Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Jealousy & Envy

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I had decided on this blog thinking I was writing about jealousy only with envy being a synonym but after doing some research I discovered something I hadn’t known which is that jealousy and envy are considered to  be different.

Dictionary definitions:

Jealousy: feeling or showing an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages.

Envy: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

The dictionary would suggest that both these emotions are the same but some psychologists differentiate between the two emotions:

Jealousy is relationship based and involves a third person. It’s an emotion that makes a person fear for their relationship with another – partner, parent, friend etc… The person sees a threat to their relationship which could be real or perceived.

Example: Your husband has a female friend and you see that friendship in a different light. It could be a simply platonic relationship but it could also be an affair which threatens the fabric of your marriage. Jealously has its roots firmly in both the logical and illogical camps.

Jealousy can be healthy, in that it produces that fear which makes you work at protecting your relationship but equally it can be a destructive force eating away at you from the inside and ruining your relationship.
Finding the right balance is the key.

Envy however is an emotion that is caused between two people only.

Example: You are envious of what your friend has, possessions or life.

Again this emotion can be put to good or bad use. If you use this to better yourself and achieve the goals you have then this has been for the force of good, however if you allow this envy to fester you can become dissatisfied with your lot in life and your friendship will suffer as you become resentful.
Finding the right balance is again key.

I try to avoid the extremes of both of these emotions as they can be so destructive, you should allow them to drive you not to overwhelm you.

I chose this as a subject matter as some of the characters in my books show these emotions which makes for great reading.  I have three examples from two of my books – please read on:

A Lifetime or a Season

Amazon link: http://mybook.to/A-lifetime

Diana

Diana is envious of her young daughter Athena, who is pretty and has her whole life ahead of her. Diana is a beautiful, superficial, selfish woman who has men flocking around her and has no shortage of admirers but she knows that the passage of time is upon her so she callously puts down and undermines her daughter so that Athena sees herself as plain. Diana tries to stamp out Athena’s spark of independence wanting her daughter to fawn over her rather than live her own life.

Check out Athena’s short story to see whether Diana was successful or not.

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A Boy from the Streets has two examples of jealousy.

Amazon Link: myBook.to/BoyfromStreets

Teo

Teo is a lovely, loyal man who is eaten up with jealousy. He is devoted to his friend Leandro but Leandro has a closer bond with Daniel. Even years of separation doesn’t dim this friendship but as the year go by Teo’s jealousy develops to the point where he places himself and others in danger. Will his jealousy lead him to commit the ultimate betrayal?

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Pedro

Pedro is a young boy who is abandoned to the streets of Brasil at the age of one year. His life is harrowing and filled with the horrors that life on the streets brings including being used by the corrupt police force who should be there to protect him.

At the age of twelve he discovers that he has a twin, Jose was adopted into a life of luxury.

Pedro experiences both jealousy and envy during the coming months but despite his life and the trials and tribulations he stays grounded. His own caring nature allows him to rise above these emotions – but when he is pushed to the ultimate level will he be able to keep his head or will it overwhelm him?

 

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If you want to discover how any of my characters cope with these emotions and what the future holds for them you can find out by clicking the links and reading their stories.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

 

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

The inspiration behind ‘A Boy from the Streets’

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A boy from the streets will be the first novel that I have published but not the first book I have written. It was while I was researching for one of my other books which hasn’t been published yet that I came up with the inspiration and the basic outline for the story.

While reading ‘Small Wars Permitting: Despatches from Foreign Lands’ by Foreign Correspondent Christina Lamb I came across something I hadn’t heard about before and it shocked me. This is taken from Christina’s book:

“There was one aspect of life in Rio I knew I would never get used to. Every morning when I arrived at my office downtown, there would be bundles in the doorways. After a while I discovered they had names and faces. These were children, some of the thousands – some say millions – of street kids who roam Brazil’s cities. Sometimes they would be sniffing glue from shoemakers’ tins or out of coke bottles for a high to dampen their hunger. Most Cariocas just step over them as if they were insects. Some areas like Ipanema had even erected iron railings round the parks to stop the children going in.
The first year I lived in Rio, Amnesty International ran a series of advertisements: ‘Brazil has found a new way of taking its children off the streets – killing them.'”

