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Monday, 30 April 2012

It's Strictly Business for Famous Five Plus

Sponsors of Book in the Spotlight, Strictly Business Magazine once again showcases a selection of books from Famous Five Plus authors in their May edtion.

You can read the full nagazine by clicking on Strictly Business and Famous Five Plus is this month on page 37!

As always a huge thank you to Paul & Debbie at Strictly Business whose support is greatly appreciated.

To learn more about Strictly Business visit our Friends Page

If you love reading visit our Books Page, you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Nikki Bywater, Reviews Ask Me If I'm Happy by Kimberly Menozzi

Famous Five Plus Reviewr, Nikki Bywater, reviews Ask me if I’m Happy by Kimberly Menozzi. "This is a beautiful, tender love story..."

Emily Miller wants to say goodbye after living, for ten years in Italy. All she wants to do is to travel back home to the States and to leave her life and her marriage behind.

When Emily’s travel plans are delayed, she finds herself stuck for the day in a small Italian town called Bologna after a chance meeting with a kind stranger called Davide Magnani, he offers to act as tour guide and show Emily around the town that he lives in.

Emily and Davide soon connect and there is a strong chemistry between them. Is Emily about to discover that fate as more in store for her than she planned?

This is a beautiful, tender love story by Kimberly Menozzi. Set in Italy and with some use of the Italian Language in the dialogue, that really add to the feeling and romantic setting of the story .This is a really well written, well thought out love story.  I really enjoyed reading this book.

To learn more about Nikki visit our Reviewer's Page

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

It's Publication Day for Bon Voyage by Michelle Betham

Today we celebrate the publication of Michelle Betham's latest novel, Bon Voyage.

"My fourth novel, Bon Voyage, is finally released!

So, I've done it.  I've just released my fourth book and I'm now going through what I'm sure all of us writer's go through when we release a new book - stomach tied up in knots, that feeling of nervous excitement as we wait to see how our new book does and what people think of it...

But Bon Voyage was a joy to write, a book that was inspired by my love of a certain boy band and some of the fantastic cruise holidays I've had - a book about boy bands and cruise ships, I hear you ask?  Yes, well, this is coming from the author who wrote a book about romance - and darts!  So I wouldn't be too surprised!

Bon Voyage is a romantic comedy, a fun, light read that would be perfect both for those sunlounger moments, or just something to curl up on the sofa with as you let it transport you to all those wonderful ports of call, from the south of France, to Morocco and Gibraltar, meeting some fabulous and funny characters along the way.  But Bon Voyage is really a love story - a sweet and funny romance that tells the story of thirty-something Geordie girl, Aimee Anderson, and her best friend Jemma as they embark on their first ever cruise holiday, mainly as a way of helping Aimee forget the humilating experience of being dumped by her fiance, Robbie - at their very own engagement party!

But what neither of the girls banked on was finding out that their favourite 90's boy band - Bon Voyage - were planning a reunion.  A reunion which was taking place on a cruise ship.  The same cruise ship that Aimee and Jemma were travelling on.  Over the same two weeks of their holiday.  And Aimee had loved Bon Voyage.  Aimee had also loved the band's "bad boy", Danny Johnson - once upon a time. So, could meeting the man of her dreams - literally - help Aimee forget the humilation of being dumped at her own engagement party?  Or is something - or someone - about to stand in the way of Aimee having a holiday to remember?

Bon Voyage - a story of boy bands, broken dreams, and love on the ocean wave...
"  and Amazon US

