Friday, 31 December 2010

(My) New Year's Honours List

For those unfamiliar with the process, twice a year lists are created in the UK to honour people's achievements in arts, business, sports, charitable work and so on (military honours are awarded separately). Nominally, these honours are bestowed by the Queen but it's politicians who choose them.

Here's my New Year's Honours List:

Amazon
For creating an emporium of books that is so magical and wonderful, a few years ago I'd have said it could only exist in a Borges short story. Yes, I love going into real world book shops and browsing. But Amazon has no restriction on stock or snobbishness about authors. If you write books and you want people to read them, Amazon is your fairy godmother.

Richard Trinder
For reading F. Mehrban's poems so I could record them and put them on YouTube. We had 1400 hits from around the world within three days and as a consequence Remember Me was read at pro-democracy rallies by Iranian exiles in America.

Lambeth Bin Men
They always work at Christmas.


Posthumous Award for living a long and interesting life
Barry Rochefort - Lauren's Grandad. Died on 27th December
Jessie Kirkels - my dog. Died on 13th October


Los 33
The Chilean miners pulled out of the ground alive on 13th October. The best news story since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

How much is this one? And this one? And this one?

Pound shops are great, aren't they? Who doesn't want Toblerones for £1. And big bags of bird seed for £1. And anything else in there for £1. Tempting though it is, I never, ever go in to the pound shop in Brixton and ask how much the things are because it's just too busy for any of us to find it amusing.

Amazon are currently doing a Christmas kindle promotion with dozens of ebooks priced at £1.

Yesterday I picked up The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall on Scott Pack's recommendation.

Today I got four Michel Faber books - The Farenheit Twins, The Fire Gospel (Myths), The Courage Consort, The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps - and Fup: A Modern Fable by Jim Dodge. I didn't buy Michel Faber's Some Rain Must Fall because I already have it in paperback. The Crimson Petal and the White (flawed but brilliant) and Under the Skin (brilliant) are not part of the promotion.

When I went back to find the links on Amazon to post about it, I also bought The Last Station by Jay Parini.

The promotion ends on 6th January. It has done more than anything else in recent months to persuade me that price is an important factor when people are buying ebooks. It also made me think that I need an iPad* with a kindle app to read all these books (I'm currently using kindle for pc) which in turn reminded me why I never go to the sales.

* A magical and revolutionary product at an unbelieveable price. Indeed.

List of Lovely Things 2010

I know that some of these are old and you saw them or read them in 2009 or 2005 or 1974, or whenever they first came out. But I first saw them or read them in 2010.

For most of the year I tried to stay in and write, and where possible I waited for the fun to come to me. Sometimes it wouldn't come to me so I had to go out and look for it. I also experimented with 'holidays from home', which are not nearly so much fun as real holidays, though they're cheaper. I'm hoping to have a more adventurous 2011.

Theatre
Assassins at the Union Theatre
The Drowsy Chaperone Upstairs at The Gate
Clybourne Park at the Royal Court
The Memory Man at The Arcola
Pop-up Theatre in Brixton's Arcades
Ken Dodd at Richmond Theatre
Show Off! Piano Bar
La Boheme, Cock Tavern
Meow Meow at Soho Theatre
The Colour of Nonsense by Forkbeard Fantasy
Bright Lights, Big City, London

Literary
Damian Barr's Literary Salons
Book Club Boutique
Literary Death Match
Liars' League
Book Slam
The Miracle Inspector reaching no. 3 in Amazon's 'Movers & Shakers' chart
The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton
My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time by Liz Jensen
Granta Work & Sex & Going Back
The West: Stories from Ireland by Eddie Stack
The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken
The City & The City by China Mieville
The Finishing School by Muriel Spark
The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark
Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Hilary Mantel on hallucinations in The London Review of Books
Esmail Khoi at the Poetry Cafe
F Mehrban's poetry on YouTube
Operation Ebook Drop
Gifting ebooks direct to a Kindle
Podcast, 'All about ebooks', for the Writers Guild
Podcasting the development of my new novel
Making films of my poems using Xtranormal software

Film/TV
Synecdoche, New York
Moon
Ne Le Dis a Personne
District 9
Kick Ass
Misfits
Spiral (Engrenages)

Friends' Films
Sis by Deborah Hayward winning lots of awards
Closure by Circle Films at Sundance
Origin by Danny Stack (ooh look - I'm a film producer)

YouTube
Newport Ymerodraeth State of Mind
Fuck off, Alison Moyet - Drama on the 37 bus
Naked man in the snow, Brighton
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (Alan Bates)

Websites
PixelNitrate
How to be a Retronaut
Atlas Obscura
Letters of Note
Old Hollywood
The Accused Madam
Women in Crime Ink

New Babies
Fedi Hmida
Mioko West

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

World Book Night - Don't Forget to Sign Up

If you live in the UK or Ireland you have until 9.00 am on Tuesday 4th January to sign up to give away 48 copies of one book on World Book Night, which you can choose from a list of 25 available books.

The 20,000 successful applicants will be informed by 28th January. One million books will be given out on 5th March 2011.

I chose The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark. Which one will you choose?

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

How to find free or cheap ebooks in the UK

All my books are on offer at low prices.

