Saturday slot – Talking about the book review challenge

2012_0622 rose for rosie  wordpressBook Review Challenge

Saturdays – Glorious – Long lie-ins- late lazy breakfasts- the Weekend newspapers – and still time to sign up for my book review challenge.

So if you only get time to read my blog at the weekend, what have you missed?

This week I launched an idea to highlight the importance of book reviews and to encourage more people to write and post reviews.

Authors have rallied to my call and we have over 60 free copies of books for anyone to read and review. (3 e-copies per book)

All we ask is you read just one book during July and then write a review which I’ll post here.

Starting on Wednesday 25th June we’re starting a series on writing book reviews and their importance to authors, then we’ll be e-mailing e-copies of books to everyone who has signed up to read and review a book.

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More books for the Book Review Challenge

2012_0622 rose for rosie  wordpressBook Review Challenge

Good Morning, Good Morning, come and pull up a seat once again. So how are you feeling? Glad it’s Friday? Come and take the weight off your poor weary limbs and take a relaxing deep breath. In and out, that’s it release the stress. Pull up a pew or find a comfy seat, kick off your shoes, nobody minds here, we’re all friends.

So what have you missed since you last dropped by? We’ve got some more delicious books for you, just whispering to be read…

If this is your first visit or you’ve been too busy to call we have a little book review challenge planned. It’s SO easy to play just a tiny part. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t like books, who doesn’t like a story? We’ve so many to tempt you.

What’s that I hear? It’s too much effort? Not at all. You haven’t got time? What a terrible shame. A whole month to read a book? Could you possible try? Just for me? Please? Pretty please?

I hear you sigh, what to you have to do? It’s JUST SO EASY. Skip on down the page and find a book to tickle your fancy, tweak your eyebrow, or nudge your curiosity.

LIFT your weary limbs and type a few words in the sign up form at the bottom of the page. Now relax and have a cup of tea.

Is that it, you ask? Is that all? W-e-l-l just one more tiny teeny weeny thing….when we send you the book, the one you’ll enjoy, you’ll fly through it in the month of July, I know you will, just one more teeny weeny ever so small….WRITE A REVIEW? WHAT?! I hear you gasp, not a REVIEW surely not? I can’t do that, I don’t know how, they take too long, what if I don’t like the book? Please not a review.

BUT, and my BUT is REALLY important please listen, how’s the tea? BUT when you read a book do you ever talk about it? Do you ever tell others about a good book you’ve read? I see you nod and purse you lips, is that a YES? So couldn’t you possibly, just for me, write down your thoughts on this lovely book, not much, I don’t need an essay, just a few lines. I pause, I see the cracks in your armour you’re beginning to agree, is that a smile and a twinkle in your eye? YIPPEE! I’d grab your hands and we’d dance a little jig but I don’t want you to think I’m more crazy than I am, QUICK, QUICK, QUICK pick a book now. And don’t worry next week we’re doing all sorts of posts about writing that teeny weeny book review that will mean SO MUCH to the authors and me. THANK YOU. Now GO, GO, GO CHOOSE A BOOK.

From July 1st 3 e-copies of the following books will be available FREE for you to choose to read. All we ask is for you to read just 1 and write a review which will then be posted here and other sites where possible. Starting next week on Wednesday 25th June we’ll be posting a series on book reviews to help and advise you.

We’re beginning the book review challenge on Wednesday 25th June with posts from guest book reviewers and authors. There will be book reviewing tips and advice each day in the build up to reading and writing a review.

When books are requested I will confirm by e-mail. Please check your SPAM folder if you think you haven’t heard from me. Similarly when books get sent out by authors they may go into SPAM please do check. I always try to reply within a reasonable time but super efficient spam folders do foil me sometimes.

First come first served.

