Christmas in July and a Book Review

For the past few years I have noticed authors talking about their Christmas books during the summer months. At the time, I felt a bit left out but this year everything has changed because Curmudgeon Avenue ended last Christmas with A Curmudgeonly Christmas. I am pleased to say has joined this book promotion : https://books.bookfunnel.com/christmasjuly21/p2re6562xn which runs until the end of July.

THE ONE WHERE IT’S THE CURMUDGEONLY FINAL

It’s Christmas during pandemic and for a change, it’s fun. (US reader)

A Curmudgeonly Christmas wraps up this delightfully funny series with two weddings and a final farewell for one much-loved, prominent character and two others who I thought deserved it! (Against the Flow Press)

Curmudgeon Avenue has been going on for quite some time, some would say for longer than reasonably necessary… In this Curmudgeonly final, the nincompoops of Curmudgeon Avenue would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Gordon Bennett is obsessed with the pothole growth on the street as we get proper emosh at Wantha and Ricky’s wedding. But! Did Wantha ever get to find out who her daddy is?
Christmas is coming, and Francesca is getting fat meanwhile Zandra may have overdone it with the scented candles. And the ghosts are immune to any and all lockdown restrictions.

Put down the selection box and the sausage rolls, A Curmudgeonly Christmas is a perfect end to the Curmudgeon Avenue series and the year!

Photo by Ena Marinkovic on Pexels.com

Although all the books are set at Christmas, they all have very different vibes. Of course, I have sampled one of them Christmas at Mistletoe Ridge by Angie Ellington – It’s very Christmassy!

Christmas at Mistletoe Ridge by Angie Ellington

Deals require negotiations, but for Cole Stevens, this could be the riskiest deal of his lifetime. Holland Jenkins has been disappointed so often that she questions her purpose and her talent as an artist. The cabins she helps lease for her family is the one constant in her life. Birch Falls’ small town peppermint festival is quickly approaching. As Holland is preparing ornaments for her booth, she’s in search of inspiration, even if she won’t admit it.

Cole has a deal to close, and after a little unexpected change in route, he decides to rent a cabin at Mistletoe Ridge. He finds himself falling for the charming small town, and also falling for Holland, which wasn’t part of the plan.Holland doesn’t know about her grandparents’ plans to sell Mistletoe Ridge, and although they think they are doing it for the right reasons, keeping it a secret has all involved reconsidering.

Perhaps, a dash of ginger, a sprinkle of sugar, and a little magic can make their Christmas wishes come true.
Includes a recipe for Chicken Parmesan

My little 5* review:

Lovely, heartwarming and cute!
I didn’t know that you could wish on mistletoe – I do love lucky themes.
This is the story of a start of a romance, Holland the artist and Cole the businessman including warm drinks, stone fireplaces and mild tension in the plot. Will this Christmas romance melt in January’s thaw?
Apart from making decorative ornaments, Holland works renting cabins at her family’s business in the close-knit town, Birch Falls. Cole (attractive name) comes to stay for three days before Christmas does he have an ulterior motive? It doesn’t matter if he does because everyone in Birch Falls knows Holland and has a bit of Christmassy-life-wisdom to share with Cole on his way around the village.
Also, there is a recipe at the end of the book for chicken parmesan which made me smile.

The above image is proof that during July, Father Christmas encourages reading time. https://books.bookfunnel.com/christmasjuly21/p2re6562xn

Don’t overdo it on Sunday (if you are watching the football). Happy reading, Samantha x

Join My Mailing List – Innit!

Join my mailing list https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/d0q2h7

Hello Everyone!

I have recently started a mailing list which is something all the indie author advice people advise us to do.

https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/d0q2h7

I am a voracious reader, always adding adding and adding to my reading list, and two years ago, I joined BookFunnel which lead to me joining a lot of author mailing lists. Now HERE is mine!

But enough about me, here’s why I think fans of my series, Curmudgeon Avenue need to join my mailing list.

The residents are idiots, the city is in lockdown. Will they cope with the global pandemic?

