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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Talking the Talk

Never under estimate your audience because you sometimes get a surprising response as Chris Longmuir found out.

You’ve heard about walking the walk, well this is talking the talk. I’ve never been one to be stuck for words (maybe that’s because I’m a writer), but when I set off to give a talk to groups, I worry that I’ll dry up and have to leave with my head hanging in shame. It hasn’t happened yet, but there could always be a first time.

So, what has brought this confession on? Well, it’s simple really, I’ve just returned from one of my talks. This one was to a local stroke group, and a previous speaker had indicated I shouldn’t expect too much, and when he gave his talk a few months ago a lot of the listeners seemed tired and sleepy. Oh, and another thing he said, was I shouldn’t expect to sell any books, and I wouldn’t get paid anything. Well, I knew there was no payment involved because the organiser had been upfront about that and I didn’t mind, although it’s always nice to sell a few books because it helps with the expenses.

So, I set off expecting an unstimulating morning with uninterested listeners, as well as being out of pocket with the expenses involved in getting there. However, I’m an optimist, so I took my bag of books with me and a few extra in the boot of the car.

When I got to the venue I received a warm greeting. The group members were sitting at tables in front of the windows of a lovely, light airy clubroom. Several were in wheelchairs, and sticks were in evidence, but they were all smiling. They listened intently and were very interested in my talk and I built up a good rapport with them. Some of them asked questions at the end, and it was lovely talking to them. I was supplied with tea, cake and biscuits after my talk and I joined one of the group tables. Oh, and I sold six books, so the expenses were covered after all.

I think this was one of the warmest and welcoming groups I’ve talked to, and I will retain it in my memory as a pleasurable experience.

So, I’ll keep on talking the talk, as well as walking the walk, and I hope to meet a lot more lovely people along the way.

Chris Longmuir

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Gilli Allan is on the Trick or Treat Blog Hop!

Gilli Allan is taking part in the spooky, Halloween Giveaway Blog-Hop

“The time has come to start sculpting scary pumpkin faces, lay in a stock of sweets and practise a scary cackle for when you come to open the front door to hungry 'trick or treaters', on Thursday.

“I'm doing all the above, but as an added extra this time, I've banded together with several other writers, and am taking part in a Halloween blog-hop organised by the estimable Francine Howarth. We are offering books as prizes in return for a correct answer to a question.

“I have to confess straight away, that my newly published book, FLY OR FALL, has no link whatsoever to Halloween. There are no pumpkins, ghosts or witches. It's a grown up love story that has just garnered it's first review. I'm thrilled to say it's a *Five Star* !”

To take part, visit read the prologue to FLY OR FALL and answer the laughably simple question. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Carol Wright Talks About Her Blog Nomination

Today, Pauline Barclay is at FFP HQ  chatting with the lovely Carol Wright, AKA Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog

“Carol, please take a seat, make yourself comfortable and help yourself to coffee and cakes!  They are all homemade!"

Thank you for having me as guest today.  Just a cuppa tea and coffee cake for me, please. Splash of milk and half a sugar. Just cannot give up that last half a sugar.

Nothing like a little sweetness to keep you going and you certainly are a busy lady. Buzzing around Social Media at the moment is talk about awards and nominations and I’ve heard from several sources that your fabulous Blog has been shortlisted at the Festival of Romance, tell us a little about how you came to be nominated.

Thank you. I am so thrilled that Festival of Romance is acknowledging Book Bloggers in their awards for the first year.  I am not sure how we were all nominated. I was not aware of this award until I found out I was a nominee.  I am attending the Festival and will be reporting back on all the winners on my return.

Congratulation and I have everything crossed.  Good luck too! Now when did you start your Blog?

I began blogging in July 2011.

What inspired you to create Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog?

I was searching the internet for book suggestions similar to Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. This led me to a USA book blog.  I didn't know what a blog was at that time. I started following blogs to get more book recommendations. 
Then I decided to share my recommendations with others.  So began, the Little book blog. At first I reviewed books from my own shelves and after about 6 months I began to get review requests.

You are an avid reader. How many authors have been on your Blog?

I have lost count, I am embarrassed to say. My count says 234 author posts, although some authors return more than once.

How many posts have you posted since your Blog began?

Now that is a timely question. I have just posted my 999th post.  :)

That is a fantastic number! Please tell how do authors get to appear on your Blog?

