Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

My review of Fifteen Minutes by Jill Cooper

An enjoyable time slip story centred around the character Lara Crane who goes back in time through an agency called rewind. She longs to meet her mum who died when she was young but things don’t work out quite as she planned. There were a few parts of this story which slightly confused me which stopped me from giving it 5 stars but not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story. Fabulous cover too.
Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

My Review of Carousel by Chris Turnbull



This is an innocently pleasurable book which draws you in. Jonathon’s life changes dramatically after being jilted at the altar on his wedding. A gentle story which guides you along and makes you want to keep reading. Nice characterisation. As always a fantastic read from a talented writer.

Books, Life, Self-publishing, Uncategorized



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:



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, Christmas, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

West Midlands Valentine Book Signing Attending Author: Chris Turnbull



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

Chris Turnbull, and I live near York.

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

I love reading, being swept up into a new world by an author can be so incredible. I like to feel drawn into the book, I want to feel for the characters and go on the journey they are. As a youngster I was addicted to the Goosebump books by RL Stine, then later got hooked onto the Harry Potter series which was the main reason I wanted to write a book of my own.

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

Although my books are seen by many as being very different, often described as (historical fiction, gothic, time-travel and of course I now have a children’s book) I do not see them all as being so different. I am a huge nerd when it comes to history, I love learning new things about the past and all my books are set somewhere in history that I find to be of interest. Whether it be 1889 Paris, the year the Eiffel tower opened, or just Victorian England. My books allow me to explore life in these times, learn and explore new things. My books also connect together with Love, whether that be the love of a partner, a family member or a friend. 

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

I think without a doubt I would have loved to have created Albus Dumbledore. He is exactly the kind of character that I love. He is the father figure to Harry, a respected man, a humble man, and not to mention he can kick ass when needs be.

  1. When did you first start writing?

I started writing when I was a teenager; I had an English teacher at the time that really inspired me to be creative. She did not tell you things were wrong and allowed you to express your creative side. Sadly she left the school after only one year and I was devastated, as her replacement was all about sticking to textbook work. Thankfully though I continued to write for fun in my spare time, and it was in 2013 that I started work on ‘The Vintage Coat’ which ended up being my first published work. 

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

I give myself bullet points of things I would like to see happen. I also create character profiles so I know a little bit more about the people I am writing about. Then I just go with the flow and see where the story takes me. I find this way of writing keeps me excited, as I want to find out what happens next. My theory is if the story excites me, then hopefully it should the reader.

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

Ooo that’s difficult to pick only one. I think I would choose Charlie from ‘The Vintage Coat’. He is a fun guy, loyal friend and I think I could be friends with him.

My second choice would be Tom from ‘Whitby’s Darkest Secret’ because I think he is adorable and a strong willed young man.

  1. 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?

‘The Vintage Coat’ is based purely on a military coat I purchased in an antique shop in Alston. It immediately sparked my imagination and out came a time-travel story about the coat, and also set in Alston.

Also my children’s book ‘A Home For Emy’ is based on true events as this is the story of my own dog.

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

I am currently working on a number of projects, the first being a sequel to ‘Whiby’s Darkest Secret’. I am having so much fun writing this book, and fans of the first book will be very surprised with the turn of events this new book takes.

Also I have been working on a Christmas themed book which I hope to release at the end of 2017. This is a collection of short stories and poems that I have enjoyed writing over the course of a number of years.

Finally (or at least what I will tell you for now) I have begun work on a second children’s book, it again will feature Emy and I hope to release it in early 2018.

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

Don’t give up. Don’t follow the crowd.

I was always told that I needed to read and write every day, but for me (as well as most authors) I work full time. Sometimes I just need an evening off from writing and rest. I work better when I am not tired, so I would always say work at your own pace and do what is best for you. 

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

I love to travel, whether that is a day out to the coast or a holiday somewhere exciting. Me and my partner have a dog which we love to spend time with.

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

Personally I don’t think there is an easy part. The whole process is very demanding if you wish to succeed. Being a writer is a full time job in itself and you have to go through it all, the good and bad bits. I love being in my office and writing, knowing there is no pressure and being able to just write what comes to me. Editing is never fun, and you go over the manuscript so many times you start to fall out of love with your work. However all the hard work is worth it when you finally have a copy in your hand…and even better is when somebody else tells you they like it.

