Monday, 30 September 2013

Guest Blog - 'An American History Lesson…as told by a silly Yank' by author Jeremy Shory

Let’s go ahead and get one thing out of the way right now. America was founded by prudes. If you really think about it, a bunch of ultra-tightwads got their panties in a bunch one day and figured it would be easier going to jump ship and start their own colony in a land they knew nothing about than stay and rot in hell. The joke was on them though; they left one country for another where the natives were even more hedonistic.

Imagine that. Kind of a sign the powers that be have a sense of humor right?

Which that also brings up another useless fact about America – did you know that the fat turkey was almost America’s national bird? Seriously. Benjamin Franklin thought the turkey was a more “honorable” bird than the American bald eagle. This is another American oxymoron because good ol’ Benny Franklin was a well-known chaser of the married ladies, even having a child out of wedlock. So don’t you tell me about honorable Mr. Franklin. But uh, hey, tell me some of those dirty stories you sly lil devil.

Anyways, back to America and the prudes and all that. So yeah, the pilgrims decided to try and change the culture of this great land by doing what they knew best; oppress and punish. Because that tactic always works, right? Welcome the era of the great Witch Hunt. How is this relevant to my story? It’s not really. I just thought I’d bring it up since Halloween is a largely celebrated holiday here in the states, and it’s only a few weeks away. Witches are the most common costumes each year. It’s kinda funny how they tend to only get more and more risqué as the lil witch gets older.

Side note: I just wanna tell you that my golden retriever snores louder than any human being I have ever heard. It’s quite ridiculous. And don’t even get me started on how bad her gas is. I like to blame her every now and then, but don’t tell my wife.

Okay, let’s fast-forward a few years. The founding fathers get together and decide they’ve had it! They aren’t gonna take it anymore! They demand a change…in the beer on tap at the Green Dragon Inn where they used to meet. Once that problem was solved, they turned their attention back to more pressing matters; who could eat the most chicken wings. (Stubby James Madison, the 4th president of the US, surprised everyone by putting away 31 ½…and he was only 5’ 4”. That’s 1.64592 meters for you on the Metric system. Yes, I looked it up.) After they put that bet to bed, they then went back to shaping the future nation. You know, all that “No Taxation without Representation,” and that entire hubbub. (Oh don’t know that term on the other side of the pond? How about this good ol’ boy saying - It’s hotter than a billy goat’s ass in a pepper patch? That one makes me chuckle a little bit. You see because the billy goat would eat the peppers and then…oh never mind.)

This leads me to the Boston Tea Party. Now here’s the reason I bring this event up – all that tea was just dumped into the Boston harbor. Can you imagine what it tasted like? And you know it was the good stuff too. If I had a time machine, I’d like to go back and give it a taste just to see. Would either be the greatest-tasting gulp ever, or the worst.

Alright, so fast-forward a few more years. America almost loses to a better equipped and better trained army, but somehow through an act of God pulls out some crazy aces from its ass and manages to win the war.

Another side note: did you know that Georgey “Porgy” Washington had syphilis? Apparently our founding fathers were some dirty b******.

Now we have gone through some growing pains as a country. We had our own Civil War sprinkled in with plenty of political gaffes and public defamation's. But what great country hasn't? I’m looking at you Henry VIII. Our history certainly isn't quite as extensive as our friends over the ocean, but it’s rich nonetheless. Well alright, that’s a bit of a stretch. But we’re getting better, right? Right? Guess we’ll see as the years keep ticking.

Jeremy Shory is an up-and-coming young author, looking to share his passion for writing with the world. He was born on July 6, 1984 and grew up in Orlando, Florida, where he was exposed to whimsical and fantastic adventures–often used as a basis for his writing.

His interest in fantasy began at an early age, and he has recently taken a special interest in the young adult fantasy genre. The idea of transporting the readers mind to a magical place and captivating them throughout an entire journey drives him to keep his imagination churning.

