Monday, 29 July 2013

Review of Lifetime by Liza Marklund

Annika Bengtzon – journalist, wife, mother, investigator and self-doubter– a remarkable combination in any woman, but Annika is not just any woman. When her husband Thomas walks out on her minutes before her home burns down, her best friend turns her away and she has to find herself and the children Ellen and Kalle somewhere to live immediately with only the clothes they stand up in, she still has the strength to pursue the case of Julia, a policewoman accused of the murder of her hero police husband David Lindholm and toddler son Alexander. Julia was in the flat when David was shot with her service pistol. Alexander has disappeared. She MUST be guilty – will anyone believe otherwise? Who else would wish to kill Stockholm`s number one hostage negotiator and solver of difficult crimes? Especially as she appears to be mentally unstable due to problems within her marriage.

 During the course of her reporting on the murders, Annika discovers that all is not as it seems and that David Lindholm was actually not the saintly and magnificent policeman portrayed in the Press and by certain of his colleagues. He is, and has been in the past, involved in some very doubtful enterprises. Not only that, he is a relentless womaniser. Trying to untangle this knot of worms is laborious. She sees a link to an evening when she spent a shift on patrol with Julia and Nina (Julia`s work partner) when they were first on the scene of a notorious axe killing. Although she receives a little help from Nina, who eventually tells her to leave it alone,she will not let go and  is attacked and warned off by thugs. Notwithstanding, Annika visits prison inmates whom David has mentored. None will say anything against him, so she has to use other methods and her incisive insight to try and prove her theories.

Interwoven with her mission are the threads of her own circumstances, the possibility that she may lose her job and that she may be putting both herself and her children in danger. We see her through her own eyes as a self-doubter and through others` eyes as being headstrong and reckless.

The tension in the book is amazing and Liza Marklund relentlessly piles on the suspense page after page. There are many twists and turns in the story which keep the reader on their toes trying to second-guess what the next move will be. And believe me, you will be drawn in from the very first paragraph. An exciting and unpredictable read.
Reviewed by Liz.

Thank you to Transworld for sending us a copy to review.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Review of Vanity by Lucy Lord

Last year, I read Lucy Lord’s debut novel Revelry and loved it. I was really looking forward to reading the sequel Vanity and I am pleased to say that it was just as good.

In Vanity, we catch up with Poppy and Bella. It was a bit like meeting up with old friends and Lord’s writing really does bring these vibrant characters to life. Poppy is working hard in New York and doing really well. However, her husband Damian’s career has taken a nosedive and he does not deal to well with Poppy’s new found success. Over in London, Bella and Andy are enjoying their romance and from the outside they look like the perfect couple, but Bella is worried about Andy’s upcoming journalist project uncovering Russian people traffickers. I loved reading about their glamorous lives and trying to guess what would happen as these friendships are pushed to the extreme.

The various locations in the book were one of my favourite features. It is a real jet set story and we see the characters visiting New York, Paris, St Tropez and LA. It was also great to meet some new characters and I particularly liked Sam and Natalia.

Vanity was everything I hoped it would be and more. If you haven’t read Revelry then I would advise you to do so first as it will allow you to get to know the characters. However, you could read it as a standalone novel.

This is a brilliant, fun, escapist book that I would rate as a five star read. I cannot wait for the next instalment.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Interview with Lucy Lord - Author of Vanity

I am delighted to welcome Lucy Lord to the blog today. I am a big fan of Lucy's writing and loved reading Revelry and Vanity.

Please tell us a little about yourself
     OK. Where to begin? I live just off London’s Portobello Road, with my husband, who’s a musician. We only moved to the area a few months ago, and both absolutely love it. There’s a proper bohemian vibe to the place – you can’t move for quirky, independent shops, bars and restaurants and nothing quite beats getting your fruit and veg from the market on your doorstep. All the locals know each other, too, which I’ve never had before in all my years living in London. The icing on the cake, though, is our flat’s little roof terrace, from which I am currently typing in my bikini! I write novels full time, although I try to keep my hand in writing the odd article for magazines and newspapers, as I used to be a journalist – for publications including the Times, Guardian, Evening Standard, Time Out, Marie Claire and Arena. Before journalism, I did everything from teaching English to temping in City banks (utterly soul-destroying – I don’t recommend it) to waitressing in dodgy ‘gentlemen’s establishments’. I can safely say that being a novelist is the best job of all!

