September Edition of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory

Here are the books that I have had featured in this month’s Fleet Life magazine. For the online version go to, click on the online directory and once it is loaded find my page of book reviews on page 6.

September Fleetlife

This month you’ll see;

Gypsy by Cynthia Harrison

Archer of the Lake by Kelly R Michaels

The Silence of Juliet Mann by Joanne Phillips

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

and The Last Observer by Dr Gary Vasey.

For the Elvetham Heath Directory, find a copy of the online version at Click on the online directory and once it’s loaded turn to page 6

EHD Sept

This month you’ll find;

Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler

Business As Usual by E.L. Lindley

Some People Prefer Hotels by Nigel Hicks

The Birr Elixir by Jo Sparkes

A Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas


August Editions of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory

I am lucky enough to write book reviews for 2 local magazines, for which I receive no monetary compensation. Approximately 7000 paper editions go out locally and both magazine have on-line versions too.

The August Edition of Fleet Life can be found at Click on the on-line directory, then find my reviews on page 6.

August Fleet Life

This month the following books have been reviewed;

A Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas

Fallen For Rock, by Nicky Wells,

The Rubicon Effect by Roy Dimond,

Some People Prefer Hotels, Motorhome Novices Tour Cornwall by Nigel R Hicks

and Irish Inheritance by Paula Martin.

The Elvetham Heath Directory has the following books. Go to, click on the on-line directory and turn to page 6 as well.

August EHD

Suppose by Kathy Steinemann

Reborn by Cherie Reich

Gypsy by Cynthia Harrison

A Gunman’s Destiny by Randy Mixter

and A Change of Heart by Adrienne Vaughan.

Really fab to hear back from authors when my reviews get them sales, thanks Cherie.

Guest Author Annie Thomas

Today our guest is Annie Thomas author of yesterday’s book “A Woman’s Choice”. Here is a link to the review if you missed it.

annie no_logo authors241

Let’s find out more about Annie.

1) Where is your home town?

I was born in London, but now live in a small village in Gloucestershire.

2) How long have you been writing?

I first started ‘A Woman’s Choice’ over 20 years ago, but I haven’t taken that long to write it! Our son was born as I was near the end of the first draft in the early 1990s, and full time work combined with family life meant that the writing stopped. I thought many times about going back to it, but never quite got there. When he left home to go to University, I reread it and was determined to get it published.

3) A Woman’s Choice is set in the early 20th Century, what do you love about this period of history?

Partly because it was living memory for some people when I was a child, which gives me a sense of connection – I remember asking my grandmother about what life was like when she was young. We have so much information about that period – photographs, film, documents – that it almost seems part of my own history, even though it isn’t! It’s a particularly poignant and significant time – Europe was heading towards a war which most of the population did not foresee, and after which nothing would ever be the same again.

4) Tell us a bit about the boat trip for Clara, how long would it have taken?

In 1901 Clara travelled on an old steamship, with a cheaper crossing fare – her voyage took about 10 days. The newest steam ships could make the Atlantic run much more quickly, 5 or 6 days depending on conditions. Between 1880 and 1930, more than 27 million people made the journey from around the world.

5) What opportunities was America offering travellers?

During the first decade of the 20thC, over 9 million people predominately from across Europe made the voyage.  They came with high hopes, seeking new lives to replace the financial hardship or persecution that they experienced in their homelands.  Many went straight through New York to the agricultural and mining centres in America, like Meg and her family. Many, such as Clara and her mother, stayed in the cities, and did not always find that the streets were paved with gold.  A few with determination, courage, and luck found their way to the prosperity they all desired.  Many more found themselves in poor living conditions and exploited in menial jobs.

6) When Clara finds a place for her mother and herself to live, she is showing her strength of character once again, do you agree?

Yes, Clara had to grow up very quickly. I think she had always known how much her mother had relied on her father, and after his death she had to learn not only how to fend for them both, but to do so in a way which enabled her mother to keep her self respect – not easy. Having to do that very early in life stood her in good stead for the difficulties she encountered later on.

She is persistent – she doesn’t give up – and retains her inner core of self-belief which she needs to sustain her.

7) Tell us about jobs as singers in music shops.

In the early 20thC in New York particularly, music stores, department stores and publishers used to employ singers and piano players to help sell new sheet music. They were called ‘song pluggers’ or ‘song demonstrators’. It was the way for prospective buyers to hear the music before making a purchase, before the days of mass recording or listening booths. Even George Gershwin and Jerome Kern did it!

It was a great start for Clara, she learned so much from the experience – and not just about music.

