Shakespeare And Me – Guest post by @KileyDunbar and #BookReview of #newrelease, One Winter’s Night

Last year I was introduced to the debut novel of someone who I have come to view as one of those authors whose books I will put others aside, to read as soon as I can.

Kiley Dunbar’s first book, One Summer’s Night, is a wonderful story, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, and heavily influenced by that famous bard, William Shakespeare. As I read her fourth book, One Winter’s Night, (yes, she’s got that many under her belt since last year’s release!) I realised it was also Shakey-heavy, too, so I decided to be nosy and ask all about her fascination with Shakespeare, and how much he’s influenced her writing, and life, too!

Over to you, Kiley!

I fell in love with Shakespeare’s poetry when I was fourteen and I talked my mum into buying me A Midsummer Night’s Dream, based solely on my lovestruck reaction to its gorgeous cover. I still have that book! (pictured).

That was the summer my parents dug out a small pond in the back garden of their terrace in the coal board village where I grew up. I spent hours that summer sitting by the pond trying to get to grips with the strange language and magical characters. I only understood half of what I read and it took me the whole summer to finish the play.

I was always a dreamy kid but something about the summer moon reflecting in the water and this 400-year-dead beardy English bloke had me reeling. I was a goner.

Cut to Mrs Marr’s English class a few years later and I’m head over heels for Hamlet, outraged by Othello and totalled on Twelfth Night. Thank you Mrs Marr!

In May 1999 I was writing a long letter to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford upon Avon explaining my obsession and asking if they have any summer job vacancies – and they did!

Within weeks I was living in Stratford, working as a tour-guide and seeing every single play at the RST and the Swan. I was in heaven!

And I didn’t want to leave.

So I applied to study at the Shakespeare Institute and, to my amazement, got a place – after a nerve wracking interview. I made Shakespeare-obsessed friends for life there.

A few years, and a lot of studying, later I have been fortunate enough to be able to teach my own Shakespeare courses at a uni in the North of England. Seeing the moment where it finally all made sense for my students was utterly magical!

It felt as though all my teenage summer dreams had come true. Except for one. I wanted to write love stories and comedies of my own.

In March 2019 my debut novel, a rom com, called ‘One Summer’s Night’ came out with Hera Books, inspired by my love of Shaky and (v. v. loosely) based on my first summer in Stratford all these years ago where I met my husband and we got engaged after FOUR days! I know, I’m not exactly risk averse. Now I’m looking forward to sharing the sequel to that novel. It’s called One Winter’s Night and is out on 17th September 2020 and follows the same characters and some new ones through a very romantic, dramatic winter in Shakespeare’s hometown. One of the storylines is a gender-reversed version of Love’s Labour’s Lost, one of my favourite Shakespeare plays.

I hope you love it, Kiley, x

You can download your copy of One Summer’s Night here:


And One Winter’s Night can be bought here:




Here’s the blurb:

A gorgeously uplifting, romantic read that will warm your heart – take a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where magic happens…

It’s autumn in beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon and Kelsey Anderson is enjoying her new life in her adopted town. Her Shakespearean tour guide days behind her, she’s now opened her own photography studio and loved up with boyfriend Jonathan – even if a long-distance relationship is sometimes lonely.

When best friend Mirren Imrie moves down from Scotland, Kelsey is delighted to have her friend at her side – and as the nights turn colder, Mirren throws herself into dating, until she finds herself growing closer to sexy journalist, Adrian Armadale. But when Mirren uncovers a long-buried scandal while working at the local newspaper, her big scoop might throw Kelsey’s – and Jonathan’s – life upside down. Will she choose her career over her friends’ happiness?

And when Jonathan returns from America and discovers the secrets Mirren has uncovered about his family, it throws his relationship with Kelsey onto shaky ground. Can they find their way back to love, before it becomes the winter of their discontent?

A romantic, funny and feelgood read that will make you smile from ear to ear. Fans of Milly Johnson, Heidi Swain and Holly Martin will fall in love with this cosy winter read!

Thank you, so much, Kiley, for sharing your love affair with Shakespeare with us all!

And four days! Wowzer! Well, they do say, when you know, you know. 😉

As I mentioned, I was honoured to be able to read an ARC of One Winter’s Night, and it was fabulous! Here’s my review.

