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06 December 2014: 'Two Turtle Doves' - a short story by author Neal James, featured on Amber Valley Info Website.


Two Turtle Doves

“Want another?” Ted nodded at the empty cup in his wife’s hand.

“Please.” Alice smiled as she handed it across to him.

“You warm enough?”

“Oh yes.” She said, pulling the car rug more closely around her and tucking it down inside the wheelchair. “It’s lovely here for the time of year.”

Sitting on the seafront at Skegness had been one of their favourite ways of spending a day out, even when the children had been young. Now that their two were grown up and self-sufficient there was no need to scrimp on refreshments. Ted’s salary, and now his pension, had been more than a match for their comfortable lifestyle, and gone were the days of carrying bags full of provisions around the holiday resort. He got up from the bench at the side of the RNLI shop, eased off the brake on Alice’s wheelchair, and they headed off down to the line of refreshment stalls at the edge of the boating lake.

“Let’s go the whole hog, and have fish and chips as well.” She smiled up at him as he parked her at the side of one of the picnic tables. “Make mine a big one.”

Skegness – a resort to which they had been coming for many years. Ted Marsh and Alice Calladine had first spoken to each other at the Derbyshire Miners’ Holiday Camp on Winthorpe Avenue in 1963. Their fathers had worked at Ormonde Pit, his as a deputy and hers as a shotfirer. It had been normal practice for the ‘Overmen’ to go to Butlin’s on the other side of Roman Bank, but Sid Marsh had always insisted on taking his family on the same holiday as those of the men under him on the same shift. A committed Socialist and Labour Party member, he was a firm believer in ‘sticking with the boys’ as he put it. Ted had been 16, and although he had seen Alice around at home, it had not been until that year that he realised just how pretty she was. Now 14, and without the spots which had made her hide her face, she was fast becoming something of a stunner. She took his breath away.

Ted came back from the refreshment stall with a couple of hefty portions and two large steaming teas. After all these years, Alice still made his heart beat just that little bit faster every single time he clapped eyes on her. She smiled across the table at him and it was all that he could do to keep the tears from his eyes.

The appointment at the Derby Oncology Clinic had told the two of them more than they really wanted to know. The cancer which had reared its head during the summer of 2013 had now advanced, and was progressing more rapidly with each passing week. Taking a holiday at the height of summer, as had been their custom, was no longer an option. Time was fast running out, and the consultant’s opinion was that the disease would take its toll in no more than three months. That had been a fortnight ago, and with decreasing mobility looming, Ted had booked a weekend at the East Coast resort immediately. This was their first of those two days.

“You know, for late November we couldn’t have wished for a better day.” Alice paused between mouthfuls of her Grimsby haddock. “Back here, off the seafront, you could almost believe it was spring.”

Ted smiled again – there was no supressing the woman’s innate skill for making the best of a worsening situation, and for a moment he completely forgot the terrible sickness which was set to devastate their lives.

“We’ve had some grand times here.” He said. “All those years at the camp when the kids were little. What was the name of the Entertainments Manager? Mike, or Mick something.”

“Millington!” She laughed out loud. “My, he was a laugh, and all the children loved him. Remember when our Louise entered that talent competition that they ran each week?”

“Aye.” Ted replied. “She’d been practising that piano piece for weeks, and I told her she was going to win. Nine she was, and when Mick asked her what she was going to play, she said ‘The Dream of Olwyn’, and ‘All Through the Night.”

“And he told her…” Alice frowned slightly, trying to recall the words. She looked up and smiled once more. “He said ‘Well, you can play it all through the night if you want, young lady, but we’ve all got to go by ten o’clock.’ He was a right card.”

“His face soon changed when she hit those first two chords, though.” Ted pushed his shoulders back and a smile of pure pride lit up his face. “You could hear the silence in the whole theatre as she played that piece. Brought the house down when she finished, and there was still another to come.”

The two of them shook their heads at the memory and, over the course of the meal, further stories came back out of the past almost as fresh as the days when they took place. They laughed more over those fish and chips than they had since the first signs of the cancer began to herald the anguish to come. Ted wrapped up the chip trays, cups and forks in the paper and placed them in the rubbish bin as he wheeled his wife towards the town. Time for a piece of cake and another cuppa.

Making their way down Lumley Road, Ted steered the wheelchair along the left fork as the street veered off into what was, in the past, referred to as Chip Alley. The Salvation Army tea rooms was always a favourite haunt and, with Alice safely parked in the far corner, he made his way to the counter. Neither of them had spotted the party of three entering the tea room immediately behind them.

“You spoil me.” Alice laughed as her husband placed the tray on the table – she was lost for words at the size of the cakes. “What about my figure?”

“Get it down you, you daft sod.” He smiled. “What does it matter now?”