Available free to mailing list subscribers is Curmudgeon Avenue #5.5 ‘Curmudgeon Avenue’s Manchester Lockdown’ . Get it by clicking HERE

The reason this volume is free to my mailing list, is because I had hesitated writing about the big global mess, but eventually I gave in (mainly when the phrase ‘new normal’ started popping up). Personally, I would not make light of Covid-19 but, folks need a bit of lighthearted escapism.

And when I say folks, I mean fans of Curmudgeon Avenue.

Curmudgeon Avenue is a social satire about a house that dislikes its owners.

So come on down, join my mailing list and grab yourself a free book, innit! (As Tanya Rose of Curmudgeon Avenue would say).

Happy reading, Samantha xx

Reviewing the Reviewers.

Hello Everyone!

Yesterday, I had fun reading the 19th century reviews of Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Blimey, they didn’t review in Victorian times – they berated!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I read that George Henry Lewes told off Dickens for killing off Mr Krook by spontaneous combustion. I won’t quote the actual review but basically, Mr Lewes argued that spontaneous combustion ‘Could not possibly be’ (Quote taken from the Penguin Classics version of Bleak House edited by Nicola Bradbury in 2003). Well, it turns out that Charles Dickens wrote back to George Henry Lewes (who was married to George Elliot) and so the critique letters continued.

Just for fun, I also enjoyed Charlotte Bronte’s critique on of Dickens’s Esther Summerson ‘Twaddling’ that is the word that Charlotte Bronte made up, let’s have it again ‘TWADDLING’..

Book reviews are both the holy grail and the thorn in the side of all indie authors.

My books have had some great reviews, some invisible reviews (I think that free books should generate compulsory reviews – but what do I know?) and some rude and awful reviews – I won’t go into it.

Remember, reviews are for your fellow readers, you are not writing a complaint to the author.

The other problem I have encountered is reviewers copying and pasting another person’s review and adding it to their own. You can’t all say exactly the same thing? Surely? Again, it’s not fair on your reading friends if you do this.

For what it’s worth, this is what I think:

It is not Dickensian times anymore, please don’t ‘tell off’ authors.

Reviews should be written to recommend a book to your fellow readers.

Reviews are not a complaint letter to the author.

(If in doubt, check the Amazon guidelines).

Happy reading, Samantha xx

PS

I wrote these:

Herding Behaviour (why are we obsessed with reviews?)

Why are we so obsessed with book reviews?

Reviews, reviews, reviews. 

That is all you’ll ever hear an indie author talk about.

Have we got enough reviews for our book?

How many reviews are enough reviews?

Do people actually read reviews when choosing a new book?

THE MIND BOGGLES

This post is not about answering how we get reviews – if I knew that, I wouldn’t be writing this would I?*

*(You could try engaging with Goodreads advice groups or maybe employ a blog tour organiser).

person holding white and brown newspaper
Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

A Good Friend of mine is a top marketing executive. She doesn’t have time to read because of her (very cute) toddler son. We have been friends for years and years, even before I started writing. She lives in the south of England now so when we actually see one another we have loads to talk about. Not usually work.

ANYWAY last year, before all this lockdown business, when we met up, I asked her for some tips on marketing my books.

She didn’t even blink, ‘GET REVIEWS.’ My friend said.

Although she added the caveat that she doesn’t work in book publishing I do value her opinion. I think she is right.

I have been thinking about nothing but reviews since I became an independent author in 2016. Slight exaggeration, I do think about other things but you get the picture.

However…

Reading is a very individual thing.

What I like to read is not the same as what someone else would like to read. We have all read books and raved about them to our friends and been shot down with an ‘Oh I didn’t like it.’

Do not get me started on book clubs…

So why are reviews so important?

Human behaviour has a lot to do with this. Herding behaviour… (now you are all imagining livestock being rounded up aren’t you?)

two cows
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

“Moooo… I heard Samantha Henthorn has a new book coming out later this year. Moo.”

“I heard she’s pants, her last release has only got five ratings. Moooooo.”

HERDING BEHAVIOUR IS A THING – GOOGLE IT

If my friends, the cows start moving in one direction then, as a rule of thumb all the other animals will follow. They will follow without direction. This is the same thing that happens to humans. This is why fashions and fads take hold. Rightly or wrongly, if a few people are doing something then us humans will follow.