There are several ways an author appears on the blog. Sometimes a publisher or author will contact me directly and ask for a guest spot. Sometimes, I will see a news snippet or tweet that prompts me to contact the author offering a guest spot.  Sometimes, I will contact an author when I know they have a new title due to be published. There is also a contact form, for authors who write in my selected genre, to get in touch for a guest spot.

Are there any genres you prefer?

Yes, Chick-lit, Hen-lit (for over 40's with baggage), Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance.

Last Christmas you ran a special feature on the lead up to Christmas, Christmas Fun, have you plans to do something similar this year?

The Festive Fun feature had over 30 authors, with guests every day in the lead up to Christmas. It was so popular I ran the Summer Fun Feature with over 45 authors taking part and many giveaways.  Lots of work getting these features together, but so worthwhile. I am toying with the idea of a Festive feature again but not sure if too close to the Summer Fun feature. 

Finally some quick fire questions…

Favourite month of the year
March – Spring is coming

Favourite colour

Cat or dog person?
Dog. Petrified of cats.

High heels, kitten heels or flats?
Heels for date night with hubby, flats for school run (walk) and kitten heels would be my choice overall.  Love kitten heels.

Favourite TV program
I don't really watch much tv, preferring books.  The tv is on but I tend to dip in and out of it. At this moment Gogglebox is my favourite. Watching tv, watching folks watching tv.

Lark or owl? (early up or late in bed)
Lark. I am awake by 7 and cannot lie in. Once I am awake I have to get up.  I tend to go to bed about 9pm but recently have been burning the candle and staying up until 11 or 12!

A big thanks Carol for taking time out of your manic schedule to stop by FFP HQ and as I said earlier everyone at FFP has their fingers crossed for you at the Festival of Romance. Good luck and come back and tell us how it all went!

You can visit Carol’s Blog by clicking here

Monday, 28 October 2013

Taster: Forever Fredless by Suzy Turner

Forever Fredless, Suzy Turner's brand new YA publication.

Thank God for anti-perspirant, I thought as I sat on the couch and waited for the countdown to begin. I clutched at my hands until they were white and looked across at the two people sitting opposite, both completely at ease in front of the cameras.
Five, four, three, two, one...
'Welcome back to this morning's edition of Good Morning GB,' announced Ireland Rothschild, the blonde-haired, blue eyed darling of morning TV.
'I'm here with Fergus O'Reilly and we've a special guest with us this morning. None other than Britain's love-struck multi-millionaire, Kate Robinson.
Welcome, Kate,' she said with a dazzling smile aimed more towards the camera than at me.
As my cheeks began to heat up, I was so grateful to the make-up artist, who had insisted on caking on the foundation before the show had started. In fact, I had so much make-up on that I was hoping once I'd removed it, nobody would recognise me when I headed to the airport in my now rather stupidly chosen car. I couldn't exactly blend in driving a pink Mini could I?
'Good morning,' I whispered shyly.
Fergus grinned back at me, tilting his head as if he was about to speak to a child. 'Now, tell us, Kate dear, how does it feel to never have to worry about money ever again?' he asked, his toothpaste advert  teeth twinkling beneath the heat of the studio lights.
'Erm, well, I guess it's... erm, kind of... erm,' I felt so bloody stupid. Great time for my brain to stop working. 'I - erm. Great,' I nodded. 'Great, really great.' Idiot.
Ireland glanced across at her grey-haired colleague and pouted before nodding. 'Tell us how you knew this man. This,' she glanced down at the iPad on her lap and continued, 'Samuel?'
I cleared my throat and lifted my head, feeling like my brain was back in action. 'He was a very good friend of the family, some years ago,' I answered.
'Just a friend? Why did he leave you all his money and his property?' asked Fergus.
'He didn't have any family and I guess you could say that my mother and I were the closest he ever had to a family.'
'Isn't that lovely?' pouted Ireland. 'You certainly are a lucky woman. But what about your mother? Didn't she receive any of his inheritance?'
'No,' I said before swallowing hard. 'My mother lives a rather... nomadic lifestyle, in Africa. She doesn't want any of it. All she asked of me was to donate a sum to charity which, of course, I have done.'
'She lives in Africa? A nomadic lifestyle? That sounds intriguing. Perhaps we should interview her one of these days,' laughed Ireland and Fergus together.
'Have you splashed out on anything since receiving your inheritance back in June?' they asked, leaning forward eagerly awaiting my answer.
'Yes I have actually. I bought a car and a new house.'
'Well good for you, Kate. But now, most of us are curious about this boy you lost. Tell us about him?'
Oh no. Why did I agree to this?
Taking a deep breath, I knew I had no choice. Several articles had been printed since the one in Liberty; everyone wanted to know more and nobody was going to leave me alone until I told them everything.
'He was just a boy who I had a connection with when I was much, much younger. It was at Skegness. At an afternoon disco for kids. I was dancing and I felt someone touch my back and when I turned around there he was.  The most beautiful boy I'd ever seen,' I said, stopping and smiling as I reminisced. ‘It was one of the happiest memories of my life.'
Sighing, I continued, 'We just looked at each other and it was like everything else just disappeared into the background. We stood staring, for what seemed like ages. I could barely move. And then, almost as soon as it had begun, my dad appeared and took me away. I couldn't do anything as we walked to the car. I looked around for the boy but he was gone. And then, just as we were driving away, I turned around in my seat and there he was. He had a daffodil in his hand. I always assumed he'd gone to pick it for me, but that's just a childish fantasy, I guess. The whole thing is probably nothing but a childish fantasy, really.'
Ireland was very carefully dabbing at her eyes with a tissue, pretending to be moved, while Fergus smiled sadly.
'What a beautiful story, Kate. I don't believe for one second that this is a childish fantasy. It's romantic and beautiful,' Ireland said.
'Now, tell us, Kate. Why did you call him Fred?' asked Fergus.
Smiling, I explained about the Right Said Fred song, just as the music began in the background.
'What a wonderful tale. Thank you, Kate, for joining us today. It's been a pleasure having you with us to share your story,' said Fergus.
'Thank you,' I whispered before the camera moved back to Ireland as she straightened her skirt and looked alluring. 'Do you remember this moment in time?'
she asked. 'Are you the elusive Fred? We'd love to hear from you. You can contact us at...'
Before I could hear anything else, I was ushered off the couch and back behind the scenes where Jo stood, waiting patiently for me, with open arms.

