Sunday, 17 August 2014

Book Review: THE BLOOD DIMMED TIDE BY ANTHONY QUINN

My thoughts on this novel set in Ireland during the Second World War..........

THE BLOOD DIMMED TIDE
BY
ANTHONY QUINN

Published by No Exit Press ~ October 2014
254 Pages


London at the dawn of 1918 and Ireland's most famous literary figure, WB Yeats, is immersed in supernatural investigations at his Bloomsbury rooms.

Haunted by the restless spirit of an Irish girl whose body is mysteriously washed ashore in a coffin, Yeats undertakes a perilous journey back to Ireland with his apprentice ghost-catcher Charles Adams to piece together the killer's identity.

Surrounded by spies, occultists and Irish rebels, the two are led on a gripping journey along Ireland's wild Atlantic coast, through the ruins of its abandoned estates, and into its darkest, most haunted corners. Falling under the spell of dark forces, Yeats and his novice ghost-catcher come dangerously close to crossing the invisible line that divides the living from the dead.



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"Everyone knows that Ireland's most famous living poet is obsessed with ghosts"


The Blood Dimmed Tide weaves fact and fiction in this story of poet W.B. Yeats and his friend  Charles Adams, "the ghost catcher" and ex Medical Student, who narrates most of the story.

Yeats is a member of a secret occult society called The Golden Dawn (formed in 1888) of mystics devoted to the practice of medieval and eastern rituals of magic.

While attending seances in London Yeats is singled out by a young Irish girl, Rosemary O'Grady, who has recently been murdered and asks Yeats to help her.  Strangely, he had also recently received a letter from her telling of her torment.

He despatches Charles Adams to Ireland to try and find out who killed Rosemary, though he fears he is on a folly of a mission and doesn't really know what to do or what's expected of him.

This is where the story takes off as Adams becomes involved with Ireland's secret society of women, the abandoned and ruinous estates, the turbulent Atlantic Ocean and rebellious women on horseback.

But I did feel that it somehow lost it's way also, I didn't know what the author was trying to tell us, was the book a mystery, is it a paranormal story, is it about Ireland's struggles for freedom, or is it about Yeats?  It touched on gun running, German weapons and smugglers. The story was all over the place, there was too much going on and it felt like the author didn't know himself what it was focussed on, trying to fit everything in but not going into great detail about any of them.

Unfortunately, this book was not for me.

Source:  From Real Readers

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About the Author:

anthony quinn
Anthony Quinn is an Irish writer and journalist. His debut novel Disappeared was shortlisted for a Strand Literary Award by the book critics of the Guardian, LA Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and other US newspapers. It was also listed by Kirkus Reviews as one of the top ten thrillers of 2012. His short stories have twice been shortlisted for a Hennessy/New Irish Writing award.

The Blood-Dimmed Tide is the first in a series of three historical novels set in Ireland during WW1 and the War of Independence. He lives in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.











Friday, 15 August 2014

On Tour: A DEATH IN VEGAS BY CHRISTOPHER MEEKS & GIVEAWAY




Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: White Whisker Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2014
Number of Pages: 176
ISBN: 978-0-9836329-9-3
Purchase Links:


Synopsis:

In A Death in Vegas, the president of BenBugs, a company that specializes in beneficial bugs for organic gardening, discovers a young woman dead in his Las Vegas hotel suite. She had worked as a sexy lady bug at his convention booth—and he had nothing to do with her death. While that’s being investigated, the FBI raids his booth on a money-laundering scam that he knows nothing about, either. Soon, the coroner doesn’t have good news. The police and FBI are against him—and his wife cannot be found. He flees to find the answers.



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PRAISE FOR A DEATH IN VEGAS:

“With his tongue planted firmly in cheek, Christopher Meeks spins a charming and surprisingly sexy tale of murder, betrayal, and the importance of beneficial insects.”
Mark Haskell Smith, author of Baked and Raw: A Love Story
“I've never, ever wanted to go to Vegas. I don't care if what happens there, stays there. But Christopher Meeks makes me want to go so I can find out who done it. A fun, exciting read, with Chris's usual wonderful writing and great sense of humor.“
Jessica Barksdale Inclan, author of Her Daughter's Eyes and How to Bake a Man.
“Christopher Meeks had me at page three. I couldn’t wait to find out how Patton Burch was going to explain the naked body he woke up to in his Las Vegas hotel room – first to the cops and then to his wife.”
Sam Sattler, Book Chase


Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE
Under the hotel’s sheets, hands on his chest the way the dearly departed lay, Patton Burch blinked into the void of the ceiling, staring past it to the night before. He smiled. After drinking too much the previous evening, he had still remained the gentleman—except in his dreams where he’d made love to Chatterley. Should he feel guilty? Probably.
He turned. The other side of the bed was now empty. He’d slept so well, best in months, that he hadn’t heard her get up. The sound of the hotel’s shower, gentle as a rain, swept into the room. Chatterley’s clothes, which she’d slept in, lay as if hastily discarded on the floor. What if she was feeling better, amorous, even? He pictured her showering, comfortable in her body that men craned their necks for. The truth of the situation was that he was now sober, and she was young, vulnerable. The last thing she needed was an older guy taking advantage of her.
Patton lifted the sheets and saw his boxers were on. He didn’t remember getting out of his clothes. He did remember how Chatterley had trouble breathing last night, and between the drinking and another shot from her inhaler—a bronchial dilator, she called it—she’d been feeling sick again. She’d thought that strange. “I sometimes get shaky after using it,” she said. “It’s like having too much coffee, but I’ve never felt nauseous like this.” She wanted to close her eyes for a few minutes, so he’d offered his bed. “Thank you,” she said. “I just need to relax and catch my breath.”
That led to her falling deeply asleep on his bed. He let her be. He’d mixed himself another gin gimlet and watched a Star Trek rerun. Captain Picard was on a planet where he had a wife and family. He wasn’t a starship captain anymore but worked as an iron weaver, and no one believed him that there was a space vessel called the Enterprise. He came to love and accept his new family and let go of his past life.
After that, Patton had been too tired and dizzy to stay up. He remembered checking on Chatterley in the bedroom, hearing her breathe steadily and easily. He’d thought he’d just lie on the bed in his clothes, but here he was under the covers. He wasn’t used to drinking, but it was Vegas. Ah, the fantasy of it all: a woman like her in bed with him. But he had to let her go. He loved his wife—and he wasn’t like his father.
He could still smell grapefruit on the sheets. When he was a kid and even skinnier, for breakfast his mother would painstakingly cut each section of grapefruit halves for her family. Each pulpy chunk, cut from its heart wall, could easily be scooped up carousel fashion, one by one, and the sour sweet juice could be slurped. He loved that smell. In his dreams, there was something so pure and innocent about Chatterley’s small tight frame, naked and fruity, that their lovemaking seemed as fun as the first time he’d floated down a freshly snowed hill on a sled. In dreams, we get what we need.
Chatterley was showering now. Maybe he should step out and let her have some privacy. He sat bolt upright. Was his wife due in this morning? No. Maybe tomorrow. He held his chest, feeling the pounding of his heart. Calm down. Nothing had happened. As he thought about the situation more, it wasn’t as if he told Tess everything he did anyway. He’d snuck out to a few afternoon movies over the years and never mentioned them, and she certainly never asked. People could never be completely transparent to their mates.
The shower was completely steady sounding. He sat up, frowning. When someone’s in a shower, movement makes the sound vary. Wasn’t Chatterley in it? Patton turned his head toward the bathroom door. It was open. That’s why the sound was so loud. “Chatterley?” he said. No answer.
He swung his legs over the side and stood. They hadn’t closed the thick curtains against the daylight, so the western light, filtered by rare cloud cover, gave the beachscapes on the walls color. Outside, the gentle clay-colored hills far to the west looked flat. Considering that nothing green grew naturally in this area, Las Vegas was an unnatural place for a Lawn and Garden show, but this show was the biggest.
On her side of the bed on the floor, Chatterley’s purse was upside down with everything in it spread out, including a few coins, her friend Faith’s keychain, and a few panty shields. It was as if she had been desperate for something. Perhaps she’d merely kicked it accidentally. Then he saw her inhaler was in two parts: a small aerosol can and the blue plastic part that the can fit in. He picked up the can. It was empty. She must’ve been looking for another. Why hadn’t she awakened him to help?
He strode into the steamy bathroom. “Chatterley?”
The room had both a large whirlpool bathtub for two and a separate shower with a glass door. She wasn’t in either, though the shower was still on, pouring out steamy water. How could she leave it on? He turned it off, and the silence made her absence that much more profound. Did she step into the living room for a moment? Perhaps she’d put on a hotel robe and zipped to the pool. But without a suit? She could be topless in her panties, and the guests would love it. It was Vegas. She had beautiful breasts.
He could hear the air conditioner, a wide unit wedged into the wall near floor level in the living room, with its fan on high. As he moved toward the room, he was freezing with only his shorts on.
He stepped into the living room and saw her, near the Stratocaster, crouched naked on her knees before the long wide air conditioner. Her hands outstretched like a swimmer scooping the cool air. It looked erotic. “There you are,” he finally said, wondering about her intentions. He really couldn’t act on them. “Are you really that hot? Are you okay?”
She didn’t move. Was she asleep? Her head, between her arms, rested on the thick carpet. “Chatterley?” he said and kneeled down to her level. He touched her to wake her, and his first thought was she shouldn’t have been in front of the air conditioner so long because her skin felt downright cold. He shook her. “Chatterley.” She splayed onto her side. Her eyes were open. She didn’t appear to breathe. She stared skyward as if frozen in surprise.

