It’s the start of another week. It’s Monday! What are you Reading is hosted by Kathryn from Book Date, this is a weekly event to share what we’ve read in the past week and what we hope to read, plus whatever else comes to mind. I have several books on the go, and some others I hope to get to, so here goes.
To read more… What Are you Reading… click on the It’s Monday source link above.
Many thanks to Carla for including This Is Lockdown amongst this great celebration of reading!
Thanks so much to Sally for this wonderful author update. My poetry collection, Mr. Sagittarius with its latest review from Ruchira is shared along with great books from C. S. Boyack and Elizabeth Merry.
I’m pleased to welcome Leslie Tate to Kyrosmagica. I featured Leslie previously at the time of the blog tour for Violet. You can read more about that here, along with links to some of Leslie’s other books: Blue, Purple, and Heaven’s Rage.
Leslie’s latest book, Love’s Register, will be published in October and you can pre-order a signed copy here.
THE MAKING OF A NOVEL Leslie Vs Leslie: a self-interview, discussing Leslie’s latest novel, Love’s Register: What’s special about Love’s Register? For starters, it’s longer than three novels put together. And it’s full-on, exploring the love lives of four UK generations. It also covers the climate emergency and how it affects young people today. It’s ambitious, but very much about the characters. Does that mean it’s a character-led book? (Leslie smiles) Yes and no. Because it’s also driven by language and location. So I’ve given the characters their own voices, the language is literary but down-to-earth, and the scenes on N.E. beaches contrast with London and York. Taken together, they create mood, voice and incident.
In that case, why’s there a picture of Tahiti on the cover? Ah, that’s about climate. The book’s last protagonist, Hereiti, comes from Tahiti. She’s a professor and a climate activist and gives a Ted-type Talk about Oceania going under. Right, now we’ve got the general idea, can you tell us about how you approach writing a story like that? (Leslie switches on the computer) Certainly. To begin with, I sit down at the screen and try out words. At first my mind’s blank and I have to resist the temptation to do something else or simply give up. But I know from experience that I have to keep trying – usually for hours. If I do any pre-planning it’s most likely to come from a random stimulus. By that I mean, for example, if I’m out walking and see someone or a place that connects with my past I might think “Ah, that’s the start of a story.” But when I get home if I try to ‘translate’ that into words I’ll end up with a long list of phrases, nothing else. To get anywhere I have to start writing and see what happens – which can be frustrating because the words can’t be given orders, and don’t necessarily come out the way you want. But aren’t you in charge – I mean, don’t you steer the story as it develops? Light-touch steering, I’d say. With lots of turnarounds, backtracking and changes in direction. That way, what happens comes as a surprise to me and the reader, So it’s a kind of improv – but heavily doctored afterwards. It has to be plausible but significant – and take you places you don’t normally go. Sounds like hard work. But how do you know when you’ve hit gold and got the final version? You never do – at least I don’t. A novel’s always in progress, but of course you do get a feeling of closure when it comes together. “Ah,” you say to yourself, “that’s how it gels!” Even then, the ‘rules’ of the novel aren’t fixed so it can be hard to know what fits, especially as anything ground-breaking is likely to sound strange at first. So there’s a degree of necessary discomfort about any book that aims to be ‘new and original, not seen before’. That’s the dictionary definition, by the way, of the word novel! Nice. Now, going back to Love’s Register, how have you linked the different people together?
They’re all part of the Lavender Family tree. You mean it’s a family saga? Well, it’s quite selective. So the storytellers are Joe, Mia and Cass plus Matthew Lavender and later, Richard Lavender – but also Mary Hammond and Beth Jarvis. So – my last attempt to pin you down – is it a character-based historical fiction? (Leslie laughs) Not completely. Because it’s a modern psychological novel that focuses on individual scenes. What you get is more of a social portrait. We catch the family at key moments, skipping the boring parts in between.
