#GuestPost + #Giveaway ~ A Degree of Uncertainty by @NicolaKSmith #ContemporaryFiction @rararesources

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Degree of Uncertainty, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

I have a giveaway and a guest post to share explaining how inanimate objects helped author Nicola K Smith portray her key protagonist, the dastardly Dawn Goldberg. Over to you, Nicola…

One of the key protagonists in A Degree of Uncertainty is Dawn Goldberg, the ruthlessly ambitious Vice Chancellor of Cornwall’s Poltowan University, who is set on expanding the institution regardless of the impact on local residents. She is a complex character with few confidantes – apart from a statue and a photograph…. 

‘Dawn Goldberg took four deliberate paces towards the corner of her well-appointed office, overlooking the gardens between her and the digital animation studios. In the middle of the lawns, white-tinged under a thin covering of frost, stood a huge statue of a naked man, paint brush held over an imaginary easel, chin angled, deep in thought. 

She had commissioned it the year before from a former student who had recently won a prize from some well-respected arts body looking to recognise future talent. It had caused quite a stir, and not only within the walls of the university. The Poltowan Post had featured it on its front page under the headline ‘Naked Ambition?’, and run it alongside a photo of a smiling Dawn Goldberg with the quote, “It is art, not porn.” The furore that followed had only served to highlight the ignorance of so many people, she thought, who worked themselves into an irrational frenzy when presented with the magnificent male form.

She looked at it, a seagull perched audaciously upon the statue’s head, and smiled. She liked to call it Michael, for reasons she could not now recall. The statue was angled in such a way that she could fully appreciate his ample manhood, almost as if he were standing there for her pleasure alone. She would often practise her speeches on him, looking to him for some sign of endorsement, which he invariably gave.’ 

Authors use a range of literary devices to help convey the thoughts and feelings of their characters. In the above extract from A Degree of Uncertainty, Dawn Goldberg, the fearsome Vice Chancellor of Poltowan University, consults her muse, a statue of a naked man which stands outside her office window.

Apart from bringing a smile to my face and allowing me to have a little fun, this statue proved to be a very useful tool in several ways. Firstly, Dawn is not overrun with friends, and the statue fulfils probably the only real constant in her life, with the arguable exception of her friend (and PA) Janice. It served to show how isolated she really is, that her confidante is an inanimate figure made of stone. 

Secondly, it gave me an opportunity to communicate Dawn’s feelings about herself, whether positive and confident or enraged, frustrated or hurt. While the statue quite clearly is unchanging, in Dawn’s eyes his expression and body language shift according to her mood. At times he appears proud and erect, supportive of her thinking; at others he slouches and looks sheepish, as if unsure of her actions. Not that she takes heed of her instincts — she forges on regardless!

The photo of Dawn’s late father on her desk plays a similar role, although in a more intimate way. As her story unfolds, we learn of her love and admiration for her father, and her need to fulfil his ambition for her. Again he appears sometimes to look disapproving, and at others to nod in agreement, depending on Dawn’s own hunch. Yet his is the only approval Dawn seeks, and so unwilling is she to acknowledge his imagined censure that she often turns his photo face down to avoid his judgemental gaze.

Both the statue and the photograph took on more significance as the book developed, but I hope they serve to help the reader understand Dawn’s character and show that even she seeks reassurance — even if she doesn’t always find it.

About the Book

A Cornish town is slowly fracturing under the weight of its growing university…

Prominent businessman, Harry Manchester will not stand by and see his beloved hometown turned into a student ghetto — and many residents and students are relying on him.

But Harry’s stance sets him on a collision course with Dawn Goldberg, formidable Vice Chancellor of Poltowan University, who is set on doubling its size and cementing her career legacy.

As Harry’s marriage falls apart, his business comes under threat, and fellow traders accuse him of halting progress, Dawn is battling her own demons, not least the need to live up to her late father’s expectations and erase the memory of his tragic death.

There can only be one victor in this battle for the soul of a close-knit community…

Purchase Links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

Giveaway

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning 1 of 10 copies of A Degree of Uncertainty (Open to UK Only) please click the Rafflecopter link.

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. 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.

About the Author

Nicola K Smith is a freelance journalist contributing to a number of titles including the The Times, Guardian.co.uk, BBC.co.uk, BBC Countryfile and Sainsbury’s Magazine. She lives in Falmouth, Cornwall, a town which inspired A Degree of Uncertainty, although it is set in the fictional Cornish town of Poltowan.

Social Media Links – Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

The Garden On Sparrow Street by Tilly Tennant ~ Contemporary Festive #Romance @TillyTenWriter @bookouture #FridayReads

Author: Tilly Tennant

Published: October 2019 by Bookouture

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Festive, Romance, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As the cold winter nights draw in, escape to the sleepy town of Wrenwick, where the streets sparkle with snow and a lonely young widow is about to find that true love really can strike twice… 

As Christmas cheer fills Sparrow Street with excitement, grieving widow Nina is having a hard time. December is always a difficult month to face without her beloved husband Gray, the days feel long and bleak, and to cap it all, she’s just lost her job. 

