Welsh Wednesdays: Introducing the authors and speakers of the Llandeilo Christmas Book Fair Dec 9th: Kate Glanville: Where I Write and How It Influences Me

Kate Glanville is a familiar face at my blog and at Llandeilo Literary Events. I’m delighted to announce that Kate will be reading from her wonderful novel “Stargazing” (click this link to a review of the novel) at Barr’s Jewelry at 11:30 am.

I’ve asked Kate to write a little something for the blog and here is a post she wrote:

 Where I Write and How It Influences Me

When I started writing my first novel A Perfect Home (published by Penguin in the US 2012 and Accent Press in 2014) I took any opportunity to write, often writing long hand in a note book while I sat beside my youngest son’s bed waiting for him to fall asleep at night or sitting in the car waiting for my older children to come out of school or standing at the cooker waiting for the fish fingers to come out of the oven for tea. So desperate was I to get the words onto paper I would get up at five am and write at the kitchen table willing three small children to stay asleep till at least six o’clock. Consequently I was usually exhausted, late to pick the children up from school, many fish fingers were burned and I was extremely thankful to early morning CBeebies for its ability to distract the children while I grappled with that last illusive sentence before the pre-school rush began. Not surprisingly A Perfect Home revolves around a woman with three children, trying to juggle, motherhood and work and feeling as though she’s failing at both!

By the time I started my second novel, Heartstones (published by Accent Press 2014) the children were a little bit more independent and I’d learned to type on my lap top using two fingers, usually sitting at my kitchen table or in the garden – Welsh weather permitting!

The kitchen became increasingly chaotic as the children grew older and, for a few years the weather got wetter so I decided to try writing in the converted pig sty that for ten years had been my pottery studio. I have been producing hand painted pottery for over twenty-five years; it was and still is my day job – though to write full time has always been my dream. I had moved to a larger purpose built pottery studio a few months previously, leaving the pigsty empty apart from one of my kilns. One wet afternoon, when the children were especially noisy, I took my laptop into my old shed. It was warm and cosy from the kiln and as I sat watching the rain fall onto the Brecon hills that surround my home I realised I had found the sort of peace and quiet I had been longing for every time I started to write.

So, for a few years, my old pottery studio became my writing shed. Maybe that is why Heartstones is set in a pottery studio and revolves around the tangled romances and family secrets of two potters a generation apart. My third novel Stargazing is partly set on a Welsh hill farm, not too dissimilar from the little farms I could see in the distance through my window. It has a Welsh character in it called Nesta who reminisces about the lush green landscape of her childhood and is really just describing the view from I used to look out on from my window!

Sadly I had to leave my pig-sty last year and the children and I have been renting a pretty cottage in a beautiful National Trust owned park. Its cosy rooms and gorgeous garden are very conducive to writing. From my window I look out over a deer park and across to the ruins of a medieval castle. We live next-door to an imposing Georgian manor house that is meant to be the most haunted National Trust property in Britain and we have a resident peacock called Perry – he lives in the garden and knocks at the back door with his beak to be fed!

I’m working on my fourth novel which, surprisingly, is not set in a Welsh castle or a haunted house but in The Dordogne! It revolves around an ex-1980’s pop-star who’s reclusive life is turned upside-down when financial problems force her to rent out her house to holiday makers. The story unfolds over the course of a week. As I recently read over the first draft I realised that the weather gets progressively hotter throughout the manuscript. I think I subconsciously wrote about the heat in an effort to get warm myself.

Though our cottage is idyllic, it has no central heating and the winter was very, very cold. I wrote huddled by the log fire, wearing several thermal vests and my coat and my hat. It was a comfort to write about a stiflingly hot French summer! Often I went to bed to write with my electric blanket on full heat – still wearing my thermal vests and coat and hat and tried to imagine I was writing on a sun filled terrace with a warm breeze blowing through my flimsy summer dress.


At last the winter is over and I’m slowly divesting myself of my many layers – just down to one thermal vest now. I’m putting the finishing touches to my French romance and I’ve even been writing in the garden. As I look around at the bluebells drifting in-between the trees and Perry displaying his magnificent tail, my thoughts keep turning to a new story; a story set in a pretty cottage in Wales, nestled between a big house and a castle, with deer at the end of the garden, a peacock on the patio and, maybe, even a few ghosts…..