An extract from Bon Voyage 

‘I feel about fifteen again,’ she giggled, suddenly feeling as though a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.  She was having fun!  And it felt great.  This was just what she needed.
‘Good,’ Jemma smiled, crossing her legs and rearranging her sarong as the barman approached them.  ‘That’s good.’  She turned her smile on the dark haired, not-bad-looking barman.  ‘Two glasses of sparkling wine, please.’
Sparkling wine?’ Aimee frowned.  ‘Are we celebrating something?’
‘Are we celebrating something?  Of course we’re celebrating something, Missy!  We’re celebrating the fact this holiday has finally started.’
Aimee shrugged.  ‘I’m not going to argue with that.’
Jemma swung round on her stool, shaking out her dark hair so it fell loosely around her shoulders.  ‘So, which one do you fancy now then?’
Aimee frowned again.  ‘Sorry?  Which what do I fancy now?’
Jemma sighed heavily, throwing her head back in an exasperated manner.  ‘Which member of Bon Voyage, stupid?  Because I am strangely drawn to Andy myself…’
Aimee stared at Jemma.  ‘Andy?  But you always said Andy was the ugly one of the group.’
‘I never said he was ugly.’
‘Yes you did.’
‘I didn’t!  I may have said he hadn’t been first in the queue when they were giving out the best looks…’
‘That’s calling him ugly,’ Aimee said, smiling her thanks at the barman as he put their two glasses of wine down in front of them, checking their all inclusive passes.
‘It is not calling him ugly… Anyway, what does it matter what he looked like back then?  Look at him now!  He’s grown into those looks of his, you have to admit.’
‘Hmm,’ Aimee mumbled, taking a sip of wine.  ‘Whatever.  What about Cal?’
‘What about him?’ Jemma asked, looking out at the huge expanse of sea that surrounded the MS Atlantica as it made its way towards Corsica, their first port of call.
‘I thought you fancied him.’
‘I do.  He’s gorgeous!  But I don’t know whether I fancy a bit of a challenge or not.’
‘I thought you were staying strictly single?’ Aimee smirked, the bubbles in the wine going straight up her nose, making her sneeze.
‘Circumstances can change, can’t they?’ Jemma winked.
Aimee couldn’t help laughing, in between sneezes.  ‘Have you heard the pair of us?  I mean, as if any of them would even look twice at me or you.’
‘Why not?’ Jemma exclaimed.  ‘They’re hardly at the height of their fame anymore, are they?  Most of them are divorced, none of them seem to be that rich anymore and to be honest, nobody really knows who the hell they are.  They should be lucky to have women like us falling at their feet.’
‘I’m not falling at anyone’s feet,’ Aimee sniffed, taking another sip of wine.
Jemma smiled, leaning forward, resting her chin in her hand.  ‘Okay.  But, just hypothetically, if you had to fall at anyone’s feet, which one would it be?’
Aimee smiled too, winking at Jemma.  ‘Ah, now, that would be telling.’

You can learn more about Michelle by visiting our Author & Books Pages

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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Peggy Stanton talks to Jane Leonard

Today, celeb interviewer, Peggy Staton talks to the amazing Jane Leonard from Magnolia House. Despite tragedy in her life, Jane is still a formidable woman.

Peggy: Hugging her guest. ‘Hello Jane, thank you for taking the time to come along and see me. Do sit down.  I know it’s been a trying time for you of late. I’m talking her from experience because I know families can create mayhem and not stop to think of the consequences.’

Jane: Sitting down opposite Peggy. ‘Never a truer word said, Peggy. I only wish I could turn the clock back, but then don’t we all from time to time.’

Peggy: Reaching forward pours two cups of tea. ‘It’s a terrible business selling your house at the best of times, but after nearly five decades it must have been impossible. How on earth did you cope with all the stress?’

Jane: Sipping her tea. ‘I nearly didn’t. Have you any idea what it’s like having strangers traipsing through your house, poking their noses into your rooms, cupboards and personal effects? Not to mention all the measuring up that went on. I can tell you Peggy when that Estate Agent hammered into my lovely lawn that great big vulgar sign, For Sale; I thought it would be the end of me.’

Peggy: Pointing. ’I shudder at what you must have gone through, but there’s a box of tissues if you need them, don’t worry about me, I’m only glad you can now talk about it.’

Jane: Smiling. ‘That’s kind of you, but I’ve shed all the tears I’m going shed. I’ve been to hell and back in the last few years and I’ve learnt a lot about people and life. Oddly enough despite everything, I’ve come out of this a stronger person, I’m an old lady and I’ve lost almost everything I had, almost.’

Peggy: In a soothing tone. ‘I know it all happened after you gave half of your house to your only son.’

Jane: Reflecting. ‘It had happened years before my signing over half of Magnolia House. The events that took place back then I had at last come to terms with. It was one of the reasons I gave my Ben half of the house, it seemed the right thing to do, but who knows what the future holds for any of us? None of us do Peggy. I only wish I had coped better and then things might have been different.’

Peggy: Finishing her tea. ‘I admire you Jane, I’m not sure I would have coped so well.’

Jane: A rueful look crossing her face. ‘You know, I spiked their guns at first, but it was all in vain in the end, I was a fool and silly old fool at that.’

Peggy: Picking up a book and flicking through the pages. ‘I see Pauline Barclay has written a book about your Magnolia House. What do you think about it?’