17447896  Do you fancy an adventure in the forests of Windemere with young warrior Luke Callindor sent to protect the heir of Duke Soloman? REQUEST A COPY OF BEGINNING OF A HERO BY CHARLES E. YALLOWITZ (Fantasy) (2 copies left)

22011018  How about a modern twist on Tudor history? Relive the life of Henry VIII through the eyes of Harry Lanchester and his merry wives. REQUEST A COPY OF KINGS AND QUEENS BY TERRY TYLER (Contemporary) (1 copy left)

16141980  Are you in a romantic mood? How about a romantic Highland fling? REQUEST A COPY OF TALL, DARK AND KILTED BY LIZZIE LAMB (Romance) (2 copies left)

18779783  Or how about a romantic romp with journalists in Norfolk with wedding bells in the air? REQUEST A COPY OF BOOT CAMP BRIDE BY LIZZIE LAMB(Romance) (2 copies left)

18489308  Want to escape your superpowers? Null City is they place to be in this New Adult paranormal fantasy. REQUEST A COPY OF ONE WAY FARE BY BARB AND HANNAH TAUB(Paranormal NA Fantasy) (2 Copies left)

19229825  Perhaps you’ve read One Way Fare? Here’s a chance to read the second book in the series. REQUEST A COPY OF DON’T TOUCH BY BARB TAUB(Paranornal NA Fantasy)

18752098  How about a bit of gruesome history? England 1647, civil war and Matthew Hopkins sweeps through the land as the Witchfinder. REQUEST A COPY OF THE BLACK HOURS BY ALISON WILLIAMS (Historical)

17904468  Could you see yourself at a tournament of Gamesmen as they play a game of Comet? There’s a mystery man and a potion maker in this fantasy. REQUEST A COPY OF THE BIRR ELIXIR BY JO SPARKES (YA Fantasy)

20488718  Love a thriller? Travel with John Cannon as his relaxing leave of absence turns into a nightmare when his boat is attacked by terrorists. REQUEST A COPY OF MY GRL BY JOHN W. HOWELL(Thriller) (1 copy left)

19332056  Can we tempt you with a spiritual quest? Albion, is the oldest name for Britain. Wen and Don take you on a mystical journey through Myths and Legends of these blessed Isles. REQUEST A COPY OF THE HEART OF ALBION BY SUE VINCENT & STUART FRANCE ( A spiritual quest around England) (1 copy left)

13361184  Crime? The first book in the Georgie Connelly crime series. Join feisty documentary film-maker Georgie as she dangerously plans to expose Gentleman’s Clubs. REQUEST A COPY OF BUSINESS AS USUAL BY E.L.LINDLEY(Crime) (2 copies left)

22304215NON-FICTION here’s the chance to get some help promoting your work. REQUEST A COPY OF HOW TO PROMOTE AND MARKET YOUR BOOK BY MADI PREDA (Non-Fiction) (2 copies Left)

16301205  There’s more romance on it’s way.  Marianne Coltrane’s writes an award winning scoop about the sale of babies. Destiny will take her to an island off the wild west coast of Ireland. Love a mix of Ireland and romance? REQUEST A COPY OF THE HOLLOW HEART BY ADREINNE VAUGHAN(Romance) (2 copies left)

16301209  If you’ve read The Hollow Heart by Adrienne Vaughan, here’s your chance to loose yourself in more Irish themed romance with the second book in the series. REQUEST A COPY OF A CHANGE OF HEART BY ADREINNE VAUGHAN (Romance) (2 copies left)

20166986  How about a murder mystery set in a coastal resort in Maine? REQUEST A COPY OF DEATH IN A RED CANVAS CHAIR BY N.A GRANGER (Murder Mystery) (2 copies left)

20451856 Step back in time to Georgia and the deep south for this book, real people struggling to survive with segregation and inequality. This is a fictionalised real story. REQUEST A COPY OF RED CLAY AND ROSES BY S.K. NICHOLLS

scrolls fFINAL 3 TJ Therien has his fantasy book for FREE on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble (Nook), so no limit on the number of copies but he’d still like reviews. (Fantasy) Only

Please... Call Me Derek British Adult comedy comes in the form of the Derek series, we have the first book available as a kindle download for UK reader/ challengers only. REQUEST A COPY OF PLEASE CALL ME DEREK BY MAC BLACK (British Adult Humour)

