Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Living with arm pain - Can I still be a writer?

Living with cubital tunnel syndrome amongst others.

Today, I am struggling; I am struggling to see a future with writing. I have chronic hand, wrist and arm pain due to a riding accident a few years ago. It not only affects my day to day life but everything else from my career as a teacher, to hobbies and passions. I haven't ridden the said horse in a number of years, but one day I hope that the future maybe rosier. I hope there will be a way forward in what appears to be a very limited existance at the moment.

I love to write. I always have. It's something inside of me that has to get out. Letters to Eloise, my debut, practically wrote itself, the story was so desperate to escape.


It's the same with my next two novels, they're bursting to escape from me. But I am finding writing near on impossible. Having two useless arms when I am desperate to write it extremely frustrating. I have tried hand writing but that has caused another ganglion cyst to rear it's ugly head in my writing hand. Typing just encourages my wrist joints to balloon and sharp nerve pain. I'm on the long NHS wait to see yet another specialist consultant, as my consultant doesn't know what to do with me anymore. There is only so much surgery they can do.

Anyway, on a bright note and with help from my lovely partner with the typing up of notes, I am over half way with my next novel; a charity YA novel entitled The Subtle Art of Keeping a Racehorse. The story follows a group of teenagers as they embark on a pact to keep a missing racehorse.

 Four teenagers. A missing Racehorse. 
Rumours, secrets and lies. 
What could possibly go wrong?

Rafferty Lincoln doesn't like horses. But if liking horses means winning over Liberty Ashburn,
 the girl of his dreams, he is willing to try anything. But what Rafferty doesn't know is the tragic consequences that follow the decision to keep the horse that neither of them owns.

 The proceeds of this novel are being donated to the Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.
My next adult novel, the emotional psychological thriller 10 Ways is also developing nicely. There is plenty to look forward to despite the doom and gloom of not being able to use my arms at the moment! Hopefully one day I can invest in some dictation software and life will become easier!

Until then, happy writing and reading everyone!

Interview with Corine Dehghanpisheh - #Babylove

Welcome Corine to my blog! I had the pleasure of reviewing your lovely children's book a few weeks ago and I'm delighted to have you again on my blog. I am looking forward to learning more about you and your writing processes.

A curious toddler loves to play…especially with his mommy's smartphone!  When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment. Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention. Her simple reminder: Put down our phones.

What inspired the children's book #BabyLove My Toddler Life?
My life experiences as a mom and aunt mixed with a little imagination inspired this second book in the #BabyLove Book Series. The ideas for #BabyLove: My Toddler Life came from the interactions that I experienced with my nieces and nephews and smartphones. Whenever they had the opportunity to grab a phone, they would take it and run.  I always had a laugh when I found the many, many photos and videos the kids took of themselves.  

I can relate to the book even more now my daughter is at the age where she is starting to get more curious and wants to play with our phones. As a mom, I have quickly realised that it's not only important to find balance with technology but to help kids understand their relationship with it as well.  

What other authors have inspired you?
I am inspired by children’s book authors such as Mo Willems, Dev Petty, and Ame Dyckman. 

Do you use your own phone too much? I definitely feel guilty of this! 
Yes!  For sure on certain days I feel like I use my phone too much.  I use it for everything. I try to explain to my daughter what I am doing, but she is still too young to understand. So when I tell her I am sending a message for work, I am googling information, or I am posting a picture up to a social media account it doesn’t make a difference.  All she knows is I am on my phone again.  

I think it’s interesting that she says, “Put your phone down Mommy!”  When she wants attention or for me to play.  

Sometimes balancing everything is such a challenge. 

Have you any other children's book ideas at the moment?
I do have other children’s book ideas that I am working on slowly.  One idea I am working on will be part of the #BabyLove series and the second is something completely different.  

Is writing your full time job?
Eventually I am hoping that writing and illustrating will become a full-time job.  Right now, I am enjoying creating my books on a part-time basis while raising my daughter.  

