Friday Review Share


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Today it’s the turn of Friday Review Share in order to support Indie authors.  Please leave a link to a review you’ve written on Amazon or Goodreads for an Indie book which is not your own.  Just a link to the review is enough and the review itself if you like, because let’s face it, if people are interested in the book it’ll be easy to seek it out!

I’ll start the ball rolling with my review of Sally Cronin’s ‘Just an Odd Job Girl‘, which I found quite delightfully entertaining, with many laugh-out-loud moments.

Amazon Blurb:

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

My 5 Star Review:

Imogen, having turned down a career in nursing to please Peter, the love of her life, wonders how to re-build her life after he deserts her in middle age for a younger woman.

After comfort eating and moping about, Imogen decides she wants to be gainfully employed again after many years of being a wife and mother.  She’d had experience of many jobs in her youth, and nervously approaches an employment agency.   She is asked by Andrew Jenkins at the agency to talk him through the list of jobs she’d worked at in the past so that he could place her in the most suitable post.

Imogen reminisces about the times she spent working in a seaside kiosk, in a large department store, in a hotel, and as a dental assistant and a receptionist at a funeral home to name but a few.  I think Mrs Cronin may have worked at some (or all?) of these jobs herself, as she writes with great expertise about them.  There are some laugh-out-loud moments too. I particularly liked the 1970s disco scene and Imogen’s night out wearing her new wig, and  then there were the strange female customers who frequented the cosmetic department of Huntley’s Store, and the few dodgy clients who wanted to place adverts when Imogen worked at telesales…

As Imogen looks back in time at all the experiences she has had, she re-gains her self esteem and realises she is not ready to be thrown out just like yesterday’s newspaper.

Recommended for fans of light reading / humorous women’s fiction.


I read with interest A Better Man‘s blog entitled ‘Have You Visited the Everything Store?’

Over here in the UK the ‘Everything’ store as well as rising business rates and rents are closing traditional high street stores by the dozen, as consumers choose cheaper online shopping and the convenience of not having to drive to a shopping centre, pay to park the car, and then walk to the store only to find it hasn’t got exactly what you want.

In Suffolk, the latest casualty of the Everything store is the large department store Beales, which has several branches and has been trading since 1881.  Mothercare has recently shut its doors, and in the past we’ve lost Maplins, Thomas Cook, Freeman Hardy and Willis, Tandy, Dixons, Dewhurst, MFI, Jane Norman, C&A, Comet, JJB Sports, Barratts,  Blockbuster, British Home Stores, Toys R Us, and F.W Woolworth.  House of Fraser and Debenhams aren’t looking good either, and I only hope Marks & Spencer’s hold out, as that will be the final nail in the coffin.

Our high streets are filling up with coffee shops and mobile phone shops, both of which seem to do a roaring trade.  However, if those are all that’s going to be left in our high streets in the future, then it’ll be a sad day for everyone.  Sam and I went into our local branch of that well-known coffee shop recently and asked for 2 green teas, which came to nearly £5.  I know I sound like my mother (who used to complain at the price of most things), but £5 for 2 cups of tea will ensure I’ll never cross their threshold again; I’d rather drink water and make a cup of tea when I get home!

It’s got to the point where every time I go to Bury St. Edmunds, our local town, I see another shop has closed, or that another cafe or coffee shop has opened.  Huge out-of-town supermarkets have taken the place of all the little corner shops of my youth that provided more of a personal service, and so I wonder … what will be left of our high streets for the next generation?  They’ll be able to sit with an overpriced coffee after buying their new phones, but what other shops will be available for them?  None, I expect; but that’s okay, as they’ll all be buying stuff from the ‘Everything’ store.




Book Funnel February Short Story Promotion

If you write short stories and would like to promote them, there’s a promotion that will be running on Book Funnel from 1st February – 29th February.  You can join before it’s too late by clicking this link:

The promo is for single short stories being sold on your own storefront or on any major retailer. Short story collections will also be considered as will novellas of under 40,000 words (please state word count when submitting a novella). The organiser will not accept novel excerpts or samples.  You can add 3 books per pen name.

Most genres are welcome except erotica, religious, and non-fiction.

Your story must have a decent cover and, although there’s no pricing requirements, the organiser recommends keeping your short work to 99c or less during this promotion.