One Winter’s Night by Kiley Dunbar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I happened upon Kiley Dunbar and her debut last year, and after devouring the first one, I have awaited any other releases with great anticipation, and she’s never failed to satisfy.
Hearing that the characters from One Summer Night, Dunbar’s debut were getting another outing in One Winter’s Night, made my summer.
I love Shakespeare, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a place we visited plenty when I was growing up, And though I’ve never been, Scotland and its. beauty has always enticed me.
One day I will visit.
And romance? Well, I love a bit of romance, so, having all these components in a book should be a guaranteed good read, for me, at least.
And it surely was!
Catching up with Kelsey Anderson, as the Scottish lass comes to grips with settling far south of her home town, in Shakespeare’s land, attempting to set up a business fuelled by her passion for photography, with no good friends or family close by, and the love of her life off acting across the Atlantic was a joy.
And I loved the parallel story of Kelsey’s best friend Mirren, the newly single, Scottish journalist who’s finally had enough of the sexist world of broadsheet journalism, and finds herself swearing off men, jacking in her job, and jumping on a train to join her best friend, for a little while, as she straightens her life out.
There were a whole host of new characters introduced, including the old soak, propping up the local bar, who ended up being a rather famous actor in his prime, with a hidden secret, and Blythe.
Oh, I loved Blythe! Everyone needs a Blythe in their lives.
An eccentric elderly woman who was a force to be reckoned with in her prime, on stage, until life threw her some huge curveballs. Blythe may be a bit of a recluse, but she has amassed a veritable smorgasbord of memorabilia and hard-learned wisdom over the years, along with the talent of distilling her own extremely strong flavoured gins.
Kelsey’s unusual, initial meeting with Blythe cements a multi-generational friendship that adds another layer to an already wonderful story.
So there’s love, heartbreaks, more romance, Shakespeare, family angst, and GIN! What more could a reader want?
Absolutely a recommended read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Now, I 100% recommend you get reading all of Kiley’s books, they are wonderful little nuggets of escapism!

Happy Reading!

The Plight Of The Gingerlily – Jim Webster #blogtour

Today, I am delighted to host fantastic author Jim Webster as he is going on a tour of the Blogosphere for his new release, The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily.

Without further ado, I shall pass you over to Jim!

We shall start with a photo, and the story that was inspired by it!

Delicate work
A casual observer might have assumed that Benor Dorfinngil was in a good mood. He had a spring in his step and might even be whistling a merry tune. 
There was good reason for his high spirits. Things were going rather well. 
He had funds. Admittedly he’d ended up giving two of the ten alar coins to 
Shena, on the grounds that the costs entailed in purchasing a dress might well come within the definition of legitimate expenses incurred during the investigation. On the other hand, he’d been firm with Tallis. Benor couldn’t see why Tallis needed compensating for the strain of looking after innumerable grandchildren. Given that the alternative would have been accompanying Shena to purchase a dress, Benor felt he’d taken the easy option. Once she’d accepted the coins, Benor had mentioned the name, Salat 
Wheelstrain, to her and Shena had, in good grace, promised to ask around.
Another of the coins had been broken into a most commendable quantity of small change and Mutt was using this to marshal his array of watchers. If 
the two sisters left the house their movements were tracked and their 
conversations overheard by a collection of inconspicuous and apparently 
innocent children. Benor had been surprised just how much activity Mutt 
could command for a comparatively small outlay.
Now he was intent on seeing Faldon the priest. As Faldon had been the instigator of the inquiry, Benor felt that it was only right that he occasionally reported back on what had been achieved. There was the problem that Faldon was disinclined to support anything to unethical, but Benor felt he could gloss over some matters. There was also the hope that Faldon would keep his eyes and ears open and might even have something to contribute to 
the investigation.
When Benor arrived at the house he found Faldon sitting out in the street enjoying the afternoon sun. Unwilling to accept payment for cutting the hair of passers-by, Faldon tended to be paid in kind. Obviously, somebody had gifted him a bench of solid but inelegant construction, and this was set against the front wall of the house. Faldon sat on it, but when Benor appeared, the priest moved to one end to allow the younger man space to sit 
“So how are things progressing?”
Airily Benor said, “I now have the two women watched by experts.”
“Hopefully we shall be ready if she makes a move against the child.” Faldon shifted his position on the bench as if his comment had left him uncomfortable. Then he changed the subject, “So what do you know about 
Jorrocks Boat Yard?”
“Well, they bought a lot of very poor quality second-hand timber. Also it 
appears Minny thought it important that Santon handled the Jorrocks Boat 
Yard account for Raswil Muldecker the usurer.”
“What do we know about the yard?”
“I’d never heard of them,” Benor admitted. “But then I thought to ask Shena. 
They are one of the smaller yards. Old Yalla Jorrocks had a good name, his son, Belan, wasn’t a bad boat builder, but by all accounts, he wasn’t the cheapest and apparently you had to keep an eye on him or corners were cut. 
Of the current generation, Ardal is in charge and he is, apparently, the person to go to if you’re planning an insurance swindle or want something
doing that isn’t particularly legal. The smugglers tend to deal with him.”
Faldon asked, “So would it be worth having a look at the yard?”
“It could be. But I doubt they’d welcome casual visitors. I suspect I’d have 
to look round at night.”
Hesitantly Faldon asked, “Would you like me to come with you?”
Surprised Benor said, “Certainly, it’s good to have support, but it didn’t 
strike me as the sort of thing you’d want to get involved in.”
“I’m feeling a bit guilty,” Faldon admitted. “I dumped this job on you and 
haven’t really done a lot to help.”
“Fair enough. If Mutt can spare the time I’ll get him to come as well. Today 
has been overcast so it looks like we’ll get a dark night.”


