#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of #WartimeAtWoolworths, Elaine Everest (@@ElaineEverest) @ed_pr @Panmacmillan

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Oh I miss Woolworths!! Author of ‘Wartime at Woolworths’, Elaine Everest, has kindly written a guest post for my stop on her blog tour today! Thank you to Bethan for asking me to be involved in the blog tour, and I hope you all enjoy the guest post!

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The Woolworths girls have come a long way together . . .

Fun loving Maisie, is devoted to her young family and her work at Woolworths. But her happy life with her RAF officer husband, their baby daughter leads her to think of the family she left behind . . . With the war now into its fourth year, what will she find when she sets about searching for them?

Sarah and her husband, Alan, are blissfully happy and long for a sibling for their daughter. But dark days lay ahead for this close family.

Freda heads home to Birmingham, to go in search of her family, back to the life she fled – far from the safety of Woolworths and her new friends.

With families’ separated by war, will the Woolworths girls be able to pull together?

Wartime at Woolworths is the third moving installment in the much-loved Woolworths series by bestselling author Elaine Everest.

Guest Post.

A Day in the Life of a Woolworths Girl
Elaine Everest

When researching the working life of Woolworths workers in World War Two I was
surprised to find little had changed from when I joined the company as a Saturday girl
in 1969 at the age of fifteen and three months which was then the legal age for
youngsters to start work.

My memories of those Saturdays are tinged with the excitement of youth and earning
my own money – the princely sum of one pound before thruppence (old money) was
deducted for National Insurance. That day in March, when I proudly took home my
brown pay packet with the thin strip of paper showing deductions was also the day my
pocket money stopped; but that’s a story for another time.

My day started early when I caught the train from Slade Green for the short one stop
journey to Dartford. We had to be in our uniforms and on the shop floor for the bell
that sounded throughout the store announcing the doors were opening to the public at
8.30 am. As a Saturday girl I could be moved around to where I was needed most and
I often found myself in the windowless basement on the toilet roll dpartment. Toilet
rolls had their own department? Yes, and as soft tissues were still fairly new there
were also boxes of the excruciatingly rough paper with the ‘medicated’ smell that we
used as tracing paper when kids. When not busy you would find all assistants dusting
the stock. I have fond memories of dusting boxes of toilet paper using a feather
duster.

At the beginning of our working day we would be informed whether we were first,
second or third lunch and tea breaks – there was never a chance to slip off to the
bathrooms in between breaks or head outside for a cigarette as workers seem to think
is their rights these days. First lunch break started at 11.30 am and meant the
afternoon would drag whereas third lunch meant we had a short afternoon but had a
long wait for that first tea break of the day. Yes, my favourite was third break as I
could make myself busy until 10.45 as I waited to hear the bell that told me I could
down tools and head up to the staff canteen.

The canteen was always a welcoming place and the staff supplied with freshly baked
goods for tea breaks as well as a cooked lunch. We were well looked after. We would
sign a book showing what we’d had for our meals and this was deducted from our
pay.

The bells ruled our lives and they rung for the start and ends of breaks as well as
lunch. Five minutes before the store closed that bell rang again before the doors were
locked. Until then we were not allowed to leave our counters and had to ensure that
everything was tidy and counters covered for the night. If we tried to slip away early
the supervisors who roamed the store would have had our guts for garters.

A quick dash upstairs to change out of our sludgy green overalls and then we queued
to sign and collect our pay packet – minus anything spent in the canteen that day.
Heading for the station we would stop to look in the window of a boutique or perhaps
pop into the record shop to look at the charts and buy a 45 rpm single then head to the
chip shop for a portion of chips, liberally sprinkled with salt and vinegar, to eat on the
train going home.

Life was good when we were fifteen and even better when we escaped the sound of
those bells! Such was my memory of my life at the Dartford store that many years
later I set my books in the iconic Woolies and had Maisie moaning about those bells
whilst Sarah’s mother-in- law, Maureen, was feeding the staff up in the canteen.
Happy days!

Wartime at Woolworths by Elaine Everest is published on 3 rd May by Pan Mac
(available in paperback and ebook, price £6.99)
Buy now from Amazon

 

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#BlogTour! #WBP2018 #Extract – Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ @midaspr @wellcomebkprize

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It is an honour to be taking part in the blog tour for the WellComeBookPrize. For those  that aren’t aware of this, here is some more information about the book prize and the collection featured in the long list:

About the Wellcome Book Prize

Worth £30,000, the Wellcome Book Prize celebrates the best new books that engage with an aspect of medicine, health or illness, showcasing the breadth and depth of our encounters with medicine through exceptional works of fiction and non-fiction.

Previous winners of the Prize include Maylis de Kerangal (author) and Jessica Moore (translator) for Mend the Living in 2017, Suzanne O’Sullivan for It’s All in Your Head in 2016, Marion Coutts for The Iceberg in 2015, Andrew Solomon for Far from the Tree in 2014, Thomas Wright for Circulation in 2012, Alice LaPlante for Turn of Mind in 2011, Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in 2010 and Andrea Gillies for Keeper: Living with Nancy – a journey into Alzheimer’s in 2009.

 About Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is the free museum and library for the incurably curious. Inspired by the medical objects and curiosities collected by Henry Wellcome, it connects science, medicine, life and art. Through its exhibitions, live programming, and digital and publishing activity, it makes thought-provoking content which aims to challenge how we think and feel about health.

Wellcome Collection is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. Both politically and financially independent, it supports scientists and researchers, takes on big problems, fuels imaginations and sparks debate.