Thank you so much to Corine for joining us today to chat, it's been a pleasure to have you on the blog. Best wishes for writing your next book and I hope you'll join us again then.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Review of #Babylove My Toddler Life

Book review - #Babylove My Toddler Life

I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to read and review this children's book by Corine  Dehghanpisheh.

My son really enjoyed this story and chose it independently himself to read too (after we'd read it a couple of times together). All toddlers seem fascinated by phones, so he enjoyed seeing the pictures on the phone and comparing them to things he had done also. He loved the illustrations, especially the dog!

The message, although subtle and doesn't really interfere with the story, is an important one. One I feel strongly about and need to do more often. Obviously the message went completely over my sons head, but it wasn't aimed at him anyway. He just enjoyed seeing the little boy and the photos the Mummy had taken. Great for talking about not taking your phone too! Overall and enjoyable story that my son seemed to really like.

A curious toddler loves to play…especially with his mommy's smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment. Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

Her simple reminder: Put down our phones

Buy the book here:    

More about the author:

Corine's fourth book, #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is now available. It is the 2nd book in her #BabyLove Book Series. Her first book in the series, #BabyLove: My Social Life is the Next Generation Indie Book Award winner (Picture Books 0-5). 

Corine's inspirations for writing and illustrating come from everyday life. When Corine is not busy being creative, she is most likely having fun taking pictures of her daughter and husband in Dallas, Texas. Her debut children's book Can We Play Again? is a Mom's Choice Awards(R) Silver Recipient and a Next Generation Indie Author Finalist. The inspiration for this book came from her work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NYC.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Review of My Father's Kingdom

Review of 'My Father's Kingdom' - by James W George

Review of 'My Father's Kingdom'

This is a historical fiction and extremely atmospheric book. I found this quite a heavy book that took a lot of concentration. At first I struggled to get into the story, but I found once I became immersed into the language and drama that was unfolding, I began to enjoy reading. This book is extremely rich in both it's characters and language. I loved the depth of the characters. George has a great skill in story telling. He writes well, and with great power to his writing.

Although I didn't know anything at all about this period in history, I felt that the book was very well researched and interesting. There were some complicated character names that threw me off a little and like I've said, this book requires quite a bit of concentration. Once I'd overcome this, the story flowed for me more. The book gathered pace as it progressed and I was able to immersed myself in the world of 1671 New England. Overall, I enjoyed reading 'My Father's Kingdom,' and feel that I have learnt a lot along the journey as history was brought vividly to life.

Thank you so much to the author for the copy of the book.

The year is 1671 and New England is in turmoil. Fifty years after the Pilgrims’ miraculous alliance with the great Massasoit and the Wampanoag nation, friend has become foe. Thrust into the center of events is Reverend Israel Brewster, an idealistic young minister with a famous grandfather and a tragic past. Meanwhile, Massasoit's son Metacomet, known as "King Philip" by the English, is tormented by both the present and the past. He is watching the resources and culture of the Wampanoag nation fade away at the hands of the English and desperately wishes to restore hope and security to his people. In a world of religious fervor, devastating sickness, and incessant greed, can the alliance of their forefathers survive? Or will New England feel the wrath of tragic, bloody war?

 Buy the book here: 

More about the author:

James W. George is a military veteran and debut author currently residing in Virginia. He is a graduate of Boston University and a lover of history and historical fiction.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Book review - Finding a Friend - Carol Thomas

Book review 
Finding a Friend - Carol Thomas

I was so delighted to receive a paperback copy of this lovely children's picture book. My children were so excited when the book post arrived! It was read twice straight away and then we read it again at bedtime!

When Little Pup finds himself at the shelter,
he doesn't know quite what to do.
Big dogs all around, feeling lost and alone,
Little Pup needs a friend... but who?

