Posted on 1 Comment

Buried Treasure by Gilli Allan: a complex, absorbing novel

Buried Treasure

Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems.

 

My review

This book centres around two main characters, Jane and Theo. Just as it real life, it takes a little while to get to know them and to understand what makes them tick. And when we do we can really enjoy this story about them, although it’s not all plain sailing for them.

It’s not a straightforward romance for a variety of reasons, and there’s so much more going on too. We get a good look into the worlds of academia and conference organising, both of which are very interesting, if competitive. We see how the need for continuous ‘improvements’ and ‘steps forward’ can be at loggerheads with respecting and conserving history. This historical facet concerns the buried treasure that is referred to in the book’s title.

There is an edginess to the novel. There are some dark skeletons lurking in cupboards that need to first be let loose and dealt with. They have a lot of issues to deal with to move on and at least try to find some happiness in their lives.

The mystery in the story is original and cleverly constructed. Several times I was sure I’d worked it out, but no, there was another ingenious twist and I was back to square one!

This is an enjoyable, slightly challenging read that gives you a tantalising mystery to solve and plenty to think about.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07SN5NWJ2

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SN5NWJ2

 

Author bio

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the fiction.

After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother.

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

Currently published by Accent Press, each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL has won a ‘Chill with a Book’ award.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. His most recent work, published by William Collins, is ‘Viking Britain’.

 

Social Media Links –

https://accentpressbooks.com/collections/gilli-allan

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gilli-Allan/e/B004W7GG7I

http://twitter.com/gilliallan   (@gilliallan)

https://www.facebook.com/GilliAllan.AUTHOR

http://gilliallan.blogspot.com

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1027644.Gilli_Allan

https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/rna_author/gilli-allan/

Posted on

The Summer House in Santorini by Samantha Parks: uplifting and summery

The Summer House in Santorini

One summer in Greece will change everything…

Anna’s running away. From a failed relationship, a dead-end career and a complicated family life.

On the island of Santorini, with its picturesque villas, blue-tiled roofs, and the turquoise waters of the Aegean lapping at the white sand beaches, Anna inherits a less-than-picturesque summer house from her estranged father. As she rebuilds the house, she rebuilds her life, uncovering family secrets along the way that change everything. She starts to fall for her little slice of paradise, as well as for gorgeous, charming Nikos.

Will Anna lose her heart in more ways than one?

 

My review

This is a summer breeze of a novel about difficult decisions and new beginnings, about discovery and rethinking. Our heroine Anna has a few unpleasant issues to face in the story and realisations to make. Whilst at the start she’s definitely in a bit of a rut the tone is always positive and the story becomes more uplifting as it progresses.

Anna is self-contained and strong, maybe a little entitled even, but not above needing the love and support of others. She manages alone, but she really shines in company and life is more rewarding. She comes to realise the world doesn’t owe her a living. She can and has to influence things herself. Niko and Elena provide the friendship and encouragement she needs to take a good look at where she is and where she wants to be. They give her the courage she requires to start anew.

The setting is glorious. A Greek island in summer must be many people’s dream, and you can see why in the pages of this book. The colours and scents are described, as well as the atmosphere of this place, so very different from the greyness of home, which seeps into the story.

A delightful read for the summer.

 

Purchase links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summer-House-Santorini-Samantha-Parks-ebook/dp/B07JHLMQFV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Summer-House-Santorini-Samantha-Parks-ebook/dp/B07JHLMQFV

 

Author bio

Samantha Parks is the pen name of Sam Gale. Her pen name comes from her late grandmother Velma Hobbs nee Parks, who was one of Sam’s greatest role models. Sam was born in North Carolina but now resides in Bournemouth, UK with her husband Alex. She owns a successful marketing company and is enjoying her slow descent into “crazy plant lady” status.

 

Social media links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/samanthajgale

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/searchingforsamantha/

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

Website/blog: https://www.samanthaparks.com/

Posted on

A Right Royal Face-Off by Simon Edge: a masterpiece!

