Having a chat with Wendy Lou Jones @WendyLou Writer #books #blogging

The lovely Wendy Lou Jones invited me over to her blog this week. You can see her post here
Hello again, and today I’d like to welcome Cathy Ryan to the spotlight. Come on in and take a pew, Cathy. Tell you what, you introduce yourself while I pop the kettle on.
Hi, my name is Cathy Ryan and we recently moved from Somerset to a beautiful part of the North Wales coast.
Oh, I love North Wales. I spent many holidays there as a child.How long have you been blogging and what is the name of your blog?
I began my blog in November 2013…
Same as me!
…private initially because I just wanted to keep a record for myself. But because I couldn’t set it out the way I wanted to without going live, I thought, what the heck, and went for it. I haven’t regretted it for an instant although I knew nothing at all about blogging to begin with. My blog is called BetweenTheLines and, as well as book reviews, it includes guest posts, interviews and photos. Amateur photography is a hobby I enjoy very much.
Me too. –  We could be twins! I love taking photographs, particularly macros of flowers and nature shots.And how do you fit all this reading into your life? (marriage/kids/job)
Our daughters are grown up and have flown the nest, we do have a grandson though, who I love to spend time with. I don’t work so basically my time is my own, and when reading isn’t an option I listen to audiobooks.
I grew up listening to audio books at night, going to sleep. I don’t know what to do with myself if I listen to them these days. Maybe when my kids are older…And what keeps you blogging?
I love sharing my love of books with like minded people and I enjoy very much the wonderful blogging community. I’ve found lots of brilliant books which I probably wouldn’t have otherwise and made many new friends.
It’s a real community, isn’t it?

What would you say was your favourite genre?
That’s a difficult question. If I had to pick one genre it would probably by Mystery/Thriller. Or is that two? 😉 But I enjoy lots of different genres including Urban Fantasy, Contemporary, Drama and Historical.

Are you an e-reader or a paperback girl?
Given the choice, the money (and the room!) I’d choose paperbacks every time. I love ‘real’ books. It’s not practical, though, so I have a mixture of both.
We do in my house. My husband fills the shelves stuffed full with paperbacks and I have my Kindle. :-/

Continue reading

Guest Post by Shannon O’Leary @AuthorShannonO #Autobiography #Survival @BookPubServices

~~ Shannon’s guest post ~~

The Blood on my Hands was written many years ago but I never had the courage to publish it. It was my feeling that the story never was finished as subsequent events and time hurtled me into new facets of my life. I became a mother and my father was still alive so I was too frightened to give my written words a voice. As a child my attempts to tell people what was going on at home was met with disdain, anger and disbelief. My situation seemed futile in the 1960s and 70s as the child protection and domestic violence laws were very different. Continue reading

Guest Post by Christopher Mannino #Author of School of Deaths @BookPubServices

Welcome, Christopher!

Christopher’s book The Scythe Wielder’s Secret is a thrilling young adult fantasy/adventure series. The first two books in the trilogy, School of Deaths and Sword of Deaths, are out now, with the third book Daughter of Deaths expected to be released next year.

Reviewers have compared The Scythe Wielder’s Secret to Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson. It is recommended for readers who enjoy magical realism, fantasy, paranormal, middle grade, young adult, and/or books with a strong female protagonist. Continue reading

Guest Post ~ J Frank James, author of the Lou Malloy #crime series

J. Frank James is the author of The Lou Malloy Crime Series, which is expected to span 20 books. The series follows Lou Malloy, a hardened criminal who did 15 years in prison for the theft of $15 million, and his partner Hilary Kelly, a private investigator. 

Dead Money Run is the first book in The Lou Malloy Crime Series.

Why Be a Writer?

Just because you have decided to be a writer doesn’t mean you have to get it right. That’s what fiction is for. 

I always find it humorous when a reviewer will chastise a writer for stretching the facts in a work of fiction. For example, if a writer decides to call a lake a pond doesn’t mean the water has changed. The most important thing to remember as a writer is to remember to write. Without that in the equation you end up with nothing but hot air. 

I have heard it said often enough that writers are just storytellers. The first writers were not writers, but storytellers they were. 

In the good old days the wealthy had minstrels whose job was to entertain the rich were bundled up in their cold and dreary castles. In addition to singing and generally making fools of themselves, they told stories. To be a writer today I don’t advocate you make a fool of yourself, but I do advocate entertaining the reader. To do that you have to write with a sense of creativity to make your book interesting and fast paced. How to do that?  Continue reading

Guest Post by Blake Gardner, author of Inhuman Emergence: Innocence

“A Hero’s Journey”

A hero can be found in many stories. They can be found in everyday life. The hero triumphs over adversity and succeeds in the end. There are many different versions of a hero but their stories all have similar endings. This can be said of my story too. The main character in Inhuman Emergence: Innocence, Owen, could be called a classic hero. But nothing can be as black and white as the story of Heracles, whose story has a singular character that fulfills the roles of the main character, the protagonist, and the hero. It is from this ancient Greek demi-god’s name that we derive the word hero

My book follows a main character closely. Owen is more of an incidental hero than the ones that seek out their own glory. He finds himself in a situation and at first refuses to be the hero. But his journey leads him to be a classic hero. Yet, things are not definitive as that. He is not the singular force that brings about the change a normal hero does. He is a leader, one thing that many heroic figures in a story could not claim. Being a leader is rare in today’s culture. Our youth may gain popularity or admiration through social media but it is a rarity for them to rally those that may follow to a cause. Continue reading

Fading Memories by E M Willard Giveaway & Guest Post

Fading Memories Full Book Cover

File Size: 1518 KB

Print Length: 210 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: Booktrope Editions (September 12, 2015)

Publication Date: September 12, 2015

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B012DZGYE0

PURCHASE: Amazon

In this Mature Contemporary Romance, A.M. Willard brings you Fading Memories—a story about love, grief, and memories that slowly fade with time. 

