Blog Tour: Super Awkward by Beth Garrod

Posted on 11 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Super Awkward by Beth Garrod

Hi Guys!
Today I have for you all a guest post by the wonderful Beth Garrod as part of her Blog Tour!

But first, here’s some info on the book!

About the Book

I, Bella Fisher, am absolutely WINNING at FAILING at life.
1. I once got my tongue stuck to a box of Calippos in a supermarket.
2. I accidentally called my geography teacher Mum. Twice. He wasn’t impressed.
3. I’m a geek. And not in a geek-chic kind of way, but in a secretly-caring-about-failing-maths-and-science way.
4. I always fail maths and science.

So it figures that when I meet the FITTEST BOY IN THE WORLD, Zac, I’m doing solo star jumps. While dressed as a cereal box.
(NOTE TO SELF, fancy dress = HE-WILL-NEVER-EVER-FANCY-ME dress.)

Now I’ve got to somehow persuade Zac to come to prom with me while avoiding my evil ex and dealing with a secret so mega-awks I want to Ctrl-Z my brain… What could go wrong?
Oh yeah, that’s right. Absolutely everything.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.

Top 5 Super Awkward Moments

By Beth Garrod

Have you ever had a moment that was so Super Awkward you wished you could delete the memories of people who were there at the time, and put a worldwide ban on people ever thinking – let alone mentioning – it ever again?

Ok. Well then imagine that. And then imagine writing them into a top five list for the world to see. WELCOME TO MY LIFE.

(Although thanks for asking me, I’m actually quite excited). So here goes.

  1. I’m terrible at sports (I include bowling and Jenga in this). So a school ski trip was never going to be a great idea for me. However, what I didn’t know was that the mountain wasn’t going to be my biggest nemesis – the T-bar chair lift was. But with no other option, I had to face it. So, with the whole school trip watching (and all the tiny children that were already laughing at how bad I was at skiing), I balanced myself on it, alongside my best friend. But an overly large laugh, became a wobble, became the sticky out bit of the T bar getting hooked in my ski jacket. Which soon became one entire boot and ski being yanked off as I got dragged up the entire length of the mountain (my friend laughing too much to be able to stand up). I even went through those weird bars at the top, which are meant to act as a life-sort-of toothbrush to scrape off any morsels. But this human morsel made it through. And then I had to plod the entire way back down a mountain in one ski. And one sock.
  2. One year I truly believed I’d met the World’s Sexiest Man. He was super hot and super cool, so every message I sent was a carefully crafted group-approved effort to make me seem like the kind of person who doesn’t actually sometimes accidentally-clap when she sees a dog with really good eyebrows. One particularly helpful friend had a part time job at my local supermarket. So I text him ‘When can we hang out in the freezer department of Tesco and talk about the World’s Sexiest Man?’ But I sent it to WSM. Who I then had to pretend that I’d meant to send this too, and it was a genuine date idea, based around a discussion of a fit man, who wasn’t him. We never had a second date.
  3. I’m a big believer in the ‘it gets better’ philosophy. However, in the case of me, and being awkward, this has just proved to mean I’ve got better at nailing the art of being awkward. Case in point – a big work event in Italy, a huge screen on the wall for the audience to stare out, a work laptop projecting our logo. All fine. Until I panic my phone battery is running out, plug it in, and oh guess what, NO ONE TELLS ME I’M NOW PROJECTING MY CAMERA ROLL TO THE WHOLE VENUE (or maybe they were telling me, but they were just doing it in Italian, and I thought they were asking for directions to the loo).
  4. This one’s I may have attributed to Bella – the lead character in Super Awkward. But sadly, it may, have hypothetically, been all me. And – yet again- it involves sport. Seriously – it’s bad for your health. It was the final Friday before a half-term, that was going to be full of seeing my friends, and going to parties – which was kind of a big deal when the height of my social life was normally helping my dad choose wall plugs in Homebase. But with the last lesson over, all I had to do was survive a rounders match and I’d be freeeeeee. In the safe – not much action – zone of deep field, I spent most of the match chatting to my friend. Until I heard my name being yelled and span round. Only to be whacked on my already large chin, by a rounders ball that seemed to be travelling faster than the speed of light. For all intents and purposes, the massive bruise that formed made me look I had developed an overnight beard. And it stayed the entire half term.
  5. Some words I don’t normally think of. So when my mum drove us home one day, and we popped into the local shop, it stuck in my mind when she said “Whatever you do, don’t look at the man behind the counter’s toupe’. Like a polite person, I totally didn’t, despite it being bright orange, sitting awkwardly on top of some sticky-out grey hairs. I saw other customer’s clocking it, but I was better than that. And I’d been warned. So, when I got to the counter and he asked what I wanted, it was a 100% accident when I replied clearly, loudly, calmly with ‘one toupe please’. The whole shop shut up. His wife gave me evils that melted actual skin cells. And I never – to this day – have been back to the shop.

