Slighty Late Chai And A Chat #146 #ChaiAndAChat

One week of the holidays done, and I have to say, it doesn’t feel much like rest and relaxation, especially when you have a son who plays cricket.

Also, I have been overindulging here so my drink of choice is a green tea. What about you?

  • If we were having chai I’d start by giving you a quick overview of the week… It was busy. Not one day was filled with nothingness, which I think I realy need, right now, but the plus point pf not being at school, was that I could sit back and nap, when needed!
  • If we were having chai I’d tell you that there was, as I mentioned earlier, a whole lot of cricket happening this week, Lil Man was selected for the District team this season, and they had a three day cricket festival to attend. He was due to play two of the matches and was very excited. The place the festival was being held at was a very prestigious boys boarding school, not far from where we live, with sports facilities that would shame your local sports clubs and gyms, seriously! We arrived on the Tuesday to be told the match was cancelled, as the other side couldn’t get a team together. Obviously, he was disappointed. But the coach said they could stay for a while and train in the state of the art cricket nets that this school has, so while he did that for an hour, I went for a stroll around the grounds of this school, that looked a bit like Hogwarts, I kid you not! The mixture of old buildings (school establised in the 16th centure, I believe) and modern facilities was amazing, along with beautiful gardens, filled with colour, and gorgeous lavendar. We walked around 8k steps!
  • If we were having chai I’d say that Wednesday was a more successful day for him, Cricket-wise. The weather was rather inclement, with covers having to go on three times, as we ran under trees for shelter, from torrentioal downpours, but they won the match. Though he only bowled two overs (should have had more!) he got two wickets so left the game with a huge smile! And on Cricket news, he played a mens game on Saturday, and again was left to bowl at the end, but only managed one bowl, getting the final wicket out on his first, and only throw! Sunday was a whole afternoon of cricket again, with his club having a cricket week for this next week. They kicked it off with an inter club fun tournament and he got a wicket again, and caught one out, too, so pretty productive!
  • If we were having chai I’d sthen fill you in on the next exciting part of my week, which was Pops and Mum coming over to see us, in the new house. I haven’t seen them for a year, so this was so, so special. They arrived on the Thrusday afternoon, and we spent the three days they were with us, just chatting, eating, reminiscing, walking, and Pops got to watch his grandson play cricket for the first time, too! Originally we had plans to go out and about more, but due to the current circumstances, we decided to limit that. But, mum did request visits to the local supermarkets, because she is odd like that! It was blissful. There were tears upon them arriving, and when they left, but I feel blessed to have had that lovely time with them!
  • If we were having chai I’d sigh and admit that the writing bug hasn’t hit me, yet. I was hoping that this holiday would give me the boost to really get going with writing again, but energy levels have been so low, I just can’t get my brain into gear, yet. But I have been catching up on my reading, as well as ending up with more new books on my Kindle and shelf! Ooops!
  • If we were having chai I’d leave you with an image of Sonu Singh, who seems to be using my desk chair more than me, recently!
Bitmoji Image

This week, yuo, you guessed it, cricket, as always, with a game today, maybe Friday, and Saturday… but I also have a new duty this week, of hospital visits, for the in laws, as I am on holiday, so it means no one else has to take time off to take them to their various checks. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday are my medical days, that means! Maybe, just maybe, some words will appear on my screen, and I hope to devote more time to doing things that will male Lil Princess happy, too, since cricket is definitely not her thing!

And while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list? I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 334 – And Chill…

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“Post break, due to family visit!”

Ritu Bhathal

As some of you know, Pops and Mum are here, today, andcleaving soon, so Spidey and I are spending time with them. Until next week!

namaste

Wishing you a wonderfully peaceful Sunday, Peeps!

July 2021 Books #AmReading

Last month was a wash out, with reports and assessments. This month is the last one of term, so I’m not holding out much reading hope to be honest! Still, I can try! And I have SO MAY ARCS to read, via Netgalley, that my brain is swimming with deadline dates! (Someone, tell me to stop agreeing to read, or requesting them!)

bean bag chair chill
The Mother Fault

The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but when I began reading I realised it was very different to my usual reading genre.
Dystopian fiction is not really my thing, However, when you couple an unknown genre with a topic I love, which is motherhood, and family, and the lengths said mother would go to for hers, then you get a pretty good read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released 7th July, 2021

