20 December 2013

Princess Madeline Trilogy by Kirstin Pulioff

About the Books

The Escape of Princess Madeline by Kirstin PulioffTitle: The Escape of Princess Madeline (Princess Madeline Trilogy, Book #1)
Author: Kirstin Pulioff
Publication Date: November 4, 2012
Publisher: Caliburn Books
Number of pages: 138
Recommended age: 10+

Summary: The Kingdom of Soron is known for many things, its rolling landscape, haunting history, fiery sunsets, and its beautiful princess. Princess Madeline woke on her sixteenth birthday to realize that her future had been planned out, a life full of privilege, royalty, and boredom... a life with a husband and knight champion that she did not choose. Using her charm, strength and stubbornness, she defies the King at every turn, determined to keep her freedom on her terms.

Freedom quickly turns to disaster as she finds herself seized by a group of wandering bandits. With the kingdom in turmoil over her capture; her Knight Champion eager to prove himself, a group of dedicated suitors determined to win her hand, and a group of exiled wizards join forces in the hunt to rescue her. Follow Princess Madeline in this adventure full of twists and turns as she tries to find her freedom and answers to her questions about life and love.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

The Battle for Princess Madeline by Kirstin PulioffTitle: The Battle for Princess Madeline (Princess Madeline Trilogy, Book #2)
Author: Kirstin Pulioff
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Caliburn Books
Number of pages: 159
Recommended age: 10+

Summary: The Kingdom of Soron bustled with activity as preparations for the Fall Festival began. Lively merchants, hardworking farmers, and musicians eagerly awaited this event of harvest and joy. This year’s festival was even more important, as they celebrated Princess Madeline’s betrothal to her knight champion, Daniel. Celebration quickly turns to disaster as Prince Paulsen returns with curious demands, either Princess Madeline will be his, or no ones. Rejection turns to obsession and battle is declared.

In a tense struggle to decide her future, Princess Madeline must choose where to put her trust… in the king’s tried and true plan, the wizard’s cryptic messages and maps, or her own sense of bravery. Follow Princess Madeline on this adventure as she battles evil in an attempt to create a future of love and magic.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

Princess Madeline and the Dragon by Kirstin PulioffTitle: Princess Madeline and the Dragon (Princess Madeline Trilogy, Book #3)
Author: Kirstin Pulioff
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Caliburn Books
Number of pages: 135
Recommended age: 10+

Summary: After a season of battle and rebuilding, the Kingdom of Soron is exhausted. With the return of the exiled wizards, the Spring Faire, and her upcoming wedding, Princess Madeline is looking forward to a peaceful season of celebration. When the mysterious green dragon reappears, threatening the kingdom and the king, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden won’t rest for long. Faced with this incredible new danger, Princess Madeline and Prince Braden must find a way to lead their kingdom and secure their future. Can they find the answers hidden within their mother’s cryptic messages from the past, or will the dragon destroy everything they hold dear? Follow Princess Madeline as she embarks on a dangerous new adventure to save her kingdom and her family.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

18 December 2013

Can you howl Ho Ho Ho?

About the Book ~ *New Release*

Lobo's Howliday by C.L. MurphyTitle: Lobo's Howliday (The Adventures of Lovable Lobo)

Author: C.L. Murphy

Publication Date: Dec. 1, 2013

Publisher: Independent - Peanut Butter Prose

Number of pages: 32

Recommended age: 3+


It's almost Christmas and Santa finds himself in quite the predicament due to unintended consequences as a result of trying something new. Lobo, and his raven sidekick, Roxy, travel to the North Pole to help the jolly ole' one and are guided by the Arctic animals. The colors of the season delight along the way and make for a howling good holiday. Can you howl Ho Ho Ho?

14 December 2013

The Coloublind Chameleon: a childrens story with a real positive message

About the Book

The Colourful Chameleon by Laura Kantor and Sarah Ray
Title: The Coloublind Chameleon
Author: Laura Kantor
Illustrator: Sarah Ray
Publication Date: November 19, 2013
Publisher: Independent - Squidgy Face Books
Number of pages: 32
Recommended age: 2 to 7


Once there was a very special chameleon...

The Colourblind Chameleon is the debut title from up and coming author/illustrator duo Laura Kantor and Sarah Ray.

This is a colourful and imaginative tale of a chameleon who doesn't fit in with the rest. He realises that it's not just good to be different... it's a lot more fun!

Delight in the rhyming verses, vibrant colours and hilarious drawings as you are taken on a wonderful journey with a special little chameleon (wearing fabulous pants).


13 December 2013

Tumbleweed Christmas | "...sometimes a child must make her own miracle and one for her siblings."

