This is the area of Scotland where my father was born and lived until he and four of his nine siblings were admitted to The Orphan Homes of Scotland. I’ve visited here many times and have made some very good friends in the area. Wish I was there now.
Sophie’s Turn by Nicky Wells
Slapper. Slut. Adulteress. These are hardly words that Sophie Penhalligan would normally use to describe herself. And yet this is exactly how she is behaving, all things considered, even if she isn’t quite married to Tim yet. Aged nineteen, she travelled halfway across the country to honour an invitation by her favourite rock band, Tusk, to join them for the last gig of their tour. And now her past is coming to tempt her… How could Tim ever stand a chance against Dan, the charming, handsome lead-singer? How could she?
Sophie, now twenty-eight and a budding newspaper journalist, is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident that Tim would eventually propose—probably as soon as he could get his act together. But just as Tim’s persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan’s sudden reappearance turns Sophie’s world upside down. Thus unfolds a roller-coaster of events including an ill-fated trip to Paris with Tim, a night of unfulfilled romance with Dan, Sophie and Tim’s engagement party gate-crashed by Dan, and Sophie’s professional secondment to accompany Dan’s band on their revival tour—at Dan’s special request and very much against her will.
And then, one fine day in Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is… well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. What is she to do now? Who wouldn’t give anything to meet their favourite star, let alone marry him?
Find out how Sophie gets into this impossible situation, and how she turns it around, in Sophie’s Turn, the charming, funny and sometimes bittersweet story of one woman’s entanglement with a rock star.
Here’s what the readers think of Sophie’s Turn:
“Absolutely loved it and want a sequel.” — Kristin Durham
“The attraction between Sophie and Dan is sizzling…. you can feel the heat coming off the pages!” — Shaz Goodwin
“I loved the British charm that was evident on every page, as well as the plot that kept me reading well past my bedtime.” — Jonita Fex
“Nicky Wells spins her story with a delicate hand that will have readers cheering Sophie on throughout the entire book. I felt Sophie’s confusion, her hesitance to spark up anything with Dan, her dismay at her betrayal to Tim. This was such a real book, with a real woman in a very confusing situation” — Samantha Robey
“Not only does the story bounce along breezily, her writing style is beautifully observant – she paints an emotional picture in prose that is very believable and develops a range of central characters that are easy to relate to.” — Andy Fraser
“The outcome, well what a great ending – not what I expected but totally satisfying.” — Sue Fortin
“…excellent debut novel… I love her style of writing, and this book was an absolute pleasure to read.” — Kim Nash
“Packed full of heated highs but also some very sad lows that might have you reaching for a tissue. (Loved the ending) Nicky has written a perfect ChickLit book that easily stands up against the others available today in the shops.” — Lou Graham
“I found there were also some lovely humorous touches in this novel which were not predictable” — Rea Sinfield
You can find Nicky online on her blog at: nickywellslippert.wordpress.com
Today, Celtic Connexions welcomes Harry Leslie Smith, author of 1923: A Memoir, Hamburg 1947, and The Barley Hole Chronicles.
Those who have read your first book, 1923: A Memoir, will know your background. For the benefit of those who haven’t can you tell us a bit about yourself?
First of all I’d like to thank you for interviewing me on your blog. I was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire in 1923 to a family who was making a rapid descent into poverty and hunger. Our plunge to the bottom was assisted by bad luck and the global depression which washed away a great many people poor, middle class and even the wealthy in the 1930’s. So my youth was not fortuitous. When the Second World War came, I was glad to get out of my surroundings which I think was par for the course with a great many young men of my generation. I enlisted with the RAF and was a wireless operator. I had what you use to be called a “good war.” I didn’t experience many horrors until after the Germans surrendered and I was part of the occupation forces in Hamburg, Germany. It was there I met my wife and eventually we moved back to Britain. After some years living in Halifax, Yorkshire, we eventually emigrated to Canada where I worked in the Oriental Carpet trade.
What was your motivation behind writing your memoirs?
I think I have had several motivations behind writing my memoirs. The first was to purge myself of unpleasant memories of my childhood and honestly explore my relationship with my parents and my past. I also wanted to leave a testament to my children, my grand children which would give them a greater sense of who I am as a man and where their history begins. There was also the need to preserve the social history of those times. Many have written about the great depression, the war and our post war existence in Europe but few have done it from street level. I wanted to write memoirs which capture the journey of an everyday man through some of the most tumultuous times in the 20th century.
Prior to your self-publishing journey, had you done any writing… articles, short stories etc?
Yes, I actually did some writing in the RAF and was published in some magazines for poetry and prose. I also did a lot of writing for trade magazines in the oriental carpet business.
Your books are available in e-book, paperback and hardcover. What made you decide to publish in all three formats?
I wanted to make sure that I covered every base for potential readers. I hope one day that my books will also be available as audio books.
