Books, cats and fine wine are the best things in life.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

#ReviewShare #BookReview #AmReading - Stormy Weather by Dermot Davis @DermotDavis1

Stormy WeatherStormy Weather by Dermot Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story of Robert Munro isn't fiction. It's the story of every man and woman who has a family to provide for. The conflict of drawing the line and not bringing work home in a bag or in your mind. The juggling act that no one really wins in the end. Wife, child, self.

Of all the characters Dermot Davis has created, this is one that I connected with the most. Stormy Weather is a compelling story about a therapist who interprets dreams for a living only to soon realise he's about to become his own client. What a great premise. While the writing wasn't as sharp as Brain, it kept my attention throughout the book.

Robert Munro is as damaged as they come and was an amazing character in this quirky plot. Stormy Weather definitely managed to squeeze all emotions from me and that to me is proof of a good book. The old cat man says, young or old, you must read this book. You may not like the story, but you'll discover something about yourself.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

A Day in the Life of JennaLee Gallicchio @AllStarPaws #AmReading #Animals #DogTraining

10:30 AM Posted by James Noel , , No comments
Being that I am a professional dog trainer and not a full time writer my day usually starts with two lumps of dog somewhere pressed against my body.

During the colder months Ryder, my 2 year old Australian Shepherd/Cattle Dog mix,  and Emmy, my 11 month old Alaskan Husky/ Greyhound mix,  think that I am their personal heating pad. During the warmer months I'm not sure what they think but they both like to stay close.

I am not complaining because honestly I love waking up with them every morning.

What time we get up varies from day to day but we all start with a great good morning greeting.  If you've never had a dog I can't fully explain with words what that feels like. If you have a dog, you know exactly what I am talking about.

After I take care of any necessities I bring them them out for a quick morning pee break.  Then it is time for breakfast for all of us.

I don't have a normal 9 to 5 job and my schedule varies from day to day but I always try to get some play /training time in with them.  They, well really all of us, thrive on it!

After I've taken care of them I will then head on over to my clients houses for a session which can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Some people I work with them and their dogs and others I work with just the dogs. Regardless it is always extremely gratifying work.

During this time it is usually when ideas for instructional books or videos will come into my head.  Sometimes the flow of them is overwhelming but it's always exciting to identify where I can continue to help people all over the world with their dogs.

And more importantly help the dogs with their humans!

After my appointments are finished I come back home to my adorable puppies and just spend some time with them.  They fill my life with laughter and joy - it's great!

One of the things that I love doing with them is Agility.  Ryder and I are becoming quite the team as we learn the sport.  Emmy and I are starting to learn how to work together.  Building a strong foundational relationship with them makes everything easier.

In the quiet time of my day sometimes I will write, (I have a book that has been in process for a while because it's been on hold a bit since Emmy came), I will blog for my training website, work on a clients website (I dabble in Web Design), or just chill out watching a good movie or reading a good book.

I am enjoying creating the life that I've never dreamed about because honestly I didn't know that this life was possible.  I just keep moving forward one step, sometimes tiny, baby steps and miraculous things keep happening.  Life is good!


Two books in one! This book combines "The Secret To Getting Your Dog To Do What You Want" and "Teach Your Dog To Pee and Poop Outside: House training Made Easy".

The Secret To Getting Your Dog To Do What You Want

With so much information available today, training your dog can become confusing. Trying to understand exactly what is meant by a "reward" or "reinforcement" and how to use it properly can be frustrating to say the least.

Once you understand what defines a reward, why they are important and how to use them effectively only then will you have the secret to getting your dog to do what you want.
  • Does your dog get crazy when it's time to go out?
  • Does getting their leash on take forever and a day?
  • What about their food?
  • Are they calm or crazy?
Jenna shares with you a simple training exercise that will forever change what it's like to go out or getting their dinner ready. By using their desire to get what they want you can get them to do what you want! Calm and relaxed is the name of the game!

Once you've learned this simple exercise make sure that you apply it to every routine or behavior you want to change.

Teach Your Dog To Pee and Poop Outside: Housetraining Made Easy
  • New puppy?
  • New Dog?
  • Trouble with an older dog peeing and pooping in the house?
  • Multiple dog household that just seems to be out of control?

In this book you will learn:
  • Why an instinct that your dog possesses could sabotage your efforts if you're not using it to your advantage.
  • How to know your dog has to go BEFORE they go.
  • The different reasons people fail.
  • A step by step example of what a successful potty routine should look like.
  • An example of a schedule.
  • How to put peeing and pooping on cue.
This proven method of training will get you a housetrained dog, at any age in 30 days or less.

