Meet the Author: Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits by Andrew John Rainnie

Today we welcome Andrew John Rainnie as we travel to Glasgow, Scotland to learn how traveling the world, a red panda and Thundercats have come together as part of Andrew’s life. Grab your boomerang and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Andrew John Rainnie, and I’m from Glasgow, Scotland. I’m a writer, filmmaker, dreamer and gamer. I’m a strong advocate for animal rights and an independent Scotland.

In which genre do you write?

My first attempt at publishing a novel was actually a non-fiction travel blog I kept when I was traveling round the world. My fiction has so far been epic fantasy, but I’m hoping try different genres in the future. I have been jotting down ideas for a stream of consciousness drama story for a few years, and also have loose plans for an urban fantasy book series.

I also write screenplays, usually in the horror/thriller genre. I like the challenge of looking at a genre and working out how to write a story within the conventions of what an audience/reader expects, but also subverting those to better the story.

How many published books do you have?

Technically two! I self-published my travel blog, My Right Leg Is Tastier Than My Left, back in 2013, I think (it’s not on sale now as I’m planning on doing something different with it). I was just curious as to how the whole self-publishing process worked and had a wealth of material from traveling for a year.

I then self-published Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits in 2014. It was the first book in a planned trilogy.

After that I also made a book of short stories available based in that world called Tales of Vengeance. Then while working on the sequel, the first book got picked up by a publisher along with the second book. It was due out last year but I was making a short film, getting married and moving house, while also trying to do significant redrafts. It is almost in a state I am happy with, so hopefully it will be published this year.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

From a very young age. I used to write short stories all the time as a child, and not just a page or two, but like 10 page epic tales. My school teachers used to hate me because when we were given a writing task, I would hand in several pages more than anyone else.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I struggle to write at a computer sometimes. I find sometimes there’s a bit of a fug, although IU have since acquired a mechanical keyboard which makes it sound like you are using a typewriter.

But if I find there is a problem with the flow of ideas, I’ll just sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and write freeform for an hour. It does mean I then have to type those notes up, but I find switching between the two keeps my ideas fresh. I also like to drop my friends’ names in as minor characters. There are at least four in the new book!

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

Good question! I am very tempted to say a dog (because I love dogs and yet live with two cats) but I think probably a red panda. They are very playful and creative.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Well we just moved home and I claimed one of the smaller rooms as my own personal office, so I have a big wide desk populated by toys and notes and pens. I have a boomerang and a Frisbee and a toy space gun all hanging on the wall, all mementos from my travels. Hopefully I’ll get more artwork up on the bare walls soon.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently working my way through Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. I’m a few chapters from the end of the first book, so will move on to Life Debt afterwards. I’m hoping to finish them before The Rise of Skywalker hits in December(I don’t get a lot of reading time).

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I don’t have much of a life anymore. I work full time, I have another job writing copy, I have a couple of screenwriting commissions. I also make films and promo videos. My wife rarely sees me.

When I get a spare five minutes, I love nothing more than playing video games. I just love disappearing into these rich worlds filled with colourful characters and stories. I was halfway through the new God of War before we moved house, but I’m on a bit of a video games ban until I finish the new book. My pile of unplayed video games almost rivals my pile of unread books!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Terry Pratchett. I renamed a character in the second book as a small tribute to him. He managed to create several series of books, especially the Discworld, that told very human stories dealing with contemporary issues, while based in this absurd fantasy world. And it’s a credit to his storytelling and world building that it works so well over 40 books.

I read an interview with him where he told a story about someone asking him what was the first thing he figured out when creating a city like Anhk-Morpork, and they were disappointed when he answered that he works out where the water comes in and the sh** flows out. But that’s how you build worlds. You make sure they work within the logic of the world.

I learned a lot from my decades wandering the Discworld, but I would have loved to have had the opportunity to sit down with him over a beer and pick that fantastic brain of his.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I am my own worst enemy. My background is in screenwriting, so I try and plot or structure as much of the books as I can before starting to actually write it. But sometimes I’ll get bogged down in the detail, or conversely leave a very vague plot point because I haven’t quite worked it out, and when I come to write that chapter it’s like hitting a road bump on a skateboard going at 50 miles an hour.