Finally available as an e-book: “African August” by Christoph Fischer

Timothy, a budding author, puts his lucrative career in London on hold for the chance to go on the adventure of a lifetime in Africa. He gets far more than even he had bargained for. He teams up with a host of intriguing characters, from gay air stewards to beautiful, adventure-seeking women on his journey to self-fulfilment and self-discovery.

Risking his life negotiating white-water rapids and encountering some unanticipated jungle dangers, Timothy has his eyes opened to harsh realities, worlds away from the cossetted life he’d been living back in London.

Soon, he and his companions find themselves caught up in deadly civil unrest. This is a tale of love, loss and growing up on a continent where the political situation is even more volatile than the weather, and where adventure and tragedy are only a heartbeat away. The wind can change very quickly in an African August…

You can find the book on your Amazon site 

The novel is an adventure story, a part thriller, part drop-out fantasy and is also very close to my heart. I wrote it in 2011 while still working for an airline, using a lot of my travel experiences in Africa.


I had never planned to release this book, which breaks into a new genre for me: travel adventure. Then I was approached by Wanda Hartzenberg about her charity anthology for a dog rescue centre in California. I said I had nothing to offer her apart from this one book. Wanda was interested in the book, not least because she was born and lives in Africa. So the book underwent a long editing process to be included in the anthology.




You all know how much I love dogs and the box set will include work by the amazing Nathan Squiers, DeAnn Townes, Gillian Joy , Aaron Paul Lazar, Uvi Poznansky, Ted Krever, Duncan McGonall and Robert Warr.
Some of these writers I’ve already worked with and I feel honoured to be included and to be able to contribute to this worthy cause. The project requires a lot of coordination, so we’re still waiting for a release date. In the meantime, all proceeds from my end, e-book and paperback, will go to M-Lisada Org Kampala, a charity supporting former street children in Kampala, Uganda. https://mlisada.org

In the US the e-book will be part of a charity, multi-author  box set in aid of  Santa Paula No Kill Animal Rescue Center in California




My own personal and business travels took me to many places in Africa. I was never moved as much as when I visited an orphanage in Kampala. I hesitated to go because I imagined it to be depressing. Far from it: The children were so happy for our visits. I realised that while I couldn’t change the politics and problems in Africa, I could make a huge difference with nothing but just being there for them for a day.
So all proceeds of the book will go to M-Lisada Org. Kampala a charity supporting former street children in Kamapla, Uganda.





Christoph Fischer




was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. In 1993 he moved to the UK and now lives in Llandeilo in West Wales. He and his partner have several Labradoodles to complete their family.



Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries,


Museums and for an airline. His first historical novel, ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’,  was published in November 2012 and downloaded over 60,000 times on Amazon. He has released several more historical novels, including “In Search of A Revolution” and


Ludwika“. He also wrote some contemporary family dramas and thrillers, most notably “Time to Let 


Go” and “The Healer“. His latest novel, “The Body in the Snow” is a cost murder mystery set in his new home of Carmarthenshire.


Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Blog: https://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl





Uganda is located in northeast Africa and was once called the Pearl of Africa. It is known for its lakes and mountainous landscapes, tea plantations, healthy populations of most wild beasts, as well as a large group of endangered silverback mountain gorillas. 

But Kampala, the largest city in Uganda, presents another picture. Wars, AIDS, terrorists, a high birth rate, corrupt government, and unplanned urbanization have all contributed to the collapse of the country’s covenant with its children.

Out of a total population of 40 million people in Uganda, more than 7 million are orphans and vulnerable children. Many of these abandoned, homeless, sick, war-ravaged, addicted, hungry, terrified children come from their villages to Kampala, hoping to find work or relief from the deplorable conditions they’ve left behind. But soon the harsh realities become clear, as very young children, left to their resources, have to forage for food and keep themselves safe from drugs, disease, and predators. 

M-Lisada’s mission is to reduce the number of children living on the streets in Uganda, by providing them with a home, an education, and protection.

M-Lisada strives to restore dignity and self-confidence through the teaching of life skills, music, and the arts, thereby improving the lives of vulnerable children, and their chances for the future. 