Find out more about Jeremy Shory and his works: The Orion Chronicles and Author DB

Contact Jeremy Shory at: Email: Twitter: @OrionChronicles Facebookhere

Monday, 23 September 2013

The Blonde, The Crane Fly and The Ruse

My daughter aged 14 (known from herein simply as 'Blonde') will run screaming from a room if so much as a crane fly leg is seen poking cheekily out from behind a curtain. She refuses to go back into a room with one in it until Rentokil (Mum Department) has cleared the room and produced the dead body as evidence.

Take yesterday, for example. The hour was late-ish and the house was peacefully winding down for the night when a scream which damaged the hearing of everything within a two mile radius pierced the air, followed swiftly by the sounds of banging furniture, stamping feet and a demand for maternal help. The culprit, I was informed, had sneaked in just two minutes after the light was turned on. In fact, it had been waiting outside for this very moment. It had hovered meaningfully and purposefully on suspended starting blocks to beat said teenager across the room before she could cover the space between light switch and open window. It was a close call but the insect had won and now here it was. On her wall. Slavering over its fangs and cackling triumphant noises as it flexed its hairy legs.

Tutting, I slipped on the NBC suit I keep handy for these sort of emergencies and walked forward with the latest technology known to mankind: the fly swatter. I apologised to said insect and the universe in general and went in for the kill.

The cranefly eyed my approach warily, quivered a leg at me in warning and, sensing the plot, took off at speed and flew up to the highest and most inaccessible part of the room where it proceeded to wash itself at leisure.

Being of short statue myself, I loudly congratulated it on its choice of location with a few choice words of my own and tried to calm Blonde who was afraid I would now leave it there to eat her hair in the night. When attempts to wheedle it down with promises of fresh meat and a high tea failed to have an effect on its stance, I went to fetch a chair.

Upon my return I shut the door firmly behind me and moved towards the corner of the room. Unfortunately I noted the crane fly had seized upon my absence as an indication I was outside the door counting down to a jolly game of hide and seek and had vanished. Heaving another sigh, and ignoring Blonde's ever plaintive cries for information from behind the door, I searched high and low. Everywhere. I moved pictures, curtains, clothes and decorative objects aplenty but no. It had gone. Now, knowing my daughter and the lateness of the hour I felt a wave of maternal panic as I knew without the evidence of a fresh kill I was doomed and so was the whole household.

I searched frantically, the cries for information getting more insistent...and then I spotted it. Well, not exactly 'it' but a different member of the same species, on the floor. Dead as a dodo. Slightly decayed but no obvious odour. Of course, the body wasn't still warm but Blonde was unlikely to touch it so it may work. I struggled hard with my parental duty of truth and honesty, checked the ever advancing clock on a school night, asked myself what lesson this was teaching me and battled with my sense of fair play.

Colin the crane fly went down the toilet after his nemesis duly checked him over for signs of life. Charlene the crane fly is, however, still missing in action.

Well, honestly.

Timbuctoo by Tahir Shah

This book is the most unusual I have come across for quite some time. It is set in the regency period when our aptly named 'Mad' King George III was on the throne of Britain and the Prince Regent spent money as if there was no tomorrow. I loved the layout, with snippets of what comes next at the start of every chapter.

A plot of greed, murder, love and truth and based on a true story, it was a time when gold was sought after in far off lands and the British were not having their finest hour. The legend of Timbuctoo was talked of with great excitement by Britain's elite, the promise of a city made of gold too tantalising to ignore. Sponsors were sought for a planned military expedition to take and plunder the city before the French got there first and fortunes were staked against the success. The expedition is sent and news of its success highly anticipated.

Meanwhile, Robert Adams, an American, is found half naked in the middle of London and has an elaborate story to tell of Timbuctoo and his time as a slave of its King. As he recounts his tale in afternoon episodes to an enraptured audience of London's elite, all is well until he is asked about the gold.

Tahir Shah has written one of those rare books which really does transport you back to another time. With vivid descriptions and solidly written characters, he takes you back to a time when Britain's class system was at its worst and the ruling class sought to take and make money from whomever and wherever they could regardless of their right to do so. Hmm. I'll leave you with that thought to expand it on your own.

