Friday Roundup -19th October

Thanks to these authors and bloggers for the following writing tips:

1.  Jasmine  Eclipse, guest of Nicholas C. Rossis, for these sites that pay for your writing:

2.  Joanna Penn with 7 tips for selling more books on Kobo:

3.  Stephen Bentley says let experiences and emotions fuel your writing:

4.  Erica Verrillo with 3 new agents seeking submissions:

3 New Literary Agents Seeking Literary Fiction, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Memoir, Women’s Fiction & more – by Erica Verrillo…

5.  Janice Wald in making your content go viral:

5.  Dave Burnham with advice on proofreading:

20 Tips to Proofread Like A Professional

6.  K.M Weiland with advice on structuring your story:

7.  Mae Clair with 5 things every writer needs:

Five Things Every Writer Should Have

8.  Meg Dowell asks writers 3 important questions:

Your Answers to These 3 Questions Will Determine Whether or Not Writing is Your True Calling

9.  Milly Schmidt asks whether you can really make money from blogging:

Ask the blogger: can you really make money from blogging?

10.  Anne R. Allen with advice on publishers:

11.  Caryl Anne Crowne with advice on social media campaigns:

12.  Kristen Lamb with advice on using Twitter to connect with fans:

13.  Nicholas C. Rossis with advice on how to optimise your Amazon book page:

14.  Simkesrb with 8 online platforms to sell  your ebook:


Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, D. G. Kaye, (aka Debby Gies)

Thanks to Colleen Chesebro for featuring my friend and author D.G Kaye, whose opinions, likes and dislikes, and life experiences are spookily similar to my own!

Colleen Chesebro ~ The Fairy Whisperer

Conversations with ColleenThe October Edition

Hello everyone! This week I’m happy to share with you, my dearest friend and Canadian author, D. G. Kaye, (Debby Gies) as my guest. Debby puts up with my silliness every day, so when I begged asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE she was willing to give it a go.

We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions. Debby has answered so many of my questions about book publishing that between us, we could write a book!

As many of you know, Debby also shares her goodwill through our blogging community by sharing our posts across the web and in the various Facebook groups, she belongs to, and by always cheering us on. I don’t know what I would do without her love and optimism that she…

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Getting the Needle

Our hospital, along with probably every other UK NHS hospital, is offering free influenza vaccines to all the staff.  An email came round on the system instructing everyone who wanted to get a jab to attend at the main canteen every day at 12.45 until the end of October.

I have a sluggish immune system because of all the radiotherapy I’ve had, and I suffer more than most if I catch a cold or ‘flu.  However, the thought of voluntarily introducing germs into my body fills me with horror.  Last year’s vaccine didn’t match the strain of ‘flu at the time anyway, and so I have decided to give any ‘flu vaccination a wide berth and take my chances with oranges and Echinacea.

My friend Anne decided to go over to the canteen at lunchtime and get her jab.  She, like me, is not on the permanent staff because back in 2014 we had both taken early retirement, thinking at the time that because of health issues we would not be returning to work.  But hey, we made a miraculous recovery and now work when we want to, which suits us both fine.  Anne is 67 and wanted to be vaccinated because her husband also has a sluggish immune system due to cancer treatment.

Anne was soon back in the office looking slightly disgruntled, and told me that when she got to the front of the queue she was sent away because she was too old!  Granted there are not that many over 65s still working in the NHS, but I feel that as Anne is still technically working there she should have been given the vaccination.  She was told to see her GP instead, and I know that GPs give out free vaccinations to pensioners, but Anne was still humiliated in front of her colleagues.

Why is the NHS so ageist about vaccinations?  Anne is made of strong stuff and I know she wouldn’t have conked out after having a jab.  One work colleague who is much younger vomits and faints at the sight of a needle, but Anne I know would grit her teeth and endure the few seconds of pain without turning a hair.

Now I know I only have 4 more years in which to have the ‘flu jab at work, if I want it.  Hmm… I don’t think I do.  What about you?  Would you have a ‘flu jab this autumn?


