Sharing Our Horizon by Xenia Tran (@WhippetHaiku) ~ A Journey Through the Scottish Highlands with Two Adopted Whippets #Photography #Poetry

I enjoy the poetry, prose and photographs to be found on Xenia’s blog, Whippet Wisdom, very much. Xenia has put together a wonderful selection of her work in her debut release, Sharing Our Horizon.

If you’re a dog and/or nature lover this could be a book for you or a lovely gift for someone you know, and at the same time you’d be helping rescue centres care for and rehome abandoned and abused animals, with 60% of the proceeds going to animal charities. Inside Sharing Our Horizons there are  a collection of beautiful photographs and poems, stunning scenery and two gorgeous rescue whippets having fun and enjoying life in the Scottish Highlands. Beaches, glens, forests, sea views and mountains—this book has them all, the photographs complimented by wonderful tanka, haiku and haibun (and vice versa). Here’s one of my favourite verses…

                                   ‘when days cool down

                                    sky unfolds her warmest

                                    blanket of colours’

Calming and inspiring, it’s the perfect book to dip into and appreciate anew each time. 

The book can be purchased at most retail outlets including Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

About the Book

Synopsis from Waterstones

Welcome to Sharing Our Horizon, a selection of poems and photographs from the popular blog Whippet Wisdom that capture daily moments in the Scottish Highlands with our two adopted whippets, Eivor and Pearl. Like most dogs, Eivor and Pearl love spending time in nature. They have taken us to places we had never visited before and the restorative energies of those quiet beaches, mountains and glens have played a big part in their rehabilitation.

The poems and images show the beauty in each moment and the potential for the healing that spending time in nature brings. The prologue and title poem ‘Sharing our Horizon’ invites us to pause and see the gifts in these moments. The opening poem ‘Before the Daffodils’ is a distilled version of conversations and observations in and around animal rehoming shelters. It reminds us that sometimes, dogs are surrendered when people realise that simply loving a dog is not enough. A dog also deserves regular exercise, regular stimulation, socialisation and play-time. A good home provides all of this, in addition to love, food and shelter.

The majority of poems are a modern take on the ancient Japanese poetry forms of haibun, haiku and tanka. Traditionally, these poems begin with quiet poetic observation and conclude with a moment of philosophical of spiritual insight. They are written in rhythm with the seasons and the fluctuations of the weather within those seasons.

Like the traditional haiku poets, I would describe haiku as a way of life, a way to look and marvel at nature and see the magic in the ordinary. To me, this is very much in the spirit of how Eivor and Pearl look at the joys of the everyday and the beauty nature offers. By capturing these moments in a few words others can experience a glimpse of what we see and connect it to their own experience.

For those who are interested in finding out more about the history of these Japanese poetry forms, the book offers a helpful section ‘About the Poetry Forms’ at the back of the book as well as a Bibliography for further reading.

The overall theme of the poems and images is how rewarding adopting a rescue dog can be, how they enjoy being part of a pack and how they thrive when allowed to spend time in natural settings. The natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands is visible in the images throughout.

Sixty per cent of net profits from the sale of this book will be shared with animal rehoming charities at the end of each financial year.

Publisher: Holistic Linguistics
ISBN: 9781916470422
Number of pages: 84
Weight: 143 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 6 mm

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Xenia Tran is an artist, linguist and poet who lives in the Scottish Highlands with her husband and two adopted whippets. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies and magazines and features on her blogs ‘Whippet Wisdom – A Highland Journey’ and ‘Tranature – Quiet Moments in Nature’. 

‘Sharing Our Horizon’ is her first collection of poems and photographs, especially created to help raise funds for animal rehoming shelters.

Xenia’s Social media links ~ Whippet Wisdom | Tranature | Twitter

Birthday Blog Blitz for Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson #GuestPost @rararesources #FridayReads

I’m delighted to be part of the birthday blog blitz for Visions of Zarua, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

Suzanne Rogerson tells us about Visions of Zarua’s unexpected route into traditional publishing….

First let me share a little of the history behind Visions of Zarua. It’s my debut novel, though I do have a couple of unsuccessful fantasy attempts hidden away. Back in 2013, I submitted it to a few agents and a publisher. Without finding any success with them, I decided to use a critique service to see where it was going wrong. The critique was spot on with the various issues in the book and I rewrote it into its current form.

Rather than go through the submitting process again, I decided it was time to be confident about my book and self-publish it. I felt Visions was ready, but I hired an editor first who worked her magic and knocked 10k off the word count!

I finally self-published Visions of Zarua 3 years ago on 16th November 2015.

