Merry Indie Christmas! #bookstoread #recommendations #writingcommunity

Some great reads in the indie community and some great folks whose writing and community spirit I can heartily recommend to you.

I have shared this blog post to support my fellow indie authors. It’s a thank you to community members some of whom beta read my books, read and review, promote and support me. I appreciate you all. It includes books from Sally Cronin, D G Kaye, Colleen Chesebro, Adele Marie Park, Roberta Cheadle, Richard Dee, D L Finn, S C Skillman Darlene Foster, Helen Pryke, Ritu Bhathal, Chantelle Atkins, Sim Alec Sansford, Heena Rathore Pardeshi, D Wallace Peach, Sarah Northwood, Lizzie Chantree, Kim Rigby and new discoveries Jina S. Bazzar and Rosemary Mairs.

Of course, there are many others, so this is just a small snapshot of all the wonderful authors out there.

Chantelle Atkins & Sim Alec Sansford – Project Pandora: One word sums this author collaboration up exciting!

Highly entertaining novel from two authors I really admire. What a page turner! Loved it.

This is full of supernatural excitement, teen emotion, (loved the relationship vibes between J J and Darcie,) and magical powers Buy Link:

Richard Dee – We are Saul. Every time I read a new story from Richard Dee I am always struck by his ability to create wonderful new story lines, worlds and characters. We Are Saul is brilliant. Do read it! This tale has love, heart, thoughtful observations and sci fi too!

We Are Saul is a thoroughly entertaining read from start to finish. What a fabulous concept for a story. I absolutely loved how this explored fascinating medical technological advancement in the form of robotic ‘humans.’ The main protagonist Saul has a terrible accident leaving him paralysed but is given the chance to live fully again by becoming an ARP – a robotic enhanced version of himself – using cutting edge technology.

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Colleen Chesebro – Fairies, Myths & Magic II – A wonderful celebration of the winter solstice. I’m on the blog tour for this celebratory book by this wonderful author on the 14th December! It is currently in the promotion phase. Buy a copy. It is fab.

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I really enjoyed reading the 2nd book in Fairies, Myth and Magic series. It’s a wonderful celebration of the winter solstice, with a fabulous mix of stories, flash fiction and poetry.

Colleen is a huge supporter of the poetic, and writing community. Recently, she started up her own formatting and cover design business. Her portfolio of work can be seen here, (including the cover for my poetry books The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet and Do What You Love.)

Sally Cronin is a wonderful supporter of the indie community. But… doesn’t have time to promote her own books as she is always promoting other peoples’ books. So...

Life Is Like A Mosaic.. Eclectic Poems, some wise, some amusing, some darn cute!

I’m a big fan of poetry in all its forms, so this book of eclectic poems from Sally Cronin really appealed to me. There are a wide variety, some wise, some amusing, some thoughtful, some just darn well cute. They are all beautiful presented with accompanying photographs taken from various sources.

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Sally Cronin‘s latest Variety Is The Spice of Life is a Smorgasbord of life, love and the world in which we live!

This is a beautiful collection of poetry, flash fiction and short stories about life, love, getting older, experiencing and cherishing the world and all its magnificent inhabitants: birds, cats, bees, and much more!

Buy Link:

D G Kaye (Debby Gies. Have Bags Will Travel: This is such a hoot, what a laugh! Debby writes memoir, travel stories

Have Bags Will Travel is such an entertaining read which gives you an insight into D G Kaye’s character, her shopping obsession, packing troubles, germaphobia, and brushes with airport security. Enjoy her recollections on the glamour and glitz, her love to travel and a nostalgic aspect to it all

Buy Link:

Debby has a new book coming soon, cover design by Colleen Chesebro, more about the new book here:

Now released:

Roberta Cheadle is a wonderful community member, author and dedicated book reviewer.

A Ghost And His Gold. What an ambitious book! A Ghost and His Gold combines two genres: Paranormal and Historical Fiction and delivers on both counts.

The story is imaginative, moving, educational and written with exceptional flair. Hats off to Roberta Cheadle, she has done a fabulous job.