Isabel Nichols’s life changed in more ways than one through the years. As a young child, she experienced a loss that devastated her. It wasn’t until she was an adult that the universe around her shattered. In a twenty-four-hour time frame, she lost what she’d thought was her world. What followed was a year of mourning, a year of grieving, a year of darkness. Now, there’s one man who can show her the light.

Dakota Jackson left his life behind on a whim, moving to a beach cottage away from the big city where he grew up. He sees through Izzie’s clouds as he gets to know her, with the drive to be everything that she’s ever needed. The only problem is, Dakota holds the key to a secret that could ruin both of their hopes and dreams.

Passion isn’t always enough to heal a broken heart; love isn’t always enough to guide you through the darkness.

This is about two souls that were meant to be together from the day they were born. Two people who have to figure out a way to look past the memories. It’s the now; it’s living your life as you’re meant to, loving the one your heart craves. It’s about letting go of the grieving, learning to be who you are, and accepting life for what it is. Continue reading

Guest Post ~ Write What You Know by Debbie Brown, author of Snow Job

Yeah, yeah, I know. You’ve heard it before, and so have I. But let me just tell you that THIS time, I know exactly WHY we are so lovingly told to write what we know. This time I didn’t, and I found myself feeling like the proverbial fish out of water. In my latest novel, Snow Job, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and outside of my field of expertise.

In my bio, I mention that I have worked as a nurse, a teacher, a martial arts coach, (I hold 3 black belts in 3 different styles, from 1st to 3rd Dan.) I have flown planes, painted for an art gallery, and done a whole slew of other things. Recently, someone reading my bio out loud added, “Yeah, for four minutes each.” So to rectify that…Four years was the shortest stint I did in any one of my adventures. 😉 All that to say, that I have a great variety of experiences and expertise to choose from for my writing, and I should have stayed within those parameters. Continue reading

Released today! Taming Tom Jones by Margaret K Johnson ~ Guest post & Excerpt

TTJ CoverHer partner Michael has never been in a relationship for more than four years, so with their fourth anniversary coming up, Jen’s getting understandably nervous. Especially as she’s just discovered she’s pregnant, and she knows Michael doesn’t want any more children other than Kyle, his teenage son. 

She means to tell Michael about the baby right away, but then he comes home on a brand new motorbike, having traded in his sensible car, and the moment is lost. Is Michael having an early mid-life crisis? 

Jen decides to do some detective work about Michael’s exes in an effort to save their relationship, and embarks on a journey that will take her as far afield as North Norfolk and Cuba. But she has no idea of the can of worms she’s about to open. 

Why do all Michael’s relationships break up? And what’s the big secret he’s hiding?

I’m very pleased to welcome Margaret as she tells us about her new novel, with an invitation to attend the online launch party….

I started writing my novel Taming Tom Jones when I was at the University of East Anglia as a mature student, taking an MA in Scriptwriting. I was supposed to be building up to writing my dissertation – a full-length screenplay or stage play, but the beginning of Taming Tom Jones just sprang vividly into my head, and I quickly became obsessed with my character Jen and her dilemma. When the book starts, Jen has just found out she’s pregnant by her partner Michael, and she’s thrilled, because she’s always wanted a family. In fact, she’s so thrilled, it makes her realize just how much she’s been supressing her desire to have children; because, unfortunately, Michael doesn’t feel the same way. He’s always been honest about it, making sure she was aware of his views very early on in their relationship. His exact words were:  Continue reading

Guest Post & Excerpt ~ Hazard of Shadows by Mike Phillips, author of Chronicles of the Goblin King

MikePhillipsI’m very happy to welcome Mike Phillips, the author of Hazard of Shadows, The World Below, Dawn of Ages, and Reign of the Nightmare Prince. His short stories have appeared in ParAbnormal Digest, Cemetery Moon, Sinister Tales, Beyond Centauri, the World of Myth, Mystic Signals and many others. Online, his work has appeared in Lorelei Signal, Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Midnight Times, and Fringe. He is best known for his Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series.

Mike’s second book in the Chronicles of the Goblin King series, Hazard of Shadows, is now available. 

HazardofShadowsSynopsis for Hazard of Shadows

The enchanted creatures of legend still exist, hidden away in the secret places of the world. They take refuge from an age of camera phones and government labs, from people who won’t let them live in peace. One of these last places of safety is known as the World Below.

Ancient powers are at work. The Lords of Faerie seek to revenge the death of Baron Finkbeiner and recover the mysterious Blade of Caro. Hidden in the shadows, they await a chance to strike. The chance arises when an old enemy escapes the splinter realm in which he is imprisoned. Anxious to settle the debt, the Faerie Lords send him to finish the Lady Elizabeth and her Champion once and for all.

Continue reading

Guest Post by Author Suzanne Burdon

Suzanne Burdon is the author of Almost Invincible, a biographical novel of Mary Shelley, and here she gives an insight into the conception and enduring appeal of Frankenstein…

Halloween – Frankenstein reborn

Halloween – ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night. Whatever the early pagan or Christian origins of All Hallows’ Eve, the creatures of the netherworld are now thoroughly celebrated or lampooned, depending on your perspective, on October 31st. These are the creatures of the ‘natural’ world, but on a stormy night in 1816, Mary Shelley conceived a man-made monster that was to capture the imagination of generations and spawn many ‘hideous progeny’.

