A Curmudgeonly Christmas

Every summer, I notice writers talking about their Christmas books on social media. A bit upside down, I thought. But last December, I brought Curmudgeon Avenue to a close with the final book in the series ‘A Curmudgeonly Christmas’. 

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!


Don’t just take my word for it, I noticed a fabulous review has popped up for Curmudgeon Avenue #1 – my cheeks are hurting I’m smiling so much! 

If you are enjoying the most wonderful time of the year, maybe you would like to have a look at this Christmas book promotion : https://books.bookfunnel.com/christmasjuly21/p2re6562xn

Just a quick post from me this week because I’m doing my packing for our Christmas holiday... I mean summer holiday (in the UK).

Happy reading, Samantha.

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

The Soulful Reads Book Promotion

Hi Everyone,

What a great title for a book promotion! The tagline reads ‘Enjoy books that will touch your heart and mind.’ So I was attracted to this as a reader (and an author). https://books.bookfunnel.com/soulfulreads/t6p3xc0jiz

Those of you that joined me in the middle of June will know that my book ‘1962, A Nostalgic Tale of 1960s Lancashire’ is lucky enough to be part of this promotion, which runs until the 19th of July 21.

I’ve read one of the books so far, ‘The Woman Who Lost Her Love’ by Jo Lobato. I thought this was a beautiful story and like the promotion promised it did touch my heart and mind.

The Woman Who Lost Her Love by Jo Lobato

The story is about a woman called Diane who sets off with her husband, David on a holiday to Australia. But as the story unfolds, Diane’s holiday turns into a different journey to the one she expected.

Photo by Sheila on Pexels.com

Here’s what the blurb says:

The Woman Who Lost Her Love: the life-affirming book of the spring!

A heart-warming and uplifting story of a single woman on an emotional journey of rediscovery. Perfect for fans of Mike Gayle, Gail Honeyman and Sarah Haywood.

Meet Diane, a woman in her fifties who’s lost her creativity and love of art. When her husband abandons her en route to their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary in Australia, she is forced to confront the reason he’s left, the prickly woman she has become and the secrets she’s hiding.

As Diane uncovers the passions and creativity she’s been stifling, and meets characters mysteriously connected to her past, will she manage to keep her carefully curated persona in check?

And what is the heartbreaking truth from which she’s desperately trying to flee?

A page-turning holiday read, this emotional popular women’s fiction will have you rooting for single woman Diane to find her inner strength. A book that’s both heartbreaking and heart-warming, about the power of female friendship and the importance of holding onto the passions that make us unique.

“UPLIFTING, LIFE-AFFIRMING, REDEMPTIVE.” Debi Alper.

“‘EAT, PRAY, LOVE’ MEETS ‘THE MAN WHO DIDN’T CALL’ IN THIS BRILLIANT BOOK.” Goodreads Review

And here’s my little review (five stars)

Brilliant! Diane heads out on holiday to Australia with her husband, David. Except, David is the type to choose Diane’s clothes (the horror!), and he has something to say about her hairdo. Then… as the blurb says, David abandons Diane on the plane. With no husband and no luggage (imagine), Diane has no choice but to continue a journey. Don’t worry, the women in Diane’s life back in England (book club friends and sister) are in her head telling her what to do and how to behave. Then there is her daughter, Bertie, who Diane continually emails and imagines what she would think of her Australian adventures. Diane’s transformation is truly uplifting, and as the plot unfolds, you’ll need something to wipe your tears away with.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Don’t forget the promotion link to help you find the book : https://books.bookfunnel.com/soulfulreads/t6p3xc0jiz

Here are some more covers from the promotion (but the best thing to do is click on the link to see the books)

Soul Deep by Angela Kay Austin
1960: My Black Skin by Angela Kay Austin
A Journal of Cosmic Memories: The Dimension of Trees by Ben Benyamin
The Sun Rose in Paris: Portraits in Blue - Book One by Penny Fields-Schneider
Friend of My Enemy by Raven Banks
The Valley of the Dogs, Dark Stories by James Musgrave

Coming next… I will probably write one of my mini-drama posts there is always plenty going on in my sit-com life. AND Curmudgeon Avenue has just joined a Christmas book promotion, in JULY! Click here for Christmas books: https://books.bookfunnel.com/christmasjuly21/p2re6562xn

Happy reading everyone, see you soon, Samantha 🙂

PS: I wrote the Curmudgeon Avenue series

Literary Fiction is Not Dead (and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise)

KathyWilkins1212.jpg

I love books, reading has saved me, and writing has provided me with a true sense of self after my career ended.

So imagine my surprise when I read (a communication) that ‘no one reads anymore’, it was as though the internet was saying ‘what is the actual point of you?’ I will not have it!

Photo by u0410u043du043du0430 u0413u0430u043bu0430u0448u0435u0432u0430 on Pexels.com

Our modern brains may not be as geared up to settle down with a lengthy novel, we have been raised on television and we have the internet and social media to fill our minds with. I presume that readers who are already ‘into’ reading are still novel lifting (I know I am).

In Dickensian times, folk had less time to read, People often worked six days a week for eighteen hours per day (thank you source). And really, it was only towards the end of the 19th century that literacy improved in Britain. Rich folk had all the tea to drink (see photo), but those lengthy classics that we see today were mostly serialised – even in Victorian times, readers were choosing an accessible medium.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Books are an essential tool to tap into if you are feeling under the weather mentally.

