The Nicer the People, the Better the Network

‘Networking for Writers’ by Lizzie Chantree

The cover of Lizzie Chantree’s latest book, ‘Networking for Writers’

Are you swamped with book marketing and looking for a way to find new sales? Learn simple and effective networking techniques, to grow your readership and connect with other authors and book lovers, today!

Whether you are a new or experienced writer, self-published or traditionally published, this book will show you how to grow your readership and author network, through some of the most powerful of all marketing tools – word of mouth and recommendation. 

This book will show you:

How networking can help you sell more books.

Why author branding is important.

How networking hours work.

Specific Facebook groups for writers

How to utilise social media to grow your readership.

How not to waste valuable writing time.

How to make our marketing more effective.

Throughout ‘Networking for Writers’, we will explore running or attending book signings, hosting seminars, finding a writing buddy or mentor, author networking groups, social media planning and so much more.

This is a top class guide to every day, cost efficient marketing for those with a book to promote. Entrepreneur and author Lizzie Chantree has written a short, handy guide to marketing using basic tools at most people’s disposal.

This is a short work which makes it a perfect work for those who want to breezily navigate the world of online marketing. Chantree clearly has spent a lot of time getting to grips with the algorithms which drive a wide variety of social medias and she offers a sensible, manageable guide to help writers nurture engagement.

The picture shows a white mobile phone on desk next to an organiser. On the screen is the cover of the e-book edition of Chantree's book, 'Networking for Writers'

One of the nicest aspects of the book is Chantree’s belief, which comes through loud and clear, that networking is a two-way street and that those writers who engage with their readers regularly, politely and honestly, acting in good faith to help them, are those who will reap the most benefits. In an age of social media-driven hype powered by petty nastiness and clickbait bluster, it is really nice to have someone espousing the truth that nice people don’t finish last.

And Chantree is an engaging guide. She uses her own experiences – humbly bad as well as motivatingly good – to steer the reader through what they can do to put more copies of their books in readers’ hands.

There are just two caveats I would highlight for readers: firstly, I would have been interested to know how Chantree went about building a following before she had a book to promote. Secondly, if you are not a regular user of Facebook or Twitter I think this book might be a little challenging. That’s not a criticism per se, Chantree is very clear about the processes she chooses to write about, but if the thought of scheduled posts or you don’t know what RT stands for, this is advanced enough to bring you out in a cold sweat (I imagine).

Overall, a slim volume of sensible, cost-effective advice which can be read in one sitting or used as a handy reference book. As an aspiring novelist myself, I know where I will be turning when I have a book to promote.

Purchase Link – viewbook.at/NetworkingForWriters

Author and entreprenuer, Lizzie Chantree

Author Bio –

International bestselling author and award-winning inventor, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000.

She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now works as a business mentor and runs a popular networking hour on social media, where creatives can support to each other. She writes books full of friendship and laughter, that are about women with unusual and adventurous businesses, who are far stronger than they realise. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex.

Visit her website at www.lizziechantree.com  or follow her on Twitter @Lizzie_Chantree https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree .

Social Media Links –

Website: www.lizziechantree.com

Author page: https://www.viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizzieChantree

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7391757.Lizzie_Chantree

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lizzie_chantree/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LizzieChantree/pins/

FB Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/lizzie-chantree

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/lizzie-chantree-03006425/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnCop-RlAcGqggZG3JfE-Mw

Strong Foundations See Slow Horses Set For a Long Time in the Saddle

‘Slough House’ by Mick Herron

The cover of the latest Mick Herron novel, ‘Slough House’

‘Kill us? They’ve never needed to kill us,’ said Lamb. ‘I mean, look at us. What would be the point?’

A year after a calamitous blunder by the Russian secret service left a British citizen dead from novichok poisoning, Diana Taverner is on the warpath. What seems a gutless response from the government has pushed the Service’s First Desk into mounting her own counter-offensive – but she’s had to make a deal with the devil first. And given that the devil in question is arch-manipulator Peter Judd, she could be about to lose control of everything she’s fought for.