Please tell us about Vanity
Vanity is the sequel to Revelry, my debut novel, which came out last summer. Although it can stand alone, I recommend you read Revelry first as the various plot threads do follow on in sequence. The novel opens with a boho beach wedding in Ibiza and mainly follows the lives of Poppy, who’s living the dream with a glamorous new job in New York, and her best friend Bella, stuck at home in rainy old London and starting to get just the teensiest bit resentful of her friend’s newfound success. Then there’s beautiful, vain Ben, trying to make it as an actor in LA, Natalia, a billionairess with a shady past, lonely on her yacht in St Tropez, and Sam, a student at London University moonlighting as a glamour model, whose life takes a turn for the better when she meets four handsome Northern boys in a band. The action swings from city to city, continent to continent and culminates in a road trip to remember across the States. I had so much fun writing Vanity, escaping in my head to all these fabulous locations, and I hope it’s just as much fun to read!

Do you ever use celebrities or people you know for inspiration in your books?
   I don’t base entire characters on celebrities or people I know, but I do cherry-pick characteristics, and use particularly fatuous lines I’ve heard people say – in Revelry, for example, vain and dim-witted model Kimberly says ‘I guess I’m just lucky? Good genes, you know? My mom and grandma both had great skin, too. My guru says you get the face you deserve, and I always try to give something back.’  Let’s just say I heard a very famous supermodel saying something along those lines in an interview, once! But people do often think that characters are based on them – my father, for example, was horrified that Bella’s father in Revelry is an ageing hippy with an eye for the ladies, however many times I’ve told him that he wasn’t the inspiration! And other thing I’ve learned is that you have to be careful with names – I was told at the launch the other night that Amy Lascelles, the prima donna spoilt film star in Vanity, is the name of friend of a friend. Real-life Amy Lascelles, if you’re reading this, I promise I didn’t know that that was your name! And I have no idea whether you’re a spoilt princess or not!

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently doing the final edit of the third book in the trilogy, which sees our heroines Poppy and Bella older, a little bit wiser, but still having as much fun as they possibly can. One is living with a baby in rural bliss in Ibiza, the other hanging out with movie stars in LA. I have a bit of a girl-crush on my new female lead, Summer Larsson, a free-spirited hippy chick who runs the crèche at her mother’s morning yoga classes and writes about food. I’m also quite fond of horrendously spoilt former child star Tamara Gold, who is just about redeemed by her quick-witted humour and vulnerability. When the entourage of movie stars hits laid-back, bohemian Ibiza, the results are explosive! Having finished the trilogy, I have a new idea in the pipeline. I can’t say too much about it at the moment, but it will be quite a new departure for me and I’m very excited about it.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Read. Loads. It doesn’t matter which genres, but the bottom line is, the more you read, the better you’ll write. And once you get started on your masterpiece, edit, edit, edit. Your final draft will probably look completely different to what you started out with. And of course, your final draft won’t really be the final draft because your editor will then have his or her wicked way with it! No book is ever really written by one person, so you have to learn pretty quickly not to get too precious about your words!

What was your journey to publication like?
Long! Revelry probably took me a couple of years to write, but I wasn’t a full-time novelist in those days so it was mainly written in the evenings after work. And I got married during those two years, which tends to take up quite a lot of one’s time, too! I sent the manuscript off to about 20 different literary agents, 5 at a time, and waited for the inevitable rejection letters to flood in. And flood in they did. It took just over a year to eventually get an agent (by which time I’d started working on Vanity, to kill the dreaded waiting time), and then another year after that to get a publishing deal. But when I did – a three-book deal from Harper Collins – it made all the waiting worthwhile! So my advice to aspiring writers on this topic is: persevere. You will get rejections, and it can be utterly demoralising, but you will get there in the end. And when you do, it’s the best feeling in the world.