About the Book

Tumbleweed Christmas by Beverly Stowe McClureTitle: Tumbleweed Christmas

Author: Beverly Stowe McClure

Publication Date: July 20, 2013 (original pub. date - August 28, 2011)

Publisher: 4RV Publishing LLC

Number of pages: 24

Recommended age: 3+

Summary (Back Cover): Christmas is the time for miracles, but sometimes a child must make her own miracle and one for her siblings.

9 December 2013

Dragon Defender - Finalist: the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2013 Literary Contest

About the Book

Dragon Defender by J.A. BlackburnTitle: Dragon Defender (Dragon Defense League, Book #1)

Author: J.A. Blackburn

Publication Date: October 19, 2013

Publisher: Pip & Grey

Number of pages: 242

Recommended age: 10+

Summary (Amazon):

For over a thousand years dragons have existed in secret . . .

Peter Clark can build a robot from scratch and pick a lock in two minutes or less. But he can't figure out why his mother left or why his grandma refuses to talk about her. When Uncle Dominick shows up on Peter's twelfth birthday with a letter that hints at answers and an incredible story about dragons, Peter follows him, determined to find out the truth about his mother's disappearance.

What he finds is a reality far different from what he ever could have imagined - where dragons live in hiding, hunted by poachers for their magical parts, and a small group of men and women work tirelessly to protect them. These are the Dragon Defenders. Peter's uncle is one. So was his mother. Now it's Peter's turn.
* Finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2013 Literary Contest *

7 December 2013

"Imaginative stories and great illustrations"

"I absolutely loved these stories. They all gave me that warm fuzzy Christmassy feeling. The descriptions in the stories are amazing and really help you to picture what's going on…This book deserves to be very successful. It is absolutely delightful.
Heather Pretty, school librarian
"I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  Imaginative stories and great illustrations. Well done."
Jenefer Llewllyn Ferguson, Teifi Scribblers

"These stories are warm and delightfully different approaches to the Christmas season, and each carries its own moral which children will easily be able to understand and appreciate.  There is also humour to be found here and each of the stories is illustrated with clear and charming drawings, which will definitely appeal to the reader.  Sue Hampton herself did the illustrations for ‘Aliens and Angels’, whilst the other two stories have drawings by children from two local First Schools. All three tales offer a perfect introduction to the true meaning of Christmas.

3 December 2013

The Shadow of the Unicorn

About the Book

The Shadow of the UnicornTitle: The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy (The Shadow of the Unicorn, Book #1)

Author: Suzanne de Montigny

Publication Date: December 4, 2012

Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

Number of pages: 157

Recommended age: 9+


A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror.

Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change in the world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. Danger of a more sinister nature threatens when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley and their leader, Ishmael, discovers the healing power of the unicorns’ horns. Azaria, now a young stallion, must use his wits to save the herd from complete extinction.
* #1 in the Animals in their World list on Goodreads Listopia *
* #1 in the Christmas Stocking Stuffers list on Goodreads Listopia *
Global gold
Winner of the 2013 Global E-book Award for Best Fantasy/Alternate History

30 November 2013

Ebony Eyes - a short story by author Neal James*, featured on Amber Valley Info

Her name was Carly, Carly Richardson, and Ricky had never seen anyone so beautiful in his, as yet, short life. At five feet seven, with dark brown hair and a smile that could charm the birds out of the trees, she was everything that he imagined a woman could possibly be. Her eyes were like pools, and he would willingly have drowned in them. She was twenty-two to his twenty-three, and it had seemed as though they were destined for each other. She hailed from Springfield, a smallish town just outside of Nashville, and Ricky had used that as the ice-breaker, asking her how Homer and Marge were doing. It made her laugh although he imagined she’d heard it all before.
Ricky Madison was a Chicago boy born and bred – he lived and died with the White Sox in summer and the Bears in winter. He loved his job at Mullins Motor Mechanic in Lincoln Park, and could strip down and rebuild the engine of most cars you’d care to name. He’d been there since high school and although the older guys sometimes gave him a hard time, he took it all on the chin.. Had to keep the new kid on the block under control didn’t they? Hell, he’d been there almost six years but to the rest of them he was still a baby.

