You say prosecco, I say Prosecco

Samantha Henthorn talks about whether to write ‘Prosecco’ or ‘prosecco’ in her novels.

Hi Everyone,

I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while.

PROSECCO!

If anyone follows me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have noticed that I have… noticed that fizzy wine has started giving me heartburn! Talk about #45yearoldproblems I am gutted! Literally.

That is not what this post is about – I just don’t know whether to capitalise or not when I am writing fiction (it crops up often in Curmudgeon Avenue) and I have been doing some serious research about Prosecco during the past few years.

Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on Pexels.com

Ha! I have even drank it by the sea according to the above photograph (although on closer inspection that is another brand of fizzy wine).

What I have done, when I say research is every time I am reading a book, and the word Prosecco or prosecco pops up, I make a note of it. by pressing some buttons on my Kindle.

Well, the results have come in (from traditionally published books) I have read on my Kindle, and four are spelt prosecco with a lower case p and eleven are spelt Prosecco.

Interestingly, comedy drama/light humour (the genre I write in) capitalised the P for Prosecco. And literary fiction/crime novels do not. (In the non scientific research I carried out).

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Let’s do a google search (google is another one! Google/google)

WELL

Lots of things came up

People also ask

Do you capitalize wines?

Rule 3: When a wine is named after a grape, do not capitalize – unless the grape is named after a place and the wine comes from that place. … Cabernet Sauvignon originated in Bordeaux, and if the wine comes from there, capitalize; cabernet is the name of the grape, not a city, and deserves no capital.

There is a village called Prosecco in Italy, but the fizzy wine is produced (inside and) outside the village. In the past, the grape used to make Prosecco was called both prosecco and Glera. (I got this information by doing an internet search, an article came up by Wine Enthusiast which you can read here)

And from the dictionaries:

Prosecco in British English

(prəˈsɛkəʊ )NOUN (also without capital)

sparkling Italian white wine, usually dry

Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

Did you see that above? ALSO WITHOUT CAPITAL – so both are right! Phew!

And let’s look at the Chambers Dictionary that I was advised to buy for my Creative writing degree, hold on, it’s upstairs.

No description available.

Phew! Massive dictionary – I am shattered now!

Tiny writing! It just says ‘prosecco n an Italian sparkling white wine.’

No description available.

I asked my friends. Most of them didn’t care, one said that he had been to Italy and they don’t capitalise the word prosecco. Then he said he was just joking and had made this little anecdote up. I could text my friend who is a school teacher but it’s a Tuesday afternoon and who has the time to answer my nonsense?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

So, there you have it. Some say Prosecco, some say prosecco. And that’s OK! Apologies if I have made you thirsty on a school night.

Cheers, and see you next time, Samantha xx

PS here is my Curmudgeon Avenue Series

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)

Magic Pound #ShortStory #IARTG

Magic Pound

There once lived a woman who was filthy rich and lived in a grand house in the forest of suburbia. She had everything she thought her heart desired. The finest clothes in the latest fashions, her digits dripped with jewels – even her little toes showed off splendour. And her hair, oh! Her luxuriously long hair danced around her shoulders like a fluffle of wild rabbit kits in spring.

Every evening, she dined on delicious food and overpriced wine usually and ashamedly polishing off the entire bottle herself. Her house was beautiful, her garden exemplary and the envy of all who gazed upon it (she imagined).

In addition to these perceived virtues, the filthy rich woman was extremely knowledgeable. Some would go as far as saying ‘she knows everything’ and at one time, she would share knowledge widely.

This was in the past, however, because despite wealth and self-appointed oracle status, she had no one to share it with. No partner, no family (there was a cousin in Kidderminster, but the less said about her, the better). This filthy rich woman had no friends. You could say… she is alone…

Today of all days, she had a problem. The supermarket had run out of her favourite things. And toilet roll! There was absolutely no toilet roll on the shelves… She sighed, fastened the seatbelt of her hugely expensive car and drove to the next shop. As the wind and rain lashed against her windscreen, she drove round and round the island. Further and further away from her palatial home. In every supermarket the same story, queues, no loo roll and shelves bereft of her favourites. It was alright for her though, she was safe in her car, apart from when she had to queue – this would never do. She had not seen the news, on account of already knowing everything but in the third car park, the radio played in her car. Soon her head filled with doom. She was consumed with anxiety, how was she to get through the next few months of her life without her favourite things? She sighed and made her way to the final supermarket, a place she would never normally frequent.