You may feel that you are unable to commit to reading a full novel, or most likely reading sounds off putting because you are struggling to concentrate.

Firstly, about concentration. Remember, reading is a solitary hobby. NO ONE IS MARKING YOU, You are under no obligation to give what you are reading your full attention. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but you are reading to relax, for fun, you deserve it… you will not be expected to write an essay about what you have read. Imagine the sense of achievement you will feel after finishing a book (even if that means ‘I gave it a try, and now I’m finished with it’). It is only natural to feel guilt for not finishing a book, but it is also freeing to let it go and have a look at another book (there are plenty to choose from). And if you can’t – no biggie, come back to it or try something else… But…

The benefits of escaping into another world are even more important now.

Don’t give up! The book on the side in your bedroom that is covered in dust? You will get to it eventually. Reading became difficult for me when both of my eyes (at different times) were affected by MS. With lighting, modern technology (Kindle) and a good old fashioned trip to the optician’s I can read as long as I don’t overdo it and look after my posture (I am on about my neck). I am breaking away from the sick role, if I can adapt and find a way to do something I want to do – I will.

Photo by u041eu043bu044cu0433u0430 u041du0443u0440u0443u0442u0434u0438u043du043eu0432u0430 on Pexels.com

You don’t have to commit to a lengthy novel. Again, no one is marking you, so it does not matter what you read. Reading is a very personal thing. People do recommend books to one another, but soon, you will be choosing your own. It does not have to be literary fiction.

You can always try audio books.

Go with the cover you like – that is fine people DO judge books by their covers.

There is no law that says you have to finish a book – even if you don’t like it.

PE-dontbelieve.jpg

I refuse to believe this hype about ‘people not reading anymore’. Stories are what makes us human, after all. The evidence is all around us, and as for me there IS a point and I will continue to write.

The following are links to reading evidence that springs to mind when I think about this subject.

Research finds reading books has surged in lockdown source The Guardian 2020.

BBC Radio 4 Book Club (running currently)

Nearly half of young people reading more in lockdown (Source: Penguin)

The Graham Norton Book Club on Audible

Between the Covers BBC2

Richard and Judy Book Club

The Only Way is Essex Book Club

20 Inspiring Virginia Woolf Quotes on Knowing Oneself

Happy reading everyone, Samantha.

PS I wrote these books:

The Final What’s in a (Character) Name #Guestpost with Christopher Wilson @mojo_books + #BookReview #IARTG

Hi Everyone!

Did I mention that multi-award-winning author Christopher Wilson is my second cousin? You can read all about how I found out about my dad’s side of the family in last week’s blog HERE

Finding out that I have a cousin who is an established author has been a valuable inspiration to me. It is a bonus that I think his books are awesome!

This will be the final in my ‘What’s in a (Character) Name guest posts and I am absolutely honoured to welcome Christopher Wilson

Christopher P. Wilson

I’ve been involved in naming two children, a few cats and dogs, a wife who needed a stage-name for Equity, and a rude horde of fictional characters. It’s always tortuous, with frequent revisions, and a terminal sense of failure. But there’s reassurance too in the problems other writers meet – even some greats.

Some splash the fluorescent paint in primary colours. Some are just plain explicit. With ‘Little Miss Naughty’ or ‘Mister Tickle’you know you’ll get what you pay for.  Holly did Golightly. And Miss de vil was indeed Cruella. And in Ian Fleming’s mind, Pussy was Galore. Dostoyevsky could be pretty upfront too, with characters that translate from the Russian as Bone-crusher or Mister Marmalade. And (surprise, surprise) in ‘Catch 22’, Major MajorMajor getspromoted to become Major MajorMajorMajor

            Dickens was shameless too, offering usSerjeantBuzfuz, Charity Pecksniff, Mr m’Choakumchild, Uncle Pumblechook, Uriah Heep,DecimusTite Barnacle, Master Bates and Dick Swiveller (who ‘ejaculated with difficulty’ in chapter 7).

Sometimes, innocuous names can gain an added twist as Time plays unkind tricks. I’m thinking ofJane Austen’s Fanny Price (that wasn’t intended, surely?), or  Panty in E. Nesbitt, and Titty in Swallows and Amazons.

            For Graham Greene character names became painfully problematic. As soon as he published a new novel people with the same surnames would form an orderly queue to sue him. So he started calling his characters Smith, Jones and Brown.

There’s a dryer game authors play with readers – of being suggestive with characters’ names without being blindingly obvious. I remember feeling wryly suckered when I’d failed to spot at the outset that Louis Cyphre in ‘Angel Heart’ would turn out to be Lucifer.

            When I started writing, I then tried it for myself.  Gallimauf was a French speaking philosopher. Count Baa Mindeberg was a bleating  Scandinavianaristocrat and  total stranger to his psyche. Duckworth was an undervalued Amazonian foundling. Saint Odo of Here and There had two bodies that went their own ways. Gob was the first human-beingever to speak. FrankEnstein Ph.D. created a monster. Yuri Zipit couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Joey Blueglass saw the world through a perpetual erotic filter. Liselotte Berg probably lied a lot.Leifur Nils Kristjansson Saint Marie du Cotton was the biggest challenge because, through the course of the novel, s/he had to die and be reborn, change skin colour,  gender, and  sexual orientation, before growing wings to turn into an angel. So maybe I missed a trick with her/him/them.