You and Me on Vacation

You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book on so many levels.
Poppy and Alex are made for each other, but they really don’t get it. Well, not straight away.
Despite being best friends for so many years, and taking their special yearly vacations together, things simmer, but never bubble over.
Until one trip.
A trip that changes so much.
I have to say I felt for Poppy, so much through the whole book, holding onto her unrequited love, as well as trauma from the past.
I honestly wanted to shake Alex. I mean, come on, why didn’t you give any indications any earlier, as to how you felt?!
Still, I really enjoyed the read, and would recommend it for a great summer sizzler!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Released 8th July, 2021

The Lock In

The Lock In by Phoebe Luckhurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title, The Lock In, really pulled me to request this book, and though it wasn’t about a lock in , in its truest sense, the story was a cringy gigglefest from start to finish!
Imagine it, being hungover, in a house that has a huge leak, and locked in the attic with three other people.
Ellen, one of the fated housemates, is suffering from a rather wild night before, and after discovering a leak, tries her hardest to find the off switch (!!) in the attic. So something I would do, pre being a homeowner.
After no success, she has to wake her fellow housemates, to alert them to said leak, and request their assistance in turning off the water.
Jack, the most recent addition to the house, is clueless, but Alexa, Ellen’s friend from university, and final housemate is savvier, however, doesn’t have the brute strength to actually turn the stopcock (that was under the sink, in case you needed to know!) off. They all find themselves up in the attic, questioning Ellen’s presence there, when the fourth in the adventure arrives, Ben, who was actually Alexa’s date.
Now, his brute strength is another matter, and he ends up locking them in the attic, and breaking the door handle!
The hilarity that ensues from being stuck with almost no phone (I won’t go into that, too much!), no toilet, food or water, along with old stories being recalled, oh, and the memories of an old romance that turned sour popping its head up, it’s an entertaining book.
The visit back to 2009 with MSN Messenger, drunken nights and the first digital cameras took me back to my own youth!
I found all the characters likeable in their own way and ended up with a soft spot for Jack, who is socially clueless but ends up in the limelight in a way he never thought possible.

Many thanks to NetGalley, and Penguin Mochale Joseph UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Released on 22nd July, 2021

Welcome to Ferry Lane Market

Welcome to Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can I start by saying I want to go to Ferry Lane Market?
I want to meet this cast of characters; colourful, caring and complicated!
So, we have Kara, a woman stuck in an eight-year-old relationship, that is going nowhere, with barely the finance needed to stretch to living a little, outside of paying her mortgage.
She’s in a job she loves, but without the appreciation from her boss, even that shine has dulled.
Surrounded by people who care about her, she ends up on an adventure of a lifetime, after kicking Jago, her useless, cheating boyfriend, to the curb, to find her true path,
I really enjoyed immersing myself in the world of the Ferry Lane market, and it was fantastic to read about a woman, just past what people would say was the prime of her life, finally finding her feet, her passion, and some love, along the way!
And I’m looking forward to reading more about all the fantastic characters in the books to follow!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released on 22nd July, 2021

The Image of Her

The Image of Her by Sonia Velton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two woman, one man, livng far apart, yet irreversibly connected. Brilliant read! Seriously, I had one idea in my mind about what this book was going to be about, and though I clicked, part way through, the twists and turns to get to the conclusion were gripping! The stories of the two women, how we move from the present to the past, the takes interweaving, to create this blanket of connections… was fantastic! I can’t write much, as I would give the story away, but it’s good, trust me! Loved it! Many thanks to NetGalley and Quercus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released on 22nd July, 2021

The Promise of Summer

The Promise of Summer by Bella Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed part one of this book, so was thrilled to be able to read the whole of the novel.
You know you’re in for a good read when within a few pages, you know exactly what you want to happen, and you speed through the chapters waiting for it, going on a fantastic journey to get to that expected destination.
It was like that for me, with The Promise Of Summer.
An easy, light-hearted read with three interesting characters; Ruby, with her obsession with having a baby, Kim and her secret, and Curtis…
I was fascinated by Curtis, the whole way through! The pointers from the very beginning of the story indicated a person on the autistic spectrum, and it was just a joy to see him with his own happily ever after, to be honest.
And don’t let me forget to mention Boomer, or Boomerang, the rescue dog, who ends up stealing plenty of hearts!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released on 22nd July, 2021