Jane: Smiling. ‘I’m glad you’ve a copy, you see it’s not just about me. It’s also about the sale of my lovely home, Magnolia House. Pauline has included the people and families who form part of the events that took place during that time and if I say, rightly so. As you know, I had to sell Magnolia House, I had no choice and in the end it changed my life. It also changed the lives of the people who were part of the selling chain. Looking back it was momentous, a lot of tears where shed, many happy as well as very sad.’

Peggy: ‘Are you bitter about having to sell Magnolia House?’

Jane: Biting her bottom lip. ‘I was at first, I was so angry I couldn’t think straight, I felt betrayed and dreadfully let down, but everything happens for a reason, so I’ve been told, and on reflection it does.’

To learn more about Pauline & Jane visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

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Monday, 23 April 2012

Avalon Graphics Sponsors Famous Five Plus

Today we are pleased to announce that Avalon Graphics will be the official sponsor to the Trailer Playing spot on our Home Page. This is an exciting development for Famous Five Plus and clearly indicates that we are seen as a professional group of Independent Authors.

Avalon Graphics, owned by Cathy Helms, is based in North Carolina, USA and specializes in creating eye catching jacket covers as well as producing professional book trailers. In keeping with their ethos for designing high quality, unique covers and trailers, they often use their own photography, adding a very personal touch to their designs.

Offering an array of design services Avalon Graphics is geared to suit the self-published, small businesses and small publishers in the market in need of quality design while on a tight budget. Avalon Graphics can also provide full book jacket layouts, marketing materials such as flyers, post cards, bookmarks, web graphics, book trailers for YouTube and even portfolio websites for clients.

You can reach Avalon Graphics at

Famous Five Plus are proud to have Avalon Graphics as a sponsor.

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Nikki Bywater Reviews See You At The Show by Michelle Betham

Famous Five Plus, Reviewer, Nikki Bywater reviews See You At The Show by Michelle Betham. "If you are looking for a racy, passionate dramatic read. Then this is the book for you."

Stevie Stone is a rock chick; she is a beautiful woman who works as a roadie for a well known rock band called Black Rock Diamond. Stevie spends her time travelling the world with the band. This is a job which she loves and she is close to the band. They are like family and she is in an on/off relationship with the bands lead singer Mark Cassidy.

Daniel Madison’s world is a complete different one to Stevie’s, married to doting wife Samantha and a successful business man turned politician. Daniel as worked hard to get to where he is and one day he dreams of becoming Prime Minister.

But what happens when two completely different worlds collide? 

This is a fabulous novel by Michelle Betham. It is just a really great story and you just can not predict what is going to happen next. With a good strong cast of interesting characters, some sizzling steamy scenes. I was hooked from page one and just did not want to stop reading. What is so great about Michelle Betham’s leading lady Stevie is that she has a dangerous edge, a dark side but I just could not help but like her.  If you are looking for a racy, passionate dramatic read. Then this is the book for you.

To learn more about Nikki visit our Reviewers Page

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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

New Compelling Read, Loved Walked In by Francine Howarth

Francine Howarth publishes her new full-length novel, Loved Walked In, but there is much more behind this compelling story.

"Finally, I've got around to re-publishing a full-length novel: first published in 1994.

"What is there to say, other than it reflects a big chunk of my life (real-time), yet it's set within fiction! But as the saying goes, truth is often stranger than fiction. And as the famous saying goes: Nothing is ever quite what it seems!

"It’s a second-time-around love affair and the protagonist is not your average twenty something. She’s a mum with two teenage children, her life and theirs’ shattered by the shocking circumstances surrounding the death of their father. A new man in her life is not even on her radar, yet turn of events will bring such to her door. As you can see, the blurb says it all."   

Blurb:  Headline News – MI6 Officer Assassinated.

Witness to the tragic death of her husband, traumatised and terrified, Cassie’s world has collapsed, and nine months after the incident she’s still struggling to gain sense of normality. Meanwhile her son makes use of his late father’s computer without permission, and discovers what he thinks is a cool computer game. Whilst playing said game Dominic is unaware it is sending coded messages across the ether.

Naturally, when a best friend of her late husband arrives on her doorstep, Cassie is drawn to McKinley in a way she never imagined possible. In the meantime a web of lies and deceit soon turn her life into a living nightmare, and come a final showdown she’s the one holding the gun. But can she squeeze the trigger?

Sample text, which implies a happy family at home for the weekend:

September 1992: London.