The night was as dark as Benor hoped. Mutt met them just outside the yard. 
He’d insisted on doing a private reconnaissance first. When they met he led them down a narrow lane between two boatyards leading to the estuary. The yards on either side of the lane had tall fences made of a mixture of second and third-hand timber; in various states of decay. As they got close enough to see the water glinting in the estuary, Mutt stopped.
“This bit is rotten; I got through. You two can follow me.”
Luckily both men were slender and wiry; a more thickset man would have had trouble. Still, by the time they’d pushed through, the hole was noticeably larger. They entered the yard behind a pile of timber. Fortunately, it hadn’t been piled against the fence, probably because it was unlikely that the fence could support the weight. The three of them crept out from behind the pile of wood and into the open. The entire area seemed to be a haphazard collection of piles of timber looming out of the darkness. Benor led the way. He could see something against the skyline which looked like a boat on the stocks.
He stopped and listened. There was no sound, just the noises of the city in the background. He stood up. Quietly he said, “I think we can walk. There 
doesn’t look to be anybody about.”
Cautiously the other two stood up. Mutt hissed, “I’ll go to the right a bit, 
see if there’s any sign of anybody over there. There’s some sort of hut near 
the gate in.”
Benor nodded and made his way towards the boat. Faldon moved off to the 
left, “There’s a pile of something over here.”
Benor kept his eye on Mutt, the boy disappeared around a pile of wood, but
there was still no sound. He waited but the boy didn’t come back, so he’d obviously not found anything. He moved forward and as he did so there was a 
ripping sound and then a scream to his left. He spun around and Faldon wasn’t there. Hastily he dropped down onto his hands and knees to make himself less conspicuous and crawled in the direction of the scream. Suddenly his hands touched canvas.
Quietly he said, “Faldon?”
From below him came Faldon’s voice. “Down here. I went through the canvas. 
The ground here is stone slabs!”
Benor reached out, found a torn end, and tore it further so he could see down. Below him, he could see the pale blob of Faldon’s face. Mutt appeared
next to him. “What ‘appened.”
From below Faldon commented, “There’s a boat down here.”
Benor explained, “So Faldon’s fallen through the cover over a dry dock.”
“Well get ‘im out. There’s a hut over there with a light in the windows. I 
heard the scream, they might of.”
Benor reached down. “Can you grab my hand?”
Faldon tried to stand up. “I’ve damaged my ankle.”
Benor tried to estimate the depth. “Is there a ladder, I don’t fancy the 
“Yes, just along there.” Benor tried to see in the direction Faldon was pointing. There might be something. He tore the rotten canvas and made his way in that direction. Yes, there was a ladder. “Mutt, I’ll go down and help 
him up, you catch him.”
At the foot of the ladder, Faldon was waiting; he’d used the ladder to haul himself upright. Slowly and with Benor taking the weight, he climbed the ladder.
“Get on, someone coming.”
Benor put his shoulder under Faldon and pushed the other man out of the
hole. As he did so a rung, rotten with age, snapped and Benor fell onto the next which also snapped. At this, he tumbled back into the hole.
Mutt repeated, “Someone coming.”
“Get Faldon hidden, I’ll hide down here.”
“If they find owt, I’ll let ‘em chase me.”
Benor looked round for a hiding place. His eyes were becoming accustomed to the light. There was a boat here; perhaps he could hide inside the hull. He scrambled up the rope tied to the side, dashed across the deck and lowered himself over the combing and into the hold. In there it was dark. He stood completely still and listened.
A voice said, “Telled you there were someone. The sheet’s torn.”
A second voice said, “Better go down and look then.”
There was silence then a curse. “Watch the bluidy ladder, it’s knackered.”
“Here, stop moaning and I’ll pass you down the torch.”
Suddenly there was a hint of light inside the hull. Obviously, some of the planking hadn’t been caulked yet so light was coming in between them. Benor glanced around; he could make out the mast, seated in a block fastened to the keel. He moved and stood behind that. From outside he heard, “Nobody out 
“Then look inside the boat.”
“Waste of time.”
“Why, had you got something more interesting planned? Look inside the boat.”
