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The Next Big Thing? I Wish!

7 Jan
south africa

south africa (Photo credit: rafiq s)

Regular readers know that, while I am always grateful to receive awards, appreciating the compliment and the kind thought, I never act on them.  I consider them well-intentioned chain letters – without the threat of death and disaster if they are not forwarded, but chain letters all the same.

‘You’ve been tagged’ posts are just as bad, as a rule, but I have decided to play along with the latest because it’s about self-promotion, and you all know I’m in favour of that.

Robin Coyle tagged me.  You should visit her blog to read about her book; it sounds fascinating, though she is a little too ready to give away the plot.  We have had words about it.  

The premise is simple: write a blog interview about your book, using the following questions:

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What is the title of your book?

Apartheid’s All Right If You’re White

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Where did the idea come from for your book?

I lived in South Africa during and after Apartheid.  It took fifteen years to get the experience out of my system.  I had a lot of poems that I first posted on a now-defunct blog.  Viv nagged me to do something with them.

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What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry.  

I make no apologies.*

Brad Pitt in 2007.

Brad Pitt in 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?

Me: Sandra Bullock (I wish) or Julie Walters (realistically)

The Hub: Brad Pitt 

Nelson Mandela: Morgan Freeman (obviously)

Maid: Eve Sisulu (a joke for Madam & Eve readers)

Violent Policeman: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Terrorists: The IRA

Madam & Eve

Madam & Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A book of poetry like South Africa itself: colourful, violent and a little bit crazy.

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Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will be sending it to several publishers but I will self-publish if necessary.  So yes, it will be self-published.

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How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Twenty-two years.

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PHILIP LARKIN

PHILIP LARKIN (Photo credit: summonedbyfells)

What other books would you compare this story to?

I don’t know of any.  Unless you count any poem Philip Larkin wrote about his parents.

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Who or what inspired you to write the book?

My sanity.

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What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s not really poetry.

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The rules of the tag require me to name five more people who might be The Next Big Thing.  I have opted for bloggers who have or should have a book in the works.

Please feel free to ignore the tag; I won’t be offended.

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Guest Post: Brenda Youngerman

26 Mar

My guest today is Brenda Youngerman.  Brenda is an author, and I have invited her to tell you about her new book.

My Photo

Writing… reading… talking… breathing. These are all adverbs when you take them singularly; but to me they are vital parts of my life. I cannot imagine any facet of me without all of these adverbs interacting. Obviously we all breathe and have done so from the moment of birth.  Talking? Well…I have no idea when that started, but reading I distinctly remember doing from a VERY early age. Trips to the library to check out children’s books (which I later checked out with my own children) and then as my reading level progressed, my walks down the aisle of the library to grab a book that looked interesting.

And writing? Well I’ve definitely been writing since I was in high school with a precise memory of a short story I wrote about love and loss. It started with “Her memory hung in the air like the scent of a rose.” I printed out that short story and put in on my bulletin board. I had no idea then (when I was sixteen) that I would end up writing novels, nor that I would enjoy writing so much and it would become an extension of myself.

A Youngerman novel will take you on a journey into a life that you may or may not ever imagine. There are always twists and turns that the reader does not expect, and although life does not necessarily have happy endings, my books try to leave the reader with a bit of hope that things will be better for our star character.

I hope you give it a try…. Check out my latest book: Skewered Halo. You can buy it directly from me and I will autograph it for you! Come on by my blog or my website.

Psst! She’s Got a Secret!

Why would one sister have it in for the other? Sibling rivalry is taken to the extreme in my novel Skewered Halo.  Diane Newsome is the middle child born into a middle-class family. Her older sister, Brittany, has resented her from the moment she was born. Brittany convinces Diane that she was placed on the doorstep as an unwanted child, and she dare not make a wrong move or she will lose her family. Years later, when Diane finally tells her parents what Brittany has claimed, they are aghast, yet her mother still sides with Brittany.

Skewered Halo is a thriller exploring the lies and treachery that can exist in families. Join Diane as she discovers that her entire life has been a lie, resulting in murder and mayhem.

The Battle Of Flodden: Fleck Or Fiction?

30 Nov
English: Site of the Battle of Flodden Field. ...
Image via Wikipedia

If you fancy a good read…you should buy a copy of Tom Fleck.  Set at the time of the Battle of Flodden, it is a real page-turner.  I’ve read it three times and loved it each time.

Here are Tudor kings and their nobles – their documented lives are rich material for writers – but now they play a minor part. This is the story of Tom Fleck, a penniless farm labourer, who shares his dwelling with cattle. He is fictional only because he leaves no record – his people live before the keeping of parish registers, so they make no marks on parchment and are lost to history.

We find his rare surname in the register of St. Hilda’s church at Hartlepool:

Baptisms 1596, September 19th : Christofer ye child of Willm. Fleck.