The book I am featuring for the blog tour is ‘Stay With Me’ by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀. Here is an extract, as well as more information about the book itself:

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear.

Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, Stay With Me is a story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the power of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves, and those we love, from heartbreak.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (30, Nigeria) stories have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, and one was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She holds BA and MA degrees in Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. She also has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded an international bursary for creative writing. She has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Ledig House, Hedgebrook, Sinthian Cultural Institute, Ebedi Hills, Ox-Bow School of Arts and Siena Art Institute. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2017 ‘Stay With Me’, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Extract

My parents-in-law lived in Ayeso, an old section of town that still had a few mud houses. Their house was a brick building, with a front yard partially enclosed by a low cement fence. When I arrived at the house, Moomi was sitting on a low stool in the front yard shelling groundnuts into a rusty tray that sat on her lap. She looked up as I approached and looked down again. I swallowed and my steps slowed. There was something wrong.

Moomi always greeted me by shouting Yejide, my wife. The words were as warm as the embrace that usually followed them.

‘Good evening, Moomi.’ My knees trembled as they touched the concrete floor.

‘Are you pregnant now?’ She said without looking up from the tray of groundnuts.

I scratched my head.

‘Are you barren and deaf too? I say, are you pregnant? The answer is either, yes, I am pregnant or no, I still haven’t been pregnant for a single day in my life.’

‘I don’t know.’ I stood up and backed away until she was not within the reach of my clenched fist.

‘Why won’t you allow my son to have a child?’ She slapped the tray of groundnuts on the floor and stood up.

‘I don’t manufacture children. God does.’

She marched towards me and spoke when her toes were touching the tips of my shoes.

‘Have you ever seen God in a labour room giving birth to a child? Tell me, Yejide, have you ever seen God in the labour ward? Women manufacture children and if you can’t you are just a man. Nobody should call you a woman.’ She gripped my wrists and lowered her voice to a whisper. ‘This life is not diffi­cult, Yejide. If you cannot have children, allow my son to have some with Funmi. See, we are not asking you to stand up from

your place in his life, we are just saying you should shift so that someone else can sit down.’

‘I am not stopping him, Moomi,’ I said. ‘I have accepted her. She even spends the weekends in our house now.’

She held her thick waist and laughed. ‘I am a woman too. Do you think I was born last night? Tell me, why has Akin never touched Funmi? He has been married to her for over two months. Tell me why he has not removed her wrapper once. Tell me, Yejide.’

I stifled a smile. ‘It is not my business what Akin does with his wife.’

Moomi lifted my blouse and laid a wrinkled palm on my stomach.

‘Flat as the side of a wall,’ she said. ‘You have had my son between your legs for two more months and still your stomach is flat. Close your thighs to him, I beg you. We all know how he feels about you. If you don’t chase him away, he won’t touch Funmi. If you don’t, he will die childless. I beg you, don’t spoil my life. He is my first son, Yejide. I beg you in the name of God.’

 

#BlogTour! Author of ‘Last Letter Home’ Rachel Hore (@RachelHore) joins #TWG for a chat! #AuthorInterview @simonschusteruk @HaysMcMullan

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It gives me great pleasure to welcome author of ‘Last Letter Home’, Rachel Hore, to TWG today as I put her in the hot seat by asking her a few questions! Before we begin, here is a little bit about Rachel’s new book, as well as the all important ‘buy now’ link should you want it!

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From the bestselling author of A Week in Paris, and the Richard & Judy Bookclub pick A Place of Secrets, comes a gripping and moving story spanning 70 years, set in Italy and in Norfolk.

On holiday with friends, young historian Briony Andrews becomes fascinated with a wartime story of a ruined villa in the hills behind Naples. There is a family connection: her grandfather had been a British soldier during the Italian campaign of 1943 in that very area. Handed a bundle of letters that were found after the war, Briony sets off to trace the fate of their sender, Sarah Bailey.

In 1939, Sarah returns with her mother and sister from India, in mourning, to take up residence in the Norfolk village of Westbury. There she forms a firm friendship with Paul Hartmann, a young German who has found sanctuary in the local manor house, Westbury Hall. With the outbreak of war, conflicts of loyalty in Westbury deepen.

When, 70 years later, Briony begins to uncover Sarah and Paul’s story, she encounters resentments and secrets still tightly guarded. What happened long ago in the villa in the shadow of Vesuvius, she suspects, still has the power to give terrible pain …

‘Last Letter Home’ will be published by Simon & Schuster on the 22nd March. You can pre-order your copy in all formats, right now, from Amazon UK.

TWG – Hi Rachel, thank you so much for joining me today! Could you tell us a bit about you and your background before you began writing?
If you’d asked me when I was very young whether I wanted to become a published writer I’d have been bemused. It would never have occurred to me. I didn’t know any authors or anyone who aspired to be one. I’ve always read endlessly, though. I studied History at university, and got into publishing after taking a secretarial course. Later, as an editor, working with novelists such as Barbara Erskine and Jenny Colgan, I learned a great deal about the techniques of writing fiction. Actually doing it was much more challenging. After nine books I still feel I’m learning.

TWG – What made you decide to write your new novel?
I love walking round old walled gardens where flowers, fruit and vegetables used to be grown for the Big House. They feel safe and secret, and the perfect place to set a love story. During World War II many were destroyed or abandoned. In LAST LETTER HOME, my pair of lovers, the gardener and the land girl, are separated by the war, but the garden re-mains a symbol of their relationship.