I am completely thrown off and have to sit and rework it based on my characters and how I think they would act or react to the situation. Yet, if you plot too much, it can sometimes kill the creativity, so it’s about finding that balance.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

I do all sorts. I like trying different writing techniques, so for one story I recorded me speaking in the character’s voice, like a stream of conscious narrative. For Spirits ofVengeance, I remember there was a fight scene across a battlefield, so I had to work it out using Lego toys (I collect Lego) because it was just so confusing.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

Apart from when I was traveling, no. I try and write a minimum of 3000 words a day. Keeping a diary would just add to that.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I have been very lucky in my life, and could answer this question a million different ways. I was inspired a lot when I traveled the world, seeing the Earth, this planet that we live on, all of us, together. I loved meeting new people, experiencing new cultures. I think if everyone traveled, the world would be a much better place. I was traveling on my own, and so many people showed me so much kindness (I think maybe everyone thought I was having a mid-life crisis) but it makes me well with tears just thinking about it.

Anyway, you’re looking for a specific example. I’ve already mentioned how I adored Terry Pratchett, so here’s a cool story. I was in a Japanese restaurant in Glasgow with several of my friends. One of my friends Steve was visiting from Japan where he was teaching English, so obviously we took him and his Japanese girlfriend to a Scottish Japanese restaurant. It’s one of these restaurants with long tables and benches.

So our party sits down, there’s maybe 10 of us, and just as I sit I look at the next table, and there is a guy sitting there that looks the double of Terry Pratchett, so much so I do a double take. I mentioned his to my friends who glanced over and they were said no, it’s not him, he’s not got his signature hat on.

So we continue with our meal, while this man who may or may not be my favourite author gets up and leaves with the two people he was sitting with. They pay for their meal and then he goes to the coat stand in the corner and picks up his hat, and it was Terry Pratchett! There had been a sci-fi convention in Glasgow that weekend and he was one of the guests.I thought that was cool.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I hire an impersonator! In the party we had for the first book launch, I had someone shout a page number and read that page, which was unfortunately as it had a lot of difficult character names, so maybe next time I choose the page beforehand.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The sheer lack of stress, or worry. I mean, when you are a kid, you are fearless. I mean I was quite timid as a child (my parents would probably argue otherwise) but I think there’s an innocence and naivety that allows you to go do stupid things regardless of the consequences. As an adult, you’re like “I would love to have this cake but I also have bills to pay.” I guess I miss the freedom of it, or perhaps the sense of adventure, of the unknown, because everything is unknown.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I instinctively want to say Thundercats, but I have actually re-watched them recently and they have not aged well at all. But what has I guess? I think I like the mythology of it rather than the show itself. Your brain remembers the sweeping arcs and major plot points, but forgets there was an episode where everyone was tripping on some psychotropic plant or fighting robot-pirates.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

I’d probably turn into Innes Vangar. He’s a former soldier turned marauder. He’s sharp tongued, loves a drink, and runs towards danger. He’d have an amazing night out in Glasgow!

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The last move I saw was Detective Pikachu, and pretty much because I love Ryan Reynolds. For my sins, I have never played a Pokemon game (I probably will soon as there is a new one coming out for the Nintendo Switch), but yeah, it was enjoyable fun.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

“Hey gringo.” I then go get my sombrero (I genuinely have one) and we go the nearest Mexican restaurant to play in our animal-themed mariachi band with an alpaca and a chameleon.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I’m not religious (not in the way I think there’s a big beardy guy planning or lives), but I think things do sometimes happen for a reason, and it is up to us to take those opportunities when presented. Other times I think things happen because you put in the hard work. But still, I’ve had my fair share of coincidences to believe there is a pattern within the chaos.