Click link to read full story here...

 

Neal James is the author of four books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds', 'Threads of Deceit' and Full Marks, Neal's latest book is titled Day of the Phoenix.

 

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05 December 2014: Waterstones book signing photos for GORILLA DREAMS

 

 

GORILLA DREAM Waterstones book signing - Illustrator, Mary Casserley (left), Author Sue Hampton (right)

 

 

 

GORILLA DREAM Waterstones book signing - Author Sue Hampton with fans

 

 

 

GORILLA DREAM Waterstones book signing - Illustrator, Mary Casserley in action

 

 

 

GORILLA DREAM Waterstones book signing - Gorilla Dreams poster display with Author Sue Hampton

 

 

Sue Hampton is the author of 'Pomp and Circumstances', 'Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas' and Gorilla Dreams.

 

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06 October 2014: Richard Selby's review of 'Come What May' - Poems "from a beautiful mind, and also a tough mind".

 

The Review

Henry Disney's collection of poems "Come What May", weave together the myriad threads of a life-time's experiences into a richly coloured tapestry. And you will surely disagree with him, as I have, when he describes his work as, "stumbling verse" - AWE: page 26 and "faltering rhyme" - CELEBRATION: page 48. It is certainly not either of these things. Henry hacks away at the brambles of what he sees as a corrupt and corrupting world, to allow the light of some higher hope to sparkle on the clearing ground. Life is in the blood - The Bible: Leviticus chapter 17 verse 11, thus Henry is very sanguine about the risks of living out a human span without the gift of life from God. The nation needs to know the truth, he seems to be saying. When we have put down our daily papers, Henry seeks to offer us the truth between the lines and picks up his pen to fill his empty pages with mildly waspish words, withal the headline - The Emperor Has No Clothes!"

 

'Richard Selby works with children who have special needs in Bury St Edmunds'

 

Henry Disney is the author of Reiteration, Teach us of Love, Come What May and Guided by Knowledge, inspired by love

 

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04 October 2014: An excellent review of 'Whittington Manor 2 - The Poppy Sunset' by Harry Riley.

 

The Review

Having read the first Whittington Manor novel by Claire Voet, I fully expected W.M. II would have that same deft touch. I was not wrong.

I cannot claim this is a man’s adventure book, full of fire and brimstone, but what I can say is that if someone out there is looking for a really good

read, a cracking story, full of intrigue, and dirty dealings, and possessing of some really nasty characters that make your blood boil, then this is one for you.

However, this book should contain a warning for wimps like me, who believe that a beautiful woman who acts out of character can be much more scary than a man. The reader’s hackles will probably rise much quicker than mine, as sinister acts and strange behaviour begin to unfold throughout these pacey chapters.

Yet within these pages, betrayal, and sinister plotting is not just confined to the forceful women as they lead their men and even their own kind by

the nose. This story has family wantonness and strife in abundance, and at no point was I able to detect how this tale might end.

Whittington Manor II begins after the Second World War has ended, and when the millions of British people, rich and poor alike, were returning to

ruined homes and family life that could never be quite the same again. The author paints a vivid picture of the stark contrast between working

class and the aristocracy, of how different we all speak and act and of how wealth and the lack of it has no monopoly on breeding.

Please, don’t just take my word for it, pick up the book and read, and I defy you to be disappointed with your choice, or to predict the ending!

 

Claire Voet is the author of 'Whittington Manor', 'The Other Daddy - A World Away' and Whittington Manor 2 - The Poppy Sunset

 

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03 October 2014: Silver Eagle: Ronald Ooms answering questions from the public at a Q&A event in Geel, Belgium which marked the start of the city's 70th anniversary of its liberation.

 

 

Ronald Ooms is the author of ‘Silver Eagle (Dutch Version) - Het waargebeurd verhaal van Clancy Lyall. Veteraan van de Band of Brothers' and the English version - ‘Silver Eagle - The Official Biography Of “Band Of Brothers” Veteran Clancy Lyall’

 

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01 October 2014: GORILLA DREAMS reviewed by Margaret Burbidge in the All Saints Newsletter.

 

Review Quote

Stories are worth waiting for, says Sue Hampton, and her latest children's book, Gorilla Dreams, is just that... These two stories excite the imagination and will raise questions in the reader's mind. They are well-written, descriptive and funny. The author touches on growing up and the reality of life without sentimentality. Sue Hampton tells her stories straight... Mary Casserley's quirky drawings lift the text and enhance the narrative... The story worked its magic on his pupils and... the reader.

Read full the full review

 

Sue Hampton is the author of 'Pomp and Circumstances', 'Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas' and Gorilla Dreams.

 

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19 September 2014: A snap shot of Ronald Ooms, the author of Silver Eagle, during a book signing in Veghel, Netherlands of 16 September 2014.