Meanwhile, still reeling from recent losses, the slow horses are worried they’ve been pushed further into the cold. Slough House has been wiped from Service records, and fatal accidents keep happening. No wonder Jackson Lamb’s crew are feeling paranoid. But have they actually been targeted?

With a new populist movement taking a grip on London’s streets, and the old order ensuring that everything’s for sale to the highest bidder, the world’s an uncomfortable place for those deemed surplus to requirements. The wise move would be to find a safe place and wait for the troubles to pass.

But the slow horses aren’t famed for making wise decisions.

I wasn’t having the best of weeks. A family member died of Covid and, you know, 2021 was about as far removed from the joy of 2020 as A to B.

To compound my joy, I was revisiting an old novel I had begun years ago to see if there was anything there.

There wasn’t. I gave up. Then I opened ‘Slough House’.

This confirmed two things for me: I have the same talent in my entire body as Mick Herron has in a clipped toenail and I should abandon writing prose forever. Immediately.

And that good writing – the really good, exceptionally paced, the stuff described and as winningly put together as this, will offer an escape from grief and lack of talent in a way we should cling to like a life raft.

Because, by God, he’s good.

It didn’t take long for me to be laughing – not something I expected on that day, I don’t mind admitting.

‘Slough House’ begins, after the Prologue, with the traditional disembodied guided tour of our favourite, dilapidated office building. It’s been a wind, a cat and now it’s a rat – sorry, an estate agent, (even worse.)

“Authentic period detail there, and the seventies is a decade that’s coming back, isn’t it, what with the riots, the recession, the racism – ha! Our little joke. But no, really.”

When we lost the Maestro at the fag end of last year, Herron’s name came up quite a bit. I’ve had my say on Le Carré elsewhere and my abiding love for the work but one of the irritations I find is the constant repetition in some circles citing Herron as the new Le Carré.

He isn’t.

He’s the current Herron and we better embrace him now because he’s to be savoured and enjoyed while he’s on the go.

Author Mick Herron poses alongside Lamb’s Passage. Not somewhere the Slow Horses would want to be…

Le Carré, Lord knows no stranger to anger at politicians or lacking cynicism, never wrote a sentence like This was the spook trade, and when things went awry on Spook Street, they generally went the full Chris Grayling.”

But you just know he’d have liked to.

He’s not the new Le Carré, despite the terminology of his own making and the Connie-like Molly in the Archives. He’s the current Herron and we better embrace him now because he’s to be savoured.

I say “savoured” but I’m, well, lying.

I last read one of the Slow Horse novels, ‘Joe Country’, in May 2019 and I should have done my due diligence before starting this one.

But I’m a glutton for Herron and so I had to sheepishly beg Slow Horse expert – owner of honeyed tones and producer of Slough House podcast ‘Barbican Station’ extraordinaire, Jeff Quest- to remind me who had died and how because I’d lost track.

In my defence, prose like:

‘But she deserved to die. Even Gandhi would admit that.’

‘Did it never occur to you that for a supposed backwater of the Security Service, we suffer a lot of fatalities?’

‘I’ve always assumed that was down to public demand.’

Prose like that is so good it needs to be gulped down.

And so what does this instalment of the series bring? Sort of everything you want. Jackson Lamb is still a big man with a foul mouth and an odd imperviousness to HR complaints.

Di Tavernier is exactly as evil as you hope. Peter Judd is as duplicitous, sleazy and so toned down compared to real world politicians he’s almost preferable.

Satire? “The paths to power of current world leaders – paths including conspiracy to assault, knee-jerk racism, indeterminate fecundity and cheating at golf – were so askew from the traditional routes that only an idiot would have dared forecast future developments.” Check.

This time, it’s not just Slough House which has come to life. Even the other buildings in the area are personified and living in petrified fear. “Down here, a few timid retail premises huddled; the kind that looked like they’d not survive ten minutes in the open air.”