An example – I was traveling in New Zealand on a bus tour, and you kind of get to know everyone straight away. I met these two lovely Welsh girls and must have been in their company for a couple of weeks when they were looking through their old photos, and spotted me. We’d been sitting next to one another on a flight from Singapore to Australia two months beforehand.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

1. What the f*** do you want?
2. Why do you get pissing on the carpet?
3. Why don’t you love me?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Perseverance. There’s a certain stereotype that Scottish people are hard-working, and I’m the perfect example of it. I just don’t know how to stop doing something until it is done. I rarely quit.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

In my country? So many places! I live in Glasgow, which is to me one of the most amazing cities in the world. We just have a great culture and we’re a very artistic city. But other than Glasgow, I’d say the Highlands. Scotland has a lot of mountain ranges, but the Cairngorms are just amazing. If you visit the town of Aviemore, there is a road that takes you to the visitor centre, going past Glenmore Forest and Loch Morlich which has a lovely sandy beach. It’s beautiful.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day,weather, place, etc.

Sunny day. Brunch at Brewdog Berlin.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

I’m just finishing off the second book in the Spirits of Vengeance saga, called The Assassin of Araneque, and plotting the final book, The Rise of Rakkatoa.

However, the first book in the series, Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits, is available online at sites listed below.

About the book:

It tells the story of Kamina Elloeth, a young tree elf who is thrust from the safety of her forest home on an epic adventure with a mysterious ranger and her ghostly brother.

I really hope you enjoy reading it and the sequels!

Thank you Andrew for being a part of Meeting the Authors and sharing a bit about you and your writing life. –Camilla

Where to purchase the book:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JEaAfr

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YIl4hk

Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Spirits-of-Vengeance-by-Rainnie-Andrew/9781911424307

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/spirits-of-vengeance/andrew-rainnie/9781911424307

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirits-of-vengeance-andrew-john-rainnie/1120792102

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

 

Book Love: A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

I can’t remember that I’ve ever read this. When my son Thomas read it for the first time many years ago; he suggested I read it and that I would like it. He was right! I was hooked and had a hard time putting it down. We’ve seen the older movie; but haven’t yet seen the new movie. Wonderful book! This is a series of five books, with this being the first. I am currently reading book number three.

Book Information:

This is Book 1 of the Time Quintet Series

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2EyumF8

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HYanjR

Meet the Author: The Hunt by Deidre-Ann Anderson

Today we welcome Deidre-Ann Anderson and travel to Jamaica to learn how culinary school, a jaguar, and Sydney Sheldon come together to create life’s romantic recipe for Deidre-Ann. Let’s get cookin’ …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Jamaican author, who loves to write, read, cook, play video games, and fantasize about exciting stories. I am also a proud culinary school graduate who ghost writes cookbooks and nutritional content.

In which genre do you write?

I currently write Romance and Cookbooks.

How many published books do you have?

I have 1 Romance novel currently, along with a few small cookbooks that I published a long time ago.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer, and what ignited your author’s flame?

I knew I wanted to write from a very young age. I was a natural storyteller, telling fairytales and extreme stories to the detriment of my friends and parents. Haha, what can I say? They were always entertained.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

When I write, I become a whole different person, so much so that my husband has to do a temperature check, before saying anything to me.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar, and why?

A jaguar, they are beautiful on the outside and seems calm from a far but completely transforms if disturbed when they are focused.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A small enclosed room with a vision board, workstation, and computer.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading “The Mister” by E.L. James.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I play video games, hang with my husband, chat with friends, check in with my family, and sleep.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be, and what would you ask them?

I would love love love to have a sit down with Sidney Sheldon. He was an amazing writer, who had the ability to hook you into a story from the very first page and keep you glued to the end. It would have been amaze-beans to be able to pick his brain. May his soul rest in peace.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I have learned that I am a potty mouth when I write, which is the complete opposite of who I am in real life.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

My debut Romance novel, The Hunt: An Interracial Love Story was released onMay 9th , 2019, and it is currently available in both eBook and Paperback onAmazon.

The book is a Bwwm Romance that follows a sassy Jamaican woman and a drug dealer from New York. It is the first installation of the Consumed by Heat Series that promises a delicious mix of crime, love, sex, and murder.

Thank you for allowing me to share my crazy mind with you!

************************************

Deidre-Ann Anderson is a Jamaican author, and full-time freelance writer, who firmly believes that with hard work and dedication, anyone can make a living from what they enjoy. She has been a storyteller for most her life; she currently specializes in Romance (in the fictional realm) and Culinary/Nutritional content (in Non-Fiction).

