The Art of Spirit Capture – A #NewRelease by @geofflepard #BlogTour – How I Found The Story

Our wonderful fellow blogger, and author, Geoff LePard, fondly known as His Geoffleship to me, anyway, has a fabulous new release, out now. His first romance, no less!

It’s called The Art of Spirit Capture, and sounds fabulous!

Now, His Geoffleship, as I mentioned earlier, has penned a romance.

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Jason Hales is at his lowest ebb: his brother is in a coma; his long-term partner has left him; he’s been sacked; and Christmas is round the corner to remind him how bad his life has become. 

After receiving an unexpected call telling him he’s a beneficiary of his Great Aunt Heather’s estate, he visits the town he vaguely recalls from his childhood, where his great aunt lived. Wanting to find out more, he’s soon sucked into local politics revolving around his great uncle’s extraordinary glass ornaments, his ‘Captures’, and their future. 

While trying to piece his life back together, he’ll have to confront a number of questions: What actually are these Captures and what is the mystery of the old wartime huts where his uncle fashioned them? Why is his surly neighbour so antagonistic? Can he trust anyone, especially the local doctor Owen Marsh and Charlotte Taylor, once a childhood adversary, but now the lawyer dealing with the estate? His worries pile up, with his ex in trouble, his flat rendered uninhabitable and his brother’s condition worsening. Will Christmas bring him any joy?

Set in the Sussex countryside, this is a modern novel with mystery, romance and magic at its core, as well as a smattering of hope, redemption and good cooking.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

I asked him where the story came from…

I imagine most writers are asked how they uncover their stories. And as a supplemental, how
do they decide one has the legs to be an 80,000 plus novel against a 10,000 short story or 500
piece of flash?
In the case of the Art, it all began with a prompt. The late Sue Vincent began a series of
prompts she titled #writephoto. She would post on a Thursday and try and reblog the stories
she received during the week, ending with a collection the following Thursday and a new
prompt. Her photos were often taken from her visits to the wild and wooly places in England,
her beloved Albion and led me down many a weird and wacky path.
In one she posted a picture of a crow in flight. That led me to my trainee exorcist Pearl Barley
who is now the subject of two draft novels and a third I hope to at least begin this November.
The picture that started me on the road to The Art was a Christmas decoration through which
a rainbow of refracted light showed. Some of you may remember it. There was something
beautiful yet otherworldly about it – a lot of Sue’s prompts had that otherworldliness.
What, I mused as my fingers hovered over the keys, if that wasn’t just a simple decoration
splitting white light into its spectrum of colours? What instead if that bauble gave off more
than mere refracted light? Some sort of essence?
I wrote maybe 500 words that day, imagining a glass blower working away in a remote shack
known only to a few. He had discovered a way of capturing the spirit of someone in the act of
dying and implanting it into a glass decoration. Glass is fluid, even though it appears solid.
What if some of that spirit could escape and create a miasma around close relatives, bringing
succor to the recently bereaved?
It was a little piece, in the run up to Christmas and, for me, surprisingly romantic.
When I started writing seriously I tried not to limit myself in what I wrote. One way to avoid
such limitations was to challenge myself to write in different genres. I tend to default to
humour or mysteries in my longer works, fantasy in my shorter pieces.
Could I write a romantic novel, a romance? A Feelgood book?
I think I have; now it is over to you to decide…

Geoff Le Pard

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

Check out Geoff’s other crackers!

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

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In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

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The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself? 

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015 

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves. 

This is available here 

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

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Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages 

Amazon.co.uk 

Amazon.com 

Smashwords

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Conversation is an anthology of short and super short fiction that explores connections through humour, speech and everything besides. If you enjoy the funny, the weird and the heart-rending then you’ll be sure to find something here.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

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When Martin suggests to Pete and Chris that they spend a week walking, the Cotswolds Way, ostensibly it’s to help Chris overcome the loss of his wife, Diane. Each of them, though, has their own agenda and, as the week progresses, cracks in their friendship widen with unseen and horrifying consequences.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

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Famous poets reimagined, sonnets of all kinds, this poerty selection has something for all tastes, from the funny, to the poignant to the thought-provoking and always written with love and passion.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

Don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to reading this one!

The Fault Between Us by @BetteLeeCrosby #BlogTour #BookReview

I was honoured to be given an ARC of Award Winning Author, Bette Lee Crosby’s newest release, The Fault Between Us,having read several of her previous books, and throughly enjoyed them!

The Fault Between Us by Bette Lee Crosby

Here is the blurb:

April 18, 1906 – A devastating earthquake rocks San Francisco and Templeton Morehouse fears her husband is lost forever. A powerful and compelling story from USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby

Chances were a million to one that a girl born and raised in Philadelphia would encounter a stranger from California on the trolley and fall madly in love, but that’s what happened. Templeton was not only taken with John Morehouse, but also with his tales of life in San Francisco. As an aspiring fashion designer, the dazzle of a city called the Paris of the West, with its towering department stores and European couture was too much to resist.

Despite her family’s objections, she and John are married and, on their way back to California, before the month is out. To ease the heartbreak of such a move, Templeton promises her family that they will return for a visit every summer. She fully intends to keep that promise, but as her fashions gain popularity, the business grows increasingly more demanding. The trips back to Philadelphia become less frequent and she makes foolish choices she will come to regret.

Now, when she is on the verge of having everything she’s ever wanted, a devastating earthquake has torn across San Francisco and she awakes to discover the father of her baby is missing.