The book goes on to talk about 500 killings in one month alone, many of whom were children.

“Death squads pick up and kill the street kids who so upset the tourists and the businesses dependent on tourism. Many of the squads are run by policemen who have no shame about their methods of cleaning up the streets.”

After the initial revulsion and the coldness that pervaded my body at the thought of what these poor children endured and disgust at humankind, the beginnings of a story formed. I picked up my pen and the words flowed. This has now been polished by me and my editor and a new beginning was added later on as the story changed shape in my head. A Boy from the Streets was born. I am now coming to the end of the journey with this book as I aim to publish it early April.

Check it out:

Two babies abandoned at birth—one grows up in a life of privilege, the other in poverty.

On the 12th of September, 1981, twin boys are born in a Brasilian hospital and left to their fate as orphans. Jose is adopted by a couple who takes him to England, but the other isn’t so lucky. Pedro ends up on the streets of Rio, left to fend for himself in a harsh and unforgiving world.

Love and betrayal.

Twelve years later Jose’s family returns to Brasil, where he learns the truth about his adoption and his twin. Thinking his adoptive parents no longer want him, he runs away to find his brother. What follows will shake Jose to the core and shape the rest of his life—if he can survive.

Murder.

Jose isn’t the only one whose life will change. Pedro is offered an opportunity beyond any of his wildest dreams, but to keep it will mean the betrayal of someone he loves. This proves to be a far greater challenge than he anticipated when the orphan finds himself suddenly surrounded by family who, unfortunately, don’t all have good intentions.

Hopes and dreams.

A Boy from the Streets will tug at your heart-strings and have you rooting for the little guy as you follow the twists and turns this multi-continental tale takes.

A small snippet from the beginning of A Boy from the Streets:

“Fernando, we must take them both, we cannot separate twins.”

“Christina, you’re too soft, we can’t bring up two children. You’re not strong enough to cope with the needs of twins. Your constitution is weak. It would be unfair to all of us.”

“I know my health is delicate, Fernando, and I will always regret that I can’t carry your baby to term inside me, but I know I can love and care for these twins. We can afford to hire help…” She trailed off when she saw the determined jut of his chin, the expression that brooked no further argument. Christina decided to try one last tug at his conscience anyway. “If we leave one behind, he might end up on the streets, an urchin living in squalor and fighting to survive… if he even makes it past babyhood.”

“Christina, your abundance of love does you credit, but I have no doubts the other boy will be adopted also. The only thing left to do now is to choose which one you would like?”

Christina’s heart sank as she looked at the two bundles in front of her. He was asking her to choose one, like picking out a pair of shoes from the rows on display in a shop. One stirred and let out a howl, disturbing his twin. It was almost as though he were alert to the inherent danger in this situation and was warning his brother.

Print & Kindle Copies available NOW

 

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

West Midlands Attending Author: Sophie Valentine

 

