Author, Author Guest Post, Book Blog

Marion L Eaton ~ Author Guest Post #TheSnakingRiver @MarionEaton

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Marion Eaton, who writes as M.L. Eaton, qualified as a Solicitor way back in the 1970s. The legal firm which she started soon afterwards is now incorporated into one of the largest solicitors’ practices in England.

She is a professional aromatherapist and Reiki Master/Teacher and for several years ran a Complementary Health Centre alongside her legal work. Now retired from legal practice, she still teaches Reiki but her abiding passion is for writing. She has so many stories to tell that she has to write very fast.

Marion lives in the beautiful Sussex countryside with an understanding husband, a lazy saluki and a large rambling garden, all of which she attempts to keep in some semblance of order.

The 3 books in the Faraway Lands Series are fictional memoirs based on the childhood experiences of her brother and herself.

She has also written 3 legal mystery/thrillers with a touch of the supernatural (the Mysterious Marsh Series) and is working on a fourth.

A book of meditations, one on Reiki, a James Herriot style memoir of her early days as a solicitor, and a ghost story make up her other writings.

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Book Jacket
BURMA 1934-41 Teeming with the joy and abundance of life, the great Irrawaddy river is the life-blood of Myanmar, the country once known as Burma. From its myriad of sources high in the jungle-clad slopes of the mountainous hills bordering China, the ‘River of Blessings’ winds a thousand miles South to its fertile delta that opens into the Bay of Bengal. To a little boy conceived in the Kachin Hills and living by the great river for his first five years, the country’s fascinating wildness, creatures, culture and essence burn deep into his character, shaping the whole of his life.

LOVING WRITING By Marion L Eaton

My brother smiled. Leaning on his stick, he seemed diminished somehow. His lion-like ebullience and strength just a shadow of what they used to be. In that moment, I knew that this was the last time I would see him alive and in the flesh. We hugged. Feeling the reality of him, and the warmth, I put the premonition behind me.

What, you may think, has this to do with writing and books? Please bear with me and you will see.

My only sibling, Richard was twelve years older than I. He had made his home in Australia while I stayed in England. Now after nearly 50 years apart, save for the occasional visit to the other’s country, we were about to realise a dream. We were taking a cruise to the South Seas from Sydney. Just Richard and me. No spouses. No children. Just us.

Sailing in a large ship took us back to our respective childhoods. Father was a civil engineer and his work took him all over the world. We children would follow, with our mother, once he had established a home for us. We always travelled by sea in those days, to and from England and school, although the age difference meant that we seldom travelled together. Both of us had grown to love the sea, its movement and moods, the smell of ports and seaboard life.

Once we were on board our cruise ship and underway, the premonition tugged at me. Gently, I talked to him about making a bucket list. In my heart, I felt that he had perhaps two or three years to live, and I wanted him to do all the things he had put on hold. With much laughter, we noted down everything he wanted to do, but there was nothing that involved me. Until he mentioned his book.

He’d written it a couple of years previously in response to requests from his clients. Not only was Richard a well-known and respected veterinary surgeon, he was also a maverick, using complementary and bush medicine as well as ‘traditional’ veterinary science and drugs. His particular blend of compassion, intuition and knowledge was rare then, and still is. The book, a manual entitled Do I call the Vet? and what to do in the meantime, had long languished on the hard drive of someone’s computer. Now, this was something with which I could help.

There was one other thing, he said. I’d written a novella, at the request of two Indian friends, about my time as a child in what was then Bombay. My brother loved the book. Would I write the story of his childhood in Burma? I said I would.

We had a wonderful time together sailing the South Seas and when the time came for me to fly back to England, we parted without too many tears.

Three months later Richard was suddenly taken seriously ill. After two major operations, he was diagnosed with four types of cancer and told that he had approximately two months to live.

I received the news just before Christmas, shortly after he’d sent me the manuscript of his book and a collection of photographs to insert in appropriate places. I spent the whole of the Christmas period formatting his book, designing the cover, and putting it up on Createspace and Lulu. I also made him a website. Of course, that was just the beginning, the whole process took a few months.

