Poetry Jam

I had a great couple of hours today at the Poetry Jam in Marsden, part of the Jazz Festival.  It was completely packed, and there was lots of excellent poetry, in a wide range of different styles, all expertly compered by the indefatigable Julian Jordon from Write Out Loud (pictured – sorry about the poor quality).  Here’s one of the two poems I read:

 

Christmas Card Friends

Do my words hang in corners

by snow-covered trees

and the unremarked faces of angels?

Do you look for my messages,

old secrets gift-wrapped in rhyme?

 

I choose pictures with meanings

and couplets that recast the spell.

I send you magic:

you send me ‘Joyeux Noel’.

 

I share the same greeting

with old friends from school

whom you pass in the street without knowing

yet my lips touch the rubber-stamped

crosses that never touched yours.

 

Long ago, we were lovers;

for me, even old love transcends

the dead sheets of paper

that pass between Christmas card friends.

 

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Welcome, Jo!

Today I am joined by fellow Crooked Cat author Jo Fenton, whose psychological thriller, The Brotherhood, was published in July.

Welcome, Jo, tell us all about The Brotherhood!

The Brotherhood is a psychological thriller set in a religious sect in the English countryside. The setting is an Abbey, which adds hugely to the feeling of claustrophobia and creepiness.

A young woman, Melissa gets caught up in the sect when she’s at her most vulnerable, and becomes drawn into a life of rules, punishment and restraint. This is made even worse when the sect leader, Dominic decides to get involved…

What plans do you have for future novels?

I’m very excited about yesterday’s announcement that the sequel to The Brotherhood will be published by Crooked Cat. The Refuge is due for release in 2019.

I also have a series planned for a female, Manchester based detective…

I see that, like me, you’re an avid member of writing groups. How do you find this helps your writing?

Writing groups are invaluable. My first group came about as a direct result of a set of writing workshops. When the workshops ended, we wanted to carry on meeting up. Regular critique sessions help to hone writing skills, and are a good incentive to get writing when faced with a blank page and a critique session next week!

Both my writing groups provide fantastic support, encouragement and advice, as well as writing feedback.

You’re also a scientist. Would you like to say anything about your work?

I couldn’t resist including some Clinical Trials in The Brotherhood. It’s an unusual twist for a religious sect, and I managed not to dump a load of unnecessary information into the book. It’s always a challenge when writing about something you know well, to avoid telling the reader everything you know!

I love my job in Clinical Research. It’s challenging, complicated, and very worthwhile.

How do you balance the demands of writing, work and your family?

That’s the age-old question! With difficulty is the true answer.

In some ways, I’m very lucky. I have 2 nearly grown up sons who are fairly independent and an extremely house-trained and supportive husband, who does more than his share of household tasks.

On the other hand, my job is very demanding, and takes a lot of time and concentration.

Fitting in writing is a constant juggling act, requiring discipline, motivation, planning, and the occasional glass of wine!

You grew up in the South. How do you find living in Manchester?

I love Manchester. I’ve now lived here longer than I lived in the South. There’s a really friendly vibe here. Everyone pulls together in times of crisis, and I’ve seen incredible examples of strength of character.

It doesn’t rain as often as people think either.

Finally, what question would you have liked me to ask that I didn’t?

What was the first thing you ever wrote?

And what is the answer?

I wrote a talent show sketch for my youth group. It was performed at a competition, with Maureen Lipmann as the judge, and apparently had her crying with laughter.

It was a strange cross between Noddy and The Magic Roundabout.

Many thanks for those fascinating answers, Jo!  Best wishes for The Brotherhood – and its successor! 

You can find The Brotherhood on Amazon here

and Jo’s author page here

The Brotherhood

Spotlight: T.E. Taylor, Revolution Day

Dictators in History: Saddam Hussein.

I’m talking to fellow Crooked Cat author Jennifer Wilson today about Saddam Hussein and comparing him to Carlos in Revolution Day (currently on special offer at £1 and equivalent).

Jennifer C. Wilson

Today on the blog, I’m delighted to welcome back fellow Crooked Cat Books author Tim (T.E.) Taylor, to talk about his novel Revolution Day, and the historical links between his fictional dictator, and some, sadly, non-fictional… 

Dictators in History: Saddam Hussein

Many thanks for hosting me today, Jennifer!