TWG – How hard was it to find the inspiration for your book?
Ideas for stories are everywhere if you start looking – in a newspaper, a nonfiction book, a pub-sign, a real-life situation that you hear about. The atmosphere of an interesting place often gets me started. I begin to brood about the people who might have lived there. The problem I have is one of focus. It can be hard to decide who will be the central characters and what their backgrounds should be. Deceptively small details such as a parent’s occupation can affect aspects of the plot later on. When I actually start writing scenes these things tend to iron themselves out because the characters come to life – it’s the planning stage I’m bad at.

TWG – If you could pick a favourite character from your novel, who would it be and why?
I am very fond of Sarah Bailey, the focus of my past story. She’s a sensible type, but has to manage her icy and manipulative widowed mother and a vulnerable young sister. All the time I was writing I was wondering what had originally happened to this family to make them this way, and why it was that Sarah was able to be the strong one.

TWG – Did you ever regret writing a character into your story after it was published?
What an interesting question! Not a character as such, but the name of a character in THE HOUSE ON BELLEVUE GARDENS. After it was published a woman I met at my Pilates class came up to me and told me I’d called a central character by her name and it had upset her. She thought I’d done it deliberately, yet I hadn’t met her until the book was written and still didn’t know her surname. We avoided each other for a while after that!
(TWG – omg! what are the chances of that!!)

TWG – Did you find yourself under any personal pressure for your debut novel to succeed and be liked by many?
Yes, definitely. For my publisher (I wanted them to commission more books) but also for myself, to feel that I’d succeeded. When I was actually writing it my ambitions were much more modest. I’d be pleased if I could finish the book, I’d be pleased if I could find an agent, then a publisher. The trouble is that the more you get the more you want. It’s im-portant to stand back occasionally and be pleased simply to be yourself.

TWG – Time for a tough one, if you could choose any book that has already been published to be the author of, which one would you choose and why?
Ah, that negates what I’ve just said about being yourself! That said, I’d love to write as delicately and powerfully as Tracy Chevalier. My favourite book of hers is The Lady and the Unicorn, which conveys such a convincing sense of being an ordinary mediaeval woman.

TWG – What does your ‘writing space’ look like?
Very messy, I’m afraid! I have an Edwardian attic that has never been done up and is only heated by a portable electric fire. Books that I’m consulting lie in piles everywhere and I also have a lot of postcards and pictures from magazines pinned up on a board to inspire my charac-ters and settings. Were there any authors you wanted to be like, when you were a child? No authors, but I desperately wanted to go to boarding school like Enid Blyton’s Twins at St Clare’s. What I wanted, of course, was the fun bits and once I’d read Tom Brown’s Schooldays I changed my mind.

TWG – If you had to sum up your book to a stranger in five words, what would they be and why?
Love, war, family and relationships. All my books are about love, family and relationships and the conflict that separates us from one another.

TWG – What’s coming up next for you?
I’m in the middle of writing the next novel, which is set in the interwar period and doesn’t yet have a title.

TWG – One final question. What advice would you give to a writer that wants to be published? Any words of wisdom?
Make the work as polished as you can before you show it to a professional (such as an agent or publisher). Research literary agencies and publishers to make sure that you approach one who publishes work in your chosen genre. Check their websites to make sure that you are sending your work in the way that they ask. Some agents want a synopsis, for instance, others only want the first three chapters.

Big thank you to Rachel Hore for answering my questions like a pro! I am actually cringing for her about regretting a character! My goodness!!!

Don’t forget that Rachel’s novel, ‘Last Letter Home’ will be published on the 22nd March and is available to pre-order right now from Amazon.

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of #TheLastDay, Claire Dyer – ‘If Tomorrow Were My Last Day’ @ClaireDyer1 @DomePress

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What would you do if you knew your last day was imminent? Would you spend the day with your loved ones? Eat all of your favourite food until the point of being sick? Binge watch all the DVD’s you’ve been meaning to watch for goodness knows how long? For my stop on the blog tour today, I had asked author of ‘The Last Day’, Claire Dyer, what she would do if tomorrow was her ‘last day’ and thankfully, the author took the theme and has written such an emotive piece for us here at TWG. Just to make you aware, I have actually read the book, but my review will follow later on so please do keep your eyes peeled for that. In the mean time, grab a Kleenex and sit back to read Claire Dyer’s ‘Last Day’.

If tomorrow were my last day
by
Claire Dyer, author of ‘The Last Day’.

I’m assuming if I was facing my last day I would have made peace both with myself and with those I love and so would be free to spend the day how I wished.

I’ve thought about this a lot since being asked to write this blog and send my thoughts and prayers to all those who are really facing heartbreak of this sort.

However, when thinking about my novel and what happens to my characters in it I think, if I knew I could never do it again, I would like to go to Kalkan in Turkey and watch the sun track its path across the bay one last time.

According to one website Kalkan is ‘an enchanting place and one of the most beautiful
locations along Turkey’s gorgeous Lycian Coast. With the absence of mass tourism, Kalkan remains a charming and unspoiled haven of lush nature, brilliant blue crystal-clear sea, historic architecture, ancient history and warm traditional Turkish hospitality.’
I have spent fifteen happy holidays in Kalkan and can say that every statement of this quote is true. But what is more significant for me is the fact that when I’m there I can live a simple life, can sit and watch the boats in the bay, watch the sun sparkle on the water, eat delicious fresh food, swim and breathe a type of air I just can’t find in England.

