books

Cover Reveal: Short Stories for the Long Haul – John T. Buckley

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Looking for a collection that has something for every mood? Check out Short Stories for the Long Haul by John T. Buckley! Coming soon!

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Short Stories for the Long Haul

Expected Publication Date: August 12th, 2022

Genre: Anthology/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Crime Fiction & More

A collection of short stories that explore the human condition. Everything from a self absorbed wannabe quarterback who gets his shot, to a woman who marries her dog…

Coming Soon!

About the Author

author 2

John T. Buckley is a 47 year old writer from Maine who’s been writing most of his life. He also loves to paint and seeing the world. He studied at University of Southern Maine as well as at SMTC in Cape Elizabeth. Fun fact, John T. Buckley was once the lead singer in a band called Mammyth.

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Blog Tour: Newport Writers Anthology

Welcome to our first anthology. Since the group started, it has always been Tony’s vision to put together a collection of stories and poems penned by our members. Please proceed with caution – these short stories and poems will introduce you to the alternative side of Newport: ghostly grandparents, a displaced porpoise, a little bit of Welshness, two philosophical security guards, a child whose food plays music, the awesome side of autism, a woman who made teddy bears in a concentration camp, and much more. Take a whirlwind tour through bereavement, love, regret and parenthood. Laugh and defy fate as you run the gamut of life’s experiences – seen through the eyes of a bunch of writers who celebrate their individuality. You will meet a diverse group of people who enjoy what they do and want to share it with you. We invite you to sit back with a cuppa or maybe something stronger, relax and enjoy what promises to be a whirlwind ride.

We are a diverse group from south Wales with over 20 members, covering a broad age range and a variety of styles within the sphere of writing. We include poets, novelists, writers of flash fiction and short stories, plays and film scripts. 

We published an anthology in February 2020 entitled Newport Writers – An anthology of poetry and prose. Available from Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.

We met on Zoom during the pandemic, but have now found a venue in central Newport where we can get together with plenty of space for social distancing. 

We hold an Open Mic night once a month at popular Newport coffee shop Horton’s, and in the summer of 2021 we participated in several spoken word events.

Some members of our group are available to read and offer critique, and we have a proofreader among our membership.

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My thoughts: this was an interesting collection of poems and flash fiction, covering a wide variety of themes from a diverse group of writers. Some are humorous, some sad, moving and clever. It was interesting to read these pieces by unknown writers, although some have been published elsewhere, and many hint at the potential for real success with a writing career.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Quick Reads 2022 Titles Announced

As you may or may not know, I’m a huge fan of the Quick Reads initiative and the titles for next year’s event were released this morning. It looks like an incredible selection of writers and I can’t wait to read them all and help support this great cause – getting people reading!

The Reading Agency has unveiled the eye-catching covers for the Quick Reads stories publishing on 14 April 2022, written by M.W. Craven, Paula Hawkins, Ayisha Malik, Santa Montefiore, Kate Mosse, Graham Norton, Lemn Sissay and Alex Wheatle.

Forming part of the life-changing literacy programme tackling the UK’s adult literacy crisis by helping less confident readers start reading, these eight, new short books will also be included in the World Book Night 2022 list.

The Reading Agency has also shared the many ways in which the 36,000 copies of this year’s Quick Reads titles donated as part of the 15th anniversary ‘Buy One Gift One’ campaign have reached those who struggle with reading or have limited access to books.

From August to October, tens of thousands of free books were distributed to local authorities, libraries, prisons, adult learning organisations and community-based charities around the country. The ‘Quick Reads’ short stories by best-selling authors Louise Candlish, Katie Fforde, Peter James, Caitlin Moran, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Khurrum Rahman have been encouraging new readers at food banks, homeless shelters, literacy classes, refugee groups as well as those in prison, to find the pleasure and benefits that come from reading.

‘Buy One, Gift One’

This year’s ‘Buy One, Gift One’ campaign helps The Reading Agency to get copies of these transformative books into the hands of those that need them most, particularly those who have experienced acute hardship throughout the pandemic. This year, thousands of free books are being distributed in partnership with libraries and other organisations who are providing frontline support, including homelessness charities, food banks, prisons, and Young Offender Institutions.

Libraries in Newham, an east London borough facing significant problems in poverty and inequality, are gifting books to services supporting young people experiencing mental health issues and running functional skills courses. These include local Youth Zones, Newham Youth Offending Team, Supported Living, Adult Learning Services, the Newham Food Alliance and Colleges of Further Education.

