#WATWB, Quotes

Never Giving Up on a Dream #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Simon Falk, Andrea Michaels, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia Stein and myself.

Our next post will be on September 28th 2018. If you would like to join us please click here!


“Take a limitation and turn it into an opportunity. Take an opportunity and turn it into an adventure by dreaming BIG!”
Jo Franz (via Goodreads)

At 18 years old singer and songwriter Mandy Harvey lost her hearing due to a connective tissue disease.   Born with near perfect pitch, Mandy had dreams of one day becoming a choir director and was working hard towards her goal. Without her hearing Mandy resigned to her situation, thought her reason for living and dreams for the future were gone.  But that’s not what ended up happening.  Mandy found a way to “hear” music, just not through her ears, but through vibrations.

Having my husband, several family members and friends be musicians I know how to most of them music seems almost as necessary as eating. It nourishes them body, mind and spirit and without it they struggle or feel as though something is missing.

After years of giving up and accepting her situation Mandy’s love of music, optimism and determination helped her find a way to still pursue her dreams. Although not a choir director, Mandy has garnered a great deal of attention and it doesn’t look like her music career is slowing down anytime soon.

The video below tells Mandy’s story…

Mandy’s Original Song “Try”  (P.S. Get the tissues ready…)

Mandy Harvey’s Official Website: https://mandyharveymusic.com/

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#Review The Phantom Tree by @NicolaCornick ‏ #NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #TimeTravel #Mystery #Romance

Review

The Phantom Tree Cover

The Phantom Tree

by Nicola Cornick

Release date: August 21st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Phantom Tree
by Nicola Cornick
 from NetGalley and Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada) in order to read and give an honest review.

“A fantastically plotted, intriguing, mysterious and well told time travel novel with evolving, strong, yet relatable characters…. “

This is my first time reading Nicola Cornick’s work and I have to say I have become a fan. Being a student of history and archaeology, I was drawn in by The Phantom Tree. A fantastically plotted, intriguing, mysterious and well told time travel novel with evolving, strong, yet relatable characters, it keeps you turning pages until the end.

Set in present-day London, bouncing back to mid 16th Century Wiltshire England, the author introduces us two girls Alison Banestre and Mary Seymour, both cousins, forced to live with relatives at Wolf Hall for different reasons. The two girls, forced to share a room, tolerate each other. The two girls could not be more different in personalities, an older Alison is wiser, bolder, rebellious and exudes a cold indifferent attitude.  Mary is sensitive, introverted, naïve and prone to visions and hearing voices. Although cold and indifferent towards her, Mary decides to cover for Alison when she slips out for a romantic interlude with her lover.  Alison’s’ interludes with her rich and well established distant cousin Edward, result in Alison becoming pregnant. After giving birth, Alison has her son Arthur taken away and is discarded by her lover, forcing her to return to Wolf Hall. Upon her return Mary notices Alison has changed, the girls still not quite friends seem to bond over their loneliness and despair. Alison discovers a time portal at an Inn in Wiltshire and hatches a plan to go into the future to establish herself then return for her son. Upon returning to her time Alison tries unsuccessfully to find where and with whom her son has been placed but to no avail.

Not long after in one of Mary’s visions, she foresees the death of one of Wolf Hall’s servants and when it occurs she is painted as a witch. In order to protect the girls, Alison arranges for her and Mary to be shipped to live with another cousin at Middlecote House but en route Alison arranges to secretly escape and go to the future. Right before leaving Mary in the carriage she makes Mary promise to find a way to let her know what happened to her son.  When Alison attempts to return she finds the time slip is gone and she is stuck in the future.

While Mary endures her life at Middlecote with her cousins, one being an opportunistic and vile male cousin bent on finding fame and fortune by whatever means possible, Alison forges her way in modern day London. Alison goes into care, graduates college has an unsuccessful relationship yet manages to carve out a life for herself, independent with a good job and home.  Alison is determined one day to get back to Wiltshire to retrieve her son but has no information to go on.  While passing a Wiltshire gallery Allison is shocked to notice a portrait of Mary Seymour mislabeled as Anne Boleyn on display in the front window. While Alison is shocked she stares at the portrait realizing it is rife with clues as to what happened to Arthur. Her ex, Adam a successful archaeologist and TV Historian is connected to the show and when Alison corrects him of his error he reluctantly helps her as she begins to unravel the clues that will tell her what happened to Arthur and Mary.

