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!
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.
I’ve finally taken the plunge after six years… yes it has taken me this long to add a subscribers email pop up. You can also subscribe by clicking on the image above, (that will take you to a landing page to subscribe.)
I had a feeling it would be tricky to do and I was right.
In fact, it is probably the worst blogging job I’ve ever had to do… EEK…
But, the good old happiness engineers helped me. So, I hope it works…
I’d love it if you would test the subscribe to my blog via the pop up! Yes,there is a pop up on my blog which you can add your email address to. I promise not to spam you with lots of unnecessary emails. Just the odd hello, some freebies and news from time-to-time.
I have some new releases coming!!! Next up is This Is Lockdown, my diaries during COVID19, short stories, flash fiction and poetry and the featured ‘isolation writers,’ authors and bloggers sharing their poetry and pieces.
February 20, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads!
While cats hide, rainbows emblazon the sky with short-lived brilliance!
Rainbow the cat crept into the library one rainy day and never left. A confirmed cat bachelor his colourful tail had never been turned before. Not once! Until… a beautiful white cat stuck her pretty nose into his favourite book. She turned the pages with her cute paws. His imagination went wild. Rainbow imagined her to be the softest, fluffiest, most angelic being he’d ever seen. He didn’t hesitate; he followed her out the door. Purring, he realised that heaven’s shelves overflowed with rainbow books!
A huge welcome to my dear friend, fellow author Marcia Meara…
It’s lovely to be here with you today, Marje, and I thank you for inviting me over. I’m really excited to share a little about The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody with you and your readers.
To Love Somebody is the middle book of The Emissary Trilogy, and like Book 1, it was a lot of fun to write. This little series of novellas is my first foray into what I call Urban Fantasy Lite, and it features a ginormous, white-winged archangel named Azrael. Popular books today often involve romances between heavenly beings and beautiful women here on earth, but this angel keeps his robe on at all times. In fact, Azrael can get downright snippy when questioned about such dubious affairs, and believe me, making the archangel angry is never a good idea.
I hope the blurb and short excerpt below will tempt some of your followers to check out these novellas. Both Book 1 and Book 2 of the trilogy are quick, easy reads, which are definitely not meant to be taken as serious religious dogma. Rather, they are merely excursions into a bit of “what-if-ery,” with a few nuggets of universal truths scattered throughout.
Note: I do need to point out that this middle book of the Emissary Trilogy is not a stand-alone novella. With that in mind, Book 1, The Emissary, can be downloaded HERE.
Jake and Dodger, the first (and so far, only) Emissaries to the Angels, are on the road again.
They’re looking for mortals about to take a wrong turn. You know the ones—the kid thinking about stealing from a corner market or the man planning to lie about a coworker and destroy her career. Yeah, them. People on the brink of making a mistake that could send them down that wrong road and jeopardize their mortal souls.
Of course, there are rules by which the emissaries must play, and the archangel Azrael stands ready to enforce them. First and foremost, a person’s free will must never be compromised. Emissaries are allowed to use only the smallest of mental nudges. Thankfully, a whispered suggestion here or images of a better course of action there is usually all it takes. The potential mugger walks on by. The thief drops the wallet back into the unattended purse. But whether the results are obvious or not, Jake and Dodger are fully committed to making a positive difference, even as they struggle with issues of their own.
Will Dodger get over losing his chance to learn what true love is all about? Will Jake survive the grueling angelic equivalent of Boot Camp? Will Azrael ever finish the Official Emissarial Guidebook—including the chapter titled Do Not Even Think About It?
One thing’s for sure—Jake’s and Dodger’s strengths are growing daily, as they help more and more people make better choices. But is the price for so much power higher than they’re willing to pay?
(Jake and Dodger)
“You know, there’s a lot more to Florida than just sand and waves. I’m thinking we’re overdue for a change of scenery. Maybe when we finish our loop through Key West, we could head to the center of the state again.”
Dodger stared at the floor a long minute before answering. “That didn’t work out so well last time.”
“That doesn’t mean it won’t ever work out again, does it?”
“Come on now, Dodge. There are people living in non-coastal areas who could use our help, too, you know.” The memory of a lost young man from the little town of Riverbend came to mind, and he hoped yet again that all was well with him, then focused on Dodger once more. “We shouldn’t ignore them, in spite of what happened in Clewiston. If we can’t ever return to places where we weren’t able to save someone, we might end up someday with nowhere left to go.”