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

After the release of my first book I had quite a few people ask me if they were going to get a free copy…erm No! There is no such thing as a free copy…even I don’t get a free copy and it’s my book.

Then you get those who say ‘I don’t know how you find the time to write a book’. These are usually the people who spend their evenings watching every single soap on TV, as well as other mindless television programs. Please note I have nothing against watching things you enjoy…I do it myself, but don’t spend every day of your life sat in front of the television and then question how I find time to write.

  1. What is your idea of happiness?

Spending time with the ones I love. You don’t need a lot of money, or ‘things’ to be happy. Some of my best moments have been the simple one. Walking on the beach with my dog, sitting in the garden with my family, playing a silly game with my best friend and her family. These are the things that I remember more than anything.

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

When I finished writing ‘Whiby’s Darkest Secret’ I decided that I wanted a spend a couple of nights away from home so I could focus on finishing the book…

I stayed in a two bed house in Whitby, the large oak wood dining table where I sat writing overlooked the harbour. I could hear seagulls and the sun was shining. In the morning I went for a walk, I soaked in the town atmosphere and even visited the ruined Abbey for the first time in my life. After a bit to eat I returned to the dining table, where my mind was freshly filled with the sounds and smells of the town I was writing about, and I even went back to change certain parts of the book. I sat there for hours until it got dark, the harbour lit up with a row of lights that lined the pathway. I finished the final few chapters that night. 

  1. What makes you laugh/cry?

Laugh: I have a very rude sense of humour…enough said.

Cry: Most things as I am an emotional wreck. The worse times though is when I am reading/watching something about a dog that is sick, hurt or dying. I read ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ on the aeroplane back from New York and I started to cry uncontrollably…and I mean really going for it, I couldn’t speak I was in such a state. The man next to me must of wondered what the hell was going on.

  1. 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.
  2. David Attenborough…My hero in life and somebody I would love to meet. Plus he would probably know how to survive the island.
  3. Joel Dommett – He was hilarious in ‘Celeb get me out of here’ so I think he would keep up entertained…plus he survived the jungle so I think he would help us survive an island.
  4. My other half, because I would miss him (and he could try and smuggle the dog with him).
  5. What is your most annoying habit?


I have a bad habit of zoning out if I am bored. Which is terrible when your other half tells you something important and you didn’t hear.

  1. Please tell me about your books? For each one please send a pic (kindle cover would be perfect)
  2. The Vintage Coat: A time-travel story set between modern day Alston and WWII.
  3. D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret: A dark murderous story set in the backdrop of Victorian Whitby.
  4. Carousel: Time-Travel tale. Jonathan is sent back to 1889 Paris, but unfortunately gets stuck there.
  5. A Home For Emy: Children’s book based on true events. Illustrated beautifully by Rebecca Sharp of Dasilvaline.

  6. Lightning round
    Tea or Coffee? Tea
    Cash or credit? I am really bad and almost never have cash on me
    Cats or Dogs? Dogs
    Beach or Mountain? Mountain
    Summer or Winter – Tough!…I love Winter fashion, but I prefer the warmth of summer
    Sweet or Savoury Sweet
    Early riser or late riser? Late
    Morning or Night? Night
    Christmas Tree – real or fake? Real
    Sex – Lights on or off? Who cares…

    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, Uncategorized

My Review of Brief Encounters of the Third Kind by Janet Gogerty


I would have liked to have been able to give this book 4 stars and had it been half the size it certainly would have got that. The storyline was really clever mixing the science fiction with an everyday, normal family existence. The characters were likeable and believable and I loved the baby Adam, the author wrote his part extremely well. I got the sense that I knew most of them quite well during this story. However, the pacing for my liking was too slow, i think we were taken too much through the mundane part of a family’s life and for me it felt that it dragged and slowed the story down so that I struggled. I think the story would be much tighter if some of the repetition were removed. At times I nearly gave up reading it but I wanted to find out what happened which is a credit to the author’s ability and I am glad I finished it.

