Meet the Author: Raquel Rich

Meet the Author of Hamartia : Raquel Rich

Ever since I was a child and watched the haunting 1977 film Audrey Rose* as a child I have been fascinated by reincarnation. When a blurb hints at the topic it is instantly placed on my TBR pile so when Hamartia came to my attention I needed to know more. I am pleased and excited announce its author, Raquel Rich is here today to discuss her book, writing and other things.

First, let me introduce the book:

Hamartia-Cover-Perfect-resized

Hamartia Book Cover

Title: Hamartia

Author: Raquel Rich

Genre: Sci-Fi, fantasy

Publisher: Words Matter Publishing

Release date: 15th August 2018

BOOK BLURB:

Grace’s nine-year-old son, Jordan, is dying. First, the Metagenesis disease will tear his soul from his body, and then it will kill him. Desperate for a cure, Grace agrees to take part in an illegal clinical trial cloning souls. Supported by her best friend Kay, the two embark on the ultimate “Vegas Vacation” to the past in search of the right soul to clone, racing against time to save Jordan’s life. But someone is trying to stop them and when they discover why, Grace must make a choice: let her son die or kill her husband. If she kills her husband she triggers widespread Metagenesis, sealing the fate of the human race with a new plague. Humanity is counting on Grace choosing to let her son die.

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hamartia-Raquel-Rich-ebook/dp/B07GJXT4SG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Meet the Author: Raquel Rich

Welcome Raquel to my blog.

What is your favourite book and who is your favourite author?

I choose books based on what’s popular and am embarrassed to admit that I don’t pay attention to the author. Funny enough, most of my favourite books don’t fall within the genre I write. Book of Negros. Shawshank Redemption. A Thousand Splendid Suns. She’s Come Undone. Cane and Able. Hunger Games. A Million Little Pieces.

Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?

Not “influenced” but “improved”. When reading, I pay close attention to the choices the author makes such as how they weave in backstory and the way they introduce characters and settings. Reading is not only for pleasure, but it’s also part of my job.

Where is your favourite place to read or write?

My reading habits literally change like the weather since my favourite places to read are poolside and at the beach. I plough through books like nobody’s business all summer long, reading more books in Canada’s short summer months than I do the other nine. As for writing, that’s a different story. Every single morning, rain sleet or shine, I write. The location varies from my warm living room to the poolside based on weather, but the habit of sipping a coffee with my laptop in the early mornings remain the same year round.

When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

As a kid, I loved to write. But when I was twelve, my love of writing came to screeching halt when Lisa, a fictional character in one of my stories, killed herself. The story sparked concern among the authorities who believed it was a cry for help. Unfortunately, the ordeal which ensued killed my love of writing until my mid-thirties. Hamartia was the first thing I had written since my stubborn childhood sabbatical. It took four years to complete and another two to publish. After countless rejections, I entered a writing contest and won (against 200 entries). The grand prize was a traditional publishing deal and the rest is history!

If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?

Though the core of Hamartia’s plot came from the idea of reincarnation, specifically, how fears and phobias are the results of how people lived and died in their past lives, writing sci-fi was a choice I made out of laziness. I didn’t have the patience to research diseases and thought it would be easier to invent one. Now I find myself in a pickle as I write the sequel, having weaved a thick web in book one, I’ve come to realize it would’ve been easier to perform open heart surgery than to invent a cure for the disease I made up.

Links:

Raquel’s website: https://www.raquelrich.com/hamartia

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41397476-hamartia

 

Author Biography

DSC_3993

Raquel Rich

Raquel Rich is the author of the award-winning novel, Hamartia. She loves to travel, suntan, walk her dog, and is obsessed with all things Beauty & the Beast. She despises cold weather, balloons, and writing about herself in the third person but noticed all the real authors do that. Born and raised in Canada to Brazilian parents, she lives in the Toronto area with her family. Married to the guy she’s been with since she was fifteen (her baby daddy), her superpowers include being a mom to their two awesome grown-ass boys and one fur baby.

Thank you Raquel for popping over to chat and good luck with your writing.

I am currently reading Hamartia so watch this space for the review.

Happy reading !

Love

*Audrey Rose is now on Netflix. It is based on a hefty tome of a book which is worth reading if you are interested in reincarnation and I still love the film despite its age.

Meet The Author: Emma Miles

From under the duvet today, I am excited to speak Emma Miles as part of her blog tour for her new novel The Raven Coven, the second book of the Fire Walker series.

The Raven Coven by Emma Miles

The Raven Coven Ebook Final

The Raven Coven Book Cover

Title: The Raven Coven

Author: Emma Miles

Publisher: Independent publishing

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Release Date: 5th May 2019

Blurb

Kesta had left her heart across the sea. They were at peace, her people saved from slavery, and yet… her soul was uneasy.

Chem lies in chaos, its people suffering as a result of the death of the ruling sorcerers. Refugees flee the cursed Borrows, begging for help from those they had made their enemy. A Queen unknowingly makes a dark, deadly pact, and new powers rise to fill the seats left empty by the Dunham necromancers.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/Raven-Coven-Fire-Walker-Book-ebook/dp/B07Q4K623S

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Raven-Coven-Fire-Walker-Book-ebook/dp/B07Q4K623S

Meet the Author: Emma Miles

Welcome Emma,

  • What is your favourite book?

It’s always hard to pick one. Of my favourites The Lord of the Rings is the one I have re-read the most. Amongst my other favourites are Robin Hobb’s Farseer books, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, particularly ones that contain the characters Sam Vimes and Granny Weatherwax. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradly and Stephen King’s The Stand and Insomnia.

