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Hi all:

Today I bring you the review of a book I really enjoyed. It’s very quirky. I hope you like it.

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

First, the description:

‘From the first page, we were hooked . . . If you loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this is for you . . . Brilliant! *****’
Heat
‘A poignant and very clever read – you’ll fall in love with Milo!
Company
‘Not dissimilar to Christopher in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . . . Beautifully written and complete with a powerful message, What Milo Saw will make you think, and then pick up the phone to call your mum’
Daily Express
A BIG story about a small boy who sees the world a little differently
Nine-year-old Milo Moon has retinitis pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing and he will eventually go blind. But for now he sees the world through a pin hole and notices things other people don’t. When Milo’s beloved gran succumbs to dementia and moves into a nursing home, Milo soon realises there’s something very wrong at the home. The grown-ups won’t listen to him so with just Tripi, the nursing home’s cook, and Hamlet, his pet pig, to help, Milo sets out on a mission to expose the nursing home and the sinister Nurse Thornhill.
Insightful, wise and surprising, What Milo Saw is a novel filled with big ideas, simple truths and an emotional message that will resonate with everyone. Milo sees the world in a very special way and it will be impossible for you not to fall in love with him, savour every moment you spend with him and then share his story with everyone you know.

Now, my review:

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review through Net Galley.

It has already been suggested that readers of The Curious Incident… might enjoy this book, and I can say I have enjoyed both. As other reviewers have noted, one of the main differences it that What Milo Saw offers a variety of points of view, not only that of nine year old Milo, but also his mother, Sandy, his grandmother Lou, Tripi, the Syrian chef at the nursing home (and an illegal refugee) and although the story belongs to Milo, we get other perspectives and a kaleidoscopic effect.

One of the many strengths of the novel is Milo. He suffers from retinitis pigmentosa (that means he sees everything though a pinhole as it were, and eventually he will end up blind) and as many characters tell him, that allows him to focus and see things that many others miss. But despite how extraordinary and insightful Milo proves to be at times, he’s also a little boy. His placing his trust in somebody because of a passing remark, his catastrophizing and disappointment in adults in general, his black and white way of looking at things, his quick judgements and misunderstanding of situations, his enthusiasm and tantrums, the good and the bad, make him real and human. He is not a mini-adult; he is a believable and fully-fledged child.

The adults in his life are living through crises and difficulties (his grandmother is losing her memory and physically unwell, his mother has not recovered from her husband’s abandonment and finds it difficult to get organised and carry on with life, and Tripi is desperate to find his sister but scared of being found out as an illegal immigrant) but Milo inspires them to never give up and to be a better version of themselves.

Milo, his little pig Hamlet (growing suspiciously fast), Al (a Scottish undercover reporter and relative), Tripi, Sandy, all the residents and eventually even Mrs. Hairy and the whistling neighbour, join forces to try and bring down the horrible owner of the Forget Met Not nursing home, Nurse Thornhill. She is the bad witch of the fairy tales, although, unfortunately she might not be miles away from some real examples.

The book’s style is smooth offering an easy read, and the language used is well adapted to the specific characters. The protagonists are easy to root for (some irresistible from the beginning, like lovely Tripi, others grow into their own, like Sandy), and the novel achieves a communitarian and choral effect conveying and optimistic and life-affirming message.

This is a touching and warm-hearted book, set up in a recognisable modern Britain (for good and bad) full of unforgettable characters and a fairy tale ending. A fabulous read I recommend wholeheartedly to anybody who likes little books with big stories.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GFHG1B4/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GFHG1B4/

Thanks so much to Virginia Macgregor for her book, thanks to all of you for writing, and you can like, share, comment (although it will be a while before  I can reply) and of course, CLICK!

Hi all:

As usual, on Fridays I bring you authors and their books. I met Philip Tolhurst through Twitter, where he asked me a very interesting question that took us to talking about his book. The premise of the book sounded very intriguing to me and I decided you might find it as interesting as I did. And without further ado, here I bring you…

 

George and the Dragon by Philip Tolhurst

George and the Dragon by Philip Tolhurst

George and the Dragon (The Knights of the Sky Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Philip Tolhurst

World War II has broken out. The Germans have started to blitz the UK and now they have a new weapon, a weapon so powerful it could end the British war effort before it has even started.

With bombs falling dangerously close to home George Atkins’ mother, Mary, decides to evacuate their home and go to live with his uncle in the heart of English countryside. George’s whole world is turned upside down when five dragons, ridden by Luftwaffe airmen, destroy his uncle’s house. At the same time, with thanks to his father and a group of bumbling British scientists, George becomes the rider of an emerald green dragon he names Spitfire.

The pair are recruited, albeit reluctantly, by a special unit of the RAF. As the first dragon and rider fighting for the allies, they face the biggest challenge of their lives to save the country from defeat by the Luftwaffe and the evil leader of the Nazi’s forces Colonel von Vogler and his mutant dragon Blitzkrieg.

http://www.amazon.com/George-Dragon-Knights-Sky-Book-ebook/dp/B00JTG1YRY/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/George-Dragon-Knights-Sky-Book-ebook/dp/B00JTG1YRY/

And here a bit about the author:

Philip Tolhurst

Philip Tolhurst (1972 – still alive and kicking) was born in Sidcup, Kent and currently lives with his wife of 13 years and 2 children in a little Victorian terrace in Medway, Kent.

He has worked in the IT, Medical Registration and Courier delivery industries and is proud of the fact that in his youth he managed to work at all three major fast food outlets.

He grew up in the era of films like Tron and Starwars, playing Dungeons and Dragons and reading Lord of the Rings and the Fighting Fantasy books. However, it wasn’t until about 7 years ago that he decided to put his imagination to good use and start writing his first novel.

He published his début novel, George and the Dragon, in April 2014 and hopes that this will be the first of many more to come.

http://www.amazon.com/Philip-Tolhurst/e/B00JTGN0ZI/

 

Thanks Philip for bringing us his novel, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, comment, share and CLICK!

Hola a todos:

Como ya sabréis, estoy de vuelta en Inglaterra, aunque no sé por cuánto tiempo ya que mi vida es algo cambiante en estos momentos y no puedo hacer planes a muy largo plazo.

Os he dicho unas cuantas veces que las fotos no se me dan muy bien, pero no estoy convencida de que me creáis, así que decidí dejaros unas muestras…

Por lo visto se acerca la Navidad. Estuve en Sheffield el fin de semana pasado y vi un Christmas pudding (un postre tradicional navideño de aquí, que normalmente se sirve con cream, brandy butter, o helado, o todo, y se quema por encima con un chorrito de algo…A mí me parece pesadísimo y no me gusta nada, pero es un tradición que yo intento evitar tanto como puedo) con ruedas y pensé, le haremos una foto.

Christmas pudding on wheels in front of Sheffield's City Hall

Christmas pudding con ruedad delante del City Hall de Sheffield

Por supuesto todo el mundo se estaba paseando por allí (hay mercadillos Navideños, feria, vamos, mucha gente). Decidí esperar un poco, y éste fue el resultado.

No so many people but blurry phot

No hay tanta gente pero me quedó borroso

En el pueblo donde vivo, Penistone, suelen aprovechar por estas fechas para hacer una feria de artesanía en la iglesia de St John, la central del pueblo, que fue construida (al menos partes de ella) en la época de los Normandos (partes son del siglo XI). Penistone aparece en el Domesday Book  (un registro que los invasores Franceses hicieron…ya se sabe, cuestión de impuestos). Yo intento aprovechar la feria cuando puedo para comprar regalos de Navidad un poco más originales.

Hen's Teeth Art Group advert

Poster del grup de artistas Hens Teeth

El grupo de artistas que se promocionan juntos y son de la zona, se hacen llamar Hens Teeth (dientes de gallina. La expresión en inglés se usa para referirse a algo que es muy raro, ya que las gallinas no tienen dientes. Supongo que sería similar a hablar de que a las ranas les salga pelo).

Decidí hacer una foto dentro…y así me quedó.

Inside of St John's Church during the fair

Dentro de St John´s. Otra foto borrosa

Aquí me parece que no llevaba puestas las gafas. Aún y así…

Compré algunas cosas. Por ejemplo:

Hand-knitted angel

Angelito de punto hecho a mano

No es que yo sea muy de Navidades, pero como sabéis estoy escribiendo una serie con ángeles así que…

Ya que estaba allí, aproveché para hacerle una foto al cine, el Penistone Paramount que cumple 100 años este año, y es uno de los amores de mi vida. Le han pintado la fachada para celebrarlo.

The Penistone Paramount. 100 years old. Looking Good!

The Penistone Paramount. 100 años. ¡Se conserva bien!

Este mes os he estado dando la lata hablando de NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) que es una iniciativa a la que se puede apuntar uno y es como un reto personal a escribir una novela de al menos 50000 palabras en un mes (Noviembre).

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

¡Y gané! De hecho, el borrador de mi novela pasa algo de las 60000 palabras y me sobró algo de tiempo.

Me encantaría compartir un poco de la novela, pero era la tercera en mi series Asuntos Angélicos que os he mencionado alguna vez, y me pareció que sería difícil compartir algo que no revelara mucho de la historia en los otros dos libros y que se pudiera entender sin haberlos leído. Así que, en lugar de eso decidí compartir el segundo capítulo del la primera novela en la series Alerta Pink (por si no os acordáis, aquí compartí el primer capítulo):

Capítulo 2. El encuentro (Parte 1)

Yo no era demasiado soñadora o romántica…Vale, por supuesto me gustan las historias románticas y una no puede evitar soñar, pero yo no creía de verdad  que ese tipo de cosas me fueran a pasar a mí nunca. Y por supuesto no  esperaba que el chico perfecto se presentara de improviso, me arrebatara en sus brazos y me llevase al paraíso. (Para empezar estaba bastante convencida de que no tendríamos la misma opinión sobre qué es el paraíso.) Incluso en los cuentos de hadas esas cosas sólo le pasan a las princesas y otras heroínas de ese tipo. Chicas normalitas y corrientes como yo casi nunca eran las protagonistas de ese tipo de historias. Por supuesto el Feminismo y la concienciación social y étnica habían expandido el tema y las historias y cuentos modernos eran un poco más “equitativos” y “justos”. Pero con la mano en el corazón yo seguía prefiriendo los cuentos de hadas de siempre.

Debido a mi realista (más que pesimista) opinión de la vida, yo no esperaba que el perfecto candidato a mi novio de mentirijillas apareciera así sin más. Si ésta fuera una de esas historias, no sólo habría aparecido y sido perfecto, sino que se habría enamorado locamente de mí y al final yo me habría dado cuenta de que la pretensión se había transformado en realidad. Lo sé, habéis leído la historia. Y visto la película. Yo también. Aún y así…

Un chico nuevo llegó a la escuela. No era guapo en el sentido convencional, pero tenía “algo”. Pelo oscuro, ojos grises, alto, rasgos marcados…No el típico chico mono (estilo Zac Effron), pero más uno de esos tipos profundos y torturados, atractivo a lo duro (quizás como el Robert Pattinso, aunque de hecho a mí no me gusta demasiado, pero entiendo porque le gusta a muchas chicas). Y tenía mucho estilo. Chaqueta de cuero, siempre vestido de negro, rodeado de un ligero aire de misterio…incluso de amenaza y riesgo.

Como siempre las chicas populares tomaron la iniciativa e intentaron sonsacarle toda la información posible. Usaron sus técnicas más efectivas, incluyendo parpadeando para mostrar la enorme cantidad de mascara que usaban, desabrochándose  algunos botones de la blusa del uniforme, riéndole todas las gracias (y las sin-gracia)…Pero el parecía resistirse y no consiguieron sacarle ni una sonrisa.

Lorna, Silvia y yo oímos a Chloe (la jefa de las animadoras, ya conocéis el tipo, rubia, alta, ojos azules, atlética y bien proporcionada…) hablando con su mejor amiga Zoe (tipo muy similar pero morena) después de pasar algún tiempo con el chico nuevo:

—¿Qué crees que le pasa? Sólo contesta en monosílabas. Y dice que se llama “G”. ¿”G”? ¿Qué tipo de nombre es “G”?