‘A pound?’ she gasped at the trolley’s security tag.

‘Yeah, so no one’ll nick them and push them into the River Irwell,’ a voice said from the side. Ignoring the drenched commentator, the filthy rich woman returned to her car. She rummaged around in the centre console for coins. Fifty p? Twopence? No, ahh you will have to do! Between her forefinger and thumb, the woman held a shiny patterned token. A pretend pound gifted to her during a time she was not as lonely. The commentator admired her as she freed a trolley and at last, entered the supermarket in search of her favourite things.

Although waiting in line outside had been tolerable, the items on sale were not. What did this filthy rich woman need with bulk buy tinned soup? And the toilet roll was only available in a multipack! Her very favourite dish for a Wednesday of spinach and ricotta cannelloni suddenly became tinned spaghetti hoops… on toast… white toast… Her Thursday fillet steak, now a tin of spam (they had sold out of frozen burgers and corned beef). Sushi platter Saturday became pot noodles (sold in bulk). Smoked salmon Sunday brunch? A tin of sardines would have to suffice (on yet more toast). And of course, they did not sell Champagne.

Somewhat satisfied with her haul, the filthy rich woman paid and made her way towards the exit.

‘Can I take your trolley back for the pound, Sweet?’ the same voice from the side reached out to her. She was about to ignore him, but as she looked upwards, she noticed his face almost meeting hers.

‘Keep your distance!’ she snapped ‘Haven’t you seen the news? TWO METRES APART!’

‘Seen the news?’ he took a swig from what appeared to be the world’s cheapest lager. ‘No, sorry Sweet, I lost the remote for my fifty-two-inch widescreen.’

She did not bat an eyelid at his quip. ‘Well, there is a global pandemic – we must all keep our distance… and self isolate! I shall have to put my life on hold!’

‘Poor you,’ the voice said.

‘Thank you.’

‘Offer still stands… can I take your trolley back for the pound?’

‘Oh, oh… no, it’s one of those tokens… it’s my magic pound,’ the woman had no idea why she had been so forthcoming, perhaps it had been his charm offensive.

‘Magic?’ he laughed, showing a full set of fillings. ‘What’s magic about it?’

‘Oh hahaha,’ she nervously laughed. ‘Nothing, I suppose… just what my… what someone used to call them,’ she rummaged in her pocket. ‘Here,’ she handed over two fifty pence pieces. During this transaction, she remembered the social distancing rule and dropped them on the floor. Her friendly commentator had to scramble around to pick them up. When he looked up, she had gone, driving away in her hugely expensive car.

A few short days later, the filthy rich woman’s consumer hankerings got the better of her. Once again her hugely expensive car backed off the driveway. As she reached the centre of town desolation greeted her, but she was just grateful for the lack of traffic and the calmer weather. After her previous debacle, she headed straight back to the shop that she would not usually be seen dead in, all prepared with her magic pound.

‘You forget something last time, Sweet?’

She nervously giggled an assertion she did not want to speak to the over-familiar commentator hanging around in exactly the same place. She commandeered a trolley (via the magic pound) and noticed someone she did want to speak to…

‘Jane! Jane!’ she shouted after her fellow shopper who was either deaf, in a hurry… or trying to avoid her ‘Jane! Jane, it’s me… Mimi!’ she dropped her waving hand. Jane had literally left her hanging, and this would never do. ‘Really’ Mimi huffed to herself and rattled her trolley inside the shop, desperate to drain her bank balance and ask Jane a load of nosy questions. Poor Jane.

