The Heroine’s Journey of Mary Ann Bernal

Meet gifted historical novelist Mary Ann Bernal in this interview reblog. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first of her amazing series, and have been working with Mary Ann in her capacity as editor. I’m compelled to share her Heroine’s Journey here. Enjoy!

The Heroine's Journey

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I love being able to share my passion for history, breathing life into ancient characters and reminding the modern reader that they were just like us.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness is being at peace with one’s self as you tackle the challenges of life.

What is my greatest fear? Having hatred and violence escalate into another world war.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Lack of patience, but I’m working on that.

What is my greatest extravagance? Owning DVDs of my favorite TV shows and movies; I just “have to have them!” I especially love the behind the scenes extras, enlightening harmless gossip while enjoying a bowl of popcorn.

On what occasion would I lie? Only little white lies to keep feelings from being hurt, but I’d rather not say…

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Review: Toccata Obbligato ~ Serenading Kyra (Out of the Box #2.5) by Jennifer Theriot

23361159I know that many of you love novels set in the music business, with rock stars and a good bad guy. Jennifer Theriot, not a stranger to my blog at all, has delivered us one of those men. He is real, although adored and surrounded by groupies and adoration – he wants something more.
Who would be better suited than someone who doesn’t adore him, not know of his music and isn’t interested in that kind of life at all?
Now there is a challenge anda  good beginning for a interesting romance story.
Knowing Jennifer from the Ice Bucket challenge I am familiar with her actual voice, which made me stumble over the male voice in her book at first, But she wrote Todd so well adn authentic, I soon forgot it was her telling us the story.
The novel is beautiful, funny and sexy.
As someone on Goodreads said: “A brilliant addition to her series and proof of her talent as an author. Very impressive!”

The book on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Todd O’Malley has been called many things, from filthy mouthed jerk to legendary Rock God. With his outlandish cocky demeanor – tatted up and pierced, to his constant use of the F-bomb, and the seductive gyrations he performs for the ladies on stage, he is a man every woman craves. But there is only one woman who is able to capture his heart, Kyra Edwards.
That chance meeting at a little coffee shop in Evanston began their journey of compromise, pain, dedication and love.
From the night he took her virginity to Todd’s past sex-capades and consequences threatening their relationship, will Kyra be able to deal with it? With Todd and his band Avenue touring on the road, can he prove to Kyra that he is a changed man? Can he be faithful and avoid temptation?
Jennifer Theriot brings us yet another love story that will capture our hearts. This is truly a story of Beauty and the Beast, where we admire the beauty that is Kyra and adore the beast known as Todd.

You loved him in the Out of the Box series….see what makes him tick within the pages of Toccata Obbligato ~ Serenading Kyra and meet the woman who won his heart.


Jennifer Theriot hails from the Great State of Texas. She is a career woman, working as CFO of a Texas based real estate investment firm by day and does her writing at nights and on weekends. In her limited spare time, Jennifer enjoys being outdoors; preferably somewhere on a beach curled up with a good book. Spending time with family and friends, listening to music, watching a baseball game and enjoying a good bottle of wine are usually on her to-do lists. She’s mom to three grown children and ‘MiMi’ to three grandkids – all of whom she adores!
Her best-selling Out of the Box Series, OUT OF THE BOX AWAKENING, OUT OF THE BOX REGIFTED and TOCCATA OBBLIGATO~SERENADING KYRA are currently available on . The final in the Out of the Box series, OUT OF THE BOX EVERLASTING will be released in 2015.

Author @BRChitwood releases CLOUD DANCER #timetravel |

Author Billy Ray Chitwood has done it again. As a writer of multiple genres, including mystery, suspense, and romance, Billy Ray is reaching for something new and exciting with his latest…

Source: Author @BRChitwood releases CLOUD DANCER #timetravel

Author @BRChitwood releases CLOUD DANCER #timetravel

Author Billy Ray Chitwood has done it again.

As a writer of multiple genres, including mystery, suspense, and romance, Billy Ray is reaching for something new and exciting with his latest, Cloud Dancer. In a recent blog, he confided it is his wife’s belief that he has Cherokee in his blood.

For this reason, Billy Ray ventured into the writing of Cloud Dancer, a love story set in modern times and in 1838. It also explores the pain and suffering of the Cherokee along the historic ‘Trail of Tears.”