  • Who is your favourite author?

My favourites are those listed above. All of them are fantastic at character creation and world building. If I had to pick one, I’d have to say Tolkien for the same reason as question one.

  • Where is your favourite place to read or write?

In my back garden when it’s sunny. I love to be outside if I can.

  • How would you relax if you were having a duvet day?

I like to go out with my camera and lose myself in nature. My two favourite spots are a field high on a ridge with fabulous view looking out to sea, and a fallen tree in a forest where I can watch the deer wander by.

  • When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

I started writing pretty much as soon as I learned to hold a pen and shape letters, I was composing poetry at seven years old. I just loved creating stories and exploring new worlds in my head. A friend of mine who writes horror I met online, encouraged me to try self publishing years ago, I didn’t have the confidence to try and sell myself to an agent. Self publishing seemed to be the answer for someone as shy as me. I soon found that as a self-published author you have to do a huge amount of selling yourself to get anywhere.

  • Have you always written fantasy and what draws you to that genre?

As a child I mostly wrote of animals having adventures and my verbal storytelling tended towards ghost stories as that’s what my younger cousins loved. But my novels have all so far been fantasy, I absolutely love world building and the creative freedom fantasy allows.

  • What do you do when you are not writing?

I work full time so with that and the hours I put into my writing I don’t have a lot of free time. Despite that I have a foolishly large amount of hobbies! Wildlife photography, oil painting, sculpting with wood, clay or withies. I grow my own fruit and vegetables and love exploring new places.

  • Who was the hardest character to write?

Osun. If you’ve read book one, you’ll know he is one of the main protagonists and part of the story is told through him. There are a lot of things I dislike about him, he is selfish and for many years has allowed himself no empathy for others. He also does some pretty abhorrent things. He has some surprisingly good qualities too, such as loyalty, creativity and intelligence. He started off being hard to write, but as I got to know and understand him he became one of the most complex and brilliant characters I’ve created. I’d love to know people’s impressions of him as they follow his story in The Raven Coven.

  • What countries inspired each of the lands that we see Kesta visit?

In terms of the landscape the Fulmer Islands I picture as a more forested north Cornish coast, the people and their society something like the spiritual and environmentally conscious Native Americans.

The Borrows are an island version of the north Cornish coast with its culture similar to that of Vikings.

Elden would most closely resemble medieval Europe with the ecology and landscape being inspired by Italy.

Chem’s landscape was inspired by Norway, but with a volcanic element. Thankfully its society is wholly fictional.

  • Tell us about Azrael’s favourite story.

His favourite story is actually a historical book rather than a tale, it’s ‘The Witch Trials of Elden.’ Azra is a sentimental soul and that was the book Kesta read him to keep him company whilst he was scared and traveling over the sea. Azrael loves stories and in book three of the Fire-Walker series you’ll see him come into his own as a fabulous story teller.

  • What are you planning next?

I’ve just been working on revising my trilogy, ‘The Wind’s Children’ and plotting my next three books. I’m about to start writing a sequel to Hall of Pillars, set in the Valley of the Fey, then early next year I’ll return to my Fire-Walker series to write the next two instalments… life permitting!

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If you would like to know more about Emma and her books why not visit  the other bloggers on tour for reviews and more.

A book review by Mai’s Musings for the first book in the series The Raven Tower  can be found here 

The Raven Coven Full Tour Banner

Other blogs on this tour.

Author Biography

The Raven Coven Author

Emma Miles

I presently live in the stunning county of Dorset where I’m a cat slave to Wolfe and Piglitt. I spend as much time as I can outside in nature and love exploring and learning about new cultures and languages. I’ve visited Greece, Serbia, Transylvania, Sicily and Norway as well as making several road trips around our beautiful United Kingdom. I paint, sculpt, dabble in photography and do a little archery but most of all – whenever I get a chance – I write.
My writing started from a very young age when I often found myself being the one taking charge of and entertaining all my younger cousins. They loved to hear my stories and although they mostly called for ghost stories it was fantasy I fell in love with when I read The Lord of the Rings when I was ten. I went on to write stories and short ‘books’ for my friends through school and college; then one evening whilst I was waiting for my aunt and uncle to visit an image came to my mind of a boy sitting beneath a bridge. I didn’t know who he was or why he was there, but from exploring those questions ‘The Wind’s Children’ trilogy blossomed and grew with roots going back into his far history as well as stretching out to his future. The boy’s name was Tobias.
I have since left Tobias’s world of ‘Naris’ to explore the Valley with Feather in the ‘Hall of Pillars’ which is now available through Amazon. I am now presently finding my way through Elden, the beautiful Fulmer islands, the ravaged Borrows and haunted Chem with Kesta Silene; a shamaness of sorts with a big journey ahead of her. I hope you come along to share her story and join her adventure; she needs you and you won’t regret it.

 

Social Media Links –
https://www.facebook.com/EmmaMilesShadow/

Twitter @EmmaMilesShadow

Giveaway

I am happy to share the chance to win one of three paperback copies of The Raven Coven (Open INT)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494231/?

Thank you Emma Miles for chatting about books, writing and duvet days and Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour.

Good luck and happy reading!

Love

 

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

 

 

Festival of Words and increasing TBR

On Sunday, I ventured out of the duvet to the East Riding Festival of Words – thanks to an early Christmas present – and what a day!

