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Friday, 30 November 2012

A Beautiful Review for Where The Bulbul Sings

"Where the Bulbul Sings reminded me of John Master’s famous novel Bhowani Junction. However, Serena Fairfax’s characters are just as stunning and her writing equally strong in projecting the atmosphere of India throughout."  

Where The Bulbul Sings by Serena Fairfax is reviewed by Francine Howarth

After reading the first few pages to this novel I knew I wanted to read on. Set against the backdrop of India at a time when the sun never set on the British Empire, the author portrays the poignant plight of a young Anglo-Indian woman torn between two cultures. Unable to claim either as her rightful place in society, and although privileged in the sense the British afford preferential working status to Anglo-Indians, their Indian counterparts envy and despise them. As with all cultural divides there are exceptions to the friendship rulebook and cross-cultural bonds occur for all manner of reasons. But for the heroine, although beautiful and intelligent, life has cruel twists and turns. Whilst Hermie dreams of her Home, as that of England, she loses her heart to the Maharajah of Walipur, but in his little black book of pleasure sex is one thing and love another. Devastated by turn of events, England is again her dream goal and one man becomes her ticket to Home. Can she be sure her dreams are his, too? 

Find out more about Serena by visiting our Author, Books & Review Pages

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Our Amazing Authors

Meet our amazing authors and learn about their five star publications on this wonderful showcase trailer produced by Avalon Graphics


If you like what you see, please visit our Books, Trailer & Review Pages

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Is a Self Publishing Author an Inferior Writer?

Kathryn Brown ponders as to why the self-published author is often seen as an inferior writer.

Even today, in these times when self-publishing has become so popular, it still seems to be the case that the self-published author is often seen as an inferior writer to those who have been traditionally published. I ponder as to why this should be, and hope always that I’m wrong, but alas, I see time and time again evidence that an indie author, or one who has self-published, just isn’t good enough to make it to the offices of a publishing house.

But is this really the case?

Unless you’re a celebrity or particularly high profile and a house-hold name, it’s almost guaranteed that your first submission to an agent or publisher will be rejected. It’s all par for the course. I think we all feel a pang of disappointment when those rejections land on our doorstep, or in our email folder, but those who take their writing seriously brush themselves down and carry on. Some authors carry on submitting and some don’t. This doesn’t mean to say that the ones who don’t try elsewhere aren’t capable of being published traditionally. It simply means they haven’t found the right agent to represent them or the right publisher to print their work.

“If all else fails, just self-publish.” Someone said this to me not long ago and it really irritated me. They were implying that self-publishing is second choice, a choice that we authors would rather not have to make. If I received an email from one of the ‘big six’ this week, I’d be delighted. But I’d still ponder it and ask myself if traditional publishing is really what I want. Some of the questions we need to ask ourselves before we choose how our books are published are:-

1.      Do I want to be in complete control of my own work?
2.      Am I happy to wait for at least a year, maybe two, before my work is published?
3.      Will I be confident enough to talk in public, maybe on the radio, in front of an audience or even on the television?

I know my own answers to these questions already. But one question I heard someone ask themselves once was, “am I good enough to be traditionally published, to have an agent like my work enough that they’re willing to represent me and find me a publisher?” Agents are wonderful people, but they are not God.

I’ve read some books that I’ve bought off the shelves in large and well-known book stores that haven’t been anywhere near the standard I would expect from a book published by a huge publisher. I’ve read books that I’ve downloaded onto my Kindle, have been self-published by an unknown author and have been more than worthy of five-star reviews. I don’t deny there are badly-written self-published books and excellently written traditionally published books. But we’re at a time in the publishing world now where we need to narrow the gap between traditional and self-published material. Sometimes, it just takes a little perseverance and an ounce more patience to get your book on the real shelves, but it takes a large helping of hard work with an extra generous sprinkling of dedication to self-publish it. Let’s never forget that.

Find out more about Kathryn and her 5 star read, Discovery at Rosehill on our Author, Books, Review & Trailer Pages

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Win or Lose by Francine Howarth

Win or Lose, another fantastic short story from Francine Howarth

Beth bit her lip. She’d worked so hard for this, and had fought against the male fraternity and carried the weight of their scorn on her shoulders at ever turn, at every jump. All the hoops set before her had burned ever brighter as the weeks and months and a year passed in solid training. But, she could do this. He could do it, too.