‘Excuse me… Excuse me…’ Mimi tried desperately to pass a family of shoppers dragging bags of frozen chips and sausages from the freezers into their own trolley. I thought people were not supposed to bring their entire family shopping during the pandemic…

‘And I thought people were meant to queue outside and wait until the store was less busy,’ an angry shopper said, after overhearing Mimi’s grumbling. She glanced behind towards the double doors and spied a queue of angry shoppers gesticulating their disgust. She had barged past them and tried to use ‘Jane’ to push in. Mimi decided against apologetically returning outside to join the queue but instead, suddenly found a box of frozen pulled pork very interesting. Then, through the gaps in the condiments on display, Mimi spotted that Jane was already at the till! ‘Jane! Jane!’ once again, Mimi was ignored. ‘Ohhh’ she cried to herself. Deciding against filling her trolley, she dashed towards Jane. But other shoppers were in her way as she weaved through the aisles… Shoppers who were adhering to the social distancing rules. Mimi’s desperation did not go down well, the entire shop (apart from Jane who had done one) laughed when Mimi collided with a tower of egg boxes and crashed to the floor. ‘Ewww. Ewww, sugar! Somebody help me please!’ Mimi rolled around dramatically in a pool of yellow and shell. An overworked shop assistant stifled her giggles as she helped Mimi to her feet. ‘I’m ever so sorry, I will pay for any damage… but really? Stacking boxes of eggs in the way of customers?’ Mimi did not give the shop assistant time to disagree and ran around, grabbing what she could.

By the time Mimi reached the till (while batting off wisecracks made by her counterpart customers about ‘over egg-cited’ and ‘egg on her face’) there was no trace of Jane. Why would she ignore me? Mimi thought to herself. I am filthy rich, and at one time she was a mess! She could hardly do anything without running it past me for advice! And I would be there… always telling her what she should and shouldn’t do. I’m good like that…

‘Did you get everything you needed Mimi?’ the commentator said, rescuing her from her ruminations.

‘What? Yes! Hang on, how did you know my name?’

‘Oh, I always have a little chat with Jane on her way out – a lovely woman. People often take her for a fool, but she isn’t.’

‘So she did see me then?’ Mimi murmured to herself…

‘Pardon? You say summat, Sweet?’

‘Oh, nothing… well, you know my name now so it’s only right that I should know yours,’ said Mimi, deflecting from Jane’s rebuff.

‘My name is Pros.’

‘Oh, short for live long and prosper I suppose?’ Mimi laughed.

‘Something like that,’ Pros rolled his eyes. ‘At least I’m not named after myself ME ME!’

‘No, it’s MIMI, just Mimi, not short for anything.’ Mimi arranged a bag for life in the driver’s seat of her hugely expensive car to protect it from her egg covered backside. ‘Here,’ she reached into her centre console for a few small coins. ‘Be a dear and take my trolley back for me would you and return the magic pound to me…’

Pros did as he was told, but before returning the magic pound, he shined it against his sleeve. ‘Bye-bye now, Mimi, be sure to let me know when the pandemic ends.’

‘Yes, I cannot wait until it’s all over and then I can go back to normal!’ Mimi laughed and jumped into her car, not realising what she had said.

 

The following few weeks saw terrible things happening in the world, death, global fear and widespread pandemonium. Strangely, Mimi started watching the news again. It turned out that she did not know everything. She returned to the same supermarket several times, and what began as a passing comment became something she was now looking forward to.

‘Hello, Mimi are you alright there, Sweet?’ Pros would always say when she arrived. And Mimi now felt it was time to start sharing her knowledge.

‘You know what you should do,’ Mimi began. But the look that Pros gave her, the raised eyebrow and the slightly squarer shoulders almost made Mimi relent. But no, it was in her nature to dole out unwanted advice. ‘What you should do is… if you still cannot find your TV remote…’ But Mimi’s words drowned in laughter.

‘I was joking, Sweet! I don’t have a fifty-two-inch widescreen television! I’m on the streets… Mimi’ Pros laughed, he thought better of teasing her with ‘Dickhead’ her type never got the humour and she always gave him a few coins (not the magic one obviously).

Although she was used to being alone, during the lockdown, the only person Mimi ever spoke to had been Pros.

‘Aright there Sweet?’ the familiar welcome of her homeless friend greeted her. ‘Still no end to the pandemic?’

‘No… no,’ Mimi smoothed down her hair.