What I’ve also done is track the sun’s path across the sky on each and every last day I’ve
been there; I’ve watched the sun set and turn the sky peach and pink and orange. I’ve heard the cicadas thrum their legs and seen bats flitter in and out of the eaves.
And then, after the sunset, come the stars – brilliant and sharp in amongst the black.
Another website tells me that ‘Herodotus: the best of the Greek historians said, ‘Kalkan is the closest place on Earth to the stars’. So, if you want to touch the stars, Kalkan is the best place you have even seen.’ Therefore, I’ve sat on the roof terrace of the villa where we stay and have stared in awe at the ever-changing night.

So far there has always been a next day when I’ve got up, packed my bag and started the
journey home, looking over my shoulder at the bay as the car climbs the hill out of town and turns the corner, leaving Kalkan behind me for a time.

I hope I am never faced with a final goodbye, I hope like in The Last Day, there will be a next day but if I am and there isn’t then this is where I would like to spend my last day.

For those of you who have already read Claire Dyer’s novel, a lump will probably be forming in your throat whilst you read the last sentence of the authors guest post – it did mine! Huge thanks to Claire Dyer for agreeing to write such a beautifully written guest post, and a big thank you to Dome Press for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book. Don’t forget that my review WILL follow at a later day – I’m not missing the chance to share my views on this thought-provoking novel.

For those of you who haven’t read the book and wish to find out more, and maybe even grab yourself a copy, here are all of the details of ‘The Last Day’:

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They say three’s a crowd but when Boyd moves back into the family home with his now amicably estranged wife, Vita, accompanied by his impossibly beautiful twenty-seven-year-old girlfriend, Honey, it seems the perfect solution: Boyd can get his finances back on track while he deals with his difficult, ailing mother; Honey can keep herself safe from her secret, troubled past; and Vita can carry on painting portraits of the pets she dislikes and telling herself she no longer minds her marriage is over. But the house in Albert Terrace is small and full of memories, and living together is unsettling. For Vita, Boyd and Honey love proves to be a surprising, dangerous thing and, one year on, their lives are changed forever.

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #GuestPost from author of ‘In Love and War’ @LizTrenow @Panmacmillan

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Closing Liz Trenow’s blog tour today is me, TWG! Big thank you PanMacmillan for the blog tour invite! It’s a pleasure to be alongside some truly wonderful bloggers, for a smashing author.

I am delighted to bring you a written piece from the lady herself, Liz Trenow. Enjoy!
(oh, and if you wanted to buy her new book, all the details will be after the guest post. Shhhh)

My writing day
by
Liz Trenow

 I write in the mornings when my mind is freshest – usually starting around 8.30ish and continuing till my stomach rumbles for lunch. In the afternoon my imagination seems to close down so then I do research, admin, replying to emails, blogging and, when I’ve got to that stage, proof reading.

I always write in my study, a small room at the front of the house where there are not too many distractions! Out of the window are trees and birds which sometimes distract me, as well as the comings and goings in the front drive. I also keep the door open so I can hear what is going on in the rest of the house. 

 I usually spend twenty minutes or so checking social media and answering emails. This helps me, mentally, to ‘clear the decks’ and gives me permission, somehow, to open the novel. But I don’t start writing new material right away. At least a hour is spent editing and if necessary rewriting the passage I was working on the previous day, easing myself back into the heads of my characters and the trajectory of the plot. Unlike other writers who talk about keeping card indexes on each character I’m lazy about keeping records so frequently have to track back to make sure these are consistent.  

The hardest part is avoiding a soggy middle. At some point I usually experience what Ian Rankin describes as ‘the fear’ when I am some way into the novel. That is when you start to think you are writing complete rubbish that will never get published, and even if it did, that reviewers would slate and readers hate. You just have to work your way through it and hold faith that it will come right in time. 

The other difficult moment, for me, is when I reach the end of the first draft. By this time I’ve lost any perspective on the novel, about whether it is good or bad, which bits work and which don’t. So I try to leave it for a week or so, then print it out and read in another room, straight through, without making any pencil edits if possible. At that point I quite often find myself in despair once more at the amount of work that I think is needed to make it work. However, once I get going on the edits, I begin to enjoy it once more.

Writing a novel is a huge task. It requires months or even years of solitary confinement, and families must be very tolerant of your divided attention. But I love it, and wouldn’t want any other kind of job.

If you have ever wondered what Liz Trenow’s writing day looked like, well, now you know! I must apologise as the guest post stated that there was a photo, however it did not appear after the download.

Here is the all important information about Liz’s new book, ‘In Love and War’, which was published on the 25th January.

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Three women, once enemies. Their secrets will unite them.

The First World War is over. The war-torn area of Flanders near Ypres is no longer home to troops, but groups of tourists. Controversial battlefield tourism now brings hundreds of people to the area, all desperate to witness first-hand where their loved ones fell.

At the Hotel de la Paix in the small village of Hoppestadt, three women arrive, searching for traces of the men they have loved and lost.

Ruby is just twenty-one, a shy Englishwoman looking for the grave of her husband. Alice is only a little older but brimming with confidence; she has travelled all the way from America, convinced her brother is in fact still alive. Then there’s Martha, and her son Otto, who are not all they seem to be . . .

The three women in Liz Trenow’s In Love and War may have very different backgrounds, but they are united in their search for reconciliation: to resolve themselves to what the war took from them, but also to what life might still promise for the future . . .

