Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Novels for adult and young adult horse lovers!

Books for grown-up horse lovers!

Just because you’ve become an adult or young adult, doesn’t mean that you no longer can read about horses and ponies. However, as an older teen I really struggled to find any books suitable to fulfil my age-related needs but also to meet the desire to read about horses and ponies.

Therefore, I have researched a collection of horse and pony stories suitable for those older young adults and into adulthood. Let me know if you know of any others that I can add to the list! Of course, I've snuck in my new novel, Rafferty Lincoln Loves... into the mix for you to enjoy!

'Chosen by a horse' by Susan Richards

When she agrees to take on one of the abused horses just rescued by the local SPCA, a new chapter opens in Susan Richards's difficult life.
She lost her mother at the age of five and was raised by uncaring relatives; she married unhappily and divorced; and she'd been an alcoholic. Now, at the age of forty-three, she lives with three horses who keep her company: the diva-like Georgia, boyish Tempo and hopelessly romantic Hotshot.
While trying to capture another horse assigned to her, Lay Me Down, a skeletal mare, walks into Susan's horse trailer of her own volition. When Susan agrees to take her, she begins to forge a special, healing relationship that alters her life.
Poignant and evocative, this is a book for anyone who has ever loved a horse, and for everyone who has ever lost a loved one.

'The Horse Whisperer' by Nicholas Evans
 Buy the book here
In the still of a snow-covered morning in upstate New York, a girl out riding her horse is hit by a 40-ton truck. Though horribly injured, both thirteen-year-old Grace Maclean and her horse Pilgrim survive. But the impact on their lives is devastating.
Grace is the only child of prominent New York magazine editor, Annie Graves, and her lawyer husband Robert. In a way that none of them at first understands, their destiny comes to depend on Pilgrim's. So mutilated and traumatised is he that even the vet who saved him wishes he hadn't. Annie refuses to have him put down, sensing that if she does, something in Grace will die too.
Then Annie hears about a man called Tom Booker, a 'whisperer' who is said to have the gift of healing troubled horses. Abandoning her job, Annie sets off across the continent with Grace and Pilgrim to find him. Under the massive Montana sky, all their lives are changed for ever.

Eleanor McGraw, a pony named Mouse and a boy called Fire
Eleanor McGraw, vertically challenged, empathic and sharp daughter of folk musician Isabel Payne and a world famous rock guitarist, wakes up a few days shy of her 14th birthday to a life more ordinary.
After years of vagabonding around the world alongside a series of chaotic father figures, they are settling down with quiet Kjell, a Swedish dentist, on the outskirts of a small town on the South coast of England.
While exploring her new home’s surroundings, Eleanor discovers a solitary pony in a deserted plot of grazing land.
As she befriends the animal and meets scar-faced, foul-mouthed, 16-year-old Pike she is slowly drawn into another family’s tragic past and finds herself at the centre of a decision between life or death, past or future, beginning or end.

A contemporary book about people, ponies, patchwork families, friendship and love, suitable for anyone - horse rider or not - between 14 and 104.
Rafferty Lincoln Loves... by Emily Williams
  Buy the book here
A sensational and compelling, coming of age story for older young adults and not-so-young adults. Foreword by Frankie Dettori MBE.

Rafferty Lincoln doesn't like horses. Not one bit. But when the popular high school girl of his dreams, Liberty Ashburn pulls him into a world of lead ropes and horse brushes, who is he to say no?

Except this isn't any old horse. This is the missing racehorse, Profits Red Ridge. The horse Rafferty and three of his friends are hiding from the world. And Liberty Ashburn isn’t just any ordinary high school girl. How far will Rafferty go to win her over?

An intense, witty and powerful coming of age story with startling consequences.
'The One Dollar Horse' by Lauren St John
 Buy the book here
A thriller set in the equestrian world about making the impossible possible, about reaching the top on a one dollar horse.
Fifteen year old Casey Blue lives in East London's grimmest tower block and volunteers at a local riding school, but her dream is to win the world's greatest Three Day Event: the Badminton Horse Trials.
When she rescues a starving, half-wild horse, she's convinced that the impossible can be made possible. But she has reckoned without the consequences of her father's criminal record, or the distraction of a boy with melty, dark eyes, with whom she refuses to fall in love. Casey learns the hard way that no matter how high you jump, or how fast you gallop, you can never outrun the past.
A real life thriller that delves into the competitive and elite equestrian world from the 2011 BLUE PETER BOOK OF THE YEAR award-winning author.

'The Scorpio Races' by Maggie Stiefvater 
Stay alive, stay astride, stay out of the water... Every November, the Scorpio Races are run beneath the chalk cliffs of Skarmouth. Thousands gather to watch the horses and the sea that washes the blood from the sand. The mounts are capaill uisce: savage water horses. There are no horses more beautiful, more fearless, more deadly. To race them can be suicide but the danger is irresistible. Sean Kendrick knows the dangers of the capaill uisce. With one foot in the ocean and one on land, he is the only man on the island capable of taming the beasts. He races to prove something both to himself and to the horses. Puck Connolly enters the races to save her family. But the horse she rides is an ordinary little mare, just as Puck is an ordinary girl. When Sean sees Puck on the beach he doesn't think she belongs. He doesn't realize his fate will become entwined in hers. They both enter the Races hoping to change their lives. But first they'll have to survive.