Once his clients heard about it, his book became a considerable success, selling more than a thousand copies. Much to his doctors’ amazement, my brother slowly recovered. He gave veterinary advice over the phone, gave interviews and took several short holidays, mostly by the sea. And he received many accolades that are normally only given in obituaries. When Richard died in May this year, more than seventeen months from that dreadful diagnosis, he was in no doubt about how much he was loved and respected.

In the meantime, I’d been researching Burma in the 1930s. I’d never been there, but my research made me fall in love with the country and the people. I wove my understanding of the country, memories of my brother, and what I remembered of my parents’ anecdotes, into a short book entitled The Snaking River. I had a hardback copy produced for each member of our families. My brother loved it, and so did his children — so much so that my eldest nephew decided to take his family for a voyage along Burma’s sacred mother river, the Irrawaddy.

Both these projects brought me joy, as well as being incredibly rewarding.

I loved the whole process, which made me remember the main reason that we writers write. We write for the joy of the creative process, we write to inform, and to entertain. And yet we can become so bogged down in the selling process that writing itself loses its gloss, becomes a chore. We spend money on courses, on advertisements, on publicity, on editing, making covers, learning. We give all these things the time that we could be writing. More than that we literally give our books away for publicity and reviews. And we blame ourselves if our books don’t sell enough copies. We lose ourselves: the joy that makes us tick. We feel the rub of failure.

And yet what can be more joyous than helping others by using our gifts and skills?

My brother’s book is a treasure trove of information and good sense that will benefit both people and pets for years to come. I am proud to have been part of bringing it into being.

And the Snaking River tells a story of times long gone. It’s a story of love and adventure, of loss, and delight in Nature. It’s a real his-story and it’s brought pleasure to those I love most.

Best of all, I feel as though I have done something for my brother that no-one else could do, for through these two books his grandchildren have a memory of him that will not fade.

I wonder how many wonderful stories are hiding in the history of your family? Perhaps it’s time to write about them.

Just for the joy of it!

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Book Jacket 

DO I CALL THE VET? and WHAT TO DO IN THE MEANTIME … by Dr. R.H Chapman

This treasury of information, reassurance, tips, and first aid techniques for horses, dogs and cats is an invaluable resource for all who care for animals.

 Dr Chapman practises veterinary medicine in the old-fashioned way: feeling with his fingertips, using his eyes, ears, sense of smell and a large dose of intuition. He mixes experience with wisdom, combining old and new practices, techniques and technologies.

 In addition to cures and remedies for animal maladies, Do I Call the Vet? and what to do in the meantime also contains many well-proven and simple health-promoting practices for otherwise healthy animals, for those seeking preventative measures which help to maintain sustained animal well-being.

Do I Call the Vet? and what to do in the meantime was written in response to requests from many of his clients who have come to rely on his knowledge and understanding of animals and the illnesses, accidents and ailments which beset them.

 Maintaining the tone of the chatty and informal way he speaks to his clients, this book ensures that Dr Chapman’s words of wisdom are now accessible to all people in need of animal care advice.

You can purchase your copy here ~ Amazon UK

Connect with Marion ~

 

Website is www.marioneaton.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marioneaton

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/marioneatonwriter

We have Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 goodie bundle giveaway in association with Portobello Book Blog. To enter head over to our Twitter page ~ click here.

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Author Guest Post, Book Blog

Anne Stormont ~ Author Guest Spot~ @writeanne

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Anne Stormont is a former teacher turned full-time author. She is also a wife, mother and grandmother.  She is a Scot, living in Scotland, but has travelled all over the world. The only continent she has not set foot on is Antarctica which is a huge omission as she’s passionate about penguins. She can be a subversive old bat but she maintains a kind heart.

Anne has published two novels of contemporary fiction for adults.

These are Change of Life and Displacement. She is currently working on a third.

Writing as Anne McAlpine, she has also written a novel for children entitled The Silver Locket  

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Anne has a blog called Put it in Writing where she writes about – you guessed it – writing, but also about books she has read and enjoyed, and about life in general.

