Monday, 30 April 2018

How does Your Garden Grow?


    It's National Gardening Week in the UK this week. There is nothing more wonderful than reading a book on a beautiful sunny day surrounded by flowers, buzzing bees and butterflies.

    To me an ideal garden will include some quite little nooks where I can just enjoy my chosen read and the beauty of nature.

        I've included some photographs today of my choice.

             “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

                             Marcus Tullius Cicero 

Friday, 27 April 2018

Meet Author Toya Richardson


       With an impressive ten titles under her belt, I'm delighted to introduce you to UK based author and writer of multigenre fiction, Toya Richardson. She has kindly agreed to a Q&A feature which I know you will love.



  • Toya, thank you for featuring today. Please could you tell my readers how you found your way into the writing world?
Hi, thank you for having me. I've been writing since I was quite young. My mum always encouraged me to use my imagination and read as much as I could. She would also make up stories for me. For years, I'd been saying I wanted to write a book and the first one I wrote, Flame, first came to be around twenty years ago. She was desperate to see me published but she passed away before she could see it happen. Her death was the catalyst for me to attempt to realise my dream.Writing, quite literally, saved my life and in 2014 I finally achieved my goal. Each book I am fortunate enough to write dedicated to her.

  • Your first book 'Flame' published by Little Bird Publishing House is a contemporary romance with a thriller twist. When did you initially come up with the idea for the book?
I actually published my first book, eBook only, with Red Sage Publishing. It is part of an eight book paranormal romance series. Flame, which as I said I wrote around twenty years ago, was a Eureka moment. I was in the bath listening to music by George Michael, not my usual choice of music. I had a vision of a couple by a beach in the pouring rain and bam, Flame was born. It was so powerful that I stood up and shot out of the bath in search of paper and pen!
  • I mentioned in my introduction that you are a multigenre fiction writer. Since writing, Flame, you have ventured into a paranormal romance series and a young adult fantasy series. how did that come about?
The YA Fantasy just popped into my head one day. I initially had an agent for this one, but it didn't get taken up by any publishers. At this point, I'd started to write a book based around modern day Atlanteans living on Earth. Again, the idea just kind of appeared in my mind. I sent it to my agent, but it wasn't something he specialised in. He did get someone to read it for me and they said it could fit into the same genre as Nora Roberts and Sherrylin Kenyon. After that I started  to read some of their work. Until this moment, I had never heard of paranormal romance!
  • What age groups are your books aimed at?
The contemporary and paranormal romances are for aged eighteen and over. The YA from around twelve to thirteen and up.
  • How did you decide on the eight  titles of your paranormal romance series, published by, Red Sage Publishing, The Eternal Love of the Seekers?
Titles are always tricky for me and I find them harder to write than the actual book. In the end, I based it on what was happening in the actual books. Battling the Demons, book three for example is about mental rather than physical demons.

  • Do you have any favourite characters in your books?
I love all my characters, but I do have two couples who are my favourites. Drew Greenaway and Elise De Silva in the paranormal romance because of their slow burning love. They have to go through so much before they become a couple.

Erin Munroe and Levi Sanders are another favourite.Their book, Destination Redemption, will be  released sometime next year. It's a contemporary romance set in Cromer on the North Norfolk Coast of the UK. Levi blames himself for the death of his family, even though it wasn't his fault. Erin is still grieving for her baby who was stillborn. The couple have to overcome some major issues such as depression and self-harming. It's a beautiful story and they're a wonderful couple in need of love.
  • Finally Toya, you have an upcoming release in June, can you give us a little teaser?      
I have been lucky enough to secure a contract with Troll River Publications for a series of five contemporary beachside romances. Destination Love, is due out on 1st June  2018. I'm very excited about this one. It's based in Waiheke Island in New Zealand and like each one in this series, I have been fortunate to visit each location.

         Here is the blurb and teaser for you....

Destination Love Book Blurb

"I've had enough of men to last me a lifetime. Think I'll stick to writing about perfect heroes from now on. Guys who can't hurt me, or give me grief." Is going to be Faith Morgan's mantra from now on.

After finally leaving her unsupportive and unloving boyfriend when her romance novel is signed to a large publishing house. Her best friend suggests she visits her aunt on Waiheke Island in New Zealand to get away from it all. She jumps at the chance and Faith vows to steer clear of men. What she doesn't expect is to find love in the shape of sexy local businessman, Dean Jameson.