Jenna has put the program that she has used, not just with her dogs, but also with her clients, in writing just for you. This program is fail proof if you are committed to the end result of having a housetrained dog.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Dog Training, Animals
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with JennaLee Gallicchio through Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#ReviewShare #BookReview #TimeTravel - The House by Sebastiana Randone @sebasti29567440

The HouseThe House by Sebastiana Randone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

This book has a good plot and a strong theme but many of the good points are buried in a heap of adjectives and jargon. Even if she had used big words all the way, most of us would have been okay with this but the combination of multiple adjectives, it was a strain on the reader and the characters.

A previous reviewer has pointed out in the description, "This is wonderful writing, with some great words, descriptive words and written in old British English," but this isn't quite the case. Dickens and even Shakespeare were easier to understand than some text this author used. The old cat man recommends that the author include this in her description early on to prepare readers and to remove as many adjectives as she can. Old English isn't everyone's cup of tea and this is probably going to catch some people off guard.

The multiple time frames were pulled off seamlessly and for this Sebastiana Randone deserves applause. Many time travel writers don't do a good job with this and readers are left stuck between time zones but in The House, the reader is introduced to the many characters and taken on a journey of wonders and love.

I recommend this read to anyone who would like to give Old English a try.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

#ReviewShare #BookReview - Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga by @AlinkaRutkowska

Maya & Filippo Look for Happiness in TaurangaMaya & Filippo Look for Happiness in Tauranga by Alinka Rutkowska
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second Maya & Filippo book I am reading from this delightful series by Alinka Rutkowska. The theme of the book is finding your own happiness and realising that you are in charge of your own feelings. No one owes it to you to make you happy and no one can make you unhappy without some participation from you.

Essentially, this is an important lesson for any child to learn and the author covers this very well using chocolates as a tool. However, she mentions so little about Tauranga. Te old cat man thinks if a child can discover emotions, they should be able to discover more of the island other than who lives on it.

For an illustrated ebook, it is neatly presented and the text is visible at all times unlike some children's ebooks where the text is lost in the cluttered images. From the two books I have read, Maya and Filippo are clearly a good series for children to discover new places and to learn about manners, attitude and treating other people. Highly recommended.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

#ReviewShare #BookReview #HickLit - Wilde Riders by Savannah Young @shortontimebook

Wilde RidersWilde Riders by Savannah Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two people meet in the last place they want to be. Is it destiny or a recipe for disaster? Riley Smith and Cooper Wilde are both ambitious and can't wait to leave the small town. I loved the fact that Savannah Young was able to create enough tension and romance on a page to slice through the strongest of nerves.

The theme for Wilde Riders is romance. Beneath the layers of discovery and charm, the more important issues include family life, priorities and deciding what is more important for the long-term. Savannah Young's writing is almost flawless. The only thing that kept the old cat man from giving her 5 stars was that I felt Riley seemed detached. They fell in love so fast, her character had no other to grow while Cooper was able to strengthen his character with interactions between him and his brothers.

Despite being near New York, I found it unique for the author to describe a small town. Between the gossip, a step back in style and manners, the reader is treated to a quirky love story that I hope is the beginning of a wonderful new series.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 28, 2014

#ReviewShare #BookReview #Literary - Broken Wing by Anna Klay @AnnaKlayBooks

Broken WingBroken Wing by Anna Klay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title and description made it quite clear this book is about emotion, abuse and life. Anna Klay introduces us to Skye. Her mother has left her and she has been raised by her father who despite having done his best isn't entirely sure he's done a good job.

Enter Ray. The naive Skye sees him as a knight in shining armour and is soon pregnant with his child. But is Ray the right person for her? He has been physically abused as a child and these memories soon manifest into something much larger and he is unable to control himself.

This book will rest heavy on your heart. It uncovers emotions and abuse on so many different layers and stages of life, some chapters may not be easy for readers who have experienced the similar issues so the old cat man does recommend that the author include a trigger warning.