Her author websites are ~
annestormont.co.uk and annemcalpine.co.uk
Twitter: @writeanne
Facebook Pages: Anne Stormont Author and Anne McAlpine Author

Write Reasons By Anne Stormont 

Why I write

I do occasionally wonder why I write. After all it can be a lonely, frustrating and dispiriting experience. Sometimes it’s a struggle just to get to the desk, then there’s the staring at the blank page and the spells of self-doubt, of feeling like some kind of pathetic impostor.

But these spells of negativity are rare and I’ve learned to accept them as part of the territory you inhabit as an author.

And the upsides are wonderful. I get so much pleasure from creating and controlling worlds, from getting to live other lives in other places as I write. And then there’s the incomparable joy of holding a book – a book that I wrote.

The truth is I’m addicted. I can’t imagine not writing. Even if nobody read my writing I’d still do it. I’ve been a scribbler since I was a child. And my first writing was literally scribbles. Before I knew how to form letters I would scribble wiggly pencil lines on a piece of paper and my granny would then read back to me the story I had ‘written’. I really believed I had actually created something. Once at primary school, I graduated to writing stories – complete with illustrations – for my little sisters. And then from writing short stories during my teenage years, I went on to fill notebooks with ideas for novels.

My productivity dwindled during my twenties and thirties when, working full time as a teacher and bringing up a family, I had little time to write.

But then I got the proverbial wake-up call when I was diagnosed with cancer in 1998. During my treatment and recovery, one of the deals I did with fate was that if I survived, I’d stop procrastinating and I’d find time for the things that were important to me.

I did survive and I kept my side of the deal. So, in 2000, I booked myself a week’s residential writing course at Moniack Mhor near Inverness. It was a life-changing week in respect of my writing. One of the tutors was the novelist Ali Smith. Part of the course involved submitting something you’d written to Ali and then getting one-to-one feedback on it from her. I submitted a short story. Ali said I could definitely write BUT, while my story was okay, she felt there was a novel in it struggling to get out. She suggested I get working on it.

What I write

Long story, very short – the result of Ali Smith’s inspiring words was that in 2009 I at last published my first novel, Change of Life.

Since then I’ve published two more novels.

One of them is a children’s book called The Silver Locket (which I wrote as Anne McAlpine) and it was inspired by a visit to the Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre in Inverness with my Primary 6 pupils. Whilst the children and I were out on the battlefield the idea of some modern day children time-slipping back to 1746 and helping out Bonnie Prince Charlie took hold and the rest is – well – history.  

My other published novel is for adults and is called Displacement and I’m currently working on its sequel. Once that’s done I’m planning to write a follow up story to The Silver Locket.

Why I write what I write

When I’m making up stories, I find I want to produce the sort of book I would enjoy reading.

When I’m writing for nine to twelve-year-olds, I write the sort of summer holiday adventure stories I’d have enjoyed at that age – think Famous Five and Swallows and Amazons for the twenty-first century.  

My adult novels are difficult to pigeon-hole. But again they’re the sort of books I like. They are contemporary and feature a strong middle-aged (or older) female lead dealing with a variety of issues. The settings play a significant part in the stories too, and there’s a strong element of later-life romance. But it’s romance mixed with realism.

My stories are all about human connection, communication and overcoming difficulties, and the outlook and tone are optimistic.

I write about things that inspire me, challenge me and make me think.

Of course I hope my readers are also inspired, challenged and given pause for thought when they read what I’ve written. But above all, I hope they get as much enjoyment out of reading my words as I get from writing them.

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Book Jacket 

From the Scottish Hebrides to the Middle-East, Displacement is a soul-searching journey from grief to reclamation of self, and a love-story where romance and realism meet head-on. Divorce, the death of her soldier son and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief-stricken, lonely and lost. Forced retirement leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to find a new direction for his life. When Rachel meets Jack in dramatic circumstances on a wild winter’s night on the island of Skye, a friendship develops, despite very different personalities. Gradually their feelings for each other go beyond friendship. Something neither of them feels able to admit. And it seems unlikely they’ll get the chance to because Rachel is due to leave for several months to visit family in Israel – where she aims to re-root and reroute her life. Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, Displacement is a story of life-affirming courage and love.