Buy now from Amazon UK

#BlogTour! #Guestpost – Top 10 Xmas Ideas for a booklover by Rebecca Raisin @jaxandwillsmum

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Super excited to be taking part in Rebecca Raisin’s blog tour for ‘Winter at Cedarwood Lodge’, which is published today by HQDigitalUK. Congratulations Rebecca! I am having to split my slot on the tour into two so today is the guest post which Rebecca has kindly written for us, and then in a few days I will be sharing my review of ‘Winter at Cedarwood Lodge’. I have actually read this book as it was previously published as three separate books. But, because that was last year and this new version contains bonus material, I want to do the review and book justice by splitting into tour.

So, if you’re stuck for Christmas present ideas for the book lover in your life then look no further! I am delighted to hand my blog over to Rebecca Raisin as she gives you the lowdown on the Top Ten Christmas Ideas for the booklover in your life. Enjoy!

Top ten Christmas gift ideas for the booklover in your life

OK, so I mean us! We bibliophiles who look forward to the festive season because it means extra time curled up with a book and hopefully some new bookish gifts!
When I wrote Winter at Cedarwood Lodge I had lots of fun deciding on Christmas gifts for my characters as if they were real people and I was puzzling over real presents. I mean, who doesn’t love a Christmas onesie?

But we bookworms need a little more while we read so here at my top ten gift ideas:

1. Slippers. No brainer, right? Preferably a pair that have some relevance to books and
that will earn you extra points. But think comfort, think fluffy, think big.

2. Bookmarks, even for the dog-ear- er in your life, they can learn can’t they? I hasten to
add I am a dog-ear- er from way back and unrepentant, but still, I like bookmarks
because they’re pretty! Ones with motivational quotes, literary one liners, take a punt and buy them all!

3. Candles, yes we burn the midnight hour reading way past our bedtime and we’d like
to do that with some exotic scented candles, thank you very much! If you can find one
that smells like old books, more the better!

4. Book totes! Literary themed of course! We’re planning on spending all those book
gift vouchers as soon as the shops are open and we’ll need some heavy duty tote to fit
them all in.

5. Book related jewelry, anything goes! From those cute miniature book charm
necklaces to Pride and Prejudice earrings, you buy it, we’ll wear it!

6. Cushions. Lots of ‘em. Cushions with ampersands, furry cushions, Paris themed,
shaped like donuts! What’s a book nook without cushions?

7. Notebooks, oh beautiful notebooks with leather bound covers, or covers that look like
old library cards, or have pictures of bookshelves, or sweet musings, we need them,
and we need them urgently to scribble down our book loving thoughts.

8. Book boxes, yes tiny boxes shaped like books for the literary jewelry that’s wrapped
and under the tree (see no.5!) These little boxes come in all shapes and sizes and the
perfect gift to stash away those lovely little bookish gems.

9. Bookshelves… I mean, we all need more, am I right? Or a bigger house. So yeah,
maybe put house on the list.

10. Books! Better yet, bookshop gift vouchers, because we’ve read everything already!

Note to my family: this list goes for me too!

I hope you have a lovely Christmas filled with great food, good wine and lots of new
characters to fall in love with… xxx

So fellow book lovers, how many from Rebecca’s list have you asked for for Christmas? In an ideal world the man in red would leave it all for me Christmas morning, but I have a feeling that I may need to go out and by them for myself! Well, unless anyone wants to surprise me at Christmas that is…hint ;).

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Winter at Cedarwood Lodge by Rebecca Raisin can be purchased now from Amazon UK.

#BlogTour! #GuestPost by Paul Mathews @QuiteFunnyGuy @EmmaMitchellFPR

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Something different on the blog today – a character guest post by the author of ‘We Have Lost Chihuahuas’, Paul Mathews. I haven’t managed to read this book yet but I have to say that I am extremely intrigued. After all, it’s not every day someone admits that they have lost the chihuahuas!! Before I point you in the direction of the authors guest post, here is a little bit more about the book itself and where you can get your copy from:

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London, 2046. The British Republic has a new First Lady. She’s Californian, ‘in-your- face, for sure’ and she’s got big plans for a Buckingham Palace refurb. When her three Chihuahuas go missing, one man is determined to avoid getting dragged into it all. His name is Pond. Howie Pond – presidential spokesperson, retired secret agent and cat lover.

Meanwhile, Howie’s wife Britt is handed her first assignment as a National Security and Intelligence Service rookie – to solve the mystery of the missing canine trio.
Will Howie manage to slope off to the pub before he can be roped into help?

Will Britt unmask the dognapper and grab the glory? Find out, in the latest, crazy comedy-thriller from dog-loving British author Paul Mathews.

‘We Have Lost the Chihuahuas’ by Paul Mathews will be available to buy from the 28th November. To pre-order your copy click here!

You ready for the character guest post? Paul Mathews was given a prompt for writing his guest post which was this:

Write about anything you want. It doesn’t have to be about books, writing or
publishing.
But, and this is the fun part, I want you to write it from the point of view of a character from your book.
Give your character a subject and see how they get on.
Maybe you have a secondary character who wants a voice?
Does your villain want to view his thoughts?
Maybe your main character has a strong opinion on a subject?
It can be funny, angry, controversial or sad, whatever your character wants to get off
their chest and share with the world.

Without further ado, here is the hilarious, laugh out loud character guest post from Indie-Day. This is an absolute belter!!

Indie-Day – Howie’s Cat

Greetings, human. I only have limited time, so forgive me if I don’t wrap myself
around your legs or rub my head against your outstretched hand. I have a very
hectic napping schedule today, so let’s press on with this blog post.
Firstly, let me make clear – I do not have any dialogue in any of Paul Mathews’
novels. That’s because I’m a cat, and for me to start talking would transport his
literary genre from the realms of comedy thriller to paranormal comedy. And,
according to Mr Mathews, there’s not much money in paranormal comedies, so I’m
under strict instructions to say nothing in his books – other than the occasional bout
of purring.

