Sunday, 27 July 2014

World's best Story

I am really excited to tell you about an innovative new contest platform for both readers and writers. Laura Fabiani of iRead Book Tours is now a proud sponsor for World’s Best Story!

More and more authors and writers are discovering the power of readers. Books are written for the reader audience, so why not have a say in telling others we think a writer’s story has blockbuster potential? That’s what World’s Best Story allows you to do.
In view of this, I hope you will join me in helping to spread the word and to sign up as a member of World’s Best Story to find talented storytellers and get great prizes. 

But first let me tell you more about World’s Best Story.

World’s Best Story was launched at BookExpo America on May 28. It’s the first social contest to reward readers and writers with exclusive partner prizes. So what does this mean for you?

If you are a writer:

1. Submit your story. Entering is free and the entry period ends Aug 12.
2. Prizes include publishing contracts, celebrity master classes, trademark and IP protection, book tours, big box retail distribution, PR and marketing support and more!
3. Top ten finalists and grand prize winner will be announced at the Toronto International Book Fair on November 15, 2014.

If you are a reader:

1. You get the chance to be the judge, discover new stories and win great prizes.
2. When you sign up to become a member, you automatically get $10 to spend at Beyond the Rack. Signing up is easy, requiring only your name and email.
3. When you rate and vote you’ll get a chance to win cool prizes, and the grand prize package includes a $2000 shopping spree at Beyond the Rack!

So how can you help spread the word? There are several ways:
  • Write a post about it and you can enter in a giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card and one of 6 $25 Beyond the Rack Gift Cards
  • Add the World’s Best Story logo on your blog with a link back to their site.
  • If you are an iRead tour host, your post will count toward your incentive program if you do the above.
  • If you are not yet an iRead tour host, join and you will qualify for the incentive program
  • Tell all your readers about WBS through social media networking.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Empress Rose

Chris Eastvedt is fascinated by human behavior and will happily watch hours upon hours of PBS documentaries in an endless quest to understand the species. How could a man live in his car for six months while he started his own business? Why would that woman agree to go on Jerry Springer? These are questions that need answers. Chris writes to give people a chance to laugh and think about the little things that concern us all.


Which is worse: being a victim, or being a bitch?

This is a question Rose Voss has been asking herself since her husband died, leaving her with a storm-wrecked house, four kids to raise, and an alcoholic brother-in-law living in a trailer in her backyard.

Being a single working mom is never easy, but it’s downright painful in Luscious, Missouri, where cattiness is a local pastime. For years, the neighbors have been watching and judging Rose’s every move, and giving her a failing grade at every turn. In their minds, her son is a terrorist-in-training, her hydroponics farm is really a front for a large-scale marijuana operation... even walking from the car to the grocer’s is bound to throw someone’s nose out of joint. Whatever it takes to be popular here, Rose just doesn’t have it.

Things begin to change when a GoBuy superstore moves in and starts killing off the competition. Families are leaving, stores are closing, and time is running out. Luscious is desperate, and survival depends on recruiting help from the most successful business owner in town: Rose Voss.

Now Rose has a decision to make: forgive past wrongs and work with her neighbors to rebuild the community, or leave everyone to reap what they’ve sown while she savors the sweet taste of revenge. What would you do?

The Empress Rose at Amazon
The Empress Rose at Smashwords
The Empress Rose at Barnes & Noble

My Review

This wasn’t at all what I was expecting, neither from the title nor the cover. It isn’t about aristocracy nor is it a children’s story; instead I was pleasantly surprised to find a story about Rose, a single Mum doing the best to bring up her kids whilst trying to set up a hydroponics business. Following the death of her husband, she also has her brother-in-law living in a trailer in her yard.
Most readers will relate to Rose and the difficulties she faces as you are sucked into her life and her attempts to breathe new life into her town.
I enjoyed Chris Eastvedt’s writing and the book has real potential but in order to appeal to the mass market, I think that a revamp would help enormously.