Benor heard muffled cursing then there was the sound of booted feet on the deck above him. Suddenly there was light streaming in through the hatch. 
Benor pressed himself against the mast. Now with more illumination, he could see something strange at the stern of the boat. There was some sort of box.
From outside a voice said, “Well are you going in?”
“If I am you can bluidy well come up here and hold the ladder.”
Benor looked around desperately for a better place to hide. The box at the stern was the only possible place. He made his way carefully to the stern. 
He paused briefly. There were two large timber planks, curved to match the curve of the hull. There was one on the port side, another to starboard, and they appeared to be fastened to the timbers of the hull. For some reason, the two planks were linked, across the hold, by a rope. Benor carefully stepped over it. It appeared to be bar-tight.
Then he saw that running from this rope was another rope which led unto the box. Hastily Benor ducked under the second rope and climbed up into the box. 
It appeared to be full of canvas. Frantically he burrowed into it and lay there. Now whoever was holding the light was obviously in the hold. Benor could see it coming in through the gaps between the planks of the box.
“Still see nowt.”
A third voice said, “Well happen it’s because there’s nowt to see.”
The second voice replied. “Then stop wasting time and let us search the rest 
of the yard.”
The light grew dimmer. Benor lay utterly still in the darkness. He listened to men cross the deck and drop down onto the ground. He then heard somebody cursing the broken rungs of the ladder and finally he was alone in the silent darkness. He lay there, still listening; in the far distance he could hear voices but couldn’t make out the words. Carefully he pulled a stub of candle out of his belt pouch. Then he took a match out of its tin and with the small pliers provided by the manufacturer, crushed the bulb at the end of the match. It flared into flame and he hastily lit the candle. Then he looked around.
He found himself lying on neatly folded canvas in a box that was comfortably large enough to hold him and the canvas. When he looked, the back of the box was the stern of the boat, but it seemed to be hinged. Why would you want to get out of a boat under the waterline? Also, why was there a rope sewn to the canvas and disappearing out through a hole in the hatch?
Was it a drogue to slow the boat down or assist steering?
He climbed out of the box and lowered himself onto the bottom of the hold. 
He stepped over the taut robes. If the drogue was released into the water, 
it would pull on the cross rope, but the planks fastened to the sides of the hull would take the strain. That didn’t make a lot of sense. If asked to build something like this, he’d have fastened it to the keel, or even to the block in which the mast was seated. These were more substantial pieces of wood, and capable of taking the strain.
He made his way to the entrance hatch. He climbed up the ladder and onto the deck, shielding his candle with his hat lest the light be seen from outside. 
He walked silently across the deck and lowered himself over the edge, 
dropping down to the ground at the stern of the boat. From the outside the hatch was visible and it had a length of rope dangling from it. He shook his head, puzzled, and made his way along the side of the boat. A third of the way along, he came to a plank running vertically up the side of the boat. He held the candle nearer to it, lifting the hat slightly with his other hand to let more light shine on the hull. This plank seemed to be bolted to the plank inside the hull as if to ensure the strain was spread across more of the timbers. He looked at them carefully. They were freshly nailed, but the more he looked at them, the more incredulous he became.
He then looked round the dry dock. Stacked against the side of the dock there were some more planks. These had obviously come off the side of a 
boat; you could see the nail holes where they’d been fastened on. Now it wasn’t uncommon for a boatyard to replace ships timbers, but these were in excellent condition. They’d obviously been taken off the hull and replaced by wood in a very poor condition. At this point, Benor remembered what he’d heard about the yard buying a lot of very poor quality second-hand timber.