It’s currently available, so be sure to get your copy!

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cloud dancer

Buy the e-book from Amazon

Paperback: Amazon US

A freeway accident in his modern world changes the life of Blake Fielding as he is transported back in time to the infamous ‘Trail of Tears”. Back in today’s world, he finds murder, mystery, and the woman of his dreams. This is a book that takes the reader to the pinnacle of love, crosses genres, and reveals the soul-rending fate of a people who suffered the inequities of history.

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Connect to Billy Ray


The Other Twin | Lesley Hayes

Fantastic News: One of my favorite writers released a new book. Lesley Hayes won my “Writer of the Year Award”, so this is big news.

Source: The Other Twin | Lesley Hayes


The Other Twin-cover

As anyone who has read my novel The Drowned Phoenician Sailor knows, I am intrigued by the special connection shared by twins. Like Verity, the central character in The Other Twin, I was born under the aegis of the zodiac sign Gemini, and perhaps that has fuelled my fascination. The twins I have known in real life (I always feel compelled to add “whatever that is” when I use that term) are not joined at the hip emotionally, and are often at odds, resentful of the assumption that they will think alike, dress alike, and get on like a house on fire. Setting each other’s houses on fire is more likely, from what I’ve observed – the uneasy sense that each is stealing part of themselves they want back, but can never have while the other twin is around.

Of course there are twins, I’m sure, who are happy with the mirror image each offers, and enjoy spending time together and sharing their toys, their clothes, their friends, and maybe even their lovers – but they aren’t the ones who intrigue me. As with all my novels, it’s the shadow that grabs my interest, the dark side of our loving, generous natures; the part of us that is driven by powerful desires that sometimes shame and frighten us with their intensity.

I’ve written before about the process of writing a novel, and each time – much like a love affair – it’s both familiar and yet unique. This novel was written in various stages, begun soon after I finished writing Dangerous People, while I was grieving the loss of those characters. (I said it was like a love affair.) I recognize, as probably many of my readers do, that there are certain archetypes that emerge again and again in my writing. As a psychologist I am well aware that there is some deep angst in my psyche I am attempting to exorcise – but it’s best just to acknowledge that rather than try and analyse it. Ripping the wings off a creative butterfly is never particularly useful. I’ll leave it to the critics.

There are times when it seems the universe hurls great Sisyphean boulders in our path to block us – or as I prefer to think of it, challenge us. During the early months of writing I was simultaneously orchestrating a move from the house I have lived in for thirty years. Anyone who has done this knows what a tortuous labour house buying and selling can be, and this was no easy ride. I was full of enthusiasm that gradually morphed into cynicism (not a comfortable fit for me) as I learned the hard way that not everyone can be trusted to play by the same rules as me. On the plus side, I gave roomfuls and cupboardfuls of stuff away to charity, and pared my belongings down to an almost Zenlike simplicity. (Definitely a good fit. I do love a good cull.) Only weeks away from the actual move (the third house I had made an offer on, and so surely third time lucky) family events erupted which ultimately meant I ended up not moving at all.

Here is not the place to talk about those events, which are still painfully raw, but it meant that once again the novel writing had to be relegated to an even lower position down the league table of my priorities. I wasn’t sure, for a couple of months, if I would ever properly return to it. My heart was elsewhere, wrapped around with many layers of grief. Not surprisingly, given all the stress I was experiencing, I had been unwell throughout much of this time, from the end of last autumn all the way through to now. My chronic fibromyalgia, neuralgia and associated stomach problems, soared to new heights of suffering. I’m not complaining. I have learned to live with the physical effects of what was once dubbed “over-sensitivity”. Sometimes it proves an easier companion than others. Writing has been for me one of the ways of liberating myself from pain – emotional as well as physical. And so it proved this time, eventually.

I opened my laptop one day and saw the poor neglected file that held two thirds of the completed first draft of The Other Twin, and started to read it. By the time I got to the end, I had to find out what happened next… and there was only me to write it. I had fallen in love with my characters all over again. Who were they really, beneath the masks they had assumed for the purposes of the narrative? Verity had already changed since she was introduced at the start of the novel. She had matured, as I always intend for my characters, experience having enabled her to widen her emotional horizons and grow kinder and more insightful. It’s what we each hope for ourselves, after all. I wondered where her choices would lead her, and continued to write avidly, discovering along the way.