Clutching a large vase laden with gorgeous blooms Cassie rushed from the kitchen to hallway. Scent from the flowers mingled in heady aroma and she felt as though transported to a glorious cottage garden.
      A quick glance at the grandfather clock in passing declared almost eleven of morning. Oh hell, her immediate thought. It was almost coffee-time, lunch next. Then afternoon tea followed by dinner. All too soon it would be hello bedtime and goodbye Saturday. Time just fled when having fun.
      She paused by the hallstand, placed the vase down and fussed with a flower, which had propensity to trail rather than stand upright. Delighted the whole family were at home for the duration of the weekend, she mused at how the house had taken on a lazy air. Even so, inner sense of trepidation prevailed, because nothing, absolutely nothing was going according to her overall plan. As for tomorrow, well, best not think that far.
      If only she had had more time to think through Jamie’s unexpected proposal . . .
      Damn it all his working environment was vague at best, and a change in lifestyle had seemed improbable. That is, until last Thursday when she had decided she and the children were no longer going to live on the periphery of his other life.
      For the moment he was unaware of any plan to uproot the family: her present dilemma that of how best to broach the subject of their moving from the city to again set up home in the countryside. After years of living through long periods of his absence from the family abode and dangerous missions his forte, the time had come to say she wanted more than just a part-time marriage.
      Then there was the fact he’d hardly featured in the children’s every day lives. Nevertheless, albeit teenagers now, they had to be taken into account if changes were to be initiated. She was betting on momentary resistance from party loving daughter, whilst fairly sure her son would leap at the chance to spend more time with his grandfather.
      Hence today was to have been one of laying the ground for major change in living arrangements. Unfortunately, on the previous evening Jamie had unknowingly countered with a declaration that had stunned her, and caused her to falter on announcement of future plans. Now she felt as though her dream as good as shredded before it had gained a hearing, and here she was frantically rethinking her next move: head at odds with heart.
      With vase again to hand, sudden cacophony of telephones ringing throughout the entire house was annoying to say the least. Wasn’t that life’s cruel streak, just when you had your mind on hopes and dreams the real world stepped in to blot the moment. What now . . .
      The din unnervingly turned to that of spine-tingling ilk, and bizarre as it seemed a raven atop a tombstone leapt to mind. Oh no . . . not again, not another raven.  Palpitation of the heart followed in rapid procession amidst near calamity of the vase slipping her grasp. Only once before in her life had a similar spiritual visitation of a raven occurred. The last time it happened it preceded news of her mother-in-law’s unexpected and tragic death.
Love Walked In is available on Amazon.
You can catch me at: Francine.

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Celeb Interviewer, Peggy Stanton Interviews Jessica Avery, from Torn, by Gilli Allan, and there's much more than meets the eye about Jess as Peggy quickly discovers.

Peggy: Crossing her legs at the ankles watches as her latest guest sits down. ‘My dear, Jess, glad you could make it to my little studio for the interview.’

Jess: Smiling. ‘Thanks for inviting me, Peggy.’

Peggy: Looking Jess over, sniffs at the very dark hair which is cut ultra short and clothes that appear to be, at best, on the eccentric side, but noting the nose stud coughs loudly. ‘Sorry about that, something tickled my nose. Now let’s see, I’ve heard a lot about your racy life, but you look younger than I expected. I’m not one to make snap judgements, I’m a liberal minded woman so I’m sure it can’t all possibly be true, can it?’

Jess: Frowning, looks down at her hands clasped in her lap. ‘I thought we were going to talk about now.  My decision to...’

Peggy: Interrupting. ‘We can chat about your cougarish tendencies later, but first...’

Jess: Locking her eyes onto Peggy. ‘Cougarish? You make me sound like some kind of over botoxed middle-aged vamp!’

Peggy: Smiling sweetly. ‘No no my dear and of course we’d all love to know about the happy ending, but first, I and my readers are keen to know about the rocky road you travelled to get here? We want to know about your wayward past. So do let’s cut to the chase.’

Jess: Straightening her shoulders, a sardonic smile twisting her lips. ‘But it’s old news!  It happened long before I moved here, before I had my son, Rory. And I’m not altogether happy with the description ‘wayward’.  I was young. I had no responsibilities.  I didn’t see why I shouldn’t behave with the same freedom as the men I knew. I still don’t.  I’m sure you’ve not led a sheltered life yourself.’

Peggy: Shaking her head. ‘Sheltered compared to yours, but for someone in her early thirties you’ve really lived, be it at times a bit scarily. So do tell about how you came to make bundles of money, ate drugs like smarties and carried on at wild parties.’