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  1. Can we start with your name and where you’re from?
    S. Valentine, and I’m originally from England, but living in Spain.
  2. Most authors love reading, is this true for you and if so who was/is your inspiration?
    Yes, I absolutely love reading, and always have. My inspirations are so many different authors.
  3. What genre do you write in or do you cross over into many?
    I write romance, erotica, suspense, a bit of horror, and hoping to write some YA in the future.
  4. If you could take any character from someone else’s book and make him/her your own creation who would it be and why?
    Carrie Bradshaw from SATC. I know the book was more letters / a column that a fictional story book, but it was a story on the show, and I loved that character. Also the Gossip Girl characters, in particular Serena Van Der Woodsen, which were based on books.
  5. When did you first start writing?
    I started writing from a very young age. I wrote full MC’s at 18, but focused on another career until most recently.
  6. Do you plan every inch of your books or do you just let the words flow?
    Depends. Sometimes I plan out, and other times I let the story lead me.
  7. Who is your favourite character and why? (your own character)
    Ooh tough one! I quite like exclusive club owner Darion Milano. He’s hot, kinky, and adventurous. Not to mention extremely good looking. He can be found in The Black Door trilogy series. I also quite like Mia McKenna too in my upcoming romance standalone. She’s sassy and cool.
  8. Was there an event in your life that triggered a particular book, or even a scene in a book? If so what was the book and what was the event?
    I think a lot of books there can be scenes where it’s close to home to an author. My upcoming contemporary romance is a book ALL women will be able to relate to. It’s an emotional, feel-good read.
  9. Are you working on anything at the moment? If so can you share any tasty morsels?
    Yes. I’ve just finished a duology. Again, this is another book most girls will be able to relate to. A life a lot of us want and dream of.
  10. What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out?
    Keep going. Finish that manuscript. Promote, interact online, get your work critiqued, get it as best as it can possibly be.
  11. What do you do when you’re not writing?
    I’m a movie and series freak. I could literally do that, or read all day. Other stuff includes shopping, sightseeing, and seeing my friends. Oh and sunbathing.
  12. What is the hardest part of the whole writing, editing, marketing process for you?
    The worst part in editing is having to cut out large chunks. Fortunately I haven’t had to do that yet. Marketing is tough overall, as it’s a never ending process. The whole writing part is seeing that blank page, and having to churn out 80-90,000 words again. But, it all has its good parts too!
  13. We all have those friends or family members who make sweeping statements about our writing or the process, which is your particular bug bear?
    I think it’s annoying when people see writing as a hobby. Like, why would we want to torture ourselves by churning out 80-90,000 words over and over again, sleepless nights, an overactive imagination that never stops, and spend hours constantly promoting it? It’s tough at times, but again, it’s worth it.
  14. What is your idea of happiness?
    To be content within yourself. To be where you want to be in life, and have those you love and those that love you surrounding you. Family and friends matter most.
  15. For this one I want you to showcase your creativity by painting me a picture, with words, of your ideal setting to write in.
    The wind gently played with her curls, the salt in the air filling her nostrils, the sound of the waves lapping the shore meeting her ears. The rays of the sun warmed her face. Removing her hat, she sat up on the lounger and scanned the white sand, and cerulean sea before her. She had the perfect view from her garden and it was peaceful and relaxing. She was spoilt with whether to swim in the refreshing pool, or run and dive in the sea. Before she could decide a handsome butler approached carrying a tray of snacks…. Haha! Perfect!
  16. What makes you laugh/cry?
    Comedy movies make me laugh, and sad movies / shows make me cry. Also when people let me down, or show their true colours, but that’s life.
  17. You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take three men/women who would they be and why? This can be practical or purely sexual in nature.
    Okay, other than my family and friends, who of course I’d take, but Mark Wahlberg because he’s hot and funny. Eminem because he’s hot and could rap and entertain me. And Blake Lively because she seems sweet and funny, and we all need a good friend
  18. What is your most annoying habit?
    I bite my nails sometimes.
  19. Please tell me about your books? For each one please send a pic (kindle cover would be perfect)
    His Confession, Her Confession and Their Confession is an erotic romance trilogy. It’s about a man who owns an exclusive membership club, and a ‘vanilla’ woman seeing if she can come to terms with it because she loves him, or getting him to tone down his kinky, taboo, experimental ways. It tests their relationship. And in each book, someone has a confession.

    I have written short stories for anthologies too. My upcoming short story for Fourteen Shades Of F*cked Up is about a handsome, charming man who despises the opposite sex for anything other than pleasure, and has a secret.

  20. Lightning round
    Tea or Coffee? Coffee.
    Cash or credit? Cash.
    Cats or Dogs? Both.
    Beach or Mountain? Beach!
    Summer or Winter? Summer.
    Sweet or Savoury? Sweet. I love cakes!
    Early riser or late riser? Late.
    Morning or Night? Night-owl.
    Christmas Tree – real or fake? Fake. It’s cruel to kill that many trees just for one day, especially when fake ones look just as good.
    Sex – Lights on or off? Depends on my mood.