28 November 2013

"A beautiful tale shot through with humour that can be read many times"

"My reaction to reading these three stories was to marvel at the breadth of Sue's imagination. In the first story, from which the book takes its title, a young boy feels different from his classmates, he suffers from name calling and is quite unhappy with his part in the school nativity play. The story leads him through wonderful adventures of his imagination - or is it reality? I was not sure and it didn't seem to matter anyway - to a very satisfying conclusion.
The second story was first published in this newsletter after Sue read it for our crib service. I was again moved by its great joy and laughed at the humour.
The third story "Bootee for Etta" is a story of hope in a dark place for a young girl whose mother is rushed into hospital and she is bundled off to

25 November 2013

Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show (Madison and GA - My Guardian Angel)

The Tale of the Messed Up Talent ShowTitle: Tale of the Messed Up Talent Show
Author: Melissa Perry Moraja

Publication Date: November 15, 2013

Publisher: Independent - Melissa Productions Inc.

Number of pages: 156

Recommended age: 6-12


Madison Wunderkind is a sweet, honest girl, who always seems to find herself in trouble with the principal. But this time she's not alone. It all started three days earlier,

22 November 2013

"WHAT A BEAUTIFUL STORY! It creates mixed emotions"

"I have had the privilege to read Aliens and Angels by Sue Hampton before many other young readers who I am sure are anxious to read. I do not want to give away much of the stories because I don't want to disappoint anyone in any way whatsoever. What I can say is as I started reading the book I straight away started to get into the first story, and then the second story called Not without a carrot. This story is based on a donkey called Trouble who doesn't do ANYTHING without a carrot, and oh my...the third story!!!! The third story is called Bootee for Etta. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL STORY! It creates mixed emotions throughout the story. This story was based on a little girl called Etta who was left without her parents on Christmas. You will have to read the story to understand why it was such an amazing story. This book is a great book for young

20 November 2013

...beautifully written with rich visual imagery, and they are full of humour and imagination...

"Sue Hampton is a well-known local writer with over 20 books for children and young adults to her name. Her latest book, Aliens and Angels, is a collection of three stories with a Christmas theme. Sue’s stories are always beautifully written with rich visual imagery, and they are full of humour and imagination. Her new collection makes us see three familiar aspects of Christmas in a different light. The first story is about a boy who wanted to be an angel in his school nativity play rather than one of the aliens, which all have to be clumsy, spotty and hop about with their legs tied together. Nobody can understand what the problem is or why he doesn't like his role. The second story is about an obstinate donkey with a passion for carrots whose owner loses patience with her and sells her to someone called Joseph. The donkey takes to her new owners at

5 November 2013

"Sue Hampton give us three very different stories, each with its own very appealing charm"

"Delightful short Christmas themed stories with a deceptively light style where the very different characters are all dealing with difficult but survivable situations in a very positive way.
Aliens and Aliens uses a traditional school Christmas presentation  (complete with globalobs) to casually mix multiculturalism, childhood squabbles and jealousies alongside growing excitement as Christmas draws closer. The description is gentle but so skilful. Then the slightly frightening dream leads beautifully to the neat twist which lets the main characters achieve their hearts desire so satisfactorily.
Not without a carrot is a very gentle retelling of the Nativity with the addition of a troublesome but loveable donkey with a liking for carrots. The characterisation is sharp and comfortable as the situation develops into the well-known story. The description is strong but gentle and the illustration helps to develop the gentle feeling where the importance of the carrot is neatly put into perspective.

2 November 2013

'Sins of the Father' is in The People's Book Prize 2013 AUTUMN Fiction Collection. Voting is open to all Readers.

We encourage all book lovers and readers to get the books or borrow from their local libraries and cast their votes for these books. Read the Eastwood Advertiser Feature 
The People's Book Prize entry link: Sins of the Father

The People's Book Prize is the unique democratic Book Prize voted exclusively by the public so it is the public who choose Britain's Next Bestsellers. Its goals are to discover new and unknown works, eradicate illiteracy and support reading uniting the community as a whole.

29 October 2013

"...beautifully written and I recommend it to children all over"

"Aliens and Angels' is a very beautiful and interesting story which deals with issues most children have.
'Not Without a Carrot' is so funny, it's a wonderful take on a very familiar story and from a very different point of view. I'm sure Sunday school teachers and even ministers/pastors will enjoy this as I did.
'Bootee For Etta' is another wonderful Christmas story every child would like to hear or read.
The book is easy to read, beautifully written and I recommend it to children all over. It is sure to be one that will be read over and over again."
Lottie Yinka, ex-minister

25 October 2013

"...such amazing love, grace, humility and sheer joy of the Yuletide."