You can find more information at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk



Daily Cheap Reads finds and posts about cheap, super-cheap and free ebooks in the UK kindle store: http://dailycheapreads.co.uk/

It is run by the same people who run the popular Daily Cheap Reads site in the US but this site specifically features bargain ebooks available in the UK. You don't need a kindle to read the books - you can use a free kindle app for your iPad or smartphone, or you can download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac for free.

There are new books posted every day so it's worth bookmarking the site or subscribing in a reader.

I also use EreaderIQ to notify me about price drops of ebooks I'd like to buy.

Amanda Knox - home for (next) Christmas?

There's an interesting post over at Women in Crime Ink by Anne Bremner, summarising the flaws in the case against Amanda Knox.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Werner Herzog's Rogue Film School

Werner Herzog's Rogue Film School is now accepting applications. The next seminar will be in London, 25-28 March 2011.

From the site:
  • The Rogue Film School will not teach anything technical related to film-making. For this purpose, please enroll at your local film school.
  • The Rogue Film School is about a way of life. It is about a climate, the excitement that makes film possible. It will be about poetry, films, music, images, literature.
  • The focus of the seminars will be a dialogue with Werner Herzog, in which the participants will have their voice with their projects, their questions, their aspirations.
  • Excerpts of films will be discussed, which could include your submitted films; they may be shown and discussed as well. Depending on the materials, the attention will revolve around essential questions: how does music function in film? How do you narrate a story? (This will certainly depart from the brainless teachings of three-act-screenplays). How do you sensitize an audience? How is space created and understood by an audience? How do you produce and edit a film? How do you create illumination and an ecstasy of truth?
  • Related, but more practical subjects, will be the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.
More details here.

Thanks to Barbara Bloomfield for the link.

Teena Marie - RIP

Teena Marie has died aged 54. She was the first white artist signed to Motown. She was a singer and musician who wrote, produced and arranged all the tracks on her third album - her favourite, and mine, too - Irons in the Fire, which was released in 1980 when she was only 24.

We had a 'what did Princess Diana's death mean to you?' conversation at Christmas. Diana was a few years older than me and she had her children around the same time I had mine, so I felt sorry for her sons when I heard she had died, and appalled at the brutal manner of her death - other than that, it didn't mean that much to me.

Teena Marie was a talented red-headed woman with a daughter. I loved her music and listened to it a lot when I was younger, so her death feels more personal. When I got pregnant, my boyfriend said that if we had a son we should call him Aladdin. Fortunately we had a daughter. I'm very sorry that Teena Marie's daughter found her dead last night. RIP.




Goodbye 2010 - and thank you for all the blogs

OK, so it's not over yet. But I spent most of 2010 sorting out my books. A couple of my novels had gone out of print in the UK so I got the rights back and published them myself as ebooks via Amazon's kindle store in the UK and the US, as well as the Book Depository and direct from Tyger Books. They're also available as paperbacks from just about every online book shop (inc. W H Smith, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble) and some bricks and mortar ones. It was rather time-consuming but I sold plenty of copies and I have recently signed to a new publisher so I'm very happy about the outcome.

Since I didn't have a publicist or marketing professional to help me get the books noticed, I relied on the kindness of book bloggers to bring them to the attention of readers. I'd like to say thank you to some of the people who reviewed my books or featured them on their blogs in 2010:

Interview Me Cambridge | Kindle Books Reviewed | Breakout Books | Two Ends of the Pen | Red Adept Reviews | Kindle Author | The Indie Spotlight | The Cajun Book Lady | Lit and Laundry | Her Book Self | Indie Books Blog | I Work for Books | Good Choice Reading | Far From Reality | All-Consuming Books |Stimulated Outlet | The Frugal eReader |Daily CheapReads | Backlist ebooks | Kindle Nation Daily| Love Clapham | Booked Up | Indie Writes | The Compulsive Reader |

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Happy Boxing Day

Happy Boxing Day if you're in the UK, or St. Stephen's Day if you're in Ireland, or the day after Christmas if you celebrate it, or 'just another day' if you don't.

I had Christmas in London with my extended family this year. Previous Christmases have been spent in Hong Kong, Australia, Bali, Wales, Dorset, Somerset or London.

We had a wonderful time and I hope you did, too. My daughter's boyfriend accidentally set his hair on fire (self-immolated is the term we used) and my book, The Miracle Inspector, was 'ebook of the day' over at Kindle Nation Daily, so it was a day to remember.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful day, wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Free Podcasts - Writing a Novel

Ever wondered how to write a successful mystery novel? Mmm. Me too.

Ever wondered how to write a comic mystery novel set in London about an amateur sleuth whose dog has recently died? Well...

Prompted by the recent death of my dog Jessie, I started writing a novel about an amateur sleuth called Emily Castles who investigates a murder in the house at the end of her street. Emily believes the spirit of her dead dog (also called Jessie) is there to guide her as she solves the mystery. Obviously the dog doesn't really help - this is a symptom of Emily's grief. Anyway, she falls in love, gets to know her neighbours, solves a mystery and finds an outlet for her curiosity. Yes! A new amateur sleuth is born! I shall write a whole series - just as soon as I finish the first one.

You can join me as I develop the novel, by listening to my free podcasts.

You can subscribe in iTunes here. If you don't have iTunes you can subscribe in a reader here or listen on your computer here:

| Ep One | Ep Two | Ep Three | Ep Four | Ep Five |



The Miracle Inspector - review

There's a lovely review for The Miracle Inspector over at the Stimulated Outlet review blog.

