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.

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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 @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

CHOOSING NAMES IN FICTION — 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

 

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

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

#GuestPost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.futurelearn.com

 

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

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @DeborahMiles7,

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

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

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

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

 

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

Happy reading, Samantha xx

Book review: Lizzie Lamb’s Three Contemporary Romances Set in The Highlands of Scotland

Thank you for joining me in this month’s what Samantha read next.

When I was a little girl, my mum used to watch a programme set in Scotland called Take the High Road. I remember very little about the programme apart from the warm Scottish accents. In 2014, I was introduced to the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith. And, one day, several years ago, when visiting my Northumberland based in-laws we walked over a bridge, and Father-in-law said ‘WE’RE IN SCOTLAND NOW!’

I’m just setting the scene of how Scotland to me, as a proud Mancunian is a place of romance and comfort. I’ve always held this romantic view – then I read three of Lizzie Lamb’s books… sigh… The three books I will mention here have confirmed my idealised view of a romantic Scotland and I recommend you read them all, especially if you’re all heart. Put the kettle on, sit in your favourite comfy chair and put these three on your reading list immediately!

Scotch on the Rocks: A contemporary romance set in the highlands of Scotland

The blurb:


Where men are men and women are glad of it!

ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life.
Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast – where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.
When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.
In spite of her vow to steer clear of men, she grows to rely on Brodie. However, she suspects him of having an ulterior motive for staying at her aunt’s Bed and Breakfast on remote Cormorant Island. Having been let down by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is she wise to trust a man she knows nothing about – a man who presents her with more questions than answers?
As for Aunt Esme, she has secrets of her own . . .

 

My review:

*****

‘Where the men wear kilts and the women are glad of it!’ Well, with a tagline like that, I just had to read it. The book made me (temporarily) wish I was Scottish. I really enjoyed the plot, Issy does not like Brodie… at first… She’s got a lot on, heartbreak, bereavement, loss of job enter hero in a kilt (with an American accent)… I don’t think anyone needs to read my review to want to read this. How romantic! Sigh…

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25849896-scotch-on-the-rocks

Girl in the Castle: Henriette's Highland Hideaway

The blurb:

Her academic career in tatters, Dr Henriette Bruar needs somewhere to lay low, plan her comeback and restore her tarnished reputation. Fate takes her to a remote Scottish castle to auction the contents of an ancient library to pay the laird’s mounting debts. The family are in deep mourning over a tragedy which happened years before, resulting in a toxic relationship between the laird and his son, Keir MacKenzie. Cue a phantom piper, a lost Jacobite treasure, and a cast of characters who – with Henri’s help, encourage the MacKenzies to confront the past and move on. However – will the Girl in the Castle be able to return to university once her task is completed, and leave gorgeous, sexy Keir MacKenzie behind?

My review: *****

Oh my goodness! I read this book to myself with a Scottish accent (I’m from Manchester). What a great setting, a castle with its own moat, Henriette is a historian with a doctorate using all her girl power to rebuild her career and reputation following a misunderstanding with a hockey stick. Enter hero Keir, the heir of the castle. Initially, Henri was warned off him by a potential bride he was promised to. Henri was not bothered at the time, she was too busy being good at her job in the library. Will romance get the better of her? Any more would be a spoiler. Like I said, great setting, Scottish dialogue feeds into the castle image. I enjoyed it.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34950267-girl-in-the-castle

Tall, Dark and Kilted

The blurb: Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen . . . Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it her dream of one day being her own boss. When she’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, she grabs it with both hands. But there’s a catch – the centre lies five hundred miles away – in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by hunky Men in Kilts is soon shattered when she has an up close and very personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Faced with the dole queue once more, Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out the dysfunctional Urquhart family. Will Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves? Read Tall, Dark and Kilted to find out . ..

My review: *****

I am recommending this book for those of you who enjoy an uplifting romance. Fliss’ story is the type of thing that gives hope. We meet Cat and Isla in their swanky home in Notting Hill – they are so young and so naughty, Fliss is caught in the middle. During a party, Fliss gets to speak to their older brother – enter Ruairi (which I read as being pronounced ‘Rory’ – hope that’s correct). The story unfolds into a plot involving Fliss being asked to work at their family castle in Scotland. This is a romance novel, but I won’t spoil it for you! There is something so heartwarming about the setting, sigh!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18884924-tall-dark-and-kilted

 

A lot of heart warmed sighs went on when I was reading those books, so it seems!