"A charming selection of three stories just like the Three Kings bearing gifts to baby Jesus. These stories are magical with a cheerful tone and will warm the hearts of young readers. Angels and Aliens is a perfect stocking filler for Christmas and adds a new dimension to children's Christmas stories. The character of Trouble the Donkey really gives the donkey who took Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem a firm place as the star of such amazing love, grace, humility and sheer joy of the Yuletide."
Collette Caffrey, Stanza Poetry Group

22 October 2013

A great review of 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury' by Rebecca D. Elswick

"If you love a good mystery, then what could be better than a 50 year old letter that leads the main character, Julie, on an adventure to find the person who was supposed to receive this love letter? The one thing that Julie discovered from the letter was that it had been written by a soldier returning home after the end of the World War II to a nurse in Cleethorpes. They had met at a rehabilitation hospital in Kent and fell head over heels in love. With her husband in tow, Julie travels to East Coast holiday resort of Cleethorpes. Here they discover much more than who should have received the letter. They discover dark secrets that hark back to the Third Reich. If their discoveries fall into the wrong hands, the very foundation of the British government could be destroyed."

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

17 October 2013

Novel nomination for author at 73, Nottingham Post feature

We encourage all book lovers and readers to get the books or borrow from their local libraries and cast their votes for these books. Read the Nottingham Post Feature 
The People's Book Prize entry link: Sins of the Father

The People's Book Prize is the unique democratic Book Prize voted exclusively by the public so it is the public who choose Britain's Next Bestsellers. Its goals are to discover new and unknown works, eradicate illiteracy and support reading uniting the community as a whole.

10 October 2013

A review by Jude Ouvrard - "a good read and the end left me wanting more"

"I enjoyed reading this novel so much because of the author's talent to create the perfect plot. I liked all the twists and different directions he was taking me. Definitely a page turner! I couldn't put it down.
The author has the ability to write description that made me feel like I was part of the story. I could see everything the author wanted me to see, like in a movie. It's well written and the characters all perfectly described.
It's definitely a book that I will read again. It was a good read and the end left me wanting more. I recommend this book to everyone!
Two thumbs up!"

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

3 October 2013

Precarious Career of a games inventor - Nottingham Post Author's Spotlight

Click to read the feature.

The book:  Find out about the intriguing, sometimes frustrating, world of games inventing from someone who has spent 55 years exploring it and has had over 50 different games marketed, selling around 3 million in more than 20 countries. There is also a glimpse into the fun and toil of co-writing 20 books. He didn't get rich – it doesn't work like that!

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

1 October 2013

A review of 'The Princelings of the East' ...the plot is absolutely brilliant

Princelings of the East is an amazing book jam-packed with mystery and action. The story begins with the main characters, the heroic princes, George and Fred in the castle Marsh. Their contrasting characters of engineer and philosopher make their dialogue all the more interesting. The boys are thrown into an energy shortage before the king's birthday and wonder if the cause is from another castle. Their vast knowledge of the castle tunnels leads them to a neighbouring castle however the tunnel was not what it seemed and takes one princeling through time while the other is stuck in the present! Though separated they discover crucial clues in the future about a drink called wozna and in the present in castle Buckmore. Their discoveries lead to the culprits or should I say culprit (!) of the energy drain. Overall outwardly the book title and cover is very deceiving however the plot is absolutely brilliant. It’s sci-fi mixed with mystery and action and I would recommend it to everyone!!!!
Reviewed by Joshua A. (13 years old)

26 September 2013

Secrets of a School Teacher

The Life that Jack Built
By John Butler

A fascinating and heart-warming tale that is personal, historical and humorous with moments of passion and fear.

It is the early 1940s; Jack is a young man leaving university at odds with himself. He tries to make a career in banking but finding himself a square peg in a round hole, so he decides to enter the teaching profession which takes him to urban and rural schools in post war Britain. This is the story of his many escapades. It is the tale of how he handles work, romantic attachments and manages to wriggle out of the tightest of situations. 
Then suddenly opportunity knocks for him–it is an opportunity you’d have to be mad to take–he takes the plunge, but at the end he is in for a surprise. ....Find out more


23 September 2013

The King’s Ransom: Brilliantly written with twist, turns and excitement. Highly recommended!

Set in medieval England, The King’s Ransom is crammed with complex but brilliant characters who will keep you engrossed and reading till the end. Each of the characters has their unique perspectives on the events that occur and in a fascinating way the author gives an insight into what they're thinking. The writing is lucid and description so deft it puts you in touch with the characters–you can feel the emotions–you really feel you are at Penbroke Castle! The author doesn’t beat around the bush as the reader is thrust straight into the action from the onset. This is then followed up flawlessly with a mystery and a quest for the young boys. The boys receive fortunes which help them with their quest, and it all culminates in an exciting grand finale. Overall, a brilliantly written book with twist, turns and excitement. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by Joshua A. (13 years old)

19 September 2013

"I enjoyed reading this novel so much because of the author's talent to create the perfect plot. I liked all the twists and different directions he was taking me. Definitely a page turner! I couldn't put it down.
The author has the ability to write description that made me feel like I was part of the story. I could see everything the author wanted me to see, like in a movie. It's well written and the characters all perfectly described.
It's definitely a book that I will read again. It was a good read and the end left me wanting more. I recommend this book to everyone!
Two thumbs up!"