Thanks to Alice for the review.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

National Short Story Day - my recommendation

It's National Short Story day today here in the UK.

Four stories have been specially commissioned for the inaugural celebration and authors including Ian Rankin and Nicola Barker are recommending short stories and writers of short stories.

Over on his blog, David Hebblethwaite is reviewing the shortlist of entries in the recent BBC Short Story competition, which included David Constantine, Aminatta Forna, Sarah Hall, Jon McGregor and Helen Oyeyemi, and was won by David Constantine with Tea at the Midland. David is co-editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. He is an acclaimed poet as well as an award-winning short story writer.

I'd like to recommend a collection of short stories: The West: Stories from Ireland by Eddie Stack. I picked it up on a whim because the author is Irish (though he lives in San Francisco) and I had just come back from an event with Joseph O'Connor at the South Bank, and because he shares a surname with a friend of mine (Danny Stack, though they're unrelated). And because of the reviews:

The Observer: 'There’s a genuinely wild and fugitive comic sense in these tales that puts one in mind of Myles na Gopaleen as much as the salt spume dam, George Mackay Brown. Never sentimental, often funny, always accurate, this is pithy, finely tuned writing of a high order.'

New York Times Book Review: 'Variously fantastic, comic, elegiac and nostaligic, Mr. Stack's fiction is versatile and engaging...a vivid, compassionate, authentic voice...securing (him) a place in the celebrated tradition of his country's storytelling.'

The stories are beautiful. The book is one of my favourite books that I read 2010. I gave a copy away on my blog (along with 30 other books) last week but if you have a kindle or some other ereader, or even if you're using kindle for pc, you can pick up a copy for £2.21. If you buy it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

What are your recommendations for National Short Story Day?

Red Planet Prize - winner announced

Danny Stack has announced the winner of the Red Planet screenwriting prize over on his blog.

Congratulations to Simon Glass for winning with his script 'In the Flesh', and to the runners-up who will be mentored by Red Planet Pictures and Kudos.

Being Light - review

There's a wonderful review for Being Light from Jenny Mounfield at The Compulsive Reader.

"With its humour, complex cast of characters and themes of love, loss and the search for meaning, Being Light is a story that resonates on many levels. It is the sort of story that can be read more than once and with each reading something new will be gleaned. Smith is a writer to watch."

Monday, 20 December 2010

The Penitent - Poem interpreted by cartoon characters

I still haven't quite got over my joy at finding a free online site to make cartoon films of my awful poetry. Here's another one. It's really difficult to get the phrasing right and she does pronounce ritual as 'rituelle'. But that doesn't detract from my happiness.

The Miracle Inspector - review

There's a really nice review for The Miracle Inspector over at the All-Consuming Books blog.
Thanks to Tiger for the review.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Writing, writing, writing

As soon as the snow started falling in London on Friday, I went to Sainsbury's and bought two dozen eggs, four tubs of buffalo mozzarella, some butter, some pasta, some tomatoes, some rice, two cartons of organic black beans, asparagus, a jar of hollandaise sauce (I haven't got time to make it from scratch), a loaf of bread, some English muffins, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of Marmite, four pints of milk, a savoy cabbage, a carton of freshly squeezed orange juice, a packet of porridge oats, a jar of honey, half a dozen red and yellow peppers, eight fancy yoghurts, some goat's cheese, a leek, some celery, a sweet potato, three small parsnips, an onion, eight tins of dolphin-free tuna and a jar of mayonnaise.

I didn't buy any booze on the grounds that I would 'only drink it'. But I do have a bottle of Cava in the fridge in case anything exciting happens and I need to celebrate. With my cupboards and fridge full of these provisions, I expect to be able to ward off fatigue and scurvy, and withstand the worst of the winter freeze. If it doesn't thaw until February, I'll be able to survive.

I haven't left the house since - except for an unsatisfactory excursion to the end of the street this morning, to attend a mulled wine and mince pie party I'd been invited to, along with all my other neighbours. The invitation mentioned a grand piano, violins and carol singers, as well as the traditionally Christmassy catering plans. But when I got to the house in question, there was nothing but silence. No violins, no piano, no neighbourly voices harmonising 'In the Deep Midwinter.' Either it was a trap or an attempt to recruit for a cult, or I got the wrong day. Or the wrong house. Never mind. I took the opportunity to put my dressing gown in the wash before I stepped out, so I shall be quite fragrant for the rest of the week.

Everyone else in London is going about their business normally, as I know from tracking their Facebook status updates or calling them in a panic to check whether or not they're trapped on the M6. They are variously 'just back from Winter Wonderland', 'on our way to the zoo', 'at the pub', 'walking along the Embankment', etc. (although a very dear friend locked himself out of his living room after closing the door and switching on his robot vacuum, and had to let himself back in with a fish slice. But that adventure doesn't seem to be weather-related.)

The roads here are clear and public transport is running. Even so, I'm going to take this opportunity to stay in and write (as opposed to staying in and not writing, which is what I normally do.) I'll start each day with poached eggs with hollandaise sauce on toasted muffins or a delicious bowl of porridge with honey, and then write at least a thousand words. I will, I will, I will, I will, Iwill.