You will be aware, of course, that Mr Mathews’ latest novel has a canine, rather than
a feline, theme. While I’m not overly enthused by it all, it does make sense. That’s
because cats never get lost. They simply choose to be somewhere else. Dogs, on
the other hand, are generally pretty dumb and easily led. Don’t believe me? Try
taking a cat for a walk. Or asking a cat to fetch a tennis ball that you’ve been stupid
enough to throw fifty metres for no apparent reason. Or telling a cat to stop chasing a
blue bottle who’s flown into the kitchen because you left the window open. Go, on –
try it. You see? I was right.

I’m hoping that, in future novels, my humans might move somewhere slightly more
spacious. The Battersea pod in which we all live is only forty square metres and this
means I have a limited choice of napping locations. On hot days, I have been known
to take forty winks in the bathroom wash basin, though I have been disturbed on a
couple of occasions by a dripping tap. Why humans can’t get their water from bowls
like cats do, I really don’t know.

Anyway, my next nap is fast approaching and a laptop keyboard isn’t the easiest
thing for a feline to master, so I’m going to sign off now. I hope you enjoy the book
about missing dogs. I, for one, hope they stay missing.

Feline best wishes,
Indie-Day

Huge thanks to Paul Mathews for the brilliant guest post. Don’t forget that ‘We Lost the Chihuahuas’ is available to pre-order now from Amazon UK.

#BlogTour! #GuestPost-@Louisa_George author of The Other Life of Charlotte Evans @NeverlandBT

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Due to unforeseen circumstances, I have been asked to step in for Emma Mitchell today for her stop on the blog tour with a guest post from author, Louisa George.

Book Cover-7
Would you sacrifice your future to understand your past?

Life is rosy for dance studio owner Charlotte Evans, who is about to marry
beloved fiancé, Ben. But when Ben finds a lump in Charlotte’s breast, it sends
her on a journey of self-discovery which she knows she must do alone.
Because Charlotte is adopted, and she suddenly, desperately, needs to know
who she is and where she comes from.

Finding and reconnecting with her birth family, the life Charlotte could have
had unfolds before her. As her wedding day draws closer, and her past
merges ever more into her present, Charlotte must decide on the future she
really wants…

A heartrendingly beautiful novel about love, family and finding your own path
to happiness.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from WHSmith

My Publishing Journey / Louisa George

I wish I could tell you that my publishing journey involved one hastily written
manuscript that was so brilliant my agent had a bidding war with publishing houses, I
was offered a seven figure advance and now I spend my days languishing on a day
bed dressed entirely in pink and drinking an endless supply of cocktails.
Unfortunately, none of the above happened. I don’t have an agent. Never have had
one, even with 23 published books. But I am partial to cocktails and could possibly
drink an endless supply if someone else a) delivered them directly to my study and b)
footed the bill.

Truth is, I never wanted to be an author. By which I mean, being an author was so far
off my radar as even possible that it never occurred to me. Sure, I’ve always loved
reading books but writing one? Huh. Let’s get in the real world. Which for me
consisted of a degree in Communication and Media Studies, then becoming a
registered nurse (I worked in a variety of nursing jobs for 22 years), getting married,
and having two sons.

So it came as a big surprise to me when I went to an evening class in creative writing
at our local college (we’d emigrated to New Zealand. I knew no one so decided to do
an evening class in an effort to meet people. Didn’t fancy flower arranging,
computing or learning a language so plumped for a writing class) to discover that I
was actually quite good at it. Which meant I could string some sentences together and
had a reasonable imagination for plotting.

When the course ended I was invited by the tutor to take further classes with other
‘promising students’, then I did some online classes, joined a local writing
organization and finally plucked up courage to enter some contests. One of those was
run by Mills and Boon in 2010. While I didn’t win the contest, an editor there asked
to see more of my work, then we worked together on a book. It took four rewrites, a
lot of blood, sweat and tears and a serious amount of patience on her side and in July
2011 I was eventually offered a two book contract for their Medical Romance Line.
Then a three book contract and then more…
Since then I have also written for Mills and Boon Kiss Line, Tule Publishing, HQ
Harper Collins and have 4 indie published books out too.

I was so lucky to have attracted that editor’s attention, but I took every opportunity
presented to me and sought others out. I submitted to contests and tweaked my story
to feedback. Most of all I wrote. I wrote every day. I analysed the genre. I attended
courses and conferences. I wrote. When I didn’t have time I made time. I wrote and I
wrote.

And from this side of the publishing fence I can honestly say the hard work was worth
every second. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Sure, having a first manuscript
accepted would have been wonderful, but in those hours of rewriting and analyzing I
learnt so much about craft and story, about myself and my determination.

And along the way I developed a fine taste in cocktails, too. I’m just waiting on the
day bed delivery…

So folks, if you’ve been dreaming of becoming a writer (or not, just like Louisa), drink a lot of cocktails and then write…or was it write THEN drink a lot of cocktails? Either way, go for it and enjoy the ride. If anyone knows where Louisa’s delivery has got to, please shout ;). Huge thanks to the author for such an honest and laugh out loud guest post!