Without direction, humans will all read the same book. Because everyone else has read it. And how do they know that? Because the book has got lots of reviews. Good or bad, if lots of people have left a review, then the book must be worth reading. Right?

A few years ago, I decided I didn’t want to be a cow anymore. I felt I was being tricked. I had been tricked, at one time, I only read what everyone else was reading. So I started reading a lot of books by independent authors. But before this…

One of the first books I read when my daughter reached the age I was allowed to properly start reading again was The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audre Niffenegger. A really famous book, I read it in 2004 before the film and everything. I was still working at the time and lent it to one of my work colleagues. This person never returned books that others had lent her, so imagine my surprise (and tetchiness) when she presented me with MY copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife and told me that I HAD to read it. (Even though I was the one who recommended it to her in the first place!)

Front cover of book showing young girl from the waist down in knee socks and Mary Janes and empty brown Oxfords next to her on a picnic blanket.

THAT IS WHAT I MEAN BY HERDING BEHAVIOUR

When I think back, two incidents involving shops convinced me of herding behaviour. When I was a teenager I had a Saturday job in Manchester Arndale. The shop I worked in sold costume jewellery and hair scrunchies (it was the 90s). One day, a big box arrived with ‘sale items’. It was a massive box of hairbands. These hairbands were dropped into another big box complete with price sticker and positioned right at the front of the shop. A couple of hours later, none of the hairbands had sold. The shop manager had a great idea. (!)

She instructed me to put my coat on (cleverly hiding my uniform) and pretend to be a customer, rooting through the box of hairbands. ‘Try a few on’ she had said. I was very embarrassed but it worked! I didn’t even have to try any of the things on my head, customers started coming over to see what I was looking at. Soon a crowd gathered and for half an afternoon in early nineties Manchester, a trend was set on the wearing of headbands.

two pink rose flower accent headbands on white surface
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

The second shop related herding incident was another embarrassing incident for me. Even before I was diagnosed with MS, I had trouble with blurred vision – triggered by bright neon lights in my case. Not long after I had been diagnosed (and suffered a few relapses of optic neuritis) I went to Sri Lanka for a friend’s wedding. (A different friend to the one mentioned earlier). This was in 2008. One day during the holiday, my friend (who had visited Sri Lanka many times) suggested we all visit a department store. I really wish I could remember the name of this massive store that sold everything, but I can’t. We were tourists and had money to spend.

At some point, I was separated from my friends but some embroidered cushion covers had caught my eye. I thought oh I had better pay for these before I go to the next floor to look for my friends. WELL, a combination of jet-lag tiredness, panic and neon light-induced eyesight problems landed me in front of what I thought was a service point. The shop assistant will probably come back when she sees me standing here at the till. I thought…

It was probably only a few moments but by the time I realised that I was not waiting in a queue to pay… an actual queue had formed around me.

I am so embarrassed and I didn’t even know how to say sorry. I had accidentally lured a crowd of people to look at a pile of pillowcases.

Shame I can’t do that with books…

Even when I thought I was being tricked and decided not to read the ‘BOOKS THAT EVERYONE IS READING’ I still don’t know what influenced me to read the books I have over the past few years. Do any of us really choose anything for ourselves? Do we follow each other? I just know that there are more books out there than the popular ones. Although… it is good to have read a book and be able to have a conversation about it with someone else…

‘Famous’ books I have read recently are The Testaments by Margaret Atwood The Testaments: WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019 (The Handmaid’s Tale)

And My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

My Sister, the Serial Killer: The Sunday Times Bestseller

These books have nearly TEN THOUSAND  reviews between them on Amazon (at the time I wrote this post). If you would like to see books I have read recently, check out my Goodreads widget at the bottom of my blog page or click HERE

 

Thank you for joining me on my post about why I think book reviews work. If you have enjoyed reading a book recently, don’t forget to review it.

Happy reading, and stay safe,

Samantha xx

I wrote these books !