Nina and her good friend Robyn, both work in the local hospice’s charity shop in Wrenwick. Both their husbands were cared for there until they lost their battle with Motor Neurone Disease. Working at the shop, and her friendship with Robyn, have been Nina’s lifeline since Gray passed away, but now the shop is about to close down due to an increase in rent. Without the support and help offered by the hospice in the form of voluntary work, Nina didn’t know how she would have coped. She would probably never have met Robyn either so she had much to thank the hospice for.

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The Secret To Happiness…Begins With Friendship @JessicaRedland #ContemporaryFiction #Romance #BookReview

Author: Jessica Redland

Published: September 2019 by Boldwood Books

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Book Review

Danniella is running from her past, so when she arrives at the beautiful seaside resort of Whitsborough Bay, the last thing on her mind is making friends. 

Alison is fun, caring and doesn’t take herself too seriously. But beneath the front, she is a lost soul, stuck in a terrible relationship, with body confidence issues and no family to support her.

Karen’s romance has taken a back seat to her fitness business. But she doesn’t want to give up on love quite yet. If only those mysterious texts would stop coming through…

The Secret To Happiness centres on three very different women with completely different lives—Alison, Karen and Daniella. They are strangers…until their paths cross, and what develops is an incredible bond of friendship and support.

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Borderlands: A DCI Ryan Mystery by @ljross_author ~ When the gods made man, they made a weapon… #CrimeFiction #BookReview

Author: LJ Ross

Kindle Edition

Category: Crime Fiction, Murder, Police Procedural, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When the gods made man, they made a weapon…

After uncovering a fresh wave of corruption within the ranks of Northumbria CID, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan was looking forward to an uneventful summer. But, when a young woman is shot dead on the remote army ranges of the Northumberland National Park, Ryan is called in to investigate.

The prologue introduces a soldier who has been stationed in Helmand Province and returns home traumatised, unable to hold down a job and is left to fend for himself on the streets. He’s a damaged soul who you can’t help but feel sympathy for, but one who holds onto his moral values, despite the dangers and obstacles he faces.

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Ryan’s Christmas: A DCI Ryan Mystery by LJ Ross ~ Christmas can be murder… @ljross_author #BookReview

Author: LJ Ross

Kindle Edition

Category; Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery, Murder, Book Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Christmas can be murder…

After a busy year fighting crime, DCI Ryan and his team of murder detectives are enjoying a festive season of goodwill, mulled wine and, in the case of DS Phillips, a cake or two—that is, until a freak snowstorm forces their car off the main road and into the remote heart of Northumberland. 

On the way home from a trip to Edinburgh, where they spent some time perusing the Christmas markets, Ryan, Phillips and their better halves Anna and Denise, are caught out by a heavy snowfall, causing an accident which shut the main road for miles. Forced to take side roads they make slow progress, until eventually they reach the small village of Chillingham, where they had to abandon the car. 

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Top 20 Favourite Reads of 2019 #Books #AmReading #BookBlogger #BookLove

As the end of 2019 is almost upon us, it’s favourite books of the year time!

It’s always a difficult choice to narrow the list down to twenty, but I do enjoy looking back at the books I’ve read during the year.

So, in no particular order…

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A Song for Bill Robinson by C.E. Atkins ~ #YoungAdult Fiction #BookReview @Chanatkins @rararesources #TuesdayBookBlog

Welcome to my stop on the 5 day mini blog blitz for A Song For Bill Robinson, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

My Thoughts

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#BlogBlitz ~ #Spotlight + #Giveaway ~ Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield @juliebeewriter @rararesources

Welcome to the one day blog blitz for Eve’s Christmas, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

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#Spotlight + #Giveaway ~ Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield @juliebeewriter @rararesources

Welcome to the one day blog blitz for Eve’s Christmas, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources

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☃️❄️Christmas at Frozen Falls ❄️☃️ by Kiley Dunbar ~ A cosy, heart-warming #romcom to curl up with @KileyDunbar

Author: Kiley Dunbar

Published: September 2019 by Hera

Category: Festive, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Book Review

🌟🌟🌟🌟

Sylvie Magnusson is going to be lonely this Christmas. Instead of jetting off for her honeymoon, she’s freezing at home in Cheshire. Guess that’s what happens when your fiancé dumps you a week before your wedding…

I reckon Sylvie had a lucky escape when Cole dumped her a week before their wedding. I’m not sure how she stuck with him during their ten year engagement, to be honest, especially given his behaviour and with what would have been the mother-in-law from hell. But still, Sylvie didn’t relish the prospect of a miserable Christmas alone instead of honeymooning in newly wedded bliss on Mauritius.

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