To order your copy I have some links for you here ~

Anne’s other book Change Of Life is available too

 

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Book Blog, Book~Reviews, Legend Press

Ideal Love @BurnettBooks @Legend_Press #Review

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Book Jacket

After an argument with her husband Gilles, Venus Rees is left devastated by his sudden death. But when she discovers that he died of a treatable genetic condition she knew nothing about, she is haunted by the thought that he didn’t love her enough to save himself. As time passes, Venus looks set to be trapped between grief and distrust forever. Until she meets the shy, good-looking and seemingly ideal Alex.

Intertwining Venus’s compelling attraction to Alex in the present with Gilles’ enraptured pursuit of her in the past, Ideal Love is an intimate and life-affirming novel about love, from its incandescent beginnings to its final breath and back again.

Review 

Ideal love is a debut novel by Alice Burnett, published by Legend Press on the 14th of August 2017. My main goal from reading any book is for it to capture my attention and take me on an adventure. Well  Ideal Love did that in abundance, all be it a very tearful and heart breaking journey.  I wasn’t expecting it to be so testing (in a good way). Trying to read with teary eyes is tough going. Alice’s character Venus Rees experiences what we all dread with the unexpected death of her partner. To make it worse they had an unresolved argument. So Venus has to live with the guilt and the what if’s. As I went on this heart wrenching road with Venus I was constantly thinking and hoping that author Alice Burnett was just very creative with her writing and that she hadn’t had to experience grief on Venus’s level.

The heart of this novel is love and also a message that we really don’t know what’s around the corner. So we really need to have that at the front of our minds when we have those petty disagreements or even whoppers of fall outs. People make mistakes, we are all guilty of that. So next time I am about to leave after a squabble I will always make sure the person knows I am upset but at the same time that I love them.

An emotional debut novel that stays with you long after you finish the book.

Handy link ~

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Visit the Legend Press website.

Before you go please check out our review of She Be Damned by M. J, TJia
click to read.

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Book Blog, Edinburgh Event, Edinburgh International Book Festival

Greatest Hits ~ @laura_jbarnett @IAMKP @edbookfest @kathwilliamsuk @wnbooks #EventReview

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Karine Polwart ~ Laura Barnett

On a dreich wet evening in the Spiegeltent at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017. A ray of sunshine in the form of the talented and effervescent Laura Barnett was present alongside the chair of the evening, award winning singer songwriter Karine Polwart.

An event to discuss Laura’s newest book The Greatest Hits.  Which takes us on a fascinating tale of fictional character Cass Wheeler’s life. I was truly impressed by the alluring idea of a novel having an actual soundtrack. Which in the case of The Greatest Hits, it does.  A unique experience that I myself cannot wait to indulge in. With both book and cd promptly ordered this morning.

Laura Barnett has collaborated with musician and singer  Kathryn Williams to bring together the chapters of Cass Wheelers’ life.  With a total of sixteen songs and chapters, they beautifully compliment each other.  It was interesting to hear from Laura that Kathryn did not want to read the book beforehand she only wanted a brief feeling of what was happening at that particular time in the book and what the mood was. Laura Barnett provided the lyrics for Kathryn Williams to mould into shape with the music.

Laura expressed that it was a ‘celebration of creativity’ and that it was a joy to work with Kathryn.

Karine Polwart caught Laura Barnett unaware with a sneaky question. What are you three favourite songs?

  1. Graceland By Paul Simon ~ Brings memories of driving with her dad in the car on the weekends, when Laura was little.
  2. Serious By Richard Hawley ~ This was Laura’s wedding song and it’s also engraved on her wedding ring.
  3. Hard Day’s Night By The Beatles ~ Reminds Laura of being in the car with her mother.

A tremendously delicious hour which certainly lit a spark of excitement in me. I cannot wait to review both the book and soundtrack.