I love literary festivals; the bookish atmosphere, listening to the authors’ views about their books and finding out more about them. I planned to go to one event, a talk by Lucinda Riley but the range of authors and topics was too tempting; I saved energy and increased my meds to go to three talks in succession. There was a full day option but common sense kicked in to remind me there are limits to pushing my health.

The House of Fiction: From Pemberley to Brideshead, Great British Houses in literature and life by Phyllis Richardson

House of Fiction Cover

House of Fiction by Phyllis Richardson

First, Phyllis Richardson gave a talk on her new book  House of Fiction: From Pemberley to Brideshead, Great British Houses in Literature and Life. Time rapidly whizzed by; it was a topic I could have listened to for hours which is why I have a copy on order. Somehow, I need to find the time to read it between my other books. Houses and location play an important role in fiction. The All Souls Trilogy would not have the same appeal if the Bishop house did not have a personality of its own, Harry Potter needed Hogwarts and Nancherrow created the magic in Rosamunde Pilcher’s Coming Home. These were not discussed but it focused on the well known literary houses of Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, Bronte’s Parsonage, Menabilly and Castle Howard. Apart from Jane Eyre and Rebecca I confess I have not read the authors mentioned but they are on my reading list, I promise.

Next there should be a similar book about the role of libraries in fiction or bookshops.

The Seven Sisters Series

Lucinda Riley Moon Sister: From the Scottish Highlands to the Alhambra

I love the Seven Sisters series; the concept of seven stories based on the star constellation, The Pleiades grabbed me along with the stunning hard back edition. The midnight blue cover decorated with gold stars drew me to the first book without reading the blurb and by the end I was hooked. Interviewed by her son Harry, it was interesting to hear Lucinda Riley talk about her career, writing style and the fictional seven sisters. Each book is a perfect blend of a present day and  historical story as the heritage of the sister is revealed. The Moon Sister is the fifth book and shares Tiggy’s tale. Watch this space for the book review. Even more exciting was having copies of two books signed for my forever shelf.

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Emma Burstall and Harriet Evans: Houses by the Sea

The last event was a discussion about the importance of the location by the sea with Harriet Evans, Emma Burstall and Cassandra Parkin as well as writing styles and short readings from their latest novels. I have read Emma Burstall’s Tremarnock series based in Cornwall and a couple of books by Harriet Evans but it was refreshing to hear from an author I had not heard of, Cassandra Parkin. Luckily, The Wildflowers and Underwater Breathing have been added to this week’s library stash.

It was a well organised day and I am grateful for all those involved as I know from experience the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to produce a wonderful event. I can’t wait until next year.

Time to snuggle back under the duvet and read or sleep.

Happy reading

Blog Tour: Q and A with Isabella May

This week I am pleased to have Isabella May visit to discuss her writing, books and of course, cake. Isabella May’s debut Oh! What a Pavlova is celebrating its first year anniversary and my review can be found here. She has been busy with the recent release of her third novel Costa del Churros.

Q and A with Isabella May

Isabella May

Q and A with Isabella May

Welcome to Duvet Dwellers Books Isabella May. I am so pleased you are here.

What would you like to drink out of choice – tea, coffee or cocktail?

I’m going to pretend it’s evening so I can say a Coco Loco, please!

Q and A with Isabella May

Cocktails for two

Oh! What a Pavlova should come with a warning so the reader can stock up on cake before they read. It mentions food a lot and Kate Clothier loves cake. How much of a foodie are you? Do you bake?

Yeah… sorry about that! I do love food, as you probably guessed, but I used to have a complex relationship with it. Like Kate Clothier, I was once in an abusive relationship where every morsel that went into my mouth was policed, my weight constantly scrutinised. That’s why I am so passionate now about women – in particular – eating what the hell they want, refraining from labelling food clean and dirty, and just generally improving the way we approach the subject. So yeah, I am a big foodie with a sweet tooth. But I am also a bit of a food snob. I like my ice cream from the gelateria, my bread freshly baked, and my cookies never come straight out of a packet!

I really do love to bake. That’s not so easy for half of the year living in Spain as it’s too damned hot and everything melts! As soon as autumn arrives and the temperatures cool down, I can be found in the kitchen on a weekend, making soup, brownies and soda bread.

What is your favourite cake?

I’m asked this a lot and I think it varies depending on the time of the year. Right now I’ll say a Victoria Sandwich. Classic, delicious, pretty and not over-sweet!

All your titles are food orientated, was this planned?

Good question! No… it’s just kind of evolved that way and now I can’t imagine not writing a novel without food or drink as a focal point. I guess I love the way it brings everyone together, I love the magic we can infuse it with too.

What was your inspiration to write Oh! What a Pavlova?

A burning desire to dispel the myth that an abusive relationship is abusive all the time. For many victims of domestic violence, of course, it can be. But my experience was very different, physical attacks had no ETA and could happen perhaps once or twice a year, catching me completely off guard. The mental abuse was a daily occurrence – I just didn’t realise it (much like Kate). I’d worked in children’s publishing and was keen to weave that into the story. I also wanted to experiment with darkness and light. My subsequent books are much more uplifting – and that’s given ‘Pavlova’ some Marmite reviews. Not everyone ‘gets it’. But actually, in my situation, had I not relied on wit and humour to see me through; had I not lived my own double life (again like Kate), I doubt I’d be sitting here typing this right now. Comedy is a great coping mechanism in the darkest of times – not in the heat of an attack, no – but it’s a flicker of hope that burns brightly, often propelling enlightenment… and then perhaps even the strength to escape.