            I’ve got a new novel on the go. The central character is half human and half something else. I haven’t quite got the name yet. It’s something like Hugh Mobo.

 

Wow! Thank you, Christopher, that post is awesome. he ‘wrote it in a rush’! Genius!

I have read seven of Christopher’s books so far and it is difficult to choose a favourite. I know that his latest WIP is titled ‘Hurdy Gurdy’. His most recent publication is The Zoo  . The setting is Stalin’s last days and is a brilliantly cutting satire told through the voice of one incredible boy. 

The Zoo by [Christopher Wilson]

It won prizes: An Observer and Spectator Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Historical Writing Association Gold Crown Award

The Blurb:

Meet Yuri Zipit.

A boy who’s had a bang on the head in a collision with a Moscow milk truck.

He has a kind face, makes friends easily, and likes to help. People want to tell him their secrets.

Including the Great Leader himself, who takes a shine to Yuri when he employs him for his natural talents.

In his new job, Yuri will witness it all – betrayals, body doubles, buffoonery. Who knew that a man could be in five places at once? That someone could break your nose as a sign of friendship? That people could be disinvented . . .?

The Zoo is a brilliantly cutting satire told through the voice of one incredible boy.

What I thought:

*****

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 August 2017

A great read, I was really drawn in by the believable characters. I have read a tiny bit of Russian history during my degree, and I enjoyed this satirical take.
Well, I didn’t say much when I read it in 2017, I must have been in a rush, three years on, I do remember this book. There is nothing like a memorable book. I enjoyed how it was told by the boy, whose father sort of gets kidnapped. Yuri does get to meet (and chat to Stalin) but he never quite knows who is who because of the Stalin body doubles. Christopher’s dry sense of humour comes through in his writing a cutting social satire.
The Ballad of Lee Cotton Kindle Edition
The Ballad of Lee Cotton  is one of my favourites, a Bildungsroman first-person narrative from Lee’s birth, his formative years and his (several) transformations.
The blurb:
Review –

Written with all the imaginative gusto of a heavy-weight novelist (FT MAGAZINE)

Exuberant (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

Wildly entertaining (DAILY MAIL)

An exuberant, joyful ride. Outrageously funny, it combines high farce with biting satire (INDEPENDENT)

Book Description –

A brilliant, funny novel about survival and identity in the tradition of Jeff Eugenides’ MIDDLESEX.

“[Wilson’s ] sense of humor and snappy pacing make this an appealing tale of a bygone America where truly anything can happen.” —People
* A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
“If you re looking for a breathless ride of a novel, one that s filled with more plot twists than most authors could even dream of, let alone include in one 320-page book, don t miss Cotton . . . Irresistible.” –Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust
Meet the unforgettable Leifur Kristjansson Saint Marie du Cotton (you can call him Lee). Lee is a black boy born white-skinned in segregated Eureka, Mississippi, in 1950. As if that weren t trouble enough, he s also inherited the ability to hear les voix spirits from his Mambo grandmother. By the age of twenty he has fallen in love with a Klansman s daughter, been kicked senseless and left for dead on a northbound freight train, and gotten drafted into a psy-ops corps in Nevada. Before he returns to Mississippi, he will experience up close and personal the women s liberation movement and the dawn of the Lesbian Nation.
Lee Cotton s voice equal parts Delta Blues and Motown takes us on an exhilarating freedom ride through the upheavals of three decades, and whispers its secret: The freaks and oddities of this world may well be divine.”Huck Finn meets Myra Breckinridge? Candide meets Yossarian? . . . [Cotton] is, paradoxically, a complete original.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Brilliant, scathing and hilarious . . . Cotton is an odd, inventive, entertaining and whip-smart novel–a rare combination in fiction. Enjoy it.”–The Denver Post

 

Shortlisted for the Whitbread prize.

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 August 2018

Verified Purchase

 

The most recent book I read by Christopher Wilson is Nookie which is about the 1960s Profumo affair.

Nookie: A novel of the Christine Keeler Affair by [Christopher Wilson]

Those Christine Keeler photographs are famous, but it wasn’t until I read this book that I was aware of just how young she was when the scandal happened. Written with Christopher Wilson’s wit, this is not non-fiction, although it is based on a true story.

The Blurb:

It’s the early 1960’s. London’s set to swing. Sex has just been invented. They’re a strange set of bedfellows – Christine, a hungry, chaotic teen, with the looks of Aphrodite, fleeing the tedium of suburban Staines; Percy, who runs a Soho Burlesque Club by the rules of a girl’s boarding school; Bill, Lord Astor, whose wives don’t understand him (though his dominatrix does); the slum landlord, and concentration camp survivor, Peter Rachman; Mandy, the feisty, giggler from Birmingham who’s skilled at pleasing rich, old men; Stephen, friend of stars and royalty, a charming osteopath, and modern Pygmalion, who picks up waifs and strays at the kerbside and nurtures them into models, actresses, celebrities and trophy-wives; the Kray twins, East End mobsters; Yvgeny, charmer and diplomat-cum-spy at the Soviet Embassy; John Lewis the defrocked Labour MP who plays games with prostitutes and guns; Mariella, sexual athlete and amateur social-worker, who organises West End orgies for the great and the good; President Jack Fitzgerald Kennedy and his brother Bobby who can’t always remember who they’ve met in bed; J Edgar Hoover, curator of sordid secrets; the passionate Johnny, jewel-thief, pimp, shebeen owner, with anger-management issues and a penchant for firearms; ‘Lucky’ the jazz musician who gets in the way of his razor; Bob, the peer of the realm, with a taste for rent-boys; Francis the Fleet Street crime reporter who can sniff a sexual act half a mile away; Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister, whose wayward wife, Dorothy, causes him concerns; Jack Profumo, rising star of the Conservative Party, husband of film actress Valerie Hobson, and Minister for War; Stanley the freelance assassin without a pension-plan; Sam the flexible policeman, who becomes unaccountably rich in the course of his investigations; Keith, the well-meaning, vegetarian, civil servant, who does his best for MI5; Colin the dentist from Cockfosters, who’s indulging his wife Charmian, while simply looking on: Alfred, Lord Denning, whose report on the shenanigans shamelessly exonerates anyone official, prominent, powerful or aristocratic. And from the mix of this cast you get enacted that Great Sex Kerfuffle of 1963, the Profumo Scandal – perhaps better styled the Stephen Ward Affair.

