Open Book Blog Hop – 29th August

Today we’re featuring an excerpt from one of our books.  I thought I’d give you a taster of one of my short stories ‘A Marriage Made in Heaven’, which is part of my collection of 18 short stories, Life.  Life was originally just going to be about birth, death and marriage, but then I decided to add stories featuring a few other life events too, especially ones that tend to break the well-oiled chain of our day-to-day lives…

Life book cover

Worldwide Amazon link:

I am giving away this book completely free to anybody who is interested in my work and wishes to sign up to my mailing list to receive website updates and promotions.  You can find the sign-up form on the newsletter page of my website

Excerpt from ‘A Marriage Made in Heaven’ by Stevie Turner.  Copyright Stevie Turner 2016.

“I hear you’re looking for a quick way to pay off your debts.”

I look up as a stocky young guy with clean, dark, waist-length hair puts his lunch tray down opposite me and takes a seat.  I don’t know him but have seen him around the campus, usually carrying a guitar in a case on his back.

“I might be; as long as it’s legal and I get to keep my clothes on.”

I nibble on my sandwich as nonchalantly as I can, enjoying his throaty chuckle at my remark.

“Well, it’ll definitely be legal, but it’s up to you about the clothes.”

Intrigued, I study his face for more clues.  There are two laughing blue eyes trying to hide behind copious amounts of dark facial fuzz, which I swiftly decide he’d look better without.

“Out with it then; I’ve a lecture starting in twenty minutes.”

“Sure.”  He nods. “It’s like this; I’m here on a student visa which runs out in October, but it’ll be better for my musical career if I can stay in the UK.”  He takes a bite of his burger and scans my face intently. “So……. you agree to marry me, and I put fifteen thousand smackeroos in your bank account.”

“Bloody hell!”  I nearly choke on my food. “You move right along, don’t you?”

“Don’t give me an answer now; think about it.”  He waggles his finger at me. “I’m not saying all this just to get into your pants; I really need to stay here.  Things are happening for me and my band.”

“Jeez.”  I look at him aghast. “Married?  I don’t even know your name!”

“Ha; it’s Gerrie Hermann.  So you’re interested then? What’s your name, by the way?”

His accent is appealing, but I have a terrible mental image of taking him up North to meet Mum and Dad, the straightest, poorest, but proudest parents in all the land.

“Sophie Woods, but I can’t see it working.” I shake my head.

“Sure it will.  You don’t have to love me or anything, ‘cos I’m basically an arsehole.”  His eyes twinkle. “We get married; I go my way, and you go yours.  Only now you’re fifteen thousand pounds richer.”


If you would like to add an excerpt of your work to this blog, please click on the blue button below and follow the instructions given.

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Review of ‘Anything but Ordinary’, by Michael DeVault


Worldwide purchase link:

Today I finished ‘Anything but Ordinary’, a quite delightful YA/Adult novel.

Twelve year old Billy Bradshaw is sentenced to community service for vandalism during his school summer holidays, a punishment he sees as unfair due to the fact that his ‘crime’ was an accident.  Reluctantly he attends the Liberty Street Home for the Elderly in New Orleans, to satisfy the judge and to carry out menial work for the residents.  He gets to know ‘The Bohemians’, a group of residents living in Hall B, who flout the home’s rules and generally live just how they want to.

The Bohemians’ lifestyle is threatened by a new manager, who wants to make the home more economical to run by tearing down Hall B and moving the residents elsewhere.  Billy tries to help The Bohemians in their fight to remain where they are, but in the meantime also meets up with Cassidy, the manager’s daughter,  who has troubles of her own.  Cassidy asks Billy to help her find her mother, who disappeared when she was four.

The Liberty Street Home for the Elderly and its inhabitants start to take up more of Billy’s time, and he finds he enjoys his community service.  With a couple of unexpected twists in the story, and by  helping out Cassidy and The Bohemians, Billy learns more of life’s joys and sorrows than a twelve year old usually knows.

I wouldn’t say the book is a coming-of-age story as Billy remains at the age of 12, but nevertheless it is a pleasant read and moves along at a gentle pace.  I enjoyed it and give it a well-deserved four stars.  I would have liked to learn more about New Orleans as I am going to the Mardi Gras in February 2017, but realise that the book is centred more on Billy’s life and the residential home itself.  I will have to wait until I get there to discover The Big Easy for myself!

A recommended read for fans of YA fiction, ‘clean’ adult fiction, and life experience stories.