From Paris with love - Samantha Tonge


Every girl dreams of hearing those four magical words Will you marry me? But no-one tells you what’s supposed to happen next…
Fun-loving Gemma Goodwin knows she should be revelling in her happy-ever-after. Except when her boyfriend Lord Edward popped the question, after a whirlwind romance, although she didn’t say no….she didn’t exactly say yes either!
A month-long cookery course in Paris could be just the place to make sure her heart and her head are on the same page… And however disenchanted with romance Gemma is feeling, the City of Love has plenty to keep her busy; the champagne is decadently quaffable, the croissants almost too delicious, and shopping is a national past-time! In fact, everything in Paris makes her want to say Je t’aime… Except Edward!
But whilst Paris might offer plenty of distractions from wedding planning – including her new friends, mysterious Joe and hot French rockstar Blade - there’s no reason she couldn’t just try one or two couture dresses is there? Just for fun…

About the author


Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family, and two cats who think they are dogs. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, came out in November 2013.


My Review

It was lovely to catch up with Gemma and Edward again – although this time they’re in Paris, practising their cookery skills. At least they are until Gemma is approached to be part of a secret mission. It’s part spoof James Bond and part romantic comedy. There are some fantastic characters and a few twists and turns. Some of them you will be able to spot and then suddenly a big one hits you in the face. I’m not saying any more as I don’t want to spoil it.
Gemma’s arch nemesis is also well done. I loved the way that Samantha Tonge describes her through Gemma’s eyes. She’s everything she isn’t – elegant, intellectual, sophisticated and no wonder that Gemma dislikes her.
Gemma’s fantasies at the beginning of the chapter work quite well at first but after a while they do become rather predictable – a case of less is more in this case.  The ending also pushes the reader to the bounds of plausibility. That aside though, it’s a lovely story with great characters and if you’re looking for something light and amusing to read on holiday then I can thoroughly recommend it. Oh and the descriptions of Paris and the food alone should make you buy it. So, superb setting, marvellous characters and a wacky plot – what more could you ask for in a rom-com?


Thursday, 24 July 2014

And the Angels cried

About the author


Annette (Nettie) Thomson is a Glaswegian writer, photographer and web designer living in South Kintyre, Scotland. Her stories cover the full spectrum of genres and her characters tend to have a little of her in them: but only the good bits. She has won or been placed in several competitions and has previously been published in Leopard Magazine, Paranormal Magazine and the People's Friend, to name a few.
When she was a wee girl, Annette truly believed she had been left behind on earth during a scouting mission, by her alien parents. This sense of not belonging informs much of her work and she enjoys writing about outsiders.
Her day job is running Meldrum Media, a small company which designs and builds websites and conducts social media activities for other writers and creative individuals. 
Annette S Thomson is married with an almost grown up daughter and she spends her non-writing time wrangling two toy poodles, reading and eating her own bodyweight in cookies.
And she is still waiting for her parents to turn up and take her home. 

Twitter - @NettieWriter
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Amazon UK - -

About the book 


From a young girl who hears voices to a man addicted to recycling, 'And The Angels Cried and other stories' is an eclectic mix of tales embracing the human condition. 
In 'The Best Tool For The Job', Ali McGurk makes a serious mistake with some car brakes, we meet a master criminal in 'The Magician' and in 'A Christmas Story' we read an apologetic email written after the office party. Thomson's Glaswegian origins are evident in 'Glasgow Style' and 'See Ma Man?' and there is a darkness and sense of horror in almost every story, even the funny ones.
With fourteen stories in the collection, of varying length and genre, it's guaranteed there will be something for everyone.

My Review

This is a lovely collection of short stories, probably the most eclectic I’ve ever read, as they range from very short Flash Fiction to longer stories that allow more character development. The subject matter is equally varied so any reader would be hard pushed not to find something in this collection to enjoy.