Buy your copy now!


Suzy's Links

Saturday, 26 October 2013

HUG A BOOK with Lizzie Lamb

Hug A Book is sponsored by

It’s HUG A BOOK and this weekend it’s with Lizzie Lamb


You could win a Kindle copy of
Tall, Dark and Kilted

Meet Lizzie

With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it’s hardly surprising Lizzie became a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child, until she was drummed out of the playground for keeping all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days.  A huge fan of Jilly Cooper (especially her shorter novels; Emily, Imogen et al), Lizzie had some short stories published, then her writing went on hold while she pursued a successful teaching career, the last sixteen years as a Deputy Head teacher in a large primary school. Back to being a novelist, her debut Tall, Dark and Kilted – themed Notting Hill meets Monarch of the Glen – echoes her love of her homeland in every page, not to mention heroes in kilts. She is currently working on her second novel which also a rom com but has overtones of romantic suspense, too.

Along with three other members of The Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writer Scheme Lizzie has founded an indie publishing group The New Romantics 4.  The object of the group is to help, support and encourage each other to get their books on all the amazon sites - as paperbacks and kindle downloads. Along with the other three founding members, Lizzie held four book launches in the run up to Christmas. She plans to self publish her second book in time for Christmas 2013.

Details of Tall, Dark and Kilted

Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the  dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there's a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester RossScotland.

Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an upclose and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate - starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family.

Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?

Available for Kindle & paperback

paperback UK
kindle UK           -


Two hours later, Murdo pulled off the main road and started a long slow descent, leaving the mountains behind and following a minor road flanked by a mixed plantation of pine and deciduous trees. Eventually he stopped and pulled off the road, turning round to Fliss he gestured at the stunning view in front of them.
‘There she is: Tigh na Locha, Fliss. The House by the Loch
‘Oh God.’ Isla laid her head on her arms on the dashboard. ‘Dead man walking,’ she intoned, as if thoroughly dejected by the thought of the life she’d left behind in London.
‘Don’t be such a drama queen, Isla,’ Cat slipped in one last dig as she and Fliss clambered out of the Land Rover with Lassie hard on their heels. 

From their vantage point, the mountains behind them were hidden by trees and Fliss could see soft, rounded hills that swept all the way down to a large loch. The colours were dazzling; the green of the hills and trees, the blue sky reflected in the deeper blue of the loch and the ochre of the sandy beach, which gave way to paler sand near a pebble path. The shore line dipped in and out of the expanse of water and in the distance, at vanishing point, the opposing shores appeared to link hands, cutting the loch off from the sea.

