Thank you to Vine Voice Reviewer N.N. Light for this lovely 5 star review of the Hedge Witch.
Forests are a kingdom unto themselves with magic waiting to be discovered.
I love reading flash fiction and poetry. In this stunning collection, the author writes emotive poems and prose with the theme of forestry. Each poem tells a story, and the reader is left to ponder its significance. The poetic tale of the hedge witch touched me deeply.
The imagery reflected in this collection is impressive. Each word has been carefully chosen by a wordsmith to evoke a feeling, a memory, or even an unspoken truth. The author is a very talented poet and I feel honored to have read this collection.
Bravo to fellow poet, author and blogger Colleen Chesebro who has started a new venture!
Here is my review of her formatting and design cover service
I’m delighted with the formatting and cover design service I received from Colleen Chesebro @ Unicorn Cats Publishing Services. She did a great job designing a cover that matched my latest book The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet perfectly. She gave me a range of cover options and I just knew when the cover was right! The formatting service was carefully done with special care and attention to the placement of the poetry, as well as the all important front and back matter, ensuring that the end result met my high expectations. Nothing is too much trouble for Colleen, she will work with you to make sure that your book is to the standard you would expect from a professional publishing service. Highly recommended.
Colleen is a member of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association and supports IBPA’s industry standards checklist for a professionally published book.
Sally Cronin’s Review of The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet
This is a poetry and flash fiction collection seeped in nature and illustrates the love the author has for the environment, particular the forests.
The first pages share the delightful love story of the Hedge Witch and the Musical Poet, bringing two solitary characters together in the sanctuary of a magical forest far from the human world.
This story is followed by poems and flash ficton, some of which are poignant such as the tribute to a ginger cat in Chester, Don & I, and bewilderment voiced in The Network of Trees as they stand in danger from the human need for progress.
There is also the sad reflection that much of the beauty and adventures to be found in the forests are being missed as children find themselves engrossed in the online world instead. The author makes sure to include the fun they could be enjoying instead.
The Teddy in the Woods probably should come with a tissue alert.
There are some reminders of poems from another collection which I also enjoyed Mr. Sagittarius Poetry; one of my favourites being Rainbow – Parasol of Light.
In the second section of the collection there is a series of poems inspired by other writers. Set in the woodlands and the beauty they offer. This includes the ethereal The Forest King.
The forest king lives in the shadows his hair and beard, a flame alight in his crown, the fairy queen sits far from the tangled roots of his throne.
This is a collection to savour and to dip into when the technical world we inhabit becomes too demanding, or we are in need of a touch of magic. I recommend to lovers of nature and fantasy.
A young dancer’s naive dream of working in the Far East turns into a nightmare.
She finds herself in a plethora of situations which she is ill-equipped to deal with. Dancing her way across South Korea with two friends, she is propositioned by the Mafia, turned away by the British Embassy, caught in a student riot, and taken to Korean brothels.
At times both shocking and humorous, this is the story of a timid young girl finding her voice and learning to stand up for herself in a male-orientated world of alcohol, sex and seedy nightclubs.
My eldest daughter spent a year in South Korea Teaching English As a Foreign Language so I was curious to pick up this memoir of the author’s experiences. I am glad that I did. It was so funny! Lighthearted and fun. There’s a lot to recommend Fishnets with the antics of the dancers, their differing personalities, all three: Michele, Louise and Sharon are so different.
Follow their crazy madcap adventures: the motorbike episode, strip bars, dancing disco spots, unsalubrious dives, food, (and the desire to eat!) kim chi, hooker hill, and details of the national drink – soju (which is lethal.)
The poor dancers experiences are absolutely horrendous with death threats, misognistic behaviour, danger, rats (furry and not.) The hysterical male performer and his furry g string will remain in my mind forever as will Sharon’s insatiable appetite for men, Mr. Lee’s ‘no work,’ the Korean’s love letter to Michelle and the threat of starvatian to boot!
