The Letter – Kitty’s Story by Eliza J. Scott @ElizaJScott1 @rararesources #GuestPost #Giveaway (open Int)

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Today I am delighted to sharing a guest post for the author of The Letter – Kitty’s Story by Eliza J. Scott as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This book is available to buy HERE. Not only do I have a fabulous Guest Post from Eliza but also there is a chance to win a beautiful box of goodies and a signed paperback copy of her book xx

Synopsis:

Thirty-four-year-old Kitty Bennett is trapped in a loveless marriage to criminal barrister, Dan, who’s gradually isolated her from her family and friends. Until the day she (literally) bumps into her first love, the handsome and easy-going Ollie Cartwright – someone she’s done her best to avoid for as long as she can remember. Looking into Ollie’s eyes awakens feelings for him she thought she’d buried deep years ago, and he clearly feels the spark, too. As she walks away, Kitty can’t help but wonder what might have been…
Dan senses that his marriage is on shaky ground and knows he needs to win his wife round. He turns on the charm, skilfully using their two children, Lucas and Lily, as bargaining tools. But Kitty’s older brother, Jimby, and her childhood best-friends, Molly and Violet, have decided enough is enough. For years they’ve had to watch from afar as Kitty’s been browbeaten into an unrecognisable version of herself. They vow to make her see Dan for what he really is, but their attempts are no match for his finely-honed courtroom skills and, against her better judgement, Kitty agrees to give her husband one last chance. But, all-too-soon, a series of heart-breaking events and a shocking secret throw her life into turmoil…
Will she stand by Dan, or will Kitty be brave enough to take the leap and follow her heart to Ollie?

Life is anything but peaceful in the chocolate-box pretty village of Lytell Stangdale, where life unravels, and hearts are broken. Full of heart-warming moments, this book with have you crying tears of joy, laughter and sadness.

Guest Post:

Hello Eliza, Welcome to Me and My Books. I am curious to know what skills or experiences you have used in The Letter – Kitty’s Story. Also what new things have you learnt along the way ?

Hi Yvonne,

First of all, thank you for taking part in the blog tour of The Letter – Kitty’s Story. I’m really excited to be on your blog.

I think the first ‘skill’ – if you can call it that! – that has helped me write this book is that I can touch type really quickly, which means my fingers can keep up with the thoughts as they spill out of my head. My writing is also incredibly messy, and I struggle to read it back sometimes, so typing my manuscript is definitely the better option for me. Having said that, I still have loads of scraps of paper and notebooks dotted about with various handwritten ideas and reminders scribbled randomly across them.

(I am a pen and paper person myself as my touch typing is  not very good, it is something I am working on.)

Experiences? Well, being the owner of two adorable black Labradors definitely helped when I was writing about Humphrey and Ethel (Kitty’s dogs). Some of Humph’s characteristics are based on those of one of my boys – particularly the greed part!

(I also have two dogs, and I agree that dogs have brilliant characters.)

My husband always makes a joke out of everything and has a mischievous sense of humour. He also has moments of clumsiness, which he’d be the first to admit. I had all of these attributes in mind when I wrote Jimby’s character. And, thanks to Mr S, I had a whole load of past experiences to draw on for inspiration!

On a more serious note, as Lily is in the story, my youngest daughter was bullied quite badly at school. It was a horrible time for her, and it was heart-breaking to see her so upset. I can still remember feeling a sickening cocktail of emotions and the struggle I had to control them. That experience, from a mum’s perspective, meant that I was able to put myself in Kitty’s shoes and feel her helplessness, anger and frustration while her young daughter, Lily, was having a tough time at the hands of Evie McEllison.

(Bullying is such a nasty thing and happens far too much)

As far as new things I’ve learnt along the way, well, where do I start? The learning curve I’ve experienced has been the mother of all learning curves, and I’ve absolutely loved it!