This novel of the scandal gives voice to all the major characters, and affords them the time and space to explain themselves. The account sets out to do justice to Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, spirited teenagers, who became the targets of a raucous, national hypocrisy and took the blame for the misbehaviors of the rich and powerful men who bedded them. The novel also sets out to redeem the admirable Stephen Ward – sensualist, artist, free-spirit, and convivial character – who, in the course of the scandal, lost everything that mattered to him – his friends, his reputation, and finally his life.

Christopher Wilson is the author of eight previous novels and has been shortlisted twice for the Whitbread Fiction Prize.

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 March 2020

Verified Purchase

 

Well, I have spotlighted three of Christopher Wilson’s books, I don’t want to go on too long. Apparently, long posts put people off…

Oh! But I forgot to mention Blueglass which was long-listed for the Booker Prize, in the 1990s.

Blueglass by [Chris Wilson]
There’s no doubt about it. Joey Blueglass is a talented man. How many people can sing any song after hearing it once, read a newspaper then repeat its contents word for word backwards, or recall their life in the womb? Joey can and makes it pay by performing as a Memory Man in the smoky music halls of Victorian London, until it turns out there are some key events that Joey has forgotten…

What I thought:

Shhhh

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 November 2016

Verified Purchase

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the final ‘What’s in a (Character) Name’ guest post. I have. Please have a look at the rest of Christopher Wilson’s books HERE on his website mojo-books.com (click on the word HERE for the direct link). And/or buy read and review them Books available from Christopher Wilson’s Amazon page. And just to make sure, here is the link for Christopher Wilson’s Goodreads page

 

Who knows where my ‘writerly rambling’ posts will take me next. I do need a bit of time now to write book number five of my series. For the time being, I will continue to report on the goings on in Curmudgeon Avenue.

Happy reading, and stay safe everyone! Samantha xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? #Guestpost Nico J. Genes @NicoJGenes #IARTG

Hello and thank you for joining me on my rolling character naming writerly rambling posts. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of my internet writing friends Nico J. Genes. We ‘met’ on Goodreads. I have found Goodreads to be a really useful place for support from other indie authors. I have read two of Nico’s books – you will find my 5* reviews for both of them on Amazon . Definitely worth a read.

Thank you, Nico

Nico J.Genes

 

Hi! My name is Nico and I’m a writer. Throughout my life, I’ve been called also Nicole, Niki, Nicu, but somehow Nico has a warmer touch to it. So, Nico, it is. It is all about feelings, you know.

Let’s see how I came up with some of the names from my novels.

Magnetic Reverie & Reverie Girl:

Magnetic Reverie (The Reverie Book 1) Kindle EditionReverie Girl (The Reverie Book 2) Kindle Edition

The idea for my first novel struck me one day. It didn’t have many characters but I had to decide on the names as otherwise, it would have made it difficult, right? I couldn’t just go »she« and »he« as at one point not only the readers would be confused, but I would be the more confused one, the author. I didn’t think much of the names when I started. I did pick up Ana as the name of my main character. My mom’s name is Ana and I find it a really beautiful name, full of purity. It felt so smooth writing Ana whenever the main character came into the scene. I don’t recall now what were the other characters’ names but I’m sure I’ve changed them all.

You know, when I first started writing I didn’t even think it will be something that it will turn into a novel. I just penned down the beginning of something that later on will become my debut novel. When the story was evolving and the characters were being defined, as I didn’t want any of the people I had in my life to think there are any correlations between my work of fiction and my private life, I had to deal with the name thing. Ana, as much as I love this name, had to be replaced. I can’t write a bisexual/lesbian novel with some steamy scenes having one character named the same as my mom. Do you agree? Still, I had to replace it with something as smooth and soft so after some thinking it became Lana. Problem solved. The other characters were a tad easier, still not quite smooth. I didn’t just snap my fingers or took a three minutes break and came up with them. No. Having in mind that the story takes place between Slovenia, Croatia, and the USA, and all the twists and wonders that are not clear for the reader right at the beginning, I had to deal longer with the name for my second character. She was a woman from Slovenia, so her name had to sound Slovenian and American at the same time. And here comes Claire. Well, Claire is the American version while Klara is the Slovenian one. There is a perfectly fine explanation for that in the story and to me, she’s mainly Claire. The other characters got random names, still, I usually prefer short ones and I’m trying to avoid having very similar names so that the reader does not get confused. As I’ve said earlier, I’m trying to have all the names of my fiction works as different as possible from the people I know. Still, it can’t always be done easily as we do get to meet quite a lot of people in our lives. So here comes the claim: »This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.«