The Consumed by Heat Trilogy is her debut Romance series, and she is excited to share the rigorous love story of Alex and Kris.

Book Blurb:

She was a Jamaican firecracker. He was the head of the largest drug-dealing ring in New York. Neither of them was prepared for what would happen when both worlds collide. A gripping tale of romance, sex, and murder, from the Enthusiastic Romance Author of The Consumed by Heat Series, Deidre – Ann Anderson.

When Alexander Heat meets sexy, sassy Kristine, he is confident his hunt to make her his would be an easy one. But as the two of them embark on an intense affair, Alexander quickly realizes that this hunt will uproot his life. A loved one dies. A ghost appears from the past. And as a vicious cyclone of love threatens to disband everything they have built; Kristine and Alexander are forced to decide …Is the hunt going to lead to a life of bliss – or will it end in a bed of misery?

Thank you to Deidra-Ann Anderson for stopping by and sharing a few of the ingredients of her life recipe! –Camilla

Learn more about Deidra-Ann Anderson and where to purchase the book:

US Kindle and Amazon paperback: https://amzn.to/2wlIuNm

Note from Deidra-Ann: Be sure to leave an honest review, as your feedback really helps me perfect my craft.

To find out more about books, news and more, and to sign up to Dee’s Writing Corner, visit my Author Website: https://www.deidreannanderson.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorDeidreAnn

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dee_deeandy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeidreAnnAnderson

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Deidre-Ann-Anderson/e/B00Q3YA8VS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authordeidreannanderson

Meet the Author: In Bloom Not Broken by Katie Maylea

Today we welcome author Katie Maylea. We travel to Birmingham in the United Kingdom to learn about what The Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland, and an 8 month old puppy have to do with road blocks as stepping stones. We’re all mad here, come join us …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Katie and I am from Birmingham, UK.

I am a mental health campaigner, author and ETSY shop owner (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/katiescabinhandmade). I am also a Mommy of a six year old little princess and a doggy Mommy of 2 chorkie’s.

I am passionate about mental health awareness and a lover of handmade.

In which genre do you write?

My current book is a non fiction memoir but I also have a fiction children’s book coming soon too!

How many published books do you have?

I have one mental health memoir which is my journey through mental illness.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I am technically not a “writer” in the sense of the word. I have always loved writing poetry from a very young age but as far as my book goes my goal was never to be a writer. It was more that I had a story that I wanted to share to raise awareness on mental health.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I am a huge Alice In Wonderland fan and love all the quotes from the film a huge amount. I have a tattoo “Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?” and a mad hatters hat on my forearm so I would probably choose the Mad Hatter.

As he said…. “We’re all mad here” and i feel a bit like him sometimes!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Ideally a beautiful summer house surrounded by singing birds and summer sunshine. What it really looked like was anywhere i could get some peace from two dogs and a six year old 😉

What are you currently reading?

I am reading “The Girl Before” by JP Delaney and loving it! I keep vowing to make more time to read as I find it very relaxing.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

You will usually find me busy making my ETSY orders or making new items to add to my ETSY shop.

Either that or working on something to do with mental health awareness, volunteering for SHOUT, a mental health crisis text line or in my spare time watching something on netflix.

I am a “busy” so I am always doing something. I find it very hard to sit still and just totally switch off. I get bored easily and like to be productive.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Oooooohhh, that’s a tough one! I would say Channing Tatum and ask him if he wouldn’t mind acting a little bit of Magic Mike for me, but that is for selfish reasons 😉

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I can do it! I honestly thought when I started my book that I wouldn’t manage more than a few pages. 85,000 words later I had a book on my hands!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help while writing your memoir?

There were a few songs I literally had on repeat a lot of the time. Mostly Beyonce’s “Listen” and Emeli Sande “Read All About It”.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I don’t anymore but i did for many years especially throughout struggling with anorexia. I have about 8 diaries spanning years and I remember about four years ago thinking about getting rid of them as they held so many painful memories but something inside me said, “Don’t do that in case you write a book”.

