23/11/2016

BOOK UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT - EDWARD GLOVER, A MOTIF OF SEASON

“Reading them for the first time, Victoria was struck by the written words: I will do what people want but only as I want it to be. They summarised pithily her own approach to life.”

Motif of Seasons: The Story

Overshadowing the social games and vindictive gossip of the European elite, a dark and threatening cloud steadily draws across Europe. On 28th June 1914 an Austro-Hungarian archduke is assassinated and the mounting tension finally snaps. War is declared and the lives of two families will be changed forever.

Set in the latter half of the 19th century, Motif of Seasons tells the stories of two powerful European families – the von Deppes in Germany and theWhitfields in England – still locked in an ancient rivalry, triggered by an ancestral union. The unexpected marriage in 1766 between the beautiful, capricious and musically accomplished young Arabella Whitfield and the older Prussian military officer Count Carl Manfred von Deppe has left a legacy of distrust and prejudice.

Against the backdrop of a widening and destructive gulf between England and Germany, Motif of Seasons follows three women – Victoria Elise von Böhm, Alice Bartlett and Arabella von Eisenwald – kindred spirits of the feisty Arabella, who share her musical talent and her passion for life. The three women find love, uncover family secrets locked away in an 18th-century music book and define their individuality in a patriarchal landscape of social straitjackets and dictated norms. But the past proves a formidable opponent.

With tales of hidden illegitimate children, sensual affairs and young soldiers braving the horrors of First World War battlefields, Motif of Seasons is an adventurous, gripping and touching epic about family, love and social freedom.

22/11/2016

DREAMING SOPHIA BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY


Sophia Loren once said: Credo in sogni, sogni diventano realtà—I believe in dreams, dreams become reality. This idea resonates with me, and it is one of the themes of my new book “Dreaming Sophia”. It is a novel about Italy and weaves together many strands of Italian culture in a mixture of fantasy, romance, art, and history. “Dreaming Sophia” is also about turning fantasy and whimsy into tangible realities. I have always believed if you can dream it you can do it!

07/11/2016

LOREENA'S GIFT BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR COLLEEN M. STORY: 3 THINGS YOU CAN'T TEACH ABOUT WRITING


A BLIND GIRL'S TERRIFYING "GIFT" ALLOWS HER TO REGAIN HER EYESIGHT--BUT ONLY AS SHE FERRIES THE RECENTLY DECEASED INTO THE AFTERLIFE.

Loreena Picket thinks she knows herself. A blind young woman who lives with her uncle, a reverend at a small-town church, she's a dutiful niece and talented pianist for the congregation.

But they're both hiding a terrible secret. Loreena can kill people with the touch of her hand.

While her uncle sees her as an angel of mercy, helping usher the terminally ill members of his flock into the afterlife, Loreena has her doubts.

Torn between doing her uncle's bidding and the allure of the fleeting moments when her eyesight returns on the journey to the other side, Loreena cooperates with her uncle until her troubled older brother returns to town. When she reveals her power by saving him from a local drug dealer, she is drawn into a sinister and dangerous world that will test the true nature of her talent and force her to consider how far she is willing to go to survive.

An exciting debut that crosses fantasy and literary fiction, Loreena's Gift is a thought-provoking meditation on life and death and what ultimately lies beyond this world.

* Loreena’s Gift was recently named 1st place fiction in the 2016 Idaho Author Awards *


Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Book Depository  ~  Chapters Indigo

06/11/2016

BOOK UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: JACK WILD, IT'S A DODGER'S LIFE. INTERVIEW WITH CLAIRE HARDING-WILD.


The book


The book under the spotlight today is an autobiography coming out 10 years after the death of its protagonist, actor Jack Wild, whom many of us still remember for his unforgettable role as Dodger in Oliver! at age 15. It is not a sad and depressing memoir, but,  on the contrary, is the lively recount of a man who deeply loved life and acting. 