I think one of the first things I learnt was just how friendly and supportive the book community is. When I first booked a cover reveal and then publication day blog tour with Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of the book community, offering to host a spot on their blog for my book and its cover.  It’s been so refreshing to experience this, and I’m so happy and honoured to be a part of it.

(Absolutely agree, Rachel is a brilliant and I love being part of the book blogging community)

As far as the actual writing process is concerned, this is huge! I’ve learnt how to structure a book, how to format one and how to publish one through Amazon KDP and CreateSpace. I’ve also learnt heaps from my fab editor, Alison Williams, on what is relevant in a story and I’ve developed a greater understanding of ‘showing, not telling – paying for a professional editor is definitely money well spent. Actually, when I sit down and think about it, the list of what I’ve learnt is endless!

Thank you so much for your great questions – they really made me think – and thank you for having me on your blog.

Eliza x

You are very welcome Eliza, it was a pleasure. Have a fabulous blog tour Yvonne xx

About the Author:

I live in a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with my husband, two daughters and two black Labradors. When I’m not writing, I can usually be found with my nose in a book/glued to my Kindle, or in my garden. I also enjoy bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off with a visit to a teashop where I can indulge in another two of my favourite things: tea and cake.

Social Media Links –  Twitter –  Instagram – @elizajscottauthor

Giveaway:

Giveaway – Win a PB copy of The Lettter – Kitty’s Story, Chocolate and Neom Hand Cream (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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To be in with a chance to win this beautiful prize ENTER HERE Good luck xx

 

 

 

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

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#BlogTour : Her Secret by Kelly Florentia @kellyflorentia @UrbaneBooks #LoveBooksGroupTours #HerSecret #GuestPost #CharacterSpotlight

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I am delighted to be sharing the book love for “Her Secret” by Kelly Florentia with a Guest Post by the author  as part of the blog tour with Urbane Books and Kelly at Love Book Group Tours. Her Secret is a Women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, adult romance, chick-lit and available in paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

“A brilliantly-woven tale of love, friendship, heartbreak and hope – I couldn’t put it down.” Jill Finlay Fiction Editor of The Weekly News

“a must-read for anyone who loves intelligent, grown-up romance” – Louise Douglas, bestselling author of The Secrets Between Us

Following the events of No Way Back, Her Secret sees our heroine, Audrey Fox, now married to Daniel. But Daniel’s grown daughter Connie is still causing trouble in paradise and it is not long before Audrey is neck deep in secrets and lies, and once more searching for true love and happiness. Her Secret is the brilliant third novel of up-and-coming chick-lit author Kelly Florentia. Perfect for fans of Fiona Gibson, Marian Keyes, Sheila O’Flanagan and Lisa Jewell it is a wonderful contemporary adult romance.

• The idea behind Her Secret, the sequel to the bestselling No Way Back, is to highlight a positive, independent woman’s lifestyle choice, showcasing that single women in their 40s and 50s are eligible, sexy, and fun – connects directly to large ‘chick-lit’ readership • ‘A truly-talented storyteller who had me hooked from the very first page. – Jill Finlay, Weekly News

Guest Post:

Her Secret by Kelly Florentia : Character Spotlight

Who is your protagonist?

Audrey Fox

The inspiration for your protagonist

Someone recently asked me why I chose such an old-fashioned name for my central character, but when I explained that I named her after Audrey Hepburn I got the thumbs up – everyone loves Audrey Hepburn, right? Before building a character profile, I usually get an image of my protagonist in my head and then give her a name. For me, the name is important and it has to fit. Perhaps the name Audrey is unfashionable but it’s also a classic name, so I hope it’ll be quite memorable.

The creation of your protagonist

Audrey’s character is based on 40-something women who aren’t wives or mothers. Although Audrey is married in Her Secret, she begins her journey as a single woman in the first book in the series, No Way Back. We all have different needs, roles, and aspirations in life. What is right for one person may not be right for another. I wanted to showcase the 40-something woman in a modern light, in a 40 is the new 30 kind of way, in a nonconformist way, and I hope I’ve achieved this in creating Audrey Fox.

