Saturday, 30 April 2016

My Guest Column via @LJ_Frank

At the Eden Project, Cornwall
Over the years, I have been able to express myself via an Author Interview. This week I have posted two after not being asked for a year! I have also had another request this week. I do enjoy doing them since it gets me thinking about why I write, what I get from the process, and what I have learned.

If you want to read any of them you can visit my Author Interview Blog via these two links. you will find links to the interviews on my post. I hope you read & enjoy.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW with the Infrasonic Detective


I was also asked to write a column for the NP Journal and have now become a contributor.

For a direct link to the column, click on the link GUEST POST COLUMN

My favourite bits...

"As a reader, I want to be shocked. I want to laugh, cry, feel loved, everything... Human nature dictates that we seek these emotions. Safer in a book than in real life, don't you think?

I think that children need to be encouraged to discover books. Libraries need to stay open and investments in education need to continue to secure the future development of our children. Saying this, Goodreads is a great site for readers to discuss books, meet other readers, and share. Social media is a powerful tool for any author. If you master it, you are on the road to success.


Becoming a writer has enabled me to use my skills and imagination. To create something that I can be proud of. It has also made my children aware of how hard it is to create a book - to write it, edit it, make covers, promote it, etc... I am hoping my daughter will be an agent one day! She is very critical. The fact they also see me read, blog, use social media, also means that I am closer to the world they are growing up in. I am not a complete dinosaur!

To conclude, can I challenge anyone reading this and wondering to just go for it? Write down your ideas, work hard to make it come together, have patience, and one day stand back and say to yourself, "I did that." That’s when you allow yourself to smile."

Friday, 22 April 2016

KINGS AND QUEENS by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

Today, I introduce you again to Terry Tyler. Read on and find out why she is such an awesome author! 
Vanessa :)

As I said the last time I interviewed you (it was a year ago already!)… When I joined Twitter, you were one of the first authors I came across and I loved the way you came across. Straight-talking, friendly, and approachable. Your blogs portray the same image. And over the last year, nothing has changed! You are one of the nicest authors I have met online!

So, when I saw your book was up for grabs via Rosie’s Book Review Team I was in there in a flash!

You kindly let me have a copy of Kings & Queens and Last Child. I read both back-to-back! Here are my reviews…



“This book is intense!

For anyone who has watched series like Dallas, Dynasty, The Colbys or Falcon Crest (yes, I admit it - I have) this brought back so many memories! My grandmother was obsessed and I remember coming home from school and watching Falcon Crest with her, or when I was sick watching Dynasty. Dallas was much discussed at school! Yes, I am going back approx 30 years!

There was something about characters like Joan Collins, who nearly slept with her son and seduced anyone in sight that made for addictive viewing! As well as the alcoholics and drug addicts! (The rich have it SO tough)

So back to the book. Kings and Queens is all about this & more!

Romance, adultery, suspense, a lot of death and heartache, "fit" men and women, and also (which was nice to see) normal boring characters that fit in nicely to the massacre that is the old-fashioned Lanchester mentality!

Lanchester's Empire is a male dominated family business which relies on the family "male" heir to provide continuity.

Things do not go well from the start though. The first born, Alex, dies in a rock-climbing accident and the second son, Harry, takes the reins of the business at the age of 18!

The saga that continues as his love-life goes on the biggest roller-coaster EVER is extreme.

Personally, I found many of the scenarios to be unbelievable but this is the beauty of fiction! Perfect escapism into a world where many are crooks, adulterers and ruthless murderers!

I highly recommend this if any of what I have rambled on about makes you think, "This is for me!" I must add that having read several of Terry Tyler's books before her style is definitely makes for addictive reading, even though at times some of the character changes left me slightly disorientated.”

Rated: 4 Stars


“I have to admit that having read Kings and Queens I was immediately drawn to read the sequel. This is the great thing about reading a book after the next one has already been written. I have on many occasions waited for the next book in a series to be sorely disappointed.

This was not the case here, and I have I say I actually enjoyed Last Child even more than reading Kings and Queens.