Soooo, there is a tiny glimpse into the everyday danger that is being me. But I always figure that what doesn’t kill you, makes a funny story for someone else.

What are some of your super awkward moments?


Posted on 11 September, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

YA Shot Tour: Maggie Harcourt

Posted on 31 August, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

YA Shot Tour: Maggie Harcourt

Hey Guys!
Today is my stop on the YA Shot Tour and I am here today with a brilliant guest post from Maggie Harcourt about her bookish inspirations!

Bookish Inspirations

by Maggie Harcourt

They say inspiration can come from anywhere, don’t they? And that’s largely true: you can find it in supermarkets, on trains, on your bedroom ceiling sometime around 3am when you’re having trouble sleeping and it’s the least convenient time imaginable to start Having An Idea… but every once in a while, it’s easier to pin down the thread of an idea. Every once in a while, it’s a book (or a film, or a television show) that starts you asking: “What if…?”
So here’s a couple of mine…

The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

I don’t remember the first time I read about the Musketeers, although I have a feeling it was probably filtered through Dogtanian & the Muskehounds (because 1980s). What I do remember is that I really, really wanted to be one of them: getting into daring swordfights with the Cardinal’s Guards, carrying out extravagantly risky secret missions… and all with my best friends by my side. Because it wasn’t the swashbuckling or the intrigues (political or romantic) that really caught my imagination: it was the friendships. Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The three inseparables; the three Musketeers. All for one, and one for all. So important is their relationship that the story is even named after them; there’s not even a mention of d’Artagnan – the actual protagonist – in the title…

Doctor Who

To let you in on a little secret, I never got Doctor Who when I was growing up. It didn’t help that I largely grew up in the gap when it wasn’t a thing: I think I vaguely remember a handful of Sylvester McCoy’s episodes as the Seventh Doctor, and I definitely remember sitting down to watch Paul McCann’s feature-length outing as the Eighth (even if I don’t actually recall any of what happened in it…). But ‘new’ Who? That is very, very much a thing. I love the Doctor. I love that he can change who he is without ever quite changing it. I love that he calls himself ‘Doctor’ and that he believes in trying to solve things by being clever; fixing them instead of breaking them further like any other hero might do. I love that however angry and frustrated he might get (especially when it comes to humans), he still keeps coming back to try and make things better. Plus, you know, aliens and the TARDIS and jokes.

The Notebook

This is one of those “I really ought to read the book but I’m just going to sit here and cradle the film to me, gently weeping,” sort of choices… because there is no way – no way – that I can watch this film without dissolving into an ugly-crying, snivelling puddle. I don’t even know why: I spend half of it shouting at Allie and Noah’s choices, and the other half sighing wistfully at it. I’m not saying I particularly endorse the whole “I’m going to hang off the bottom of this Ferris wheel cab until that beautiful girl agrees to go out with me, possibly suggesting I’m a tad unhinged…” episode, but if you can make it to the end of the story without even a single tear, you might be a bit broken. Also, that kiss in the rain? Wow.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke

I find it very difficult talking about this book (or the recent – brilliant – television adaptation of it) without… well, to put it bluntly, “going on a bit”. I wholeheartedly love this book. I love it – even the footnotes. Yep. (And, as I realised when I re-read it last year, if you want to find the rest of the women in the story, that’s where you look for them. Rather wittily, Clarke is making a pointed comment about the fact you’ll find many of history’s strong and powerful women hidden in the footnotes of the past.) I adore its layers: the alternate history, the scope and the prickliness of the characters… and the magic. I’m definitely a fan of the magic.

But what’s fascinating is that it has a lot in common with some of my favourite contemporary YA stories: if you strip it back to its absolute core, you can read it as Jonathan Strange’s coming-of-age story (which, while he feels a bit old to be a YA protagonist to our eyes, given the historical setting and his social class it sort of works). He’s dealing with authority, finding his own place in the world, falling in love, finding out who his true friends are… finding himself. And if he happens to encounter a shed-load of fairies and the Duke of Wellington while he’s at it, well, so much the better.

The thing that made me fall for it, irredeemably and head-over-heels, though, is that it’s also about books. Not just magic and power, but books and knowledge and what they mean – and what people will do to control them.

(By the way, if you can’t face the size of the novel – or the footnotes – do track down that recent BBC adaptation. It’s as perfect an adaptation as you’ll ever find of anything, both true to the spirit of the book and entirely its own thing.)

What are you bookish inspirations?