978-1717745552Curmudgeon Avenue Book TWoEdna and Genevieve (1)Add a heading (2)51fgIVSsMiLAdd a heading

Scan_20170731What we did during lockdown (1)

On How Modern Classic 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith Provided Inspiration for #CurmudgeonAvenue (After I started writing it) @McCallSmith #IART @LittleBrownUK

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It all started at Whitefield Library in 2014 when my nursing career ended (I accepted ill-health retirement due to MS).

My hometown of Bury provides an adult learning service. Despite my initial ambivalence, I signed up to a two hour per week creative writing class delivered by a beautifully inspiring teacher, whose name begins with Jill. One of our first tasks in the course was to write a short story titled ‘Winter’. What was I going to write? How would I approach this? As I drove home from Whitefield that autumn day, the sun shone lower in the sky and the rust coloured leaves drifted on to my car windscreen. I knew then that ‘Winter’ should be set in Whitefield. This same road reminded me of queuing in traffic, halfway home from my job in Salford. I remembered glancing at the houses on either side of my car. Commuters already home from work inside their houses lit up by the TV. I wondered what these Whitefield folk did with their lives.

Later that same week, Mr Henthorn and moi encountered an incident in a supermarket carpark involving a disgruntled driver and a disabled parking badge. A curmudgeon! I thought to myself (admittedly, I used a different word under my breath). Following this, the characters Harold, Edith and Edna were born, and I delivered my short story ‘Winter’ to a circle of keen creative writing students, nodding and praising one another without fail. ‘Winter’ was awesome – even if I say so myself – and it eventually made its way into the pages of Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue

This is where 44 Scotland Street finally gets a mention. The beautifully inspiring teacher I mentioned was subjected to further creative writing pieces including Harold, Edna and Edith.

‘You should read 44 Scotland Street’ I was encouraged ‘It’s like your Curmudgeon Avenue, about a street and all the characters that live there.’

I had heard of Alexander McCall Smith – of course, I had (someone who attended the same physio recommended I read The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency which I knew from The BBC). But I did not know about 44 Scotland Street. However, I immediately started to read the series (currently on volume 13, 2019) and thought this is right up my street! Book number one opens with Pat viewing a flat in 44 Scotland Street, the notable narcissist Bruce shows her round – I was drawn to this. Who doesn’t have a story about a narcissist? They’re everywhere! Later, Bruce has a conversation about Chardonnay, recounting a story about the ABC clubs of New York ‘Anything But Chardonnay’. His counterpart was tempted to tell him that Champagne is made from the Chardonnay grape.  When I read this I was over the moon, having recently had a similar ‘Anything But Chardonnay’ irritation at a book club in the village of Greenmount.*

I have read and loved all thirteen of the 44 Scotland Street books. I have doted on Bertie, never getting past age seven. Gaining freedom from his overbearing mother Irene who invents a schedule for him including yoga and psychotherapy; only to be bossed by the domineering Olive in his same class. (Fear not for Bertie, he has a friend Ranald Braveheart McPherson – love that name). I have enjoyed Angus’ and Domenica’s courtship and eventual marriage – but not before Domenica’s anthropological adventures. Big Lou’s cafe (and some of her romances) has been the hub of society. Matthew and Pat work in an art gallery (typical of what I now imagine Edinburgh to be). Matthew marries Elspeth who used to teach at Bertie’s school and they have triplets. You kind of have to be there – and I would recommend you read them all.

On the note of ‘being there’ here is my review of the most recent volume ‘The Peppermint Tea Chronicles’ 