Llandeilo – An Idyllic Welsh Market Town in the heart of Carmarthenshire – Welsh Cakes & Wellies

Source: Llandeilo – An Idyllic Welsh Market Town in the heart of Carmarthenshire – Welsh Cakes & Wellies

Thanks to https://welshcakesandwellies.wordpress.com for this kind blog post about Llandeilo, the town I call my home now

Llandeilo – An Idyllic Welsh Market Town in the heart of Carmarthenshire

Llandeilo, in Carmarthenshire is a pretty, colourful painted town, surrounded by stunning countryside.  We visited on a rather bleak and rainy day and yet the town still looked charming and bright.

Llandeilo street view

Its high street is dotted with charming independent shops, with barely a chain in sight. From art galleries, antiques, home interiors and clothes boutiques there was plenty there to have a browse around.

Llandeilo Shops in cul-de-sac

Every shop really took pride in their window dressings, so much so, it was like wandering round a quaint rural French town.

Llandeilo Shopping for unique gift

Our little ones loved the toy shop too, a small independent shop selling a good selection of traditional type toys.

We ate at the cosy Angel Inn, which is a dog friendly pub, serving both snacks and larger meals. As we were eating out in the evening we chose from the lighter bites menu.

Llandeilo angel hotel

The curried cauliflower soup was delicious, very smooth with just the right amount of spice.   The childrens meals were of good quality too with juicy fat sausages and tender rump steak.  Service was busy, and sometimes a little slow, but the front of house was friendly and efficient.  It’s a very rustic pub and the atmosphere was lovely and cosy.

The Cawdor, sister hotel to Morgans in Swansea, was also a lovely place to stay or to stop off for a drink or a bite to eat.

The town of Llandeilo is definitely worth a visit and makes for a very pleasant detour if you are in the area around Carmarthen.  If you’re visiting Wales its a lovely place to head, as with it being in the heart of Carmarthenshire you’re sure to hear the Welsh language, with its lovely lilts and rhythms.

Our last stop before hitting the road was at the butchers where we bought some locally sourced beef for our Sunday dinner the next day which was very tender.

Llandeilo family butchers

We came back from Llandeilo, via Ammanford, as from there you can return to Swansea and the M4 over the Mynedd y Bettws mountain, part of the Black Mountain.  This trip will reward you with the most magnificent and breathtaking views of the wind farm and mountainous scenery.  If the weather is kind, there is a lookout spot which is perfect for a picnic stop.

Have you been to Llandeilo?  Would love to hear your thoughts on the area in the comments below.

Llandeilo road home wild white horses

Llandeilo road home what a view

Llandeilo road home 2


Welsh Wednesdays: Christmas Book Fair in Llandeilo to be held on Dec 9th

Christmas Book Fair in Llandeilo to be held on Dec 9th

The next opportunity to meet authors, listen to their readings and get signed copies of their books will be on December 9th. 

This time the Llandeilo Book Fair will be held in the Shire Hall and in the Horeb Chapel – bringing the authors right into the heart of town.

Y cyfle nesaf i gwrdd ag awduron, gwrando arnynt yn darllen a chael copïau o’u llyfrau wedi’u llofnodi bydd ar Ragfyr 9fed

Y tro hwn cynhelir Ffair Lyfrau Llandeilo yn Neuadd y Sir a Chapel Horeb – dod â’r awduron i galon y dref

Confirmed authors include familiar and new faces:
Mae’r awduron yn cynnwys wynebau cyfarwydd a newydd:

Kate Glanville, Cheryl Rees-Price, Anne Signol, Alex Martin, James Morgan, Robert Walton, Sam Smith, Colin Parsons, Graham Watkins, Christoph Fischer, Thompson Authors, Judith Arnopp, Angela Fish, David Lewis, Lisa Shambrook, Sarah Jane Butfield, Thorne Moore, William Scott Artus, Judith Barrow, Carol Ann Smith, Jacqueline Jeynes, Jo Hammond, Dafydd Wyn, Nicola Beechsquirrel, Carol Lovekin, JK Samuel, Sally Spedding, Charles Griffin, Kate Murray, Steve Adams, Will MacMillan Jones
as well as
Parthian Books, Cambria Publishing, Cyfoes and Thunderpoint Publishing.

Yn ogystal â
Llyfrau Parthian Books, Cwmni cyhoeddi Cambria, Cyfoes a Chwmni Cyhoeddi Thunderpoint

There’ll be plenty of readings and events in businesses and locations all over town, making this a mini Lit Fest before Christmas. Due to popular demand we’ll also have another book hunt.