 

ADHD: Life is Beautiful

ADHD: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL: A True Story Kindle Edition
I cherish and hold dear to my heart all of my books, as they are my children, my creations. This one, being a true story, hits a higher place. The names though, except for mine, could not be used. As I mentioned in the claims: »Some places, names, and identifying details have been changed in order to maintain the anonymity of others.«, I couldn’t expose my friends’ names so I had to come up with substitutions. While I wrote the book, I have used the real names of my friends and only replace them when before publishing. I played in my mind for a few days with several names and not only that, they had to sit right with me, I wanted them to fit. My friends, a mother and her son, became Peter and Eliza. The real Peter didn’t like his name when he heard it and he asked me to mention in the book that the main character has this name against his will, hence without his approval. He made me laugh and his remark was totally in line with the content of the book. He wasn’t laughing, though.

In conclusion, there are many stories behind a character’s name and, we authors, don’t have often the chance to talk about it, so thank you, Sam, for the opportunity.

 

Useful links:

MAGNETIC REVERIE: Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/p2kdzt

REVERIE GIRL: Amazon(ebook): http://hyperurl.co/c23m4m

ADHD: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL: http://hyperurl.co/adhdlifeisbeautiful

Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/Nico-J.-Genes/e/B0767MFVZQ/

www.nicojgenes.com

Nico J. Genes has traveled and worked with many interesting and unique people of different nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations, all of whom helped her to understand diversity and to accept everyone just as they are.

With her first two novels, “Magnetic Reverie” and “Reverie Girl”, she broke the ice into writing successfully. From her readers’ feedback and reviews, Nico can proudly say she has a solid confirmation of her skills as an established writer. An important element of her writing is that she always has a message that she wants to transmit. This can be summed up by her motto: We are all different, and that’s okay!

Besides novel-writing, Nico also runs a blog in which she talks about life’s issues, and gives the kind of friendly advice that everyone needs at certain points of their life. The positive feedback of her readers became her inspiration for her third book, “Lessons in Life”. Continuing her mission of welcoming all diversity and pleading for tolerance and acceptance, she wrote the novel “ADHD: Life Is Beautiful”, based on a true story.

ADHD Life is Beautiful by Nico J. Genes EBOOK (1)

Follow your dreams

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Thank you so much Nico! Join me next time for more character naming, Sam xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? Sharon Booth @Sharon_Booth1 #Guestpost #Uplifting Women’s Fiction #IARTG

Sharon Booth tells Samantha Henthorn how she chooses her character names.

Way back when I started reaching out and networking as an independent author, I saw a post on a reputable social media group asking if any authors wanted to appear on a blog called ‘Five Photos’. Before responding, I thought wow, this author writes uplifting women’s fiction. That sounds right up my street!

This author was none other than super talented SHARON BOOTH I have read every single one of her books – the first one being Kearton Bay my husband came home from work and saw me reading in the garden. ‘Why are you crying?’ he said. ‘Because this book is so touching… and SO cute!’ 

Thank you so much Sharon for joining me!

Sharon Booth

What’s in a Character Name?

Names are very important to me. I can’t just pick a character’s name out of thin air; I have to search for just the right one. First of all, it has to suit the character, obviously, but it also has to mean something to me or to the story.

With the first series of books I wrote it was easy. I’d spent a few years researching my family tree and I wanted to pay tribute to those people I’d been learning about, and who’d come to mean so much to me. The surnames of most of the characters in Kearton Bay are the surnames of my ancestors: Hollingsworth, Bone, Boden and Kean (hyphenated as one name for the story), MacLean, Crook, Hope … even Kearton Bay itself was named after my paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Kearton. Rhiannon, who has Wiccan beliefs, is named after a Celtic goddess. In mythology, her son was Pryderi, so I named her son in the book Derry. Rose’s name was a given. She’s crazy about the colour pink, so she and her daughters all had to have pink names. Her daughters are called Fuchsia and Cerise. Gabriel Bailey, on the other hand, got his first name because I needed an angel’s name for the story to work. His surname was inspired by my favourite film, It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey is a real hero to me, and I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather name my own hero after.

With the Skimmerdale books, it was the place names that took some working out. I wanted to be as authentic as possible, and spent ages looking at old Norse words, as so many places in the Yorkshire Dales have old Norse names. Skimmerdale itself is explained in This Other Eden. “Skimmer” was an old Norse word meaning “to shine brightly, to sparkle”. I had the image in my mind of sunlight glinting on the river as a Viking chief looked down upon it, inspiring him to give the area that name. The farm’s name, Fleetsthorpe, is derived from Fleets, meaning “stream or beck”, and Thorpe, meaning “the outlying farmstead”.

Bramblewick was a tribute to the novels of Leo Walmsley, who called his fictional version of Robin Hood’s Bay by that name. I borrowed it for a brief mention in A Kiss from a Rose, little realising that I would be revisiting the village and naming an entire series of books after it!