Author Bio:

Christopher Meeks has four novels and two collections of short fiction published. His most recent novel before this was the acclaimed thriller, "Blood Drama." His novel "The Brightest Moon of the Century" made the list of three book critics’ Ten Best Book of 2009. "Love at Absolute Zero" also made three Best Books lists of 2011, as well as earning a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Finalist award. He has had stories published in several literary journals, and they have been included in the collections "Months and Seasons" and "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea." Mr. Meeks has had three full-length plays mounted in Los Angeles, and one, "Who Lives?" had been nominated for five Ovation Awards, Los Angeles’ top theatre prize. Mr. Meeks teaches English and fiction writing at Santa Monica College, and Children’s Literature at the Art Center College of Design. To read more of his books visit his website at: www.chrismeeks.com.

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Book Review: MURDER STRIKES A POSE BY TRACY WEBER & GIVEAWAY


Murder Strikes a Pose

by Tracy Weber

on Tour August 2014





Book Details:


Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: January 8, 2014
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-0738739687
Purchase Links:



Synopsis:

When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.



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Murder Strikes a Pose is an entertaining and enjoyable cozy mystery, the first in a new series to feature yoga instructor Kate.

She rescues a huge German Shepherd dog called Bella when her owner, George, is found murdered near Kate's yoga studio.  George, a homeless alcoholic, and Kate had become friends when George started selling newspapers outside her studio.

Unfortunately, poor Bella has health and behaviour issues but, undeterred, Kate looks after her while trying to find a new owner and also trying to find George's killer, not believing the police's verdict that he died in a drunken brawl.

Kate is a brilliant protagonist, she's nosey (perfect credentials for an amateur sleuth!), argumentative and stubborn.

With a good storyline that unravels leisurely, interesting characters and flowing writing, I think this is sure to delight cozy mystery fans.


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Read an excerpt:

I laid my body on the cool wood floor, covered up with a blanket, and prepared to die.
Metaphorically, that is.
Corpse Pose’s ten-minute rest always soothed my stressed-out nerves, and for once I didn’t feel guilty about the indulgence. My to-do list was blank, Serenity Yoga’s phone was silent, and I had a whole blissful hour between clients to do my favorite activity: practice yoga.
Even my eclectic Greenwood neighborhood seemed uncharacteristically quiet, lulled by Seattle’s rare afternoon sun. The residents of the apartments above the yoga studio were off at their day jobs; the alcohol-addicted patrons of the block’s two dive bars slept off their Jim Beam breakfasts; the soccer moms shopping at next door’s upscale PhinneyWood Market purchased the day’s supplies in unusual silence.
I wiggled my toes under a Mexican blanket, covered my eyes with a blue satin eye pillow, and inhaled deeply. The ooey-gooey smell of Mocha Mia’s chocolate caramel cake wafted from across the street and filled my nostrils with sweet toffee-scented bliss—my all-time favorite aromatherapy.
Paradise. Simply paradise.
I released my weight into the earth and silently coached myself, exactly as I would one of my students. OK, Kate. Feel your body relax. Notice the random fluctuations of your mind and—
A vicious snarl ripped through the silence, startling me out of my catnap. I sat straight up, eye pillow falling to the floor with an undignified thump.
What the heck?
When had a dog fighting ring moved into the neighborhood?
A dog fight was the only plausible explanation for the commotion outside. Bursts of deep, frantic barking were followed by high-pitched yelping, all punctuated by the peace-shattering sounds of angry yelling. The phrases I could make out confirmed my suspicions. This had to be a dog fight, albeit one-sided.
“Control your dog!”
“Get that vicious beast out of here!”
And even a simple, “What the hell?”
I closed the door between the yoga room and the studio’s lobby, hoping to block out the intrusive sounds. Snarls, shouts, and an occasional ear-piercing shriek continued to reverberate right through the wall.
Undaunted, I imagined that the sounds were merely clouds floating across my mental horizon. Most of those clouds were dark and ominous, like the deep thunderclouds preceding a hailstorm. But every so often I heard a soft voice, more like the fluffy clouds of childhood summers. I couldn’t quite make out his words, but I could tell that the speaker was a man. From his tone, I assumed he was trying to calm beasts both human and animal.
It wasn’t working.
Neither, for that matter, was my attempted meditation.
I’d obviously have to shift tactics.
I tried drowning out the clamor with low, soft chanting. Then I increased the volume. But even as I belted out Om Santi, my favorite mantra for peace, I felt my jaw start to tighten. My fingernails bit deeply into my palms. My shoulders crept up to my ears.
An entirely different mantra began pounding through my head: Don’t get me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
A series of yelps and the words “I’m calling the cops!” zapped me like a cattle prod. I leapt from my mat and stormed across the floor, determined to put a stop to that infernal racket. I hurled open the door and came face-to-face, or rather face-to-snout, with the source of the commotion. Not more than five feet away from the studio’s entrance stood a paunchy, dark-haired man and the biggest, skinniest, meanest-looking German shepherd I had ever seen. Don’t get me wrong. I like dogs. I love them, in fact. It’s their human counterparts I could sometimes do without. But this frothing breast was no Rin Tin Tin. A long line of drool oozed from its mouth. Its sharp white teeth glinted in the sunlight, and its black wiry topcoat still stood on end from the prior scuffle. The dog was obviously rabid. I didn’t recognize the man standing next to the frightening creature, but I did recognize his activity. He worked as a vendor for Dollars for Change, a well-regarded local newspaper that published articles about homelessness and poverty while employing those same homeless individuals as salespeople. Ordinarily I would have welcomed one of their vendors outside my business. If nothing else, supporting the paper demonstrated yoga’s principles of kindness and compassion. But this was not an ordinary circumstance. I absolutely could not allow that disgusting dog to raise a ruckus outside my studio. The prenatal class would have a fit. Suffice it to say that pregnancy hormones didn’t always leave expecting moms in the best of moods. My moms-to-be liked their yoga practice. They needed their yoga practice. And they needed to be serene while doing it. If a noisy dog fight disturbed their peaceful experience, I’d be the one getting barked at.
Thinking less than yogic thoughts, I marched up to the pair, determined to put a stop to the chaos.
“What in the world’s going on out here?”
The human half of the dastardly duo held a leash in one hand, newspapers in the other. He smiled at me and said, “Sorry about all the noise. I’m George, and this here’s Bella. What’s your name?”
“Kate Davidson, but—”
“Well, nice to meet you, Kate. I’d shake your hand, but mine are full, so Bella will have to do it instead.”
The vicious beast walked up and calmly sniffed my hand. I prayed she wasn’t about to ingest my fingers.
“Bella, say hello!”
Upon hearing her owner’s command, the giant hairy monster-dog immediately went into a perfect sit and sweetly offered me her paw. Maybe she wasn’t rabid after all. Just huge and ill-mannered.
“Don’t mind Bella,” he continued. “She’s very friendly to people. She just doesn’t like other dogs much. She’d be fine if people kept their unruly mutts to themselves, but they think if their rude dog wants to play, Bella has to as well.” He shook his head in disgust. “I don’t understand some people!”
I tried to interrupt, to tell him that his dog was the problem, but he didn’t give me the chance.
“Bella and I are new to this neighborhood, and we’re supposed to sell papers near the market. I tried setting up by the north entrance, but there’s a pet store at that end. Pete’s Pets, I think it’s called? The owner was a nice enough guy and all, but selling there was a disaster with all those dogs going in and out. Bella wasn’t happy at all.” He shrugged. “So I guess we’re going to have to hang out here instead.”