A bittersweet emotional roller-coaster, I would highly recommend The Phantom Tree to anyone looking for a fantastic time travel novel that balances mystery, romance and drama. Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series might be interested in giving this a try.

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#Interview & New Release Wind Across the Nile by #Author Chrissie Parker ( @Chrissie_author ) #historicalsuspense

 

Recently, the wonderful and talented Chrissie Parker, a familiar face on my blogs, took a moment out of her busy schedule to share and answer a few questions about writing as well as her new release  “Wind Across the Nile”.  

Welcome, Chrissie!

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I understand you have a new book, WIND ACROSS THE NILE, a historical suspense.  Please tell us a bit about it?

Yes, as you say Wind Across the Nile is a historical suspense predominantly set in Egypt, as well as London and Scotland. The book centres on Cora, a young woman who tragically loses her entire family and has to learn to live with the aftermath. Whilst sorting out her family’s belongings she comes across some items she’s never seen before that takes her to Egypt where she learns about a family heritage she never knew existed. The readers will learn more about Egypt, its culture and incredible sites, as well as discovering a story that covers a family tragedy, its history and life on an archaeological excavation.  

What was the inspiration behind the book?

The inspiration for the book is my love of Ancient Egyptian history. I’ve not only visited the country, but I’ve also completed two Egyptology courses with Exeter University. The concept for the story was devised from a number of things; my love of ancient Egypt, the history of the people who used to treasure hunt in the country in the 18/1900’s and continuing issues regarding thefts of archaeological artefacts. I merged them all together to come up with a story that focuses on Cora our main character and her experiences in the country and how it related to what she was going through.

Tell us a bit about your approach to writing a novel? What are the biggest challenges and what do you enjoy the most? 

My approach to writing, that’s always a difficult question as I seem to treat each book a bit differently. With most of my historical books, there’s lots of research involved so I can’t just write the book in one go. I have to take research breaks, so it means that I have to plan the work a lot more than I do for my thrillers, which are normally straight writes.

I do really enjoy the research side of things though, and I’m always learning something new. The only downside to research is knowing when to stop, sometimes you can start researching something, and then discover something else in a document, that then leads you to something else, and before you know it the entire day has gone!

My biggest challenge is that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to work on my books as I have a part-time job, and also do a lot of volunteering, so I have to fit my writing in around it. When I do get to write though I can write anywhere between 3,000 and 8,000 words a day, as long as there aren’t too many interruptions. When I work on my books, it’s either in my office or at a portable table in another room (for a change of scenery) or on a picnic table in the garden if it’s nice sunny weather. I will always have a pot of tea on the go, some chocolate to snack on, and often one of the cats asleep on my lap! For me, writing is a lot of fun, and even though I do plan my books, my characters have a tendency to take over sometimes and things end up happening in the story that I never expected! The hardest thing though is when you finally publish a book, all that work is over, and I have become to know my characters so well, it’s almost like they are real people so I feel like I’m saying goodbye to people I know and I’ll never see again. It’s one of the strangest feelings.

What are some of the biggest challenges you authors encounter in general?

There are many challenges authors face. I think the most common one is wanting to be successful and measuring that success. Writers write because they want to, because they love to entertain and they have a passion to do so, but many authors worry about not being good enough or think that because they aren’t making enough money (to live off) or haven’t received enough reviews they aren’t successful. It’s a huge challenge and one that can cause many authors concern and detract them from what they’re doing. I think success isn’t about money as such, it’s about your readership, interaction and engagement with readers as well as sales. It’s also about achievements connected with your writing. One of my biggest is learning that one of my books is a textbook in Greece for TIE International ESOL exams, which is incredible! I’m lucky that I have some amazing and loyally supportive readers, who want to know what’s coming next and stand by me rooting for both the current and next books. That to me is success.

Whilst it would be great to be able to earn enough money to write full time (and not have another job), I’m so happy with how my writing journey is going and I’m grateful for all the support I have.

What message do you hope your readers will walk away with after reading this book?