'War horse' by Michael Morpurgo 
The book that inspired Steven Spielberg’s Hollywood blockbuster movie and an internationally acclaimed stage show . . . it can only be Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse.

In the deadly chaos of the First World War, one horse witnesses the reality of battle from both sides of the trenches. Bombarded by artillery, with bullets knocking riders from his back, Joey tells a powerful story of the truest friendships surviving in terrible times. The bedlam of battle had begun. All around me men cried and fell to the ground, and horses reared and screamed in an agony of fear and pain. The shells whined and roared overhead, and every explosion seemed like an earthquake to us. One horse has the seen the best and the worst of humanity. The power of war and the beauty of peace. This is his story.

Former Children’s Laureate and award-winning author, Michael Morpurgo, has written nearly 100 books for children, many of them war stories. But none have become as famous as War Horse. Inspiring a long-running stage show and a box office film directed by Steven Spielberg, War Horse has become an international sensation. Read the book that started it all; the stunning wartime classic.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Young adult horse novel

Can’t wait for the blog tour for my young adult horse novel, Rafferty Lincoln Loves... Find out more about the novel from the link below. Keep checking post for updates on blog tour dates and reviews, thank you! :-)

Review of Christopher Joyce - The Creatures of Chichester

Review of Christopher Joyce

The Creatures of Chichester - The one about the curious cloud 

As a royal prince takes his first breath, strange things happen to the Twolegs of Chichester. It's something to do with the swirling purple cloud that has suddenly appeared above the cathedral.
A little deaf girl and her pet rabbit, Plectrum, have no idea about the danger they are in - or how their lives will change forever.
Once again, Button and Stitchley, the intrepid spiders from North Street call on the creatures of Chichester to solve the mystery as they battle with the starving foxes howling in the night.
If you enjoyed The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann; your children are too old for Julia Donaldson but too young for David Walliams or Michael Morpogo then you'll love this book.

Buy the novel here

My review

I really enjoyed this lovely animal centred story which starts with a purple cloud appearing above the cathedral in Chichester, where the series is based. It’s the second book in the series that I have read and I highly recommend this fantastic set of children’s books. The mysterious cloud is causing all sorts of problems for the people and creatures of Chichester. The twoleg girl and her pet rabbit Plectrum are in danger and slowly the mystery unravels as to why, which I won't give away! This story had me on the edge of my seat, really sympathising for the creatures and their dilemma. I love how the spiders take charge and this also gives them a great status for developing a positive relationship with the audience of children. I love seeing them portrayed in a good light that will dispel any fear children may develop.

The animals were great characters and you really feel for them as their lives are changed forever by the mysterious cloud. They all have wonderful names which I know children will particularly enjoy. This is definitely a story for all those children that love animals and they'll be delighted by all the different characters and desperate to find out what happens. There is enough mystery and intrigue for any reader to enjoy.

The author has a unique talent of bringing creatures to life through strong characterisation and enables the reader to develop empathy with the characters, although the starving foxes were particularly scary! The story ends with a great moral message, which would make this a interesting discussion read for schools. It’s great that the twolegs finally listen to the animals. The story encompasses all elements from humour to mystery and makes a exciting all round read. I would highly recommend. Another great read from author Christopher Joyce and I look forward to reading more from this series. With lovely illustrations to match the story, this is a great treasure of a series to find!

About the author:

Christopher Joyce, winner of the Cornish Writing Challenge 2017, is a Twoleg from Chichester in West Sussex, England.

He has been a teacher, marketing director, waiter; once made Venetian blinds, worked in a steel works and has run a garden design business.

He has written six books about The Creatures of Chichester. The latest book - the one about the golden lake is out now. For more information visit:
www.creaturesofchichester.com or keep up to date on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/creaturesofchichester/

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Review of Castle of the Heart by Sapphire Jones

Review of 'Castle of the Heart' by Sapphire Jones

A Professor of Philosophy, with an oblivious husband and a disturbingly perceptive five-year-old daughter, Bethann is satisfied with her life. More or less . . .

She knows that the erotic and romantic fireworks of youth are just that: things we all age out of; phases we go through; dreams that we let go of.

Then, attending an academic conference—held in an island castle, on a lake, in the Italian Alps—she encounters Dov: the lover with whom she’d repeatedly played “catch and release,” in college and beyond.

For reasons both mundane and tragic, they’ve had no contact for more than ten years; it takes less than ten seconds to reignite the firestorm of their love and their passion.

In the past, they’d never been able to “make it stick.” Can they do it now? Is Bethann willing to blow up the life she’s built for herself? Can Dov surmount the scars and the wounds of his past, some of them inflicted by Bethann herself?