17202249 1867, the American Wild West. British raised girl Annie meets wild man Colt McCall after a stagecoach crash. Fantastic cowboy romance. (UK readers + we’re working on a plan for the rest of the world.) REQUEST A COPY OF AN ENGLISHWOMAN’S GUIDE TO THE COWBOY BY JUNE KEARNS (Historical romance) (1 copy left)

18878661 1924, the English Shires. Jazzing flappers and a half share in a million acre ranch in Texas. (UK readers + we’re working on a plan for the rest of the world.) REQUEST A COPY OF THE 20’S GIRL, THE GHOST AND ALL THAT JAZZ BY JUNE KEARNS (Historical Romance) (2 copies left)

20448650 16 year old Jade discovers her Grandmother was murdered. She sets out to find the mystery commune killer. REQUEST A COPY OF JADED BY KRISTY FELTENBERGER-GILLESPI.(YA Thriller) (2 copies left)

Books for the Book Review Challenge

2012_0622 rose for rosie  wordpressBook Review Challenge

REQUEST A BOOK TODAY AND GET YOUR NAME ON THE LIST – BOOKS WILL BE AVAILABLE FROM THE START OF JULY FROM AUTHORS

ANYONE CAN REQUEST A BOOK, ALL WE ASK IS A REVIEW IN RETURN BY THE END OF JULY 2014

Books are rolling in for this book review challenge. It’s open to anyone and everyone, not just readers. Are you an author? What can you give back to others who read your books? Ever heard of “What you give out you get back ten-fold?” Take action today.

From July 1st 3 e-copies of the following books will be available FREE for you to choose to read. All we ask is for you to read just 1 and write a review which will then be posted here and other sites where possible. Starting next week on Wednesday 25th June we’ll be posting a series on book reviews to help and advise you.

We’re beginning the book review challenge on Wednesday 25th June with posts from guest book reviewers and authors. There will be book reviewing tips and advice each day in the build up to reading and writing a book review from one of the many books authors have kindly donated for the challenge.

Why not choose your book today? First come first served.

17447896 Beginning of a Hero by Charles E Yallowitz (Fantasy) (2 copies left)

22011018 Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler (Contemporary) (1 copy left)

16141980 Tall Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb (Romance) (2 copies left)

18779783 Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb (Romance) (2 copies left)

18489308 One Way Fare by Barb and Hannah Taub (Paranormal NA Fantasy) (2 copies left)

19229825 Don’t Touch by Barb Taub (Paranornal NA Fantasy)

18752098 The Black Hours by Alison Williams (Historical)

17904468 The Birr Elixir by Jo Sparkes (YA Fantasy)

20488718 My Grl by Hohn W. Howell (Thriller) (1 copy left)

19332056 The Heart of Albion by Sue Vincent & Stuart France ( A spiritual quest around England) (1 copy left)

13361184 Business As Usual by E.L. Lindley (Crime) (2 copies left)

22304215How to Promote and Market Your Book by Madi Preda (Non-Fiction) (2 copies left)

16301205 The Hollow Heart by Adrienne Vaughan (Romance) (2 copies left)

16301209 A Change of Heart by Adrienne Vaughan (Romance)

20166986 Death In A Red Canvas Chair by N.A Granger (Murder Mystery) (2 copies left)

20451856 Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls (Fictionalised real story of the deep south)

scrolls fFINAL 3 Scrolls Of Scion by T.J. Therien (Fantasy) Only Available as a free download from Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/434284 Or Free from Barnes and Noble (Nook)

Please... Call Me Derek Please Call me Derek by Mac Black (British Adult Humour) only in Kindle download for Uk readers/ challengers

17202249 An English Woman’s Guide to the Cowboy by June Kearns (Historical romance) (Uk readers. – all others please enquire, we’re working on a plan) (1 copy left)

18878661 The 20’s Girl, The Ghost and All that Jazz by June Kearns (Historical Romance) (Uk readers. – all others please enquire, we’re working on a plan)

20448650 Jaded by Kristy Feltenberger-Gillespi (YA Thriller)

Your favourite Book Corner

2012_0622 rose for rosie  wordpressBook Review Challenge

Come in, Come in, there’s plenty of room for everyone. Find a seat, we’ve all sorts, a cosy chair by the fire, a squishy sofa under the window, a chair to soothe a bad back, huge beans bags to slide into, cushions on the floor, there’s toys in a basket for little ones to enjoy and the kettle’s on for a pot of tea. Help yourself to a cake, I baked them this morning, come in come in.