I am so glad I kept them as there are diary excerpts throughout my book that really give insight to the mind of mental illness in “real time” that was really important to me when writing my book as I wanted it to be as raw and honest as possible.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I think the thing I always think of is the night that I was sat planning to end my life, I had made the plans, written the notes and I had really made my final decision about that evening.

I was sat on the floor and my laptop was open. Within that moment a friend popped up on messenger who I had only every spoken to via text and on the phone as the internet wasn’t quite as huge then as it is now. I can’t even remember what I said but that one message resulted in him coming over.

I went to the hospital and that one message ultimately, potentially, saved my life. That one moment has gone on to inspire a lot of the projects that I do and the fact that I volunteer for a crisis tect line as I truly understand that sometimes the smallest things in one moment can save a life.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I would come back to a song that I mentioned before Emeli Sande “Read All About It” I really resonate with this song and it’s a song that always makes me feel a bit stronger and more determined to share my story and be truthful about what I believe in.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Oh goodness, I loved Spot The Dog, Rosie and Jim but probably with what I do now if I was to get stuck in one it would probably be Art Attack!

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?

I would invite Alice from Alice In Wonderland in to my story. I have a feeling we would have got along well.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I watched “A Star is Born” for the second time. I watched it the first time at the cinema and love the soundtrack so really wanted to see it again. Plus I can’t deny, I have a bit of a thing for Bradley Cooper!…..It’s those eyes!!

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

He comes to tell me that he has come to take me away to somewhere hot and sunny because like him, I need some sunshine in my life.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Absolutely yes! The example I gave before about the night that I planned to end my life is a massive example of this, I generally believe this and while I often have people say to me that they are “Sorry” for what has happened to me or that they don’t know how I have remained so strong. I now look at it and think if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have the passions or goals and dreams that I now do.

I like to think that I experienced what I did to use it for something good and to fuel me with a fire that I now have, As the quote says

“Road Blocks can often prove to be stepping stones”

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Haha! I have two dogs so my oldest Alfie who is ten I would ask ” Do you like Eddie?” (The new 8 month puppy) and “What do you want me to know?” The youngest Eddie who is 8 months I would ask ” Why do you refuse on doing a number 2 outside?!”

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I would say my determination and drive, I think this has seen me through a lot not only with goals and ambitions but also through emotions and getting through difficult times.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I love Devon, I want to move to Devon one day. Anywhere quiet and ideally by the sea. Somewhere calming where I feel like I can switch off of have some wonderful scenery. I live in Birmingham and I definitely wasn’t built to live in a city.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

Somewhere hot with sea. That is my happy place. I am such a sun lover. I have wondered if somewhere in my family tree there is some Spanish or similar. I always get asked and every holiday I go on at some point someone will talk to me in their own language. I love being in the sun by the sea with a book – pass me a vodka and diet coke while I’m there and that is perfect.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

My book “In Bloom Not Broken” is my journey through mental illness. It covers my battle with self harm and depression starting from the age of 14 through to my battle with anorexia throughout my 20’s and lastly being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder which included manic episodes with psychosis and delusions and suicidal depressions.

I wanted to write a book that was very raw, honest and that had no heirs and graces to really give insight in to the mind of someone struggling with mental illness to raise awareness and also to show others that they are not alone with these thoughts and feelings that can sometimes feel shameful and that things really can get better, even when that feels impossible.

It is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback formats as well as being part of Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you incredibly much Katie. Another I am adding to my list to be read. I truly enjoyed stepping into your world, even if only for a brief moment. And, I LOVE your Etsy shop!! Very cool!! –Camilla

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HsOb2f
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WdSPcB

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Book Love: Visiting Feelings

Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein

Great and very basic book about emotional connection and mindfulness. Perfect for kids with a useful parent section too!

“If you listen to what your body can say, you’ll find that your feelings are really okay. With a bit of attention, a little more care, they might even tell you why they are there. Some feelings are tough, and some are more fun …. So whenever a feeling comes by to play, welcome it in, and let it stay for as long as it likes, …. Treat your feelings like friends, talking to you.”

Awesome!!!