Reluctantly, Dodger nodded. “Okay. I get that. But we don’t have to go back to that exact spot yet, do we?”
“Definitely not. I’m considering a couple of places more scenic.”
“Scenic? You mean there are places away from the ocean where I can still enjoy girls in bikinis?”
“Probably, since Florida has plenty of lakes, rivers, and swimming pools. But I was thinking more along the lines of wildlife.”
Dodger cocked his head. “Yeah? I didn’t think emissaries were allowed to have any kind of wild life at all.”
“One word, kid. Wildlife.”
“Oooh,” Dodger drawled, eyes twinkling. “You mean like lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!”
“More like birds, and alligators, and snakes.”
The boy grimaced. “I was afraid you were gonna say that.”
Jake had to give Dodger his due, though–he accepted the new plans with very little grumbling. After they’d spent a few productive days in Key West, they said goodbye to the emerald waters of the Gulf, and hello to the darker beauty of places with names like Big Cypress Preserve, Corkscrew Swamp, and the Fakahatchee Strand.
And if the boy wondered whether they’d really find themselves needed in these relatively quiet, remote places, he soon found out Trouble never does a head count before showing up to cause misery.
Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Her belief in the redemptive power of love is a unifying factor in both of her popular series and her poetry. Today, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!
Marcia has published six novels, one novella, and one book of poetry to date, all of which are available on Amazon:
It’s been such a pleasure having you visiting my blog Marcia. You are such a lovely, friendly lady who I admire so much and your new book sounds fascinating. Love that excerpt! Wishing you much happiness and continued success. xxx
A huge welcome to Darlene Foster who is over at my blog home today for a Q and A about her children’s adventure series: Amanda Travels.
Some of you might know that I like to interview using my nickname MJ…
MJ: I’d love to find out more about your amazing travel series featuring a twelve year old girl. Who is Amanda Ross and where does she like to travel to? What mysteries does she uncover/solve? What adventures does she have?
Darlene: Amanda Ross is an average girl living in Alberta, Canada and she is bored. On her twelfth birthday she makes a wish for travel and adventure before blowing out all her candles. The next day tickets to visit her aunt and uncle in the United Arab Emirates arrive in the mail. She has an amazing adventure in the UAE that includes a mysterious perfume flask, a beautiful princess, a loyal camel and a chase across a dangerous desert. You can read about her adventures in Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask
Amanda now has the travel bug and when her friend Leah invites her to come to Spain on a holiday with her, she jumps at the chance. She visits Madrid, explores a mountain town with houses hanging on the edge of cliffs, stays overnight in an old, spooky monastery, takes part in a tomato fight and discovers the amazing sights of Barcelona. A young girl, looking amazingly like a girl in a famous painting, shows up wherever Amanda and Leah happen to be. Can Amanda keep this sweet young girl, and her beloved pony, safe from the clutches of an evil horse thief without bringing harm to herself and Leah? This adventure is in Amanda in Spain-The Girl in the Painting.
Amanda travels to England to spend spring break with Leah where she has to get used to funny accents and cars driving on the opposite side of the road. The girls visit the Isle of Wight where they meet Charlie, a kind old bookseller, and his cat Rupert. They discover a vintage book is missing from a set, meet a couple of dubious teenagers and a suspicious woman. Amanda explores Hampton Court, Harrods, The Tower of London and Windsor Castle while trying to find out what happened to the missing novel and why Charlie is acting so strange. Find out more in Amanda in England-The Missing Novel.
Amanda is delighted to show Leah around Alberta when she visits from England. They take in the Calgary Stampede, tour a ranch, go on a cattle drive, visit a Buffalo Jump, spend time at a Dinosaur Museum and explore the Hoodoos. When Amanda finds a stone with a unique mark on it, she doesn’t think it’s very important, until everyone appears to want it. Is this stone worth ruining Leah’s holiday and risking their lives? Spend time with Amanda in Alberta as she attempts to decipher the writing on the stone in Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone.
On a river cruise down the Danube, Amanda is given a valuable violin to look after by a homeless musician. She is fascinated by the medieval castles, green valleys and charming villages of Germany, Austria and Hungary, learns about European history and enjoys the sounds of music along the way. But, she is not sure who she can trust and if the violin can be kept safe for the poor prodigy in Amanda on the Danube-The Sounds of Music.