Councillor Charlene McLean, Deputy Mayor and Lead Member for Resident Participation and Engagement, Newham Council said: ‘Here in Newham we are really excited to be gifting The Baby is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite, through our Adult Learning Service, Supported Living Schemes, Youth Zones and Youth Offending Teams. By gifting through these routes we aim to reach those adults and young people who would benefit most from a Quick Read, discovering, perhaps for the first time, a book that is accessible end engaging with no pressure to read it and no one judging their reading ability. We really hope that by gifting the right book, for the right person at the right time, our donations will help our selected residents to develop a love of reading and further improve their literacy skills.’

Krystal Vittles, Head of Service Delivery, Suffolk Libraries, said: ‘At Suffolk Libraries’ we decided to gift from our static libraries as well as through our prison libraries to ensure these fantastic books made an impact, and hopefully spread a little joy. We also worked with our partners at Suffolk County Council to gift these books through local foodbanks as a gift for people who are experiencing tough times. We believe that reading, literacy and access to books is a fundamental human right and so we’re always keen to be part of initiatives like this to spread the love of reading.’

Oldham Libraries have distributed copies to the Oldham Council Emerging Communities Team, the Local Authority Asylum Support Liaison Officers, the Oldham Lifelong Learning Centre – who deliver literacy skills courses – and the Oldham Street Angels, who provide food, clothing, shelter and support to Oldham’s homeless.

Jacqueline Widdowson, Senior Library Officer, Oldham Libraries, said: ‘We plan to work with our local homeless charity, The Street Angels. Many of Oldham’s homeless people already use our libraries and are big readers. It will be nice to encourage both current and lapsed readers to enjoy the escapism and warmth of taking yourself outside of your current experience through reading.’

M.W. Craven, The Cutting Season (Hachette, Constable)

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals… M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country. www.mwcraven.com

MW Craven said: “In my sixteen-year career in the probation service I witnessed the devastating impact of illiteracy and low-level literacy on an almost daily basis. From the first-time offender being unable to read the community order he was being asked to sign, to the coping mechanisms and the myriad excuses used to avoid reading out loud on the offending-behaviour courses we ran. Many of these men and women had basic reading skills, but little to no confidence, and that is why the Quick Reads programme is such a wonderful thing. Reading is such a vital part of communication and I couldn’t say yes to being involved fast enough.”

Poe’s just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon… Hanging from a hook in a meat packing plant isn’t how Washington Poe wants to spend his weekend. He’s been punched and kicked, and when the Pale Man arrives it seems things will soon go from bad to worse. The Pale Man is a contract killer, and he and his razor are feared all over London. But Poe knows two things the Pale Man doesn’t. And now things are about to get interesting…

Paula Hawkins, Blind Spot (Penguin Random House, Transworld, Doubleday)

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before writing her first book. Paula was born and brought up in Zimbabwe. She moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. Her first thriller, The Girl on the Train, has sold 23 million copies worldwide. Published in over forty languages, it has been a Number 1 bestseller around the world and was a box office hit film starring Emily Blunt. Paula’s second thriller, Into the Water, and her latest book, A Slow Fire Burning, were also instant Number 1 bestsellers. 

Paula Hawkins said: “I jumped at the opportunity to write a Quick Reads. Reading is such a joy for me – it has been since childhood. Books have formed the cornerstone of many of my friendships; they connect me to people and places I might never go. They’re fundamental to my understanding of the world. But I’m acutely aware that, for all sorts of reasons, people might struggle with reading, so it’s a great privilege to be invited to write a Quick Reads. I can only hope that Blind Spot will help someone else discover the pure pleasure that can be found within the pages of a favourite book.”

‘How can you say things like this? How can you be so blind?’ Since they were kids, Edie, Jake and Ryan have been the closest of friends. It’s been the three of them against the world. Edie thought the bonds between them were unbreakable. So when Jake is brutally murdered and Ryan accused of the crime, her world is shattered. Edie is alone for the first time in years, living in the remote house that she and Jake shared. She is grief-stricken and afraid – with good reason. Because someone is watching. Someone has been waiting for this moment. Now that Edie is alone, the past she tried so hard to leave behind is about to catch up with her…

Ayisha Malik, Sofia Khan: The Baby Blues (Headline, Review)

Ayisha Malik was born and raised in South London and is a lover of books (obviously), and writer of contemporary fiction. A former publicist at Penguin Random House, turned managing editor at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, turned full-time writer. Her debut novel, Sofia Khan is not Obliged, and its sequel, The Other Half of Happiness, (Zaffre), were dubbed as the ‘Muslim Bridget Jones.’ Her latest novel, This Green and Pleasant Land, (Zaffre) is out now. She has also contributed to the anthology, A Change is Gonna Come, (Stripes Publishing), and upcoming collection, A Match Made in Heaven, (Hope Road Publishing). Malik is also known for ghost-writing Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain’s, adult books. www.ayishamalik.com

Ayisha Malik said: “Growing up, reading was such a huge part of my understanding of the world and myself. That experience should be available to everyone and Quick Reads is a brilliant way of trying to make that happen. I’m honoured to be a part of something so crucial, and to have had such fun with the story along the way.”