The only thing that made sense was an insurance fraud. The crew could wait until they were out at sea; get all sails set and then abandon ship. They would then pull on the rope at the back of the boat so that the drogue deployed and very rapidly this would put too much strain on the hull and would tear in two large areas of planking. Benor guessed that the water pouring in through the great gaps in the hull would sink the boat within minutes. He stopped and thought about it. It was a bit fussy and involved a lot of planning, but there again; it could be done perfectly safely by the person doing it.
He continued along the side of the boat. At the bow was a nameplate. He raised the candle to illuminate it. The Flower of Partann.
A shout from somewhere in the yard brought him back to the present. 
Somewhere out there was Faldon who needed help. Swiftly Benor snuffed out the candle and climbed the damaged ladder, avoiding the broken rungs. There were raised voices and angry shouting near the gate. He couldn’t imagine 
Mutt could have got Faldon to the gate on his own, so he made his way back towards the way they’d come in. He’d not passed the second pile of timber 
before he heard a soft voice saying, “Benor, this way.”
He ducked down behind the woodpile. Faldon lay there waiting for him. “Mutt 
has gone to get Tallis; he reckons it’ll take two of you to move me any 
“How’s the ankle?”
“Probably broken.”
“Right, so which way will Tallis come?”
“Mutt said to go to the hole we came in through.”
”Right, I’ll try and get you there.”
Benor helped the other man to his feet and Faldon threw an arm over Benor’s shoulders. The priest’s inability to put his left foot on the ground slowed them considerably, and Benor kept looking over his shoulder towards the main entrance. “I hope Mutt got away.”
”He said there were other holes he could get through.”
As he glanced back, Benor could see light moving in their vague direction.”
“Down, we’ll have to crawl this bit.”
On hands and knees they made their way behind the pile of timber screening 
the hole in the fence.
A voice shouted, “Right, now search this bluidy yard properly. Cover every 
bluidy inch of it. That kid must be somewhere and he probably wasn’t alone.”
For the next half hour Benor watched the lights working methodically around 
the boatyard. More lights appeared as reinforcements were called in.
“I think I better help you through the hole.”
“What about Tallis?”
Benor bit his tongue and then said, “Tallis can look after himself. If the 
worst comes to the worst I can get you down to the Estuary and into the 
“I’ve never tried swimming with a broken ankle.”
“There’s a first time for everything. Don’t worry, I can support you and we’ll 
let the current carry us away from here.”
“Where will it take us?”
“That’s just an embarrassing detail; away from here is the important bit.”
Faldon fell silent and Benor helped him wiggle through the hole. Then on 
hands and knees they continued down the narrow lane towards the beach. By 
the water’s edge Benor said quietly, “I’ll go back to the hole. If Tallis 
gets here soon we might be able to go with him.”
Benor stood in the dark for what seemed like hours. The searchers were 
getting closer, at some point they would reach the hole in the fence. Then 
he heard another noise, footsteps. Somebody was coming down the lane. In the 
gloom he could see several men who appeared to be carrying something. Ahead 
of them was Tallis. “Where are you Benor?”
Benor hissed, “Keep your bluidy voice down.”
Tallis turned round. “We’re here. Put the chair down.”
He turned back to Benor, “Where’s the casualty.”
Silently Benor pointed down the lane to the estuary. Tallis nodded, “This 
way chaps.”
Benor looked on with astonishment as a two-person sedan chair with four 
chairmen made their way past him. He would have sworn that a lady smiled at 
him out of the window. He grabbed Tallis. “What in the forty-seven hells is 
going on?”
“Mutt found me at the house of the Widow Handwill. It was she who pointed 
out that a sedan chair was the obvious mode of transport, and that the 
presence of a lady would help maintain decorum.”
“Will it?” Benor asked, his tone indicating disbelief.
“If not, the presence of four sturdy chairmen will,” said Tallis with an air 
of absolute confidence. “And then there’s Mutt.”
“Why, what’s he doing?”
“A diversion, listen.” There were shouts from in the boatyard. Benor ducked 
down and looked through the hole. There were flames at the far end near 
where he’d assumed the offices were. “He’s set fire to something?”
The sedan chair came back past them, the bearers were grinning. Benor saw 
two faces smiling at him through the window. “Coming?” Asked Tallis, “or do 
you want to spend the night here?”