—No te preocupes…Probablemente es gay.

—Tengo que saberlo. Le diré a Scott que hable con él después del entrenamiento esta tarde. Los tíos a veces pueden ser tímidos con chicas a las que no conocen.

Chloe había salía con Scott desde hacía unos meses, y Zoe estaba saliendo con Chris. Yo dudaba que el tal G fuera tímido. Tenía una mirada muy intensa y una sonrisa traviesa. Silvia dijo:

—Creo que nos está mirando.

Nuestra primera reacción en esos casos era mirar a nuestro alrededor porque  los chicos nunca nos miraban. Pero no había nadie más. Sí, parecía que nos estaba mirando.

—Creo que tienes razón— dijo Lorna.

—Pues no sé por qué— dije yo.

Nos fuimos las tres a la biblioteca a estudiar un rato. Cuando salimos, el entrenamiento de fútbol había terminado. G nos intrigaba, pero ninguna de las chicas populares estaba por allí y parecía poco probable que fuéramos a conseguir información alguna ese día. Yo acompañé a Silvia y Lorna a la parada de autobús y me eché a andar hacia casa. Cuando estaba a medio camino llegó Seth  en su viejo cacharro. Su padre le había prometido que le compraría un coche nuevo si sacaba buenas notas y conseguía que le aceptaran en una buena universidad, así que había estado trabajando duro a comparación con sus estándares habituales.

—¡Eh Pink! ¡Sube! ¡Te llevo a casa!

Me monté a su lado. Llevaba la música a todo volumen pero la bajó cuando me subí.

—¿Cómo fue el entrenamiento?

—Como siempre. Si al entrenador no se le ocurre alguna idea nueva nunca ganaremos a nadie este año.

—Creí que habías dicho que teníais un equipo fuerte.— La verdad es que yo no prestaba mucha atención a su charla sobre fútbol, pero de vez en cuando algo se me quedaba grabado.

—Si, pero no nos irían mal un par de tíos más…quizás un defensa potente…un goleador…

—No es muy probable que consigáis nuevos jugadores con la temporada tan avanzada, ¿no?

—Toni pensó que el tío nuevo éste…se hace llamar G, podría ser un jugador, aunque no parece lo suficientemente fuerte para ser un defensa pero…nunca se sabe qué talentos esconde la gente, pero no. Le dijo al entrenador que no le interesaba el fútbol. Parece que le gusta correr…y, no lo creerás…“la gimnasia de competición”! ¿No te parece la cosa más rara que has oído?

A mí siempre me ha gustado la gimnasia…No practicarla…Por más duro que trabaje no tengo ni estilo ni demasiado sentido del equilibrio, pero me encantaba ver gimnasia. Uno de los pocos deportes que me interesaban.

—¿Qué tiene de  malo la gimnasia? Tienes que estar muy en forma y ser fuerte…

—Ya, pero un poco femenino, ¿no te parece? Scott me estaba diciendo que Chloe había estado intentando hablar con él…“hablar”, ¿sabes? Ya sabes lo que quiero decir…

—Flirtear y enseñarle el sujetador, vamos…

Él se rió e hizo un gesto de garra.

—¡Gggggrrrr! ¡Cómo te pones! Eres demasiado seria. Pero supongo que eso es lo que quiero decir…Y él la ignoró. Bueno, no la ignoró, pero sólo respondió sí o no…Si Chloe no consigue acelerarle tiene que tener algún problema.

—Quizás prefiera otro tipo de chica…

—¿De veras? ¿A qué tío como dios manda no le gusta Chloe? Puede que no te guste como persona, pero está muy buena. ¿Quién crees que podría ser más de su tipo entonces? ¿Quizás tú?— Y se echó a reír. Y siguió riéndose…Mi decisión de mostrarle de qué era capaz aumentó exponencialmente.

Tan pronto como me dejó en casa y llegué a mi habitación me conecté con Lorna y Silvia. Estaban las dos en casa de Lorna. Les dije lo que había descubierto.

—¡De veras, Pink, Seth es un idiota total!— gruñó Lorna—. Quizás lo mejor sería que le enviases a freír churros.

—Ni se enteraría de qué iba el asunto y no me daría ninguna satisfacción. No, estoy aún más decidida que antes a seguir adelante con el plan.

—Se merecería que salieses con el tal G—dijo Silvia.

—Estaba pensando lo mismo, pero no sabemos nada de él. Y no somos las únicas. Parece que nadie sabe nada sobre él, ni siquiera de dónde ha salido. Podría ser un indeseable por lo que sabemos. Y además, dudo que esté interesado.

—Bueno, la poca información que tenemos sobre él tiene buena pinta —Lorna resumió—. No le gusta el fútbol, así que dudo que pase mucho tiempo con Seth y su grupo. Le gusta la gimnasia y a ti también te gusta el mismo deporte, así que tendrías algo de que hablar. Y parece inmune a los encantos de Chloe y su banda de chicas guapas…

—Y no se te vaya a olvidar que nos estaba mirando —dijo Silvia.

—No estoy segura de lo que eso pueda significar. Puede que pensara que somos raras o algo así…Tendremos que esperar a ver lo que pasa durante los próximos días y si hay alguna novedad… —dije yo.

—Sería todo un éxito si consiguieras salir con él…Es completamente nuevo en el mercado y no es de por aquí…un tío tan fresco y objetivo como encontrarás en estos lares —dijo Lorna.

—Ya veremos.

G se convirtió en el centro de atención la semana siguiente, aunque no parecía que el interés fuera recíproco y daba la impresión de que intentaba volverse invisible la mayoría del tiempo. Pero tenía una forma muy extraña de aparecer donde fuera que Lorna, Sylvia y yo estábamos, incluso cuando no le tocaba la misma clase que a nosotras.

—¡Te digo que nos está mirando! —dijo Sylvia por millonésima vez.

—Sí, ¿pero a cuál de nosotras está mirando? —preguntó Lorna.

Yo estaba algo aburrida de repetir la misma conversación al menos una vez al día, cuando no varias veces el mismo día. Esta vez acabábamos de salir de la biblioteca y él estaba en la acera al otro lado de la calle, apoyado en la pared, y parecía estar mirándonos.

—¿Quién sabe? —respondió Sylvia una vez más.

Ya estaba harta. No era tan difícil de saber.

—Si de verdad queréis saberlo, es bastante sencillo. OK, Sylvia, ven conmigo. Lorna, tú quédate ahí.

Agarré a Sylvia del brazo y me la llevé a rastras conmigo hasta el escaparate de la tienda de la esquina. No, G no estaba mirando a Lorna; sus mirada nos siguió a nosotras.

—Ahora, tú quédate ahí.

Dejé a Sylvia en la tienda y yo crucé al otro lado de la calle donde G estaba. Ahora no había duda posible. Por difícil que fuera de creer, me estaba mirando a mí. Sylvia y Lorna se reunieron conmigo, muy excitadas, pero intentado hablar en voz baja (aunque no me pareció que con mucho éxito). Al menos podía estar agradecida porque no se habían puesto a dar saltitos. No éramos unas chicas particularmente saltarinas.

—¡Oh Dios mío! ¡Te está mirando a ti de todas todas! —dijo Sylvia, intentando no echarse a pegar chillidos.

—Sí, sí, lo está. Eso es. ¡Es el tipo para nuestro plan —concluyó Lorna.

—¿Qué vas a hacer? —preguntó Sylvia.

—Lo primero, salir de aquí.

Esta vez fuimos a mi casa y charlamos mucho rato. Sylvia y Lorna sugirieron todo tipo de ideas alocadas planes estrafalarios para llamarle la atención a G. O más bien para “canalizar” su atención, ya que parecía que por algún motivo indeterminado yo ha había captado su atención. Todas sus sugerencias requerían una buena dosis de flirteo y de hacer papeles que no me resultaban muy familiares, como el de la dama en apuros o la fan alocada. No estaba segura de qué estrategia iba a usar, pero sí, parecía valer la pena el intentar conseguir que saliese conmigo. Y yo me sentía bastante curiosa sobre él y su interés en mí. ¿De qué iba todo aquello?

Cómo conseguirlo era otra cuestión. No sé si os habéis dado cuenta, pero los chicos no son mi especialidad. I aunque estaba decidida, trabajos, estudios y cosas urgentes por el estilo lo fue apartando a un lado y lo empujó al fondo de mi cerebro. Continué retrasándolo, intentando encontrar el momento adecuado para actuar, e ignorando los “consejos” de Sylvia y Lorna (para ser sincera, presión).

Un sábado por la mañana, más o menos un mes después de la aparición de G, Lorna, Sylvia y yo habíamos quedado en encontrarnos en Atlantis (una librería independiente). Yo había llegado algo temprano y entré a echarle un vistazo a los libros viejos. Estaba mirando una bella copia ilustrada de El gran Gatsby cuando alguien me tocó el hombro. Me giré, y allí estaba él, G.

—Hola.

—Hola.

Vale, ninguno de los dos íbamos a ganar un concurso a la originalidad o conseguir entrar en un libro que recogiera las más famosas palabras para iniciar una conversación.

—Me estaba preguntando cuándo tendría la oportunidad de pescarte a solas. Parece que siempre estés con tus amigas…Lorna y Sylvia, ¿no?

—Sí. Ya…habíamos notado que nos estabas mirando.

—Quieres decir que te estaba mirando a ti. Una forma interesante de comprobarlo científicamente. Aunque después de aquello supuse que habrías continuado y me habrías venido a hablar, pero no lo  hiciste —dijo él.

—Yo…no sabía qué significaba, pero nos lo estábamos preguntando y yo estaba aburrida de tanto especular…No sospechaba que me estuvieras mirando a mí.

—Pero al menos tenías esa esperanza.

—No.

No digáis que no os había advertido. Ya os he dicho que no se me dan bien los chicos y no podría flirtear ni aunque me fuese la vida en ello, así que…

—Oh, vale.

—No quería decir…Perdona, no se me dan bien estas cosas.

—¿Qué cosas?

—Ya sabes, flirtear y todo eso…Las relaciones con los tíos no son mi punto fuerte.

—Yo no me preocuparía mucho de eso si fuera tú…Volvamos a empezar. Hola Pink, soy G. Supongo que Pink no es tu nombre de verdad. ¿Cómo te llamas en realidad?

—Petra.

—¿De dónde viene el nombre?

—Siempre me ha gustado el rosa, y Pink en particular. Y no me gusta mi nombre de verdad, así que…

—No, me refería a tu nombre de verdad.

—Mi padre era un arqueólogo amateur cuando era joven y le gustaba mucho Petra.

—Supongo que podría haber sido peor.

—¿Cómo qué? ¿Abu Simbel o los jardines colgantes de Babilonia?

Se rio. Una risa corta pero sincera. Y luego sonrió. Tenía la sonrisa más rara y misteriosa que yo hubiese visto nunca, incluyendo a todos (hombres y mujeres). Imaginaos a la Mona Lisa, pero en hombre joven. Astuta, cómplice y misteriosa al mismo tiempo…

—¿Y tú? ¿Qué significa G?

En ese momento llegaron Lorna y Sylvia que se pararon en seco cuando me vieron hablando con G.

—Seguiremos hablando en otro momento. Quizás dentro de un par de días, durante el Día del Lago. Junto a la pequeña iglesia en la orilla norte. Después de comer.

—¿Por qué estás tan seguro de que será dentro de un par de días?

—Sé cosas…

Se fue. El Día del Lago era una tradición de la Escuela St. Mary. La directora, la Sra. Langston, había estudiado en Mount Holyoke College y le encantaba su Día de la Montaña, en particular la idea de que de repente, sin previo aviso, toda la escuela se montaba en los autobuses y se iba de excursión y pasaban el día fuera. Como no había ni montañas ni siquiera colinas que se merecieran el nombre cerca de St Mary, pero tenían el Lago Swallow (Golondrina) en las cercanías, decidió instituir en su lugar el Día del Lago. La fecha exacta cuando tendría lugar era un secreto muy bien guardado, sobre el que se especulaba mucho, así que yo no tenía ni idea de cómo podría haberse enterado G, si tenía razón, de cuándo iba a ser.