Posted on 31 August, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Blog Tour: Ghost Target by Will Jordan

Posted on 8 August, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Ghost Target by Will Jordan

Hi Guys!
I’m here today on the Ghost Target blog tour and I’m here to introduce you all to Will Jordan as he talks about his Bookish Inspirations!

First though, here’s some information on the book!

From Marseille to Islamabad at breakneck pace… it’s kill or be killed for Ryan Drake and his team
Ryan Drake, once a decorated field operative, is now wanted for treason. On the run from the CIA’s corrupt Deputy Director Marcus Cain, he has spent the past six months in a remote French safehouse. Drake’s former life seems to be behind him, but the uneasy peace is shattered when Cain moves against him with startling force.

Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan is faltering in the wake of a devastating suicide attack. Cain though has a plan to find and destroy al-Qaeda’s top commanders. And nobody will stand in his way.

Backed into a corner, Drake turns to the deadly but unpredictable Anya – once Cain’s most promising agent, now his most bitter enemy. With tensions running high and their uneasy alliance threatening to tear itself apart, Drake’s hastily assembled team travels to Pakistan to intercept Cain.

With the fate of the War on Terror hanging in the balance, loyalties are tested and scores settled, as Drake embarks on the fight of his life. Only one side will survive…

Goodreads. Amazon.

Bookish Inspirations

By Will Jordan

Wow, where to begin? It’s fair to say that I don’t read an awful lot when I’m working on another book in my Ryan Drake series. In fact, it would be fair to say I actively avoid reading. Why? Well, partly because I have little enough time to get my own books done, never mind trying to tackle other people’s. But I suppose the main reason is because I want to keep my mind clear and focussed on the story I’m trying to tell. I don’t want to be thinking about other author’s characters, other book’s plot twists or rousing finales. I find it best to give my own stories room to develop as they need to.

That being said, I have and sometimes still do use other books to inspire me, to motivate me, or just to give me a different way of looking at things, so hopefully the list below reflects that blend of old and new.

1. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean Auel)

Having stumbled on it twenty years ago by pure fluke, Auel’s Earth’s Children series will always have a special place in my heart, because it’s basically the reason I got into writing in the first place, and it all began with Clan of the Cave Bear. Set during the last ice age at the dawn of human history, the book follows Ayla, a young girl who loses her family in an earthquake and is taken in by a clan of Neandertals. Forced to adapt to a shockingly different way of life, and to survive against the vindictive future leader of the group, it’s impossible not to root for her. The book makes no effort to romanticise that era, depicting life as hard, dangerous and unforgiving, which makes Ayla’s story all the more remarkable. I learned a great deal about character building from this book; so much so that one of my own characters in the Drake series is actually a tip of the hat to Auel’s classic protagonist.

2. Conrad’s War (Andrew Davies)

One of the earliest books I remember reading independently, Conrad’s War is told from the point of view of a young man growing up in the 1960′s who fantasises about WW2. Gradually his fantasies begin to seep into the real world, taking on a life of their own. Accompanied by his hapless dad, Conrad experiences everything from piloting a defective aircraft during a bombing raid, to an escape from a POW camp, to a desperate race for the French coast. It’s told with a wonderful sense of dry humour, particularly his relationship with his blundering father, but the most arresting moments are the serious ones, like when Conrad encounters a decrepit ambulance loaded with casualties and begins to realise war isn’t the glorious adventure he imagined.

3. A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)

If ever I learned a lesson from a book, it was this – it doesn’t matter what the situation is, how mundane or simple it might seem; if you care about the characters involved, then it becomes the most important thing in all the world. I learned that lesson from A Thousand Splendid Suns; the story of two women living through two turbulent decades of Afghan history, and their increasingly desperate attempts to escape their abusive husband. An absolutely gripping look at the enduring power of friendship, hope and sacrifice.

Taking my cues from this book, I’ve made a point of crafting compelling, relatable characters that my readers can genuinely empathise with and become attached to. That way they can be even more shocked as I start killing them off!

4. The Road (Cormack McCarthy)

As bleak and uncompromising as it is heartening and uplifting, The Road depicts the struggle of a father to survive and protect his son from the dangers of a post-apocalyptic world. More importantly, the book examines what it truly means to be human, and how far one can go in order to stay alive. The book’s central message took on new meaning for me when I became a father myself.

5. Any Clive Cussler book!

Well it doesn’t all have to be bleak and grim! Even a writer needs a bit of escapism from time to time, and truly there’s nothing better for me than to take off on another adventure with Cussler’s unflappable hero Dirk Pitt. Globe-trotting escapades, beautiful and exotic locations, over the top villains and ancient mysteries combine into a perfect blend of action and intrigue. Even if we work in somewhat different genres, I can’t help but add a pinch of Cussler’s style every once in a while, particularly by having Drake and company travel to far flung countries for their next mission.

