Tag Archives: authors

Direct from Australia, please welcome Dr. Bob Rich! #author #giveaway

Hi, Bob. Welcome to Celtic Connexions. I’ve had a nosey around your website and blog to get a better insight into the man who is Bob Rich. You have your fingers in many pies, as they say. Author, psychologist, environmentalist.

Thank you, Melanie, for the honor of having me here. I promise to behave as well as I can, which is usually not very good.

There is something funny about “psychologist.” In Australia, this is a registered term. I would be breaking the law if I referred to myself as a psychologist, even as in “retired psychologist.” Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not collect $200. 🙂  So, I have to be careful and say something like, “Bob Rich has a Ph.D. in psychology and 22 years’ experience in psychological counseling.”

While as Bob Rich I have no Celtic connections at all, I have actually been an Irishman who was transported to New South Wales (what later became Australia) for the term of his natural life. If that sounds odd, you have to read the story of my life, Ascending Spiral.

I met Bob recently, after he left a comment on my blog interview of our mutual (but virtual) friend, Joan Y. Edwards.

What compelled you to start writing? I use that phrase because as writers, we’re driven to do it.

I’ve always been buzzing with ideas, but never knew I was a writer until 1980. I enjoyed distance running, and as the miles passed, I sort of meditated, without thought, but at the same time all sorts of things cooked in the background. In school and university, that’s how I dealt with essays and assignments: read the question, go for a run, have the answer all ready and hardly needing any revision. Often, though, what cooked was some story or monologue or a new way of looking at something. I didn’t share these with anyone — who could possibly be interested in MY ravings — but many years later, these ancient thoughts were the kernels of some of my best stories.

I did scientific research in exactly the same way. I still didn’t know I was a writer, but my reports were actually readable. Then I retired for the first time at 35 years of age, and started building an adobe house, with my own hands, not by hiring Experts. I even invented a new way of making the bricks. One day, the local kids were playing a boys vs. girls soccer game, and needed one more male. They kidnapped me, and who was I to argue? I went, muddy boots and all, slipped, and tore a cartilage in my knee. Let me tell you, this is not a good idea. So, there I was in hospital, with nothing to do. I borrowed the office typewriter (you know, one of those ancient things with wire levers, worked entirely with biological power), and wrote an article about my new way of making adobe bricks for Earth Garden magazine.

I’m still writing for them, 39 years later. My articles resulted in my first book, The Earth Garden Building Book. This came out in 1986. The 4th edition finally went out of print in February 2018. During that time it sold hundreds of thousands of copies. This was because although it was well-researched nonfiction, it was also fun to read.

Then I decided to train as a nurse. This meant staying in a nurses’ home. Being surrounded by gorgeous 18-year-olds, I had the choice of making a fool of myself or of doing something useful with my time. So, I tried my hand at short stories. The first one won second prize in a contest, and I’ve been writing fiction since.

Your books have a spiritual side to them, as in goodness prevails in the end. Can you tell us more about this underlying thread that brings the books and characters to life?

Melanie, that’s an astute observation. It is certainly true of the stories I’ve written this century, but it wasn’t always so. Look, until about 15 years ago, if an insect annoyed me, I killed it. I simply can’t do that anymore. I’ll either put up with them, or catch them and take them outside.

My novel, Ascending Spiral is actually my life story, fictionalized to protect the guilty. The hero, Pip, faces all the life experiences I did, but handles them the way I wish I had at the time. This is a valuable form of therapy, as I describe in my latest book, From Depression to Contentment. Because I had significant past life recalls, Ascending Spiral is the story of several lives as experienced by the same spirit (me/Pip). And I learned a lot of things about myself, including that, as Dermot, an Irishman born in 1780, I became a bully. I have no doubt that being on the receiving end for the first 20-odd years of my life was paying fair restitution. So, from my childhood on, I have always hated bullying victimization, exploitation. As a youngster, my response was to belt up the bully. As I grew, this changed to leading the bully to a better way of being.

So, my early novels, and short stories, and my award-winning biography, Anikó: The stranger who loved me celebrate the ability of the downtrodden in overcoming those with power. I have a collection of 26 short stories with the title Striking Back from Down Under. But my first novel to win a first prize, Sleeper, Awake has no villains. There is plenty of tension and conflict, but no nastiness. And, as you note, the books since have the theme of leading people to spiritual growth. This is true of my two recent novels, Guardian Angel and Hit and Run and also of my self-help book, From Depression to Contentment.

Where do your ideas come from?

To some extent, I’ve already answered this question, but if you have time for a few laughs, you might want to read one of my monthly essays on writing at Bobbing Around. There I introduce you to Little Bob, who lives inside my head, and does the actual work.