As an experienced primary school teacher and mother of four, Carol Thomas knows the importance of inspiring a love of books from an early age. In Finding a Friend Carol brings her knowledge of developing early literacy skills together with an understanding of creating characters young children will connect with. The language of the text is purposely rhythmic, rhyming and repetitive, inspiring children to join in, anticipate and repeat words and phrases. The effortlessly emotive illustrations ensure that young children will be able to interpret and discuss the puppy's range of thoughts and feelings. From the engaging language to the charming illustrations, Finding a Friend is a book created to encourage young children, aged 0-5 years, to actively participate in the reading experience.

Book review

Lovely book and story to read with the children. This book has a wonderful story about a puppy needing a new home after being taken to the shelter. The puppy was frightened and lonely and it was great to talk about emotions with the children. My children really enjoyed the story and I found it a lovely book to read with it's rhyme and gentle rhythm. 

My son really enjoyed getting to name the puppy at the end of the book - what a lovely touch. With delightful illustrations throughout, this book kept us all engaged. It is a firm favourite and has already been read many times.

More about the author:

 Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively young Labrador. Carol has been a teacher in the primary sector for over fifteen years and works part-time as a copywriter for commercial websites. She has a passion for reading, writing and people watching and can often be found loitering in local caf├ęs working on her next book.

Carol writes for both adults and children: Her contemporary romance novels, have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads; while her children's books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

Book review - Circumstantial Truth - Ian Welch

Book review - Circumstantial Truth - Ian G Welch

A failed relationship, betrayed by his best friend and framed for a crime he did not commit. A multitude of different people with their own conflicting agendas is swirling around Zack Carmichael. He is left broken and confused. What do you do when your best friend betrays you and steals the girl you were destined to marry? Zack Carmichael withdraws within himself, Shadow, his dog has become is new best friend. But she is also responsible for a catastrophic discovery which now threatens to destroy him. 

The evidence is damning, Zach’s quest to prove his innocence seems a distant forlorn hope. The witness who gave false evidence has mysteriously disappeared. A bumbling police inspector who is dealing with his own demons believes he already has his man. Everyone is operating to their own personal unrelated agendas and conspiring to suppress the truth. Prison is a debilitating place for someone used to the wide open spaces of country life. And is it the place to rediscover love and seek help establishing his innocence? 

A compelling emotional journey against almost insurmountable odds unfolds. Circumstantial Truth transports the reader through a swirling series of confusing sub-plots, mixing the ingredients together in a bubbling cauldron of intrigue, to finally reach its climatic conclusion.

Book review -

I found Zach a really unique and interesting character and really enjoyed reading about his relationship with Shadow, his dog. The circumstances leading up to Zach being put into prison were gripping and kept me hooked. I enjoyed reading about his relationship with his new cell mate and how other relationships in his life were formed and lost. Zach felt very real and his concerns about Shadow continued even with him being put inside. I found the middle a little confusing, with a series of new characters and subplots away from Zach added, but it kept the interest enough to keep reading. I found his thought processes interesting as he headed towards his parole hearing. I needed to know whether it would work out for Zach, whether he'd get the girl, be released from prison and be reunited with Shadow. Overall a satisfying ending, with the loose ends tied up.

I enjoyed reading this novel and found the descriptions of the outdoor and lifestyle of Zach very interesting.

Buy the novel here: US http://a.co/gtEwKUs

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Book review - The Mess of Me - Chantelle Atkins

Book review - The Mess of Me
Chantelle Atkins

A big thank you to Chantelle for providing me with a copy of this fabulous novel in exchange for an honest review. I was delighted to receive the copy and couldn't wait to get stuck in!

Book review:

I really enjoyed reading this lovely coming of age novel. The characters were really intriguing and the storyline had me hooked from the start. If I wasn't on holiday with the kids at the time, I would have been unable to put the novel down! I really felt truly a part of the story due to Atkins use of first person for her lead character as she tackles some really troublesome gritty themes. I loved the dynamics of Lou and Joe and their blossoming relationship despite the angst of the dramas unfolding around them. I loved the description of the dog!