For updates on the programme and the festival locations watch this space.

Bydd digon o ddarlleniadau a digwyddiadau mewn busnesau a lleoliadau ar draws y dref, felly bydd hon yn ŵyl fer cyn Nadolig. O ganlyniad i nifer helaeth o geisiadau a dderbyniwyd, cynhelir helfa lyfrau arall. .

I gael y wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am raglen a lleoliadau’r Ŵyl gwyliwch y safle hwn.

Review: “Behind the Door (Behind the Love 4)” by PC Zick

I’m enjoying this romance series which doesn’t lose anything of its appeal from giving its characters a little more depth than we often find in the genre. Serious issues, such as PTSD and issues of self-worth make the romance all the more realistic and give its substance. Two characters with plenty to work through meet and these issues must not get in the way of their attraction.

In this fourth installment we dive into the love life of a side-character of the previous books. I often enjoy books that bring different perspectives to the same story but never read a series where this is done in separate books. Here, of course, the story focuses on Sally-Jean and her complicated love life, and we only get small reminders of the previous stories, rather than a full-blown new perspective. The charm of revisiting a beautiful story or two this way, remains.
Zick writes with a empathetic voice, a reminiscant of her time as journalist: always looking for the why, looking ay what lies behind.
Romance lovers will enjoy this book no doubt. It is heart-felt romance, with a bit of sadness and a bit of hope.

Follow this link to one of my previous posts about PC Zick



Official Blurb:

A voluptuous woman unlucky in love. A wounded psychologist on a mission. An undeniable attraction with an ethical dilemma.

Sally Jean Compton is in love. And this time it’s with a man who isn’t in love with someone else. Dr. Brett Gorman arrives in Victory to help the veterans of Deer River with PTSD symptoms. When tragedy strikes, neither Sally Jean nor Brett are prepared for what happens next.

The shocking aftermath of the terror of PTSD untreated leaves the entire town of Victory reeling. But none are more affected than Sally Jean and Brett who must deal with their own pasts and the trauma left behind.

When Sally Jean seeks out the expertise of Dr. Brett, the psychologist of the river folks, they discover an intense attraction that leads them both to learn about themselves.

But before anything happens, Sally Jean must learn she deserves to be loved, and Brett must forgive himself for the death of his friend and his sister, his wife. It’s a rocky journey to love.

Behind the Door is the fourth novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series that features sizzling attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.

About P.C. Zick 75fd9-1381222_681176021906130_1170544682_n

P.C. Zick describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. And she writes in a variety of genres, including romance, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction

Many of her novels contain stories of Florida and its people and environment, which she credits as giving her a rich base for her storytelling. “Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife – both human and animal – supply my fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable. Her Behind the Love trilogy – contemporary romance – is also set in Florida. She began the Smoky Mountain Romances in 2015, and now there are four sweet romances in the series.


Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/P.C.-Zick/e/B0083DPN4E/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/0o6-D

Website: www.pczick.com/

Blog: www.pczick.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://facebook/PCZick

Twitter: https://twitter/PCZick

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5989135.P_C_Zick

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114232083554517874771/posts

Mystery Mondays Review: “Murder at the Bijou” by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Bijou front only 2

This is a very enjoyable murder story set in the 1920s. Pip, Granny Phanny and a whole bunch of alliterated characters populate the story of surprisingly strong suspense with equally surprising turns of events.
This is hugely enjoyable and definitely recommended to anyone with a sense of fun and humour.

I loved this book when it was published in parts on the blog and loved it even more re-reading it as a whole in one sitting. Yes, one sitting.

I only now realised just how much work had gone into the individual parts. I often forgot from one week to the next what certain references mean or what they allude to. The novel is hugely enjoyable and a fun read thanks to many quirky expressions, usage of words off the beaten track, fabulous character names and many more delicious ingredients.
The writing is very original and the story line is fun and always manages to surprise you.
That’s in part because of the randomness of the supplies ingredients, but also due to the author’s creative powers.

I’m so glad this was released as novel so I can enjoy the continuity and apprefciate just how well composed this ‘fragmented’ story actually is.


Teagan about the Book

As with the first serial, Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I is a spontaneously written, pantser story. I wrote by the seat of my pants and let the “ingredients” readers sent each week drive a new serial story. This is the “bookized” version of that serial.