There are a few reasons for this. Historically, Henry VIII has always been an interesting historical characters because of his many wives. Personally, I found History boring at school and never connected. What did I care that someone had so many? Seems like a bit of an idiot to me! So, when you read historical fiction written in a contemporary setting it brings everything to life. It makes you think, "Wow! Now I get it!" This is what Kings and Queens did - it made the illogical make sense.

But, in Last Child you see the consequences of someone so promiscuous and irrational via his offspring. The good and the bad. From the pampered male heir who wants to get everything his way (to dire consequences), to the deranged unwanted daughter who feels neglected and abandoned because her father rejected her via her mother, to the younger more exuberant child who had oodles of character and does not care what is expected of her, she just gets on with it.

The way in which we get to eavesdrop on their thoughts and actions again explains historical facts in a way that allows for compassion. I mean, seriously, I would never had thought a man who has an affair with a woman half his age would be rational. Yet, in this story it sound plausible (not for me personally, but I got how it happened).

So many details and actions that have so much relevance to society today. Again, it is like watching a TV soap - everyday events are embellished with tragic consequences.

However, in the end Terry has left us with some inner peace. Everything does not always go to plan, but you can make the most of a bad situation. She has also left an opening for another book - I practically screamed at the book at the end! More twists to come I think...

Anyway, if you have not read this author's books before you really should. She has a way of drawing you in, of getting you involved, of sympathising with characters you thought you hate, and feeling annoyed at characters you thought would be great. I love that. I want to be sent on a roller coaster ride when I read a book and this was definitely up, down, sideways and over!

One thing I will say is that the Lanchester family actually made me think of the Kennedy's not the British Monarchs. I guess it's really sad when a family seems to be so jinxed. Even the best of people have no guarantees in life. I guess we all have to live life to the maximum and make every day count, regardless of what the social niceties dictate.”

Rated: 4 Stars

So, what did you think of my rambles?

It's always interesting to see what people think of your books, Vanessa, as you know.  Everyone reads them so differently.  I will say, though, that Henry VIII did not take six wives because he was an idiot (though, indeed, that may be up for discussion!), but because it was important for him to produce a male heir, and marriage in those days was as much a political move, to form allegiances with other countries/noble houses, as to do with love.

I am in awe of you for the way in which you manage to keep the books coming. What or who inspires you to continue writing? My own muse goes for very long walks at the moment!

It's not always easy.  What keeps me doing it is simply that I feel a bit empty if I'm not currently working on a book.  I have had one on the go constantly for the last five and a half years; I at least plan out the next while the current one is being made ready for publication.  My 'to be written' list is always about four books long!

Which characters did you like and hate the most in these books?

My favourite characters in Kings and Queens are Hannah (everyone's favourite!), Annette and Kate, and I couldn't stand Jenny Seymour!  In Last Child I loved Erin, Jim and Raine; the only one I really disliked was Phil Castillo.

How did you go about doing the research for these books?

I was already pretty well versed in that period of history, but I also read David Starkey's book about the six wives, and also The Watchers by Stephen Alford, and The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory, and watched quite a few documentaries.

What is the most important thing you have learnt, as an author, over the last year?

Over the last year?  Hmm.... reading improves your writing, if you take note about why your favourite books work so well.  I also learnt, when writing my second novella, that writing one of these is not just a matter of writing a shorter story, it's a different process.  I've read novellas that should have been novels; the story has to suit the novella size.  I think I did a better job with my second than my first. 

What advice would you give to new authors starting out now?

  • Make sure your book is as good and as professionally presented as it possibly can be; the market is saturated and competition is enormous.
  • Write from the heart, not what you think sounds good.
  • Do thorough research and make sure you have genuine, personal recommendations before spending money on advertising, marketing services, proofeading, critiques, editing, etc.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking that signing with a small, independent publisher means you have 'made it'; this is not the same as being traditionally published and you may find that you sell less books and make less money than you would if self-published.  Any publishing house that charges you for any aspect of the publishing process is a vanity publisher, and should not be touched with a barge pole.
  • Make friends with lots of nice book bloggers!