Your debut, Oh! What a Pavlova covers domestic violence and the different faces of Kate. Was it difficult to write?

Yes and no. It was extremely cathartic, cheaper than therapy! As long as I was matching the weather to my scene setting, it felt like a natural process. An elephant grey sky is a great trigger for a dark and twisted scene, as it turns out.

Who is your favourite character in your books?

So far that would be River Jackson! The dishy hippie barman in The Cocktail Bar is a wonderful example of somebody who has learned to follow their heart, irrespective of the naysayers.

Do you have a particular writing routine?

Well, coffee helps. Cake too if I’m in a café. Honestly, no. I just snatch my moments every day and try to keep the flow and momentum going. When you show up continuously like that, the muses magically deliver the creativity!

You have released three books now, what have you learnt about the process of writing and publishing? Is there anything you would do differently?

I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to others *I think*. It’s hard not to because it’s a competitive industry. But every journey is as worthwhile and exciting; whether you are with a small publisher like me, a giant one, self-published or starting out. Whenever we reach that seemingly elusive goal (which for me, not so long ago, was finding a home for ‘Pavlova’), we automatically want to move onto the next big thing! So really it’s all about the journey, enjoying every moment of the process unfolding and staying as upbeat as possible because it really is a marathon and not a sprint!

Are you working on a new project?

I am!
I’m very excited to say that novel 4 (another foodie themed book surrounding an ice cream parlour) is written and with my editor. That one will be subbed to agents in January as I’m starting a brand new publishing journey.

And I am also 20,000 words into novel 5…

Wish me lots and lots of luck, and watch this space. I hope these books will be out there in the publishing universe before too long!

I am looking forward to reading them so giving you lots of luck and cake. Thank you for joining me and answering all my questions.

Oh! What a Pavlova blurb

Q and A with Isabella May

Oh! What a Pavlova by Isabella May

Kate Clothier is leading a double life: a successful jet-setting businesswoman to the outside world, but behind closed doors, life with Daniel and his volcanic temper is anything but rosy.

Some days – heck, make that EVERY day – cake is her only salvation.

Slowly but surely, the cities she visits – and the men she meets – help her to realise there IS a better future.

And the ley lines of Glastonbury are certainly doing their best to impart their mystical wisdom…

But will she escape before it’s too late?

Purchase Link: myBook.to/pavlova

Author Bio

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. When she isn’t having her cake and eating it, sampling a new cocktail on the beach, or ferrying her children to and from after school activities, she can usually be found writing. As a co-founder and a former contributing writer for the popular online women’s magazine, The Glass House Girls – www.theglasshousegirls.com – she has also been lucky enough to subject the digital world to her other favourite pastimes, travel, the Law of Attraction, and Prince (The Purple One). She has recently become a Book Fairy, and is having lots of fun with her imaginative ‘drops’! Costa del Churros is her third novel with Crooked Cat Books, following on from the hit sensations, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar.

Social Media Links

www.isabellamayauthor.com
Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/
Instagram – @isabella_may_author

Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Cocktail Bar (Open Internationally)*

Oh Giveaway Prize - The Cocktail Bar

The Cocktail Bar by Isabella May

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494147/?

Good luck and happy reading!

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Meet the Author S J Grigg

Meet the Author: S L Grigg

I am currently reading Coffee Break Companion, a collection of short stories, poems, and work by S L Grigg. The title says it all – this book is ideal to read on a coffee break or those moments in the day when you can snatch a few moments to read.

Meet the Author S J Grigg

 

 

Author Biography

Meet the Author S J Grigg

Author S J Grigg

Sharon Grigg, who writes under the pen name S.L Grigg, made it her new year’s resolution to publish her book ‘Coffee Break Companion’ during 2018. After bouncing back from mental health problems following the death of her husband from a brain tumour in 2009, Sharon was struck down with kidney and other health problems, believed to be linked to having the Essure sterilisation device she had implanted back in 2008. In September 2017 she underwent major surgery to have a non-functioning hydronephrotic kidney removed at the same time as a full hysterectomy to remove the essure device.

Just two months after setting her goal Sharon launched the collection of dark, short stories and poetry on Amazon. Many of the stories were written during Sharon’s battle with mental health.

41-year-old mother of two, Sharon says “For me publishing was never about, money or fame. I just wanted to be able to hold a copy of my book and say, ‘I wrote this’ and now I can.”

Meet S L Grigg

I am pleased to say Sharon has joined me today for a natter and a coffee today to discuss her book, writing among other things.

Welcome to Duvet Dwellers Books.

What is your favourite book?

Oh, so many to choose from, I’m sure it changes all the time depending on what is my favourite of the things I have read recently. I don’t think I could choose just one all-time favourite. In that respect I kind of envy those who have a clear favourite like Harry Potter fans, or something. I have a few favourite series, like the OtherWorld Series by Kelley Armstrong and The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I guess my current favourite book would be Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty, loved it and the show, and the soundtrack! Can’t wait for Season two of the show!

Who is your favourite author?

As above really, so many in addition to those mentioned I also love James Patterson, Adam Baker, Dean Koontz and many more

What is your favourite drink to have next to you while you write?

Whilst I am writing I will usually have water or tea (white, two sweeteners, must be the colour of He-Man to be right, don’t leave the teabag in too long, I don’t like it mashed!)

Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?