OK, to end the interview, how about an extract? Certainly. I’ll make it short. The story moves back and forth between voices. This is the last entry for the Lavender children, Joe, Mia and Cass: Joe, Mia and Cass were in a quiz show. “What makes the world go round?” asked Joe. He was the quiz master, dressed in joggers and a rainbow jacket. “You have three minutes to answer,” he added, placing an upended egg timer on the table. The sand began to run. “Is it money?” asked Mia. She was wearing an animal-print tunic over black leggings. “What do you think?” “Well I know climate deniers can’t think of anything else. They’re culty, like Midas. And remember what happened to him.” “The addict’s punishment, eh?” “I’m guessing money’s not the answer.” “No, money’s out. So, what makes the world go round?” “You want the science?” asked Cass, who was wearing a white lab coat.
“Yes, if we can. But remember, we’re on countdown.” Joe checked the timer. The sand in the bottom chamber was piling up. It seemed to be alive. “OK. It’s about gravity,” Cass replied. “The Earth’s like an ice skater pulling in her arms to spin faster. That’s been going on a long time.” “Ah, but is it spotting as it turns?” asked Joe. “That’s what’s called anthropomorphism,” said Cass. “Gravity, you just hold me down so quietly,” sang Mia. “The question remains open,” said Joe. “Any takers?” He took off his jacket to reveal his printed T-shirt. In the centre was an hourglass in a circle. “Is it wishful thinking?” asked Mia. “Good try. But you know what they say. Be careful what you wish for…” “Got it! Everyone knows, LOVE makes the world go round,” said Mia “That’s half the answer,” replied Joe. He checked the timer. In the top part, the sand had caved in. It was draining fast. Mia pointed to the T-shirt. “You’re not thinking of the ten-year warning?” Joe shook his head. “No. In any case the latest science says it could be much sooner.” Mia clapped her hands. “I know,” she said, “it’s LOVE AND RAGE.” “Correct,” called Joe. As Mia jazz-handed, the last few grains of sand trickled through. She looked from Joe to Cass. “Can we begin again?” she asked. “We don’t really know,” Joe replied. “But it could be difficult,” her sister added. She pointed to the timer. The bottom half was full and the top was empty. Realising the quiz was over Joe, Mia and Cass fell silent. They were out of time.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Love’s Register tells the story of romantic love and climate change over four UK generations. Beginning with ‘climate children’ Joe, Mia and Cass and ending with Hereiti’s night sea journey across Oceania, the book’s voices take us through family conflicts in the 1920s, the pressures of the ‘free-love 60s’, open relationships in the feminist 80s/90s and a contemporary late-life love affair. Love’s Register is a family saga and a modern psychological novel that explores the way we live now. Due out mid/end-October, you can pre-order your signed copy here https://leslietate.com/shop/loves-register/ . BIO: Leslie Tate is an ex-student of the UEA Creative Writing Course, and the author of six novels. Leslie’s website https://leslietate.com/ offers book and personal information plus weekly interviews with creative and community-involved people.
Wishing Leslie much success with Love’s Register. Such an important topic – climate change and one which we all must be so mindful of.
I’m pleased to welcome Jemima Pett to my blog today to celebrate the launch of Princelings Revolution.
Princelings Revolution is out today! The day has finally come for the last in Jemima Pett’s Princelings of the East series. She started writing it in the dim dark days of 2008, thanks to inspiration from some guinea pig friends. Today’s post has an extract and a Giveaway, so there’s a lot of reading!
In 2008 it was just a trilogy. But the characters wouldn’t accept their fate and demanded more. And so the saga of the Realms wound its way from south to north, and even into Germany before returning to the east.
The Princelings of the East
The Princelings and the Pirates
The Princelings and the Lost City
The Traveler in Black and White
The Talent Seekers
Willoughby the Narrator
The Princelings of the North
Chronicles of Marsh
Jasmine’s birthday party ends in disaster. George seems to have lost a phial of highly dangerous liquid. And King Fred is battling politics, relatives and self-serving dignitaries in his aim to give the people a better way of living.
But can Fred keep the promise he made to an engaging chap from another time when he was just a princeling? Or will all their hopes fail?
Jemima’s favourite quotes from the book
“Hector, in charge? Couldn’t lead a file of caterpillars, that one!”