Mick Herron is about to go stratospheric. He’s already part of a dominating duopoly of the finest spy writers around alongside Charles Cumming.  In my opinion, they will soon to be joined by Simon Conway, whose novel The Stranger’ was hands down the best novel I read in 2020 (including Cumming’s exceptionally strong ‘Box 88’)

Gary Oldman in costume as Jackson Lamb as reported by the Daily Mail

But as soon as Gary Oldman dons the dirty mac of Lamb for Apple TVs adaptation, he’s going to reach a new audience. With that will come the petty jealousies, the hatchet the reviews, the constant nagging that he’s not as good as he was.

Well, if this novel proves anything, it is that he is. At one stage, the narrator says: “‘Make it, don’t fake it’ was Channel Go’s mission statement, unless it was its mantra, or its logo. But its general thrust was to encourage choleric rage in its viewers, so, if nothing else, Cantor had tapped into the spirit of the times.”

As had Cantor, so too has Herron. And long may he continue to do so.

‘Slough House’ is available for purchase from 4th February 2021 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1529378664/ref=bseries_primary_0_1529378664

Write Spy, Right Time

The Spy Who Came Into Our Living Rooms:
John le Carre is dead and leaves a legacy to wonder at.


And so that’s it. Last night, I stumbled upon this quietly dignified statement from The Curtis Brown Group https://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/news/a-statement-from-jonny-geller-ceo-the-curtis-brown-group
The curtain – an iron one? Surely not – has wrung down on the life and career of David Cornwall, or John le Carre.


In the year 2000, I was a student in Scotland. Like many students, I had more energy than sense.

I would finish work on a Thursday, head home for a cat nap, wake up about 23:00,jump in my car.

Fuelled by too many cigarettes, too much coffee and hours of homemade mix cassettes (look ‘em up kids), I would drive overnight to London or the south coast. 

For drunken debauchery or parental visits respectively.

On this particular trip, I was flagging. I was tired and the sickly motorway coffee wasn’t doing it. My mouth was already doubling as sandpaper, my eyelids drooping. I pulled into some services – Congleton was it? – anyway, somewhere not as far away as it ought to be.
I wanted a story. I wanted distraction.

Browsing the tape and CD racks, I saw a John le Carre audiobook.

I was, I think, aware of le Carre as a literary figure. 

I’d done the fairly standard spy reading journey of people of my generation (Roger Moore on bank holiday replays of James Bond as a child – public libraries to be introduced to Ian Fleming (“you mean there are more Bond stories I can watch in my head and it’s free?! Any time I want?”) as a young teen) and I feel like my mum had thrust a le Carre at me to try later on.

I can’t remember, but I have a vague half memory like I wasn’t interested. I’d had my head turned aged 13 by ‘The Rachel Papers‘ and the style of Martin Amis and had fully gone down the late teen pretension of the Beat poets. 

Good knows what I was reading by this stage, a degree in alcohol studies with additional credits in neglected studies probably.

Anyway, I’d sort of heard of this le Carre bloke. I bought it. It cost a fortune. (£6.99? £8.99? Extortion) But, it had four cassettes and would last me nearly the whole way.

That trip, that book, literally changed my life. I’d known before then I wanted to write. I’d known since Amis had twisted my head to the possibilities of humour and wit and zippy, self-referential style what prose got do and sound like and be twisted to do.

But I really don’t think I had appreciated what plot could do. Le Carre’s honeyed voice helped. A fine actor, he read his work with the silken, upper class drawl of the entitled. He was like a harder-edged Leslie Philips or Stephen Fry’s favourite grandfather.
I stopped once in seven hours. Just because the car was thirsty and, probably, I needed more tobacco. But otherwise, captivated, enchanted, enthralled. The works. 
It was anger and passion and characters who resonated and were blind and duplicitous, even to themselves.

I now know that the book which so shook my world on its axis is not even regarded as that good. 

Indeed, it may well have helped that I was (I later discovered to my horror) listening to an abridged version (And what an abridgement. The full monty Michael Jayston version I now have on my phone – don’t tell me the world hasn’t got better in the last 20 years – is 12 hours 42 minutes so I’m assuming nearly half the novel has been pared away. This might be a good lesson for all writers, aspiring and established, about the need for judicious editing.)

