Blogger, Interview, Review

Nailing Jess @TScullyWriter @cranachanbooks #Review #QA #NailingJess

Nailing Jess By Triona Scully 
Published By Cranachan Publishing  26/06/17
Article By Kelly 

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Well I am overjoyed to be kick starting the Blog Tour party train for Nailing Jess by Triona Scully.  It’s published on the 26th of this month by Cranachan Publishing.

The Real You Interview with Triona Scully 

Hello Triona, thank you so much for taking the time to be on Love Books Group, I do hope it’s the first of many visits.

Could you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey  

As a first-time novelist, with no previous published work, I consider myself exceptionally fortunate to have been signed by my publishers, the wonderfully authentic Cranachan Publishing. I’ve always written, but before ‘Nailing Jess’ all my work was performance based- for the stage not the page. Writing and re-writing and re-writing some more has been a real challenge. Reading through a copy of ‘Nailing Jess’, and recognising how much better the book becomes with each edit is very gratifying. All those hours, trailing the floor, searching for yet another verb to describe the act of walking – you try it! It’s exhausting – have paid off, and before you me is a finished book. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Describe yourself using three words?

Kind. Curious. Easily distracted.

What inspired you to write your first novel?

The lack of over-weight, un-kempt, ill mannered, sexist role models for girls and young women has always been a source of concern to me, and with ‘Nailing Jess’ I have tried, in my own limited way, to redress the balance.

What time of day do you like to write? Morning.

What is your favourite book and why?

The Murder of Rodger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. I re-read it every few years. I think it has the most perfect ending.

How did you pick the title of your book?  

Sadly, I can’t claim credit for ‘Nailing Jess’. The title was the brain-child of the lovely Anne Glennie from Cranachan. Anne felt that it was more in keeping with a crime novel than my previous more cryptic working title. And I agreed.

Are the characters in your book based on real people?

No. Absolutely not. Even the slightest. Ever. For me, it’s really hard not to have some-one in the back of my head that I have met that’s working as an arch type, but because I have this, I start to re-shape the characters to make sure they are very different. Or, at least I try to.

What’s your favourite word?

 That’s an outstanding question! Metaphysical.

If you were a colour what would it be?  Aqua.

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

With ‘Nailing Jess’ the first draft was flow and then I had to create structure.

Who is your favourite Author? Agatha Christie.

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

Miss Marple ‘coz she’s seen some living! The Mum from ‘We need to talk about Kevin’, I’d tell her it wasn’t her fault, he was always a bad ‘un! Heathcliff ‘coz I never get past the first chapter of ‘Wuthering Heights’, and he could tell me what happens. Lastly, I’d pick Tony Hill from the Val McDermid series, if I couldn’t make Kevin’s Mum feel better, maybe he could.

What book are you reading at the moment? The Power by Naomi Alderman

Where in the world is your happy place? Wherever my son is.

If you had one superpower what would it be? This is so tragic but I’d be a super-cleaner, and get all the housework done in five minutes.

If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose? I’d have to say Heathcliff 😉

Are you working on a new project?  Yeah, but I keep my cards close to my chest when it comes to un finished work.

Do you have any upcoming events our members can attend?  ‘Nailing Jess’ is being launched by Blackwell’s, South Bridge Edinburgh at 6.30 p.m. All welcome.

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My Review of Nailing Jess by Triona Scully 

The Cover:

The cover stands out and I love the way it’s subtle yet impacting. 

My Thoughts:

This book is different from anything else I have ever read. Is that a good thing? Well it certainly made me sit up and pay attention. I started the book twice, I have to be honest and say from the start I had  some trouble grasping the swapping of genders.  But it certainly kept me on my toes and it was a welcomed challenge.
It is a genius plot idea and very well executed by Triona Scully.  To be such a unique book in today’s world is in itself to be applauded.  But having the added bonus that it is a well paced interesting read with memorable characters is the icing on the cake.
I wasn’t a fan of the  swearing, I do have to add that. But that’s my own personal preference.
I know for sure that Nailing Jess is merely the starter, all be it a tasty and tantalising one, of Triona Scully’s talents.  I do believe Cranachan Publishing have found a star!