Sofia Khan is going about everything the wrong way. At least, that’s what her mother, Mehnaz, thinks. Sofia is twice-divorced, homeless and – worst of all – refusing to give up on a fostered baby girl. Sofia’s just not behaving like a normal woman should. Sofia doesn’t see it like that. She’s planning to adopt Millie, and she’s sure it’ll be worth it. (Even if it means she and Millie have to stay at Mehnaz’s place for a while.) And as Sofia finally begins to live the life she’s chosen, she finds both romance and happiness start to blossom.But then someone comes back from the past – and not even Sofia’s own past. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice. To do what’s best for those she loves, Sofia might have to break her own heart. And she might find herself needing the last person she expected…

Santa Montefiore, The Kiss (Simon & Schuster)

Santa Montefiore’s books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and have sold more than six million copies in England and Europe. She is the bestselling author of The Temptation of Gracie and the Deverill series, among many others. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London. santamontefiore.co.uk

Santa Montefiore said: “The main reason that I write is to entertain. It gives me enormous pleasure to know that people enjoy my stories. It’s what drives me and propels me from book to book. However, I’m aware that there are many people out there who might find my novels too long or perhaps too densely written for their tastes. That’s why I agreed to write a story for Quick Reads. It gives those readers who wouldn’t normally pick up one of my novels the opportunity to give me a go. With this in mind, I wanted to write something special for them. I know how much my readers love stories based in Italy, so I set mine in Tuscany, and I made sure that I added all the things they enjoy, like romance and mystery, into the mix. It was a story, based on a true story I had heard, that I had been sitting on for a while and wasn’t sure what to do with. So, in a way, Quick Reads benefited both me as well as their readers, because I was able to use this gem of an idea which was too small for a larger book. I thank Quick Reads for inviting me to write for them, and my readers, longstanding and new, who enable me to do what I love doing best.  I really hope they are entertained and perhaps, if they are, I might have the opportunity to write for them again.”

Sometimes your biggest mistake can also be a blessing… Madison has always known she had a different father to her siblings. But it wasn’t until she turned eighteen that she learned his name. And now she wants to meet the man who shares her fair hair and blue eyes: Robert. Robert is a very lucky man. A big house, beautiful wife, three handsome sons. Eighteen years ago, he made a mistake. A brief fling that resulted in a daughter nobody knows about. Robert must finally tell his family the truth. Will they ever be able to forgive him and accept Madison as one of their own?

Kate Mosse, The Black Mountain (Macmillan, Pan Books)

Kate Mosse is an award-winning novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer, the author of six novels and short story collections, including the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and number one bestselling Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter. Her books have been translated into thirty-seven languages and published in more than forty countries. The Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, she is also the Deputy Chair of the National Theatre in London. Kate divides her time between Chichester in West Sussex and Carcassonne in south-west France. www.katemosse.co.uk

Kate Mosse said: “I wrote my first Quick Read in 2009 and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my writing life.  Meeting new readers, many of whom were just starting to fall in love with stories on the page, transformed how I thought about storytelling, about language and about the barriers some people face to engaging with fiction.  It made me question how I wrote, and why I wrote, and I’ve been grateful for everything I learnt because of it. The programme is exceptional – always innovative, always exciting, always finding ways to support literacy but also to give emerging readers access to the widest possible range of books.  It genuinely changes lives and it’s an honour to be part of the 2022 list.”