I’ve added my two short stories below, and you can see all 77 books in the promotion on FEBRUARY 1ST when the following link will be live:

9781999330323Finding David Kindle cover

Streets Ahead Book Promotion – Anita Dawes

This week on Streets Ahead it’s the turn of Anita Dawes’ paranormal thriller ‘Secrets‘:

and some are about someone who is already dead.
A mother must find the truth before the secrets destroy her family…

Review by ‘Bargee’:


Whenever I was called on to babysit my granddaughters, I found I enjoyed sitting and colouring with them.  At the start of it all I hadn’t done any colouring since being at primary school, but found a new interest in what I would have previously called ‘remedial’ work if chosen for adults.  It seemed to pass the time very well and we all got something out of it.  We would chat as we drew and coloured.  I’d use bright felt tip pens instead of the crayons of my youth.

Out shopping I started to buy felt tip pens and adult colouring books; no, not the type with naked men in to colour (are there any?), but those containing cityscapes or the like with intricate shapes and doodlings that took a long time to complete.  I found it very calming and therapeutic to sit there with my felt tips and let my mind wander.

When Sam had a 4 hour operation to repair a ruptured Achilles’ tendon, I sat in an armchair by his bed and waited for him to come back from the operating theatre.  To pass the time I picked out a page of elaborate swirls to colour in, which I never did get to finish.  Being worried at the time I couldn’t concentrate on reading, but the colouring took my mind away from Sam for a while.  Whenever I open my colouring book and see the picture below I am always reminded of my afternoon spent at the hospital.


Watching TV I’ve seen how colouring also has a calming effect on Ozzy Osborne, Black Sabbath’s ‘Prince of Darkness’.  He gets a kick out of colouring too, and he experiences the same calming effect.  When on a cruise a few years back, adult colouring was one of the activities.  I dragged Sam along to where a smiling member of staff gave out pencils and colouring books to mostly middle aged ladies.  Sam said he hadn’t done any colouring in 50 years, but quickly set to with his pencils to produce a passable masterpiece.

Do you like colouring?  We have several colouring books indoors now, as well as at the van.  Sometimes when I sit there making sure to keep within the lines, I feel like a little girl again!

Open Book Blog Hop – 20th January

This week the topic is:

What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them?


As an author, the first and main distraction is social media.  Unless I work offline, then I tend to check Twitter, WordPress, BookFunnel, ACX, Amazon, Goodreads, KDP, MeWe and my email notifications as they come in.  Fortunately these days I don’t have to check Facebook or LinkedIn as I deleted them, but social media is a serious distraction and time suck if authors are trying to write a novel.

Social media creeps up on you like a convolvulous vine and entwines itself around your very being if you let it.  You start off with one site, then feel obliged to register for more sites because you read online that authors must jump up high to be seen above everybody else, and the only way to do that is to be active across as many social media sites as possible.  However, when you log into these sites, you see the very same authors are on there as well as on all the other sites, and that they’re all jumping up just as high as you are.  It’s a lose-lose situation, as we’re all promoting our books to each other, and not to the readers (who are not authors) that we should be promoting them to!  What a game it all is, and what a terrible waste of time.


Paid employment takes me away from writing books.  At the moment I earn much more working as a medical secretary three days per week than the royalties I receive from Amazon and Ingram  Spark.   After I’ve spent 6 hours staring at a computer screen at the hospital, then I don’t always fancy coming home and staring at my own screen.  Consequently not much writing gets done on work days.


Sunshine.  When it’s a lovely day outside and the sun is shining, then I’d rather be out walking or cycling in Suffolk or on the Isle of Wight instead of sitting at a computer.  Therefore in the winter I’m much more productive as regards creative writing!

What distractions affect other blog-hoppers? Click on the blue button below to find out, or just add a comment.


1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!


The Food & Drug Administration has issued a safety alert after reports that asbestos has been found after testing in certain make-up products sold by a UK high street accessory chain.  The eye-shadow and compact powder has been removed, along with any other talc-based cosmetic products.

Asbestos can be found in talc if the talc is not sufficiently purified, and talc is a common ingredient in many cosmetics to prevent caking.  Many mines that collect talc also contain asbestos, as the two minerals are found close together.