On 3rd January 2018, I received an email asking if I owned the rights and if I’d be interested in having a Czech translation of Visions of Zarua. I was sceptical receiving such a request out of the blue. I asked a few questions and did some research before I finally allowed myself to believe it was genuine. I sent them the manuscript as requested and heard no more.

I chased it a week later, to ensure my email had been received and was told the chief editor was reviewing the book and I should have an answer the following week. Then followed a difficult few days of waiting.

I remember walking back from taking my daughter to school one morning and checking my emails on my phone. There was the offer email!

I must have looked crazy walking along with a huge grin on my face and I think I went into shock because I was shaking.

Again it seemed so unreal, my book being translated into another language and being on sale alongside some of my heroes; Robin Hobb, J K Rowling…

It felt like a dream, which swiftly turned into a bit of a nightmare. Without an agent I had to negotiate the contract myself. There’s the time difference between the UK and Prague, language barriers and the fact that everyone is so busy in the publishing industry that it can take days for the relevant department to respond. There were hopes to use my original book cover, which also held up the contract signing. It turned out the image rights could only be held by one party so eventually it was agreed the publisher would provide their own cover.  Four months after the initial enquiry, we were able to complete the paperwork.

The day I received my signed contract by recorded delivery was amazing. Then followed another wait to receive my royalty payment. Seeing it in the bank made it all real and was the final proof I needed to know everything was going ahead.

Now I have a long wait for Fall 2019 when Visions of Zarua’s Czech edition is due out. It will be part of the publisher’s new edition – World Contemporary Fantasy for young and adult readers.

The last I heard Visions was with a translator. Now the book fairs etc have calmed, I hope for an update soon and can’t wait to see the cover they choose.

I have loved self-publishing and being in charge of all the decisions and not having to wait on others, but it does feel kind of wonderful to know that someone out there believes in my book enough to invest time, money and resources into translating it.

Another bonus – next year I will finally get my holiday in Prague. I can’t wait to take a selfie with my book in an actual bookshop!

As you can see Visions of Zarua has taken an odd route into traditional publishing. I’m so grateful to the publisher Albatros Media and its imprint Fragment for taking a chance on my book.

I feel more confident about the future of Visions of Zarua. Who knows what new and exciting adventures are ahead!

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About the Book

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past?

Universal Purchase Link – Universal book link

Visions of Zarua is only 99p for a limited time to celebrate the book birthday.

About Suzanne

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children. She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes. She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

Social Media Links – Goodreads Website | Twitter | FacebookAmazon author page

#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd ~ The Wyattsville Series Book 4 by @BetteLeeCrosby ~ Family #Saga

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week my choice is another Bette Lee Crosby book. The Wyattsville series is a lovely collection of books with charming and empathetic characters.

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Legacy (Project Renova Book 4) by Terry Tyler #PostApocalyptic #Dystopian @TerryTyler4 #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Terry Tyler

Kindle Edition 

Category: Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Book Review

‘Out of all the death and destruction has come the freedom to be who we really are.’

A hundred years after the world was devastated by the bat fever virus, the UK is a country of agricultural communities where motherhood is seen as the ideal state for a woman, new beliefs have taken over from old religions, and the city of Blackthorn casts a threatening shadow over the north of England. Legacy travels backwards in time to link up with the characters from Tipping Point, Lindisfarne and UK2.

I’ve really been looking forward to finding out what happened to my favourite, and not so favourite, characters from the previous three books.

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The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell ~ Dual Timeline #Family #Saga reviewed for #RBRT @SarahM_writer @Bookouture

Author: Sarah Mitchell

Published: August 2018 by Bookouture

Category: Contemporary, Historical, Fiction, Dual Timeline, Book Review

Norfolk, 1940: Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells-Next-The-Sea, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

Canada, present day: When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent. Continue reading

Blog Blitz #Extract from Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby #Giveaway @rararesources

Im delighted to one of the bloggers kicking off the blog blitz for Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby, with an extract and giveaway, courtesy of Rachels Random Resources. 

Before I share the extract, here’s the book info…..

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Unboxing #MyChronicleBookBox for November 2018 #Books #AmReading

I’ve been toying with the idea of subscribing to a book box for a while, and decided to take the plunge (I’m considering it my Christmas present to myself 😉) after seeing this post on Jo’s Book Blog. My Chronicle Book Box offer four boxes per year, if you want to subscribe, or individual purchases.  There’s a choice between Crime/Mystery and Fantasy/Sc-Fi boxes and subscriptions can be cancelled at any time. I chose the Crime/Mystery Box.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The House on Hope Street by @MennavanPraag #Supernatural #Audiobook Review

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week’s choice is an audiobook I listened to back in 2016. The House on Hope Street is a contemporary fiction story with a touch of magic.

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