It is May, 1706. Ana, a young Spanish woman, lives in a small town on the north-west coast of Tenerife with her mother and twin younger brothers. The town is in the shadow of a mighty volcano, which legend says has the devil living inside it. However, there has been no eruption for thousands of years and no one believes it is a threat. One day, Ana notices that the air feels strange and heavy, that the birds have stopped singing. Tending the family vineyard, a sudden strange tremor in the earth frightens her. Very soon it will be a race against time for Ana to help persuade the town that they are in danger and should flee before the volcano erupts and destroys their world. Will they listen? And Ana herself faces another danger…

Graham Norton, The Swimmer (Hodder, Coronet)

Graham Norton is one of the UK’s most treasured comedians and presenters. Born in Clondalkin, a suburb of Dublin, Norton’s first big TV appearance was as Father Noel Furlong on Channel 4’s Father Ted in the early 1990s. He then secured a prime time slot on Channel 4 with his chat shows So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton. Known for his quick wit Graham began hosting a variety of talent shows on BBC One from Strictly Dance Fever and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? to The Eurovision Song Contest and BAFTAs. Graham was soon approached by the BBC to front his own self-titled chat show The Graham Norton Show in 2007. Graham Norton has won 9 BAFTAs for Best Entertainment Performance, and Best Entertainment Programme. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, a show on BBC Radio 2 every Saturday, and is a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Norton won the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards in 2017. Graham’s third novel will be published in hardback, eBook, and audiobook in October.

Graham Norton said: “Being involved with Quick Reads was a huge pleasure as well as a real challenge. I loved the discipline involved in shaping a story that was accessible at the same time as being exciting, emotional and hopefully rewarding. Books and stories are an extraordinary escape for so many and I am thrilled to work with Quick Reads in helping to unlock the world of words for new readers.”

Helen is a retired teacher living on the Irish coast. She enjoys the peace and quiet – despite the burden of Margaret, her unpleasant sister. Margaret arrived three years ago for a short holiday, but somehow managed to stay and worm her way into Helen’s life. One day, Helen sees a man struggling in the sea and decides to investigate. She doesn’t quite know what it is, but something about it feels very strange…

Lemn Sissay, My Name Is Why (abridged) (Canongate)

Lemn Sissay MBE is a BAFTA nominated international prize winning writer. He was awarded an MBE for services to literature by The Queen of England, The Pen Pinter Prize and a Points of Light Award from The Prime Minister. Google “Lemn Sissay” and all the hits will be about him. There’s only one person in the world called Lemn Sissay. www.lemnsissay.com

Lemn Sissay said: “This is why I wrote My Name Is Why. Family is a collection of stories between one group of people over a life time. For some it is an anthology of disputed tales over a lifetime.  Families can uphold what they believe to be a fact which is in fact pure fiction. What matters most of all is harmony: the truth has little to do with it. The same could be said for storytelling. I wrote My Name Is Why because no member of my family knew who I was or what I had been through. I have found an extended family in the readers of my book and I am thankful to every one of them.”

An abridgement of his bestselling memoir of the same name.  How does a government steal a child and then imprison him? How does it keep it a secret? This story is how. This story is true. My Name Is Why is a true story about growing up in care and fighting to succeed despite the cruelty and failures of the care system.

Alex Wheatle, Witness (Serpent’s Tail)

Born in 1963 to Jamaican parents, Wheatle spent much of his childhood in a Shirley Oaks children’s home. He wrote lyrics about everyday Brixton life. By 1980 Wheatle was living in a social services hostel in Brixton, South London. He participated in the 1981 Brixton riots and aftermath. While serving time in prison he took to reading. His first novel, Brixton Rock, was published to critical acclaim by BlackAmber Books in 1999. Following the publication of his second novel, he turned his attention to writing YA fiction and has won a number of awards, including the 2016 Guardian Children’s Fiction Award. www.alexwheatle.com

Alex Wheatle said: “I may have been nominated and short-listed for many awards, but I believe my greatest success in this old writing game is when a school librarian informs me that one of their students, who has never picked up a book before, cannot put an Alex Wheatle book down. ‘They have found a story they can finally relate to,’ I am often told. Reading for pleasure is a crucial gateway to all learning.  If I can engage a reader with my characters, my narratives and the themes that are important to me, then I believe I’m passing on my humanity.”

Cornell is having a bad time. Kicked out of school for a fight he didn’t start, he finds himself in a Pupil Referral Unit. Here he makes friends with one of the Sinclair family. You just don’t mess with the Sinclairs, and when Ryan Sinclair orders him to come with him to teach a rival some respect, Cornell witnesses something that will change his life. Torn between protecting his family and himself, Cornell has one hell of a decision to make. Witness is Alex Wheatle at his best: a thrilling story about street violence, friendship and making the right choices. 

