Fossend Publishing

Fossend Publishing

Thursday, 31 December 2015

My favourite reads of 2015

Well another year is almost over and I have read many great books this year. I would love to be able to list them all but it's just not possible. So, I would like to share, in no particular order, my favourite reads of 2015.

Nacreous (Harmony Run book 4) by Sara Elle Emm

Nacreous is book four of the Harmony Run Series. It is a series that I have avidly followed and I couldn't wait for the book's release in August. It was the final book in the series and it didn't disappoint. The series is extremely well written and the story very clever. A must for any YA/Fantasy fan.

Book Description
After two members of the Freedom Front are arrested and interrogated by the UZTA's tyrannical President Nicks, Rain Hawkins and her friends face the alarming reality that their plans to liberate the mixed zones across the United Zones of The Authority might not come to fruition. While the resistance movement is growing outside the walls of the zones, the president's forces are strengthening and putting citizens everywhere in more peril than ever. When Rain receives warnings that her cousin, Calista, has agreed to support plans to kill the mixed zones, and that her life could be in the line at the upcoming pure zone initiation ceremony, she must decide where her loyalties lie and if all of her allies can be trusted. As The Freedom Front use their abilities to unravel the mystery of the ceremony, The Authority captures some of their friends, forcing TFF to either go into hiding, or plan a rescue mission that could jeopardize everything they've been fighting for.

Girl Gone Greek by Rebecca A Hall
A completely unexpected book set in Greece that draws you in and throws you straight into the complexity of Greek life. It is one of those books that you can't put down, it's definitely one for lovers of Greece! This is the first book by Rebecca A Hall and I really liked it. I can't wait to read more from her in the future.

Book Description
Rachel is finding it increasingly difficult to ignore her sister's derision, society's silent wagging finger and her father's advancing years. She's traveled the world, but now finds herself at a crossroads at an age where most people would stop globetrotting and settle. She's never been one to conform to the nine-to-five lifestyle, so why should she start now? Was it wrong to love the freedom and independence a single life provided, to put off the search for Mr Right and the children? Perhaps she could find the time for one last adventure...
So with sunshine in mind, Rachel take a TEFL course and heads to Greece after securing a job teaching English in a remote village. She wasn't looking for love, but she found it in the lifestyle and history of the country, its culture and the enduring volatility of its people. Girl Gone Greek is a contemporary women's fiction novel. When Rachel moved to Greece to escape a life of social conformity, she found a country of unconventional characters and economic turmoil. The last thing she expected was to fall in love with the chaos that reigned about her. 

The woman who stole my life by Marian Keyes
I love Marian Keyes books and couldn't wait to read this one. The description intrigued me but didn't disappoint. It had me hooked from the beginning and even though I was desperate to finish it to find out what happened I felt a bit lost once I'd read the final page. A brilliant page turner as always!

Book Description
One day, sitting in traffic, married Dublin mum Stella Sweeney attempts a good deed. The resulting car crash changes her life. For she meets a man who wants her telephone number (for the insurance, it turns out). That's okay. She doesn't really like him much anyway (his Range Rover totally banjaxed her car). But in this meeting is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar, and, along the way, wrenching her whole family apart.
Is this all because of one ill-advised act of goodwill? Was meeting Mr Range Rover destiny or karma? Should she be grateful or hopping mad?
For the first time real, honest-to-goodness happiness is just within her reach. But is Stella Sweeney, Dublin housewife, ready to grasp it?

Eve of DeCONstruction by John Manuel

I came across Eve of DeCONstruction on the internet. The story sounded very interesting so I thought I would read it. The story was excellent, with great characters and an even better twist at the end. Definitely an author I'd recommend, and another great book for those who love reading about Greece.

Book Description
Chippenham UK, present day. Eve Watkins is a fairly average modern woman in her early forties with two teenage kids, a loving husband with a steady job and a career of her own. It looks like her average life is fairly uneventful, yet secure. 
Following the death of her mother she discovers things about her own past that come as a complete surprise to Eve, These lead her eventually out to a small village in mainland Greece, where developments soon lead to her life being to deconstruct before her. 
Ought she to have let sleeping dogs lie? Yet she knew she had to find out. She had to know who she really was.
Whatever the cost.