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Book Jacket
Alone in her studio, Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past. After a silence of ten years, the singer-songwriter is picking the sixteen tracks that have defined her – sixteen key moments in her life – for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits album. In the course of this one day, both ordinary and extraordinary, the story of Cass’s life emerges – a story of highs and lows, of music, friendship and ambition, of great love and great loss. But what prompted her to retreat all those years ago, and is there a way for her to make peace with her past?

download

Disc: 1

  1. Common Ground
  2. Architect
  3. Living Free
  4. I Wrote You A Love Song
  5. Just Us Two
  6. Road Of Shadows
  7. Don’t Step On The Cracks
  8. She Wears A Dress
  9. Lillies
  10. Brightest Star
  11. In This Garden
  12. Queen Of The Snow
  13. Home
  14. Edge Of The World
  15. Gethsemane
  16. When Morning Comes
Order Links ~
Book ~  Amazon UK
Cd ~ Amazon UK

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Aria Fiction, Book Blog, Excerpt

Dead Girls Can’t Lie @tiny_dancer85 @Aria_Fiction #Extract

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Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

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Book Jacket

Best friends tell each other the truth – don’t they?

When North Stone’s best friend Kelly Orton is found hanging lifeless in a tree, North knows for certain it wasn’t suicide. Kelly had everything to live for – a loving boyfriend, a happy life, and most importantly of all, Kelly would never leave North all by herself.

The girls have been friends since childhood, devoted to each other, soul sisters, or at least that’s what North has always believed. But did Kelly feel the same way, or was she keeping secrets from her ‘best friend’ – deadly secrets…

When the police refuse to take North’s suspicions seriously, she sets out to investigate for herself. But her search soon takes her to a glamorous world with a seedy underbelly, and before long North is out of her depth and getting ever closer to danger. Determined to find the truth, she soon wishes that dead girls could lie, because the truth is too painful to believe…

Extract

Kelly didn’t kill herself.

The message arrived shortly after midnight when North was caught somewhere between sleep and surrender. Blurry-eyed she stared at her phone, at the cryptic message from an unknown sender.

‘I know,’ she whispered to the device as she lay on her sofa, bathed in the glow from her television which was on its second run through of Dark Crystal. ‘I know she’d never leave me.’

By dawn North was completely awake and the message was gone, wiped from her phone as though it were the fragment of a dream. But North didn’t care. It had given her the impetus she needed to get out of her flat and prove the point which had been gnawing at her since her best friend’s demise. She wasn’t alone in her conviction. That was all that mattered.

‘North Stone. That your name?’

‘Yes,’ North tightened her fingers which were clenched around her hands. It was cold in the interview room. Colder than she’d expected.

‘North. That’s an… interesting name.’

With a sigh she braced herself for the inevitable volley of questions which would now be flung back and forth across the table.

Why North?

Why did your parents call you that?

Where are your parents?

The conclusion to such questions was always the same; North was strange. Everyone in their small South Downs town knew it. Everyone except Kelly. And she was the reason that North was even here. They were supposed to be talking about her.

‘My parents were mega into stargazing. I know, I know, I work in the local observatory the irony of which isn’t lost on me. Yes they were lost at sea during a romantic adventure on board a yacht. No I don’t expect them to ever return. It’s been eighteen years, I’m pretty sure they’re gone.’

The police officer’s silver eyebrows dropped into a flat, sympathetic line. He was obviously old enough to know the notorious story of what happened to the Stones. He was asking about her name to be polite. Kind even. And North did not have time for either placation. She was here on urgent business.

‘Look,’ North unclasped her hands and lay them flat on the table as though she were showing her cards in a high stakes poker game. ‘You’re wrong about Kelly Orton. She would never kill herself.’

‘Miss Stone—’

The officer hung a little too heavily on the Miss for North’s liking.

‘And on a jogging trail? Absolutely not! No way! For starters, Kelly never went jogging. Like, ever. We’re both allergic to anything that makes you sweat. Seriously, Officer…’ she lifted her ashen eyes to meet his.

‘Childs,’ he stiffly informed her.

‘Officer Childs. You’re wrong about Kelly. You guys shouldn’t be ruling this as a suicide you should be launching a murder investigation.’