Many thanks to Ms Claire Harding Wild for finding the time to answer my questions about her beloved husband and about the book she completed. 

Propelled to stardom at the age of 15, until his tragic death from cancer at the age of 53, this is the story of actor Jack Wild, in his own words - published for the first time.
Jack was just an ordinary young boy, whose talent was spotted by chance by a theatrical agent, and propelled onto the world stage through his performance in the 1968 film musical Oliver! It brought him an Oscar nomination and international stardom.
As his fame grew, Jack also began to battle with alcoholism, which eventually dominated most accounts of his life. After the glittery highs of the 60’s and 70’s came the “lost decade” of the 80’s; the lows of debts and sectioning under the Mental Health Act. The real story of this is here, in Jack’s own words.
But this isn’t a memoir of pity and darkness. Jack loved life, and loved his life. In the 90’s, and fully sober, Jack returned to the screen in films such as Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. Even in the face of the tragic diagnosis of mouth cancer which eventually killed him, he remained resolutely optimistic about life.
His story contains vivid behind the scenes accounts of many great names he worked with, from British favourites such as Diana Dors and Ron Moody to international stars like Bing Crosby and Kevin Costner.
Completed by Jack's widow Claire, the book is in Jack’s unique narrative voice with honesty, roguish charm and a breath-taking lack of self-pity.

31/10/2016

THE BREEDLING AND THE CITY IN THE GARDEN BLOG TOUR - INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KIMBERLEE ANN BASTIAN & GIVEAWAY

About the Book

Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.
These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.

He chose defiance.

Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.

Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.


MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KIMBERLEEE ANN BASTIAN

Hello and welcome, Kimberlee! Let’s start with my first question. THE BREEDLING AND THE CITY IN THE GARDEN is the first instalment of your Element Odysseys saga. What are the main features/themes in your series?

The main features in the series are the historical setting and elements I use to surround my fictitional characters. It was important to me to create a historical fantasy that is set apart from those traditionally thought of, especially those in Europe. Setting it in America during the Depression Era gave me the leeway to use a melting-pot of beliefs, folklore, and myths to create an unique world building mythology, as well as provide a setting that would cater to the plausibility that supernatural elements intereacted with the “real” world. 

Two of the biggest themes of the series deal with the notions of free-will verses destiny, and the honor of keeping ones word.

When and How did your fascination with mythology start?

I was a Disney Kid, through and through, so I have always been facinated by make-believe and fairytales; but I think my love for mythology was fully realized in sixth grade when my class read and studied Homer’s Odyssey.

Time travelling is one of the elements in your saga, especially in this first book.  How difficult is it to write about different time periods, especially past periods. Do you work a lot on research?

03/10/2016

OCTOBER WATCHING, READING, TEACHING, LIVING

1. WATCHING - Don't you love Sunday nights?


Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark

Most people hate Sunday nights since the weekend is over and the idea of starting a new working week is not easy to tackle. But I'm lucky enough to have found not one but two perfect antidotes in the recent weeks and I don't mind sharing them with you. This is how I face the ugly truth: Monday you do not scare me!  I prepare all my lesson plans and do my paperwork in advance, which I usually do at night, so that I can sit as comfortably as I can, turn the TV on and 1) enjoy Poldark's 18th century Cornish adventures on BBC 1 then 2) swoon on Victoria and Albert's 19th century royal romance on ITV +1. The result is I head to bed something like this  ...

... mesmerized! And who cares it'll be Monday in few hours!
Why are these series such safe havens? Too long to explain, but I'm sure you can understand. I am so grateful to UK TV for giving us such great period drama series.

21/09/2016

HAPPY PEACE DAY, DEAR FRIENDS!


Today,  21st September, is the International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day. It was brought into being by United Nations Resolutions in 1981 and 2001. Each year, hundreds of students take part in a student observance of Peace Day at the United Nations which includes Messengers of Peace

"The people of the world have asked us to shine a light on a future of promise and opportunity. Member States have responded with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development... It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms. An agenda for the planet, our common home. An agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership." stated UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. 