‘As soon as I find a cure for Coronavirus I will let you know, Mimi,’ Pros winked, and Mimi blushed. ‘I could do with a Corona right now,’ Pros grinned and instead, sipped his can of the world’s cheapest lager. Mimi fluttered a giggle.

Winter now long gone, spring was finally turning into summer, and everyone on the island had adapted to these strange times. Mimi had become quite creative with her appearance, no trips to the hairdresser or beauty salon had taken their toll. Obviously, Mimi still thought of herself as beautiful. However, she was starting to change in her attitude. Although Jane did not accept her friend request on Facebook, Mimi accepted this and secretly wished her well. Today, Mimi was very pleased with herself, she had bought a present for Pros and was excited to deliver it to him. Something not quite materialistic, but expensive all the same. Although romance often includes adventures with unlikely events, Mimi had been realistic with her gift idea. She pulled up into the car park and gave her magic pound a rub for good luck. Checking herself out in the mirror (yes, still gorgeous) Mimi stepped out of her car.

But where was Pros? Mimi’s face fell as it appeared he had been replaced by another man dressed in similar clothes and drinking the same world’s cheapest lager…

‘You OK there, Love? Any chance I can have your pound from the trolley on your way out?’

‘Oh… it’s a…’ Mimi’s face fell.

‘Is it a magic pound? Prospero told me to look out for you.’

‘Did he?’ Mimi brightened, feeling foolish with a case of slightly more expensive Mexican lager held tightly to her bosom. She considered handing it over, she couldn’t very well take it into the shop with her. ‘Where is Pros?’ she said, deciding booze would be a reward for information.

‘Oh, he’s gone fruit picking in the countryside. Does it every year, casting his friendship and wisdom amongst the other pickers.’

© Samantha Henthorn 2020.

Inspired by the news, fairy tales, Shakespeare, things I don’t miss. Hoping this story is going to be the start of something bigger – who knows? 

I am the author of the Curmudgeon Avenue Series. I also wrote a short story collection three years ago called Quirky Tales to Make Your Day. Here is the link in pink for my Amazon page

978-171774555251fgIVSsMiL

Stay safe and happy reading, Samantha xx

 

 

 

 

What’s in a (Character) Name? #Guestpost #Reblog @DeborahMiles7 #IARTG #Indieauthor #Readingthrillers #AgainsttheFlowPress

Got to share this again, Deborah J Miles’ book Orchard View still sends the literary shivers when I think about the character Etta Franklin’s story… I am not so secretly hoping that Deborah writes another book, but I know that a lot of her time is taken up with her fantastic blog Against the Flow Press. Deborah is a supporter of indie authors like me and has just worked super hard on the #DecTheShelves promotion that took over Twitter during the Christmas run-up.

Orchard View also made it on to my Christmas gift list this year – Father-in-Law is a big reader.

36290599._SY475_

I will shut up now and let Deborah J. Miles tell you about her character names:

I ‘accidently’ 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

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!

Links to buy Orchard View :

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Well, that was awesome, big thanks to Deborah J Miles for guesting on my last post of 2019. It’s been a blast!

Onwards!

See you next time, when William B. Taylor and Helen Gerrard tell us about their illustrated children’s book The Bee Polisher.

Happy New Year, reading, writing, and everything love Samantha xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? #GuestPost Alex Cavanagh, poet. #FacebookPage

Hello and thank you for joining me for this month’s ‘writerly rambling’ post. IT’S THE MOMENT THE BURY MASSIVE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR -ALEX CAVANAGH. Today, I am honoured to be joined by Alex Cavanagh, poet. He uses his Facebook page words From Within -a page of spontaneous poetry by Alex Cavanagh to showcase his words!

As a huge fan, I asked Alex why all of his poems are untitled – I am interested in titles and being fascinated with naming characters, his lyrical response blew my mind: 

‘That’s my thing’ Alex said. 

Speaking of having your mind blown, here are a few snippets from Alex’s page – do pay him a visit. 

