Chain what? Book Blitz

Mac dug his cigarette case and lighter out of his pocket. For a while he smoked in blessed silence.
Movement caught his eye. A woman wandered up the beach, flirting with the waves teasing around her bare feet. In the light of the rising moon, she was all ember-bright hair and pale skin. The wind plastered her short white dress to her long legs. She waded knee-deep, laughing softly, her head tilting back as she watched a seagull gliding overhead. Something about the purity of her profile in the silver moonlight caught him. He paused for a second look, cigarette smoldering forgotten between his fingers.
A high wave crashed over her. With a yelp, she staggered back. The sodden dress clung to her skin, the white fabric gone transparent. Mac told himself he wasn’t a crude sod and he shouldn’t look.
But he did. He had a pulse, didn’t he? Her braless breasts were clearly visible beneath the flimsy fabric, the rosy nipples puckering into hard points. The sight was more erotic than if she’d bared it all to go skinny-dipping.
“Oh, bollocks! Bloody fucking fuck.” Her curses, uttered in a posh English accent, made him chuckle.
Mac strode forward as she squelched across the sand. “Here.” He offered his jacket.
She gaped at him. “Where the devil did you come from?”
“Melbourne.” It was an asinine response, but her husky voice, so at odds with her prissy accent, was doing strange things to him.
“You’re laughing at me,” she muttered as she draped the jacket over her shoulders.
Altruistic impulses were overrated. Her gorgeous curves, those lovely pink-tipped breasts, were now hidden beneath black leather.
“I am.” Somehow, a statement of the obvious seemed necessary.
“Thank you,” she murmured. “I never imagined the Pacific would be so cold.” She swept windblown hair from her face and met his eye.
As he finally got a good look at her, that tight, tangled knot within him came loose, and for the first time in ages, he could breathe. Mac tossed away his half-smoked cigarette. It spun, glowing, into the darkness.
He wanted to say, Oh, it’s you.
What he said was, “Who the fuck are you?”
She cocked her head. “Of course, you’re Richard Mac. I should have known one of Sloan’s mates would have the looks of a Viking and the manners of a caveman.” She offered her hand. Her palm was cool against his, but her touch seared straight through him. Her breath caught, as if she felt it too. When he skimmed his thumb across the pulse fluttering at her inner wrist, she trembled.
“I’m Natasha,” she said. “Sloan sent me to fetch you. Said you should stop chain-smoking and pretend to be sociable for a bit.” She glanced down at her hand, still clasped in his. With a gasp, she tugged free.
Natasha. The name roused a dim memory—Sloan going on and on about his new girl, with legs up to here and long, red hair.
Never in all his twenty-nine years had he begrudged Sloan anything—not his poster boy good looks, or his voice, or even his effortless charm. Mac had always known his own talents complemented his mate’s. He’d always been content to let Sloan have center stage.
For the first time in twenty years, he contemplated taking something of his.


War Ghosts: Book Review

The story of this book encapsulates within it a further story – war and how music is often used to look at society and current events and comment on its ills, and well known events, especially folk music.

 This book looks at the effects of the Vietnam / Afghanistan War in a different way. And we realise just how many Folk songs reflect war over the ages.

The author contends that folk songs repair the social fabric that is torn by war – they reward the hero and punish the villain. They contain a psychological truth.

The book’s story contains references to Rose Conelly – the song known as “Down in the Willow Garden“, which is a traditional Appalachian murder ballad about a man facing the gallows for the murder of his lover: he gave her poisoned wine, stabbed her, and threw her in a river. Appalachian music is considered by some  scholars to be a distinct type of folk music originating from  the Irish / Celtic songs of the area’s settlers. And the troubled economy and poverty of the settlement of the area.

And the subject matter was dark. Originally, they almost always were sung unaccompanied, and usually by women fulfilling their roles as keepers of the families’ cultural heritages, and rising above dreary monotonous work through fantasies of escape and revenge.  These ballads were from the British tradition of the single personal narrative and are to do with sexual struggles from the female standpoint. A large percentage of the American variations tend to be about pregnant women murdered by their boyfriends. Crow Jane is a ballad about a girl who was multiply raped and her revenge as another  instance. See mustrad.org.uk and their short history of these ballads.