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Back Of The Book

Welcome to Withering, a small town with a big problem in modern, matriarchal Britain. Here the women wear the trousers, while the men hold the handbags. Literally.

There’s a serial strangler on the loose and the bodies of teenage boys are piling up on maverick D.C.I. Jane Wayne’s patch.

Wayne needs to catch ‘The Withering Wringer’, but it’s not going to be easy. Demoted for her inappropriate behaviour, she must take orders from a man—and not just any man—an ugly one.

Still, at least she can rely on her drug stash from a recent police raid to keep her sane…

Shocking. Funny. Clever. A gender-bending, Agatha-Christie-meets-Chris-Brookmyre, mash-up. Simply genius.

Scully’s debut novel takes classic crime and turns it on its head with a deliciously absurd comic twist.

You can preorder you copy today ~ Amazon UK

Thank you to Triona Scully and Cranachan Books for the opportunity to be on the blog tour.

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We are running a Twitter giveaway ~ head over to our Twitter Page and see the pinned post.

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Book Blog, Impress Books, Review

Widdershins By Helen Steadman @hsteadman1650 ‏@ImpressBooks1 #Review

Widdershins By Helen Steadman
Impress Books ~ 01/07/17

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My Review

The Cover:

It’s beautiful, with the two silhouetted figures against the shrubbery and herbs. With the vanilla colouring and bold browns and deep purple. It looks very elegant and important.

I must also mention the fabulous way it was delivered from Impress to myself and fellow bloggers.  Wrapped in brown paper and tied up with white string, with a simple snippet of rosemary. The smell, as you opened the package, was delightful and unexpected. I wish all book post was both visually stunning and fragrant.

My favourite Quote/Sentence:

I didn’t have a favourite quote this time around but I did have words I had never heard before in my puff. Here are a few:

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Pottage
Hinny
Knave

There was many much more but these made me have to think. Also ‘Singing Hinnies’ made me have to get the old Google out and have a search.

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it was a journey of adventure even before I gently tore away the brown paper packaging. The book had a lovely calm feel about it. As I said before its elegant cover draws you in.  I would definitely recommend it and my friends would be surprised as historical fiction is really not my favourite. But the way Widdershins is written you don’t feel like your getting fact after fact rammed down your neck. You are merely an ear to a fantastic story.

Characters

I enjoyed both of the main characters. Hearing their journey’s and the outcome.  I hated Johns father and my heart broke for him with the beatings and little Jinny.  But Helen Steadman put me right in the scene as if I was a ghost.  That’s how I felt throughout the book, that I was there listening and watching. Smelling the herbs and potions.

Pace

The book is very well paced, I was never bored only excited for what was to come.

I highly recommend this to book to everyone who loves a story with heart and history.

Back Of The Book

Did all women have something of the witch about them?’ Jane Chandler is an apprentice healer. From childhood, she and her mother have used herbs to cure the sick. But Jane will soon learn that her sheltered life in a small village is not safe from the troubles of the wider world. From his father’s beatings to his uncle’s raging sermons, John Sharpe is beset by bad fortune. Fighting through personal tragedy, he finds his purpose: to become a witch-finder and save innocents from the scourge of witchcraft. Inspired by true events, ‘Widdershins’ tells the story of the women who were persecuted and the men who condemned them.

Pre-Order your copy today ~ Amazon UK

Widdershins blog tour

Who was the real Scottish witch-finder behind the Newcastle witch trials?

There is no definitive evidence as to who the Newcastle witch pricker was. In my novel, Widdershins, my witch finder is the fictitious John Sharpe.