Or is there a 2% Solution, an erotic and romantic space that they can carve out, just for each other, during a single week, every year?


A short romance story; but don't let the erotic element in the title put you off (if you're that way inclined) as this is more of a romance than an erotic story. The erotic-ness part is rather mild but enjoyable all the same. This novel was shorter than I thought, and as a trilogy could have been made into one novel with three parts, rather than spread over three short novellas but still together as one book. That confused me. However, what is there to read is good and the novellas do flow together to form one, albeit short, novel. Perfect to fit into a short gap in the day. With my busy life, I am liking the short story more and more at the moment. Especially a good one that passes the time easily, so this was perfect for that.

Witty and amusing, the story will have you laughing out loud from the outset. The author has an excellent grasp of dialogue and uses this well throughout the novel. The momentum and pace are excellent. Great idea for a story and well-written, the plot keeps the pages turning. This has an excellent premise for a full-length novel. I won't keep banging on about the length, but because I was enjoying the read so much, I didn't want it to end so soon!

Enjoyable read and if you're looking for a short romance with a hint of eroticism to fill a moment in the day, this trilogy is for you.

Review of 'A Queen's spy' by Sam Burnell

Review of 'A Queen's spy' by Sam Burnell

 “It combines murder, mystery, and intrigue in a most masterful way.” Rita Kroon - Author of "Letters from the Past"

As Tudor England erupts following the death of Edward VI, can one young spy protect his queen? International bestselling author Sam Burnell takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with this magnificent new epic, A Queen’s Spy.

In 1553, England is torn apart by religious conflict. Power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and brotherly love.

Richard Fitzwarren, caught in the middle of a cruel family feud, wants nothing more than to make his own way in the world. A childhood friend of the Princess Elizabeth, he cannot forget his loyalty in her time of need. Pressured by her sister, Mary, Elizabeth’s continued existence remains precarious throughout her reign. The divide between Catholic Mary and Anne Boleyn’s Protestant daughter Elizabeth is a deep one.

Jack Fitzwarren, Richard’s displaced bastard brother, seeks a place at his brother’s side. Impulsive and hot headed, his attempts to gain his brother’s acceptance and approval often end badly.

Finally the brothers are brought head to head when Richard tries to foil a plot against Elizabeth. Will Richard accept his fate and fight? Or will he run? Can Jack murder his brother to save a woman he’s never met?

My review

History novels aren't the genre of novel I'd usually read, however, this story swept me in straight away and I was hooked. Although the plot was a little confusing at times and I had to re-read or stop until I had more concentration, once focused I was immersed in the storyline. A developmental editor could easily sort out these dips in the plot and provide a smoother read, but as it is, it is still a very enjoyable story. Tudor fans probably wouldn't struggle with this as would have more of a clue than I about the period in history. The characters are well portrayed and with depth, especially the Fitzwarren family. The teenage Catherine is developed well and is an interesting character and a definite highlight of the story. 

The author has a talent for writing vivid fight scenes that keep you gripped! There is plenty of history in the novel to keep historical readers going as the book develops and plenty of intrigue for readers like me. With a few tweaks here and there this novel has the making of a good solid read and I think readers would enjoy this and others in the series.

About the author...

Sam Burnell lives in the North East of England and has had a passion for history and archaeology all her adult life. Originally trained as a Solicitor, whilst studying for a law degree at Durham University she discovered a love for legal history. Various jobs followed, including researcher for a local museum, public sector audit work and finally now running her own successful scuba diving business both on-line and in a bricks and mortar store. During a career break a return to University was possible where she studied Archaeology, and Sam is never happier then when she's stood in a castle wondering what when and why and trying to unlock the secrets in the stones.

Sam Burnell's passion is the Tudor period, and her fiction is meticulously researched, and her historical fiction has the true flavour of the period. The Tudor period is replete with mystery and intrigue ready to be turned into entertaining fiction that also provides the reader with a greater insight into the history of the period.

'The Tudor Heresy,' serves as an introduction to Sam Burnell's Novel 'A Queen's Spy,' and provides an opener to the series and an introduction to the main characters in the series. The next book in the series, 'A Queen's Traitor,' will be available in September 2017.

Her favorite reading material would be Phillipa Gregory, CJ Sansom and Alison Weir, all Tudor historical fiction, and medieval mysteries and medieval fiction.

Sam Burnell loves to hear from her readers and if you have any comments please leave a review on Amazon, or email her at samburnell@hotmail.co.uk.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Review of 'Through the Mind's Eye' by Joseph Willson

 Review of 'Through the Mind's Eye' by J.P. Willson

Depression, self-loathing, unemployment, and destroyed relationships: the effects of drug and alcohol addiction run so much deeper than the morning-after hangover. However, awareness alone will not save the struggling addict, as J.P. Willson reveals in his fearless examination of substance dependency; recovery means doing the mental and emotional work to look inside oneself and discover a way to live as a sober, fulfilled individual in an often challenging world.

Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is a thought-provoking and honest examination of the emotional, psychological, and physical ways someone must enact their own healing. As a recovering alcoholic, Willson courageously shares his own story of addiction, as well the ups and downs he experienced along the road to recovery. Packed with astonishing insights about our culture’s relationship to alcohol, as well as the lies we tell ourselves in order to keep using, this book will change the way you view addiction. Willson has no qualms about telling the reader how difficult recovery is—and how there is no quick cure-all—but his compassionate, candid reflections help foster the knowledge and will to change.

My review

This was a very raw and honest story of self-discovery. Sometimes difficult to read due to its ups and downs harrowing content and ebb and flow style, this story follows the authors own struggles when battling addiction. It is blunt and vivid with no holds barred, if you want to know about the darkest depths of addiction then this book is for you. But also there is hope and the author leads you on a story of self-discovery as he battles with his recovery from alcoholism.

An insightful read and would be an inspiration for anyone going through the journey themselves and acknowledging the immense difficulties along the way. This book is about personal experience and therefore could be different for other individuals. However, could also be a useful read for those with relatives and friends going through similar issues so can understand from an insiders perspective about what is going on. Although it comes across as a manual in style at times, its the personal touches that make this book what it is. A courageous book to write by the author.

About the author: 

J.P. Willson is a writer and chef living on the west coast of Canada. Growing up as the shy, quiet child in a large middle-class family, he has always been an observer, a thinker, and a wonderer. He has worked as a Red Seal chef for twenty-five years, and is highly skilled in his trade. However, despite his accomplishments, his life has not been easy. J.P. struggled with alcoholism for nearly thirty years, which resulted in homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, and spiralling depression. Having done the soul-searching and continuing work required for recovery, J.P. decided to share his experience and knowledge to help others along their own journeys. Through the Mind's Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is his first publication. J.P. is deeply grateful for the love and support of his family, counsellors, and friends....

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Review of 'The Pas De Deux'

Review of 'The Pas De Deux' by Erin Bomboy

That was their instruction.
But fate tripped them up, and they fell in love.
Under the fluorescent sun of ‘80s Hollywood, aging ballerina Peridot “Peri” Jones and her new partner, young Mark Maroulis, Jr., ignite a chemistry onstage that brings a dying ballet company back to life.
Although wary of their age difference, they begin a highly charged love affair offstage. They keep the romance a secret because artistic director Mr. D considers Peri to be his. When Mr. D discovers their relationship, he wrenches Mark and Peri far apart. Will they be able to dance themselves back together?
Lyrical and poignant, the story unfolds through the structure of a classical ballet grand pas de deux. It delves into themes of toxic masculinity, the sacrifices that art exacts from its practitioners, and the challenges of an inverse May/December relationship.
The Pas de Deux combines the classical ballet setting of Billy Elliot and Astonish Me (Maggie Shipstead) with the upside-down romance of On the Island (Tracey Garvis-Graves). It draws parallels among three genocides of the 20th century—Armenia, AIDS, and the Holocaust—and a suggestion rooted in dance practices to address intolerance.

My review

What a beautiful story and so delicately told. It is a sad story covering difficult themes, which draws you into the characters lives instantly. I really connected with the character of Peri and felt the chemistry develop between her and Mark as the story progresses. I'm not one for enjoying ballet or dance usually, but despite that I found this to be an extremely interesting and enjoyable story. 

The writer clearly has a brilliant grasp on the subject matter which flings you right into the heart of the dance. This is a story with a harrowing issues raised about the stigma of the time. Enthralling read and I recommend this to both dance and non-dance readers.

About the author:

Erin Bomboy trained as a classical ballet dancer before spending a decade as a professional ballroom dancer. She works as a writer, editor, and teacher in the dance field in New York City where she lives with her husband and daughter. In her free time, Erin enjoys bacon, books, cats, and wine. 

Author Interview
What draws you to this genre?
Romance embodies the Hegelian dialectic, which is a super fancy way of saying the genre presents two contradictory worldviews (the hero and heroine’s) and then unifies them. This is why some of my favorite novels (from Pride and Prejudice to A Knight in Shining Armor) are romances.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Accurately portraying the ‘80s. While the decade isn’t that far away, it took a lot of research to ensure everything from clothing to a Guns N’ Roses show that occurs at climactic moment was period appropriate.

Why do you write?
Fiction offers access to another person’s headspace, which can broaden our understanding of what makes somebody tick. I consider dance to be my genre, and that allows me enormous leeway in tone, content, and style in all my books.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Review of Chantelle Atkins - This Is The Day

Review of Chantelle Atkins - This Is The Day

At the age of sixteen, Danny was sent to prison for committing a violent and brutal crime. Eight years later he is released, determined to put his disturbing past behind him.
He wants to lead a normal, decent life, with the friends who stuck by him and his teenage sweetheart Lucy.
Life is complicated enough, and he soon realises the past has not finished with him yet. His loved ones have all been damaged in different ways by his crime, a nosy reporter is desperate to hear the whole sordid story, and someone else does not think he has been punished enough. As a sinister hate campaign starts to target him and the people he loves, Danny is forced to face the reality of the decision he made eight years ago. Who is out to get him, and what do they want?