As their relationship becomes more intense they admit their feelings for each other. Together they overcome stressful encounters with their ex partners and life is great. When her return date looms closer, they begin to fear for their future.Will their love survive the distance, or will it fade when  they're miles apart? 


Faith let out the frustrated breath she'd been holding when Dean reappeared.
"Sorry about that. Are you ready to go?" 
"One minute, Dean, come and clean the mess off the stove before you go, please."
"But, Dad..."
" No buts. I need to focus on making a fresh batch of sauce. You made the mess. You clean it up."
The tension between her and Dean was driving her insane. It took all her strength not to demand that
Ian let them go. Retaking her seat, she attempted to focus on her aunt and Mel's conversation.
What's taking him so long?
Several long minutes later, Dean reappeared. Grabbing her hand, he almost dragged her to the door.
"What's the hurry, Dean?"
"Please, Mum, if I don't take Faith out here now we'll miss the sunset."
"Dean..." Ian had reappeared from the kitchen.
"Not now, Dad."
Faith almost laughed at the desperation in his tone.
"Eager to get me on my own?" she asked.
"You have no idea," he murmured in a low voice.
They walked in silence until they reached a beautiful grassy terraced area which looked out over the vineyard, through the trees and on to the ocean. He took her hand in his. She shivered under his touch.
"You're trembling. Are you cold?" His words sounded like velvet seduction.
"No. I..."
The intonation of his speech made his words sound very intimate. He stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her flush with the hardness of his body. Then he rested his chin on her shoulder and she had to stifle a moan while goose bumps covered her skin.
"Watch, Faith, the sun is about to set."
Placing her hands over his, she relaxed against him and watched the sun start its journey downwards. She let out a tiny gasp.The yellow disc appeared to grow bigger for a while, before it slowly began to shrink. Its golden rays spread out across the water like a soft, shimmering cloth.
The sea rippled like liquid gold. The yellow was surrounded by an orange hue, spreading warmth
upon the sea.
"Oh, Dean, that was beautiful. I've never seen a sunset like it. Not ever."
Turning in his arms, she placed a light kiss on his lips. His mouth descended on hers. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth to him. His mouth captured hers and moved in an unhurried, slow, seductive pace.
A moan escaped her lips. An encouragement to deepen their embrace. Teeth nipped at her bottom lip. His tongue slipped inside her mouth, skilfully turning her body to mush. Her hands tangled in his hair, tugging him closer. Possessive growls made her stomach flip. Domineering sounds which turned her on even more. Hands slid gently down her bare back. She squirmed and shivered with each teasing caress.


I love getting to know my fellow authors and today has been a pleasure. Readers you can find out more about Toya and her books by clicking on the links below.




Monday, 23 April 2018

To Leven-Water

    18th century author and poet Tobias Smollet was born in Dumbartonshire, Scotland. A place with picturesque scenery and one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland, Loch Lomond, is located. The River Leven, which Smollet features in the following poem flows into the loch and his words bring the poem alive. I can nearly hear the ripples of the water and see the trout and salmon leaping as they make there way up river.

Loch Lomond

To Leven-Water

On Leven's banks, while free to rove
And tune the rural pipe to love
I envied not the happiest swain
That ever trod the Arcadian plain
Pure stream! In whose transparent wave
My youthful limbs I want to lave
No torrents stain they limpid source
No rocks impede they dimpling course
That sweetly warbles over its bed
With white, round, polished pebbles spread
While, lightly poised, the scaly brood
In myriads cleave thy crystal flood
The springing trout, in speckled pride
The salmon monarch of the tide
The ruthless pike, intent on war
The silver eel, and mottled par 
Devolving from thy parent lake
A charming maze thy waters make
By bowers of birch, and groves of pine
And hedges flowered with eglantine
Still on thy banks, so gaily green
May numerous hers and flocks be seen
And lasses chanting over the pail
And shepherd piping in the dale
And ancient faith that knows no guile
And industry enbrowned with toil
And hands resolved, and hands prepared
The blessings they enjoy to guard

Eglantine (Briar)

                       By Tobias Smollet  1721-1771

Friday, 20 April 2018

Salvation Hyperlink to Lost Souls


Day 5: Stairway to the Stars contd

"You are looking at her. Meet my good friend Aurora Borealis. She is going to help us onward. It will all make sense, very soon. Please stay silent," says Nanuq.

Suddenly the colors in the sky seem to fold into each other, the separate beams merge, and form into a cloud like formation. It twists, turns, and swirls. It’s now bright green. OMG, the end of the spiraling cloud is coming down towards us.

Dan, help us,” pleads Si.