And of course there is the very famous House of the Rising Sun – which has had its original lyrics changed many times as it was considered offensive for the main stream, but there is a theory that the song is about a woman who killed her father, an alcoholic gambler who had beaten his wife.

If the songs were accompanied, it was frequently by someone using the Piedmond Guitar style of playing – a type of finger plucking.

The English Folk Society, often just known by its address – Cecil Sharp House, was founded in 1898, by a number of individual folk song collectors and enthusiasts such as Francis James Child who collected 1600 traditional ballads from England and Scotland, and their American variants in 1916-8, and you can hear the songs he collected in Appalachia on Radio Three,  in the programme played in Andy Kershaw’s Folk Connections on Sunday 31 Jan 2016, and which may still be available to listen to.

So, what is all the above to do with this romantic comedy? Well, only in so much as the heroine, Abby, sings these songs, and they are mentioned and to some extent discussed in the story.  And the songs reflect the life experience of Abby’s penpal, Mike. And I personally love folk songs and have been to a lot of Folk Clubs in my time.

There are 4 novels in this series.

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And the Song does it: Author Interview

SingForMeTourBanner copy - And the Song does it: Author Interview

Our Author answers some questions about herself and the book.

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

Writing about a rock band chose me. I was listening to “Second Chance” by Shinedown, and the idea for Play For Me, Book One in the Balefire Series, popped into my head. Once I wrote the drummer’s story, I knew I’d write the stories of the other members of the band. Because the first book was inspired by a song, I decided to listen to rock songs with the intention of finding the next book. When I heard “What Was I Thinking” by Theory of a Deadman, the idea for Sing For Me came together.

My “research” for this series was mainly listening to music and attending rock concerts, which is a hobby of mine, so the research was a blast. One of my other hobbies is playing the piano. The combination of my hobbies shows in the musicality of the book, which is something early readers have pointed out is a strength and what makes this series unique.

How easy is it to write a good sex scene? And do you have to have experienced these things do you think, to write about them successfully?

Writing sex scenes is one of the easiest parts of writing romance for me, which is probably why my readers tell me they look forward to them. I don’t think it’s at all necessary to have experienced the same sex as the characters in my books. Some of the scenes I’ve written I would never want to experience personally, but they’re exactly right for the characters. By the time my characters are ready for intimacy, I know them very well. What works for them is what goes on the page. For me, those scenes are as specific to the characters as intimacy is to real people, which is what makes those scenes strong elements of my stories.

Do you keep a timeline and character traits pinned up on your wall? On post-its? If not how do you remember important items about your characters like height, weight, colouring, likes and dislikes etc?

I’ve used post-it notes, but they tend to stick themselves in places where I can’t find them when I need them. A trick I learned from Alyssa Day during a workshop a while ago is if you’re writing a series, keep a series bible. Readers remember the traits writers give to our characters, so it’s important that we do too, which can be difficult when writing a series. Having everything in one notebook with tabs for each character makes it much easier to keep traits consistent.

Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?

Several schools of thought suggest imitating another author’s style when you’re in the process of finding your own voice. That wasn’t my path. I discovered my style in revisions. However, somewhere along the way, I read in a craft book about keeping a journal of lines you like in other people’s writing and why you like them. After I started this journal, I found that my style improved, probably more from determining why I liked the writing I wrote in it than from the other writers’ lines themselves.

Do you write at home or away from home? If at home, what does your space look like? Are you a tidy person? If away from home – where and why?

I’m so not a public writer. If I can’t have my writing space utterly silent, I can’t write. Coffee shops, libraries, cafés, parks, or any public places have too many distractions. At home, I have an office that I don’t write in very often. Usually, I carry my laptop and stack of resources to the couch in the living room if the weather is nasty or out to my patio when the weather is awesome.

Which of your books are you most proud of?

 So far, the published book I’m most proud of is Druid, Book Five in my paranormal Talisman Series. My experience with writing the previous books in the series coupled with the craft books I’d read along the way and workshops that I took around the time I started the book meant that I came to it with stronger skills. Readers of the entire series tell me this one is their favorite, which reiterates my feelings about it. The book I’m most proud of writing, though, will come out in January 2022 (it’s currently with my editor). Hot For Me, Book Four in the Balefire Series, is my most socially conscious book. It tackles a topic that is important to me while still maintaining the good-time vibe of a rock star romance. I’m proud of that.