Technique wise, I would go easy on the adjectives. It was as if the author was sitting by a fountain of adjectives and had no concern about including more than one adjective in every other sentence. Each chapter is introduced with a tarot card much like the movie The Red Violin. Skye's gentle mannerisms and the setting in the small town also made me think of Cate Blanchette in the movie, The Gift. Good story, good writing which can be improved.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 25, 2014

#ReviewShare #BookReview - Killer Within (An Allison McNeil #Thriller) by @JeffGunhus

Killer Within (An Allison McNeil Thriller)Killer Within by Jeff Gunhus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The title is pretty much explanatory. So many plot twists, the only concern for any reader is that he or she might end up with severe whiplash by the end of the book. It was breathtakingly eerie to see the two main characters intertwine with each other. Both have had blood on their hands for different reasons and the manner in which Jeff Gunhus points out the differences in their situations is much like some of the narrators you hear on the crime channel. They point you in the right direction but you need to form your own conclusions.

Jeff Gunhus has succeeded in creating a storyline with characters who are completely believable. What a breath of fresh air to have characters doing what they do in a way that entertains, informs and frightens. This story relies on the foibles of the human condition and is presented in such a way as to bring the reader into the story because they keep saying "I could have done that."

So inconclusive, so perfect filled with those "I didn't see that coming" heart-gripping scenes. Thank you, Jeff Gunhus for all the teeth-gnashing, head stomping emotions. Highly recommended book which I hope they turn into a mini-series at the very least.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

#ReviewShare #BookReview #SelfHelp - The Mind-Made Prison by Mateo Tabatabai

The Mind-Made Prison: Overcoming Limiting Beliefs and Manifesting Personal TransformationThe Mind-Made Prison: Overcoming Limiting Beliefs and Manifesting Personal Transformation by Mateo Tabatabai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always, let's get the negatives out of the way first. This book desperately needs a good editor. Plural tenses, upper / lower case and basic sentence construction is muddled in ways an edited book won't be. Are the mistakes so bad you cannot understand a sentence? Not all the time.

Theoretically, this is a very good book. It breaks things down in ways the reader can 'diagnose' the problem but solution or method is nowhere near in front of you after you finish this book. The best way to explain this is to go off course a little bit so please bear with the old cat man.

The best way to sum up the contents of this book is with a quote from the movie Goodwill Hunting (Robin Williams & Matt Damon).

(extracted from IMDB)

<<<>>>Sean: So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my f***ing life apart. You're an orphan right?

[Will nods]

Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some f***in' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.<<<<>>>

This book misses significant milestones which relates to the human mind. Birth, death, separations, divorce, love, war. I do not know the author personally but when talking about 'transformation' theory will only take you so far. Beyond this you need examples and personal experience. From his bio, I understand that he is too young for all of these experiences but getting people involved and applying his theories with their life stories will work much better for his readers. Just the old cat man's two cents worth.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

Frances M. Thompson Shares 10 Things She Wishes She Knew Before @BushBirdie #WriteTip #PubTip

I published my first book Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel in August 2013. As I approach six months as a published author I find myself still taking hard steps up the steep learning curve that is indie publishing. That said, the more I learn, the more I feel calmer about the future of my book and the ones that will follow. If I could go back in time and speak to myself about two years ago when I first started planning Shy Feet, these are the things that I would tell myself.

1. Some People Will Really “Get” You.
That first five star review on Goodreads from somebody you don’t know, who picked your book out of nowhere and read it and enjoyed it and grabbed hold of the themes, the characters, the twists and the turns that you toiled and toiled over for months, well, that will feel pretty special. And when you realise that they then took the time to write a beautiful review and ask you when the next book will be out; when that happens you’ll realise that people “get” you and your book. That is the best feeling of all. That is why you must keep writing.

2. Some People Won’t “Get” You At All.
On the other end of the spectrum, you will find that some people buy your book, will get around to reading it one day and may never finish it. Or worse, there are those who feel compelled to leave a one star review (see #4 below). This is not the best feeling in the world, but it’s normal. We all have our own personal tastes and preferences, your book just isn’t to that particular person’s liking; it’s never anything more sinister or tragic than that.

3. Editing Will Take Much Longer Than Writing The First Draft
I wrote the first draft of my short story collection in one month (as part of NaNoWriMo). It took me nearly six times as long to edit the stories into something I was proud of. Never underestimate how long it takes to get your fiction where you want it to be (and never stop until it’s there).

4. Bad Reviews Happen To Everyone
Go to one of your favourite books on Amazon or Goodreads and check out all the reviews. You see the one and two star reviews? That is proof of #2 on this list and it is reason enough to never let a bad review bother you, unless of course they are providing helpful criticism because your book was badly formatted or had too many typos in it, in which case consider these reviews a “To Do” list of what needs to be improved upon next time.

