Wednesday, 29 February 2012

It's World Book Day 2012. Happy Reading!

About World Book Day

World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and 
reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. 

World Book Day is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who 
work together to promote books and reading for the  personal enrichment and 
enjoyment of all.  A main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage 
children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the 
opportunity to have a book of their own. 

To mark the day, school children are entitled to receive a World Book Day £1 Book Token (or equivalent €1.50 Book Token in Ireland). The Book Token can be exchanged for one of eight specially published World Book Day £1 Books, or is redeemable against any book or audio book of their choice costing £2.99 or more at a participating bookshop or book club. The World Book Day £1 Book Token will be valid from 27th February to 25th March 2012. 

The full list of World Book Day £1 books for 2012 is: 
• The What the Ladybird Heard Song, Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks 
• Winnie Flies Again, Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul (Oxford University Press) 
• Where’s Wally Now?, Martin Handford (Walker Books) 
• Magic Molly: The Clever Little Kitten ttle Kitten, Holly Webb (Scholastic)   
• Roald Dahl's Fantabulous Facts, Roald Dahl (Puffin)
• How to Train Your Dragon: The Day of the Dreader,  Cressida Cowell (Hodder   
Children’s Books)  
• Big Day Out, Jacqueline Wilson, Illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Random House) 
• Skulduggery Pleasant: The End of the World, Derek Landy (HarperCollins) 2

About National Book Tokens National Book Tokens   
National Book Tokens are the perfect gift for book lovers everywhere and are the only 
gift cards sold and accepted in bookshops across the UK and Ireland, including all the 
major chains and local independents. As proud sponsors of World Book Day, National 
Book Tokens supports lifelong learning and improving literacy and access to reading 
for everyone. Visit for more information. 

Have a great day and happy reading everyone!

'The Light Between Oceans' by M.L. Stedman

Release date: 26th April 2012
Published by: Doubleday
ISBN No: 978 0857521002

Would you accept a chance for happiness even if it wasn't yours to have? This is a story about a lighthouse keeper and his wife, who live on a lonely island with just seagulls, stars and buffeting winds for company. It's about a tiny baby and a dead man in a boat that drifts ashore one April morning, and the apparently harmless decision made that day. More than anything, it's a story about right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same.

Copyright: Waterstones Synopsis

'London in the Eighteenth Century' by Jerry White

Release date: 1st March 2012
Published by: Bodley Head
ISBN No: 978 1847921802

London in the eighteenth century was very much a new city, risen from the ashes of the Great Fire. With thousands of homes and many landmark buildings destroyed, it had been brought to the brink. But the following century was a period of vigorous expansion, of scientific and artistic genius, of blossoming reason, civility, elegance and manners. It was also an age of extremes: of starving poverty and exquisite fashion, of joy and despair, of sentiment and cruelty. Society was fractured by geography, politics, religion and history. And everything was complicated by class. As Daniel Defoe put it, London really was a 'great and monstrous Thing'.

Jerry White's tremendous portrait of this turbulent century explores how and to what extent Londoners negotiated and repaired these open wounds. We see them going about their business as bankers or beggars, revelling in an enlarging world of public pleasures, indulging in crimes both great and small - amidst the tightening sinews of power and regulation, and the hesitant beginnings of London democracy.

In the long-awaited finale to his acclaimed history of London over 300 years, Jerry White introduces us to shopkeepers and prostitutes, men and women of fashion and genius, street-robbers and thief-takers, as they play out the astonishing drama of life in eighteenth-century London.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