Beth is looking more than a little flabbergasted. For once she doesn’t speak in unison with her brother.

There is nothing to be afraid of, Aurora is ready, she will take us to the Land of Shadows,” says Nanuq.

The green cloud has stopped swirling, and is now stationary above us. If I wasn’t seeing it with my own eyes I wouldn’t believe it. There are stairs coming down out of the green cloud and they’re made out of stars.

We three amigos gasp. I mean around here an Aurora Borealis can be seen on a regular basis, but never with stairs coming out of it.

"We must climb the stairs Aurora has kindly provided. They will take us to the Land of Shadows," says Nanuq in a booming voice.

"Kids are you sure you want to do this? I can go on my own," I say, looking at Si and Beth. The two kids look absolutely terrified. Thank goodness you can't see me, because I probably look terrified too.

"Dan, thanks but we're both coming along," says Beth, taking hold of her brother's hand. She outstretches her free hand towards me. I smile and take hold of it.

"Okay, Nanuq. Lead the way; we're ready," I say.

"There are many steps to climb and as many to descend, but once you step onto the ground, you will be in the Land of Shadows. Then I will take you to meet another good friend of mine, he has made arrangements for your forward journey."

"Will you be coming with us all the way Nanuq?" I ask. I release myself from Beth's tight grip. She looks at me with those big ebony eyes. Whoa. Back to business, I stand in between them. Not her eyes nitwit. I stand in between the two siblings, and I take both of them by the hand. I can feel a surge of strength leave me, and push into Si and Beth. I’m hopeful that it will give them the power both emotionally, and physically to carry on.

"I'm afraid I cannot travel with you beyond the house of the gatekeeper. If I did I would never be able to return to Earth. But you will be safe in the hands' of the gatekeeper."

"We understand. Lead the way then, Nanuq," I say. I squeeze each of my friends hands. Si gives my hand a big squeeze back, but loosens his grip slightly on my hand.

We have a bromance but we're just not serious yet. Ha, ha.

Alternatively Beth is holding my hand so tight that I'm struggling to keep my particles together. "We can take one step at a time together guys, and if you want to turn back at any time, you can. Okay?"

"Okay, but I won't," says Si.

"And I won't either," says Beth. 
Nanuq, makes a big roaring sound, I'm not worried though. His demeanor tells me that he's happy not angry. But nevertheless, Beth flinches. I can feel her arm stiffen. I gently pull it towards me, to reassure her. She turns her head towards me, she smiles sweetly, and her arm relaxes.

Our spirit guide starts to ascend the stairs and we three amigos follow on; the stairs sparkle below our feet. I'm determined not to look down, in case I get a severe attack of vertigo. I suggest you don't either, unless you fancy falling down, plop, into the great void below. I would just float of course, like one of the little white feather's that molt frequently from angels wing’s.

You've bound to have noticed them, as they glide effortlessly through the air to the ground. You didn't think the white feather that you saw the other week came from a bird did you? Duh.

Okay, I won't describe a feather floating in a flowery way again, for the moment anyway. The stairs are very steep, and they seem to go on and on for ever; we're now inside the aurora borealis. The colors around us continue to change all the time.

"Dan do you have any idea what we're going to find when we get there?" asks Si.

"I'm sorry Si. At present I know as much as you do. But we're in this together, all three of us." 
Si, nods his head, and Beth squeezes my hand again. I could get used to Beth doing that on a regular basis. I mean on a professional basis only, not that I would entertain her stroking my hand romantically. Hold your loose-tongue.

Nanuq stops ahead of us, he's panting heavily. He needs to go down the gym.

"Don't worry my children, I'm going to disappear from your sight. But you will see me when you step onto this top step." Nanuq shouts his words to be heard over the loud whistling noise that can be heard. "The whistling noise you hear. Are the winds of change. Do not fear." Nanuq drops out of our sight.

"Come on, it won't be long." I encourage my friends.

We reach the topmost step, and we see Nanuq is descending slowly. He turns round, and lets out one of those big roars again. Si, and Beth both sigh. Are you being silly again? They're not both called Si, or sigh for that matter. Forget it, the two kids probably exhale air with relief, in seeing that Nanuq hasn't vanished into thin air, and left us on our lonesome.  
We start to go down the steps after him. I can't see where they stop at present. I'll tell you when I can. You're very impatient. I'm the guy it's doing the physical activity here, whilst you're lying in bed, lying on a beach, or driving a car. Oh you can't read when you drive a car. Okay, you’re sitting in class. Whoa, you can't read me there either. Put me away and get on with the lesson. I jest. You’re not as irresponsible as that. You’re a good kid, my best friend. Puuuke.