Samantha Henthorn Author

24 November 2019

I have read and enjoyed every book in this series, I admit to having formed romantic ideals about Edinburgh. As a result – if I ever was to visit the real Scotland Street (minus the fictional 44), then I would be gutted not to bump into my friends – Big Lou and young Bertie. Because they are my friends., the characters have been created and continued so consistently I feel like I know them. In this book, I was delighted to read Angus and Dominica’s everyday situations, such as losing the right to carry a large bag about in private because they are married. My heart melted to find out about Bertie and Ranald’s wish for a pet puppy – and laughed out loud at young Bertie’s observation that ‘no matter what you did, girls would get you’. All rounded together nicely by a happy ending for Pat, Lou and Elspeth, and a satirist’s view of local authority call centres and shoe choices in social situations and saying ‘dinner rather than tea’. A book – a series that restores faith in human nature.
**********
Thank you again to the beautifully inspiring teacher that encouraged me to read 44 Scotland Street, and to Alexander McCall Smith for writing it.
Now you must allow me to talk a little about my Curmudgeon Avenue series.
*Greenmount, I mentioned earlier is a village just up the road from where I live and grew up the same house in Greenmount will cost you 100,000 more than anywhere else in the Bury area. It is inhabited by wealthy incomers – no one – it seems is originally from there, apart from my husband who I often tease would have been ‘Able to look down on me from Greenmount.’ I dislike snobbery fiercely, and this is reflected in the satirical style that Curmudgeon Avenue is delivered. (See – there is a curmudgeon in everyone).
After a few drafts and publishing other books in between, Curmudgeon Avenue took on a life of its own. Where 44 Scotland Street is omnisciently narrated, Curmudgeon Avenue is dangerously and unreliably witness narrated. Not intentionally – I wanted the house to speak for itself. This became the series where the house tells the story (often in brackets). Four books on, The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue was published in October. I have just started writing book number five The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue; where sisters Toonan and Wantha have fallen out, there is half a wedding and enemy Georgina Foote moves in at Number Thirteen. Reviews are coming in ‘Witty, dry and weirdly funny’ – ‘made me wonder what my house would say about me!’ and even ‘Move over Fawlty Towers!’ And the audiobook – narrated by established voice-over actor Lindsay McKinnon is due to be released early next year (2020).
Genre is everything to the independent author. I would say that Curmudgeon Avenue is a comedy-drama and it ticks the satire box (as I have when listing the series with KDP). It has been difficult to find other authors who write in the same genre. This is why I wanted to share this in a blog post; Curmudgeon Avenue – a bit like 44 Scotland Street. (Dare I say it!)
My series does not have the refined Edinburgh gentleness*, but it does have the Manchester sense of humour and northern warmth – it is a satirical window into first world problems – some of the scenarios are recipes for disaster but I love that house and all who live in her!  It is very different from 44 Scotland Street. Not exactly the same reading experience but essentially a book about the intertwined lives of people who live in and around the same street. ‘On the day this all started the sky was filled with August Apologies for a summer undelivered. 
*And I am not Alexander McCall Smith – he’s a genius obvs. 
Do you have any book inspirations or comparisons? I’d love to know.
Thank you for reading, Samantha xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? Ahava Trivedi @Ahava_Tee #GuestPost #IARTG #Preorder

Ahava Trivedi tells Samantha Henthorn how she chose the name for her latest character.

Hello and thank you for joining me in my now bi-monthly writerly post. Now, earlier this year I met Ahava Trivedi on a BookFunnel comedy promotion. Since then we have become great friends, there is no end to her writing talent – and she has now even switched genres! Please welcome the newly appointed YA Fantasy Novelist Ahava Trivedi talking about her new character’s name (which after seeing today I am totally thinking of changing my own name to!):

 

Katrina Snow Quartz

Katrina Snow Quartz is a Crystal Witch. While she was growing up, she was shuffled from foster homes in Europe, all the way to those in Canada where her adoptive parents, Lorna and Babette Quartz adopted her from. Lorna and Babette weren’t just any other couple. They were powerful High Priestesses of their coven. They were Crystal Witches that possessed a rare and potent form of magic and they adopted Katrina because they felt the same magical line in her. The only two things that were known at the time about Katrina’s heritage, was her first name and birthday. Neither of the witches had the heart to change Katrina’s first name as it was one of the only symbols of her largely unknown heritage.

The name ‘Snow’ came about because Lorna thought she was funny and chose it given that Katrina was a white witch coming to live with them down south in Louisiana from the Great White North. She thought it was genius while Katrina has always found it lame.

Katrina belongs to the coven named ‘Circle of Quartz’ and that’s where she gets her surname. Each witch carries the surname that the coven is defined by. Once initiated, every witch in the coven carries the name of the coven as her surname in the supernatural world and would only ever change it if she started a coven of her own.