The way Jasmine said it made Fred raise an eyebrow. It was exactly how Kira said it when she wanted to say something privately.
“The usual suspects are people we know. I reckon these are people we don’t know. And who don’t know us.”
“Oh.” George considered all the other uses he had found for it. This was not a good one. “It’s called duct tape,” he said.
About the series
Ten books take us from 2009 through to 2021, with a prequel at Book 4, explained from Lord Mariusz’s point of view. The feudal structure of the Realms, the changes wrought by new technology, largely promoted by Princeling George, Fred’s brother. The demise of paranormal creatures, thanks to George’s use of garlic in the fuel cells; the rise of an anti-monarchist group called the Causists, and the resilience of characters great and small, trying to keep their pleasant and friendly society together in the face of so-called freedom fighters. One simple book at a time creates a world of change that will be somewhat familiar to every reader on today’s uncertain planet.
Suitable for good readers 8 years and up, although some parental guidance may occasionally be needed. Generally listed as age 10 and up.
The first three books in the series are also available as Audiobooks
About the author
Jemima Pett started writing stories when she was eight. By ten she was designing fantasy islands, complete with maps and railways timetables. There was no call for fantasy island designers then, so she took the science route through university and went into a business career, then retrained for environmental technology. Once in a policy research organisation she started writing again, reports, papers and briefings. She didn’t believe she could write fiction until her guinea pigs came along, and inspired her to write The Princelings of the East. Now she enjoys writing short stories and science fiction novels, and has been published by Third Flatiron Press, among others. She lives in Hampshire with Roscoe, Neville and Biggles, who all appear in Princelings Revolution.
Jemima is on Twitter…. Amazon…. Goodreads…. Facebook…. Website
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Thank you so much to the wonderful Sally Cronin for featuring This Is Lockdown (the latest review from James Cudney,) amongst so many wonderful authors, new reviews for C.S. Boyack, Don Massenzio plus a new release also from Stevie Turner!!
A huge welcome to a very special guest Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. Teagan has some wonderful news, a new book. What could be more amazing? I’m thrilled to be participating with so many talented authors on her blog tour for A Ghost in the Kitchen. Join us on a imaginative tour…
Book launch for “A Ghost in the Kitchen” by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene Welcome to the launch party for A Ghost in the Kitchen! It’s a wild ride on a magical trolley through haunted Savannah, Georgia.
It’s my absolute pleasure Teagan. Hi everyone. I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, and I’ve brought a bunch of friends for this shindig on a magical 1920s trolley. First let me tell you a little about my new novel. When my character, Paisley Idelle Peabody (better known as Pip) came along, I started writing a type of fiction that I never expected. Pip is a flapper. Her stories took me to Savannah, Georgia of the 1920s. It’s only natural that some ghosts got in on the act. After all, many people say that Savannah is the most haunted city in the USA! Here’s the blurb for this novel. A Ghost in the Kitchen, Three Ingredients-2 continues the flapper adventures of Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip. It’s a 1920s “pantser” story and a culinary mystery. This time Pip’s pal Andy (from The Three Things Serial Story) returns. Granny Phanny is there too. She’s still trying to teach Pip to cook. Granny is in a lather because of the supernatural goings-on in her kitchen. There’s also one pos-i–lutely potent poltergeist! New adventures abound as Pip and Andy unravel an old mystery. It’s all spontaneously driven by “ingredients” sent by readers of the blog, Teagan’s Books.
Did you hear the bell clang? Our magic trolley is here!
There are links galore, so limber up your clicking finger and jump on the trolley. Here’s a map showing some locations. Friends who promised to participate in my launch will be at some of these haunted places. They’ll get on the magical blog party trolley as we tour haunted Savannah!
I just wish this 1920s trolley could move faster… Oh! A brass lamp just clattered to the ground. There’s purple smoke coming out. “Your wish is my command!” Aladin Fazel– my favorite magician! Now the trolley can go anywhere. At the top of the map is the Moon River Brewing Company. That’s a good place to start in case anyone needs some liquid courage for this ghostly adventure!