With a sigh, Officer Childs stood up, letting his chair grate noisily against the tiled floors. He walked over to the door to the interview room and opened it with one fluid motion, extending his body out into the hallway. ‘Angie, can you get in here?’

A moment later he was joined by another officer, a woman with bright red hair which stopped suddenly at her shoulders. Her mouth lifted into a pitying smile the second she saw North hunched on the other side of the table.

The air in the little room managed to hold the years’ old stench of stale cigarettes and coffee. A single strip light across the ceiling bathed everyone who sat in there in an unflattering light. Kelly would have hated it. She’d have tossed her golden hair over her shoulders and refused to sit in such a room. North twisted uncomfortably on her plastic chair.

‘I’ll handle this,’ Angie whispered to Officer Childs who eagerly left as she slid into his vacated seat. ‘So, Miss Stone.’ Her tone was clipped and formal. She reminded North of some of her more competent teachers during her time at Millwater Secondary. But thinking about school made her think of the Kelly from the past and she couldn’t do that. Not yet. Not when there were so many questions about the present left unanswered.

‘As I was telling your colleague,’ North adjusted herself to match the female officer in stature. Though she was much shorter than Angie, she could still push her shoulders back and lift her chin. She wanted to look confident. Especially when everyone was treating her like she was broken. ‘Kelly Orton did not kill herself. It’s impossible. Someone put her there. Someone killed her. This is a murder case.’

Follow Carys
Twitter: @tiny_dancer85
Facebook: @CarysJonesWriter
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Website: http://www.carys-jones.com

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Before you go head on over to our review of A Christmas Wish by Erin Green ~ click to read. A Christmas Wish - jacket

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Author Guest Post, Book Blog, Crooked Cat Books

Katharine Johnson ~ Guest Author Spot~ @kjohnsonwrites @crookedcatbooks

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Katharine Johnson is a freelance writer and editor and has worked for a variety of magazines. She has a passion for crime novels, old houses and all things Italian (except tiramisu). She grew up in Bristol and has lived in Italy. She currently lives in Berkshire with her husband, three children and madcap spaniel. When not writing she plays netball badly and is a room guide in a stately home. She is currently writing her third novel.

Why Italy? By Katharine Johnson

I’m on holiday in Italy at the moment with Elena Ferrante – well not literally but I am reading my way through her superb Neapolitan Quartet. Ms Ferrante is obviously writing about her home country but a lot of authors from other countries have also chosen to set their stories in Italy.

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This has got me thinking about why Italy makes such a great setting for stories.

In A Room With A View by EM Forster the beautiful views, the freely mixing social classes and the acceptance of passion as a positive rather than negative thing contrast with Lucy Honeychurch’s very ‘proper’ Edwardian upbringing and make her question the course on which her future is set.

Older characters can also be transformed by a visit to Italy – the four women in Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim want to escape the tedium of life back home but end up learning about themselves and what they want out of life during their stay in the beautiful Medieval castle.

And Italy works its magic on the timid, retired schoolteacher in Miss Garnett’s Angel by Sally Vickers when she ventures out there for six months after the death of her only friend.

It’s not just about beauty but extremes. Italy, partly because of its long history, is such a country of contrasts – beauty and brutality – which is captured so well in Sarah Dunant’s book The Birth of Venus. Life in Medici Florence is full of fantastic art, richly coloured fabrics, sumptuous feasts – but it’s a harsh world for a young woman who loves art but is not allowed to paint or even talk to an artist.

Stories set in gorgeous villas make perfect holiday reading and since Shakespeare Italy has been associated with romance – The Secrets of  Villa Rosso by Linn B Halton, Under A Tuscan Sky by Karen Aldous, A Wedding in Italy by Tilly Tennant, The Italian Matchmaker by Santa Montefiore and Dreaming of Venice by TA Williams to name a few.

The glamour of Italy provides a perfect setting for crime novels. In The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith Tom Ripley is sent to a beautiful, remote village in southern Italy by wealthy Mr Greenleaf to persuade his playboy son Dickie to come home. But Tom falls in love with Dickie Greenleaf’s lifestyle and begins to want it for himself.