 About your protagonist’s character

I wanted my heroine to be relatable and ordinary. Audrey is a 42-year-old woman; she makes mistakes, puts on weight easily, says the wrong thing frequently, and puts her foot in it often. Audrey is loveable and witty, caring and loyal, but she isn’t a pushover. She’s very understanding and generous as a rule, but can be a bit feisty at times. She has a passion for designer shoes and is a bit of a tidy-freak – can’t stand seeing things out of place, and has a bit of a thing for germs, too!

 Do they have any similarities to someone ‘real’? If so, tell us more!

Sadly, no. Audrey Fox is a figment of my imagination. However, she does have some of the characteristics and attributes of some of my friends. She’s the kind of person I think most people would like to have as a best friend – loyal, funny, smart, caring and fun.

 What do you like most of your protagonist?

Her sense of humour and her loyalty. There’s never a dull moment when Audrey Fox is around.

 What do you dislike about your protagonist?

Audrey does have a tendency to put her foot in it – she’s a bit impulsive and ends up in awkward situations and then, sadly, has to suffer the consequences.

 Would you and your protagonist be friends in ‘real’ life?

Absolutely. We would be the best of friends.  In fact, when I typed The End I was heartbroken because I knew that I’d miss her.

 What’s next?

I’m in the early stages of book 4 – so watch this space!

About the Author:

  Kelly Florentia was born and bred in north London, where she continues to live with her husband Joe. Her debut novel THE MAGIC TOUCH was published in March 2016. TO TELL A TALE OR TWO… is a collection of her short tales. Kelly has a keen interest in health and fitness and has written many articles on the subject. SMOOTH OPERATOR (published in January 2017) is a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes. No Way Back was published by Urbane in Sept 2017.

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#BlogTour : Q and A : The Picture by Roger Bray @rogerbray22 : @rararesources

The Picture

I am delighted to be hosting a Question & Answer session today with “The Picture” author Roger Bray. Due to a busy reading schedule I was not able to read the book, so decided on asking Roger a few questions as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. But first a little bit about the book.

Synopsis:

A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.

But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.

Q & A:

1/ What was the starting point, or inspiration behind this story?

I had half an idea which I wanted to explore about celebrity and was mentally throwing ideas around.  One morning in my courtyard on an overcast day the clouds parted a little and a beam of sunlight came down, really bright and focussed on a small area.  I starting thinking of how such an event could be used to illustrate a moment in time and came up with the eponymous picture.  Joining those two things together, one showing compassion and hope, the other greed and narcissism I put the two in opposition to each other and as is often true in life the ‘good’ side of the story didn’t really know there was anything untoward happening while the ‘bad’ side was focussed for its own ends regardless who got hurt.

2/Did you research this story and if so was there anything that really stood out for you?

I did a lot of research for the story, geographically as well as practical knowledge.  A lot of the research didn’t make it to the book but was invaluable in getting a better understanding of the loss and utter devastation after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.  What really stood out for me was the herculean efforts from locals and the wider community in the initial rescue and later recovery efforts.  There are many hundreds of stories of heroism and survival, most of which will never be told, but the ones I did find were awe inspiring.  Human capacity to help each other when it really matters was obvious in this event, and humbling to watch.

3/Now you have finished the novel and you have time to reflect, what in the story has inspired you?

What has inspired me is (tongue in cheek) that I finished it.  I have heard it said that writing the manuscript is the easy part, it is what comes after that is the most difficult.  Editing, re-editing, sending to editor etc etc.

Having gone through the process and reading the manuscript I was still amazed at finding typos right at the end (there are probably still some there to be found).  My real inspiration was my wife who stuck through the whole process and read the book over and over again looking for errors.

4/What 5 words would highlight the key factors in your story?

Love, compassion, hope, greed, selfishness.

5/What if any is the underlying message?