I guess it is a little, I like to write quite dark, thriller type stories with a hint of fantasy or sci-fi and I do read a lot of books with those types of themes. You would be hard pushed to catch me writing or reading and enjoying romance/chick-lit or historical, even the classics, I’m not a fan of overly elaborate writing, long flowery words and excessively heavy description put me off, so I wouldn’t write that way either.

Where is your favourite place to read or write?

Curled up on the sofa, with the family around, we might not be talking as we will often all be buried in our own reading, writing or laptops, but it’s nice to just be together 😊

When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

I started writing as a child, at 11 I wrote my first full story (which features in Coffee Break Companion) and I also wrote a collection of illustrated stories based on the Puffalumps back then. Being published cam about as it had always been my dream to be able to hold an actual book and say ‘I wrote this’ so I set it as my New Year Resolution for 2018 (I don’t’ normally do resolutions) and within 2 months I had made it happen!

If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?

As above, I write in a few and I think they are influenced by what I enjoy reading myself. I think if I would enjoy reading it, I can write it, and that’s generally what I do, write things I would enjoy reading.

Has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction?

When I was suffering with my mental health writing was like therapy for me, I blogged like crazy at that time and wrote a huge amount about my personal experiences and understanding of Borderline Personality Disorder, it helped a lot in my recovery. I needed to understand my condition to overcome it. Many of my other health problems I’ve not written about much, but I think I will probably write more eventually. I have put much of my BPD writing together so I could publish that as a book if I can get round to tidying it up and finishing it off!

Book and contact  details

received_1923391161004774.jpeg

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B4F4261

https://www.facebook.com/SLGRIGG76/

http://www.slgrigg76.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Sharon, for joining me today. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

 

For more information about topics talked about today

BPD – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/borderline-personality-disorder-bpd/#.Wr4o5KjwbIU

EDS-Hypermobility – https://www.ehlers-danlos.org/what-is-eds/information-on-eds/hypermobile-eds-and-hypermobility-spectrum-disorders/

Essure – https://essureproblems.co.uk/

Hydronephrosis – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Hydronephrosis/

 

 

Meet the Author: Jennifer Gilmour

 

Jennifer Gilmour is a force to be reckoned with; not only is she an author of two books, she works tirelessly to raise awareness of domestic abuse and change things at a National level to improve the support abuse survivors are given. Her debut book, Isolation Junction was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and is a fictional account of Rose living in an abusive relationship and her fight to break free. This is FREE on Kindle between 8th-12th Jan 2018. Jennifer’s second book, Clipped Wings is a compilation of survivor’s experiences. It is a pleasure to meet her on the blog today.

“Ice cold rain splattered her face; her toes and fingers were numb and yet she sat there huddled up and gently rocking herself. It was a black night with no stars, like someone had just switched off the sky. The only light shining on her face was the orange glow of a single street light. Rose couldn’t cope anymore, she was crying into her hands so hard it hurt her heart; it was a deep spike of a pain rushing through her body and this wasn’t the first time she had felt it.”

 Extract from Isolation Junction

 

Jen G reading

Jennifer Gilmour – Author

 

What was your original inspiration to start to write?

I was on an awareness course about Domestic Abuse. Alongside me were about 8 other women who had been in abusive relationships. As the day progressed, I found that I simply couldn’t believe that some of what the other women were saying was exactly what I had gone through but just in a different format. Domestic Abuse tends to go in a cycle (see photo below) and whichever way it begins, the behaviour spirals again and again. At first it could be months between incidents but for me, as time went on there were many instances within one day. It is quite normal to try to prevent the cycle from starting again by changing your behaviour as much as possible. By the end of the course I had come to understand that we were all subjected to the same behaviour and that no one knew before that this could even happen to someone i.e. that a relationship can be so unhealthy and soul destroying. I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable behaviour; they needed to see the warning signs before the relationship goes further or the behaviour gets even more serious. On the other hand I needed others to see the behaviour for what it is. If people are in a relationship and the behaviour within it is not acceptable and is not their fault, it can’t simply be changed by changing yourself.

cycle_of_abuse

I knew I had a story to tell and with my previous unfinished written work I realised my first novel had to be more than a book but a message – a way for others to be able to pass a book on to help victims and to get the penny to drop and bring about realisation of what is happening sooner. This means that when the relationship ends victims and survivors realise they are not the only ones out there and its ok to talk about the abuse.

How do you focus and not let your work with domestic abuse affect you emotionally?

Originally I didn’t look after myself and worked on Isolation Junction, blog posts and research even if I wasn’t in a good place. I couldn’t switch off to what I felt needed to be exposed and couldn’t understand why something so common was hidden so well. It did take its toll on me and I am happy to admit and address this. The solution was simple and that was to train myself to channel my thoughts and focus on my current happenings and not letting my mind wander. It can be still a challenge but I feel like I manage myself better and take a healthier approach.

How do you direct people who may need support after reading your books?

At the end of my books there is a message from me which include the UK 24-hour free-phone National Domestic Violence helpline, which is 0808 2000 247. There is also a support page on my website; http://jennifergilmour.com/support/

I do receive a lot of messages and I have personally referred to local centres, once I directed someone in Africa to her local support service. I have been a listening ear to many as well, the first step is telling someone about what’s happened to you and so I urge anyone to speak to a ‘safe’ person or service. ‘safe’ meaning someone who isn’t involved with the perpetrator or who you most certainly can be trusted and will help you.

What do you do aside from writing?

