A New Cover For ‘1962: A Nostalgic Tale of 1960s Lancashire’ (the relaunch!)

I had a great time writing ‘1962: A Nostalgic Tale of 1960s Lancashire’  which I published in 2017. I had an even better time revisiting the book and have relaunched it this week with a new cover. Later, there will also be a collection of four short stories I wrote at the time, all set in 1962.  😊 My dad provided inspiration for this novel. He was a cycling enthusiast, entered races (and won), and he was in his late 20s in 1962 – so the characters were not based on him, or his life story. He just gave me the idea. In 2012, we were watching a programme that marked 50 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dad turned to me and said ‘You know, people were petrified that we would all be blown up, but I just wanted to get a good time in the time trial race I had entered on Sunday.’ This conversation sparked something in me, and the book was born!  Dad helped me with a bit of research, including asking everyone he knew if they remembered how they felt about the looming threat of nuclear war in 1962 – as a person living in the north of England. Interestingly, Mum said she hardly remembered anything about it! 

I have been lucky enough to join a book promotion called ‘Soulful Reads’ which runs from June 19 to July 19. Well worth a nosy, I’ve had a preview of the titles – some will definitely end up on my reading list. 

Click this link : https://books.bookfunnel.com/soulfulreads/t6p3xc0jiz to check out the Soulful Reads promotion.

I will be releasing the prequel to 1962: A Nostalgic Tale of 1960s Lancashire later this year.

The Queen’s Speech (and other shorts from 1962) is a collection of four short stories I wrote in 2017 when I was researching the novel. I think this prequel will get readers in the mood for reading about 1962.

Photo by Mike on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, there are no MINI’s in the short story collection, just one in the novel.

Happy reading everyone, have a great weekend, Samantha 🙂

#BookReview M J Dees @mjdeeswriter Fred and Leah #HistoricalFiction Book Promotion #IARTG

Hello everybody! I am honoured to be taking part in a historical fiction promotion called A Touch of History at the moment with my book 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire).

When I looked at the other books involved, I thought ‘I need to read some of those!’ 

Have a look at this link to see if you fancy reading any yourself: PROMOTION LINK They are all on special offer and can be downloaded to any device.

This morning, I finished reading Fred and Leah by M J Dees.

Fred and Leah: A True Life Second World War Drama of Love, Loss and Captivity

This is a heartwrenching must-read, the tag line being:

A True Life Second World War Drama of Love, Loss and Captivity

And the blurb:

It’s World War II and soldiers are not the only casualties.

On September 3rd, 1939, Fred knew he would have no choice but to go to France and fight.

However, when he found himself among the thousands of men stranded after the Dunkirk evacuation, he had no idea when he would see his wife Leah and his two children again.

Leah is left trying to raise her two children by herself but, even she can’t stop the bombs from falling on her street.

M J Dees’ fourth novel and his first historical novel, Fred and Leah, is based on a real life love story of two people whose lives were irrevocably altered by war.

Outstanding, yet Heart Wrenching
This book described what soldiers had to deal with in time of war as well as in captivity. It also showed what families had to deal with at home. Leah had to raise two small children while Fred was overseas fighting and then as a prisoner. She had to protect her children from the bombing and hide in the bomb shelters. It showed the mental anguish the soldiers had worrying about their families at home and how they were surviving. Then the mental anguish those at home suffered worrying about their loved ones fighting and if they were ever going to come home. Then the adjustments after the war. How some adjusted while others never did or at the least had trouble. Fred had to find the strength to not only survive the war himself but to help his fellow soldiers survive the best he could. This book showed the horrors of war both on the front and at home. This is a must read book if you want to learn about WWII. It made me feel as though I was with Fred and also experiencing what Leah was feeling during those years. Peggy Coppolo (5 star Amazon.com review)

M J Dees

M J Dees was born and raised in Kingston-upon-Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He has worked in a variety of jobs in a variety of countries and is currently living with his wife, daughter and two cats in São Paulo, Brazil. LIVING WITH SACI is his first novel and is set in São Paulo. THE ASTONISHING ANNIVERSARIES OF JAMES AND DAVID is about two twins growing up in Yorkshire in England. WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY set in a dystopian future. FRED & LEAH is a second world war drama based on the true story of his grandparents. His fifth novel, LIVING WITH THE HEADLESS MULE a prequel/sequel to LIVING WITH SACI and has just released his new sci-fi series, MASTERY OF THE STARS.


photo of a man holding a gun
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com