 

 

Al Mampre ( 92), veteran of the 101st Airborne Division 506 P.I.R. Easy Company "Band of Brothers", received a free copy of Clancy Lyall's book Silver Eagle from author Ronald Ooms.
 

 

 

Guy Whidden ( 91), veteran of the 101st Airborne Division 502 P.I.R HQ Company and close friend of the late, great Clancy Lyall, came by to say hello and approved the Dutch version of Silver Eagle.
 

 

 

Ronald Ooms is the author of ‘Silver Eagle (Dutch Version) - Het waargebeurd verhaal van Clancy Lyall. Veteraan van de Band of Brothers' and the English version - ‘Silver Eagle - The Official Biography Of “Band Of Brothers” Veteran Clancy Lyall’

 

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05 September 2014: A great review of GORILLA DREAMS in the Berkhamsted Living magazine Autumn 2014.

 

 

Sue Hampton is the author of 'Pomp and Circumstances', 'Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas' and Gorilla Dreams.

 

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22 August 2014: New political thriller by a prolific 'hobby' author. Read the Derby Telegraph feature.

 

Neal James is the author of four books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds', 'Threads of Deceit' and Full Marks. Neal's latest book is titled Day of the Phoenix.

 

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19 August 2014: NDLOVU! The White Elephant was recently entered in The Wishing Shelf Awards, this is what readers thought.

 

COVER 6/10

A well-designed cover. Eye-catching. Very powerful central image and easy-to-read lettering. A few of the readers thought the title could have been designed with a little more flair. The reader also thought that the blurb, although informative, was overly long and the last paragraph way too self-congratulatory. One reader put, ‘To write so many extremely positive things about the book prior to the reader reading it can open the author up to a fall. It’s like when everybody tells you how amazing a film is; then, often, when you see it you feel disappointed.’

 

EDITING 7/10

Generally, very well edited. No problems with spelling, punctuation, paragraphing (a few tiny errors were discovered). However, the readers did find one peculiarity. The author skips the use of a comma at the end of speech. So, for example, instead of writing: “I think you're wrong,” she told him. The author puts: “I think you're wrong” she told him.

 

THEME 8/10

Here, the book scored very highly. The readers loved the opportunity to find out more about Zimbabwe and the work of the police there.
They felt the characters were interesting and well-constructed and, although the prose were often a little too „flowery‟, the author worked hard to describe the setting and the thoughts and feelings of the central character.

 

STYLE 8/10

Generally, the readers enjoyed the writing style of this author. There was a tendency to overuse the comma which interfered with the flow of the text but, in general, the author handled the characters, speech and fighting very well. One reader put in his feedback, ‘I enjoyed this book. The author knows his subject very well and has produced an exciting thriller…..’

 

STATS

Of the 16 readers,

16 finished the book and enjoyed it.

15 felt the best part of the book was the insight into the country and its police force.

1 felt the best part was the strong central character you created.

7 suggested re-doing the fonts and the blurb (reducing it down a bit) on the cover.

16 felt that you overused the comma, effecting the flow of the text.

16 would like to read another book by this author.

 

CATCHY QUOTE

"A fascinating insight into Zimbabwe and the police force there, all wrapped up in a compelling thriller." The Wishing Shelf Awards

 

Peter Good is the author of NDLOVU! The White Elephant.

 

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09 August 2014: Does Steve Marshall visit your street? Ripley & Heanor News features Neal James' latest novel.

 

Read the feature.


Book Reviews

'A cleverly written Thriller which has it all; great characters, skilful writing and an eerily relevant political plot.' – Amber Valley Info

'A gripping yarn with readily identifiable characters and locations. A well-constructed and compelling read.' – Our Ripley

 

Neal James is the author of four books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds', 'Threads of Deceit' and Full Marks. Neal's latest book is titled Day of the Phoenix.

 

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19 July 2014: Heanor Author Launches A Pulsating Political Page-turner - Day of the Phoenix - Out Now!


Heanor, Derbyshire - Neal James launches a new gripping political novel; the sequel to his debut spy novel ‘A Ticket to Tewkesbury’.

Ten years after his failed attempt to circumvent the democratic process and install a fascist government in the UK, Steve Marshall returns in a second attempt, this time using the power of the ballot box, to infiltrate the conventional nature of the British electorate.

In a frighteningly possible scenario, James plays on the fears of middle England in a rollercoaster ride to the brink of political Armageddon, as forces resurrected from his earlier novel engage in yet another battle for the survival of democracy in a turbulent Britain.

Author Neal James says “I have released a novel each year since 2008, my books can be found in all major retail outlets as well as in libraries the length and breadth of the UK. ‘Day of the Phoenix’ is my most ambitious project to date; it is the sequel to my first novel. In this latest novel I take the reader into the realms of politics and the murky waters of espionage. The book’s release date is August 7th, and it will be available in paperback and eBook format.”