Book Information:

Do you have a feeling that’s visiting today?
Can you open your door and invite it to play?

Visiting Feelings harnesses a young child’s innate capacity to fully experience the present moment. Rather than labeling or defining specific emotions and feelings, Visiting Feelings invites children to sense, explore, and befriend any feeling with acceptance and equanimity. Children can explore their emotions with their senses and gain an understanding of how feelings can lodge in the body, as conveyed by common expressions like “a pit in the stomach” or “lump in the throat.”

Children can cultivate this emotional intelligence and nurture a sense of mindfulness. In essence, mindfulness is tuning into yourself and paying attention to the present moment without judging or analyzing what you are thinking or feeling. Practicing mindfulness can enhance many aspects of a person’s well-being, help develop insight and empathy, and enhance resiliency.

Taking the time to practice mindfulness as a family is a remarkable gift for parents to give to their children, and will help children as they navigate the teen years and adulthood.

Includes a “Note to Parents” to provide more information about emotional awareness, and suggests ways to seamlessly incorporate mindfulness practices into your child and family’s daily routines.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Emsuz1

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VDp5l0

Meet the Author: Dropzone by Stewart Giles

Today we welcome Stewart Giles to Meet the Author. We’re headed to Vaal Dam in South Africa to talk about what an armadillo, skydiving, and playing a guitar mean for author Stewart Giles! Let’s go!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 46-year-old writer, guitar collector, sailor and skydiver, in that order. I’ve been living on the Vaal Dam in South Africa for 16 years now, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

In which genre do you write?

Crime Thrillers.

How many published books do you have?

Fifteen. Thirteen of which are self-published and two have been published through Joffe Books.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I always wrote when I was a kid, but one night my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head, and when the feeling came back in my legs and the concussion subsided, I came up with the idea for my detective Smith books. Whether she dropped it on purpose still remains a mystery.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

Initially, I write my books free-hand in block capitals. With whatever writing implement I can find.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

An armadillo. My favourite animal – they’re tough as nails on the outside, and soft inside.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My writing space is full of books, guitars and good old-fashioned CD’s.

What are you currently reading?

I’m doing the Jo Nesbo marathon for the tenth time. Harry Hole is one of the reasons I picked up a pen again and I haven’t put it down since. Very inspiring.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I’m lucky to stay a stone’s throw away from a huge expanse of water, so I race sailing boats at least once a month. I’m also lucky to have one of the best dropzones on my doorstep and I love to jump out of perfectly good planes. It really is quite addictive. When I’m on terra firma, I play one of my 45 guitars.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

It would have to be Jo Nesbo. We’d have a jam (he plays the guitar too.) And we’d drink beer.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I’ve always considered myself to be very good at keeping my feelings hidden, yet I bare my heart and soul to all and sundry through writing.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

For research on my latest book, my amazing friend at the skydiving club asked me if I wanted to co-pilot as they had a light load. Going up to thirteen-thousand feet and watching the guys jump was much worse than jumping myself, and the rapid descent in the empty single turbo-prop plane meant I couldn’t hear much for a while. All in the name of research.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I don’t keep a diary, no.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I’ve been struck by lightning, bitten by a snake and been bitten by a recluse spider. The latter resulting in a lovely weekend in hospital.

But the most inspiring, with regards to my latest book was when I did my first static-line sky dive. My instructor was on hand to guide me down, and his wife was in radio contact via a VHF in my helmet. It started off well, then my instructor experienced a one in a 1000 malfunction. His main failed and I watched as he spiraled down to earth.

His wife also spotted this, and her priorities suddenly changed from guiding a bloke safely down to the drop zone to praying her husband wasn’t going to hit the ground at 120 miles an hour. I landed in a field some distance from the drop zone, had to be rescued, and I couldn’t walk properly for a while. The instructor had activated the reserve parachute and later told me it was the most fun he’d had in ages.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I’d listen to ‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’ by Pink Floyd. Very inspiring.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing. I don’t think I’ve actually grown up yet.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I used to love Mr. Benn – he could be a different person every day then return to his normal life. I think that’s why all of us write, isn’t it?