This Is The Day is the sequel to The Boy With The Thorn In His Side.

My review 

I love returning to characters that I know well, and slipped back easily into this story. This sequel is every bit as good as the first novel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Danny again. The author portrays such vivid characters and rich descriptions. Gripping and effortless read, this book will certainly keep the pages turning. There were so many questions raised about Danny and his family as the story progresses and I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. Tense and emotional, it makes you think about your own choices in life.

I have been a fan of all of Atkins' novels and this is just as good as the rest. I love that Danny wants to put the past behind him and was desperate for him to succeed. I was caught up with the plot of this story and couldn't put it down until I'd finished. Another great read by Atkins. I look forward to her next.

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.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Review of Menopause Matters: How to Master the Menopause

Review of Menopause Matters by Shelley Chapman

This book has been written by Shelley Chapman, a wife and mother of 3 daughters, who lives in Derbyshire. It has been written as a result of her personal journey through the menopause, which she is now in her 15th year of, but due to what she does, she doesn’t suffer at all and lives life to the full. Because of this, she shares a lot of what she has done that’s made this menopausal stage of her life “uneventful”, in the form of a journal, so that you can benefit from a lot of the tips and advice to help you not only cope, but be able to “master the menopause”.

As she says “I’m here to help you because I understand a lot of what you’re going through and how important it is to get yourself back and become the woman you want to be now. These methods help and work, so please give them a try.”

Once you have read the book, she would love to know if anything that you’ve done from it has changed your life, however small. Please let her know at: shelley@menopausehelp.co.uk

Buy the novel here:http://amzn.eu/cWEWBda

For someone who is, hopefully, well off menopause I thought this book might give me a heads up on what to prepare for in the coming years ahead. But I found the book to be more than just about the menopause, but about how to care and look after yourself no matter what your age. It was definitely not what I was expecting but in a very good way!

My review 

I was pleased to read that this book covered all aspects of your life, from hairstyles to fitness and not just bogged you down with the mechanics of the menopause (the scary word I'd not quite ready to admit happens yet!). As a person a few years off the menopause, I was pleasantly relieved to read about the process in an original and witty way, and the book certainly de-mystified the inevitable.

This fantastic little book is easy to read and covers aspects relevant to any lady reaching a certain age. With tips and suggestions, it guides you gently through the process and any stumbling blocks you might come across. Sometimes laugh out loud, but always genuine, this book was a pleasure to read. There are great skin and hair care tips, that are useful before and after the dreaded menopause so this book is certainly one to buy, read and keep to refer back to during those stages of your life. An inspiring book and recommended read.

Shelley Chapman is a wife and mother of 3 daughters, who lives in Derbyshire. She is now in her 15th year of menopause, but due to what she does, she doesn’t suffer at all and lives life to the full. As she says “I’m here to help you because I understand a lot of what you’re going through and how important it is to get yourself back and become the woman you want to be now."

Shelley would love to know if anything that you’ve done from reading her book has changed your life, however small. Please let her know at: shelley@menopausehelp.co.uk You can also connect with her on Facebook at the following pages:


Or on Instagram

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Nothing can beat me from my writing!

Nothing can beat me from my writing! -
fighting a chronic autoimmune disease whilst writing

My journey so far...

The last few years have been very topsy-turvy. Not only have my beautiful children entered the world, but my body has taken a turn for the worse and started to attack itself. I can't pinpoint the moment it happened, just a gradual decline over the years that is suddenly very noticeable. Whether it was the car accident I had ten years ago when I was struck by a drunk driver or the riding accident that followed a couple of years after that, I'll never know. The consultants can only speculate. Is it genetic? Various questions from the doctors about close relatives have flagged this up, but again only a theory. There is a history of autoimmune diseases within the family but it could be purely coincidental.

My horse, Bella
I first lost the sensations in my fingers with constant tingling and pins and needles and shortly followed by various other and increasingly severe symptoms. My day job became like a mountain to climb every day as even simple tasks were a struggle. Day to day life around the house became hard work and I began to wonder if something serious was wrong with me. Operations on the nerves in my arms and wrist joints only temporarily restored feelings and use of my arms, but soon I would relapse back again. Other joints are affected now, hips, knees, shoulders and back as well as other parts/organs of the body. My body is gradually failing itself but my mind (despite getting increasingly fuddled!) refuses to give in! After diagnosis and starting on treatment, I hoped to see an improvement, but it is slow in coming.