'Tausret: Forgotten Queen and Pharaoh of Egypt' by Richard H. Wilkinson

Release date: April 2012
Published by: OUP USA
ISBN No: 978 0199740116

One of only a few women who ruled ancient Egypt as a king during its thousands of years of history, Tausret was the last pharaoh of the 19th dynasty (c. 1200 BCE), the last ruling descendent of Ramesses the Great, and one of only two female monarchs buried in Egypt's renowned Valley of the Kings. Though mentioned even in Homer as the pharaoh of Egypt who interacted with Helen at the time of the Trojan War, she has long remained a figure shrouded in mystery, hardly known even by many Egyptologists. Nevertheless, recent archaeological discoveries have illuminated Tausret's importance, her accomplishments, and the extent of her influence. Tausret: Forgotten Queen & Pharaoh of Egypt combines distinguished scholars whose research and excavations have increased our understanding of the life and reign of this great woman. This lavishly illustrated book utilizes recent discoveries to correctly position Tausret alongside famous ruling queens such as Hatshepsut and Cleopatra, figures who have long dominated our view of the female monarchs of ancient Egypt. Tausret brings together archaeological, historical, women's studies, and other approaches to provide a scholarly yet accessible volume that will be an important contribution to the literature of Egyptology -- and one with appeal to both scholars and anyone with an interest in ancient Egypt culture.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Jasmine Nights' by Julia Gregson

Release date: 26th April 2012
Published by: Orion
ISBN No: 978 1409108092

The author of the bestselling, award-winning EAST OF THE SUN returns with a sweeping new novel about a young singer recruited to work for the British Secret Service at the height of World War II. At twenty-three, Saba Tarcan is a talented but naive singer who dreams of being more than just another act playing in small clubs in Wales. So when the opportunity arises to join a group entertaining the troops in the Middle East, she jumps at the chance, leaving behind her overprotective family and cutting short a burgeoning love affair with a young RAF pilot, Dom. 

Despite being shot down and wounded, Dom is addicted to flying. He follows Saba to Cairo and their affair resumes. When it becomes clear that Saba is uniquely qualified for a secret mission of international importance, she is forced to conceal her new role from Dom. But it's a move that will jeopardize not only her own safety but also the love of her life' .

Based on the stories of the many female entertainers used as unofficial spies during World War II, JASMINE NIGHTS is a powerful story of danger, beauty and love set amidst some of the most exquisite and dangerous cities of the Middle East.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Monday, 27 February 2012

'Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues' by Trisha Ashley

Release date: 10th May 2012
Published by: Avon
ISBN No: 978 1847562777

When Tansy Poole inherits a run-down shoe shop tucked away in the village of Sticklepond, ‘Cinderella’s Slippers’ is born – providing the footwear to make any fairytale wedding come true…
Carrying everything a bride would want to walk down the aisle in, Tansy’s shop soon expands to carry shoe-themed wedding favours, bridesmaid gifts and even delicious chocolate shoes. It’s the dream destination for any shoe-lover!
If only everything in her personal life could be as heavenly – but with a fiancé trying to make her fit into a size 8 wedding dress, not to mention the recent discovery of disturbing family revelations, Tansy takes refuge in the shop’s success.
But one man isn’t thrilled by the stream of customers hot-footing it to Cinderella’s Slippers… Actor Ivo Hawksley, resident of the cottage next to the shop, is troubled by a dark secret in his past and has come to Sticklepond to nurse his own broken heart.
However, Ivo realises that he and Tansy have a link in their past and soon, they both find out how secrets shared can make a very strong bond indeed…
Forget the Jimmy Choos, Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues is the only accessory you need for spring 2012…

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'pandemonium' by Lauren Oliver

Release date: 1st March 2012
Published by: Hodder and Stoughton 
ISBN No: 978 1444722925

Love, the deadliest of all deadly things. It kills you when you have it. And when you don't. I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing aside thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, push, push, push, like Raven taught me to do. The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her. I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame. Pandemonium is a poignant, explosive, recklessly romantic and utterly heartbreaking novel. Like Delirium, the first in the compelling trilogy, it will take you to the very edge. That's all you need to know. We'll let Lena do the rest of the talking ...

Copyright: Waterstones Synopsis

Sunday, 26 February 2012

' The Beginner's Goodbye' by Anne Tyler

Release date: 5th April 2012
Published by: Chatto and Windus 
ISBN No: 978 0701187194

When Dorothy came back from the dead, Aaron noticed that some people simply ignored the fact; some seemed to have forgotten she had died in the first place; and others just walked straight on by.