Hilltop Sunset: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery by Joyce Strand
Having read the author's previous series - The Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries, I was looking forward to reading Hilltop Sunset, which features a character from the first series of books. I wasn't disappointed. This author creates excellent mystery books that makes gripping reads. Definitely one for mystery lovers!

Book Description
A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.
Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian hillcrest, also a former victim. Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to prefer supporting the launch of her ex-husband's new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-threatening events. 

I have read so many great books in 2015, I wish I could list them all here but I just wouldn't have enough space or time. I do however recommend flicking back though my archive to see some reviews of books released over the last year. 
I'm looking forward to reading lots more new books in 2016, but before then I would like to wish you a very happy new year and thank you for checking in and supporting me! 

Thank you!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Homecoming by Dougie McHale

Q: Welcome to my blog Dougie.  Can you give the readers a brief overview of your book, The Homecoming.
Thank you for inviting me Chrissie.
The Homecoming is about Louis Satriani’s discovery that the life he thought he lived and shared turned out to be a lie. He is forced into a journey of self-discovery. It also explores the theme that events and choices people make in the past can often resonate in the present and influence the future. At its essence The Homecoming is a love story where the two main characters try to overcome their conflicts in the face of adversity.    
In an attempt to escape his past Louis travels through Greece, an experience he hopes will help him reconstruct his life and rediscover a sense of normality. Gradually he feels himself connecting to the landscape, sea, culture and people of Greece which begin to shape and influence his life.   When visiting Olympia, Louis meets Maria, a tour guide and she invites him to the island of Zakynthos where he hopes to erase the loss of the hopes and dreams that once galvanized his life?  
The circumstances that have brought Louis and Maria together embroil them in conflicting emotions forcing them to face and confront their feelings for each other, opening old wounds that resonate in the present. The ghosts of Louis’ past are never far and a friend’s revelation leads to the discovery of an event that has powerful ramifications for both Louis and Maria forcing Louis to choose between his heart and head. 
To sum it up, The homecoming encapsulates love, loss, identity, reconciliation and a quest to solve a secret, set against the backdrop of Edinburgh, the Greek mainland and the Ionian island of Zakynthos.

Q: What inspired you to write The Homecoming?
I wrote a travel journal/book of my visit to the island of Zakynthos many years ago. It was my first serious attempt at writing a book but it was never published.  I didn’t know it at the time but it was to influence the writing of The Homecoming which has Zakynthos as its main backdrop. I used that piece of writing as my research when the story line of the novel moves to Zakynthos. The main backdrop in the novel was always going to be Greece that was never in doubt. I’m also inspired by what it means to be human, our thoughts, feelings, emotions and beliefs and how such things influence our relationships with others and our personal stories.  

Q: Why was it important for you to write The Homecoming?  
It was the book I was always going to write and it grew with me. I wrote it over a period of a few years and during that time my writing developed and improved. Many years ago when I wrote my first ever song I thought it was good at the time, however, as I learned the art of song writing I realized that as a process it takes time and a lot of practice before you finally get it right. Learning to write a novel was the same. I revisited the plot and prose which involved lots of drafts and with each visit it was like getting acquainted with an old friend again. Initially its flaws and weakness were all to evident but with time its strengths and potential matured into a story that I really cared about as eventually my writing improved and I felt competent with my style. It became a potent part of my life.   As my writing progressed, the characters developed into intricate individuals with private and personal sides, their hopes, motivation, dreams and conflicts drove the plot forward. They became like real people to me who I empathized with and who I had watched grow and develop.

Q: The Homecoming is set in a few locations, including Edinburgh, the Greek mainland and the Greek island of Zakynthos. What made you choose those locations?
I’m interested in identifying with a physical place and the feeling of belonging therefore Edinburgh and especially Greece are prominent in my writing. Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is rich in history, has amazing classical buildings, (the new town of Edinburgh is a world heritage site) and it also has vibrant restaurants and café bars, and last but not least, Hibernian football Club. 
Greece occupies my heart. Her history, culture, religion, people, landscape, light, colours and sea inspire me every day. There is almost a spiritual quality to it but then maybe that’s just me. Zakynthos is one of the main jewels in Greece’ crown and I’ve always been transfixed by its landscapes, light, sea and ambience. 
In the book Louis finds refuge in the character of the sea, it becomes a comfort to him and he feels connected to its constant presence. He becomes aware of an awakening in himself and this became an important symbol in the novel. 