And, way below them, nestled in the trees with a wide lawn leading down to the waters’ edge where it became a beach, was Tigh na Locha. Solid, ancient, a slice of Scottish history complete with white painted turrets and stepped gables, and with a look of permanency that said: ‘I’ve been here for a thousand years. Wha’ dares challenge me?’
After the car journey, the view of the loch was balm to her soul and Fliss let out a long, shuddering sigh. Unasked for tears prickled her nose and blurred her view. ‘It’s beautiful,’ she said, a catch in her voice. Then she whispered softly so that no one could hear: ‘I’ve come home.’

Lizzie’s Links
twitter: @lizzie_lamb
twitter: newromantics4


Enter below for a chance to win a copy of this fab book!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Reviewed: Storm Clouds Gathering by Pauline Barclay

Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog Review of Storm Clouds Gathering by Pauline Barclay

“A wonderfully written novel that will have you reaching for the tissues. 
I loved it!  On my Top reads for 2013 list!”

The blurb (from Amazon)

Storm clouds are gathering, silently and slowly, too far away to worry about. Or so it seems. But ignoring what is brewing will have dire consequences for the people caught up in the maelstrom. Shirley Burton is too busy cheating on her husband, having a laugh and looking for fun to alleviate the boredom of her childless marriage. Kathleen Mitchell is too wrapped up in running around after her beautiful family to worry about her health. Anne Simpson has two things on her mind: her forthcoming marriage to Paul Betham, who seems to want to control her, and her career, which she does not want to give up.

 Can Shirley really expect to deceive her husband and get away with it? Can Kathleen hold it all together, and is Anne able to have the best of everything? Storm Clouds Gathering is a story of human emotion, passion and heart-rending grief. Set against the backdrop of the mid-sixties, these three families will be tested to the limit as betrayal, loss and love threaten to change their lives forever.

Three women, three relationships, each with their own story to tell.
Shirley is a bubbly mill worker, married to Jimmy. They are childless. Shirley craves excitement and turns to Billy for that excitement, until a turn of events brings her some major decisions to make.

Shirley's best friend, Kathleen is married to Joe and has two children. Their lives are about to turn upside down in a heartbeat.

Anne, a primary school teacher is engaged to Paul. Their views of their future together are very different. They will have to make compromises or jepordise their future.

Set in the 1960's this novel was reminiscent of the 70's when I was growing up. I picked up on the author's attention to detail when describing every day language, events and objects that are now obsolete in today's society, such as ashtrays on buses and clocking in machines.

These three women, it seems, were born in the wrong era. Their forward thinking and actions would not have such an impact on their lives had they been born in modern times.

A wonderfully written novel that will have you reaching for the tissues.
I loved it!  On my Top reads for 2013 list!

Visit Dizzy C's Little Book Blog for reviews and much more!

Storm Clouds Gathering is available in Kindle & Paperback

Amazon co uk- Paperback
Amazon co uk - Kindle
Amazon com - Paperback
Amazon com - Kindle

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The First Leg of a 23 Stop Library Tour!

Eileen Schuh shares how the first day of her 23 stop library tour went!

The first of my 23-stop library tour sponsored by the Northern Lights Library System was today, where I met with students and teachers in Myrnam, a small community about 20 minutes south of where I live.

The children surprised me with their enthusiasm and questions. For a moment, when one group of kids was unexpectedly switched out for another, younger set, I was at a loss as to where to go with my presentation but the kids kept me busy with questions and I filled in the void with a short reading from THE TRAZ.

Then they conned me into giving them some free copies of THE TRAZ! Ha ha! It was all worth it, though, when one young lass gave me a hug in thanks. I’m hoping they like the books so much they buy the sequels.
A phobia is an irrational fear and I’ve been fighting a phobia of driving since I first agreed to do this tour.  In my younger years, I loved driving, day, night, prairies, mountains. Loved to see new things, experience new things.
My fear is irrational and I know not from whence it came. With Alberta’s great highways that are always busy with oil industry traffic despite the isolated setting and with modern mobile communications and warm, dry weather, I’m not sure what awful thing/s I imagine might happen.
So how am I dealing this unknown dread that, if left unattended, causes insomnia as well as emotional and physical distress? I’m making sure I have what I need to be safe with me in the phone along with its vehicle charger, snacks, warm footwear and outer wear, my mobile internet, and maps. People know where I am going and when I’m expected to arrive. I’ve researched the route and destination and google tells me how much time I need.