Jess: Shrugging her shoulders before shifting in her chair. Then crossing her legs lets out a big sigh.  ‘OK. If that’s what you’re interested in. The question is, where to begin? I’d meant to go into teaching. I was nearing the end of my PCGE when I met an old friend. We’d been at uni together, doing maths and economics. He was working for an investment bank. I was feeling a bit fed up at the time because my godmother had just died, so the idea of doing a job that was so well paid and so much fun ... according to him ... seemed really attractive. He sold me on the idea and I got a job in the city of London.  But I was just a trader, dealing in ‘futures’ and ‘options’ on the equities market.  I wasn’t a fund manager. I never made the megabucks the media suggests we were all raking in!’

Peggy: Raising an eyebrow: ‘You’re sounding a bit defensive.  Are you telling me you didn’t make a packet?’ 

Jess: Smiling ruefully.  ‘Well, we were vilified after the crash! As if everything was our fault! It was an uncomfortable position to be in. But I admit ... before it all went belly-up, it was an exciting time and I was well rewarded. Life was good.  And I thought I’d found the man I wanted to share it with. Ben.’

Peggy: Leaning forward. ‘So what made Ben so special?  Why did you think he was ‘the one’?’ 

Jess: Blushing. ‘I’ve asked myself the same question.  He was good looking. He made me laugh and we had fun. But what it came down to ... well, the sex was brilliant!’ 

Peggy: Scowling.  ‘You don’t mention love.’

Jess: Laughing.  ‘You noticed that. It probably says a lot.  I don’t think I know ... knew ... what love is.’

Peggy: ‘So, life was good.  You were making money, if not quite the gazillions the media would have us believe. You were making the world spin with your stock market shenanigans. And your feller was making the earth move for you under the sheets.  So why did you go off the rails?  Why the drugs and the sleeping around?’ 

Jess: Sighing. ‘You’re obsessed with that part of my life. Look, I’m not ashamed of my past! But it is history.  OK, if you must know, the headline reason was that Ben dumped me for long-legged blonde bimbo!’

Peggy: Tutting. ‘You can’t always trust a man who makes everything flutter, believe you me, but do go on.’

Jess: ‘You can imagine how down and depressed I felt. So I thought sod it! Everyone I was working with, mainly men, of course, was going to clubs and parties, boozing, sleeping around and doing drugs.  Why shouldn’t I? Except that, after awhile, I had a kind of wake-up call. Everything came to head and I experienced this sudden revulsion to it all. That evening the police raided the event I was at. Sean was one of them. Somehow I managed to blag a lift home with him and his mate. Sean was never one to follow the rules.  Shortly afterwards I found out I was pregnant. Before you ask, it was nothing to do with Sean.  We hadn’t slept together ... yet. Can you imagine how shit scared I was when I realised that not only did I not know who the father of my baby was, but the fact I was pregnant meant I must have had unprotected sex! So I could also be infected with HIV? But Sean stood by me and metaphorically held my hand through all of that. It was no wonder that...’ 

Peggy: Frowning.  ‘That what?  You got yourself involved with him? Doesn’t seem like you’ve learnt much!’

Jess: Ignoring the remark. ‘In fact, at first, his was a steadying influence. I was profoundly grateful to him.  I gave birth to Rory, and Sean was there, my emotional crutch, if you like. Even the banking crash, which happened while I was on maternity leave, didn’t seem to affect me.  Of course it was terrible and the repercussions are still being felt, but I was detached from all of that. As a new mother you feel insulated against whatever is going on in the outside world, don’t you?  I was offered a redundancy package which could not have been better timed. Everything was going great. We had our calm and happy little household.    My life was sorted....’ 

Peggy: Rolling her eyes. ‘Something tells me you’re about to add a big but!’

Jess: Staring across at Peggy, her eyes suddenly glittering. ‘You could say that. After a while Sean started to pressurise me about returning to work. And he started drinking.  At first he was just verbally aggressive. Then he became violent. He started gambling and took money from the mortgage account to try and win back his losses. My life had turned back into a nightmare. But this time I was a mother with a young child to protect.’

Peggy: Sitting forward in her chair.  ‘Well I hope you told him to sling his hook or at least got one of his colleagues in blue to sort him out.’

Jess: Exclaiming.  ‘It was my flat, but he wouldn’t leave! If he’d been rational I’d have tried the legal route to get him out, but I was scared of his temper tantrums and his violence. Maybe I wasn’t thinking very clearly but I took the coward’s way out. I ran away, taking my three year old son. I put the Greenwich flat up for sale and prayed Sean would get the message and never try to find us again.’