   She watched him closely, every muscle powering on the pressure, edging him forward with every pace. They were on the home run, and it was a now or never situation. He had to pull ahead, had to stretch himself.

   Excitement and expectancy rose in tumultuous roar all around, and for the first time she felt this was it. This was to be her day, his day, too. But a shadow suddenly blanked the sun at her back, a familiar arm then coiled around her waist: dangerous and almost sinful in its intimacy.

   “We’re in a public place,” she said, her words stolen by uproarious chants of “Yes. Yes. You can do it, you can do it.”
   “So. I own you as I own him, in a roundabout fashion.”
   His hot breath she likened to flames of desire searing her flesh. Yet her heart was supposed to be out there, on the track, not here with this sun-tanned Adonis. Damn him. How many times had she seen his blue-grey eyes searching in hope of a specific answer, one raised eyebrow conveying suave manner of patient man in waiting. His overt attentions were nonetheless spoiling the moment and complicating her life in ways she had never envisaged.

   The sheer joy of imminent win added to the sexual heat rising within, stole her breath, and she had to stop him. “I can’t do this.”
   “Sure you can,” he said, tightening his grip. “Enjoy it. Enjoy the thrill of the moment. You’ve got a winner, and I’m thrilled for you, thrilled for him, and believe it, I love him almost as much as I love you.”

   Cacophony of cheering throngs raised the intensity of it all. She could hardly bear to watch, but he did it, he snatched the lead and hit the winning line a length stride in front. “We did it, we did it.”

   She spun round. And those blue-grey eyes were now alight with white heat. He whipped her feet off the ground, his lips on hers. The answer was going to be yes, she could no longer hold out against him. He’d won. Patience had won. And best of all, their horse, New Horizons had just won the greatest steeplechase ever.

Find our more about Francine by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer & Review Pages

Monday, 26 November 2012

Suzy Turner's Blog Tour Visits FFP

As part of her Blog Tour, Suzy Turner vsits Famous Five Plus to talk about her amazing new novel, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw

The North Sea Flood

Whilst researching details for my newest book, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, I was saddened to learn about the North Sea Flood of 1953. Having been born 22 years later, it's not something that I was particularly familiar with. The flood, and storm, feature strongly in the book as it was during that fateful night that one of the characters disappears. The rest of the book is based in modern day times though, the storm simply being the catalyst that kick starts certain events.

On that night, nearly sixty years ago, 30,000 people were evacuated in the UK alone. 1836 people were killed in Holland, 307 in England and 28 in Belgium. And more than 230 were killed in water craft along the coasts of Northern Europe and in the North Sea. Many fishing trawlers sank and the MV Princess Victoria was lost at sea, killing 133 people on board.

It must have been truly catastrophic for all those affected. Having watched the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy recently, I can only imagine how the family and friends of the victims must have felt for years afterwards.
Josiah Grimshaw is an old man who experienced the storm directly but it's not until sixty years later that he can begin to understand what really happened...

The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw
Adopted sisters Lana Beth and Emma Jane are polar opposites, but when the same strange 'tattoo' suddenly appears and winds its way up their bodies within days of each other, they soon realise there's more to their relationship than they could ever have imagined.
Sent off to London for two weeks of 'work experience', the Morgan Sisters soon find themselves being initiated into the ancient Praxos Foundation, one that protects the innocent while fighting evil, both human and supernatural.
At the same time, Lana Beth and Emma Jane must also investigate why the sweet but sometimes pesky ghost of Josiah Grimshaw just won't leave them alone.

Now watch the video....

The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw Amazon US:
Suzy's website:

Saturday, 24 November 2012

HUG A BOOK with Suzy Turner

Hug A Book is sponsored by

It’s HUG A BOOK and this weekend it’s with Suzy Turner


You could win a Kindle copy of
The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw

Meet Suzy

Suzy has lived in Portugal since she was ten years old. She worked in publishing until two years ago when she began writing full time. When she's not writing, she's either watching her favourite TV shows, reading or cycling around the local Monchique mountains.

Details of
The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, a Morgan Sisters Novel by Suzy Turner

Adopted sisters Lana Beth and Emma Jane are polar opposites, but when the same strange 'tattoo' suddenly appears and winds its way up their bodies within days of each other, they soon realise there's more to their relationship than they could ever have imagined.
Sent off to London for two weeks of 'work experience', the Morgan Sisters soon find themselves being initiated into the ancient Praxos Foundation, one that protects the innocent while fighting evil, both human and supernatural.
At the same time, Lana Beth and Emma Jane must also investigate why the sweet but sometimes pesky ghost of Josiah Grimshaw just won't leave them alone.