And poor Louise and Sharon’s extra curvy figures being referred to in derogatory terms as the: ‘Travelling elephant Show.’
A sinister town that’s not on any map, mysterious black vans and missing people, a book that can kill you, a vengeful mother, an account of life after death, and your worst nightmares come true. This is a strange and dark collection of poems, short stories and musings on a variety of gritty subjects, such as revenge, body image, fear, death, life, motherhood, nature and writing.
This is an interesting collection of unusual tales and poems some of which will stay in my thoughts for a long time!
Many were relatable to me personally – the poem – We Write – and – The Writer Woman – A Cautionary Tale exploring the addictive side of writing obsession which is oh so understandable to us writing types!
Three of my horror favourites – the tale of so-called friends in Child’s Eye, Dylan’s Dream, and the weird, grotesque and not so simple purchase of a shed in The Shed!
The unwelcome attitude to strangers in small towns is portrayed and executed with a creepy ending in Black Hare Valley. There are some character style, reflective and human interest poems like Stan, Dark Little Girl, All These Thoughts of Dying, A Woman of a Certain Age and Crushed By A Number which I really was impressed by.
And poignant tales about death, risk, darkness, fear and confusion… 7 minutes,Moonlit Shadow,Driving The Bends, The Black Van and Slug which will creep you out especially if you are scared of slugs!
Another favourite was The Rubbish Man about people who dump their rubbish. The working world, difficulties, and challenges of life are explored in poems such as Monday Morning, Fine Wine, and Tired. And the darker thoughts of the pandemic and worst case scenario in tales such as Outside. Those who love the forest, (I do!) will be drawn into The Forest.
I loved the poem called The Universe which brings a sense of hope in difficult times.
A collection which you would benefit from reading more than once to gain more insight. Excellent tales and poetry. Highly recommended.
Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children, and multiple pets. She is addicted to reading, writing, and music and writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love.
Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life and has now been developed into a 6 book series. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere and award-winning dystopian, The Tree Of Rebels, plus a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories. The award-winning Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature was released through Pict Publishing in October 2018. A Song For Bill Robinson is the first in her YA trilogy.
Lose yourself in this heart-warming chick lit of love, romance, family and friendship
‘The humour and attention to detail made the story come to life and seem real’
‘The story of Katie and Jack is warm with family, friendship and romance’
‘A book that takes you away from it all’
‘For the romantics amongst you, this book is a lovely, heartwarming read’
‘An amusing and romantic story perfect for brightening up a dull afternoon’
When Katie was fourteen, she met her brother’s best friend for the first time. He was good looking, funny and mischievous. What was there to dislike? The trouble was she never stopped liking him and now, in her twenties, her feelings had got stronger. There was no way she was going to tell him though. For a start, her brother wouldn’t like her going out with his best mate. And Jack? Well, he wouldn’t be interested. I mean, why would he, when his girlfriends were so much more glamorous than her?
Jack hadn’t thought of Katie as anything other than his best friend’s sister. At least he hadn’t, until the evening of her parents’ Christmas party. Now, he couldn’t get her out of his mind. But knowing what to do about it was the tricky part. His best mate would hate it if they got together. He was very protective of his sister and from the outset he’d told his friends they couldn’t date her. Not that that would happen anyway. I mean, she’d never shown any interest in him in the whole time that he’d known her so why would she want to go out with him now?
After countless missed opportunities, the time now felt right for them to let each other know. There was one problem, Jack was going to become a father. He didn’t have a reason to doubt this, so he had to move on, make a fresh start. Would the time ever be right for Katie and Jack or had they missed their chance?
This is my first introduction to Sarah Lithgow and I really enjoyed When The Time Feels Right. It’s a light-hearted love story that will make you smile and bring back those angsty thoughts and tummy butterflies! Sweet, with engaging characters, and a nice story line. What’s not to like? I’d recommend if you like romances with a touch of humour, and a family touch (she falls for her brother’s friend!) Bit predictable in parts but one to enjoy when you want a nice, easy and fun romance read to cosy up to. A new author I believe, so hats off to her with this debut novel.
Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.
I’ve been curious for some time to read D.L Finn’s work. In fact, she has so many enticing novels, short stories, and poetry to choose from it was quite a job to decide on which to try first. I opted for Just Her Poetry, it is a sweeping poetry book with part one focusing on poems about nature, the seasons, and musings from the back of a Harley! Part Two is entitled Seasons of A Soul and expresses the author’s emotionally poignant poems about her experiences in darkness and light. There is a bonus section of Some Readers’ Favourites and bonus poetry too.
It’s a lovely book of poetry, so personal and moving. It’s almost as if you are sharing a day out with the author sharing her life, loves and sorrows via her words. In the author note at the end she mentions how nature inspires her writing. I am the same; I loved it. I particularly enjoyed the section of poems written on the back of her husband’s Harley motorbike! Journeying, seeing little details, observational poetry at its best. And some special mentions of poems that I particularly related to: Fingers of The Sea, Trees, Ocean, (as the sea is my spiritual home and I adore trees!)
My recommendation: A wonderful collection of poetry. Highly recommended.
Thank you so much to D. L. Finn for this wonderful review post supporting so many indie authors : Vashti Vega, Charles W Jones, D. L. Cross (Staci Troilo,) and including yours truly and Mr. Sagittarius is so thrilled!
Thank you very much, Marje, for offering me this space on your blog to introduce my book Paranormal Warwickshire to your readers.
It is my pleasure Sheila.
Warwickshire is a county steeped in the supernatural, as befits the county of Shakespeare and the many ghosts and spirits that he conjured up in his works.
The towns and villages of Warwickshire, its castles, houses, churches, theatres, inns and many other places both grand and everyday have rich and complex stories to tell of paranormal presences.
In this book I investigate stories at places such as Guy’s Cliffe, the Saxon Mill, Warwick Castle and St Mary’s Church, Warwick; Kenilworth Castle and Stoneleigh Abbey; Nash’s House and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as in the towns of Rugby, Nuneaton and Leamington Spa.
I explore the spiritual resonance of each location, recounting the tales of paranormal activity associated with it and examining the reasons for this within the history of the place.
What inspired me to write about this subject? I’ve lived in Warwickshire for twenty-four years, at the time of writing. Though born in south-east England, I have, since coming here, grown to love and feel a deep connection with some of this county’s most iconic locations: castles, houses, abbeys and churches; and also some of its less familiar ones.
I began by frequently visiting these places, and then I wrote blog posts about them in my occasional series Places of Inspiration. Ultimately I was to draw those posts together into a book.
As a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction, I’m very interested in strong atmospheres in old houses. There’s a vast difference between a house which leaves you cold, and a house with a rich atmosphere. That seemed to lead me on naturally to paranormal events, though I’ll admit that I didn’t focus upon them until history publisher Amberley had expressed interest in my proposal and said they wanted it to fit into their paranormal series.
Amongst the places I write about, we may find Guy’s Cliffe House in Warwick, an atmospheric ruined gothic mansion near my home. As I say in my book,
Many stories linger within these ruins. As you wander around you may wish to climb the gaping staircases, or stand on one of the stone balconies and gaze at the view cross the river and over the surrounding fields; or imagine you see a shadowy figure flit past an empty window-frame.
In this, and so many other historical sites, I feel a distinct spiritual resonance; and that is why I’m drawn back to them again and again.
When I began to put my book together, it occurred to me that since this is Shakespeare’s county, and several of the locations have close personal connections with the Bard, it would be a good idea to base the book around the theme of Shakespeare’s ghosts and spirits. I hope you agree that the words of Shakespeare with which I have chosen to open every chapter in this book, capture the very essence of what these special places signify to us today.
One of my favourite quotes is this, from the mouth of Prospero the magician, in The Tempest:
These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into this air. And like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.
I love Prospero’s relationship with his servant, Ariel, whom he addresses as my tricksy spirit. Ariel obeys his master’s every command, until such time as the magician chooses to set him free to the elements.