MJ: How many books have you written? I’m sure my readers would be fascinated to find out more…
Darlene: I have written six books in the Amanda Travels series and one Spanish/English book called, Pig on Trial/Cerdito a juicio. The most recent Amanda Travels adventure takes place in New Mexico where Amanda is on a school trip. One of her classmates claims she sees ghosts but Amanda has trouble believing her, until strange things start to happen. The beautiful but haunting landscape, an ancient pueblo and a haunted hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past in Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind.
MJ: Is Amanda a little like you, when you were her age?
Darlene: There is always a little bit of you in your characters. But, Amanda is more like the girl I would have liked to have been when I was twelve. Unlike Amanda, I didn’t start to travel until I was twenty-eight years old. Perhaps I should have made a wish before I blew out my candles.
MJ: Where do you currently live? What is it about your home/s that you love?
Darlene: I have a house in Spain, on the Costa Blanca, where I spend most of my time. I love the never ending sunshine and the relaxed life style. I have plenty of time to create my stories and am close enough to other parts of Europe that I can explore. I will always be a proud Canadian though.
MJ: I am a keen traveller and you are too! Is there a favourite holiday/travel destination that you like to visit frequently? Or do you prefer to discover new places?
Darlene: I so often fall in love with a place and say I must return but I always want to check out new places too so seldom do. We once made a stop at Malta on a cruise and decided we needed to see more of it. A year later we spent a week there. I think Amanda may visit Malta too.
MJ: It sounds like you’ve had a very interesting background: growing up on a ranch in Southern Alberta. That sounds fascinating! Tell me more…
Darlene: It was an incredible place to grow up but I didn’t appreciate it at the time. I was often bored and lonely and couldn’t wait to grow up and move to the city. The plus side was that I had lots of time to make up stories in my head and plenty of time to read, when my chores were done.
MJ: What are your accomplishments that you are most proud of:
a. With regard to writing.
Darlene: I am proud of the fact that I have published seven books in eight years.
b. A non-writing one! Darlene: I am proud of raising two amazing kids, one an accomplished potter and another who is not only a great dad and grandfather but a talented musician. Creativity in one way or another seems to run in the family. Of course, I encouraged it.
MJ: I believe you do speaking engagements and the like. What are your tips for public speaking?
Darlene: Be natural and be prepared. Know who your audience is and involve them. Be energetic and enthusiastic about your subject matter. Once you make a connection with the audience, the rest flows naturally.
MJ: What is the best part of being an author? And what is the worst?
Darlene: The best part of being an author is having a reader tell me how much they enjoyed my book. That is the icing on the cake for me! The worst is sitting in front of the computer plugging away alone. I am an extrovert and am energized by being around people, so the solitary part of writing is hard for me. But if I don’t do it, I won’t have readers telling me they enjoyed my book!
MJ: What are your favourite things to do, besides writing?
Darlene: Walking my dog, eating chocolate, reading, chatting with friends and family, exploring new places.
MJ: Have you found any resources/websites that you would like to share that are particularly helpful to authors?
Darlene: A friend gave me a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi and it is the best resource ever. There are others in the series which I have since purchased as well. Their website Writers Helping Writers has great writing tips too. https://writershelpingwriters.net
MJ: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Darlene: I am a paid up member of the panster club and have the badge to prove it. I have tried to be a plotter many times and have failed miserably.
MJ: What kind of food do you like?
Darlene: You mean besides chocolate? I am a vegetarian and love most vegetables, if done right. I especially enjoy Asian food as I love how the vegetables are prepared. So Thai, Indian, Chinese and Japanese food are high on my list. I also prefer my food to be spicy and not boring. Please don’t serve me plain steamed vegetables.
MJ: What advice would you give new authors such as myself?
Darlene: To persevere and believe in yourself. Writing is hard work but it is so worth it when you hold that finished book in your hands. Never give up!!
MJ: If you were to lose one of your senses which one would you feel the loss of most and why?
Darlene: I think I would have to say the sense of sight. There is so much to see in this amazing world we live in and I am thankful I have seen a lot. But there is still much more I would love to see.
MJ; Finish this sentence. A travelling onion…
found itself part of a pasta sauce in Italy and said “Sono contenta”
Darlene: Thanks so much for having me as a guest, Marjorie.
MJ: It’s been my pleasure Darlene.
Reading through your responses to my questions I have to say we have a fair amount in common: a love of travel, chocolate, (who doesn’t like chocolate – I have met one person who didn’t but that is a long story,) reading, writing, spicy food, and a paid up membership of the pantser club!