Friday Roundup -26th August


1.  Thanks to Chris, the Story Reading Ape for this info on how to promote your video trailer on social media:

How to Promote Your Video Trailers on Social Media – Infographic…

2.  Felix from Felix the Fox Mysteries gives his opinion on marketing books:

Sales Model of an Indie Author

3.  Thanks to Kristen Lamb for these tips on how to grow your author blog:

4.  Good one here from A Writer’s Path, giving 150 DIY tips on marketing your book:

150 DIY Ways to Market Your Book

5.  Chris Syme at  Digital Book World informs us of 3 new changes at Facebook that authors need to know about.

6.  Thanks to Sue Anne Dunlevie for these tips on growing your blog:

7.  13 different types of content for your blog from The Millionaire’s Digest:

8.  Thanks to Jens Thoughts for these 50 sites for indie and self-published authors:

9.  Interesting info from Kristen Lamb about why your book isn’t selling:

10.  A new way of crowd-funding by Susan Toy and Seumas Gallacher:

…GoReadMe!… m’Lady, Susan M. Toy’s fabulous idea for Authors and Readers…

11.   Thanks to A Writer’s Path for ’10 Things My Blog Taught Me.”

10 Things My Blog Taught Me

12.  Check out this writing competition via Bridget Whelan to win tickets to a literary festival:

Writing Competition to win festival tickets

13.  Good advice here: 15 tips for self-publishing the second time around from Suzanne Rogerson:

14.  Thanks to Smorgasbord for these autumn book and blog promotions.  I shall definitely be taking Sally Cronin up on her offer!

Thanks to Chris, the Story Reading Ape, Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie, Eternal Scribbler, Don Massenzio, Lizzie Chantree, Mystical Writer,  Kim’s Author Support Blog,  and Pearls Before Swine, for the re-blogs.


Guest Post: 15 Tips for Self-Publishing (the second time around)

Good advice here from Suzanne Rogerson via Eternal Scribbler. I’m working on No. 6 and so am asking for ARC reviewers for my memoir, Waiting in the Wings, which will be published at the end of November. Any takers?

eternal scribbler

This week’s guest post is the wonderful Suzanne Rogerson, author of Visions of Zarua, sharing her tips for self publishing🙂

15 Tips for Self-Publishing (the second time around)

by Suzanne Rogerson

Visions of Zarua Book Cover.jpg

View original post 1,080 more words

The trials and tribulations of adolescence.

I  thought I’d give you another little taster from my memoir ‘Waiting in the Wings’, which focuses on my often fraught relationship with my mother Dot.  The book will be published at the end of November.  This time it’s about the awkwardness of those terrible teenage years when my face would blush scarlet within a 50 yard proximity of anybody belonging to the male sex.  I was a good example of what is called a ‘late developer’, as this excerpt from Chapter 15 shows…


“Not courting yet?”

I hated that phrase as a teenager, and still do.  Aunt June has started asking this question every time I see her.  I am 14, gauche, painfully shy, moody, and have a Busby on my head.  What boy in his right mind is going to fancy me?  My cousin Lyn is engaged to be married at the age of 17, but I cannot seem to look any boy in the eyes, so the one other occasion that Dot finds a friend for me is even worse than the time before.

I am an only child and attend an all-girls school.  I cannot talk to a boy without blushing to the roots of my substantial curly hair.  While on holiday that year at one of those 1970 holiday camps made famous in TV’s ‘Hi-de-hi’, I sit sipping my lemonade in the ballroom while Dot and John play bingo.  The camp seems to consist mainly of middle-aged couples, but Dot finds the only teenage boy in the place when coming back from a trip to the toilet.

“See…there is somebody your age here!” Dot crows triumphantly. “And you said there wasn’t!”

Malcolm is skinny, spotty, and wears a three piece suit probably originally made for his father.  He sports a bow tie to finish off this terrible ensemble, and I cringe inwardly.

“Hello.”  Malcolm is ultra-polite. “Can I sit here please?”

He indicates towards an empty seat next to me, and Dot interrupts before I have a chance to speak.

“Of course!  Stevie is fourteen.  How about you?”

“I’m fifteen.”  Malcolm’s voice is still rather high as he addresses me. “Where do you live?”

I cringe with embarrassment.  My face is as red as a pillar-box, and all I want is to be left alone to drink my lemonade.  Dot gives me a nudge, and I dig my elbow hard in her ribs in reply.

“Greenwich.”  I hate to say the name Kidbrooke in case people think I live on the estate.

Malcolm gets nothing more out of me all night, and eventually disappears back to his parents.  However, he returns the next night and the night after that, causing me to miss the evenings’ events in an effort to get rid of him.  I am furious with Dot, who berates me for being so anti-social.


“Do you remember that awful boy at that holiday camp who wouldn’t leave me alone?”

I am looking through some old photos with Dot, who has perked up again no end as we wallow in the past.

“You were such a loner. Dad and I always thought you’d end up an old maid.”

“Cheers.” I sigh. “I just needed to make my own friends instead of you producing them out of nowhere.”

To this day Dot cannot understand that I still have loner tendencies, and have never been bored with my own company. I was also a late developer and needed time to banish my terrible shyness at meeting members of the opposite sex, which Dot was desperate for me to do.

My mother needs people around her to talk at, and sinks into melancholia if left on her own too long.  When Sam goes away on business I stay at home quite happily on my own, and only ring my sons if there is an emergency.  As usual Dot and I are like the proverbial chalk and cheese.


Do you remember any ‘awkward’ moments from your teenage years?  I have many!





BlogHer Writing Lab – 22nd August

Today’s theme is ‘What matters more to you when it comes to fiction: Characters or plot?’

