Monday, 30 November 2015

The homecoming - Dougie McHale

Louis Satriani has the perfect life in Edinburgh or so he thought, it only took a second to discover it was a lie. Forced to readjust to the shifting events that have rocked his world he confronts the secret and deception that will change his life for ever.
A moment of crisis can offer new directions and escaping his past he travels through Greece, an experience he hopes will afford him opportunities to reconstruct his life and rediscover a sense of normality, by burying his torment and establish a reason to be in control of the choices and decisions he makes. Will the lure and sanctuary of a Greek island, Zakynthos, erase the loss of the hopes and dreams that once galvanised his life? Will it offer a refuge and reconciliation with his past? Louis is offered a sanctuary, Maria, a local tour guide. The ghosts of Louis’ past are never far and the circumstances that have brought Louis and Maria together embroil them in conflicting emotions forcing them to face and confront their feelings for each other opening old wounds of the past and suppressed hopes that resonate in the present.
Passion blossoms in a voyage of love, doubt and self-discovery. But can there love survive life changing events and the unfolding of a secret that can only be resolved by a homecoming, forcing Louis to choose between his heart and head. The Homecoming encapsulates love, loss and reconciliation, set against the backdrop of Edinburgh, mainland Greece and an Ionian island.

In a past life Dougie has been a musician and song writer, playing in several bands, performing live and recording music. He has a degree in Learning Disability nursing and a post graduate diploma in autism. He is a children and young person’s learning disability nurse with a specialist interest in autism. Dougie lives in Dunfermline, Fife, with his wife, teenage daughter, older son and golden retriever. The Homecoming is his first novel, inspired by a love of all things Greek, her islands, people, landscapes, sea, light and ambience all of which are important themes and symbols in his writing.

Author Links :


Twitter: Dougie McHale @dougiemchale

My Review

I was immediately attracted to this book by its premise and of course, it's set partly in Greece which is always an added incentive for me. The opening is quite sad and at first the book seems quite disjointed as we move into the present day with different characters. Throughout the book the reader is left wondering about the connection but it is all tied up very neatly at the end.
I love the descriptions of Greece, the writer is obviously a Hellenophile, as am I, and I felt the urge to go back and sit in the places our hero Louis sits as he gazes out to sea.  There are some wonderful characters including his landlady and I really got into the story once Louis met Maria and finds himself on Zakinthos. The descriptions of Edinburgh are also brilliant.  Parts of the plot, however, seemed unnecessary and didn't add much to the story, such as his encounter with the thugs. His reason for leaving Scotland was sufficient I felt without him needing to go on the run although that is merely my opinion as I wanted him to get to Zakynthos earlier!
All in all, an enjoyable story that has tragedy and a love affair at its core. I liked the book and feel that Dougie McHale is a gifted storyteller. Not wishing to be too pedantic, I think a good editor or proofreader would get rid of the irritating typos and grammar mistakes and tighten up the plot to make this into what could be a VERY enjoyable story.


Breigh Forstner





Cale Pelton didn’t want to fall in love.

Fresh off a breakup, he was scrambling to find a new lead guitarist for his band, Everlasting, before they went on tour. He wanted to enjoy being single, singing his heart out nightly to fans.

Never did he expect to meet Bryn Schaefler, the sassy rich girl that would change his life.

Bryn left her parents’ house with only her suitcase and guitar, leaving her old life behind her. She nails the band audition and becomes Everlasting’s new lead guitarist. Bryn didn’t want to find Cale attractive, let alone develop a crush on a bandmate. But when trouble starts to find the band, Bryn starts to believe her family will do whatever it takes to get her home.

Will Cale and Bryn listen to their heads and stay strictly professional? Or will they follow their hearts and admit their feelings towards eachother?


Breigh Forstner currently resides in Southeast Michigan with her two daughter. While she works full-time during the week, at night she spends time with her girls dancing and coming up with her next book idea. Her goal is to make it onto a best sellers list at some point in her career, and writes any chance she can get. She is a music lover and is a sucker for going to concerts, rock bands, and tattooed bad boys.

Twitter: @BreighForstner


Can you tell us what prompted you to first start writing? What was the first  thing you wrote?: I’ve always been a reader and always had a desire to write, especially when I was younger. I want to say the very first thing I wrote on my computer was a short horror story.

   Can you summarise your latest work in just a few words?: Rockers, music and love.
3    What was the inspiration for this book?: My passion for rock music. I wanted to write a book about rock stars, and the rest fell into place.