I mentioned in my introduction you’re an environmentalist. I’m not talking tree-hugging extreme, but you care about climate change and the effects it’s having on the earth. What have you done to create a ‘carbon-neutral’ or as near to as possible in your home and community?

Melanie, there are only two kinds of humans on this planet: Greenies and Suicides. I am a Professional Grandfather. Every person under about 25 qualifies as my grandchild; they only need to apply. I want a survivable future for them, and a future worth surviving in.

In the 1970s, I joined a recently established rural cooperative. Working for a sustainable future was an explicit part of what we were about. This cooperative is still vigorous. I’m still a member, although too many injuries have forced me and my wife to move closer to shops and doctors and things.

One of my mottoes is “Live simply, so you may simply live.” In 2001, I described how I do that, and why, in a speech, Saving Money — and Saving the Future. It even has a handout on what to do to reduce your personal footprint, and the first item is: get rid of your TV.

My electricity bill shows that my daily consumption is about one-tenth of that of my neighborhood. And of course we have solar on the roof. I am a member of a local group with the aim of making our little town 100% carbon neutral, and also a member of a political party with environmental sustainability as its major aim, the Australian Greens.

The trick is to have philosophy come before a list of recipes for action. This philosophy is, “Only two things matter in life: what you take with you when you die, and what you leave behind in the hearts of others. Everything else is Monopoly money.” Let go of stuff, and you won’t be stuffing up our lovely planet.

As a writer, there is always something percolating in the grey matter, whether it’s for the work-in-progress or ideas for future projects. How do you keep track of them?

Sometimes, I carry an idea around for years before doing something with it. Often, something around me leads to a concept, and I record it in a file, which goes into a folder in my computer. I occasionally inspect these, and one might take off.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write? I’m talking bum in chair and fingers on the keyboard (or pen to paper even).

Paper? PAPER? Not while paper is minced trees. In a sane world, paper would be recycled rags, agricultural waste like straw, or harvestable plants like bamboo.

I think on the keyboard, and my favourite time is whenever the world lets me. Before I retired the last (5th) time, this may have been ten-minute spans between clients, or between getting home and “Dinner is on the table, darling!” Now, life is far freer, and I have more time.

Today, I helped to run a solar energy workshop in the morning, then instead of writing worked on my answers to you, then a nice lady from a newspaper came to interview me about that community I mentioned, and if I wasn’t still answering your questions, I’d be writing.

But then, answering questions from lovely people is just as creative. The current children of my mind can wait.

Of your 18 books to date, do you have a favourite?

I don’t like playing favourites among my children. It is always the last project I’ve finished.

What’s next for Bob Rich?

Since early 2015, I’ve had an on and off and on again project, the Doom Healer series. Four books are complete, and I’ve submitted the first to a publisher. I am working on the 5th and probably final volume. This one is fun. Twelve humans have invaded a planet in another Universe, in order to help this Universe to grow up and become enlightened. Only, this planet, Magog, has 26 billion people of the dominant species, who are genetically cannibals, and where punishment for any crime is to have the victim torture you to death as slowly as possible (then eat you).

My twelve “special children” are doing well. You can read the start of this volume here: The Doom Healer part 5.

And what’s next after writing this is to once more thank you. I welcome comments, and am happy to offer an electronic version of one of my books to one randomly chosen person who comments before [2 weeks after the interview goes online]. You can inspect the list of books at Bob’s Booklist.

Here is one of my standard wishes, to you and our visitors:

May you live in contentment.
May you be healthy.
May you rise to your challenges.
And above all, may you grow spiritually.

About Bob

Bob Rich lives inside his computer. Everything outside of that, including you, is an illusion. This is just as well. In the outside world, there is a lot of suffering, and wars, conflict, terrible stuff. In the reality of his computer, you’ll find the same things, only there are solutions that work, so it’s a much nicer place to be.
Bob has been magically inhabiting his private world for a long time, and has written regular reports, some of which are disguised as short stories, others as novels. You can find out about them, and more about him, at his blog, Bobbing Around.
Naturally, you can’t believe anything he says, because he is a storyteller.
The picture shows Bob leaning against one of his favorite people.
Bob
You can follow Bob at the following links:
Writing showcase http://bobswriting.com
Environmental site  http://mudsmith.net
Newsletter archives with lots of good stuff http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html

 

Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. It’s been a pleasure hosting you here, today. Don’t forget the giveaway for your chance to win an electronic copy of one of Bob’s books!

 

 

 

Warm welcome to Joan Y. Edwards, author, illustrator and motivational speaker

It’s my great pleasure to welcome author, illustrator, and motivational speaker Joan Y. Edwards to Celtic Connexions.

joan y. edwards

I’m dying to know, when were you first bitten by the writing bug?