‘Our Game’

These days, I can’t be objective about it. It came at the right time, was so powerful when it hit, that I can only love it. I’ve no idea how many times I’ve listened to it. I’m fairly sure I got to the end of the tape as I pulled up at my destination.

On that Sunday night, as I climbed back into the car to do the same trip in reverse, I feel like I went back to tape one and put it back in again to listen afresh, but I can’t be sure.
The novel was ‘Our Game’ and it changed my reading life, that much is clear. 

His introduction opened my eyes to more, in some ways even more than the text itself. At the start, le Carre talks passionately about our failure to see through on the promises we made to the little nations during our Cold War rhetoric and centres on the plight of the Ingush. 

This is the Caucuses, a region I’d definitely never heard of, encompassing the (then) very failing Russian state and the Chechen conflict of the mid-90s and the looming Islamic problems which I’d missed entirely as the sort of smug teenager who drives the length of the country to good parties rather than study.

The next year, 2001, of course, these were issues which would be unavoidable even to such smug, complacent teens as myself.
Similar events with le Carre would reoccur for me – I had an abridged audio cassette version of ‘Absolute Friends’ which is another angry novel which certainly resonated with me at the time.

I read everything in his back catalogue – finding his work uneven and developing my private theory that there were two types of le Carre book – the unputtdownable and the unreadable. 

This is entirely personal and arbitrary – for me, the former includes ‘Our Game’, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’, ‘Smiley’s People’.

In the latter category are ‘The Night Manager’ (brilliant tv, tedious novel), ‘Single and Single’ (still don’t think over finished that one) and, more controversially amongst spy geeks, ‘The Honourable Schoolboy’ which, for all its arresting imagery, I find so dull I’ve only finished it once in any version – hardback, paperback or audio – and find as readable as wading through treacle in diving boots. 

I love this inconsistency, however. He was never dull. He swung for the fences (or drove for the boundary, to use a more Anglocentric image).

When ‘Legacy of Spies’ was released, I asked my partner if we could go from our highland home to watch the live stream talk and Q&A from the Royal Festival Hall. It was my birthday treat.

The fact that this required a round trip, midweek, on a work night, of 190 miles seemed reasonable to sit at the master’s feet, remotely, if not literally.

I think it’s fair to say one of us enjoyed it more than the other. I was enthralled. I thought John Snow had an off night, if I’m honest, but just hearing Le Carre in full flow was worth it. 

Which is exactly what I told myself as I drove home, late into the night, letting his words wash over me as they have for two decades.

Dasher, Dancer, Donner and Dachshunds

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay’ by Nicola May

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry Café in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.

The cover of Nicola May’s latest novel, ‘Christmas in Cockleberry Bay’

I am new to the world of Cockleberry Bay. To be entirely honest, I was enticed in by dachshund. And the murder mystery. Always like a bit of cosy crime.

This is the fourth novel in the series and I can see why Nicola May has proved so popular. Honestly, I was expecting the glow of small, English country life. 

I was expecting characters who are mainly well intentioned and who struggle through their various travails with fortitude and the support of their friends and family. 

What I wasn’t expecting was how funny the novel was going to be.

May really has a nice line in coarse humour. I especially enjoyed Rosa dealing with Davina in the shop: “’There are some sparklers for Fireworks Night too, if you’re interested,’ she added, wishing she could light one and stick it up the rude cow’s arse.”

Additionally, Titch falling asleep on the toilet, heavily pregnant with her head on her bump, knickers around her ankles, is a delight of light touch comedy.

However, this is not the only form of comedy May extracts from her cast of characters. There’s an absurd, black comedy present too. Especially around the undertakers. I especially enjoyed the man mountain, former rugby player bawling like a baby and riling against his mother’s death atop her gardener. “’A tradesman! Young enough to be her grandson! The shame!’ He hugged himself in torment.”

What ‘Christmas in Cockleberry Bay’ really does best, however, is leave you warmed right through like a hot chocolate with marshmallows on a December day.

