Author Feature: Sheila Skillman: Paranormal Warwickshire #new #release #review


PARANORMAL WARWICKSHIRE


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!


Buy Links


https://www.amberley-books.com/coming-soon/paranormal-warwickshire.html
http://www.warwickbooks.net/preorder
https://www.waterstones.com/book/paranormal-warwickshire/s-c-skillman/9781445698267

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.

Review:

Paranormal Warwickshire by S.C. Skillman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars – Goodreads.


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!

View all my reviews

Author Bio

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.

She posts twice weekly on her blog at http://www.scskillman.com and she also gives author talks to local groups.

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.

Social Media Links:
Website and blog: https://scskillman.com/
Amazon Author Profile: http://bitly.ws/9SK9
https://www.facebook.com/scskillmanauthor
https://twitter.com/scskillman
https://www.instagram.com/scskillman/
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/scskillman/_created/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sc-skillman-42347a47/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4692653.S_C_Skillman

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – Release #Family Stevie Turner, Reviews #Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Crimethriller Don Massenzio, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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!!

Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – Release #Family Stevie Turner, Reviews #Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Crimethriller Don Massenzio, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack, | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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20th July – Release Day: This Is Lockdown #Compilation #Anthology #Writing #Authors #Lockdown #Poems #Flash #Diaries #Contributors

Happy Release Day to all the contributors in This Is Lockdown.

Help yourself to a slice of pineapple, your favourite coloured balloon, and some blueberry pancakes… I made this smiling fellow during lockdown. I had to eat him – with that smile how could I not? My tummy smiled afterwards!

It seems strange to celebrate anything during this horrendous time but… it’s important to look to the future and hope that this worldwide pandemic will ease and a solution will be found in the months ahead.

During lockdown I found it difficult to write my usual genre: YA Fantasy, so I focused instead on interviewing authors on the subject of ‘isolation’ during COVID19. I enjoyed this blog series so much, discovering so much common ground with other authors and bloggers that it seemed a good idea to take this further and to produce a book, a compilation of my diaries, poetry, flash fiction, and writings with ‘The Isolation writers,’ who live  in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, USA, Australia, Zimbabwe and Australia.

It doesn’t matter where we live, our experiences are similiar.

Here are some quotes from contributors to This Is Lockdown:

  1. ‘Isolation itself is not a problem, as an author I tend to live in other worlds anyway.’ Richard Dee. 
  2. ‘Nobody should feel they have to achieve things during this time of corona. It’s ok to just be – to stay safe, spend time with family, read and relax.’ Catherine Fearns.
  3.  What has changed? The answer is: Everything – but it took me a while to notice. Jackie Carreira
  4. We could get through this crisis better if everyone would cut each other some slack and come together. One can only hope… Sharon Marchisello
  5. I feel I’ve become like the ancients, huddled with my little family around the fire in a small circle of light.  Lynn Fraser
  6. I’m taking life at the moment with a huge dollop of perspective. – Fi Phillips
  7. If nothing else, this pandemic will have allowed us to work together in a way we might never have considered doing before. Jeannie Wycherley
  8. What’s changed for me? Nothing and everything and believe me, that’s as confusing as it sounds.  Chantelle Atkins
  9. Still, I’m just thankful that I am okay, we are all healthy, and that, in itself, is the biggest thing. Ritu Bhathal
  10. This situation easily calls forth the entire spectrum and expression of human emotion. Tracie Barton Barrett
  11. Instead, I started painting – no, not the walls, although they could do with it. I created big bright, colourful pieces of art to cheer myself up. Alice May
  12. On my walks, I spend time thinking what the world will be like after coronavirus and how it will differ from the past. Peter Gooby-Taylor
  13. Festivals are important. We meet, talk, drink, solve the world’s problems, learn and relax. Miriam Owen
  14. We greatly miss our author visits to shops, libraries and book clubs. – Ceri and Drew
  15. At time of writing, lockdown here in Italy is easing, but I am still wary of emerging into the sunlight.  Katherine Mezzacappa
  16. If it has taught me anything, it has taught me that my blogging time must be managed, as it helps me, so it must have its place. Willow Willers
  17. I
    believe
    there is a
    silver lining
    to isolation 
     –  a line from Sally Cronin’s poem.
  18. I am very much missing human engagement – talking in person, hugging a friend, and seeing a compassionate, genuine smile, not hidden behind a mask. D G Kaye
  19. Something is very wrong in this new world, (from poem) Adele Marie Park
  20. The world is quiet, a new strange calm,  (from Poem) Marian wood
  21. unknowing (the city) –  for the rains… (from Poem) Frank Prem
  22. Anxious thoughts lace my outings to The Wasteland. Sherri Matthews.
  23. Welcome to the new normal, I could be smiling right now but you cannot see it behind the mask. Beaton Mabaso
  24. We really felt that our project hit a chord and it showed what a community pulling together could achieve. It seemed to give focus in this strange and new world of lockdown. Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val. Fundraising for the NHS: #CommunityMasks4NHS
  25. We are living in strange and difficult times indeed my friends, but there comes a time when we must raise our eyes to the future, and reflect and act on what we have learned. Samantha Murdoch.
  26. As the virus bloomed, so did sales, until non essentials were forced to close. But she soon found lockdown’s silver lining in endless days communing with her own bookshelves. – quote from a piece by Anne Goodwin.
  27. Stay Safe in Your Own Personal WildernessM J Mallon