Timbuctoo also comes in a hardback edition which is a bit special, check it out on the book website below.

Buy Timbuctoo

Timbuctoo - Book website with extras

Tahir Shah's Website

Twitter: @HumanStew

Guest Blog: Ode to Autumn by author E L Lindley

Well here we are, autumn is well and truly upon us. The kids are back at school, the nights are drawing in and those halcyon days of summer seem oh so far away. It’s understandable, maybe even a little bit expected that we all feel a tad glum, as we pack away those summer dresses for another year. But I’m here to tell you, get a grip! That’s right, summer is so overrated anyway and, when you get right down to it, autumn is where it’s at. And so, ladies and gentlemen, let’s see those chins lifted as I remind you why we should in fact be celebrating all things autumnal.

First up, it’s the season of new starts. Psychologically, September is right up there with the January for embarking upon new roads to self-fulfilment and happiness. As a person who has spent most of her life dictated to by the school terms, I love September. I always have. Even when other children were traumatised by the sight of those school uniforms taunting them from BHS’s window, I would have a spring in my step. September for me, you see, represents everything new. New uniform, new sensible shoes from Clarkes, new hair cut. It was all part of the joy of September but, more intense than any of those thrills, was my love affair with back to school stationary.

Every September, both as a child and adult, I would buy a new school back and equip myself with every piece of stationary known to mankind. From pens in every colour to those little reinforcements for the holes in your paper, I had the lot. I could never understand those depressed looking kids, who would turn up on the first day without even a pen – where’s the fun in that? I realise of course, looking back, that I must have been the biggest geek in school but not even that can dim my love of September. Show me a selection of gel pens and I’m in my very own nirvana.

Of course as we get older the little pleasures that, in childhood are in such abundance, become harder to find. Sadly, courses and community activities that we might have previously thrown ourselves into, in order to survive the winter months, are becoming more and more thin on the ground due to cutbacks. Remember the days when you could enrol in night classes for astrology, flower arranging or wine tasting – long gone I know. But that’s not to say we can’t still see September as the launch pad to self-improvement. What’s to stop us setting up our own groups? If you’re not a member of a book group maybe now’s the time to start one. One of my friends has just rallied

myself and few others to form a group whereby we meet once a month to try something new and hopefully fun. Our itinerary so far includes cocktail making, salsa dancing and jewellery making, the expertise for which is coming from people within the group, so it will cost us practically nothing.

Still not convinced? Well new starts aside, there are so many other things to love about autumn. Fashion for one. Who doesn’t love that moment when you don your woolly tights and boots for their first outing of the year? Sandals and dresses are all well and good but they are so high maintenance. Autumn means you don’t have to worry about whether your toe nails are painted or your fake tan is looking less sun kissed and more like you’ve spilled a cup of tea down your legs. Cardigans, the love of my life, become a staple and you no longer have to breathe in or concern yourself with the effects of that extra piece of cake. Nobody’s going to see your wobbly bits for at least another eight months when we’ll all be shoehorning ourselves into those summer dresses once more.

Hand in hand with the comfy clothes and the comfy food that sort of tags along with them, is the fact that autumn gives us permission to take our foot off the gas. There’s something about summer, with those long sunny days, that makes me feel guilty if I’m not utilising every second. People invite you to barbeques and garden parties and it feels sort of wrong to confess that you’d rather stay in and watch Mad Men. But autumn means you can be as anti-social as fancy dictates and what feels better than tucking in with a box set, a family size pack of Maltesers and your favourite fleecy pyjamas?

So, come on my friends, let’s not bemoan the passing of all things summer but instead herald the arrival of autumn. Bring on the simple joys that come with snuggling in and hibernating. I’m sure by next year I’ll be ready to swap my Baileys for Pimms and my chunky knits for skimpy tops but, for now, bring on the winceyette.

E L Lindley is the author of The Georgie Connelly Series of books 'Business As Usual', 'The Ties That Bind', 'The Righteous Path' and 'False Allegiance'.  She has also written three novels 'Dare to Lose', 'Don't Look Back' and 'Family Ties'. 