Perhaps William heard tales of how his great-grandfather, Thomas, loved a strange woman and stood with the army on the terrible battlefield of Flodden. This story brings him to life.

The first chapter can be read on the author Harry Nicholson’s blog: http://1513fusion.wordpress.com/

I have a treat for you: Harry kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog. 

TB:  Hi Harry, thanks for doing this.  First, something banal to ease you in: how did the idea of Tom Fleck come to you?

HN: It is partly a response to what greets me when I walk into bookshops: glossy covers of historical novels that push jewelled Tudor cleavages at the reader – and within, yet more tangled intrigues of royal courts. I wonder what emotional connection I might find with these great lords and their ladies.  Where are the stories of the ancestors of people like me? I don’t see any – so I decided to write the life and adventures of forgotten men and women, people without heraldry, people who left no record except for the blood that, at least poetically, might still flow through our modern veins.

TB:  How difficult was research, given that there are no records of the lower classes?

HN:  It was a matter of combing card indexes of reference libraries and of collections in local history archives; local archives remain vital for detail, the internet is not yet the source of all knowledge (though it is wonderful for making great leaps in general research).   Parish registers, even though they did not begin until 1566, are worth consulting.  They are brief in detail of the common folk but there are entries which hint at human drama and tragedy. Here is one from St Hilda’s at Hartlepool:

Burials  9 Dec. 1596.  Christofer Harte, John Harte ye elder, John Harte ye younger, and Thomas Todd were all of them drowned out of one boat.  There is a tragedy here: four coble fishermen, three of one family – all lost. What will happen now the bread-winners have gone. Three months earlier, five men were lost from another coble.  

I feel an emotional connection with these stark lines, my mother is descended from these same fisher-folk.   Another snippet from a 16th century Yorkshire travelling  Quarter Sessions is rich in facts but also feeds the imagination. I’m sad for Matilda Wilkinson, spinster of Thornton, found guilty of stealing a pair of stockings (threepence), a petticoat (fourpence) and a neckerchief (threepence); she was to be whipped at Malton ‘and from thence conveyed from Constable to Constable, through the parishes, to Thornton, there to be whipped upon a holyday after evening prayer time, from the church stile to the place of her late dwelling there.’  These forgotten people are our fellows, they are silent ones who might sometimes whisper from the pages of historical fiction. That is how I felt when writing Tom Fleck.

TB:  How much time did you spend in research?

HN:  I never logged the days I spent walking the Flodden battlefield or studying the exhibits at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, or sifting through the journals of the Surtees Society, but it must add up to many, many hours. Whilst writing, I would sometimes break off to check something on the internet – like footwear, or what would Tom have on his feet when he kicked a robber in the shins? Would there have been red kites scavenging the streets of Durham City?   What sort of material was Cambric and would that Belgian cloth be for sale on a stall in Alnwick in 1513?  At the close of many days it seemed that I’d spent as much time on research as I did in writing the story – which is probably why it took four years.

TB: Did you have to leave much out?  If so, why?

HN:  In my enthusiasm for historical background, at first the story was overloaded with information.  It was all too much, so I cut and cut and rewrote, until only essentials were left. I gave most of what remained to the ‘actors’. In finding ways of allowing the characters to deliver vital research through their thoughts and speech, people came to life and I improved as a writer.

TB:  Will there be a sequel?

HN:  There will be a sequel, I’ve done a good deal of research for it.  I’m still reflecting on what circumstances might arise for Tom’s people – but I will not truly know until the ink touches the paper.

Writing Tom Fleck brought a rich four years; I had another world, just by my side, that I could step into – wherever I was. Now the book is published I do miss those characters; they had become real and I loved them all – even the bad guys.

‘Sharp as quivering hares are the Flecks. We’ve eyes and ears for things other folk miss.’

Much later, in the aftermath of Flodden, a young man finally understands his father’s words.

The year: 1513. The place: North-East England.

Tom Fleck, a downtrodden farm worker but gifted archer yearns to escape his masters. He unearths two objects that could be keys to freedom: a torque of ancient gold and a Tudor seal ring. He cannot know how these finds will determine his future.

Rachel Coronel craves an end to her Jewish wanderings. When the torque comes to rest around the neck of this mysterious woman, an odyssey begins which draws Tom Fleck into borderlands of belief and race.

The seal ring propels Tom on a journey of self-knowledge that can only climax in another borderland, among the ‘flowers of the forest’ on Flodden Field.   

The book is available on Amazon and other online outlets.

ISBN-13:  978-1908147769

Paperback price:  £7.99  ($12.99)

Kindle version:  £2.14   ($2.99)

Harry is happy to send out signed copies.  (£1.50 postage within the UK; overseas please contact Harry direct for postage price.)