If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?

I’m not a city girl, but if I had to choose a city to live in, it would be London. I love the how cosmopolitan it is while maintaining a village ambience depending on which part of the city you’re in. The way history and modernity blend seamlessly together makes this city both enduring and relevant. I’ve visited London often, but only for short times. I would love to spend half a year there at some point. Weirdly, as much as I love it, I’ve never set a book there, or even included it as part of a book. Something to consider for a future project…


Tam - And the Song does it: Author Interview

Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.





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Off to a fairytale we go..

OK. So he is  called the Duke of Mayhem in  a Rock and Roll band – that’s his stage name  – but he has another identity – a Prince! The prince of Aldayne. Aldayne is an imaginary island off the coast of Ireland – quite large it seems and comprised of 2 volcanos and the land between. And then there is the black soil which grows black roses, black wine and black berries. Now if you have been to the Canaries, you will know about the balc volcanic sand/soil on Tenerife that grows a particlualrly sweet wine often just referred to as ‘Canary’ in historical records. The grapes grow in an unusual low braided form rather on long rows of trellis.

So Ginger has appropriated some of this geology, she has also appropriated a little geology from the Isle of Man, the island that does lay off the coast of Ireland –  and was formed partially by an underwater volcano although nothing is active now of course.

So Aldayne, still has a monarch – a true feudal monarch, no constitutional monarchy here and Auggie was expected to be the 51st Quinn king of the island. Ginger also gives the island a rather nice history as a place that took in refugees and immigrants from all nations for a very long time, and where many of the aristocracy were black and there seemed to be no colour bar or racial tension.

Peaches McFee on the other hand was a music/media journalist born to a family of ‘hippies’. Or at least a family where, apart from the oldest son, the children were brought up in a rather free flowing family as the parents moved around a lot – often acting as caretakers for properties. In fact currently, they were living in a farm whose owner had bought it as a present for his wife, who died soon after, and thus he couldn’t bear to live in it. It was a $4 million complex of 10,000 sq feet of main house, with 8 bedrooms and 8 baths, plus a guest house of 2500 sq feet  with 2 bedrooms opening onto a pool with a waterfall! There was a tennis court, stables, horses, full of animals and organic produce. Of the McPhee children, the one everyone falls in love with is the baby of the family – Dashiel – who loves to dance in  a rainbow tutu and refuses to let anyone cut his strawberry blonde hair.

Peaches is hired by Auggie to write the story of his next band tour – a 5 month long trek round America and Europe, at a very sizable amount of money. But Peaches has a secret – and so it runs out does Auggie – in fact he has several that he doesn’t tell her.

This is very enjoyable and very different love story. A version if you like of Cinderella without the shoe and a rock band instead! Nice story telling and imaginative geography/geology/history of the island – combinations of the place we’d like so many places to be perhaps?

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Let’s go Home

What I didn’t know when I started reading this, is that Abbey Clancy is a ‘celebrity’. But then I don’t read those articles or..


Abigail Marie Clancy, (born 10 January 1986) known as Abbey Clancy, is an English lingerie and catwalk model and television personality. She is married to former professional footballer Peter Crouch, was the runner-up of Britain’s Next Top Model (cycle 2) in 2006 and won series 11 of Strictly Come Dancing in 2013.

Thus we can be sure that her tale about a rock star is based on real knowledge from those she knows and has written about. So the dilemma of our heroine can be said to be based on fact. And indeed we often read about how pop/rock stars spend long amounts of time away from their family and how this impacts on their relationships with all their drama, regrets, insecurities, romance, and the friendships within their world which is so different to any life they may have with their family. And it is this conflict between the lifestyle of the ‘star’ and the friends, family and romantic relationships that is brought out here. With gentle humour at times and empathetic writing.

My first novel by Abbey Clancy but I can see she has the style down pat and even though this story is about Xmas the issues raised are about relationships and thus it could be read at any time of the year.

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