I bit the inside of my lip and considered my options. Up close, George wasn’t exactly the paragon of health I wanted standing outside my business. His friendly smile exposed yellowed teeth in need of significant dental care, and if the sharp, ammonia-like smell was any indication, neither he nor Bella had taken a bath in quite some time. At three-thirty in the afternoon, I could smell whiskey on his breath, and I suspected this most recent drink hadn’t been his first of the day. It would also likely be far from his last. I only knew one thing for certain: if George didn’t frighten my students away, his loud, intimidating, fur-covered companion would.
I needed them to leave, but honestly, I didn’t want to say it out loud. After all, I taught yoga for a living. People expected me to be calm and collected at all times. I wasn’t allowed to be mean, or even irritated, for that matter. I hesitated as I tried to come up with the perfect words to make him want to move, if not out of the neighborhood, then at least across the street.
Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), one of my favorite students picked that very moment to walk up with her five-month-old Lab pup, Coalie. “Hey, Kate!” she said. “I hoped I’d run into you! Do you still have space in your Core Strength class tonight?” Coalie was as rude and friendly as Labs everywhere. She couldn’t stop herself if she tried. She ran up to Bella, wiggling her entire body with glee, and covered Bella’s muzzle in sloppy wet puppy kisses.
Bella wasted no time. Faster than a 747 and stronger than a freight train, Bella pinned Coalie to the ground between her front legs, snarling and air-snapping on either side of Coalie’s neck. I heard the sound of canine teeth chomping together and imagined soft puppy bones shattering between them. My student screamed. Coalie yelped. George grabbed Bella’s collar while I reached in between razor-sharp teeth to pull Coalie from the jaws of death. The three of us wrestled the two dogs apart, but not before my student almost died of heart failure.
“What’s wrong with you?” she yelled. “Keep that vicious monster away from my baby!”
George quickly apologized, but said, “No damage done. Bella was just teaching that pup some manners.” He pointed at Coalie. “See, it’s all good!”
Coalie, oblivious with joy, seemed unscathed and ready to dive in again. Tail wagging and butt wiggling, she pulled with all her might, trying desperately to get back to Bella.
Bella had other plans. She sat next to George, glaring directly at that pup with a patented Clint Eastwood stare. Go ahead, she seemed to say. Make my day. My soon-to-be-former student ran off as quickly as her legs would move, dragging the still-happy puppy behind her.
“See you in class tonight!” I yelled to her rapidly retreating back. I doubted I’d be seeing her any time soon.
Yoga reputation be damned. I had to get rid of this guy.
I put my hands on my hips and stood nice and tall, taking full advantage of my five-foot-three-inch frame. “Look. I can’t let you stay here with the dog. She’s obviously frightening people. You have to leave.” I paused a moment for emphasis, then added, “Now.”
George stood a little taller, too. “Look yourself, lady. The last time I checked, I’m standing on city property. I have every right to be here. You don’t own this sidewalk, and you can’t stop me from making a living on it.” He glared at me, sharp eyes unblinking. “We Dollars for Change vendors are licensed, and no matter how much you don’t like us, the city says we can be here.”
“There’s no ‘us’ I don’t like,” I replied, frustrated. “It’s your dog. And you may have every right to be here, but the dog is another story. What do you think Animal Control will do if I report a vicious dog attacking people outside my store?”
George stepped back, pulling Bella closer. Seattle had the toughest dangerous dog laws in the nation. We both knew what would happen if I made that call. “You wouldn’t do that!” he said. “Bella’s never hurt anyone.”
I planted my feet stubbornly. “Try me.”
George gave me a wounded look and gathered his papers, shoulders slumped in depressed resignation. “OK, we’ll go. But I thought you yoga people were supposed to be kind.” He shuffled away, shaking his head and mumbling under his breath. Bella followed close by his side.
“Crap,” I muttered, watching their slow departure. “Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap.” He was right. Like all good yoga teachers, I had extensively studied yoga philosophy and tried to live by it. The teachings were clear: A yogi should respond to suffering with active compassion. And George was clearly suffering, whether he realized that fact or not.
Threatening to call the cops on George’s dog may have been active, but it wasn’t all that compassionate, to him or to Bella. I felt like a cad. My solution probably wasn’t what the teachings had in mind, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice. “Hang on there a minute!” I yelled as I ran to catch up with him. Out of breath, I said, “You’re right. I overreacted, and I’m sorry. How many papers do you have left to sell today?”
George stopped walking. When he turned to look back at me, his eyes sparkled with an unexpected hint of wry humor. “About thirty.”
The calculations weren’t difficult. I wasn’t completely broke—yet—but thirty dollars wasn’t a drop in the bucket. On the other hand, my Monday evening classes were popular, and I had to get this guy away from the front door. Mentally crossing my fingers that the toilet wouldn’t break again, I said, “Wait here. I’ll be right back.” I hurried back to the studio and grabbed thirty dollars from the cash box.
“If I buy all of your papers, will you be done for the day?”
“Yes ma’am, and that would be very kind of you.” He gave me a broad, yellow-toothed smile. “Bella and I appreciate it very much.” He took the money, left the papers, and wandered off, whistling. Bella happily trotted behind him.
“Well, that wasn’t so difficult,” I said, patting myself on the back. “I should follow the teachings more often!” I went back inside and finished my considerably shortened practice. I chose to ignore the quiet voice in my head telling me I’d just made a huge mistake.