With the city in flames, Templeton’s daddy leaves Philadelphia and sets out in search of his son-in-law. He’s too old for such a trip and ill-equipped for the challenges he will encounter, but he’s the only hope of saving his daughter’s happiness.
Lines of communication are down and the city in shambles, so the only thing Templeton can do is pray she doesn’t lose both her daddy and her husband.

And my review:

The Fault Between Us by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read a few of Bette Lee Crosby’s books, since discovering her by a Facebook group, and I was honoured to be asked to read her soon to be released book, The Fault Between Us, as an advanced reader.
The book centres around Templeton, a young woman in Philadelphia, with hopes and dreams. Unmarried, still, at an age where most women were settled, she wants to make a name for herself in fashion and design.
Despite her parents’ anguish at their unmarried younger daughter, she forges on with her dreams and is celebrating successes, when she meets a man, John Morehouse, by chance, on a tram journey.
Love often finds you in totally unexpected circumstances, and this is one of them.
Her parents show reluctance to let their girl go, however, Templeton and John marry, and move across the country, three thousand miles away, to San Francisco.
Here, the story builds upon her settling into life as a married woman, but also pursuing her dreams in a different location.
The time-worn worry of whether to be a career woman or a mother plays its part in the story, here.
A natural disaster threatens to rip their lives apart, and this is where the story really comes to life, and the choices made affect their lives forever.
The era in which the story is set was a time when it was frowned upon for a woman to put work before family. Then, there wasn’t the confidence that she could do both.
I loved Templeton’s drive. She’s passionate about what she loves, be it her work, or her family. The way she is torn between the two, and feeling that she might not be able to have either, pulled at my heartstrings.
But thankfully she found a partner who, after initial misgivings, was able to accept and support his wife.
I felt, keenly, for Templeton’s parents, throughout the story. It highlights the fact that no matter what their age, we parents will never truly stop worrying about our children.
A heartwarming read.

Out 11th November, 2021

About Bette Lee Crosby

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby’s books are “Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances.” – Midwest Book Review

The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby’s writing is, “A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures.”

Samantha from Reader’s Favorite raves, “Crosby writes the type of book you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down.”

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win twenty awards for her work; these include: The Royal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal, Reader’s Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer’s Choice Award.

The Impossibe Truths of Love by @hannahbeckerman #BlogTour #Book Review @fmcmassociates

Today, I am delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for Hannah Beckerman’s newest release, The Impossible Truths of Love.

The Impossible Truths of Love

First things first, the Blurb!

From bestselling author Hannah Beckerman comes a moving story about memory, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.

When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own.

Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did.

As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.

In this beautifully observed and emotionally powerful story of identity, memory and the nature of family, Hannah Beckerman asks: To what lengths would you go to protect the ones you love?

My Review:

The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read one of Hannah Beckerman’s previous novels, I was excited to dive into her newest release, The Impossible Truths of Love, knowing it would be good.
However, I didn’t realise it would be that good, that I would devour it in one sitting!
Nell’s father whispers a statement to her, on his deathbed that stays with her. Unfortunately, he is unable to ever clarify the meaning.
She watches her mothers mental health deteriorate, due to dementia, and the odd little comments she makes, cause Nell to stop and think.
I am not sure exactly how to word this review, without giving away the story too much, but suffice to say, my reader detective antennae pricked up, as soon as I realised there was something hidden, and there were several ideas running through my mind, as to what the outcome would be. Some were close, some not so close, but the twists – WOW!
All I can say is that there is always right and wrong in any decision we make.
Sometimes love is the reason we make those decisions. Can any decision made with parental love in mind, ever be wrong? Of course, they could, and this novel explores that in a way that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings.
Nell’s discoveries and trauma are told in a parallel storyline to her mother Alice’s, in a Then and Now format of chapters. Each layer is unwrapped and reveals another piece to the jigsaw puzzle of Nell’s life, rather like an elaborate Pass The Parcel.
I truly loved this book, and it will be one that stays with me for a long while. Stunning read!
Thanks to FMCM Associates and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About Hannah Beckerman

Hannah Beckerman

Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist, event chair and broadcaster. In the UK she writes for a range of publications including The Observer and The FT Weekend Magazine, and appears as a book critic on BBC Radio 2 and Times Radio. She regularly chairs at literary events and panels across the UK and has judged numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards.

Before becoming a writer, Hannah was a TV and film producer both in the UK and the US.

She lives in London.

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

The Mother Fault by @katemildenhall #BlogTour #TheMotherFault @fictionpubteam @harperfiction

Are you a fan of Dystopian fiction? Fancy a bit of Antipodean adventure?

Well, come join me as I start off the blog tour for Kate Mildenhall’s newest release, published by Harper Fiction, The Mother Fault.

The Mother Fault

The Blurb

Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.

But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at the notorious BestLife.

Cornered, Mim risks everything to go on the run to find her husband – and a part of herself, long gone, that is brave enough to tackle the journey ahead.

From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.

My Review

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. I was intrigued from the off, and seeing the development of Mim’s character, as she tries to save her family, made for a great read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

About the author:

Kate Mildenhall is a writer and teacher, who lives on the outskirts of Melbourne with her young family. She has taught in schools, at RMIT University and State Library Victoria, and volunteered with Teachers Across Borders in Cambodia. Her debut novel, SKYLARKING, was published in Australia by Black Inc. in 2016 and in the UK by Legend Press in 2017. Skylarking was longlisted for the Voss Literary Prize 2017 and the Indie Book Awards 2017.

Kate has received residencies at Varuna, the Writers House and at Bundanon.

With friend and author Katherine Collette, Kate co-hosts The First Time podcast, a podcast about the first time you publish a book.

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