Q: Did writing The Homecoming involve any research?
Yes it did. I researched Zakynthos’ history of occupation, the earthquake of 1953 and modern day Zakynthos. My time on the island, the places I visited and the people I met helped to inform my writing and hopefully make the parts of the novel set in Zakynthos feel authentic and real. I did some reading on classical Greece, as part of the novel is set in the village and ancient site of Olympia, the home of the original Olympics.  
I also had to make sure that the locations Louis visited in Greece were accessible and geographically correct. I also did a bit of research on the town of Nafplion and relied on my memory for Athens and Kyllini.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about writing?
I love the creative process. I get a lot of satisfaction from writing words that become sentences, paragraphs and finally chapters that have the potential to connect with the reader by conjuring images within their minds eye with the possibility to evoke potent emotions, laughter, sadness, empathy etc.  I like to observe human behavior and mannerisms. I often listen to how people speak and watch the gestures they use to communicate with one another. It informs my writing and characterization. I love the feeling I get when I’m satisfied with a piece I’ve just written.
To know that people are actually reading my book, meeting the characters and hopefully emotionally responding to them and their story is quite humbling actually.

Q: What do you dislike the most about writing?
I’m not one of those authors who can write a book in a few months. I can’t write every day, it doesn’t work like that for me. I often jot down bits and pieces but I need to be inspired to write, I can’t force it. I have lots of paper with ideas, dialogue and scenes prepared before I write on the lap top.  I’d love to be able to write 1000 words a day or even 2000 a week but to do that I’d need to be a full time author; life has the habit of getting in the way. I don’t dislike anything about writing, how can I dislike something I love.  

Q: Do you read?  If so what type of books do you read? 
I love books that have a sense of place and time, which draw you into the social and cultural complexities with ease. I like the characters to speak to me from the page, where I can identify with them, their hopes, fears, conflicts, loves and emotion, for me that is when a character becomes real and it’s at that point that I want to know what is going to happen to them, where is their life taking them in the story.

Q: Do you have a favorite author?  If so, who and why?
I often read Sebastian Faulks, William Boyd, Anita Shreive and Carlos Ruiz Zafon. At the moment I’ve just finished Midnight in St Petersburg by Vanora Bennett. The common denominator is that they all write about what it really means to be human through our relationships with the world and each other. Most importantly they write good stories with beautiful prose. 

Q: You used to be a musician, does music influence your writing at all, and do you listen to music when you write?
Actually I do. I normally put music on while I write it has become an integral part of my writing routine, I have it on in the background. For me, it sets the right mood. I enjoy a wide and diverse range in musical taste but throughout the writing process of The Homecoming I listened to classical music from the Baroque period, especially composers like Corelli and Boccherini. 

Q: What’s next for Dougie McHale?  Will you be writing more books and if so can you give us an idea of what they will be about?
I‘m writing my second book now but at the rate I write it won’t be finished anytime soon. I’m about a third of the way through. I originally had the idea of placing it in Edinburgh and Mallorca but now that I’ve published my first book I’m beginning to think that I should stick with Greece. It would mean some minor changes to the plot and location but it could still work. I’m open to suggestions. 

Quick fire round:
Sweet or savoury – Savoury and spicy.

Beach or countryside – countryside and city.

EBook or paperback – paperback.

Cream tea or Fish and Chips –  strong coffee and wine

Classic or modern – depends on my mood.

Sun or Snow – Mediterranean Sun.

About the author:

In a past life Dougie has been a musician and song writer, playing in several bands, performing live and recording music. He has a degree in Learning Disability nursing and a post graduate diploma in autism. He is a children and young person’s learning disability nurse with a specialist interest in autism. Dougie lives in Dunfermline, Fife, with his wife, teenage daughter, older son and golden retriever. The Homecoming is his first novel, inspired by a love of all things Greek, her islands, people, landscapes, sea, light and ambience all of which are important themes and symbols in his writing.