Review of ‘While the Bombs Fell’, by Robbie Cheadle

Today I’m featuring Robbie Cheadle’s ‘While the Bombs Fell’:

Purchase Link:

Robbie Cheadle’s Amazon Author Page:

Description from Amazon:

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

My Review:

I was immediately interested in reading this book, as I’ve lived in Suffolk for nearly 30 years, and not too far from Bungay.  I heard lots of wartime stories from my mother who lived in London during the war, but this book was different in that the main character, a child called Elsie, lives in the countryside.  Ms Cheadle has written anecdotes gleaned from family and friends over the years, and has written quite a charming faction book.

Elsie tells of what it was like to live not only through the war itself, but also about food rationing and how her mother made the pennies stretch to feed her family.  There are highlights in Elsie’s life of Christmas Day, and the rich fruit pudding complete with a lucky sixpence that she and her siblings looked forward to, and also at other times of the odd rabbit that her farmer father managed to catch and the rabbit stew it became after her mother had skinned and gutted it.  There is also the alarming sound of the air raid siren, and how she had to flee to the garden shelter with her family, sometimes in the middle of the night.

As Elsie is a child, the book is written in quite a young style that is suitable for older children as well as adults.  She thinks nothing of walking two miles with her siblings to play at a favourite spot, something I think today’s children would not even consider (indeed if they are allowed outside in the first place).  She took as normal today’s privations such as icy bedrooms and having to share a bed with her 2 sisters, but she was glad of them for warmth.

With a diet augmented by rabbits and whatever else her father managed to catch,  Elsie possibly fared rather better than children in London who were not evacuated.  I’m sure she grew up healthier than today’s children, brought up on a diet of fast food and lack of exercise.  Hopefully she would have been too young at the time to let the war’s horrors blight her later life.

I would have preferred the style of writing to be more aimed at adults, but I give this book 4 stars for an entertaining read.


Review of ‘Crossfire’, by Jaye Marie



Purchase here.

The book begins with the mysterious murder of DI David Snow’s colleague, mild-mannered Detective Jim Harris, killed by a strange injury to the head. Snow is determined to find his friend’s killer, and grudgingly accepts the help of Jim’s replacement, the enigmatic Ruth Winton, who has her own reasons for wanting to work with Snow. Ruth seems efficient at problem-solving, but Snow dislikes ‘Ruthless Winton’ for reasons he cannot seem to put a finger on.

Meanwhile, other deaths are occurring that Snow realises might be connected to his friend’s murder. Snow must work fast to catch the killer (or killers) before they strike again.

This book kept me turning the pages to the end, and I was interested enough to find out who had killed Jim Harris.  All the characters were nicely fleshed out too, and the tension built as I read on.   There were some minor editing errors however, and so I cannot give it a full 5 stars, but am happy to give the book 4.5 stars for an entertaining read.

This book was submitted for review in my October’s Verified Purchase Review Group on Facebook.  If any author is interested in joining the group, please click on the link below:

Here are the rules for the group:

1. If you want to take part, reduce the price of your book to $0.99 /£0.99 on Amazon UK and US sites for 5 days and post a link to it on the new buying thread on Facebook within a 5 day deadline. You can also advertise it as a reduced price book as you normally would, so you may even get more sales!
2. Buy the (reduced price) book of the author in the post before yours in the buying thread before the same 5 day deadline is up (so I know when to end the thread) and then the first person will know to review the last book. Reply to the post of the author whose book you have bought with the order number.
3. Read and post your review within a 4 week deadline on your Amazon home site and on Goodreads. Leave another reply to the Facebook post of the author whose book you have reviewed with a link to the review you’ve written.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves – Frolicksome Women and Troublesome Wives: Wife Selling in England by Barb Drummond

Where’s the equality? What a shame that the wife couldn’t dispose of her husband in the same way!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to a new author to the cafe and bookstore… Barb Drummond and her latest book released at the end of August – Frolicksome Women & Troublesome Wives  – Wife Selling England.