Let me spin you a yarn and let your imagination fly, can you see the shelves stacked with all sorts of books, all calling to you softly to be read. Old favourites, classics, serials, and short stories, poetry, and plays. Can you imagine their covers? Can you see the colours? Can you hear the words whispering to you?

Look all around, the coffee table is spilling with new titles fresh of the presses, paperbacks, hardbacks, book sleeves to touch and hold.

Twinkling at you from the corner, sparkling in the sunlight, Kindles, e-readers, tablets and more all hum and weaving a spell of enchantment drawing you near.

Take your pick, browse, peak inside, read a page or two….

Leave the world outside,  take a deep refreshing breath, take the weight off your feet and put your life on hold.  Join us to read and then write a book review.

REQUEST A BOOK TODAY AND GET YOUR NAME ON THE LIST – BOOKS WILL BE AVAILABLE FROM THE START OF JULY FROM AUTHORS

ANYONE CAN REQUEST A BOOK, ALL WE ASK IS A REVIEW IN RETURN

Books are rolling in for this book review challenge. It’s open to anyone and everyone, not just readers. Are you an author? What can you give back to others who read your books? Ever heard of “What you give out you get back ten-fold?” Take action today.

From July 1st 3 e-copies of the following books will be available FREE for you to choose to read. All we ask is for you to read just 1 and write a review which will then be posted here and other sites where possible. Starting next week on Wednesday 25th June we’ll be posting a series on book reviews to help and advise you.

Why not choose your book today? First come first served.

So where can we take you?

1) Do you fancy an adventure in the forests of Windemere with young warrior Luke Callindor sent to protect the heir of Duke Soloman? REQUEST A COPY OF BEGINNING OF A HERO BY CHARLES E. YALLOWITZ

2) How about a modern twist on Tudor history? Relive the life of Henry VIII through the eyes of Harry Lanchester and his merry wives. REQUEST A COPY OF KINGS AND QUEENS BY TERRY TYLER

3) Are you in a romantic mood? How about a romantic Highland fling? REQUEST A COPY OF TALL, DARK AND KILTED BY LIZZIE LAMB

4) Or how about a romantic romp with journalists in Norfolk with wedding bells in the air? REQUEST A COPY OF BOOT CAMP BRIDE BY LIZZIE LAMB

5) Want to escape your superpowers? Null City is they place to be in this New Adult paranormal fantasy. REQUEST A COPY OF ONE WAY FARE BY BARB TAUB

6) Perhaps you’ve read One Way Fare? Here’s a chance to read the second book in the series. REQUEST A COPY OF DON’T TOUCH BY BARB TAUB

7) How about a bit of gruesome history? England 1647, civil war and Matthew Hopkins sweeps through the land as the Witchfinder. REQUEST A COPY OF THE BLACK HOURS BY ALISON WILLIAMS

8)  Could you see yourself at a tournament of Gamesmen as they play a game of Comet? There’s a mystery man and a potion maker in this fantasy. REQUEST A COPY OF THE BIRR ELIXIR BY JO SPARKES

9) Love a thriller? Travel with John Cannon as his relaxing leave of absence turns into a nightmare when his boat is attacked by terrorists. REQUEST A COPY OF MY GRL BY JOHN W. HOWELL

10) Can we tempt you with a spiritual quest? Albion, is the oldest name for Britain. Wen and Don take you on a mystical journey through Myths and Legends of these blessed Isles. REQUEST A COPY OF THE HEART OF ALBION BY SUE VINCENT & STUART FRANCE

11) Crime? The first book in the Georgie Connelly crime series. Join feisty documentary film-maker Georgie as she dangerously plans to expose Gentleman’s Clubs. REQUEST A COPY OF BUSINESS AS USUAL BY E.L.LINDLEY

12) NON-FICTION here’s the chance to get some help promoting your work. REQUEST A COPY OF HOW TO PROMOTE AND MARKET YOUR BOOK BY MADI PREDA