There are a number I think.   Life will find a way,  always try to do the right thing whenever you can and the cult of celebrity we have at the moment is the very definition of ethereal, it is based on lies and morbid fascination with others’ misfortune.  I would suggest to people instead of being glued to a TV screen getting a fix of reality TV they should help out at a local shelter, human or animal, help in a soup kitchen or volunteer abroad if they can.  If they want reality a TV is not going to give it to them.

6/Who are your favourite authors and why?

Tom Sharpe:  The funniest writer I have ever read.  His ability to turn the most innocent and innocuous situation into hilarious farce is brilliant.

John Gresham:  Brilliant story teller, packs a lot into his books can give a laugh and a shock in two sentences.

Robert Harris: He is not locked into any genre so each book is a new look at his ability as a writer, well researched and writes about areas I am interested in like Enigma and the Dreyfus affair.

Others: Leon Uris, Louis de Bernières, Gerald Durrell, Sebastian Faulks

Thanks very much for your interesting questions, I enjoyed answering them very much.  And thank you for the opportunity and inviting me onto your blog.

Thank you Roger so much for taking the time to answer. An absolute pleasure to be hosting you today and I wish you all the very best with your book xx

About the Author:

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I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

Social Media Links –  Twitter ~  Facebook  ~ Website

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#GuestPost : The Invisible Hand by James Hartley @jameshartleybks @rararesources #TheInvisibleHand #Giveaway

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Today I have a wonderful Guest Post by James Hartley, author of The Invisible Hand : Shakespeare’s Moon – Act One.  James explains how books, especially those by Paul Theroux helped him.  Purchase from – Amazon UK ~ Amazon.com

Synopsis:

The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in Macbeth, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school. The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeare´s Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play.

Guest Post by James Hartley:

When books are your best friends

I was ill recently. Not anything life-threatening, but enough to put me down and keep me there, to change my world and leave me out of everyone else’s.

Stuck in the house, alone, immobile, I felt as though I were living a parallel existence to my neighbours and the rest of the world. My usual routine made no sense and was largely impossible. I wondered how everyone else could carry on, laughing and running about, when I was aching and felt so useless. As usual when I became ill, I could’t believe how much I´d taken my good health for granted and vowed to do a million things when I got better and never be lazy again.

Unable to sleep or concentrate on films or television, I reached for the books I´d been reading up to then and rejected them: no, they were for when I was well. Some other person had been reading those books, not me. Now I needed something different. Some comfort reading, perhaps, but not necessarily an easy read. Just a dependable one. An old friend.

Looking about the house, I spied Paul Theroux´s book about travelling the coast of the Mediterranean, The Pillars of Hercules, up on a top shelf in the living room, and thought: Yes, that´s what I want. What I need. I have all of Theroux´s travel books huddled together at home, close at hand; battered old copies which have criss-crossed the world and relationships with me.

I don´t know what it is about these books, why they comfort me in dark times, but I think it has something to do with the time I suffered a shocking bereavement, over ten years ago now. Someone very close to me had left the house in the morning and had never come home. It was an accident, they said, but that´s no comfort. There are no answers in accidents, only chaos and misery.

Nobody could console me then, no words or drink or actions, and I really don´t know how I even managed to start reading. Perhaps it was an escape from the tears and reality. Back then it was The Happy Isles of Oceana, by Theroux, and I still have the copy I dived into all those years back. That book got me through a vile time. It somehow managed that odd trick books have, like sleep, shock or love, of playing with time, of taking me out of myself, away from my real life, to bathe in a kind of collective sea of imagination which replenished me and gave me a breather and made me come back stronger.

I always feel the need to keep these books close to me after periods in my life like this. They are like mementos, gateways to times past, reminding me of where I’ve been, where I come from. They are good, old friends, always the same and always different each time we meet.

Now, getting better, I salute those old friends, gathering dust, looking down upon me from that top shelf, and I remember why they are they´re there. They´re there because, like me, they have survived and come through.

The trick is to never take them, your health or your life for granted.