   Did you do any research for the book?: I did because I had NO idea what a tour bus looked like on the inside, so I had to research that, and little things along those lines.

    What does a typical writing day involve for you?: usually I don’t get to writing until after my kids go to bed since I work during the day. So that usually gives me about 2-3 hours every night to work on my WIP, or book related things.

   How do you decide on the names for your characters?: Bryn I took from a special family member of mine, and Cale (the other lead) I got the idea from a band I listen to, and the bass players name was Cale, which I really liked. I thought it was different and I didn’t want just typical standard names for the lead roles.

    Which writers have influenced your own writing?: C.M. Stunich, Michelle A. Valentine. Love their books! As far as my Straight from the Heart Series, those are the authors who have influenced my writing.

  What are you working on next? Do you have a WIP?: I am working on the fourth book in my Straight from the Heart series, which will more than likely be the last in the series. I do have other WIP’s as well.

What has been the best part of the writing process…and the worst?: The worst is wondering what people really think of your book. And I’m talking about the ones who don’t write reviews but read the book, finish it, and it’s on to the next one. The best part of the writing process is hitting the publish button knowing your work is coming to life and people will read it.

Tell us about your travels.: I used to travel more so when I was younger with my dad and brother but haven’t so much after High School.

Tell us about your childhood: I had an older brother who was only a couple of years older than me and he was the best brother I could ask for! We never really fought that I can remember

Most writers have some quirks – what are yours?: I guess a quirk I have is that I usually write in my bed under the covers in my pajamas? That’s the only one I could think of!

Do you plot your novels or allow them to develop as you write?: I “try” to plot them out as much as I can, but in the end they usually just develop themselves.

Have you taken any creative writing courses and would you recommend them?: I took newswriting and basic English classes in college, and never got the chance to take creative writing while I was there. But I would recommend the courses to those who feel would benefit from them.

What book(s) are you reading at the moment?: I just got done reading “Until November” by Aurora Rose Reynolds. LOVED it!

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take three books with you, what would they be and why?: The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx, Pulse by Gail McHugh and Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Why? Because I LOVE Gavin Blake (my book boyfriend,) and The Heroin Diaries is basically an autobiography about one of my favorite rockers and his struggles with drug addiction, and Just Listen is based around a music theme, which I love.

Do you have any advice for new writers?: Never stop writing! Even if what you’re writing is for your eyes only, or for the whole world to see, keep the words coming out.

Murder on Safari

Only a reality TV producer and an expert safari guide can stop a terrorist attack.

Every adventure starts at the fringes of civilization. For expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar, filming in the wild of East Africa should have been a return to the adventure they always loved. This time they’d be filming soaring vultures in northern Kenya and giant sea crocodiles in Tanzania with Mary, the daughter of the world’s top television evangelist, the very reverend Jimmy Threte.

But when a terrorist cell places them in the crosshairs, there is suddenly no escape and they must put their filming aside and combine all their talents to thwart an all-out al-Shabaab terrorist attack on Jimmy Threte’s Christian gathering of hundreds of thousands in Nairobi, Kenya.

Buy the book:     Amazon    Barnes & Noble     Chapters/Indigo

Author's Bio:

Peter Riva spent many months over thirty years in Africa, many of them with the legendary guides for East African white hunters and adventurers. He created a TV series (seventy-eight 1-hour episodes) in 1995 called WildThings for Paramount TV. Passing on the fables, true tales and insider knowledge of these last reserves of true wildlife is a passion.

Connect with the author:     Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook



Win 1 of 10 copies of Murder on Safari (print or audiobook)
& 1 of 2 $25 Amazon gift cards (international)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Review

I was impressed by Peter Riva's in-depth knowledge of East Africa and how he managed to bring the area alive on the page. The two main characters, Mbuno, a local safari guide and Pero, a film producer, are well depicted and their relationship obviously goes back many years. No need to read current affairs journals to find out the local political background either as Riva gives us a crash course in African politics and customs. On the oher hand, I did find the other characters superfluous at times and certainly at the beginning I found it hard to get my head around who was who. This is a multi-layered thriller that had moments of superb suspense where I couldn't wait to find out what happened, sadly in other places the narrative seemed to be flag at times and hold the story back. A couple of minor characters such as the female car dealer are brilliant and worth an earlier mention. If you love reading about Africa and enjoy a good thriller then you will definitely enjoy this one.