Author Bio:

My writing is an expression of the things I love best: yoga, dogs, and murder mysteries.

I'm a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, WA. I enjoy sharing my passion for yoga and animals in any form possible.

My husband and I live with our challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha and our bonito flake-loving cat Maggie. When I'm not writing, I spend my time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at my favorite local ale house.

I am a member of Sisters in Crime, The Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Dog Writers Association of America.



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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Book News: Will Self partners with WeTransfer for launch of new book as part of ongoing collaboration with Penguin Books


London, 5 August 2014 – As part of its ongoing creative partnership, WeTransfer is collaborating with Penguin Books for the official unveiling of the global artwork for Will Self’s new book, Shark.

This collaboration will make an excerpt of the book available to read, absolutely free and without any need to sign-up, exclusively to WeTransfer’s 55 million global users.
Shark is a mind-bending novel, centring around an incredible real event – the largest ever shark attack in human history, when nearly 600 men were killed after the sinking of the US naval vessel that delivered the bomb that would be dropped on Hiroshima.
WeTransfer will be showcasing the book’s striking cover in a unique still life photograph that will link to retail partner Waterstones.com where people can pre-order the title a month ahead of its official launch this September.
Nalden, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of WeTransfer, said: “Striking imagery has been a mainstay of WeTransfer; showcasing the work of exciting artists is an integral part of our user-experience. Likewise, Penguin has continuously enlisted adventurous designers with a strong vision to bring its publications to life, showcasing that printed books are still a canvas for creativity.
“As design enthusiasts ourselves, Penguin is a company we have always admired, not only for their timeless designs but also their innovative approach to digital communication. One of the previous covers we displayed achieved more than 25,000 clicks to Penguin’s online store in 27 days, so whilst we’re delivering stunning imagery on our platform, we’ve shown our global user-base obviously enjoy these books covers as much as we do.”
The launch of artwork for Will Self’s latest novel is just the latest in a series of projects between Penguin Books and WeTransfer, which aim to bring together print and digital creativity.
Celeste Ward-Best, Campaigns Executive at Penguin Books UK, said: “We’re delighted to partner with WeTransfer to unveil the daring cover of Will Self’s, SharkWeTransfer is one of the most exciting and progressive online businesses out there and we’ve long admired their commitment to showcasing timeless and innovative design.”

To see the cover artwork from Will Self’s latest novel, Shark, please visit: http://we.tl/shark
To read the first excerpt made available from the book, please visit:

And enter the following password: wetransfer

Shark by Will Self is published by Penguin on 4th September 2014. Available in hardback and eBook.
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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Promo Blitz: THE ROMAN MONGREL BY MARY BERNSEN & GIVEAWAY



Historical Fiction

Date Published: July 1, 2014

   

For Princess Chiomara, freedom from the Romans isn't good enough. She will have her captor's head.



Loosely based on the true story of the war between Rome and Galatia, The Roman Mongrel is focused on the wife of a Galatian chieftain. Princess Chiomara is a feisty noblewoman who carries herself with incredible passion and bravery - even after she is captured by the Roman army. 