My review: (Five stars) My mother was a ‘war baby’ and often spoke of this fact when I was growing up. So when I saw this historical fiction novel, I wanted to read it. Leah gives birth just as Fred goes off to war. Leah stays at home with her young son Jim and baby girl Beattie. The couple has moved around because of Fred’s army career – fortunately, Leah can rely on her father, a shopkeeper from Northumberland.
I believe this is a true story, based on the author’s family well written with literary flair—an essential part of life writing is to recount historical events for future generations. The chapters told about Fred detail his lengthy time as a POW in harrowing detail – the realism used here is superb, highlighting the physical and emotional effect on WWII soldiers. I have often heard that these men will not talk about what happened during the war; there must have been some heavy-duty research that went into this book. As the pages turned, I was taking note of the dates 1940, 1941, 1942… Was Fred going to get home to rescue Leah from the nightmare she was going through? If things weren’t bad enough for her with only her father to support her and the two children, Leah suffers a serious illness. Mental illness is one of the cruellest things a person can experience. It could have been a puerperal psychosis or a stress reaction to the war, but poor Leah ended up in hospital for a long time – without advancements in treatment in the years since this period of history. And I think this is the crucial part of this book – would things have been different for Leah had her husband not been taken away from her by war? Fred and Leah’s story provides a snapshot of the human devastation of war. A dramatic, heartwrenching must-read.

Join me on Friday, when I read the next book in this BookFunnel promotion – Wizard Ring by Clare Blanchard

Wizard Ring by Clare Blanchard

Happy reading, Samantha xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? #GuestPost @janeholland1 #IARTG

Thank you for joining me for my end of the year ‘writerly rambling’ posts. Today, I am overwhelmed… My indie author buddy and advanced league blogger of Against The Flow Press had a word with today’s guest about this blog… Drum roll, please… Today, I have been joined by Jane Holland – the award-winning author and poet with six pseudonyms (what a coincidence for a character naming blog post) and her own Wikipedia page. This has never happened before. Now, over to Jane Holland while I go and read her latest book The Hive which I have been ‘saving as a special treat’ (I’m such a geek).

Jane Holland


I write across a range of genres from action thrillers to women’s fiction and romance. So, when choosing character names, I look for a name that will fit both the character and the genre. (And I even write those different genres under separate pen-names myself, with most pen-names reflecting the genre.)


Names, like any word, possess emotional resonance. As novelists, we ignore that at our peril. Some names suggest warmth, trust and approachability, such as Hannah, Faith, Marcus, Nathan.Others feel somewhat cooler and more stand-offish, such as Sonia, Chloe, Fabian, Leopold.Some names feel strong and bold, like Jackie, Rowena, Ryan, Tyrell, while others are more exotic or inspirational, such as Gloria and Orlando.


Character names project a certain impression on a book overall; sometimes, this can be essential to the proper working of the plot. Chuck and Demelza sound an unlikely couple for a romance, while Bill or Sharon would make improbable villains in an international thriller. The wrong names strike the wrong note. Of course, if you’re trying to make a point, or write in a quirky, tongue-in-cheek manner, or perhaps conceal your villain until the last possible moment, misdirecting a reader could be useful. But on the whole, readers are likely to feel confused and uncertain with a poor name choice, and nothing makes them put a book down sooner than the fear that the author in question doesn’t know their business.


I tend to pick whichever name springs to mind while I’m working on my synopsis prior to starting to write (I’m a planner, not a pantser). That probably sounds quite casual, but I’ve written over forty novels and dozens of novellas, and my brain automatically selects names in the right ballpark for the story.


If I need to strike a particular note, or avoid clashing with other characters in the book – too many names beginning with the same letter, for example, or ending the same way, like Lucy/Tracy, may confuse readers – I do an internet search. Back in the day, a book of ‘baby names’ was on every writer’s bookshelf. Today, you can search in a few seconds among thousands of names, not just arranged alphabetically, but names from a certain part of the world, or associated with particular languages, age groups, or historical eras. The perfect name is out there somewhere!


For my latest thriller, THE HIVE, I chose Charlotte for my heroine: it had to be quite a posh name, but traditional and not stand-offish. Her boyfriend’s name is Russian (because he is!). Saying more about other characters’ names would, sadly, give away some of the twist, so I shall have to leave it there.


I chose the title THE HIVE after writing the book. The provisional title was THE BEE BOX, named after an object in the book. I knew right from the earliest planning stages that bees would be an integral part of the book, and even the way the book is structured follows that theme. So the title was always going to be bee-related, and ‘hive’ also suggests the busy – or buzzing – metropolitan setting of the novel in London, a metaphor that also plays a role in the story.