Available in Kindle


Lightning shattered the darkness. Not even Emma's thick purple quilt could shut out the light as it filtered through to her closed eyelids. A low echo of rumbling thunder made its way across the North Sea towards Andilyse Island and she shivered. Suddenly something landed on top of her head and she shrieked. The sounds of laughter emanated from the bed across the room.
'Lana, you cow,' shouted Emma as she threw back the covers and tossed the pillow back at her sister who just shook her head and giggled.
'It's only a storm. There's nothing to be scared of.'
'There is everything to be scared of,' she replied as she cowered beneath the quilt again.
'Oh come on, Sis. We're quite safe in here. This house has been standing for hundreds of years, it's not like it's going to collapse is it?'
'It nearly did the last time,' Emma croaked.
'That was like sixty years ago, Em, and none of the houses collapsed. The only thing that took the brunt of the storm was the pier.'
'And the church.'
'Exactly. None of the houses. Stop being such a coward. You're fifteen! It's a storm, it's rain, it's not the end of the world.'
'It was for all those poor people.'
'Oh stop being so dramatic. Things were different back in the 50s, Em. We're safe, now stop worrying.'
The sound of the front door slamming downstairs made both girls jump. Emma glared at Lana before they both hopped out of bed and ran to their bedroom door which they opened, looking down over the banister.
Peering up at them from the bottom of the stairs stood an attractive grey-haired man in his early 50s, taking off his soaking coat. 
'Shhh, we don't want to wake Greg and Lucy,' he said as he summoned them downstairs.
'Oh Patrick, they should be in bed too,' whispered a voice from the kitchen as the two girls skipped down to find out what was going on.
'You know what they're like, Audrey,' he said as he hung his dripping coat on the stand in the hallway. Tutting, his wife promptly removed it and placed it in the sink in the downstairs cloakroom before going back to give him a kiss.
'What's happened, Dad?' asked Emma as she sat huddled up to her sister on the bottom step. A clap of thunder made her jump and she shivered, her eyes wide open with apprehension. Lana rolled her eyes and put her arm protectively around her sister.
'Let's have a cup of cocoa,' Audrey said, recognising the look on her husband's face. There was bad news.
While they waited for the milk to heat up on the stove, Lana went into the lounge looking for candles as the lights continued to flicker, constantly threatening to go out for good.
'I've found some,' she said, setting them down on the kitchen table with a box of matches, 'just in case,' she smiled. 'So what's going on, Dad? Why did you have to go out so late?'
'He's the Chief Constable... it's his job,' answered their mother as she poured steaming milk into the four mugs, before stirring them as quietly as she could.
Lana stood beside her, adding a spoonful of sugar to her own mug before passing the calming drinks to her family, who stood sipping the chocolatey goodness silently for a moment.
Rubbing his forehead, Patrick put his cocoa down on the table just as the rain began to clatter loudly on the roof tiles.
'Oh no,' whispered Emma as she pulled her feet up towards her bottom and rocked back and forth in her seat.
Patrick put his hand on her shoulder, 'it's okay sweetheart. It's just a storm, it'll pass. Everything will be all right.'
'Well then why did you have to go out in it, Dad?' she asked.
'I was called out to the old Grimshaw farm... Josiah was seen wandering close to the pier again.'
'What? In this weather? Does he have a death wish?' said Lana without thinking as her mother tutted, glancing towards Emma. 'Did you find him? Is he okay?'
'I'm afraid he's nowhere to be seen. And in these conditions, it's impossible to send out a search party. We can't send out the lifeboat without risking the lives of everyone else, I'm afraid. He's a silly old man, he should never have been left alone in this storm. Everyone on the island knows how it affects him.'
Audrey patted her husband's hand, 'there'd be no stopping him, love. He's just looking for her.'
'Well, maybe he's finally got his wish.'
'Daddy?' said an innocent child's voice from the stairs.
'Oh we've woken the kids,' said Audrey as she stood up and went to check on her two younger children.
'Hey sweetheart. Sorry we woke you. Come on, let's go back to bed,' she said to her family. 'There's nothing we can do now. We should all try and get some sleep.'