To learn more about Dougie you can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Eve of Deconstruction by John Manuel

Book description:
Chippenham UK, present day. Eve Watkins is a fairly average modern woman in her early forties with two teenage kids, a loving husband with a steady job and career of her own. It looks like her average life is fairly uneventful, yet secure. 

Following the death of her mother she discovers things about her own past 
that come as a complete surprise to Eve. These lead her eventually out to a small village in mainland Greece, where developments soon lead to her life beginning to deconstruct before her. 

Ought she have let sleeping dogs lie? Yet she knew she had to find out. She had to know who she really was. 

Whatever the cost.

Interview with the author:
Q: Welcome to my blog John.  Can you give the readers a brief overview of your book, Eve of Deconstruction.
It's a story about a British woman whose mother was Greek. When her mother dies she finds some perplexing documents that throw her whole past into doubt. Suddenly she's not sure who she is, but she must find out. In doing so her life begins to deconstruct around her.

Q: What inspired you to write Eve of Deconstruction?
I was agonising about whether to write a third novel, because I had no ideas for a good plot. Then I came across a story on the internet about a scandal that ran for several decades in Greece and was hit by the germ of the idea.

Q: What challenges did you face when writing Eve of Deconstruction?  
I knew that there would be some historical facts about the Greece of the 1960's that I'd need to get right. I knew some stuff from my late Greek mother-in-law, but not nearly enough, so off I went Googling!

Q: Why was it important for you to write Eve of Deconstruction?  
I needed the money!

Q: Did writing Eve of Deconstruction involve a lot of research?
A fair amount, yes. But I'm sure there are writers out there who've had to do a lot more than I did for “Eve”. Probably you for a start, when you wrote “Olive Groves”!

Q: You have now written seven books set in Greece. Is there a reason why Greece has become your favourite writing subject?
I suppose the fact that I live here is a major reason. One thing that I have learned is that you can't write with authority about things that you know very little about. Having Greek relatives and a wife with a Greek background also is a major factor. Plus there's a ready audience of readers who love the country and like to read books with a Greek theme.

Q: You live in Rhodes, was there a reason why this particular part of Greece captured your heart?
No, not really. We'd made the decision to move to Greece but were thinking of a smaller island to begin with. But then friends whom we'd introduced to the joys of Greek holidays some years ago decided to build a house in the South of Rhodes and one thing just led to another. We caretake for the owners, that's the arrangement. It suits us and we're actually now glad to be on a larger island. It's about convenience I suppose. If we need medical treatment, or just some wood for a new fence, it's easier on a larger island. Plus, we have Lidl!

Q: What do you enjoy the most about writing?
Writing, as you'll know Chrissie, is a lonely occupation. I am a people-person by and large, but I also really enjoy those intimate moments alone when I'm immersed in what I'm writing. It is something creative and I've always (he said modestly) fancied myself as a creative person. It's why I've tried playing in a band and, many years ago, painting too. Watch out for my first book of poetry! (said with a wry smile).

Q: What you dislike the most about writing?
Getting it done. Sometimes when everything's flowing I can't type fast enough. Plus, as I'm not a good typist, I'm forever correcting my errors and that frustrates me further when I'm in full flow. Once I have a story line I'm impatient to get it all down and frightened sometimes of losing something before I can get it on to the screen in front of me.

Q: Do you read?  If so what type of books do you read? 
Incessantly. Both my wife and I read a broad spectrum of stuff. We'll read, for example, a Clive Cussler, then a Jodi Picoult, then maybe a historical novel. I'm a Bill Bryson fan too, and although it probably sounds anything but humble, it was his stuff that inspired me to start the Ramblings From Rhodes series. One thing I've found and it's this: There is plenty of rubbish out there with a conventional publishing deal, whilst equally plenty of indie authors turn out excellent work. I am irritated by people who comment on Amazon that independent authors must be rubbish. Ignorance, pure and simple.

Q: Do you have a favorite author?  If so, who and why?
Well, if you'd asked me that forty years ago I'd have said Thomas Hardy, because his work was always tinged with a healthy scepticism regarding established religion (he was way ahead of his time) and a dark humour. He also was superb at bringing his characters' early actions back to haunt them in later life. George Elliot I loved too. Nowadays? It's difficult, because I like different authors for different genre-related reasons.