Sylvia y Lorna se pararon un buen rato preguntándome sobre mi encuentro con G, pero lo cierto es que no tenía mucho que decirles.

—¿Creéis que de verdad sabe cuándo será el Día del Lago? —preguntó Sylvia.

—Parecía muy seguro, ¿pero cómo lo iba a saber? No lleva aquí ni dos minutos y no conoce a los maestros…al menos que nosotras sepamos. ¿Por qué se lo iban a decir a él?

—Quizás su familia sea muy rica y hayan hecho una donación substancial…—sugirió Lorna.

—Estoy segura de que si alguien hubiese hecho una donación enorme nos habríamos enterado de ello, lo habrían publicado en el periódico local y anunciado por todas partes. Y estoy segura de que cualquier benefactor tendría cosas mucho más importantes que preguntar que cuándo iba a ser el siguiente Día del Lago —dije yo. Teníamos que tener cuidado y no dejarnos llevar por nuestras teorías, si no, G acabaría no siendo solo James Dean sino también Rockefeller. Su referencia a la pequeña iglesia era correcta, pero eso solo significaba que debía haber visitado el lago en algún momento ya que era un lugar bastante popular en esa zona. Eso no tenía nada de misterioso.

Finalmente conseguí que las chicas dejasen de hablar de G y pasásemos a otros temas. Aunque tengo que admitir que me moría de curiosidad por ver si tendría razón y el Día del Lago sería de verdad dentro de dos días. Por supuesto esa no era la única razón por la que me sentía curiosa. También quería ver qué me iba a decir la próxima vez que nos encontráramos. Me había parecido muy decidido, pero no tenía ni idea de sus goles o intenciones.

Si estuviera intentando hacerme pasar por alguien interesante y por encima de esas cosas os diría que un par de días más tarde ya me había olvidado de las predicciones de G y fui a la escuela sin expectativas. Lo cierto es que estaba agitada ese día, y Sylvia y Lorna no habían dejado de hablar de ello en el ínterin. Así que cuando al cabo de cinco minutos de haber empezado nuestra primera clase sonaron las campanas y anunciaron el Día del Lago nos excitamos mucho.

—Pero, ¡él no está aquí! —dijo Sylvia —. Debería haber estado en clase con nosotras peo no ha venido.

—Bueno, supongo que si de verdad sabía que no iba a haber clase debe haber encontrado algo mejor que hacer que venir de excursión —dije, haciendo ver que no me importaba.

—¡Pero había quedado contigo! —dijo Lorna.

—Sobreviviré.

Aún y así, no me pude resistir y dejé a Sylvia y a Lorna después de comer y paseando por la orilla del lago me acerqué a la pequeña iglesia. Y allí estaba él. G iba vestido de negro de cabeza a pies, como siempre, llevaba una chaqueta de piel negra, y estaba de pie al lado de una motocicleta que a mí me parecía muy grande para su edad. ¿Una Triumph? Negra, brillante, impresionante es la descripción que os puedo dar. Las motos son otro de los temas en los que no me especializo.

—¡Guau! ¿Es tuya?

—Sí.

—¡Muy chula! Un  poco Ángeles del Infierno, ¿no?

Su respuesta fue una sonrisa más rara incluso de lo norma. ¿Qué demonios pasaba con él?

—Así que tenía razón. Sobre el Día del Lago, quiero decir. ¿Cómo lo supiste?

—Ya te dije que sé cosas…

—Así que te haces el misterioso…vale. Me preguntaste sobre mi nombre, el otro día, pero nunca me respondiste sobre el tuyo. ¿Qué significa G?

—Nada…Solo…decidí cambiar de estilo de vida y escogí un nuevo nombre. Ahora me llamo G.

—¿Como Ali-G o los hombre G?

—Muy divertido. Ya me lo habían dicho antes.

—Al menos no es el punto G. Y sí, estoy segura de que también te lo habían dicho.

—Podría ser la fuerza G.

—Si…¿pero no es algo religioso, como Malcolm X?

—No. Nada que ver con la religión.

No sabía por qué, pero no le creí, y me pareció que se había puesto muy tenso cuando mencioné la religión, pero probablemente era demasiado pronto para ir de indagación. Era algo raro ya que a los tíos de hoy en día no parecía preocuparles la religión y no era usual que hablar de ella consiguiera ninguna reacción…Quizás tenía algo que ver con su referencia a su antiguo estilo de vida. Quizás había estado en una secta o algo así…O quizás yo debería dejar de inventarme cosas. Estaba siendo discreto y no me había dado mucha información sobre sí mismo, pero eso era justo. Nos conocíamos hacía cinco minutos como quien dice, aunque ahora todos eran amigos de todos y publicaban detalles íntimos de sus vidas sin darle ninguna importancia, así que su actitud era algo anticuada, aunque yo la encontraba vivificante. Cuando la gente anunciaba cada íntimo detalle de sus vidas a los cuatro vientos solo podía significar que no había nada que valiese la pena saber sobre ellos. Aún y así, no pude evitar seguir preguntándole cosas, aunque fueran menos íntimas.

—¿Por qué te vistes siempre de negro?

—Me cansé de ir de blanco.

Esa sonrisa suya de nuevo. Era enigmático. No tenía ni idea de lo que estaba hablando pero sospechaba que no llegaría mucho más lejos con mi tipo de preguntas.

—¿Podemos hablar ya o aún tienes más preguntas que hacerme antes de que podamos continuar? —me preguntó, sonriendo aún.

—Solo una más. ¿Por qué yo? No eres de aquí y supongo que no conoces a nadie del lugar —le miré y negó con la cabeza—, así que, ¿por qué yo? No puede ser mi aspecto, de eso estoy segura. No soy una gran belleza. Del montón. —No era falsa modestia. No soy muy alta, pelo corto castaño y ojos marrones (un poco verdes), rellenita…

—Eso es parte del atractivo —la sonrisa de nuevo.

—Chicas como Chloe han intentado hablar contigo sin conseguir nada, y por lo que me han dicho a los chicos de tu edad les resultan irresistibles.

—Eso es una generalización injusta. No todos tenemos el mismo gusto.

—¿De veras? ¿Entonces eres un raro? ¿Te atraen las personas que no son atractivas?

—Ah no, por ahí no me vas a pillar. No soy tan estúpido como tu amigo Seth. Sé que estás enfadada con él por la manera en que te trata como si le dieras pena, y no estuvieras ni la altura de su zapato. No he dicho que no fueses atractiva. Tú eres la que lo ha dicho.

Había ido demasiado lejos. Tuviese razón o no, esa no era manera de hablar de un amigo mío. ¿Y cómo demonios se atrevía a insinuar que sabía cómo me sentía?

—Escucha, Sr. G o como quiera que te llames, no metas a mis amigos en esto. No sé quién o qué te crees que eres, pero eso no te da derecho a hacer comentarios y criticar a la gente a la que conozco y quiero. Te deseo una vida feliz.

Me di la vuelta y eché a andar tan aprisa como pude de vuelta con el resto del grupo. Esto había sido una equivocación. ¡Salir con él! Ni en mil años.

Debió correr porque estaba de nuevo a mi lado.

—No te enfades. Anda, sé que has estado pensando en vengarte de los comentarios que hace sobre ti saliendo con un candidato apropiado. Y sé que tú y tus amigas habías pensado en mí para el papel.

Debí tener aspecto de asombrada porque añadió:

—No te preocupes. Tus amigas no me lo han dicho y nadie más lo sabe.

—Y si te pregunto cómo lo sabes me vas a decir que sabes cosas…

El asintió y sonrió.

—Te lo tienes muy creído…No me importa ni lo que sabes ni cómo lo sabes. Puedes guardarte todos tus conocimientos y tus secretos para ti solo. La vida es demasiado corta para esto, si quieres mi opinión. Estoy segura de que puedes encontrar otra chica que sea tan poco atractiva como yo para lo que sea que tienes pensado. Buena suerte.

Ningún tío se merecía el tener que soportar todo aquello por él, en mi opinión. Se lo podía meter donde le cupiese. Eché a andar aún más deprisa que antes. Y no tenía la menor intención de pararme o de que me parasen.

Esta vez me siguió motorizado y resbaló en la gravilla hasta pararse a unos pocos metros de mí.

—Me estoy ofreciendo voluntario a hacer el papel con Seth. No tengo ningún problema con ser tu novio oficial. Sé que no quieres una relación de verdad. Eso me va al dedillo. Yo tampoco quiero una. Opino como tú que se invierte demasiado tiempo en relaciones con el sexo opuesto a nuestra edad. Pero también sé que la actitud de Seth te parece enojosa y tienes razón. A un montón de tíos les encantaría ser tu novio si de veras quisieras uno.

—Ahora lisonjas…Aprendemos rápido —le contesté intentando ser irónica.

—Vamos, Pink. No soy de aquí. Como has dicho antes algunas de las chicas a las que se consideran entre las más bellas y deseadas por todos los chicos se han acercado a mí sin éxito. Te llevaría muchos puntos si tú consiguieras lo que a ellas se les ha resistido. Y no te daré mucho trabajo. Haré mi papel a la perfección en público. No tienes que preocuparte.

—¿Por qué insistes tanto? ¿Tú que ganas con todo esto?

—Oh, no te preocupes. No tengo malas intenciones. Ya te dije que no me interesan las relaciones…ningún tipo de relaciones…

Cuando alguien dice que no te preocupes dos veces seguidas, uno debe preocuparse definitivamente. No tenía una respuesta preparada y me lo quedé mirando. No sé qué expresión debía hacer porque se sonrojó y añadió rápidamente:

—Sé que Chloe y Zoe y todas esas chicas se estaban preguntando…Pero están tan convencidas de que son irresistibles…No soy gay. Simplemente tengo otras prioridades ahora mismo. Pero eso quedará entre tú y yo. Todos los demás creerán que estamos liados. Seremos convincentes.

No dije nada. ¿Era gay, era hetero, o simplemente no le interesaba el tema? ¿Me importaba algo todo eso? Sí, tenía razón. Si me presentaba en la escuela colgada de su brazo y era su novia oficial la gente lo notaría y me tomaría más en serio. Y zarandearíamos la opinión de Seth. ¿Pero que quería a cambio? ¿Y por qué se resistía tanto a decírmelo?

—Todo eso está muy bien, y no te preocupes, no estoy interesada en tu orientación sexual. Te la puedes guardar para ti. Tienes razón en mi opinión sobre las relaciones. Pero sigues sin haberme dicho por qué me escogiste a mí de buen principio. Y no me digas que eres un buen Samaritano ayudando a chicas necesitadas. ¿De qué va todo esto?

Me miró con una de sus miradas  penetrantes, esta vez sin sonreír. Después de lo que parecieron horas dijo:

—Creo que podríamos trabajar juntos.

—¿Trabajar? ¿Quieres decir deberes? ¿Un trabajo de clase?

—No exactamente.

Gracias a todos por leer, y si os ha gustado, ya sabéis, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid, y…bueno también podéis hacer CLIC si os apetece en los varios link o en los otros sitios en la página, que hay libros, blogs…No os quedéis con las ganas!

Hi all:

I’m sure I’ve told you I’m back in the UK (although I don’t know how long for, my life is in flux at the moment), and it seems Christmas is coming. I know I’ve told you many times I’m terrible at taking pictures, but I’m not sure you believe me yet, so I thought…I’d show you.

I was in Sheffield last week and I saw a Christmas pudding on wheels. Hey, photo opportunity!

Christmas pudding on wheels in front of Sheffield's City Hall

Christmas pudding on wheels in front of Sheffield’s City Hall

As you can see everybody decided it was the time to walk by the pudding/van. I thought I’d wait a bit…And this happened!

No so many people but blurry phot

No so many people but blurry photo

And I’m sure I was wearing glasses!