Fresh Starts at Folly Farm (Bramblewick Book 3) Kindle Edition

With my Moorland Heroes series, Saving Mr Scrooge made every use of the Charles Dickens’ classic on which it was loosely based. Jacob Marley became Marley Jacobs, and instead of Ebenezer Scrooge (which wouldn’t have sat well with modern readers) I named the hero Christopher Carroll, as Chris Carroll was the closest I could get to the original title. He was nicknamed Kit to be a bit more up-to-date – and because I was going through a Game of Thrones period at the time!

With Resisting Mr Rochester, the surname of the hero was fixed in stone, but I had fun playing around with the other important names. His first name became Ethan, which means strong and safe. Cara Truelove was inspired by two things: Cara means dear one, beloved (aw!) and seemed appropriate. Most people assume Truelove was just to emphasise how romantic she was, but in fact, it’s taken from an old legend connected with the surname Eyre. It tells how a companion of William the Conqueror, named Truelove, saved the life of the king, and was renamed Eyre in gratitude for giving William the air that he breathed. There’s no real historical evidence for this but it’s a lovely legend, and as I was looking for a connection to Jane Eyre I thought it was perfect. You can read more about it here. Although the book is obviously a tribute to the Charlotte Bronte novel, it was also inspired by Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Cara does share some characteristics with Catherine Morland in that novel, so I named Ethan Rochester’s home Moreland Hall in tribute.

For my current series, The Witches of Castle Clair, I did a lot of research into names with magical or mythical connections. The river was an important part of the town and its mythology, and the word Hrafn is old Norse for raven, so very appropriate for my stories. I found lots of names connected with the sky in some way for my St Clair family: Sirius, Star, Celeste, Sky, Iliana (ray of light), Raiden (god of thunder and lightning), Zephyr (west wind) and Aurora all have celestial meanings.

 

It does take time to research names, but I always feel more comfortable when I know I’ve chosen appropriate ones that fit the characters. I like to have them all in place before I start writing the book. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through and realising I don’t like the name, or it doesn’t fit, and having to change it. It’s worth making the effort right at the beginning. After all, these people are going to be my best friends for several months. The least I can do is get their names right!

Sharon Booth

 

 

Author Bio

Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and an Authorpreneur member of The Alliance of Independent Authors. She writes uplifting women’s fiction – “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!

Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, and now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their gentle, and thoroughly gorgeous, German Shepherd dog.

Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time is a proper job and she hasn’t taken early retirement.

She has a love/hate relationship with sugar (she loves it, it hates her), adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.

Find out more about Sharon at linktr.ee/sharonboothwriter

 

Sharon’s latest novel, To Catch a Witch, is the third in the romcom series The Witches of Castle Clair. It will be published on April 28th and is available for pre-order here.

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To Catch a Witch

Return to Castle Clair for the final chapter of the St Clair story.
It’s three hundred and fifty years since the famous witch’s leap happened in the North Yorkshire town. Riverside Walk is swarming with eager tourists, wanting to pay tribute to the legendary Blaise St Clair. It’s also Christmas Eve, and the family has gathered to celebrate an eventful year, and to look forward to even better times ahead.
But a shock event changes everything, bringing a whole lot of trouble to the door of Castle Lodge.
For something big is happening in Castle Clair. Strangers are arriving, a prophecy is unfolding, a mystery is deepening, a reckoning is coming … and someone’s getting rather too fond of Mrs Greenwood’s baking.
The past is colliding with the present, and the future is in jeopardy. No wonder the High Council of Witches is a bit miffed.
Will the St Clairs have enough strength, courage ~ and chocolate fudge cake ~ to see them through?

Or is this the end of the world as they know it?

Thank you so much Sharon! I cannot wait for To Catch A Witch to be published!

Join me next time, happy reading, Samantha xx

 

A Touch of History #BookReview Rosalind Minett @MinettRosalind @BookFunnel #IARTG Intrusion – A Relative Invasion

Hi everyone! I am still part of this fab BookFunnel promotion of 28 books written with a historical flair. As promised, I have been reading some of these books, so that I could pop a review on.

This is the BookFunnel Link – have a browse and see if you fancy any of these lovely books while they are on offer until the 19th of March.

I read Rosalind Minett’s INTRUSION A Relative Invasion from this promotion and it was beautiful.

Intrusion by Rosalind Minett

WAR THREATENS AT THE VERY SHORES OF HOME . . .  WITH RUTHLESS HITLER IN EUROPE AND DEVIOUS COUSIN KENNETH AT THE DOORSTEP. A fateful rivalry is born . . .

Lonely Billy’s excitement at having a playmate turns to dismay. Frail, artistic Kenneth is hideously devious, Uncle Frank is an outright bully and Billy’s parents fail to see further than Kenneth’s porcelain looks to his darker soul. Those very emotions that enable Hitler’s rise – envy over strength, desire for new territory – now ferment in the Wilson home.

Only his secret sighting of a precious Cossack sabre can comfort Billy by imagining he has its power.

As war becomes a reality, this becomes an icon that sustains Billy through evacuation and hardship, but is it destined to damage as well as protect?

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(Photo from Google search WWII evacuees labelled for reuse)

Rosalind Minett

Rosalind Minett writes novels and short stories, with several short and long-listed in competitions. Several stories have been performed at Story Friday, Bath, and others, including flash fiction, included in anthologies.