E L Lindley's Website

E L Lindley's Amazon Page


Twitter: @LindleyE

Monday, 16 September 2013

Love & the Goddess by Mary Elizabeth Coen

This book is really, really good. It has elements of 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert (one of my favourites) and is all about Kate and what happened to her after her husband said 'I want a divorce'. I couldn't put it down and wanted more after I finished it.

Kate has a steady job and a long marriage. As far as she is concerned there's comfort in familiarity and she has become used to her life and how she is treated. Kate's husband Trevor is a man who likes control. After she spends years pandering to him, he decides to have an affair and announces he wants a divorce. Kate, who has lost herself and all her confidence during her marriage, is thrown into life alone. Some of her friends encourage her to try online dating, others say she should enjoy her freedom. Kate does both and embarks on a trip to South America in an attempt to find her inner goddess. Back home in Ireland she has some tough decisions to make as her personal and work life change dramatically but Kate has changed too and is no longer the woman Trevor left.

This is such a 'feel good' book and I loved the well researched mythological aspects.  Following Kate's journey to South America was a joy and has made me even more determined to go there myself one day.

Mary Elizabeth Coen has nailed the writing and I can't fault it. The storyline flows and sweeps you up with its female solidarity. This is definitely one for the girls and is the perfect weekend read. 

More, please!

Twitter: @goddessmeca

Guest Blog - Stuff Them, Do It Your Way by author Geoffrey David West

When writers come to give talks to writers’ circles they always sound bright and jolly, and, if I’m totally honest, just a touch arrogant.  They rant on about how many books they’ve sold, how clever they are, and they always slip in the fact that agents and publishers get five million prospective books delivered to them every morning, and take on one new author ever 20 years.  They then pause, smirk, and wait for the adoration to come.  Which it often does, in grovelling slimy questions that make you cringe.  The worst, I think, is ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’  These, ‘successful writers’ never fail to make you feel as if they’re published and you’re not and you never will be. That you haven’t got a hope of doing what they have achieved and they’re thoroughly enjoying rubbing your face in your failure.  One successful author seriously said to me, “Oh to have any success you absolutely must get an agent.  Of course it might take you 20 years to find someone. . .”
There’s another kind of speaker at writers’ circles.  They usually have a hobby such as white-water rafting, the ancient rites of an African tribe, or perhaps an obsesssion about a long demolished building.  They self-published a book about the ancient order of Foresters, or the disused canals of the Midlands, because it’s their life obsession.  Needless to say, they sell hardly any of their books, but to have an audience listen to them – any audience, even if they’re day patients at the local mental hospital, to them, is a joy.  They go on and on. And on. 
Once we had a top agent come and give us a talk.  He was a rather cold-hearted character, who spoke fast about his discovery of a bestselling author, all the while staring hard over our heads at some interesting spot on the wall. But, actually, he did give us some very good advice.  Needless to say, he finished off by saying he had twenty million manuscripts a second winging their way towards his office all the time, and he hadn’t taken anyone on since 1972.  But I wasn’t listening by them.  He charged off quickly at the end, grabbing the cheque with the alacrity of a pickpocket on speed and giving us pathetic ‘no hopers’ a final, sneering leer of disgust. 
The fact is I think that most successful people, in whatever field it may be, usually find their own way to success.  Entrepreneurs usually have lots of bad ideas before good ones, criminals probably get caught a few times before pulling off the perfect job.  And writers take no notice of the gloom mongers, they just get on and do it their own way, whatever way that might be.  
I hate defeatists and pessimists.  In life, I think there’s no point planning everything way into the future, to the nth degree, assessing precisely what’s going to happen.  Because it probably won’t.  Everything might be much much better than you think, or possibly it might be worse.  But, for sure, the best way to get started as a writer is to chuck away all the ‘how to’ books, tell the gloom mongers who say it’s impossible to get your book published to go and get stuffed, and just have a go and see what happens.  
Take me.  I like writing crime stories.  Having tried and failed to get anywhere with agents I put my first onto Kindle, I think about a year ago.  Learnt twitter.  Did another book, put that on kindle too.  Now I’m doing a third.  Had a go at a regular blog.  
It’s all just tottering along, very slowly, but I think and hope that my work’s gaining momentum, being seen by more and more people.  And oddly enough, I started writing the Jack Lockwood Dairies blog, aiming for toe-curling mystery stories, but found I can do a bit of humour, which I never realised before, and I’m enjoying it. 
The moral is don’t keep trying to learn from other people.  You can’t.  Just get on and do it and learn from your own mistakes. The people who tell you you’ll never succeed are the ones who never even try to start.  So stuff them.  Do it your own way.  And you’ll succeed or you’ll fail.  But if you fail, you’ll probably discover something else you never even thought of doing and succeed at doing that.  I’ve often started books with the perfect plot in mind, only to abandon it halfway through, by which time a much better plot has crept into my head and completely deposed the first idea.  The point is, I’d never have got the second, good idea, without first having the bad one. 
If you're an aspiring writer like me, good luck and keep going. Get on and do it.  Make your mistakes and put them right. Always keep my mantra at the back of your mind and keep repeating it : Anyone who doesn’t like my work is a fool. 
You’ll make it in the end. Even if you don’t you’ll have had a lot of fun trying.  