But is this mere utopia? 

Let's see if unforgettable and undeniable peace makers can  help us find the answer

18/09/2016

BOOKS & MORE BOOKS! A GREAT MUST - READ LIST FROM GUEST BLOGGER STACEY

 Our guest blogger today is young and lovely Stacey Marone. Get to know more about her reading the bio note below this post and following her on twitter. Stacey has prepared a 30 must- read list full of interesting titles and reading tips. What title would you absolute add to her list? How many of these books have you read? Contribute your titles in the comment section,  it would be great to hear from you.  Happy reading, everyone!

     The 30 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lives

Books are a luxury that can be enjoyed at every stage of your life, and nothing is more enjoyable nor enlightening than  to sit down with a book that gets you thinking, pulls the heartstrings and takes you to a new place. Below is an overview of 30 books that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime - in no particular order.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

It is not enough to simply see the movie. The book is a mixture of humanity and humour and there is a reason why it is one of the most loved and discussed books of our time.

2. A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

So much more than a science book, Bill Bryson attempts to make sense of the universe and the meaning of the planet. A must read for anyone even remotely interested in what is out there.

3. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale - Art Spiegelman

A clever take on the usual holocaust novels, Maus is a graphic novel (comic) that tells a story of survival in the war by using cats and mice to represent Nazi's and Jews.

12/09/2016

SPOTLIGHT ON ... EVERLASTING LIES BY BARBARA WARREN

About the Book

Edina Paxton is kissed at twelve, seduced at fourteen and married with child at fifteen. She immediately regrets her marriage to Charles Vernon and is relieved when he leaves to fight in the trenches during WW1. She soon finds love, comfort and sexual satisfaction with Bill, another soldier and the boy who first kissed her.

Charles is invalided out of the army and is sent to India on a hospital ship. There, he becomes a manager of a coalmine in Britain’s Indian Empire, with all the privileges that his position rewards, including sexual favours from female employees. At the end of his army service in 1920 he returns to England to collect his family and return to India, only to be greeted with the news that while he was away Edina was at play. She is pregnant.

Reluctantly, Edina and her three children sail for India with Charles and Edina gives birth to her fourth child while sailing south on the Red Sea. On reaching India Charles finds his Indian mistress is pregnant and Edina finds Charles’s Indian boss to be very attractive. It’s a mutual attraction. Neither Edina nor Charles is a saint.

03/09/2016

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY: THE KING OF FRIEND ZONE BY SHERALYN PRATT

King of the Friend Zone The King of the Friend Zone by Sheralyn Pratt

Esme Taylor has an amazing fiancé, a lifelong best friend, and a problem. The problem stems from the fact that her best friend is named Hunter and, well. . .he’s kind of (totally) hot. It’s hate at first sight when her fiancé, Jon, and Hunter meet. Jon’s convinced that Hunter is in love with Esme, and that Hunter must be out of the picture if their upcoming marriage is to succeed. Esme thinks Jon is paranoid. The truth is, Jon’s not that far off. Hunter is in love with his best friend and always has been. What Jon has wrong, however, is that Hunter never had any plans of ruining Esme’s happily ever after. Hunter wants what’s best for Esme, even if that’s not him. When Jon pushes hard to end Esme and Hunter’s friendship, opposition comes from the most unlikely of places. It’s an eccentric lady with a cookie cart who suggests a different solution to Esme’s problem: Hunter and Esme should give each other a chance. They’ve both thought of the possibility over the years—of course they have. But with a ring already on Esme’s finger and a heap of hurt feelings and broken trust in the mix, there hasn’t been a worse time to explore the depths of their feelings for each other. Both Esme and Hunter think it’s time to move on and leave childhood crushes in the past. The question is: Can one woman and the taste of one cookie change their minds?

  amazon

29/08/2016

NEW RELEASE - THE FALL OF LORD DRAYSON BY RACHEL ANDERSON + GIVEAWAY

The Fall of Lord Drayson
The Fall of Lord Drayson by Rachael Anderson 


Who is he really? A high and mighty lord or a lowly servant? When Colin Cavendish, the new earl of Drayson, informs Lucy Beresford that she and her mother need to vacate the house they've called home for the past two years, Lucy is fit to be tied. They have no money, no relations they can turn to for help, and nowhere to go. 