Does it differ from advice you would have given when you started?

Not a great deal, no.  Promotion is a whole different ball game, though; what worked 4 years ago would have little or no effect now.

Thanks, Vanessa, I hope this has been of some interest to you and your readers :)

Where we can find out about you and buy your books?


Book Review Blog

Facebook page:


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Holiday in Bude, Cornwall

This Easter I went to Bude, in the North of Cornwall for our family break.

We stayed in a lovely house with a hot tub, within a working farm! The cows mooed constantly, the chickens pecked outside, and we had cats meowing outside the kitchen window (I am allergic to them so I was not letting them in).

It was a fantastic family holiday where we walked, played board games, saw beautiful new places, and even saw new life being born!

I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful English County!

Eden Project

The first day trip was to the Eden Project.

The site itself is fantastic and I was impressed by the facilities, activities for children, food, service, and views.

I even did an assault course - on a bouncy castle, nothing too strenuous!

It is amazing what an idea can start... the people who built and thought of this project should be thrilled!


Look out for those rocks...
I was terrified going down...
The second day we visited Tintagel - the ruins of a castle built around the 11-12th Century.

Stunning views, which unfortunately nearly scared me to death at times due to my fear of heights, were all around and I could not even begin to imagine how the place was fortified and used hundreds of years ago.

Human beings (some of them anyway) really are capable of magic...

Surfer dude!

I never imagined there would be SO many surfers in April in England!

It is obviously a massive sport in Cornwall and I took some great shots of them over some decent sized waves.

If the water had been warmer I would have joined them, but funnily enough I was happy to sacrifice myself and watch!

Ha ha...

The Big Sheep - Devon
New life born in front of us!

Since we had children in tow, (aged 7, 12 & 13) we had to visit a theme park and we decided to go to The Big Sheep in Devon!

We had a great day and even managed to watch a live birth... the kids thought it was disgusting!

My daughter & I did the egg hunt and got some prizes for our efforts - they did not make it easy!

A fantastic show rounded up the day... loved the sheep with the dreadlocks!
The Big Sheep - Fantastic day out..

We arrived in the morning and were one of the last to leave. We made the most of the visit and loved it! I am glad we had no more buggies or young children - makes life so much easier...

We ate some Cornish pasties, did some sightseeing, relaxed and spent time together as a family. Perfect!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Thank you to the family in Scorsham Farm in Bude

Luxury accommodation... :)

Monday, 11 April 2016

ASTARTE RISING by Greg Thomas @InfrasonicGreg

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Greg to my blog, after reading his novel, Astarte Rising. 

I have not read a SciFi book of this nature in a long time and have to admit that I loved it. 

This was my 5 star review...

"An action & adventure read based on the premise of the discovery of a time travel source, or Time Faeder. Having not read a book of this kind in ages, I thought it was great. 

I always rate a book highly that I could see as a film and this would be brilliant.

A lot of characters in this, but the main ones I liked were Harry and Rosa. Add some zombies brought to life by an evil demon and the rise of Astarte and you have a cracking read. Highly recommend."

So, Greg, how did you come to write this novel?

I’ve always had a love of books and admiration for the writers who create them, and Astarte Rising is my attempt to contribute to the multitude of fictional worlds and dreams that are available for readers to enjoy.

What inspired you? A book, film, or both?

It would be difficult to single out one book or film, but rather the works of authors such as Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy), Ursula K Le Guin, together with humour inspired by Terry Pratchett.

Tell us more about your characters. Which one was your favourite and least favourite to write and why?

It’s hard to pick favourites, but I do like the main character Harry Bonneville, as he’s a good guy trying to do the right thing in extraordinary circumstances.

I’d like to mention Professor Rowan Forrest too. He’s partly based on a very kind, intelligent and incredibly curious old family friend. He wasn’t a professor, but he was an engineer, and that’s pretty good in itself.

My least favourite character would be the cruel Captain McVelley. But we’ve not seen the last of him yet…

Do you think time travel will ever be plausible?