In Penistone itself (where I live) there is the tradition of having an arts & craft fair inside of St. John’s Church (parts of the church go back to Norman times, as does the town, that is listed in the Doomsday [or Domesday] Book), showcasing an art group called Hens Teeth. I always try and see what original gifts I can find there.

Hen's Teeth Art Group advert

Hens Teeth Art Group advert

I thought I’d take a picture inside of the church to show you, but again…

Inside of St John's Church during the fair

Inside of St John’s Church during the fair

Yes, a bit blurry. This time maybe it was because I wasn’t wearing the glasses. I did buy a few things. Here, the knitted angel…

Hand-knitted angel

Hand-knitted angel

I’m not a very Christmassy person but you know I’m writing a series about angels…

And as I was walking around, I thought I’d let you know that the local cinema, The Penistone Paramount (I’d mentioned it before. It’s one of the loves of my life) celebrates its 100th anniversary and they’ve painted it to celebrate.

The Penistone Paramount. 100 years old. Looking Good!

The Penistone Paramount. 100 years old. Looking Good!

As you know I’ve told you (only a few times) that I was taking part in NaNoWriMo. The idea is to write a novel of at least 50000 words (the draft of a novel) in a month. And guess what! I won! (The draft ended up being over 60000 and I had a bit of time spare).

I won!

I won!

I’d love to share some of what I wrote, but it was book 3 of my Angelic Business series (that for the time being I’m calling Pink, Angel or Demon?) but I thought it would be difficult not to give too much of the other books away or to follow it without knowing much about the other two. Instead, as I had shared chapter 1 of the first one, I thought I’d share Chapter 2. I hope that’s OK.

As you’ll remember, the novel is called (if I don’t change my mind) Pink Matters.

Chapter 2. The Meeting (Part 1)

I wasn’t much of a dreamer or a romantic…All right, sure, I like romantic stories and one can’t help but dream, but I didn’t really believe in them or put any stock or faith in any of those things ever happening to me. I didn’t expect the perfect guy to just turn up, snatch me and take me to paradise. (For one I was pretty convinced that we would not have the same opinion on what paradise might consist of.) Even in fairy tales such things only happened to princesses and the like. Normal, run of the mill girls like me were hardly the protagonists of those kind of stories. Of course feminism and an increase in social and diversity awareness had broadened the subject and modern stories were a bit more “equal” and “fair”. But if I had to put my hand in my heart I still preferred the old-fashioned ones.

Due to my realistic (rather than pessimistic) view of life, I was not expecting the perfect candidate to my pretend boyfriend to just turn up. If this had been one of those stories, not only would he have turned up and be perfect, but he’d have fallen in love with me and eventually I’d have realised that the pretence had become reality. I know, you’ve also read that story. And watched the movie. So have I. Still…

A new boy did come to school. He wasn’t handsome in any typical way, but he had “something”. Dark hair, grey eyes, tall, strong features…Not standard pretty/cute boy (Zac Effron style), but rather the brooding, attractive in a no-nonsense kind of way guy (maybe Robert Pattinson, although I don’t really like him that much, but hey, I can see why many others do). And he had a lot of style. Leather jacket, always dressed in black, and seemed surrounded by a slight air of mystery…possibly even menace and danger.

As usual the popular girls took the initiative to try and get as much information as possible from him. They tried their best, including batting their eyelashes, unbuttoning the top of their uniforms, laughing at his non-jokes…But he seemed tight-lipped and resistive.

Lorna, Sylvia and I overheard Chloe (the head cheerleader, you know the type, blonde, tall, blue eyes, toned and well proportioned…) talking to her best friend Zoe (similar type but dark haired) after spending some time with the stranger:

“What do you think it’s up with him? He’ll only answer in monosyllabic. And he says his name is “G”. “G”? What kind of a name is “G”?”

“Don’t get upset…He’s probably gay.”

“I need to know. I’ll ask Scott to talk to him after training this afternoon. Blokes sometimes can be shy with girls they don’t know.”

Chloe had been going out with Scott for a few months, whilst Zoe was dating Chris. I doubted this G guy was particularly shy though. He had a very intense gaze and a knowing smile. Sylvia said:

“I think he’s looking at us.”

Our first reaction in those cases always was to look around us because guys didn’t look at us. But there wasn’t anybody else around. Yes, he seemed to be looking at us.

“I think you’re right” Lorna said.

“I wonder why” I added.

The three of us worked at the library for a while. By the time we left, football practice had finished. We were all intrigued about G, but none of the popular girls were around and it seemed unlikely we’d get any information that day. I accompanied Sylvia and Lorna to the bus stop and walked home. When I was halfway, Seth came by in his old and battered car. His father had promised him a new one if he did well and got into a good college, so he’d been working fairly hard for his usual standard.

“Hey Pink! Come over! I’ll give you a ride.”

I climbed on by his side. He had been playing very loud music but lowered the volume.

“How was practice?”

“Same old, same old. If coach doesn’t get some new ideas we’re never going to beat anybody this year.”

“I thought you’d said you had a strong team.” I didn’t really pay much attention to his football patter, but every so often something stuck.

“Yeah, but we could do with a couple more guys…maybe a strong defence…a kicker…”

“Well, it’s unlikely you’ll get new players this late in the season, isn’t it?”

“Tony thought that new guy…G he goes by, might be a player, although he doesn’t seem strong enough to be a defence but…you never know what talents people might hide, but no. He told the coach he’s not interested in football. It seems he likes to run…and, you won’t believe this “gymnastics”! Isn’t it the weirdest thing?”

I’d always liked gymnastics…Not to practice…I could work hard but had neither style nor much sense of equilibrium, but I loved to watch gymnastics. One of the few sports I had any time for.

“What’s wrong with gymnastics? You need to be pretty fit and strong…”

“Sure, a bit girly though, don’t you think? Scott was telling me Chloe had been trying to talk to him… “talk”, you know? You know what I mean…”

“Flirt and show him her bra, you mean…”

He laughed and made a claw-like gesture.

“Grhhhhhh! Bitchy, bitchy! You’re too serious. But I guess that’s what I mean…And he’d just ignored her. Well, not ignored her, but just answered yes or no…There must be something wrong with him if Chloe can’t get him going.”

“Maybe he likes a different type of girl…”

“Really? What bloke doesn’t like Chloe? One might not like her as a person, but she’s a babe. Who do you think would be more his type then? You, maybe?” And he laughed. And kept laughing…My determination to get my own back grew stronger than before.

As soon as he dropped me home and I got to my room I went online with Lorna and Sylvia. They were both at Lorna’s house. I told them what I’d found out.

“Honest, Pink, Seth is an absolute idiot!” Lorna growled. “Maybe you should just send him to hell.”

“He wouldn’t understand what it was all about and I wouldn’t get much satisfaction from it. No, I’m more determined than before to carry on with the plan.”

“It would serve him right if you went out with that G guy” Sylvia said.

“Yes, I was thinking the same, but he’s such an unknown quantity. Nobody seems to know anything at all about him, not even where he’s come from. He might be a nasty piece of work for all we know. And also, I doubt that he’s interested.”

“Well, the few bits of info we have about him are encouraging” Lorna summarised. “He doesn’t like football, so he’s unlikely to hang out with Seth and his bunch. He likes gymnastics and you like that sport, so you should have something to talk about. And he seems impervious to the charms of Chloe and her band of pretty girls…”

“And don’t forget he was looking at us” Sylvia added.

“I’m not sure about what that means. He might think we’re weird or something…We’ll have to see what happens in the next few days and if anything at all develops…” I said.

“It would be quite a thing if you managed to go out with him…he’s completely new in the market and not from these areas…as objective and fresh a guy as you’ll ever find around here.” Lorna said.

“We’ll see.”

For the next week or so G was the centre of attention although he didn’t seem to return the interest and appeared to be trying to become invisible most of the time. However he had a way of appearing wherever Lorna, Sylvia and I were, even when he wasn’t attending the same class.

“I’m telling you he’s looking at us!” Sylvia said for the millionth time.

“Yes, but which one of us is he looking at?” Lorna asked.

I was a bit bored having the same conversation at least once every day, when not several times a day. This time we’d just come out of the library and he was on the pavement on the other side of the street, leaning on the wall, seemingly looking at us.

“Who knows?” Sylvia replied once more.

I’d had enough. It wasn’t really that difficult.

“If you really want to know it’s quite simple. OK, Sylvia, come with me. Lorna, you stay there.”

I grabbed Sylvia’s arm and dragged her with me to the window of the shop at the corner of the street. No, G wasn’t looking at Lorna; his gaze had followed us.

“Now, you stay here.”

I left Sylvia by the shop and I crossed to the side of the street where G was standing. Now there was no possible doubt. Difficult as it might have been to believe, he was looking at me. Both Sylvia and Lorna joined me, very excited, but trying to keep their voices low (although I didn’t think they were succeeding). At least I could be grateful because they were not jumping up and down. We weren’t particularly bouncy girls.

“Oh my God! He’s definitely looking at you.!” Sylvia said, trying not to squeal.

“Yes, yes, he is. That’s it. He’s the guy for your plan!” Lorna concluded.

“What are you going to do?” Sylvia asked.

“Get out of here first.”

This time we went to my house and chatted for ages. Sylvia and Lorna suggested all kind of hare-brained schemes and plans to get G’s attention. Or “channel” his attention, as it seemed that for unknown reasons I already had his attention.  All their suggestions involved a fair amount of flirting and taking up roles that I didn’t feel particularly familiar with, like the damsel in distress or the adoring fan. I wasn’t sure what strategy I’d try, but, yes, it seemed worth trying to get him to go out with me. And I was quite curious about him and his interest in me. What was that all about?

How to go about it was another question. Not my area of expertise, boys, you see? Although I was determined, assignments, studying, and similar pressing matters put it all on hold and pushed it to the back of my mind. I kept putting it off, trying to find a good moment to act, and ignoring Sylvia and Lorna’s “advice” (pressure, to be honest).

One Saturday about a month after G’s appearance, Lorna, Sylvia and I had arranged to meet at the Atlantis (the local independent bookstore). I was a bit early and went in to have a look at the second hand books. I was looking at a beautiful illustrated copy of The Great Gatsby when somebody touched my shoulder. I turned around, and there he was, G.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

OK, neither one of us was going to win a contest for originality or get recorded in a book compiling famous conversation opening lines.

“I’ve been wondering when I’d have a chance to catch you by yourself. You always seem to be with your friends…Lorna and Sylvia, isn’t it?”

“Yes. We…we’d noticed you were looking at us.”

“You mean at you. Interesting way of scientifically testing it. Although I expected after that you might follow through and approach me, but you didn’t” he said.

“Well, I didn’t know what it meant, but we were just wondering and I was bored of speculation…I wasn’t expecting you were looking at me.”

“Were you hoping I was looking at you at least?”

“No.”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’ve already told you I’m not good with boys and I can’t flirt to save my life, so there.

“Oh, all right.”

“I don’t mean…Sorry, I’m no good at these things…”

“What things?”

“You know, flirting and all that…Relationships with guys aren’t my strong point.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much about that…Let’s start again. Hi Pink, I’m G. I assume Pink isn’t your real name. What’s your real name?”

“Petra”.

“Where does the name come from?”

“I’ve always liked Pink. And I don’t like my real name, so…”

“No, I meant your real name.”

“My father was an amateur archaeologist when he was younger and he really liked Petra.”

“I guess it could have been worse.”

“Like what Abu Simbel or the hanging gardens of Babylon?”

He laughed. Short but full-hearted laughter. Then he smiled. He had the weirdest and more mysterious smile I’d seen, all inclusive (men and women). Imagine the Mona Lisa, but in young man. Knowing, complicit and secretive all at the same time…

“And you? What does G stand for?”

At that moment Lorna and Sylvia turned up and stopped on their tracks when they saw me talking to G.

“We’ll carry on with the conversation at some other point. Maybe in a couple of days during Lake Day. By the little church on the North shore. After lunch.”

“Why are you so sure it will be in a couple of days?”