However, one possibility is that the Newcastle witch-finder might have been John Kincaid, the notorious witch pricker from Tranent in the south east of Scotland. Certainly, he was testing people in North Berwick shortly before the Newcastle witch trials. So, as he was a hundred miles away pricking people to determine whether or not they were guilty of witchcraft, it’s not inconceivable that Kincaid was the witch-pricker invited to cleanse Newcastle of its alleged infestation of witches.

  1. Webster’s Collection of Rare and Curious Tracts on Witchcraft includes a declaration from John Kincaid, Pricker, when he was in Dirlton in June 1649. This declaration was witnessed by six local officiaries. Kincaid’s declaration discusses how he tested a man and his spouse for witchcraft.

It seems that the couple in question, Patrik Watsone and Menie Halyburtoun, presented themselves voluntarily to Kincaid at Dirlton Castle near North Berwick in Scotland. After testing them with a pricking device, Kincaid claimed ‘I found the divillis marke upon the bak syde of the said Patrik Watsone…’ and ‘…upon the left syde of the said Menie Halyburtoune hir neck a littill above her left shoulder…’ He found them both guilty after pricking the devil’s marks he claimed to find about their persons, and after finding that these marks were insensible and did not bleed.

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Witches consort with the devil in North Berwick (Source: Newes from Scotland)

Following Kincaid’s revelation, the deposition of Menie Halyburtoune (again witnessed by six local officiaries) on 1 July 1649, subsequently detailed her copulating with the devil, following this spectacle being reported by her husband.

John Kincaid of Tranent was still at large as late as 1661, when he was reported in Dalkeith in Scotland. Here, he tested a woman called Janet Peaston, claiming he’d found two devil’s marks upon her body.  When Kincaid pricked these marks, the woman felt no pain, and no blood was let. In fact, so little pain did she feel when pricked, she was unable to correctly identify the points on her body where she had been pricked. This is surprising, given that ‘they being preins of thrie inches or thairabout’. Yet, Kincaid still subscribed to his test under oath and this test was witnessed by seven people, among them, the local minister and elders, including a Major.

We may never know the identity of Scottish witch-finder employed by Newcastle, but John Kincaid was a notorious witch-pricker who worked in the borders between Scotland and north-east England, and so he is certainly one possibility worth considering.

References

Newes from Scotland (1591) ‘Declaring the damnable life of Doctor Fian a notable sorcerer, who was burned at Edenbrough in Ianuarie last.’ London: William Wright (in Special Collection Ferguson Al-a.36 at Glasgow University).

  1. Sands (1881) Sketches of Tranent in the Olden Time, Pitcairns’ Justiciary Records, vol 111., p. 602 in Chapter 3 ‘Witchcraft, 1591’.
  2. Webster (1820) Collection of Rare and Curious Tracts on Witchcraft and the Second Sight; with an Original Essay on Witchcraft, Edinburgh: Thomas Webster.

Thank you to Impress Books for the opportunity to be on the tour and to the wonderfully talented Helen Steadman for her beautiful book. 

We are running a Twitter giveaway ~ head over to our Twitter Page and see the pinned post.

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Book Event News, Edinburgh Event, Review, Scotland

Charlie’s Promise @aldhammer #BookEvent @GabrielAssisi #Prestonpans Libary #Scotland #BookBlog @cranachanbooks

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Today, Monday (05/06/17) I had the pleasure of hearing Author Annemarie Allan talk about her children’s novel ‘Charlie’s Promise’ to St Gabriels, P7 Class at Prestonpans Libary.

It was fantastic to see the excitement on the children’s faces and hearing them ask Annemarie questions about the book. Then Annemarie reading from Chapter 2 of the book, setting the scene for when Laddie the dog goes missing and the children head out to find him.  The room was silent as all these eager young minds were filled with the adventure. Followed by a quiz and book signing by Annemarie.

It was a lovely experience and I would like to share some photographs from the day.