Suzy’s LINKS


What does the Morgan Sister's father do for a living?

Answers in the comments and good luck!

Friday, 23 November 2012

A Review or not a Review!

Kathryn Brown talks about the changing face of reviews.

When an author finally gets their book on those shelves, virtual or otherwise, a particularly kind thing the reader can do is leave a review once they’ve read it. The review doesn’t have to be glowing, though of course they are always a joy to both author and other potential readers, but it should be written constructively and with honesty. If you thoroughly enjoyed the book and you feel it’s worthy of five stars, say why you enjoyed it; let other readers know that the characters are wonderfully portrayed and the plot is imaginative, tempting the reader to turn the page, not wanting the book to end. On the other end of the scale however, if you felt the book was badly-written and the plot was particularly poor, then have the good manners to put this in polite sentences; for example, ‘I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I expected I would, but this is my opinion and others will probably enjoy it more.’ Something we always have to remember when reviewing a book is that all our opinions are different. What one person thinks is five star entertainment, another person might feel the complete opposite.

And that’s just fine. We are all different.

But what we authors are finding more and more of on sites such as Amazon for instance, is how a person reads the whole book then leaves a particularly derogatory review, which occasionally turns into a personal attack on the author. These reviews offer no constructive feedback. I have to say that most of these types of reviews are written against self-published books, or indie authors if you prefer. Apart from it being grossly unfair on the author, it is also unnecessary, rude and extremely unprofessional.

Recently, I, along with several of my colleagues, read a very discourteous review that not only included a personal attack and a very nasty slant against the author, but also gave the whole plot away – a plot that took the author a year to research and write. Naturally, it caused a great deal of upset and made us, as authors, realise that even though some people will not enjoy our work (and that is perfectly acceptable), what is most definitely not acceptable is reading a book then revealing the hidden cliff-hangers in such a way that it comes across as just a bitter way to put the author down. Why would someone read a whole book then write such a bad review? Personally, if I was a few chapters into a book and I found I wasn’t enjoying it, I wouldn’t waste my time reading further.

Like a book, don’t like a book, but remember to stay courteous, honest and constructive in your reviews and never, ever give away the plot for the sake of being malicious. Authors work extremely hard on their manuscripts and spend a considerable amount of money on editing and proof-reads, cover designs, book trailers, not to mention giving away free copies as promotional offers. Writing a book is a serious business and when all’s said and done, authors have feelings, too.

Find out more about Kathryn by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer & Review Pages

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Striker - Get ready for kick-off!

Another fantastic book is almost ready for release as top author, Michelle Betham reveals the book cover for her latest book – Striker.

Yes, my soon-to-be-released new book Striker now has a cover!  And in a couple of months the book itself should be ready to hit those virtual bookshelves, and I’m quite excited about its release.  This book has proved to be one of those stories that I have loved writing, mainly because the characters have driven the plot forwards so much, they’ve found their own way – and that wasn’t always the way I’d originally intended them to go.  But I’m more than happy with the outcome.

So, what is Striker all about?  Well, it’s the story of professional footballer Ryan Fisher who is making a return to his native North-East England after more than a decade of playing in London.  He’s young, gorgeous (of course!), talented, with the world at his feet.  He has it all – money, fame, and as many women as he can handle.  But is his return back home – in a multi-million pound transfer deal to Newcastle Red Star – as simple as it sounds?  What is Ryan hiding?

Amber Sullivan is a fiercely independent, ambitious and beautiful Sports Editor for a local news programme.  With an ex-professional footballer for a father she’s grown up around the sport, but one thing Amber has promised herself is that she will never become involved with any man who plays the game. For a reason. But then Ryan Fisher walks into her life…

Jim Allen is a handsome, charismatic, American-born football manager who’s joined Newcastle Red Star in a bid to gain them the success that’s eluded them for so long.  But is that league title the only thing Jim’s out to win?

Striker is a story of power and fame, secrets and sex – because, sometimes, the beautiful game really isn’t so pretty…

Striker is due for release early in 2013.

Find out more about Michelle’s five star books by visiting our Books Pages

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

What Makes You Turn Up At The Page? Asks Caroline James

Caroline James asks, 'What makes you turn up at the page?"