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D L Finn – A Voice In The Silence – A mysterious novel with heart. I can recommend several books from Denise. She writes in a variety of genres including her poetry and short stories all of which I relate to and enjoy. It seems we have a lot in common including a love of trees!

A Voice In The Silence is recommended if you love novels with heart that are a little different from the mainstream. Good characters, ( both human and otherwise ) and pacing make it a pleasing, at times suspenseful and ultimately romantic read.

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Darlene Foster – Amanda In France – What a clever way to introduce youngsters to different cultures. I’ve read several adventures and enjoyed them all! I love to travel and spread the word about cultural adventures.

Darlene Foster’s entertaining style draws the reader in and keeps their attention throughout. In this latest adventure, Amanda in France, we are treated to the wonders of Paris with mention of many famous places.

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Adele Marie Park – Adele and I go back a long way, both of us like writing horror as well as fantasy! Her fantasy writing is original, atmospheric and different.

An atmospheric story demonstrating the writing talent of Adele Marie Park. If you enjoy supernatural coming of age stories with elemental magic, witches, family secrets, gateways, portals between worlds, nightmares and dark demons this is for you.

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A new author to me Jina S. Bazaar. Shadow Walker is vivid, exciting, imaginative.

I loved the characterisation in this story, the mention of all sorts of magic abilities, the powerful houses, Melaina’s disguises, her roller skating and physical exertions even with an injured ankle! And her obvious love and devotion to her family, plus the lovely touches of humour and vivid descriptive scenes.

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Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal – An engaging cultural romance with more to come in book 2! I can’t wait!

More about that here:

Everything about this engaging romance, (Marriage Unarranged,) appealed to me: the characters, the cultural aspects, the little touches of humour, the Asian family dynamics, the beautiful and informative descriptions of India, (I’ve never been, but it has always been forever on my bucket list,) This story transported me there, and I especially loved the detail in the Gurdwara scenes in which Sikh’s come together to worship and share simple community tasks. Oh, how I would love to visit!

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Fellow fantasy author, and supporter of the community Diana Peach. Her latest book is one of my favourites: The Necromancer’s Daughter. I loved it from start to finish. There is conflict, uncertainty and excitement, heartfelt scenes, and tender moments in this story.

What a beautifully written fantasy book. Stunning prose, engaging characters and a simple but effective plot weave a rich tale of the love of a daughter for her father, and the concerns and morality of awakening the dead.

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Right Beside You from Helen Pryke is part of the Maggie Turner Suspense series. I’ve enjoyed reading more thrillers of late. A gripping read. I’ve read book 1 and book 2 and can recommend both.

It’s a gripping read! One which kept me reading and intrigued to find out what happened next. It’s somewhat gruesomely revengeful in bits but this is beautifully counterbalanced by the love that investigated journalist Maggie and policewoman Sally share.

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Helen has a fantastic FB club.

Sarah Northwood is a talented lady: artistic, a poet and author. I’ve enjoyed her poetry in Poetry of The Heart and Soul and in Bi The Way she shares her own experience with her daughter to promote tolerance and understanding of LGBT.

The main aim of the book is to promote understanding, tolerance and to lessen psychological damage by non-acceptance from parents/friends/community. A worthy aim, which I am happy to support too.

Buy Link: .

Fishnets in The far East by Michele E. Northwood – 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. 

Follow their (the young dancing troupe’s) 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.) 

Buy Link:

Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire by S C Skillman – Authors, writers, tale hunters, and those keen to discover more about Warwickshire would love this. S C Skillman is a talented author, and a lovely community member who also writes supernatural and fantasy tales which I recommend.

Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire is a wonderfully informative, interesting and beautifully illustrated book of tales of Warwickshire. Some of the images within are the author’s own photography. And I learnt a thing or two! Readers who enjoy strange, supernatural, historical and quirky tales will enjoy this book immensely. It is evident that the author S. C. Skillman loves her home in which she has lived for over 20 years.

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I’d also like to recommend Mystical Circles which I have read and reviewed and you can download in eBook.

Mystical Circles by S.C. Skillman is a thoughtful mystical novel which explores relationships between men and women in an unusual cult community.