How ‘why are you only saying it NOW?’ is #notokay to respond to #sexualabuse posts with #MeToo

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Dear men and women of the world,

You may have seen the news overflowing with reports of abuse and harassment involving Harvey Weinstein. I mean really, who hasn’t? It really is everywhere.

You may have also seen the hashtag ‘#MeToo’ crop up once or twice on your social media, where some victims of sexual abuse or harassment try to come together under one heading whilst showing the world that it IS okay to speak out. Of course there probably was thousands of people who chose not to take part in that hashtag due to it reminding the victims of their abuse – that is okay too!

What’s NOT okay is the victim shaming.

What’s NOT okay is people commenting on posts with; ‘it was only just a kiss, stop throwing your teddy out the pram’.

What’s NOT okay is comment after comment with words along the lines of; ‘why are they just coming out with it now? or ‘yet another one jumping on the bandwagon to accuse someone of abuse – attention seeker!’ or ‘why didn’t they report it at the time instead of waiting years to say something?’.

I am hoping that if you’re reading this post, you know fine well why the above are far from okay. But if you don’t know why, then just this once I will humour you by saying:

Firstly, victim shaming is not okay. When people respond to a post asking what the victim was wearing, or what they did to attract the abusers attention in the first place etc, that’s pretty much telling the victim that they DESERVED their abuse/harassment.

Let me ask you this – if I were to walk down the street with a short skirt, high heels and a strappy top on and a man/woman decided to make non consensual advances towards me (e.g. groping, sexual talk, requesting sexual favours, rape, kissing etc), would you tell me that I DESERVED that because of what I was wearing? Would you tell me that I was ‘asking for it’ because I chose to not wear jeans and flat shoes and cover up every inch of my body?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re wearing religious clothes, party wear, your pyjama’s or even your birthday suit; if you have NOT consented to another person touching you or making advances towards you then it IS deemed harassment/abuse. No MEANS no. No-one is ever asking to be abused or harassed by another person, regardless of whether a 4×4 piece of skin is on show. No…just NO.

Secondly, my next point is what prompted me to write this post actually. A newspaper reported that a lady has made an allegation about Patrick Swayze. Now we all know that he is dead so no, she wasn’t meaning that he abused/harassed her from the grave. This lady said how Swayze forcefully kissed her without her consent, just moments after discussing his wife on the show. The lady then proceeded to explain how she DID mention it to her boss (who was a woman) at the time and she was fired. Yes, you heard me correctly. SHE was fired. Whilst that story didn’t exactly prompt my post, it was a comment on that news report which did. A comment which said ‘it was only a kiss! stop throwing your teddy out the pram and let the man RIP’. Really? Tell me folks, how is that okay? How is making someone’s situation out to be trivial and ‘just a kiss’ deemed a suitable response? Yes the man is dead, and no he cannot defend himself. But should his death and status in Hollywood at the time, make the alleged abuse any less serious? If it was only ‘just a kiss’, does that mean anyone can walk into the street and forcefully kiss someone on the lips as it’s ‘just a kiss’, whether they wanted it or not? NO! If one person dictates a situation where it makes you any way uncomfortable, the other person should respect that and stop. One person agreeing to do something does not make the action consensual. So no random stranger, it isn’t ‘just a kiss’.

Thirdly, this one is getting my back up something chronic. In regards to the Weinstein case, there has been a flurry of victims coming out saying that they have suffered some form of abuse or harassment by that man. Many of those victims have openly said how their careers were then affected once Weinstein was told ‘no’. Many of those victims have said that they felt as though they couldn’t tell anyone because they were frightened, lonely and afraid of losing everything they have worked for. Many of those victims have admitted to burying their heads in the sand in fear that they wouldn’t be believed due to how influential Weinstein was in Hollywood. So of course the keyboard warriors came out in force, trying to outshine DreamWorks ‘Trolls’ movie in 0.5 seconds. (Note – they failed. Trolls is WAYYYYY better movie than their 0.5 seconds of fame).

At first I saw comments of solidarity, empathy and anger towards the victims and the situation itself. Then in no time at all I came across comments which began to make me feel incredibly sick. Comments such as ‘attention seeker! why are you coming out with it now?’ and ‘jump on the bandwagon why don’t you!’ and ‘why didn’t you say anything at the time instead of waiting years to say something just to get into the news?’. Those comments were found on the Reese Witherspoon abuse news report so I dread to think what others I had missed!

Let me tell you why comments like that make me feel sick. After getting sexually abused/harassed a victim is more than likely feeling ashamed, frightened, nauseous, emotional…you name it, they’re probably feeling it. Funnily enough, one of the top things on a victims list to do after being abused is going and telling someone. Your mouth becomes dry. You lose all feeling in your legs. You’re unable to form coherent sentences. All you want to do is hide away and sleep, hoping that when you wake up it all turns out to be a dream. Some victims may find themselves (depending on the level of abuse/harassment) having to get coached/therapy to build up the courage to tell someone about what happened. Multiple questions are likely to float around a victims head – ‘what if no-one believes me?’ or ‘what if they say I’m lying?’ or ‘what if they say I deserved it?’ or ‘what DID I do to deserve it?’, just to name a few. It is extremely scary to sit down with someone and say that you have been a victim of sexual abuse or sexual harassment. If in the unfortunate event the victim was raped, it’s not just a case of popping to your local police station for a brew and casually telling them what happened. They have a job to do and unfortunately, the victim’s body is their ‘proof’ as it were, so not only do they have to go through the chat, they also have to endure a physical examination after being non consensually ‘examined’ by an abuser.