This time the Jazz Age setting is Savannah, Georgia where our flapper, Pip, is “sentenced” to live with her grandmother and learn to cook. Pip gets caught up in a layered mystery that includes bootleggers, G-men, and the varied challenges of being a young woman in changing times. She meets new friends, including some animal characters.

If you have not read The Three Things Serial Story, be warned. This adventure contains a bit of a spoiler, but does not go into detail about it.

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I is available through and Amazon and Create Space. If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon also offers a free app that will let you read Kindle books on your computer or other device. The purchase links are below. But first, here’s a snippet.

Blue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer

In my imagination, a young Lucille Ball would play Pip.

Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, a “southerner” by birth, was enchanted by the desert southwest of the USA when she moved there. She had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences in both the southern states of the USA and the desert southwest. Teagan writes many types of fantasy, from what she likes to call “quest type” fantasy, to urban fantasy, to fantasies with a dash of mystery. She also writes 1920s mystery stories. Her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers.

Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris.

Purchase Links

Amazon USA

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1974544273/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502806322&sr=1-4

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B074S5ZK7L/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502806322&sr=1-3

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B074S5ZK7L/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502806519&sr=1-1&keywords=murder+at+the+bijou

And https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1974544273/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502806519&sr=1-2&keywords=murder+at+the+bijou

Amazon Japanhttps://www.amazon.co.jp/Murder-Bijou-Three-Ingredients-English-ebook/dp/B074S5ZK7L/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502806623&sr=8-1&keywords=teagan+geneviene

Author Bio

Visual for Teagan_2017 Chris

Image by Chris Graham

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, a southerner by birth, was “enchanted” by the desert southwest of the USA when she moved there. Now a resident of a major east coast city, she longs to return to those enchanting lands.

Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences in both the southern states and the southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes 1920s stories and Steampunk. Her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers.

You can also visit me at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM
Twitter: https://twitter.com/teagangeneviene
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeagansBooks
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/teagangeneviene/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/teagangeneviene

Editing tools to help read your manuscript – Read Aloud

Re-blogged post. Thanks DG Kaye for this information: Source: Editing tools to help read your manuscript – Read Aloud

Many of us aren’t aware of the many options that Word offers to help with our writing. Although I don’t profess to know what all the functionalities are on the Word ribbon, I was happy to learn about the ‘Read Aloud’ feature, also known as ‘text to speech’.


My friend Marcia Meara of The Write Stuff wrote about a program she found that helps her immensely with editing her books called Natural Reader. As I was excited to learn more about that feature and made a note to download the program, I noticed in the comments in her post that if you use Word, you don’t even need to download an app because ‘Read Aloud’is available right in the Word program. You can find it by clicking on the ‘Review’ tab on the Word ribbon toolbar.

Since I’m currently in the revisions and editing stage of my newest upcoming book, I decided to try it out. I found it incredibly helpful. But let me preface by saying that having our work read back to us does in no way replace an editor. So to demonstrate how I used it and what I got out of it, I’ll share with you.


When I used the Reader:


After going through revisions and re-writes of my current WIP, I then print out a copy of my manuscript to re-read with my own eyes on paper to catch typos and other goodies I miss from reading on the computer. After making all the changes on paper, I then go back to my manuscript and make the new changes I came across on the paper edit. After all the changes, I then went back to the beginning of my MS and turned on the feature to allow the boring guy with the boring voice read back my book to me.


What did I find?


Wow! I sat in front of my computer as the voice read back my story to me. I found myself pausing it quite a few times when I’d hear a sentence that required a comma in it, detected by the sound of either a run-on or incoherent sentence. I found quite a few prepositions missed or added such as: on, it for and to. I also heard a few sentences that although weren’t originally flagged as fragmented, sounding a bit wonky to myself. The kind of sentence you may come across when reading a book that has you doing a double-take or scrolling back on your Kindle, wondering what the author meant to convey.


So, my conclusion is that this feature is immensely helpful in detecting little oversights we may have missed otherwise. Often times when we read our own work back to ourselves, we read what we expect to see, rather than what is actually in front of us. That’s why we have editors to pick up on things we miss. But this little feature should further help us to catch more little pesky oversights before sending our work to the editor, eliminating some time, and cutting the cost of the editing fees in doing so. I highly #recommend putting your work through the Reading Aloud test!