I hope you are now on the road to recovery James.  Personally I find books to be a great friend when not feeling well, they can help lift your spirits and have no expectations.  Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts today, and I wish you all the very best.  Yvonne xx

About the Author:

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James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

James studied journalism in London and later travelled through Ireland, France, Germany and India generally having a good time, before finally settling in Madrid, Spain, where he now lives with his wife and two children.

Social Media Links – ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Website

Giveaway *Win 5 x Signed copies of The Invisible Hand with special Invisible Hand tactile pens (Open Internationally)

ENTER HERE 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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#GuestPost : Nature of the Witch by Helen.T.Norwood @ThinkFitFoodFam @rararesources #Giveaway

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I am delighted to be sharing a guest post today from Helen T Norwood, author of Nature of The Witch.  I am gutted that I didn’t have enough time to read this for the blog tour, especially as it is set in my neck of the woods, Cornwall. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for a spot on this tour.

Synopsis:

Many years ago, magic prevailed in Britain. It was a time when chosen women followed a path forged by Mother Nature herself; a time of witchcraft, of the brotherhood of the Gwithiaz and of the terrifying Creatures.

This has all passed from memory a long time ago. But now, magic has returned. Kiera is the first witch the world has seen in centuries, while Jack must learn the ways of the Gwithiaz. They must not only master their crafts, but also overcome their differences and work together if they are to survive the dark enemy that lurks in the shadows.

In the rugged Cornish landscape where it first began, the two face the dreaded Kasadow: an ancient evil that has awakened and is ready to destroy them, and their magic, once and for all.

Purchase Link: Amazon UK

Guest Post by Helen T. Norwood.

5 Things I Discovered when I Joined my Local Book-Club 

It was 2016 and I’d been thinking about joining a book-club for a while.  However, there were different reasons as to why I hadn’t looked into it seriously.  The main reason being that I just didn’t feel I had the time to commit to reading.

I love reading and I always have.  At that time though, amongst working, having my first child and trying to write my first novel, my ‘to be read’ pile was steadily growing sky high.

Then I saw that a local book-club was looking for new members and I decided to join.  At the time I had just given birth to my second child.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to read regularly with two children, when I’d struggled to find the time with just one!  But I turned up with my newborn baby in tow and here are 5 things I discovered.

1) I do have the time

The club isn’t so intimidating that if I turned up one month without finishing the book I’d find myself ex-communicated.  The whole point of the group is that it’s a friendly and sociable experience where we can chat about a topic we all love- books!

However, my worry that I’d be searching for excuses each month for never finishing the books was unfounded.  Sometimes now I can read a couple of books or more a month.  Where have I found all those extra moments?  They were there all along, I just hadn’t spotted them before.  I read on my lunch break or briefly before I turn the lights out.  Book-club encouraged me to be more organised and make time for books (and I managed to write my novel too; hence the blog tour!).

2) At any stage of life it’s good to make new friends

There are a variety of ages, backgrounds, interests etc. but we all have one thing in common- we enjoy reading.  I think at any point in our lives it has a positive impact to keep meeting new people and enlarging our circle of friends.  At that time of my life, in-between the feeds, the nappies and sleepless nights, it was great to get out the house and talk to other adults about a topic other than babies.

3) It’s fun to leave my comfort zone sometimes

It’s not just the fact that I have made time for reading, it’s also that I am reading books I would never have picked for myself.  I often have a favourite author or genre or a certain type of book that I’m drawn to when choosing what to read.  The wonderful thing about joining a book-club is that I can try books that would never have caught my attention otherwise.  It’s a pleasant surprise to discover and fall in love with new authors, to learn things I never knew before or to realise that a genre I had previously dismissed is enjoyable.  That is certainly one of the best things about book-club; it widens my reading horizons and there are always new books to discover, and maybe I won’t like all of them, but I’m always glad I’ve read something new.

4) It adds to stories when I can look at it from different perspectives

I always feel slightly shocked when I arrive at book-club having absolutely loved a book, only to find the person next to me absolutely hated it.  Sometimes they pick up on things that I hadn’t noticed.  Sometimes I disagree with what they are saying or sometimes I see where they’re coming from, even if I don’t feel the same.  No matter what their opinion is, it’s always interesting to hear it and it allows me to look at the book again through a different pair of eyes.