13) There’s more romance on it’s way.  Marianne Coltrane’s writes an award winning scoop about the sale of babies. Destiny will take her to an island off the wild west coast of Ireland. Love a mix of Ireland and romance? REQUEST A COPY OF THE HOLLOW HEART BY ADREINNE VAUGHAN

14) If you’ve read The Hollow Heart by Adrienne Vaughan, here’s your chance to loose yourself in more Irish themed romance with the second book in the series. REQUEST A COPY OF A CHANGE OF HEART BY ADREINNE VAUGHAN

15) How about a murder mystery set in a coastal resort in Maine? REQUEST A COPY OF DEATH IN A RED CANVAS CHAIR BY N.A GRANGER

16) Step back in time to Georgia and the deep south for this book, real people struggling to survive with segregation and inequality. This is a fictionalised real story. REQUEST A COPY OF RED CLAY AND ROSES BY S.K. NICHOLLS

17) TJ Therien has his fantasy book for FREE on Smashwords and Barnes and Noble, so no limit on the number of copies but he’d still like reviews.

18) British Adult comedy comes in the form of the Derek series, we have the first book available as a kindle download for UK reader/ challengers only. REQUEST A COPY OF PLEASE CALL ME DEREK BY MAC BLACK

19) 1867, the American Wild West. British raised girl Annie meets wild man Colt McCall after a stagecoach crash. Fantastic cowboy romance. UK readers + we’re working on a plan for the rest of the world. REQUEST A COPY OF AN ENGLISHWOMAN’S GUIDE TO THE COWBOY BY JUNE KEARNS

20) 1924, the English Shires. Jazzing flappers and a half share in a million acre ranch in Texas. Historical romance. Uk readers + we’re working on a plan for the rest of the world. REQUEST A COPY OF THE 20’S GIRL, THE GHOST AND ALL THAT JAZZ BY JUNE KEARNS

21) Next we have a Young adult thriller set in and around a  commune. REQUEST A COPY OF JADED BY KRISTY FELTENBERGER-GILLESPI

I’m also waiting confirmation of several more books, so I’ll keep you all posted.

June Issue of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory

Today the June issues of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory are available on-line. http://www.fleetlife.org.uk click on the on-line directory and find my page of book reviews on Page 6.

June Fleet Life

 

Here are the books and authors that I’ve featured.

Tall, Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb,

The Black Hours by Alison Williams,

The 20’s Girl, The Ghost and All That Jazz by June Kearns,

Saving Our Pennys by Roy Dimond and Jeff Leitch

and Black Rose by Jenna Ryan.

The Elvetham Heath Directory can be found at http://www.ehd.org.uk. Again click on the online directory and turn to page 6.

June EHD

Here are the books featured in this edition.

The Royal Descendant by John P Ford

The Concealing (Spirit Warriors) by D.E.L. Connor

Please Call Me Derek by Mac Black.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

and Legacy of Darkness by Jane Godman

Please do e-mail the editor and show your appreciation. Contact alex@fleetlife.org.uk or alex@ehd.org.uk Thanks

Good Deeds Year 2, week 6

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 DeedsDuring my week I’ll also being updating you on My Kindness Challenge which I’m also doing. 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 . During my learning process I’m donating money to charity for my slip-ups to make me work harder to achieve results. I earn no money from any of my book reviews, so having little to spare should focus my mind.

This week I’ve been doing the following;

May 25th – Finished reading Fallen for Rock by Nicky Wells and sent off my review. Will be starting The Birr Elixir by Jo Sparkes next. Have agreed to read and review two more books, Fairy and Blood: Lilac by William Crisel and Archer of the Lake by Kelly Michaels. Cricket was cancelled this morning so my chance to lend some plastic cups out as a good deed was scuppered. So it’s all book good deeds today.

May 26th – Continuing with my big book edit of my own book to make it a much better read. I’m procrastinating too much, but when I do sit down and get on with it I enjoy myself mixing with all the characters again. Finished reading and sent off my review of The Birr Elixir by Jo Sparkes Today I’m reading Derek’s Good Relations by Mac Black. We have the in-laws coming for tea, this will be a big challenge for my kind comments because they love a good moan and have a lot of negative talk. Perhaps I can find a lovely reward for myself if I make it through, there’s chocolate in the cupboard! Hmmm!