If you enjoy festive movies with dustings of romance, humour and dachshunds, then this is the Christmas novel for you.

#CICB 

Purchase Links

Kindle – UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JHJKLQF/

Kindle – .com – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JHJKLQF/

Paperback  – http://eye-books.com/books/christmas-in-cocklberry-bay

Author Bio – 

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year. 

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

Follow Nicola May

Website – www.nicolamay.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NicolaMayAuthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/nicolamay1 

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

Blood on the Streets of Scotland – Blood of Brothers

Blood Brothers by Heather Atkinson

When you’re running the streets, loyalty is everything…

Gangs rule the streets of the rough Gallowburn Estate in Glasgow, but the deepest rivalry of all is between Jamie Gray and his friends, known as the Blood Brothers, and their enemies, the Lawsons.

The two gangs clash frequently, but when a phone containing incriminating evidence disappears after a particularly brutal run-in, the stakes are higher than ever.

Jamie’s mother Jackie is as hard as nails and is not going to let anyone hurt her boy – even if she has to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in. What she wants more than anything though, is to see Jamie turn his back on the street life. And when he meets spoilt rich-girl Allegra, who has a penchant for shoplifting, Jackie thinks she could be Jamie’s way out.

But with the Lawsons closing in, and everyone taking sides, there is only one way out for Jamie, and to triumph he must take out his biggest enemy…

If you love Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers, and Jessie Keane, you’ll love Heather Atkinson. Discover the bestselling author Heather Atkinson, her crackling plots, unforgettable characters and page-turning pace and you’ll never look back…

I’ve lived in Scotland over 20 years now. It is a country which has changed immensely in the near quarter of a century since I first arrived.

Additionally, I have lived in isolated rural splendour of tourist trap mountains and charming wee fishing villages as well as in crowded, post-industrial towns where men are hard and drugs rife.

It is a country of contrasts.

The area Heather Atkinson is writing about here – Gallowburn – is fictional. Except, it isn’t. it’s an amalgamation of a whole bunch of places most Scottish readers can piece together without too much difficulty.

Atkinson clearly has an unpatronising affection for her street level protagonists. The characters are rendered as fully rounded humans with clear motivations and driving ambitions.

She also is an accomplished writer of dialogue. Having published over 50 novels, it would appear that she is well attuned to her surroundings, picking up the language of the Scheme and playing it back to readers to create an atmosphere of intense verisimilitude.

Even as her protagonists are sucked further into their worlds of violence and chaos, Heather Atkinson keeps them grounded as the plot runs away outwith their control to the natural end of violence. It is a climax moving, horrifying, engaging and entertaining.

Boldwood Books are an interesting independent publisher who have selected some exciting authors to work with (Alex Coombs, who I enjoyed immeasurably for one) https://pajnewman.com/2020/09/24/missing-for-good-by-alex-coombs/

With authors of the quality of coombs and Atkinson, they will be well worth following in future.

Purchase Link –  https://amzn.to/32GYs5H

Author Bio –

Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre. Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Her new gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow begins with Blood Brothers which will be published in December 2020.

Social Media Links –

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/booksofheatheratkinson/

Website https://www.heatheratkinsonbooks.com/

Twitter @ https://twitter.com/HeatherAtkinso1

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/heathercrimeauthor/

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-atkinson

Solo: The Stigma of Travelling Alone?

‘Solo: A Down to Earth Guide for Travelling the World Alone’ by Aaron Hodges

Feeling alone? Trapped? Lost?

Time for an adventure!

The bad times won’t last forever, and for more than five years, Aaron Hodges has journeyed the globe alone, visiting everywhere from Istanbul to Argentina. Honest and insightful, SOLO is packed with his personal travel tips and humorous stories. Learn about the ups and downs, the triumphs and the pitfalls of venturing off the beaten path. Follow his guidelines for exploring the world alone and be inspired to take the trip you’ve always dreamed of.

Discover the world of solo travel.

Go Solo!