My passion and love has always been writing. I used to hand-write notes for story ideas and then type up the notes or chapters later on. I became unable to hand-write without pain so moved on to typing up the ideas completely. I'd finished my first novel Letters to Eloise by the time my wrists became too painful to type. I remember finishing editing the novel with bandages supporting my arms and numb fingers. I'd had my first major nerve surgery around the same time. Now, my wrist balloons with fluid whenever I type, so I've reluctantly had to stop that too.

Click here to order
But the novels in my head had to be written. I had to find another way. My latest release Rafferty Lincoln Loves... was written through a dictation app (dragon) on my phone, then forwarded to writing software for editing. My fantastic editor @theedifyingword for the novel, Rafferty Lincoln Loves... was a huge support. With this software app I could write a chapter at a time. I've now downloaded very good voice software that completely dictates my novels straight into Microsoft word, but it does take some getting used to. My ideas in my head tumble out faster than I can speak them aloud, so often I feel stilted trying to dictate. I need to get the ideas out before my mind forgets them, which is increasingly more likely to happen. Once I've an idea, I have to get it all out at once so would complete the chapter until the thoughts have finished. Dictation is hard but I'm sure I'll get quicker with practice.

Finally, my latest novel was completed and I'm proud to say is being released today (14th February 2018). The young adult novel supports the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. It's based on the character Rafferty Lincoln and his quest to win over the affections of the school's queen bee, Liberty Ashburn. However, Liberty only has eyes for something else, the missing champion racehorse they've found and hidden from the world. 

The proceeds from the novel are being donated to the charity and the ambassador for the charity, Frankie Dettori has written an amazing foreword for the novel. If you are on social media (twitter/facebook etc) and can help thunderclap the novel (spread it around social media for free on a requested date (4th March) using thunderclap) please click on the link below.  It's simple and free to use and massively helps to support the charity and the novel.

 A sensational and compelling, coming of age story for older YA readers. Foreword by Frankie Dettori MBE.

Rafferty Lincoln doesn't like horses. Not one bit. But when the popular high school girl of his dreams, Liberty Ashburn pulls him into a world of lead ropes and horse brushes, who is he to say no?

Except this isn't any old horse. This is the missing racehorse, Profits Red Ridge. The horse Rafferty and three of his friends are hiding from the world. And Liberty Ashburn isn’t just any ordinary high school girl. How far will Rafferty go to win her over?

An intense, witty and powerful coming of age story with startling consequences.

Please support if you can. Order now http://amzn.eu/3LLhFGy
Frankie Dettori, as mentioned above, has written the foreword to the novel but he also says:

‘It is fantastic to see a contemporary novel for young adults embracing passion and love for horses, as well as advocating for their welfare. Emily’s fast-paced novel not only explores the relationship and incredible bond between horse and rider but also delves into darker aspects relevant to today’s challenging world of growing up. Rafferty Lincoln Loves… deserves to be celebrated for bringing an important cause to the forefront of today’s young adults.’ Frankie Dettori MBE

The future...

Is there a future? Most definitely so. As life becomes more of a struggle I've learnt to adapt and change. I am thankful for what I am able to do and the life that I do lead, not what I'm missing out on. Certain parts of my life that can't work due to the disease will have to stop or change for good, but I'm trying to keep as many of my passions alive as possible. Riding at the moment is impossible but you never know what the future holds. There is always a way to conquer anything if others are willing to help and you have the drive yourself.

Remaining motivated and upbeat is a true healer in many ways and despite the crumbling joints, I am positive about the future ahead. Thank you so much for reading my post today.

Emily xx

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Guest post on publishing despite adversity by author Nina Romano

A big welcome to Nina Romano today to my blog. She is sharing her fantastic guest post on publishing despite adversity. Over to Nina...

Despite Adversity, There’s Always a Way to Publish
      by Nina Romano

When I was writing poetry, I would send out poems to many different venues: literary magazines, journals in print and online magazines.  I kept circulating and sending out several poems a week, usually 12 to 20 and usually on a Friday, until I found myself with a good number of accepted publications.  

Next, I added new poems to these already published ones to complete a theme and then turned the themed poems into a small chapbook of 24-40 pages or a complete collection of 60-80 or more pages. I would then include what I called “the book’s beginning pages.”  That is to say the title page, contents page, acknowledgments page, dedication page and an “About the Author” page to finish the book.  I love dedicating books! Then, I’d send out to poetry contests and/or small, independent publishers. 

I didn’t win any contests for my poetry, but I did win Graduate Poetry one year at FIU while on the road to completing my MFA in Creative Writing, and it was for one of my best poems: “The Crucifixion of Garlic, ” which is in my first poetry collection, Cooking Lessons, and still available on Amazon!  

I was fortunate to finish five complete collections and two poetry chapbooks and have all of them published with small, independent publishers.  When I knew the collection was going to be published, I’d begin asking poets and writers for blurbs. Networking at Writing Conferences and in Workshops, always pays off.  Talk to other authors.  Marketing these published collections was a completely different matter, and subject for another blog altogether.