May 27th – The baby birds have flown, (we had a camera in a bird-box and watched as a blue-tit laid 7 eggs and raised her young) but sadly nature has been cruel, Magpies have seen the flight and at least one has bitten the dust. I’ve been out to chase them away but they have their own young to feed.

Picked up some litter this evening.

May 28th – Finished reading Derek’s Good Relations by Mac Black. Sent off my review. Picked up some litter whilst out for a walk. The kindness challenge is going well this week, it helps that we haven’t been out for a couple of days.

May 29th – The June issue of Fleet Life has been delivered today. My book reviews are on page 6 this month. The on-line version will be out shortly, meanwhile the following books have been featured; Tall, Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb, The Black Hours by Alison Williams, The 20’s Girl, The Ghost and All That Jazz by June Kearns, Saving Our Pennys by Roy Dimond and Jeff Leitch and Black Rose by Jenna Ryan.

Bumped in to a friend in the supermarket and practised by Kind words challenge. Rose to the challenge when my brother phoned wanting accounting work started and completed before tomorrow, definitely one needing special care with the kind words.

May 30th – An opportunity to help out a friend in need today, with a broken car and a child in hospital we are able to pick up her son and take him to cricket.

Have just written the book review drafts for the July issues of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory. Just awaiting the June editions to go on-line.

May 31st – Finished reading Fairy and Blood: Lilac by William Crisel and sent off my review. Went out for afternoon tea with friends and took flowers for my hostess. Tested my kind words challenge again this afternoon. May have to put a £1 in the pot! Am now reading Gypsy by Cynthia Harrison.

Blackwater by Alison Williams

BlackwaterBlackwater by Alison Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blackwater is a prequel to The Black Hours and is a short novella telling the story of Alice Pendle’s mother and father. We first meet Lizzie, Alice’s mother in Eversley in Hampshire where she lives with her mother Maggie. They are medicine women or “Cunning women” as they are known, who use herbs to heal the sick.

Often feared because of their ways, they have already moved five or six times to avoid prosecution from those who would call them witches. This is the tale of how Lizzie and Samuel Pendle fall in love and what drives them to move to Coggeshall which is where The Black Hours begins.

This book will work well as a companion book to The Black Hours which deals with the English Witch Trials.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

The Black Hours

Find a copy here on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com, read my review of The Black Hours here http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4UI

Alison is also featured in my Editing and Publishing page at the top of the blog, got writing you want help with? Check out Alison’s editing services here http://wp.me/P2Eu3u-2CJ

Catch up with my Guest Author interview with Alison Williams here http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4UV

Good Deeds Week March 30th – April 5th

Welcome to my weekly roundup of my year long challenge to do one Good deed a day for a year. This challenge began back in April 2013 and is still going strong, I’m now entering my final few weeks. My inspiration came from reading “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly. Here is what I’ve been up to this week.

Good deeds

March 30th – Last night we changed our clocks in line with British Summertime, so I’m a bit late this morning. It’s also Mother’s Day, so I’ve been giving and receiving gifts as all Mothers should.

March 31st – A really busy day today. I’ve just done my morning at school. Now the April Issue of Fleet Life has just dropped through my door, so I’ve written a draft ready to coincide with the online version. http://www.fleetlife.org.uk click on the online directory and fins me on page 18. This months books are;

Please Call Me Derek by Mac Black

The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Calculated by R.S. Novelle

Spirit Warriors by D.E.L Connor

It’s also my first month writing book reviews for Fleet Life’s sister magazine The Elvetham Heath Directory. http://www.ehd.org.uk, again click on the online directory and find me on page. This months featured books are different to Fleet Life although I will mix and match on occasions.

The Dating Game by Susan Buchanan

Greening of a Heart by Stepheny Houghtlin

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

The Griffin’s Boy by Julia Hughes

The Black Hours by Alison Williams.