My work is on my website my story blog is  and my books are the Jack Lockwood Mystery Series, Rock’n’Roll Suicide and Doppelganger. Twitter: @GeoffreyDWest.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

What it Takes by Terry Tyler

This review of Terry Tyler's new offering comes straight off my personal reading list, a place Terry's books always end up as soon as she publishes a new novel!

I indulged myself with a few hours curled up reading this and wasn't disappointed. The writing is totally Ms Tyler at her best and the story has the usual twists and turns.

One thing which has cropped up again is my frustration with the personality of one of the characters, in this case the main female Karen. She dithers about with Danny, generally not knowing what she wants, who or when, but this is the beauty of Terry's writing, she gives you character's who have a depth of personality which makes you feel very involved emotionally.

The hero of the novel for me was Sam. We all need a Sam. Karen's sisters, equally strong in their involvement in the story, were truthful in their analyse of Karen and added an edge to the story which the conclusion went on to reveal as being so important to the whole novel. No spoilers here.

Well written with an entertaining and involved storyline, whose side will you be on?

Twitter: @TerryTyler4

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Highlander: Rise of the Aztecs by Zoe Saadia

Zoe Saadia's interest in and knowledge of the Pre-Columbian America's really shines through in this excellent historical tale. I do love reading historical fiction which is based in fact where the general population was concerned as it gives you a real feel for what some of our more ancient civilisations may have been like and how they may have interacted with each other.

The story itself is part of a saga of several books and this one joins Coyotl and Kuini, two young men from different regions who meet on the hills and who strike up a friendship which could ultimately see them fighting on different sides in an impending war. Coyotl is destined to become the Emperor of Texcoco when his father elevates his mother to first wife but war is coming because of this decision and there are many twists and turns whilst the surrounding leaders decide whose side they will fight on. For the young men, they know that this could end a friendship they cherish. When Kuini visits Texcoco with Coyotl whilst he still can, events unfold which leaves Kuini's own heritage in question. And then he falls in love.

This is a beautiful and well written story and one which I intend to keep reading. Zoe Saadia has a real gift for storytelling and writes with a natural, easy flow whilst pulling you into a story you want more and more of.


The Highlander: Rise of the Aztecs (Book 1)

Zoe Saadia's books can be found here on Amazon UK

Zoe Saadia's Blog

Twitter: @ZoeSaadia

Dating Tips for Men - My Way

In response to a recent post on dating tips for men I read on Twitter this morning here (which was frankly a list of what not to do) here's my own 'just for fun' guide:

1. Don't ask her if she 'comes here often' whilst wiggling your eyebrows suggestively, nowadays she is likely to look down at your trouser region and say 'unlikely'. Instead, compliment her on her outfit but not in a way which presumes she is taking it off in about a half hour. Most cheesy chat up lines make women wince.

