Author, Black & White, Book Blog, Excerpt, Sneak Peek

The Importance Of Being Me @CGraceCassidy @bwpublishing #Extract

It is publication day for Caroline Grace-Cassidy’s, The Importance Of Being Me. We are super excited to be starting the engine on the blog tour.  Today we have an exclusive sneak peak of the novel.

VIP Style Awards 2017[1]

CAROLINE GRACE-CASSIDY – WRITER

Caroline Grace–Cassidy has written five short films (two award winning) and a her first screen play Girls Weekend in currently in development with an American studio – slated to shoot in Dublin/Co. Clare July 2017.

Three of the short films premiered at the prestigious Galway Film Fleadh and all have travelled all over the world from LA to Rome to Toronto.

Her third film ‘I Am Jesus’ won the first ever Film Slam at Galway in 2015, was broadcast on RTE television and is currently playing on all Aer Lingus flights.

Her 1-minute film ‘Love At First Light’, that she wrote and directed again premiered at Galway in ’15 and has played all over the world to rave reviews, picking up various awards. In November 2016 it won the renowned Cineurpoa audience award.

Caroline was shortlisted at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2014 to pitch her aforementioned feature film script ‘Girls Weekend’.

She is also an author of five bestselling novels (four with Poolbeg Press) ‘When Love Takes Over’, ‘The Other Side Of Wonderful’ ‘I Always Knew’ and ‘Already Taken’ and her new novel (now with UK publisher Black & White Publishing) was released in June 2016, ‘The Week I Ruined My Life.’ In the first two weeks the novel hit the Kindle Amazon Top 100 bestsellers list. It continues to sell to rave reviews. Her sixth novel ‘The Importance Of Being Me’ will be published in June 2017.

The Importance Of Me ~ Sneak Peak 

What has she got that I haven’t got anyway?” I lament.

“Botox!” Claire responds without missing a beat.

I had just put fork to mouth, taking a monumental bite from her home-made banoffee pie. Banana, toffee and biscuit making my acquaintance: very pleased to meet you, my saccharine-tasting comrades. As the flavours erupt in my mouth I shut my eyes briefly in wondrous appreciation. God, I bloody love cake! Cake and a cup of hot strong tea. Easily pleased these days.

On opening my peepers, I see Claire smirking and spinning herself around on her stylish chrome high stool. It’s one of those modern-type stools that wouldn’t look out of place in outer space. Trendy. In vogue. Round and round she goes, pushing herself off the marble kitchen island with every turn to gain traction, like a beautiful, yet obviously disturbed, type of woman-child. Then she halts. Regaining her focus on me, she gathers her dizzy head together. Palms of her hands resting over each ear, she raises her sienna eyebrows as high as she can, pulling her soft, freckled skin taut across her cheekbones. I actually have to cover my mouth with my whole hand before I choke. It’s uncanny. She is the spitting image of . . . her. The look is hysterical. I begin to shake with laughter. Claire’s eyes are pulled up so high they are almost popping out of their sockets. This is the look of beauty. Hollywood says so. I think Hollywood needs its Hollyhead checked, passing this look off as beautiful. What am I saying? I can’t blame the rich and famous of La La Land any more – it’s the look of our generation, right? I’m weary with contempt at how hard it is for women to age gracefully. When did age become such a brutal thing? Such a taboo? Didn’t it used to be a rite of passage? A time to finally just be yourself. A well-earned thing. My Granny Alice embraced it. To be honest, she couldn’t wait for it. Alice always sang to me the importance of being yourself and embracing where you are in life.

“Don’t look too far back, Courtney. You’re not going that way.”

Alice would always tell me that, before she was robbed of her brilliant mind by dementia in her sixties. She had been my go-to person for everything in my life. Alice would just listen and pick me up, place me high upon that pedestal she so fondly held me on. Alice had embraced getting older: the purple rinse, the comfortable Softspot shoes, the free bus travel, the OAP offers. Now it’s a dying generation of women. Older ladies as we once knew them are a dying breed, but I want to be one. I want to see them still represented in society. I want that wheeled trolley that all your shopping fits into. No more carrying or paying for evil plastic bags. I want the OAP half-portion roast beef

and potatoes and two veg and a dessert. I want people to give me a seat on the bus if it’s full. I will have earned that much. For what reason do none of us want to age any more? I know one thing for sure: I want to not care what the mirror shows me some day. Just like Granny Alice. I’m eagerly anticipating that feeling. That acceptance. That freedom.