I’ve Been Re-possessed

26 Sep

As regular reader knows, from time to time I vacate The Laughing Housewife premises to let a real writer talk about their new book.  Today it is the turn of…

…Musician, Nemo James:

Born and based in England, Nemo James worked as a professional musician and singer/songwriter for more than 30 years. He now lives in Croatia with his wife Federika and their cat Jutko, who is becoming intolerable following his rise to fame on Youtube.

The book: Just A Few Seconds.

The story of one man’s experience in the music business. It is an amusing and true story of a successful freelance musician whose gigs ranged from private parties, to the rich and famous, to the roughest London pubs, where playing the wrong song at the wrong time meant the difference between life and death. He takes more twists, turns and knocks than a mouse trapped in a pinball machine.  The ending shows how the road to success can lead us down the strangest and most desolate of paths.

If you are looking for the usual rock star memoirs full of sex, drugs and rock and roll, then this book is not for you; if you are interested in a unique insight into the music business that reads like a thriller, then this book won’t disappoint.

nemo3

Cooking Tips from Nemo James

Since the publication of my book Just A Few Seconds, several people have emailed me to ask whether my cooking has improved since the chapter entitled A Recipe For Shoestrings. In it, I wrote how during a very difficult time in my life, I was living on a budget of £1 a day for food. Some people are able to do wonders with £1 spent wisely on ingredients but I am definitely not one of them. I was not only on a shoestring budget, my meals actually tasted like shoestrings.

Then I met and married Federika who, apart from being amazing and gorgeous, is also a fantastic cook specialising in dishes from all corners of the globe, but particularly from Peru, where she grew up. I am never going to win any awards for my cooking but she has taught me a lot and in particular shared that secret that all you crafty cooks have been keeping to yourselves all these years: The Kitchen Timer

Until I discovered the kitchen timer I used to use a smoke alarm to tell me when my food was cooked. In a terraced house in the UK it was not a problem as I would always put the smoke alarm within easy reach so I could turn it off quickly. But one day, while I was living in Los Angeles, I was heating up a lovely chocolate muffin for my breakfast when the phone rang with a call from a prospective agent. I completely forgot about the muffin until the smoke alarm went off but, being accustomed to this event, I continued talking to the agent whilst removing the muffin from the oven and jumping up and down on a chair, trying to blow cold air onto the alarm. As most of the buildings in L.A. are made of wood everyone is paranoid about fire so just as I thought I had everything under control and had the agent interested the building manager started banging on my door and screaming at me to let him in. I never realised cooking could be so difficult.

Here are a few more tips that I have discovered that I would like to pass on:

  • Using an apron means that cooking doesn’t always require a change of clothes.
  • The oil you use for cooking is different to the type you use in your car.
  • Oven gloves save a lot of pain.
  • Keeping the kitchen floor clean from grease means you don’t have to wear a crash helmet while you cook.
  • When breaking an egg it is better to use the edge of a knife than a hammer.
  • A baguette is not a small shopping bag.
  • You don’t get black eyed beans by punching normal beans.
  • You can’t make white sugar go brown by leaving it in the sun all day.
  • Crab apple is not a seafood.
  • Hitting a halibut with a hammer doesn’t make it a flatfish.
  • You can’t scald pasta by telling it off.
  • Molasses are not moles’ bottoms.
  • Strong currants in Muesli are not dangerous.
  • There is no such thing as Semolina poisoning.
  • If you are running short of Tofu for that special dinner party, try adding half a litre of water to a roll of toilet paper and blend in with one large packet of wallpaper paste. No one will ever know the difference.

If you have a cooking tip you would like to share with others please leave them in the comments.

Nemo James banner

For reviews and other information visit Pump Up Your Book.

Nemo James’ website and blog.

Nemo James’  You Tube videos.

Please Welcome My Guest, Jessamine Rose

13 Jun

Today’s post is brought to you courtesy of author Jessamine Rose and her book, Don’t Let The Secret Out.

Author Jessamine Rose

About Don’t Let the Secret Out

Jessamine Rose offers readers a glimpse into her life. She was born in 1937, in a small town in eastern Kentucky. For many, her upbringing will seem foreign but for some it will sound all too familiar. The family’s cabin was cold, the cracks in the floor made it impossible to heat. The bathroom was an outhouse. Her father often beat her mother. Her father shot her mother to scare her. At one point the family lived under a cliff. In the hills of eastern Kentucky “you could shoot a dog and spend a year in jail, shoot a man and nothing.” She faced sexual abuse, beatings, neglect and yet rose above it all. She was a mere 6 years old the first time she was raped. Her mother gave away her young brother and sister. Jessamine made her escape in the back of an ice truck, she was less than 14. She ended up living in a park in Ohio.