“I know things…”

He left. Lake Day was a St Mary’s School Tradition. The Headmistress, Mrs Langston, studied at Mount Holyoke and loved their Mountain Day, particularly the idea that suddenly, with no notice, the whole school would take to the buses and go on an excursion and have a day out. As there were no mountains or even hills deserving of the name close to St Mary’s, but there was Lake Swallow, she instituted Lake Day instead. The exact date when it would take place was a well-guarded secret, surrounded by speculation, so I had no idea how G would know, if he was right, when it would be.

Sylvia and Lorna interrogated me for ages about my encounter with G, but I had little to tell them.

“Do you think he really knows when Lake Day will be?” Sylvia asked.

“He seemed very confident, but how could he know? He hasn’t been here for two minutes and doesn’t know the teaching staff…as far as we know. Why should they tell him?”

“Maybe his family are very rich and they’ve made an important donation…” Lorna suggested.

“I’m sure if anybody had made a huge donation we’d had heard about it, it would have been published in the local newspaper and advertised everywhere. And I’m sure any donors would have more important things they’d want to know than when is the next Lake Day” I said. We shouldn’t get carried away with our theories, because otherwise G would end up not only being James Dean, but also Rockefeller. His reference to the little church was correct, but that only meant he must have visited the lake at some point and it was a fairly popular spot in that area. Nothing terribly mysterious about that.

Eventually I managed to get the girls off the subject of G onto other matters. Although I have to admit I waited with curiosity to see if he was right and Lake Day would really be in two days’ time. That was not the only reason for my curiosity, of course. I also wanted to see what he’d tell me next time we met. He’d appeared very determined, but I had no idea what his goals or intentions might be.

If I was pretending to be cool I’d say that two days later I had already forgotten G’s predictions and went to school with no expectations whatsoever. The truth is that I was quite excited that day, and Sylvia and Lorna hadn’t stopped talking about that in the intervening period. So when after 5 minutes or so of the first class the bells rang and Lake Day was announced we all got really agitated.

“But he’s not here!” Sylvia said. “He should have been in class with us, but he wasn’t.”

“Oh well, I guess if he really knew there wasn’t going to be a class he must have found something else better to do than come on an excursion” I said, pretending not to care.

“But he arranged to meet you!” Lorna said.

“I’ll survive”.

Still, I could not resist and left Sylvia and Lorna after lunch and walked around the shore of the lake to the little church. And there he was. G was all dressed in black, as usual, wearing a black leather jacket, standing by the side of what looked to me like a rather large motorbike for his age. Triumph? Black, shiny, impressive is as good as I can do to describe it. Motorbikes are again not one of my specialist subjects.

“Wow! Is that yours?”

“Yes.”

“Nice! A little bit Hells Angels, isn’t it?”

His reply was an even weirder smile than usual. What on earth was up with him?

“So, you were right. About Lake Day, I mean. How did you know?”

“I told you I know things…”

“OK. So you’re being mysterious…fine. You asked me about my name, the other day, but never replied about yours. What does G stand for?”

“Nothing…I just…decided to leave my old lifestyle behind and take up a new name. I go now by G.”

“Like Ali?”

“Very funny. I’ve heard it before.”

“At least it’s not the G point. And yes, I’m sure you’ve heard that one too.”

“It could be G force.”

“Yes…but it’s not a religious thing, like Malcolm X?”

“No. Nothing at all to do with religion.”

Not sure why, but I didn’t believe him, and he seemed to have become quite tense when I mentioned religion, but it was probably too soon to go probing. It was slightly bizarre as guys these days didn’t seem to be bothered about religion one way or another and it would be unlikely that its mere mention would have any effect…Maybe that had something to do with his reference to his old lifestyle. Maybe he had been in a sect or something…Or maybe I should stop making things up. He was just being discreet and not offering much personal information about himself, but that was fair enough. We’d known each other for all of five minutes, but these days everybody friended everybody and published intimate details of their lives at the drop of a hat, so his attitude was quite old-fashioned, although I found it refreshing. When people went around advertising the last little detail about themselves that could only mean that there was nothing worth knowing about them. Still, I couldn’t help but keep asking questions, even if less intimate.

“Why do you always wear black?”

“I got tired of white.”

His smile again. He was quite puzzling. I had no idea what he was talking about, but somehow I felt I wouldn’t get much further with that line of questioning.

“Can we talk now or do you have any more questions before we can proceed?” he asked me, still smiling.

“Just one more. Why me? You aren’t from here and I assume you don’t know anybody local” I looked at him and he shook his head in the negative “so, why me? It can’t be my looks, that’s for sure. Not a great beauty. Run of the mill.” I wasn’t being modest. I am not very tall, brown short hair and brown eyes (little green), plump…

“That was part of the attraction” smile again.

“Girls like Chloe have tried and talk to you with no results, and as far as I’ve been told they’re irresistible to guys your age.”

“That’s an unfair generalisation. Not all of us have the same taste.”

“Really? Are you weird then? Are you attracted to people who aren’t attractive?”

“Oh, no, I’m not going to fall for that. I’m not as stupid as your friend Seth. I know you’re angry at him because of the way he patronises you and treats you as if you were a charity case, worse than something at the bottom of his shoe. I didn’t say you weren’t attractive. You said that.”

Now he’d gone too far. Right or not, that was no way of talking about a friend of mine. And, how on Earth would he presume to know how I felt?

“Listen, Mr G or whatever your name is, leave my friends out of this. I don’t know who you think you are or what you think you know, but that does not give you right to make comments and criticise people I know and like. Have a nice life.”

I turned around and started walking as fast as I could back to the rest of the group. This had been a mistake. Go out with him! Not in a thousand years.

He must have run because he was again by my side.

“Don’t get mad. Come on, I know you’d been thinking about getting your own back on the type of comments he makes about you by going out with a suitable candidate. And I know you and your friends had been thinking about me for the role.”

I must have looked really shocked because he added:

“Don’t worry, your friends haven’t told me and nobody else knows about it.”

“And if I ask you how you know you’re going to tell me that you know things…”

He nodded and smiled.

“You’re so full of it…I don’t really care how you know or even what you know. You can keep all your knowledge and your secrets to yourself.  Life is too short for this, if you ask me. I’m sure you can find another equally non-attractive girl for whatever you were thinking about. Good luck with it.”

No bloke was worth putting up with all that in my opinion. He could stuff it. I set off even faster than before. And I had no intention of stopping or being stopped.

This time he came after me motorised and skidded on the gravel to a stop a few metres in front of me.

“I’m volunteering to play the part with Seth. I’m happy to be your official date. I know you don’t really want a relationship. That’s fine with me. I don’t want one either. I feel like you that too much time is invested in relationships with the opposite sex at our age. But I also understand that you find Seth’s attitude annoying and you’re right. Plenty of guys would be happy to be your boyfriends if you really wanted one.”

“Now flattery…Don’t we learn quickly?” I replied trying to be ironic.

“Come on, Pink. I’m not from here. As you’ve said some of the girls that are rated as the prettiest and most desirable by all guys have approached me with no success. You’d score a big hit if you managed where they’d failed. And I’m not high maintenance. I’ll play my part in public well. You don’t need to worry.”

“Why are you so insistent? What’s in it for you?”

“Oh, don’t worry. I have no dark designs. I’ve already told you that I’m not interested in relationships…any kind of relationships…”

When somebody says don’t worry twice in a row, one should definitely worry. I had no ready reply and I just looked at him. I don’t know what my expression must have been like, because he blushed and quickly added:

“I know Chloe and Zoe and all those girls were wondering…But they’re just too convinced they’re irresistible. I’m not gay. I just have other priorities at this point in time. But that will remain between you and me. Everybody else will believe we’re an item. We’ll be convincing.”

I didn’t say anything. Was he gay, was he straight, or was he just not-interested? Did I really care about any of that? Yes, he was right. If I turned up at school hanging of his arm and officially his girlfriend people would stop and pay attention. And Seth’s opinion of me would receive a well-deserved shake. But what did he want in return? Why was he so reluctant to tell me?

“That’s all very well and good, and don’t worry, I’m not interested in your sexuality. You can keep that to yourself. You were right about my attitude towards relationships. But you still haven’t told me what made you approach me in the first place. And don’t tell me you’re just a Good Samaritan helping girls in need. What’s this all about?”

He gave me one of his fixed stares, no smile this time. After what felt like hours he finally said:

“I think we might be able to work together.”

“Work? Do you mean classwork? An assignment?”

“Not exactly.”

 

Thank you all for reading, and you know what to do, like, comment, share and…you can still CLICK the link to the post with the first chapter or click elsewhere in the page (links to books, other blogs….)!

Hi all:

As you know Fridays is guest author day. I met Amanda Green through social media a while back and I’ve read about her writing and her experiences and have been corresponding with her for a while. We have exchanged thoughts on mental health and a variety of other topics and I finally managed to squeeze some time to read her first book ‘My Alien Self‘ recently. I convinced Amanda to come as guest and thought it would be an excellent chance to also share the review of that book. Amanda is also kindly sharing some of her tips on writing.

Here is Amanda:

Amanda Green's logo.

Amanda Green’s logo.

I am Amanda Green, author of six inspiring, self published books.

Outside of writing and social networking (yes I spend far too long each day on the computer!), I spend a lot of time with my pets; a handsome cat called Titus, a pretty hamster called Molly and tropical fish. I strongly believe in pet or animal therapy as being good for our mind, body and soul and I promote the fostering and adopting of animals as opposed to private breeding and purchase, as there are too many surplus animals desperate for homes. I detest animal cruelty.

I love eating out and reviewing restaurants, travel, days out, campaigning for the precious Orang-utan and the issues of unsustainable palm oil production  and seeing my family. I also enjoy reading, theatre, films, TV and cooking and when I can calm my mind down, just relaxing!

I gained 9 GCSE’s at school and have travelled on/off across the world, taking in twenty five Countries – living and working at times in Japan, Thailand and Australia.  I have enjoyed work in the field of Hotels, banking, property management, recruitment and Office management gaining many skills and qualifications along the way.

I run six personal websites for which I write all copy and articles and provide all photography.  I learn as much as I can fit into my life

I have had my writing and photography work published in various magazines and local newspapers.  I enjoy the challenge of getting published and very much enjoy doing my own PR, learnt through my varied working background.

‘My Alien Self: My Journey Back to Me‘ is my self published memoir of my journey through mental illness to recovery. I want to inspire others that it is possible to recover and have a life worth living.

My aspirations are to continue as a full time writer/photographer.  I intend to be successful in fact/fiction storytelling in the mental health/relationship genres.  I have unique ideas, and a very thick skin.  I attended various writer’s retreats and short writing courses to further my writing, and  learnt a great deal from the editor’s/literary consultant’s who worked with me on my memoir project.  I am 40 years old.

The first two of my books, ‘My Alien Self: My Journey Back To Me‘ and the sequel ‘39‘, are both memoirs, the rest are fiction short stories, a novelette and a novella.

My second memoir ’39’ is about what happened afterwards; the year before reaching the prime age of forty, family relationships, love and memories.

Other books – fiction…

‘Behind Those Eyes: A Novella’ (An Amanda Green Novella) – Two homeless men, a successful brother and sister, a woman falling in love, a man with family problems and a whole lot of twists in this ‘sliding doors’ style novella. It’s a story about people and adversity, love, friendship and stigma. Will you work out what they have in common?

 

‘Living the Dream – A Novelette’ (An Amanda Green Novelette) – Essentially a psychologically twisted style story, this book contains some offensive language and is suitable for adults only. It touches on sexual and domestic abuse of women, mental health and features three women, in East London, linked through adversity with twists and turns along the way.
It is a work of fiction, however this type of thing could be happening near you – two very important subjects we should be aware of.’

 

‘What I Know and two more short stories’ (Amanda Green’s Short Stories) – ‘What I know’, ‘The Coach Trip’ and ‘The Best of Friends’ make up this trio of short stories about relationships. Read how each character chooses a different path…

The Woman Who Lives Next Door – A Short Story’ (Amanda Green’s Short Stories) -How well do you really know your next door neighbour? Mary is yet to find out…

All available on Amazon.