What do you like to do outside of writing?
I love reading, of course. I have a Kindle, and it’s great, especially on holiday, but browsing in second hand bookshops, and the lovely smell of real books, is a whole different matter. My husband and I are both keen cooks – he does fantastic gourmet stuff, and the most delicious curries I’ve ever tasted, while I’m far more of a ‘hmm, I think these flavours would probably go nicely together, and does that need another squeeze of lemon?’ hit-and-miss kind of amateur. I love to travel, although that probably makes me sound a bit more energetic than I actually am, because once I’ve explored the new and exotic places I enjoy nothing more than lying in a hammock with a good book! I love, love, love throwing parties (the one after my launch the other night was a corker), swimming in the sea, and nothing – nothing in the world – beats a long boozy lunch on a beach!

Thanks Lucy!

Vanity is out now. Look out for my review, which is coming up later today.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Cover Reveal for Sophie's Encore by Nicky Wells with excerpt and giveaway

 Nicky Wells is here today to celebrate the cover reveal for her third book, Sophie’s Encore. Read on for:
Here’s your chance to win an advance review copy of Sophie’s Encore or Rock Star Romance SWAG!
Sophie’s Encore
Her rock star is waiting in the wings, but will he get a second chance?
 It’s all change for Sophie Jones—only this time, there is more at stake than just her happiness.
Rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, has been her patient and caring friend through the highs and lows since her wedding day, but now he figures it is time for her to start over. By stealth, the rock singer draws Sophie into the behind-the-scenes work for his band’s latest album. Through the days and weeks spent together at the mixing desk, Sophie discovers whole new horizons for her life, yet before she can even begin to explore them, she faces the very real threat of losing her rock star for good.
Join Sophie and Dan in Sophie’s Encore to find out how their journey will end…
Cover design: Nicky Wells and Chad Lichtenhan

Whoa! What do you make of this? And to intrigue you further, Nicky has shared this excerpt of Sophie’s Encore:
Sophie’s Encore: Excerpt
My bedroom door opened slowly and Dan crept in. All thought of sleep forgotten, I flicked the light back on and was met by an astonishing sight. There was Dan, the rock star, legend for his antics on and off stage, clad in a demure pair of checked pajamas with a button-up top and a mismatched, stripy dressing gown. His feet were stuffed into fluffy slippers, and he clutched a bottle and two glasses in his hands.
“Come on,” he whispered. “Dinner is served.”
I giggled and left my bed, grabbing my own stripy dressing gown and a pair of thick socks.
“What are you doing?” I breathed into his ear, but he simply took my hand and pulled me down the dark corridor toward the open-plan lounge.
“Have a seat,” he invited me and gestured at the dining table, which was once again laid, although only for two, complete with candles and napkins.
He set down the bottle and glasses and scurried off to shut the lounge door. While he busied himself in the kitchen, I basked in the heat from the fire which Dan had re-stoked, and observed my rock star with some degree of amusement.
Within a few minutes, he brought a dish of smoked salmon bites to the table, followed by olive bread, a cheese board, various cold meats, olives, pickled anchovies, and prawns with some sort of aioli dip. He popped the cork on the bottle of champagne, poured two glasses, and sat down, satisfied at last.
Now we can eat,” he announced. “Tapas. What do you think?”
I raised my glass. “Cheers,” I giggled. “So that’s what you meant earlier. I think it’s amazing. It’s like a midnight feast. I’m just waiting for matron to discover us and give us detention. Why all the secrecy?”
Dan speared a prawn and pointed it at me. “Well, for one, as you say, matron will certainly come and give us detention. Peter is very strict on my sleep regimen, you see.” He dipped the prawn into the aioli before popping it into his mouth. The beatific look on his face and his scrunched up eyes suggested he was enjoying this humble treat far more than was warranted.
He swallowed and cleared his throat. “And for another, I’m on a strict diet. Every last bit of cheese gets weighed, the carbohydrates counted, the sugar added up. It’s really tedious.” He grimaced.
I helped myself to some bread and salmon. “Tedious indeed, I can see that. But why? I thought you were supposed to eat lots and get better.” I chewed greedily, my tummy having given an impressive rumble.
Dan speared another prawn and added a mountain of cheese and bread to his place. “Bliss,” he murmured before explaining further. “I’m supposed to eat healthy, not lots. So Peter has taken it upon himself to reform the bad eating habits of a lifetime. Bless him, it’s what he’s paid to do. I’ve been going along with it, and I have to admit, I’m feeling pretty good. But…”
He grinned his school-boy grin, took a big mouthful of food, washed it down with a large gulp of champagne, and finished his thought. “Well, it gets boring. And I wanted to do something special with you. On my own.”
I burst out laughing, but quieted down when I saw the alarm on Dan’s face.
“Sorry,” I whispered.
“Peter’s bedroom is right next door there,” Dan whispered back. “And he’s a light sleeper.” He pointed his finger, and we sat in silence for a minute, straining to hear.
“I think we’re okay,” Dan finally concluded and resumed eating.
I giggled softly. “Naughty, naughty, us.”
“Ha, we’re not naughty yet,” Dan shot back, speaking softly as well. “I was working up to that part.”
He winked, and my heart skipped and jumped. He didn’t mean—he couldn’t mean what I thought he meant?
“What do you mean?” I bumbled, hoping for clarification, but Dan was enjoying himself.
“All in good time,” he teased. “Let’s finish our meal first.”
The Giveaway
 Nicky wants to share her excitement about this cover reveal and upcoming release with you! She’s offering a giveaway — Enter for your chance to win:


One of TWO Sophie’s ENCORE Advance Review e-Copies
 One Sophie’s RUN Mug
 One Rock Star Romance Trilogy SWAG Pack featuring postcards and bookmarks
The small print! Entrants must be aged 18 or over. Giveaway is open internationally. Winners will be drawn via Rafflecopter.


Friday, 12 July 2013

Review of The Distinguished Assassin by Nick Taussig

If you like historically accurate, emotionally charged reads, then this is for you! We accompany Aleksei  Klebnikov, a noted History professor at Moscow University as he becomes a victim of Stalin`s post-WW11 purges against those who speak, however mildly, against the Communist regime. He is removed from his wife Natasha and talented dancer daughter Katya, interrogated in the Lubyanka and sent  to a notorious gulag called Kolyma in the far reaches of Siberia. Here he is worked to near death then put in solitary to rot after attacking a cruel guard. He is befriended by a fellow prisoner, the powerful thief-in-law Ivan Ivanovich , who helps him to escape on condition that he assassinates six of the most powerful Communists, or nomenclatura.

Aleksei  fulfils his promise for five of the men but, having been reunited with Natasha whom he thought had been unfaithful with his arresting officer Vladimir Vladimirovich, decides to ignore the last man on the list. However, it turns out that the nomenclatura not the only heartless, cruel and corrupt group of people with whom the Soviet citizens have to live. How can Aleksei bear any more pain?
The book explores in detail Stalin`s overwhelming repression of the Soviet people and his methods of control. The subjects of power v helplessness, betrayal v faithfulness, religion v godlessness, rich v poor and truth v duplicity are all deeply explored. In my opinion Nick Taussig encapsulates the human condition succinctly without judgment.  

Reviewed by Liz.

Thanks Liz and thank you to ED PR for sending us a copy to review.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Giveaway and Review of The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegrino

I am a huge fan of novels set in Italy and was very excited about reading The Food of Love Cookery School. It the first book by Nicky Pellegrino that I have read and I thought it was fantastic. 

Four women arrive in Sicily to begin a one week cooking course in the Sicilian town of Favio. They are all from different walks of life and different parts of the world. Poppy is from Australia and is recently divorced, Valerie has come from New York and is grieving for her partner who sadly died a year earlier, Tricia is a high flying barrister from London and Moll is a food blogger also from London. By the end of the week, each of their lives will have changed in different, even Luca Amore, the owner of the cookery school will find his life altered.

My favourite part of the book was the description of all of the food that they cooked and tasted on the various day trips. It sounded delicious and my mouth was watering just thinking about it. Pellegrino has clearly spent a lot of time researching Sicilian dishes and this comes across very strongly in the novel.