What's Left Unsaid

What’s Left Unsaid by Emily Bleeker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s Left Unsaid is a book that took me a little while to get into, but once I was in, I was hooked.
Hannah Williamson is a woman with her own past and troubles. Having been sent to live with her grandmother, Mamaw, in a little town in Minnesota, on the pretext of looking after her, she embarks upon a job at the local paper, keen to get back to her real career in journalism.
While there, she finds out about a story, something kept deeply hidden, which triggers her thirst for wanting to know more.
The more she knows, the more invested she becomes in the story, not knowing just how involved she is to become.
There are many issues raised in this book, not least the extreme prejudices that were held on to so tightly, in the South, but child abuse, depression, adoption, miscarriage…
And to think it is a story based upon the real story of the author’s great aunt.
A fascinating read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Released on 27th July, 2021

Love Life

Love Life by Nancy Peach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, what happens when you are a woman living the aftermath of a broken relationship, where you found your then partner, in bed, with another man? Coupled with doing your residency in a hospital, training to be a doctor? Alongside generally feeling like absolute rubbish, because, well, you are. Anyway, that’s how life has made you come to view yourself?
This kinda sums up our heroine, Tess.
Oh, but I forgot, she has these two voices in her head, or rather like the devil and angel one might have on your shoulders, she has the chat show host, akin to Jerry Springer, rubbing her face in all the downs she encounters, with the lovely Jane Austen on her other side, cheering her along, with her ladylike grace.
While on her training stint in the hospice of the local hospital, she encounters a patient with who she develops a strong bond. What she wasn’t counting on, was the son of said patient, who brings back certain memories… yet, he doesn’t appear to remember her, at all.
It took me a short while to really get into the swing of the book, but once I was there, I was THERE, if you know what I mean!
Honestly, there were times I wanted to punch the Chat Show Host in the face – What an obnoxious man! But the light-hearted banter that spilt from the mouths of the two voices, along with the story, as it unfolds, had me wanting to read more!
Many thanks to Netgalley and One More Chapter for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Released on 16th September, 2021

Patience

Patience by Victoria Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an amazing read!
No, seriously, I haven’t felt gushy about a book for a while, now, and this one, well, it gave me the feels.
Now, it’s not a rom-com, as I usually enjoy, but the story of Patience, a woman diagnosed with Rett Syndrome in childhood, captivate me.
I enjoyed how the book was written, with Patience’s point of view given through her thoughts, since, she is unable to talk, and the differing viewpoints of her family: both parents and her sister, Eliza.
Life can’t be easy as a carer, and member of family of an individual who is diagnosed with such a disorder. You often find the world sympathising with them, but this also turned the tables on that, by providing Patience with a voice.
Regardless of whether she was able to talk, move, feed. herself, etc., she still has opinions, and thoughts, reminding me that we never know what is going on in the mind of someone we may consider ‘disabled’.
Thoroughly enjoyed this.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Released on 5th August, 2021

Well, I am quite impressed with myself to be honest! After a thankless last couple of months, with the house move and the last term of the school year, reading has always been there, but not at the forefront of my life, so nine books, this month, I think, is a winner!

So, were there any there that sparked your interest? Let me know what you’ve been reading this month, too!

#SoCS July 31, 2021 – Last Click

Hello Peeps! It’s been a long while, but I thought i’d get back on the SoCS horse, so to speak, since I am on summer break!

Linda’s prompt this week:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “the last photo you took.” Take the last photo you snapped. What’s the first word that comes to mind when you look at it? That word is your prompt. Enjoy!

This is the last picture I took, on my phone, and the word that came to mind was ‘Finally!

Above, you see a large grin on my face, as I stand outside our new house with my parents, Pops and Mum, as they finally got to come over to see the house, and finally, I got to see them after nearly a year, due to the pandemic,lockdown, and restrictions!

I’m sure you can imagine the tight hugs, taht have been exchanged many times, the tears of joy at finally being together, and the sheer amount of lovely food that has been consumed, as Mum goes into feed my family overdrive

Gosh, I missed that 🙂

Right, I’m off, again, to go and sit with them, and chat, since they go back tomorrow. What a blissful few days.

8 Steps to Side Characters by @sacha_black #BookReview #PubDay

Today, I have the pleasure of being a part of a very special release day!

Our very own, Sacha Black, has done it again with another cracker of a non fiction release, following on from her gems, 13 Steps To Evil, 10 Steps to Hero, and an absolute favourite of mine, The Anatomy of Prose.

This time we welcome 8 Steps to Side Characters!

Now, Sacha has guided us, in her inimitable way, through how to create the most evil kind of villains and those flawed, yet strong heroes, so it stands to reason that we need some guidance about how to handle all those other characters that make up the bones of our books… so here we have it!