Here’s Lizzie Lamb’s blog: https://lizzielamb.co.uk/

Thank you for reading this month, join me at the same time next month when I may just share what I have been reading for my creative writing degree module ‘The Novel and Beyond’. It’s all getting serious on my bookshelf.

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

Book Review Earthbound (Jim Stone series #1&#2 Mass Exodus) by Paul Falk

Thank you for joining me on this month’s what Samantha read next. 

Climate change is all over the news – and rightly so. Now, these two books that I have read recently by Paul Falk are not directly about climate change but they sort of are. An asteroid is hurtling towards the earth and it is not going to end well. These books have haunted me, the end of the world could happen – and it will happen (although I haven’t read book 3 yet – I presume/hope it is being written). Here are my reviews:

Earthbound (Jim Stone, #1)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46834504-earthbound

Oh! I just had to read this immediately, a book about one of my worst (probably unfounded) fears, an asteroid colliding with earth. Honestly, I used to have a recurring dream about this kind of thing and I know I’m not alone. Nightmares or not, this is a gripping read, an alternative to the Brexit story, thirty-two days until the big event plastered all over the news for 24 hours a day, except in this novel, the characters are more likeable and agreeable. Jim Stone is a proper hero, gathering his family and friends around him as the local community collapses. Set in California, many of the residents own guns, this and the hunter-gatherer instinct does not bode well for the people of Jim Stone’s neighbourhood. Eventually, the army gets involved. There’s a transatlantic political alliance and a standoff providing a nice bit of foreshadowing. But what is going to happen with this asteroid hurtling its way towards the earth? This novel has an abrupt ending, leaving the reader wondering – has it landed? No, there’s more to come.

The blurb:

The world reels in shock upon the discovery of a huge asteroid on a collision course with Earth. No one ever thought the day would come. Only thirty-two days remain until impact. Pandemonium and mayhem have inundated cities, suburbs – the world. Overnight, societal values vanished from the face of the earth.

Government intervention took a barbaric turn for the worst with billions of lives hanging in the balance. Jim Stone decides to take drastic measures into his own hands. A man on a mission, he had no idea what he would be getting himself into. No matter what happens, there would be no turning back.

 

2.

EARTHBOUND: MASS EXODUS

*****

Continuing the descent into chaos. Book two of the Earthbound series sees Jim Stone recalled to the navy and even though an asteroid is hurtling towards the earth, human nature takes over and brings out the worst in international relations. Pay attention! This is not an easy read it’s not supposed to be! Tense and thought-provoking.

 

The blurb: With a huge asteroid bearing down on planet Earth, time was quickly running out. A mass exodus had begun from all corners of the globe. Anywhere within 4,000 miles from point of impact was deemed the dead zone. Millions of people from around the world were on the run.
After Jim Stone’s standoff at the airport, the population in the Orient had set their sights on San Diego, a sanctuary city. Now the problem was what to do with the endless onslaught of refugees.

 

Join me at the same time next month to find out what happened when I read Lizzie Lamb’s books set in Scotland. 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!

 

 

The Curmudgeon Avenue Series Trailer

The Curmudgeon Avenue series is currently three books.

Book One (The Terraced House Diaries) available here UK and here US

Book Two (The Harold and Edith Adventures) availablhere UK and here US

Book Three (Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue) available here UK and here US

Book Four is being written at the moment The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue will be published at the end of October 2019.

I think the trailer captures the comedy-drama of the series, so I won’t say anything else!

Happy reading and trailer watching, Samantha xx

Copyright J&E Productions 2019

 

On Achieving a Distinction in The Creative Writing Module of My Degree.

Hello everyone, and thank you for joining me on my monthly ‘writerly ramblings’ blog post., (yes I made that word up!)

Yesterday, I was thrilled to bits to receive an overall score of 82% in the creative writing module of my degree. I have no words, I have regained my self-worth.

Achievable, I would say because I am studying with the Open University. The teaching and support is first class. I don’t need to leave my house. I only work when I feel up to it, (I have to pace myself ALL the time because of fatigue). I can turn the computer off if I get a headache, or if my eyes start hurting, and so on. I won’t go on about MS, you won’t meet two people who have the condition with the same symptoms, and impetuously worded conversations around it can become rather tiresome.*

When I was forced to give up nursing six years ago due to having MS, I went through a very difficult time. This is part of my (non-fiction) story.  When I started writing ‘full-time’ an ex-colleague commented ‘If you can do that, why can’t you still work?’ Not the case, and not the point either, it was not my decision to leave work, and it was not my fault that I have this chronic condition.