The Hive: A dark, spine-chilling thriller to keep you turning pages Kindle EditionForget Her Name: A gripping thriller with a twist you won't see coming Kindle EditionLock the Door: A psychological thriller full of suspense Kindle EditionUnder An Evil Star (Stella Penhaligon Thrillers Book 1) Kindle EditionThe Tenth House Murders (Stella Penhaligon Thrillers Book 2) Kindle EditionGirl Number One: A gripping page-turner with a twist Kindle EditionAll Your Secrets: A taut psychological thriller with a NAILBITING finale Kindle EditionWriting Prompts for Thriller Writers Paperback

Above are just a few of Jane’s books, worth taking a look at her Amazon page click this pink link

I was so interested (me, Samantha Henthorn – back again) to read about how Jane chooses her character names depending on which genre she is writing in. Totally have not had that valuable information during my creative writing degree. (So far!) Jane Holland also changes her author name, depending on which genre she is writing in. Here are some book covers from her pseudonyms:

The Oddest Little Mistletoe Shop: a sparkly romcom for all year round Kindle EditionThe Oddest Little Cornish Tea Shop: A feel-good summer read! Kindle EditionThe Queen's Secret (Lucy Morgan Book 1) Kindle EditionWolf Bride (Lust in the Tudor court - Book One) (Lust in the Tudor Court 1) PaperbackThe Uncatchable Miss Faversham (Regency Romance) Kindle Edition

I could be here all day adding book covers! Jane Holland has written over forty books (that I can count). Do check out the links I have added above and do what I’m going to do, start with her most recent books:

The Hive available HERE UK and HERE US

In High Places (as JJ Holland) HERE UK  and HERE US

Twitter: Jane Holland loves #Christmas 🏳️‍🌈 (@janeholland1) | Twitter


Jane Holland is a Gregory Award-winning poet and bestselling novelist. Her thriller GIRL NUMBER ONE hit #1 in the UK Kindle store in 2015, and again in 2018. Her latest book is IN HIGH PLACES, an action thriller written as JJ Holland. Also just out is THE HIVE, a dark thriller. You can find her on Twitter as @janeholland1

Her first novel KISSING THE PINK (Sceptre) was based on the women’s Pro Snooker circuit, where she herself was a champion player ranked 24th in the world before being banned for life for ‘bringing the game into disrepute’. Since turning from sport to writing, she’s published dozens of novels with major publishing houses under various pseudonyms, including: Beth Good, Victoria Lamb, Elizabeth Moss, Hannah Coates, and JJ Holland.

She also writes practical writing manuals such as Writing Prompts for Thriller Writers, along with a sister book for Romance Writers, and other non-fiction books, including a new ‘Dreams Journal’ for complex dream interpretation.

Elizabeth Moss


Totally star-struck. Thank you so much, Jane (where’s that ‘blushing’ emoji?)

Happy reading everyone! See you tomorrow when we re-visit Deborah J Mile’s character naming post,

Samantha xx


1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire)

To celebrate almost two years since the publication of my first full-length novel, it has had a bit of a polish, a new cover and the addition of a subtitle.

The book is a 20th century historical fiction about Ernest, who dreams of becoming the next cycling champion to hail from 1960s Lancashire. But his mother is petrified by the events in the news, will he win the race before the world blows up?

It is available to download here US  here UK

Here’s a snippet:

Later that same day, when the Sunday roast had been cleared away, and hours had passed with nothing to do and nothing to say. Ernest, his mother and Uncle Billy took the weekly bus journey to Auntie Marigold and Uncle Norman’s house.

     Marigold Bradshaw was always going to do well for herself in life. This was obvious on the Bradshaw family photograph, captured in sepia when Marigold was fourteen and Rose was nine. Marigold, imposing and impressive on the back row, shoulders straight, hair behaving itself, brand new dress. The centre of the photograph, the centre of attention, her proudly positioned head articulated ‘I plan to marry well’. Marigold stood above her little sister: Rose, who was perched upon a three-legged stool underneath Marigold. Head bowed, small and shy with her hair in her eyes, and a hand me down dress. Rose had no plan, but in life, received a surprise. Marigold pitied her little sister, but it was not her job to pass judgement; not on a Sunday.