The Reading Agency is a national charity that tackles life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading. We work closely with partners to develop and deliver programmes for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Reading Agency is funded by Arts Council England.  www.readingagency.org.uk

Quick Reads, a programme by The Reading Agency,aims to bring the pleasures and benefits of reading to everyone, including the one in three adults in the UK who do not regularly read for pleasure, and the one in six adults in the UK who find reading difficult. The scheme changes lives and plays a vital role in addressing the national crisis around adult literacy in the UK, engaging the one in three adults who do not regularly read for pleasure and the one in six adults who find reading difficult. Each year, Quick Reads works with UK publishers to commission high profile authors to write short, engaging books that are specifically designed to be easy to read. Since 2006, over 6 million books have been distributed through the initiative, 5 million library loans (PLR) have been registered and through outreach work hundreds of thousands of new readers each year have been introduced to the joys and benefits of reading. From 2020 – 2022, the initiative is supported by a philanthropic gift from bestselling author Jojo Moyes. The titles are available for just £1 at bookshops and are free to borrow from libraries. They are used across the country in colleges, prisons, trade unions, hospitals, and adult learning organisations.

*this post was created using information from a press release, however I was not paid and only choose to share things I care about.

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Blog Tour: It Calls From the Doors – edited by Lyndsey Smith

Open the door to your nightmares.

They are the silent guardians of our inner spaces. We throw them open to welcome friends and family. We shut them tight against the darkness and trust them to keep us safe. But they also hide our true natures, ward off intruders, and seal away what can never be allowed to escape.

But, what happens when the thing that we rely on the most, welcomes the bad things in? What happens when our protector becomes the thing we fear?

Turn the key, pull back the bolt, unfasten the latch and let the darkness through. Discover 19 tales of terror and despair that lurk on the other side of the Doors in the fourth instalment of Eerie River Publishing’s horror series.

Eerie River Publishing Add to Goodreads Available on Amazon!

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My thoughts: Eerie River gather excellent short stories for this creepy collection. Doors that lead to realms full of monsters, doors that keep the scary things out, doors that lead into your nightmares. This collection has them all. I found a couple very creepy, especially the one set in Bank Station – I used to commute through there and I already hate escalators! There’s something for everyone here, although maybe read them with the lights on!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Liberty Terrace – Madeleine D’Arcy

Set in a fictional area of Cork City from 2016-2020, Liberty Terrace captures the highs and lows of everyday life from both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting readers to consider what it
means to be human and to live within a wider community.
A former solicitor with experience as a Census Enumerator in 2016, Cork native Madeleine D’Arcy took inspiration from the Irish Census originally scheduled in April 2021 but now postponed until 2022 for Liberty Terrace. D’Arcy has created a rich tapestry of stories all set in and around the fictional street; the residents of Liberty Terrace come and go over the years – their lives ebbing and flowing
around each other in ways that are sometimes funny, sometimes dark and often both.
The cast of characters includes retired Garda Superintendent Deckie Google, a young homeless squatter, the mother of an autistic child working part-time as a Census Enumerator, the dysfunctional Callinan family, an ageing rock star, a trio of ladies who visit a faith healer, a philandering husband, as well as a surprising number of cats and dogs.

MADELEINE D’ARCY is an Irish fiction writer. A former solicitor, she lived in the UK for 13 years before returning to live in Cork City with her husband and her son in 1999. Madeleine’s first Doire Press short story collection ‘Waiting for the Bullet’ was awarded the 2015 Edge Hill Readers’ Prize’ from Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. In 2010 she received a Hennessy X.O Literary
Award for First Fiction as well as the overall Hennessy X.O Literary Award for New Irish Writer. Her stories have been short-listed and commended in many competitions, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen Short Story
Competition, Fish Short Story Prize, the Bridport Prize and the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition. Madeleine has been awarded bursaries by the Arts
Council of Ireland and by Cork City Council. Madeleine was a scholarship
student on the inaugural MA in Creative Writing 2013-2014 in University College Cork. Waiting for the Bullet is Madeleine’s first collection of short stories.

My thoughts: this was a clever and moving collection of stories about moments in the lives of the residents of Liberty Terrace, a fictional street in Cork. Each story focuses on one household and their lives. From a family of immigrants still finding their feet at the beginning of lockdown, to older residents trying to help their lonely friend. Each story reminds you of the kindness and community that can be found around you.

Well written and very enjoyable, I loved seeing into these characters lives, even if only briefly, the glimpses of families, both born and built, the generosity of others, the ways in which we all live quietly alongside each other but every now and then connect.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Èkleipsis: The Abyss – Tamal Wino

Ékleipsis: The Abyss is the second short story collection by the award-winning author.

Tales of depravation and insanity are woven together with unrelenting style and depth, scrutinizing human nature’s degeneration when compromised by tragic, vicious circumstances.