When I was five years old, My parents bought the 12 book collection called MY BOOK HOUSE edited by Olive Beaupre Miller and a Grimm’s Fairy Tales Book. Mother read me stories. Babysitters told me stories. I made up stories. I started reading these stories at four years old. I made up a folktale about a little duck, Flip Flap Floodle, who never gives up on his song. I told it to everyone who would listen: my sister, my baby brother in the crib, my cousins, and neighbours.

Flip Flap Floodle came to fruition. Can you tell us about it?

In 1967, when I was married and expecting my first child, I wrote the story down I tried for many years to get publishers to publish this book, but it didn’t happen. When I retired from teaching in 1998, I promised myself that I would illustrate Flip Flap Floodle and publish it in five years if no one said, “Yes. We will publish your book.”  So, in 2004, I self-published Flip Flap Floodle.

Flip Flap Floodle is a little duck who is on his way to play a song on his new flute for his grandmother. His mother warns him to watch out for Mr. Fox. Flip believes his song will keep him safe from Mr. Fox. However, when Mr. Fox doesn’t even like his song, Flip finds himself in deep trouble.

joan y. edwards

What prompted you to write your elder care guide?

When I started taking care of my Mother in 1995, there were no books and the only local resource was Social Services in the county where we lived in North Carolina. I learned through personal experience that the most essential thing for a caregiver is to have time away from caregiving responsibility. With that, it is doubly essential to leave plans for the person taking your place. They must know what the usual routine is and what your elder can and cannot do. Before Mother died in 2009, I thought maybe other people would like to have resources to help them take care of their elder and take care of themselves, too.

joan y. edwards

Was it difficult to make the jump from writing a picture book to a non-fiction guide for adults?

Going from 1,000 words to more than 150,000 words was very different. There were many subjects and many words and many ways to organize them.  Karen Cioffi-Ventrice, the second-editor 4RV Publishing assigned to me, helped me immensely with organizing it into a very helpful resource for caregivers.

Are you working on a book now? Can you tell us about it?

I am working on the second of a series of three Gospel-based crossword puzzles books to use with Children’s Liturgy, Children’s Church, Sunday School, or Home Bible Study. I am working on the illustrations for a chapter book, Larry, the Terrifying Turkey. I am reformatting a screenplay comedy, The Perfect Couple.

What advice do you have for writers beginning their author journe

My advice for beginning writers:

Read 100 books in your favourite genre.
Make note of your 10 favourite first lines.
Make note of your 10 favourite ending paragraphs.
Make note of 10 of the best setups and payoffs authors used to create a need for change in the main character.

In September 2018, I published the first of three Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzle books to use with Children’s Liturgy, Children’s Church, Sunday School, or Home Bible Study.

Anything else you care to share about Joan Y. Edwards that isn’t already included in your bio?

I worked one year and two summers for the Department of the Army at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. to earn money to pay my tuition for my last 3 years of college. I had a job as a typist. My boss, Lt. Col. Solossi, said you aren’t sweet enough to call you, “Sugar.” You’re not sour enough to call you, “Sour.” You are a little spicy, so we’ll call you, “Ginger.”

I received the Best Character Actress at Western Carolina University in 1961 for my role as Mommy in the Sandbox by Edward Albee.

Joan Y. Edwards is a motivational speaker, author, and illustrator who informs, inspires, and helps others to laugh and never give up. Her blog, joanyedwards.com/ has more than 521,000 views. She is the author of three books: Flip Flap Floodle, Joan’s Elder Care Guide and 80 Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzles for Year B

Edwards has a Master of Arts in Education. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and the Charlotte Writers Club. She and her husband, Carl enjoy humorous mysteries, like Columbo and Monk. They love being with family and friends at home, in the mountains, and on the beach.

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Joan’s Elder Care Guide. This is my review.

Must have resource!

An invaluable resource for anyone who finds themselves looking after an elder. I wish it were available when I looked after my mother. While specifically written for a US audience, the same principles apply anywhere, maybe even some of the organizations exist in other countries – just under a different name.

Book Trailer ~ YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken the plunge and created a book trailer. In fact, Windows Movie Maker was still available. I read where you could make them using the Windows Photos App. A little search for ‘how to’ instructions and a lot of tweaking, and here’s the result.

 

Prologue

1st December 2010

The ScotRail service to Aberdeen pulled away from the platform at Stonehaven. The next stop would be his destination. As the train accelerated, the carriage swayed from side to side. The action reminded him of his mum rocking him after a bad dream. He drifted into a light slumber. When the compartment he was in crossed through a switch, it lurched waking him.

Less than thirty minutes to go. He settled back but was too excited to relax. When the Girdle Ness Lighthouse came into view, he knew he was almost back to the place he was born.

New, to him, construction dotted the landscape. Fresh graffiti adorned the stone parapets of the bridge over the River Dee. The Mitchell Tower at Marischal College, the clock tower of the Aberdeen Town House and the Salvation Army Citadel, vied for attention over the tops of the cluster of newer buildings.