Wanna know more about what it’s all about? Here’s the blurb:

Do your characters fail to bring your story to life? Are they flat, boring or have no depth? Is your story lacking a little cohesion or sparkle?
In 8 Steps to Side Characters, you’ll discover:

+ A step-by-step guide for creating side characters that bring your story alive
+ The main types of side characters and what you should do with them
+ The key to crafting character depth that hooks readers
+ How to harness your character’s voice to deepen your reader’s experience
+ Tips and tricks for using details to enhance characterization
+ Methods for killing characters that will help deepen plot, theme and story
+ Dozens of ideas for creating conflict with your side characters
+ Tactics for differentiating characters and making them feel real to your reader
+ Character archetypes and functions
+ The most common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid

8 Steps to Side Characters is a comprehensive writing guide that will help you create the side characters your story needs. This book is packed with tips and tricks for polishing characters for writers at any level.

If you want to power up your characters, eliminate dull and lifeless archetypes, and perfect your characterization, this is the book for you. By the end of this book, you’ll know how to strengthen your characters to give your story, prose and plot the extra something special it needs to capture a readers and fans for life.

If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create better side characters, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting supporting roles with intention, purpose, and power. Read 8 Steps to Side Characters today and start creating kick-ass stories. 

After I read my ebook arc, I was quick to get in there with my request for a signed hard copy of this beaut, too and it will be well thumbed, I can promise you!

My Review

8 steps to Side Characters: How to Craft Supporting Roles with Intention, Purpose, and Power by Sacha Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some authors, you just know you are going to read and enjoy.
And one of those, for me, Sacha Black, has done it again with her next writing craft special, 8 Steps To Side Characters. I’ve loved her previous guides to writing Villains, and Heroes, and the Anatomy of Prose was just ENLIGHTENING!
You know you’re reading a real (Sacha) Black beauty when the first chapter in the book is called F*ck The Rules! Her colourful language embodies all that is Sacha, ensuring a read full of laughs, snorts, and ‘A-ha!’ moments!
There is so much in the book to help you craft your side characters into solid people that readers will understand, and how to use them to push the story forward.
Side characters are fantastic literary devices, but you really do need to know the nuances of how to use them, and also, it’s important to know what kind of side character you are writing… yup, there are several types. Sacha has it all covered!
What a fantastic resource that had me questioning all my side characters, past and present – in a good way. You can always count on Sacha for a dose of ‘Real-talk’ writing advice.
And one of my favourite lines, which I can just hear her saying… (I listen to Sacha’s podcast, so her wonderful British lilt is ingrained in my mind!) “Don’t be an @sshole – they’re full of sh!t rather than words”.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

And… she doesn’t just have the Textbook available, as always there is an acompanying Workbook, too. She’s a whip-wielding task master, that Sacha…! But, honestly, if you want to hone your craft, what better way than to work through the exercises designed to strengthen your craft?

Universal purchase link textbook: books2read.com/sidecharacters 

Universal purchase link workbook: books2read.com/sideworkbook

What are you waiting for? Get yourselves out there!

Oh, and if you want more, check out Sacha’s Social Media. There are a whole host of mini tip videos that have been posted over the last few days, and for the next few days, Sacha has some fantastic interviews lined up.

As part of the launch week, I’ll be interviewing nine authors all about their side characters, their favorite side characters from books and films as well as their tips for creating better characters. And I’ll be doing that all LIVE on instagram every night at 8pm from the 30th July to the 8th August.

Sacha Black
  • Friday 30th July – Mark Lefebvre from Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast
  • Saturday 31st July Jeff Adams from Big Gay Fiction podcast
  • Sunday 1st August Katlyn Duncan YouTuber and author
  • Monday 2nd August Daniel Willcocks, my Next Level Authors cohost, book coach and horror authors
  • Tuesday 3rd August Crys Cain, host of Write Away, cohost of TASM and author
  • Wednesday 4th August Kristina Stanley, CEO of Fictionary.co
  • Thursday 5th Helen Scheuerer author of fantasy
  • Friday 6th Miranda Bridges romance author
  • Saturday 7th Elaine Bateman urban fantasy author and staff writer at Indie Author Magazine
  • Sunday 8th August – if I haven’t collapsed, will be a solo show from me.

Find Sacha on the following channels:

Facebook: @sachablackauthor

Instagram: @sachablackauthor

Website: http://www.sachablack.co.uk

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