8) Luke’s car business was at the cutting edge of invention, how exciting do you think it must have been to be in it from such an early stage?

I think it must have been terrific – high risk, taking a gamble, but with sense of confidence that he could make it work. It was entirely in tune with the sense of optimism born from a new century and a new country. He believed in himself – just as Clara believed in him. And what he wanted to do was so different from the prevailing Henry Ford philosophy of ‘any color as long as it’s black!’

9) What are you working on at the moment? Do you have an expected publication date?

I’ve started the research and structure for a second novel, but it’s very difficult to predict a publication date. I suspect it’s probably at least 12-18 months away. It will be another historical novel, and I am meticulous about the research. Everything that happens to Clara in ‘A Woman’s Choice’ is based on what really happened to women of her class in that period. The next novel will have to have the same credibility.

10) Where can fans find out more about you?

I have a web site –

When something attracts my attention I sometimes tweet about it!

Happy to follow and be followed! @annie_writer

Thank you very much Rosie, I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions today.

A Woman's Choice

Find a copy here from or






You’re very welcome, good luck with the next book. 

A Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas

A Woman's ChoiceA Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Woman’s Choice spans approximately 18 years of Clara Foley’s life. It begins just after the turn of the 20th Century, with young Clara. At nearly 12 years old she and her mother are about to embark on a steamer bound for America where they intend to start a new life. Turned out of their home after Clara’s father died, their only hope came in the offer of assistance from Clara’s Aunt in New York.

This book is about the strength of women. Clara must be strong where her mother is weak from grief. In a reversal of roles Clara is forced to care for her mother. Whilst crossing the Atlantic they make friends on the boat, some of whom will have significant parts in Clara’s life.

In the early years in New York, Clara and Jenny stay with Aunt Emma and Uncle Bill, but conditions are cramped and they need to find a place of their own. Clara supports them by working in a garment sweatshop, but her ambition is to be able to sing. She must start at the very bottom of the ladder and it’s a hard life until she gets her first chance singing popular songs in the music department of Staceys.

It’s Clara’s determination and drive which get her where she is, she pushes her agent to find her an audition for a show and again she works her way up. She’s supported by her good friend Michael O’Halluran and other strong women, Noreen and Margo.

The return of Luke Rutherford adds another chapter to Clara’s life, with his ambition to build and sell motorcars. The friends enter into business at a time of prosperity for some, while Europe plunges into war. With Michael gone to England to join the war, Clara feels adrift. News from France will set Clara back on her feet as she once more makes her own choice about her destiny.

I really enjoyed this book, the struggle to survive, the strength of women, the history of the times, well worth a read.
Find a copy here from or

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Annie will be joining us on the blog tomorrow as our guest do come back and find out more about her writing.

Good Deeds Year 2, week 5

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

May 18th – Any one who is now a regular follower of my Good Deeds will know that last week I read about a new challenge to make the world a better place to live in. “Speak Kind Words, Receive Kind Echoes” see the inspiration on  The Kindness blog . So me being me, I decided to give it a go, starting small I managed 24 hours, then moved on for another 24. I had a couple of wobbles in my first 24 hours and 3 failures today (For each slip up I’ll put a £1 in a jar for charity) First my Mum came over with all the gossip from the family, village and local community and that’s a BIG hazard for me, all that lovely gossip about people and their failings topped with a good moan about the family. I caught myself partaking in a bit of negative moaning – there goes a pound I thought, then another slipped off my tongue opps! Next I went and commented on an e-mail having another moan,  another pound in the pot. It’s certainly a challenge!

So whilst struggling with the new challenge I’m still doing the Good Deeds, gave books to Mum and Mother-in-law today. Went for a good walk this evening and picked up loads of litter.

May 19th – A morning helping out at school, then a lunchtime walk and litter picking. Ending the day with sending along cakes and biscuits for the hungry cricket mid-match snack. Kind comments all the way today but I did become very aware of a potential area where I can slip up. It’s easy to forget myself when I’m casually chatting and relaxing with the family and I need to be very mindful of my words.

May 20th – The lady I work with has had a shoulder operation, so today I got lots of paperwork out for her so she doesn’t have to lift heavy files when she returns to work tomorrow. This evening I had a long walk around a playing field and picked up litter. I managed another day of only kind words, it’s easy to fall into old habits without realising it. A couple of times I definitely had to turn comments.

May 21st – Met Alison Williams for a coffee today, she has been editing my book and guiding me in the right direction. Have put £2 in my charity pot for my failures on the “Kind Words” challenge during our meeting. (Mentally noted the stumbling block I need to work on) Good Deeds received Alison kindly paid for my beverage.