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

It would definitely be DS Jason Smith, and I doubt my wife would even notice the difference.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Mama Mia. Because my wife and 14 year-old daughter can be quite insistent. I read a book all the way through.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

“Hey, Gringo. You wanna hear a joke?”

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Everything happens for a reason. I owned a boat shop here in South Africa – in the quiet times I wrote, and the down turn in the economy meant there were plenty of quiet times.

I begged and pleaded agents and publishers and collected rejection letters by the bus-load. Then Jasper from Joffe Books contacted me. They wanted to publish my DS Smith series. I was over the moon, but of course it turned into another rejection. They told me the books had already had too much exposure, but would love to see something new.

I’d been in talks with an agent who told me something similar, so I wrote The Beekeeper. I sent it to Joffe Books, they published it and it hit the number 1 bestseller spot in Australia twice. Everything definitely happens for a reason.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Why do you dislike cats so much? Why do you turn into a hooligan when we leave the house? Can you actually see in colour?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Stubbornness. I never give up. It helps to have a thick skin in this industry.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

The South Coast. 100 miles south of Durban. In the winter, it get’s rather chilly here on the Highveld, and the south coast is warm, the Indian Ocean air is invigorating and it’s just serene to hear the waves crashing at night.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

A Blues festival. Outside during the Vaal dam spring. Great music, great beer and amazing people.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Dropzone” will be released 3 June 2019. It’ll be on Amazon.

Miranda“, my first standalone Thriller has been out since March 2019.

This was fun interview to host! I laughed more than once and genuinely loved learning more about Stewart’s world. And now I’m left wondering what type of pet he has! Thank you Stewart for stopping by! –Camilla

Where to purchase “Miranda“, with “Dropzone” to be available beginning June 3 2019:

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Vy0n5G

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Wdia6K

UK Paperback: https://amzn.to/2VCrMTS

US Paperback: https://amzn.to/2w6Cvfg

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

 

Book Love: Lily and Dunkin

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

What a great story! I’m having a difficult time finding juvenile fiction books that cover mental health. This was a beautifully written story. I loved learning about each of these characters and feeling the strength and courage of Lily.

The hard parts were hard to feel; but once I got over half way into the book, I could not put it down. Much kindness, strength and love. Dunkin has bipolar disorder and at thirteen is the new kid in the neighborhood and at school. Lily is a girl born into a boys body and one who gets bullied at school.

Book Blurb: Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.

Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse.

One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

US Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2YDIlRA

UK Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2WdBMaL

Meet the Author: Barefoot on the Cobbles: a Devon tragedy by Janet Few

Today we welcome Dr. Janet Few to Meeting the Authors. I had a great time with this one! Read further to learn what selling hamsters, strange things with urine and inhabiting the past all have to do with one another!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I inhabit the past. You may find me lurking in my four hundred year old North Devon cottage (in the bottom left hand corner of the UK), or spot me thinly disguised as the formidable Mistress Agnes. This alter ego is a goodwife of a certain age, who leads a somewhat chaotic life during the mid-seventeenth century.

One way or another, most of my time is spent working to inspire others with a love of history, heritage and the written word. In a vain effort to support my incurable book buying habit, in the past, I have been known to pull the odd pint or two, sell hamsters and support very special schoolchildren.

Somewhere along the way, I acquired a doctorate in community history ‘for fun’. I have an international reputation as a family historian, giving presentations across the English-speaking world.

Any time that I can carve from her history-obsessed existence, is spent embarrassing my descendants, traveling and trying to make my garden behave itself. I am fascinated by human behaviour, past and present, real and fictional. I love the wonderful Devon landscape and leading my grandchildren astray.

In which genre do you write?

Social/local/family history non-fiction and an historical novel (although the latter doesn’t really fit neatly into an established genre).

How many published books do you have?

Currently available, 4 non-fiction titles, plus some booklets and one novel.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I have written ever since I could write. I still have a story that I wrote when I was four (a long time ago!). The spelling is ‘creative’ if nothing else.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I didn’t write my books, not even my novel, in the right order. Weird I know, especially for fiction; it surprised me too!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

As a family historian, I would rather meet one of my not-at-all-famous ancestors to ask them about their origins and life.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot or to help you remember something if writing a memoir?