With my A to Z Challenge starting tomorrow too, I’m sending out reminders to authors whose books are featuring in the first week. I want it to be a good give and take, I promote their books and they promote me.

April 1st – It’s here the first Day of the April A to Z blogging challenge with well over 1900 bloggers signed up this year it’s going to be huge. I’ve been all over the place visiting blogs and writing comments. My own challenge started with A World Apart by Camelia Miron Skiba. Catch up with posts in my Challenge round-up post, or from the A to Z page at the top of this blog.  The sun has finally burnt off the morning fog so now I’m off out in to the garden for a bit of one on one with nature after all my computing.

April 2nd – Online versions of both local magazines made it up on the internet today, so posted my pieces about them and let all the authors know. Having an absolute blast with the A to Z challenge, I can’t believe how many people are coming to my blog it is fantastic. Today’s book was Boot Camp Bride by Lizzie Lamb, Lizzie helped promote the post with her Facebook group of friends which I really appreciated. My slideshow on the sidebar is getting plenty of attention and good comments which is great to hear, have been helping a couple of people out with setting up their own gallery.

April 3rd – Met a friend for coffee in town and caught up with all her news. Went out this evening with more friends and took a birthday present with me for one of them whose birthday is in the next few days. Today’s book on the A to Z Challenge was Coronado’s Treasure by Randy Mixter. I’m thrilled to see lots of re-tweeting going on from other authors who will be taking part in my challenge and from followers of my blog, thanks everyone it means a lot.

April 4th – It’s a Derek Day today on the A to Z with Derek’s Revenge by Mac Black and a plug for the whole series. Went to the local market this morning, met a friend who has offered to pick us up in a few weeks time to attend a party. My Good deeds are mainly internet bound this week, visiting lots of blogs and leaving comments, tweeting and sharing posts. Finished reading Chill Factor by Rachel Caine and left a review on Goodreads.

April 5th – Everlasting by Candace Knoebel is the book for letter E in the A to Z today. Went for a quick walk this afternoon and picked up some litter. Am reading the second book in the Wardstone Chronicles, The Spook’s Curse, by Joseph Delaney, finished it late last evening and posted my review on Goodreads.

April Issue of Elvetham Heath Directory

This is my first month writing book reviews for Fleet Life’s sister magazine The Elvetham Heath Directory. For an online edition go to http://www.ehd.org.uk, click on the online directory and find me on page 6. This months featured books are different to Fleet Life although I will mix and match on occasions.

April EHD

 

The Dating Game by Susan Buchanan

Greening of a Heart by Stepheny Houghtlin

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. Nicholls

The Griffin’s Boy by Julia Hughes

The Black Hours by Alison Williams.

Guest Author Alison Williams

Today our guest is local author Alison Williams, writer of yesterday’s book “The Black Hours”. Here is a link to the book review. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-4UI

Alison Williams

1) Where is your home town?

I live in Basingstoke, in Hampshire. I moved here when I was seven, moved away at 21, and then came back twelve years ago.

2) How long have you been writing?

I have always loved writing stories. I trained as a journalist, but then worked in education after my children were born and after a brief stint as a freelance writer. When I hit forty I decided to give up work, go back to freelance writing and also started a Masters in Creative Writing. It was as part of the course that I wrote ‘The Black Hours’.

3) What key factor made you want to write “The Black Hours”?

I’ve always been extremely interested in history and, in particular, women’s history. I find it rather sad that a man like Matthew Hopkins actually existed and did the awful things that he did, but that he is not really that well-known. In fact a lot of people that have read ‘The Black Hours’ think that I made him up! He was responsible for hundreds of deaths in England yet is hardly mentioned in our history books. Consequently, I really feel his victims have largely been forgotten – all too often they are just names on a list in a book or in a museum. We tend to forget that they were real people, with real lives, families, dreams, hopes and fears. What they suffered was dreadful and I really felt compelled to give them a voice. Although ‘The Black Hours’ is fiction and Alice never existed, the methods Matthew Hopkins uses in the novel are all methods actually used on real victims. I hope, in some small way, the novel pays tribute to those real victims.

4) Can you tell the readers a bit about Matthew Hopkins?