Claire remains frozen in time. She pouts her lips now in a ludicrous way and I jerk my head downwards still chewing. I cannot laugh. I must not laugh. With this mouthful, it will not be pretty if I do. Plus Claire’s kitchen is absolutely spotless and I don’t want to be responsible for wrecking all that Herculean work. Looking firmly at my black-and-white triple-striped runners, I chew faster the large wedges of banana. Determined to get it down, I swallow carefully. A banoffee spit festival avoided.

The Importance Of Being Me ~ Caroline Grace-Cassidy 

51-avOjdeEL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

When Lisa’s husband leaves her for Gemma – a local beautician years younger – she’s upset but nowhere near as devastated as she thought she’d be. Her marriage to David hasn’t been great for a long time, never helped by his constantly roving eye.Now that he’s gone, Lisa and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Susan, are left on their own at home. But Susan is a complete daddy’s girl and likes to spend all her weekends in his new modern apartment that Gemma owns. Susan still thinks David is the greatest father on earth and Lisa has no intention of ruining that illusion for her daughter. In addition, Susan and Gemma have a fantastic relationship. In fact Susan says, they are as close as ‘sisters’, and constantly refers to the fact that ‘Gemma just gets her.’ And, of course, Susan and Gemma Snapchat their every waking moments.But when Susan then decides to spend the whole summer with her dad and Gemma, Lisa is devastated. She needs a change, and some time for herself. With her grandmother’s legacy, she decides she needs a complete change of scene, on her own, and a run down cottage in Cornwall looks like the perfect solution. At least for the summer it’s a new location, new people and a project to keep her busy. Then, when she bumps into a client she’s worked with but never actually met, it’s like being hit by a bolt of lightning. But can she ever have what she wants most in the world, a whole new relationship with the most important person in her life – her daughter?

You can purchase your copy direct from Black and White Publishing

Or from Amazon UK ~

Many thanks to Caroline and Black & White Publishing.

blogtour[2].jpg

Enjoyed the blog?  Connect with us here too:

twitter-128 TWITTER       instagram_2016_iconINSTAGRAM  downloadFACEBOOK

Author, Black & White, Book~Reviews

Finding Alison #DeirdreEustace @bwpublishing #Review

Edinburgh Book Event (2)

Finding Alison By Deirdre Eustace
Published By Black and White

My Review 

The Cover:

Sometimes with book covers, they don’t sync with the book. But with Finding Alison it’s a true fit. I like how they haven’t made the water a sparkling unrealistic blue.  It’s dirty and true to life. With the figure of women who is representing Alison, gazing out across the water. If I saw this in the bookstore or in Amazon would I be enticed to pick it up? I would say yes. With a recommendation from Carmel Harrington, it all fits together and it works.

My favourite Quote/Sentence:

The Sea was falling back into a grudging sleep, lazily licking and frothing the cliffs, it’s gluttonous appetite almost stated.

My Thoughts

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to my friends. At its core, it is really about letting go of the things and events that keep us prisoner in our lives. Events beyond our control that emotionally scar us and hold us back from being happy and living life. Haunted by ghosts and old feelings and how we drag them along every day.

The main character is Alison, I really liked her and felt very connected to her from the start. She’s terribly flawed as a result of the past. Battling not only with her inner demons but with an emotionally damaged teenager, we go on a journey of love, loss and clarity. I took a lot from this book. It makes you reflect on what you carry from the past that you need to let go. I enjoyed Deirdre’s carefully constructed sentences and her true to life characters. People you could relate to and connect.

In a way, the book was a wake-up call for me. It taught me to live in the now, this very moment. To stop worrying about the what ifs and the future. What’s important is the now.  Also, it reminded me with a gentle nudge to make sure the people closest to me knew how much I love them.

This book is perfect for any time of year be it a sunny beach day or at home by the fire with a hot cuppa and a sneaky biscuit on a nippy day.

It’s currently only £1.00 on Amazon for the eBook at the time of this blog going live (29/6) You can get your copy here Amazon UK

Back Of The Book 

Grief and guilt. Love and resentment. A community divided.