Amazon U.S. author page:

http://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Green/e/B0087O89QS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1402312334&sr=8-1

 

Amazon U.K. author page

:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-Green/e/B0087O89QS/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Mental health

I have just finished Counselling skills level 2 at college and am waiting to hear if I will be accepted on the level 4 course. I would love to be able to help others facing issues and adversities, so fingers crossed!

I want to inspire others that it is possible to recover and have a life worth living. Because I grew up with my mother having severe Schizophrenia, who had been incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals for years, and felt the bullying and loneliness that stigma can spread, I campaign to ‘stop the stigma surrounding mental illness. I also felt the wrath of stigma when I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder. Many people do not understand mental illness, so judge people unfairly. So I created www.amandagreenauthor.co.uk where I publish articles on the topics covered in my story, including self help, depression, bankruptcy, Alcohol/drug abuse, family and relationships, sexual, physical and mental abuse, anxiety, anger, Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), self harm, Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Anorexia Nervosa/Bulimia, mindfulness, panic, rape, Schizophrenia, psychosis, Suicidal thoughts, , paranoia, dissociation, mood disorder, thyroid issues and psychology.

I love photography, writing and looking after my many websites, and have had my work published in magazines. I enjoy the challenge of getting published and very much enjoy doing my own PR, which is why I chose to self publish to kindle in this first instance.

I will be working with mental health charities, magazines, newspapers, social networking and other PR projects, actively making people aware of this disorder through every means possible through the media. But also, I hope that my books will help other sufferers and their families and friends to understand BPD and mental health and how to help oneself to feel better. I want to raise awareness to the general public about mental illness and the stigma sufferers have to deal with.

I hope that Doctors and the medical industry involved with mental health will benefit from reading my stories, as they unfold what it is like to suffer from debilitating mental illness from the inside out and how it manifests itself.

But I have also written my memoirs in a style that I hope will be compelling and sometimes shocking reads for anyone interested in memoirs with a twist, so that I can reach more people.

I really hope to encourage more celebrities to come out about BPD or other mental illnesses.

I am going to continue writing through fact and fiction storytelling, on the genre of Mental Health and life adversities – facing and combating adversity as the main point.

 

Amanda Green

Amanda Green's 'My Alien Self'

Amanda Green’s ‘My Alien Self’

Author of ‘My alien self – my journey back to me’ and the sequel ’39’

Blog www.amandagreenauthor.co.uk

Here I leave you my review of My Alien Self:

My Alien Self by Amanda Green. Memoirs, mental disorder and finding your path to recovery

I am a psychiatrist and as such I do have a professional (as well as a personal) interest in personal/first-hand accounts of mental illness (or disorder) and not only professional or text-book descriptions. Of course over the years I have heard many patients/clients/service-users (choose whichever you prefer, I won’t enter the heated debates on which is the best term to use) talking about their experiences, but those have been mostly in response to specific questions, rather than their own preferred expressions or commentaries, and mostly at times of crisis.

I have also read a number of more literary versions of mental illness (sometimes recommended by people I was working with, including patients, like Silvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’, others I’ve discovered myself when reading some of my favourite writers: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Crack-Up’ or Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway’). They are great works by fantastic writers and well-worth a read, even if the subject of mental health is not close to your heart.

What Ms. Green’s book provides is not only an account of a mental disorder sufferer (despite the diagnostic difficulties that as she observes plague the field), but a memoir of her life, her quest for finding her true self and the process of her re-discovery. And her life is far from boring. Travelling far and wide (across the UK, Spain, Japan, Australia, Borneo…), with interests as varied as the creation and management of websites, property development, Orangutan, the entertainment industry…dabbling in drugs and alcohol, complicated family relationships and a difficult love life, Ms. Green’s account is gripping stuff in its own right. And her writing expresses well the ups and downs and the subjective nature of the narration.

Having worked as a psychiatrist in the NHS (National Health Service in the UK, the same one the author seeks help from) I can see things from a professional perspective (and although the system tries hard to avoid the ‘us and them’ dichotomy it’s not easy). I fully understand why she might not have received more intense help before. Mental Health Services struggle to provide support and care for people who cannot cope even on a basic level and who present an immediate and major risk to self (people repeatedly attempting suicide, severe self-harm or severely neglecting themselves) or others (threatening to harm others or doing so) for lengthy periods of time. It is less than an ideal situation; the services are stretched to the limit and mostly dealing with crises, but that is a true reflection of affairs. There is hope that service-user led movements and the voluntary sector will help to fill in the gaps, but prioritising is difficult.

The nature and characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder with its difficulties in trusting people, impulsivity and inconsistent engagement (well reflected in ‘My Alien Self’) cause problems of its own not easily managed by the psychiatric services as they are currently set.

The author of ‘My Alien Self’ has managed to find herself, to create her own combination of therapies (learned over the years, including mindfulness, CBT, CAT, yoga, medication…) and more importantly she has had the courage to go through her life, collecting and reliving her experiences and having a hard look at her past, the most difficult part of any therapy.

‘My Alien Self’ is a book difficult to read for anybody with mental health issues and also for professionals, but precisely because of that it’s a book that needs to be read. I salute Ms. Green for her guts and congratulate her for her achievements. And I agree with her. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, but I’m sure she’ll win the war.

Buy ‘My Alien Self’ on Amazon www.viewBook.at/MyAlienSelf

 

Amanda Green's 39

Amanda Green’s 39

Buy ’39’ on Amazon www.viewBook.at/39

Twitter – @AmandaGreenUK

Facebook – AmandaGreenAuthor

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15840188-my-alien-self

Facebook book page

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Green-My-Alien-Self-my-journey-back-to-me/268350159908283?fref=ts

Tips for self publishing memoirs:

http://amandagreenauthor.co.uk/tips-for-self-publishing-ebooks-and-writing-memoirs-from-my-experiences/

 

My top 10 writing tips:

http://amandagreenauthor.co.uk/my-top-ten-writing-tips-based-on-my-own-experience-and-learning-from-many-other-authors/

Thanks Amanda for sharing such valuable information with us and for the visit, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and of course, CLICK!

Today I bring you an author I’ve met very recently. She’s also a member of ASMSG,  a reader and reviewer, she creates book covers and she does a great job of promoting fellow authors. I advise you to click on the links at the end of the post and you’ll be able to follow not only her own work but also that of many other writers. And she’s kindly offered her new book ‘Bound’ free in Smashwords.  Also coupon for free copy of Red Gone Bad available. Use codes after links

She’s been very kind in talking a bit about herself, and then there’s a brief blurb of her book and the links to her sites.

Enjoy reading and getting to meet wonderful Lucy Pireel!

Lucy P

So, we need to talk about me? What is there to say? What can I say, too much, and probably not enough. Let’s start at the very beginning.

I was born in Brasil, and nowadays live in the UK, have a son who lives with his dad, not in the UK.

I love to bake, and cook, but not to eat that much. That is, when I’m not writing, or reading. But gardening is yet another thing I enjoy. The gardening started when my son said, “Mommy, do tomatoes grow in the store?” I just had to show him where veggies and fruit come from and of course taking him to a farmer wasn’t cutting it. Nooo, I had to start a veg patch, but how to grow those delicate tropical things like eggplants and such? Right, enter a greenhouse, before I knew it I was growing 15 different types of tomatoes, three types of eggplants, 8 varieties of bell peppers and whatnot in the greenhouse, while outside there were more things growing and being eaten by little creatures that love fresh produce too. Since I vowed to grow everything organic, there was no poison entering our garden and I ended up with loads of butterflies and no—or hardly any—crop, because caterpillars have a right to eat too. But that’s besides the point, my son now knows fruit and vegetables grow on plants, bushes or trees.

You’d think with working in the garden my daily exercise time is covered, but nope. Yoga, keeps me bendy and sweaty all the time, every time and the best thing? I get the greatest ideas when tied in a knot.

You want to know even more about me? I mean, really? I’m not that interesting, honestly, I’m not! I’ve studied Law, but never tried a case, don’t tell a soul, but I have a thing with speaking in public, or rather against it. Have you ever had a swimming pool under your arms? Vocal cords that don’t work? A brain shutting down and not knowing how to form a cohesive sentence or remember what and how and why. Why, did I ever agree to stand here and make an arse of myself? What am I supposed to say to these people? That kind of jitters make it impossible to stand in court and successfully try a case. So, I got time in prison, on the right side of the table, fraternising with the wrong side of society, to run back to the office and type up briefs and whatnot.

But then! A near wonder occurred, I became a mom! Yay! No more working long hours, no more being tough and relentless, instead I got in touch with my soft side and loved it. First you only sing as a mom. I never used gaga, lala, baby language, as soon as those little eyes began to look a tiny bit intelligent, it was reading real stories to the little critter. The moment he talked, he asked for more stories, other stories not those he’d heard already, and I began making them up myself. And my first stories were created, pirates and mayhem. Hey! It’s a boy, he wanted more than just a happy end, things needed to happen.

From there the jump to darker tales was not hard to imagine and then combining traditional fairy tales with murder and mayhem was even more fun, and the first twisted fairy tale was born/conceived. It was a flash of Red Ridinghood, but not with a happy end. That wasn’t enough for me. More needed to happen, to more of those heroines and I wrote and wrote and rewrote and edited and polished and then hired a professional editor to get the last commas on their proper place and tighten up the lot. When a professional artist offered to create me a cover for this collection, I could no longer refuse to get into publishing what I write. Resulting in my first self-published book Red Gone Bad, Fairy Tales or Not. Soon after the second followed and now Bound is out there. A BDSM novella starring an independent woman who loves to play games. Cover by my own hand.

These days I create my own covers and learned how to edit, but still use a second and third pair of eyes before being confident enough to publish my work. I blog and feature other authors, because I know how difficult it is to get your work noticed in the vast sea of books out there. I try to keep up my reading and reviewing, also because we indies need reviews and such.

And that’s me in a nutshell.

Bound

Bound (Lucy's cover)

A young, successful woman finds herself attracted to a man who is known for his promiscuity. She has no idea if he wishes to play with her the way she wants him to.

While working together, they become closer. When she finally dares to reveal her desires, he only only asks her if she’s ready to say ‘please’. After she does, the games begin. But where will they end?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bound-ebook/dp/B00BAEGUHC/

http://www.amazon.com/Bound-ebook/dp/B00BAEGUHC/

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/281858 (Free with this code MK95J)

And now some links to her pages and her other books:

Facebook (all pages) : https://www.facebook.com/lucy.pireel?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorpageLucyPireel

 

 

Blog

http://lucypireel.wordpress.com/

Goodreads page

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6536994.Lucy_Pireel

Amazon page

http://www.amazon.com/Lucy-Pireel/e/B009L692V2

Website

http://lucypireel.com/

Smashwords page

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LucyPireel

 

Twitter

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LucyPireel

AuthorsdB

http://www.authorsdb.com/component/content/article/8-authors/874-lucy-pireel

Google+

https://plus.google.com/u/0/105731497321102858244/posts?partnerid=gplp0

Buy links

 

Red Gone Bad

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260239  (If you use  (code  TC66T) you can get a free copy!)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Red-Gone-Bad-ebook/dp/B00AFVTYDS/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFVTYDS

http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Red-Gone-Bad/book-SAmNyEi0MkiakJ2Hbaz4Nw/page1.html?s=AB25tS9ms0aRbYNKr-P3ZA&r=1

http://itun.es/i6DW8YP

Heaven’s Closed

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/265588

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to CLICK!

As you know I usually tend to write about…well, writing, on Tuesdays’ posts. I had an ‘interesting’ week last week (I got stranded in Charles de Gaulle airport due to the snow and ended up spending most of two days there. I didn’t sleep there thanks to my friend Iman and her family, and the RER [train line], but otherwise…). The change of plans gave me time to finish reading some books I had pending and I’ve done a number of reviews. I thought I’d post them here too, all together, for your enjoyment. I’ve also included the translation of the review of a book in Spanish ‘La llave del éxito’. They are all five star reviews, but very different books. I’ve also included links and hope you feel interested enough to have a look at them. And on Friday I have a guest author: Nicole Fergusson…Really looking forward to her post.