2. Don't flash the Rolex and talk about your six figure income before you have told her your name. Confidence is wonderful, arrogance is usually a turn off. Be attentive, pleasant and interested in what she has to say. Keep the conversation light.

3. Don't assume anything. Wait until you are asked.

4. Women aren't interested in the size, only the technique. Don't assume it's a done deal. Men who boast about either are usually a disappointment and women know this.

5. Innuendo has its place but anymore than once in a conversation and you are likely to be sent packing and thought of as a slimy...twit.

6. Housework is NOT sexy (washing machines on high spin aside) so sharing your fantasies about feather dusters, aprons, and the high suction of the vacuum cleaner is not going to get you her phone number.

7. If the evening has been good then offer to pay for a taxi home for her so she gets home safely. You will know by her response if you stand a chance of accompanying her that evening. Don't take a refusal as complete disinterest in you, if you have her phone number by this point then you are still in with a good chance.

8. Once you have her phone number then text her the following day with a compliment about the evening (with a strong hint you would like it to happen again soon) and a possible evening for a date. Women like to feel noticed and appreciated. Don't play the three day waiting game with the mistaken idea she will be moping by the phone 'gagging for it'. She won't be. Leave it too long and she will have moved on thinking you aren't interested.

9. If you are lucky enough to get a date then take her somewhere you can talk and get to know each other. A noisy club or the cinema is not ideal.

10. Lastly but most importantly - respect her. Be a gentleman and hold the door open. Pull her chair out before she sits down. Be attentive, polite, courteous. Yes, women are more independent these days but good manners are always welcome and appreciated.

Guest Blog - Names, Games and William Shakespeare by author J.E. Ryder

"What's in a name?" asks Juliet of Romeo. "That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet." Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
This name thing is strange when you’re an author. According to the experts, William Shakespeare had difficulty coming to terms with his - should it be Shakspere, Shakespear or Shakespeare? At least he used his first name. Once, it was normal for authors, male or female, to use initials and surname, giving them the proper gravitas in the eyes of the reading public. In previous centuries, some female authors used initials to hide their gender in order to avoid censure, but in recent times it's often been about their work appealing to readers of the opposite sex. J.K. Rowling's publisher thought her Harry Potter series would be more attractive to boys if her first name, Joanne, weren't on the cover. The rest is history.

I used initials for a different reason when I published my debut novel Blood Pool. My real name is long and cumbersome. Imagine, I thought, how it would crowd the book cover. Just think if John Ronald Reuel Tolkien hadn't gone the initials route, or Joanne Kathleen Rowling, or Alan Alexander Milne or... you get the idea. I limited the initials to two (my parents were generous - they gave their children three first names). After publication, I was so busy with the business of writing that I never got around to telling anyone my first name. Soon, my online chums were calling me J.E. and it stuck.

Sometimes a long name can be a positive asset. At school, in my early teens, we girls had two games we were fanatical about - the skipping game and the name game. Both were simple delights from before the digital age, games that came from our imaginations. The skipping game was a communal and brutal test of foot-eye co-ordination. Imagine a rope, thick like a hawser, strong enough to tie a liner to a dock (or so it seemed). Then think of two girls standing ten yards apart, both hands on a rope end, swinging the rope with all their strength. Three or more girls at a time could skip together. The trick was to run in under the upward lunge, skip for two or three rotations and dodge out. Misjudge an entry or exit and you could lose a limb. Very character building. I have the scars to prove it.

By comparison the name game was gentler, quieter, more cerebral. This is a game where I could have taken on authors Joanne Kathleen, John Ronald Reuel or Alan Alexander in a fair fight, at least where the letter E is concerned. Let me explain. One child, the Caller, would stand, say, twenty yards away. The rest would line up abreast facing her. The Caller would shout out a letter of the alphabet. The idea was to count the number of times the letter appeared in your full name and take the corresponding steps forward. First girl to reach the Caller was the winner. How I longed for an E to be called out. I have a grand total of seven. I won a few times before the other girls caught on. They never called the E again.