Thank you for taking my travelling onion to Italy. He needed a slice of the action on a holiday abroad! Lol…
Buy Paperback Book link: http://mybook.to/TheCurseofTime
Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’
“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)
It amuses me to admit this but I’m really bad at reading books in a series. Shocking really as I am writing a series myself! I have to LOVE them a lot to do so!
How do you feel about cliffhangers?
I love a good cliffhanger. It gets the old pulse going so that’s got to be a wonderful thing!
Hard copy or paperback?
A paperback. It’s easier to store, more forgiving and lightweight for taking on the bus or reading by the beach! I so wish I was away on some exotic, foreign holiday… Sigh…
I have fifty-eight books on my favourite list on Goodreads!
Here are some of my 4/5 star favs: Caraval by Stephanie Garber, Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, I Let You Go, I See You by Clare Macintosh, I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai, (memoir,) In Order to Live A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park, Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng, A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak.
Least favourite book?
I like to focus on what I like and love rather than on what I don’t.
Love triangles, yes or no?
Yes, if the love triangle is well-written. I enjoy reading romance from time-to-time so I wouldn’t say no to an exciting love triangle!
The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?
I always finish books and sometimes I am surprised when I realise just how much I enjoyed them when I might have started off uncertain.
A book you’re currently reading?
I’m reading two at the moment! Charli Mills – The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) and Matt Haig’s How To Stop Time.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 1890 closely followed by Dracula, published 1897.
The newest book you’ve read?
I’ve just finished reading an ARC of Lizzie Chantree’s If You Love Me I’m Yours which I will be reviewing as part of her blog tour. So that fits the newest book category! It’s a very sweet romance and the characters are fantastic. Really enjoying it!
Both! I love to buy books when I can afford to but the library is a great option. Or, pinching YA off my eldest daughter’s overflowing book shelf when I’m short of cash.
A book you dislike that everyone seems to like?
Don’t know. Can’t think of one.
Bookmarks or dogears?
I tend to use bookmarks, or whatever I can get my hands on to mark where I’ve read to. A receipt, a piece of paper, anything!
A book you can always re-read
Poetry books are great to re-read, or memoirs because you can pick up something extra on that second, or third reading.
Can you read whilst hearing music?
If the music is on low that would be okay. But, in our house my hubby blasts loud rock music most of the time so probably not in that case!
One POV or multiple POV’s?
I don’t mind either as long as it is done well.
Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?
Over multiple days as I am a slow reader and also find it difficult to find the time. I would love more opportunities to read. I have been known to peek at a book whilst ironing or cooking! Luckily, I haven’t burnt the clothes or the food yet…
One book you read because of the cover
I love a beautiful cover but the book itself has to be great for me to want to read it. I loved The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and the cover persuaded me to buy the book!
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Thank you so much to Brigid Gallagher for nominating me in the Book Lover’s Tag. It’s a long while since I’ve participated in a tag. I’ve been so busy doing my own book promotion that this is a welcome change.
Do you have a specific place for writing? I write at my desk in my office at home. One blissful year I went away to Brighton for a few days and wrote in my hotel room, in cafes and in the library. That was wonderful.
Book mark or random pieces of paper? Mainly a book mark but I have been known to use anything that comes to hand!
Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter? Always at the end of a chapter unless I’m reading on the bus (and I do this often on the way to work,) and then I’ll make a mental note of where I stopped!
Do you eat or drink whilst reading? No, I don’t unless I’m in a cafe. Otherwise, I tend to focus 100% on the book.
Music or TV whilst reading? Do people do this? Shock, horror, no I never listen to music or watch TV. I’d find that too distracting. My husband reads in the bath which I find equally odd. How can you turn the pages with soap bubbles everywhere?
One book at a time or several? Oh, I rarely read more than one at a time but occasionally I might read a paperback and a kindle. I don’t like to do this but time pressures sometimes mean that I do.
Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere? I’ll read at home, on the bus, travelling by train, in the library, in cafes, anywhere!
Read out loud or silently? Silently, but I have been known to cry whilst reading a book in public places!
Do you read ahead or skip pages? I never skip pages, ever.
Break the spine or keep it like new? I keep it like new.
Do you write in your book? Ouch, never!
What books are you reading now? I have been reading MalalaYousafzai’s biography, the Pakistani schoolgirl who stood up to the Taliban and defended her right to an education. It’s an amazing book, about halfway through. I recommend everyone reads this, very inspiring, educational and moving too.
Other than that I read anything I can get my hands on. I found another little gem recently in the same independent bookshop in Ely, Topping Books – Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast.