There was an event (won’t say what for fear of spoiling it for other reader’s|) that I felt should have had more emotion attached to it and it felt as though it slipped in alongside the everyday events too much.
Having said all of that I did enjoy it and will pick up more by this author in the future.
Books, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

The Vintage Coat by Chris Turnbull

The Vintage Coat
I bought the paperback copy of this book as the cover attracted me and having had this author recommended to me by a friend thought I would give it a go.
This is a time slip story about a man named Joe who is in a bit of a rut in the present day and on discovering an old coat in the charity shop where he works he gets whipped back in time to 1943.  In 1943 he develops a lovely friendship and falls in love.  The characters are well written and likeable. I felt a strong sense that I was actually reading about the 40’s which had clearly been well-researched.
The authors writing style is simple and not overly showy, a pleasure to read at all times. I kept the book as my bedtime reading and each night I couldn’t wait to slip back into Joe’s world both past and present.
The end has a lovely twist that I didn’t see coming.
Can’t wait to read more by this author who has a new fan.
Books, Self-publishing, Uncategorized

Happy 1st Anniversary

Screenshot 2016-01-08 22.14.11.png

A year ago today I hit the publish button and sat back waiting with bated breath. Oh don’t get me wrong I didn’t expect the world and his sister to rush out and buy it, but I did know that I was putting myself our there. Opening myself up to criticism, allowing anyone to put their opinions of my work on the net.

It has been an interesting year, a learning curve that opened my slightly innocent eyes.

I started with a cover that I made myself using a photograph taken from my sister-in-law (with her permission of course). I have to admit I was pleased as punch with it at first. The picture is lovely but as a cover put together by me didn’t work. It said nothing about the book and what you can expect when you open the cover. Eventually, I asked for advice from fellow authors on good cover designers who were reasonably priced. I was introduced to J.C Clarke from The Graphics Shed, who designed a beautiful cover and extras.

In that year, I have made some amazing friendships with other authors and also discovered their incredible stories. Amazon would have it that it is biased because I have spoken to them on social media but any reviews I put online are honest. If I didn’t enjoy reading them, I wouldn’t leave a review it’s as simple as that.

In one year I have sold 70 copies of this book for cold hard cash, one person has picked it up and read it through Kindle Unlimited which equates to cold hard cash, and I have given away about 60 copies for free. So there are about 130 copies floating around the world from England to America, South Africa, Canada and Australia, and those are the ones I know about. So I haven’t taken the world by storm, I haven’t even given it a tiny tremble, but there are people out there who are enjoying my work. (Maybe not enjoying too but I won’t focus on them haha)

Getting people who tell you that they have enjoyed your book to take a few minutes out of their hectic schedules to leave a review is the bane of an authors’ life. Reviews generate more sales or so they say. There is a magic figure; the actual amount seems to be in doubt, that activates the Amazon algorithms which in turn makes your book a product that they will market. Some say that 50 is the magic number. What makes it harder is that each Amazon is a different marketplace, so my reviews on and those on and anywhere else don’t link up. When I leave a review for a fellow author I post it in, .com and .ca the three biggest marketplaces, I also post it in Goodreads, write a post on my website and share in on Twitter and Facebook. It makes me incredibly happy when I see a direct link between a book review I have left and a sale for that author. At the moment I get emails from Amazon recommending my books to me, I can only hope these emails go to other people too. The more review I can get the more promotion, this will generate.
So onto my reviews, some of these are duplicated by authors who do the same as I do, but most are unique reviews.

The first one is from, the one with the picture below is from Goodreads, the third is from, and the final one is from

I am inordinately pleased with these. Writing can be a lonely business but seeing the pleasure that people get from my writing gives me the strength to carry on when I feel that there isn’t a point to slogging my guts for so little return.


For the next week to celebrate the 1st year anniversary I have placed this book on sale .99c/ .99p (my take from that works out to about .37p 🙂 )

If you would like to pick up a copy:


Newly wed Matty Taylor is plagued by visions that force her to seek out a Gypsy at a local fair. Dragged violently into a frightening dream world, she is soon rescued by the mysterious Thomas Trevelyan and taken to his secluded house in the woods.

Will her husband, Donald, suspend his disbelief and wake her from her nightmare?

Can Thomas win her heart and keep her from the lure of her real life and the love of her husband?




My review of A Stitch in Time – Amanda James

A stitch in Time

I love a good time slip novel and this book ticks that box with spades. The author utilises an intelligent use of common saying and “stitches” them into the fabric of the book in such a way that you can believe that these were the origins for them.

This is a story of love, of past hurts, compassion and humour all rolled into one. Sarah Yates is an ordinary woman who has been been betrayed. She meets an unusual man and embarks on some scary adventures.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes this genre. I would go onto say that I would read another book by this author but I already have. The review for the sequel Cross Stitch will follow soon.