I am a mum of three which keeps me pretty busy when I am not writing; I have a 5, 7 and almost 2 year old. As a family we enjoy the hobby Geocaching which gets us out and about, learning about the local area as well as having some fun. It can get rather competitive, if you haven’t heard of it Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
I am also a Jamberry Nail Wraps Consultant which brings in most of my income to support my work in the domestic abuse sector including my writing. You can find out more about that on my other website: https://jennifergilmour.jamberry.com/uk/en/

What is your favourite book?

My favourite book is the Harry Potter series, it took me to a different world away from my reality growing up as a child, teen and adulthood. It started my imagination going as I have been writing from a young age and it was all fantasy writing and poetry.

What is your favourite drink?

That’s hard because I have a cup of tea (breakfast tea) four times a day and I can’t go without my tea. But I have a Dolce Gusto machine and I absolutely love caramel latte.

Where is your favourite place to write?

Favourite place to write has to be a lovely local café that does amazing coffee (to keep me going) and scrumptious cake. Although, we have a lovely big bay window that we plan to add a couple of individual chairs and a little coffee table, I imagine using this a lot and can see myself writing with the sun beaming through the glass

Jennifer Gilmour

About the Author

From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel Isolation Junction. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

Since the publication of her debut novel, Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.

Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that Clipped Wings give’s a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.

Links:

Website; www.jennifergilmour.com

Facebook; www.facebook.com/isolationjunctionbook

Twitter; www.twitter.com/JenLGilmour

Clipped Wings on Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Clipped Wings on Amazon USA; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Isolation Junction; UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0

Goodreads author profile; https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferGilmour

Clipped Wings on Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36449221-clipped-wings

Huffington post blogger profile; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/jennifer-gilmour

Meet the Author: Rebecca McDowall

We are pleased to have author Rebecca McDowall visit our blog to talk about reading, writing and her debut novel, Regan: Snatcher of Souls.

Rebecca McDowall Author

Rebecca McDowall is a 24-year-old author from England. Currently living in the historic city of Abingdon with her partner and newborn son. She is in the process of completing the final year of her degree in BA Publishing Media at Oxford Brookes University whilst working on the sequel to her debut novel Regan: Snatcher of Souls. Rebecca suffers from multiple chronic illness and runs an award-winning blog detailing her battles with these conditions where she tries to bring laughter to gloomy days.

 

What is your favourite book?

 

Sabriel by Garth Nix is my favourite book and is one that I find myself coming back to multiple times throughout a year.

 

Who is your favourite author?

 

J. K. Rowling! Her Harry Potter series taught me to fall in love with reading at a time when I was quite successfully pretending I was unable to read, due to undiagnosed severe Dyslexia. I admire the way she writes and treasure her books. I’m quite the Potter fan, and follow her other works with passion.

 

Who is your favourite Harry Potter character?

 

Luna without a doubt is my favourite character, though I think my love and appreciation for her character has grown as I’ve aged. The innocence that I perceived in her when I was child, and I adored, I now see as a willingness to believe in the possible, whether proven or not, or doubted by many. It’s an attitude that I admire.

 

Which house would you be in?

 

I would see myself being put in Ravenclaw.

 

Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?

 

Most defiantly; I would say George. R. R. Martin has had the greatest influence over my writing style. I hadn’t previously considered switching character viewpoints chapter to chapter until I started reading A song of Ice And Fire, this was a game changer for me. If I had not of come across these books I think my work would have been significantly weaker.

 

Where is your favourite place to read or write?

 

Cafes. The majority of Regan: Snatcher of Souls was written in my local hometown pub. They serve fantastic Camomile tea there, and I drunk my weight in it. I’ve started working on book two and have recently found a niche independent coffee shop that I can relax and write for hours in.

 

When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

 

I have written on and off for most of my life. In the early years it was lyrics and short stories. However, in 2011 I was in my final year of sixth form, for my English literature coursework I wrote what later became the final chapter of Regan. These pages never really left my mind and over the years I tweaked, edited and expanded until two years ago I started sending the finished manuscript out to agents out to publishers. It was a long road of rejections on both sides. For some publishers and agents they loved the novel but as I was a debut author they didn’t want to take the risk, in other cases the contracts offered didn’t suit me. Eventually I accepted an offer from Vanguard Press.

 

If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?

 

I write Young Adult Fantasy Fiction. This has been a natural style for me as this predominantly what I read. I very much believe that because I consume so much fiction in this area that my writing style has been heavily influenced.

 

Has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction?

 

I have several illnesses – Dystonia, EDS Type 3, POTs, Autonomic Dysfunction, Non Epileptic Seizures, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Endometriosis. I have had to learn to be strong over the years as my life has been turned upside down more times than I can count. For this reason, it was important to me that I created a strong female main character that was capable of saving herself.

 

Regan is definitely strong. What inspired you to write a protagonist with such a dark secret and past?

 

I have always been chronically ill and this is something that for a long time, and to an extent still does, feel like a dark secret. It is an aspect of my life that I feel needs glazing over. As my taste in books has always heavily leaned towards the fantasy side I think it was natural for me to take this feeling and deal with it, exaggerating its extent and applying it to a strong protagonist.

 

From the start of your book, the imagery is so vivid and dark, was it hard to visualise and create Regan’s world?

 

I have file after file on my laptop of different elements of her world. When writing it I found myself world building outside of what was needed for this book and staying into the territories of books two and three. What I found hard was choosing what elements to weave in and where about to do so. In Regan you’re not introduced to the Higher Ups until the very end of the book and that was a decision I wrestled with but it works best for the storyline.

 

Thank you Rebecca for joining us and can not wait for book two.