It’s a tiny black penguin classic with ‘Wildes’s celebrated witticisms on the dangers of sincerity, duplicitous biographers, the stupidity of the English – and his own genius.’
Some of my favourite witticisms from the book:
‘We spend our days, each one of us, in looking for the secret of life. Well, the secret of life is in art.’
‘One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.’
‘Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease, Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching’
‘Pleasure is the only thing one should live for. Nothing ages like happiness.’
‘Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.’
‘The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.’
‘To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.’
‘Time is waste of money.’
‘I love acting. It is so much more real than life.’
‘The tragedy of old age is not that one is old. but that one is young.’
‘Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.’
“Life cheats us with shadows. We ask it for pleasure. It gives it to us, with bitterness and disappointment in its train. ‘
To balance out the good with the bad #10thingsIhate here are my #10thingsIlove.
1. Spending time with friends and family. There’s nothing quite like this, I’m definitely a social animal. Love going out for coffee, dinner or just hanging out at home with my family. Friends both on and offline are the best for supporting and encouraging you to pursue your dreams.
2. Eating tasty food. This just had to be on my list! LOL… I love food, any food, but especially spicy meals, as I grew up with a diet of Malaysian fare – my mum is from Kuching, Malaysia.
3. Travelling. Absolutely, would love to travel more. I grew up with a father who had a penchant for travel so this isn’t entirely surprising. Recently, I entered Dan Alatorre’s recent Word Weaver writing competition with the first chapter of my dad’s travelling adventures. Sorry, the competition is now closed, but Dan has a great blog so go follow! I’ve been to many places in the world but there are still many to explore.
4. Going to the Theatre to see drama and dance. Where would we be without the theatre to make our imaginings take form? I adore going to the Edinburgh Festival and try to go every year if I can. The buzz is fantastic.
5. Visiting Edinburgh to see my mum, dad, brother and extended family. Love Edinburgh, it is one of the best cities in the world Edinburgh ranked Second in the World for Quality of Life and is my home from home.
6. Writing prose and poetry, and reading books. Of course, this has to feature here. What has writing done for me? So much, it has given me such confidence, and so much enjoyment. I wish I had started writing decades ago! Reading books and going to Book Festivals ranks pretty highly up there on my favourite things to do. Books make me cry, they make me smile; they delight me. Where would we be without books? I daren’t contemplate such a fate. And book festivals, again, my favourite is the Edinburgh Book Festival
7. Tai Chi. I have been attending classes in Taoist Tai Chi for many years, and I love it. I find it helps me relax, keeps me balanced and gives me a terrific boost. I would recommend it. Start young and you’ll stay fit well into your old age! Start older and it will keep you young! It’s a win, win situation… Recently, we had a Tai Chi intensive at my local branch. Here’s the link to the Facebook page to see photos: Taoist Tai Chi Intensive in Cambridge. What’s a Tai Chi Intensive? It’s a special lesson when a particularly awesome instructor comes along to impart their knowledge to us Tai Chi enthusiasts. We partake of a bring and share lunch and generally have a lovely time.
Here’s the instructor considering what to teach us next:
8. Sea air and sunshine. These two I’ve combined, as I enjoy the seaside best when the weather is nice. If the sun is out, I can swim, (not in the UK!) sunbathe, eat an ice-cream, walk and explore. When it’s cold I still enjoy it, but I have to wrap up in many, many layers!
9. The blogging community. Have been a blast, so helpful, supportive and amazing. Love you! In fact I love you so much that I set up a special community on Facebook for authors/bloggers and bookish souls. Please do investigate and join …. Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club. My fellow administrators of the group areColleen Chesebro, and Debby Gies.
10. And last but not least, crystals and cats. I collect crystals and write about them too. My current manuscript is entitled: The Curse of Time – The Bloodstone. I intend to release this YA fantasy this summer. Cats, well I like their independence, and cats always seem to like me! Unfortunately, I don’t own one as both my husband and daughter are allergic but I get my fix over at Samantha Murdoch Blog. Samantha and I are good blogging friends and she has kindly been providing me with lots and lots of photos of her cat Lily who looks like the cat Shadow in my book.
Here are the latest photos of Samantha’s lovely cat Lily.
In life, there is always good and bad but it is always nice to end on a high note. There is much more to enthuse about when writing about what I love. The list could have gone on and on…
Welcome to my new book love group for authors and dedicated book bloggers who wish to support authors by writing reviews, or featuring authors on their blogs. Initially, I intended to write one long list and then I thought better of it. Small and personal works better – featuring a few bloggers/writers and then following it up with further lists on a fairly regular basis.
