‘A Day Out In London’ by Jenny Worstall #ThePeoplesFriend

My story ‘A Day Out In London’ appears today in ‘The People’s Friend’. It was inspired by the wartime experience of my grandfather as a doctor during the Birmingham air raids.

The picture below shows my grandfather (left) with his wife and father after receiving the George Medal.

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I have changed some names and details for the story and relied heavily on my imagination to fill in the blanks but the bit about my grandfather helping someone who had fainted after having the pin of his medal stuck in him by the King is true, according to a very reliable source, my mother; I owe her a great debt of gratitude for answering my endless questions about her father and about the War, furnishing me with material for this story and many others.

I am thrilled that ‘The People’s Friend’ chose this story, which is very close to my heart, for their 11th November Remembrance edition of the magazine.

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Review of Silent Night (a Christmas Story Collection) by Wendy Clarke #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Silent Night: A Christmas Story Collection by [Clarke, Wendy]

 

 

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.
I have long been an admirer of Wendy Clarke’s short stories; she writes with great delicacy about the deep emotional truths found at the heart of seemingly everyday lives.
Christmas is a time of heightened emotion and this collection explores themes of loneliness, loss and love, all with the constant thread of the real meaning of Christmas running through.
In ‘Finding Santa’ we sympathise with a family stranded at Gatwick Airport as the festive season starts and in ‘All I Want for Christmas’ we feel for the new step-father desperately searching the shops for the elusive must-have-toy late on Christmas Eve.
The most original story of the collection in my opinion is ‘Silent Night’, but my favourite is ‘Christmas Strike’, for its humour and for the tenderness of its resolution.
So, enjoy this wonderful collection, with a mince pie and a cup of tea at your elbow!
WARNING: keep a tissue at the ready too, as Wendy Clarke really knows how to pull at the heart-strings.

 

Link to Silent Night on Amazon UK

 

#Bookblogger bashing: in the end, you’re only hurting yourself #MondayBlogs

Greta article! Thank you Terry and Rosie.

Rosie Amber

Today I’m hosting a post written by Terry Tyler which I feel strongly about aswell.

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#Bookblogger bashing: in the end, you’re only hurting yourself.

I’ve read a few posts lately about book bloggers being bullied or ‘trolled’ by writers for whom they have received bad reviews, or whose books they have rejected.  For more on this, here’s a heartrending post from The Happy Meerkat, and an associated one on Fictionophile about whether or not reviews should be objective or personal opinion, amongst other things.

Like 99% of the rest of the online writer/reader/blogger/reviewer community, I’m appalled that bloggers who give up their time to read books by total strangers, for no payment, are receiving such harassment.

I write this from the point of view of a writer, and a book reviewer.  Although my own book review blog is mostly for my own reading choices, I’m also a member of

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Gloria Crumb, the Crimplene Mum

My short story ‘Gloria Crumb, the Crimplene Mum’ is published today in ‘The People’s Friend Special’.

This is how I feel:

 

Thank you, People’s Friend, for patiently ploughing through my stories and selecting this one!

Note to writers: The People’s Friend is the most generous of magazines and so encouraging to fledgling writers. It will comment on your work and gently steer you in the right direction. Feedback from magazines is rare these days, except from The People’s Friend. They genuinely want to help you develop.

The inspiration for Gloria Crumb came many years ago from my sister. As teenagers, we shared an aversion to crimplene. We thought it was old-fashioned and used to laugh (and not always in a nice way!) at crimplene-clad characters. I filled in a coupon at the back of a magazine which promised to send you various free samples of crimplene so that you could choose the most suitable pattern to cover your sofa – but I filled it in using my sister’s name. She was naturally enough ecstatic to receive the little multi-coloured squares in the post and set about making a patchwork bag, the home for a cardboard cut out figure she named Gloria Crumm (now changed to Crumb). I came across the bag recently at the bottom of my wardrobe and decided it was time for Gloria to feature in a story.

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Hope you manage to grab a copy of ‘The People’s Friend Special’ (4.1.2017) and get acquainted with ‘Gloria Crumb, the Crimplene Mum’. You can buy The People’s Friend Special 134 from today from all good newsagents – or a digital version through The People’s Friend website. https://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/category/the-magazine/

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Elizabeth Papers’ by Jenetta James #RBRT #BookReview

The Elizabeth Papers by [James, Jenetta]

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team.

The Elizabeth Papers is an intriguing romantic suspense novel that flashes seamlessly between the lives of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy once they are married, and Evie and Charlie in the present day.