I thought I would take this opportunity to write the latest in my occasional series of posts about historical dictators, discussing their careers and comparing them to Carlos Almanzor, the ageing dictator in my novel Revolution Day.  The novel follows a year in Carlos’ life as his vice-president plots against him and his estranged wife writes a memoir of his regime and their marriage (and it’s on special offer at 99p or equivalent for a short period)! This time I thought I would discuss Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti was born near the Iraqi town of Tikrit on 28…

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Viva Espana

Today I host fellow Crooked Cat author Isabella May, whose romantic comedy Costa del Churros has just been published.

Welcome Isabella, tell us about your new book!

Muchas gracias for hosting me on your blog today to talk about my brand new novel with Crooked Cat Books! COSTA DEL CHURROS was launched on September 19th and is another romantic comedy which fuses all things foodie, travel and spirituality. I’m keeping my fingers (and paws!) crossed that it’ll have as good a reception as its predecessors…

Why write about Spain?

My first two books, Oh! What a Pavlova and The Cocktail Bar centred much of their activity around the quirky and mystical town of Glastonbury, UK. But in actual fact I live in Spain nowadays and much as I relished the opportunity to write about the place where I spent my childhood through to late twenties, it was high time for a change of scene – as well as to prove to myself that I am not a One Trick Pony. Or should that be Cat?

Is Costa del Churros based on a fictional or real part of Spain?

Yes, Costa del Churros refers to the Costa del Sol, here in the gigantic province of Andalusia, where I live. I have traveled all over the country, but nowhere seems to make, eat or embrace churros (friend donut strips, often eaten dipped in a thick, velvety chocolate sauce and/or sprinkled liberally with sugar) with the aplomb of the people in this region. The churros play a central role throughout the book, used as a code word that brings four – very different – women together for flamenco lessons with their highly exuberant teacher, Carmen.

Here’s the blurb:

The rain in Spain doesn’t mainly fall on the plain…

Brits abroad Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina need more than the sweetness of churros with chocolate dipping sauce to save them from their unsavoury states of affairs.

Cue Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera, the town’s flamboyant flamenco teacher! But can she really be the answer to their prayers?

One thing’s for sure: the Costa del Sol will never be the same again.

costa del churros.png

Are these four women based on people you know?

Not per se!
But Belinda, Julia, Laura and Georgina are definitely a beautiful fusion of some of the kaleidoscopically colourful characters I have met here over the past seven years. I wanted to paint a truthful picture of expat life in Spain (and quite possibly this will extend to other areas of The Mediterranean too). It’s all too easy to assume that a life in the sun is all soaking up its rays, sand, sea and sangria, but in actual fact, we take ourselves wherever we go! There’s absolutely no running away from your problems when you are home from home, be they romantic, financial, self-esteem based, or all of the above. Often, as soon as the novelty of the new lifestyle wears off, those issues are only exacerbated…
I thought it would make for an interesting (and comical) read to throw four women from four completely different backgrounds together, to add a little magic (a la Carmen) and to watch the fireworks – from a very safe distance.

Tell us a bit about Carmen Maria Abril de la Fuente Ferrera…

Well, she was a joy to write.
And I think all of us could do with a Carmen in our lives. Not only is she a talented flamenco teacher, but she has watched the way Franco’s repression of the female has gnawed away at her mother, and at the lives of countless women around her. So Carmen’s mission is one of empowerment. And she’s particularly passionate about encouraging women to have their cake and eat it. Truly, I’d love for nothing more than to click my fingers and magic her up every time I witness a female friend or family member declare in a café/restaurant/gelateria ‘Oh! I really shouldn’t indulge… I’ll start the diet again next week!’
For Carmen is the antidote to any and all of that prescribed female behaviour, an advocate for positive body image on beaches and sun-loungers the length of the coast. She’s a breath of fresh air injecting a much-needed confidence boost to all four of the main characters in the story.
If your tummy has started to rumble… here’s that all important Universal Amazon buying link: mybook.to/costadelchurros

Thanks for coming along, Isabella, and hope your book is a big success! 

Isabella May

You can find out about Isabella May’s other books, and follow her quirky cake and cocktail posts at these places:

www.isabellamayauthor.com

Twitter – @IsabellaMayBks
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/
Instagram – @isabella_may_author

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalucia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the sea and the mountains. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.
Cake, cocktail, and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s ‘rules’.
Costa del Churros is her third novel.