I make a point of taking a Cussler book with me every time I go away on holiday. I dread the day when I finish them all!

6. My own online writing

It may sound self indulgent, but stick with me. Writing is like a snapshot of your life at a particular place and time, way more personal than a photograph because the words were crafted and developed entirely by you. For me there’s no easier way to evoke memories of a certain time in my life than to read something I wrote back then, and fortunately there’s a pretty big repository of my old work lurking out there in cyberspace to this day. And no, I’m not telling you where it is!

But it’s rather satisfying to be able to bring back some of the characters I created back then and work them into my present day Drake novels.

7. The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)

Really doesn’t need an introduction, does it? Lord of the Rings is one of those books that simply is. Grand and sweeping in its scope, rich in its detail and backstory, yet somehow able to marry this to the most intimate and poignant character moments, it’s simply a masterclass in storytelling. It helped introduce me to fantasy as a genre, and actually taught me some important lessons about developing large scale, epic storylines across multiple volumes. Again, lessons I’ve been able to apply readily to the Ryan Drake series.

8. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)

The only book to ever make me cry. The story of an orphaned girl struggling to survive in wartime Nazi Germany, told with remarkable sensitivity and poignancy from the point of view of Death himself. The bleak setting only serves to highlight the tremendous humanity and warmth of the book’s characters, particularly the main character’s adopted father. The ending, when it comes, still gives me chills whenever I think about it.

9. Nineteen Eighty Four (George Orwell)

Never have I read a book so wonderfully open to interpretation. In a world where the very fabric of reality can be twisted and distorted by the sinister Party, there’s no way to truly be sure of anything the book throws at you. With a protagonist who is neither heroic nor noble, but utterly frail and human, this book still manages to evoke the same feelings of creeping dread and paranoia with every read.

Big Brother is watching.

10. The Inheritors (William Golding)

A novel I was introduced to back in high school, and one that has stayed with me ever since. Haunting and dreamlike in its telling, but brutal and savage in its concept, it depicts the last days of a group of Neandertals as they encounter and are ultimately destroyed by the newer and more advanced invading species – humans. The air of sadness and melancholy that permeates the book is almost palpable, and even if you know the fate that awaits the main characters, you can’t help but hope they’ll somehow make it through.

Anyone who’s read my latest novel Ghost Target can no doubt sympathise!

Author Bio

willWill Jordan was born in Fife. Whilst completing his degree in IT he worked as an extra in television and feature films. Cast in several action films, he was put through military boot camp and weapons training in preparation. He used this experience as the basis for his first thriller, Redemption and followed up with visits to weapon ranges in America and Eastern Europe, as well as research trips to Washington DC, London and New York. He has also interviewed British armed forces who had served tours in Afghanistan Ghost Target is his sixth book in the Ryan Drake series.

Website. Twitter.

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Are you as intrigued as I am?


Posted on 8 August, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Blog Tour: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Posted on 20 July, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Hi All!

Today I am here with you as the last day of the Under Rose-Tainted Skies blog tour. I have for you all a great guest post from Louise Gornall about how she got into novel writing.

Also, don’t forget to check out my review of this incredible book here.

Different kinds of storytelling…

by Louise Gornall

Hi guys. I’m super stoked to be your guest lecturer today… no, I’m kidding. No lectures. Promise. School’s out for the summer. But that is definitely a college grade title, right? In real time, I just wanted to have a chat with you about storytelling, and tell you a little bit about how I got from over there to right here.


I think it’s fair to say that suffering from agoraphobia is no longer a secret, but something most people don’t know about me is that I used to be an actress. An amateur, still studying for my degree in performing arts, though I had an agent and an audition lined up. Woe, this was at the exact same time my mental health decided to roll over on me. BUT my love of storytelling, arguably, was a direct result of the acting career I never had.

I loved being on stage. Loved it. I loved having to physically portray someone else’s story, reading through a script and trying to figure out how each line should be delivered. Lady Macbeth was one of my favourite characters to read because that woman has more faces than Big Ben.

When I got sick, I had to readjust my life around all these new limitations, which meant no more college, no more acting…no more people. I literally shut myself off in my bedroom. I still wanted to be connected to film and characters though, and the only way I could do that from the safety of my bubble was screenwriting. This was my first real taste of storytelling. I made friends with this awesome guy who taught me all about authentic dialogue, different scripts, layouts, timing. Everything a newbie screenwriter needed to know. It was fun, but when I’d finally drafted a script to show him, he was like, you can’t have this much control in your action segments. You don’t need to write down ALL the things. That’s a director’s job. My action segments could span pages, so I guess he had a point, but…

Cut to: Me. Mortified.

Me: (stammering) but…but…but…

Screenwriter Guy: Have you ever thought about maybe writing a novel?

Me: (blink-blink) No. Should I?