Its strength lies in the depiction of a whole host of characters who are all strange to a degree. It is a difficult book to review without including massive spoilers so I will say just this, the revelations at the end of the book took me by surprise and also seemed quite forced. But, having thought about it deeply I realise that the author was most probably illustrating that life can be confusing and changeable and partnerships are driven by more than passion. With two choices do we decide to take the safe, or the more dangerous path? Or, is the decision taken away from us? A recommended read which I enjoyed. This is part of a series, book 2 is A Passionate Spirit.

I have read several books by Lizzie Chantree and have more on my radar! I would really recommend Lizzie to you for feel good romance stories.

The Woman Who Felt Invisible captured my attention right from the beginning with a great opening chapter which immediately hooks. The premise about older women feeling invisible is such a perceptive idea and Lizzie Chantree has explored this with touching humour, attention to detail and great characters. I loved all the funny details, the hot house, the dogs, the internet sensation! Jen’s fake smile and how she looked down her nose at the other women..

Buy Link:

Lizzie has an awesome book group on Facebook:

Heena Rahmore Pardesi. The loveliest of book enthusiasts, cat person,author interviewer/youtuber/podcaster and amazing editor. I know because she helped edit Golden Healer book 2 in The Curse of Time series.

Deceived is an engaging psychological page turner. The ending will stay with me for a long time. An excellent debut by Heena Rathore Pardesi. Just what you would expect from a book blogger who loves to read and studies the craft of writing extensively. Buy Link:

Kim Rigby writes awesome adventure fantasy books for kids that I can recommend.

The Black Fire Chronicles Origins was a fun middle grade adventure read for a younger audience. I enjoyed it and particularly liked the growth in the main character Andrew and the close relationship with his talking dog Ralph. Who is super funny and cute.  There is something very engaging about books with talking animals in them.

Buy Link:

Another New Author to me, talented short story writer – Rosemary Mairs – A Recycled Marriage.

This is my first read by this author and I was impressed by this short story collection which shows great variety, imagination and flair. I’m not surprised to discover that three of the included stories are award winning.

Buy Link:

That’s it for now, I hope you find some new reads and authors to enjoy!

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Smorgasbord Bookshelf @sgc58 – #New Book and Book Review – #Pre-order #Scifi #GeneticEngineering We are Saul by Richard Dee | @richarddockett Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Fabulous review by Sally Cronin for Richard’s Dee’s We Are Saul which is currently on pre-order on Amazon. Get yourself a copy via this link:

I was lucky to receive an ARC copy as a beta reader and it’s a fab 5 star read. Link to my review:

Check out Sally’s review and details of the #pre-order at source: Smorgasbord Bookshelf – #New Book and Book Review – #Pre-order #Scifi #GeneticEngineering We are Saul by Richard Dee | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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COVID Diaries 4th May – 6th May #Family #Diaries #COVID19 #Coronavirus #Writing #Blogging #Fashion #Guest #Features

Time to catch up on my COVID Diaries… I’ve been very busy of late finishing edits on my second book in my series The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer. They are now finished and I am pleased to say I have now passed my manuscript on to Heena Rathmore Pardeshi for a critique and proofread service.

So, let’s go back in time…

4th May

I slept badly the night before so I’m feeling tired. My eldest daughter Tasha and I still did our workout session but it was a gentle one. We both thought it would suit a granny! Which is just as well…We finished it off by doing some yoga.

I tidied my office and did some editing of the second book in my Curse of Time series. Later, my hubby and I went to the supermarket. My friend Hanna was in the queue too, so we stopped to chat to each other – following the social distancing rules – of course. You can’t exactly talk quietly due to the distance imposed, so I shouted across the queue about the fire…

What fire?

IVC is the local secondary school that my kids went to. Apparently, a skip lit and the fire spread to the roof of the performing arts block. Strange, sounds like arson to me. A friend of my daughter heard two large explosions, they thought it was an earthquake, or something. Everyone is so on edge at the moment that any loud bangs, or noises would be enough to trigger an attack of the nerves.

I wonder how the fire happened?

Getting back to the shopping trip with hubby. Whilst inside…

We argued down the aisles, in a feisty banter kind of way and I saw one of the local mum’s smirking at us.