There is a message in all of Annette’s stories and her black humour is evident even in the more light-hearted ones. I did find ‘A Christmas Story’ quite amusing – the apologetic email after the Christmas party is something we can all identify with. ‘The best tool for the job’ is quite chilling as is ‘And the Angels cried’ from where the collection takes its name.
I did wonder if the collection needed something to bring it together as it is so eclectic but on reflection I think that’s what gives it its character. You may need a translator for a couple of the stories showing Annette’s Glaswegian roots but all in all a well written collection that is a pleasure to dip into. I was just greedy though and read them all in one go!


Monday, 21 July 2014

Sue barnard -21 July Promo

Romeo & Juliet - was this what really happened?

When Juliet Roberts is asked to make sense of an ancient Italian manuscript, she little suspects that she will find herself propelled into the midst of one of the greatest love stories of all time. But this is only the beginning. As more hidden secrets come to light, Juliet discovers that the tragic tale of her famous namesake might have had a very different outcome...

A favourite classic story with a major new twist.


The friary clock struck the hour of four.

“May it please Heaven to smile upon this happy union.”

“Amen to that, Father!”

Romeo was pacing around my cell in great agitation.

“But just to be able to call her my wife is sufficient.”
I shuddered. Had I been too hasty in agreeing to perform this marriage?

He loves too strongly, and too soon, I thought. Could he fall out of love just as swiftly and as violently? Heaven forfend…
“Son, even the sweetest things can lose their appeal if taken to excess.”

I gestured towards the half-filled pots of honey on the table.

“So do not wear out your love too quickly. It will last longer, and be stronger, if you love in moderation.”
There came a faint tapping at the door. Romeo froze.
“Come in!” I called.

The door opened and Giulietta entered.

As she bade me good afternoon, Romeo crossed the room in two strides, clasped her tightly in his arms and kissed her passionately – a kiss which she returned with equal fervour. If I had previously harboured any doubts about the strength of their feelings for each other, now I saw them together these doubts were utterly dispelled. Each totally absorbed in the other, it was as though they had already forgotten that I was even there.
I coughed gently to attract their attention, and beckoned them towards the improvised altar. As one they knelt down before it, their faces radiant, their fingers still interlaced.
I opened my breviary:
Ego conjugo vos in matrimonium, in nomine Patris, Filii et Spiritus Sancti…”
Their vows exchanged, and one of Giulietta’s own rings blessed and employed as a wedding ring, the newly-made husband and wife left my cell and reluctantly went their separate ways until they would meet again at nightfall. I watched them go, and murmured a silent prayer for their happiness.

Had I but known what was to befall them ere that very same day was over, I would have said many, many more…

About the author            

Sue Barnard was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. After graduating from Durham University, where she studied French and Italian, Sue got married then had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent. If she had her way, the phrase "non-working mother" would be banned from the English language.
Since then she has had a series of part-time jobs, including some work as a freelance copywriter. In parallel with this she took several courses in Creative Writing. Her writing achievements include winning the Writing Magazine New Subscribers Poetry Competition for 2013. She is also very interested in Family History. Her own background is stranger than fiction; she'd write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.
Sue has a mind which is sufficiently warped as to be capable of compiling questions for BBC Radio 4's fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as "professionally weird." The label has stuck.
Sue joined the editorial team Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine's Day 2014.  Her second novel, a romantic mystery entitled Nice Girls Don’t, is due for release in July 2014.
You can find Sue on Facebook, Twitter (@SusanB2011), or follow her blog here.


Welcome to Allthingsbookie, Sue.
Can you tell us what prompted you to first start writing? What was the first thing you wrote?

If you include the compulsory “Composition” exercise at school, I suppose I’ve been writing more or less all my life – but it’s only in recent years that I’ve started taking it more seriously.  The first thing I remember writing was for a primary school competition organized by Cadbury’s.  The whole class had to take part; we had to learn all about chocolate and then write an essay about it.  For that I won a prize of a tin of Cadbury’s chocolate.  The chocolate is long gone, but I still have the tin.  I keep my pens in it.

Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?

The Ghostly Father is a retelling of the traditional Romeo & Juliet story, but with a couple of major new twists and a completely different ending.