No one in Carniskey has ever truly understood what led Sean Delaney, a seasoned local fisherman, to risk his life in a high storm in the dead of night. Now, three years on from that tragic night, his wife Alison is still struggling with her unresolved grief and increasing financial worries.

After three difficult years, Alison has grown distant from her daughter and estranged from her friends and fellow villagers, particularly her best friend Kathleen who harbours a deeply guarded secret of her own. Isolated by its stunning yet often cruel surroundings, this is a community used to looking after its own but the arrival of an outsider – artist and lifelong nomad, William – offers Alison a new perspective on life and love that threatens to unearth the mysteries of the past.

A story of courage and enduring humanity, Finding Alison follows the community through their struggles in love, loss and betrayal, each coming to understand that only in truth can we find the peace and liberation essential for true happiness.

Thank you to Lina L, at Black and White Publishing for the ARC and Deidre Eustace for the opportunity to be on the tour.

51hAfbK6oFL

Enjoyed my blog? Connect with me here too:

twitter-128 TWITTER       instagram_2016_iconINSTAGRAM  downloadFACEBOOK

Author, Black & White, Giveaway, Interview

Not The Only Sky ~ @alyssagwarren @bwpublishing #Interview

download (1)

Wait. Patient. Now. Not long. Good girl. Wait here. Brave girl. Think of it as a vacation.’ ‘Back in a jiffy.’ Big Bend, population 500, South Dakota, 1988. Eight-year-old Tiny Mite lives in a ramshackle farmhouse next to her grandfather’s crashed airplane and the pine tree where she trains as a spy. Goddamn is her favourite word. Taking pictures with her camera made of aluminum foil and a tin can is her new big thing. She lives with Bee, her apocalypse-obsessed grandmother, and Luvie, her hard-drinking great-aunt. And then there’s her mother Velvet, beautiful and desperate, still in love with her high school boyfriend who she left to have a brief fling with Tiny Mite’s absent father. One night, Tiny Mite hears a cry, but it’s not what she imagines. And nothing will ever be the same. Six years later, Clea won’t let anyone call her Tiny Mite anymore. Luvie has fallen in love with a pastor, and Bee’s health is failing. Velvet is gone, and nobody except Bee, who can’t bring herself to turn her back on her daughter, will even mention her name. Containing a wonderfully engaging and eccentric cast of characters who live long in the memory, this is the story of mothers and daughters, people bound by blood and geography, moments captured and lifetimes lost, and things never quite turning out as expected.

 Literary Landscape By Alyssa Warren

I’ll never forget the first time my Ecuadorian husband called his family from my home in South Dakota and described the landscape. “Es planisimo!” It’s so flat, he enthused to his mother, accepting his call from her home at 3,000 meters in the Andes mountains. “Es completemente vacio. No hay nadie.” It’s completely empty. There’s no one. Through his amazement, I saw my home in a whole new light.

 I thought of that call years later when writing Not the Only Sky. How to convey, with the same image, the misery of one character and the hope of another? Velvet wonders, “How can there be so much sky, but no air?” To her, the enormous dome capping the unending flat farmland is claustrophobic, but to Clea, it’s rife with mysteries for her camera to uncover. To Bee it heralds the divine as well as the extraterrestrial. For Jerod it’s the conduit of his escape.

 Regardless of how the various characters felt about the landscape, it was crucial that they be rooted to it, not just physically via hunting and farming, but psychologically, and not just in relation to its scale, but to the extremes of the weather, which is inescapable. In South Dakota, hot and cold are as starkly contrasted as land and sky, ranging from 46 to negative 46 C and oftentimes flipping in a matter of weeks. Winter can last from October to May. It is often sunny. It is nearly always windy, the wind a presence almost as commanding as the sky. Storms are sudden and can be violent. Thousands of acres of crops can be destroyed by a single hail or thunderstorm. Tornadoes can smite a farm or town in seconds. How would my characters contend with it all, and in and doing so, have their personalities and perspectives shaped?