A Right Royal Face-Off

It is 1777, and England’s second-greatest portrait artist, Thomas Gainsborough, has a thriving practice a stone’s thrown from London’s royal palaces, while the press talks up his rivalry with Sir Joshua Reynolds, the pedantic theoretician who is the top dog of British portraiture.

Fonder of the low life than high society, Gainsborough loathes pandering to grand sitters, but he changes his tune when he is commissioned to paint King George III and his large family. In their final, most bitter competition, who will be chosen as court painter, Tom or Sir Joshua?

Meanwhile, two and a half centuries later, a badly damaged painting turns up on a downmarket antiques TV show being filmed in Suffolk. Could the monstrosity really be, as its eccentric owner claims, a Gainsborough? If so, who is the sitter? And why does he have donkey’s ears?

Mixing ancient and modern as he did in his acclaimed debut The Hopkins Conundrum, Simon Edge takes aim at fakery and pretension in this highly original celebration of one of our greatest artists.

 

My review

This is a tremendously enjoyable dual-timeline story centred on a painting by Thomas Gainsborough. We jump from Georgian times where the artist is undertaking a particular commission, and the present day where we meet Gemma who’s working, not to her delight, on Britain’s Got Treasures. A painting turns up on the programme that causes quite a stir.

There’s plenty of action and humour in both time periods. The historical elements come over as well researched and clearly depicted, and also imaginatively embroidered. There’s no doubt the author’s writing puts life and relevancy into  the historical period and events he portrays. He’s equally good at contemporary settings and has a sharp, satiric eye for detail. He introduces us to a fine array of characters, modern and less so, and each one is fascinating.

Fact and fiction rub along very happily in this spirited novel. The whole book is energetic and lively, and it’s one you can’t put down. Absolutely to recommend.

 

Purchase Links

Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 50% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkout – BLOGTOURFACE

http://eye-books.com/books/a-right-royal-face-off

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Right-Royal-Face-Off-Entertainment-Gainsborough-ebook/dp/B07SZ1GXT4

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Right-Royal-Face-Off-Entertainment-Gainsborough-ebook/dp/B07SZ1GXT4

Author bio 

Simon Edge was born in Chester and read philosophy at Cambridge University.

He was editor of the pioneering London paper Capital Gay before becoming a gossip columnist on the Evening Standard and then a feature writer on the Daily Express, where he was also a theatre critic for many years.

He has an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London. His first novel, The Hopkins Conundrum, was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. He lives in Suffolk.

Read more about Simon and his work at www.simon-edge.com.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @simonjedge

Instagram: @simonjedge

 

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of A Right Royal Face-Off (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494259/

Posted on

Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses on Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale

Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses on Lily Pond Lane: synopsis

 

Everyone’s got a secret wish in Little Pondale this summer.

Mia’s been exceptionally lucky since moving to Lily Pond Lane. But even on her honeymoon with the man of her dreams, she still has one remaining wish.

Ella wishes Gill would propose. But since Mia’s wedding something’s changed in their relationship. Now he’s spending time with newcomer, Tabbie Talbaine, Ella wishes Tabbie will leave as quickly as she arrived.

Tabbie wishes she hadn’t driven her car into a pond. But it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. When she discovers Hollywood heartthrob, Justin Lake’s staying in the village, getting an interview for her popular blog isn’t her only wish.

Bree was told she couldn’t have a baby. Now she’s expecting twins and is simply wishing it all goes well.

And as for Hettie … she wishes she could get her hands on an old map of the village. Because there’s something hidden in Little Pondale that Hettie Turner really wants to find.

 

My review

 

Here we are at the last book in this very enjoyable series. This last instalment is every bit as good as we’d expect from this super author, and it’s a very fitting conclusion to the series. It’s another entertaining, rich and cleverly crafted story, with a little bit of edge. There’s always something a little unexpected going on in Lily Pond Lane.

We meet again many of the characters we’ve grown to know and love in previous books, and encounter some new ones. They’re as interesting as all the others with their own unique stories to tell.