On All Hallows’ Eve in 1831, the Frankenstein novel that most people read today, was reprinted and published in a one volume popular format instead of the three volumes usual for the time, which gave it an even wider audience. The novel had already had considerable success since it was originally released in 1818 and almost immediately captured the popular imagination. Its fame was boosted by stage adaptations, notably Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein, which played at the Royal Opera House in London in 1823. Mary went to see the production and though she admitted that they had not followed the story closely, she thought it was well done. There were thunderstorms and a collapsing glacier and the monster was so suitably scary that women in the audience fainted.  Continue reading

Guest Post by Author Margaret K Johnson ~ A Nightingale in Winter

To celebrate the release of her new novel, A Nightingale in Winter, a historical romance set in WWI, I’m very happy to welcome Margaret to BetweenTheLines with the remarkable story of how her novel eventually found its way to the publisher.

Over to you, Margaret….

The publication of my novel A Nightingale in Winter by Omnific Publishing on 24 August is proof that it is never too late, and that it’s a good idea to keep everything you write.

I finished writing A Nightingale in Winter in the late 1990s – it had taken me two years to complete, fitting it around a busy a full-time job as a student adviser in a Nottingham Further Education College. My evenings followed the same routine – I would come in, get changed and have a cat nap. After that, I would prepare a meal and supercharge myself with a large cup of coffee and a glass of wine. Then I would write for around two hours. A Nightingale in Winter is the story of a volunteer nurse during the First World War, so naturally I needed to do some research too, and I used my holidays from work to do this, visiting the Imperial War Museum to read original diaries and letters. In short, I invested a huge amount of effort, time and faith in Nightingale Continue reading

A Cynical American’s Guide to British Myth ~ Synopsis and Guest Post

  • ACynicalAmericanAuthor: Ann Kenney
  • Published: August 2015 by Craig na Dun/Ravenswood Publishing
  • Category: Paranormal/Supernatural Romance
When Lydia, a teacher of English folklore and myth, contacts a cynical American writer on-line, their relationship seems doomed because despite their shared love of the paranormal and supernatural their beliefs are poles apart. To Lydia’s astonishment, Jensen accepts her invitation to visit England and to explore its myths and legends. A road trip across Britain in a tiny KA is not quite what Jensen was expecting but as he travels the country with Lydia as his guide, his cynicism is tested, not only by Lydia herself, but also by the colourful array of characters that they meet along the way. 

His efforts to debunk legends such as Black Annis and the Cottingley Fairies are thwarted by both Lydia and those who truly believe. As time goes on Jensen begins to question what he sees and feels as his love of the British countryside and Lydia become entwined. Jensen hears tales of the White Worm, experiences first-hand a Phantom hitchhiker battles nature itself when he confronts the legendary Green Man. The final tale of shape shifting Selkies makes Jensen realise that his cynicism is being replaced by humanity and humility and as his love grows deeper, he begins to believe in the myths and legends he once wanted to disprove. Continue reading

Guest Post by Glynis Astie ~ The Philosophy of Yoda & French Fry Excerpt

I’m very happy to welcome Glynis back to BetweenTheLines with an imaginative and fun guest post in which she considers….

The Philosophy of Yoda

Whether you’re a Star Wars geek or not, you can learn a great deal from this petite powerhouse. Whenever I find myself unsure of a decision, my first thought is, “How the heck did this happen?” followed very quickly by, “What would Yoda do?” It may sound insane, but this brilliant (though fictional) character moved through his very long life with a grace and humility that we could all learn from. Feeling skeptical? Let me fill you in on the genius of this Grand Jedi Master. Continue reading

Guest Post ~ Terry Tyler’s Thoughts on Life Experiences

I’m very pleased to welcome Terry Tyler to Between The Lines today, with many thanks for a thoughtful and entertaining post. I hope everyone finds something to take away or ponder upon, as I have. Over to you, Terry…

First of all, many thanks to Cathy for asking me to do a guest post for her blog.  She gave me a list of subjects to write around, and the one I chose was ‘Life Experiences’.

Something close to the hearts of many of us at the beginning of a new year is making changes, getting rid of the negative in our lives and seeking out the new and positive.  

I’ve been thinking about this a fair bit lately, because I’ve been talking to a friend who I shall call Max.  Max is going through a very difficult time right now.  Job, home, relationships, finances – you know how once in a while those things decide to gang up together and cause you problems all at the same time, and you feel as though you’re in a pit from which there is no crawling out.  We all get rough years – mine were 1989 and 1997.  I’m just crossing my fingers I never have any years as bad as those two again. Continue reading

Vacant & Guest Post ~ Alex Hughes

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  • Vacant-coverAuthor: Alex Hughes
  • Published: December 2014 by Roc
  • Series: Mindscape Investigations Book 4

Nothing ruins a romantic evening like a brawl with lowlifes—especially when one of them later turns up dead and my date, Detective Isabella Cherabino, is the #1 suspect. My history with the Atlanta PD on both sides of the law makes me an unreliable witness, so while Cherabino is suspended, I’m paying my bills by taking an FBI gig.

I’ve been hired to play telepathic bodyguard for Tommy, the ten-year-old son of a superior court judge in Savannah presiding over the murder trial of a mob-connected mogul. After an attempt on the kid’s life, the Feds believe he’s been targeted by the businessman’s “associates.”