Our shopping trip was so distracting. Both hubby and I bought four packs of onions, so we’ve got lots of onions to eat!

Next time I’m going on my own! Hubby’s idea of shopping consists of ample supplies of alcohol, and no treats apart from one bar of chocolate! How to survive lockdown with no crisps, nuts… Mind you, judging by our horrendous food bill perhaps we should start a starvation diet.

Oh, and I had a couple of guests in my Isolation for Writers Series:

First up was Jeannie Wycherley:

And then Chantelle Atkins:

5th May

It’s been a funny day. Aren’t they all? I finally cleared out my office. I am such a hoarder! I found things stuffed behind things that I didn’t even know were there. Nevertheless, it was interesting. We discovered three large bags of old photos and an airmail letter from my dad when he’d been working abroad in Swaziland. My eldest daughter Natasha has never seen an airmail letter before! What a lovely find. His writing was atrocious though. What a job I had reading it. Basically, it was to congratulate me on the birth of baby Georgina! And to send his love and well wishes to hubby’s dad who was ill at that time. Sadly, hubby’s dad passed away shortly after that letter was sent and Grandpa James never got a chance to see his new grand-daughter in person, which is especially sad as he always wanted lots of grand-children.

Also, I came across an old newspaper cutting of Tasha when she was three years old with her Grandma (my mum, who must have been about my age at that time,) at a hospice event.

How young my mum looked. Time flies by too fast.

I also found some old photos of hubby and I when we were young! That was funny, me draped all over him looking loved up… There was one of me wearing a leopard skin crop top and tight matching leggings. We were going to a fancy dress party. Memories, yes, it was a day of memories.

Other than that we did our gym session in the garden around 11am. Me, and the girls, and then we had lunch afterwards.

Hubby decided to climb up a ladder to sand the outside windows for painting. This made me very nervous as he’s so high up. He decided to wear his bike helmet for protection but at that height if he fell…

At one point, I went upstairs to pass him the sander and I saw this wasp on the window ledge. I was too frightened to tell him it was there in case he fell off the ladder. Later, I realised the wasp was dead!

Then Gina had an almighty melt down brought on by us all making so much noise whilst she’s completing her university assignments. Hubby was making this annoying sound with his sander, or yelling at me to get him something he needed. What a job I had calming her down. She said she wanted to go back to Manchester. No chance of that – no one can go anywhere. So, I suggested we sit in the car for a while. She brought her laptop and we looked at it together, with tears in her eyes. Bless her. Then hubby came out, looking at us as if we were bonkers. He asked why we were sitting in the car! I explained about the noise and he said he’d finish for the day. Thank goodness it’s quiet now. Phew, it’s just as well I used to be a therapist. Sometimes, I need to be to calm this lot down…

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I hope it is a bit calmer…

6th May.

I had a terrible night’s sleep. Stress of yesterday? Perhaps it was also exacerbated by hubby teasing, saying that he was leaving the long ladder by our bedroom window for a thief, or Romeo to come in. I woke at 3.30am. I thought I heard someone climbing up the ladder. No doubt it was just my imagination! One of the hazards of being a writer is you always imagine the craziest things. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I crept out of bed and started blogging – as you do!

By the time hubby was up, I’d had enough, so I went back to bed and managed a couple of hours sleep before Tasha came looking for me. I didn’t join in with a keep fit, or yoga workout today, or take part in Writing Sprints. Shame. Instead, I edited some of the Curse of Time, beta read and finished a poetry collection for Sarah Northwood, Poetry for The Heart and Soul which I loved. Here is the link to her beta reading group:

As well, I started working on a blog post about my daughter Georgina’s fashion/social media profile.

Which you can see here:

Georgina seemed a lot more cheery today. She was all dressed up, make up on and had made excellent progress on her assignment. She even mentioned that it wasn’t as hard as she originally thought! Kids, hey… They give you such grief and then say everything is okay…

Oh, and Tasha and I sneaked out for a ride in the car. What an adventure! We didn’t go too far but it was nice to see neighbouring villages.

What have you been doing during this difficult time. Please share in the comments.

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