 This is a lovely, heart warming and compelling story that combines holidays, delicious food, romance and friendship. I really enjoyed reading this book and read it over the space of two days. The setting was very evocative and the characters felt like old friends by the last page. Pellegrino has cleverly interwoven the narrative, so that each of the four women and Luca have an equal voice. I thought that this helped me get to know them and also to see what they are thinking about certain situations.

The Food of Love Cookery School is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. There are also some recipes at the back of the book, which make a lovely addition. I was also very excited to see that Luca’s cooking school was based on a real cookery school in Sicily which the author attended, this has given me a couple of ideas for future holidays!

5 stars

Thank you to Orion for sending me a copy to review.
Orion have kindly allowed us to giveaway 5 copies of The Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegrino. The giveaway is open to UK entrants only and closes on 31st July 2013. To enter, please re-tweet this post or leave a comment below.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Review of The State We're In by Adele Parks

I can’t believe that this is the first Adele Parks book that I have read, it is beautifully written and I will definitely be looking out for more books by this author.

Thirty five year old Jo is a true romantic and optimist; she believes in fate, happy endings and dreams of finding ‘the one’. When she meets Dean Taylor on a plane to Chicago, Jo instantly feels a strong sense of chemistry between the two of them. However, Jo is on a mission and doesn’t feel that anything could happen between them. At the same time, Dean doesn’t want to accept any feeling for Jo and finds it difficult to trust people after a tragic childhood. However, when he begins telling Jo all about his family and upbringing, he realises that there must be a special connection between them for these are aspects of his life that he has never discussed with anyone apart from his sister.

The narrative flicks between four main characters – Jo, Dean, Clara and Eddie. I loved this aspect of the book, as it allows the reader to get to know each character and look behind the scenes at their lives. It is a story which focuses on family, friendship, love and hope.

 This is an amazing novel that will have you laughing, crying and hoping that Jo gets her fairytale dreams to come true. It is full of surprises and really kept me on my toes. I’ve kept this review quite short as I don’t want to give any of the storyline away, but I urge you to read it. I loved it and highly recommend this wonderful book.

5 stars

Thank you to Headline for sending me a copy to review.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Blog Tour for Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float Before he Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson

I'm delighted to welcome Kerry Hudson to the blog today as part part of the blog tour for 'Tony Hudson Bought me an Ice Cream Float before he stole my ma'

Guest Post by Kerry Hudson

What is it that makes us sit down regularly with a few imaginary people, often for years at a time? We give up nights out, time with loved ones, holidays are spent in a shady spot to avoid glare of the sun on the laptop screen. Make no mistake, writing a novel – not even a good one, just 80,000 words of story - is not easy. It can be hugely enjoyable, it is a privilege to be able to but it also requires a lot of courage, commitment, time and hard work to take on the challenge of something the size of a novel.

Like most writers I embarked on my first novel Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Before He Stole My Ma not thinking there was a hope in hell it would be published. I'd been writing short stories for about a year, placing in a few competitions and literary magazines, but I'd never attempted a novel, and everywhere I read how impossible it was to get a debut novel published. Still, I took six months off from the charity I worked for, went off to Vietnam and set out to write one.

Why? I started writing a novel because I'd always wanted to, because I was finding it so hard to stay in those short story confines, because I knew there were some people who thought I wouldn't or couldn't. I wanted to write Tony particular because I wanted to shine a light on the love, laughter, fight and energy in Britain's less salubrious streets with dignity and because I'd found few books that had. I wrote it because it was a way of understanding and paying due acknowledgement to my own background, so similar to Janie Ryan's, the protagonist of my novel. Those are the reasons I started writing the novel but I kept on writing because getting up each day and sitting down with the story, with those sweary, spirited Ryan women, was a pure joy.

I don't know why I choose what I choose to write about beyond the fact that I have something to communicate and that I'm curious or angry or captivated enough about something to want to explore that. Writing your first novel isn't easy, your second definitely isn't any easier either, but it feels like a kind of magic to be able to sit and create a whole world with nothing but your mind. Perhaps that's why we all put in the hard work and continue to be inspired, continue to work, continue try our best to do our imaginations justice. 

