My Writing Journey by guest author Moira Cormack

My friend and fellow author, Morag Cormack stops by the blog today to tell us all about her novel writing. Enjoy her interesting experiences here.


Moira Cormack’s first novel, The Witch of Land and Sea, was published in 2016. It started as a ten minute exercise on a creative writing holiday with Magical Journeys. Since then she has written two more novels which she is in the process of editing and has had short stories and poems published in various anthologies including a scary story, Rush hour, taken up by Tapes and tales.

Moira came to writing later but as her best friend told her – you have always written, diaries and letters, and you have told stories. To her delight she found an old box of this writing in her mother’s loft and is grateful to the sentimentality of her mother. One day there might be a memoir.

Moira is a lover of fairy tales from around the world and this passion infuses her writing and life. She has four daughters and has raised them to share in her wonder of the world around them. They had an aurora phase as a family when she would wake them in the middle of the night and they would go in search of the Northern lights. They never saw them but did see shooting stars and owls on silent wing.

She walks her dog locally every day and tramps through the mud watching the birds and trees. She has great empathy with the Ents in the Lord of the Rings stories and her writing picks up on the local area and turns it magical.

She is currently attempting to read the Booker longlist to form her own opinion before the judges make theirs. She is on book eight out of the thirteen and has formed an opinion already.


Moira can be found on twitter, facebook and Instagram but more often at her computer or running after her children.

Twitter: @cormackmoira


Instagram: cormackmoira

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The Author

Moira lives with her family in Midlothian in Scotland where she provides parenting classes for young families.


Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is a very well-respected Canadian author, but I had never read any of her books so I was pleased when this novel was book of the month at our book group, even if it was 545 pages.alias grace

The novel is based on the true story of Grace who emigrates with her family from Ireland to Canada and is subsequently convicted of murder. This part of the story I found interesting and credible. However, with the introduction of a medical practitioner who had an affair with his landlady and then disappeared followed by another purported medical expert who seemed more like a circus performer, I began to lose interest.Margaret_Atwood_2015

However, the novel does deal with attitudes towards women and the way women were treated in the nineteenth century. This reflects the writers feminist views as to how women are still viewed in society.

It was a novel that divided our book group with equal numbers loving it and loathing it. So Alias Grace is definitely a book that you will need to read to make your own opinion. For me, on the basis of this, I will not seek out other novels by Margaret Atwood.

Val Penny

My Writing and me by guest author Jane Lacey-Crane

I am happy to introduce my friend and fellow author, Jane Lacey-Crane today. She is taking time to tell us about her journey towards becoming a published novellist. Read her interesting story now.

Secrets and Tea book

After the release of my first novel, ‘Secrets and Tea at Rosie Lee’s’, in May 2018, it’s fair to say that I was on a bit of a high. After years of false starts and life getting in the way, I’d finally achieved a long-held dream. I’d wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember and now I was. Finally, I’d cracked it – I’d written enough words to complete a full-length manuscript – all I had to do now was write some more! My contract with my publisher is for three books – so, one down, two to go. This should be easy, I thought, I’ve done it once before, I just needed to get on with it. And then everything stopped. I couldn’t find the words, I had nothing to say and what I did have sounded trite and unimaginative. I quickly realised that ‘Second Book Syndrome’ is a real thing and I was suffering from it badly.

Book One was obviously a fluke,’ I would tell myself, as I sat staring at the cursor flashing on a blank page. ‘I need to let my poor editor know that her faith in me was totally misplaced, it’s obvious that I can’t do this.’

It was only after speaking to some wonderfully supportive fellow writers, that I cam to understand that my blind panic and total lack of confidence, were totally normal. We all feel like frauds, we all feel like one day someone will tap us on the shoulder and say, ‘Excuse me, there’s been a mistake, we never meant to offer you a three-book deal since you aren’t even capable of writing a shopping list, let alone a novel.’