Amber Valley Info...

 

Book Reviews

'A cleverly written Thriller which has it all; great characters, skilful writing and an eerily relevant political plot.' – Amber Valley Info

'A gripping yarn with readily identifiable characters and locations. A well-constructed and compelling read.' – Our Ripley

 

 

Neal James is the author of four books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds', 'Threads of Deceit' and Full Marks. Neal's latest book to be released soon is titled Day of the Phoenix, released in Summer 2014.

 

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13 June 2014: A candid review of 'Out on Top' by Richard Van Holst, Goodreads.

 

The Review

This new collection of short stories by Steve Morris has some family ressemblances to his earlier work, because we see some familiar themes emerging.

His protagonists are often misfits, or at least maladjusted in some way, and therefore they stand in some sense outside of mainstream society looking in. In this book, good reasons are given for this, such as lack of maturity, or past trauma. But let's face it; we all like to root for the underdog. And this makes it all the more possible to get into these stories.

Steve seems to enjoy sports. I surmise this from the way in which his characters participate in them with such great intensity. Steve can convey the adrenaline of the individual team member as well as the spellbound fascination of the spectators.

I suspect that Steve also has a great affection for animals. For he writes about them, sometimes with humour and sometimes with pathos. He tries something here which I think is new for him: one tail tale is narrated partly from an animal's point of view!

I know for a fact that Steve has an interest in science fiction and the paranormal. This comes through strikingly in a few of the stories. For instance, the bizarre method by which one of his heroes discovers the answer to a troubling crime is quite startling. But Steve somehow manages to make it believable.

I know that Steve is an educator as well as a writer. His specialty is math and sciences so I doubt whether he ever delivered a history lecture quite like the lesson described in one particular story. But I still had fun imagining him in the role of the teacher.

As for his personal life, I don't know any more about that than a friend should, but I think Steve must be a bit of a hopeless romantic. Why do I say this? Well, in this collection there are a number of cases in which couples find each other and true love, despite histories and circumstances which have rendered success less than likely. And one is both amused and delighted by the way in which they beat the odds.

While the tales in his previous collections were quite short, Steve has in the meantime tried his hand at another genre and produced a novel. So I think perhaps this is why these stories vary more in length and structure. But he still has the knack of packing a lot of detail in a few pages and providing some surprise endings.

 

Steve Morris is the author of 'In All Probability', 'Jumble Tales', 'Playing Havoc' and the newly released novel, Out on Top.

 

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07 June 2014: A snap shot of Ronald Ooms, the author of Silver Eagle, with veteran Bob Noody from F-Company, 506 PIR, 101st Airborne 5 June 14. And book signing in Ste-Mère-Eglise, Musée Airborne 6 June 14.

 

 

Ronald Ooms with veteran Bob Noody from F-Company, 506 PIR, 101st Airborne 5 June 14

 

 

Book signing in Ste-Mère-Eglise, Musée Airborne 6 June 14

 

 

Ronald Ooms is the author of ‘Silver Eagle - The Official Biography Of “Band Of Brothers” Veteran Clancy Lyall’

 

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02 June 2014: Peter Hodgson will be signing copies of his latest book 'Rippercide' at Waterstones Blackpool.

 

Date: Saturday, 28 June 2014

Time: between 12.30 and 2.30 p.m

Address: 4 Tower Shopping Centre, Bank Hey St, Blackpool FY1 1QN

Telephone: 01253 296136

Email: blackpool@waterstones.com

 

If you are unable to attend an event. Waterstone's can often reserve signed copies. Please contact the host shop for details.

 

Peter Hodgson is the author of three books: 'Critical Murder', 'Jack the Ripper - Through the Mists of Time' and Rippercide.

 

We wish Peter Hodgson the very best with this event.

 

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30 May 2014: Peter Hodgson has been featured in the Blackpool Gazette.

 

 

Peter Hodgson is the author of three books: 'Critical Murder', 'Jack the Ripper - Through the Mists of Time' and Rippercide.

 

 

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24 May 2014: 'Where There's a Will' - a short story by author Neal James, featured on Amber Valley Info Website.


Where There's a Will

Ian Berresford shivered; he stamped his frozen feet and flapped his arms vigorously around his coat. Standing on an open playing field on a damp November afternoon was not what he had in mind as the best way to spend a Sunday. His eldest son, Nathan, was playing for the school football team and, in the absence of his wife, Sheena, it had fallen to Ian’s lot to offer family support for the lad’s efforts. He looked at his watch, and thanked God for the fact that there were only five minutes left to play.