 

You can find me on:

www.facebook.com/SophiaValentineAuthor

www.twitter.com/SophiaVAuthor

www.instagram.com/sophiavalentineauthor

www.pinterest.com/SophiaVWrites

www.s-valentine.wix.com/books



Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions.
Please leave Facebook, Twitter, Website links so we can check you out further.

 

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

West Midlands Attending Author: Zak Jane Keir

 

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1. Can we start with your name and where you’re from?

My name is Zak Jane Keir, though I also write under Sallyanne Rogers. I’m from south London.

2. Most authors love reading, is this true for you and if so who was/is your inspiration?

Yes, I am a total bookworm and always have been. I think the first writers who made me want to write were Ed McBain and Paul Breeze, though I also love Stephen King, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Jilly Cooper.

3. What genre do you write in or do you cross over into many?

In terms of published work, it’s nearly all erotica and erotic romance. I do dabble in horror and crime fiction occasionally, but I never seem to get those stories finished.

4. If you could take any character from someone else’s book and make him/her your own creation who would it be and why?

Ooh, that’s a tricky one. I mostly like (and almost believe in) other people’s characters the way they have been written. I suppose I’m not the only person who might have liked to make Anastasia Steele less of a vacant, soppy dipshit.

5. When did you first start writing?

When I was a kid. I was about 7 or 8 and I sat down one day and wrote a ‘book’ about murdered ballerinas who came back as ghosts. I was always thrilled when homework involved writing a story, as well.

6. Do you plan every inch of your books or do you just let the words flow?

A bit of a mixture. Some books have started with a synopsis (usually when I planned from the start to submit them to a publisher whose policy was to request a chapter and synopsis), some others with a concept. Usually it’s an idea of who the main two or three characters are, and why they want to have sex with each other, and the reasons why they might have difficulty getting there.

7. Who is your favourite character and why? (your own character)

I like Rosa in Black Heart: there’s a lot of me in her. Only she’s tougher and cooler than I am, and makes a better impression on people.

8. Was there an event in your life that triggered a particular book, or even a scene in a book? If so what was the book and what was the event?

Quite a few, really. Lots of the BDSM stuff I write is based on things I have either done myself or watched other people do. Though the biggest one was a dream I had; an incredibly vivid dream about a woman being tied to a post and whipped, then fucked up the bum, and it also featured a dream version of a friend of mine. That turned into The Switch, which was my first published novel, in 1997. I won’t link to it as it’s out of print and also has not aged very well. The friend who featured in the dream got written into the book as a fairly thinly disguised version of himself, and he absolutely loved it. He told me once that it had helped him, er, win the affections of a woman he was chatting up when he explained that he had been featured in an erotic novel…

9. Are you working on anything at the moment? If so can you share any tasty morsels?

Yes. I have a few short stories planned out, at least approximately, and a novel I am working on intermittently but hope to finish later this year. Here’s a short extract, hopefully without any typos. I keep telling people it’s ‘the one about rope bondage and Brexit’ though that doesn’t quite sum it up.

 

Tanis, under the shower, water beating down on her face, her shoulders and her breasts, turned her thoughts determinedly back towards Hush. His profile identified him as male, but his avatar was as unrevealing as hers: he’d gone for a photograph of bundled ropes. It wasn’t just rope they discussed when they messaged each other privately, but rope was very frequently the topic of conversation. Tanis thought about rope and her hands made shapes in the air, under the streams of water. She traced lines around each wrist with the fingertips of the opposite hand.  A double column tie on your wrists, and you’d have to follow me wherever I led you… She turned the shower off, stepped out, grabbed a towel from the hook and flung it round herself, picked up the another and gave her hair a quick, vigorous rubbing. Glancing in the mirror as she combed her damp hair into shape, she noticed that her nipples had hardened. The flat wasn’t cold – Tanis had, over the past week or so, been allowing herself to put the heating on in the evenings as winter approached. She’d been accustomed to pay-as-you-go meters in previous flat shares and was still inclined to be cautious about how much energy she used, even though Shaz and Michael contributed to the electricity bill because of the amount they not only used to run some of the machinery but which they could also claim back as a business expense. Tonight, though, with a damp, chilly mist in the air and plummeting November temperatures, she’d given the radiators a good half hour session, so it was comfortably warm; warm enough to sleep naked, but her nipples were definitely erect. She finished drying herself and ran her palms over the taut, tingling buds. She felt a similar tingle from her clit, and grinned to herself. Maybe it was time to do something about that.