However, poetry is not fiction. I tried for years to get an agent for my first and second novels.  I had an agent but without success of placing the first novel with a publisher.  I decided to take back the novel and write another one—the prequel.  After receiving dozens of rejection letters telling me what a great query letter I’d written, I realized I was batting my head against a stone wall trying to “hook” an agent, so I decided a different tack. 

I had my collection of short stories, always difficult to place, accepted by Kitsune Books, but sadly the wonderful owner/editor Anne Petty passed away, so I published The Other Side of the Gates with Bridle Path Press, a cooperative kind of publication, since then we’ve parted ways and I own the rights to my collection. But when it came to my novels, I wanted to go the traditional route and not self-publish.  So I skipped the agonizing and grueling querying to agents and started submitting to small, independent publishers.  

I looked up three in the category of where I best thought my novels would find a good fit—historical romance—and selected three publishers in a list of one hundred of the best ones for novels, and sent to them.  I hit, luckily with the first one I’d sent to, Turner Publishing, but if I hadn’t it was my intention to query every single solitary one that I had marked off on that list. Determination and persistence is the name of the game. I published the Wayfarer Trilogy with them, three novels: The Secret Language of Women, Lemon Blossoms, and In America.   

All of the novels finished as Finalists in various Book Contests, and the first one won an Independent Publishers IPPY gold medal.  But that didn’t give me a free pass to have all my novels published with them—so you keep submitting and if they don’t take it, you try someplace else.

Or you decide to self-publish like these famous authors did: E.L James, Beatrix Potter, E.E.Commings, Stephen King, Mark Twain, Virginia Wolf, Rudyard Kipling, Gertrude Stein, Anais Nin, Stephen crane, Walt Whitman, Alexander Dumas, George Bernard Shaw, Upton Sinclair, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Henry David Thoreau, to name but a few. 

You can publish on blogs—yours and other people’s as a guest blogger.  There’s a blog on your author page of Goodreads, and there’s an “About the Author” page on Amazon, and if you look hard enough, you’ll find many other places to market yourself and your titles, or at least write about yourself and what you love doing: writing. The point is that if you want to see your words in print remember: “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and just keep seeking.  

In the words of the James W. Hall, “Master of Suspense” and the Thorn mystery series, said the last day of an undergraduate writing workshop at FIU, “There are dozens of better writers than me, I just stuck with it.”  Thanks, Jim, your words have served me well! So here it is short and bittersweet: perseverance and tenacity are key and almost as important as the writing itself. 

Thank you to Nina for very inspiring words about not giving up and to keep on trying. Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. Emily x

More about the author Nina Romano

Nina Romano earned a BS from Ithaca College, an M.A. from Adelphi University and a BA and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from FIU. She’s a world traveler and lover of history.  She lived in Rome, Italy, for twenty years, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish. She has authored a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, and has published five poetry collections and two poetry chapbooks with independent publishers. She co-authored Writing in a Changing World.  Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. 

Nina Romano’s historical Wayfarer Trilogy has been published from Turner Publishing. The Secret Language of Women, Book #1, was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist and Gold Medal winner of the Independent Publisher’s 2016 IPPY Book Award. Lemon Blossoms, Book # 2, was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist, and In America, Book #3, was a finalist in Chanticleer Media’s Chatelaine Book Awards.  

More about the author at: www.ninaromano.com

Monday, 5 February 2018

Authors and their animals feature - Martha Reynolds

Authors and their animals

It's been a while since I did this feature, but I'm excited to share another author and their animal! Welcome to Martha Reynolds with her lovely dog, Bonnie. With the count down to my horse-themed charity novel Rafferty Lincoln Loves..., it is the perfect time to share authors with their pets. Get in touch if you'd like to be involved too and feature your pets and books on my blog. I look forward to sharing more about author Martha Reynolds with you today.

Over to Martha...

I didn't grow up having a dog, or any other pet.

In fact, I was apprehensive of those slobbering, jumping beasts well into adulthood. And life seemed just fine without a pet. I could come and go as I pleased, never one to rush home from a night out with an apologetic, "I need to walk the dog." No dog hair on my clothes, no early morning or late evening walks, and definitely no picking up poop.

Then, a few years into marriage and heartbreaking infertility, my husband looked up one morning over coffee and said, "We need a dog."

Four words. And he didn't have to say anything else.

I knew.

We both needed a dog.

And from the first time that seven-week-old puppy was nestled in my arms, I've not been able to imagine my life without a dog in it. We had a four-month interval after our first dog died, for grieving and regrouping, but it wasn't long before we knew it was time to bring another puppy home.

My dogs have provided me with companionship and entertainment. They have comforted me through grief and depression. My Bonnie never lets me forget that she is present, ready to please, no matter what kind of day I've experienced. 