 

Regan: Snatcher of Souls is available now

Happy Reading x

Regan Snatcher of Souls

 

When Cassie falls head over heels in love with Daniel, she knows it will lead to disaster one day. Although she loves him with all her being, there is one problem…her being is not of the Earth, but of somewhere far more sinister. You see Cassie, otherwise known as Regan, is quite literally the Devil’s daughter and that could spell the end for not only Daniel, but the whole human race.

 

Available at:

https://www.waterstones.com/book/regan/r-mcdowall/9781784653019

 

 

A New Year, a new chapter

A new year has begun and we leave 2016 behind. As a group we read many books and our must-read list is growing expotentially with every discussion about our current reading. There just is not enough time to read them all. A list of the upcoming themes is now available starting with Movies vs Books, so the popcorn is out along with a collection of DVDs. Perfect for curling up under the duvet and keeping warm during these winter months. Are books always better than the movie or do some movies excel at their portrayal of the characters?

Last year, we met Madeline Dyer, Tom Seaman and MJ Smith in our Meet the Author posts. Hopefully, we will have more authors to meet this year and new books to discover.

jodi-picoult-book

This month, we are trying something new and holding an extra book club event to discuss Jodi Picoult’s new book Small Great Things on 25th Jan. It has been heralded as the To Kill the Mockingbird of the 21st Century – will we agree?

If you would like to join in our book club parties and book natter, feel free to join our warm, friendly book club for Spoonies.

Happy reading and from all of us we hope you have a wonderful New Year with lots of spoons and books!

 

Upcoming Book Club Parties

25th January 2017 Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

27th January 2017  Movies vs Books

24th February 2017 Unique Cultural ways of life

31st March 2017 It’s springtime!

 

 

 

 

Meet the Author – M J Smith

This month we were pleased to catch up with MJ Smith, the author of one of our favourite reads this year, Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Journey Begins. This is a 5 star rated book and it deserves every star with its brutally honest, yet heartwarming account of being diagnosed with a rare illness and the consequences it brings. If you have been touched by chronic illness, you will identify with much he says. The relaxed and humourous style makes the book that could have been difficult to read, a joy to read in one sitting with a cup of tea.

m-j-smith-pic

M J Smith

About MJ Smith

In 2013, M J Smith was diagnosed with a rare life threatening genetic disorder that changed his life forever.  In his effort to gain knowledge of Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (vEDS), it quickly became apparent that there was little in the way of help or awareness.

Being a fond reader, he decided it was time to follow his dreams and pursue his passion for writing. Over the months that followed the diagnosis, M J Smith penned “Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Journey Begins”.  His first novel. But this wasn’t just any novel, this was his story as told through the eyes of David Malarky. It is now used as a tool to spread awareness and in some ways help others in similar situations to show that no matter how few we may be, we are never alone.

Whilst juggling a full-time job and studying for a Bsc (honours) in Health Sciences, M J Smith continues to work on his ultimate dream of releasing a fictional story direct from his own imagination.

What is your favourite book?

I find it hard to answer this as I love many books and not really one title sticks out. Anything that fires up my imagination and takes me deep into another realm. The book I’m currently reading is “Midnight” by Dean Koontz. If I’m honest, I see most books as a work of art, as I know the challenge it can be to actually write one to a point of completion.

Who is your favourite author?

Well, my favourite authors are Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I love the way Mr King creates his characters, and the way Mr Koontz makes you visualise his world. These chaps really know how to write. Of course for a little bit of magic I don’t think you can beat a bit of Roald Dahl.

Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?

In a sense yes. When writing “Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Journey Begins”, it was a deep, emotional experience. Reliving past events that weren’t so pleasant wasn’t the easiest of tasks. In order to keep it light, I wanted to add in a little humour, which seems to have come across well. I have found in many books, especially from the likes of Stephen King there is always an undertone of humour to be found.

Where is your favourite place to read or write?

To read has to be bed. To write, then that’s mostly at some stupid hour of the morning when the rest of the world is asleep, sat at my computer desk. The brain always seems to get the words flowing when the moon is shining high.

When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?

Originally I wasn’t going to publish “”. It started as a tool to help myself come to terms with the diagnosis. However, the more I tapped away at the keyboard, the more of a book it became. After a few people read samples of it, they urged me to get it published. After lots of ummming and arrrggghhhing I took the plunge and released it through Amazon. So far the response has been great, with some fantastic heartfelt messages and some brilliant 5 star reviews.

Has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction?

Oh yes. I had been wanting to write a novel for years. I tried a few times but never finished. I would have never of guessed that my own story would become my first story!

I think without the diagnosis, I wouldn’t have sat down long enough to get anything written and it would have remained a dream rather reality.

To find out more:

m-j-smith-journey

MJ Smith’s book Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Journey Begins is available at Amazon

Read and follow his  blog

Or catch up with him on Facebook or Twitter

 

Meet the Author – Tom Seaman

tom-seaman-headshotAbout Tom Seaman

Tom Seaman earned his Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and Psychology in 1994. After college he pursued private business ventures in the health education field. In 2001, he returned to school to pursue a Masters Degree in Counseling, during which time he developed a painful neurological movement disorder called dystonia. After living many years with debilitating chronic pain and emotional trauma, Tom eventually learned various techniques for better managing his symptoms. In 2012, he became certified as a life/health coach and currently owns a coaching/consulting practice where he helps people work through various life challenges. In 2015, Tom authored and published his book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, which has received rave reviews. It has also been recognized by the Michael J. Fox Foundation as one of their suggested resources. In his spare time, Tom writes his own blog and guest blogs, as well as articles for online publications such as The Mighty and Patient Worthy, to educate and raise awareness about dystonia and other chronic health conditions. He is also a support group leader for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, serving as co-administrator for their online dystonia support forum. To learn more about Tom and get a copy of his book, as well as links to his articles and videos, please visit www.diagnosisdystonia.com. For information about his life/health coaching services, please visit www.balanceyourlifecoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @dystoniabook1.