Here’s link to read more about it an demonstrate exactly how it works, as well as enabling speech to text – https://office-watch.com/2017/make-microsoft-office-speak-read-aloud/

Note*  My bad, thanks Marcia for reminding that in order to enable the Read Aloud feature, you must highlight the text you want read back to you first. 🙂

Note #2 It’s come to my attention from some of you readers that you aren’t able to access the feature on your ribbon. Here’s some help:

If you don’t see the ‘A’ in the review tab with ‘Read aloud’ under the ‘A’, you can find it! It may not have been enabled automatically on your program. Click on the tiny the tiny arrow on the top left-hand of your toolbar and a drop down box will open > click on ‘More Commands’ >Scroll down the list until you find either ‘Read Aloud’ or ‘Speak’ > Click on it and it will add the feature to your Word ribbon under ‘review’ tab. Once you’ve added it you can use it by clicking on the ‘A’ in the review tab or by the new tiny speech bubble icon that should now be right beside that tiny arrow where you click to find the ‘more commands’.

Saturday Historical Review: “Patriot’s Blood: Book Four in the Liam Mannion Series” by David Lawlor

I was delighted to find the Liam Mannion series continued. Patriots' Blood (A Liam Mannion novel Book 4) by [Lawlor, David]
After the peace treaty of Michael Collins with the English, some Irish feel that he sold them out and so the Irish conflict continues and again ‘brothers’ are fighting each other, although it is a less open civil war.
Liam won’t fight his former comrades, he’d only fight the English. But his girlfriend Kate fights on Michael Collins side, while at the same time there’s a lone killer, Branwen, taking out ‘traitors’.
He’s coming after Kate and Liam, so Liam can’t avoid getting involved.

Lawlor writes great dialogue, authentic settings and excellent suspense. Scene setting seems to come to him effortlessly. The novel is skillfully written and full of accurate historical details. The characters are well chosen with their individual backgrounds to illustrate the conflict, the various viewpoints taken and the intense tragedy of a civil war.

I found it very moving to see the conflict and its unfolding. The story is gripping, chilling with its depiction of violence, especially as it’s between people sharing so much of the same goals.

Thsi truly is an excellent series that I can’t recommend highly enough.


Interview with David Lawlor:

Tell us a little about yourself:

My day job is as an editor with a national newspaper, but in the past six or seven years I have been bitten by the writing bug. I love it.
So far, I have written four novels, but have as yet just published one of them. I am now embarking on my fifth. all of my books are set in Ireland, although the first is also set in America in the 1840s.
I live in Co Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland, and am married with four children. When I’m not writing novels I like to add to my blog – historywithatwist.wordpress.com – which celebrates the bit players of history and some of the unusual escapades many of them have got involved in. Drop by for a nose around if you have the time.

How did you come to writing in the first place?

I’ve been writing for about seven years now. I have always been interested in Native Americans and when I came across the story of the Choctaw and how they helped raise money for the Irish Famine in the 1840s, I was hooked. I wanted to tell a story of how that money came to Ireland and that’s how I wrote my first book – a tale spanning two countries and one which was also set in the present. After that book I was on a roll and have since written three more.

What was your connection or fascination with that particular time?

I’ve always been interested in those periods in which life is put on the line. I wonder how I would react if placed in a similar situation. With regards to World War 1, after which The Golden Grave is set, I wondered at what it would be like to face death on a daily basis and what the psychological impact of such an experience would have, particularly if one had to revisit such a place so soon afterwards.

How comfortable do you feel writing about history? How did you research for it?

I’m not daunted by it, mainly because I feel I don’t need to research exhaustively for it. If I have a good hook for my story then I can hone my research to suit. So far, I’ve written two books set during and after World War 1. My next book is set in 1923, so a lot of the previous research I have done regarding clothing etc can be brought to bear again. I also find old photographs hugely useful for helping me describe things.
The first book I wrote (yet to be published) was set on a Native American reservation in the 1840s and the present time, so that took a lot of research as I had never been to that part of America and had to rely on textbooks and internet searches to try to capture the feel of the place. That type of research is time consuming but great fun when it all starts to fit together.



Who are your favourite authors / influences?