Tourettes Karaoke - Fairytale of New York

I got the links for these from Nick Holder. Guy Francis has Tourettes and Aspergers Syndrome. He posts tuneful YouTube films of himself singing popular songs. My favourite so far is his version of 'A Little Respect' by Erasure.

Here's his latest, a duet with Becky: Fairytale of New York (written by Shane MacGowan, originally performed by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl). As you would expect, all the Tourettes Karaoke films contain lots of swearing.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Amazon Gift Card Draw - Winner Chosen

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Cool Christmas giveaways on my blog last week, especially the authors who kindly contributed their books. Author bios here.

I drew the winner of the $50/£30 Amazon gift card at random today from all the entries to the competition, as well as entries from bloggers who kindly helped publicise it and sent me an email to tell me.

I used random.org to make the draw. This is a third-party paid service that ensures impartiality in draws like this. Entrants can check if they were entered (and how many times) by using their email address as a password at the link here. They will be able to verify their own entry but won't be able to see anyone else's email address. The other email addresses are not viewable by anyone but me.

I'm delighted to announce that the winner of the $50 Amazon gift card is: JS

The gift card has now been sent to the winner. I'm sorry to those of you who entered and weren't drawn to win the gift card. However almost everyone who entered won at least one ebook (though there were fewer signed paperbacks to go round). Thanks to everyone who participated and made this so much fun.

Thank you to Lynn at Red Adept Reviews, Michelle at Indie Paranormal Books Reviewed, Tracy at Booked Up, Mary at Bookhounds, Susan at West of Mars, Tracy at Her Ladyship's Quest, J C Phelps at http://J C Phelps, Susan at Susan Bischoff.com, Elizabeth at The Frugalereader, Dawn Judd at Breakout Books, Laura at Blue Bells Trilogy, Jason at Word Pursuit and Patricia at Subjective Soup for posting about it. Please check out their blogs for book reviews, discussions about writing and news about good deals on ebooks.*

*Did I miss anyone out? If so, sorry - let me know and I'll put a link up.

For information about the books that were available please look at the seven posts below this one.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Vicki Tyley, Naomi Kramer

Thank you to everyone who took part in the giveaways to win these books.
Thank you to the authors who contributed:


VICKI TYLEY
http://www.vickityley.com

THIN BLOOD BY VICKI TYLEY
Craig Edmonds, a successful stockbroker, reports the disappearance of his wife, Kirsty. What starts as a typical missing person's case soon evolves into a full-blown homicide investigation when forensics uncover blood traces and dark-blonde hairs in the boot of the missing woman's car. Added to this, is Craig's adulterous affair with the victim's younger sister, Narelle Croswell, compounded further by a recently acquired $1,000,000 insurance policy on his wife's life. He is charged with murder but, with no body and only circumstantial evidence, he walks free when two trials resulting in hung juries fail to convict him.

Ten years later, Jacinta Deller, a newspaper journalist is retrenched. Working on a freelance story about missing persons, she comes across the all but forgotten Edmonds case. When she discovers her boyfriend, Brett Rhodes, works with Narelle Croswell, who is not only the victim's sister but is now married to the prime suspect, her sister's husband, she thinks she has found the perfect angle for her article. Instead, her life is turned upside down, as befriending the woman, she becomes embroiled in a warped game of delusion and murder.

Thin Blood is an Amazon.com customer favourite of 2010.

"Page after page of twists make this novel a smashing success." --Suspense Magazine

"The story flows so easily that before you know what's happened, fifty pages are gone. It practically reads itself." --Ebook Alchemy
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SLEIGHT MALICE BY VICKI TYLEY
SLEIGHT ~ use of dexterity or cunning, especially so as to deceive.
MALICE ~ the intention or desire to do evil; ill will.

One cold Melbourne winter's night a suburban bungalow goes up in flames. Despite their best efforts, firefighters are unable to save the home. When a badly charred body is discovered in the remains, web designer Desley James is devastated. Her best friend, Laura Noble, had been the only one in the house that night - her partner, Ryan Moore, is away in Sydney on business. Then Desley learns the unidentified body is male. But it's not Ryan. He and Laura have disappeared…

Not realising until it's almost too late what some people will do to cover their tracks, Desley teams up with private investigator Fergus Coleman to search for the missing couple.

“In perfect Vicki Tyley fashion, ‘Sleight Malice’ entertains and stuns its readers.” – Lit Fest Magazine
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BRITTLE SHADOWS BY VICKI TYLEY
When soon-to-be-wed Tanya Clark is confronted with her fiancé's naked corpse hanging from a wardrobe rail in the upmarket Melbourne apartment they share, her life is torn apart. Two months later, distraught and unable to cope, she drowns her sorrows in a lethal cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs.

On the other side of Australia, a grieving Jemma Dalton struggles to come to terms with the suicide of her only sibling. Despite there being no evidence to the contrary, Jemma refuses to accept Tanya had intended to kill herself. Not her sister. Then the coroner's report reveals that at the time of her death she had been six weeks pregnant. The will, too, raises more questions than it answers. How did a young woman on a personal assistant's wage amass shares worth in excess of $1,000,000?

In a desperate bid to uncover the truth, Jemma puts her own life at risk and starts to probe the shadows of her sister's life. But shadows, like bones, grow brittle with age. The consequences can be deadly.