Her teen years were spent suffering at the hands of authority. Her life finally changed for the better when she met the love of her life and life began anew.  Jessamine searched for her family and tried to reconcile her past memories with those who had wronged her. Jessamine faced many hardships in her life, yet her memoir is upbeat, despite her childhood beginnings.

Don't Let the Secret Out Virtual Book Tour

An excerpt from Don’t Let The Secret Out:

Spring came and mommy had Edna Cora

She was named after my Daddy’s sister and also was the sibling I nicknamed Flukey. Daddy decided to join the Army and instead of Mommy getting allotment for us kids, he put it in Aunt Cora’s name. She owned a little country store and was supposed to give us food. Almost everyday we’d walk to her grocery store and she’d be kind enough to give us a load of bread with some applesauce. However, she greedily kept most of the money for herself.

After I grew up I came back to Incline, Ky to face Aunt Cora for keeping most of the money and not giving us food in exchange. As we were driving up the dirt road, I could see Aunt Cora in the garden working. She was all bent over hoeing a row of beans. We parked the car, got out and walked toward her. I was so mad and planned to do more than yell at her; I wanted to hit her. As I got closer to her she stood up and she was all crippled from arthritis. Needless to say I felt so sorry for her, so I couldn’t be mad at her. We talked for about an hour and I left. I was so hurt I couldn’t even cry. I never say Aunt Cora again.

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Four Fun Things about Writing and Publishing My Novel.

1. I have three cats. BJ is 10 years old and thinks she is the meanest 5 lb ball of fur on the planet.  Yes, she rules the family. I was in the middle of finishing up a chapter I had rewritten several times. Just when I had the end in my mind I heard her coming.  She calls me ma. When she wants me to hold her I have no choice. She jumped up on the keyboard, hit delete – and all was gone. She sat on the keyboard for all of one minute for me to pet her.

2. My editor had most of the book edited and she tried out a new program.  When she went back to work on the book, it was gone. After we both stopped crying, I had to round up the story and send it to her again.

3. After I finished the book I didn’t know how to find a cover. I didn’t know the publisher would do my cover for me. I tried drawing a picture. That didn’t work out. Then I remembered a friend had two granddaughters about the age I needed for the cover. George, my husband, asked them if he could take their pictures for the cover. We have an old fence in the back; he asked them to stand in front of the fence. They posed and the picture was taken; it turned out beautiful. Just what I wanted.

4. George had an appointment at the VA for blood work. I had to wait for him in the waiting room. There were several people there. I had no idea how to get my book out to the public. I looked around the room and announced to every one ‘My name is Jessamine Rose and my book, Don’t Let The Secret Out, be for sale.’ I was taking orders now. The price was $10.00. I needed their name, address and $10.00. I mailed them just as soon as I could. I sold several and one of the ladies bought two.  Shortly after, a Doctor came in and asked if Jessamine Rose was there. The lady told them Jessamine Rose the author was in the building.

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Let-Secret-Jessamine-Rose/dp/0982930720/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305952980&sr=1-1

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/05/23/don%E2%80%99t-let-the-secret-out-virtual-book-tour-june-2011/

Don't Let the Secret Out

You Wait Months For A Guest Post And Then Two Come Along At Once

27 May

This post is not about pushing a personal agenda, but helping out an author.  All readers of a non-Christian disposition should look away now. 

Surrendered Balance

About Surrendered Balance

Do you live a fast paced and hectic life? Is your relationship with God suffering because of it? Imagine living a life of balance, in the flow of God’s will even while you’re always on the go. It is possible to flourish and have fulfillment in both your spiritual life and natural life without feeling as if you are neglecting either one. It comes by way of surrendered balance.

 Hermina Krista Pettiford, in her first book connects with modern the Christian woman, giving fresh ideas and insight for balancing the responsibilities of modern-life while maintain an intimate relationship with God.  In her personable style she gives practical solutions and applicable tools for women to make a life of surrendered balance no longer just a dream but a reality!

A modern Christian woman is someone who balances all of her responsibilities – family, career, friendship, ministry to others, and caring for herself all while keeping the Lord at the center of her life. If you are a modern Christian woman this book was written for you.

Proverbs 31:16 (AMP) says, “She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.”

As modern Christian women we balance so much: time with the Lord, family, friends, work, staying fit and healthy, making time for ourselves without feeling too guilty, church and ministry.

God has a plan for each one of us that will bring about a proper balance between our spiritual and natural life. It is through the path of surrender and making time for Him that we find this plan. As we allow God to order our lives, not taking on more than we can handle or are called by Him to do, but rather, like wise women considering all of our choices in the presence of God before we proceed, our lives are bound to come into a state of surrendered balance and make room for all the needed things.

However, because of modern-day busyness, living a surrendered life and creating a constant balance is not always easy, even for those who have lived the Christian life for many years. The disciplines and principles in this book may not be new to you, but I believe the strategies and ideas will give you a fresh way of looking at how to balance your daily living as a modern Christian woman.