She took the time to clean her teeth and dab a bit of moisturizer onto her cheeks and forehead, quite enjoying this bout of procrastination. She thought of rope again; the way it could bite in or slide over the skin like a caress. She thought of Hush and the phrase he sometimes used: ‘the infliction of pleasure.’ It was definitely time for bed.

10. What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out?

Read a lot, write a lot. Most of your first efforts will be crap, and that’s OK, because most of everyone’s first efforts are crap. Keep going. If you want to self-publish, pay for an edit if you can possibly afford it.

11. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Outside of paid work and family/household stuff, I am a Morris dancer, I like going to fetish clubs and rope groups, and I also run a book stall at events like Brighton Twisted Market.

12. What is the hardest part of the whole writing, editing, marketing process for you?

Probably the marketing. I am fairly clueless and terrified of pissing everyone off by spamming them to death. Though the thing that drives me the most insane is trying to get Amazon reviews. People who ask for ARCs and then don’t bother to read them or write reviews, grrr!

13. We all have those friends or family members who make sweeping statements about our writing or the process, which is your particular bug bear?

The people who think authors are all loaded – and the ones who think that women who write erotica are nice cosy housewives who ‘just have a vivid imagination’. Yes, some of them are, but there’s a whole range of attitudes and experiences.

14. What is your idea of happiness?

Financial security ie not worrying about the bills, everyone I care about being healthy and content, and new experiences to look forward to.

15. For this one I want you to showcase your creativity by painting me a picture, with words, of your ideal setting to write in.

I’d like to have a corner table, near the open fire, in a proper country pub with a lovely view out of the window – either a light sprinkling of snow on the fields, or blue skies and blossoming trees. Except I’d probably end up getting distracted by the beer, and the other customers, and not get much done. Where I actually write is in the room I call my office at home, which is a complete tip full of cold cups of tea and discarded newspapers.

16. What makes you laugh/cry?

I have a vulgar and childish sense of humour, so I generally laugh at fart jokes and bad language. Things that make me cry tend to be loss eg bereavement, worry and frustration.

17. You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take three men/women who would they be and why? This can be practical or purely sexual in nature.

I wouldn’t care as long as one of them had a top-of-the-range mobile phone which still worked and could summon rescue.

18. What is your most annoying habit?

Probably my keyboard-warrior tendencies. I love a good ruck on the Internet, even if it’s about relatively unimportant things.

19. Please tell me about your books? For each one please send a pic (kindle cover would be perfect)

I have one novel out, Black Heart, which is a femdom pansexual romance. Otherwise I mostly have short stories included in anthologies: there are probably too many to list but here are a few of them.

Who Thrilled Cock Robin? – erotica inspired by folk songs

Inked – sex and tattoos

Silver Desire – women over 50 having sexy adventures

Goodbye Moderation: Lust – a brilliantly dark and twisted collection, but not for those who prefer erotic romance with happy endings

Sticky Fingers and Warm Leatherette – an anthology that is all my own work; mainly BDSM-themed.

  1. Lightning round
    Tea or Coffee? – Tea, with no milk.
    Cash or credit? – With my awful credit rating, it has to be cash
    Cats or Dogs? – Neither, thanks. I’m allergic to both.
    Beach or Mountain? – I like both equally
    Summer or Winter – Either, as long as the weather is seasonally appropriate.
    Sweet or Savoury – Savoury
    Early riser or late riser? I prefer to get up late but have to get up early for the school run.
    Morning or Night? – I’m a night person.
    Christmas Tree – real or fake? – Fake. Needles are a pain in the arse.
    Sex – Lights on or off? – On, but not too brightly. I want to see what – and who –  I’m doing.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions.
    Please leave Facebook, Twitter, Website links so we can check you out further.