There’s Christoph Fischer. Duck! A rowdy, spifflicated ghost just threw a beer bottle. Olga NúñezMiret is helping him Christoph get away from the spirited spirit and onto our trolley. Welcome aboard, Olga and Christoph. You two look darb in your 1920s glad rags. Magician, those ghosts are going to follow Olga and Christoph all the way to the trolley. Can you please get us to the next stop? We’ve traveled east, closer to the river. Our trolley is on a bluff above the River Walk. Now we’re at Factor’s Walk. The foundations of some of these buildings date back to the late 1700s. D. L. Finnand Valentina Cirasola should be waiting for us there. Ah, there they are, beside one of the sealed-off tunnel entrances. Love those hats, ladies! Applesauce, hurry to the trolley. There are shadow figures all around us!
Tunnels that originate in this area have been known to send ghastly moans into the still night air. Look out, DyannaWyndesong! A tall shadow was sneaking up behind you. Get back on the trolley, quick! Yes, that’s one of the many tunnels. They make a labyrinth beneath Savannah. Wow, we’re going into the haunted tunnel.
Magician, why are you slowing the trolley? You must see something ahead in this creepy tunnel… Oh! It’s a poster for Teri Polen’s yearly October event, Bad Moon Rising! I’ll be there on October, 18th, chatting with Teri about all sorts of Halloween-ish things, as well as my novella, Brother Love — a Crossroad. I hope everyone will join us for the fun.
Since this is a magical trolley the tunnel will take us directly the Sorrel Weed House where we’ll pick up two more guests. Just beware the lady in black! I hope John W. Howell and Dan Antion know about her. Oh-oh! John and Dan, that’s no damsel in distress, it’s a mean ghost. Hurry over here to the trolley, guys!
If you’ll keep the trolley heading south, Magician, we can pick up Michael (from OIKOS Publishing) at the Andrew Low House. I see that Jan Sikesis meeting us there too. Jan don’t go in that room! Through the window I see Juilette Gordon Low lying on the bed – but she died in 1927! Michael, watch out for that butler at the top of the stairs too. His clothes went out of style 150 years ago. Those are ghosts. You two better get on the trolley fast! Aladin, this is great! You found a magic tunnel to take us north east. Sally Croninand Jacquie Biggar are waiting for us at the Colonial Park Cemetery. Ladies, I realize that handsome young man invited you to follow him. Don’t bother. He’ll just disappear once he goes inside the gate. He died a long, long time ago.
Applesauce! All these spooky apparitions have given me an appetite. Shall we find a haunted restaurant? Ah, the 17Hundred90 Inn & Restaurant is on our way. Robbie Cheadle and Marje Mallonare already there. Robbie, take care. That little boy is really a ghost. Marje, I know you feel sorry for Anna, but she’s been waiting for her lost love since before any of us were born. She’s a specter too. That ghostly cook, does not seem nearly as friendly as Maestro Martino, the cursed chef in A Ghost in the Kitchen. She’s banging her pots and pans and making a quite ruckus. What’s our next stop, Magician?
Now we’re at The Marshall House. It’s a haunted hotel where we’re picking up Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape. What’s that dear Ape? You say your “naughty chimp” nephews are in a game of “tag,” chasing the ghosts of children who run up and down the halls there? They’re all having a great time! Hey, there’s Traci Kenworthtoo, down at the other end of the building. Come on to the trolley, Traci. Those little ghosts are starting to raise a ruckus.
Thanks to Aladin and our magical trolley, we’ve taken another of those hidden tunnels. Now, we’re almost back where we started, between River Street and Factors Walk. We have one more stop. We need to pick up ResaMcConaghy and Jacqui Murrayat the Olde Harbour Inn. Oh! They’re already running to the trolley. I expect the spirit known as Hank tried to crawl into bed with at least one of them. I also smell his cigar smoke. I think I’d run too!
Alright everyone. Pip and Granny Phanny are waiting for us at the cottage. Granny is eager to start her book fair. She’s a real bearcat, and she won’t like it if we’re late. So let’s get a wiggle on!