I walked barefoot on a cobbled street for my novel and tried many of the things that I wrote about for my seventeenth century social history. This included doing a number of strange things with urine!

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I have nearly fifty years’ worth of diaries of the ‘forget what did’ variety but I also blog. This is in a very different style to my writing, so it doesn’t really help! In fact, it just distracts me from book writing.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Having time to read six books a day and having a dog.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?

I really wouldn’t want to be any of my characters. The novel is based on a true story and they all led pretty tragic lives.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Fisherman’s Friends. It is loosely based on the true story of a band I enjoy and is set in the beautiful Cornish countryside, complete with brilliant sound-track. A real ‘feel-good’ film.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I am very persistent, which is handy when trying to achieve almost anything.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

The wilds of the Northumbrian countryside. I love the natural environment and unchanged landscapes.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

A beach in summer, in the early evening when all others have left and of course the sun is shining.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Barefoot on the Cobbles: a Devon tragedy, is a ‘based on fact’ historical novel. It has won a Chill with a Book award.

Book blurb:

In the euphoria of the armistice a young woman lay dying. Daisy had grown up, barefoot on the cobbles, in a village on the rugged North Devon coast; she was mindful of the perils of the uncertain sea. Her family had also been exposed to the dangers of disease and the First World War but for Daisy, it was her own mother who posed the greatest threat of all. What burdens did that mother, an ordinary fisherman’s wife, carry? What past traumas had led, inexorably, to this appalling outcome?

Vividly recreating life at the dawning of the twentieth century, Barefoot on the Cobbles is based on a real tragedy that lay hidden for nearly a hundred years. Rooted in its unique and beautiful geographical setting, here is the unfolding of a past that reverberates unhappily through the decades and of raw emotions that are surprisingly modern in character.

See https://thehistoryinterpreter.wordpress.com/barefoot-on-the-cobbles-a-devon-novel/ for more details.

I am incredibly grateful to you Janet for your time and for sharing a bit about yourself with us. I’ll be adding your book to my ‘to be read’ list and must check into the movie you mentioned too! Walking barefoot on a cobbled street and strange things with urine … Sounds like the makings of a song or a great book! I deeply enjoyed learning more about you Janet! It’s been interesting and fun! – Camilla

Learn more about Janet and where to purchase the book:

Janet’s website: https://thehistoryinterpreter.wordpress.com/

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2VI6zNy

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2YzRzOu

Australasia Kindle: https://amzn.to/2HBodII

Cananda Kindle: https://amzn.to/2YzYYxy

Note from Janet: Although printed copies are also available from Amazon, if you are in the UK, please consider using another option, such as buying from Blue Poppy Publishing, from your local independent bookseller or directly from me. That way we are not funding the multi-nationals and my large stock of boxes will diminish.

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the article) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

Book Love: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – a novel by Rachel Joyce

I could not wait to read this book once I discovered it through social media. The author had me with the title. I deeply enjoyed the journey with Harold Fry and learning about he and his wife. I wasn’t at all suspecting the twist that unravels near the end of the journey. Whoa!

I found it to be a journey of self-discovery and healing for Harold and his wife, Maureen. Along with a varied mix of characters ebbing and flowing throughout the journey. I was inspired by Harold’s listening to the pull to do something absolutely remarkable; without even understanding why he felt the need to do it.

Book Blurb: Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live.

US Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2LJwHmv

UK Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2W13NCk 

Book Love: The Miracle of Mindfulness

The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Great basic book about mindfulness. My daughter, Lillian, was writing a report about mindfulness so we checked this out for her, yet I secretly got it for me too.

“If you cannot find joy in peace in these very moments if sitting, then the future itself will only flow by as a river flows by, you will not be able to hold it back, you will be incapable of living the future when it has become the present. Joy and peace are the joy and peace possible in this very hour of sitting. If you cannot find it here, you won’t find it anywhere.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

from the book … The Miracle of Mindfulness is a classic guide to meditation that has introduced generations of readers to the life-changing beauty of mindful awareness. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.

US Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2W6KkAl

UK Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/2WEMOmp