But gradually, with lots of support from my fellow authors, many of whom listened to me whinge about the pain of writing a second book for weeks and weeks, I felt more confident – and I began writing the story of Evie, a widow trying to seize her second chance at life. She’s unsure of what the future holds and in the midst of this uncertainty she meets an old friend; a man who is now a famous movie actor and all-round sex symbol! It’s loosely based on something that happened to me – but I’m not naming any names!

It’s true what they say – you never know when inspiration will strike – in my case it was in a packed cinema in Peterborough, over a giant tub of popcorn – but I’m very glad I eventually found my way out of the writing desert! ‘City of Second Chances’ will be published some time in early 2019. And then the whole process of writing a new book begins all over again. Wish me luck!

Jane Lacey-Crane

The Author

Jane has reached the age now where she no longer tells people her age! She’s old enough to legally be able to do everything and that’s all that matters. ‘Secrets & Tea at Rosie Lee’s’ is Jane’s debut novel. Born and brought up in London’s East End, she now lives in Lincolnshire with her family. Thankfully she recently discovered the joys of mail order pie, mash & liquor, so she can relive her youth anytime she feels like it!

Although writing stories was something that Jane had always done, she never thought anyone would pay her to do it so she focussed on learning to act instead, figuring that this was a much more reliable way to earn a living. Sadly, her career as an actress was shortlived, actually it was non-existent, so she turned her attention to another reliable line of work – Cable Television! This was where Jane managed to finally get paid (badly!) doing something she enjoyed – writing. She began with scripts for a series all about Serial Killers (imaginatively entitled ‘Serial Killers’) and then moved on to a series of history documentaries. This series never saw the light of day in the UK but Jane has been informed that it used be very popular with insomniacs staying in hotels in the Far East. This may or may not be true.

She is currently working on her second contemporary novel for Aria Fiction.

The Theatre of Dreams by guest author Rosie Travers

My friend and fellow author, Rosie Travers recently published her debut novel, The Theatre of Dreams through Crooked Cat Books. If you have not got your copy yet, she is here today to tell you more about it. Thank you for stopping by, Rosie. Over to you.

The Theatre of Dreams is a heartwarming story of new beginnings, with a dash of mystery and a sprinkling of romance. Set in the fictional south coast resort of Hookes Bay it stars an out of work actress, a devious octogenarian and a bankrupt architect, all united by their desire to restore a neglected seaside pavilion, but each with a very different motive.

The Theatre of Dreams was inspired by the historic Lee Tower entertainment complex which used to be situated on the sea front at Lee-on-the-Solent in my native Hampshire. The Art Deco buildings were demolished in 1971 and the site is now a car park. My attention was caught by a notice board commemorating the spot and the idea for a novel was born!

The Theatre of Dreams was published by Crooked Cat Books on 1 August 2018.

Theatre of Dreams

What Readers are saying about The Theatre of Dreams

This book really was a true pleasure to read from first page to the last. I found myself so thoroughly invested in the lives of both Tara and Kitty I was sad to say goodbye to these ladies when the book ended. I challenge anyone to read this book and not become completely enthralled with these characters. The character development in this book was just simply stellar!”

Refreshingly different, wonderful plot, kept me interested till the last page and hungry for more.”

A cleverly crafted romantic mystery tale with well-rounded characters telling of, youth, old age life, death and several other murky ingredient in between.”

The Blurb

Musical theatre actress Tara is down on her luck and in desperate need of a job. 

When terminally-ill octogenarian Kitty invites her to take over the running of her former dance academy in the old-fashioned resort of Hookes Bay, Tara thinks she’s found her guardian angel.

But it soon becomes very clear Kitty is being far from benevolent. Too late, Tara realises helping Kitty will signal the end of an already tarnished career, unless she can pull off the performance of a life-time.