Turns out, Tommy’s a nascent telepath, so I’m trying to help him get a handle on his Ability. But it doesn’t take a mind reader to see that there’s something going on with this kid’s parents that’s stressing him out more than a death threat…

Vacant may be purchased through the following links:  GoodReadsAmazon USAmazon UKBooks-A-MillionBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboIndieBound

And if you prefer to read the series in order; Rabbit Trick (.5) Clean (1) Payoff (1.5) Sharp (2) Marked (3) Vacant (4)

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Christmas Makes Me Feel Old

A blog post by Alex Hughes

I’m in my early thirties. To my twelve year old self, this age would have been ancient, a number beyond belief. And this time of year, when my twelve year old inner child hears all the happy Christmas music everywhere I go, when that inner child sits up and squees at the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and the Macy’s decorations and the cranberry bread and cookies, well… it’s fun. A lot of fun. But I can’t help but feeling, now and again, very very old.

I like socks as a present nowadays, for example, the brighter the colors the better. Even white socks are fun, fresh and clean from the package. My younger self saw socks as a punishment only slightly above a lump of coal. Socks were for losers. Obviously I am old.

My younger self loved Christmas trees and decorations and shiny baubles around the whole house. I looked forward to the day we’d get out the lights and unstring them, testing every strand. I loved unwrapping the greenery around the porch, and sending out cards as soon as humanly possible. My older self gets busy and pulls out the tiny Charlie Brown tree on the coffee table halfway through the month, only then thinking about presents. I am old.

When I was little, my favorite thing about the holidays was baking Christmas cookies with my family. I’d even invite friends over for us to bake dozens and dozens of cookies together playing Christmas music as loud as possible while we ate the cookie dough and giggled. These days it’s a great year if I get a lump of refrigerated gingerbread dough and slice it for cookies to ice with a drizzle. By myself, or with Sam. Or both. (You can buy two tubes of dough, and they freeze!) Clearly I am old.

When I was younger, I loved tearing through presents for me. Me! Me! All mine. These days I have a lot more fun seeing other peoples’ faces when I give them their presents. I am old here too, but I don’t mind.

When I was little, I’d watch my grandfather literally assemble his presents into forts for the kids—he bought that many toys. Christmas was bright and shiny with tinsel and paper and wrapping, love and bickering and two weeks of a huge family in a tiny house in Texas. Now Christmas is small, with plain wrapping and a tiny tree, a short trip with a long car ride and a few quiet relatives. I am old, and I miss what was.

When you’re little, you think the holidays, the celebrations, the traditions are forever. When you’re older, you find out they took effort, and the effortless magic was instead a carefully orchestrated symphony of many parts that may not come again. You find out that things change. Things change, and I feel old, and I long for the magic to come again.

And then, in the middle of a grocery store with an old happy song playing Christmas cheer, I am a kid again, joyful and giddy, and the magic breathes a small breath, a small moment, into being again. I am not so old. I am, again, a child, staring at the wonder of Christmas.

About the author

Hughes_authorphoto2_verysmall-681x1024Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! For all the latest news and free short stories, join Alex’s email list at http://bit.ly/AlexsList.

You can find out more about Alex through the following links

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodReads

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Love, Life and Beyond ~ A Guest Post by Linn Halton

I’ve always been fascinated by the thought of things beyond my knowledge, unseen, spiritual, call it what you will. As with anything ‘ otherworldly’  it’s a very emotive subject with very differing views and, of course, each to their own beliefs. 

But, after reading Linn’s series Angels Among Us I was intrigued to find out more and Linn very kindly agreed to this guest post. Thanks so much for taking the time, Linn, over to you…

Orbs, spiritual energy and romantic novels – all in a day’s work!

People often ask me why I write psychic romance and why, even in my chick lit novels, there’s always some little reference to the help we get from the other side.

The reason is simple. I’ve had more than enough proof in my life to know that this life isn’t the sole point of our existence and that loved ones are with us always. To me having psychic experiences, validation of that, and seeing things as simple as orbs, is a natural part of life. As I write about life and love, there is no way I can leave out something so fundamental, because I believe the help we receive (whether we realise it, or not) often helps shape the decisions we make.

In June 2012 the loveahappyending.com website that I began in June 2011, held a one-off event in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. It was a very stressful thing to organise, as I had never done anything like that before and it was a day of talks and writing sessions. A few weeks’ prior to the big day, I went to a psychic medium event and received a message. I was told that my Uncle Ron was helping me and I wasn’t to worry, the day would be fine. There were a few very unique validations that it was indeed him – for starters he was a prisoner of war and the only one of my uncles who was captured and reported as missing. On the day of the event literally hundreds of photos were taken and many were from the same angle. The best ones were used in a post on the website to capture the excitement of the day.

However, a few weeks’ later one of the authors (the very talented Emma Calin) sent me a string of photos, in the middle of which were some that appeared to show a ball of energy around my head and several with orbs (although they were quite faint). She also sent me the photos immediately prior to, and after, these unusual ones, to show that it wasn’t simply something on the lens. As I had already seen so many taken from virtually the same point in the room, I knew it wasn’t simply light reflecting from overhead etc. as it would have appeared in many more of the shots taken.

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But most importantly of all, I wasn’t surprised. I could feel the energy around me that day and being quite a shy person, I knew that I was getting assistance. I’m very familiar with orbs, having lived in numerous houses and cottages where both my husband and I have witnessed them simultaneously. But that’s another story and one I’ve already written in the true story, ‘Being A Sceptic Is Oh So Easy’.

When you see an orb, or cluster of orbs up close, it can be a very uplifting thing. Often they are muted but sometimes close up they are so bright it is like a little circle of intense white, or coloured, light (see below). They can travel slowly, or whizz across a room. On one occasion a really bright orb, the size of a ten pence piece, alerted me to a situation that could have been life-threatening for someone … everything happens for a reason. At the time, it was such an indisputable experience that I knew something was wrong with someone I loved. A phone call confirmed that and, I believe, diverted a situation that could have spiralled out of control with fatal consequences.