The ending surprised even me. Had I always meant for it to be this way? It had the ring of inevitability about it, but even so I toyed with the notion of alternatives. But no other kind of ending had the same integrity, and so I had to bow to the deeper wisdom of the muse, as so often before. It really does seem sometimes as though a novel writes itself.

Do I know any more about the psychology of twins after writing it? Do you understand more by reading it? As in most of my stories, I have explored those themes that haunt me: the sometimes banal face of evil – the corruption at the heart of human nature that pushes us towards acts of betrayal, manipulation and annihilation. I like to keep my canvas small. We see those themes writ large on the world stage, and are shocked by the things we read and hear on the news, the crimes we all agree are beyond the pale. And yet, there in the closeted world of our family, those themes resonate time and again, and we are often blind to them. It can feel safer simply to ignore them. I guess in my novels I hope to open your eyes to see what I see, and remember we are each the sum of the choices we make. In the end, that’s how we are known and remembered.

You can find The Other Twin on kindle at Amazon The Other Twin

Welsh Wednesdays Review: “The Man behind the Glass” by Greg Howes

23898903If you like stories set in Victorian London, Oliver, Jack the Ripper, Doctor Who or anything dark and mysterious then this is for you. A book full of surprises and intrigue.
We follow Septimus Blackwood, the main protagonist of this story, experimenting with a new type of photography. What he finds on his mission is more than he has bargained for, in terms of science and his own personal past. The philosophical meets science, legacy meets innovation.
The setting in the Victorian era lends itself to beautiful and also scary mysteries like this one. The beginning of a new school of science, fantastic innovations and the darkness of London’s alleys and tunnels provide a perfect setting that is chilling and compelling at the same time.

Find the book on Amazon Uk and Amazon US

Meet Greg at the Llandeilo Book Fair December 2016

“The Man Behind The Glass is based around a character called Septimus Blackwood, a Victorian photographer with a difference. The story is set in London’s East end in the year 1860 . It is predominantly a mystery adventure story, based on uncovering the hidden secrets of life and death and a quest for a missing legacy buried deep amongst the forgotten rivers and cellars beneath old London. It is also a race against time, Septimus not only finds himself competing against the tide,he is also at odds with the twin evils of Joseph Bazalgette’s new sewage system and the formation of what was to become known as London’s underground train network.
It takes the reader on a supernatural journey of intrigue, horror and unexpected fantastical explorations. Mid Victorian London, was a place and time unlike any other; it was a time of expansion, vision, exploration and experiment. It was also a time of great contrasts, in wealth, health and opportunities. This intriguing voyage of discovery combined with the highly satirical characters found therein takes you to the edge of your seat and beyond…

Welsh Wednesdays Re-blog fromThorny matters: Fair Play – why book fairs? #TenbyBookFair

Source: Thorny matters: Fair Play – why book fairs?

Fair Play – why book fairs?

I’ll be taking part in a small flurry of book fairs soon: The Rhondda, on September 3rd, Tenby  (which I am helping to organise) on September 24th, and Carmarthen on October 1st.

Tenby Book Fair 2015

To stand at a stall, offering my wares, might seem a very Mediaeval way of going about things in the days of internet ordering and e-books. Besides, what are bookshops for, if not to provide any book that anyone is looking for? Literary festivals like Hay, with big names addressing crowds of fans are all very well, but why bother with book fairs?

The reason is that for most of us authors, such events are the only occasions when we get to meet our readers in the flesh, to discuss our work and hear their opinion. We write for ourselves, mostly, and perhaps to please a publisher or agent, but ultimately, since we choose to be published, rather than storing our work in notebooks under our bed, we write for “the reader” out there, who will devour our polished words. It becomes a somewhat surreal situation if our readers never materialise in the flesh. We need the contact to keep it real.

A fair also allows us to meet our fellow authors, in an atmosphere where everything is all about books, and sometimes it’s very healthy to escape the private isolation of writing and remind ourselves that we are not alone. There are other people as obsessed with writing as us.