Phobia’s though are irrational so the fact I am well equipped, does little to lessen the stress. So I talk a lot to myself, refocus my thoughts on things positive, breath deeply, do yoga. Plan strenuous exercising between tours. Eat well, take vitamins, and recite poems and childhood prayers. I take along my Kindle and headphones and get my robot lady to read me stories when the scenery is boring or hidden in the dark.

It is more the thought of driving than the actual process of driving that has my heart-thumping and my mouth dry. Once underway, I become keenly aware that the highway is not rife with dangers just waiting to befall me. I see harvested fields, and bales of hay and migrating geese and pretty farm houses. Cars approach, pass, come up from behind. Turn, stop, slow. People smile in passing and sometimes wave.

Perhaps what is most effectively going to get me over this is just getting out there and doing it. When I was in psychiatric nursing it was called implosion therapy—if one was scared of balloons, one would be placed in a room with 1,000 balloons. So, this is my implosion therapy—get out there and drive. Drive north and south and east and west to places I know and places I don’t. Drive in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and after dark. Just get out there and drive. And when I discover nothing dire happens on the way and that each time I arrive, I get a warm welcome, meet bright-eyed children, and maybe even receive a hug.

With one successful trip now under my belt, I actually do feel and little more sturdy. By the end of this week I’ll have five trips under my belt and I betcha anything, my stress level will have dropped to a more manageable level.


Good luck Eileen we are all behind you!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Sandy Nachlinger Reviews Torn by Gilli Allan

Sandy Nachlinger reviews Torn by Gilli Allan. ‘TORN is anything but your standard romance with predictable conflicts and stereotypical characters. It's much more, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.’

Make a choice between a respected landowner and his much younger worker? That's one of the challenges facing Jessica Avery in Gilli Allan's TORN. When sophisticated Londoner Jessica leaves an abusive relationship and takes her son to rural Warford, she expects to begin a new life growing vegetables, baking homemade bread, and sewing curtains for the windows of her rented cottage. Instead, the former investment banker finds a lord-of-the-manor farmer and a dreadlocked dreamer vying for her affection. She finds herself drawn to both.

Though Jessica admits with some regret to an earlier sybaritic lifestyle (she's not sure who fathered her child), she embraces her innate sensuality without shame. She has made mistakes--and continues to make them--and that realism creates a sympathetic character for the reader. We want Jessica and her son to find happiness and lasting love at last. If not happily ever after, then happy for now.

The love scenes in the book are nicely written--tantalizing without venturing into erotica. The author has captured the rural countryside and brought it into the story, with muddy boots and soggy clothing as well as in sunlit scenes. Allan's research is evident in her descriptions of farming, sheep raising, and myriad other details that add flavor and realism to the story. She knows her setting and the characters who inhabit it.

TORN is anything but your standard romance with predictable conflicts and stereotypical characters. It's much more, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Lizzie Lamb's New Novel is Short Listed!

Congratulations to Lizzie Lamb who has been short listed for the New Talent Award, Festival of Romance 2013

Totally immersed in the ‘TO DO’ list for launching my second romantic comedy Boot Camp Bride on Amazon in November, I was surprised to learn that I’d being shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance on November 8th. Okay, okay, I know that many are called but few are chosen - but I hope I’m at least in with a sporting chance.

Naturally, I’m thrilled to be nominated and checking down the list of nominees, I recognise many writer friends and fellow members of the RNA/NWS - so I’m in good company. As part of the nomination, I’ve also been invited to an exclusive reception to meet the judges, agents and leading lights in the industry prior to the Festival Ball/Dinner when the winner will be announced.

So, fingers crossed and watch this space.

The award ceremony will kick-start an exciting weekend at the Festival of Romance. On Saturday, I’ll be selling copies of Tall, Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride in the Corn Exchange, Bedford. And on Sunday, I am taking part in a panel talk: Author Publishing in 2013: What’s New and What’s Possible. It’s all a long way from October 2013 when, after trials and tribulations, I  published Tall, Dark and Kilted. I hope that when Boot Camp Bride becomes available on Amazon (hopefully November 1st) everyone will judge that my hard work has been worth the effort.

For now, read this extract and make up your own mind. As for me, I can rest until I put this baby to bed - and afterwards, find time for some R&R. Maybe an Award ceremony/ Dinner is just what I need.