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

17 September 2013

Joyous Pomp Romp!!!

A review of Pomp and Circumstances by Steve Campen, Radio Producer

The Review
"Love and marriage and what better backdrop than the biggest marriage, so far, this century. Sue really brings the whole day back to life again. Like many I was non-plussed about the Kate and William wedding but really rather enjoyed the whole event, much like this book, filled with teenage angst royal splendour and a touch of genuine love. Does it all end happily ever after? I suggest you read Sue's book to find out."
Steve Campen, Radio Producer 

12 September 2013

Book Savvy Spotlight on Polly Morten

Bringing you exclusive interviews with authors featured in the Book Savvy Newsletter.
Our Guest is Polly Morten*
Enjoy the interview.

Q1Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I trained  in science, worked as a college lecturer, ran a beauty salon, lived on a sheep farm, ran local and national dressage competitions, dressage judge, competed in one day eventing, show jumping and dressage. I'm currently working at a local Stately Home, and training and working my two Labradors. I'm married with no children.

Q2. Give us, if you would, 'Gift Horse' in a nutshell, for those who haven't yet had a chance to read it.
An amusing weave of different people's lives, all brought together by a professional or personal interest in horses.

Q3. Give us a sense of how this novel came together, if you would. Where did you begin, and how did you shape the narrative to create the final version of the story?
I began by going to a creative writing group, never having written anything since school.  It appeared to be so difficult to get a novel published that I decided to see if I could - I have always liked a challenge.

9 September 2013

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Get the best in reading and entertainment at amazing new low prices with NOOK.  For a limited time only, NOOK HD Tablets will be available for only £79! Hurry, this amazing price won't last for long. Free delivery on all orders!

'Sins of the Father' is in The People's Book Prize 2013 AUTUMN Fiction Collection. Voting is open to all Readers.

We encourage all book lovers and readers to get the books or borrow from their local libraries and cast their votes for these books.
The People's Book Prize entry link: Sins of the Father

The People's Book Prize is the unique democratic Book Prize voted exclusively by the public so it is the public who choose Britain's Next Bestsellers. Its goals are to discover new and unknown works, eradicate illiteracy and support reading uniting the community as a whole.

7 September 2013

Congratulations! 'The Blake Curse' by I. C. Camilleri is a finalist in 'The People's Book Prize' SUMMER 2013 Fiction Collection

A big thank you to everyone who voted for 'The Blake Curse'.

The People's Book Prize is the unique democratic Book Prize voted exclusively by the public so it is the public who choose Britain's Next Bestsellers. Its goals are to discover new and unknown works, eradicate illiteracy and support reading uniting the community as a whole.
Supported by Patron Frederick Forsyth CBE the Award consists of prizes in three genres – fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature.                  
The People's Book Prize entry link: The Blake Curse - Fiction Category

5 September 2013

"An atmosphere is captured within this short book so well that you can keep it as a souvenir"

A candid review of Pomp and Circumstances by Thomasin Sayers

The Review
"The royal wedding of Will and Kate centred around romance and celebration; 'Pomp and Circumstances' introduces its own aspects of London life where similar situations occur on a level to which the reader can relate. Events throughout the story touch on the themes of romance, loss and celebration, however they are all brought together through a nationwide sense of joy. These events do, however, create a bigger picture from the events of the Royal Wedding day, and remind the reader that this was not the case for everyone in Britain. It takes us back to consider and remember where we were at the time of the wedding - who we were with and to what extent it was an important event to us.

3 September 2013

A Games Inventor Shares His Rise To Success With The Release Of A Book

Michael Kindred featured in the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad Newspaper.
Read the full feature

About the book
How do you get an idea for a game? What’s involved in developing it and making an initial prototype? How important is play-testing, and whom do you involve in that process? What are the tips for writing rules? How do you go about trying to get your idea onto the marketplace? What are the important parts of a contract?
This book won’t provide all the answers, but it will give you an insight into the fascinating, and sometimes frustrating world of games inventing based on Michael’s 55 years of experience of the successes and failures; the laughter and tears, the delight and the boredom.