Hidden beneath my beaming smile,
Is sadness and pain once in a while,
My eyes are filled with the light of life,
But I’m hiding something amidst my strife,
The room is filled with family or friends,
But I’m so lonely there’s things I can’t mend,
For the inner demons claw at my soul,
I grasp the grass climb away from the hole,
I’m successful and clever and loved by all,
I’m big and bold but inside I’m small,
I have children, success, and I know who I am,
But occasionally I don’t give a dam,
About life or love or meaningful things,
About whatever this cloudy day will bring,
I slip away from norm and into a pit,
Deep in my head I don’t give a shit,
A darker place with hate, envy and fear,
I don’t want to be there but don’t want to be here,
People around me just smile and walk by,
Inside I cry out for them to come and say hi,
Please take a second for wounds are best bled,
Never judge anyone till you walked a mile in their head.
So look out for people, never be afraid to ask,
Before it’s too late and they lose their grasp.                       (Copyright Alex Cavanagh 2019)

 

So I whisper in her ear don’t be sad and don’t be down,
For there is nothing more soothing than your lovers sound,
Her woes and troubles seem to fade away,
And from a cloudy start comes a wonderful day,
We get dressed and talk and share a kiss,
These are the moments so easy to miss.

We hold hands and walk down the road of life,
Trusting each other and sharing the strife,
We make love and a family and somewhere to rest,
And we grow this and shape this and expect nothing less,
A bond that comes from the beginning of time,
A old deep feeling that’s yours and mine,
For nearly all people this is their wish,
These are the moments so easy to miss,

So don’t waste a minute of this wonderful gift,
And whenever life gets hard there’s always a lift,
From your lover or brother or sister or friend,
And whatever the problem share it and mend,
Take your time and invest in the people you love,
Don’t get pushed down, embrace them and together rise above,
For days are sometimes dark but the light will shine through,
Love you fellow humans and in turn they will love you,

Copyright Alex Cavanagh 2019

 

Such is the day with no start and no end..
A day born from nothing
spent with a friend…
A day with no wind when the trees have no whisper…
A day spent with parents, brother and sister..
A day on your own with the wind in your hair..
A day of joy and love, life take me there.

Copyright Alex Cavanagh 2019.

I’m drowning amongst the memes and the trash,
Not surfing any more just navigating #,
What is real, what is contrived,
What isn’t true and what’s been derived,
Who are the rich and who is deprived,

Is it clickbait or lose weight or PPI,
Is it missing cat on the island of Skye,
How many likes did my lunch get,
Checking frantically not eaten it yet,
I’ve tagged myself and nobody cares,
I’m sure they’re active but no ones aware,
That even though I’m here with my wife,
I need everybody to follow my life,
For if I’m not noticed and fall down the list,
Whilst I’m here living do I really exist,

So I refresh the page about ten times a min,
Looking for something to please my within,
Hoping that people are following me,
And that all my friends and family can see,
That my days are filled with laughter and fun,
Whist wearing gym clothes but never a run,

There’s a message in here, but I don’t know what,
I’m here for is likes , but not trending hot,
I’m pissed off with the world but that’s all I’ll say,
You’ll have to DM me it’s the only way,
Then I’ll tell you my story without glamour and
Glitz,
And you can meet the real me without all the shit !!

copyright Alex Cavanagh 2019.

There you have it! Titles are not always needed (despite my thoughts in previous posts). I do think that novels need titles though – otherwise we would get awfully mixed up! I expect you’ll want to read more of Alex’s poems, don’t forget to click the link in pink above and follow his page! (All words shared with permission). I recently attended Alex’s in-laws’ birthday party, Alex spent all of four minutes writing a poem which he performed on stage there and then. Looking forward to future spoken-word appearances by Alex

See you same time next month for an illustrated bee story and a special Scottish treat – Happy reading, Samantha xx

 

 

 

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.

The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue #CurmudgeonAvenueSeries #4 Pre-order sale

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Book number four of The Curmudgeon Avenue Series is available to pre-order now. Published on the 31st of October 2019, pre-order your download copy for 99p.

UK pre-order 

US pre-order

The house on Curmudgeon Avenue should be happy now, the nincompoop residents have all met their sorry ends. But they haven’t quite left… now that a new family move in can the house find peace? Or are the ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue going to interfere with the goings-on, romance and dramas that new residents bring?