For me the answer is simple.  If a book hasn’t got a good plot, then even the best characters in the world will not save it.

We’re all trying to accomplish the impossible;  to think up that stunningly original plot that nobody has ever thought of before.   I’ve just finished reading a book with very well crafted characters, but the plot was rather a let-down.  However, that’s just my opinion because currently it’s ranked in the 200’s on, so not everybody thinks the same as me.

I’ve made a short list below of those works of fiction and faction, traditional and self-published,  which I can read again and again and IMHO have the enviable qualities of not only a brilliant plot, but also unforgettable characters.  All but two have now been made into films, but in time I hope every one of them will.

  1. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
  2. The Go-Between, by L.P Hartley
  3. The Keys of the Kingdom, by A.J Cronin
  4. The Great Gatsby, by F.Scott Fitzgerald
  5. The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, by Martin Sixsmith
  6. Indecent Proposal, by Jack Engelhard
  7. Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen.
  8. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
  9. The East End Butcher Boy, by Joe Lawrence
  10. The Magpies, by Mark Edwards

Which books in your opinion have the best plots and characters?  I’d be interested to find out!



Open Book Blog Hop – 22nd August


This week we’re sharing photos focusing on a particular theme.  I’ve decided that my theme will be Seasons in Suffolk.

I’m originally a Londoner, but now prefer to live in Suffolk.  London is great for culture, shows and concerts, but in Suffolk you can see the horizon most of the time, there’s less pollution, and it’s much prettier!  From the pictures below you can judge for yourself.

Snow scenes 007.jpg

A country lane in our village


The same lane in the summer


Daffs in Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds

Hay bales.jpg



An autumnal view of our church

To link your photos to this blog, please click on the blue button below and follow the instructions given:

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Promotions tried and tentatively tested…

Moving ever onward in my never-ending search for good ways of marketing my books, I decided to take a chance on The Authors Show  which is an internet radio programme.  I applied and to my delight was given a slot to record via Skype on 1st September.  Luckily the recording is not live, and so if I make a terrible mistake, it can be edited out!  Each author is given a 15 minute slot, and all past interviews can be heard on the website.  There is no entry fee.

Another direction led me to setting up a fledgling mailing list.  If you’re brave enough to visit my website  you’ll see a sign-up form on my newsletter.  Anybody who signs up will receive a free e-copy of Life, my collection of 18 short stories.

I am now also now registering for author signing events, as they are quite fun to do.  I have recently posted a blog regarding my first signing at Astley Green, Manchester and have already signed up for next year’s event on 19th and 20th August 2017.  I am now waiting for a giant banner to be delivered, as I seemed to be the only author at the signing without one this year.

I’ve read that audio books are the new way forward.  I’ve managed to complete 7 audio books so far, with the ninth, Lily: A Short Story, due any day now, and another, For the Sake of a Child, ready in a few more weeks.

But the best one yet I’ve discovered, is putting you book on Kindle Unlimited for free for a limited period.  For the Sake of a Child was free from July 23rd – July 27th, and if you look at the screen shot below from a month later, it tells a story all on its own:

FSOC Bigger2.PNG

If you can’t quite see this, For the Sake of a Child reached the rank of 2,900 Paid in Kindle Store on Amazon.UK last week, nearly a month after there were 2370 free downloads.  Not bad, eh?

What successful marketing methods have you tried and tested?  I’d be interested to find out!




Friday Roundup – 19th August

1.  Thanks to The Write Stuff for this info about the Facebook Author App:

Are you using Facebook’s Author App? by Mae Clair

 2.  Thanks to Jean’s Writing for this one on what makes a unique story:

What makes for a unique story?

3.  A good one here from Damien G Walter – ‘What’s the number one reason you aren’t writing?’:

What’s the number ONE reason you aren’t writing?

4.  Interesting one from David Rothman regarding audio books:

Audiobooks: Are you ‘cheating’ if you listen rather than read traditionally?

5.  Sacha Black gives some more ways to help authors find readers:

9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part II

6.  Social Media Just For Writers has come up with this informative blog on marketing books:

7.  Check out these 20 writing tips from BlondeWriteMore:

20 Fab Writing Tips From 20 Author Interviews #Writingtips #WeekendBlogShare

8.  Here’s 7 tips from Sacha Black to create the perfect author newsletter:

7 Tips to Create Your Perfect Author Newsletter

9.  Thanks to Pearsnotparsnips for this informative blog on flax seeds, and why they’re good for you:

Golden Linseeds (aka Flax Seeds): The Original Superfood?

10.  Info from the BBC on the secret code to writing a bestseller:

11.  Thanks to Judith Barrow for this candid blog regarding breast cancer on Smorgasbord’s ‘Women’s Health Week Revisited’:

12.  A very witty one to end on!  Thanks Stroppy Editor (what about apostrophes as well!)!

Thanks to Don Massenzio, Chris, the Story Reading Ape, Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie, Smorgasbord, Kim’s Author Support Blog,  Smorgasbord, Jan Hawke, and Georgina Cromarty for the re-blogs.


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