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

31 August 2013

'Out of the Frying Pan' - A short story set in the World Trade Center

The Derby Telegraph invites readers to submit short stories. Here is a piece by Neal James, titled 'Out of the Frying Pan'
MARK knew that he was for the high jump as soon as he got the summons to head office from Burt Travers, the head of corporate HR. He had failed on a number of potentially lucrative contracts and the work required to seal each deal had been neither complicated nor time-consuming.
Now it was time to face the music and, as he sat in the company's reception area of the 38th floor of the World Trade Center in New York, he started to worry about how he was going to explain things to his wife Selma. They had been married for 22 years and, although they had no children, his was the only source of income and they had a hefty mortgage to pay on their Philadelphia home. It was a riverfront property off St Columbus Boulevard and he had gambled on his commission to pay off the interest on the loan. He was snapped out of his reverie by a call over the reception intercom.

29 August 2013

Magical Stories Full of Mystery & Humour

Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas
By Sue Hampton
With illustrations by children from schools Sue has visited, this is a book to make you smile at any time of year.

The school Nativity play has been cast and Robbie would rather be an angel than a spotty, hopping globalob, but no one seems to understand. A wilful donkey called Trouble has his life transformed by a baby, and a girl who feels alone on Christmas morning finds a reason to smile again.
Sue Hampton captures the spirit of Christmas with three warm-hearted stories full of humour, mystery and magic. ....Find out more


27 August 2013

A light-hearted detective story in the Julius Falconer Series

The Bite of a Mad Dog: A Country Parson’s Curious Tale
By Julius Falconer
 It is the summer of 1728, and we are in the village of Sherburn, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. A conspiracy is in the wings, this has worrying, and sometimes hilarious, consequences for the hapless vicar, whose meagre detective skills are stretched to their limit. Both the squire and Sir Ralph are only too happy to leave it all to the vicar – until, that is, the vicar is arrested for gun-smuggling and the squire disappears.
This neat tale both faithfully recreates the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century Yorkshire village and offers the modern reader rare entertainment....Find out more


22 August 2013

A Stirring Tale of Love, Heartbreak and Religious Sectarianism Set in Ireland and Canada

Between Two Dusks
By Annie Coyle Martin
This heart-tugging story closely recreates the atmosphere of 1950s Ireland and is the sequel to ‘To Know the Road’ published in 2011.

It is the 1950s in Dublin, Protestant Lizzie Wynne meets and falls in love with Finn, a young Catholic doctor, they are confident that religion will be no barrier to love in a changing Ireland. But the past has a way of catching up with you when you least expect it. Finn discovers Lizzie’s past and family background, unknown even to her–it changes everything.
Lizzie escapes to Canada in search of a new life, but questions about her past remain and only a trip back to Ireland may resolve them. Will Lizzie ever discover the truth about who she really is?
....Find out more 

20 August 2013

A Provocative Story of the Paranormal

Harley House
By Fred Maddox
Assume Nothing!
Peter Grice was your average kind of guy, an ordinary man, down-to-earth, simple and certainly not superstitious. He was a sceptic and dismissed stories of ghosts, ghouls and little men from Mars as nonsense–a figment of the imagination. He disregarded stories of the supernatural, and scoffed at people who related such tales. This was until he moved to a new town and met Greg and his three friends in Harley House.
The sequence of events which followed his encounter with them would shake his view of the world to the core and when he meets the ‘operator’ – his perception of the life is dramatically altered forever....Find out more

15 August 2013

Author Spotlight - Chris Pownall on Morgen Bailey Writing Blog

Author Chris R. Pownall, who now resides in Nottinghamshire England, was born in 1943 in the rural Cheshire village of Bosley. He has an older sister Cynthia Edwards, who also has ambition to become a published author.
Their parents, Robert and Lucy Pownall were hard working and caring individuals, whose standards and values were, rooted in the future lives of their two children. Sadly Robert died prematurely, leaving Lucy to complete the parenting of Cynthia and Chris who were 17 & 9 years of age respectively, at the time of his death.
Chris failed his 11+ examination and received a secondary modern school education, leaving full time education at 15 years of age, with no academic qualifications to his name. He managed to secure an engineering apprenticeship at a nearby mill and attended Macclesfield College of further education, studying mechanical engineering until the age of 22 years.

13 August 2013

Once Upon a Game: an extract from Derrick Knight's Ramblings Blog

Today I finished reading my friend Michael Kindred’s autobiographical work, ‘Once Upon a Game’, being a description of his ‘precarious career as a games inventor’.  For two reasons I am mightily relieved that I can wholeheartedly recommend this entertaining book.  The first is because Michael is a very good long-standing friend and, in the world of cryptic crosswords, colleague.  The second is that I feature as one of his collaborators.
Michael’s capacity to entertain is at least twofold in this piece.  The first strand of this talent is in his descriptions of the process of creativity from the, sometimes failing, germ of an idea to the shop shelves.  I found his story of how the very successful board game ‘Bewitched’ came into being fascinating and provoking of much admiration.  Without giving too much away I can record that his observation of a discarded but saved ‘just in case’ magnet from a kitchen cupboard door mechanism, led to an idea for the game that produced a surprise element that immediately captivated the minds of the Waddington assessors.