The cover of Aaron Hodges’ ‘Solo’

What is the last taboo in modern society? I have a feeling that travelling alone may well just be it.

About 13 years ago, I found myself with a long holiday and newly heart broken. A friend’s family had a house in France they were willing to lend me and so I decamped by myself.

Although I have since had many very wonderful breaks with my partner, I always think fondly of that break. It was delicious. Pleasing myself, dealing with setbacks and challenges – like having subpar schoolboy French as my only communication skill.

However, what has subsequently struck me most, has been the horror and outrage that a lot of people have expressed at the very idea of travelling alone. Is it lack of confidence? Is it a reluctance for people to be thought self-indulgent? No idea, but boy, do people not like the idea of travelling alone.

Except if they have tried it. Aaron Hodges has not only tried it; he’s written the book on it.

In one way, this title arrives at the most inopportune moment. As most of the UK is still locked down, Hodges’ (mainly) Asian and South American travels begin to read like travels from a previous world. Which in some ways, they are.

Hodges is an engaging and charming narrator who whisks readers along in brisk fashion offering a charming step-by-step guide for those who want to chance solo adventuring.

This is a short read, illustrated with Hodges’ photos from his travels. At this most uncertain of times, Hodges offers a glimpse into a world which many of us long to revisit as soon as we can.

If we ever get the chance to, I for one, will be taking Aaron Hodges’ lovely little guide, ‘Solo’.

Purchase Links

books2read.com/u/meBM8g

Aaron Hodges, solo travelling, outside India’s Taj Mahal.

Author Bio – Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job in 2014 and see the world. One year later, he published his first novel – Stormwielder – while in Guatemala. Since then, he has honed his skills while travelling through parts of SE Asia, India, North and South America, Turkey and Europe, and now has over a dozen works to his name. Today, his adventures continue…

Social Media Links – https://instagram.com/aaronhodgesauthor

https://www.facebook.com/aaronhodgesauthor

Only a Glimmer of Hope amongst the lives of these economic units

‘Glimmer of Hope’ by JA Andrews

Sometimes chasing a dream can become a nightmare…

Alecia Preen is living in poverty and desperate to make a better life for herself. Having moved to a new area for new beginnings after being disowned by her family, money was fast running out. She is struggling to make ends meet.

With the intention of charging lonely men online for her services, Alecia realises she can supplement her income by being unscrupulous. In meeting Jake Parker he requests that she role-plays as a psychiatrist, but he makes her aware of an underground millionaires playground called Sordida. He warns her to stay away.

As Alecia’s curiosity gets the better of her, she is amazed by the wealth and decadence on offer. Sordida is not the club she had anticipated because behind the legendary name lurks a very dark secret. A secret that could cost her everything.

He pays by the hour and Alecia pays in ways she had never imagined.

The cover of JA Andrew’s novella, ‘Glimmer of Hope’

JA Andrews has written a novella which is interesting in tone and style. In an author’s note post-script, Andrews explains that this is an expanded and enhanced version of a shorter, earlier work.

Sometimes this shows in the text, other times it is well hidden. Andrews cites it as a cross between ‘50 Shades of Gray’ and ‘Hostel’ and the mix of erotica and mild horror are certainly visible in the DNA of the text.

The story of a young girl sucked into the world of prostitution and, eventually, the sordid but supposedly “glamorous” world of the aptly named Sordida is as depressing as one might expect.

Little play is made of the fact that this is a northern girl, transported to the south with no friends or family for emotional support.

Conversely, great play is made of her desperation for money and people are used and seen as currency in this world of flashy lingerie and limos. The people are economic units to be played with, discarded and used.

However, what Andrews really manages is to draw his readers into a spiralling world of desperation and horror as the plot plays out at breathtaking speed and the nail-biting conclusion, the reversals of fortune and the ever mounting tension make it a very handy afternoon read.

Just don’t read it alone at night if you’re of a squeamish disposition.