The Native Americans who hunted the flat prairie in spring, summer and fall, but migrated to the milder weather and shelter of the Rocky Mountains for the duration of the winter, thought the white settlers who remained in place were insane. They were right: many froze to death. Even in the 1980s, growing up with central heating and heated cars, we’d occasionally read in the newspaper about people suffering the same fate—travelers whose cars, before cell phones, broke down on the interstate, or people who’d walked to their mailboxes and gotten lost in blizzards. The one time my husband visited in the winter, he was amazed to witness a grocery store parking lot full of empty cars, unlocked and running, their heaters continuing the battle against deathly cold while their owners shopped.

 In addition to surviving these conditions myself—trick or treating in snow banks, running in track meets wearing scarves, coats, hats and mittens, crouching in cellars during tornadoes—I grew up hearing stories about the storms my family members survived. My paternal grandfather’s family claimed one of the last homesteads in America in western South Dakota and I remember him describing a plague of grasshoppers, so numerous they blackened the sky and razed the crops, making it so difficult to see, my grandfather wearing a band of gauze to shield his eyes and keeping his mouth shut to avoid swallowing them. One of my great uncles, while running a cattle ranch in central South Dakota, survived a three-day blizzard—he’d been making the 20-mile return trip from the closest grocery store—by cutting a hole in the roof of his car and hacking apart all of the upholstery, foam and carpet—anything he could burn. My wild twin uncles, who owned the largest tractor in the state eventually spotted the smoke signal.

 Add to this landscape, these conditions and stories of survival, the presence of numerous, scattered, abandoned homesteads, and my imagination was alight. I suppose because there is so much space many greyed timber houses and barns are allowed to continue crumbling in fields and pastures all across the state. Driving along the interstate I was always fascinated by them. Who lived there? What did they survive? Why did they leave? About a half mile from my house, up a rare hilly stretch of land bordering a river, my friends and I once found a homestead where my parents later told me an old stagecoach road had run. A rusty, metal archetypal windmill stood next to the stone foundation of what would have been a one-room cabin. Scattered around it we found bits of black spackleware, mugs, plates, a kettle, treasure we divvied up with great ceremony. The place felt haunted. I returned many times, playing on the foundation, imagining the walls, reenacting the voices I heard in my head.

 I have not lived in South Dakota since I was eighteen years old, having left, not surprisingly, to attend university in the gentler climes of California. Yet here I’ve been, for the past 12 years, living and writing in London, my mind filled to bursting with the enormous, harrowing, inescapable landscape from my youth.

My Q&A with Alyssa Warren

Describe yourself using three words? obsessive, accident-prone, chocaholic

What inspired you to write your first novel?

To silence the nutty people talking in my head

What time of day do you like to write?

Morning or in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep, but not late afternoon. That is the danger zone of despair and sugar binges.

What is your favourite book and why?

Isn’t that like picking a favourite child?

How did you pick the title of your book?

My publisher found it in the text

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

No, they are imaginary, but I’ve drawn some traits from multiple people I’ve met along the way

What’s your favourite word?

Goddamn! No, actually, three words in Spanish: Damaso, Caio, Ignacio, the names of my boys

If you were a colour what would it be?

Red

Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?

Go with the flow

Who is your favourite Author?

Alice Monroe

You are attending a dinner party with four fictitious book characters who would they be and why? 

Miss Havisham, Aureliano Buendida, Holly Golighty, Yossarian…an eccentric, a sexy Latin, a stylish fantasist and a conman. A good mix makes good conversation.

What book are you reading at the moment?

The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days by Juliet Conlin

Where in the world is your happy place? The cabin my grandfather bought on Fish Hook Lake, Minnesota

If you had one superpower what would it be?

My boys ask me the same question weekly. Easy. Shapechanger.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?

Nurse Ratched, the Trunchbull, Grendel’s Mother…maybe these ladies just need good wine, dark chocolate, and a few good nights sleep? Usually, sorts me.

Are you working on a new project?

Yes, it’s set in South America. Piranhas, volcanoes, military coups…

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend? The launch!

The launch! Saturday, May 13, 6-11 pm, Waterstones Tottenham Court, 19-20 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 1BJ

Huge thanks to Alyssa Warren and Linga Langlee from Black & White Publishing. For allowing my the honour of the ARC copy and for being on this marvellous tour. 

 

NTOS blog tour

Find Love Books Group here too:

twitter-128 TWITTER       instagram_2016_iconINSTAGRAM  downloadFACEBOOK