5. That Writing Is The Most Fun You Can Have With Your Clothes On
By far the most surprising thing I’ve learned in the last year is that writing is one of the most fun activities I enjoy doing. It has made me laugh out loud, cry on to my keyboard and smile until my cheeks hurt.

6. There Are Good And Bad Times To Publish A Book
When I published my book I thought I’d cash in on the beach holiday market. As it happened, it was in the middle of a hot European summer, people were already on holiday, or those at home were out doing things at weekends so reading wasn’t everybody’s top priority. I think a better time to publish would have been earlier in the summer or later in autumn - indeed my sales saw a big peak in the run up to Christmas. I’ll be mindful of this next time.

7. Marketing Is Hard, But Not Impossible.
The hardest part of being an indie author is marketing myself and my books. I have found it isn’t something that comes naturally to me and I stutter and stammer as I try to “do it right”. But truth be told, even if I were an expert with years of experience, nobody can categorically tell you what works when it comes to selling books. As the old adage goes, only 50% of advertising works but no one knows which 50% it is. What I have learned, however, is that marketing gets a little easier when I think outside the box and get creative, which is why I’ve created playlists for writing and for reading my book, I’ve been interviewed for a number of book-loving blogs and I’ve run signed copy giveaways on my own blog. These are marketing activities I enjoy, which makes it all a little easier.

8. Thinking Big Is Not A Crime.
It’s okay to want more. It’s okay to push yourself. It’s okay to get frustrated with how slow things seem to move. It’s okay to cry, scream and laugh like a madwoman when it all gets too much. It’s okay to think big and set goals that you may never reach. What isn’t okay is punishing yourself if you don’t, because you will then end up slowing yourself down even more. Be your own best friend in terms of thinking big, but also go easy on yourself when chasing those dreams get tough.

9. This Isn’t Going To Get Easier
But it will come quicker, smoother, and more naturally. Just don’t expect any shortcuts or corner-cutting because it is in the struggle that you make beautiful art.

10. You Are Not Alone
By far the most important lesson I’ve learned in the last 18 months since I decided to self-publish my first book is that I am not alone in this. There are hundreds if not thousands of other indie authors out there battling with the same challenges and connecting with some of them via blogs, the Alliance of Independent Authors or on Goodreads has helped me understand that being an author doesn’t have to be as lonely as some people think.


Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Connect with Frances M Thompson on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#ReviewShare #BookReview #Paranormal - Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective by @ChristineAmsden

Cassie Scot: ParaNormal DetectiveCassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective by Christine Amsden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Christine Amsden's bio on GoodReads mentions this phrase, "great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations." This is exactly what she has done with Cassie. Surrounded by all things paranormal, Cassie doesn't have any extraordinary abilities. Her being normal is the strange part which leads to some quirky situations in the book.

This a book with a lot of soul in it. Some writers you can feel when it's just a book to them and some you know have bled their emotions into each scene. Christine Amsden is in the latter category for me. Despite the laughs and background romance, Cassie's longing is felt by the reader in the same way you see a little child sitting at the corner of the playground because he or she is 'different.'

The family dynamic in the book gives a whole new meaning to "a dysfunctional family" and it's easy for the reader to become hot and bothered by their actions. This is the beginning of a solid series for young teens and adults. Well-written, imaginative with a whole new take on para-normal. Must read.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

@GaryTroia's 5 Things You Didn't Know About Being A Published Author #WriteTip #Fiction

10:00 AM Posted by Mickalia Peck , , No comments
So, you’ve written your book, found an agent, your agent has matched your book with a publisher. What next?
  1. It can take one year before your book is in print. Throughout the year you will receive two or three rounds of edits, then copyedits, then line edits. You’ll be asked to proof the cover copy of your book. A bio and a professional headshot will be created. Blurbs need to be written. At least 3 months before publication your book will be sent to reviews and the press for pre-publication reviews and to bookshops. 
  2. You may or may not be lucky enough to have a publicist, either way you still have to market your own book. If you are fortunate enough, you might have a book tour. But touring Authors around the country is expensive, don’t expect any-more travelling by coach! You need to market yourself in any way possible, talk to local papers, radio shows, apply to be a guest at local conferences or speak at libraries, book clubs or schools. And don’t forget social media twitter, Facebook etc… 
  3. You get to select your book cover. This is very unlikely, the book cover is usually the work of an art department, with the opinions of everyone from the editor, publisher, marketing and PR departments. Everyone has their say but you!
  4. You still get rejections. It’s true. Just because you have a publisher doesn’t mean that your new manuscripts or proposals won’t be rejected. 
  5. You will still be poor. If you are extremely lucky your book will make enough money so you can quit your job, the average book advance is a mere £3,000-£5,000 then you have to wait a year until it is in print-then if you’re fortunate enough to sell tens of thousands of copies you may be in a position to quit your day job.