Peggy: ‘Calm down dear, your secret is safe with me and believe you me we’re not all good at choosing the right man and it’s clear so far you’ve not done too well, but at least you managed to see sense and run… get away from him. Why did you choose an old cottage in the Warford area? It’s a bit of an abrupt change of scene for a metropolitan girl!’

Jess: Pausing, a reflective expression crossing her face. ‘I suppose I thought living in the country would be some kind of idyll. I’ve these golden memories of staying with my godmother when I was a kid, so I found a cottage to rent near where she used to live. I had this romantic deluded vision of engaging in home handicrafts, making wine, and baking bread! In my mind it was what mothers in the country did.’

Peggy: ‘Had you ever done anything like that before? Or perhaps you were trying to emulate your own mother?’

Jess: Tipping her head back, laughing. ‘My mother!? She was the ultimate hard-line feminist!  You’d never catch her doing anything so cosy and traditionally female. No, it was my godmother who was the knitter, who grew vegetables, bottled fruit and made preserves. She was the nearest thing to a grandmother I had and even though she was single, she was my template.  I desperately wanted to be a good mother to Rory, to make his life safe and secure.  And I wanted us to live a simple life, without the complications and messiness that men and relationships bring with them. I’d had enough of all that....’  

Peggy: Nodding sympathetically. ‘You’re right there.  Men! If we didn’t need them who’d put up with them?’ 

Jess: Smiling.  ‘My feelings precisely, or that’s how I was feeling. But ... Rory and I had only been living in our cottage for a couple of months. I’d become friendly with Sheila who runs the nursery he goes to, and she suggested a night out. It was my first! Rory was safe, my neighbour was baby-sitting and we only went to a local pub.  But then Sheila was called away. Her burglar alarm at the nursery had gone off. If only I’d left the pub then! But it was such a novelty to be out on my own, like a grown-up.  I was feeling relaxed and safe.  And that’s when it all kicked-off.  Who would have thought...’

Peggy: Patting Jessica’s hand. ‘I understand how scary it must have been, but just think, this last year may have been a roller coaster but if that incident hadn’t happened.....’

Jess: Sniffing and blinking rapidly. ‘It was deeply shocking at the time.’

Peggy: ‘I can see you’re upset. I wonder what’s happened to the pot of tea and ginger biscuits I ordered. Or would you prefer something stronger?’

Jess: Shaking her head. ‘But you’re right, of course. I look back on it now as an end and a beginning.’

Peggy: Standing up looks towards the door of her interview room. ‘I’ll hurry up the tea. Then you can tell me what happened next.  I’m dying to hear the details. Because you hadn’t completely turned over a new leaf had you, you greedy girl? Not one man, but two.  And like chalk and cheese...?’

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Monday, 16 April 2012

Eileen Schuh Talks On How Others See Their Characters

Eileen Schuh author of The Traz considers how authors feel when others see their stories and characters differently than they intended.


While at a conference a while back I tried engaging a fellow panelist in a discussion about his book. He answered my questions abruptly—as if he believed if I’d properly read the book, I’d have known the answers.
I asked about his characters’ motives...and the meaning of the ending, and if there was a sequel in the wings, but I got nowhere. It was as he felt there were no alternate interpretations of his work other than what he intended—and what he had intended ought to be clear to a clever reader.
I feel quite the opposite about my work.  A chill and a thrill rushes through me when a reader relates a point of view that hadn’t occurred to me. 
A close friend informed me she’d been very angry at Shrug (one of my main characters in THE TRAZ).  Shrug is my favourite character in the BackTracker Series so her comment sent me into deep thought.  Yes, Shrug did some very questionable deeds, but it hadn’t occurred to me to be angry with him.  Should I have been? Should I have been more closely aligned with my young heroine and thus outraged at the way Shrug treated her?
If Shrug were real, would I have been angry at what he did…and didn’t do? Was I not angry because I know much about Shrug that has not yet been revealed in the series?  If we know much about real people, their past pains and ulterior motives…the goodness in their souls that they are trying desperately to express, are we less prone to be angry at them?
Another reader told me he couldn’t finish the book because his own daughter had been a troubled child and Katrina’s escapades and experiences were too emotionally laden. I tried to assure him that Katrina ends up fine, despite her trials and traumas. That I hadn’t meant for the story to be troubling or depressing. That Katrina was strong and resilient and the bad guys get their dues eventually.
Then I sank into deep thought about how different the story might seem to me if I had a troubled child. What if I’d lost a child? What if I had been a child at-risk, abused by a gang? Would THE TRAZ have seemed less adventuresome and exciting and more depressing?
Perhaps everybody’s interpretation seems just as valid as mine because I hadn’t set out to relay any social messages with THE TRAZ.  It was only after it was written and readied for publication that I began to analyze the story and characters.
So, go for it guys... What do you think about Shrug?