Filling in the gaps …

Today I’m delighted to welcome back fellow Crooked Cat author Sue Barnard, who last visited this blog in 2016.  Sue has an exciting new book out ….

Welcome, Sue.  Tell us about your new novel, Heathcliff.  Hmmm, I’m sure I’ve heard that name before …

Hi Tim, and thanks for inviting me back. I think most people have heard of Heathcliff, even if they haven’t read Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights or seen one or more of the many TV or film adaptations. Heathcliff has featured in a Kate Bush song, a Monty Python comedy sketch, and goodness knows what else besides. And he’s inspired no end of spin-off stories – including my own latest offering. One of literature’s greatest mysteries is what happened to Heathcliff during the three years when he disappeared from the original story, and my new novel suggests a possible answer to that question. In addition, there is another mystery about Heathcliff himself, which I have also attempted to solve.

Is there any significance in the release date?

Yes. The book was released on 30th July 2018, which was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Emily Brontë. I also found out on the day itself that by a remarkable coincidence, it was also the 60th birthday of Kate Bush, whose haunting 1978 song introduced Heathcliff to a whole new generation, and who more recently contributed to a new art installation to mark the Emily Brontë bicentenary.

Heathcliff front cover

What’s next?  Do you have any further plans to fill gaps in the fictional world of famous books?

Not exactly “famous”, but my current writing project is a spin-off from one of my own books. In my second novel, Nice Girls Don’t, a loose end was unintentionally left dangling. It didn’t make any significant difference to the outcome, but I realised afterwards that it left open the possibility of a follow-up. This new book is part-prequel, part-sequel to Nice Girls Don’t, and focuses particularly on one of the characters who barely steps out of the shadows in the original story.

Meanwhile, I keep chipping away at my ongoing Shakespeare-themed poetry project. Don’t stay in specially waiting for that to be finished, though.

What else is new in your life since your last visit here two years ago?

Quite a lot. My fourth book was published last year. Never on Saturday is a time-slip romance novella with a hint of mystery and a touch of the paranormal. It’s set partly in medieval France and partly in present-day North Wales/Anglesey, and is based on an old French legend. Unfortunately I can’t say here which legend it is, as that would give too much away!

One of my highlights of 2018 was being invited to take part in a Heathcliff-themed event at the prestigious Bradford Literature Festival, sharing a platform with the Brontë scholar Emma Butcher and the acclaimed novelists Louise Doughty and Michael Stewart. Tremendous fun.

I’ve also become involved in an exciting new publishing venture, Ocelot Press. My debut novel The Ghostly Father (originally published by Crooked Cat Books in 2014) should be re-released through Ocelot during the next couple of months.

You’re also a poet and fiendish quiz question-setter.  Are there any examples you’d like to share with the readers?

Here’s one which covers both – a poem which is also a puzzle. It shouldn’t be too difficult to solve:

My first is in sheep but not in goat;

my second’s in ship but never in boat.

My third is in pudding and also in pie;

my fourth is in earth but never in sky.

My whole is a word, oft used as a curse,

which sums up for ever my efforts at verse.

Hmm, if that’s what I think it is, I feel you’re being unduly modest! 

Finally, what question would you have liked me to ask that I didn’t?

Which book would you say has had the biggest impact on your life?

And what is the answer?

Facebook.  I keep in touch with relatives overseas, I’ve reconnected with old friends, I’ve made dozens of new ones, and I even found my publisher on there. Not to mention connecting with my readers. It’s now very hard to imagine life without it.

Many thanks for those answers, Sue – full of interest, as ever.  Best wishes for the success of Heathcliff!

 

About Sue

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.

Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue joined the editorial team of Crooked Cat Publishing in 2013. Her first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet) was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014. Since then she has produced four more novels: Nice Girls Don’t (2014), The Unkindest Cut of All (2015), Never on Saturday (2017) and Heathcliff (a Wuthering Heights spin-off story about Heathcliff’s missing years, published on 30 July 2018, to coincide with the bicentenary of the birth of Emily Brontë).

Sue now lives in Cheshire with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter (@AuthorSusanB), Amazon, or follow her blog here.