As I prepared to write this article, just yesterday I was watching a short video clip taken of a young family member. As I watched I saw one orb zoom across the top of the clip, and then seconds later another one zoomed upwards from the bottom of it. I showed my husband and we watched in amazement, hoping it was a sign that my mother was there watching over him. She died before he was born and even though I know she’s around us all, it was still a thrill to see.

A friend had a problem after moving into a property to begin renovating it, with a spirit determined to make him feel ill-at-ease. We talked through what to do and eventually, after some gentle but firm persuasion, his visitor left. He did manage to capture two orbs in his work room and they are pretty clear (below).

Then there is the glorious photo of the orb in the garden of the cottage we purchased in December 2013. The moment I saw the photos on Rightmove and spotted the orb in the garden I knew it was the one for us. The former owner had died and it had been empty for a year – but it was waiting for us. I know that she approves of what we have done and while she is very quiet, we often see an orb here and there. I also believe I have seen her, and, a cat … although we have a cat of our own, too. This one is very different! My husband and I take that as a positive and reaffirming thing; we gain comfort from it.

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For me, the point is that whenever I’ve felt anything bad, I get myself as far away as I can. Everything else I’ve experienced has been uplifting and helpful, comforting. At first it spooked my husband and he wouldn’t even let me talk about the things that happened around me. My earliest memory is a psychic one. Then he had his first, personal, experience. It took him a while to talk about it, but since then we haven’t looked back. For us it’s taken away the fear of death and the fear that loved ones are lost to us when they pass. What is clear is that whilst it is human nature to look for mundane causes and be sceptical, there are times when you can rule out potential explanations; especially when someone you love, and who you trust implicitly, witnesses the same thing at the same time. Then, it’s easier to believe and accept. The more you relax, the more you notice what is going on around you all the time.

When I wrote the Angels Among Us series for HarperImpulse, it took three years of research for me to be able to explain, as a part of the fictional story, how angels ‘work’. It’s a love story first and foremost, but the explanation had to fit in with what I’d experienced and believed. Some of the research didn’t fit with that, but I found plenty that did. Some of it came from messages I’ve received from my mum and dad via various mediums; enough little pieces of info to make me formulate a picture. But there is a gap – no one knows for sure until they are on the other side. If we live more than one life, maybe no one ever comes back with ‘full’ knowledge because that’s not how it’s meant to work. I filled the gap with what I felt might be a plausible leap of faith … one day I will know for sure!

Website/blog: http://linnbhalton.co.uk/

Twitter: @LinnBHalton 

FB: Author Linn B Halton

I hope you enjoyed Linn’s post as much as I did and, if nothing else, it’s given you food for thought!

Guest Post from author E.L. Lindley ~ Are Libraries Relevant in 2014?

I’m very pleased to share E.L. Lindley’s perceptive reflections on libraries past and present. Over to you, E.L. and thank you very much for taking the time to write this post…..

I’m guessing that for most of us who are avid readers and writers, libraries have played a significant part in our lives. I know, for me, libraries were a massive part of my childhood and student years as both a treasure trove, filled to the brim with wonderful finds and a place of quiet sanctuary in which to study. The idea then that, due to government cuts in funding libraries are being shut down in increasing numbers, fills me with a sense of outrage. Is it a situation more complex than it first appears however?

I suppose even though I was born in 1962, I consider myself a child of the 70s. It was the 70s, after all, when I was old enough to have my first taste of independence and one of the places I liked to visit was the local library. Ironically, during the late 70s and early 80s the economy wasn’t booming but, during that particular economic recession, the arts seem to flourish rather than be sacrificed at the altar of tightening our belts. Libraries were thriving and often the central focus of communities.

During my childhood, books were seen as something of a luxury and, although we would be given them as gifts for birthdays and Christmas, most of what I read came via the library. Given that it wasn’t unusual for me to get through a couple of books a week; I spent a lot of time haunting those big wooden shelves. I discovered a wide range of beloved authors who I wouldn’t have otherwise read from John Steinbeck to Alice Hoffman and everything in between. Later on, as I revised for O-levels and A-levels, I would raid the archives for past papers and, in that beautiful silence, put myself through my academic paces.

Libraries then, for me, have always represented places of peace and quiet. I have to confess, however, over the years I visited them less and less. Once I started work and became financially independent, I began to buy books rather than borrow them and, having my own home, meant I no longer needed a bolthole from a noisy family or irritating housemates. The arrival of the Internet seemed to be the final nail in the coffin because then I didn’t even need to use the library for research.

Sometimes, over the years, I would venture in for old time’s sake and I’m one of those people who would be scandalised by the way libraries had morphed from the quiet places of my childhood into glorified children’s play areas, complete with bean bags and screeching toddlers. Not to mention the fact that in these modern libraries there were far more computers than books. Libraries, over the years, had changed into something I barely recognised – annexes for job centres and places where young mums meet for coffee while their children play. Although I couldn’t really complain, as an occasional library visitor, I didn’t like it one little bit. I wanted proper, old-fashioned libraries back.

That all changed, however, with the onset of library closures. Hub libraries, which are essentially the large central libraries, were to remain open but smaller community libraries were facing the chop. I suddenly realised that for a lot of people, like the unemployed and young mums, the library might be the last bastion of any sense of community. After all, traditional community centres, catering to all members of the local area from Brownies to pensioners, are long gone so could we really afford to lose libraries as well.

When it became obvious that no amount of protesting was going to persuade the council to ‘leave our libraries alone’, I became one of many volunteers who stepped forward to help run community funded libraries. At the same time, I began asking around to get a sense of other people’s library experiences. Most of my friends, like me hadn’t use libraries for years whilst most kids had never even set foot in one. It became clear that, sad as it may be, libraries as we used to know them are no longer relevant in our modern, technology-based society. The rhetoric coming from the council in the run-up to the library closures was ‘use them or lose them’ and, much as I am loath to admit it, people just didn’t use them.