Q: What’s next for John Manuel?  Will you be writing more books and if so can you give us an idea of what they will be about?
I've begun work on “A Beginner's Guide to Greece” with my tongue firmly in my cheek! As for fiction, I won't even start anything if I don't think up a good plot.

Quick fire round:
Sweet or savoury - Savoury

Beach or countryside – Countryside, when I'm not at the beach!!

EBook or paperback – Paperback (although I'm weakening)

Cream tea or Fish and Chips – Neither I'm afraid. Both are far too unhealthy. I'd probably go for Greek yogurt and honey.

Classic or modern - Classic

Sun or Snow – I live in Greece Chrissie!

About the author:

John Manuel was born in Bath, UK during the 1950’s. He was educated at the City of Bath Boys’ School and primarily excelled in the arts. He has always maintained a deep interest in music and writing, whilst having pursued a career as a graphic designer after having attended Gloucester College of Art and Design.

His wife’s mother was born in Athens and his own love affair with the country of Greece eventually blossomed into his first published work, “Feta Compli!” He wrote several articles for the now defunct “Greece” magazine and has also had a piece published in the in-flight magazine of EasyJet, the European budget airline.

He now lives with his wife in a quiet area toward the south of the Greek island of Rhodes and, since the death of his mother in July 2013, only occasionally visits the UK. He has published four lighthearted books of Grecian memoirs under the series title "Ramblings From Rhodes", which is also the name of his popular blog about life on the island. He has also published three works of fiction, "The View From Kleoboulos", "A Brief Moment of Sunshine" and the latest, "Eve of Deconstruction".

Both John and his wife are enthusiastic readers, gardeners and walkers.

To learn more about John go to his website or his blog "Ramblings from Rhodes" or you can follow him on Facebook. A full list of his book can also be found on his Amazon Author page.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

New Release!
Chasing Clarity by Sylvia Stein.

I would like to welcome Sylvia back to my blog. She is releasing her second novel this week, a novel called Chasing Clarity.

What happens when you lose the person most important to you and are left to pick up the pieces?

Mia Gerard had always wanted to be a trained dancer yet she has just lost the love of her life in a tragic accident. Leo Dancy was her best friend and soul mate. As she tries to deal with losing him, she finds his absence unbearable and she feels lost without him.

But then a great opportunity arises for Mia that she just can’t turn down.
She is accepted into the New York Dance Academy of performing arts.
At first she is overwhelmed but once she gets there she begins to allow herself to heal.

This is when she comes across Henry Watson a painter with aspirations of acquiring his own exhibit one day. While she ponders her feelings for Henry, will she be too late? or will she find the clarity she needs and chase after him?

Author's note
This book began it’s journey in 2013 for the National Novel Month but the idea for this book began in July of this same year. You know it is amazing how one character from a show can impact so much of my life and it did when I awoke to the tragic news of his death.   It was something so profound and for me it felt like losing a part of my family.    I thought about the pain and hurt it caused those he loved and this is when Chasing Clarity was born.  However I did not want to write his story.  It was more about bringing the theme of love and loss and how my main character Mia will try to overcome the tragic obstacles and be able to find a purpose and pursue on her dreams.   I know friends who are like family that have been through this type of pain and my hope is that Mia’s story will help in the healing process of their own hearts. 

Chasing Clarity book trailer
About the author

Author Sylvia Stein began her path to writing when she joined the Writer’s Group on Linked in 750 in 2012 and she also started to connect with other authors through the World Literary Café.  She continued her journey by creating short stories, which were published, in the Giant tales Anthology series. While obtaining her Masters degree at Southern New Hampshire University online author Stein built a solid foundation with her colleagues who encouraged her to continue on her writing. That’s when Closure was born. With the help of her editor Closure grew from a short story to a full novella that Author Stein is excited to share.  Her First Debut Novel came in July 31, 2014 entitled, Closure and now she has just released her first YA called Chasing Clarity out 5th October 2015. "This is the first of many to come."

To learn more about Sylvia you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. She also has a Blog called Sylvia Steins Writing Corner as well as a YouTube page.
To find Sylvia's Books on Amazon, click here.

Closure by Sylvia Stein
To read an excerpt of Sylvia's first Novella Closure, please click here.