A snippet from Chapter One:

Chapter 1: A November Funeral

On the day we return to Curmudgeon Avenue for the fourth time, the overcast clouds darkened until the sky sobbed, and the entire population of Whitefield wept. The mourning of Harold, Edith and Edna had been going on for quite some time, some would say for longer than is reasonably necessary. Three fatal household accidents in one day came as quite a shock to the population of this North Manchester town.

You may be wondering why I, Number One, Curmudgeon Avenue appear to be perturbed about the trio of nincompoop’s departure. Well, before you allow me to explain, I must first console and continue to update you about how the people they left behind are coping. The results have just come in for one resident in particular, and she is not doing well…

Imagine Beyonce. Now imagine a Whitefield version of Beyonce dressed by Primark and manicured by Mel’s Gel Nails. Now imagine that same Whitefield Beyonce starring in a budget version of Great Expectations as Miss Havisham, and you have your very own vision of Wantha Rose grieving for Edith Goatshed, a little bit sad about Edna Payne’s passing, and Harold’s death? Not so much.

Other books in series: 

Happy reading,

Samantha xx

 

Guest Post by Ahava Trivedi; an interview with the Hopeless Husband: John Webb!

The Hopeless Husband Series (4 Book Series) by  Ahava TrivediI have enjoyed Ahava Trivedi’s Hopeless Husband series so much, I asked her if she could ‘get hold’ of her protagonist, John Webb and interview him… The results have just come in, and they are hilarious!

John Webb

John Webb is constantly looking to escape the perceived monotony of his life. He’s always getting hung up on random and strange preoccupations which become his raison d’etre until his ‘real-life’ begins as a world-famous author. All these goals are a way to inspire more self-pity as that is what gets the old man’s juices flowing to write his somewhat distorted musings about himself and his thriving victim complex.

Colleagues lament him, his wife tolerates him but as far as he’s concerned, he’s the bee’s knees. Here is your chance to decide as this week, we have an exclusive interview with the hopeless husband himself.

Hi John Webb, thanks for being with us today! I’m afraid there’s a burning question I must ask as I get the feeling it’s what we’re all thinking. What do you say about being described by some, as a hopeless husband?

JW:I say that people in this world don’t value kind and unique souls enough. Most of all, they don’t know the value of dreams, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it once again. I am a dreamer and that doesn’t make me hopeless at all – in fact it makes me a beacon of the hope that is often so missing in this weary world.

But surely, you must realize that being married, your dream has to be one that includes the other person or at least values them as an individual with their own dreams?

JW: Sure, why not?

And – would you say your dream does include Franny?

JW: Well, the written word has always been a pursuit of solitude. It’s the melding of one’s inner world with the outer. I’m actually very talented when it comes to bringing life to the world within me, especially as my writing is primarily about me.

There you go again. I didn’t see any mention of your poor wife or her dreams!

JW: That’s because you asked me about writing, which as I already outlined, is a job for a lone wolf like me. And, if you must know, Franny fully supports my writing. Each day after work, I go straight upstairs and reflect back on the hours at school and the oppression they wrought. If anything stands out, I extricate that pearl of wisdom and immediately put pen to paper.

Okay, then. And what are Franny’s dreams and ambitions?

JW: She loves having a family, if that counts as an ambition. Oh, and she’s very much into the arts and crafts. And for reasons beyond my well-developed grasp, she enjoys spending her time teaching those sods.

That’s because she’s a teacher.

JW: It goes far beyond that. The woman even invests her personal time into doing it for free. Every Thursday evening, while I’m putting my own time towards a more impressive cause, Franny chooses to stay behind at school – even when she doesn’t have to! – so she can spend yet more time cooped up with those stupid kids.

If anything, she’s always had lady luck smiling upon her, she gets to live her dreams on a daily basis and be married to a precious and rare gem like me at the same time.

Okay, then. Wow, I’m actually thinking, we should get Franny to come in and talk to us.

JW: Oh, really? Why? There’s nothing she could tell you about me that I can’t tell you about myself.