For indie authors, who self-publish, and who want to rely on more than Kindle sales on Amazon, fairs can be almost the only way to put their printed books out there, for people to see. Many bookshops simply don’t stock independent authors. An ISBN number is not enough to get you on the “List.” And for us conventionally published authors, there is no guarantee that bookshops, even their local bookshops, will pay them any attention whatsoever. If you are lucky, you might find a copy of your book, buried in a dark corner, out of sequence, while the front displays concentrate on the highly promoted big names. If you are in the hands of one of the mega-publishing houses, which sees you as a potential block-buster in WH Smiths or on airport concourses, then they might send you off on tour round the country or the world, to meet your readers. They might flaunt your book cover on billboards for you. 99% of authors don’t get that treatment, so we have to put ourselves out there.

And that’s what book fairs are for. So do come. We’re a rare breed and well worth gawping at.

What’s new with me: A cosy Murder Mystery in Wales, and a Caribbean thriller / sequel to “The Healer”

download (9)I’ve had a busy summer working on my next two projects. “The Body in the Snow”, a cosy murder mystery set in Wales, and “Cayman Brac”, the sequel to “The Healer”, set on the Grand Cayman Islands.





“The Body in the Snow” is a light-hearted mystery in which the characters and setting should be more prominent than the actual murder case. Although I truly love those ‘Agatha-Christie-style-books’ with great twists and unexpected endings, I also enjoy those novels where colourful characters are the main attraction. This is my feeble attempt to take a break from the more serious writing and just have fun:

A faded singer and her desperate attempts for a comeback, a highly unprofessional buddhist/ lesbian detective, neighbourhood disputes, scandals and ‘keeping up appearances’ in a Welsh hamlet provide the ingredients for “The Body in the Snow”.
I’ve had the idea several years back in a snow-related blackout and had great fun creating the story over the course of three years. I hope to present the novel at the Tenby Book Fair,  September 24th 2016. 

healer cover for kindle
“Cayman Brac”  on the other hand is more of a thriller and finds Arpan (from “The Healer”) on Grand Cayman, where he has opened his training centre. Erica catches up with him in her search for the guilty party from book one. The story also brings in Ben Andrews, a character from my other thriller Gamblers readfreelyThe Gamblers”, so you have really two sequels rolled into one.
I hope to publish this book by the end of the year. For those of you who haven’t read “The Healer” yet, I have copies of the audio version to give away. Please leave a comment if you are interested or follow this link.

The book is currently nominated for “Book of the Month”. Feel free to cast your vote here. Thank You!



The Healer

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her.  Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons, casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her.  Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?






Review – Ludwika by Christoph Fischer

Wendy Unsworth

imageSet during WWII, this is the story of Ludwika, a young woman who makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her family, including her daughter, behind  in their small village in Poland and move to Germany where she will work for an SS officer. She goes believing that her friendship with the German will help protect her family through the dark days of war yet to come. Once in Germany however she finds her situation is far from what she had hoped; her position in society is precarious and she must quickly adapt in order to survive and have any chance of being reunited with her family again.

What struck me most about this story was the perspective. It was an interesting insight into the plight of those left behind whilst their loved ones fought for freedom; their struggle to live some kind of normality and survive occupation and all its…

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Mystery Monday: Review: “Fava” by John Hazen

28361209I’m delighted to share my review of “Fava” by John Hazen. I am a abig fan of John’s work and was excited to see what he would make of the thriller genre. What I found is a action packed, fast paced and breath-taking polit-thriller. As another reviewer put it: “What an excellent story to read, especially in times of islamophobia and racial hatred.”
While 9/11 is the trigger for a revenge terror plot against Muslims, we meet enough ‘regular’ believers to see how things can be put out of perspective. Such is the genius of John’s writing that he brings this, perspective, into all of his work.
A journalist is a step ahead of the rest of the press when she discovers that the winner of a collossal Lottery jackpot is set to use the money to avenge his brother’s death in the Pentagon on 9/11.
The attempt to stop the act of terror involves a lot of action, drama and a lot of twists. I am impressed by John’s versatility as much as I was on the edge of my seat to find out how the story would come to its conclusion.
Character depth, solid research and attention to detail are a given with this writer.
As another reviewer put it:
“Setting the record straight on some wrong believes about Islam and Muslims on the way, this is an excellent polit-thriller, an engaging page turner with depth and a solid plot.
Highly recommended.”