Granny Phanny’s Book Fair
Welcome to the book fair. All these authors volunteered to help me by sharing this magic trolley tour of haunted Savannah. Their books are all swell. So I put them in pos-i-lutely random order. Hopefully that will lead you to look at some things you might not typically read. You’ll find purchase links below the cover images.
Sheiks and Shebas, thanks so very much for getting on the magical trolley for this tour. Ya’ll are pos-i-lutely the berries!
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
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The tired, small hatchback hit a rock next to the edge of the road and came to an unexpected and abrupt stop. Erica had not seen the bulky thing hidden underneath the uncut grass. She switched off the engine and got out. There seemed no significant damage to her old banger but she couldn’t care less right now, to be honest, and decided she would leave it parked here anyway. She must be close.
Quite frankly, she considered herself lucky to have made it this far; the roads had been bumpy and her car was in a dire condition, too. It wouldn’t be much longer before it would have to be scrapped. Living in London she rarely needed it and had often been tempted to sell it anyway.
This was deepest Wales, the countryside – something that the Londoner in her had not seen for years and certainly hadn’t missed. Poor phone reception, miles to the nearest supermarket with its supplies of cigarettes and bubbly: that’s what the countryside meant to her.
She guessed the car was sufficiently off the road and out of the way. Who would come here, anyway? It was unlikely that two cars would find this remote corner of Wales at the same time, she reckoned. Erica looked around: not a living soul in sight, no houses or vehicles; she was totally off the beaten track. She could see no significant landmarks; all views were blocked by large trees and hedges. It was drizzling a little and although it was past lunchtime, there was mist that reminded her of early mornings. The wind had made the spring temperatures drop more than she had anticipated and she was chilly in her inadequate city clothing.
She searched her purse for the map, which her assistant Hilda had drawn for her. It seemed as if she was in the right place; there was the small path at the foot of the hill, and the two opposing gates leading to fields with horses and sheep. Since leaving her nearby B&B, all the road junctions she had come to had been easy to recognise and here was the little shoulder by the side of the road, where Hilda had recommended she should park the car.
She assured herself once more that it was the right path and then she psyched herself up for the walk up the steep hill. The tricky part, Hilda had explained, was finding the hidden gate, which would lead her to the man himself. However, Hilda didn’t have pancreatic cancer and was not recovering from a course of chemo and so she had no idea how difficult it would be for Erica to walk up that hill. It seemed by no means the easy climb her assistant had called it. For all her recent goodness, that woman could drive her mad.
Erica looked at herself in the outside mirror of her car before getting ready to face the man. Her hair had not fallen out from the chemo but it had turned grey and made her look much older than she was. There were still crow’s feet and wrinkles despite being facially bloated – it really wasn’t fair; the worst of both worlds. People used to think of Erica as at least five years younger than she actually was, but now people thought she was five years older. Overnight it seemed, she had aged from 40 to 50 but given her current situation she would be lucky to reach 45. Additionally, she had lost a lot of weight, despite the effect that the steroids had had on her. With her mere 5’ 4’’ frame, she looked tiny and felt thin and weak.
Only this man might be able to improve her chances and she desperately hoped the trip here would be worth it. If the man really was who Hilda thought, there was a slight chance for her. If she could make him speak to her, then she was sure she could persuade him to help – if he still possessed those powers. There suddenly seemed a lot of ifs.
She locked the car and began the climb up the tree-covered hill. Her trainers slid on the moist moss, her jeans too tight for some of the big steps she had to take. There was only a tiny trodden path, which seemed easy to lose sight of, curving its way upwardly through the trees. She was glad she had the map. Hilda deserved an award for organising this; if Erica ever made it back to her position at work she would make sure to find a way of compensating her, if she had anything left after she had paid the man.
Her assistant had come here a few days ago and had scouted the place out in the manner of a gifted detective. Hilda had been an angel the last few months with an uncalled for loyalty and devotion which Erica felt she didn’t deserve.
This is a shout out for my friend Christoph Fischer’s whose medical thriller The Healer is part of this multi author, charity box set of medical thrillers DO NO HARM.
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