If I’m not mistaken the Barley Hole Chronicles are 1923: A Memoir and Hamburg 1947 under one cover. Why did you decide to do that when they are both available as standalones?
Although 1923 and Hamburg 1947 are standalones, they form a story arc of my life and I thought that it might be beneficial for the reader to have both titles under one cover. It is also more economical for the reader if they buy Barley Hole Chronicles rather than each book. They save around 50% on both the traditional book price and the same goes for the e-book.
You launched The Barley Hole Chronicles and Hamburg 1947 on Black Friday. Do you feel it was a success?
At 88, launching two books at once is a success whatever the outcome. The books are doing well and it is only because of my many friends and readers that assist in getting the word out. There is so much selection now for readers that it takes a lot of effort to be heard over the clamour of each new book being released. I am pleased with the outcome and feel that my works will survive longer than me and my story will not die upon my departure.
Are you working on any more projects? If so, can you tell us about them?
Yes, I am working on the third installment of my memoirs The Empress of Australia which will complete my memoir trilogy. It should be out in late 2012. I am also working on a book about the descendants of Benjamin Smith my great grandfather who was born in 1812. It will be about how far the generations have separated and grown in 200 years.
The Barley Hole Chronicles is currently available in Kindle format only for £0.86.
For North American residents, you can buy the Kindle editions of Harry’s books from amazon.com.
1923: A Memoir for $0.99, Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip for $1.99, and The Barley Hole Chronicles for $0.99.
US residents can order paperback and hardcover formats from amazon.com at these links.
1923: A Memoir Paperback for $14.95 and Hardcover for $24.28.
Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip Paperback for $12.92 and Hardcover for $21.24 and The Barley Hole Chronicles Paperback edition for $18.95.
Canadian residents can purchase paperback and hardcover formats from amazon.ca at these links.
1923: A Memoir Paperback for $15.70 and Hardcover for $19.71.
Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip Paperback for $18.53 and Hardcover for $28.85.
At this time, The Barley Hole Chronicles isn’t listed on amazon.ca.
Loveahappyending author page: loveahappyending.com/harry-leslie-smith/
About the Author Harry makes his home in Toronto but also spends time in Great Britain and Portugal. He’s the father to 3 children and 2 grandchildren. When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with my family and friends, brisk walks, travel, good conversation, watching first rate movies, a glass of sherry and reading.
It’s hard to believe the book drive has been going on for 10 years and this is the first I’ve heard of it. What a great cause to get books into the hands of children who wouldn’t otherwise have this opportunity.
You can read about this wonderful cause and how to do more on Dallas Woodburn’s blog here.
Every child deserves to experience the joy of the written word.
Astral Travelling, The Avatar And Me by Richard Holmes
In 2000 my life hit rock bottom. I was totally spent and didn’t see any way out of the mire that I found myself in. This book tells the story how (with a little help) I managed to turn my life around.
Miraculously at the onset of the new millenium I started to embark on a series of truly amazing out of body adventures, and as the years have gone by I have learned to pass through solid objects, propel myself in whatever direction I wish to travel, and unbelievably, “will” myself back into my body when I became bored with the journey.
As if that wasn’t incredible enough, I have also been blessed by the Avatar of the age himself, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who first entered my life in 2001. Since then I have had a series of truly wonderous experiences with Baba. The highlights of which were being held in his arms during an out of body experience in 2006 and seeing him in physical form at his ashram, Prasanthi Nilayam (abode of the highest peace) in Puttaparthi, Southern India in October 2009.
Paperback: 154 pages
Publisher: UKUnpublished (3 Oct 2010)
Author’s website: http://www.richardfholmes.co.uk/
Author’s Blog: http://richardfholmes.wordpress.com/
Twitter A/c @atmicsplendour: http://bit.ly/kuyNKf
Amazon Author page (buy): http://amzn.to/kTNhhP *
* See Richard’s full range of booklets also available via his website and Amazon
Richard has recently put together a video which can be viewed on You Tube here.
Richard also has a range of meditation CDs, including a free online meditation to enjoy, on his website.
Review for Astral Travelling, The Avatar and Me:-
This is a true story you will want to read from cover to cover in one sitting, because you will find it hard to put down. Having been to see Richard on two occasions and having taken part in one of his Vedic Chanting and Meditation Workshops, I was truly amazed by this gentle man and the outcome of each visit for me personally. In reading this story I feel privileged to have been able to ‘share’ his very personal journey. What comes across so strongly is the way in which he embraces everything that comes his way and his appreciation for the lessons he has learnt from the negative things life often presents. It is a story with immense heart to it and I feel reading it has changed me in some way, inspired me to open up to something I’ve only recently (and tentatively) started to explore. The account of his trip to Southern India was fascinating and is told with an honestly that is refreshing. This isn’t a book that ‘preaches’ but a book that chronicles one man’s special journey from being ‘lost’ to being ‘found’. A truly inspiring read. (cheerfulchic, Gloucester)