Perhaps the most beautiful and mysterious of all Italian cities, Venice has inspired so many stories including Thomas Mann’s Death In Venice, Daphne du Maurier’s Don’t Look Now and a series of detective novels by Donna Leon. The contrast between the beautiful architecture and the grisly past as well as the shadows and mist make it perfect for suspense stories.

I’m going to Venice later this month and will be taking with me The Venetian by Shani Struthers and on the journey back through Verona I hope to read The Ghostly Father by Sue Barnard which is inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

This is just a tiny selection of books set in Italy. Do you have any favourites to add to this list?

My Italy- based novel

The back story to my novel The Silence is set in Tuscany. I chose Tuscany because I wanted somewhere beautiful and very different from Abby’s suburban English home so that the events would take on an unreal, dreamlike quality in her recollection, making it hard for her to know which ones to trust. It also had to be somewhere hot – so that as the temperature rises so do the tensions between the characters. It needed to be somewhere remote so that Abby’s secret would stay safe for a long time. But because of the trend for buying up old Tuscan wrecks and restoring them, I felt that ultimately a discovery would be made which would threaten to shatter her comfortable life.

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I hope it’s worked. You can judge for yourself at http://mybook.to/TheSilence

The Silence 

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Book Jacket 

Doctor Abby Fenton has a rewarding career, a loving family, an enviable lifestyle – and a secret that could destroy everything.

When human remains are discovered in the grounds of an idyllic Tuscan holiday home she is forced to confront the memories she has suppressed until now and relive the summer she spent at the villa in 1992. A summer that ended in tragedy. The nearer she gets to the truth the closer she comes to losing her sanity.

In order to hold onto the people she loves most, she must make sure they never discover what she did. But the reappearance of someone else from that summer threatens to blow her secret wide open.

You can order your copy and read a sneak peek with these handy links ~

Author Links:
Website/blog 
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 Facebook

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Book Blog, Book~Reviews, Headline Books

Another Woman’s Husband @GillPaulAUTHOR @headlinepg

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Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman’s Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

The Others Woman’s Husband 

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Book Jacket 

Two women who challenged the Crown.
Divided by time. Bound by a secret…

1911
At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal.

1997
Rachel’s romantic break in Paris with her fiancé ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world…

Buy your copy with these useful links ~

We have Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 goodie bundle giveaway in association with Portobello Book Blog. To enter head over to our Twitter page ~ click here.

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Book Blog, Event Review, The Brunton Theatre, Theatre

The Glen Miller Era @NickRossOrch @sammerrickmusic @TheBrunton #EdFringe Venue 191

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Saturday night at The Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh, The Nick Ross Orchestra with Sam Merrick entertained us with songs from The Glen Miller Era.

From toe tapping and hip shaking upbeat tunes to heart swelling memorable ballads. The evening had extra sparkle with the welcomed addition of the dulcet tones of Sam Merrick .

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The Nick Ross Orchestra’s music was beautifully executed. Sam Merrick is effervescent in his stage presence and voice.

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An array of songs from many chart toppers including Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Ted Heath, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Benny Goodman, Ray Noble and Frank Sinatra.

The Brunton Theatre has a great knack for picking the best shows for the community and visitors to enjoy.

Please check out The Brunton Theatres website for the upcoming shows this season.

We have Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 goodie bundle giveaway in association with Portobello Book Blog. To enter head over to our Twitter page ~ click here.

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Book Blog, Edinburgh Event, Edinburgh International Book Festival

Alexander McCall Smith ~ @edbookfest @McCallSmith @BirlinnBooks

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A very popular event today was Mr Alexander McCall Smith, chaired by David Robinson. A packed audience promptly entered the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre for an hour of book talk, laughter and an unexpected mystery guest.

Mr McCall Smith is extremely funny with such an infectious laugh. It was intriguing to hear about his many books and characters. From 44 Scotland Street to The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Series.  Today was the day Mr McCall Smith saw the copy of his latest book A Time Of Love And Tartan, book twelve in the 44 Scotland Street series for the first time.