How did you become an author? How I became an author is an unexpected story of many twists and turns. Unlike most people I know who say they want to write a book, it never even dawned on me until a major health issue significantly altered the course of my life. Writing became a form of personal therapy and healing, which then turned into educational and inspirational material for others.

Up until the age of 30, I was enthusiastically enjoying my life when all of a sudden I began to have health problems. A little pain and stiffness in my neck gave way to unrelenting muscle contractions and pain unlike anything I had ever experienced, and it just kept getting worse. After many blank stares at my distorted body from doctors who had no idea what was wrong, I eventually learned that I had a neurological movement disorder called dystonia. In my case it affects my neck, which is called cervical dystonia.

It began in 2001 when I returned to school to obtain my Masters Degree in Counseling after seven years in private business. Due to the severity of my growing dystonia symptoms, I was unable to complete my degree. For the most part, I was completely disabled. I also gained 150 pounds over the course of several years due to my sedentary lifestyle from severe chronic pain. Needless to say, dystonia turned my world upside down, altering the course of my life in ways I never imagined possible.

After numerous unsuccessful treatments and years of physical and mental suffering, I took the bull by the horns and dedicated myself to learning and applying a variety of symptom management techniques that greatly improved my quality of life. In addition to better managing my dystonia symptoms, I lost the 150 pounds I gained. Life as an obese person after previously being a fit, competitive athlete is a book of its own yet to be written.

In 2012 I became certified as a life/health coach, but I was struggling to get my business going. I was still trying to find my bearings from the way dystonia so dramatically altered my life. I felt lost and was starting to wonder about the meaning and purpose of my life. I needed something to get me out of the fog. As crazy as it sounds, one day something inside me said, “write.” The voice was loud and clear. It was almost like a command. I immediately put pen to paper.

As I began writing, I felt more liberated and clear headed. After addressing the most pressing issues, I felt compelled to keep writing and I knew exactly what it had to be about: dystonia. Not only to better understand how to live more effectively with a chronic health condition, but to share with others the things I learned along the way to help them live as high a quality of life as possible.

diagnosis-dystonia-3d-coverTwo years later I published my book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey. This combination autobiography, self help, education book provides treatment options, coping strategies, skills for daily living, and tools for dealing with the physical and mental challenges of life with a chronic health condition. Serving as a roadmap, this resource covers nearly every physical, emotional, and psychological aspect of living with a chronic condition. The information it contains actually transcends dystonia, making it applicable to any life challenge, health or otherwise.

Although I always enjoyed writing, I never thought I would write a book. It just began to flow as soon as my fingers touched the keys. I actually believe that the book found me, and at the perfect time, as have subsequent writings. Writing gives me a sense of meaning and purpose, especially when someone tells me that something I wrote changed their life. Now that’s pretty cool!!

What is dystonia and where can I learn more? Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterized by uncontrollable, involuntary muscle spasms  and contractions, causing repetitive movements, twitching, twisting, and/or abnormal postures. Muscle contractions can be sustained or intermittent and sometimes include a tremor. Dystonia can affect any part of the body, causing varying degrees of disability and pain from mild to severe. For more information, please visit the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation’s website: www.dystonia-foundation.org

What is your favourite book? The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

Who is your favourite author? Wayne Dyer

Is your writing influenced by the books you have read? In a way I suppose so. I mostly read self help, non-fiction, inspirational, and factual stories, as well as education/reference material, and my book, articles, and blogs are similar in content. However, with my background in social sciences, my main interest is capturing the human element that lies within all facets of life.

Where is your favourite place to read or write? I love to read and write on my back porch in the late afternoon and early evening when the sun is going down and the shadows on the ground are getting longer.

When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?  Ever since I was a little boy I was an avid reader and also wrote a lot of poetry. Although I disliked Language Arts classes in school, it was always my best subject. My book started as a journal for my own personal healing from a life changing health condition. It then expanded into a labor of love in an effort to help others.

If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style? Most of my writing stems from the chronic health condition I live with, but I also dabble in poetry and free writing that is unrelated.

Has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction? Most definitely! Each day I feel I gain new perspectives about life with challenges, whether they be my own or others. This provides me with greater understanding and empathy, which impacts the content and flow of my writing. I am always searching for greater connection with people beyond just their illness, as this is just one aspect of their interesting lives.

To learn more about me and my book, as well as my work as a life/health coach, please visit my websites: www.diagnosisdystonia.com and www.balanceyourlifecoaching.com

Book Reviews: Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey

“This should be THE resource book for dystonia for many years to come!”

“Must read for dystonia sufferers, doctors, friends, and family.”

“This amazing book exceeds anything out there.”

“An outstanding resource on dystonia.”

“Thank you for your passionate, positive, practical book!”

“Tom has written the definitive book on dystonia.”

“If you have dystonia this is the book for you!”

“Without this book I may have lost my mind!”

“A brilliantly written, honest, and open book.”

“Tom’s book is the best! If you haven’t read it, get it! Read it! Share it!”

 

 

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