For the first time ever, this collection of short stories by Gary Troia brings together, in chronological order stories and memoirs from Spanish Yarns and Beyond, English Yarns and Beyond and A Bricklayer’s Tales into one complete volume.
“Excellent! A collection of short stories about depression, alcoholism and drug use. Very compelling reading. I read this short story collection all in one go.” (Maria, Goodreads.)
A Bricklayer’s Tales is the ultimate “I hate this job” story, written as a collection of short stories and memoirs, each one revealing a snapshot in the life of Ray. Troia captures the tedium of working in a low paid, menial job and living hand to mouth. This book of short stories is sad and questions the reader to ask questions about their own life. This book achieves clarity without trying.
Ray has three expensive hobbies: drinking, drugs, and running away. Without the income that Bricklaying provides, he would not be able to maintain his chosen lifestyle, so he compromises his principles and continues with his trade.
A collection of short stories and memoirs that include:
The Cuckoo’s Egg. Boyhood antics lead to tragedy.
My Grandfather’s Shed. The making of an English key
No Comb on the Cock. Gypsies, champion fighting cocks, and career choices.
What I Did In My Summer Holidays In 1000 Words. Could having an idea ever be considered a criminal act?
My Best Mate’s Head. Did a weekend of boozing save Ray from certain death?
The Shetland Isles. A trip to sunny Benidorm, a chance meeting with some Glaswegians, and a cold, miserable job in Lerwick.
Pointing a House in Islington. Too much alcohol and cocaine don’t mix well on building sites!
Angel Dust. The peculiar story of a man whose new life in America leads to conversations with Ancient Greek philosophers
Peyote. Hippies, LSD and an idyllic refuge
Return Ticket. Handcuffed and ready for deportation. A sad departure from the States
When I Joined a Cult. Sober dating as Ray discovers religion.
Bilbao. How very, very English!
Teaching Other People. The grass is always greener-the escape from bricklaying.
A Week in the Life of Ray Dennis. With the prospect of no money for food or alcohol this Christmas, Ray has to find work quickly.
Catania. A meeting with a Sicilian fox, some Neapolitans, and a man with a camel haired coat.
Advert In The Art Shop Window. Will a new building job in Spain be the start of a new life?
Gaudi. A flight to Barcelona for a kebab, and a look at the Sagrada Familia.
The Day My Soul Left Me. “To be or not to be? That is the question”
How Not to Travel to The AlhambraHung-over, the wrong fuel, the car breaks down. Will they ever make it to Granada?
The Road To Ronda. A terrifying drive to Ronda, was it worth it?
Poking A Carob Tree. A new home and new neighbours, just in time for Christmas.
Spain Reborn.No more commuting to London. Lets celebrate!
Home From HomeA parallel world where the Spanish have taken over Weymouth.
Three Common Carp.An epic battle with a whale and marlin it is not.
Mrs. McClintock. An absurd farce in which a Glaswegian couple retire to Spain
Steak, Egg and Intensive Care. A harmless dinner leads to hospitalisation.
The Unchangeable Chameleon. Can a leopard change it’s spots?
A Bricklayer’s Tale. The story of a disillusioned, alcoholic bricklayer
A collection short stories and memoirs of British dark humour.
 Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fiction, Short Stories
Rating - PG-16
More details about the author
Connect with Gary Troia on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sebastiana Randone & the #Books She Loved When Growing Up #Historical #Fantasy #Romance

2:00 PM Posted by Quality Reads UK , , , , No comments
Image of Sebastiana Randone

Why do you write?
I write to deal with an overactive imagination, and as a refuge away from the mundane and myself. As I always feel very relaxed after a writing session, I view this activity as therapy.

Have you always enjoyed writing?
Although I have dabbled with creative writing in the past, having penned poetry in my early twenties, I only started writing creatively a few years ago. As a professional dancer over many years, it necessitated that I compose programme notes for the many shows I created. I also wrote numerous grant applications. A form of writing I deplore, due to the style of language one requires to adopt in order to be comply with policy makers. This time consuming, and largely thankless task, actually acted as a deterrent to writing as a past time.  
What motivates you to write?
A desire to see how things will unfold in the story as the work progresses, the more familiar I become with my characters, the more I look forward to visiting their world.
What writing are you most proud of? (Add a link if you like)
There is a scene in The House, involving a fortune teller who is called upon in the hope that insight into the origins of, the all too mysterious time traveller, may be gained. I then created some scenes that came to the clairvoyant through her crystal ball, thereby adding another dimension to the plot. Speaking in the language of a fortune teller was most enjoyable as it gave me much licence to speak in metaphors and symbols, whilst presenting the reader with genuine clues.