5) Makes me think deeper about a story

When I have to verbalise my feelings about a book, it makes me look more deeply at it once I’ve finished reading.  I love a story that plays on my mind afterwards.  A good story doesn’t end straight away on the last page; it lingers and plays over again after I’ve closed the book.  However, when I know I will be discussing a book with others I want to be clear in my mind the views I want to share.  Therefore, it makes me look even more closely at what I liked and disliked, how the book made me feel; did I like any of the characters?  How did I feel about the ending?

So, if you’ve been debating whether to join a book-club, but haven’t gotten round to it yet, my advice is to give it a go.  Thanks so much to Yvonne for letting me stop off here on my blog tour.

About the Author:

Nature of the Witch - Author Pic  Helen lives in the UK with her husband, two children and one diva-like cat called Tiger. Helen, like many others, was captivated in her childhood by books from the likes of Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton and any books which took her to new worlds and showed her places of magic and mystery. She has enjoyed writing and creating her own magical worlds from a young age. She is currently writing the second book in the ‘Nature of the Witch’ trilogy which will be out soon.

Follow on: Twitter ~  Goodreads

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Giveaway opportunity for a copy of this book CLICK HERE 🙂

Many thanks for reading my post, please give a share if you liked it.  Or go and get yourself a copy of this book and let me know what you think 🙂 xx

#GuestPost : Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird & Richard Newman : @AuthorightUKPR @Authoright @gilbster1000

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I am delighted to be sharing a guest post for “Veronica’s Bird”.  Published by Clink Street Publishing and available in paperback and eBook formats.  Available to purchase now at Amazon UK 

When this book was offered to me by Rachel at Authoright I knew immediately that it was one I wanted to read, but also knew that I was already booked up.   There were many questions I would like to pose to the author regarding her time working in a male prison.  So my focus was regarding the changes in prison over the years.  I have a wonderful post that is honest and insightful to share with you.  It has made me more determined than ever to read this book soon.

Guest Post:

Question: How has the prison service changed in the time Veronica was there?

Veronica’s Bird by Veronica Bird and Richard Newman 

It is a commonplace today to criticise the lives of prisoners: ‘too soft’, ‘too cushy’, they say. Choice of menu, carpets in cells, television and radio, ensuite facilities, own door key. What, is going on? So, are these not the good things we all aspired to in a caring society?

Let us make a comparison between a modern prison today with Dartmoor Prison when Veronica entered the Service. Prisoners in those days wore canvas uniforms printed with arrows (even their boots had studs in the shape of an arrow) no television of course, or radio, often deliberately awful food, flogging, no human rights and too far for families to travel and visit, being on the edge of the world, or at least, hidden away in the heavy moor mist. Hard labour was just that: breaking up stone (granite) in a quarry in a chain gang. The men had no rights at all and if a prisoner happened to be mentally ill they were placed under even greater hardship.

No-one, surely wants to see a return to those days, but many of the public still seek an eye for an eye, that the prisoner must feel the lash of the cat ‘o nine -tails albeit if only in a virtual world of his own making. And so, we moved away from chain gangs and, gradually, conditions improved, propped up massively by the European Court of Justice. A balance seemed to have been found. Prison was hard, boring and a huge waste of time – and treasure – but the punishment was fitting the crime in people’s minds. Canvas uniforms with arrows disappeared, there was better food, better on-site hospital care, prison visiting groups could report inconsistencies. We all felt Britain was moving towards being a member of this much espoused, caring society.

Then the pendulum began to swing. Drugs began to rear their ugly head and the snag of importing it into prisons became easier. Now, under organised crime and despite visitors having a rub down and being obliged to open their mouths at the prison gate, the drug flow continues. Drugs can be mixed with children’s paints in a picture brought in ‘for daddy’. It is hidden in kids’ nappies or it can be thrown over prison walls. With thirty-five percent of prisoners already addicted a further two thousand non-drug-takers each year will be addicted before they end their sentence.