I was drawn to it immediately as Elizabeth Bennet is my favourite Austen heroine. I don’t think it is possible to capture completely the chemistry between Darcy and Elizabeth nor Elizabeth’s brilliantly witty and teasing speech patterns unless your name is Jane Austen, but in my opinion this book stands up with the best of the sequels to Pride and Prejudice and for this reason I have given it five stars.

The attention to detail is faultless, both in the historical settings and in the present day world of art and detection, but the tale really becomes interesting when Evie and Charlie, the present day characters, make a visit to Pemberley and the two worlds collide…but no, I can’t spoil the mystery for you! I thoroughly recommend this book – but make sure you put some unbroken time aside because once you are hooked (in the very first chapter) you will have to read on and on until the mystery is solved.

Write a #BOOKREVIEW in August! A great post from Terry Tyler to encourage us all to write book reviews.

August 2016 is Write An Amazon Review Month! By @TerryTyler4 #AugustReviews

 

On Monday 25th July, book blogger Rosie Amber wrote this post encouraging readers and writers alike to post a short review on Amazon for any book they’ve read and enjoyed ~ following this up, Terry Tyler is starting this initiative along with other writer-bloggers including Rosie, Cathy from Between The Lines, Barb Taub, Shelley Wilson and Alison Williams.

 

The idea is that, from August 1st, everyone who reads this uses their Amazon account to post just one review on one book that they’ve read (but feel free to carry on if you get in the swing!).  You don’t even have to have read it recently, it can be any book you’ve read, any time.  The book does not have to have been purchased from Amazon, though if it is you get the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag on it; however, if you download all your books via Kindle Unlimited, as many do these days, they don’t show the VP tag, anyway.

 

Remember, this isn’t the Times Literary Supplement, it’s Amazon, where ordinary people go to choose their next £1.99 Kindle book.  No one expects you to write a thousand word, in-depth critique; I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to read one short paragraph or a couple of lines saying what an average reader thought of a book, than a long-winded essay about the pros and cons of the various literary techniques used.  Yes, those are welcome too (!), but no more so than a few words saying “I loved this book, I was up reading it until 3am”, or “I loved Jim and Vivien and the dialogue was so realistic”, or whatever!

 

Why should you write a review?

They help book buyers make decisions.  Don’t you read the reviews on Trip Advisor before deciding on a hotel, or any site from which you might buy an item for practical use?  Book reviews are no different.

If the book is by a self-published author, or published by an independent press, the writers have to do all their promotion and marketing themselves ~ reviews from the reading public is their one free helping hand.

The amount of reviews on Amazon helps a book’s visibility (allegedly).  If you love a writer’s work and want others to do so, too, this is the best possible way of making this happen.

It’s your good deed for the day, and will only take five minutes!

 

Off we go, then!  A few more pointers:

If you need any help with writing your review, do click on Rosie’s post, above.

A review can be as short as one word.  The shortest one I have is just two 🙂

You don’t have to put your name to the review, as your Amazon ‘handle’ can be anything you like.

No writer expects all their reviews to be 5* and say the book is the best thing ever written; there is a star rating guide on Rosie’s post.

Would you like to tell the Twittersphere about your review?  If so, tweet the link to it with the hashtag #AugustReviews ~ and thank you!  I will do one blog post a week featuring these links: The #AugustReviews Hall of Fame (thank you, Barb!).

 

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#TuesdayBookBlog ‘What Tim Knows’ by Wendy Janes #RBRT #BookReview

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team.

This wonderful collection of short stories takes six characters from Wendy Janes’ novel ‘What Jennifer Knows’ and gives each of them a canvas to themselves. The stories link back cleverly to the novel and give further insights into the characters’ lives and behaviour. Jennifer, the heroine of ‘What Jennifer Knows’, appears in every story at different points in her life. Even though the stories are entwined with the novel, they can be read as a standalone volume with great enjoyment too.
The fifth story, ‘The Perfect Family’, explores the shifting loyalties and cruelties of childhood friendship and how a child’s perception of her parents can change in a crisis.
The emotional gem, for me, is ‘What Tim Knows’. Wendy Janes has a real understanding of what it feels like for a child to be different and how this affects the behaviour and feelings of others too. The closing scene between Tim and his mother Blythe is truly heart-wrenching.
I have no hesitation in recommending this fantastic collection and hope it will send new readers in search of the novel it is so much part of.

Link to ‘What Tim Knows’ on Amazon UK

 

What Tim Knows, and other stories by [Janes, Wendy]