Don’t forget to click!

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Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent

‘Be Scared, Be Very Scared’

Don’t let the title of my review put you off. No, Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent is not a horror book (although I love horror books). At least not a horror genre book. What the title refers to is the slow realisation – whilst reading the novel – that it is not only topical and the socio/historical events described very close to the bone, but the fictional elements are more than plausible. Although one might have a different opinion as to some of the premises (who organises the terrorist attacks and their reasons, for example), the actual details and planning of it sound incredibly convincing and the more horrifying for it.

The author is well versed in British current affairs and he uses them to create a multilayered background to his fictional (? we hope) story. Recent big news items (phone hacking scandal and enquiry, riots, allegations of child pornography, coalition government…) are not only part of the setting of the novel but become an integral part of the plot, and they are seamlessly woven together to create a complex and realistic tapestry. I live in the UK and must say some of the incidents and situations made me chuckle.

The novel is extremely well plotted and even minor incidents that at first sight might appear insignificant are eventually relevant and their significance revealed. A woman accidentally ran over by a car, a man caught up in the riots and injured, a rugby training session…everything falls into place like a well-oiled machine.

We get to know the main characters gradually, and they reveal themselves to be not only likeable, but also true heroes. Adam is a fantastic protagonist, who goes from being maligned by the media; in an attempt at revenge by a jealous husband, to risking his life to save…well, everybody. His brother, Dan, Ron, his friend and special agent, Isobel, his love interest, the few honest detectives and policemen, are all real people you can relate to but make a larger than life cast who can take on any situation. You would want them by your side in a moment of crisis.

‘A Plague’ is cinematic in its style, moving with ease from sweeping takes that quickly provide a general view of the national and international situation and the consequences of the events narrated, to minute takes of details such as weaponry, computer files and medication. The pace accelerates and you become gripped by the events, at once thrilled and worried as to what would happen if it were real. Would there be enough honest members of the police, and concerned citizens (like Adam and friends) to halt such a terrorist ploy?

I don’t want to give away too many of the details of the novel as not to spoil the many surprises, but I won’t hesitate in recommending it to anybody who enjoys well plotted thrillers, conspiracy theory based stories, current affairs (not only British but international), spy novels…In summary, anybody who loves a good book. I was pleased to read that Nic Taylor is planning to follow ‘A Plague’ with at least two more novels. I for one can’t wait.

Here is the link to the book in Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/A-Plague-Of-Dissent-ebook/dp/B00BRI7YMQ/

51mJh+pUTqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_[1]

A Year of Book Marketing Part 1. Marketing Your Book One Day At A Time by Heather Hart.

I was familiar with Mrs. Hart’s work from some of the publications she has co-authored like ‘Book Marketing 101: Marketing Your Book on a Shoestring’ and the writers’ group of same name in LinkedIn. I asked for a copy of her book when I read her reply to another author who was after novel ways of marketing his book, and a bit tired of ‘same-old, same-old’. She kindly offered me a free copy in exchange for a review and I’m pleased to be able to respond in kind.

The idea behind the book is that it can be used (after reading the first three chapters that contain general advice on marketing, particularly useful to the novice writer) as a daily prompt/calendar, that instead of only having quotations for the day, contains an idea or marketing prompt for each day. The idea is explored in some detail and follows a quotation. Some of the quotations were familiar already (not less useful because of that), some less so, but all were at once reflective and encouraging. The clear message (if it can be simplified into one) is: work hard, consistently, focus on what works for you and you enjoy, but don’t be afraid to try new things. And Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I’m fairly new to self-publishing and marketing, although I have been trying my hand at it for a few months. I found reading Ms. Hart’s book that I’d tried some of the ideas suggested, some would not be workable for me at the moment (I’ve only published e-books so far and some of the ideas require a physical book), and some…Well, I should try. I’ve left notes to myself, and even before I read the whole book I checked the appendix and started listing my book on some of the free sites I hadn’t tried yet.

Ms. Hart’s style is easy to follow, engaging, and I particularly liked her sharing her own experiences and insights, including things she did not feel comfortable doing, and her less than successful efforts. I also liked the pace of the book, the encouragement it offers, and its emphasis on having a long-term plan, checking what one is doing and trying to maximise that, rather than frantically trying everything at once.

I read the whole book at once, rather than using it as it is intended (and that’s a limitation of my review), but will definitely be taking her advice at heart and trying some of the ideas I hadn’t considered (and some I’ve been thinking about but haven’t quite got around to…).

In conclusion I would recommend it to anybody who is into the publishing business, no matter the genre, and who feels they could benefit from encouragement and not heavy-handed expertise. And I will be looking forward to part 2.

Click on the link to buy it in Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Year-Book-Marketing-Part-ebook/dp/B00AVGUSVO/

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Naked in New York. A Memoir by Emmy Winning Writer Alan Cooke

Naked in New York is one of those books that we might never have come across unless circumstances conspired to bring them to our attention, but once they do we feel fortunate because they enrich our lives.

Although I love poetry (or some poetry at least) I don’t regularly read it. I came across the author’s YouTube video where he reads an excerpt of this book (that at that point was not yet published) in Facebook. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoVOnxcdJjg

Alan Cooke is an actor, writer (poet), filmmaker, and hearing him read ‘Naked in New York’ is an experience that I can recommend wholeheartedly. It’s mesmerising, emotional and ravishing. (His audiobook is available in his website).

The memoir describes the five years the author spent in New York, shortly after the 9/11 attack. He is not only an observer but also a participant that immerses himself in the city, its people, and its atmosphere that had been hardly shaken by the incident, an open wound that has left an indelible scar. His is not a story of the American Dream come true (at times quite the opposite), but even if it was just a necessary condition to get to write this book, it would have been more than worth it.

I have had the advantage of listening to a copy of the audiobook read by the author. It has made me stop on my tracks more than once, left me speechless because of the beauty of a sentence or a moment, made me sad at times (like when he reflects upon 9/11 or on the fate of the less fortunate inhabitants of the city), made me smile (a small gesture noted, a deep shared moment with a stranger, the bird having a bath and smiling), and made me reflect and think back to moments and experiences I could identify with. I might have thought it, but he says it much better.

Naked in New York is beautiful, heartfelt, insightful, self-reflective, personal and universal at the same time. It is truly human. I can’t think of anybody who would not like this book, and I would be worried about anybody who does not. Please read it and tell others about it. There isn’t enough beauty around. We must promote it.

Click on the link to buy the book it on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Naked-In-New-York-ebook/dp/B00BMCWR88/

Click on the webpage to buy the audiobook:

http://www.wildirishpoet.com

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The Key to Success. Be noticed in Amazon: Marketing for writers by Armando Rodera

I am a writer and started to publish e-books a few months ago. From that moment on (although now I know I should have started well before that, but we can always learn something new) I’ve been reading a fair amount about book marketing. I have watched podcasts, I have read how to guides, books, YouTube videos, I have taken part in groups and discussions…What I mean is this is not the first book I read about it.

What makes Armando Rodera’s book different to all the others? (Because I can assure you it’s very different). Although the majority of these book have personal examples to share about what worked or did not work for the person writing the book in their efforts at marketing, The Key to Success is something other than just a marketing book, it is the story (or as we’ve heard so often these days the ‘journey’) of the path that Mr Rodera has followed since he discovered his vocation and love for writing up to now when he’s a world renown author.

The author offers advice, but it’s based on personal experience, rather than on strategies, plans and boring formulae that might or might not apply to the personal circumstances and taste of each reader. It is a publishing business’s (independent publishing mostly) guide , but one of this annotated guides, where one pauses to read about the typical dishes of the area, the customs and habits of the people, and the folklore of the region. It’s a guide for the traveller of discerning taste and good palate.

Another thing that makes the book exceptional (in my opinion the most important one) is the sheer quality of the writing. The majority of the marketing books I’ve read are written in a fairly simple and practical way, and that’s it. The Key to Success is different. When I was reading it there came a moment when I was no longer focused on the advice and I just concentrated on the pleasure of reading the book. I can assure you that any person who reads the book and has not read any of the author’s novels will feel compelled to read them.

Read The Key to Success. Use the good advice, but most of all, enjoy the prose and style of Armando Rodera. I believe this is the real key to his success.

Click to buy it (in Spanish) here:

http://www.amazon.com/LLAVE-%C3%89XITO-Spanish-Edition-ebook/dp/B00ARJUSFQ/

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to CLICK. I’m checking!

Como sabéis normalmente los martes escribo sobre…escribir. Pero la semana pasada fue un pelín ‘especial’. Me quedé atrapada en el aeropuerto Charles de Gaulle por la nieve, casi dos días enteros (y no me tocó dormir allí gracias a mi amiga Iman, a su familia y al RER (el tren) que si no…). Eso me dio tiempo a terminar de leer varios libros que tenía pendientes, y luego a escribir las reseñas. Así que pensé en publicarlas hoy todas juntas aquí por si os interesan. He traducido tres al castellano (las tres primeras) y la otra es de un libro de un autor español. A ver que os parece. Y no os olvidéis de hacer click!

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Nic Taylor’s  A Plague of Dissent  (Una plaga de disidencia)

Tened miedo, mucho miedo

No dejéis que el título de mi reseña os quite las ganas de leer el libro. No, Una plaga de disidencia de Nic Taylor no es una novela de terror (aunque a mí me encantan los libros de terror). Para ser más precisos, no es una novela del género de terror. A lo que se refiere el título es la forma en que uno se da cuenta, lentamente  ̶ mientras se lee la novela ̶  de que no es solo que la novela sea muy actual y los hechos que narra tengan un parecido muy sospechoso con la realidad (particularmente inglesa), sino que incluso los elementos ficticios son más que posibles. Aunque habrá quien tenga opiniones muy diferentes sobre algunos de las premisas (como por ejemplo, quienes son responsables de los ataques terroristas y sus razones), los detalles y la planificación suenan increíblemente convincentes y por eso dan aún más miedo.

El autor está bien informado sobre la actualidad y las noticias en el Reino Unido y usa su conocimiento para crear un complejo mundo donde emplazar su ficcional (esperamos) historia. Noticias y hechos históricos recientes (el escándalo de las escuchas ilegales de conversaciones telefónicas, los disturbios y motines en varias ciudades inglesas, alegaciones de pornografía infantil, gobierno de coalición…) no son sólo parte del decorado donde se desarrolla la novela sino que se convierten en un componente central y básico de la trama, y ficción y realidad están entretejidas expertamente creando un tapiz complejo y realista. Yo vivo en el Reino Unido y me reí con algunos de los incidentes y situaciones que reconocí (o visualizé de inmediato).

La novela está muy bien tramada e incluso incidentes menores que a primera vista parecen insignificantes al final encajan perfectamente y su importancia se revela en el momento justo. Una mujer a la que atropella un coche accidentalmente, un hombre atrapado en los disturbios y herido, una sesión de entrenamiento de rugby…todo encaja en su sitio como en un rompecabezas.

Llegamos a conocer a los personajes principales gradualmente, y descubrimos que no es solo fácil identificarse con ellos, sino que son héroes (aunque accidentales). Adam es un fantástico protagonista, que pasa de ser vituperado por los medios de comunicación (un marido celoso a la busca de venganza es el responsable) a arriesgar su vida para salvar…a todo el mundo. Su hermano Dan, Ron, su amigo y agente especial, Isobel, su amor, los ‘pocos’ detectives y policías honestos, son todos gente real, con los que el lector se puede identificar, pero unidos forman un equipo que no le envidia nada a los superhéroes a los que estamos acostumbrados. En un momento de crisis todos les querríamos de nuestra parte.

‘Una plaga’ tiene un estilo cinematográfico, pasando de tomas largas que nos dan una vista general de la situación nacional e internacional y las consecuencias de los hechos narrados, a detalles minuciosos de cosas como las armas usadas, ficheros de ordenador y medicamentos. El ritmo acelera y te quedas enganchado a los acontecimientos, a la vez excitado y preocupado por lo que podría pasar si fuera real. ¿Habrían suficientes policías honrados, y ciudadanos preocupados y bien intencionados (como Adam y sus amigo) para detener un ataque terrorista?