And now, with potent drugs such as spice, while we have a prison population living within their ‘rights,’ we are also converting our youth into addicts who will steal and maim in their effort to get their ‘fix’ once they are released. Something is radically wrong here.

Today, staff are better equipped, better trained and unionised. They have to work to strict rules which protect them as well as their charges. They are though, under pressure as budgets are cut, leading to a frightening increase in assaults often triggered by the drug-taking by prisoners who know their rights and use them as a shield. Working in the Prison Service has never been easy but without radical and courageous change, something which successive governments are fain to consider, things will only get worse.

Veronica’s book continues the debate on the vexed subject of how to deal with the varying categories of prisoner. With the death penalty gone and prisoners handed the keys to their cells, we all need to think carefully what is really implied as an eye for an eye.

Veronica’s Bird   –   Copyright © Richard Newman 2018.  Authors Veronica Bird and Richard Newman. Published by Clink Street Publications 23rd January 2017

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Synopsis:

Veronica’s Bird: Thirty-five years inside as a female prison officer 

Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the 1950s, as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. Astonishingly, to her and her mother, she won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates. A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the re: he took over control of her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as a cheap option on his market stall. Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away and applied to the Prison Service, knowing it was the only safe place she could trust. This is the astonishing, and true story of Veronica Bird who rose to become a Governor of Armley prison. Given a ‘basket case’ in another prison, contrary to all expectations, she turned it around within a year, to become an example for others to match. During her life inside, her ‘bird’, she met many Home Secretaries, was honoured by the Queen and was asked to help improve conditions in Russian Prisons. A deeply poignant story of eventual triumph against a staggeringly high series of setbacks, her story is led with humour and compassion for those inside.

About the Authors:

After thirty-five years working for the Prison Service, Veronica Bird is now retired and living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. She is still an active proponent of the justice system and continues to lecture across the country and is a supporter of Butler Trust, which acknowledges excellence within the prison system. A qualified architect and Swiss-trained hotelier, Richard Newman enjoyed a forty-year career designing and managing hotels worldwide before retiring in 2001. Since

then he has gone on to publish a number of novels: The Crown of Martyrdom, The Horse that Screamed, The Potato Eaters, The Green Hill, Brief Encounters and most recently The Sunday Times bestseller, A Nun’s Story. He is currently working on a new novel about retirement and an autobiography of his time in the Middle East. He lives happily with his wife in Wetherby, West Yorkshire where he enjoys being close to his family.

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#GuestPost by @PeterFBartram author of “Crampton of the Chronicle” mystery series.

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It is my great pleasure to welcome Peter Bartram to Me and My Books today. Author of the “Crampton of the Chronicle” series.  I read “The Morning, Noon and Night Trilogy” earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed.  Peter now has another book called “Front Page Murder” out in paperback and also eBook.

So read on for Peter’s guest post on Ruth Ellis……

THE WOMAN WHO CAUSED THE DEATH OF HANGING

By Peter Bartram

Ruth Ellis could have become a film starlet. Instead, she ended up dangling from the end of rope in Holloway Prison, London – the last woman to be hanged in England.

Ellis had been working as a nightclub hostess when she landed the part of a beauty queen contestant in the 1951 film Lady Godiva Rides Again. (It was released in the United States as Bikini Baby.) It starred some well-known British actors of the time, including Diana Dors, Stanley Holloway, Kay Kendall and Dora Bryan.

In later years, Dora lived in Brighton, where my Crampton of the Chronicle crime mysteries are set. When I travelled back and forth to London in my work as a journalist I would occasionally see her in the train’s buffet car. She invariably had a fag hanging out of the corner of her mouth and was ordering another whisky. A great character.