Rosalind trained as a dancer, but grew to love acting more. She gained a place at RADA, but took parental advice and let academic life take over. She gained a B.A. Cert. Ed and Ph.D then became a psychologist working with both children and adults. If she hadn’t, she would have spent her life interpreting characters that dramatists and scriptwriters had created instead of working with real people. Now, later, she very happily creates them herself especially their quirks. In her career, she met and worked with a wealth of characters whose characteristics she can draw upon. However, she does not write biographically, much preferring to work from imagination.

Not surprisingly, it is the inner life of her characters that determines their fate in her stories, whether humorous, historical or criminal. Whatever the genre, Rosalind’s stories always have a keen touch of humour and a dark edge. This is evident in her first short story collection “Me-time Tales: tea breaks for mature women and curious men”, quirky and satirical.

Her ironic avatar – Girl Before Word Processor – (with thanks to Picasso) suits her background and personality. Its two faces suggest her two selves, the serious and the irreverent. They also refer to the watcher and the seen, the inner and the outer person.

Rosalind lives in the South West of England and spends non-family time enjoying the scenery, sculpture, theatre and fine art of the region.

She blogs at http://characterfulwriter.com

 

My little review (also on Amazon and Goodreads) *****

I enjoyed that the word ‘umpteen’ appeared in the first chapter, reminding me of how older relatives used to talk when I was a child in the 70s and 80s. I knew then that the prose was going to be lovely and fitting. Billy, aged five is excited about his cousin Kenneth staying. He turns out to be a real bully – his parents believe anything he says. I noticed his character so why didn’t they, even when Kenneth’s eyelashes were compared to a camel Billy’s dad commented ‘Displays calm, the camel, but they can turn nasty’ (quote from the book). This was a great piece of foreshadowing. Billy’s only saviour is his neighbour who has a fancy Russian knife (for display purposes, but looking at it made Billy feel brave). Not only is Billy’s life intruded by his cousin, but World War II is about to start. The reader learns from Billy’s observations of his parents how scary this is going to be. Billy is evacuated early on, his journey to the country is so enthralling, children wondering where their next meal is coming from – and some sharing out food. The heartbreaking bit when Billy is the last to be chosen. Gas masks, uncles returning from Dunkirk, it’s all in there. The most heartwarming bit for me was Billy’s stay with Mrs Youlden, her two younger children and another evacuee Alan. Billy has never experienced poverty before or been cold and dirty but here, he is loved and makes a true friend with Alan. Reading this book was like going back in time to childhood.

I really enjoyed this book – don’t forget to click the link

Happy reading everyone!

Samantha xx

PS, my book ‘1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire)’ Is also part of this promotion.

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A Touch of #History For You ~ Sharing #BookReviews for 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire) @BookFunnel Promotion

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One of my books 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire) is participating in a Book Funnel Promotion There are some really great books on offer (I have read three now) so, if you enjoy novels written with a historical flair, then have a look at the offer and see if there is anything you fancy.

Let me show you a few of the covers and blurb before I tell you about my book.

Rosemary for Remembrance by Nikki Broadwell

Rosemary and Dylan have grown apart since his return from WW2 and prison camp. But when memories from a bygone era begin to haunt them, they are drawn together to discover the source. The key could be the locket that Dylan found in an antique store that bears Rosemary’s initials. ‘Together Forever’ are the words inscribed there, and somehow the daguerreotype portraits seem familiar.

Can the mysteries of the past have an effect on the present? Find out in this gripping tale of love, loss, and secrets revealed.

Based on the wartime diaries of the author’s father.

Click here for details of how to buy this book (it’s on offer)

Book Cover

Abducted as children.

Sold into new lives…

Brother and sister struggle…

Nat is a slave. Ziva is a beloved daughter, purchased to replace a lost child. Her despicable master lusts for her. Her rejection sets off a devastating chain of events that could send Nat to the mines and ruin her adopted father.

Can they avoid the trap?

Will Ziva escape the clutches of the wicked master?

First in the series, Lost Children of the Prophet tells an ancient tale set in the earliest biblical times, following events in Ancient Matriarchs book three. Follow the danger and intrigue of a brother and sister who fight for each other. Available on Kindle Unlimited.

Get it now

A Ring of Truth by Michelle Cox

In this SECOND book of the series, Henrietta and Clive delightfully rewrite Pride and Prejudice—with a hint of mystery!

Newly engaged, Clive and Henrietta now begin the difficult task of meeting each other’s family. “Difficult” because Clive has neglected to tell Henrietta that he is in fact the heir to the Howard estate and fortune, and Henrietta has just discovered that her mother has been hiding secrets about her past as well. When Clive brings Henrietta to the family estate to meet his parents, they are less than enthused about his impoverished intended. Left alone in this extravagant new world when Clive returns to the city, Henrietta finds herself more at home with the servants than his family, much to the disapproval of Mrs. Howard—and soon gets caught up in the disappearance of an elderly servant’s ring, not realizing that in doing so she has become part of a bigger, darker plot.

As Clive and Henrietta attempt to discover the truth in the two very different worlds unraveling around them, they both begin to wonder: Are they meant for each other after all?

Buy it here

1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire) by Samantha Henthorn

‘A warm, humane, affectionate, finely-observed tale of a teenage boy, his family, friends and Lancastrian community, set in the sixties against the chilling backdrop of the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis’ – Kindle customer.