I hope to be able to show readers what an incredibly interesting place Egypt is and inspire them to visit and see the sights for themselves. I also hope to be able to highlight the difficult past and present that Egypt’s had in regards to its culture and theft of artefacts for monetary gain. Sadly, black market artefact theft is an ongoing problem across the world and it’s sad when ancient items are looted and sold off for financial gain, instead of ending up in a museum for everyone to see and learn from. Protecting heritage is so important.

Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?

I have a lot coming up in the future. I’m currently co-writing a factual history book about the Greek island of Zakynthos, called Zakynthos Flower of the East, with a writer colleague of mine, Louise. We’re doing a lot of research, which is great fun and hope to release it in 2019. I’ve also recently announced that there will be a follow-up to Among the Olive Groves, this was a request by many readers as they wanted to know more about the character of Athena. So, I’ve started my research and I’ve written about 17,000 words so far, I hope to finish it by next summer (unfortunately it’s going to require a lot of research!), and then it can go to my editor.

I’m also in the process of finishing a thriller Retribution, it’s the third and last book in the Moon series. There are also a number of other books planned, so I have plenty to keep me occupied!

I have a big presence online and can be found on my website http://www.chrissieparker.com as well as all the usual places on social media. My fan base is on Chrissie Parker Book Group on facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/chrissieparkersbookgroup/, and that’s where I make most of my announcements before rolling them out across other streams.

Thank you for hosting me today Belinda.

My pleasure Chrissie, thanks for sharing with us! 

Chrissie Parker Bio Pic

Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband. She has published six books including Integrate and Temperance (books one and two of The Moon Series), Among the Olive Groves, Nabataea and The Secrets, a collection of Poems and Short Stories. Wind Across the Nile is her sixth book.
Other work includes articles for the Bristolian, The Huffington Post and The Artist Unleashed. Chrissie also writes regularly for the Zakynthos Informer. Chrissie’s poem Maisie was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013.
In 2016 Among the Olive Groves won a historical fiction award in the Summer Indie Book Awards.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two Egyptology courses and an Archaeological Techniques course with Exeter University.
To find out more about Chrissie visit her website www.chrissieparker.com

Social Media links

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ChrissieParkerAuthor

Twitter https://twitter.com/Chrissie_author

Blog https://chrissieparkerauthor.wordpress.com

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/chrissieparkerauthor

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/ChrissieAuthor/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/27035030-chrissie-parker

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Previous mentions and visits from Author, Chrissie Parker: https://bit.ly/2BpMnX5

 

Books

#NetGalley #Review Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Romance

Review

Bellewether Cover

Bellewether

by Susanna Kearsley

Release date: August 7th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark in order to read and give an honest review.

“…a slow unravelling, yet compelling story with unique, strong and resilient characters that truly make this a pleasure to read. “

Although not new to Susanna Kearsley’s work it has been a while since I’ve read her and I have to ask myself what was I waiting for.  Ms Kearsley is a master at weaving intricate, emotional and character-driven historical dramas that span centuries. She weaves a delicate tapestry rich with historical details that don’t feel like an info dump but is so carefully blended as to drive the story along.

In Bellewether, we meet Charley a historian from Canada who returns to her ancestral home to care for her 19-year-old niece after the sudden death of her brother. She accepts a job as a curator of the Wilde House which is currently going through the restoration process. During the story, we are also introduced to two characters from the 1750’s on opposing sides of the seven-year war.  Jean Phillipe a captured soldier being held as a prisoner of war with his colleague at the Wilde family home and the daughter of the home Lydia who tragically loses her fiancé during the war are forced to live under the same roof. Lydia is at first disgusted that she must live under the same roof but with time they become less enemies and more just human beings trying to live.   The author also gives us insight into the main issues of the time time,  such as slavery, treatment of the Acadians and the general climate of the war are all used to build and shape a vivid description of life during the war.

Charley is also facing a war during her time. An unhealthy relationship on the rocks, strained familial ties, battling bitter board members and mysterious events that make her wonder if she is losing her mind.  She also tries to get to the bottom of a tragic legend that surrounds the old Wilde House and the phantoms therein.

Ms Kearsley gives us such a strong atmosphere, a touch of romance and a mystery that keeps the reader intrigued. Although this story isn’t a fast-paced thriller it’s a slow unravelling yet compelling story with unique, strong and resilient characters that truly make this a pleasure to read.  I would definitely recommend it and will be keeping Ms Kearsley’s books on my reading list!