And how I love Puck, that shrewd and knavish sprite who does Oberon’s bidding in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. One of my favourite speeches is the one he chooses to end the play with:
If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended, that you have but slumbered here whilst these visions did appear…
No-one can be quite sure whether Shakespeare believed in ghosts and spirits, or used them purely as dramatic devices. One thing’s for sure; they make frequent appearances in his plays. It’s known that he himself played the spirit of Hamlet’s father, many times, and it was the top of his performance as an actor, according to his first biographer.
I’ve heard opposite points of view on Shakespeare’s own beliefs from an Oxford professor and from a Shakespearean actor leading the Stratford-upon-Avon town ghost tour. But Shakespeare’s ghosts and spirts certainly inspired me as I was writing my book!
To us now, entering these places as curious visitors separated from their living inhabitants sometimes by centuries, those long-gone people have all melted into air and are insubstantial, but have left an imprint of their lives in the very fabric of the buildings.
Paranormal Warwickshire will be published on 15 th November 2020 hope you will enjoy reading the stories as much as I enjoyed researching them!
It has been a pleasure hosting you on my blog Sheila. I have always been fascinated by the paranormal and this collection is one to treasure. Thank you so much with entrusting me with an advanced readers copy to review.
I have always been fascinated by the paranormal and have had a far few ghostly and strange experiences myself, so this book by S. C. Skillman caught and kept my attention throughout.
It’s a well-researched, detailed and beautifully photographed book. Some of the images within are by S.C. Skillman herself.
If you like tales of haunted castles, churches, theatres, hotels, manor houses and many more locations beside, (a ghost can hang out anywhere they feel drawn to,) this is for you!
The collection begins in Warwick and moves on to various locations in Warwickshire: Kenilworth, Stratford-upon-Avon, Lapworth, Alcester, Rugby, Nuneaton (Birthplace of George Eliot,) and Leamington Spa.
Some of my favourite tales within included ghostly tales from theatres: in Stratford-upon-Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The ‘grey lady’ ‘is thought by by many to be the spirit of Elisabeth Scott, and is one of the theatre’s most well-known ghosts.’ ‘She appears so real she is often mistaken for a lost theatregoer.’ ‘It seems that many who have loved this theatre in their lifetimes cannot turn away from this magical and evocative place.’
And in Rugby Theatre: ‘One of the stories told here is of a woman seen floating down the stairs. It is thought she was an usherette in former times…’
It’s an interesting collection and one that will encourage you to explore the paranormal. After reading, you will want to visit these locations first hand to see if you experience the haunting visitations described within. Who knows, you might even want to become a paranormal investigator!
Sheila lives in Warwickshire, and writes psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Association of Christian Writers.
She began her publishing journey with a duology of novels Mystical Circles and A Passionate Spirit. This was followed by a non-fiction book Perilous Path: a writer’s journey. Sheila is currently working on the second novel in a new gothic fiction series.
Sheila was born and brought up in Orpington, Kent, and studied English Literature at Lancaster University. Her first permanent job was as a production secretary with the BBC. Later she lived for nearly five years in Australia before returning to the UK.
She has now settled in Warwick with her husband and son, and her daughter is studying at university in Australia.
This is Lizzie Chantree’s debut non-fiction book about networking for writers. I’m familiar with Lizzie’s romance novels having had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Ninja School Mum and If You Love Me I’m Yours.
Did Networking for Writers meet my expectations? Absolutely. This is a clear, well-written and invaluable resource especially for those who are fairly new to writing, getting to grips with the marketing and business side can be daunting. It is also a great book to refer to for writers, such as myself, who have been blogging and writing for five years plus. I learnt new things and was reminded of aspects of networking that it’s possible to forget in our daily busy lives. It’s simple things that are so easy to do which make a difference.
Lizzie’s personality shines throughout this book. She is honest, helpful and caring in her approach to help you with your networking skills.