He fooled the medical staff at the secure forensic unit in the south of England. After feigning rehabilitation, they released him into the community but he didn’t stay there long. He did a runner. He had unfinished business in the north east of Scotland.

Adrenalin coursed through him. Giddy with excitement, it was hard for him to remain calm. He shook his hands to try to stem some of the fidgetiness. Now, he was back in Aberdeen where it all began. How much of the city would he recognize? What changed since his departure?

Were the authorities looking for him yet? He would have to act normal so as not to attract attention. Stepping off, he adjusted his Fedora and strode across the concourse to the exit. Diesel fumes hung in the air and caught in the back of his throat. He coughed.

With the exception of the Union Square shopping complex adjacent to the railway station, Guild Street stayed more or less unchanged. Some of the storefronts in the granite buildings transformed, but overall, not a huge difference since he left.

The pavement ended at Market Street forcing him to cross over the road. He continued eastward. The location he sought should be nearby. He stopped for a breather – pressed his back against the building. The ships that supplied and supported the offshore oil industry occupied the available berths on this side of the harbour. Through a gap, the ferry to Lerwick and the terminal were visible on the far side.

The familiar Maritime Museum dominated the head of Shore Brae. Beyond that, the artery curved and became Shiprow. The cobbled road surface and pavement were difficult to traverse. Even the larger stones nearer the buildings were uneven. When he rounded the corner at Provost Ross’s House, another well-known building peeked out. He had come so far now, he couldn’t go back. He strode with purpose up the hill.

The Aberdeen Town House clock tower stretched above the roofline but that was the place he sought. Nestled between Henry’s Bar and the pedestrianized portion of Shiprow stood the As the Pages Turnbookshop.

When a customer exited holding a carrier bag emblazoned with the same signage as over the door, his heart skipped a beat. He hoped the establishment’s ownership hadn’t changed. That would defeat the purpose of his returning to Aberdeen.

The voices in his head only told him to come back. He had unfinished business with the woman with ginger hair – the one with no soul – who ran the retail outlet in front of him.

Now, to find a suitable place to wait and watch and bide his time until the moment was right.

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What do you think of the trailer?

 

NEW COVER MEANS UPDATED SYNOPSIS ~ I need help deciding…

NEW COVER MEANS UPDATED SYNOPSIS

A shiny new cover means updated synopsis for YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS. I mentioned when I first unveiled the ‘new and improved’ version, I needed a kicked up synopsis for the back cover, too.

This has to be the hardest part of writing the book. Boiling it down to a few paragraphs and I’ve got two variations written, but I’m not sure which one I like best. Both bring the thriller aspect forward while not removing the romantic suspense element.

Here they are:

#1

A stalker prowls the streets of Aberdeen with one person in mind. Katherine Murphy-Whithorn.

Who is he and what is his relationship to her?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the July 7, 2005, London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second chance relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Can he survive the ordeal? Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have something different in mind.

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

#2

Who is stalking Katherine and why?

Still reeling from the death of her husband in the London Bombings, Katherine builds a wall around her heart to prevent further hurt.

In a serendipitous moment her first love, Jared Martin, walks back into her life. Old feelings are rekindled, but as their second chance relationship develops, another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter Jared is a passenger on ditches in the North Sea.

Can he survive the ordeal? Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have something different in mind.

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Contains adult content, violence, and strong language. 18+ recommended.

You can buy YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS from

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Books a Million

Barnes and Noble

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Which version of the synopsis do you like best?

Let me know by leaving a comment.

Thanks so much!

BUSTED! Roxie Rebel’s last post from Vieux-Québec … for now

Roxie RebelHi Able! Roxie here with an update on the Melanie Robertson-King assignment. So this morning, I tailed the world-famous author, from her hotel to the jaja restaurant in theHôtel Le Concorde Quebec.

My patience was rewarded. As I rounded the corner onto Wilfred-Laurier Avenue, I spotted her heading to a seat near the window. And what luck! She took the one looking outside. I crept around, and hid behind the planters and set up.

Well, just as I was focusing in on my subject, the worst possible thing happened.

I raised my camera to get a snapshot of my quarry, and a burly, security guard grabbed me by the arm. Luckily, I managed to get a photo, albeit on a bit of an angle, and upload it to the cloud before he had the nerve to confiscate my camera.

BUSTED

able caneRoxie, Roxie, Roxie. How many times do I have to remind you? You can’t get caught when you’re on assignment.

I know, Able. I’m sorry. But I got the job done. You can’t fault me for that.

No, you’re right.

And the best thing is, the police weren’t involved. The security guy took pity on me and didn’t call. Told me, too, if I behave myself these next few days, after he’s had a chance to look at the pictures on my SD card and eliminate them, I’ll get my camera back! Wheeeee!