The character of their friend Marianne really intrigued me and I wanted to find more about her issues, which unfolded as the story developed. The brothers were just vile as were a few parental characters in the story! Lou's mum was a godsend. I was pleased to see some characters developing morals or getting their comeuppance as the story progresses! All this leads up to an exciting climatic ending. Completely hooked from start to end. The novel is graphic in terms of its language use and painful issues but in that respect and knowing teenagers, it is very true to form and eye opening. I loved how Atkins tackled these dilemmas head on.

Great novel and I really look forward to reading more from Atkins in the future. I am also looking forward to reading some of her previous novels.

‘I remember my Nana once saying everyone should have at least one good summer in their lives, one summer that they never forget. I think this is not a bad way to start my sixteenth year. This is not a bad way to start our summer. And I give Joe a slow smile.’Sixteen year old Lou wants to be thinner. Joe is her best friend and last night they found something they shouldn’t have in his older brothers’ wardrobe. Leon and Travis are shady figures, living shadier lives, and one summer, Lou and Joe find themselves mixed up in the drama, the confusion and the violence. Will Lou’s weight loss obsession spiral out of control? Is Marianne, her self-harming friend, really her friend, or an enemy in disguise? And will Lou and Joe ever be more than just best friends?Reluctant drug running, extreme dieting, kissing the wrong boys, family drama and first love. Lou Carling is about to have one messy summer.
Buy the book UK:http://amzn.eu/3W4DRjv
Buy the book US:http://a.co/4u4Ez4M
More about the author:

Chantelle Atkins was born and raised in Dorset, England and still resides there now with her husband, four children and multiple pets. She is addicted to both reading and music, and is on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She writes for both the young adult and adult genres. Her fiction is described as gritty, edgy and compelling. Her debut Young Adult novel The Mess Of Me deals with eating disorders, self-harm, fractured families and first love. Her second novel, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side follows the musical journey of a young boy attempting to escape his brutal home life. She is also the author of This Is Nowhere, This Is The Day and has recently released a collection of short stories related to her novels called Bird People and Other Stories.

Book review - Just in time - Karen Rose Callan

Book review - Just in time
Author: Karen Rose Callan

 Book review -

I really enjoyed the personalised style of writing for this book. I felt very much in touch with the characters the instant I started reading. The story was written beautifully with such raw honesty. This book I think needs to be read when you are in need of uplifting and having more positivity in your life. I loved the music interwoven into the storyline. The book was well written, paced and deeply personal. It leaves the reader being very reflective about their own lives. Karen's words are very poignant and remind you about the time spent in your own life. A very enjoyable read if you are looking for something a bit different.

 A delightful journey to inner growth, Just In Time is interspersed with advice and ideas for a fulfilling spiritual life. Using a brilliant mix of story, message, sign and song, author Karen Rose Callan highlights the connection to what is divine and inspires you to nurture your soul and see yourself in a kinder light. In Callan’s own words, “I didn’t always love life. I found life difficult and challenging and suffered from depression and perfectionism as I was growing up. After years of focus and understanding, it became clear to me that life is meant to be joyful. When we listen and open ourselves to trusting all that is around us, we realize that life is always in our favor. We are the ones who make it difficult.”

In the beginning of Just In Time, Callan introduces readers to her influential and outspoken Italian grandmother, Rose, whose stories will move you with encouragement and zeal to enjoy life, to live fully, and to love. Humor is abundant throughout, passing on the impact of Grandma Rose’s laughter-filled life to others. Callan adds, “Her story is not meant to act as a comparison to your own, yet meant to offer you an opportunity to reflect upon your own life, your own relationships, and your own journey. If her love, her enthusiasm, and her joy of living excite you, ignite you, and inspire you to live in a new way, then anyone can be your guide. A rose by any other name…”

More about the author:

Owner of RosaYoga since 2003, Karen Rose Callan is an E-RYT 500 yoga teacher who has taught thousands of classes, camps and workshops across the country. She and her husband, Kelly, share ownership of The Parlour Frozen Yogurt Store in Tucson, Arizona where they showcase local artists and vendors. Karen is a writer, teacher, painter, nature lover, orchid grower, and Broadway musical enthusiast. Mother of four, grandmother of two, she and Kelly share their time between their homes in Tucson and Sedona, Arizona with their adored four-legged friends, Clay and Chloe. Visit Rosayoga.com/just-in-time or follow Facebook.com/karenrcallan

Buy in the UK: http://amzn.eu/aBCDcT0 
Buy in the US: http://a.co/7TgUM4U

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Book review - The Child of Happiness

Book review - Poetry
The Child of Happiness

Author: S.V. Cobets

I haven't read poetry for quite a while and fancied something different. I wasn't disappointed. I have always feared poetry a little as was not sure how to interpret the meanings but these poems just flowed beautifully and I just enjoyed them rather than trying to analyse them. The beautiful poems with a range of different themes really captured my heart. I particularly enjoyed, 'She is cold as ice,' and 'A bird.' 'For you,' was a very emotional poem. Each poem brought something different and evoked different emotions. Put together they made very powerful reading in a lovely book. 'A mistake,' is a short but very thoughtful poem. Overall, I really enjoyed reading Cobets poetry and has encouraged me to dip into poetry more often.

Buy the book here: 
UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle/dp/B01DAR22LY/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_eos_detail
US - http://a.co/9FwBReC

More about the author:

I was born 12.09.1965 in Split, Croatia. I live and work in Kastel Sucurac, where I finished my elementary and secondary schooling. At a very young age, I started reading, and I liked it because with these books I have traveled to places that I could never go. As a child, I loved fairy tales and adventure, but later I discovered other genres. Frankly, science fiction fascinated me, and that it all started when I in the library found a Jules Verne. I started writing poetry for fifteen years, and later I started writing SF. Lately, I write stories for children fairy tales and fables. I have published in Croatia the 'An Opened Heart' in 2002, 'The Sleepy Way' in 2005, 'Love' in 2006. On Amazon, I published SF Novel "Godeena" in 2015.

Book review - Incision Decisions

Book review of non-fiction book Incision Decisions - 
a guide to getting through surgery, recovery, and your hopsital stay.  
Author: Kaye Newton.

With possible upcoming surgery on my arm and having had many previous surgeries, I thought that this would be an ideal book to read. Although US based, and some of the information different for a UK NHS patient, the information is excellent. Newton has provided in-depth chapters with information needed prior to the operation, during and after. The chapter about preparing your home for your recovery and the recovery stages at home are very useful and thorough. The information is very personalised, with Newton's experiences interwoven within the information. I loved the recipies too. Overall Newton has written an excellent book for people preparing for upcoming surgery. Things may differ due to the hospitals policy or country but generally the information is very useful with tips and hints.

I will certainly be dipping into this book again nearer the time of my next surgery and afterwards.

For everyone who is having surgery this year, this easy-to-read and reassuring guide will lead you through finding a good surgeon to managing your hospital stay to recovering well at home. With warmth and humor, fellow surgery patient and hospital advocate Kaye Newton gives you the inside scoop on what to really expect during a hospital stay and how to make life easier for yourself while recuperating. She shares effective ways to manage pre-surgery anxiety, line up help for your recovery period, avoid hospital acquired infections, deal with the post-surgery blues, stay positive during your recovery process, and much more.

Kaye addresses the emotions patients experience as well as practicalities such as how to review your medical bills and make sure that you are not overcharged. Incision Decisions is chock-full of useful advice and planning tools and is an invaluable guide for patients and their loved ones. 

Buy the novel here:
UK: http://amzn.eu/gkRtLwA
US: http://a.co/aN3qEtC

More about the author: 

Kaye Newton is an experienced hospital advocate, surgery patient, and caregiver. She lives outside Nashville with her husband, three children, and two dogs.