 This book has two parts. The first part lists and discusses seven disciplines of a balanced life for the modern Christian woman. The second part is designed to help you implement these disciplines into your life without boxing you into just another system that will never work because it doesn’t fit your life. This book was written to help you keep track of your time, so that you will have time for all the needed things without getting overwhelmed.

The strategies and ideas I will share are those that God gave me when I was in a stressful time of life with more work and responsibilities than time and energy in a day. They still work for me and they will work for you if you apply them.

Surrendered Balance Virtual Book Tour

 

About Hermina Krista Pettiford

Hermina Krista Pettiford is the women’s ministry leader in her local church – New Covenant Tabernacle located San Diego, CA where she lives with her family. She has a B. A. in Biblical Studies from Southern California Seminary. Her belief is that the Spirit of God and the Word of God work together to create dynamic power for living the Christian life, thus, she ministers with a solid Biblical message and with the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Her desire is to see women and families strengthened through God’s Word and their relationship with God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. She has written out of her own life experiences, and her gift and love of writing to and for the Lord.

You can find Krista Pettiford at her website; www.surrenderedbalance.com

Purchase the book at Amazon;

http://www.amazon.com/Surrendered-Balance-Living-Modern-Christian/dp/098238050X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1306340441&sr=1-1

 

Visit Krista’s tour page at Pump Up Your Book!  http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/04/25/surrendered-balance-daily-living-for-the-modern-christian-woman-virtual-book-tour/

 

 

Don’t Stress – It’s A Guest Post

26 May

Have Stress Relief Now is about helping YOU!  Ever have too much to do, and not enough time? Interested in shedding a few pounds? Wonder what’s the most effective way to organize both your personal and professional life? Interested in finding that someone special or improving your current relationship? If you’ve ever pondered on questions like these, then Have Stress Relief Now is for you. The site provides you with resources to manage your personal and professional life.

Have Stress Relief Now is a free online membership site created in 2009 by author and freelance writer, Tinisha Johnson, who resides in Colorado with her family.  It started as a blog, and has turned into a full launched website as of 2011.

After a failed marriage and two small kids, Tinisha thought it best to take a new route in her life; one that involved various ways to manage stress on different levels. Stumbling upon the following three books:  Unstoppable Women by Cynthia Kersey, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and Do You! by Russell Simmons, these books literally changed her life, and from that change, Have Stress Relief Now website was created.

Tinisha wanted to make the information she provides through the site diverse, because let’s face it, everyone’s problems and stress are sometimes different and unique. By signing up to become an online member, the site will introduce you to all types of articles, services, products, and prizes that are of high quality and have proven results in the area of stress management.

To learn more about Have Stress Relief Now, visit the website: www.HaveStressReliefNow.com

Visit Tinisha at her tour page at Pump Up Your Book!

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/04/27/have-stress-relief-now-virtual-inspirational-website-tour-may-2011/

GIVEAWAYS

During the month of May, “Have Stress Relief Now,” will be giving away a $40 and $10 Amazon Gift Card, along with a free Ebook entitled “How to Manage Stress Before it Manages You.” Both give-a-ways will be accessible through the winners email.

There will be a total of 2 winners. 1st winner will win a $40 Amazon Gift Card and a free Ebook. 2nd prize winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a free copy of the Ebook.

http://www.havestressreliefnow.com/currentgiveaway.htm

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Buy The Book (2)

12 Feb

 

The Houses on the Green is the story of a small community living in terraced property in the Ardwick area of Manchester, and is set in the late 1950s. 
Their homes lie on the edge of a clearance area and have been subject to a compulsory purchase order. The owner of the five properties, an ex-army officer, leads the fight to save them.  He is backed by the other residents: a young single mother, a Jewish couple who fled Austria just before Hitler entered Vienna, a hard-working secretary in the city centre and a slow-witted young man coping alone after the death of his parents.  Each of the characters bring their own strengths to the conflict. They take the fight to the Town Hall and encounter a planning officer with old scores to settle.  
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Set at a time when massive slum clearances were taking place in most major cities, the story is a realistic representation of life in Britain in the Fifties.
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Currently living on the edge of a reservoir in Stockport, Eileen has worked variously as a barmaid, interpreter, secretary to an MP and as a teacher. Eileen travels extensively, frequently alone, both in Europe and farther afield; Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Cuba. She has had work published in Good Housekeeping, was winner of a local short story writing competition and has had a poem displayed in Stockport Art Gallery. 
 