But we were talking about Ruth Ellis. She used a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver to pump five shots into her sometime lover racing driver David Blakely. It was what the French would call a crime passionnel. Blakely made her pregnant twice. She aborted the first child – illegal in Britain at the time – and lost the second after he’d punched her in the stomach during one of their regular rows.

At her trial, Ruth was found guilty and sentenced to hang. There had been a growing campaign in Britain to abolish the death penalty for several years, but after Ruth was hung on 13 July 1955 the clamour increased in volume. Bill Connor who wrote his Daily Mirror column under the pen-name Cassandra thundered: “The one thing that brings stature and dignity to mankind and raises us above the beasts of the field will have been denied her – pity and the hope of ultimate redemption.”

And Raymond Chandler, whose Philip Marlowe detective novels had already conquered the world, wrote from his then British home to the London Evening Standard to complain about “the mediaeval savagery of the law”. But it was another 10 years before hanging was finally ended in England.

So Ruth Ellis never became a starlet. But she lit one of the flames which led to the abolition of the death penalty in England. When I was researching Front Page Murder, I spent many hours looking at how hanging was carried out. It was a gruesome business – especially for women who were forced to wear thickly padded calico knickers.

But for the crime writer, hanging had the potential to add an extra frisson of tension to a murder story. After all, the penalty is irreversible. So if the accused is really innocent of the crime, there is not much time to assemble the evidence to prove it.

That is the premise behind the story in Front Page Murder. And to add some extra seasonal colour, it all takes place in the 10 days leading up to Christmas 1963.

A year later, hanging had been ended in Britain for ever. But several years too late to save Ruth Ellis.


ABOUT THE BOOK…

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FRONT PAGE MURDER

A Crampton of the Chronicle mystery

It’s December 1963 and Archie Flowerdew is sitting in a cell at Wandsworth Prison waiting to be hanged. On Christmas Eve. It’s not exactly how he planned to spend the festive season. But, then, Archie was found guilty of murdering fellow comic postcard artist Percy Despart.

It seems there’s nothing that can stop Archie’s neck being wrung like a turkey’s. Except that his niece Tammy is convinced Archie is innocent. She’s determined he will sit down on Christmas Day to tuck into the plum pudding. She persuades Brighton Evening Chronicle crime reporter Colin Crampton to take up the case.

But Colin has problems of his own. First, that good turn he did to help out Chronicle sub-editor Barry Hobhouse has come back to bite him on the bum. Then Beatrice “the Widow” Gribble, Colin’s trouble-prone landlady, needs him to sort out her latest faux pas – she’s accidentally sent a Christmas card to her local butcher suggesting she’s available for hot sex. And that’s before Brighton cops clap Colin and girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith in jail on the charge of harbouring a fugitive from justice.

And, anyway, the more Colin investigates Archie’s case, the more it looks like he is guilty… Pick up the third full-length novel in the Crampton of the Chronicle mystery series to get you in the mood for a murderous Christmas!

Front Page Murder e-book is on special offer until the end of December for 99p/99c

For readers who want to start the series at the beginning, there’s a deal which includes Headline Murder, Stop Press Murder and Front Page Murder in e-book formats for £4.97/$4.97. This offer also closes on 31 December.

Front Page Murder on : Amazon US

Front Page Murder on : Amazon UK

Crampton of the Chronicle 3-book series on Amazon US

Crampton of the Chronicle 3-book series on Amazon UK


81jVrJSTqkL._SY200_ ABOUT THE AUTHOR…Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series, which features Colin Crampton, crime correspondent of the 1960s fictional newspaper the Brighton Evening Chronicle. Peter began his career as a reporter on a real-life local newspaper not far from Brighton. Then he worked as a journalist and newspaper editor in London before becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and Buckingham Palace. Peter’s “Swinging Sixties” murder mysteries combine clue-solving with comedy – the laughs are never far from the action. Other books in the series, which has already logged more than 100 5-star reviews on Amazon, include Headline Murder and Stop Press Murder.

You can also see my thoughts here for Crampton of The Chronicle a 3-book series.

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Better still go and buy the books!