I like quite a few – Robert Harris, Sebastian Faulks, Tom Wolfe, John Connolly. What I like about Connolly is that he has a beautiful turn of phrase and uses it to great effect in the build-up of his scenes. At the same time he grabs the reader and usually keeps the pace right up ‘til the end.

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

When I was in school I read Wuthering Heights eight times. I loved the mood of the book and the characters. I read a book by Tom Clancy called Without Remorse about four times, because I loved the arc of the story and was fascinated with how he did that. I have read Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full a couple of times, purely because Wolfe is just a genius when it comes to description.


Website: historywithatwist.wordpress.com
Twitter: @LawlorDavid
Amazon US:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CFNEOCU
Amazon UK:http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00CFNEOCU/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

Welsh Wednesdays: Re-blog: Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin #snowsisters @carollovekin @honno

Re-blog from: Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin #snowsisters @carollovekin @honno 
Thanks Jo from mychestnutredingtree.wordpress.com for this review of “Snowsisters” – which I will read once I secured myself a signed copy from the author (and I’m willing to stalk her from here to Timbuktu or Machu Pichu for it)

Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin #snowsisters @carollovekin @honno

I am thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin!

Book Blurb…

Two sisters, their grandmother’s old house and Angharad… the girl who cannot leave.

Meredith discovers a dusty sewing box in a disused attic. Once open the box releases the ghost of Angharad, a Victorian child-woman with a horrific secret she must share. Angharad slowly reveals her story to Meredith who fails to convince her more pragmatic sister of the visitations, until Verity sees Angharad for herself on the eve of an unseasonal April snowstorm.

Forced by her flighty mother to abandon Gull House for London, Meredith struggles to settle, still haunted by Angharad and her little red flannel hearts. This time, Verity is not sure she will be able to save her

My review…

I think this will probably be on the short side for one of my reviews as I’m absolutely convinced that any words I use to convey the beauty of this book won’t match those used by author Carol Lovekin and the gently flowing fluidity of her beautifully crafted narrative. I just wanted to cry with the sheer joy at how perfectly the poetic prose brought this story to life giving it an ethereal quality that enveloped me from the very first page.

This ghostly story unfolds over three timelines; the present with Verity returning to Gull House after a series of family deaths, Verity and Meredith living there in the late 1970s with their flighty mother Allegra and then there is the voice from the past of their “ghost” Angharad as she tells her traumatic tale to those who can finally listen. I loved all of the women’s voices here but I especially loved the relationship between the two sisters. As a mother myself I was shocked at the differing attitudes Allegra had towards her two daughters. Showing such blatant favouritism towards one child could have divided the sisters but no matter what happened, the girls remained united…….until one day Allegra drops a bombshell that will send them all scurrying back to London.

I tend not to read any books with a supernatural theme but Snow Sisters was so much more than I ever could have expected. It cast a magical spell over me so that I was completely overtaken by the lives of all the women here and the mysteries surrounding them. I noticed that the male characters remained nameless throughout (apart from Idris whom we never actually meet) which gave them an shadowy creepiness, keeping the female characters vividly at the forefront of our concern.

This is an atmospheric and hauntingly evocative novel that stirred my soul more than I thought possible. A stunningly beautiful and touching storyline that I delighted in whilst reading and felt thoroughly bereft of once finished. Highly recommended.

Snow Sisters is available to purchase now from Amazon UK. I received my review copy from the publisher Honno Press.

Meet the author…

Carol Lovekin
Carol is a writer, feminist and flâneuse. Her home is in beautiful West Wales, a place whose legends and landscape inform her writing. She writes contemporary fiction threaded with elements of magic.
Her second book, SNOW SISTERS, was published on 21 September, 2017 by Honno, the Welsh Women’s Press. It has been chosen by the Welsh Books Council as their October Book of the Month (for independent shops.)
GHOSTBIRD, her first novel, was published in March 2016. The book was chosen as Waterstones Wales and Welsh Independent Bookshops ‘Book Of The Month’ for April 2016. It was longlisted for the Guardian ‘Not the Booker’ prize 2016 and nominated for the Guardian Readers’ Book of the Year 2016.Praise for SNOW SISTERS
“Lovekin’s words soar like the birds, who see everything”
Louise Beech – ‘How To Be Brave’Praise for GHOSTBIRD
“Charming, quirky, magical”
Joanne Harris – ‘Chocolat’Author photographs © Janey Stevens