There are several plot strands in this novel. Old secrets come to life and new romance shyly puts in an appearance. Loads to savour in this excellent, slightly bittersweet and summery novella.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07SSP9KY5

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SSP9KY5

 

Interactive Map of Little Pondale – https://www.emilyharvale.com/map/little-pondale.html

 

About the author

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

 

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

 

Giveaway to Win signed paperback of Secret Wishes and Summer Kisses, a pen, novelty sticky notes and a bookmark (Open INT)

*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494253/

Posted on 1 Comment

The Unfinished Garden by Barbara Claypole White: quietly powerful

The Unfinished Garden

A love story about grief, OCD, and dirt 

Tilly Silverberg is rebuilding her life with her young son, Isaac, one potted-up plant at a time. Since her husband’s death, gardening has become her livelihood and her salvation. Hiding out in the North Carolina forest, she wants only to be left alone with Isaac and her greenhouse.

New to the area, successful software developer James Nealy needs a garden. On a solitary mission to reclaim his life from irrational obsessions and relentless compulsions, he has a plan: to conquer his greatest fear. Dirt. One glimpse—or two—of Tilly’s garden, and he knows she holds the key. But when he asks her to take him on as a client, she refuses.

After a family emergency pulls Tilly and Isaac back to her native England, she’s quietly happy, because nothing has changed in her childhood village. Or has it? Her first love is unexpectedly single, her mother is scheming, and her best friend is keeping secrets. Then James appears on her doorstep.

Tenuous at first, but gradually taking root, James and Tilly forge an unlikely bond. As they work together to rescue a garden choked by neglect, they unearth each other’s secrets, each other’s fears, each other’s hopes—and maybe, a shared second chance.

“Claypole White does not merely write about people with mental illness—she inhabits them.”  Lee Smith, New York Times bestseller author

“Claypole White’s gift is her ability to put us into the troubled minds of her characters in a way that helps us not only understand them but fall in love with them as well. We discover that while their minds may be different from ours, their hearts are the same.” Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author 

“A fabulous debut novel, The Unfinished Garden easily earns Romance Junkies’ highest rating of five blue ribbons and a recommended read status for its unpredictable originality! So good!” Romance Junkies

The Unfinished Garden is a powerful story of friendship and courage in the midst of frightening circumstances … I highly recommend this wonderful love story.” Bergers’ Book Reviews ?

“Claypole White … conveys the condition of OCD, and how it creates havoc in one’s life and the lives of loved ones, with style and grace, never underplaying the seriousness of the disorder.” Romantic Times

 

My review

This is a delightful, moving story that is beautifully narrated. It touches on difficult issues but handles them in a very approachable way so that once can appreciate how serious they are but is not overwhelmed.

Our two main characters are flawed but genuine, and are both courageous in attempting to tackling the things that trip them up. They both discover that gardening is therapeutic for them, but will it be enough to help them deal with their demons enough to move forwards together.

If you enjoy gardening you’ll love all the references to it in the novel, and even if you’re not. It’s lovely to see nature play a part in the story.

This is quietly powerful novel that you’ll thoroughly enjoy from start to finish.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/The-Unfinished-Garden-Audiobook/1094056715

US – https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Unfinished-Garden-Audiobook/1094056715?

 

Author Bio – Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Born in England, she works and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her novels include: The Unfinished Garden, which won the Golden Quill for Best First Book; The In-Between Hour, a SIBA Okra Pick; The Perfect Son, a Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-finalist; Echoes of Family, a WFWA Star Award Finalist; and The Promise Between Us, a 2018 Nautilus Award Winner.

Barbara is an OCD advocate for the nonprofit A2A Alliance, which promotes advocacy over adversity. To connect with her, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraClaypoleWhite

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/barbara-claypole-white

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5778132.Barbara_Claypole_White

https://twitter.com/bclaypolewhite

https://www.instagram.com/bclaypolewhite/?hl=en

Posted on

The Kompromat Kill by Michael Jenkins: an energetic and exciting novel

Synopsis

They were preparing for decades – now it’s time to take them down.

When a British Diplomat is kidnapped in the heart of London, followed by a brutal double-assassination in Chelsea, MI5 braces for the threat of deep sleeper cells coming alive.

Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.

As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands…….……..

Tense, absorbing, and insightful, The Kompromat Kill is a gripping thriller leaving
you breathless at the pace of intrigue, cleverly unravelled in a dramatic finale.