Screenwriter Guy: You most definitely should.

End Scene.

The rest, as they say, is history. Novel writing was very different, though I loved — love– both. I think screenwriting taught me how to pace a story, and how to write dialogue. It also taught me how to apply an American accent to my writing voice which has helped me access American readers. It’s definitely something I’d recommend giving a go, even if you never do anything with it, which, essentially, I haven’t…yet!

About the Book

Title: Under Rose-Tainted Skies
Author: Louise Gornall
Publisher: Chicken House
Published: 7th July 2016
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source:: Review Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, The Book Depository
Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.

For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths …

An important and uplifting debut from a British author, which tackles mental health issues such as agoraphobia and OCD.

About the Author

louiseLouise is a graduate of Garstang Community Academy, and she is currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English language and literature with special emphasis on creative writing. A YA afcionado, flm nerd, identical twin, and junk food enthusiast, she’s also an avid collector of book boyfriends. Her debut novel, UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES, will be published in July 2016.

Website. Twitter. Facebook.

Have you ever wanted to be a screenwriter?

Also don’t miss my review of this STUNNING book which can be found here.


Posted on 20 July, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Blog Tour; Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan

Posted on 16 July, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan

Hi Guys!
I’m here today as the final stop on the Eden Summer blog tour and I have for you all a video from Liz herself!

First though, here’s some info on the book!

About the Book

Eden Summer Shy, gothy Jess and stunning and popular Eden are best friends. They’ve supported each other through some of the hardest things you can go through – death, bullying, love, heartbreak. They know everything about each other.

But then Eden goes missing and Jess knows she has to find her, and fast, because the longer someone is missing, the more likely it is they won’t be found. So Jess starts exploring her memories, things Eden said and did in the last few months and she starts to realise that maybe they don’t know each other as well as she thought.

Set in the beautifully described stunning countryside of West Yorkshire, an incredibly pacy page turner as the clock runs down on the likelihood of finding Eden alive.

Goodreads. Amazon UK. The Book Depository.

The Video

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Will you be reading this book this summer?


Posted on 16 July, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Setting Inspiration by Eva Holland

Posted on 11 July, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

The Daughter’s Secret by Eva Holland

Hi All!

Today I am here to introduce you all to the lovely Eva Holland who has written a wonderful guest post for you all on the inspiration for the setting of her book, The Daughter’s Secret.

But first, here’s some more information on the book!

About the Book

My daughter is a liar. A liar, liar, liar. And I’m starting to see where she gets it from.

When Rosalind’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Stephanie, ran away with her teacher, this ordinary family became something it had never asked to be. Their lives held up to scrutiny in the centre of a major police investigation, the Simms were headline news while Stephanie was missing with a man who was risking everything.

Now, six years on, Ros takes a call that will change their lives all over again. He’s going to be released from prison. Years too early. In eleven days’ time.

As Temperley’s release creeps ever closer, Ros is forced to confront the events that led them here, back to a place she thought she’d left behind, to questions she didn’t want to answer. Why did she do it? Where does the blame lie? What happens next?

Goodreads. Amazon UK.

The Setting That Inspired The Daughter’s Secret

by Eva Holland

My debut novel, The Daughter’s Secret, is set in St Albans, Hertfordshire. It is not a city I have ever lived in, I don’t have any family connections to the area and I have never been on holiday there. So how did I come to set my story of the fallout of a relationship between a teenage pupil and a teacher in the city the Roman’s called Verulamium?

Many years ago I briefly shared a desk with a woman who lived in St Albans and commuted into London. We worked in a city PR agency and every day began with us scanning the papers for news relevant to our clients. As we drank our coffee we would flick through the tabloids, skimming page after page of reports of crimes, drug busts, and yobs on drunken rampages as well as the usual celebrity scandals and photos of the royals. Whenever my deskmate spotted something particularly bleak and upsetting she would point it out to me, always with a quiet murmur of ‘that wouldn’t happen in St Albans’. News of misfortunes suffered by colleagues – a stolen bike, a pickpocketed wallet – was greeted in the same way. I was never quite sure whether she was trying to convince herself that she was safe from the ills that plagued the rest of the world, or anxious to prove to us that her home was a cut above our shared houses in (pre-hipster era) Hackney.

Many years and many desks later, when I decided to write The Daughter’s Secret, I thought carefully about where to set it. At the heart of the novel is the sense of something terrible happening to a normal family and a seemingly idyllic domestic set up being ripped apart. It was these thoughts that brought me back to my former colleague and her mantra. What if she was wrong and it could happen in St Albans?