Focus, girl. Focus. The assignment isn’t over.

Aw, I was hoping to get a chance to poke around on my own without chasing anyone.

You do this one last thing, and you’ll get your well-deserved break.

What’s that?

See if you can find out where Melanie is going next and when so we can plan.

You got it, boss. Roxie Rebel won’t let you down.

 

 

 

 

#COVER REVEAL ~ YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS #thriller #romanticsuspense

The original cover for my romantic suspense/psychological #thriller, YESTERDAY TODAY ALWAYS, wasn’t entirely cutting the mustard so decided it needed tarting up a bit. Bring the thriller aspect more to the front.

While the original cover is beautiful and I do love it, the psychological thriller aspect wasn’t shining through.

#thriller

A little more #thriller-like? I think so. So far, it’s only available on the e-book versions of the book. I still have to create the full cover wrap for the paperback, but before I do that, I also want to update the back cover synopsis to reflect the cross-genre aspect in a more fitting light.

What’s the book about, you ask?

Will a reckless moment from her past come back to haunt her?

Devastated by the death of her husband, Colin, in the London bombings on July 7, 2005, Katherine Murphy-Whithorn builds a wall around her heart determined to never let anyone in again. Settling into a comfortable routine, her life becomes mundane, until five years later when someone from her rebellious past returns to the city and begins stalking her.

As the curtain falls on 2010 her first love, Jared Martin walks back into Katherine´s life. Despite him being her first love, he must tear down the barrier she´s created to protect herself. Finally seeing a second chance of a life with him, Katherine couldn´t be happier until another cruel twist of fate strikes. The helicopter returning from the Alpha Ecosse platform, on which Jared is a passenger, ditches in the North Sea. Can he survive the ordeal?

Will they get their chance for happiness? Or is fate still not done its dirty deeds? Katherine’s stalker may have his own agenda.

BUY LINKS

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 What do you think of the new cover? I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

 

THE BROTHERHOOD ~ by Jo Fenton #psychological #thriller #giveaway

brotherhood

The Brotherhood

a psychological thriller

by

Jo Fenton

 

Title of Book: The Brotherhood

Series: 1 of 2

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Release Date: 25-Jul-2018 (ebook), 20-May-2018 (paperback)

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

 

When a young woman becomes pregnant in a religious sect, how far will she go to escape the abusive leader and save the people she loves?

The Brotherhood – safe haven or prison?

After her parents’ sudden death, a grieving Melissa falls back on her faith and into the welcoming arms of a religious sect. Captivated by their leader, Dominic, she leaves her old life behind and moves to the countryside to join them.

But life in The Brotherhood is not as safe as it first appeared. When engineer Mark joins The Brotherhood, Melissa finds herself conflicted between her growing feelings for him and her crush on Dominic. With their leader’s initial encouragement, Melissa and Mark grow close.

But as her haven becomes a prison, Melissa’s newfound happiness is destroyed by Dominic’s jealousy. How can she escape and save the ones she loves?

EXTRACT

“My  children, good  morning. Welcome to  this  assembly. I  wondered how  to  make this anniversary into a very special occasion. So, when the local parish priest approached me last week, and asked if I could help a young man in his care, this seemed to be the answer. This young man, Trevor, was recently blinded in a fire. He is suffering physically and emotionally. I consulted with the Almighty Lord, and he decreed I should help this poor fellow. What better day

to choose for a miracle than this: the first anniversary of our Lord’s visitation? Before I bring him in, we should prepare ourselves and ask for the Lord’s help with this difficult but worthwhile task.”

He signals to the pianist and she plays some opening bars. I don’t recognise the music. My heart’s racing again and my mouth is dry. Where’s the water fountain when it’s needed?

“The Abbey Prayer,” Brie whispers in my ear.

Everyone is joining in around me, but I don’t know the words. There’s a chorus after every ten lines or so, and after a few repetitions I’m able to sing a few lines here and there. There’s a thrill in the air. Anticipation sparks around me.

I can’t believe I’m about to witness a miracle. Will he actually be able to cure this man Trevor? Surely it’s not real. But then, Dominic’s supposedly the Messiah. Everyone here believes it. Maybe it is real.

The thought is interrupted by a small voice at the back of my head: He can’t bring Mum and Dad back though. What use is a miracle if he can’t do that? A lump forms immediately in my throat. I swallow it impatiently. There’s another chorus, so I try to join in again, but my throat is too full. The song ends, and I focus on the activity at the front.

A bulky man in a grey uniform comes forward. There are several men in grey standing around the edge of the Chapel. Dominic whispers to the stocky grey man, who then leaves the Chapel. He returns a moment later, leading a short man in his mid-twenties. As he gets closer, I gasp. I can’t help it. His face is covered in scars. They’re red and inflamed. The fire must have damaged more than just his eyesight.