Magic Within: A Young Adult Urban Fantasy Novel (Bloodline Academy Book 1) by [Trivedi, Ahava]

Releasing January 2020 PRE-ORDER HERE (Samantha Henthorn has)

Ahava Trivedi

Ahava Trivedi grew up in the south of England and almost on a whim one day, decided to up and move to Toronto, Canada with her sister. She is mostly a fiction author who, similar to her hasty move across the pond, likes to explore different genres that interest her by diving headlong into them first and figuring out her story as she goes along.

Ahava is currently writing some humorous reads that have taken shape as The Hopeless Husband Series. The first book in the series, ‘The Anniversary’, is out now and the next ones will be available very soon!

If you’d like to get an email whenever Ahava releases a new title or decides to give books away for free (she does this from time to time!), sign up for exclusive updates at http://www.ahavatrivedi.com

If you’d like to contact Ahava, she’d love to hear from you! Here are some ways to get in touch:

The Twitter-verse: @Ahava_Tee

The Facebook Page: Ahava Trivedi Author

Telepathy: Hey, why not? Give it a try – you can do it if you believe you can!

 

Thank you so much, Ahava! I have really been looking forward to hearing what this new name was! And it was well worth the wait. I would recommend signing up to Ahava’s page and reading her books!

Happy reading! Samantha xx

PS join me next month when we hear from a poet from the very same town as me!

On My BBC Radio Lancashire Appearance, With VO Actor Lindsay McKinnon @LindzMcKinnon @GillyLancs

#BBC Radio Lancashire #IARTG

I had an awesome day last Friday (15th November). I was interviewed on the John Gillmore show on BBC Radio Lancashire with voice-over actor Lindsay McKinnon. We were interviewed about my book Curmudgeon Avenue #1: The Terraced House Diaries. Lindsay is currently turning this into an audiobook which will be released early next year – and generally bringing an entirely new dimension to the book, bringing it to life with her fantastic author voice. Lindsay can swap from narrative to dialogue in a variety of voices and accents. She’s extremely talented, I cannot wait to share this audiobook with everyone.

The Curmudgeon Avenue series really lends itself to spoken word. 

This is the BBC Radio Lancashire studio in Blackburn town centre – it’s a lovely building :

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I have never appeared on the radio before, I was a bag of nerves but I had a word with myself ‘YOU ARE MEANT TO BE DOING THIS!’ Lindsay knew what to say and gave a top performance of reading from the first chapter. John Gillmore (local hero) and lovely co-host Nishma Hindocha had prepared some questions, which guided me through. There are a lot of ‘erms’ on my end, but at least I didn’t collapse into nervous giggling!

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Lindsay and me moments before we had to speak into these massive green and yellow microphones.

This whole experience happened because of Lindsay – she contacted John Gillmore and made the interview happen. I’ve been very lucky that she chose my book to narrate.

I had help – I cannot drive on motorways because of MS, Lindsay offered to drive but this would mean coming back on herself and although she didn’t mind, I would’ve felt guilty. So I made Mr Henthorn drive – LoL!  He looked like super proud husband when we came out of the studio – and then made fun of me for saying too many ‘erms’ ! Actually, this audiobook adventure is all down to Mark’s encouragement – I had been shy about putting my book forward for audiobooks, I eventually gave in and it’s all happened at the right time.

During the interview, I was asked about the good reviews Curmudgeon Avenue has been getting. I waffled on, of course, and missed my chance. I should have thanked the reviewers … and asked for more! Yes, I am not too shy to ask Curmudgeon Avenue needs reviews. 

20191115_152901Local hero – John Gillmore.

20191115_152905 Beautiful co-host – Nishma Hindocha hiding behind her computer screen. She wasn’t really hiding, this was so weird for me having a conversation with radio folk – you don’t get to look at them! You just have to chat like everything’s normal! Sigh… that’s showbiz I suppose…

75472861_10162738946995714_88804977195089920_n A lovely snap of us all after the interview.

I left paperback copies of the Curmudgeon Avenue series with John and Nishma – I forgot/didn’t remember to ask if they wanted them signing – this is still weird for me I was brought up not to write in books!