Football was not, and never had been, one of his favourite pastimes but his musings were interrupted by a sudden burst of excitement on the pitch. Racing through the opposing defence, Nathan found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat. In a moment of class in an otherwise drab encounter, he chipped the outrushing figure and turned in triumph as the ball nestled neatly into the corner of the net. Moments later, the final whistle sounded and he was buried beneath a pile of delirious team mates. Rounding up his younger son, Tyler, from a kickabout, Ian smiled and clapped as the team came off the pitch.

“Well done, son.” He ruffled the lad’s windswept hair as the team trooped off the pitch.

“Cheers, Dad.” Nathan smiled.

“Good goal, that.” He continued, hoping that the terminology was correct. ‘Make sure that you get the after-match chat right.’ Sheena had cautioned. ‘Otherwise you’ll look a right plonker.’

Later that afternoon, and following a debriefing with his wife, Berresford sat before a roaring fire and settled down to the task which he would much rather have been doing all day – the strategic plan which he and his twin sister, Maria, had agreed to set before their father. Tom Berresford was the majority shareholder in the family firm, and a man entrenched in his own set of values – it would not be an easy task.

He ran his eye through the report upon which they had collaborated and nodded slowly. The figures all stacked up, and the sales forecasts which Maria had provided, whilst cautious, would propel the company from its current state of stagnation into a period of sustainable growth.

Berresford Engineering had been started by Ian’s grandfather in 1946, in the aftermath of the Second World War. It flourished in the return to peacetime production, and by the time Tom took control in the mid-1970s, had settled into a niche which few competitors could match. A growing and loyal customer base had provided the family with a lifestyle which now saw the senior Berresford able to afford a somewhat palatial residence in the affluent area of Ranmoree in Sheffield. What he had failed to appreciate, amid the company’s continued development during the 1990s, was its shrinking customer base, and this was the catalyst which had prompted his two children to take remedial action – the result was the report which Ian had just finished reading.

“That was a sigh and a half.” Sheena had entered the lounge unheard as Ian put the documents aside. He stared thoughtfully into the fire. He turned and attempted a smile.

“Going to have to go to our kid’s.” The term her husband used for his twin sister was usually a source of amusement. This was not one of those occasions.

“Serious, is it?”

“Could be,” He replied. “If the old man can’t be made to see sense, I don’t know what we’ll do. Won’t be late.”

He put on his coat and stepped out into the biting cold once more. The drive across Sheffield to the home of Maria and her family in Killamarsh would take him half an hour, and he was hoping that this time may be able to provide him with a few ideas on dealing with their cantankerous father. By the time he stepped out of his car at the other end of the journey, however, he was none the wiser on the course of action which they would need to take. After the usual pleasantries, he and his sister sat down at the kitchen table.

“Well?” Maria came straight to the point.

“Figures look good, and I can’t see any holes in the data.” He took a mouthful of the tea she had placed before him, swallowed, and continued. “Have to run it past the old man, though, and I wouldn’t go holding your breath.”

Tom Berresford had, over the years, resisted any and all attempts by his two children to change direction of the company’s product base. As it was, the engineering firm was steeped in traditional manufacturing, having only two main sales lines with a handful of major customers. His stance of sticking to what he knew was the source of Ian’s current concerns about the financial viability of Berresford Engineering – it was haemorrhaging cash.

“When are you going to see him?”

“Well,” Ian looked at his watch, “He won’t appreciate being disturbed on a Sunday, so I suppose first thing in the morning would be best. Want to be there?”

“Not bloody likely!” She frowned. “I remember the last time we tried to sit him down and talk about the firm – he hit the roof.”

“Yeah, right.” He smiled and shook his head. “Thanks for that, sis.”

“Another cuppa?”

“No, thanks. Best be getting home.” Berresford rose from his seat. “Big meeting to prepare for tomorrow.”

The return journey to Fulwood gave Ian time to ponder his approach to his father. The company’s profitability on its two main lines had been falling for some time. Considerable investment had been made by Tom Berresford, when he took over the reins of the firm, into expanding output of conveyor systems for bakeries and abattoirs. However, for the past few years the small group of customers utilising the equipment had been moving their own production facilities into eastern Europe with its lower labour cost base and access to much cheaper raw materials. This left the firm with only a few, relatively high-cost, maintenance contracts for existing plant, and all of these were due to run out within the next six months. Unless the old man could be made to see sense, Berresford Engineering would cease to trade.

Maria, as head of design and product development, had, with her small team, produced a range of low cost, low energy, domestic appliances which would, with a minimal amount of retooling, give the company the breathing space it so desperately needed in order to formulate a more coherent long-term plan. It was essential that these be marketed quickly whilst the funds were available. However, by the time he pulled onto the drive back at home, he was no nearer to finalising the tactics which he would need to use on the following day than he had been when he left Killamarsh.