He is certainly a man shrouded in mystery. No-one knows exactly when he was born, but it is thought to be around 1620, making him only 24 when he began his witch hunting campaign. There is no information relating to Matthew’s childhood and adolescence, although it has been variously suggested that he attended school, spent his formative years on the continent and that he trained as a lawyer.  His performances in court may give some credence to this claim, but again, there is no evidence to support the assumption.  What is known is that, along with his colleague John Sterne, he was responsible for over 200 executions of suspected witches – more in that short space of time than all the other witch hunters managed during 160 years!

5) Why do you think Hopkins was successful in gaining support for his Witch hunts?

He operated during a time when Civil war had brought great unrest to the country. In times like this people are afraid and uncertain of their future and are perhaps more likely to blame other people for their misfortunes. I think also that Hopkins used fear extremely well – if you didn’t join in with the accusations, you may well have ended up being on the receiving end of them yourself! Also, life was short and cheap and hard and bad things happened all the time. People didn’t have the knowledge to always explain why someone was ill and dying, or why crops failed or why a woman suffered miscarriage after miscarriage. It was easy, and perhaps understandable, that they looked to others to take the blame.

6) Alice’s surname was Pendle, what do you know of the stories of the Pendle Witches from Lancaster?

I chose ‘Pendle’ as Alice’s surname as a small tribute to those executed in Pendle in 1612. I recently published an article about them on my blog. The story certainly has similarities, although it happened more than thirty years before Matthew Hopkins began his witch hunts. Again,  a woman was accused of cursing someone, and, in turn and probably under extreme duress, implicated others, who then implicated more, until nine women and two  men were executed, and one woman, in her eighties, died in prison. It is a familiar pattern, seen in many of these cases both in England and in many other countries around the world.

7) Were the English Witch Trials similar to the American Salem Witch Trials?

They were similar in that a kind of mass hysteria overtook reason and in that more women than men were accused and subsequently executed. Hopkins wrote a book ‘The Discovery of Witches’ in which he outlined his methods – the following year, trials and executions for witchcraft began in the New England colonies. In one of these cases, that of Margaret Jones, Hopkins’ methods of watching and searching were used.  And some of his methods were used in the Salem Witch Trials – so the two are actually closely connected.

8) What do you think was the most shocking torture that Hopkins administered?

Torture was actually unlawful in England, so Hopkins as very careful to use methods that were not regarded as such, however shocking they may seem to us today. Sleep deprivation was one such method that caused terrible suffering. But I think that ‘pricking’ was the worst, particularly as Hopkins cheated. It was believed that witches had marks on their bodies that would not bleed. So ‘prickers’ pricked the flesh with knives and pins until they found a spot that did not bleed. Hopkins had a retractable pin made so that, of course, his victims, when ‘pricked’ with this pin would not bleed.

9) What role did wise women have in the everyday life of poor villagers?

Wise women (and sometimes men) provided a service to those who could not afford to pay for a doctor or apothecary, using herbal remedies for ailments suffered by people and livestock. Some were also midwives, as Alice and Maggie are. Although wise women were accused of witchcraft, it was also often the case that wise women or other midwives were those that did the accusing – I wanted to show this through the role of Annie Everard.

10) I know you enjoy writing about the everyday lives of people in times gone by, what are you working on next?

Since publishing ‘The Black Hours’ I have had a lot of requests from readers wanting to know the story behind Maggie. So I have written a prequel to ‘The Black Hours’ called ‘Blackwater’, a novella that will be available as an eBook in March. I am also working on my next full length novel, ‘Remember, Remember’. I was researching an article and came across some interesting information about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. There was one source (and only one) that suggested Guy Fawkes may have had a wife. This got me thinking – what would it have been like to be married to a man willing to give up everything for his beliefs? If he was married, then his wife was a woman caught up in events she couldn’t control – something that interests me immensely. So ‘Remember, Remember’ imagines the plot from her point of view. I’m hoping to release the novel in November!

The Black Hours

Find a copy here on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Thank you Alison and Good luck with your next books. I am currently reading Blackwater and a review will appear on the blog in May.