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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Peggy Stanton Meets Sassy Molly Parker

Today you are in for a treat as Peggy Stanton talks to the sassy Molly Parker from Too Much Trouble in Paradise.

Peggy: Do sit down Molly my dear, I can see you love the sunshine, look at that tan, I take it it’s not fake?

Molly: Her tone indignant. ‘This is no spray tan, Peggy, I can assure you!  Now that I live on the beautiful Spanish Canarian island of Tenerife this tan is all real.  No faking it for me, oh no, I’ve never fancied walking round Playa de Las Americas looking like an Oompa Loompa. Anyway, that shade would clash horribly with a rather lovely orange sun dress I bought in Parque Santiago the other day… No, thanks to the fabulous Tenerife sunshine I’ve said goodbye to the pale look I used to have when I lived in the UK… and it is quite a nice tan I’ve got now, isn’t it?  Takes a lot of work to get a tan this even too, so all I can say is thank the Lord for my extremely private sun terrace!’

Peggy: ‘I’ll take it you like lounging in the sun then? No need to respond again, but suffice to say I’m a tad jealous! But what’s all this about you being a DWAG, what in heaven’s name is a DWAG?’
Molly: Rolling her eyes in mock horror! ‘A DWAG?  Do you not know what a DWAG is, Peggy?  Well, DWAG stands for Darts Wife and Girlfriend!  Simple as that.  Because I used to be one – a DWAG, that is.  For my sins…’

Peggy: Shaking her head at the excited woman sitting opposite. ‘Mmm well thanks for enlightening me, I don’t think I’m any the wiser, but we’ll press on. Now what’s with this Bad Lad, Paul Parker then?  Who is he exactly?’

Molly: Twisting in her seat before crossing her legs, tutts. ‘Who is Paul ‘Bad Lad’ Parker?  A right pain in the backside, that’s what he is!  And when he isn’t perfecting that particular talent of his, he’s playing darts – he’s a professional darts player.  A very good-looking darts player, I hasten to add, because I know darts has a certain image that makes you think of beer bellies and questionable looks but, believe me, there are some pretty decent-looking blokes throwing arrows these days.  And Paul Parker is one of them.  He’s also my ex-husband.  And there’s a lot of history there, as you may have gathered by my response.  A lot of history… ooh, don’t get me started or I’ll be hitting the Cava and it’s not even 3pm yet…’

Peggy: ‘I can see I’ve hit a raw nerve.’ Beckoning over to a camera man, ‘James bring two Babychams, this lass needs calming.’ Turning back to Molly: ‘Let’s talk about where you’re from as I can tell from you accent you’re a canny lass, so what’s wrong with living in the north east of England?’
Molly: Rubbing her hands together. ‘It’s cold, for starters.  And Paul Parker still lives there.  Two very good reasons why I escaped the north east.  And they’re the two main reasons, really.  Actually, to be honest, I could have dealt with the cold… but Paul?  Well, let’s just say that I prefer palm trees and sunshine to grey skies and an ex-husband I’m trying to forget.  In all seriousness, though, I needed a new start.  There were a lot of things I wanted to forget back in my native north east and despite it being a beautiful place to live, there were things I just needed to get away from over there.  So Fran – my best friend – and I decided to throw caution to the wind, pack up our bikinis, and begin a new life in the sun!  And it’s probably the best decision either of us have ever made.  Ever!’ 

Peggy: Smiling. ‘Oh to be young again? Never mind me, I‘m just an attractive old lady dreaming. So back to your adventures, I’m not about to give anything away, but I know you’ve another sexy man tucked up under your duvet in the Costa Sunshine, so tell me about him.’