The problem is, my author initials are so ingrained in my thoughts now that at a party the other evening I almost introduced myself as J.E. to a complete stranger. This can't go on. It's time to tell you my first name. I'll use the short, short version. It isn’t going to win me any name games, but here it is. Hi, everyone. Good to meet you. Call me Jan.

About the Author

At ten years old J.E. Ryder discovered that her elder brother's reading choices were completely different from hers, and much more exciting. She loved his fabulous Marvel Comics with their superheroes and heroines, the espionage novels, gritty adventure stories and survival epics. Her lifelong enjoyment of thrilling fiction has had a major influence on her writing. Her career in business administration took her through all the big city industries and corporations: oil, banking, law and national government, and provided an endless cast of fascinating people and situations to draw on. Her debut thriller, Blood Pool is available from Amazon. Currently, she’s working on her next novel, a sweeping thriller that spans the European continent, a story of tragedy, vengeance and love.

How hard can it be to kill one woman?

After her husband dies in a freak accident, Samantha Shelley inherits his boat yard and estates. Men from the Shelley blood pool have owned the land for two hundred years. This shocking break with tradition unleashes brutal emotions in the local community. Simmering dislike for her erupts into open hostility.

Her problems intensify when an old friend, an eccentric inventor, goes missing in violent circumstances. She's devastated: he's been like a father to her while she grieved. The race is on to find him. The Police want him for murder. Government agents want him before he and his deadly, world-changing invention fall into the wrong hands.

Sam discovers that she holds the key to his disappearance, a key that also makes her a target. To save them both she must reach him first. She follows his trail with the help of an unexpected ally, an ex-soldier living on a yacht in her harbour. Soon, she’s drawn into a murky world of espionage and death where no-one is what they seem, especially those nearest to her…

Amazon Link to buy Blood Pool here 
J.E. Ryder’s Blog: here
J.E. Ryder’s Amazon Page: here
Facebook: here
Twitter: here
Goodreads: here

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Meditation...have you tried it?

Meditation. So, it can sound a bit new age and brings forth images of monks in red robes or extremely bendy people who can also balance in poses that make me, personally, wince just thinking about it but the health benefits of meditation are there and it is getting more and more coverage as people start to wonder what it's all about.

When I first contemplated trying it I wondered how I could get my overactive and busy mind to quieten long enough for me to sit still, (let alone 'get in the zone'), but the more I read on the subject, the more I found myself thinking I must give it a go.

I first started trying with a few CD's of purely relaxing music. I'd lay down for twenty minutes and try to clear my mind by breathing steadily and deeply...and promptly fell asleep. Then I tried sitting up. I'd fidget, slouch, the traffic would be too noisy, the room too hot. The list goes on.

Determined, I downloaded a few free apps on guided meditation on my iPod, the best of them by far for me was one called 'Breathe' by Georgina Lofty. What I love about this app is her calming voice and the way she guides you through HOW to concentrate on your breath rather than just assuming you know how to already, it's the perfect app for beginners. 'Breathe' is a meditation you listen to which helps you to sleep or prepare for the day ahead. I found it works equally well at both ends of the day.

Some of the apps I tried had repetitive tapping noises in the background which, to me, sounded like a hearing test gone badly awry and I found these irritating. My other half loves them though and says these work best for him so it really does pay to try different techniques.

I moved on to guided meditation CD's, my favourite one currently being 'Journey into Meditation' by Lisa Guyman. This lady has an easy voice to listen to and the three meditations resonated with me and what I wanted from meditation. The first balances your chakras, the second connects you with your inner wisdom and the third helps with life visualisation. A very nice combination and they all work well.

I found Lisa Guyman by listening to samples of meditation CD's on iTunes and picking the voice which sounded the most soothing to me. This is a good way for beginners in my opinion. It's no good if that 'guru' you like has a voice which grates on your nerves, it won't matter what he says if you are wincing! A few I listened to looked great in the write up but then the voice of this lustful breathy woman honeyed out of the headphones and I just couldn't do it...