You can see why I am nervous about celebrating my good news, but the point I am trying to make is, this is me now. There is hope, it is possible to dig yourself out of a hole, and if you happen to be reading this post because you have searched ‘writing inspiration’ then I am saying to you ‘JUST GO FOR IT’. Writing will give you SO MUCH.

Writing for me is not just a case of my legs don’t work like they used to so now I have to do something different. I write because I love it. I love reading, I love escaping into a different world and I love that I can write and escape into another world too. And I am studying writing because my husband (correctly) suggested ‘why don’t you learn your trade?’

I write because it feels like this is what I should be doing.

Getting a good result has been an added bonus, I have learnt so much during this module which will hopefully feature in further blog posts – in particular, that ‘writing what you know, doesn’t mean writing what you know (about)’. That blew my mind, and I was very pleased to learn it. I don’t think J K Rowling knew about how to be an eleven-year-old wizard, and Stephen King did not know how to be a menstrual teenager but they still wrote about what they could see, smell, taste, imagine etc – this is what you know – AS A HUMAN.

On reflection, I have learnt that I am ‘safe’ in my writing style, this is what I’ll be working on next – although I cannot promise any sex scenes in my series Curmudgeon Avenue!

I must also add to why I am able to ‘achieve’; I am in a good place, I have an amazing, supportive husband not only in what he says but he makes life easy for me. Doing the shopping, the garden, walking the dog, anything. My daughter is the funniest person I know and, she has grown up! She has a fab job and lives with her lovely boyfriend. (in other words, I don’t have small children to look after!)

Edna and Genevieve cover_000Featured Image -- 1533This is the Curmudgeon Avenue series

 

Happy reading and writing everybody! Samantha xx

PS, the picture is from WordPress’ free photo library, I have a while to go before I graduate. 🙂

Work in Progress (Another Short Story Collection)

Happy Wednesday everyone, and thank you for joining me on my monthly writerly rambling post.

Today I would like to talk about a very exciting WIP,  The Grit and the Wit. 

This is about to be a fantastic short story collection written half by my writer friend Maggie Melville and half by me (we are thinking of alternating the stories).

Maggie and myself met at Whitefield library about five years ago, when we had joined a creative writing class. We all used to read our stories out, Maggie’s were always brilliant and somewhat ‘gritty’ compared to mine.

Image may contain: one or more people and glasses

So far, Maggie has written a heart-wrenching story involving a boat and a story about a young girl from the point of view of her mother. It’s chilling, trust me. I can’t wait to read the finished product (no pressure, Maggie!)

I am still writing and polishing mine. So far I have a story about a mantel-piece clock passing judgement on the house owner. One about the Orangemen march in Southport and one about a tom-cat with several owners.

Interestingly, we are both thinking of a garden-themed story. There is so much you can do with gardening – which reminds me, the recent rain in Manchester has sprouted many, many weeds on my front path …

black and white flower dandelion minimal
Photo by Jack Hawley on Pexels.com

 

No doubt, I will be telling you all about the progress of our project over the next few months. Do not worry, the fourth book in the Curmudgeon Avenue series ‘The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue’ is also on the way.

Now for a snippet of one of the short stories about a KISS fan and a cancelled concert:

     When I get back on the tram, I am joined by some day time drinkers on their way home. The noise has returned, but I don’t feel like talking after what I’ve just read. A bloke about my age wearing trainers and a Happy Mondays T-shirt breaks away from his mates and sits next to me.

     ‘You ok, love?’ He says, taking a sip of his can of beer. I say nothing. ‘Sorry, it’s just that you look sad, I thought I’d better say hello, make sure you’re alright.’

     ‘Yes, I’m… I’m sorry’ I don’t know what to say. The bloke shouts to one of his mates, who turns out to be his brother.

     ‘Brother! Bruv! Got any more cans in your pockets? This lady…’ He gives me a sideways glance as if to double check I’m female… ‘She needs a can of beer to cheer her up!’

One of them shouts over, pulling his fingers and thumb into the sign of the horns.

      ‘Aww it got cancelled didn’t it?’ Like we’ve got something in common. They all come and pile on the seats around me. They’ve been to a tribute do for the victims. I feel even more guilty now. The first bloke puts his arm around me, and my hair gets tangled in my studded jacket.

  ‘Don’t worry, we’ll cheer you up. We are from Manchester, and this is what we do, innit?’

 

We will keep you posted, happy writing and reading everyone. See you next month for my next writerly-rambling. Here is a picture of some flowers from my garden:

20180701_122429

Samantha xx