Molly: Grinning from ear to ear. ‘Oh, the gorgeous Antonio!  The gorgeous, sexy, HOT Antonio!  Sorry, excuse me, I’ll just take a moment to compose myself there… think I may have had one too many sangria’s over lunch…  Yes.  Antonio.  He owns a little bar in the beautiful resort of Costa Adeje and that’s where I met him.  He mixed me a Mojito and the rest was history.  Think a young Antonio Banderas and you’ve just about got my Antonio, with his dark hair and his deep brown eyes and an accent that just makes my knees go weak… can someone please pass me that fan over there, I seem to have developed a bit of a hot flush…
‘Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes.  Antonio.  We’re engaged to be married, you see.  Me and Antonio.  A bit of a whirlwind romance, some might say, but what’s the point in waiting?  I’m not exactly 21 anymore, and let’s face it – one look at Antonio and who wouldn’t want to marry him?  He’s gorgeous, sexy… and he can cook an incredible seafood paella…

Peggy: Taking a deep breath. ‘Good grief when I was young it was supposed to be about love, but I can see you young things have it all different with all this sex malarkey. I’m thinking aloud here, but what happens if this Bad Lad, Paul Parker, gets wind of your sexy gorgeous lover? I hate to say this but I think a few feathers might fly.’

Molly: Biting her bottom lip. ‘Hmm… you might be right there, Peggy.  But what Paul doesn’t know won’t hurt him, and anyway, it’s not really any of his business anymore, is it?’

Peggy: Leaning over and placing a well manicured hand on Molly’s knee. ‘I know you’ve cleverly evaded answering my last question and I understand, you want everyone to go an buy your story in Too Much Trouble in Paradise, well let me tell you, I’ve read your book, it had me blushing and wishing I was your age, so tell me, what’s your friend Michelle got lined up so that we can all have another laugh and I can wish I was forty years younger?’

Molly: Placing a hand on top of Peggy’s. ‘Well, I’ve had a word with Michelle, and she assures me that there is going to be a follow up to Too Much Trouble in Paradise next year!  And I’m quite excited about that – and so’s Michelle!  She thinks we could make another really funny, light-hearted – maybe even a little bit naughty in places - book out of my further adventures, and let me tell you, Peggy, I’ve been anything but boring!  Oh no, I’ve given Michelle plenty of material to work with.  So for those of you who‘ve read and enjoyed Too Much Trouble…, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with what the follow up will deliver.

‘In the meantime, though, I know Michelle has another book coming out very soon involving a friend of mine from my native north east England – Aimee Anderson, nice girl, been on a couple nights out with her when I pay flying visits back to the UK.  Anyway, she’s off on a cruise, apparently.  So you can read all about her and what she gets up to when she finds out her favourite boy band are also on that cruise… by all accounts it’s quite a funny but romantic story.  As for me, I’m back off to catch a little more of the beautiful Canarian sunshine… maybe indulge in a cocktail or two before dinner… ah, it’s a tough life here in Tenerife…Oh mind if I skip the Babycham?’

To learn more about Michelle & Molly visit our Author & Books Page

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Amanda Egan Completing the Puzzle!

Author of the Mummy Misfit Diaries, Amanda Egan talks about her latest novel, due out in June!

My third novel will (hopefully) be released for Kindle and in paperback in June.  I'm currently at the editing stage and, as usual, hubbie is going over it with ‘the Governor’s eye’ and a fine toothed comb.  Oh and a rather large felt tip pen!  Yes, he’s thorough and yes there will be many a ‘debate’ but he made my other two novels as polished as they are, so I mustn’t complain.  He really does see the things that I don’t.
So, novel number three.  What can I tell you about it?  Well, firstly it’s called Completing the Puzzle and it is totally unrelated to the Mummy Misfit books.  Readers asked for instalment three of the diaries but I truly felt that it was time to put Libby to bed.  Who knows, she may be woken at some point - but not yet.

Completing the Puzzle follows the story of Fee, a middle-class, middle-aged housewife.  It tackles the issues of mid-life crisis and also some darker subjects.  I believe it still has humour - readers have said the 1st chapter gave them a laugh and I have to trust their opinions. It certainly doesn’t have as many laughs as the Misfit books though.  But I hope that's compensated for by some romance!

And I’m terrified!  My readers (thankfully) got Mummy Misfit and her antics.  They enjoyed laughing at the yummy-mummies, the bitching and the Botox.  What if they just don’t get Fee and her story?  What if my readers just want more diaries?

All these questions race through my head as I work towards my publication date.  The scene is set, the characters are waiting, the cover is ready and the author is shaking in her boots!

Oh well, I guess that’s just normal.  The shaking will only stop when I get that first 5* review.  Until then, I’ll be the one hiding in the corner.

If you’d like to take a look at an unedited Chapter One, you can find it here
And don't forget both the Mummy Misfit books are still available at Amazon for £1.91 and at Lulu in hard copy for a lot more!

To learn more about Amanda, visit our Author, Books & Trailer Pages

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