I’m sure you’ll all agree that was a fantastic story! But what about the book, time for Jim’s input…

Jim Webster
Here’s the man, himself!

I’ve thought long and hard about blog tours. I often wonder how much somebody reading a book wants to know about the author. After all, I as a 
writer have gone to a lot of trouble to produce an interesting world for my characters to frolic in. Hopefully, the characters and their story pull the
reader into the world with them. So does the reader really want me tampering with the fourth wall to tell them how wonderful I am? Indeed given the number of film stars and writers who have fallen from grace over the years, 
perhaps the less you know about me the better?
Still, ignoring me, you might want to know a bit about the world. Over the 
years I’ve written four novels and numerous novellas set in the Land of the 
Three Seas and a lot of the action has happened in the city of Port Naain. 
They’re not a series, they’re written to be a collection, so you can read 
them in any order, a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories in that regard.
So I had a new novella I wanted to release. ‘Swimming for profit and 
pleasure.’ It’s one of the ‘Port Naain Intelligencer’ collection and I 
decided I’d like to put together a blog tour to promote it. But what sort of tour? Then I had a brainwave. I’d get bloggers who know Port Naain to send me suitable pictures and I’d do a short story about that picture. It would be an incident in the life of Benor as he gets to know Port Naain.
Except that when the pictures came in it was obvious that they linked together to form a story in their own right, which is how I ended up writing one novella to promote another! In simple terms, it’s a chapter with each picture. So you can read the novella by following the blogs in order. There is an afterword which does appear in the novella that isn’t on the blogs, 
but it’s more rounding things off and tying up the loose ends.
Given that the largest number of pictures was provided by a lady of my 
acquaintance, I felt I had to credit her in some way.
So the second novella I’m releasing is ‘The plight of the Lady Gingerlily.’ 
It too is part of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection.

So we have ‘Swimming for profit and pleasure’

Benor learns a new craft, joins the second-hand book trade, attempts to rescue a friend and awakens a terror from the deep. Meddling in the affairs of mages is unwise, even if they have been assumed to be dead for centuries.

And we have ‘

The Plight of the Lady Gingerlily

No good deed goes unpunished. To help make ends meet, Benor takes on a few small jobs, to find a lost husband, to vet potential suitors for two young ladies, and to find a tenant for an empty house. He began to feel that things were getting out of hand when somebody attempted to drown him.

Find Jim’s blog:

And his Amazon author page here.

Timeless Echoes by Balroop Singh #bloghop #poetry #newrelease

Please allow me to invite fantastic poet and word-master, Balroop Singh to my blog on a blog hop for her new poetry book, Timeless Echoes.

Might I add a quick apology here to Balroop… somehow all the info for her blog hop ended up in my spam folder and I missed the date I should have scheduled this post! Oops! I was mortified! But all is rectified and here is the promised post!

Balroop book

Book Blurb: Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

Book Information:

Title: Timeless echoes

Author: Balroop Singh

Genre: Poetry

Available at: Kindle Click on the link


The Editor’s Review:
Half of what we say are lies although they might be considered true, but truth with one’s self is an accepted bundle of lies except for those rare moments of self-realization. These lines right at the start of Timeless Echoes, ‘Each moment is precious, we try to cage it within our heart, where it perches in perfect rampart, embalmed by memories,’ reveal how this book is a healer, promising to lay bare the ills of the soul as it soothes, cleanses, and nurtures; instilling in us a will to learn and live without fear, and a will to not hurt others: ‘Why can’t our hearts feel the hurt we hurl at others?’
Balroop’s new book is a steadfast repudiation of those ills that we painfully hide under the covers of our flesh to present the polished exterior as truth. This magnetic collection of poems highlights our precious human lives with all their varied emotions and imposing relations: the lives often blinded by the strictures of the self-made duplicity, an excessively common phenomenon. ‘Listen to your heart, my friend. It knows you well,’ she writes.
I treasure these ‘forgetting fragile facets of love, facade of fading memories, echoes of dwindling love, is all I have now, yet love echoes refuse to subside’ believing that love echoes are soul-launched signals, ready to hug our pretenses to forge a divine assimilation because the struggle has always been with the self that we excommunicate to build up a wall, which obscures the travails plaguing the core. And finding a path to the core is the cure since there’s no villainy in the soul.
As Balroop proclaims ‘love is such a strange emotion, it gives less, it claims more…the facade of love is so delusive,’ I concur how our infirmities require urgent banishment, more pressing now than ever. And once I’ve made peace with the self, ‘the dark corridors are like meadows, they glow with my presence.’ Yes, without an iota of my own falsehoods plaguing me.
  • Mahesh Nair