Just Another Frog

‘I can what?’ Charlee spluttered, thinking she’d misheard.
‘I said you can kiss me,’ Fonseca-Ffinch repeated patiently as though dealing with a simple-minded child. He leaned back against the window ledge and folded his arms - waiting!
Blushing, Charlee gave him a ‘get over yourself’ look. If he thought for one minute she was so grateful over not being sacked that she’d be willing to -
‘And why on earth would I want to do that? You almost got me fired and now you have some spurious assignment up your sleeve and want me on your team. For reasons you’ve yet to explain.’
‘Ever heard of looking a gift horse in the mouth?’ he asked.
‘Of course. But the saying also covers Trojan horses and warns me to beware of Greeks bearing gifts,’ she said bluntly. ‘So you’d better make it clear why you want me and not one of the more experienced journalists. And, just to be clear, I have no desire to kiss you,’ her tone made it clear that she found the whole idea repellent. ‘Nor have I any intention of working late, missing the last train back to town and “staying over” in some country house hotel with you. Where I’ll be shown to a suite of rooms which - surprise, surprise - have conveniently interconnecting doors …’
He gave her a considering look.
‘Don’t think you’d be able to keep your hands off me, eh Chelsea? I quite understand; you’re only human, I guess.’ He looked amused rather than put out by her show of indignation. That made Charlee bristle, she’d had a lifetime of being patronised by her brothers. What she didn’t need in her life right now was another alpha male who found her ‘amusing’, and thought her a push over. She didn’t like the way he was looking at her, as if he trying to weigh her up. Or the way he kept referring to her as Chelsea, when he knew damned well what her name was.
He cocked his head on one side and his grey eyes darkened to blue and Charlee sensed he was assessing whether her reaction to his proposal was genuine. Charlee guessed that he didn’t get many refusals … ha!
‘I might,’ she replied with a snap in her voice, ‘have trouble stopping myself from strangling you. If that’s what you mean. You are the most -’
‘Okay, relax. I was just testing.’
‘Testing?’ her voice rose to an almost inaudible shriek.
‘This investigation will mean us working in close proximity. Think you can handle that?’ Again, the long look, but this time his eyes had a faraway look as if he was remembering another time, another place. A different woman.
‘I can handle it,’ Charlee said. And you, her look assured him.
‘You see,’ he continued as though she hadn’t spoken, ‘I need a female assistant who won’t go all mushy on me. Who won’t be hearing wedding bells, dream of being a June bride or think of registering our wedding list at John Lewis and expecting more than I have to offer.’         As expected, that drew an extreme reaction from Charlee.
‘And I don’t want you going all mushy on me, either. There’s no room for a man in my life - I have my career to think of,’ she added, grandly. ‘And if I was looking for a life partner - which I’m not - you’d be the last man on earth I’d …’ Then she clammed up. Five minutes ago, she’d thought she was heading for the Job Centre and here she was with Mr Award-Winning Author, about to throw her second chance away. ‘Sorry. What I meant to say was -’
‘No. Hold onto that thought, and that expression. I rather suspect that being penitent isn’t exactly your bag.’ Closing the distance between them, he grasped her by the shoulders. Charlee took a step backwards and turned her head to the side, thinking he meant to kiss her after all. He surprised her by turning her to face the mirror on the wall. Left with little choice, Charlee raised her head and stared back at herself - with Ffinch standing at her right shoulder. 

Tall, Dark and Kilted - Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen - 2012 
Boot Camp Bride - Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes - November 2013