How dare the earl break the promise his father had made to the Beresfords without so much as a twinge of conscience? Fate plays her hand when Lucy discovers the earl unconscious and injured in the middle of the road. When he awakens with no recollection of who he is, Lucy seizes the opportunity to teach the earl a much-needed lesson in humility and tells him that he is nothing more than a mere servant. 

Her servant, in fact. And thus begins the charming tale of a pompous lord and an impetuous young woman, caught together in a web so tangled that it begs the question: Will they ever get out?


26/08/2016

ARE YOU A WRITER? HERE'S TOP BOOKS TO AMP UP YOUR WRITING SKILLS


(by guest blogger Rachel Bartee) If you want to be a successful writer, there’s no room for stagnation. You must continuously learn new stuff and improve your writing skills. Your style and the quality of your content is greatly influenced by how much time you put into your personal development. Every successful writer, no matter the writing genre, got to where he is now by consistently crafting his writing skills through various methods.
As a writer for Edugeeksclub, constantly having to improve myself in order to keep up with the requirements, I’ve figured out many techniques on how to improve myself and my writing.

One of the most efficient ways writers use in order to improve their quality of writing is quite simple. They read. There are so many helpful books that are written with one purpose in mind: educating and training novice writers. They’re extremely specific and they’re offering a lot of useful and on-topic information concerning writing styles, grammar, writing tricks, and so on. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at the top eight books that can take your writing to the next level:

#1 On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser                  


This book is dedicated to everyone who wants to improve their writing. It’s a collection of well-written essays, along with in-depth analytics and explanations. It is not a technical book which offers step-by-step processes!
It offers a lot of great tips and insights, shows you many mistakes that you’re currently doing, and gives you the necessary tools to correct and improve your writing. It’s more about non-fiction writing rather than other genres. If you’re looking for those small details that can do a lot, this is the book for you.

25/08/2016

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD: POLDARK IS BACK - ARE YOU IN FOR SOME MORE CORNISH DELIGHTS AND BITTERSWEET DRAMA?

Autumn usually brings new series and new shows on TV.  Summer is going to end soon, this means we must get ready to some excitement. Are you waiting for anything in particular? Excited for any of the coming-soon shows? 

I'm writing about mine, ok? What about sharing yours in the comments section? Too many question marks here! To the point! 

What about Poldark series two? Isn't that something worth some enthusiasm? After the cliffhanger we were left with at the end of series one, I can't wait? Have you read the books meanwhile? Or re-watched the episodes of the first season? 

Too many question marks again! Time for real news, now. Here is some info from the BBC Press Media Center website. Beware of some spoilers!

Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as his wife Demelza are back on BBC One this September 4 at 9pm . The debut series peaked with 9.4 million viewers across TV and iPlayer, generating phenomenal media interest and devotion from viewers which culminated in it winning the Radio Times Audience Award at this year’s Baftas.