In the new reality of community run libraries then, what lies ahead? I’m not too sure. I’ve only been a few times so far in my role as volunteer and frankly, once the grand opening day fanfare disappeared, the library where I’m helping out is not well used. Plans are afoot to find ways of getting the community back into the library and, during all of the meetings and surveys that have taken place, the idea of the library as a place of books and reading has not featured high on the agenda. Maybe it’s time for me to let go of my notion of libraries as places of quiet calm and hand the reins over to a new generation to do with them as they will. After all, it is, ‘use them or lose them’.

Guest Post ~ RM Clark

Welcome, Robert and thank you for your post.

A reminder…what writers have had to do since forever

Even with the latest technology, writers have been producing work the same way for hundreds of years: sentence by sentence. There are loads of books on outlining, character development, world-building and editing but the only way to make the words appear is by putting fingers on keyboard. Whether a writer is prolific, like Stephen King, or turtle slow, like me, every word of every sentence of every book has to be typed out.

There are no shortcuts to creating a manuscript.

Typewriters have been replaced by word processors, but the results are the same. I suppose you could try the Dragon Naturally Speaking software or the equivalent and speak your golden words for the software to produce. But this method misses out on the natural filter and editor that exists between the brain and the fingertips. The voices in a writer’s head become more focused as they percolate past the elbows and wrists. Narrative and dialogue alike, are spoken internally or aloud, then refined on the page with a few backspaces (in my case, many backspaces).

No app can do it for you.

So next time you see a book and think “How the hell did she write that?” you’ll already have the answer. The same way we all do it. The only way it can be done.

Tap. Tap. Tappity. Tap.

R. M. Clark’s new adult mystery, Center Point, is available from the publisher’s website (http://www.writersamuseme.com/rmclark.htm#903985084) as well the usual online places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and iBooks. Clark’s latest middle grade book, The Secret at Haney Field: A Baseball Mystery, arrives September 16 

You can find my review of Center Point here

Guest Post ~ Annalisa Crawford

Many thanks to Annalisa for writing this guest post for our reading pleasure  🙂   Our Beautiful Child is on my review list for the near future.

 

Five Books I’ve Read More Than Once by Annalisa Crawford

When people ask what kind of books I write, I find it hard to answer. So I thought sharing some of the books I’ve read more than once would help to give you an insight, and possibly saving me from ever having to think of a real answer…

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I first read this when I was eighteen, and have read it once a year, on average, ever since. I have two copies of the book, and the DVD of the 1995 BBC version with Colin Firth that I watch each and every time I’m ill and laid up.
2. Diary by Chuck Palahniuk – I love this book more than Fight Club, the more well-known novel (thanks to Brad Pitt). It still has all the gruesome parts you’d expect, but the story has some shades of the paranormal and a story I, bizarrely, related to a little bit more.

3. Quite Contrary by Susannah Dunn – Back before she wrote historical fiction, Dunn wrote contemporary fiction. Her first book, Darker Days Than Usual, was a novella – which made me realise that is was possible to publish novellas, a length that suits me quite well. (Although that discovery was in 1990, and it took a little longer than I expected – 22 years, actually!)

4. Madeleine’s Ghost by Robert Girardi – This book as such an awesome sense of place. Part of the book takes place in New Orleans, and Girardi’s lush description made me realise that it doesn’t matter where you live or choose to write about, it can sound incredibly exotic to someone who’s never been there before.

And finally, with just a slight cheat…

5. (The prologue of) Dependence Day by Robert Newman – I can’t remember the plot of this novel, and I can’t name a single character… But the prologue is genius, and yes, sometimes when I’m stood in front of my bookcase, I pick it up and read it. It’s called Fan Worship, and it’s about David Bowie worshipping one of his fans.

Well worth a read.

I hope I’ve given you a few clues as to where I get my inspiration from, completely confused you, or – at the very least – given you a couple of new books to check out!

 

Our Beautiful Child by Annalisa Crawford

 
“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn
for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand,
either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the
horizon.”
 

so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough
to know.
 
People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her
nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and
Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th
century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.
 
Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs
refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who
threatens to ruin everything.
 
Three women. Three stories. One pub.

Buy it here: Amazon // Kindle // Nook // Smashwords




ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I live in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of beaches and moorland right on my doorstep to keep me
inspired. I live with my husband, two sons, a dog and a cat.
 
Despite my location, I neither surf nor sail, and have never had any inclination to try. I much prefer walking along a deserted beach and listening to the waves crashing over rocks. For this reason, I really love the beach in the winter!
Links:

Website
//
Blog
//
Twitter
//
Facebook
//
Pinterest// Add
to Goodreads
 

Guest Post ~ by Glynis Astie. Tea and Harry Potter.

I’m very happy to welcome author Glynis Astie to BetweenTheLines 🙂  It’s lovely to have you here, Glynis.

faf75f8a15280a8c0b12c6.L._V356845362_SX200_french twistGlynis never expected in her wildest dreams to be a writer. After thirteen years in the Human Resources Industry, she decided to stay at home with her two amazing sons. Ever in search of a project, she was inspired to write the story of how she met and married her wonderfully romantic French husband, Sebastien, in six short months. The end result became her first novel, French Twist.