Click link to read full story here...

 

Neal James is the author of four books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds', 'Threads of Deceit' and Full Marks. Neal's latest book to be released soon is titled Day of the Phoenix, released in Summer 2014.

 

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25 April 2014: A review of 'Out on Top' by Sally Bunn in the Shropshire Star.

 

 

Steve Morris is the author of 'In All Probability', 'Jumble Tales', 'Playing Havoc' and the newly released novel, Out on Top.

 

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12 April 2014: An excellent review of 'The Other Daddy – A World Away' by Fiona's Book Reviews Blog.

 

The Review - `The Other Daddy – A World Away' by Claire Louise Voet

"This book was a great read for me. It had murder, mystery, and rather a lot of paranormal activity within its pages.
The story jumps back and forward from a double disappearance on a small Scottish island to a young boy, 7 years later, who starts behaving strangely and talking about things which can't possibly be true. Or are they?
We also meet a team of paranormal investigators who attempt to decipher what is going on with Callum, the young boy. The team themselves have problems, and we learn a lot more about them throughout the story.
Callum is a great character. Being so young he can't properly explain things to his peers, and he struggles a lot because he can't understand what is happening to him, and also can't communicate this properly to the adults around him. A child's view of life is totally different to an adults, and the author captures this perfectly in the story.
I knew the 2 stories were intertwined together in some way, but I honestly didn't guess exactly how that would be. When it was finally revealed it was a twist I didn't see coming.
All the way through this book I was imagining it on TV. The story would be so well suited to becoming a short drama series, and I hope the author takes that into consideration as she would definitely have a fan in me!
All in all a very welcome change to my recent reading material. A book I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes a bit of murder mystery, with a paranormal twist. I can't wait to see what happens next!"

 

About the Book

Two teenage girls have mysteriously disappeared from the small Scottish Orkney island of Eday. It is as if they have vanished from the face of the earth without trace. The island is in turmoil. Eight years later in Cambridgeshire, seven year old Callum Thompson is trying to cope with his parents' recent separation. He begins to act strangely -constantly talking about his 'other daddy' and his new friend – Jeremy, whom nobody else knows about. At first his change in behaviour is blamed on the fact that his parents – Louise and Jack are now living apart, but as time goes on, Callum's problems becomes much more disturbing and there is cause for concern. Is this just a case of a little boy with emotional problems or is this something more sinister? Jack wonders if his son is having some kind of encounter with the spirit world, but Louise is sceptical. Meanwhile after a successful trip to an old stately home in Hampshire, where paranormal activity is caught on camera, Dr Andrew McGregor returns to his parapsychology unit in Cambridge to find himself faced with a new challenge. It doesn't take him long to realise that Callum Thompson's case is far more than a paranormal investigation. Could it be that Callum is remembering another life? But what is the link between Callum and Eday, who is 'the other daddy' and who is Jeremy?

 

Claire Voet is the author of 'Whittington Manor' and 'The Other Daddy - A World Away'.

 

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01 April 2014: OTOLI was recently entered in The Wishing Shelf Awards, this is what readers thought.

 

CONTENT 7/10
The readers thought the beginning was very powerful, pulling them into the story. Many noted that the author really seemed to understand what it is like to be the victim of a bully. They sympathised very much with Alice and her journey through the story and they also thought that you dealt well with ‘onlookers’ who feel sorry for the victim but do nothing. They also liked the cliffhanger at the end of the book.
A number of the boys felt the book was a little slow. They wanted (I quote) ‘More magic, wizards and cars.’ (Typical boys!)

STYLE 9/10
Excellent flow to the text. Speech worked particularly well. Character descriptions were superb but a few wanted more setting description. The teachers noted: ‘The vocab was perfect for this age group.’

EDITING 10/10
The children discovered no spelling or grammatical errors.

TO SUM UP
From the feedback , the children (particularly the girls) loved this book. Really, it was only the cover which let it down. Might be worth re-doing it. From other feedback, kids always seem to love books with a picture of the characters on the front.

 

‘A thoughtful, well-crafted story. Perfect for any child battling with the up and downs of school life.’ The Wishing Shelf Awards
 

 

Bryony Allen is the author of three books: 'Mystery Deceit and a School Inspector' and 'OTOLI'. Bryony's latest book is 'The Assembly Room'.

 

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17 March 2014: A snap shot of Ronald Ooms, the author of Silver Eagle, with actor William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk of Star Trek. Photograph was taken in Frankfurt, Germany.

 

 

Ronald Ooms is the author of ‘Silver Eagle - The Official Biography Of “Band Of Brothers” Veteran Clancy Lyall’

 

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1 February 2014: 'The Sins Of Emily Watson' - a short story by author Neal James, featured on Amber Valley Info Website.