8 August 2013

"This is definitely a book young people in their teens will find very rewarding"

A review of Pomp and Circumstances by Hazel Ward, a former school teacher

The Review
"I so enjoyed the way Sue Hampton sets the young lives of James, his sister Faith, Olly and Hema against the pomp of William and Kate’s royal wedding. The circumstances they find themselves in and the decisions they take on this day shape and drive the novel. They have to deal with loss, take responsibility, dare to be different, take control, and try new boy/girl relationships. All the characters live in their own right, yet gently weave different cultures, class and gender together. Even their parents are vivid and the adult world full of humour. This is definitely a book young people in their teens will find very rewarding – even those well out of their teens!"
Hazel Ward (Former school teacher)

6 August 2013

Spooky Tale by author Neal James on the Amber Valley Info Site

“Mummy! Mummy look at this. Dad says I can’t possibly wear anything so hideous tonight. You said it would be alright didn’t you?”

Melanie came racing down the stairs and into the lounge, her face red with indignation. Pauline looked slowly around the room and stood in complete silence as she came to terms with events of the past few moments. They had all reeled as the heavy glass object crashed into the far side of the mirror, and she had stepped forwards as the figure of Melanie disappeared backwards in the foggy air generated by the explosion of fragments into the Colmores’ lounge. She reached out automatically but the hand of Maria prevented any further movement and the entire scene vanished before her eyes.

Now she was standing in the lounge of her own home all those years ago with her twelve year old daughter before her with arms folded and shoulders hunched in an all too familiar pose. Derek took great delight in winding Melanie up at the drop of a hat, and in this instance it was clearly something to do with the clothes which she proposed to wear after coming back from her friend’s house where she had stayed the night.

“Mummy? Mummy, you alright?”...

Neal James is the author of five books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds', 'Threads of Deceit' and 'Full Marks'.

Published: Short Stories - Volume One
Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

29 July 2013

Book Review - Return to Cardamom (Caramel Cardamom Trilogy, Book #2)

Book Review
The plot is great and the story is brilliant. Characters such as Alexander 222 and Aunt Isobel are brilliant because they feel they are doing right but are doing wrong and then later are just misunderstood individuals. The heroes are really complex characters, very interesting to read about. I particularly like the twist at the end because when I felt there was no more danger a problem jumped back into view. If you enjoy reading sci-fi or fantasy novels you will definitely love this book and the previous one.
If any, my only reservation about this book is that when I first picked it up, I couldn’t really follow the characters as their background were mostly introduced in the first book of the trilogy (Escape from the Forbidden Planet). However after requesting and receiving the first book from the blog tour organiser, the 2nd became more enjoyable and hitherto complex characters like Alexandra clones became far easier to follow. The book was quite captivating after I got the background of the previous book.
Reviewed by Joshua A. (13 years old)

22 July 2013

An interview with Julie Grasso*, author of Return to Cardamom (Caramel Cardamom Trilogy)

Q1. As succinctly as possible, tell us why someone should read your book.
Telepathic elves, intuitive trees, space travel, evil clones and chocolate cake… say no more.

Q2. Where did you draw your inspiration from for your characters?
Umm, Caramel is a bit like me. Some of my family have read the book and just laughed, knowing that is how I would say something.

Q3. What is the main message you want to convey to your readers in your books?
Caramel may have a disability but she learns to capitalise on her unique abilities. I hope kids will identify with her struggles and be encouraged by her courage and determination.

Q4. How did it compare to write the first book, “Escape From the Forbidden Planet” versus the second book, “Return to Cardamom” in the series?
The characters and world building were already explained by book 2, so it felt easier to continue their journey.

Q5. Can we expect more books from you in the future?
Hmmm, book 3 in the trilogy has all the characters return for an intergalactic space camp…enough said. I also have a middle grade tween crime scene investigation in illustration at the moment so stay tuned.

20 July 2013

18 July 2013

Author's Profile: Neal James featured on the Voices & Verbs Blog.