Asbestos is banned in the UK, but not yet in the US (asbestos has also been found in some US cosmetic products from one particular high street chain).  Buildings older than 20 years may still contain asbestos in floors, roofs, ceilings and walls, but if the asbestos is not disturbed it poses little risk.  However, if it is disturbed it releases tiny fibres which could cause cancer.  It can also settle in the lungs and might cause breathing difficulties in time.

Back in the early 1960s I lived with my parents in one of those post-war prefabricated houses, where all the walls were made with asbestos.  I threw tennis balls at the walls for years, driving my mother mad.  In this photo you can just about see the white asbestos walls behind us.

Aged 10 with Mum and Dad041

Mum lived to 92 without any breathing difficulties, but did contract cancer in her sixties, which was successfully treated.  Dad died of cancer in 1977 at the age of only 49, and I battled thyroid cancer for 13 years before finally getting rid of it in 2017 (hopefully!).

Were our cancers caused by asbestos?  Who knows?  I’ve never worn make up, but did use talcum powder for years until my mother told me around 2014 that it wasn’t a good idea.  It’s rather worrying that asbestos can be found in make up.  My young granddaughters are plastering it on their faces.  I was never allowed to wear it, and as I grew up I found that I didn’t want to use it anyway.  However, I liked using talcum powder, but these days I find that my usual supermarket has taken it off the shelves due to the fact that they didn’t want to get sued by anybody claiming  their cancer had been caused by talcum powder they’d bought from the store.

Be careful…

We don’t know what’s really in the products we use, even though we read the labels.  Asbestos isn’t mentioned on talcum powder ingredients, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in there!

Featured image by Jennifer Beebe from Pixabay

Memoir/Biography Promotion

I’ve organised a promotion for memoirs, biographies and inspirational books on Book Funnel:

If you are a member of Book Funnel and would like to take part and add your book, you’d be very welcome (just as long as it’s memoir or biography/autobiography or inspirational non-fiction).  If you’re not part of Book Funnel, then to add 5 books of your own for promotions would cost you $20 per year.

The promotion runs for the whole of March, and so towards the end of February you would need to reduce the price of your book or make it free.  At the moment there are 5 of us taking part, but hopefully more will join as time goes on.  Each member chooses a date in which to share the links in March that Book Funnel provide.  You build up your reputation through sharing the links on your social media, and this reputation is given to organisers of promotions you take part in.

If you upgrade to the mid-list plan, you can add any number of books and also collect email addresses when you give out free book samples to readers.  The most expensive plan will add these email addresses to your Mailchimp account.

It’s a good way of promoting books, and you get to meet lots of new authors!


Does Goodreads Have a Troll Problem?

Interesting blog from Nicholas C. Rossis on Goodreads’ trolls. I think that yes, trolls sadly do seem to visit Goodreads with more frequency than other sites. I have heard of authors being targeted with one-star reviews by groups of trolls, which are very difficult to get taken off their ratings afterwards. I’m still on Goodreads and about 3 or 4 years ago was targeted by a group of trolls who all left one-star reviews for ‘No Sex Please, I’m Menopausal!’ even though some said they hadn’t even read it. I asked for them to be taken off, but … no luck. However, since then thankfully I have been troll-free.

Nicholas C. Rossis

I’ve heard from several authors who have stopped using Goodreads over the years. As Camestros Felapton reports, they may have a point, as Goodreads seems to suffer from a chronic troll problem. Matters reached crisis proportions way back in 2012. But recently, it looks like things have got worse.

Author Patrick S Tomlinson is currently being targetted by a sustained cyberstalking attack on Goodreads. Multiple fake accounts are leaving insulting reviews of a book of his that has not yet been published (not even as an ARC).

The fake accounts have been quite blatantly using fake names and identities, including a fake account pretending to be Otis Chandler, one of the founders of Goodreads:

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Friday Click & Run – 17 January

On Fridays I do my bit to promote Indie authors/bloggers by posting either Click & Run, Streets Ahead, or Book Share.  This week it’s the turn of ‘Click & Run’:

You know what to do by now… just leave a link to whichever blog post you’d like to share this week.  You only need to read and comment on other blog posts if you want to – there are no mandatory rules here.  Live and let live, that’s my philosophy…

Please keep the blogs reasonably family friendly though.  If I see any nasties I will have to delete them!

Thanks to the 6 bloggers who left links last time.

I’ll share one of my more popular posts: Am I a Writer or an Author?