"This book will keep you captivated until the very end." Amazon.com 5* reader review.
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NAOMI KRAMER
http://www.naomikramer.com

MAISY MAY BY NAOMI KRAMER
Sex, fast cars, high school and... church. What's a teen to do when she just can't squeeze into the 'good little Christian girl' mould? What about her best friend, ready to explode out of his Christian Boy Wonder wrapping in the worst kind of way?

This is the first novella in the Maisy May trilogy.

"I was hooked from the disclaimer at the front: "This book contains profanity, violence toward bagsnatchers, religious discussions which don't necessarily conclude with 'and of course the bible's always right, as is the church', moral judgments, teen sex, gay relationships, and - possibly worst of all - Australian spelling and slang...This novella was so different to anything I've ever read. It was right out there, raw and real. Maisy May is a straight-talking tough nut, loyal as she is outspoken. I loved both her voice and the story. Bloody brilliant as we Aussies say... " Vicki Tyley, Amazon.com best-selling author.

"This is an incredible raw and honest look into a teens life. I have a teenager and at times I wondered if Naomi Kramer interviewed my daughter for this book. " Amazon.com 5* customer review

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Beth Orsoff, Eddie Stack

Thank you to everyone who took part in the giveaways to win these books
Thank you to the authors who contributed:

EDDIE STACK
http://eddiestack.com

THE WEST: STORIES FROM IRELAND BY EDDIE STACK
Seven short stories set in the West of Ireland. From the opening tale, "Time Passes," to the final story "Derramore," these pieces reveal the soul of a community - its hopes, dreams and schemes. In The West, fatalism and possibility run side by side, the Otherworld is as near as the Church. The double focus of the Irish.

With storyteller intimacy, Eddie Stack evokes life in a series of almost cinematic prose portraits of people, places and situations. The stories are smooth, each one remarkably different, but the click together to form a pattern. With its wit, originality and sensitivity, The West belongs in the best tradition of Irish writing.

"Variously fantastic, comic, elegiac and nostalgic, Mr. Stack's fiction is versatile and engaging...a vivid, compassionate, authentic voice...securing (him) a place in the celebrated tradition of his country's storytelling."
New York Times Book Review

“There’s a genuinely wild and fugitive comic sense in these tales that puts one in mind of Myles na Gopaleen as much as the salt spume dam, George Mackay Brown. Never sentimental, often funny, always accurate, this is pithy, finely tuned writing of a high order.”
Observer
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OUT OF THE BLUE BY EDDIE STACK
These twelve stories by Irish writer Eddie Stack recount the peculiar and amazing experiences that befall his native people, at home and abroad. In "Angels," Mr. Fine the eccentric chemist, reappears after a long hiatus and enchants the town with his violin. The dead arise to rewrite Irish history in "Ellie," when a recent immigrant to Ohio meets a widow long gone from Ireland. A donkey with an attitude hassles a small town in "Jack Ass Blues" and shakes the authority of Church and State. "Song for Angie" shuttles between Ireland and San Francisco, retracing through music, the lives of a church organist and her troubadour niece. In another tale, a foreign cabby ruffles local racists when he joins the town taxi rank. Love tests a champion Irish dancer in "Flying Visit," and the title story, "Out of the Blue," concerns of a mysterious funeral coming to Ireland from Chicago.

Surreal, naturalistic, cinematic, humorous and sometimes poignant: all styles intersect and play, often in a single tale. In this diverse and engaging collection, Eddie Stack takes us into worlds of magic and mystery, from which we emerge with a smile.

"Eddie Stack’s stories jet back and forth across the Atlantic, contrasting small town Ireland and big city US. Every time they land, the author seems to test the borderline of what might and might not be possible in downtown bars, crumbling dance halls and drizzly farms.
The result is a remarkably consistent collection of short stories."
Ian Wild, Southword

"This second collection of short stories by Eddie Stack has a wonderful sense of unreality, of weirdness among Irish characters and of downright fun."
Irish Emigrant
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HEADS BY EDDIE STACK
Heads tells the story of Jazz Doherty, an Irish artist who makes a sacrilegious blunder while painting murals at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Berkeley. The parish priest, Fr. Ned Tobin, declares jihad on him and Doherty goes on the run.

As his work at the church develops a cult following of hippies, punks and assorted outsiders, Jazz starves in San Francisco's bohemia. Keeping out of the priest's range, he does odd jobs to get by, planning to leave California as soon as he has the money. While house sitting for a jailed marijuana grower, Jazz discovers a freezer full of money in the basement. He dips into the stash and spends recklessly. He leaves a generous donation at the parochial house for Fr Ned, but his plan to purify their karma backfires.

"'Heads' is a madcap story set in California and is written in such lyrical prose that one can visualise the movie. It also contains an original song 'I tarried too long with Bridgey' that will forever be sung at the dying end of parties... It deserves to be on the bookshelves of the world. " Amazon.com 5* customer review.
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BETH ORSOFF
http://www.bethorsoff.com

ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED BY BETH ORSOFF
When L.A. entertainment lawyer Julie Burns becomes convinced that finding The One is "just a numbers game," she sets out to increase her numbers by any means necessary. From chance meetings and blind dates to dating services and the wonderful world of the internet, Julie will try anything to meet her man. And in the process, she discovers a secret or two about the single life: Sometimes love sneaks up on you when you least expect it--and even the worst first impressions can have surprising results.