A shudder runs through me. My face tingles as I imagine the pain he must be enduring.

Please let Dominic help him. Please don’t let it be a sham. Please let Dominic really be the Messiah. I can feel doubt running through me, and do my best to exude positivity and belief – in case it helps.

Trevor stands close to the lectern. I try to see his expression, but my view of his face is blocked by a tall woman in front. Tina shifts, and pulls me across to get a better view. We aren’t precisely out of line, but it’s an improvement.

I glance again at our visitor. Sweat glistens on the right side of his forehead; the only normal patch of skin on his face. The room’s hot. It’s only May, but temperatures are soaring into the nineties. I don’t think he’s sweating from the heat though.

“My dear young man,” Dominic addresses Trevor, his voice gentle, yet loud enough to be heard at the back of the room. “I have prayed for guidance so I can understand the best way to help you. I believe you are blind and in pain. Is that correct?”

“Yes sir.” Trevor’s voice sounds thin and feeble. Perhaps it reflects his state of mind.

Dominic rests a hand on Trevor’s shoulder. The young man winces. How far does the scarring extend?

“In order to help you, I need to call on the services of The Brotherhood.” He raises his voice slightly and turns his face to us. “My children, I must ask you to sing. Please raise your voices and embrace the beautiful and apt hymn, O What a Miracle, My Lord.”

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ABOUT JO FENTON

brotherhood

Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jo-Fenton-Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jl_fenton

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17984435.Jo_Fenton

Blog: https://jofenton137.com/

Website: https://jofenton137.com/

GIVEAWAY

2 PAPERBACK COPIES UP FOR GRABS! (UK only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

SNOWFLAKES OVER HOLLY COVE ~ by Lucy Coleman

snowlakes

Snowflakes over Holly Cove

by

Lucy Coleman

Genre: Cosy mystery/romance

Release Date:18 September 2018

Publisher: Aria Fiction

The perfect Christmas romance for fans of Karen Swan.

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart.

Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly rugged Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands; the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

As cosy as a marshmallow-topped cup of cocoa, fall in love with a heart-warming festive story from the bestselling author of The French Adventure.

EXTRACT

 

PROLOGUE

Mum and I link arms, faces turned upwards towards the heavens. Our eyes scan the dense and strangely opaque grey sky, as a flurry of large snowflakes rain down upon us. Like a feather pillow which has burst its seams, we are bombarded by a cascade of soft, white clusters of icy crystals. Having to constantly blink away the fluffy white particles as they hit our eyelashes, we hug each other and begin laughing, totally enthralled.

With cheeks starting to glisten as the ice melts on contact, already the heavier flakes begin to settle on our hair and thick winter coats. As carefree as children, we survey the scene in awe. The street outside our boutique hotel is being turned into a winter wonderland in front of our eyes.

The combination of a heavily-laden sky and the soft carpet beneath our feet muffles every little sound; even our footsteps no longer echo as we head off in search of the bright lights. I know that this is a memory that will be etched on our minds forever, as Mum squeezes my arm and turns to smile at me. I feel like Santa dispensing a little Christmas magic, as what I see reflected in her eyes is a moment of almost child-like happiness and joy. And to me that is priceless.

As we turn the corner, ahead of us is a cacophony of sounds softened by the backdrop that is almost a mini blizzard now – a snow globe brought to life. The traffic has slowed, but horns still toot and sirens still screech; a city that never sleeps cannot be stopped.

With last-minute shoppers and people now eager to make their way home, the sidewalks are so busy that the pitching snow is quickly trampled underfoot. Being swept along with the crowd, as if we are New Yorkers and not merely visitors, it’s easy to soak up the ambience.

Suddenly, a guy wearing a Santa outfit appears in front of us ringing a small hand bell and holding up a bucket, part-filled with coins. He’s an older man and his beard and moustache appear to be real. I’m guessing the flowing white hair is a wig, as it’s as white as the snowflakes that continue to fall. It looks like some of that padding around the middle might not actually be padding, though. He’s even wearing half-moon glasses, perched low on his nose. Everything about him embodies the Santa images I remember from my childhood.

‘Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, ladies. Do you have a few coins to spare to make my bucket a little fuller? Help the homeless at Christmas.’

Mum turns her head to look at me, a bemused smile on her face. We immediately dive into our handbags to pull out a handful of coins each, that clatter as we throw them into the bucket.

‘Merry Christmas and I hope it’s a truly wonderful one for you both.’

‘Thank you, Santa, and good luck filling that bucket.’

His eyes crinkle up when he smiles back at us and for some reason he reaches out to place his gloved hand on Mum’s shoulder.

‘The season’s blessings upon you, my dear. Enjoy this special holiday.’