When I read those comments asking why said person ‘didn’t come out with it sooner?’ it really did make my skin crawl because 1) for all we know the victim may have already done that and wasn’t believed at the time, therefore speaking out about it where a group of victims has already formed. Strength in numbers. And 2) we have absolutely no idea how the victim is feeling, what they went through and how emotionally (or physically) scarred they are from the event. Who are we to question someone’s abuse? Who are we to demand answers from a victim? Who are we to dictate when a victim should tell an authoritative figure about their abuse? Who are we to judge full stop?

Before anyone asks how I know all of the above, or decides to make an uneducated comment about what I have written; I am a #MeToo three times over. Not once. Not twice. But THRICE. Sexually abused at age 11 & 14, raped at age 21. The first two times I was a minor. Did I deserve it? No. Did I feel as though I deserved it? Of course I did. Do the scars still remain? Emotionally, yes.

Victims of abuse/harassment need empathy not judgement. If you have no idea what to say to a victim, admit that but give them a hug. Never, EVER pass judgement or victim shame a person who has found the courage to speak out their abuse, whether it was 1 year ago, 10 years ago, or 50 years ago. Abuse has no time limit. Abuse has no age limit. Judgement has a time limit and the time limit is up.

No means no. It really isn’t that difficult.

Love,

A victim of sexual abuse.

#BlogTour! #Guestpost from author of ‘How I Motivated Myself to Succeed’ @Shelleywilson72

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Delighted to have Shelley Wilson, author of ‘How I Motivated Myself to Succeed’, on TWG today as she celebrates the release of her brand new book! We all know that we lack in motivation sometimes, we are only human after all and, because of that, Shelley Wilson has written a guest post about why she is a sucker for a good inspirational meme. Hands up who feels raring to go after reading one of those? Me!
Hands up who is going to buy Shelley Wilson’s new book to keep the inspirational and motivational momentum going? ME!

Keep on reading after Shelley’s guest post as I will give you the all important ‘to buy’ links at the end. Over to you Shelley!

Why I’m a Sucker for an Inspirational Meme. Guest Post by Shelley Wilson
(@ShelleyWilson72)

Following inspirational bloggers, authors, and gurus is part of the ‘day job’ when you write self-help books. I have learned so much from my teachers that I love to pass on to my readers in a way that they can relate to. Even though I call myself a spiritual person, I don’t wear a floaty kaftan or bells on my fingers. You’ll only find me running through a meadow of tall grass with flowers in my hair if there’s an ice-cream van at the other side!
There are billions of us on this beautiful planet, all with our own unique hang-ups, issues, and battle scars from life. What I love most about the personal development industry is the abundance of quotes that can heal, calm, and inspire someone in the space of ten or twenty words. Some quotes are motivational, some humorous, and others are very thought provoking.

My books encourage a sense of positivity, and well-being and I’m normally quick to share an inspirational meme with my social media audience. I don’t do this because it fits my personal needs, although, some days these affirmations have been spot on. I share them in the hope that they’ll help someone else in the same way my books can motivate or inspire readers. When I ran my holistic health business, my clients were always at the forefront of my mind. If I read an inspiring article, I would save it as I knew it might resonate with one of my ladies. When I heard about a new meditation class or spiritual workshop, I would forward the details to the people I knew would enjoy these events. Today, social media is the perfect platform to share our good intentions far and wide as you just don’t know who you might help along the way.

So, the next time you spot an inspirational meme, don’t scroll by and dismiss it, think about who you know in your circle of friends and colleagues who might just need to hear that message today.

In my new release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed I’ve included a series of lists at the
end of the book; 52 Things to Do, 52 Uplifting Quotes, 52 Affirmations for Success, and 52
Power Words – one each for every week of the year. I’m a great believer in ‘thoughts
become things’ and have witnessed a client spiral out of control when concentrating on the negative aspects of her life. On the flip side, I’ve also seen how a friend turned her life around by absorbing the positivity around her and choosing to embrace this. If one
inspirational meme can trigger a moment of optimism, hope, or confidence then I’ll keep
sharing and I hope you will too.

I’d like to finish with a huge thank you to my delightful host, Kaisha. Having won the Most Inspirational Blogger Award at the Bloggers Bash this year, I’m pretty sure she’ll be as obsessed with inspirational memes as me! Thank you for reading and be sure to check out the other host spots for more inspiration, motivation, and a sprinkle of fun.

Awww thank you Shelley! Yes! I am all for the thought-provoking meme’s that make you stop and feel as though something has clicked. A bit like this one here;

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If you would like to read more about Shelley’s inspirational tips then take a look at her new release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed, out now in paperback and eBook, and packed full of information on self-care, freeing yourself from fear, organising your life, and much more.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Find out more about Shelley on her author blog http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com or via her personal development blog http://www.motivatemenow.co.uk.
She is also on Twitter www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72, Facebook
www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog and Instagram www.instagram.com/authorslwilson

Author Bio:

Shelley is a multi-genre author of non-fiction self-help and young adult fantasy fiction. Her latest release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed is being dubbed as the sequel-that’s- not-a-sequel to her bestselling book, How I Changed My Life in a Year. She writes a personal development blog (www.motivatemenow.co.uk) as well as an author blog
(www.shelleywilsonauthor.com) where she shares book reviews, author interviews, and
random musings about writing. Shelley was thrilled to win the Most Inspirational Blogger Award at the Bloggers Bash in 2016, and to scoop second place in the same category in 2017. She is a single mum to three teenagers and a black cat, loves pizza, vampires, and The Walking Dead, and has a slight obsession with list writing.