" Orsoff's screwball comedy about modern dating Hollywood-style is a surefire winner. Forget Bridget Jones and become engrossed in Julie's follies with men and struggles with her persistent Jewish mother." Patty Engelmann,
Booklist
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HONEYMOON FOR ONE BY BETH ORSOFF
There are worse things in life than being dumped at the altar. Like being accused of killing your fake husband in a third world country where you can't speak the language, for example.

When Lizzie Mancini booked her honeymoon to the secluded Blue Bay Beach Resort on the small Caribbean island of Camus Caye she thought it would be relaxing to spend the week at an isolated couples-only retreat. But that was before she knew she’d be honeymooning sans groom. Touring alone, dining alone, and worst of all, having to explain to the resort’s thirty other guests why she was staying in the bridal suite alone—Lizzie was dreading it. But it still beat the alternative, eight more days hibernating in her empty apartment feeling sorry for herself.

Then Lizzie meets Michael, a gold-chained antiquities dealer who offers to play her husband for the week no strings (or sex) attached. The plan works perfectly until Lizzie spends the night with scuba instructor Jack, and Michael’s body washes up on Blue Bay’s pristine shore. Lizzie becomes Polizia Nationale’s number one suspect and the only way she can prove her innocence is to solve Michael’s murder herself.

"This book is a lovely, funny, sweet and reasonably priced e-book that successfully combines chick- it, mystery, and slapstick comedy a la Lucy and Ethel! Ms Orsoff's descriptions of the Caribbean make me wish I were there!"
Amazon.com Top 100 Reviewer 5* review
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HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE THE WALRUS BY BETH ORSOFF
In an age of cynicism, is it possible to become an idealist?

When Los Angeles publicist Sydney Green convinces her boss to let her produce a documentary for the Save the Walrus Foundation, the only one Sydney Green is interested in saving is herself. The walruses are merely a means to improving her career and her love life, and not necessarily in that order. Sydney would’ve killed the project the second she learned she’d be the one having to spend a month in rural Alaska if it had been for any other client. But for rising star and sometimes boyfriend Blake McKinley, no sacrifice is ever too great.

But a funny thing happens on the way to the Arctic. A gregarious walrus pup, a cantankerous scientist, an Australian sex goddess, a Star Wars obsessed six-year-old, and friends and nemeses both past and present rock Sydney Green’s well-ordered world. Soon Sydney is forced to choose between doing what’s easy and doing what’s right.

"It is a funny, sometimes tear inducing, warm, informative novel. It is comedic fiction, plain and simple. Don't let the cover put you off. This is not written solely for the 20 year old crowd. This book will appeal to women (and men) of all ages... I read over 30 books a month and I read a lot of chick-lit.... I'm beyond impressed."
Dianne S. Tetro www.booksandchat.net

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

John Fitch V, Scott L Collins

Thank you to everyone to took part in the giveaways to win these books.
Thank you to the authors who contributed:


JOHN FITCH V
http://www.johnfitchv.com

TURNING BACK THE CLOCK BY JOHN FITCH V
Greg Patterson has just watched his beloved Boston Red Sox lose to the New York Yankees in the 2003 American League Championship Series, when he gets a radical idea: Build a time machine to make sure that one of baseball history's worst sales - the sale of Babe Ruth - never happens. But as he's researching out that fateful event, he runs along another piece of info that he had never known. It leads him to ask: What if the Black Sox Scandal never happened? Could the scandal that rocked the baseball world in the early 1920s and the sale of the Sultan of Swat be connected? And if it's possible, can these two incidents be reversed in order to correct the failings of the Red Sox and end the recent domination of the Yankees? Follow Greg and Brandon as they go back to 1919, where they are Turning Back The Clock!

"Kudos to John Fitch V and to the small quaint reflection of a world we can only look back on in the present tense. I highly recommend Turning Back The Clock. What a nice surprise. " Amazon.com customer review.
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A GALAXY AT WAR BY JOHN FITCH V
Captain Ryann Germayne, son of the legendary Jaxson "Hot Shot" Germayne, has been living up to his late father's reputation. He is the best pilot the Galaxy of Free Systems "GFS" has. His equally talented first mate gunner, Joslyne, happens to also be his wife. They feel secure in the knowledge that should the end come during battle, they would perish together.

Some believe that the GFS has grown too large, too bureaucratic for the regular person across the galaxy. This small group of rebels is slowly, but steadily, growing in numbers. Brit Hyram, the overall head of the Rebellion, is the public face of the secessionist movement. Though idealistic, neither he, nor any other within the Rebellion, has any real understanding of military tactics. The simulators used to train new recruits are woefully outdated. Therefore, the GFS pilots have little trouble winning the skirmishes on land or in space. But then the Rebellion suddenly has a blast cannon on their side.

President Greensteen and Admiral Zephyr send Ryann to lead a strike team on a ground assault to destroy the cannon. Ryann has extra orders to secretly assassinate a certain individual while there. Having to kill someone face-to-face and in cold blood does not sit well with Ryann. So when he is later asked to assassinate another, Ryann and Joslyne defect.