With that he moves on past us, leaving Mum and me to stare after him as he continues to greet people and accept donations. Even when Mum and I link arms and begin moving forward again, the tinkling sound of that little bell seems to float on the air.

‘It’s like another world,’ Mum exclaims, totally captivated and more than a little overwhelmed by the skyline that towers above us.

‘So good, they named it twice – the city and the state!’

Ahead of us a Starbucks offers a chance to warm ourselves up a little and we hurry inside. There’s a table for two in the window and I settle Mum down before I head off to order our coffees.

In the background the sounds of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree add to the lively and festive atmosphere. Most of the people who are seated have a pile of carrier bags stuffed beneath their seats and there’s a real buzz in the air as the holiday season is about to begin.

‘Eggnog Latte or Chestnut Praline Latte?’

Mum looks up at me, raising her eyebrows and giving a shrug of her shoulders. ‘Surprise me!’

‘Eggnog Latte, then. Why not?’

When it’s cool enough for her to take that first sip, a little smile creeps over her face.

‘This reminds me of my father. He always made eggnog at Christmas. It was his only contribution, as my mother even carved the turkey.’ She laughs to herself, transported back to a special moment goodness knows how many years ago.

‘I’m not even sure how it’s made,’ I admit. I’m pretty sure it’s a drink I’ve never tried.

‘The secret is in the nutmeg, he always said. It’s milk, cream, a little cinnamon and vanilla mixed with eggs, sugar and bourbon. It was a luxury in those days. Even the smell of it conjures up Christmas, to me.’

It’s wonderful to sit here and hear her talking about Christmases from her own childhood. ‘This is truly magical, Tia, thank you so very much. My wonderful, darling daughter, what would I do without you in my life? Spending time with you is gift enough, so today I’m doubly blessed.’

I vowed then, that in future we’ll celebrate every Christmas Eve in style at a very special destination. I can’t think of a better way to repay her for all those wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood. Losing my father, and then a family row distancing my brother from us, has blighted far too many Christmases already.

Our first trip had to be New York; home of the iconic yellow taxi cab, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. And, of course, the setting for one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time: Miracle on 34th Street. But who knows where we’ll be this time next year? My only wish is that the snowflakes will begin to fall, as that’s the little bit of magic that makes Christmas special, no matter what age you are.

 

BUY LINKS

http://smarturl.it/SnowflkOverHollyCove

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ABOUT LUCY COLEMAN

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From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LinnBHaltonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

 https://twitter.com/LinnBHalton

Website:  http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

COMPETITION

A Christmas Book-reading Bag (a signed copy of A Cottage in the Country + treats) – UK ONLY

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ROXIE REBEL on assignment in Vieux-Québec

Roxie RebelHi fans, Roxie Rebel coming to you from Vieux-Québec where I’m tracking world-famous author, Melanie Robertson-King.

I caught up with her this morning on Avenue Cartier. Look at the funky street light shades!
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You can see two more in the photo below. able cane What’s that Able? I know I’m supposed to be tracking Melanie, and that’s what I’m doing. Honestly, you think I’d never completed an assignment like this before.

roxie rebel

After that, I tracked her to Saint Matthew Anglican Cemetery on Rue Saint-Jean. The weird thing about Melanie is she likes to prowl through cemeteries. Especially old ones.

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She back-tracked a bit on me between the cemetery and the next photo. Glad we were going down these steps and not up. Yikes!

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See what I mean about the steps?

After I captured her here, she slipped across the street into an enormous toy store. The place is called benjo. Talk about toy heaven! You name it; they had it. Even a full-sized copy of Number 5 from the movie Short Circuit.

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You have to send me back here, Able. I want to spend more time in the store.

Roxie Rebel signing off for today.

 

FINDING ROSE by Julie Ryan

 

FINDING Rose

by

Julie Ryan

 

finding rose

Genre: Women’s fiction/historical/romance

Approximate number of pages: 295

Release Date: 3RD September 2018

When three sisters, Ginny, Sally and Molly are brought together at their father’s hospital bed, they are forced to confront not only the prospect of a future without him but also the secrets of the past that have kept them apart.

Their father, Eddie Matthews, drugged up on morphine, seems to be rambling but could he in fact be reliving previous lives as a Tudor monk and as a soldier on the Front in WW1? Struggling to speak he reveals that he has a secret and urges his daughters to ‘Find Rose’. Can the sisters put aside their differences to fulfil his last wish?

EXTRACT

“So, how is he today?” Sally asked the nurse.

“Bit of a rough night but as you can see, he’s quite comfortable now. He might be out of it a bit when he wakes up because of the morphine. Oh, and he keeps asking for his brother, William. Do you know if he would be able to visit?”

Sally looked at the nurse, confused, “Oh he hasn’t got a brother.”