Contact Info


Twitter @RosieTravers


Rosie Travers

The Author

I grew up in Southampton on the south coast of England and loved escaping into a good book from a very early age. As a teenager I scribbled numerous short stories and novels, none of which I was ever brave enough to show anyone. After working in local government for many years in 2009 I moved across the Atlantic to Southern California when my husband took up a three year dream overseas assignment. Life as an ex-pat wife wasn’t quite as glamorous and exciting as I first envisaged, so to fend off homesickness and culture shock I began a blog about our life in Los Angeles, which re-ignited my creative juices. When I returned to the UK I undertook a creative writing course, always intending to turn my US adventures into book, but it never happened. Instead I developed a talent for short stories, and boosted by a couple of competition wins, I then starting writing a novel.

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

I am a cat lover. I was given my first cat by my great Auntie Lizzie when I was three years old and have been enchanted by these creatures ever since. So it will not surprise you that A Street Cat Named Bob has been on my ‘to be read’ list for a long time.Bob book.jpg

It tells the story of the author, James Bowen, and how his life changed after he was adopted by a stray cat. James one day returns home to find a ginger tom cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation. James could not resist helping the cat he named Bob. He nursed him and tried to send him on his way but Bob had other ideas and was having none of it. James Bowen was a recovering drug addict at the time, living in sheltered accommodation in London and making small amounts of money to survive the best way he can including busking and selling the Big Issue.

Very soon Bob and James are an inseparable duo on the streets as James works and BobJames Bowen sits at his feet attracting much attention from the public. James can only just survive on the meagre amount of money he already makes so a decision to be a full time pet owner is not one he takes lightly. Both James and Bob have troubled pasts but together they form a firm companionship and bond. Life is not easy though for them both though, they face many obstacles and struggles but they have the love of each other and manage to overcome everything thrown at them.

It is a story of hope and inspriation. I found it really heartwarming and really loved the story. I highly recommend A Street Cat Named Bob.

Val Penny

Arcam by guest author Jason Minick

My favourite genre is thrillers. That is why I am particularly pleased to have Jason Minick visit my blog today to share an excerpt of his debut novel, Arcam. This is a fast-paced crime/conspiracy thriller that is full of suspense.

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The Blurb

DCI Jack Robson believes he is hunting a kidnapper…

Away from his posting in London, Robson is asked to lead an investigation in the south west of England. But what begins as a baffling local kidnapping mystery, quickly escalates into something far more sinister.

In pursuit of the perpetrators, DCI Robson joins forces with Inspector Emma Wilson and the rest of the regional CID team. Together, they attempt to make sense of the lack of evidence or motive, eventually getting drawn to the tiny island of Steep
Holm, in the Bristol Channel.

As the investigation progresses, Robson, Wilson and their colleagues find themselves facing something far beyond normal detective work. Unthinkable connections lead them to a conspiracy, so great it could change the course of humanity. The question is, can they intervene before it’s too late to prevent the appalling future that potentially lies ahead.

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The Author

I am currently working on the second book in the DCI Robson ‘Series’, which is going to be a sequel to Arcam. My aim for this project is to both develop Jack Robson’s story from the lifestyle that was portrayed in Arcam, in addition to furthering the theme of the first book.

At the time of writing this post, I am still working on the first draft. In some ways, it seems to be an advantage writing with characters that have already been developed in an earlier novel. But there is also an element of pressure, in terms of doing one’s best to be true to those characters, while also developing them into the next adventure.

My ambition for this novel is for my readers to be able to recognise some characters that featured in Arcam, as well as, hopefully, enjoying new introductions. Readers may well recognise certain locations in the second novel, but there could potentially be one or two surprises – watch this space!

I would say that I am enjoying working on my second novel, just as much as I did the first. But I do think I have become even more eager to get the finished product out there, especially considering that there are already people waiting for Jack Robson’s next adventure.

The title of the next book is 99% decided … I say only 99%, because when I wrote Arcam, the title changed when I began on the second draft. It was originally going to be called – ‘Project: Hibernation’, which might make sense to those that have read the book. But, as soon as I came up with ‘Arcam’, there was no going back – I knew it was the right title.