You can find out more about Kerry on her website:

Kerry is also running a competition on twitter:
'Want to win a signed copy of Tony Hogan? I'm  trying to put together a Tony Hogan soundtrack. Simply submit your song suggestion to me @kerryswindow on Twitter with the hashtag #tonyhogantune by the end of Monday 8th of July. If your song is one of the ten selected for the soundtrack (and you were the first to suggest it!) I'll send you a signed copy of Tony Hogan.'

Friday, 5 July 2013

The Cordello Quest by Joanna Gawn with Ron Dickerson

I am delighted to welcome Joanna Gawn to the blog today. Here is some information about The Cordello Quest and a giveaway:
What would you do if you found yourself in another world? If you were told you had a key role to play in the lives of a people you never knew existed? That you had been a part of their legend for centuries? Who would you rely on? The Cordello Quest is a tale of hope, trust and faith. It is a tale of magic and mystery ... of making the most of your inner knowing. It is a tale of doing the right thing ... wherever you are. It is a tale of tuning in to your most aware self. Most of all, it is a tale of the power of love and light.

An Extract from The Cordello Quest

Charls walked towards me, his hand concealing the object that he'd removed from the table drawer.

 “Keira, I believe this will help you in your time here; I am sure that it will give you guidance on how to use your energy to its best advantage.”

He handed the object to me. It was a small, thin book, about the size of a postcard, and I guessed it contained no more than forty to fifty pages.

“It is my great–grandmother's journal. She entrusted it to me when she moved on to her new life.”

 I was puzzled. “Sorry, Charls; I don't understand. Where did she go?”

 “Ah. 'Move on' is the term we use when someone dies. We consider the process to be a transition to another place just as 'real' as this one.”

“Oh! I see.” Well, I thought I did. I waited for Charls to continue.

“This treasured little book has the capacity to teach you about lovelight, positive thinking, the power of prayer, belief, love and co–operation, and will help you to understand how best to develop your skills so that you can assist us.”

I took the book as gently as I could. Feeling a reverence that I had not felt before, I carefully lifted the cover, faded now to a soft dove grey, and examined the first written page. The writing was clear and firm, despite its age. I read: “This journal belongs to Aida Charlotte Evangeline, Lady of Cordello.”

As I read her name, a jolt of electricity pulsed through me. I felt the strangest, strongest connection with Aida, simply by touching her book and reading her words. Charls noticed my reaction. “Keira? Is everything okay?”

A little shaken, I nodded my head. “I just had what felt like an electric shock. And I don't think it's static from your carpet," I joked. I stroked the aged paper and received a muted version of the same sensation. “It's like there's some sort of power in the book, which I access when I touch it.” I looked up at Charls, wondering what his response would be. He had tears filming his eyes.

“Oh Keira . . . you are picking up Lady Aida's energetic vibration through your hands. You must have a natural affinity and skill for reading energy from objects. You could be more valuable to us in our mission than we first thought possible. At present, there is no–one in Cordello with this ability. This must be why my inner guidance prompted me to give you her book.”

 An Interview with character Lady Aida

Joanna: Hello, Lady Aida, thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions.

Lady Aida: I’m pleased to be here, Joanna and Ron. Thank you for having me.

Joanna: First of all, what’s it like being an Ascended Reikan?

Lady Aida: It’s extremely rewarding. My assignment has been interesting, to say the least. Being able to offer guidance to awakening humans is a joy.

Ron: Lady Aida, when you were writing in your journal - the one used by Keira when she was in Cordello - did you have any idea that it would become so important?

Lady Aida: No, not at all. Writing the journal was simply my way of making sense of my learning, and tracking my own development in the use of crystals, lovelight and intuition. I was heartened to see that Keira gained so much from my own experiences.

Joanna: When you were working with crystals, did you ever have a favourite?

Lady Aida: I would not have been able to choose, my dear. Their frequencies are different, and each has its own value. It would be like asking me to choose a favourite niece or nephew. I do have a fondness for the quartz crystals, however, and appreciated the warm tones and shades of the Tiger’s Eye.