The Rebel Secessionist Movement is thrilled to have the best GFS pilot and gunner team join their cause. The new duo will have to earn the trust of Hyram and the other leaders, but they are put to work immediately. Joslyne's expertise is used to update simulators for target practice and the like. Ryann begins teaching military maneuvers to the pilots and updating the equipment on all the ships.

Joslyne still has doubts about what they are doing. As Ryann rises in rank and power at lightning speed, he begins to change. Even personally executing former friends and comrades no longer seems to bother Ryann. Joslyne soon wonders to what lengths her husband would go, how low he would sink, and how cold blooded he would become for his new beliefs. And can she continue to stand beside the man he is morphing into?

"In Galaxy at War, John Fitch V creates a well-written and planned out SciFi novel that will draw you into the world of the main characters. If you love Star Trek and Star Wars, you will love Galaxy at War! I highly recommend it! " Amazon.com 5* review.
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SCOTT L COLLINS
http://scottlcollins.com

DAYS' END BY SCOTT L COLLINS
Nysa is an up and coming DNA retrieval expert well known in the scientific community for her advances in the technology used in the field. After being recruited to work on a secret project by an extraordinarily wealthy and mysterious benefactor, Nysa is moved to a hidden lab outside Denver, Colorado. Isolated from the world and forbidden from contact with anyone outside the facility, she is unaware of the strange occurrences that begin to plague the planet. Her fiance Alastair becomes concerned about her welfare and, with the help of his father, begins a frantic search for her. They soon come to realize that their quest is producing more questions than answers, and some very unsettling questions at that.

Only one person, the silent man financing the operation, knows the true nature of the experiment. Although unaware of his true identity, Alastair comes to realize his foe will stop at nothing to see the experiment through to it's completion.

"Within the first few pages of
Days’ End by Scott L. Collins I was completely taken by this electrifying, fascinating read...This novel, in a brief two hundred seventy pages, poses some of the most important questions any of us can ask... developing a story which seems completely out of this world, yet frighteningly possible.' Lit Fest magazine

"This book is one that every Sci-fi reader should add to their library." Amazon.com 5* customer review.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Steve Anderson, Barbara Silkstone, Philip Chen

Thank you to everyone who took part in the giveaways to win these books.
Thank you to the authors who contributed
:

STEVE ANDERSON
http://www.stephenfanderson.com

THE LOSING ROLE BY STEVE ANDERSON
In the last winter of WWII a failed German actor, Max Kaspar, is forced to join an absurdly desperate secret mission in which he must impersonate an enemy American officer. So Max cooks up his own fanatical plan — he'll use his false identity to escape tyranny and war and flee to the America he'd once abandoned.

Max the performer is hardly a soldier let alone a double-crossing commando, yet in the deadly Battle of the Bulge he has to fool battle-shocked American GIs as well as dodge discovery by his reckless German comrades. Belgium's Ardennes forest becomes a snowbound hell and the magical America he'd loved is lost to him, replaced by a somber invading juggernaut. In the end, Max's gambles will lead him to a grim but honest payoff.

Part espionage thriller, part expatriate noir and the first in a series, The Losing Role is based on an actual false flag operation that's been made infamous in legend but in reality was a doomed farce. In all the tragic details and with some dark humor, this is the story of an aspiring talent who got in over his head and tried to break free.

"An excellent WWII espionage thriller that transcends the genre, making it a story that you don't have to be a history buff to enjoy." —
The New Podler Review of Books
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BARBARA SILKSTONE
http://barbswire-ebooksandmore.blogspot.com

THE SECRET DIARY OF ALICE IN WONDERLAND AGE 42 AND THREE-QUARTERS
BARBARA SILKSTONE

A murder by beheading sends Alice Harte, reluctant real estate broker for thugs, running into the arms of Nigel Channing, a charming British con man.

This urban fantasy is set in Miami and London. Fans of Stephanie Plum will cheer for Alice as she watches her back in attempting to keep her head, while being stalked by Nigel's daft ex-wife and inept, but dangerous mobsters. Alice's world is filled with memorable characters strangely reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. She's guided through her dangerous adventure by her own Cheshire Cat.

Nigel, a chubby John Cleese with serious dress-code problems, whisks Alice to England. Alice sees him as her White Rabbit rescuer. The plot trips along at a cracking pace with Alice flinging zingers like a drive-by shooter.

After Alice discovers a gangster's freshly beheaded body in his Miami mansion, she launches a desperate self-defense in a kangaroo court. The main witness against her is Algy Green, a bumbling cockney swindler who super-glues his bat wing ears to his head and commits perjury for theme park tickets. But in the middle of the trial a small piece of evidence opens her eyes.

"The author nails a brilliant tongue-in-cheek spin on The Lewis Carroll Classic"
Becky Littrell, Chicklit Club.com
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PHILIP CHEN
http://fallingstar1970.wordpress.com

FALLING STAR BY PHILIP CHEN
Falling Star
is about the discovery of mysterious objects buried deep in the ocean bottom and what happens when they wake up and start sending signals to outer space. Mike, pulled back into a clandestine world to help solve the mystery, is attacked by gangs of ordinary Americans bent on killing him. On top of all this, Mike learns that a revered friend has died. Will the death of his friend mean that the secret of the mysterious objects will stay buried forever in the silt and muck of the ocean bottom?

Falling Star has received many very nice reviews since its release in August. A major theme of the reviews is that readers can be lulled by the author's realistic style of writing into believing that the book might not be fiction at all, but fact. The book has been compared to Tom Clancy and Arthur C. Clarke novels.