THE AUDIOBOOK VERSION OF CURMUDGEON AVENUE WILL BE RELEASED EARLY 2020. If you can’t wait, here is the link for the interview on BBC listen again – it will be available until the start of December. (We are 2 hours 20 minutes in).

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07s1dp9

And if you really can’t wait, Curmudgeon Avenue: The Terraced House Diaries is available in E-book and Paperback Here UK Here US

Happy reading/listening everyone! Samantha x

 

 

My #Author Talk at The Tottington Centre #CurmudgeonAvenue #Audiobook News

On Thursday this week, I had the honour to give an author talk about the Curmudgeon Avenue Series at The Tottington Centre in Bury – my home town. I’m a local author and all my books are set in and around the Bury area.

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I invested in a bit of advertising via a Facebook ad and then dragged my husband and parents to bump the numbers up. Not a bad turn out for a Thursday.

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The best thing was, the voice-over actor Lindsay McKinnon who has agreed to narrate Curmudgeon Avenue made the effort to make the forty-minute journey to attend the talk and meet up for the first time!

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This is one of the best things that has happened to me since I’ve been writing. I submitted Curmudgeon Avenue to ACX the audiobook people, and from all the people in the world – a super talented actor with showbiz credentials, Lindsay McKinnon is now bringing Curmudgeon Avenue to life, and she only lives up the road from me! Lindsay’s voice-over narration is brought to us with the name Theatre of The Mind Productions, and I think this really captures what Lindsay is producing. She can do any accent from all over the world and has a real skill for switching from one voice to another. I’m very lucky to meet Lindsay – and so is my book because I think the Curmudgeon Avenue series really lends itself to spoken word.

20191102_092628 (2) Lindsay gave me her business card so it must be real!

Well, my author talk went really well, I read a bit out from my new book The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue and the novel I published two years ago 1962 (an Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire). I plan to do more. as all my books are set around the area of Bury, I am keen to tell my local area that I am a local author!

For the future, there are two more Curmudgeon Avenue books planned and I have loads of ideas for some standalone novels too.

The Tottington Centre is a lovely place and there is loads going on for the community. (Plus a nice tea room cafe) It used to be a library – before that, it was the Town Hall of Tottington and a residential house – imagine a family living there! Fancy! They were running a promotion ‘free book with every brew’ I picked up this one because ‘I know who Ben Elton is’ (!)

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Am I having an identity crisis? I don’t think so, I’m Samantha Henthorn Author. My Curmudgeon Avenue series is a hilarious read – and soon to be listen and I’ll be writing forever!

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whitefield-696x463 Whitefield – the home of Curmudgeon Avenue.

Happy reading everyone, Samantha xx

 

 

It is All Happening on Curmudgeon Avenue! #Kindle #Audiobook news

Free kindle books plus audiobook news

Hello, me again, honestly, I have something good to say.

The other day, I received an email from ACX (the audiobook marketplace) to say that I had received an audition from a narrator for my book Curmudgeon Avenue!

In the past few years, one of the ‘things’ that folk have been saying to me is ‘why don’t you do an audiobook?’ I was a bit ambivalent, how do I do this? I’ve got enough to do! Writing, marketing, physiotherapy, MS surviving, everything! I have spoken before about the amount of overwhelming advice on the internet about being an indie author… anyway, eventually, I got round to investigating ACX.

I found it easy to set things up, there are a few options for sorting out the money side of things – can I be completely honest, I did not expect anyone to want to take a chance on Curmudgeon Avenue (the reason I thought this was because, on the set up form, I was asked how many Twitter followers I have ‘eg. 10,000??’ !!) I thought I would have to be’ better known’.

HOWEVER, giving things a go has worked, six weeks later, I am honoured to announce that voiceover actor Lindsay McKinnon otherwise known as Theatre of the Mind Productions is going to narrate Curmudgeon Avenue – I am starting to talk about it now in anticipation of its release! Lindsay has narrated the book in exactly the same way that I imagined when I wrote it – the house is talking with a real disdain for its guests, and the voice given to Edith and Edna is hilarious! Especially the bit where Edna covers her face with her turtleneck jumper! I am so looking forward to sharing this version of Curmudgeon Avenue with everyone. 