No quiero dar demasiados detalles de la trama para no arruinar las muchas sorpresas, pero sin dudar lo recomiendo a todos los que disfruten de thrillers detallados, historias basadas en teorías de conspiración, noticias de actualidad(no solo inglesas sino internacionales), novelas de espionaje…En fin, a todos a los que les guste un buen libro. Me encantó leer que Nic Taylor está planeando al menos otras dos novelas en la misma serie. Yo ya estoy a la espera.

Haced click para comprarla (en inglés)

http://www.amazon.com/A-Plague-Of-Dissent-ebook/dp/B00BRI7YMQ/

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Un año de marketing de libros. Parte 1. Marketing tus libros día a día de Heather Hart

Yo conocía la obra de la autora porque había leído algunas de sus las publicaciones en las que ha colaborado como ‘Book Marketing 101: Marketing Your Book on a Shoestring’ y el grupo de escritores del mismo nombre en LinkedIn. Le pedí una copia del libro cuando leí su respuesta en una discusión del grupo a otro autor que andaba a la busca de ideas nuevas para intentar promocionar su libro, y estaba cansado de las viejas fórmulas. Ella amablemente me ofreció una copia gratis a cambio de una reseña y me encanta poder corresponder a su amabilidad.

La idea del libro es que se puede usar (después de haber leído los tres primeros capítulos que contienen consejos generales sobre marketing, particularmente interesantes para escritores novicios) como un recordatorio/calendario diario, que en lugar de contener solamente citas inspiradoras para ese día, contiene sugerencias o ideas de marketing para cada día. Esa sugerencia se desarrolla en más detalle y suele seguir a una cita of frase. Algunas de las citas me resultaron familiares (aunque eso no las hizo menos útiles), algunas no tanto, pero todas hacen reflexionar y animan. El mensaje más claro en resumen es que hay que trabajar duro, ser constante, concentrarse en lo que te funcione a ti y lo que disfrutes, pero no hay que tenerlo miedo a probar cosas nuevas. Y también que Roma no se construyó en un día y muy poca gente consigue el éxito de la noche a la mañana.

No hace mucho que me dedico a la auto-publicación y al marketing, aunque llevo unos meses en ello. Leyendo el libro de la Sra. Hart ví que había probado algunas de las ideas que sugiere, otras no me sirven a mí en este momento (sólo he publicado en formato digital y para algunas de sus sugerencias se necesitan libros en papel), y otras…Bueno, debería probarlas. Tomé notas, e incluso antes de leerme todo el libro consulté los apéndices y empecé a listar mi libro en algunas de las páginas de web gratuitas que no había probado.

El estilo de la autora es fácil de seguir, coloquial y ameno, y me gustó particularmente como comparte sus propias experiencias y las lecciones que ha aprendido, incluyendo cosas que le resultan difíciles, y los cosas que probó que no funcionaron. También me gustó el ritmo del libro, los ánimos que da, y su énfasis en tener un plan a largo plazo, en comprobar los resultados de lo que uno ya está haciendo e intentar maximizarlo, en lugar de ir como locos intentando hacer todo a la vez (mea culpa).

Leí el libro en una sentada, en lugar de utilizarlo en la forma en que está diseñado, día a día (y eso es un pero de mi reseña), pero tengo la intención de tomarme sus consejos en serio y probar algunas de las ideas que no he intentado ( y algunas de las que he estado posponiendo…).

En conclusión se lo recomiendo a cualquiera que esté metido en el negocio de auto-publicación, de cualquier género, y que crea que se beneficiaría de algo de apoyo y consejos expertos sin avasallar. Y estoy a la espera de la Parte 2.

Haced click para comprarlo (en inglés):

http://www.amazon.com/Year-Book-Marketing-Part-ebook/dp/B00AVGUSVO/

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Desnudo en Nueva York. Una Memoria de Alan Cooke (Actor y realizador ganador de un Emmy)

Desnudo en Nueva York es uno de esos libros que podríamos no haber descubierto nunca si las circunstancias no hubieran conspirado para atraer nuestra atención, pero una vez descubiertos nos sentimos afortunados porque enriquecen nuestras vidas.

Aunque me encanta la poesía (o alguna poesía al menos) no la leo con regularidad. Descubrí el video YouTube del autor leyendo un fragmento de su libro (que entonces todavía no estaba publicado, aunque existía una versión en audio) en Facebook. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoVOnxcdJjg

Alan Cooke is actor, escritor, realizador de cine, y oirle leer ‘Naked in New York’ es una experiencia que les recomiendo a todos (especialmente si entienden inglés, aunque su voz vale la pena oirla de todas formas). Es emocionante, bello y magnético.

La memoria describe líricamente los cinco años que el autor pasó en Nueva York, poco después del ataque del 11 de Septiembre. No es un observador imparcial sino un participante que se sumerge en la ciudad, su gente, y su atmósfera que fue severamente sacudida por el incidente, una herida abierta que ha dejado una cicatriz que jamás se borrará. Su historia no es la del sueño americano convertido en realidad (a ratos todo lo contrario), pero incluso si sus penas y sufrimientos fueron condiciones necesarias para que este libro viera la luz, hubieran estado más que justificados.

He tenido la ventaja de haber escuchado una copia del libro en audio leída por el autor. Me ha hecho detenerme a pensar más de una vez, me he quedado sin palabra contemplando la belleza de una pasaje, me ha puesto triste (como cuando reflexiona sobre las consecuencias de 9/11 o el destino de los habitantes más desafortunados), me ha hecho sonreír (un pequeño gesto, un momento íntimo lleno de significado compartido con un extraño, un pájaro que se baña y luego sonríe), y me ha hecho reflexionar y pensar en momentos y experiencias con los que me he identificado. Puede que haya pensado lo mismo que el autor, pero él lo dice mucho mejor.

Desnudo en Nueva York es bello, sentido, lleno de reflexiones íntimas, penetrante, personal y universal a la vez. Es realmente humano. No puedo creer que haya nadie a quien no le guste este libro, y de hecho me preocuparía por tal persona. Por favor, leedlo y contárselo a todos. No hay suficiente belleza a nuestro alrededor. Debemos promocionarla y compartirla.

Haced click para comprar el libro (en ingles):

http://www.amazon.com/Naked-In-New-York-ebook/dp/B00BMCWR88/

Haced click aquí para ir a la página web para comprar la versión audio:

http://www.wildirishpoet.com

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La llave del éxito. Consigue destacar en Amazon: Marketing para escritores de Armando Rodera

Soy escritora y empecé a publicar libros digitales hace unos meses. Desde entonces (aunque ahora sé que de hecho tendría que haber empezado mucho antes, pero todo se aprende en esta vida) he leído bastante sobre el marketing de libros. He visto podcasts, he leído guías, libros, videos en YouTube, he participado en grupos y discusiones…Vamos, que éste no es el primer libro sobre el tema que me leo.

¿Qué diferencia al libro de Armando Rodera de todos esos otros? (Porque es muy diferente, eso se lo aseguro yo). Aunque la mayoría de estos libros suelen poner ejemplos personales de lo que le funcionó o no al escritor durante sus esfuerzos de marketing, La llave del éxito más que un libro de marketing a palo seco, es la historia (en inglés hoy en día le llamarían el journey, el viaje) del sendero que Armando Rodera ha seguido desde que descubrió su afición a escribir hasta hoy en día cuando es un autor reconocido en el mundo entero.

El autor ofrece consejos, pero basados en su experiencia personal, no tanto en estrategias, planes, y fórmulas aburridas que pueden tener aplicación o no a las circunstancias y gusto de cada persona. Es una guía sobre el negocio de la publicación (independiente en su mayor parte), pero una de estas guías anotadas, en las que uno se detiene a leer detalles sobre los platos típicos, las costumbres del país, y el folklore al uso. Para el viajero con discernimiento y buen gusto.

Otra cosa que hace destacar este libro (en mi opinión la que más), es la calidad de la escritura. La mayoría de los libros de marketing que he leído están escritos de forma sencilla y práctica y poco más. La llave del éxito es muy diferente. Llegó un momento en que los consejos eran lo que menos me importaba del libro, y el placer de su lectura lo que más. Puedo asegurarles que cualquier persona que lo lea, si aún no leído las novelas del autor, sentirá deseos incontrolables de leerlas.

Lean La llave del éxito. Hagan uso de sus buenos consejos, y sobre todo disfruten de la prosa y el estilo de Armando Rodera. Yo creo que esa es la verdadera llave de su éxito.

Haced click para comprarlo en Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/LLAVE-%C3%89XITO-Spanish-Edition-ebook/dp/B00ARJUSFQ/

Y el viernes, autora invitada Nicole Fergusson!

Some of you might know, many must suspect, but I love books. More recently, since I started publishing myself I became interested in the work of of ‘indie authors’. Authors who have published independently of publishing companies and in general have a ‘Do it Yourself’ attitude towards the business, being involved in all areas, not only writing the book, but proofreading, editing, formating, designing or choosing covers, and also, marketing and trying to ensure that their books reach an audience. Many of us meet in social media, support each others’ efforts, provide advice for each other, encouragements, suggestions, and we also read some of our fellow authors’ books. Nic Taylor is a member of one such group of authors and so am I. He posted the beginning of his book ‘A Plague of Dissent’ in his Facebook page and asked for comments and we got chatting. He sent me a copy of his book and although due to time constraints it took me a while to get aroudn to reading it, I finally made it and it was worth my while. Now in a new revised and improve edition, with new cover, don’t forget to click on the link and check the book!

Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent

‘Be Scared, Be Very Scared’

Don’t let the title of my review put you off. No, Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent is not a horror book (although I love horror books). At least not a horror genre book. What the title refers to is the slow realisation – whilst reading the novel – that it is not only topical and the socio/historical events described very close to the bone, but the fictional elements are more than plausible. Although one might have a different opinion as to some of the premises (who organises the terrorist attacks and their reasons, for example), the actual details and planning of it sound incredibly convincing and the more horrifying for it.

The author is well versed in British current affairs and he uses them to create a multilayered background to his fictional (? we hope) story. Recent big news items (phone hacking scandal and enquiry, riots, allegations of child pornography, coalition government…) are not only background setting of the novel but become an integral part of the plot, and they are seamlessly woven together to create a complex and realistic tapestry. I live in the UK and must say some of the incidents and situations made me chuckle.

The novel is extremely well plotted and even minor incidents that at first sight might appear insignificant are eventually relevant and their significance revealed. A woman accidentally run over by a car, a man caught up in the riots and injured, a rugby training session…everything falls into place like a well-oiled machine.

We get to know the main characters gradually, and they reveal themselves to be not only likeable, but also true heroes. Adam is a fantastic protagonist, who goes from being maligned by the media; in an attempt at revenge by a jealous husband, to risking his life to save…well, everybody. His brother, Dan, Ron, his friend and special agent, Isobel, his love interest, the few honest detectives and policemen, are all real people you can relate to but make a larger than life cast who can take on any situation. You would want them by your side in a moment of crisis.

‘A Plague’ is cinematic in its style, moving with ease from sweeping takes that quickly provide a general view of the national and international situation and the consequences of the events narrated, to minute takes of details such as weaponry, computer files and medication. The pace accelerates and you become gripped by the events, at once thrilled and worried as to what would happen if it were real. Would there be enough honest members of the police, and concerned citizens (like Adam and friends) to halt such a terrorist ploy?

I don’t want to give away too many of the details of the novel as not to spoil the many surprises, but I won’t hesitate in recommending it to anybody who enjoys well plotted thrillers, conspiracy theory based stories, current affairs (not only British but international), spy novels…In summary, anybody who loves a good book. I was pleased to read that Nic Taylor is planning to follow ‘A Plague’ with at least two more novels. I for one can’t wait.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to click on the links:

To buy in Smashwords, in a variety of formats:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/293433

Or in Amazon if you have a Kindle or a Kindle app (free to download):

http://www.amazon.com/A-Plague-Of-Dissent-ebook/dp/B00BRI7YMQ/

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