I spent some time in St Albans while I was writing The Daughter’s Secret. It is a charming city: compact, attractive and packed with history. If I wasn’t so firmly wedded to London I would very happily live there myself. But, just like any other city, it’s full of people so it is no more immune to the things people do to each other than any other city on earth. It’s comforting to think that bad things happen to other people in other places, but these things are as likely to happen here as they are to happen there, however beautiful and idyllic here may seem.

About the Author

A lifelong lover of words and stories, Eva Holland was the winner of the 2014 Good Housekeeping novel writing competition. She grew up in Gloucestershire and studied in Leeds before moving to London. When not writing or reading fiction she works as a freelance PR consultant and copywriter.

The Daughter’s Secret is Eva’s first novel.

Website. Twitter.

What do you think about the setting of this book?


Posted on 11 July, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Owl Song at Dawn by Emma Claire Sweeney

Posted on 28 June, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment

Owl Song at Dawn by Emma Claire Sweeney

Hi Guys!

Today I am here to introduce you to Emma Claire Sweeney author of Owl Song at Dawn. I have for you all a guest post from Emma about her inspiration for the book. First though, here’s some more information on the book!

About the Book

Maeve Maloney is a force to be reckoned with. Despite nearing eighty, she keeps Sea View Lodge just as her parents did during Morecambe’s 1950s heyday. But now only her employees and regular guests recognise the tenderness and heartbreak hidden beneath her spikiness. Until, that is, Vincent shows up. Vincent is the last person Maeve wants to see. He is the only man alive to have known her twin sister, Edie. The nightingale to Maeve’s crow, the dawn to Maeve’s dusk, Edie would have set her sights on the stage all things being equal. But, from birth, things never were. If only Maeve could confront the secret past she shares with Vincent, she might finally see what it means to love and be loved a lesson that her exuberant yet inexplicable twin may have been trying to teach her all along.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.

Pears Soap and Poetry

by Emma Claire Sweeney

My grandma lived off the state pension, but managed to wear fur coats and visit the hairdresser every week. She fed me milk loaf and strawberry splits; people gathered around the piano when she played; the local librarians all knew her by name.

Bam-bam – my pet name for her – died when I was just nine, but she still holds sway over my imagination. We found exercise books stacked in her bedside cabinet all of them filled with her own handwritten poems. For me, the search for literary forebears stems back to the discovery that my own grandma was a closet poet.

My dad kept her exercise books, but I chose a different memento: the bar of Pears soap that I found on her washstand. I’ve kept hold of it for decades, packing and unpacking it every time I move house, its scent of thyme still reminding me of her.

Maeve, one of the main characters in Owl Song at Dawn, detects the lingering scent of Pears on her twin. During the redrafting of the novel, I took my keepsake of Bam-bam out from the high cupboard where it had been stowed for years.

The bar of soap fell from my hand, hitting the hard floor and cracking in two.
After my initial dismay, I realised that there was perhaps something appropriate about this. My grandma was broken too, by the death of her eldest son and the disintegration of her marriage – unforgivable for a 1950s Liverpool Catholic.

But I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of the broken. When that treasured bar of Pears soap splintered, a brighter amber was revealed and I inhaled a headier scent of thyme.

Perhaps Bam-bam is the reason why I’ve always been drawn to broken things: derelict funfairs; threadbare cardigans; people whose surface resilience hides their distress. Maybe this explains why I created in Owl Song at Dawn an elderly woman, both proud and brave; why I offered her one last chance.

About the Author

EmmaEmma Claire Sweeney is a multi-award-winning author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, who currently teaches on City University’s Novel Studio and at New York University in London.

Emma was brought up in the North West of England, the elder sibling of twins, and OWL SONG AT DAWN is inspired by her autistic sister.

With her writer friend and colleague, Emily Midorikawa, she runs the website Something Rhymed, which shines a light on the forgotten friendships of the world’s most famous female authors.

Emma writes literary features, reviews, and pieces on disability for broadsheets and magazines.

Where do you get your inspiration from?


Posted on 28 June, 2016 by Faye - 1 Comment

How To Write With Children

Posted on 15 June, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Escapology by Ren Warom

Hi All!

Today I have the lovely Ren Warom on the blog with a guest post about writing with children. It’s a brilliant piece that I’m very glad to be sharing with you all.

But first, here’s some more information on her book, Escapology.

Shock Pao is the best. In the virtual world the Slip there’s nothing he can’t steal for the right price. Outside the Slip, though, he’s a Fail – no degree, no job. So when his ex offers him a job, breaking into a corporate databank, he accepts—it’s either that, or find himself a nice bench to sleep under. Amiga works for psychotic crime lord Twist Calhoun so when Shock’s war comes to her, it’s her job to bring him to Twist, dead or alive.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.