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©Annemarie Allan ~ Photo ~ KAL ~ Photography 2017
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©Annemarie Allan & P7 St Gabriels Primary School ©KAL ~ Photography 2017

Thanks for inviting me Annemarie, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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©KAL ~ Photography 2017

Would you break the rules or break your promise? On the outskirts of Edinburgh, just before the outbreak of WW2, Charlie finds a starving German boy called Josef hiding in the woods near his home. Josef can’t speak English and is desperately afraid, especially of anyone in uniform. Charlie promises to help Josef find his Jewish relatives in the city. It’s a journey that will force them to face their fears, testing their new-found friendship, and Charlie’s promise, to the limit. ‘Poignant, graceful, and relevant for today’ Alex Nye

You can purchase your copy of Charlie’s Promise here Amazon UK

We are running a Twitter giveaway ~ head over to our Twitter Page and see the pinned post.

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Review, Scotland, The Brunton Theatre

Spatz & Co Showband @TheBrunton #Review #Music #Scotland

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©Kelly Lacey 

Review

Spatz & Co ~ Showband 
The Brunton Theatre Musselburgh 27/05/17

I was very excited for the performance as I had heard many great things. A sold out show speaks volumes and the house was indeed packed full.

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©Kelly Lacey 

On the stage were the talented musicians Gordon McNeal, Malcolm MacFarlane, Erik Lars Hansen, Ray Elrick, Dick Lee, Tom Gordon, Roy McGregor and Ewan Mains who stepped in at the last minute.

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©Kelly Lacey 

 

What I loved was that each musician had the necessary attention, there was no weak link in the team. They worked strongly together and the show flowed effortlessly.

Roy McGregor has a voice like silk, so smooth and gentle.  I could listen to him for hours. They played a wide array of tunes from many genres and eras. With an extra special poignant delivery of the song the New York State Of Mind, which Billy Joel sang in tribute to those who had died from the emergency services on 9/11.  Roys McGregor dedicated his performance to those who had been affected by the Manchester bombing. I found it extremely moving and very appropriate.

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I highly recommend seeing the upcoming Christmas show in St Mary’s Church in Haddington.  To find our more please visit http://www.spatzandco.com/

Huge thanks to Fiona D at The Brunton Theatre and of course Spatz & Co for allowing me the opportunity to review. All views are my own.

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Book Reviews, eBook Deal, Review

Finding Alison #DeirdreEustace @bwpublishing #Review

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.

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Event Review, Kelly Talk, Review

Descent ~ @TheBrunton @DescentThePlay #Review #Desenttheplay

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I attended last night’s performance of Descent at The Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh.  I must say I went to theatre with a preconceived idea of how I thought the production would be, after doing some online research about its theme.  I did not think it would be something I would enjoy.

However, I could not have been more wrong and it reiterates never to judge something be it a book cover or a  theatre show by its cover or poster.

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The stage is set in a very clean modern way. It almost becomes invisible as the characters are so so bold, colourful and noisy with their own story.  The three actors that take us on this raw, emotional and frightening journey are Wendy Seager, Greg Powrie and Fiona MacNeil. They were all superb, each brought something different to the play. Their own emotion, voice, and essence.

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It’s an important story and often a topic that is not discussed. Because it may cause embarrassment or it’s not the done thing.  Linda Duncan McLaughlin, the writer of the play, shows us the glance of the real heartbreaking truth of the effect Dementia has not only on the sufferer but the family has too.

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I was overwhelmed by this powerful performance.  When it was over I immediately wanted to talk with the cast and crew and find out how they felt about the topic and how hard it was to act out the emotional scenes. I didn’t of course as I hadn’t arranged it beforehand. Instead, I turned to my fellow audience members and realised no one was leaving the theatre. We were all sat there stunned by what we had just watched.  I noted that I wasn’t alone in my need to talk about it. So we did, all talking about how powerful the performance was and how it was such a real and honest account of what happens. It was refreshing to talk to the people and know they too were affected by the play in the same way as me.

The show now moves all over Scotland, you can find out more here: Website.

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

Thank you to the team @DescentThePlay and to Fiona D @TheBrunton for my review tickets. 

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