I kind of feel the same way about the title I have in mind for the second book. So it’s unlikely that it will change, but I’m keeping the title under wraps for now!


Jason Minick is an engineer living in the south-west of England. He has a passion for the written word and reading. Jason is a fan of many genres. His debut novel, Arcam, is a crime/conspiracy thriller set in his favourite part of the UK. He lives with his wife, Emma, and his three children, Lucy, William and Sophie. The family share their home with two very small dogs, Digby and Tizzie. The author is currently working on the second book in the DCI Robson series, the sequel to Arcam.


Chasing Petalouthes by guest author Effie Kammenou

I am thrilled to have the author Effie Kammenou visit my blog today to share an excerpt of her new novel Chasing Petlouthes (Chasing Butterflies). This book forms the third part of her trilogy, The Gift Saga.

Effie has generously agreed to share an excerpt from her new novel with us.

Chapter 1 Aegina July 2005
Twilight cast an incandescent glow over the Saronic Gulf, as the sun slowly began to peak over the horizon. The reflection of porch lights from homes surrounding the shoreline glimmered like stardust on the water. In less than an hour, the sun would assume its full magisterial position and, as though gifted from the Gods themselves, another day would dawn on this enchanting island. Two by two, a contemplative assembly of young adults leisurely walked along the momentarily vacant main road to Aegina Town. Once daylight broke and the ferryboats pulled into the harbor, the streets would be cluttered with tourists, and it was for this very reason they’d set off at the early hours of the morning. For what they were about to do required solemnity—privacy—a place to pay tribute and share deeply personal remembrances. Evvie had left a note for her mother on the kitchen table before exiting her great-grandmother’s beach house with the rest of the group. She rolled her eyes thinking of how her mother, Sophia, seemed to have the need to know where she was every minute of the day. She Effie Kammenou 2 and her twin brother, Nicky, were nineteen years old and, in Evvie’s mind, their mother sometimes treated them as though they were nine-year-olds. It was the last few days of the ‘extended family’ vacation Evvie’s stepfather, Dean, had arranged for the entire family and Sophia’s closest friends to spend some much-needed bonding time together. The past year had been a difficult one. Dean had almost lost his life in a car accident, and Sophia’s friend, Amy, had been in jeopardy of losing her career and family. But it was RJ and Donna who had suffered the most dreadful tragedy of all. Donna had lost her younger son, and RJ, his only sibling. But RJ was not alone, Evvie thought. They were all brothers and sisters of the heart. After all, they were the children of the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ and those girls—women—were now fifty years old and still the best of friends. As they approached the harbor of Aegina Town, their destination came into view—a tiny, whitewashed chapel standing proudly at the edge of the dock known as Agios Nikolaos. It was Nicky and her cousin, Stella, two people with the softest of souls, who’d suggested this sojourn. RJ had been overwhelmed with emotion when they’d asked his permission to memorialize his brother, Anthony, who had taken his own life ten months prior in response to the emotional cruelty he could no longer suffer. This was to be their own requiescat inside the near-ancient walls they were about to enter. As Kristos, Stella’s older brother, pushed open the heavy entrance door, a light breeze blew by. A pinging rattle of rope slapped against the high, metal poles standing on either side of the double-domed building, each one waving its own flag. The blue and white banner of Greece and the double-headed eagle emblem representing the Greek Orthodox Church fluttered high above the pristine structure. The chapel was small and the space empty, devoid of pews like many traditional Orthodox churches in Greece. The floor was made of gray marble, with a narrow pathway leading to an altar where images of saints, dulled from time and candle soot, separated themselves from 3 Chasing Petalouthes worshippers. Beautifully painted icons painted above the archway had chipped in random spots, as if to remind newcomers of the many generations that had come to pray before they had.

Chasing Petalouthes cover

The Blurb

The Gift Saga concludes with the next generation coming into the forefront of the story during their tumultuous years between adolescence and adulthood.