Writing with Kids: A brief sort-of guide

by Ren Warom

I’m a single mum of two teens and a pre-teen, so my life tends toward thechaotic (and melodramatic). I’ve been writing seriously again for only six years, butthe plot twist in parenting is that kids don’t really get to be less work at any point, norany less hands on (even with nappies/noses and nights out of the equation), soconsider the following my mini four-point guide for writing whilst parenting. I like to call these my Write Club Rules:

First Rule of Write Club: Never try and write when your children are home or awake unless you’ve super glued them to the TV/their computer/a book/a videogame and can guarantee quiet. If you have even as much as 0.01% of a doubt about guaranteed quiet then do not sit down to work. This is ironclad.

Second Rule of Write Club: If the above is not an option (and let’s be fair, with kids it’s often not), set a definite writing time and guard it like DeCaprio’s bear-husband guards his honour. It is sacred. Sacrosanct. If you allow your children to think they can interrupt it for any reason, you will never get it back. EVER.

Third Rule of Write Club: Explain why you write. What it means to you. Kids are filled with enthusiasm and zest for life, they might resent the time you give to words but if they understand how much it means to you they’ll really try and respect it, even when they’re pissier than DiCaprio’s bear husband (and that happens a lot.) Trust me on this. Kids are hella smart, even the mini ones.

Fourth Rule of Write Club: Share your love of books. If your children love books they’ll have a greater grasp of why you love writing. They may even start to write as well, and encouraging creativity in your kids is about as rewarding as it gets. Besides, when they’re engrossed in reading the latest must-have picture book, MG or YA, you can whip out your laptop/ipad/notebook and sneak some words in. Win/win situation.

Fifth and Final Rule of Write Club: Coffee. Wine. Cake. Chocolate. Gin. Books. TV. Art. Knitting. Name your pleasure and dive in headfirst (within reason, naturally). Chase your joy, it finds its way into the words you write and the things you say and do as a parent. A good parent is a happy parent; a good writer is a happy writer. Stupid simple, but in the many stresses of parenting/life we often forget to take care of ourselves too.

Okay, so those aren’t really rules per se, they don’t give you a way through if you’re struggling to balance kids and writing, but here’s the thing––there are no real answers to the conundrum. Write Club is fight club. It is and always will be a juggling act, with no right way or wrong way, and no easy way. But nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and that definitely stands for parenting and writing both.

Did you find this advice helpful?


Posted on 15 June, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Ten Bookish Inspirations by Jane Corry

Posted on 23 May, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

My Husband’s Wife Blog Tour

Hi All!
Today is my stop on the blog tour for My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry! I’ve got a brilliant guest post for you all by Jane about her top ten bookish inspirations!

But first, here’s some information on the book!

My Husband's Wife It’s the perfect love story.

Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.

But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too…

The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.

‘Till death us do part…’

Goodreads. Amazon UK.

Ten Bookish Inspirations For My Husband’s Wife

By Jane Corry

I have to be honest here. When writing a novel, I never read anything in the same genre. I just want to concentrate on my own story. However I do read other kinds of books. They might not be what others would expect. Often they’re non-fiction. But here is a list which influenced me when writing My Husband’s Wife.

Book of Uncommon Prayer.

When I started work at the prison, one of the officers told me that the men either sought refuge in the gym or in God. That gave me an idea. I would ask each of my ‘students’ to write down a saying or a prayer or a poem which helped them get through the day. I also asked the prison staff – including the governor – to do the same. The result was an anthology which I called ‘The Book Of Uncommon Prayer’. It can be bought from New Leaf Books.

Italian dictionary.

One of my major characters, Carla, is Italian. Although I speak a little Italian myself, I still needed help. I have a really old Italian dictionary in my study which was of some use. A member of the Penguin team is Italian so she was able to help me too – not just with words but also customs. For example I hadn’t realised that chrysanthemums were linked with the Mafia.

Law Books

My other major character, Lily, is a solicitor. As a young journalist, I had to pass a law exam as part of my NCTJ. My novel mentions certain court procedures which I needed to check up on. So as well as speaking to the Law Society , I also ploughed through a few legal textbooks.

Books on the autistic spectrum.

Another of my characters is a young man who is on the autistic spectrum. I know a little about this from personal experience and also from my time as a journalist. However I also read as much as I could on the subject.

The Church of England marriage service.

Lily marries Ed right at the beginning of the novel. So I thought it might be helpful to read the marriage service.The various promises that a couple make to each other gave me a few more ideas for the plot.

Book of children’s names.

As a writer, it can sometimes be difficult to choose a character’s name. So it can be useful to have some inspiration from baby name books. I chose the name Lily for my main heroine because I wanted her to sound fresh and innocent. But at the same time, lilies can stain. They are contradictions – just like her.

Children’s books – all kinds!