‘1962 has a playful concept that places one young boy’s dreams in a troubling time. There is a sense of fun with Ernest’s unstoppable optimism.’ Rocliffe

Ernest Bradshaw lives in a two up two down with his mother, Rose and Uncle Billy. They go to church every Sunday, along with most other people in the village. While Rose is praying for peace, Ernest is hoping for two things; that he can run away from the school bullies, and that his mother doesn’t notice the hole in his sock. Ernest’s Auntie Marigold and Uncle Norman live in a bay-fronted detached house, and despite their seemingly perfect life, they too have seen the news and are petrified about events thousands of miles away in Cuba.
With school teachers getting carried away about the Cuban Missile Crisis and Rose having a mini-drama at work, Uncle Norman steps in to solve problems at home and introduces Ernest to a cycling club he has seen advertised in Bolton. Here Ernest meets Christopher and Janet, his new friends, and Mr and Mrs Towers – club leaders. Can Ernest get enough money together to buy himself a racing cycle and win a cycling trophy before the world ends?
An uplifting, heartwarming coming of age, family story with all the nostalgia and charm of 1960s Lancashire.

Get it here

Here are some reviews for 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire) :

A thoughtful, engaging insight into the world of a 15 year old boy and his cycling ambition. I couldn’t put it down as I was introduced to a wonderful array of characters. Such a unique read. Clever and quirky. Look forward to reading more from this author.

This story carries the echoes of the era that seem quite prescient for today.

A warm, humane, affectionate, finely-observed tale of a teenage boy, his family, friends and Lancastrian community, set in the sixties against the chill backdrop of the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis.

Light and gentle, this is a nostalgic book that doesn’t worry too much about tense action or vivid drama, but instead relies on the reader’s desire to be swept back in time to a real place. I found this book easy to read, if a little slow, but kind of like a really comfortable old sweater: warm, cozy, a little out of date, but just what you need to escape real-world brutalism. A decent novel!

After the Clarion Palmer Trophy May 1953

^ My dad is holding the bicycle in this photo – he inspired me to write the book and gave me the 1960s research.

 

 

 

#BookReview #WizardRing by Clare Blanchard @CBcrime @BookFunnel A Touch of History #IARTG

WELL! Hello everyone, I have just finished reading yet another book that I could not put down Wizard Ring: From darkness into light (Wizards Series Book 1)

Wizard Ring by Clare Blanchard

 

I told you all the other day that my book 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire) has been lucky enough to take part in a BookFunnel promotion called ‘A Touch of History’ this promotion includes some great looking books (I have read two of them now) and runs until the 19th of March 2020. The books are all on special offer and there is a great selection. If you like books written with historical flair, then this sales promo should be right up your street! Including an interesting mix of fiction styles and themes, all with a strong historical element. Click this link to see if you fancy reading any of the titles.

 

Wizard Ring: From darkness into light (Wizards Series Book 1) by [Blanchard, Clare]

BOOK BLURB:

I knew nothing about the alchemist John Dee until one winter’s night in Prague when I met the ghost of a barber.
My name is Sylvia. I was just a burnt-out teacher with a subversive sense of humour. Then my mother gave me a magic ring made in the Prague workshop of John Dee.
I’ve never been the same since.

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John Dee, alchemist to Queen Elizabeth I

MY REVIEW: 5/5

Brilliant! Part contemporary, part history. Sylvia is a world-weary teacher, she lives with her mother Svetlana (originally from Prague) and son Rusty. The three make for interesting characters and in-depth family dynamics. The internal politics of the school open up a great storyline – sorcery is all around Sylvia (most of it personality-driven!) Clare Blanchard has provided a clever observation of school on both sides of the desk, the stressful impact of working in any public sector environment, and the notion that the supernatural could save you from this stress. Sylvia’s mother has given her a ring, made in Prague by the alchemist John Dee – history books report he was in Queen Elizabeth I inner trusted circle and sent to Czechoslovakia by the Queen sometime in the 16th century as a spy. This is where the intrigue lies for the history lover, Tudor Royal courts were reportedly ruled by jealous paranoia – completely believable that a sorcerer would manufacture an energy-giving ring capable of influencing those around. Will Sylvia manage this power? A well-observed, interesting and lighthearted glimpse of history influencing today.

 

Clare Blanchard

Clare Blanchard is a British author who lives in the wine-growing country of Czechia near Lower Austria in Central Europe. She writes crime mysteries and urban fantasy novels with a strong historical flavour.
Her debut novel was the crime mystery The Tainted Vintage, published by Fahrenheit Press in July 2018. Set in a small town in Czechia, the novel opens a series featuring the somewhat ill-matched but oddly effective detective duo, Dvorska and Dambersky. It is to be followed soon by the second book in the series, The Russian Dolls, which deals with the world of international art theft, as well as a classic murder mystery.
A fan of Nordic noir, Clare Blanchard likes to treat the locations and historical eras in her books as if they were actual characters in the book. This goes not only for her crime fiction, but also for her new Wizards series, which takes the reader into the realm of historical urban fantasy on the murky borders between magic and science. Wizard Ring is the first of a planned series dealing with the dark arts in modern life that are hidden in plain sight.

silver colored pendant with green gemstone
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

 

I am going to see how many books I can read during the promotion, next on the list for me is The Witches of Helcolmbe by Harry Bradford.

 

The Witches of Helcombe.: Book 1 of The Devon Witches Series (The Devon Witches Series.) by [Bradford, Harry]

Thank you for reading, and please join me next time I post about this historical fiction book promotion

Happy reading, Samantha x