About the book

In the late 18th century, French travellers claimed an Englishman tired of his wife could dispose of her at Smithfield’s beast market. Examples can be found scattered through press records. Some were, as often claimed, brutal, sometimes drunken affairs. But others were civilised, even joyful events ending in marriage-style dinners. They varied widely over time, place, and practice. In England marriage was easily entered into, but was virtually impossible to escape. Sales took many forms to ensure they were legal, and rituals were often incorporated.

This book is about the nature of marriage itself, of what it meant to our ancestors, of how the public responded to disputes, and about the rights of women and…

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Open Book Blog Hop – October 15th

This week’s topic:  What are the 5 most beautiful things in the world?

This is an easy one for me.  Here are my 5 beautiful things – possibly a bit different to what you were expecting:

1.  To love that special somebody and be loved by them in return.

DSC00254 - Copy


It’s quite awesome.

2. To hold your baby in your arms when you’ve just given birth.

Yeah, mostly for the ladies, this one.  You men will never know that feeling.

3.  To see a lonely elderly person’s face light up when you walk into the room.

Hope somebody walks into my room if I’m ever in that situation.

4.  To be free of debt.

What a joy it is!

5.  A stunning view shared with a loved one.

Sam and I can sit in silence on the Isle of Wight and gaze at something like this:


Where do you see beauty?  Click on the blue button below to discover others’ opinions, or even add your own:

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.

Wight Diary – 13th October. Tennyson’s Home, Farringford House.

Had a lovely trip over to Freshwater Bay this morning to take a tour around Farringford House, Tennyson’s home for over 40 years, which he bought for £6000 in the 1850s.

Front.JPGStevie in Front.JPG


Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was one of 12 children.  His father was a rector, but was violent and an alcoholic.  A couple of Alfred’s siblings ended up in asylums for the insane.

Alfred lived here with his wife Emily and sons Hallam and Lionel.  Hallam eventually lived there with his family after Alfred’s death, but Lionel unfortunately died of malaria in India when he was only 32.  Emily was frail after childbirth, and overworked as she saw to Alfred’s correspondence, ran the house, and copied out his manuscripts for publication.  One of their visitors recalled seeing Emily get up to greet him from the chaise lounge as though she was ‘rising from a coffin’.

I especially liked the narrow back stairs that led out into the grounds, where Alfred could escape from visitors.  We were not allowed to take photos inside, but the house had been restored to how it had been in Tennyson’s day (they even found some original wallpaper under 7 other layers!).  We were allowed to see the boys’ schoolroom, Alfred’s study complete with a death mask of Keats, the dining room and downstairs reception rooms, and upstairs bedrooms.  Lovely house which has been beautifully restored, with spacious grounds that accommodated servants’ cottages such as this one:


Afterwards we visited a rather choppy and windy Freshwater Bay, Lady Tennyson’s grave in Freshwater church, and also the war memorial by the church that listed two of Tennyson’s grandsons (Hallam’s sons) who were killed in WW1.




Home tomorrow and then work on Monday.  Can’t wait until our next visit to the Island!




Advice I was given when I first put my books out.

Earlier this year I had an email from a lady from a media production company who had been reading my book ‘A House Without Windows’ and loved it. As you say, you never know who is reading your book!

The Novel: UnHoly Pursuit: Devil on my Trail

Having two years under my belt and have shared my experiences with up and coming authors I feel now I can tell this story which occurred nearing three years ago.

when I first came back online two years, I was sending posting out all over the place and wasn’t getting much response. So, I tried many different serves and none actually panned out. It didn’t take long to realize I was throwing my hard earned money at the wind or more or less the fireplace.  Nowadays, even if you have a publishers you still have to do a lot of your own marketing.

One day, almost two years ago,(it has been two years ago now for this post has been in my folder for over six months.) when I signed on Facebook and opened a message from someone I sent a post to on Facebook. I was…

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