The Sins Of Emily Watson

Emily Watson had never considered herself to be bad. She had, it was true, been involved in some dubious matters in her youth, but at the age of thirty-six that was now well behind her.

“Morning, dear.” The cheery voice of Raymond, her partner, preceded him into the dining room like a warm summer breeze.

She smiled over the top of her newspaper in reply and went back to her coffee while he prepared his breakfast. Raymond Martin was, on paper, a millionaire, and had made his money in the boom years of the Thatcher revolution in the 1980s. From relatively humble beginnings with a string of northern market stalls, he had expanded operations on the back of some shrewd wheeler-dealing. He bought his first high street shop in 1986, and by the end of that decade had a further six.

“You’re in the news again.” She laid the daily paper across the table and tapped a section of the financial press. “Looks like the new trainee management initiative’s going down well.”

Martin had taken a calculated gamble six months earlier by placing an advert in one of the Sunday broadsheets. The company was offering a five year apprenticeship to university graduates holding a business qualification, with a guarantee of full-time employment at the end of the term. It had been a resounding success, and had gained him and the firm widespread approval, with a slot on prime time television as the scheme achieved national publicity. Sales, of course, moved sharply upwards as a result.

“Yes.” He smiled. “It was a rather a good idea after the weeding out process had ended, wasn’t it? Good job I employ you.”

The idea had been Emily’s, but there was no conflict between them over the success or failure of the gamble. As a team, they had been working in this way for a number of years, and the future was looking very bright.

“We’ll have to float the company to generate the cash for the extra shops you’re going to need for your team of managers.” She drained her cup and poured another.

“Already taken care of, sweetheart.” He sat down opposite with his tea and toast. “I’m seeing Miles Underwood this afternoon. “Barkers will underwrite the issue, and should make a killing for their trouble. We’ll have all the funds we need, and more.”

Emily had begun to think that life was passing her by, and the relationship with Raymond, though satisfactory, occasionally left her with a feeling of unfullfillment. He was fifteen years her senior, attentive to her needs, but never satisfied her physically in the way that she thought she deserved. A number of younger men had crossed her path, but loyalty to her partner and the company which they ran had always held her back from anything more than social flirting. That had been before the arrival of Daniel – a twenty something who had seriously turned her head.

Daniel Thorpe was a university graduate who had successfully applied for one of the aforementioned positions. He was clever, handsome, and carried himself with an air of supreme confidence. From what Emily could make out, there were no girlfriends in the picture, and he had responded to her flirting in more than merely a social way. From his standpoint, there would be no harm in playing along with her as long as things did not get out of hand – he needed the job, and Raymond Martin was not a man who would take kindly to his private life being invaded. The young man had come to London on a quest of sorts, and any major distraction caused by Emily could not be allowed to divert him from that path. They had met socially on a few occasions at events organised by the firm, and on one other at a private location when Raymond had been out of town.

Click link to read full story here...

 

Neal James is the author of four books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds' and 'Threads of Deceit'.

Neal's latest book is titled Full Marks, released in Springs 2013.

 

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28 January 2014: A review of Neal James' 'Threads of Deceit' by Jane Thomas.

 

The Review
"1st book I have read by Neal James and it won't be the last. Great story, a little slow at the beginning but this did allow you to get to know the characters. The story starts of in a very down to earth textile company with realistic characters that I am sure we have all worked with. The plot develops into an intriguing mystery/suspense story with lots twists and developments that keeps you reading. A relatively short book that I couldn't put down and managed to complete in a day ( I am usually a slow reader). The twists build to an excellent ending that certainly didn't disappoint. I would highly recommend this, well worth a read."

Jane Thomas

 

Neal James is the author of four books: 'A Ticket to Tewkesbury', 'Short Stories - Volume One', 'Two Little Dicky Birds', 'Threads of Deceit' and  Full Marks.

 

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25 January 2014: A review of 'The House That Jack Built’, by Irene Truman, a critical reviewer for the Bronte Gazette.

 

The Review

"Much of this novel is semi-autobiographical. John Butler constantly cared about keeping a written account of his life with the intention of making it available to the public. An admirer of Charlotte Bronte John was particularly inspired by her novel ‘Jane Eyre’ the life of a 19th century governess. Jack Forest, the main protagonist in ‘The House That Jack Built’ finds adventure, self fulfilment and love whilst working as a teacher in 20thcentury post war Britain, as Jane Eyre did within the classrooms of 1840’s England.

Jack is creative, caring and passionate. In spite of being left behind when his colleagues leave for war service he takes the opportunity to train as a teacher, facing battles within rural and urban classroom walls.

Jack’s teaching career starts soon after the end of the second world war with its rationing and coming to terms with peacetime.