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We were treated to a reading by Mr McCall Smith which included Little Bertie and you could have heard a pin drop.  Every audience member, including myself hanging on to every word and savouring in the dulcet tones of Mr McCall Smith. It was a moment of pure magic.

Mr McCall Smith was fastidious on his introduction to Mr Iain McIntosh who illustrates his novels beautifully.

Next, we had a world wide exclusive as we were introduced to the mystery guest. Mr Graham Weir a former member of the band O.M.D. It was announced that in the works are a No1 Ladies Detective Agency Musical.  Yes, you heard rightly as musical. We were treated to an array of samples of the songs.  I found the Dig Deep song deeply moving and it touched my heart. I simply am itching at the bit to see the musical come to fruition

A wonderful hour with copious delights for the ears and soul. I came away with a spring in my step as the songs played in my head.

A gloriously sunny day in Edinburgh and it shined down on all the people gathered together at The Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017.

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Book Jacket 

Catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith . . .

‘A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship’ Sunday Express

If only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment romantic, professional, even aesthetic that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson’s invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn’t wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police.

Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee and a book, or major events such as Stuart’s application for promotion and his wife Irene’s decision to go off and study for a PhD in Aberdeen, change is coming to serial fiction’s favourite street. But for three seven-year-old boys Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou’s foster son Finlay – it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness.

Alexander McCall Smith’s delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include tennis-playing Rwandan Forest People, researches into levitating Celtic saints, bogus headhunters in Papua New Guinea and primary school performances of Beckett. But its heart remains where it has always been true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh’s New Town.

Order your copy here ~

 

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For more information on the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 and to book tickets please visit ~ website.

We have Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 goodie bundle giveaway in association with Portobello Book Blog. To enter head over to our Twitter page ~ click here.

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Author, Book Blog, Edinburgh Event, Edinburgh International Book Festival

Peter May @edbookfest 2017 #Review @authorpetermay @QuercusBooks

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I had a fabulous first event of the day with the talented and fascinating Peter May, chaired by Brian Taylor.

Peter May

Although I was 40 minutes early the queue was winding its way amongst the tents till it met itself at the other end. The anticipation and chat amongst the crowd were infectious.

It was a brilliant hour that I didn’t want to end. Peter May was funny, interesting and very engaging with the audience. There were so many people who wanted to connect with Mr May by asking him a question.

Peter May told the audience that he had finished his much loved Enzo Macleod series. He felt that he liked to finish up whilst the characters still had their sparkle.  Peter’s next novel has three female protagonists and this was a different and refreshing challenge for him to write. Mr May expressed that when he has a good fit with a character he feels like a shorthand typist with the voice of the character dictating the story to him.

Mr May touched briefly on the translations differences of his books after a question from the audience.  We learnt that he has two, one of which makes the sentences longer and more ‘French’. whereas the other really keeps to Mr May’s style of writing.

A very entertaining hour, a new author for my TBR. I cannot wait to dive into the Lewis trilogy.

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Book Jacket 

THE GIRL IN THE LAKE

In 1989, a killer dumped the body of twenty-year-old Lucie Martin into a picturesque lake in the West of France. Fourteen years later, during a summer heatwave, a drought exposed her remains – bleached bones amid the scorched mud and slime.

THE MAN ON THE CASE

No one was ever convicted of her murder. But now, forensic expert Enzo Macleod is reviewing this stone-cold case – the toughest of those he has been challenged to solve.

THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET

Yet when Enzo finds a flaw in the original evidence surrounding Lucie’s murder, he opens a Pandora’s box that not only raises old ghosts but endangers his entire family.

To order your copy, use these handy links ~

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For more information on the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 and to book tickets please visit ~ website.

We have Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017 goodie bundle giveaway in association with Portobello Book Blog. To enter head over to our Twitter page ~ click here.

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If you enjoyed the blog please leave a like and a comment. We would love it if you could share it on Twitter & Facebook.  It really helps us to grow. Thanks so very much.

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