21526533As this novel is only the beginning the story, Glynis has just released the sequel, French Toast and has begun writing the final chapter in the trilogy, French Fry. When she is not writing, she is trying to keep the peace amongst the three men and two cats in her life, finding missing body parts (Lego pieces are small!), supervising a myriad of homework assignments and keeping a tenuous hold on her sanity by consuming whatever chocolate is in the vicinity.
If you are interested in Glynis’ musings on a variety of topics, please follow her on her blog – http://www.glynisastie.com, Facebook – glynisastieauthor – and Twitter – @GlynisAstie.

 

 

Thank you so much, Cathy, for having me today! I am very excited to be here on Between the Lines. Though I am just a lowly American, I love all things British. When thinking about writing a post for you, my mind kept returning to my two favorite British things – tea and Harry Potter. Then I had quite a stroke of genius – what if I were to pair the perfect tea to correspond with each of J.K. Rowling’s brilliant Harry Potter novels? It may seem a bit odd at first, let’s give it a go, shall we? (Spoiler alert! I will be discussing some pivotal moments in the Harry Potter novels in the following paragraphs. If you haven’t read them and do not wish to shatter the illusion of this amazing adventure, then sadly, you should stop reading now. But not before asking yourself if you have been living under a rock for the past seventeen years.)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
To begin your foray into the exciting world of Harry Potter, I would recommend a cup of strong white tea, which is the purest of all teas AND has the most antioxidants. This stellar combination will not only provide protection to your body from certain types of cancer, but will also improve your brain’s overall health thereby allowing you to process the new and exciting world of magic which you are now entering. You will find yourself met with a number of intriguing questions as you wander through this delightful book: Who is Harry Potter? What happened to his parents? Who are these horrible Dursley people and why does an amazing kid like Harry live with them? What in the world is a muggle? What is one qualified to do upon graduating from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? And perhaps most importantly, just who is this Voldemort fellow? You will be glad to have partaken in this particular tea as the answers will come at you quicker than a rogue bludger. Fasten your seatbelt and keep your wits about you; we have six more books to go!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Now that you have the basics down, you are ready to dig a little deeper into the mystical world of Mr. Potter. Basic witchcraft and wizardry have become old hat and you are hoping to get to know your favorite wizards a little better – not to mention the enigma that is Voldemort. For this you are going to need a tea with a little more of what we Americans like to call, “Umph.” Yes, I know, we are quite the intellectuals. It’s time to add a little more caffeine to the mix and you know what that means – a hearty mug of green tea. You will be glad for the increased awareness once you are hit with a house elf, a flying Ford Anglia, a dramatic Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, a mysterious sound in the castle walls and vicious attacks on Hogwarts students. You will laugh at the use of the polyjuice potion and clutch your heart when Hermione is petrified and Ginny is taken. Prepare yourself to cringe when you meet Mr. Tom Riddle himself and feel your heart swell when Harry saves the day in the end. You have quite a buzz going now; are you ready for Act III?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Things are starting to get a bit more serious in the world of Harry Potter and that calls for a more serious tea. I think you know what I mean – reach for a steaming cup of Earl Gray. A touch of evil is taking hold in Hogwarts and you will be grateful for the warmth and cerebral stimulation of your chosen tea. The action in this book is swift indeed: Harry blows up his aunt, learns that a murderer is after him, discovers dementors and learns more about how his parents died. Magical creatures abound with the introduction of hippogriffs and the patently cool animagus. In a knock down drag out battle in the screeching shack we discover that the “murderer” was framed and also happens to be Harry’s godfather. Thank goodness for the extra caffeine! The surprises will only increase in both scope and scale as we continue on our journey.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
This is when the books really start to get large. The story is full of twists and turns and you are going to need some serious caffeine to power through this ginormous tome. It is time to bring in the big guns. You need a good old-fashioned cup of English Black tea. With some energy flowing through your veins, you will be able to follow Harry through his most harrowing adventures so far. Quidditch World Cup, Death Eaters, Dark Mark, Oh My! Harry is forced to enter the Triwizard Tournament and endures not only dangerous tests of his bravery and magical prowess, but also the disdain of many who think that he is simply in pursuit of glory. We finish with a trip to a graveyard where Voldemort intends to whip himself up a new body courtesy of Harry’s unwilling contribution. This horrific trip begins with Cedric’s death (“Kill the spare.”) and ends with Harry barely escaping with his life. It still give me chills just thinking about it. Not to mention the Moody twist at the end…

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
You are beginning to come down from our earlier caffeine frenzy, but you still need enough energy for a good long book. This time we are going to select a mid-range Oolong tea, which will sharpen your thinking skills and improve your mental alertness. Since this tea is also thought to help with atherosclerosis and high cholesterol, you may as well add a scone too. A whole lot of craziness is about to go down and you are going to need the sugar! A big dose of controversy befalls Mr. Harry Potter in the form of his new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Dolores Umbridge. The nastiest character to date, you will want to throttle her as she methodically takes away everything that Harry and his friends hold dear. Never one to back away from a fight, Harry creates an underground army and their adventures lead them to a grand battle at the Ministry of Magic. Squeezed in the middle of the action, you will find comic relief in the form of Fred and George and a bit of romance for Harry. Just be sure to keep a box of tissues handy; the first big death of the series will hit you hard.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
We are closing in on the end of our epic journey, so it is time for a cup of jasmine tea. You still need caffeine to keep your awareness, but also the sedative effect from the scent of jasmine to prepare yourself for the unpleasant things are about to occur. Professor Snape has finally gotten his clutches on the Defense Against the Dark Arts post, Dumbledore is arming Harry with knowledge of Voldemort’s past and we learn of the existence of horcruxes. While we are momentarily distracted by Harry and Ron’s haphazard love lives, our minds are quickly brought back to the action by the betrayal of Malfoy, the invasion of the castle and the demise of Dumbledore at the hands of the greasy haired, hook nosed poser, Professor Snape. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself to move on. It is time for the final chapter.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
With your heart still broken, you are in serious need of the calming quality of a cup of chamomile tea. If you close your eyes, you can almost feel a warm hug from J.K. Rowling herself. You have no choice but to read on and there is still a lot of unpleasantness to get through, not the least of which is the fact that this is the last Harry Potter book. The magical world is in a state of uproar and Harry, Ron and Hermione set off in pursuit of the remaining horcruxes. The road is long, and filled with failure, but they press on and find new hope with the discovery of the deathly hallows. The death toll reaches a staggering amount by the time we reach the epic battle that we all knew was coming. We watch Harry sacrifice himself for the greater good and breathe a sigh of relief when he is brought back to us unharmed. Ding, dong, Voldemort is dead!