Evvie has lived through more tragedy than a young girl should ever endure, having lost both her father and a most beloved grandmother at a young age. Her rebellious ways are her only defense to mask the ever-present pain in her heart. Closing herself off emotionally, Evvie vows to never let anyone into her heart. But will her determination to keep everyone out see her lose the only person who could heal her broken soul?

Over-achieving, focused, talented, determined to succeed. Those are the traits Stella envies in her siblings and cousins. Her insecurities and lack of confidence stunts her ability to realize her own worth. When an older, handsome young man claims her as his own, Stella believes she has finally found who she has been looking for—someone to love her enough to mold her into the best version of herself. But has she fallen in love too quickly for a man she barely knows anything about? 

Chasing Petalouthes (Chasing Butterflies) is the coming of age story of two flawed, young women who push their way out from the confines of the cocoons they’d built around themselves and discover how to soar.  Although this novel can be read as a standalone. For the full emotional impact on the character’s live and histories, read Evanthia’s Gift & Waiting For Aegina.

The Author

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women. 

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

 Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina is Book Two in The Gift Saga and Chasing Petalouthes is Kammenou’s latest release, completing the series.

 Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog,, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’

 As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University. 

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Broken Ponies by guest author Sophie Jonas-Hill

Today, I am happy to have Sophie Jonas-Hill join me on my blog to share her new novel, nemesisterBroken Ponies. This book is the sequel to her best seller Nemesister and is a definite must read for me.

The Blurb

Following the gripping – and deadly – events of their night under siege in Nemesister, the sequel, Broken Ponies, provides more details of Red’s mysterious past as well as Rita’s childhood, and brings light to the events that will eventually bring them together.

But meanwhile Red’s hunters have not given up the chase and Rita becomes bait in a trap set for Red in a terrifying storm damaged fairground….

The second in the Crooked Little Sisters series, Broken Ponies will thrill fans of dark gothic thrillers and readers of John Connolly and Joe Hill.


The Extract

Chapter Two

I should have gone home like Jose said, but I didn’t. I was
two nights in of four on, and the last thing I would be able to
do was sleep. Especially since I’d just rabbit punched Tiki man in
the kidneys, and adrenaline was still crackling through me like
summer lightening.
‘You can’t go to bed now,’ Margarita told me. ‘Hell, you won’t
sleep for hours yet. Can’t we go play somewhere?’
‘No,’ I told her. As I couldn’t think of any other way of shutting
her up, I headed to the gym on the twelfth floor. Half hour on the
punch bag, and no matter how hard I hit it, I couldn’t knock the
shit out of my head. I slammed my fist into it with a great yell of
anger, caught it as it swung back at me, and became dimly aware
of someone watching me.
He was tall, dark and, well, handsome. Looking at me as if he
knew he shouldn’t, but really wanted to. Like I said, I already knew
I wasn’t going to sleep for hours.
We had sex in his hotel room, as if both of us had a point to
prove to somebody else who wasn’t there. In the cold light of
the morning after, while he sat on the edge of the bed and bent
down to retrieve his shorts, I pulled the bed sheet over myself and
surveyed the ruins. There was a glass ashtray on the bedside table,
but when he got out his cigarettes and lit up, he flicked his ash into
the wire wastepaper basket instead. When I glanced over, I saw a