  
 
Eileen is a friend of mine and kindly let me read the book before publication.  It’s a real page-turner!  The book’s strength lies in the well-drawn characters.  I found myself really caring about these people and their fight.  So much so, I demanded that Eileen write at least one sequel, and preferably more. 
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If you have ever lived in or around Manchester you will enjoy the references to real places.
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You can purchase a copy from Eileen’s website
 
Alternatively, she is launching the book at Stockport Art Gallery on Sunday, February 20th, from one o’clock to three.  Pat Fox-Leonard will read excerpts.  If you would like to own a signed copy of The Houses on the Green, or to hear a good book read well, please come along.
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You can also read excerpts here.
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Come on Manchester, let’s do everything we can to support a local author!
 
 
 

Buy The Book (1)

8 Feb

Exciting news!  I have two friends with books out.  I’ll tell you about one today and one tomorrow.

The first is Tom Fleck by Harry Nicholson:

Tom Fleck

‘Sharp as quivering hares are the Flecks. We’ve eyes and ears for things other folk miss.’

In the aftermath of Flodden, a young man finally understands his father’s words.

 

The year: 1513. The place: North-East England.

Tom Fleck, a downtrodden farm worker but gifted archer, yearns to escape his masters. He unearths two objects that could be keys to freedom: a torque of ancient gold and a Tudor seal ring. He cannot know how these finds will determine his future.

Rachel Coronel craves an end to her Jewish wanderings. When the torque comes to rest around the neck of this mysterious woman, an odyssey begins which draws Tom Fleck into borderlands of belief and race.

The seal ring propels Tom on a journey of self-knowledge that can only climax in another borderland – among the flowers and banners of Flodden Field.

Harry Nicholson now lives near Whitby in North Yorkshire. He grew up in Hartlepool from where his family have fished since the 16th C. He had a first career as a radio officer in the merchant navy. A second career followed in television studios.

Since retirement he has devoted himself to art (the cover is one of his paintings), poetry and the teaching of meditation. This is his first novel. 

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I’ve read Tom Fleck; I loved it.  It has a sweet romance but the heart of the book is Tom’s journey: a road trip for the 16th Century.  What I loved most about it is Harry’s gift for interesting detail, the fascinating stuff that’s usually left out and shouldn’t be.

Buy it!  You’ll love it, I promise.

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You can get it from Amazon and other online retailers, or from the author himself; go to his blog for a taster. 

 

My Guest Today Is Vila SpiderHawk

16 Nov

Vila SpiderHawk is taking a different view on the aging of womankind. Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones is a collection of tales, some of which are interconnected, others which stand alone, all of which deal with women who are finding or already using the wisdom acquired from years of life experience.

Vila SpiderHawk and her husband share a log home of their design in the woods of Pennsylvania where they live with their five cats and enjoy frequent visits with their many woodland friends.  SpiderHawk is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook. 

Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones 

                           Brimming with hope and beautifully written, these eight stories of women helping women and girls through the challenges and transitions of life will surprise you with every turn of the page. 

                           In Passages, a girl moves through a rites of passage into womanhood, both symbolic and literal, among her tribe of watching women, bonding with the other women as well as with the feminine in nature, bonding with the divine, and erasing boundaries between all. 

                           Lavinia is something of a ghost story of women, where the reader wonders at times who is living and who is not.

                           Vila SpiderHawk is taking a different view on the aging of womankind. Hidden Passages is a collection of tales, some of which are interconnected, others which stand alone, all of which deal with women who are finding or already using the wisdom acquired from years of life experience. 

                           These are women as women should be: unafraid of living, unafraid of expressing their femininity, unafraid of aging, unafraid of facing up to their own fears and weaknesses and transforming them into strengths, unafraid to confront those who would deny them their place, simply – unafraid. We should all wish to be such terrific crones.

 

Vila, What was the inspiration for your characters and their stories?  

Mima Po is the one story in the book that comes even remotely close to being autobiographical.  There actually was a wonderful old Czechoslovakian woman on our block whom everyone shunned and feared.  Like everyone else, I feared her too and, because of the neighborhood rules, shunned her.  

However, because she was forbidden, she fascinated me.  I had to pass her house to go virtually anywhere, and I often hesitated, daring myself to knock on her door and introduce myself.  I never did.  When she was on her porch, however, I worked up the courage to nod at her.  She nodded back.  Becoming even bolder, I verbally greeted her.  She responded.  Before I knew it, I was sitting on her porch listening to stories that I was sure were fiction about her experiences during World War II.  A deep friendship blossomed between us.  

Her death was the first time I came face to face with permanent loss.  I kept going back to her house expecting her to be there, and of course she wasn’t.  Since I was too young for school, I could not grasp that she would never be there again.  I thought my heart would break when someone else moved in to that house and I had to accept that she was well and truly gone.  I have always cherished the memory of that magnificent old woman.  Therefore, I wrote a story about her and placed her in the primary position of the book. 