twitter: @lizzie_lamb  

Monday, 21 October 2013

Night Watcher by Chris Longmuir

Excerpt from Night Watcher
by Chris Longmuir

Chapter One – Night Watcher

Mist shrouded everything except for the Discovery’s skeletal masts pointing long bony fingers into the sky. It was an omen. He had come to the right place.
There had been so many places since he had last been in Dundee, but he doubted anyone here would connect him with the skinny little lad ejected forcibly from his birthplace, and sent to a borstal far away. They were no longer known as borstals though, secure accommodation, that’s what they called them nowadays. As if the name made any difference. They were still the same brutal lockups they had always been.
Smiling grimly, he pulled his collar up and the brim of his hat forward until only his eyes showed. He turned his back on the glass frontage of the station and shuffled in the direction of the pedestrian bridge.
It was not there. Confused, he stopped and stared. Everything had changed. He did not like change, it unsettled, immobilized him. He turned in a slow circle. The Discovery was behind him, its masts now barely visible. Hazy lights from Tayside House’s tower building pierced the mist, over to his right, and in front of him the dual carriageway – but no pedestrian bridge.
He sent a silent plea to the voice asking him what he should do. But the voice had been silent for some time now, demonstrating its disapproval, because he had acted on his own initiative before he left Newcastle.
The voice had not told him to end the social worker’s life, nor had it instructed him to set fire to her office. But at the time he had been thinking clearly and, knowing he had to vanish, it had seemed sensible to leave no clues to where he had gone.
A cluster of people waited at the edge of the road and, although he did not like crowds, he followed them across both carriageways when the lights changed.
He was in familiar territory now, and his panic subsided as he started to walk up Union Street towards the familiar City Churches at the top.
A faint smell of smoke accompanied the grubby piece of paper and the bottle of pills as he pulled them out of his pocket. On the paper was written the directions to the hostel and all the instructions he needed to start the job the social worker had organized for him. Dumping the pills in the gutter, because he did not need them anymore, he followed the directions on the paper.
The hostel was no different from any other hostel; a grey, unwelcoming building, full of strange noises, strange smells, and even stranger people. He never felt safe in these places but it would have to do until he found something that suited him better.
That had been six months ago; six months of rest and regeneration, since the completion of his last mission in Newcastle. After it was completed the voice had told him to return to his roots in Dundee, but ever since then the voice had remained silent. Despite this, his faith never wavered. He was convinced there must be a reason why the voice had guided him to this place.
Over the last week he had been aware of his increasing restlessness. He was nervy and jumpy, forever fidgeting, unable to remain at peace for more than a few minutes at a time. This was a sure sign that the time was almost here.
As the days passed a fever engulfed him; his body burned and his skin itched. Insects burrowed below his flesh, eating him from the inside. Only one thing could quieten them and that was the completion of his next mission.
But though he continued to wait for instructions, the voice did not speak to him.
The waiting was more than he could bear and in desperation he followed several women, searching for the evil within them. But it soon became obvious to him they were not evil, only silly or misguided.
Then he found this one. She was not silly or misguided. Nor was there any other excuse for the bad things she did. But still he doubted, for although he had followed her every day for the past week and hoped she would be the one, the voice was silent.
Tonight, after leaving the department store from the back entrance in the alley, she walked confidently towards the street, unaware she was being watched.
He waited until she reached the street, then rose from the depths of his secret hiding place and followed her.
When she arrived home her house was empty. No husband waiting tonight. But the voice was silent and had not yet confirmed that she was the chosen one, and without the voice he could not act.
He followed her again when she left the house later that evening. He watched as she visited the man. He heard the argument and saw the despair in the man’s face when she left. And he was there at the end – at the killing time.
And he knew that if it were not for the woman, the man would not be dead.
Surely now the voice would come. It could not fail to see that this woman was evil through and through.
‘Where are you? Where are you?’ The question echoed through his brain although no sound issued from his lips. He did not need to speak aloud for the voice to hear him, for it was tuned in to his thoughts.
As if in answer to his plea the voice responded. ‘The evil that women do cannot be allowed to continue.’ It roared through his head so loudly he had to clamp his hands over his ears.
When the voice quietened and started whispering to him, that was when he knew he had been right to think this woman was the chosen one. And now his mission was clear to him. He had to watch her and prevent her from doing further evil.
He slunk off into the darkness, back to his hiding place. It was time to plan what form his mission would take.

Now watch the trailer...

Night Watcher – ebook, Kindle and Smashwords, also in paperback from Amazon.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Time for Change!

As Famous Five Plus approaches its 2nd Birthday, here at the Headquarters a few changes are being made to ensure the group is more dynamic and stronger.

During the two years FFP has been in existence, a number of new and up and coming authors have passed through the Group, all bringing their sparkling personality and great reads. Many of these authors are now well established and top sellers, but it is time for change. FFP needs to reflect what is important for its members. The publishing world is changing for all authors and especially Indie Authors. Opportunities for Indie Authors have never been so good and as more and more writers take this route, pressure on authors has increased. These days it is not just enough to produce a professionally written and presented book that would rival any top mainstream author, but marketing and promoting are paramount if you are to succeed. It’s a daunting task to do it alone, but building contacts, joining support groups and supporting other authors will help.

The changes to Famous Five Plus will reflect the importance of support and the professionalism of Indie Authors.  The Group will be much smaller and focused on supporting and being supported. It will consist of authors who have a vast experience of marketing their publications and have a record of supporting others. Any author will tell you that promoting eats into valuable writing time, but it must be done. Changes always come with a heartbeat of doubt, but to move forward we have to move with the times. A person once said, ‘If you don’t bend with the wind, you will break!’ FFP has not broken or gone with the wind, it needs to adapt and to be stronger. So please continue to visit our fabby web site and keep a check on what we are doing, believe you me we are keeping busy for you.