23/08/2016

BOOKS & MORE BOOKS - 'ME BEFORE YOU' AND 'AFTER YOU' BY JOJO MOYES


Prologue

I did it again. It was around the end of the school year in May. I saw one of my students fully-immersed in the reading of a book during the break and asked: "What is it that you are so eagerly reading?”
Her answer was a big smile and “So beautiful, prof.! You must read it. “ And then she showed me the book cover with the title.
“In English?”
“Yes, it is not out in Italian yet”
“A romance?” I suspected it from the cover and the title.
 Her answer came after a while: “ Not exactly … not only … it’s pretty special”
That  was enough to made me curious. I googled it, saw there was a movie coming soon starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, read the synopsis and … promised myself I was definitely not going to read it! Not another cheesy romance my students loved which was going to make me cry!
But then, while on holiday in Scotland,  I happened  to enter a bookshop with books half-price all over and I came out with not only “Me Before You” but its sequel too! I must be crazy, you say? Must be, since I not only bought those books,  I even read them. Well, worse even: I not only read them but also liked them.
Why did I start this post with "I did it again"? It ‘s not the first time I read books or watch movies recommended by my students and find them not so bad.  Did I say cheesy, somewhere above? Well, it wasn't. It isn't. Aren’t I a lucky teacher? ;-)

22/08/2016

BOOKS UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT


New books under the spotlight, ebooks to be more precise. The latest downloaded in my iPad and added to my TBR list. A book for each of my favourite genres. Number 1 is romance, number 2 historical fiction. 

1. The Full Brontë is a light-hearted novella set around a beautiful Yorkshire manor house which is being used to film the latest version of Jane Eyre. 

Gayle Hargreaves has never read a Brontë novel so, when a film crew descends on her small Yorkshire town and her life is thrown into disarray, she isn’t impressed. 
And she’s even less impressed when the handsome actor playing Mr Rochester starts flirting with her. But she can handle it, can’t she? After all, she just isn’t the sort to fall for a man in period costume... 
Set in the beautiful landscape so beloved of the Brontë sisters, The Full Brontë is a light-hearted novella. 

19/08/2016

READING ITALIAN: FABIO STASSI & ALESSANDRO D'AVENIA

    Fabio Stassi,  La lettrice Scomparsa  (2016)


La Lettrice Scomparsa (The missing reader) is a literary mystery. A book which contains an entire shelf of good books (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ernest Hemingway, John Fante, Jorge Amado, Luigi Pirandello, Honoré de Balzac, George Simenon among others),  an investigation on fiction and life, a novel wondering how much life and fiction interfere with each other. Can fiction help men and women endure life? Can life, real life, make it to a good book page? Can reading a novel be therapeutic?

Fabio Stassi is a writer I truly appreciate and whom I have already mentioned and reviewed here at FLY HIGH! His latest novels are set in Rome and deal with fragile characters coping with the harshness of reality. They are watched and described through the lens of poetry, music and fiction,  which are Stassi’s solid background.

The protagonist is one of my unlucky colleagues, one who has lost his position after being a temporary teacher in several different schools for years. Now middle-aged and unemployed, Vince Corso has to reinvent himself and to find a way to survive.  Bibliotherapy is the first thing that comes to his mind: as a teacher of literature and a book lover, book counseling is an activity he thinks he can be successful at.

15/08/2016

HAVEN BLOG TOUR - SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY


About the book

Haven (Chronicles of Warshard #1) is the 2nd place winner of World's Best Story!

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven's neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia's shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven's only home. Haven must make a choice; take her people and flee to the foreign Republic across the sea or lead a last stand against a powerful dictator.

14/08/2016

SCOTLAND, AT LAST!

Loch Lochy, the Highlands, Scotland

After an exciting experience it is not easy to go back to your everyday life. After a journey, you download, order and archive the pictures you’ve taken and look at your travel notes: all those beautiful moments flew at the speed of light and left you astonished,  with beautiful memories but also the awkward impression that you dreamt and have just woken up. Maybe writing can help you fix them somewhere in a safer place and make them somehow more real.

Scotland, at last!


Eilean Donan Castle 

Scotland is the 3-M land: the land of magic, mist and myth. How could one resist its charms? I simply couldn’t.  Last year, after a very brief visit,  I had to promise myself I would soon go back to see more of it. I did it in July and here I am,  back from an incredible tour,  which has been as magical, misty and mythical as Scotland in my dreams.  In our 10-days’ schedule an unforgettable series of fantastic sites, a variety of wonderful places, which I had the opportunity to visit  in the company of four of my anglophile friends.