Happy reading, Samantha xx

You Know Nothing About Wrestling

You Know Nothing About Wrestling

It were a week last Sat’dee – that’s when I first spotted him. What me father would say was ‘One of those rough and ready types’. Dark hair and dark eyes, the opposite to me – you can see through me on a sunny day, like a wafer biscuit. Maybe that’s why I noticed him, dare I say it? Someone so deliciously disgusting. I’d only gone to fetch me little brother, when I caught this first glimpse of my wrestler – sweating and sturdy in the ring, a fine specimen tempting me into the following week when I was a fully paid-up member of the wrestling audience. Talk about feeling unwanted though, the place was full of menfolk and smoke. Inhaling their fill of manliness, exhaling the steam of everyday downturn and depression. Except for those who noticed me taking exception ‘No cursing in front of the fairer sex’.
Carlos the Crusher. I wonder if that’s his real name?
Me Mam would only let me go if I went with our Wally, even though I’m seventeen and old enough to marry and pack int’ mill. I say me Mam, she says ‘Go ask your Father’ – but it’s her who has the final say so. Me Dad’s not been the same since the war. At least he came back though.
Soon enough, our Walter gets fed up of me ‘tagging along’ as he puts it. and as for Carlos Crusher, what’s he gonna see in me? Wally asks me: ‘Wouldn’t you like to sling your hook?, Do your brother a favour?’
I know his game, he wants rid of me so he can ask Molly McCarthy out. I had to make summat up. I could kick meself for blurting it out though.
‘ Happen I’m going to start wrestling. Start a wimin’s wrestling team’
Walter burst out laughing right then and there in the ticket queue.
‘You’d have to get some flesh on your bones first!’
Well, I gave him such a look, didn’t I?
‘You’ll end up like Two Tonne Tessie if you’re not careful, then no one’ll want to court you!’
‘What do you know about it, any road Walter Braithwaite?’
He smirked at me, and folk had started to look over at our to-do.
‘I know this, our Nellie, you know nothin’ about wrestling’
I just folded my arms and buttoned up. Aye, I thought, and you know nothing about women.


Samantha Henthorn (copyright 2018)black-and-white-people-bar-men.jpg

Officially a Holiday Read

cropped-20180401_120047.jpgEleven books read during my holiday, reviews to follow…  1962, my book worked it’s way around the pool too! No internet during my holiday, which I got used to after about half a day (or was it half an hour!). Normal service of liking and commenting should return this week.

Happy reading! Samantha

I Don’t Know How They do it, Their Eyes Must be all Over Their Heads!

20180322_183857I’ve recently ran a five day free promotion on one of my e-books ‘Quirky Tales to Make Your Day’. This created a self inflicted wild goose chase of networking with social media pages and potential reviewers – one said yes, RESULT! The last time I tried to get people to review me, I gave free books to actual people I know. I have decided to keep plodding on, but before I do try and look at things from the reviewer’s point of view. After all this week’s social networking I have sold about one book to the ten I have promised myself to read! I don’t know how these book reviewers do it! Their eyes must be all over the place! Not to mention, can you imagine not being able to just read an old classic?! I bet they get loads of e-mithers! Nevertheless, I’ve decided to start reviewing – although my priority is writing my next novel, if I read something I like, I’ll share it and if I don’t have anything nice to say, I won’t say anything at all. You won’t catch me posting a two stars with no comment on Goodreads! And you never know, I might get ‘reviewed back’!

That picture above is not representative of the several million (not really it’s about 11 or twelve) indie published books I have downloaded or ordered the paperback of this month waiting to be read. But notice how my father-in-law’s book has sneaked itself on the photo, oh! And one of mine, Piccalilly up there in the top right corner!

Reviewers, I salute you!

Happy Saturday, Samantha.

The Green Viking

I couldn’t help but take a peek at which page my husband is up to reading my novel ‘1962’ (Available from Amazon). Chapter 14 about Ernest’s Green Viking (a type of bicycle):

The month of September clings to its daylight hours; challenging folk to make the most of the month. Grownups are usually preoccupied with preparations for winter, because ‘before you know it, Christmas will be here’. However, Christopher Cunliffe and Ernest Bradshaw were enjoying the last few evenings that included daylight. Monday had involved his mother being in an even worse mood when she got home, Ernest had heard her trying to sing Edith Piaf songs to Uncle Billy, this usually happens when she needs to ‘let off steam’. It is a good job Uncle Billy cannot hear her.

Copyright Samantha Henthorn 2018.20170905_091436


Free Book

Scan_20170731Piccalilly is free on Kindle for five days!

Everything changed that day. Even in elementary school, Lilly’s heart was in her mouth. Her stomach felt funny, but not the good kind of funny like at birthdays or family photograph day. She nearly got sent to the front to have her hand slapped when she got caught looking out of the window. It was too much for Lilly. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a green figure on the other side of the window. Not the green of the trees, but the green of Joe’s uniform. He disappeared as soon as she sneaked a glance at him.

A short story set in WW1 originally written for children (but adults have enjoyed it).

Dedicated to my family.

Copyright Samantha Henthorn 2018.

If it Has a Face

20171204_160600At our house, if it has a face, then it is dressed up for Christmas and it is reading one of my books. Mr Skull drinks dispenser is halfway through ‘1962’ about a young ambitious cyclist who overhears his mother worrying about the Cuban missile crisis.

By the way, that November writing thing – I am 28,000 words into my next novel ‘Curmudgeon Avenue’ now (admittedly, I did start writing it before November).

Happy Monday, Samantha C 2017