Captivated by her beauty and unique spirit, the centurion that oversees her care is unable to resist his lust for her. After an opportunity for freedom presents itself, Chiomara faces two options: to flee, or to seek revenge. 

The Roman Mongrel is a new adult historical fiction with a rich mix of war and female empowerment, sprinkled with a touch of romance.


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Mary Bernsen

Mary Bernsen is a southwest Florida native currently living in Punta Gorda with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child that she affectionately calls husband. She  spends her days creating characters on the good side of twenty-five because she is in serious denial about the fact that she is now on the bad side of it. She has a passion for fantasy of any kind along with historical fiction. If she isn't having conversations with her made-up friends, you can usually find her clipping coupons or out on the boat enjoying the muddy waters of Peace River (as long as it isn't below 80 degrees). 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Book Review: HERRING GIRL BY DEBBIE TAYLOR


My thoughts on this hypnotic story .....



HERRING GIRL

BY
DEBBIE TAYLOR

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  7 August 2014
Publisher:  Oneworld Publications
Length:  480 pages

5/5



Twelve-year-old Ben has always felt that he was born into the wrong body. When Mary, his therapist, suggests hypnosis as a way to help him understand why he doesn’t identify as a boy, Ben finds himself the unlikely conduit for a herring girl called Annie, who lived over a century earlier in the same fishing port.

Under the spell of hypnosis, Annie comes alive through Ben, and with her the startling story of her life, and her mysterious death. As the events surrounding Annie’s final days start to emerge – her secret affair with young fisherman Sam; the violent jealousy of his rival Tom; the pregnancy fears of her best friend Flo; the abject paranoia of her brother Jimmy – both Ben and Mary find themselves embroiled in a puzzling saga from the past. And if – as psychoanalytic research suggests – souls tend to reincarnate in groups repeat­edly down the centuries, it could be that those close to Ben today were involved in the dramas of 1898, and a murderer could still be among them, waiting to strike again.

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When I was little I thought I was a girl called Annie

I started reading Herring Girl with an open mind and I still have an open mind on past life regression and souls being reincarnated time and time again together, but I find the subject so fascinating and intriguing and when Oneworld publishers offered me the chance to read it I was immediately drawn to the story.

Ben is a troubled boy, he feels like his body's a coat that belongs to someone else.  He has been buying girl's clothes for weeks in readiness for his first outing, hiding them from his Da, a no-nonsense deep sea fisherman who thinks that he's got over all that 'Annie business'.

Mary, a psychotherapist who believes in the soul and that souls could be reincarnated in groups through the years, thinks she can help Ben.

During the hypnosis session, Ben becomes sixteen year old herring girl Annie living in North Shields in 1898 describing her life, her friends, her family and her secret young man, Sam, in startling detail.  But when Ben wakes up from his trances at dramatic moments in Annie's life, it starts to become clear that young Annie was murdered.  But by whom?

I loved these glimpses into Annie's life, I could almost smell the 'sea smells and fish stink and lum smoke, and bread from the bakery and frying bacon bits and herring' .... it was so realistic (or as realistic as I imagined it would be then!)

Mary wants to prove the theory that certain communities of souls may seek one another out repeatedly, over and over, at different times and she persuades several people, friends, an ex-boyfriend who wants to make a BBC documentary about her work, even Ben's father to undergo regression, with amazing results.  I did find this very coincidental and how lucky was Mary that so many people would agree to be hypnotised?!  

This is not just a story of past lives, it is also a story of a long forgotten era when 'Scots lasses' would travel down the east coast following the herring fleet, and what a harsh and hard job it was, 'gipping' the herring in all weathers on the quayside.  Debbie Taylor's meticulous research brings all this, and more, to life.


An enthralling read, full of colourful characters, both in the present and the past.  I'm still thinking about some of those characters now, and I'll think they'll stay with me for a long time yet.


If your Reading Group is looking for a read that will divide opinions and get people talking, then this is one I would recommend.



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About the Author

Debbie Taylor is the founder and Editorial Director of Mslexia. She has worked as Editor at New Internationalist and Writing Women magazines and as a writer, research­er and project manager for many organisations, including Oxfam, Anti-Slavery, BBC 2, Channel 4, UNICEF and WHO. Her novels include The Fourth Queen and Hungry Ghosts. She lives in a decommissioned lighthouse at the mouth of the Tyne with her husband and daughter.

Debbie Taylor's website




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