One of the themes of our  tour was Outlander, the best-selling saga set in Scotland written by Diana Gabaldon,  as well as its TV adaptation.   We managed to visit a few of the main locations they used in seasons one and two or important sites mentioned in the books.

02/08/2016

RAGE BLOG TOUR - A SPECIAL EXCERPT FROM A GREAT THRILLER


... dark – and darkly humorous – European crime fiction at its best... (Reader Dad Blog)

Rage is a book by Poland’s number one crime writer, Zygmunt Miłoszewski, which has been released just yesterday in English.  It became one of the bestselling books in Polish literary history when it came out last year.

Zygmunt Miłoszewski is the biggest name in Polish crime fiction, his addictive, gritty novels have been compared to the Scandinavian crime masters. The first two novels Prosecutor Szacki series (A Gain of Truth and Entanglement) have been made into films and BBC Radio 4 are currently in the process of dramatizing Grain of Truth for radio. His books have been translated into over 13 different languages. 


Here’s a special excerpt for you,  readers of FLY HIGH! 

Chapter Two


For a while Szacki was lost. He remembered Olsztyn’s Warszawska Avenue as a wide road leading out of town past the university, but it turned out to have an uglier sister—a short extension lined with scruffy little tenements right next to the Old Town. He had to turn left by Jan’s Bridge. The hospital was located opposite something that called itself the “regional beer center.”
He showed the guard his ID and found a parking spot between the buildings. This had once been the German garrison hospital, probably of lesser importance, as the buildings of immortal red brick looked much smaller and more modest than the neo-Gothic blocks of the city hospital. Part of it looked neglected, and part had been renovated, with a modern interior that was nicely integrated with the German architecture. The place had the atmosphere of a building site, arising from the fact that Olsztyn’s university medical faculty had only been up and running for a few years. In a short time a squalid military hospital had been transformed into a clinical marvel. Szacki had been to see Żenia’s mother here last year and had realized that on the whole it had quite a human dimension, compared with the various medical monstrosities he had seen in his career. That had been during a hot spring, when the chestnut trees were flowering among the buildings, and the old brick walls exuded a pleasant chill.

30/07/2016

BOOK REVIEW - HOUSE OF SHADOWS BY PAMELA HARTSHORNE

What if the life you were remembering wasn’t your own?

Pamela Hartshorne knows how to intrigue her readers. This is the fourth of her time slip, historical fiction novels I’ve read, and each time I've found myself hooked from the first lines and wanting to go through the pages as quick as possible to uncover the mysteries surrounding the protagonists. I was travelling through Scotland (the book is set in Yorkshire, in the North of England) while reading House of Shadows and I longed to open my copy on any possible occasion and was late at night to go on reading.

It is a haunting story shifting constantly and twistingly between two time lines, from  a present-day reality to the alluring Tudor Era,  but with only one place as its heart: Askerby Hall, the house of shadows.

The central character, Kate Vavasour, wakes up from a coma in a hospital bed and the reader can follow her confused, uncertain steps back to life from right inside her mind, where she is convinced she is someone else, Isabel Vavasour, and where there is no sign of recognition of any of the worried people surrounding her.

She can vivdly remember Isabel’s life, her love for her handsome husband, Edmund,  and the overwhelming tenderness she felt becoming the mother of their son, Kit. Kate realizes she is not Isabel, especially because that young woman lived under the reign of the other Queen Elizabeth, and   perfectly knows that all she sees around her belongs  to a totally different present. Still her mind goes on working very oddly and Isabel is a constant haunting presence.  Kate find herself incapable of feeling anything for her own son, Felix, nor she recalls mourning her late husband, Michael. She has no memory of  them, she has forgotten the feelings she  felt for them and, definitely, she can’t explain why she climbed up Askerby tower, from which she  fell down and only miraculously survived.