Thank you for visiting FFP and please come back soon!


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Block Buster Movies!

Today, we are back at the movies, so come and join us, front seats still available!

Find more about these by visiting our BOOKS Page

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Reviewed: Storm Clouds Gathering by Pauline Barclay

Tanya J Peterson reviews Storms Clouds Gathering. “When real storm clouds gather in our lives, we often feel it to the core.  There’s a physical reaction:  we feel cold, the hair rises on our arms, we shiver.  There’s an emotional reaction, too:  we worry.  What is going to happen?  What doom might befall us or our loved ones?  The reason we have such an intense reaction, of course, is because we care about our own safety and that of our loved ones.”

Pauline Barclay captures this emotional intensity well in her most recent novel, Storm Clouds Gathering.  The metaphor of an approaching storm is quite apt for this wonderful novel.  The storm clouds approach and hover over three families whose lives are intertwined in both direct and subtle ways.  Three different families struggle with three very different issues and hardships.  Three families face unique storms, and they each weather them differently. 
The beauty of Barclay’s novel of course involves the story itself.  The storms that gather over the characters absolutely hold readers’ interest.  The storms are real and they are intense and any given storm could definitely happen to anyone in the real world.  They all have, actually, in some way or another.  Despite the fact that I have not experienced a storm identical to one in Barclay’s novel, I could see myself in each of those characters, and I could directly relate to various elements of their storms. That I have not directly experienced the very realistic problems faced by the characters yet found myself understanding them and relating to them in a very real way is an indication of Pauline Barclay’s talent and beautiful writing. 

Yes, the story is deeply compelling.  It takes more than a compelling storyline, though, to make a great novel.  For me, the characters and the extent to which I connect with them are what really make or break a story.  In real life, we have an emotional reaction to gathering storm clouds because we care about the people affected by the brewing storm.  In Barclay’s Storm Clouds Gathering, I absolutely had emotional reactions because I cared deeply for the characters.  Barclay has created realistic, vulnerable characters, characters who, like real people, have strengths and weaknesses.  Her characters, each with a distinct personality, are human.  Barclay brings them to life in a very powerful way, and as I read I felt very connected to each of them in different ways. 

Find shelter, hunker down, and brace yourself for Storm Clouds Gathering.

Available in Kindle & Paperback from all Amazon Stores

You can find out more about Pauline by visiting our Author, Books, Trailer & Review Pages

Monday, 14 October 2013

Reviewed: Where The Bulbul Sings by Serena Fairfax

“Serena portrays strong women, and what I liked is that she bounced your feelings about them back and forth between respect and reservation about the choices each makes.” Where the Bulbul Sings by Serena Fairfax is the latest book reviewed by Cathy Speight

A story that spans seventy years or so, starting from the beginning of the Second World War, this book is a rich tapestry of determination, love, politics, discrimination, wealth, desperation, secrets and survival, set in India, a country equally rich in language, culture, religion, customs, landscape and people. 

The main character is Hermie, a focussed and single-minded young lady who is determined to abandon her Anglo-Indian roots, her mundane existence, and her family for a better future. She certainly manages to take out the mundanity in her life; her rocky road to happiness isn’t quite the one she hoped for, but it brings special people into her life, in particular, Edith, a German exile, no less focussed than Hermie but less idealistic and, thankfully, more clear-headed. Their lives are almost inextricably linked by the choices each makes, the people they meet, and the people they love. When Kay, another resolute young lady, enters their lives in their twilight years, Hermie discovers that some secrets cannot be hidden forever. 

This is quite a long book, and not only did I find it just a tad slow-going at first, I found the lack of good editing rather irritating: there is a good deal of head-hopping, some lack of continuity, spelling errors and missing words in the narrative, and poor punctuation throughout. The progression of time is a little erratic. However, I have to admit that it was extremely easy to be totally drawn into the characters’ lives and the setting, and when I finished the book, I found myself a little disappointed that I was no longer being transported to India! 

Serena portrays strong women, and what I liked is that she bounced your feelings about them back and forth between respect and reservation about the choices each makes. The story is expertly entwined with Indian history and culture: the use of Indian terminology for servants and food, for example, added richness to the scene setting which Serena does superbly. She has excellent descriptive techniques to paint a fine and detailed picture of many aspects of India, and the dialogue is sharp, sometimes witty, and appropriately ‘regional’. 

Very definitely worth a read.