My review

‘Energetic’ is the best term for this book. It’s full of action and life from the first page to the last. And death, of course, since it’s a thriller set in the brutal word of international espionage where anyone inconvenient is efficiently wiped out. Any violence, however, is somewhat matter-of-factly delivered, which is in keeping with the book’s genre, rather than being gratuitous and sensationalised.

Our hero is Sean Richardson, a man loyal to his country and colleagues, and prepared to do what needs doing, but who is also endowed with a sense of morals that weigh him down at times. He’s thoughtful and contemplative, but acts instinctively when necessary too.

All the characters we meet are convincing. Everything from their names to their actions conveys their personality and their role in this thriller.

The action takes us to all kinds of places, which are all described in enough detail so that we can picture the scene perfectly without becoming bogged down in minutiae.

The Kompromat Kill follows on from The Failsafe Query but works perfectly as a standalone. It’s an exciting, escapist read but it leaves you with a few things to think about after you’ve finished it. Absolutely one to read.

 

Purchase Links

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QFSF44F

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QFSF44F

 

About the author

I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.

I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.

I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.

The Failsafe Query was my first novel, with The Kompromat Kill as my second.

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/FailsafeQuery

https://www.facebook.com/thefailsafethrillers/

 

Giveaway to Win 5 copies of The Kompromat Kill (Open INT)

*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494254/

Posted on 1 Comment

Smile of the Stowaway by Tony Bassett: edgy and exciting

Smile Of The Stowaway

A married couple, a stranger from far away and a murder that rocks their lives. Desperate to reach England, a bedraggled immigrant clings precariously beneath a couple’s motor home as they cross the Channel. Once holidaymakers Bob and Anne overcome their shock at his discovery and their initial reservations, they welcome the friendly stranger into their home in defiance of the law. But their trust is stretched to the limit when the police accuse the smiling twenty-three-year-old of a gruesome murder. Could this man from six thousand miles away be guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Former national newspaper journalist Tony Bassett tells how Anne turns detective, battling against a mountain of circumstantial evidence and police bungling to discover the truth. This gripping first novel concerning a death in a remote Kentish country cottage is packed with mystery, suspense and occasional touches of humour.

 

My review

This is a modern, tingling psychological thriller that begins with the book’s title. At once you’re slightly on edge, wondering exactly what sort of smile that stowaway is smiling. A relieved one? A smug one? Triumphant, nervous, malicious?

The challenges to your possible preconceptions regarding immigration, keeping secrets and how far one should go to help a stranger continue in the story, which is fast-paced and gripping. The author has a spare, punchy way of writing that doesn’t bog you down with more than you need to know. It also gives you more to guess about.

The book doesn’t just make you sit up and think a bit more seriously about modern issues. There’s a crime to solve too, and the plot is tightly constructed and exciting. There’s some lighter relief along the way so it’s not a white-knuckle ride all the time. The author handles tone and tension very well.

There’s a lot packed into this novel which you really should discover for yourselves.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Smile-Stowaway-Tony-Bassett/dp/1911546457

US – https://www.amazon.com/Smile-Stowaway-Tony-Bassett/dp/1911546457

 

Author bio 

Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years.  He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren.  He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/tonybassettauthor/

Twitter: @tonybassett1

Tony’s author website

www.tonybassettauthor.com

And do enter this fantastic giveaway!

Giveaway to Win 6 x PB copies of Smile of the Stowaway (Open INT)

*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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494252/

Posted on

How Not To Write Female Characters by Lucy V Hay: inspiring advice

How Not To Write Female Characters

Female characters. When fifty per cent of your potential target audience is female, if you’re not writing them in your screenplay or novel? You’re making a BIG mistake!

But how should you approach your female characters? That’s the million-dollar question … After all, women in real life are complex, varied and flawed. Knowing where to start in creating three dimensional female characters for your story is extremely difficult.

So … perhaps it’s easier to figure out how NOT to write female characters?

Script editor, novelist and owner of the UK’s top screenwriting blog www.bang2write.com, Lucy V Hay has spent the last fifteen years reading the slush pile. She has learned to spot the patterns, pitfalls and general mistakes writers make when writing female characters – and why.