What books did you love growing up?
My parents being Italian did not read to me, fortunately this did not deter me from finding a passion in reading from a very early age.  My early years were devoted to Enid Blyton, of whom I read absolutely everything. This was followed by Alice in Wonderland and by the time I was ten, I encountered C.S Lewis and read all the Narnia series voraciously, not dissimilar to the fervour the Harry Potter books generated in recent times. My primary school was equipped with a comprehensive library, so I was able to borrow each book in succession, with no wait, which was good, as I still recall quite vividly the impatience I felt awaiting the next instalment.  

As a teenager I developed a taste for crime mysteries so I read everything the library had to offer, Agatha Christie, James Hadley Chase etc. Then it was off to the adult reads Harrold Robbins, Jacqueline Sussan, Mitchener, there are too many to mention as I can honestly say that since the age of 7, I have never been without a book. The classics began when I was about 18. The Brontes, Austen, Radcliffe, Dickens, Thackeray, Hardy, George Eliot,Wilkie Collins  the list goes on. By my mid 30’s I discovered the French – Balzac, Stendhal, Zola, Hugo, Maupausant. Then back to England, with Somerset Maughan, Huxley, D H Lawrence, then to Russia, with Turgeniev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy. Then there was Shakespeare which led me to read Homer, Ovid and the Greek myths. There are so many more. Sadly I have not kept a running list of books I have read, but there have been thousands I am sure.

Who is your favorite author?
This is a very difficult one to answer as there are many I simply adore and respect. But I think for now I will say George Eliot.  Next time it could very well be Balzac.  There are too many in reality, as they wrote extremely fine books back then.

What book genre of books do you adore?
Classical literature - gothic, romance, political, historical fiction.

What book should everybody read at least once?
Les Miserable by Victor Hugo

Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?
Books that use economical simplified language.

How did you develop your writing?
I write daily. I let it flow, in an improvised manner,(even though the narrative is still the driver)I started this way and am continuing to adopt this method. When I am lacking inspiration, I let my left brain take over and deal with the text pragmatically, through cleaning up the grammar, inconsistencies etc.   

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Nature - the sea in particular, then there is painting, music, dance, poetry, film, and literature of course. Also travelling to Europe, the only place on earth where art and beauty still reigns supreme.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
I am self published, so that is not difficult. Writing is extremely enjoyable, so I don’t find that too hard. My individual approach renders my work slightly idiosyncratic, therefore the final product is potentially not something that will appeal to the mainstream. This makes earning money and marketing the most difficult.

By far, marketing is the most laborious and costly.  What makes it particularly difficult is, in knowing whether there are sales from any one promotion. It is quite a silent process, in that, I don’t even know if anybody has purchased a book until after each quarter, and even then, I have no idea what source brought them to my book. 


The House is an adult fairy tale rich in mystery and intrigue.
Here is a tale of a woman so absorbed with historical novels that her own reality ceases to offer any hope of romance and beauty.

Until one day this dreamy idealist finds herself in a mysterious forest. How she arrived there is unknown. Soon she encounters a dilapidated house, within whose ancient walls magical rooms that transport to parallel worlds lie in wait.  There she is transmigrated to 18th century England, where our heroine interacts with an odd mix of characters whose dysfunctional lives become immediately apparent.

Her first tribulation involves a nefarious lord, an archetype of the monstrous characters one encounters in fairy tales. The ramification from this confrontation sets the tone for the narrative.

A magic portal finally enables escape from the austere Georgian dwelling. She is then spirited back to the enigmatic house, and a journey to Regency London follows, where a large cast of eccentric identities present themselves.

Late one night, following a long stay in Florence, a young, heart-broken poet arrives. His introduction to the beautiful time traveller offers promise of restoration and love. But there are several more obstacles ahead before her destiny in this curious adventure is made apparent.

In the end an unexpected twist is revealed. But like all good fairy tales, this surprising conclusion is pleasing, even though the means of getting there are dark, and at times sinister.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Createspace
Genre - Historical, Fantasy, Romance
Rating - PG-16
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