Other Links:

G+   Twitter   Instagram   Goodreads  RNA

Space Rage

I’m thrilled to bits to announce that I’ve won one of the National Association of Writers’ Groups 2018 competitions.  It was for a short sci-fi or fantasy story, aimed at teenagers.  In all honesty, I didn’t consciously write it for teenagers (I’m not sure how to do that) but it seems to have done the trick!  Anyway, here’s the story – it’s pretty much what it says on the tin.

 

Space Rage

Captain Pelant opened an airtight door and ushered Ambassador Spole into the room beyond.

“This is the bridge, Ambassador. It is rather compact, as you see – the vessel is designed to be operated by one person; there is barely space for two. This is a freighter: not an ideal vehicle for a diplomatic mission, but the only one that was available, I’m afraid. Perhaps it would have been better to postpone the meeting with Governor Akhan until our own ship is serviceable again.”

The Ambassador shook her head. Her long robe swished around her as she did so.

“With all due respect, Captain, technical issues are your area of responsibility; diplomacy is mine. Akhan is famous for his short temper. He has travelled a long way for this meeting. Were we to abandon it, he would take offence, causing serious damage to our chances of securing a trade agreement with Kalin. You have done well to charter a replacement vessel at short notice. It is fully serviceable, I take it?”

“Oh, yes, Ambassador. The ship is only three years old, and in excellent condition.”

“And is it equipped with communications equipment, including a Protocol Machine? My Kalinese is not what it used to be.”

“Indeed. Here is the microphone into which you will speak, when the time comes. The audio feed from the Governor’s ship will come through these speakers. There is no video, I’m afraid. However, the Protocol Machine will project a simultaneous translation of the incoming speech onto this screen. Any words of uncertain translation will be flagged with question marks. Alternatively, the audio feed itself can be translated.”

“Let’s stick with the text translation,” said the Ambassador. “I’ll get an idea of the tone of the Governor’s voice from the untranslated feed – and I should understand the odd word here or there.”

“As you wish, Ambassador.”

The journey to the meeting point was uneventful. The Ambassador had just risen from her bunk when Pelant informed her that they had entered orbit around the planet chosen for the rendezvous. Sure enough, as they rounded the gas giant’s great bulk, a large ship came into view.

“The sensors identify it as the Kalinese cruiser A-Mahart, Ambassador, as expected. We are a couple of hours early, but so are they. They will be expecting a diplomatic yacht, not a chartered freighter. We need to declare ourselves. Shall I hail them?”

“I’ll do that myself, if you don’t mind.”

Spole leaned towards the microphone.

“To the cruiser A-Mahart. I am Ambassador Zeman Spole of the Tirezian Federation, on board the chartered merchant vessel Emporium. On behalf of the systems of the Federation, I offer sincere greetings to the esteemed Governor Akhan and the people of the Kalin Republic. I humbly ask permission to come on board, in anticipation of an amicable and productive meeting.”

She sat back and waited. Nothing happened. Puzzled, she leaned forward again and repeated the message. Again, nothing. Only after another minute had passed did a voice come through the bridge speakers and text begin to appear on the screen.

Unidentified freighter. This is the cruiser A-Mahart of the Kalin Republic. Please identify yourself and leave this orbit immediately. We are expecting an important rendezvous with another vessel.

Even more puzzled, Spole leaned forward again.

A-Mahart. We are the vessel you are expecting. It has been necessary to charter a ship owing to a fault with our diplomatic yacht. But I am Ambassador Spole, here to meet Governor Akhan.”

I repeat. Identify yourself and leave orbit.

“I don’t understand. This is Ambassador Spole. Why are you not acknowledging my messages?”

A different, louder and more agitated voice now came through the speakers. The screen of the Protocol Machine was suddenly filled with text.

This is Governor Akhan of Kalin. I am expecting an extremely important meeting with the Ambassador of the Tirezian Federation. I have no business with you. I do not require supplies, nor do I wish to buy or sell anything. Is that clear? Now ?copulate? off.

“I am Ambassador Spole. Why do you not acknowledge?”

What part of ‘go away’ do you ?anuses? not understand? Get out out of this ?copulating? orbit, you ?excrement-for-brains? ?copulators-with-mothers? or I’ll turn my guns on you and fill you so full of ?copulating? holes they’ll be able to sell you as ?copulating? cheese.