I cycled into the village early this morning.  The market traders were setting up their stalls for the weekly event and a delicious smell of bacon butties wafted over from a refreshment van.  An 'Adult Exercise Area' has popped up alongside the large car and tempted me over, so I climbed off my bike and had a turn on the rower and bench-press and tried to ignore the heavenly smell of toast and bacon.  There's nothing like exercise to wake you up and get you going.

But it’s the 'getting up and getting going' that can be a problem, especially with writing.  What gets you going?  What is it that glues your bottom to the seat of a chair and makes you turn up at the page?  My writing life is limited, so I have to be disciplined and find early mornings are the only time that works for me.  I can honestly say that I never jump out of bed shouting "Yippee!" then fling myself in front of the screen to spend an hour or two with my characters. I circumnavigate the desk a zillion times and find endless things to do before I get a huge mug of tea and apply myself to the task in hand.  Are you so full of stories that they pour out the minute you hit the keyboard or, like me, do you have to drag a plot out kicking and screaming? Do you have a trick that gets the creative juices flowing? Is there something that works for you that ensures your word count reaches the required number each day?  Exercise definitely helps me, but there are days when the great Oscar Wilde comes to mind, "This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back in again." 

So what makes you turn up at the page?

Find out more about Caroline by visiting our Author, Books, Review & Trailer Pages

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Michelle Betham with Illusions of Love

If you love hot romance, then you will love Michelle Betham's 5 star reads. Today you can settle back and read an excerpt from, Illusions of Love, but first this is what the blurb says....

Hollywood movie star India Walsh is moving on from her past. Or so she’d like to think. But, as she prepares to start shooting her new movie in Las Vegas – a movie which is to be directed by her ex-husband, Michael Walsh, the man responsible for making sure a great deal of India’s past needed to be left behind – her decision to make this movie means that those around her aren’t too sure that she can truly leave the past behind… Can she really work so closely with Michael – given everything that happened – and not let history repeat itself? Or will a new man in her life bring her a welcome distraction from a past she can’t ever go back to…?

Dominic MacDonald is talented, insanely handsome, and Hollywood’s hottest property. With a habit of dating most of his leading ladies he has a playboy reputation that precedes him, but, as he prepares to head for Vegas to work alongside India Walsh on a new romantic comedy, he’s well aware that she’s one leading lady who may not be so easily swayed. But he’s determined to try. Because he needs to get close to India for a reason…
So, Dominic MacDonald is heading to Vegas with a plan. A plan that involves India. Because Dominic MacDonald has a secret. A big secret. A secret that involves somebody very close to India. A secret that will not only rock her world to its core but also, ultimately, the worlds of those around her…

Meanwhile, India’s best friend Charley has finally moved on from a past she’s fought hard to put behind her. Now a successful beauty salon owner she loves her new role as an up-and-coming businesswoman. She’s happily married to Las Vegas hotel owner and movie producer Vince Maine, they have a beautiful daughter, and a life Charley adores. Until the past she’s tried so hard to forget catches up with her in a way she hadn’t even begun to imagine. A past that puts her bright new future, her marriage, and even the lives of everyone around her in terrifying danger…

Kenny Ross has made a decision – he’s not going to let certain aspects of his life hold him back any longer. He’s determined to try and forget everything that stopped him from moving forward in the past but, when he arrives in Vegas to visit India, he soon becomes involved in something that sees disturbing aspects of his past come back to haunt him. Is history about to repeat itself in Kenny Ross’s world? In more ways than one…

As the lives of this group of people once more become intertwined, is the past finally going to make sure that nobody’s future can ever move forward? Are secrets and lies once more going to cause peoples’ worlds to collapse around them?

As emotions take over, and more mistakes are made, events in all their lives slowly merge together, leading to one shocking and terrifying night that none of them will forget…

Now an excerpt....