Facebook: Zak Jane Keir (or Sallyanne Rogers)

Twitter @decadentmadamez or @dswsallyanne

Website: www.dirtysexywords.com

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zak-Jane-Keir/e/B00J8YMLKG/

 

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

#Booksarenotfree

 

There is a growing trend in society to believe that books should be free or heavily discounted and we have all been guilty of feeding into it. I pick up freebies but I am also happy to pay for the books I want. Maybe I can’t get all the ones I want but hey isn’t that just life? I see lots of clothes I like and I might be able to pick up a new dress for a special occasion or a new pair of jeans because my old ones have holes in where no self-respecting forty-something wants holes but I can’t buy every item that my heart desires. Certainly not on my non-existent income as an author. Just as well I have a full-time job that stops me from being a starving artist languishing in a garret with only bread and water to sustain me. My day-time job takes up a huge portion of my week and often leaves me drained but from somewhere I have to find the time for my passion which is writing. My dream would be my writing to take off and be able to write full-time but alas that can’t be at the moment.

Everyone of us has had people who ask for a free copy, I’d like to quote my friend and fellow author Chris Turnbull “erm No! There is no such thing as a free copy…even I don’t get a free copy and it’s my book.” 

We do have a free copy on our computers, sure and we can send it to our Kindle device but if we want a print copy of our book, we have to pay – the proof copy isn’t even free. But let me tell you a bit more about what we’ve paid for: A beautiful cover, a feast to the eye, to tempt you, an editor to shape our words and spot mistakes and inconsistencies. And let’s be clear on this my editor and cover designer, both wonderful women who are also authors won’t accept it if I ask them to provide their services for free–which I wouldn’t do. Some people pay for marketing and do promotional giveaways.

I have three novelettes on the market at the moment and a pending novel (having the red pen treatment). A novelette is small, doesn’t require the same time frame to write it but I still used my time and I still paid for the above items. Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of my first novelette ‘As Dreams are Made on.’ Based only on the cover and editing alone I have lost £36.00 on it. So to recap, two years on and with 104 kindle sales and 16 paperback copies I am still in the red. I haven’t set my price high 0.99p/c because it is a short read. An hour or so of entertainment for under £1.00/$1.00 but still people want it for free. You could argue that if they like it they might buy one of my other books and yes that is true but lets also go back to the earlier paragraph where I acknowledged that I can’t buy all the books or clothes I like. So maybe it would generate sales–but maybe not.

Books aren’t just entertainment they are often an escape from reality –a reality that many people find challenging so given the duality of the product why do we question its value?

I’ve got an experiment for you to try (I won’t do it myself as I previously mentioned my busy schedule 🙂 )

Walk in to or phone your hairdresser and ask them if they will give you a free haircut.

Ring your garage next time your car needs a service or MOT and ask them to do it for free

Who loves having their nails done? Manicure? Pedicure? Facial? Let’s see about this freebie

The list is endless.
I would love to hear back from anyone who gets a freebie. Good luck and happy hunting.

But for this author who works endlessly and pays for the services I receive the only freebies I will consider are those that I choose to give for a promotional event which will require your participation.

For anyone who believes that authors should be paid for their work please leave a comment in support and it you are so inclined please share it with the hashtag #Booksarenotfree let’s get it trending.

If you are interested in my books follow the links:

US: https://www.amazon.com/Maria-Gibbs/e/B00SDDJV1U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maria-Gibbs/e/B00SDDJV1U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

If you want to know more about my books have a look at the other pages on this website. You can even see the reviews that I have left for the books I’ve read recently.

 

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

My Review of ‘Paranormal Alley by Grant & Chris Leishman

 

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http://amzn.to/2ivOV7E 

Okay so let me start by saying I don’t normally read collections of short stories by the same author as I find there is a common thread which is the author’s voice in the stories and while I do read books by the same authors it is rare for me to read them consecutively. Having said that I enjoyed reading this collection. Both authors managed to create an instant atmosphere which gripped me and kept me turning the pages. There were a few stories in this collection that I didn’t understand the ending but maybe that’s just me. I will certainly be reading more by these authors.