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted! Thank you for coming on this journey of tea and Harry Potter with me. I hope that you had as much fun as I did!

Glynis, thank you so much for an enjoyable, fun and original post. I’m off to buy tea and root out my Harry Potter books now!

Guest Post ~ Troy Lambert

WMS_blogtour

As part of the Stray Ally blog tour, I’m happy to host a guest post by Troy Lambert

Stray Ally

Who’s Your Stray Ally?

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

–Groucho Marx

To my dog, Houston. You were my best friend for a long time, and have been gone for a while, but I still miss you. Here’s hoping you are chasing a ball somewhere in doggie heaven, where there is no more doggie blindness and your nose is as strong as ever.

–Troy Lambert, Dedication of Stray Ally

I’m a dog person. Sure, I’ve owned cats (or they owned me) but for some reason I just identify better with dogs. I always wanted one growing up, and my single mother (God bless her) tried a couple of times, but it was not until I became an adult and really settled down that I was able to have one, and truly appreciate dogs.

I found myself really down. My first marriage ended, and I felt adrift. A friend offered a room to rent in Northern Arizona, and I took her up on it. Unbeknownst to me, the room came with a dog too. He was her dog, but he latched on to me, and we were together for the next nine years.

During that time, I got my life back, met my second wife, and she gave birth to my youngest son. Houston went partially blind, and he managed to escape the yard and get hit by a car on my birthday, Black Friday almost six years ago.

So when I wrote a book about a man accused of murder, wandering in the Idaho wilderness who encounters an extraordinary dog who then helps him through a rough spot in his life, it was only natural to dedicate the book to Houston.

My current Stray Ally is a 95 pound yellow lab named Indie. He is looking at me right now, waiting for a game of fetch over lunch.

Without his Stray Ally, Sparky, Todd Clarke (the hero in the book) wouldn’t know quite what to do at times. Neither would I, without mine. So dog lovers, who’s your Stray Ally?

Stray Ally Excerpt:

He came at me.

“You killed my boy!” His shout filled my world, shattering the bubble I’d been in. 

“You piece of shit, you killed my boy!”

“Stop!” A voice, the Good Samaritan driver.

The cop launched himself at me, hands outstretched, as if to strangle me.

My body didn’t consult my brain. It rose from its sitting position in one smooth motion. As the incensed father approached, it moved on its own, spun away from him, struck him on the back as he roared by, increased his momentum, and watched as he fell awkwardly onto the asphalt. He wasn’t done. 

I’d killed his boy. 

He rushed back at me, and my body once again responded as I had trained it to. All of those hours. Strike, twist, pull, strike. 

My fist impacted his side, then his chest. My foot lashed out, struck his knee with an audible crunch. He half fell again, and drew his gun. 

Another cruiser rolled onto the scene.

An ambulance.

A fire truck.

A supervisor.

EMTs.

Model citizens.

They all saw me do it.

He raised the gun. I spun inside his aim. My hands went to work, striking his wrist, breaking it.

Grabbing the gun. Turning it in my hand.

Firing. Not once, but twice.

Double tap. Fighting like I was trained.

Just like that, I was a cop killer.

Correction.

I killed a cop’s son. Then I killed a cop.

Self-defense sure, but unreasonable force used in response to a threat.

And I was trained.

It was my training that caused the judge to lock me up. I went to jail. Marsha paid my bond, I jumped bail, and went on the run. That’s when things went from bad to worse. 

Blurb: 

A strange accident on the freeway, accusations of murder, and an encounter in the Idaho wilderness all propel Todd Clarke into a new friendship with a dog named Sparky. But Sparky is no ordinary dog, and there is more going on than Clarke could have imagined.

A military commander he investigated for Aryan activity and links to domestic terrorism is after him, and he’s not sure why until another chance encounter provides the answer.
With Sparky and the help of his canine friends, will he be able to figure out the Colonel’s plan and stop him in time? All Clarke knows for sure is none of it would be possible without the help of his Stray Ally.

Stray Ally can be purchased here 

troylambert

About Troy

Troy works as a freelance writer, researcher, and editor. He writes historical site characterization reports for those performing remediation on former resource extraction sites, software instruction and help guides, and edits the research of others as well. His true passion is writing dark, psychological thrillers. His work includes Broken Bones, a collection of his short stories, Redemption the first in the Samuel Elijah Johnson Series, Temptation the sequel to Redemption, along with the horror Satanarium, co-authored with Poppet, a brilliant author from South Africa and published by Wild Wolf Publishing. His next novel, Stray Ally, will be published March 4th by Tirgearr Publishing. The final in the Samuel Elijah Johnson Series, Confession will be published May 1st

Troy lives with his wife of twelve years, two of his five children and two very talented dogs. He is a skier, cyclist, hiker, fisherman, hunter, and a terrible beginning golfer. 

 Troy’s website can be found here and he is also on Twitter