Michael had seen Dominic make his move, walk over to India and take her hand, kissing her on the cheek.  Just a bit too over-friendly for a first introduction as far as he was concerned.  That level of familiarity needed to be kept under control.
‘Everything alright?’ Reece asked, watching Michael closely as he observed India talking to Dominic MacDonald.
‘Everything’s fine,’ Michael replied, looking down at his pile of notes.  The distraction of India and Dominic had caused him to momentarily lose track of exactly what he was doing.
‘I’m glad to hear it,’ Reece continued, still watching his ex-son-in-law very closely, not missing his slightly flustered demeanour, and Michael was never usually one to get flustered.  Reece had worked with him many a time before and he knew that this was unusual for a man like Michael.  Unless India was around.
Michael quickly pulled himself together and looked at Reece.  ‘Nothing’s going on, Reece.  Between me and India.  I promise you that.’
‘I don’t care what you promise me, Michael.  I only care about what you do to my daughter.  Something went on in the past that I still have no idea about…’  Reece noticed a tiny but all-too-evident flinch from Michael when he’d said that,  ‘… and I’m concerned about history repeating itself.  You can understand that, can’t you?’
Michael nodded, briefly looking over towards India and Dominic again, her smile as she talked to the handsome younger actor lighting up her whole face and he felt his stomach twist itself in knots as that painful obsession once more took its grip on him.
India told me you made a move, the other night.’
‘And she knocked me back.’  Michael looked at Reece, knowing those were words he’d waited so long to hear – that India didn’t want him anymore.
‘Then respect her decision, Michael.  Because this isn’t just about the two of you anymore.  You’ve got Ethan to think of now, so try not to confuse the hell out of him, okay?’
Reece’s response agitated Michael slightly.  What did any of this have to do with him anyway?  India was a grown woman, and they were more than capable of knowing what was best for their son.
He sighed, a heavy sigh of resignation, knowing he’d never stop Reece from worrying about India; there was nothing he could do about that.  But one thing Michael knew he could do was make sure her co-star didn’t get too comfortable around her.  She may not want him anymore – not yet, anyway – but she sure as hell didn’t need Dominic MacDonald.  ‘Everything is fine, Reece.  Alright?  Everything is just fine.’
Reece stared at him for a few seconds.  ‘Just make sure it is, and we won’t have a problem.’
Somehow though, Michael had a feeling that he wasn’t going to be the problem this time around.  That job was going to belong to an altogether different person.

Available from all Amazon stores
Find out more about Michelle's book by Visiting our BOOKS page

Monday, 19 November 2012

Susan Russo Anderson Reviews Satchfield Hall

“A compelling read,” is what Susan Russo Anderson says about Satchfield Hall by Pauline Barclay

Satchfield Hall by Pauline Barclay is a compelling read, a plot full of twists and endearing characters who will have you gnawing your fingernails and reaching for tissues. The book has a sense of place that is so strong it is a character, a hero and heroine that offset a larger-than-life villain, a mother whose will to survive gives life after her death, and an ending that will surprise and delight.
The squire of Satchfield Hall, Henry Bryant-Smythe, stands next to Iago and Baron Scarpia in my collection of favorite villains. He is truly a rare breed of character—believable yet without an ounce of redemption. Ms. Barclay has the wit and narrative dexterity to paint him in all his conniving fury at the pinnacle of his destructive power, juxtaposed with scenes that foreshadow his fall. But events and people change, and the story has characters who may seem weak at first, but who surprised me in the end with their strength.
A real bonus for this reader is the setting of the novel which brings to life the Great Britain of the 1940s, not only in the suffering of its soldiers, but in the struggle of a family and a land to survive their loss.
I loved this book, couldn’t put it down, and recommend you read Satchfield Hall for an endearing love story; read it for the brilliant creation of a memorable villain, someone who blights everything he touches; read it for a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Now watch Pauline’s Book Video…

Saturday, 17 November 2012

HUG A BOOK with Caroline James

Hug A Book is sponsored by

It’s HUG A BOOK and this weekend it’s with Caroline James


You could win a Kindle copy of
Coffee, Tea, the Gypsy & Me

Meet Caroline

Caroline James has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the catering industry. When she's not writing she runs a hospitality related company, climbs mountains and contemplates life.

Details of
Coffee, Tea the Gypsy & Me

E-Book of the Week - The Sun

Amusing, colourful, even tear-jerking at times -

Available in Kindle & paperback

Jo’s romance with the gypsy began with his first kiss, she never forgot it…

When Jo Edmond’s husband runs off with their nanny and disappears into a Spanish sunset, Jo resolves to make a new life with her baby son. She impulsively purchases Kirkton House a run down guest house and with the help of a colourful cast of characters, establishes a thriving country house hotel. Jo opens the hotel during Fair Week, a famous 300 year old gypsy tradition, hated by the locals and loved by every tinker and traveller in the country. Romance is the last thing on her mind, until the enigmatic John Doherty walks into her life...