Ron: Of all the places you’ve seen, do you have a favourite?

Lady Aida: Cordello, without a doubt. True, I have travelled to many worlds, seen many wonderful things. And I was very fond of Reika, of course. But . . . Cordello is home, and I am always glad to return to its green valleys and to my own people.

Joanna: What is your favourite colour?

Lady Aida: I have no favourite, dear. All colour is light, and to choose from among the light is not possible.

Ron: If you could be any animal, what would you choose?

Lady Aida: I believe I would choose to be an eagle. Soaring high, with wide perspectives and clear sight. I am fond of flying, as you know.


Joanna: A final question for you, Lady Aida. Do you have a favourite word?

Lady Aida: Oh yes, dear. It is Love.

Joanna: I should have known you’d say that! Thank for your time, Lady Aida.

Lady Aida: It’s been a pleasure. Goodbye.


The Cordello Quest – 1 x ecopy mobi, epup, pdf

To enter, please re-tweet this post or leave a comment below. Giveaway closes 31st July 2013.


Three Matches

Joanna’s short tale ~
“You only have three matches,” the man announced. “Use them wisely.” He turned the key in the lock behind him as he left. The light was snapped off, leaving me marooned in the blackness. Heart plummeting, legs weak, I sank into the chair. Trapped. The only person who could get me out of this was me.
I lit the first match, a quivering glow of light leaping around the small room’s walls. It wasn’t long before the flame burned my fingers, the match dropping uselessly to the tiled floor. The darkness seemed even deeper than before.
I willed myself to sit in the darkness for a while, to let it become my friend rather than my enemy. I could see nothing - but that didn’t mean I needed to be scared, did it? It was just like closing my eyes; the room was still there, unchanged. Only my perception was different.
In response, my hearing sharpened. There was a scuffling in the corner. Rats?
When I could bear it no longer, I ignited the second match and peered towards the noise. Small black shapes milled around, tumbling over each other with fluid grace. A gap appeared; I could see the hole they were using to bring nesting material inside.
“Ouch!” I cried, the flame singeing my fingertips. The spent match slipped from my hand, darkness wrapping around me once again. I took a deep breath. Only one match left. Carefully, I moved towards the rats. My timing would have to be perfect. I struck the match, and the animals fled with high squeals. Grabbing the bundle of straw they’d been using, I set it aflame. Holding it high above me, I blew on the blazing straw, fanning the flames wider and higher, sending smoke billowing throughout the room.
The smoke alarm pealed and the door was flung open. Crouching low to the floor, below the smoke, I scrambled out, straight into the man’s legs. He grabbed my arms, lifting me upright.
He smiled his approval.
“Well done,” he grinned. “You passed that challenge with flying colours. Are you ready for the next one?”
“Bring it on!” I replied.
Ron’s poem ~
The fire from the past still remains
Though darker and dimmed by the year
It guides, it answers and misleads
As memories mix and appear
The flame of today burns so bright
As source is consumed in its path
The flicker shows end is in sight
Rejoice in the light and the warmth
Don’t rush to the future bemused
In time the glow will all catch
Keep safe, keep dry, keep unused
The potent from belief will sure match
 These short pieces were first published in Edition #3 of Creations, the Lazuli Portals Newsletter. Click here to sign up for free.
About the Authors
Joanna Gawn is an author, energy-healing practitioner and wife. She loves writing, reading, spreadsheets, National Trust gardens, and inspiring scenery. Dartmoor and Brittany are two of her favourite places. She and her husband are owned by two cats. Joanna is a chocoholic, and is also partial to cake.
Ron Dickerson is a Cornishman with a background in rugby, business and Round Table/Rotary; perhaps not the expected connections for writing spiritual adventure novels! He has a deep love of books and superb writing. He is an intuitive natural healer. He and his wife also have two cats.
Joanna and Ron are currently writing the sequel to The Cordello Quest, entitled Mosaic of Light. They also write short stories (published as ebooks), flash fiction and poetry.
How to connect with us, and where to find our books