JOhn HazenBio: John Hazen came to writing novels relatively late in life, but once he started he hasn’t looked back. He was born and raised in Massachusetts but has lived in the New York City/New Jersey area for the past forty years. Degrees from Rutgers, The New School and NYU buttress a lifelong passion for learning and a love of history. Inspired by Lynn, his wife of over thirty-five years, he pursued the dream of becoming an established author and is now working on his fifth book. John and Lynn love to travel, and the experiences of those travels find their way into his writing. John’s reading tastes are eclectic, ranging from histories to classic novels to an occasional piece of modern trash. His absolute “must reads” are Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time.

Website –

Twitter – @john_hazen

Facebook –

Book links:


Fava – or

Journey of an American Son – or

Dear Dad –

Aceldama – or

My interview with John 

Interview with Peri Hoskins

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a new talent, Peri Hoskins, whose novel is due for release tomorrow. Welcome Peri. Please tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.Peri 1 warmer tones cropped

I wanted to be a writer from a young age.  I loved reading as a child and was reading novels at the age of seven.  At High School I excelled at English, History and Geography.  I went to university, and completed both a law degree with honours and a BA in English with sub-majors in Philosophy and Economics.  In my first year at university while sitting in 20th century English literature lectures I was in my element.  I was too young to write novels then, I needed to live first: have some experiences to write about.

Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?

At the age of thirty I decided to travel around Australia and write a novel about it.  I completed that novel 22 years later, in 2016.  The book is called ‘East – A Novel’.  It will be out as an eBook in August 2016.  In 2014 I wrote and published my first book ‘Millennium – A Memoir’.  I took the travel notes for that book in 1999/2000.  So there has been delay between starting and completing my books.  The reason for that is my life, like most people’s lives, has been busy.  I’ve been busy earning a living, having relationships and generally living life. And it took time to find my writer’s voice; that came to me later in life.

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

Many great writers including Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell and John Steinbeck inspired me to become a writer.  At school it was generally acknowledged by my teachers that I could write well, and that was encouraging.  At university one of my lecturers said I had ‘a good solid prose style.’  He also said it was ‘a little wordy’ and it was back then.  In the years since I’ve cut the wordiness back to something pretty lean and economical.  I’m comfortable with the prose style I have now.  It didn’t come easily.  Like most worthwhile things it has been hard earned.

Tell me a little more about your writing style.'East' front cover

I’m a ‘tell it like it is writer’.  I’m interested in getting to the truth of things.  My books are not politically correct.  You won’t find the truth in political correctness.  I’m writing to be an authentic voice that both entertains and makes people think.

Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?

My books are both travelogue stories based on real life experiences.  I’ve found travel conducive to creativity; it frees the mind and frees the soul.  The rat on the wheel working life stifles creativity.

What is your life like outside of writing?

I work as a barrister, which is a self-employed lawyer.  I specialise in civil litigation.

What makes you laugh?

Politically incorrect humour.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

I think it was Charles Bukowski who said: ‘My heroes are all dead and the replacements seem very shoddy indeed.’  The people I’d like to invite for dinner have passed on.  Writers I would invite would include Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac and F Scott Fitzgerald.  I would also invite the philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

I talk about music during ‘East’ including songs like ‘I Walk the Line’ by Johnny Cash and music of the time by ‘The Smiths’ and ‘ZZ Top’.  Those songs would naturally fit with the movie of ‘East’.

What are you working on now?  

I’m busy promoting ‘East’ and working in my law practice.  I’ll get back to creative writing some time soon.  I think there’s at least one more book to come.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

A New York literary agent has read ‘East’ and says ‘its great’ and ‘without question the most anticipated book of the summer.’  I’m looking forward to the release.

Short author bio:Peri 1 warmer tones cropped
Peri Hoskins is a citizen of both Australia and New Zealand.  He is a child of the 20th century, born in Wellington, New Zealand.  He is the second son in a family of five children.  His first book, ‘Millennium – A Memoir’ was published in 2014.  The book was well reviewed in The New Zealand Listener and has received many five star reader reviews.  Peri Hoskins lived in Australia between 1985 and 2005.  His second book ‘East – A Novel’ is a 1994 slice of life travelogue novel in the tradition of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road.’  ‘East’ will launch as an eBook in August 2016.  Peri Hoskins writes books and works as a barrister-at-law.
My author website is at
For a limited time I have the Millennium ebook free from my website.  Here is the link
The ‘East’ eBook is available now as a preorder both at Apple and Amazon.
I’m at Twitter @PeriHoskins

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