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You can find Vila at www.vilaspiderhawk.com

Follow Vila’s Virtual Book Tour at Pump Up Your Book

Watch the book video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmlz31q_ugQ

Vila reads from Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXzvTLo71Ok

 

Ladies & Gentlemen, Please Welcome Our Guest:

7 Oct

Author Cheryl D. Bannerman.   She will be taking over thelaughinghousewife for a moment.

About the Author 

Cheryl McNeil (pen name, Cheryl D. Bannerman, her birth name) is CEO of a small virtual training company based out of Central New Jersey. She works out of her home office and creates classroom training materials, e-Learning modules, job aides and much more for corporate employees and their clients. She holds a Bachelors in Business Management and a Masters in Project Management. She is also the (divorced) single mother of a beautiful eleven year old girl. 

In her spare time she loves to read murder mysteries, watch movies, try new restaurants and cuisines, shop with her daughter, and in the summer, walk the boardwalk and take in the sun on the beach. Although her works are fiction, she has incorporated many of her life’s experiences into her stories. 

You can find Cheryl at www.bannermanbooks.com

Visit her tour page at Pump Up Your Book, http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2010/10/02/black-child-to-black-woman-virtual-book-tour-october-10/

Book Synopsis:

Black Child to Black Woman is a ‘live diary’ experience that will grab your attention right from the start. Tara Walker speaks directly to the reader as she adds entry after entry into her Journal. She documents her experiences, her family life, her triumphs, as well as her interpretation of life and the world as she saw it. As she grows, so does the language and tone of the diary, which matches her maturity and speech patterns as the time passes.  

Experiences are mere images engraved in our minds that we recall when future events occur such as a tragedy or even when a song is playing on the radio. Tara has captured those moments in time in her diary, even the painful ones. Although she came from a loving home with both parents, she struggled to come to grips with siblings addicted to drugs, molestation, attempted rape, broken hearts, and so much more.  

Her diary experiences will make you laugh, cry, scream, sigh, and gasp aloud. As Tara struggles to keep her head above water and fight through the tribulations of her life, she continues to smile, continues to grow as a person, continues to be successful in her career, and continues to survive. Through it all and through her daughter, she eventually discovers the true meaning of unconditional love. 

Come discover life through the eyes of Tara as she grows from a black child to a black woman.

Excerpt:

From a small town down South…

Hi. My name is Tara. Tara Walker. I’m just a child (nine years old to be exact), though sometimes I don’t feel like one. I’m one of those kids that is tall for my age. But that’s not all. I see and hear things I am not supposed to. Grown-ups are always tryin’ to hide stuff from me, like I don’t know already. 

Trying to be a good little girl is not hard for me. I don’t say much so it makes it easy to be the perfect little girl I am supposed to and expected to be. Good in school, no trouble at home, and I eat just about anything, so you can’t even say I’m a picky eater. Sometimes I wonder why everyone always calls me “heavy-handed”. I guess it’s because I break things by accident, and also I’m kind of klutzy, I guess you could say. I’m much taller than most of my friends which makes me somewhat stronger than most my age. This is not something I do on purpose, but I think my mom and dad think that I do. Speaking of mom and dad, I guess you want to know about them, huh? Well, my mom works for this bank in Philadelphia called “1st Pennsy” I think. Anyway, she works all the time and mostly the late shift, so I’m stuck with my brother watching me until my dad comes home. My mom is nice. She’s very pretty, and very classy, from what I hear. I try to be like her and also listen to everything she tells me because she’s smart.

Sometimes my mom is upset because of my dad. You see, my dad drinks acka-hall (that’s a bad drink), and my mom doesn’t like it too much. Sometimes their fighting wakes me up and I can’t get back to sleep for a long time. My dad’s really cool! He’s funny and he takes me everywhere. He works at this lumber company where they sell wood and when he has to take me with him to work I get to pretend I’m building all these neat things with hammers and nails. I get lost in my own little world and even forget to have lunch!  My dad takes me everywhere! Oh, wait, I said that already. Sorry. Well, this may seem weird to you but I even go with him to the bar. It’s a place where all these people meet every day or weekend, I think. They drink that stuff my mom doesn’t like and play pool (some boring game with sticks and balls), and video games. Whenever I go there I would drink soda from these tiny little glasses and eat snacks from a bowl and play video games. My favorite game was Space Invaders. Pinball was cool too. Everyone treats me great. It’s like I am a movie star! Whenever I run out of quarters I just get more from my dad. That is my typical Friday or Saturday night. I guess my mom is at work. I don’t really know.

Q:  Who was your inspiration for writing the novel?  Why did you feel it was best to chronicle the novel in journal form?  The books starts out in the voice of a little girl and matures to adulthood. What voice did you find the easiest to write about and why? 
 