Out of the blue he is offered a chance to go on a trip to the Cocos Islands with a group of self sufficient independent minded adventurers. It seems a risky offer in true ‘Robinson Crusoe’ style and in spite of many warnings and forebodings Jack bravely jumps in where others would fear to tread. The trip becomes a journey in search of treasure with danger, excitement and romance along the way…..’such as dreams are made of’. It ends with a sickening jolt back to reality!

Many of us will find something familiar within this book. We go through life wanting to know what the future will bring and perhaps regret missed opportunities.

Jack however ‘grasps the nettle’ and doesn’t have regrets. He was a good teacher; he inspired his students to do well and left his schools better places.

John Butler died in November 2012 having lived a life encouraging us to take a look within ourselves, be honest and not afraid to consider this question……’is destiny mapped out for us all……`

So, after reading this book there is homework to be done. It is a heartwarming tale full of fun, excitement, information and is personal to some of us."

Irene Truman

 

*Irene Truman has been a member of the Bronte Society for fifteen years and has written critical reviews for the Bronte Gazette. She is a professional teacher for musicians and a steward and tour guide at Harewood House.

 

John Butler is the author of 'In Search Of Ireland Again', 'Serendipity', 'The House That Jack Built

 

 

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22 January 2014: "A great book to read when on holiday", a review of Stuart Wright's They're all foreigners abroad!.

 

The Reviews

"If anybody is an expert on Brits antics abroad then that person is Stuart Wright.

The author's life experiences are in full bloom in this offering of diverse, funny stories. His A to Z of recollections and anecdotes range from mildly amusing to hilarious. You are bound to recognize yourself in there somewhere. (I hate to say this but  I am one of those people who go online to check my emails; and yes I do miss my dog when I'm on holiday abroad.) The author also offers sound advice along the way and his post comments admirably round off each jocular entry.

You will find Stuart's wit relentless as his humour spills from the pages. It is quite an achievement to write so much that is so funny. The best side-splitting entry for me came under 'Squeaky mattresses . . .'

Nuff said!

A great book to read when on holiday."

Peter Hodgson, Author of Crime Novels

 

About the book

Stuart lives in Spain and is the author of three books. His second book ‘They’re all foreigners abroad’ published by Pneuma Springs is about YOU on holiday. What is it that makes us Brits stand out from other tourists? Let’s face it; we British are not difficult to take the mickey out of whilst on our hard earned holiday. Observational humour is real humour and you are definitely within the pages of this book!.

 

Stuart Wright is the author of 'They're all foreigners abroad'

 

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04 January 2014: Introducing Sue Hampton, author and ambassador for Alopecia UK.

 

ALOPECIA UK are delighted to announce children’s author Sue Hampton as an ambassador for the charity. Sue has lived with alopecia totalis for over thirty years. She has written 18 novels for 6 – 16 plus including one book in particular, ‘The Waterhouse Girl’, which draws on her own experiences with alopecia. The book has been praised by world famous author Michael Morpurgo (author of ‘War Horse’) saying it was “beautifully written”.

Sue's aim is to inspire young people to both read and write. To do this she not only writes but also visits schools to run writing workshops and has already visited over 300 schools. As an ex-teacher (once nominated Teacher of the Year!) she adapts her workshops to the requirements of different schools, which even involves tailoring them to help young people in school with alopecia

If you would like to read more about the work of Sue Hampton, see how to obtain a copy of her books or even see how to go about getting a school to arrange a visit for Sue to do a workshop please have a look at her website.

 

Sue Hampton is the author of 'Pomp and Circumstances' and 'Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas'

 

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02 January 2014: A review of Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas.

 

The Reviews

Really enjoyed these three stories written by Sue for Christmas. They all have a different theme, a nativity play where Robbie wants to be an angel not an alien, Trouble the donkey who won't do anything without a carrot - a traditional Christmas story with a twist, and a sad but ultimately uplifting story about Etta who feels lonely at Christmas but finds a tiny animal to keep her company!

Nice gentle stories but thought provoking too and could really be read at any time of the year. The illustrations, by the children Sue met at schools she has visited, are warm and appealing and bring the book to life.

 

Lesley Martin, librarian, Coventry

 

About the book

Sue Hampton captures the spirit of Christmas with three warm-hearted stories full of humour, mystery and magic – starring a boy who’d rather be an angel than a globalob, a donkey called Trouble and a girl with a cracker-sized lamb. With illustrations by children from schools Sue has visited, this is a book to make you smile at any time of year.

 

Sue Hampton is the author of 'Pomp and Circumstances' and 'Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas'

 

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Read more news - Authors News-Archive 2013

 

 

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Read more news - Authors News-Archive 2011

 

 

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Read more news - Authors News-Archive 2010

 

 

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