Don’t forget, The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue is due for publication on Thursday 31st October (preorder now by clicking on the pink link). The Harold and Edith Adventures (book 2) is free until this Thursday 31/10/19 and Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue (book 3) is free too! (until Thursday, as above). Curmudgeon Avenue book one is 99p.

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Happy reading (and soon to be listening) everyone! Samantha xx

PS, if you happen to be in the Bury area on Thursday, I will be doing an author talk at The Tottington Library (used to be Totty library) at 2pm.

What’s in a (Character) Name? #GuestPost -Deborah J Miles Orchard View. #CharacterNamingPosts

Samantha Henthorn Author has called upon author colleagues to tell us all how they came up with their character names and titles. Here’s Deborah J Miles and her women’s crime fiction novel Orchard View: (Which is on a FREE Kindle download 22nd-24th PDT October 2019.

#GuestPost

Thank you for joining me for this month’s ‘writerly rambling’ post. As I am working hard on my degree, I have called upon my author colleagues to tell us all how they came up with their character names and titles. Here’s Deborah J Miles and her women’s crime fiction novel Orchard View: (Which is on a FREE Kindle download 22nd-24th PDT October 2019.

I ‘accidentally’ wrote my novel while I was taking an online writing course through FutureLearn. A friend and I were doing the course together, really for something to occupy us while she was recovering from surgery. During one of the exercises in the course, the whole story just came to me. I kept it in my head and typed out chapter after chapter.

Bill Maynard was my first character. The name just seemed right for the character. I needed something short and to the point as a first name, hence ‘Bill’, and somehow ‘Maynard’ followed. It occurred to me after I’d finished writing that ‘Maynard’ is a surname which appears on my family tree, and ‘Bill Maynard’ was also the name of an actor.

My second character was the house itself, Orchard View. House names often refer to their location or history, such as Sea View, Hilltop, The Old Rectory, and The Old School House. The house was so named because it once overlooked an orchard.

My next character, Etta Franklin, was created by borrowing the name of a lovely lady I knew as a child. I loved the sound of the name ‘Etta’ which I realised must have been the shortened form of Henrietta. Etta needed to have standing, so ‘Henrietta’ was a suitable name, but she also needed to be likeable, and ‘Etta’, to my mind, is a much friendlier name. I used the phone book to choose her surname. I opened it at random, and pointed to a line on the open page, which as it turned out, contained the surname ‘Franklin’.

Norma Parker is the street busybody or Nosy Parker. I thought it apt that she should be called ‘Parker’. Her first name, ‘Norma’, was the name of an acquaintance from many moons ago who had some of the attributes I wanted for my character. Her nosy ways have her labelled as the ‘Neighbourhood Witch’.

As the story developed, and I added new characters, I found that if I could imagine the character, their size, stature, traits and personality, then a name would occur to me. I suppose I am drawing on memories I have tucked away about people I have known in one capacity or another, such as from family history research, celebrities, friends etc… There was only one I changed; Maeve became Mae because I felt Maeve didn’t convey the softness I was looking for in this character. Mae seems to be a favourite with my readers too.

https://www.futurelearn.com

 

Wow! What an insight! I read Orchard View (women’s crime fiction) earlier this year and loved it, I smiled today when I was reminded of Bill Maynard and Etta. (This is me again, Samantha chipping in) Here are the links so that you can get yourself a copy:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17177377.Deborah_J_Miles

Deborah J. Miles
Deborah Miles is married with three grown-up children and lives in Kent.

She has worked in banking, tourism, education and social services, and has hosted international students for over 30 years.

Her interests include: genealogy, self-improvement, home computing, web design, D.I.Y/gardening, pen friends and writing.

Deborah is independently published and created the imprint Against the Flow Press for her first novel, Orchard View.

Blog: http://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter @DeborahMiles7,

blog: https://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deborah_j_miles/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/

Think I put Deborah’s blog on twice… make sure you don’t miss it!

 

Thank you so much Deborah J Miles!  Join me next month when we find out about Ahava Trivedi’s YA Fantasy character names. 

Happy reading, Samantha xx