In How Not To Write Female Characters, Lucy outlines:

•WHO your character is & how to avoid “classic” traps and pitfalls
•WHAT mistakes writers typically make with female characters
•WHERE you can find great female characters in produced and published content
•WHEN to let go of gender politics and agendas
•WHY female characters are more important than ever

Lucy is on a mission to improve your writing, as well as enable diverse voices and characters to rise to the top of the spec pile.

 

REVIEWS FOR LUCY V’S WRITING ADVICE:

‘A timely guide to creating original characters and reinvigorating tired storylines. ‘
– Debbie Moon, creator and showrunner, Wolfblood (BBC)

‘Lucy V. Hay nails it’
– Stephen Volk, BAFTA-winning screenwriter: Ghostwatch, Afterlife, The Awakening

‘Packed with practical and inspirational insights’
– Karol Griffiths, development consultant and script editor, clients include ITV, BBC, Warner Brothers

‘A top-notch, cutting-edge guide to writing and selling, not just practical but inspirational. Lucy’s distinctive voice infuses the entire journey. Quite brilliant. Here’s the woman who’ll help you make things happen.’
– Barbara Machin, award-winning writer & creator of Waking the Dead

‘Delivers the stirring call to arms that writers must not only write, but take their work to the next level themselves, making sacrifices and taking risks if they want to see their stories on screen.’
– Chris Jones, Filmmaker, Screenwriter & Creative Director at the London Screenwriters Festival

‘Writing and Selling Thriller Screenplays is a must-read for any writer, producer or director looking to create (or in the process of creating) a thriller production. It could also be immensely useful for those generally curious about the genre or looking to learn more.’ – Film Doctor

‘Lucy V Hay explains what a script reader and editor’s role in filmmaking, tells you to work on your concepts and that dialogue is the last thing to work on in her new book.’ – Brit Flicks

 

My review

This is a short and snappy writing guide in which Lucy delivers lots of advice and guidance for all writers from wannabe to well-established. There’s something for everyone to think about, take on board and implement. It’s not just for novelists, but for screenplay and script writers too.

There are useful periodic ‘In a nutshell’ summaries that reinforce the point that’s just been made, and those help the information sink in, whether it’s about focussing on good writing, overdoing it with a Kick Ass Hottie or how much agency to allocate to your female characters.

I guarantee you’ll come away from this book with some new ideas and approaches for your own writing.

 

Author bio

Lucy V. Hay is an author, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts.  Lucy’s also the author of  WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS.

 

Social Media Links –

Posted on

Singles, Set and Match by Elaine Spires: beautifully written summer reading

Synopsis
The fifth and final book in the Singles’ Series takes us to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza then back to the Caribbean island of Antigua, where it all began.

After making a hard decision two years earlier Eve Mitchell has moved on with the hand that life has dealt her and she finds herself on the White Island working a tennis holiday. While it isn’t a job she would have chosen, in her typical pragmatic way Eve gets on with it, working hard to ensure that her diverse group of singles, with their hopes, expectations, character flaws and baggage, have the best time possible. And as she binds together tennis sessions, social gatherings, meals and trips Eve hears some tragic personal news that brings her to another crossroads in her life. Will she and the love of her life Melv finally make a life together and live happily ever after?

My review
This may be the last in this five-set ‘match’ but you can come into the series at this late stage and still enjoy this novel. It works perfectly well as a standalone, but it does whet your appetite to discover what has gone on previously. I shall certainly be reading the four preceding books.

This is a thoroughly absorbing story. Eve is a likeable and interesting heroine, and we really care what happens to her. We admire her strength of character when having to deal with her rather wearing clients. She remains patient and smiling, at least on the outside. There’s quite a turmoil of emotions going on beneath the surface.

The author creates a holiday atmosphere very effectively. It’s not a holiday for Eve, of course, but she’s there to facilitate things for the singletons she’s looking after.