She is, in some respects, the child I never had. I am so fulfilled by having her in my life. Yes, a lot of folks treat their pets like family members. And while you'll never see Bonnie dressed in a Halloween costume, she is cared for as well as any dog could be.
 Thank you so much, Martha for joining me today to share with us your lovely Bonnie.
Author's bio: 
Martha Reynolds ended an accomplished career as a fraud investigator and began writing novels in 2011. She is the author of seven novels, including the award-winning Chocolate for Breakfast (book one in the Swiss Chocolate trilogy). She and her husband, and Bonnie, live in Rhode Island, never far from the ocean.

Read Martha's blog at MarthaReynoldsWrites on Wordpress and all of her books are on Amazon.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

An exciting extra to the cover of Rafferty Lincoln Loves...

I am delighted to announce the author of the foreword for 'Rafferty Lincoln Loves...'. This novel is very special to me and was written for a charity I have been supporting since a child.

 Exciting news for Rafferty Lincoln Loves..!

The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre (BTRC) is a charity dedicated to the welfare of retired racehorses, and any charity that supports animals is important to me. I'm a huge animal lover and have many pets including my own horses, Bella and Lucy. The charity dedicates their time to retraining and rehoming racehorses that have left the track and have many positive and happy years ahead of them in other careers. The BTRC facebook page frequently updates us with success stories of their work with the retired racehorses.

I am delighted that the ambassador of the charity has written such a lovely foreword to accompany the novel. Frankie Dettori MBE is one of the world's most well-known and popular jockeys and I am thrilled that he has supported my novel in this way. His words are really touching and I can't wait for the book to be released on 14th February 2018 to share them with you! As ambassador to the charity he works hard to ensure the welfare of the horses in his care.

Rafferty Lincoln Loves... is so very close to release day! Please support me on the 14th February.

Pre-order Rafferty Lincoln Loves... now - http://amzn.eu/bLZAy6g 

A sensational and compelling, coming of age story for older YA readers.

Rafferty Lincoln doesn't like horses. Not one bit. But when the popular high school girl of his dreams, Liberty Ashburn pulls him into a world of lead ropes and horse brushes, who is he to say no?

Except this isn't any old horse. This is the missing racehorse, Profit's Red Ridge. The horse Rafferty and three of his friends are hiding from the world. And Liberty Ashburn isn’t just any ordinary high school girl. How far will Rafferty go to win her over?

An intense, witty and powerful coming of age story with startling consequences.

Author Bio
Emily Williams lives by the seaside in West Sussex with her family and a menagerie of small pets. After graduating from Sussex University with a BA in Psychology, Emily trained as a primary school teacher and teaches in a local school.
Rafferty Lincoln Loves... is her first YA novel after the success of her debut bestselling adult novel, Letters to Eloise, released in 2017.

The Monk of Lantau

The Monk of Lantau by Mann Matharu

I was delighted to receive a copy of this novel and couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I loved the scenery and colours on the cover and the story intrigued me.

More about The Monk of Lantau

The search for a meaningful existence is as universal as it is elusive. When obstacles to happiness and personal goals seem to riddle our horizons, where do we turn for answers?

Meet Matthew, an average Londoner, a family man and a husband, intent on the all-too-normal pursuit of making a better life for himself and his family. When an accident threatens to become the proverbial straw that breaks his back in his pursuit of happiness and personal attainment, Matthew finds himself at a crossroad in his life.

In the way the Universe has of placing the right people in our lives at just the right time, Matthew happens upon a tale from an unlikely source, a tale of a man with mystical healing powers, someone Matthew can seek who can restore balance and harmony to his life and heal his daughter who is fighting for her own. As he traipses through Europe, the Middle East, India and Asia in search of the healer, nothing about the beautiful, trying, and challenging outward journey compares to the progress he makes as he travels into the depths of his own being.

Through Matthew’s journey, we are given the keys to finding the healer for ourselves. Most importantly, readers are invited to harness the beauty and prosperity that comes when we seek ways to recognize that we are all connected to each other and we are all marvellous and powerful creators of our own unique, stunning life story.

My review

I adored this book. It’s beautiful prose kept me enthralled until the very end. Matthew’s journey was inspiring and really made you think deeply about yourself. This book really put me in a good frame of mind about life and how everything fits together. The descriptions are vivid and stick in your mind long after you have finished. As the book is about different people on their life’s journey you get to see things from a variety of perspectives, which is interesting and thought provoking.

My brain is always over thinking and rushing around, especially with the age of mobiles and social media. It is great to reflect on staying away from this and being calm and peaceful, something I rarely find in my life. Possibly that is why this took so long to review, I felt deep resonance with the novels words. Fantastic characterisation and the relationships between them. The journey that the characters were on made me stop and think about life more closely. Very awe inspiring, vivid and rich in description. Great novel from a new author to me. I will be looking out for this author again.

Buy the book on amazon:


About Mann Matharu - follow him on twitter @MannMatharu

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Exciting news!

Exciting news about Rafferty Lincoln Loves... to announce this weekend. An amazing person has written a lovely foreword for the novel, and to support the charity the British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre. I’m so thrilled. Will announce who it is that is supporting the novel very soon!

Emily x