These complex, wretched individuals and the irremediable conditions they are desperate to claw out of—or into—invoke the unfathomable question: What devastation are we truly capable of when left with no way out but down . . . into the obscurity of the abyss?

” It is at times appalling, strange and outright frightening, but Wino’s way with character development is outstanding. The display of artistic creativity and character creation really sets “Èkleipsis: The Abyss” apart in the field of short story collections.”
― Reader Views

“The stories are well-packaged and generally have the feel of watching a syndicated crime drama. Fans of this form of entertainment will likely enjoy these well-crafted stories about everyday people whose lives are shattered by lunatics.”
― The US Review of Books

“Wino’s writing is vivid, unsettling and filled with brilliant hints that contribute to the exhilaration of its pacing. Ékleipsis: The Abyss is a clever and creative horror offering worth checking out.”

―Independent Book Review

” Tamel really captured that essence of society and the dark side of people. Readers will appreciate the dark undertones of this horror anthology. Ekleipsis: the Abyss will surprise you more that you can imagine.”

―Literary Titan

Add to Goodreads Available on Amazon

Tamel Wino is a Canadian fiction writer from the resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on degeneration of sanity and morality. He studied Health Sciences and Psychology, which only furthered his interest in human nature.

With inspirations including Alice Munro, Joe Hill, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.

When he’s not reading or scribbling away on his laptop, Tamel loves listening to jazz, rewatching good ol’ classic shows and traveling. EkleipsisFacebook | Instagram

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My thoughts: this collection of short stories explores the horror of humanity – ordinary horror, not monsters from beyond, but the ways in which human beings inflict terror and trauma on one another. From kidnapped wives and hitchhikers, lovers who kill and domestic psychopaths. Every terrible thing here is caused and created by a person not a creature of nightmare. Which makes them all the more sinister and insidious. Some of the victims are easier to empathise with than others, particularly the sadistic prison guards dished out some ice cold revenge. A clever and chilling collection examining the worst of human behaviour.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Last Line – Robert Dugoni

His old life in the rearview, Del Castigliano has left Wisconsin to work homicide for the Seattle PD. Breaking him in is veteran detective Moss Gunderson, and he’s handing Del a big catch: the bodies of two unidentified men fished from Lake Union. It’s a major opportunity for the new detective, and Del runs with it, chasing every lead—to every dead end. Despite the help of another section rookie, Vic Fazzio, Del is going nowhere fast. Until one shotgun theory looks to be dead right: the victims are casualties of a drug smuggling operation. But critical information is missing—or purposely hidden. It’s forcing Del into a crisis of character and duty that not even the people he trusts can help him resolve.

The Last Line Excerpt


Del drove from the parking garage into a blustery and cold November morning—cold being relative. In Madison, anything above freezing was balmy for November, though Del was starting to understand what Seattleites meant when they said it wasn’t the temperature that chills you; it’s the dampness. He could feel the cold in his bones. A stiff wind rocked his metallic-blue Oldsmobile Cutlass.The wind had started blowing late the prior evening; branches of a tree scraping against Del’s bedroom window had kept him awake half the night.


He drove from Capitol Hill with the defroster on high and worked his way around the southern edge of Lake Union, noting marinas and water-based businesses. He pulled into a parking lot where Moss stood beside a black Buick LeSabre, sipping coffee and towering over a patrol officer. Moss was almost as big as Del, who stood six foot five and weighed 250 pounds.


Del pulled up the collar of his coat against the howling wind as he approached the two men. He recognized the green logo on Moss’s Starbucks coffee cup, the company name taken from Captain Ahab’s first mate on the Pequod, the whaling ship Moby Dick sent to the bottom of the ocean. The logo, a green siren, tempted sailors to jump overboard and drown. Neither was a good omen.


“Look what the cat dragged out. Did we wake you, Elmo?”


“Funny.” Del had heard iterations of Elmo since his teens, when the beloved puppet first appeared on Sesame Street. Moss introduced Del to Mike Nuccitelli, the patrol sergeant. “How’d you get here so quick?” Del asked Moss. He understood Moss lived in West Seattle, twenty minutes farther from the marina than Del’s apartment.


“I didn’t take time to do my hair.” Moss rubbed the bristles of a crew cut. “I’m like my name. You know. A rolling stone.”


Del knew. More than once, Moss had told him his parents bequeathed him the moniker because as a child he never remained still. Vic Fazzio had said it was more likely Moss gave himself the nickname. His Norwegian first name was Asbjorn.


“Halloway here?” Del asked.