flash of gold against the glass.
‘D’you want one?’ he asked.
‘No, thanks,’ I said. Watching him smoke didn’t make me feel
anything, other than he was showing off.
‘Oh, you don’t mind if I …?’ I shook my head. He flicked his ash
again. ‘So … you wanna hang?’ It was light outside already, the sky
raked with high white clouds burning pink at the edges. You could
see all the way to the desert, to the mountains drawn as if with
smudged fingers against the glass horizon. ‘My flight’s tomorrow
evening.’ He was looking over his shoulder at me, his dark fringe
falling over one eye, skin pulled into sharp creases by the twist of
his neck.
‘Can I get a shower?’
‘Sure, no problem,’ he grinned. ‘Just let me use the john?’
Trying not to listen to the sound of him urinating, I glanced
about the room. His suitcase was on the desk under the window.
He’d not bothered to unpack, but then Savannah Heights wasn’t a
place where you bothered to unpack. There was a chair drawn up
to the desk, a laptop on its seat with a charger cable snaking into
the shadows. The cell phone attached to it buzzed and the screen
lit up. I saw a rectangle of iridescent blue and the picture on it fade
as the caller rang off, before the bathroom door opened.
‘All yours.’ He’d put on the hotel bath robe. ‘I booked, like, an
extra day here after the convention.’ He dragged his hand through
his hair then scratched the side of his face. ‘I had some lame idea
it might be fun. Me time, shit like that.’
‘How’s that working out for you?’ I asked. He grinned.
‘I was gonna have some … do you mind if I … do you want some
coke?’sophie jonas-Hill

He was cutting it out when I finished my shower. He smiled at
me as I picked up my sweat pants and t-shirt. I was glad when he
looked back to the table; his watching me dress felt more intimate
than the sex. More personal.
‘I don’t, like, do this a lot but …’ he shrugged. He twirled the
razor expertly in his fingers, tapped it on the surface of the coffee
table. The dollar bill he teased from his wallet curled up as it came
free, rolling itself into a loose tube just as if it knew what was
required of it. He coughed into his fist.
‘I’m obsessed with narrative,’ he was saying, as if I’d asked.
‘It’s what really drives me, you know?’ Oh yeah, he was a writer
or something. ‘It’s all about an immersive experience. Gaming is
the way forward for storytelling–’ that was it, he wrote computer
games. He had told me, I just hadn’t really been listening. I’d never
considered it a job grown-ups did, not men pushing forty as I
realized he probably was. ‘So, hey, you must have one hell of a story.’
‘What makes you say that?’ I asked.

‘Well–’ he put down the blade and picked up the rolled note.
‘It’s pretty out there, female security guard. I mean, not like it was
once, sure, because I mean, we got women practically in the front
line an’ all, but even so, that’s, like, quite … out there?’ He lowered
his head, sniffed.
‘My story? You don’t want to know,’ I said.
‘Yeah I do.’ He sat back against the bed, blinking, pinching his
nostrils. ‘Go on, start with the basics. How long you been in Vegas?’
I narrowed my eyes at him. ‘How long you been married?’ He
stopped, nose between thumb and forefinger. He was of course.
I could imagine her packing for him, even after the argument,
him telling her it was just a work thing, that just because it was in
Vegas, didn’t mean he was going to do anything stupid.
‘Ahh,’ he said and let go of his nose. ‘How did you …?’ He
scratched the side of his face again, grating against the stubble on
his cheek. ‘Fucking obvious, I suppose.’

‘Look, it’s none of my business,’ I said. ‘What stays in Vegas and
all that.’
He rolled his tongue over his teeth again, grimacing to himself.
‘Okay, so … how d’you know?’
‘The ashtray.’ He looked over at the bedside table, though the
ashtray was now on the coffee table. ‘You didn’t use it. I’m guessing
you’re not meant to be smoking either.’ He reached for the lighter,
emblazoned with the hotel logo, and clicked the flame. Well, he
hadn’t brought that with him, now had he?
‘You worked that out too?’
‘Sure. Leaving your ring in the ashtray, it’s something you do
out of habit. I guess when you’re home, you put it in a dish by your
bed. Couldn’t put your smoke out on it, now could you?’
He took another cigarette defiantly, lit it and clattered the lighter
onto the table. He leant back, working his mouth into a grimace.
‘That it?’
I met his gaze and smirked. ‘Well,’ – here was an immersive
narrative he was going to love – ‘your suitcase is navy blue, which
is masculine enough, but you’ve got gold heart-shaped tags on the
zips. I expect it came as part of a whole matching set, you know,
vanity case and wash bag? Like the one in the bathroom. And
there’s your phone, of course. You got a call. You’d left it on silent,
so you didn’t hear it ring. She’s pretty, the girl on your screen saver,
but she’s not an actress or a character from one of your games. Too
real, so I guessed that’s her. You got no kids though, or it would
have been them. Wives get bumped for babies.’
‘Fuck,’ he said. He flicked his ash into the ashtray. He’d probably
slipped his ring into the drawer of the bedside table when I was
in the shower, hoping I hadn’t seen it; out of sight, out of mind.