A:  The inspiration for writing the novel came from within, although my parents were the inspiration in regards to the family dedication and loyalty to their children. They provided for me in every way growing up; the best schools, the fanciest clothes, extravagant vacations, and more. And of course the Lord has blessed with the talent to write and the motivation to move forward with getting it published.  Since I have always written in a journal throughout my life, to present my first novel in this format and have Tara tell her story in her own words, was even more inspirational for me as I told the many stories within the book.  I wanted the reader to feel as if Tara were speaking directly to them as a friend; so that they would be more inclined to listen, be involved, and care about her welfare and what she was going through.
 I found the voice of the 9 year-old to be the easiest, but most emotional, to write about.  Memories of childhood were flooding my head and were dying to leap unto the paper and tell their story. Tears of joy and sorrow and pain stained the paper often while documenting many real experiences from my life and the lives of so many people I am close to.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

23 Jun

Today sees a new departure for me: I’m going to let somebody else do all the talking. I have a guest in my blog, American author Sherry D. Shumard. Sherry is the author of Heartbroken Promises 1 & 2

Heartbroken Promises 2: Vicky Wainright decides to visit Jake’s Island so she can be close to her sister Miranda. She is offered a nanny job by Jordan, a handsome bachelor who is raising his son alone. She meets waiter Noah, and is quickly torn between loving him and Jordan. Miranda is kidnapped and her sister believes that Noah was one of the kidnappers. How will she feel about Noah after she finds out the truth? Will Miranda be rescued or killed?

Welcome, Sherry. Please tell us a little about yourself. 

I love to read and write books. I’m the published author of a series of books titled: Heartbroken Promises, Heartbroken Promises 2 and I’m currently working on Heartbroken Promises 3. The books are available on Amazonbooksamillion.com, and Barnes & Nobleto name a few. I plan on writing many more books since I have a lot of ideas I want to write about. My dream is to someday soon see my books come to life as a movie or a television series – that would be great.

I’m married and have three children and two pets.

Do you have friendly critics who read your early drafts, and how difficult is it to hear constructive criticism?

I have had friendly critics who read my early drafts and it is very helpful. When I hear constructive criticism it can sometimes be hard to take in. I’ve learned that it isn’t about me personally when I get negative feedback about my writing. I will take all suggestions and apply them in my writing if necessary and I will only become a better and stronger writer because of constructive criticism. When I got non-biased reviews recently yes, the negative feedback did hurt at first but now I know what I need to do in my third novel. I need to have more character development so that the reader will get to know them on a more intimate level. I will also make the story longer and not have it so fast paced. One of the reviewers said she likes to linger in the story so that’s what I will do – take my time in writing and have the events play out longer. One of the reviewers loved the passion and the drama in my second novel.  In my third novel I will take all of the suggestions; this next book will pick up where the second one left off and it will be full of drama and passion, so that the reviewers will be shocked and pleasantly surprised. Overall, the reviews weren’t that bad. One of the reviewers said that the passion was so thick that you couldn’t cut it with a knife. I will try to top that in my next novel.

Do you believe in the existence of writer’s block and, if so, how do you combat it?

I think that there is writer’s block. Sometimes I have to take a break when I write if I feel like I’m too tired or the story isn’t going where it is supposed to be going. I don’t use an outline when I write so who knows until I start writing what the characters are going to be doing? The best thing for writer’s block is to take a break and come back refreshed and then start again.

Do you believe that sites like iUniverse and Lulu are the future of publishing? 

I do believe that sites like iUniverse and Lulu are definitely the future of publishing. With so many readers online it is perfect to have books accessible for them to order and download. I’m already a published author with iuniverse.com with my first novel.  My second novel is published through PublishAmerica.

Where do you write? 

I write in the front room on a computer or on a laptop outside, either on the front porch or back deck. Sometimes I will write down story ideas on paper at a park or wherever I may be at. I think it is easier for me to be at a computer or laptop because I think that it is less work to just type the story. If I write them down, then I have to also type them later. That’s just my writing style.

How do you write? 

I don’t use an outline when I write my chapters. I just visualize my characters in my head and write down what they would say or do as I go along. I can just picture them on Jake’s Island – the setting in my story – and it is so easy to write that the story just flows along. I just have to use the available time that I have to write because I have a very busy life.

Why do you write? 

I love books and I love to create characters and drama and mystery for my readers to enjoy. It is exciting seeing my name and the title of my books on the covers. I have so many ideas on books and I wish I had more time to write. I’ll just have to keep writing because it gives me a great sense of accomplishment and I love to throw my heart and soul into the storyline and give the reader an escape from their normal lives. The Heartbroken Promises series is set on Jake’s Island, a fictional island; but in my mind it is really Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia.

Thanks for your visit, Sherry; and good luck with the book.

You can read more about Sherry at http://www.sherryshumard.com/blog.html 

 

 

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