The tennis element adds an unusual touch and makes the book more memorable. I particularly like the candid but sympathetic portrayal of people’s flaws and foibles. As someone who works in the tourist industry, like Eve, I know from experience that you have to expect the unexpected, but somehow you can never foresee every quirk and eventuality. It certainly makes for challenges.

The main concern of the story is Eve, and the second chance at happiness that unexpectedly comes her way. It’s uplifting, but not without its moments of tension and of the reader wanting to shake a bit of sense into one of the protagonists now and again! Beautifully written, this is a super summer read.

Purchase links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singles-Set-Match-Book-ebook/dp/B07S3WGLX2
US – https://www.amazon.com/Singles-Set-Match-Book-ebook/dp/B07S3WGLX2

Author bio

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea. Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series. Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019. Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

Social media links
Facebook: Elaine Spires Author
Twitter: @ElaineSWriter
Instagram: elainespiresauthor

Posted on

The Road to Cromer Pier by Martin Gore: atmospheric and engrossing

Synopsis

Janet’s first love arrives out of the blue after forty years. Those were simpler times for them both. Sunny childhood beach holidays, fish and chips and big copper pennies clunking into one armed bandits.

The Wells family has run the Cromer Pier Summertime Special Show for generations. But it’s now 2009 and the recession is biting hard. Owner Janet Wells and daughter Karen are facing an uncertain future. The show must go on, and Janet gambles on a fading talent show star. But both the star and the other cast members have their demons. This is a story of love, loyalty and luvvies. The road to Cromer Pier might be the end of their careers, or it might just be a new beginning.

Pre-order Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07R9XP3QM/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R9XP3QM/

 

My review

I grew up in Suffolk and we used to have our summer holiday on the Norfolk coast. “There’s a lot of sky in Norfolk,” my dad would always say, and it’s true that the county has a very distinctive look and feel to it. I wasn’t disappointed therefore to discover a very strong sense of place alongside a cast of very strong characters in this family drama. The book couldn’t be set anywhere else and it conjures up beautifully the atmosphere of a seaside town.

Cromer, whilst beautiful in its own distinctive way and famous for its crabs, isn’t exactly a bustling resort, and certainly not during the period that this novel is set in. Times are hard but the Wells family are determined to maintain their high standards in their summertime show. Boss Janet has to take rather more risks than she’s happy to. There are more pressures than just the financial climate too.

The author has written for the stage and his love and understanding of all things theatrical adds an extra dimension to his writing. It’s very vibrant, but his characters have depth and undergo development too.

Tension and pressure builds and the people we meet react in different ways. There’s plenty going on emotionally and physically and the book is totally engrossing from start to finish. It’s delightfully different and makes for an excellent read for the summer, but it’ll be equally good at any other time of year!

And a super cover is the icing on the cake.

 

About the author

I am a 61 year old Accountant who semi-retired to explore my love of creative writing. In my career I held Board level jobs for over twenty five years, in private, public and third sector organisations. I was born in Coventry, a city then dominated by the car industry and high volume manufacturing. Jaguar, Triumph, Talbot, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Massey Ferguson were the major employers, to name but a few.

When I was nine year’s old I told my long suffering mother that as I liked English composition and drama I was going to be a Playwright. She told me that I should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.

I started as an Office Junior at Jaguar in 1973 at eleven pounds sixty four a week. I thus grew up in the strike torn, class divided seventies. My first career ended in 2015, when I semi retired as Director of Corporate services at Humberside Probation. My second career, as a Non Executive Director, is great as it has allowed me free time to travel and indulge my passion for writing, both in novels and for theatre.

The opportunity to rekindle my interest in writing came in 2009, when I wrote my first pantomime, Cinderella, for my home group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. I have now written eight. I love theatre, particularly musical theatre, and completed the Hull Truck Theatre Playwrite course in 2010. My first play, a comedy called He’s Behind You, had its first highly successful showing in January 2016, so I intend to move forward in all three creative areas.

Pen Pals was my first novel, but a second, The Road to Cromer Pier, will be released in the Summer of 2019.

I’m an old fashioned writer I guess. I want you to laugh and to cry. I want you to believe in my characters, and feel that my stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending.

Social Media Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AuthorGore

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Martin-Gore-Author-1237780169706466/