Author JA Andrews

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08L9JR183/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L9JR183/

Author Bio –

JA Andrews is the author of gripping twisty psychological thrillers. Mummy’s Boy, and You Let Him In, are his full length novels, while Glimmer of Hope is a shorter story as a Kindle exclusive.  As well as writing fiction, JA Andrews enjoys reading a mix of genres, watching various reality TV and spending time with family and friends.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @JasonA1980

Beverley Learns to Type

EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT FROM MINE by Alison Knight

You can read a review of ‘Mine’ by Alison Knight here: https://pajnewman.com/?p=497

In this scene, Jack comes home from work to find his teenage daughter, Beverley, teaching herself to type. She’s an unmarried mother to baby Kerry and is already finding full-time parenting difficult. She decides to look for a job. After all, her mother goes out at work, so why can’t she?

On Friday afternoon, Jack let himself into the house and whistled. The only response was a soft tap-tapping from the kitchen. 

            He walked down the passage and opened the door. Bev was sitting at the kitchen table with Lily’s old typewriter, a book open beside her. She was looking at the book and typing, a frown of concentration on her face.

            “Hallo, love.”

            She jumped a mile.

            “Shit!” she yelped. “Don’t do that!”

            “What? Walk into me own kitchen? What you doing?”

            “Baking a cake, what does it look like?”

            “Then you’re a lousy cook,” he grinned.

            Bev giggled. Jack knew she could never resist her old dad’s jokes.

            “Any danger of a cuppa?”

            She rolled her eyes and got up to put the kettle on.

            “Where’s the baby?”

            “Upstairs in her cot. She finally decided she was tired.”

            He walked round the table and looked at the paper in the machine.

            The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick btrim

            “What’s a b-t-r-i-m?”

            “It’s an old man what sneaks up on you.”

            “Ah, I thought so.” He sat down. “So, you’re learning to type?”

            “Yeah. I’m using Mum’s old book. It’s easy. Or it was till you scared the living daylights out of me.”

            He held up his hands. “Sorry, love. So, how long’s this been going on?”

            She shrugged. “Not long. I got bored, so thought I might as well do something useful.”

            “Something useful, eh? Like doing some housework to help your mum out?”

            She leant against the sink and gave him a look, just like Lily. What was it about his girls and those stroppy looks?

“Something useful for me,” she said. “So I can get a job.”

            He frowned. “There’s plenty of time for that. You’ve got Kerry to think of first.”

            Bev huffed and turned away, spooning tea into the pot, muttering to herself.

Fate and the Effects of Mine

Mine by Alison Knight

“What’s mine, I keep.”

London, 1968.

Lily’s dreams of a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give up her illegitimate child. It doesn’t help that Lily’s husband, Jack, takes their daughter’s side.


Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily’s growing feelings for her married boss soon provides a dangerous distraction.

Will Lily be able to resist temptation? Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them down an extraordinary path that could destroy them all?

‘Mine’ – a powerful story of class, ambition and sexual politics.

The cover of ‘Mine’ Alison Knight’s new novel

Reader of pajnewman.com can read an exclusive extract from ‘Mine’ by Alison Knight here:

Alison Knight has indeed produced a powerful tale of class, ambition and forbidden love against the backdrop of 1960’s London.

The social mores of the day are played out against the backdrop of socially ambitious Lily becoming fragmented by her desire for advancement and dreams of bettering herself as her happy-go-lucky working class husband enjoys what he has.

This is marketed as a 1960s noir-ish novel but it is much more Eastenders via The Krays. This is not a glorified world of sharp suited gangsters and flash cars – it’s tins of peas, spuds needing peeled for tea and the quiet desperation of doomed love.

Decisions made – in lust, in hate, in ignorance – have consequences in this novel. And bad things can certainly befall those who don’t know their place in this society.

Few, if any, characters are happy. They are all locked in their own chambers of dissatisfaction and disgruntlement. 

The other way that it does not really fit the template of a crime novel is that it is not excessively plot driven. For the most part of 400 pages, these are small, domestic events. It’s the stresses of being late for Brownies or swimming lessons; the struggle to get to the office on time; or the relationship seeping away as the lust for excitement washes over the middle aged protagonists.