27/07/2016

NANETTE LITTLESTONE, IF WISHES WERE HORSES




What’s your wish?

When I was a girl I wished for a pony. My wish was impractical as I lived in the city, had nowhere to keep a horse, and no means of caring for it. But that didn’t stop me from wishing. I loved palominos, so I imagined a beautiful, small palomino that would be mine, all mine. And every birthday I was disappointed. After 10 years of wishing I gave up.

What I didn’t know then was that wishing is only part of the equation. A wish is a dream that your heart has. But to make that dream a reality requires effort. The first step is to visualize what you want. Then you put your dream into action. You take the appropriate steps to reach your goal. If I’d really wanted a pony, I would have visited a horse farm or two. Talked to the owner about caring for a horse. Understood the requirements for feeding, veterinary care, the needs of the horse. Researched places for boarding a horse. Spent time mucking out stalls and oiling saddles and hefting hay bales to see if that was really something I wanted to do.

So what’s your wish? Do you want to write a book? Get your book published? Be part of a collaboration? Create a book launch on Amazon?

It’s time to dust off your wish box. You can see your dream come true if you follow these steps: 

15/07/2016

LAST OF THE FIREDRAKES BY FARAH OOMERBHOY - BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY

Last of the Firedrakes Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy

 A fantastic adventure story that will transport you to a dazzling world of myth and magic. 

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad. Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear. With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.


   amazon get it

13/07/2016

SUMMER READING LIST: 5 GREAT BOOKS TO READ THIS SUMMER

  


(by guest blogger Cassie) 

Summertime is a beautiful season and what better way to spend it than sitting back in the sunshine with a good book. There are hundreds of summer reading lists out there, but for fans of Jane Austen and classic literature, we’ve compiled five incredible stories that are bound to tickle your fancy. 


They are all easily purchasable for Amazon's Kindle, making them perfect to take away with you. However, particularly if you're buying while abroad, it's wise to make sure you're using the right tools to keep your details. Check out this post by Secure Thoughts on Kindle security for more information.

Ready for some recommendations?


08/07/2016

NORTHERN RAIN BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY - NICOLE CLARKSTON, THORNTON MEETS MARGARET AT HELSTONE


Are you a North and South fan like me? You can't miss this new variation by Nicole Clarkston! Read the vignette she has gifted us with and get your chances to win a copy in the rafflecopter form below. Enjoy reading and ... good luck!

The following is a very nascent idea which popped up in the initial story development of Northern Rain. It did not survive long- it is fanciful and not at all plausible, but it was a fun, romantic concept to return to for the afternoon. In North & South, both Thornton and Margaret pay visits to Helstone, but at different parts of the story. This short vignette explores the very unlikely possibility that their visits might have coincided. We find Margaret just as she learns she is to be an heiress, and John as he is pining for the woman he never expects to see again. One wonders if they would even need words, after so unexpectedly happening upon one another in such a remarkable setting.

 Nicole Clarkston

The Rejected Scene



“Margaret, my dear, are you well?”
The young woman’s eyes had become somewhat glazed, and she appeared quite out of breath as she sat sedately by the old man’s side. She gasped, still in shock. “You cannot leave me everything, Mr Bell! Surely, there is some other, someone who might know what to do with it all!”
Thomas Bell laughed softly and patted Margaret’s hand as they sat together on their makeshift bench. “No, Margaret, there is not. You and Frederick are all I have left, and he is quite well taken care of. My wish, my dear, is that you will make better use than I did of everything I leave to you. I have no doubt that you shall bestow your goodness on those- or perhaps on one at least- who is deserving of your care.”
She shook her head, still dazed. “But it is so much,” she objected humbly. “Surely, there can be no need for you to sign it all over now. What about you?”
“Never fear, my child.” Bell allowed his gaze to drift over the simple stone cottage which had once been his old friend’s parsonage. Even the picturesque little Helstone home lacked the serenity of former days, and, like his dear friend Hale, Bell had found that the world no longer had a place for him. He sighed, blinking, then looked back to Margaret.