Aghast, Spole turned to the Captain. “What can we do?”

“It seems the communication equipment is malfunctioning, Ambassador. The A-Mahart is not receiving our messages, and strange words are appearing on the translation screen. They are about to fire on us. We must comply with their demand and leave orbit, immediately.”

“Then all is lost! My mission has failed before it has even begun. The chances of securing an agreement have slipped through our fingers, all because of a malfunctioning machine!”

Pelant thought for a moment. “I have an idea. These ships have a button that transmits an emergency message, if they are damaged or have casualties who need to be transferred to another ship. Perhaps that will work even if the main comms don’t. Shall I give it a try?” The Ambassador nodded.

After a few seconds of silence, the first, quieter voice spoke again.

Unidentified freighter. I have received a distress message from you. You do not appear damaged. Do you have injured personnel on board? Spole sighed with relief.

Now the louder voice took over. This had better not be ?cattle excrement? If there are no injured people on that vessel right now, there ?copulating? will be by the time I’ve finished with you. Is that ?copulating? clear?

The quieter voice resumed. Freighter: you have permission to dock, for the purposes of transferring injured personnel only. Approach slowly. Any suspicious actions will be met with force.

Captain Pelant slowed the Emporium’s speed down to a crawl as the cruiser loomed larger and larger in front of them.    

“I don’t know how to engage the automatic docking mechanism, said Pelant. I’ll have to do it manually. Left a little, right a little. Forward a little. This is really hard. I’m not used to the controls. Left a little… Oh no! ….

CLANG!!!

The Emporium drifted away from the larger ship. The speakers sprang into life, as did the Protocol Machine screen.

?Untranslatable? You useless ?sexually attracted to farm animals? ?self-molesters? How dare you dent my ship. Try that again and I’ll blow your ?excremental? ?buttocks? into the next ?copulating? universe.

The quieter voice took over. Freighter, do not, repeat do not attempt docking again. We are assessing damage – suggest you do the same. Then we will engage automatic docking from this ship.

“Oh dear. This isn’t going well.” said Spole. “I’ll try and speak to them one more time. Perhaps the comms will finally work now we’re closer.”

“Governor Akhan, I am Ambassador Spole of the Tirezian …”

“Umm, Ambassador. I’ve just noticed. There is a switch here you need to press to turn the microphone on. Didn’t you realise? That’s why they haven’t been receiving our messages.”

Spole pressed the switch and cleared her throat.

“I am Ambassador Zeman Spole of the Tirezian Federation, on board the chartered merchant vessel Emporium. On behalf of the Federation, I offer sincere greetings to the esteemed Governor Akhan and the people of the Kalin Republic. I humbly ask permission to come on board, in anticipation of an amicable and productive meeting.”

?Untranslatable?  

Suddenly, the speakers went completely silent. Spole thought for a moment. She was angry now. Akhan was even worse than she had been warned. An aggressive brute of a man. She wanted to take him down a peg or two. But her whole career, and the prosperity of the Tirezian Federation itself, was riding on this meeting. She realised what she had to do. She took a deep breath and pressed the microphone button.

“Governor Akhan. I apologise for the computer fault which, until it was rectified a few seconds ago, has prevented us from sending or receiving messages. This same fault, regrettably, affected our manoeuvring systems, resulting in the unfortunate collision – for which, again, I apologise profusely.

The speakers remained silent. What kind of man are you, Akhan, wondered Spole. How are you going to deal with this situation? At last, the loud voice spoke again, but in a markedly calmer tone than before. Text once more rolled down the screen of the Protocol Machine.

Esteemed Ambassador Spole. I too wish to convey my heartfelt fraternal greetings to you and the people of the Tirezian Federation. I am sorry to hear of your problems, and sorry too that you were unable to receive our messages of welcome. I am delighted to welcome you once again, and to extend to you a warm invitation to visit my humble ship. Like you, I look forward to an amicable and productive meeting. Now, if you are ready, my crew will engage automatic docking so that we may begin without further delay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome, Lizzie!

Today I am joined by fellow Crooked Cat author Lizzie Chantree, whose latest romance novel was published last month.
Welcome Lizzie, tell us about your latest book, If you Love me, I’m yours.