Balroop Singh

Author Bio:

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing. She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

You can visit her blog at:

Connecting links:


Moments That Echo

Each moment is precious

We try to cage it within our heart

Where it perches in perfect rampart

Embalmed by memories!

Moments of love croon around us

Offering eternal passion that blinds

Drowning in the deluge of delusion

Validating ephemeral enchantment!

Moments of joy glisten on the sand of time

Fleeting away faster than dappling light

Peeping through the corridors of life

At the mercy of others’ delight!

Woeful moments smile through strife

Each one stretching far and wide

Into every nerve and sinew

Sneering at our impertinent divide!

Each moment an experience in itself

We grow in its glow to wend and win

Divesting the ignorance of our thoughts

Solace echoing within!

Thank you Balroop for all the amazing information on your new book. I have read many of Balroop’s poems via her blog, and she has an amazing way with words, the imagery she creates is fantastic!

Please, buy this book, read and review it! We all know how much genuine reviews mean to our Indie author friends!

Pull Up A Chair #newbookrelease

Check this out! My blog bro Rich has been secretly publishing a new book!

via I Finally did it

Marjorie Mallon – Poetic Inspiration #TheCurseOfTime #BlogTour #Author

Hello there Peeps!

Today I am host to a wonderful blogger who I count as a friend too, especially after having endured the London Underground with her after the Bloggers Bash this year!

Marjorie Mallon!

The purpose of this post is actually that I am supporting her on a Blog Tour for her first book release! Yay!

I asked Marjorie what inspired her writing, and to answer, Marje (that’s what us friends call her!) has penned a poem!

Ritu at But I Smile Anyway,
Asked me ‘What inspires you?’
I scratched my head and replied…..
‘Everything?’ She repeated.
‘What’s everything?’ She asked.
So I said,
‘The sun, the moon and the stars,
Sunsets, Crystals, Cats, Shadows,
Art, Puzzles, Mysteries,
Books, Music, Film, Sculptures,
People, Photography and chit chat.’
‘What kind of chit chat,’ she enquired?
‘The kind that keeps me listening!”
‘Are your ears big?’ she said.
I laughed, grinned and nodded.
She stared at me wide eyed,
So I confessed, ‘My ears eavesdrop.’
‘Blame your lugs,’ she replied.
‘Yes, my lugs are criminals,’ I agreed.
‘Where do your rapscallion ears eavesdrop?’
‘On the bus, on the train, anywhere.’
‘Even at the bloggers bash?’ she cried, in shock.
‘No! Never there! Bloggers code,’ I replied. 
Ha ha, she giggled. ‘Mum’s the word!’
Lol, I tweeted.
‘So that’s it? Inspiration’s end?’ she asked, unsure.
‘No, never!’ I cried, aghast.
‘This is only a beginning and a middle.
Inspiration never stops,
It just grows and bloody grows!’
Retweet, hashtag, Retweet, hashtag.
‘Inspiration bloody grows!’

Isn’t that just a perfect poem? It’s true! Inspiration really does sprout from everywhere!

And now, for the main event…

Marjorie has penned her first book!

The Curse Of Time


The Blurb

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

Now, tell me, doesn’t that sound like an amazing book to get a hold of?

Well, luckily for you I have the link for you to pre-order! (I already ordered mine!) or click here!

The Curse Of Time is available on August 26th… as in tomorrow!!!!!

And I know you would like to know a little more about our lovely featured author, so here you are!

IMG_0565 (3)

Marjorie or M.J. Mallon!

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years – My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle-grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews:

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald.

I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.

After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses!

When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

What’s not to like Peeps? And the best thing? This is Book One! So that means there is sure to be more fabulousness to come! So, go, get ordering!!!! Watch out for a review on here soon enough!

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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