07/07/2016

INTRUSION BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR'S GUEST POST: ADVICE YOU'D GIVE TO PEOPLE LOOKING TO PUBLISH SHORT STORIES

The world of the short story is a varied and fascinating place right now. Experimental collections, flash fiction, connected stories that read like novels --all these can be found on the shelves of bookshops and libraries. A check of current on-line journals will show that published stories can be complex prose poems or traditional narratives with conventional plot, characters and story arc.  There’s a place for every kind of story.
Where does the novice start? First - read.  Read stories in new collections, on-line zines and literary journals and decide if your particular style of story fits comfortably anywhere.  It’s important to read at least one edition of a journal before submitting.
Then- check guidelines and submission periods. Some respected literary journals have a short submission window.  Submit outside of that time frame and your carefully crafted story will be ignored.  If there is more than a token fee to submit, think carefully before paying it, particularly if the journal does not pay writers. (The same applies to competitions: if the prize money is small it may not be worth paying a hefty fee to enter.)  
The market has shrunk in recent years for women’s fiction but some magazines still consider unsolicited submissions.  Try: – My Weekly, Woman’s Weekly, Take a Break, Best and Yours.

02/07/2016

BOOK BLAST & GIVEAWAY - CHASING FIREFLIES BY TAYLOR DEAN

Chasing Fireflies Chasing Fireflies by Taylor Dean 

 My sisters think I’m crazy. But, I’ve never forgotten the mysterious woman from my childhood who told me Paul is the name of my one true love. She told me to search far and wide for him. I haven’t stopped looking ever since. When I stumble across an article about a successful American entrepreneur named Paul who lives and works in China, I’m intrigued. When the opportunity to teach English in China presents itself on the same day, I know it’s not a coincidence. It’s destiny. My sisters say I’m chasing a dream. Just like the fireflies we tried to catch on the warm summer evenings of our youth, the dream seems beyond my grasp. Will my quest for the elusive Paul always be just short of fulfillment? My sisters tell me it’s a fool’s errand. Until I remind them of the day we saw the Red Bird. The memory silences them. The Red Bird Incident remains inarguable—and proves my search for Paul is not a silly fantasy. I will find Paul . . . I will.

  amazon


Praise for Chasing Fireflies

It was like Taylor Dean left a trail of chocolate chips leading to a plate of delicious cookies at the end. Yummy! I had to eat every single one and now I’m full and feasting on the satisfaction of a well written story. -Author Charissa Stastny Taylor Dean is such a creative and skilled author that she has the ability to make the unusual and the unthinkable seem real. -Lisa, Goodreads Reviewer As always I loose myself in Taylor’s books, experiencing rather than reading the story, from that first glance and butterflies in my belly, to the inevitable heartache, to the amazingly captivating events that lead us to the blissful happily ever after. - Mylissa's Reviews and Book Thoughts.

21/06/2016

BEST CAREERS FOR TECH LOVERS



(by guest blogger Vera Reed)  It’s a good time to be a tech lover because trends show that the demand far outpaces the supply when it comes to well-paying job positions in the information technology space.

In fact, the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide 2016 notes that employers on the North American continent often have to wait several months after they post ads for IT-related jobs. The reason? There is a lack of candidates, and the reason for  this is that skilled IT workers often end up on the receiving end of multiple job offers -- complete with higher-than-usual pay, flexible work schedules, and other perks -- which leaves some companies with vacant positions.

These jobs have loads of growth potential, and they definitely pay well, for the most part. While money isn’t everything, it does count for a lot, and you might as well be compensated well for your hard work.

So if you’d like to get into the promising tech sector after completing business school, then read up on the best careers for tech lovers.