May 22nd – Finished reading A Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas and sent of my review. Annie is kindly going to take part in a guest author interview for us in June. I’m finding my kindness challenge really hard to change my old bad habits, but I’m going to keep going.

May 23rd – Am reading an ARC of The Lost Centurion by Monica La Porta. This book is due for release at the end of May. Sent a thank you letter. Agreed to read and review The Birr Elixir by Jo Sparkes.

May 24th – Sent off my review of The Lost Centurion and moved on to reading Fallen For Rock by Nicky Wells. Today I posted a piece about book genres on the blog and opened up a discussion on what you feel about the Young Adult and New Adult genres, click here to join in.

My book review today was for Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada. Hailed as a modern classic this book reveals a resistance inside Berlin during the war years. I posed a question for the readers on this post too. From what you know and have read about the war years, can you believe that people were fighting from within? Click here to read more

My kind words challenge is definitely easier when I don’t meet many people, so I’m obviously more successful when I’m relaxed at home with the family. My challenges seem to be when I’m with extended family, friends and new acquaintances. I need to think about if this is because I portray a slightly different persona amongst them? One where I act how I think they expect me to, or I act to a formula which has previously proved popular?

So what do you think about this new challenge, am I asking too much of myself?

Year 2, Good Deeds Week 4

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

May 11th – Last week’s sick child has kindly passed me the germs, so I’m slumped on the sofa, but I can still read. Have finished A Change of Heart by Adrienne Vaughan and will write the review up tomorrow. Accepted another book for review, A Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas. Posted my weekly Good Deed update with lots of links and plugs for various people, that’s really all I can manage today.

May 12th – Written my book review, delivered a birthday card and present and picked up litter. Social networking has lots of plus points when you can only croak at people and you look and feel like something the cat dragged in. No one can see me and I don’t have to verbally speak to anyone, hooray! Pass me another box of tissues will you? About to start reading Suppose by Kathy Steinemann

May 13th – Still struggling to get my voice back. Picked up litter today. Baby birds seem to have doubled in size, still can’t get a long enough glance to count them to make sure they all hatched, they are just a bundle of fluffy moving objects with big open mouths every-time a parent arrives, who then obscures the view from the camera, so frustrating! I bought some live meal worms to put out for all the parent birds who might be grateful of one easy to find meal. But then I found the larvae wriggling out of the container and descending into my garden, hope they don’t devour all my lovely plants! Checked on my Bumble bee box to see if it had any bees in residence, found snails, earwigs and a family of Mice! So the garden is definitely full of livestock.

May 14th – Going to be reading and reviewing The Lost Centurion by Monica La Porta due out at the end of May. Posted a letter and picked up more litter.

May 15th – Agreed to read and review “Fallen for Rock” Nicky Wells soon to be released latest book. Also said I’d review the next book from Randy Mixter called “A Gunman’s Destiny” due out at the end of May. Picked up some litter. Am reading “The Manila Strangler” by Steven Donahue Good Deeds received a fellow author bought a copy of my book today as a thank you for reading and reviewing her book, made my day!

May 16th – Picked up litter. Found a great post on The Kindness blog about speaking only kind words and turning your life around; Speak Kind Words, Receive Kind Echoes sounds a really good idea, every time you find yourself saying something mean and negative you have to pay out $1 or £1 depending where you live. The money will soon add up unless you make a positive change. Any one up for it? I’m going to start my own challenge and donate my money to charity. First I’m going to try 24hrs from 5pm UK time. It’s frightening we all pass on bad news and gossip much more readily than good news, but does gossip  and band mouthing others really make the world a better place?

This week the lovely Alison Williams has been having a look at my book in terms of editing. I’m the first to hold my hands up and say that the whole writing a book and self-publishing bit was absolutely brilliant and now I’ve learnt all about how I should have approached it. Stay with me folks, I need to pledge a commitment to sorting out the book and making it a lot more pleasant to read. Stop all the procrastinating and get on with it. So you heard it here on the blog, there will be a second edition, I’m going to look forward to making all the necessary revisions. (See, positive self talk, no dishing myself – can’t afford it!)

May 17th – Oh my goodness, it’s 7pm and I’ve just realised I’ve completed my first challenge, 24 hours saying only kind things. It’s not been all plain sailing, I had 2 wobbles and it nearly cost me money, but I changed my sentences ending on a positive note. I was quite quiet at one time when I chose not to join a conversation which was only negative. Now for another 24 hours! I’m reading A Woman’s Choice by Annie Thomas and today’s book review was for the first book in one of my favourite series The Wardstone Chronicles by Joseph Delaney.