"It is rare when a novelist makes his debut with as powerful a novel as Philip Chen’s Falling Star... If you read just one novel in 2011, make it Falling Star."
Alan Caruba, a Charter Member of the National Book Critics Circle

Monday, 13 December 2010

Mary McDonald, Donna Fasano, Kristie Leigh Maguire

Thank you to everyone who took part in the giveaways to win these books.
Thank you to the authors who contributed:


MARY MCDONALD
http://mmcdonald64.blogspot.com

NO GOOD DEED BY MARY MCDONALD
Mark Taylor, a photographer in Chicago, discovers first hand that no good deed goes unpunished when the old camera he found during a freelance job in an Afghanistan bazaar gives him more than great photos. It triggers dreams of disasters. Tragedies that happen exactly as he envisions them. He learns that not only can he see the future, he can change it. Then the unthinkable happened and everyone ignored his frantic warnings. Thousands die. Suddenly, the Feds are pounding on his door and the name they have for Mark isn't urban hero. It's enemy combatant. And, it means they can do anything they want to him. Anything at all.

Mark is haunted by his dreams even in prison until he turns them to his advantage and obtains his release. Penniless, alone, and his life destroyed, Mark knows a brutal terrorist attack is coming, and will claim countless lives. He puts everything on the line to stop it. With only hours to act, he must prevent the horror even at the risk of his own freedom. His only chance of thwarting the attack lies in trusting his worst enemy--the bastard who interrogated him for over a year.

"This book had everything that I always look for in a book; well developed characters that were believable and made you care about what happened to them, a captivating story that had me glued to my kindle to the end, a little action, a little romance, and that paranormal element that often attracts me to a book. The only thing I was disappointed in was the length....I didn't want the book to end." Amazon.com 5* customer review.
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DONNA FASANO
http://www.DonnaFasano.com

THE MERRY-GO-ROUND BY DONNA FASANO
When Lauren divorces her husband, she has one thought on her mind...stepping off the merry-go-round. However, her life quickly turns into a three-ring circus: her hypochondriac father moves in, her ex is using her shower when she’s not home, and her perky assistant is pushing her out into the fearsome dating world. She also has to decide if the dilapidated barn and vintage merry-go-round she was awarded in the divorce settlement is a blessing or a bane. As if Lauren’s personal life isn’t chaotic enough, this slightly jaded attorney is overrun with a cast of quirky characters who can’t stay on the right side of the law. What’s a woman to do? She can allow life to spin her in circles forever. Or she can reach out and grab the brass ring.

Donna Fasano is an award-winning, best-selling author whose books have sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.

"The Merry-Go-Round is an utterly charming romantic comedy that pulled me in right from the start. Award-winning author Donna Fasano skillfully weaves a story consisting of funny, imperfect characters, love lost and found, sexual attraction, and an old merry-go-round. Told with humor and honesty, this novel is an entertaining and satisfying read. I highly recommend it!" ~ Karen McQuestion, author of A Scattered Life
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KRISTIE LEIGH MAGUIRE
http://www.kristieleighmaguire.com

YOU'VE GOT MAIL FROM JAPAN
Margie and Sandy, two American expatriate women, meet and become friends while living in Saudi Arabia. After their husbands' assignments were completed, both women returned to their homes in the United States: Margie to Nevada and Sandy to Texas. Margie soon accompanies her husband on to his next assignment to Japan while Sandy remains at home surrounded by her family and friends.

Some things are very private--diaries, phone calls, letters, and emails between friends. You've Got Mail from Japan lifts that veil of privacy.
This book contains actual emails exchanged between Margie and Sandy, with all the 'warts' and misspellings as they were written, on an almost daily basis over the course of a year. The writing is real and down to earth, as only emails between good friends can be.

Step into Margie and Sandy's world. Follow their incredible, somewhat quirky and offbeat journey as it actually happened. Share their times of joy, times of sadness, times of highs, and times of lows. The friendship between these two women shines from the pages and you feel as if you have eavesdropped on a private conversation, but accidentally, and then they smile at you and welcome you into their circle of friendship.

One reader stated, "
I love this book! It is like I have broken into someone's computer, hacked their email, and now I am looking at all the juicy details...wow, this is fun!"

"You will laugh, cry and laugh again at the trials and tribulations" Amazon.com 5* review
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AFFAIRS OF THE HEART (DESERT HEAT & CABIN FEVER) BY KRISTIE LEIGH MAGUIRE
Desert Heat and Cabin Fever together under one cover in a collector's edition. From the blistering sands of California's Mojave Desert to the glittering neon lights of Las Vegas, Marcie Treyhorne sweeps you away into a world of sex and passion in Desert Heat.

Marcie's adventures continue in the mountains of northern Nevada in Cabin Fever. Enter Marcie's world...if you dare!

"
If you love romance with an erotic flair to it, you need to read Cabin Fever along with Desert Heat. Although it may be snowing outside at your house this winter, you'll be burning up after these novels." Amazon.com 5* customer review.

"Kristie Leigh Maguire pushes the boundaries between romance and erotica, giving her readers heart-pounding sensual sensations within a dynamic plot. Don't miss Affairs of the Heart." Amazon.com 5* customer review.