What was the inspiration for this book?

I've always loved the story of Romeo & Juliet but hated the way it ended, and have often wished that there was a version of the story which had a more satisfactory outcome.  What finally kick-started the process was when I came across one of those lists of “Things You Must Do Before You Die.”  One of those things was “Write the book you want to read.”  The Ghostly Father was the result.

Did you do any research for the book?

Yes.  The story is told from the point of view of the character of Friar Lawrence, so I had to learn about life in a monastery – and also, since he was well-versed in herb-lore, I had to study that too.

What does a typical writing day involve for you?

I wish I had one!  My writing isn’t very structured, I’m afraid.  I’d love to say that I could sit down and write for hours on end, but sadly that wouldn’t be true.  If I get stuck (which happens alarmingly often) I find it helps to go and do something else for a while; the answers then come to me at the most unexpected moments.  Listening to music helps.  On one occasion a verse of a poem arrived, fully-formed, whilst I was sitting in a traffic jam.  And I’ve had some of my best ideas of all when I’ve been mowing the lawn.

How do you decide on the names for your characters?

Because The Ghostly Father is based on an existing story, I already had the names of the principal characters, although in some cases I changed their names to the Italian versions (for example, Juliet becomes Giulietta, Tybalt becomes Tebaldo, and Friar Lawrence becomes Fra’ Lorenzo).  In the case of some minor characters who don’t appear in the play, I chose names which had some other connection with the original text.

Which writers have influenced your own writing?

Shakespeare (obviously!).  But in my other work (mostly short stories), I’ve been inspired by John Wyndham, Joanne Harris, and the Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl.  My second novel, Nice Girls Don’t (published in July 2014), owes much to the help and inspiration of my friend and mentor Sally Quilford.  I’d like to think there’s a touch of the early works of Jilly Cooper in there too!

What are you working on next? Do you have a WIP?

I have several unfinished projects on the go at the moment.  It remains to be seen which of them (if any!) gets finished first.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?

The best part was receiving the email headed “Offer of Contract.” 

The worst?  Every writer’s nemesis: rejection.  I was particularly upset when I received one rejection which was totally at variance with the publisher’s own guidelines.  I would have much preferred that they’d been honest with me, rather than making up some half-baked excuse.

Do you plot your novels or allow them to develop as you write?

I start with a basic idea of what’s going to happen, but it isn’t set in stone.  In The Ghostly Father I ended up swapping two characters’ names round, because it came to me at one point that names are very significant in the story, and one particular name was far more appropriate for the outcome.  And in Nice Girls Don’t, one of the characters took me completely by surprise by saying something which went on to change the entire course of the sub-plot.  Which was probably just as well, as I realise now that my original idea would never have worked.

Have you taken any creative writing courses and would you recommend them?

A few years ago I took several online “Start Writing” courses with the Open University.  Sadly these are now discontinued, but I believe that there is a free version of “Start Writing Fiction” available on the Futurelearn section of the OU website.  I’ve also studied Romance Writing and Short Story Writing with Sally Quilford, and Flash Fiction with Calum Kerr.  All highly recommended.

What book(s) are you reading at the moment?

My Kindle is full of books by my fellow-authors from Crooked Cat Publishing.  I’m currently reading Shaman’s Drum by Ailsa Abraham.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three books with you, what would they be and why?

The Complete Works of Shakespeare.
I could spend many a happy hour just reading the works of the Bard, as well as dreaming up backstories for the characters, and working on more spin-off stories.

The single-volume edition of The Bromeliad Trilogy (comprising Truckers, Diggers and Wings) by Terry Pratchett.
Although this trilogy was written for children, the stories are packed with humour and satire, and can be read and enjoyed on any number of levels.  They would also remind me of my sons, who first introduced me to the works of the great Terry Pratchett when they read these books at primary school.

A really good anthology of poetry.
I just couldn’t imagine a life without poetry.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Believe in yourself, and never give up.  If I can do it, anyone can!