Once you have found your starter app or CD then you need a quiet room and some undisturbed time. Sounds obvious but for some it's not that easy to achieve. In a house like mine, where there's a teenager lurking around every corner, I can simply put a note on the door of the room I am in and they know I won't be available for the next twenty minutes unless there's an emergency. Next, I would suggest using headphones and getting comfy, even if it means laying down. People with more experience than me would frown at my suggestion to lay down as you are more likely to fall asleep but I find it works for me and I always have been a bit of a rebel!

Getting 'in the zone' takes practice just like any new skill but I have found I sleep better, feel more centred and it helps with PMT and menopausal symptoms. My other half says it helps him stay more focused and gives him more energy. We also meditate together sometimes which is a wonderful addition to our relationship and adds to that feeling of closeness.

Bit of a win all round. Give it a go!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Introducing Andrew Barber

I first came across Andrew Barber's work through Twitter when he posted links to the medieval poetic essays he is writing for 'Lionhearts', his forthcoming book collaboration with Maree Ward Russell. The way those essays touched my inner emotions was inspirational and I was moved to write some of my own in the same vein, with varying results!

When Andrew asked me to take a look at his book 'Me, My World and I' I wasn't sure what to expect as I knew it would be a much different type of work to that which I had previously enjoyed. I wasn't disappointed by what I found.

In his book, Andrew writes a poem inspired by a moment in his everyday life and then writes about what the words mean to him and where he was at in his life at the time. He doesn't tell you what to think and, indeed, encourages the reader's own interpretation and thoughts. For him, it seems, part of the joy of writing poetic prose is sparking thoughts and ideas in others which lead them to a deeper appreciation of their existence and the everyday world around them.

Some of his thoughts can be slightly controversial but he can perhaps be forgiven for expressing them in the spirit of the freethinking he exhibits himself and encourages in others.

His book 'Me, My World and I' is one to be dipped into rather than read in one sitting. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest this is the only way to read it. Each poetic work deserves further thought and analysis to be fully appreciated.

'Me, My World and I' can be bought here

Andrew's wonderful medieval poetic essays for the upcoming Lionhearts book (due out 2014) can be found here and are really worth a look.

Andrew's own website can be found here, where he also blogs. He also posts his work at

Guest Blog - A Writer's Worth by author Cynthia Harrison

I belong to a writer’s organization with many journalist members. When blogs and other internet content (remember ‘zines?) began surging in popularity, many of these people lost their newspaper jobs. Freelance magazine assignments dried up. Are these folks bitter? Yes. And for me, as a blogger, it’s a bit awkward during meetings when talk turns to a writer’s worth.

Many of my journalist friends believe that writing for free is wrong. They believe it damages the integrity of being paid for hard work. When I joined the group, I earned $100 a month as a book reviewer. In the good old days, 500 words meant $500. So to my journalist friends, I was selling myself cheap.

Many of my fellow writers feel that this should matter to me more than it does. But the thing is, I love to write. I love it so much I do it for free. That I have the freedom to do it at all is payment enough for me. My blog is 11 years old now. Except for the covers of my novels, it is ad-free. I like it that way, clean and uncluttered.

I self-published my first two books and made a little money. It wasn’t about the money. It was about holding my book in my hands. It was about sharing my stories with other people. I have a publisher now, and while I’m much happier having them, I’m still not rich. The truth is, most creative writers have “day jobs.”

I teach for the paycheck, but I write for my own satisfaction. For me, writing has an intrinsic value that is much higher than a dollar a word.

Cynthia Harrison has published five books, all available on Amazon here. She blogs at “A Writer’s Diary” []. Email her at or follow her on Twitter @CynthiaHarriso1. Cynthia’s latest novel, Blue Heaven, is the first in a series. It’s now on Kindle exclusively, and will be available in print and at other online retailers later this year.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

September Guest Blog Posts

I am delighted to say that every Monday for the whole of September I will be posting guest blog posts from some of those authors who have entertained me and many others with their work this year.

Monday 2nd September is the spot grabbed by Cynthia Harrison and she will be bringing a topic to the fore which is close to many a writer's heart.

There will be further contributions during the month on a variety of topics from J E Ryder, Geoffrey West, E L Lindley and Jeremy Shory to look forward to.