My daughter and her husband have just had their first baby. So I am a grannie! My granddaughter loves books and is enchanted by the pictures. The funny thing is that when I am reading them to her, my mind goes off on a bit of a tangent and I get ideas that are totally unrelated.

Collins Dictionary

When we first meet Carla, she is still a child. She reads the dictionary every night to learn new words. So I scoured my copy of Collins’ Dictionary to see what might take her fancy. One of her favourite words is ‘cunning’.

Mindfulness for Busy People

This is one of many books in the pile next to my bed. Every now and then, I dip in. It did make me think about Lily and how circumstances force her to change her pace.

Inside Time

This is a newspaper rather than a book. It contains articles written by prisoners as well as poetry and prose. The Letters page is particularly fascinatingas it allows prisoners to air their grievances about anything from food to warmth. It proved to be useful research.

What are your bookish inspirations?


Posted on 23 May, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Mystery & Mayhem Tour; Clementine Beauvais

Posted on 20 May, 2016 by Faye - No Comments

Mystery & Mayhem Tour

Hello All!
Today is my stop on the Mystery & Mayhem tour and I’m here with a brilliant guest post from the lovely and talented Clementime Beauvais! But before we jump to that, here’s some more information on the book!

Mystery and Mayhem Twelve mysteries.

Twelve authors.

One challenge: can YOU solve the crimes before the heroes of the stories?

These are twelve brand-new short stories from twelve of the best children’s crime writers writing today.

These creepy, hilarious, brain-boggling, heart-pounding mysteries feature daring, brilliant young detectives, and this anthology is a must for fans of crime fiction and detection, especially the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, The Roman Mysteries and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.

Goodreads. Amazon UK.

In for a twist! The art of the short story

By Clementine Beauvais

I have a special fondness for short stories. My very first published piece of writing, in 2010, was a short story: I’d been runner-up in a national competition in France, and my story ended up in a published anthology. My name was printed in that book. And a biography. A biography! I couldn’t believe I had a biography. Since I hadn’t done anything notable, it was just full of my favourite books, and vague ambitions (which turned out not to last) of working in publishing.


Anyway, that short story was a reworking of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, perhaps a bit too ‘adult’ to be described here (I’m not worried about you, young people who might be reading this, but about your sensitive parents, who may never have heard of the kind of things that happened in that story); the important point is, there was a twist at the end.

And a pretty good twist, even though I say so myself, and it’s bad to brag (unless you happen to have written a story with a really pretty great twist.)

Twists, to me, are the great and awesome difference between short-story writing and longer types of writing. My favourite short stories, from Saki to Roald Dahl, were the ones where the last page – the last line – or, even better, the last word – made you rethink the whole thing and go So THAT’S what was going on!

Twists can be funny, tragic, scary, weird or even completely nonsensical. A great example of a nonsensical twist is Alphonse Allais’ A Very Parisian Drama. In that story, Raoul and Marguerite, who form a rather unhappy couple, each receive an anonymous letter. Marguerite’s letter says that Raoul will be going to a carnival, in a few nights’ time, dressed as a Templar; Raoul’s letter says that Marguerite will be going to a carnival, in a few nights’ time, dressed as a Congolese boat (don’t ask).

They both decide to go and spy on the other’s behaviour at that mysterious carnival. Raoul decides to dress as a Templar for the occasion – and Marguerite, as a Congolese boat (don’t ask).

At the carnival, a man dressed as a Templar starts flirting with a woman dressed as a Congolese boat. They end up in a room together, and pull down each other’s masks… and then…

“Both at the same time had a scream of surprise – as they failed to recognise the other.

He wasn’t Raoul.
She wasn’t Marguerite.

They apologised profusely to each other, and got to know each other better around a nice little supper, that’s all I can tell you.”

Absurd. And hilarious! The kind of story you can only write over few pages – and make it crisp, concise, and utterly unexpected. Writing this story as a novel would kill it.


Short stories are very hard to craft well. They must be precise, chiselled, impeccably structured, concise and luminous. There’s not enough space to write badly. If you’re going to write a short story because you think it’s easy, don’t do it. You’ll need to have written many novels before writing a short story becomes easy.

For a reader, short stories are brilliant ways of dipping into the imaginations of writers – but don’t think they’re samples of their writing. Writers write differently when they write short stories. They’re more cynical, more cruel, more fun and weirder when they write short stories. Short stories have a tendency to get out the best – and darkest – in people.

I hope you enjoy the twists and turns of Mystery and Mayhem. You’re in for a treat – like a neatly-packaged box of chocolates. Well, some of them might be poisonous, or contain shards of glass or hidden razors – who knows? But it only makes the tasting more exciting. Are you ready to bite?

Follow the rest of the tour!

Blog Tour Calendar Final

What are your thoughts on short stories?


Posted on 20 May, 2016 by Faye - No Comments