Professor Stephen Hawking has just materialised from the future and told me to keep quiet, so as not to alter the timelines. OK, seriously, I’m no scientist but Professor Hawking maintains it’s theoretically possible, and who am I to argue?

For a writer, it’s a very useful device to move your characters to unusual places, and I needed a mechanism to do just that. I tried to dream up an original, hopefully believable, way this could be done and decided on the part-organic Time Faeder. However, as will be explored in future books, time travel by this method comes at a great cost.

Why did you choose the destination and how did you research the past? A few times, I wondered if Rosa would have been so easily accepted, as a woman in that time?

The destination of ancient Israel (or Palestine) was chosen for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted the team to carry out “the strangest rescue mission of all time” where it was especially important to never alter the timelines. This area has seen incredible cultural and spiritual change and has witnessed the passing of the old gods, for example Baal and Astarte who later became demonised as part of that process. The “divine feminine” seemed to become suppressed as monotheism became accepted and so I developed a story whereby our heroes not only struggle to complete their rescue mission, but there’s another rescue that involves Astarte, once known as “the queen of heaven” being seen in a more positive light.

To answer your question with regards to Rosa: you’re absolutely right to doubt that Rosa would not have been so well received, but it was important for the character to be strong even in a very male-dominated world, and so I guess historical accuracy lost out to story and character. Rosa has her faults, but she’s incredibly intelligent and more than a match for anyone. She just wouldn’t have accepted anything less than equality with men.

Some of the names are familiar, e.g. Herod. Did you do this on purpose?

By choosing ancient Israel at around 7 B.C. as the destination of the rescuers, old Herod invited himself into the story as he was responsible for creating a magnificent city, the ruins of which can still be seen today. He did many, many bad things, but if it’s any consolation to anyone, he seemed to die from a variety of nasty and embarrassing illnesses.

One of the helpful characters is named Joseph, and there is absolutely no connection with any other Joseph who may have been around at this time.

The strange female character, Frau Schalke, was interesting. Tell us how she came about. I want to know more about her... Will you use her again?

I absolutely love Frau Schalke, and yes, she is strange isn’t she? Firstly, I wanted strong female characters, and there are no stronger characters than our beloved Western Valkyrie who brings solace to the living and the dead. She is a guardian-type figure who derives from Norse mythology, but instead of the traditional Valkyrie who would choose the souls of fallen warriors to be escorted to Valhalla, I’ve adapted her so that she helps all people – the living as she offers physical protection - and the dead as they need to find their way home. I’ve mostly kept Harry’s adventures distinct from those of Frau Schalke and her friends, but they can and do intertwine. She’ll be back…

I am not sure your cover is as striking as it could be for an action & adventure book of this kind. Would you change it? I have changed my covers loads of times!

I’ve seen your new book covers and they’re stunning. As for my relatively stark cover, I’m hoping that it doesn’t put readers off, and I guess it doesn’t communicate all that the book is about, but it represents Astarte Rising out of the darkness, which is a vital part of the story.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us to make other readers take this book up?

I’d like to think that Astarte Rising is, first and foremost, a good adventure story, but it also has humour, and re-visits an old goddess.

How have you gone about marketing your book?

So far, I’ve set up a website, joined Goodreads and set up a Twitter account. I realise there are other social media tools such as Instagram and Pinterest, but I don’t quite feel ready to join those yet. I was delighted to accept your offer of an interview on your blog.

Would you ever write in another genre?

Possibly yes, because I think it shouldn’t really matter what the genre is, provided you write stories that your reader will enjoy, however we all have our favourites and mine would be SciFi & fantasy.

Where can my readers buy your book and find out more about you?

Astarte Rising is available for Kindle via Amazon and it won’t be long before the paperback is out. In a month or so I’m looking forward to releasing it into the wild on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, anywhere I can.

Should readers want to get in touch, I’d be delighted to answer any questions on Goodreads or twitter @InfrasonicGreg.

Thank you for answering my questions and I wish you all the best with sales and the rest of the series…

My pleasure, thank you so much for inviting me.