That’s precisely it. I’d like to know what she feels about all this.

JW: All what?

You! Your arrogance, your utter cluelessness about anything and anyone who’s not you! I’m not your wife and yet I feel if I was, I’d punch you!

JW: Well, that’s not very fair. If you got to know me, I swear you’d love me. That, or be insanely jealous of me. It usually only goes two ways, from my experience.

Okay, I’ve interviewed hundreds, if not thousands of people in my career and I’ve never asked any of my guests to do this before, but I really want to…how do I say this? I really want to come away liking you so why don’t you try redeeming yourself? Tell us something you’ve done for someone else. It can be absolutely anything in the world.

JW: Okay, hmm, let’s see, our wedding anniversary is coming up soon, mine and Franny’s that is, and we’ll be celebrating twenty-five years of matrimonialdelight.

Alright, now we’re getting somewhere…

JW: For our anniversary, I’m going to be treating my beloved to a present she’ll never forget.

That does sound rather nice, unlike some of the things I’ve heard about you. What is it?

JW: That would be telling! All I’ll say, is it’ll involve the help of many talented people to bring it all into existence. And, use of my endless wit and cunning to keep a secret until just the right moment.

Alright,I have to say I’m very curious…

JW: Let’s just say, Franny will thank her lucky stars that she married me!

That sounds fantastic. You know, John, I have to say, I feel like I’ve judged you incorrectly.

JW: It’s the peril of being me. so much grandeur that people are often intimidated.

Right…And that’s all we have time for this week folks! To find out more about John Webb, you can follow his series.

The Hopeless Husband series is available via the following links :

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads (which will have links to everywhere).

Ahava Trivedi is a skilled writer, I believe her main focus is YA Fantasy literature, but this tangent into comedy-drama (my genre) has been wonderful. Thanks for the guest post, Ahava, and thank you for writing these fab books!

 

The Anniversary (The Hopeless Husband Series, #1)

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 for reading, and join me same time next week when Book Two of Curmudgeon Avenue The Harold and Edith Adventures starts!
Happy reading, Samantha xx

‘Write What You Know’ Doesn’t mean ‘Write What You Know’ (and I’m over the moon about this)

The above is actual footage of me losing it during medication time in my old job when I was a ward sister (or deputy ward manager in the modern naughties) on a psychiatric ward. Not really! The photo is from the WordPress free photo library (thank you).

Ever since I had to give up nursing (sad face) and start writing (YAY!), there are certain phrases, questions and instructions that us writers often hear. And when I say hear, I mean roll our eyes and get bored with.

So that’s what I’m going to talk about this month, in my writerly ramblings post. Thank you for joining me, and yes, I know I made that word up…

WHY DON’T YOU WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW?’ 

Me: ARGHHHHHHHHHHH!

Fortunately, my mature student adventure of my Creative Writing degree has taught me that when ‘they’ ask ‘Why don’t you write what you know?’ In true expert literary terms does not mean ‘Write what you know about (in the sense of I used to be a nurse, so write about nursing)’ No, this means, write about what you know as a human being, use your senses, your imagination and your memory. This will help you with your descriptions, your characters, everything. I mean what you can see, taste, feel… what you can create.

THE ABOVE IS WHAT YOU KNOW AS A WRITER.

THRILLER WRITERS HAVE NOT COMMITED MURDER IN ORDER TO WRITE ABOUT IT.

HILARY MANTEL WAS NOT ALIVE DURING TUDOR TIMES YET SHE WAS ABLE TO IMAGINE ENOUGH TO EXPERTLY WRITE ABOUT THEM.

RICHARD ADAMS WAS NOT A RABBIT, YET IF YOU’VE READ WATERSHIP DOWN YOU WILL HAVE FELT LIKE YOU’VE LIVED IN A WARREN. 

I do hope that has cleared things up for those of you who insist on asking those questions to myself and other writers.

This is not to say that I may have drawn on my experiences of psychiatric nursing to write a short story for my degree (one that I got 92% for btw)

Happy writing, Samantha xx

PS Join me next month for my writerly rambling about character names – I feel a guest post series coming on!