This Is Lockdown is:

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

This Is Lockdown kindle buying Link:

Universal link: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

It is also available for free on kindle unlimited.

Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08CD1MCFB?pf_rd_r=NPA6S5SQJ30A6VYX87Q5&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

Amazon US link:

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New Book Release: Claire Llewellyn – Rhyme & Reason Facets of a Life #Poetry

Welcome to Claire Fluff Llewellyn, she is sharing news about her new book.

A collection of rhymes for troubling times; reaching out to the weary with a virtual hug!

From poems about sleep to murderous sheep! It’s an eclectic mix of sincerity, sentiment, satire and silliness, served up as three “facets of life”: LIFE, LOVE, LAUGHTER. Share in the joy & sorrow, or re-live your own! Puzzle at the twisted, dark humour of drunken Santas & Hollywood Hookers!

Life’s a roller-coaster of ups & downs, smiles & frowns. Won’t you take a ride in rhyme?

The Amazon sales link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089GGY64P
UK link:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B089GGY64P/

Also, I’m running a competition for verified ebook purchasers to win a signed print copy of the book. In the poem titled: JUST LIKE THE MOVIES: The Twisted Tale of a Hollywood Hooker, I used 36 movie quotes. To enter send proof of purchase plus all correct movie quotes with the movie title to: bloodybritproductions@gmail.com

Details of my first book: LOVE is a KILLER:

Love is a Killer is a compilation of poems and songs on the subject of LOVE; more specifically: HEARTBREAK.But WAIT!…

This is no ordinary collection of sorrowful musings: split into four parts, this book explores the dark depths of not only the fragile human heart, but also the twisted mind of love-crazed killers and love-sick monsters.

This is HEARTBREAK; with a twist of madness, and a splash of Rock ‘n’ Roll! https://www.amazon.com/dp/1798690268
UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/LOVE-KILLER-Claire-Fluff-Llewellyn/dp/1798690268/

Author Bio:

Born in Worcester, England, Claire Llewellyn first took an interest in poetry at an early age through primary school readings of Roald Dahl. She also developed a penchant for music, and the horror genre. Her schooling required her to write crea$vely in all formats and she soon acquired an affinity for it, constantly writing rhymes and short stories. 

In her late teens, she pursued her musical interests and formed a band, ‘Stir Crazy’, performing classic rock covers and original material. She headed the band as lead vocalist and lyricist. When they disbanded, she bounced around musical groups and added the nickname “Fluff” as part of her persona in a new theatrical rock band venture that never came to fruition. However, it was her musical pursuits that lead her to move to Illinois in 2004.


As new opportuni$es arose, she became embroiled in a different kind of stage performance as an assistant to a Gothic illusionist. This adventure exposed her to the world of independent horror film making. She branched out into acting and ultimately formed her own small production company, ‘Bloody Brit Productions’, through which she directs her own screenplays.


Whilst fond of traditional rhyming verse, which she mostly ascribes to, maturity has afforded her the confidence to experiment a li7le. Poetry, and writing in general, has helped her through some tough times, allowing her to express difficult emotions, and even showcase that cheeky British humour.


She mostly publishes dark, and some$mes humorous, poetry that is both fictional and nonfictional under her own imprint: Bloody Brit Press.

Social media links

Social Media Links:
FB: – https://www.facebook.com/britpoet
IG: britfluff

Always lovely to discover poets and to share their work. Definitely, one positive of lockdown is ‘meeting’ new authors.

Wishing Claire much success with her new poetry collection.

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Mr Sagittarius Blog Tour

Thank you to Ritu for this blog tour post for Mr. Sagittarius.
Pop over to read a short excerpt… and to find out more.
The first month’s royalties of the ebook will be donated to the Australian bush fires.

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