Wherever it was, it had left a line against his skin, which I’d seen as
I’d watched his nimble fingers at work.
‘I’m sure you love her,’ I said, and I meant it. This wasn’t
something he did all the time; it was opportunity, and not just
for casual sex. He was lonely and hanging out was not a service
provided by girls on flyers for forty bucks an hour. ‘You’re just
going through a bad patch.’ He looked as if he were going to argue,
then his expression relaxed into acquiescence.
‘She cheated on me,’ he said. He reached for the lighter, picked
it up, tapped it on the table, dropped it.
‘I’m sorry,’ I said as I stood up and fetched my jacket. ‘But you’ll
forgive me if I don’t stick around. I’ve had enough of other people’s
revenge scenarios to last me a lifetime.’ He didn’t watch me leave.
‘Well, he wasn’t really our type, was he?’ Margarita asked inside
my head. ‘Nothing at all like Red, now was he?’



Act of Vengeance by Michael Jecks

I first met Michael Jecks a few years ago when he was lecturing at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and I am so glad I did!swanwick outside

I have always enjoyed the Templar books, which start with The Last Templar, written by The Last TemplarMichael Jecks. Act of Vengeance is a great modern spy thriller written by one of my favourite historical crime fiction authors. It is quite different to the hugely popular Templar series, and it took me a while to get into this book, but the writing is excellent and the effort was well rewarded.

Act of Vengeance is one of the very few books I have read where the author successfully takes the action from Britain over to America and back without getting lost in the petty details. London, Alaska, Washington State and Virginia – with a very topical act of Vengeanceplot-line. The British and American secret services become intricately involved when a washed-up UK agent is sent on a final mission to follow up on the suicide of a British soldier.

Act of Vengeance is a well constructed story of Jack Case, an agent out of favour, called back to undertake a tidying up exercise after the death of a former interrogation officer in a remote cabin in Alaska. This is a story of betrayal, of rendition and of an agent’s persistent quest for truth and revenge.

michael JecksI highly recommend Act of Vengeance and personally look forward to more stories featuring Jack Case, or at least more modern thrillers from Michael Jecks.

Val Penny


Lemon Blossom by Nina Romano

Lemon Blossom is the second book in The Wayfarer Trilogy written by my friend and fellow author, Nina Romano. The first book is The Secret Language of Women, also reviewed on this site.

the secret language of womenI absolutely loved the the first book in this series and had been looking forward to reading Lemon Blossom too. It is the story of Angelica a warm and caring person, and her family. She eventually meets a man she can love.

The family’s story is told through Angelica and her mother. It is warm and perceptive. Angelica and Giocoma’s love story at the end of the book has left me craving morefrom this gifted, sensitive writer. lemon blossom book

Lemon Blossom is an intriguing, fulfilling book in which the reader is shown a young girl develop into a deep, thoughtful young woman who experiences personal, family and societal tragedies, but overcomes them.

The story is not just of a woman longing for love and her place in the circle of childbirth and motherhood, but of the love a mother feels for her child. Wanting to protect one’s child from the realities of the world and a woman’s true place in it, yet wanting her to have so much more than she herself had.

nina romanoLemon Blossom also explores the need in a family for children to know where they came from and the cultural traditions of the family. Nevertheless, the mother realizes that the world around her is changing and her daughter needs to adapt to thrive.

This amazing story, and Nina’s gift of immersing the reader in the setting and the historical timeline makes for a remarkable novel that I heartily recommend.

Val Penny