If you’d like to join in the next list please get in touch via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or leaving a comment at the end of the post. Thanks.
Of course Kyrosmagica blog continues to support authors in whatever way I can by writing reviews, author/blogger spotlights and interviews, so please don’t be shy, do get in touch if you’d like to be featured on Kyrosmagica.
Here’s my first list:
Shelley Wilson: First up Shelley went all hunger games on me, dashing to the front of the queue to feature on my post! So, many thanks to Shelley for kicking this off with a flourish! Author/Reviewer Blog is http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com. She is pretty clear in her interests: ‘I write, I read, I review,’ she prefers YA fantasy, but also reads some historical fiction, non-fiction, horror, dystopian, sci-fi, and will take a look at book blurbs for most genres to see if she’d be interested but she doesn’t do romantic fiction.
Elouise De Sousa: ‘Books, Poems, Stories…and a cup of coffee, or two!’ She has a Book Tuesday feature reviewing books from fellow authors and books she’s read. She covers most genres, depending on what has been sent to her. Her site is http://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com
Debby Gies: ACanadian author who I have had the pleasure of following for some time. She is a very friendly and supportive lady whoruns a series on authors with new books https://dgkayewriter.com/guest-authors-at-d-g-kayes-blog/ and also does her Sunday reviews on books she’s read and reviewed. Because of time constraints, she is unable to have an open invitation, rather she promotes authors she knows and invites them as her schedule permits.
Loretta Milan: Literary Lightbox supports authors from all backgrounds and most genres. ‘Literary Lightbox, founded by Loretta Milan, publishes inspiring articles featuring New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling authors as well as emerging and indie authors.’
It’s our special space of the Internet where we writers can inspire each other, lend support and encouragement.
Sally G. Cronin: ‘Blog with a view – on books, music, humour and health.’ Sally is a massive supporter of authors hosting so many on her blog that at times it makes me dizzy just seeing what she is up to. At the moment Sally is on a well deserved holiday! Sally also writes excellent and informative articles about nutrition and health, has published several books and has an on-line bookstore: Sallys Cafe and Bookstore and offers free author and blogger promotion: Sally’s Author and Blogger Promotion 2017
Jenny Marston: Blogs at www.jennyinneverland.com and enjoys reading Thriller, Mystery, Crime, YA, and Fiction. She is a busy lady with diverse interests: blogging about anxiety, books, blogging tips and advice, days out, lifestyle, travel, Disney, etc, and has a monthly meet my sponsor slot, which I had the pleasure of being part of. As well as this she manages a ‘privately run online book touring service for authors.’ In which she covers, ‘Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Romance, Chick-Lit, Young Adult and many sub-genres of those and offer a range of different length tours and services for you to choose from to get the best possible publicity for your book.’ Neverland Blog Tours
Heena Rathore Pardeshi: Has a book review blog but has stopped reviewing for another 6-7 months. No doubt as she’s snowed under with her debut mystery and thriller novel, Deceived which she will be releasing soon – www.thereadingbud.com. But do keep an eye out for Heena and support her book release. She reviews all fiction genre except erotica. She doesn’t do non-fiction.
Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie: Like to review books and invite guest posts on their website. But be prepared sister writing team Anita & Jay are: ‘two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…’ Eek, that sounds scary… dare if you will! Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie
Contributors Who Prefer to Host Guest Blogs:
Seumas Gallacher: Fellow Scot doesn’t actively do ‘cold’ reviews other than books he’s downloaded on his Kindle, but he does have an open blog policy on Guest Blogs from anyone, but particularly from fellow writers who can include anything they wish, except gratuitously offensive material… book buying links, bio, cover pages, any wee back story or element to their writing… the page for promo is theirs… all at their choice… cheeeeeeers ..https://seumasgallacher.com/ 🙂
Tina Frisco: Happy to feature authors/artists/photographers/ musicians/etc. as time permits. <3 https://tinafrisco.com/ ‘Nature is my go-to tonic. Aside from music and animals, I love dancing and getting lost in working crossword puzzles.’ She blogs under the categories: inspiration, spiritual, guests, quotes, books, chronic illness and self-acceptance.
Thanks for dropping by. Don’t forget if you would like join my next list do get in touch by leaving a comment below or contacting me via my email: email@example.com