how many of us appreciate the effect it has on our brains, bodies and moods, or understand how we can use music as a medicine? Music has the power to reduce everyday symptoms, such as stress, insomnia, pain, depression, and even snoring, as well as helping challenges found in neurological conditions such as freezing and gait problems, and difficulties with voice and swallowing.
With modern advances in technology, scientists are now able to measure the precise effect of music on body and brain. Music as Medicine presents many research studies which have examined the effect of music on various conditions, and offers clear suggestions as to how readers can use music to reduce various symptoms, whether a person thinks themselves musical or not. It covers three aspects of musical involvement: listening to music, moving to music and making music.
Daphne Bryan, PhD, takes a special look at the benefits of music for neurological conditions, Parkinson’s in particular. Music stimulates many areas of the brain and in the case of damaged brains, it can activate alternative pathways to act in the place of damaged ones. Many of the symptoms discussed are also experienced by people with other diagnoses and by those who are otherwise fit and healthy so this book contains much that is relevant to all.


Extract

Using music to heal body and affect mood is not new. In the course of human history, music has been used not only as an art form but also as a tool for healing. Frescoes dating from 4000 BC, depicting harp playing priests and musicians, are probably the oldest examples which suggest that music was believed to have healing properties at that time.

In the Bible’s Old Testament, Saul was said to suffer from depressive symptoms and his servants suggested that they find someone who was a “cunning player on the harp” (1 Samuel chapter 16 v 16 Revised Version).

“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” (1 Samuel Chapter 16 v 23. Revised Version)

The ancient Greeks developed music as therapy, with Pythagoras proposing that body and soul could be influenced by music, through the understanding of music’s law and order (Dobrzinska et al 2006). The Pythagoreans employed music in their daily routine, playing music before bedtime to calm them and provide a good night’s sleep with pleasant dreams. On waking, they would play particular compositions on the lyre to shake off sleep and prepare them for the rigours of the day.

The philosopher Plato considered music to be “the medicine of the soul” (Gfeller 2002). He claimed in The Republic:

“Music is most sovereign because rhythm and harmony find their way to the inmost soul and take strongest hold upon it, imparting grace, if one is rightly trained.”

Aristotle also believed in music’s ability to heal, seeing it as providing relief from negative emotions (Dobrzinska et al 2006). He had a theory that song, wine, and women were the three necessary components to create an optimal environment for man (Ansdell 2004).

Many primitive cultures considered music an important part of everyday life. Native Americans used music in their healing rituals, often in the form of singing and chanting with percussive instruments. The United States Indian Bureau contains 1,500 songs used by Native Americans for healing purposes. In the Middle Ages, the importance of music for keeping well was so highly regarded that the law mandated that those studying medicine should also appreciate music. At this time, specific musical applications were suggested for particular medical problems, for example, music which alternated flute and harp was believed to be a remedy for gout.

A plague occurred in Germany in 1374 in which sufferers danced uncontrollably till they became unconscious through exhaustion. Thousands died, and more outbreaks occurred across Europe over the next two centuries. The only way of stopping the mania was to have a musician play for the afflicted dancer (Harvey 1980). At a similar time, the illness tarantism, thought to be caused by the bite of a tarantula, was believed to be cured by listening and dancing to the music of a ‘tarantella’, a folk dance with a fast, upbeat tempo. It is possible that the wild dancing helped the problem by separating the venom from the sufferer’s blood.

During the Renaissance, music continued to be used to treat mania and depression. The Italian sixteenth century theorist, Gioseffo Zarlino, believed that musical harmony had healing abilities. He suggested music could be used to relieve pain, depression, mania, the plague and even restore hearing. In 1899, an article in The Lancet by J.T.R. Davison titled ‘Music in Medicine’ led to the now growing interest in investigating music and health (Davison 1899).

For many thousands of years, therefore, people have believed music to have a place in healing, but what properties in music give it this power?

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 112
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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Charles Dickens: My Life

Derwin Hope

When Charles Dickens died prematurely on the 9th June 1870 aged only 58, he left behind a legacy unsurpassed in English fictional literature. But he also wanted to write his true life story and this remained undone. 150 years on from his death, I have found that sufficient material has now been uncovered to enable that narrative of his life story to be produced for the first time. Research amongst 15,000 of his letters, journalistic articles, documents and other relevant material connected to him have all combined to make it possible for me to piece together that evidence and, guided by the way he wrote his two travel books, has resulted in the production of this personal story in his own words that he so desired to tell. It shows exactly how, from difficult beginnings, he descended into acute humiliation and abject poverty, before then emerging due to his talent and incredible resolve, into one of the most famous men and popular authors the world has ever known. It chronicles his enormous public triumphs and his profound private turmoils, as well as the secret life he led when, on his own admission, he became “seized with lunacy”. It includes his two momentous visits to America, and his withering and radical opinions of institutions and situations he found there, as well as those he encountered at home – all expressed in his own inimitable style. This is his compelling and personal narrative, put together for the first time in a way that he wished his legacy to be told. It is the real and true story of his life.


How I Researched My Book

After hearing that Dickens may have led a secret life, I began by reading modern biographies of him to try and find out more and then turned the clock back to read the 3 volumes on his life produced by his friend John Forster shortly after Dickens had died in1870. I still did not feel I knew the real and true story about him when, by chance in 2004, I became a Judge in Portsmouth. I visited the humble house of his birth and as I stood in the bedroom where he was born, the question went through my mind: ”How did he get from here to the life of fame he went on to lead, and how much of this did he explain in his own words?” I then began further research, focussing only on things that Dickens had said about his life. This included not only what he had told Forster in secret about his childhood, but studying in detail 15,000 of his letters that had now been published, details of what he had written in his journalism and other documents relating to him, as well as verbatim transcripts of his speeches and faithful reports from people who had witnessed other things that he had said. I put this gigantic jigsaw of his reporting of his life into a continuous narrative form using his words, so that for the first time in 150 years the true sequence of his life is set out as he had wanted to do himself, but had left undone by the time of his untimely death at the age of 58.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: May 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 536
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Dawn of the Patriot

Okimi Peters

Plagued by the mysterious death of his older brother, the unassuming yet highly spirited 19 year old Ziik will be thrust on the daunting path to becoming a vigilante in the Third World. Progressively finding himself as a symbol of light through the shadows of Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, Ziik must not only weave through the present day complexities of his homeland on his quest for justice; he must also learn to overcome himself to find peace.


Extract

Click here to see a few pages from the Graphic Novel!

Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 30
Genre: Graphic Novel
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: N/A
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