The fact that Knight writes in a crisp, engaging style which sucks the reader in and sweeps them towards the shocking and alarming denouement is a testament to her skill as a writer.

Overall, this is the sort of down to earth, realistic tale about the ripples caused by the decisions we take which live on generation to generation which will stay with the reader for a long time.

Purchase Links 

UK –  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08JQF4JQT

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JQF4JQT

Author Alison Knight

Author Bio – 

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

Mine is a domestic drama set in 1960s London based on real events in her family. She is the only person who can tell this particular story. Exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, Mine shows how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops(www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

Social Media Links – 

Websites: www.alisonroseknight.com  www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk www.darkstroke.com/dark-stroke/alison-knight/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alison.knight.942

Twitter: @Alison_Knight59

Some Very Good Dogs Indeed

‘Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter’ by Laura Marchant

Hilarious and heart warming true stories of a Pet Sitter.

Laura takes us on her journey describing the immense joy that the animals have brought into her life. But it’s not all fun and games. With sometimes as many as ten dogs around her home, things can get a tad hectic. Not to forget the every day challenges faced in keeping the pets happy and safe when out walking. Luckily she is not alone in her quest; her unusually dominant Golden Retriever ‘Brece’ is always by her side. Brece earns her keep by convincingly playing the part of the alpha female, ensuring harmony amongst the pack.

At times, the responsibility that Laura faces becomes overwhelming. She may think she has everything covered but that hand of fate could quite easily swoop down, creating havoc for her and the dogs. Laura has endured many close calls and teetered on the precipice of disaster may a time. The longer she continues with her pet sitting enterprise, the more likely hood that total disaster will actually strike. Is she tempting fate?

​Laura Marchant is the Bridget Jones of the pet sitting world!

The cover image of Laura Marchant’s debut, ‘The Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter’

Dogs are the best, aren’t they? I know that Laura Marchant takes us on a guided tour of her pet sitting empire which includes cats, but this is really a book all about dogs.

And, rightly so. What’s not to love about the lovable fur balls who share our homes? I think, if you were Marchant, the answer might be: “quite a lot”.

However, from trashed furniture to wild escape attempts and no room on the sofa, she takes the reader on a journey from contented office worker to pet sitting queen.

In some ways, the best thing about this book is the wish fulfilment. What true pet lover has not ideally dreamed about the opportunity to spend your days strolling through rolling fields with lovely hounds for hours at a time?

My own two very badly behaved hounds relaxing in the sun

Marchant provides a down-to-earth, almost step by step guide to setting up as a responsible, caring pet sitter. You can just feel the amount of furry cuddles she’s had radiate off the page.

But, boy, does it sound like hard work!

If I have a criticism (apart from her assertion that dogs have extra sensory perception which I think she and I are going to just have to agree to differ on) it is in the timbre of her writing.

Marchant has a friendly, informal, easy style. She is a comical, engaging and entertaining guide through the sometimes fraught world of professional pet sitting. But there is, perhaps, a lack of light and shade. The thing which sets the best writing about dogs apart – Marley and Me for example – is the terrible, finite lifespan of these magical companions. As the book neared its completion I kept waiting for the tragedy which would elevate this work to tear jerking finale, but it never came.

However, overall this is a charming tale, charmingly told and, if like many people in the UK, you adore your dogs, this will pass many a pleasant evening sharing limited sofa space with a domesticated wolf cramping your comfort.

Purchase Links

Author Bio – Laura Marchant was born in 1959 in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England. Both her parents were born in the same town, so not exactly a family of intrepid travellers! As a child Laura and her siblings were fortunate enough to own shares in the family’s pets. Unbeknown to Laura at the time, her love for the animals formed the blueprint for a large part of her life. In 2011 she finally found her vocation, and in the comfort of her own home, set up a pet boarding business. For the next 7 years she shared her abode with a pack of dogs. A lot of this time was spent watching over the animals and observing their behaviour, which in turn inspired her to write her first novel ‘Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter’.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/laura.marchant60/?modal=admin_todo_tour