“Probably the effects of the morphine then; nothing to worry about. You’ll find a lot of what they say at this stage doesn’t always make a lot of sense.”

The nurse was busy so Sally took the opportunity to grab a coffee whilst her dad dozed.

She made her way up to the top floor where there was a very nice café. As she nursed her cappuccino, the nurse’s words kept ringing in her ears. How odd that dad was asking after a brother. As far as she knew, the only William in the family was her grandfather, her dad’s dad, and he’d died when she was a baby so she had no recollection of him at all. What if there’d been an older brother though, named after him? That would make sense as people often named the first son after the father. Odd that nobody had ever mentioned it before if there was a brother. She finished her drink and put it to the back of her mind. The nurse was probably right and the drugs were making his mind wander. He was no doubt thinking about his own dad.

Hearing her phone ring, she checked to see who was calling. They didn’t seem to mind you having phones on in this hospital, as long as they didn’t need to use any sensitive equipment. Even the nurses used them on the quiet. She glanced at the handset, pleased to see her husband Damian’s name flash up.  With three kids and her father in hospital, she really needed his support now more than ever.

“Hi babe,” she began.

“Hiya.”

There was a pause before he continued, “How’s your dad?”

“Not much change to be honest. They don’t know if he’s got days or weeks …look, about last night, I’m sorry if I snapped.”

“I’m not ringing about last night.”

“Oh?”

“Things are just not working out between us , babe.”

“I know I’ve been a bit short-tempered lately but I’ve apologized for that. I’m on edge all the time because my dad is bloody dying..”

“I think we need a bit of time apart. Time to take stock.”

“What, you mean a kind of trial separation?’

“I’m sorry babe but I’m moving out. In fact, I’ve taken most of my stuff this morning.”

Sally felt her stomach turn to ice as he dropped the bombshell. It was clear that it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. If he’d taken his stuff then he already had a place to stay.

“Could we at least talk about this? What about the kids?”

“I’ll come round at teatime, okay?”

Before she had time to reply, he’d hung up. It seemed as if he’d moved on as well as moved out she thought. He hadn’t said he’d be home at tea time, rather he’d come round.

Admittedly she’d been distant of late. It was the only way she could cope but she had had no idea that things were quite so bad. She crossed her fingers hoping that he’d come to his senses and this was just a temporary blip in their marriage.

As she went back onto the ward, she saw that both her sisters were in attendance, one at each side of dad. Neither of them looked at the other and the hostility between them was palpable. She took up her usual position at the foot of the bed as she tried to put a brave face on things and pretend that everything was alright.. She knew that if Ginny mentioned one more time that she shouldn’t cry in front of dad, she would end up doing just that. Whereas she was emotional, Ginny was detached and totally in control. Molly was the dark horse. You never quite knew where you were with her.

“He’s been rambling again, Molly said, “something about the bin men being early.”

“The nurse did say that might happen after the drugs they gave him if you remember,” Sally replied.

“Right well, how about we grab a coffee?” Ginny said.

“You two go if you like, I’ve just had one.”

“I’m ok too.” Molly replied somewhat abruptly, then added, “I’m off to the loo,”

“As the two of them left, a sense of peacefulness came over the room, broken only by the raspy sound of dad breathing and the electronic hum from the machines. Sally settled down with a book. So far, she’d read the same page three times, unable to really focus on the words. She put the book down and gazed out of the window over the rooftops of the different hospital buildings. Just then the hydraulic bed gave a hiss of escaping air,

“Bloody bin men,” dad muttered in his sleep.

Sally couldn’t help smiling to herself. Dad still had all his marbles it seemed. No doubt the morphine did mean he was a bit out of it but she could see now that the hydraulics used on the bed to prevent bed sores did sound just like the bin men lifting the bins up on the hydraulic lift. She held his hand, stroking the back of it lightly, wondering for just how much longer she’d be able to do that.

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ABOUT JULIE RYAN

FINDING ROSE

Julie Ryan’s roots are in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. After a degree in French Language and Literature, wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. Her spirit enriched, her imagination fired, Julie started a series of mystery romances, thrillers set in the Greek Isles.

In a new venture, Julie’s latest book is a contemporary novel with a strong historical element encompassing both the Tudor Court and the battlefields of WW1. ‘Finding Rose’ was inspired by her grandfather’s story and by losing her own father.

A prolific and well-known book review blogger, Julie does her writing and reviewing from rural Gloucestershire, where she lives with her husband, son and dippy cat. An absolute bookaholic, she will soon be looking to relocate to a mansion on the scale of Buckingham Palace.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Julieryanauthor

Twitter: @julieryan18

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/458168.Julie_Ryan

Instagram: Julie2253

Blog: http://www.allthingsbookie.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.julieryanbooks.blogspot.com

 

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