I’m a Derbyshire author, am 61 this year, and have been writing since 2006 when an idea for a family
33 years of earning a living in a professional capacity as an accountant provided the kind of discipline needed to complete novels ranging from 65,000 to 100,000 words. Putting myself through a professional qualification made me realise that there really is no such thing as a Free Lunch, and that the only person likely to take an interest in my career, apart from my wife Lynn, was me.
This is the sort of reality which had stood me in good stead, and allowed me to reconcile to the fact that agencies simply are not interested in unknown, and therefore high risk, authors. I was extremely fortunate to find Pneuma Springs – a publisher prepared to take a risk without the fallback position of relying on an agent to screen the work.

11 July 2013

Dudgeon's Bridge: Civil war novel may shake your knowledge of history

Dudgeon's Bridge | Fiction / Historical | Kent Messenger feature
by Adrian L. Youseman

English soil, so treasured, hasn’t always been a green and pleasant land.
The times when life was cheap and governments were proved with butchery and bloodshed, are, in reality, only a few hundred years behind us. The history we take for granted is littered with the prejudices of originating scholars and the editing of the victors from any given age.
The 17th century Civil War split families and towns, killing by proportion more English men than WW1 and WW2 combined. History has polished its account to let us believe that somehow it was the birth of our democratic nation, but this was no rite.
Dudgeon’s Bridge takes you through these times. A boy is born into a town beset by the worst of these troubles and must struggle to make his mark, whilst trying to look after his family. We know too well in today’s world that one simple life can change the world we know, but little of those in the past who did. This is the account that’s waiting to be told, for the monstrosity of war creates its children and just like so many of them, the truth is so often the first to be orphaned.

Paperback | Waterstones | Amazon UK

6 July 2013

Becoming a Writer

By Neal James
Headshot4The lure of writing, for me, came with the hair-raising prospect of actually getting something not simply published, but also in the display window of a major book store chain.
I do believe that more of us have the ability to write than the supposed experts give us credit for. I once read part of an article by a well-known writer which contained what I thought was a piece of sheer arrogance. Paraphrasing, this person said that there is an assertion that there is a book within in all of us and that, in his/her opinion, that is precisely where it should remain. The unfairness of this piece of rhetoric stands alone in its starkness.
I started in 2006 with a manuscript full of family life stretching over a period of 30 years or more. It was prompted by a major family event, and spawned a flow of short stories which were published on a succession of writing sites across the world. This is where a writer cuts his or her teeth.
Places like that can be brutal in the honesty of their members, but anything of quality will survive the harsh, but ultimately fair, critique; fair because you are judged by your peers, and honest because there are no axes to grind.

4 July 2013

Book Savvy Spotlight on Sue Hampton

Bringing you exclusive interviews with authors featured in the Book Savvy Newsletter.
Our Guest is Sue Hampton*
Enjoy the interview.

Q1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your book 'Pomp and Circumstances'?
As an ex-teacher who used to stretch my pupils, I challenge myself by writing in various genres and styles for different audiences - from humour and fantasy to historical adventure. But I hope there's always a detectable 'essence of me'! Pomp and Circumstances isn't for children but young adult/adult readers - and all the action happens over twelve hours. One day changes the lives of five young Londoners.

Q2. Why did you set Pomp and Circumstances on Royal Wedding Day?
It was a day I began as an indifferent observer, of the central players and the crowd. But I found myself held captive on my sofa! I realised this unusual day was an opportunity for new, surprising connections.

Q3. Who would enjoy this novel and why?
Anyone over fourteen. It's a lively social snapshot of partying London, but the story is character-led, exploring modern ideas, choices and relationships.

29 June 2013

The Falconer Style

Style is often a matter of taste. I daresay that the Falconer style, for reasons that are beyond me, is not to everyone’s taste, but at least his writing:
  • is clear and unambiguous
  • is grammatically, syntactically and orthographically correct in every detail
  • has (I like to think) a certain elegance
  • evinces an old-world charm too often lacking in today’s writing
  • springs no surprises (no sex, profanities or violence)
  • in short, provides good, wholesome, family entertainment!

27 June 2013

"Imaginative digest: The Cherrypickers Delight"

A review of John White's ‘Be Seated' by Harry Riley*, an author and a member of the Eastwood Booktown Development Group.

The Review
Short stories for the smallest room
"John White could easily have called this imaginative digest: The Cherrypickers Delight; because unlike a novel where the reader is obliged to follow each consecutive chapter in order to follow the plot, here it is a pleasure to dip in and out of each little tale or monologue as the mood suits. Whatever your taste you should find this book a welcome companion.
Several of the stories such as: Gladius and Over The Hills And Far Away are so intriguing they could each be the start of a novel in its own right.
My only criticism, if there is one, is that the book was read, cover-to-cover in too few sittings."