Assisted by Hattie, a local woman who becomes a friend, Jo’s business succeeds and a new Jo emerges, attracting the attention of every man who comes within her radar. In Fair Week, Jo’s errant husband turns up and begins a campaign to win her back but Black Monday is looming, the stock market crashes and tourism dries up. With difficult days ahead Jo has to reinvent her business to survive…


Hattie wriggled uncomfortably on a plastic-covered floral banquette.  She sat inside a large chrome caravan, surrounded by cut glass ornaments and gleaming chinaware.
  “I see a man from over the water.  He speaks in a different way but you’ll know what he means.”  Gypsy Rose spoke.  The wizened old lady cradled a crystal ball in her gnarled hands.  Hattie stared at the translucent skin, blue veins like ribbons of ink bulged beneath the aged membrane. 
  On the other side of the caravan, Jo sat by the door and made a face as Hattie shot a nervous glance towards her.
  The old woman put the crystal ball in a velvet pouch and pushed a pack of playing cards across the table.  “Shuffle these an’ give me three.  Make a wish on yon last un.”
  Hattie gently moved the cards up and down between her fingers.  She was useless at shuffling and half the pack fell to the floor.  As she leaned under the table to pick them up, she made a rude gesture at Jo, who giggled and turned away.
  The windows in the caravan were closed and the atmosphere was stuffy and smelt of camphor.  Hattie felt hot and uncomfortable as she wiped her brow and returned the cards to the table.
  “Gypsy Rose sees your sadness,” the old lady began.  “But he was a wrong ’un and you’ll find love again.”
  Hattie leaned forward and focused.  The Italian Stallion was certainly a wrong ‘un and Hattie wondered what was coming next.
  “He’s gone.  You’ll not see him again.  There’s no money from him but money don’t make you happy girl and you can earn your own way.” 
  Hattie wished there was less emphasis on her earning her own way and sighed as she watched Jo lean forward, suddenly interested in the reading.
  “You’ve bonny boys,” Gypsy Rose continued. “One will stay close, he’s like his mammy.  T’other will work with flames but he’ll come home safe.”
  The old lady sat back.   She was tiny against the large pieces of Crown Derby displayed in a glass cabinet, the rich red and gold tones of the smooth china warmed her deathly pale skin.  Hattie fiddled with a lace runner on the arm of the banquette and passed Gypsy Rose another card.
  “I see lots of folk, eating and drinking.” The gypsy held the card up.  “You work hard but there’s one who has the eye only for you.”  She gazed at the King of Clubs.  “He loves you and there’ll be money.” 
  Hattie handed over the third card and made a silent wish.  Gypsy Rose’s expression changed.  She stared at the card then pushed it back in the pack.
  “What does it say?” Hattie asked.  The old lady had moved the cards off the table and seemed to be in a hurry.
  “Nothin’, it don’t say nothin’, your reading’s over.”

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Caroline James LINKS

twitter: @CarolineJames12


What is the name of the gypsy giving the reading?

Answers in the comments and good luck!

Friday, 16 November 2012

The Traz - Reviewed by Karen Bryant Doering

This is what Karen Bryant Doering had to say about The Traz, book 1 of the Back Tracker series by Eileen Schuh

Katrina begins her young life as the apple of her father's eye and the bane of her mothers alcoholic existence. Given a computer at age four and left mainly to her own devices Katrian begins to thrive in the online world.  With a mother who cannot or will not take her responsibilities seriously, Katrina builds a world of her own. But even a genius four year old is not able to stop the slow deterioration of her family and eventually she finds herself alone on the streets of Calgary with little formal education to show for her 12 years of living. On the streets Katrina finds a kind of camaraderie with the disenfranchised and loveless. As Katrina reinvents herself into Sarina she leaves her middle class world behind in exchange for one dominated by those of less than stellar motive.

Throwing her lot in with an older man who is a member of a motorcycle gang, Sarina is caught up in a convoluted society with moral’s and actions that both confuse Sarina while they draw her into the dark world of drugs, murder and lawlessness. As she is at once protected by the man she is with and on the other hand used for her computer knowledge Sarina must find her own morality and ask herself if this is where she belongs.

The school edition of The Traz is easily readable for young people and offers many opportunities to examine questions that all young people face. How to make good decisions, how to decide which adults to trust for guidance and when to change paths if the road chosen is not the correct one. This would be an interesting book for all teens but especially a good one for a mother/daughter to read together and discuss.
I highly recommend this one.

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