Hey we’re descending these steps much quicker than we climbed them.

Look kids, we’re nearly there,” I say.

Thank goodness,” say Si and Beth in unison.

One more, and we’ll be back on terra firma,” I tighten my grip on both of their hands. Beth’s hand is surprisingly unresponsive, but Si responds by clasping my hand firmly. We’ve stepped off the staircase, my legs are aching. Aurora could sure be doing with converting the stairway into an escalator. We walk forward to join Nanuq.

Welcome to the Land of Shadows my children,” says Nanuq. “We will rest for a while, and then you will meet with the gatekeeper.” He bounds forward like a spring lamb. I don’t know where he’s got his energy from. But I’ll have a bottle of whatever he’s having. I let go of the hand’s of Si and Beth. The two of them are standing with there mouths wide open. I look around; yeah, I can see why they’re gawping. This place is lush, and green; not a bit of snow in sight. Oh, and I should tell you that it’s no longer dark. The sun is shining in a cloudless sky. I don’t know if they were expecting it to look like Tuk. Who knows?

The Wind of Change begins to whistle even louder than it was doing before.

Safe journey, my children. When you are ready to return home, I will be here.” A woman’s voice comes from behind us. We all turn around, and standing on the bottom step of the staircase is a very beautiful woman. She’s not a kid, but a woman. She’s very petite, dressed in a silver off the shoulder long gown, and her long hair is being swept back away from her goorgeous face by the Wind of change. Even weirder, is that her hair keeps changing color. It’s an awesome spectacle. “Safe journey Nanuq.”

Nanuq stops in his tracks, and turns around. “Goodbye, Aurora my beauty,” says Nanuq. The old smoothy. Aurora waves, and she slowly evaporates into a multicolored mist that matches the bands that make up the twisting, turning Borealis.

She’s gone. She’s merged into the cloud, which is now levitating above ground. The stars that made up the stairway have started to disperse, and are scattering themselves throughout the Borealis. The wind is now blowing hard. The Borealis moves away, away, and it’s gone. The Wind of Change, stops whistling and there is now no wind blowing at all.

Come children time to rest.” Nanuq walks on, and the three of us look at each other, bamboozled, that’s us. Listen I’ve got a bit of thinking to do. Can we catch up later? Great. See you, don’t want to be you. Ha, ha. 

 Available from Amazon worldwide, Barnes&Noble, Waterstones Bookstores(available to order) and other outlets.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Salvation Hyperlink to Lost Souls Extract


Day 5: Stairway to the Stars

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw who was accompanying Nanuq. Could you?

Oh, I didn’t tell you; it’s Beth.

What are you doing here Beth? Dan tell her to go back!” Si sounds agitated.

She’s my sister too,” says Beth.

Beth, this could be dangerous. You’d be better going back.” I say.

Grandfather already tried to talk me out of it. But I’m coming with you, and that’s that,” says Beth with dogged determination.

She has to go with us. I have no time to take her back. We must go now, or we will not be able to get to the Land of Shadows for maybe another week, or so,” says Nanuq.

If you’re coming along Beth, it’s no use being mulish,” says Si.

Guys, we need to follow Nanuq, and you both need to stop acting like a couple of  kids.” I say. I’m not always Mr. Amenable, so you better watch out. Ha, ha.

Nanuq has started to walk down the tunnel on the right. I knew I was right to tell Si to wait for the big guy. If I had followed Si’s lead we’d have been off down the wrong route. I’m first in line behind him. Beth is behind me, then Si. We three kids are pretty quiet. I should explain that it’s quite bright down here. Although I’m not sure where the light is coming from.

The walls are a shiny, steel gray color. But as we make our way along the passageway the walls are getting brighter, and brighter. They twinkle as the light which I now realize is coming from up ahead, reflects off them. It’s as though they’re encrusted with little diamonds. Little flashes of red, various shades of blue and green catch my eye.

It’s pretty cold down here, but I really don't feel too cold. I thought I would, but hey, ho. It’s probably because I don’t have any blood, and lots of adrenalin pumping through me. Duh, that must be it. If you know email me. No don’t, my android has crashed again. What’s new?

Are you two behind me okay?” I shout out, but I don’t look back. Because I can see that the tunnel forks up ahead, and I don't want to lose sight of Nanuq who is now charging on at a fair rate of knots. It's pretty unlikely that I would lose sight of him though, because Nanuq’s great mass just squeezes through the width of the tunnel.