“At this hour of the morning?” Moss scoffed. “Stayaway doesn’t come out this early on a cold morning unless he thinks the brass might show up and he can shine their badges with his nose.”


“What do we got?” Del asked.


“Two grown men. Looks like they drowned,” Nuccitelli said. “We’re waiting for the ME.”


“What more do we know about the victims; anything?” Del asked.


Nuccitelli raised the fur collar of his duty jacket against the wind. “Hispanic is my guess, though the bodies are pretty bloated and their skin the color of soot. I’m guessing roughly late twenties to early thirties, but again . . .”


“They didn’t have any ID?” Del asked.


“Not on them,” Nuccitelli said.


“That strike you as odd—they didn’t have ID?”


Nuccitelli smiled.“Not my job.That’s your job.”


“How far out is the ME?” Moss looked and sounded disinterested.


Nuccitelli checked his watch.“Should be here in ten.”


“We’ll take it from here.”

Giveaway – win a copy of the book

Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, which has sold more than seven million books worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling Charles Jenkins series; the bestselling David Sloane series; the stand-alone novels The 7th Canon, Damage Control, The World Played Chess, and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni won an AudioFile Earphones Award for narration; and the nonfiction exposé The Cyanide Canary, a Washington Post best book of the year. He is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Book Award for fiction and a three-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is a two-time finalist for the Thriller Awards and the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, as well as a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for mystery and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards. His books are sold in more than twenty-five countries and have been translated into more than two dozen languages. 

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Robert Dugoni Q&A

From books to movies to television, police procedurals are incredibly popular with audiences. What do you think is the appeal of these stories? 

I think the appeal is readers and viewers have good guys to root for and bad guys to root against. Readers also like a good mystery. They like to see if they can solve the crime, determine the bad guy and figure out what he did and how he did it, just like the detectives. It keeps them engaged in and part of the story.

Do you recall the first detective story you ever read or perhaps you have a favorite? What was it about this type of story that made you want to write in the genre? 

Years ago, I remember reading Michael Connelly’s The Poet. I don’t know if it was the first detective story I read, probably not, but it was visceral and stuck with me. I do recall reading All The President’s Men when I was in high school, and though Woodward and Bernstein were not detectives, per se, they very much functioned like detectives in that story—finding clues, trying to piece together those clues, and then solve the puzzle. In many ways, that’s what a good detective story is all about: solving a puzzle. I think that is one of the appeals to writers, as well as readers and viewers.

Del Castigliano, the police detective in your newest release The Last Line,  has worked in narcotics, arson, sexual assaults, robbery, and now homicide. He has definitely seen the worst that humans have to offer. What keeps him sane and on the job?

For most police officers I’ve spoken with, they do the job knowing that they are keeping people safe—maybe people they know or even love. It’s a tough job and burnout can be a problem. Most detectives have to be mentally tough and can be frequently rotated to help minimize burn out. It’s one of the reasons detectives and uniformed officers, I believe, are underappreciated. It’s a tough job.

Throughout The Last Line, readers get to see Del at his worst—he faces loss, failure, insecurity, loneliness…yet we also respect him. He is honest, hardworking, and clever. How do you see him? If you were to sit down to have a beer with him, what would you talk about?

In The Last Line, I see Del as a guy trying to find his way after life has thrown him a curveball. If we sat down for a beer, I’d ask him if, looking back, he has any regrets, or if time has helped him put life in perspective and he realizes that what he went through as a young man actually helped him to get to a better place in his life.

The Last Line ends in a way that will have readers wanting more. Do you have any future plans for Del and the larger cast?

Very much so. Del is a central character in the Tracy Crosswhite series, and in Tracy #9, What She Found, the story of Del’s first case from The Last Line comes back to Tracy, who is now working a cold case and trying to figure out what happened 24 years ago.

For fans of your bestselling Tracy Crosswhite series, will they feel at home with Del as the lead protagonist? For readers who haven’t discovered Tracy yet, will they be able to dip right in?

Absolutely. The Last Line is a standalone story that predates Tracy arriving at Seattle PD. I’ve had so many readers ask me for more of Del and Faz! Writing The Last Line was an opportunity to dig into how they got started and what shaped them. I have a thought now about Tracy #10 being a cold case that Del and Faz investigated 25 years earlier and telling the story from both time periods leading up to Tracy solving the crime in the present.

What do you have coming up next?

The third book in the Charles Jenkins espionage series, The Silent Sisters, will be published, February 22, 2022, followed by Tracy #9, What She Found, which will be out August 23, 2022. Beyond that, readers can look for a new standalone legal thriller introducing criminal defense attorney Keera Duggan. I’m excited about that novel and working hard to get it finished soon.