Hi Tim. Thanks for inviting me onto your blog. My latest book is a romance read that is packed full of smiles. It’s just as much about the friendship of the two central characters, as it is about the romantic relationship that evolves during the story. Maud is oppressed by her parents and their views of the world on how a good daughter should behave, whilst Dottie is trying to find a voice in her own very eclectic and outspoken family.

This is not your first romance novel – would you like to say something about the others?

My books are about women who don’t necessarily know their own self-worth and who have to overcome obstacles to learn to be kinder to themselves and others. The stories are also full of humour and romance and often have one or two quite eccentric characters in them, as they are so much fun to write about and I have a few of those in my own family!

You’re also an inventor!  I’m sure the readers would love to hear more about that.

Thank you! I was one of The Female Inventors of the Year as voted by The Patent Office and Fair Play London for my invention, Runaway Spray, which is a ‘run’ or ‘ladder’ stop spray for stockings and tights. It’s the size of a lipstick and is not tested on animals. My first customers were The Arcadia Group and Superdrug, which was fantastic!

And an artist!  Is there any limit to your talents?

I love to paint huge colourful landscapes. I find anything creative really inspiring and relaxing, so there is usually a big box of paints and brushes in my house. I often have paint splotches on my clothes and ink on my hands! I used to exhibit my work, but writing fills my days now and it really is an addictive job. I have so many stories I can’t wait to write, so I haven’t had time to paint for a while.

How do you balance the demands of writing, family and business?

It’s really tricky and can be exhausting. The fact that I have a job that travels makes things so much easier though. I write in the car while I’m waiting at my children’s schools and when they are in after school clubs. I write on the train, while on holiday and anywhere I am. Not many careers give that flexibility, so I’m not complaining as I love what I do. I do need to be more organised, but I’m working on it. I run networking hour for creatives on Twitter called #CreativeBizHour and the fact that there are so many creative businesses and people out there makes me really happy, as I know how much work it involves and how dedicated you have to be. It’s worth it.

What question would you have liked me to ask that I didn’t?

Great question! You have covered most things. You could ask why my main characters have, or learn to run, various businesses in my books?

And what is the answer? 

I stared my first business at the age of seventeen, and have years of business knowledge, which is why I always have some pretty unusual businesses in my books. I am able to find out what it would be like to run them without any stress!

 

Lizzie C

Award-winning inventor and author, Lizzie Chantree, started her own business at the age of 18 and became one of Fair Play London and The Patent Office’s British Female Inventors of the Year in 2000. She discovered her love of writing fiction when her children were little and now runs networking hours on social media, where creative businesses, writers, photographers and designers can offer advice and support to each other. She lives with her family on the coast in Essex. Visit her website at www.lizziechantree.com or follow her on https://twitter.com/Lizzie_Chantree.

 
Other links:
 

Author page: viewAuthor.at/LizzieChantree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lizzie.chantree.3

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

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

Lizzie’s Crooked Cat Books:

If you lmiy Ninja

‘If you love me, I’m yours…’

Maud didn’t mind being boring, not really. She had a sensible job, clothes, and love life… if you counted an overbearing ex who had thanked her, rolled over and was snoring before she even realised he’d begun! She could tolerate not fulfilling her dreams, if her parents would pay her one compliment about the only thing she was passionate about in life: her art.

Dot should have fit in with her flamboyant and slightly eccentric family of talented artists, but somehow, she was an anomaly who couldn’t paint. She tried hard to be part of their world by becoming an art agent extraordinaire, but she dreamed of finding her own voice. 

Dot’s brother Nate, a smoulderingly sexy and famous artist, was adored by everyone. His creative talent left them in awe of his ability to capture such passion on canvas. Women worshipped him, and even Dot’s friend Maud flushed and bumped into things when he walked into a room, but a tragic event in his past had left him emotionally and physically scarred, and reluctant to face the world again.

Someone was leaving exquisite little paintings on park benches, with a tag saying, ‘If you love me, I’m yours’. The art was so fresh and cutting-edge, that it generated a media frenzy and a scramble to discover where the mystery artist could be hiding. The revelation of who the prodigious artist was interlinked Maud, Dot and Nate’s lives forever, but their worlds came crashing down. 

Were bonds of friendship, love and loyalty strong enough to withstand fame, success and scandal?

Ninja School Mum.
 
Obsessive-compulsive  school  mum, Skye, is a lonely  elite  spy,  who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.