He's squeezing through this tunnel similar to the way toothpaste does inside a tube. I can only see passed him if I jump up, and look over the top of him. Which I am doing every now, and again.

Yes, we’re okay.” They do that triplet thing, but as twins. Eh, I mean they both call out together.

We take the tunnel to the left, the light is getting real bright. I should have brought some shades. Nanuq is slowing down, and the tunnel is now beginning to open up.

The light is so bright I can hardly see. All four of us are now standing in an atrium, a beam of green light from the night sky, illuminates the space.

The sky is amazing, it continually changes from green, to red, to blue, back to green. The reflection of the varying sky is responsible for the colors on the walls of the tunnels. I watch Nanuq, as he stares up at the bright colored, star filled sky.

"We must wait, Aurora will let us know," says Nanuq. He doesn't take his eyes away from the sky. 
"Are we meeting up with an other spirit?" I ask.


Available from Amazon worldwide, Barnes&Noble, Waterstones Bookstores(available to order) and other outlets.

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Library

The Library

The silence is broken
Only one word has been spoken

The cough, the sneeze, thud and laughter titter
Is treated here like dropping litter

The smell of polished wood, leather top tables and dusty air make me sneeze
If I dare

Do I dislike being here?
On the contrary, I'm surrounded by my friends, the books
I'm in my world, in the library

 Christina Rowell

First posted August 2015

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Be awesome! Be a book Nut!

"A child who reads will be an adult who thinks"

    Children can be reluctant readers. Some boys and girls would rather tidy their bedroom than read. Em, give me a book anytime, over household chores. A new bookstore has recently opened in my local shopping mall and being a regular visitor, I love looking through all the books that are available for children, before I even check out the adult section.

    With the wide choice available both in bookstores and libraries (when you can find one), I can't really understand why any child wouldn't want to pick up a book, at whatever age.  But, the answer could be that a book is now rather alien to many children.

    When, Jennifer Bhambri-Lyte addressed an audience at the NUT (National Union of Teachers) conference in Brighton, England recently, she told the assemblage of how children are swiping pages of books to turn them.

    I believe that teaching a child to read is not solely the responsibility of the teacher at school, it's crucial in a child's development, therefore reading has to start in the home, as early as possible. If a child doesn't even know how to turn a page we have to question how their whole future will shape up.
'Be awesome! Be a book Nut!'
                                                           Dr Seuss


Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Power of Words


    My mother-in-law, God bless her soul had four and a half fingers on her left hand. Her ring finger having been severed near the lower phalange by an industrial steel press in an aircraft factory where she worked during, WWII.

    The finger stump adorned by her wedding ring was a constant source of curiosity to any small child that was in her company. However, the story she relayed to them was not that of the gory details of the unfortunate accident, but a story to deter her little listeners in engaging in bad habits.

   The tale being that she lost it when she stuck it up her nose. Yes, also slightly unpleasant, but something small children do have a habit of doing on regular occasions.

    Having witnessed her telling this story many times, it never ceased to amaze me that each child's reaction was similar. A reaction of horror and bewilderment.

    Yes, words are powerful if you choose the right audience.


Monday, 2 April 2018

Never Give Up

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up."
                Thomas Edison

     Thomas Edison made around 1000 attempts at inventing the commercially viable light bulb before he was successful. However, as human beings we're very vulnerable to the feeling of failure.   Therefore, we hold back from trying something new, giving up when we believe that our creation is no longer worth the time and effort, or abandon our project because we are overcome by a feeling of hopelessness.

    There have been many inventors who gave up on their inventions and if they hadn't, life could have been very different for them. There wouldn't just have been the financial gain from their royalties, they would have received the recognition they rightly deserved.

    Two examples of inventors who gave up are, Mary Anderson and Douglas Engelbart. Mary invented the prototype of the windshield wiper in the early 20th century (1902) and Douglas, was the man behind the computer mouse (prototype-1964). Both designers stories are similar, due to lack of interest and investment they allowed their patents to expire.

    Earlier this month the inventor of the Baygen Clockwork Radio and many devices for the disabled, Trevor Baylis, died at the age of eighty years. He started a company, Trevor Baylis Brands, to help inventors develop and protect their rights. 

    He was an ardent campaigner against the theft of intellectual property, something that can be a cause of concern for writers, as copyright is included in this category of intangible property. 

    As writers we have so much in common with inventors and it is impossible to tell when we are very close to success. So never give up.