My thoughts: this was a nice little police procedural that introduces Del Castigliano and provides some reference to his case as mentioned above. It definitely made me want to read the Tracy Crosswhite series, and find out more. Especially that ending! Whether you’re a fan already or, like me, new to the author, it’s well worth a read and won’t take long at all.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Ruabon – Carl Drinkwater*

Read my thoughts on the other books in this series: Lost Solace Chasing Solace Grubane Clarissa

Welcome to Tecant.


Nothing ever happens here.


Until today.


Ruabon Nadarl is just another low-ranking member of the scan crew, slaving away for the UFS which
“liberated” his homeworld. To help pass the time during long shifts he builds secret personalities into the robots he controls. Despite his ingenuity, the UFS offers few opportunities for a better life.
Then Ruabon detects an intruder on the surface of a vital communications tower.
He could just report it and let the deadly UFS commandos take over, while Ruabon returns to obscurity.
Or he could break UFS laws and try to capture the intruder himself. For the UFS, only the outcome matters, not the method. If his custom-programmed drones can save the day, he’ll be a hero.
And if he fails, he’ll be dead.
Buy


Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in
English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.
When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake.
Not necessarily in that order.

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My thoughts: this was interesting in that it both filled in a gap in one of the Lost Solace books, Chasing Solace, but also showed you the flip side to those events. What Ruabon does that day with the drones he’s been tinkering with isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things, but to him, in that moment, it is everything. He’s so bored of his job, of the UFS, that even breaking all the rules doesn’t bother him.

If you’ve read the previous books and short stories, you’ll know what’s happening, what Opal and Athene are up to, and why UFS are so keen to catch them. This can be read as a standalone but it makes a lot more sense tied into the whole.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Clarissa – Karl Drinkwater*

Read my thoughts on the other books in this series: Lost Solace Chasing Solace Grubane

If you’re reading this: HELP! I’ve been kidnapped.
Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren’t bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.
Now I’m a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won’t even say where we’re going.
I hate them.
And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of
the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.
My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.
And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.
Buy a copy


Karl Drinkwater writes thrilling SF, suspenseful horror, and contemporary literary fiction. Whichever you pick you’ll find interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
Karl has lived in many places but now calls Scotland his home. He’s an ex-librarian with degrees in
English, Classics, and Information Science. He also studied astrophysics for a year at university, surprising himself by winning a prize for “Outstanding Performance”.
When he isn’t writing he loves guitars, exercise, computer and board games, nature, and vegan cake.
Not necessarily in that order.

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Newsletter

My thoughts: this is another short story set in the world of the Lost Solace books, which start with Opal looking for her missing sister – Clarissa. In this brief glimpse of the past, narrated by 10 year old Clarissa herself, we see what happened, what sets Opal on her quest. Clarissa has been taken by two agents, she thinks in order to force her to go to school, but they seem to have a different agenda. On the ship, Solace, they encounter something strange, something they’re afraid of. But Clarissa isn’t. It’s a really interesting bit of back story filled in, and suggests the beginning of Clarissa’s own story is even more interesting than Opal’s. Hope there’s more to come!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: In The Time of Foxes – Jo Lennan*

‘A fox could be a shape-shifter, a spirit being. It could appear in human form if this suited its purposes; it could come and go as it pleased, play tricks, lead men astray.’

A young filmmaker in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an actress dealing with a rival and the fallout of a scandal; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a freelance journalist on Mars, grappling with his fate.

When everyone is trying to make it, what does it take to survive? These men and women have learned to change shape, to adapt – but can they learn to be wise?

Showing the short story collection at its most entertaining and rewarding, In the Time of Foxes is deeply insightful about the times in which we live. With an exhilarating span of people and places, it introduces Jo Lennan as an irresistible new storyteller.

My thoughts: Foxes in folklore around the world are tricksters and magical, they slip through the world with a wink and a grin. They’re survivors, making homes in places that have changed since humans started building cities and motorways.

In this collection of short stories, foxes slip through gardens and under fences, they’re just out of the corner of the eye, as the humans strive and struggle to fit in, and try to find their place. From London to Sydney, Japan to Mars, each story is a tiny novel in itself, some I wanted to know more, others were fine to leave just as they were.

I really enjoyed these stories, snap shots of lives at one moment in time, people dealing with issues that loomed large in their lives but might seem insignificant to outsiders. Intelligent and well written, this book was a pleasure to read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.