The accident that killed Dorothy -- involving an oak tree, a sun porch and some elusive biscuits -- leaves Aaron bereft and the house a wreck. As those around him fuss and flap and bring him casserole after casserole, Aaron ploughs on. He busies himself with work at the family firm, a publisher with a successful line in 'Beginner's Guides' to every stage and aspect of life. But then Dorothy starts to materialize in the oddest places. At first, she only comes for a short while, leaving Aaron longing for more. Gradually she stays for longer, and as they talk they also bicker ...

The cracks that start to reappear in their perfectly normal marriage are as well worn and familiar to Aaron as Dorothy herself. As Aaron starts to emerge from his grief, they are also a reassuringly poignant reminder that life may move on, but some things will forever remain the same.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'11.22.63' by Stephen King

Release date: 8th November 2011
Published by: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd
ISBN No: 978 1444727296

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11/22/63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless ...King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake's life - a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.With extraordinary imaginative power, King weaves the social, political and popular culture of his baby-boom American generation into a devastating exercise in escalating suspense.

Copyright: Waterstones Synopsis

Saturday, 25 February 2012

'The Lake of Dreams' by Kim Edwards

Release date: 16th February 2012
Published by: Viking
ISBN No: 978 0670920259

The darkest secrets are the ones we hide from ourselves...Ten years ago, traumatized by her father's death, Lucy left her home and her country. Now, she returns to her family's rambling lakeside home to lay old ghosts to rest. However, sleepless one night, she makes a momentous discovery. Locked in a moonlit window seat is a collection of family heirlooms - objects whose secrets no one was ever supposed to find. Piecing together her family's true history, she realises that the story she has always been told was a fiction. And the more she uncovers, the more Lucy comes to question her own life choices - including why it is that her first lover, Keegan Fall, has never left her heart...Mesmerizing and haunting, "The Lake of Dreams" is a startling story of family secrets and lies, lost love and redemption, and of the many pieces and puzzles that make up a life.

Copyright: Waterstones Synopsis

'Silver: Return to Treasure Island' by Andrew Motion

Release date: 15th March 2012
Published by: Jonathan Cape 
ISBN No: 978 0224091190

July, 1802. In the marshy eastern reaches of the Thames lies the Hispaniola, an inn kept by Jim Hawkins and his son. Young Jim spends his days roaming the mist-shrouded estuaries, running errands for his father and listening to his stories in the taproom; tales of adventures on the high seas, of curses, murder and revenge, black spots and buried treasure - and of a man with a wooden leg.

Late one night, a mysterious girl named Natty arrives on the river with a request for Jim from her father - Long John Silver. Aged and weak, but still possessing a strange power, the pirate proposes that Jim and Natty sail to Treasure Island in search of Captain Flint's hidden bounty, the 'beautiful bar silver' left behind many years before. Silver has chartered a ship and a hardy crew for this purpose, whose captain is waiting only for the map, now locked away at the Hispaniola.

Making haste from London, Jim and Natty set off in the footsteps of their fathers, their tentative friendship growing stronger day by day. But the thrill of the ocean odyssey gives way to terror as the Nightingale reaches its destination, for it seems that Treasure Island is not as uninhabited as it once was...

Featuring a cast of noble seamen, murderous pirates, and stories of love, valour and terrible cruelty, Silver is a worthy sequel to Treasure Island - one of the greatest adventure stories ever told - and a work of extraordinary authenticity and imaginative power from one of England's greatest writers.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Friday, 24 February 2012

'The Boy who Fell to Earth' by Kathy Lette

Release date: 1st March 2012
Publisher: Bantam Press
ISBN No: 978 0593060834

Meet Merlin. He's Lucy's bright, beautiful son - who just happens to be autistic.

Since Merlin's father left them in the lurch shortly after his diagnosis, Lucy has made Merlin the centre of her world. Struggling with the joys and tribulations of raising her eccentrically adorable yet challenging child, (if only Merlin came with operating instructions) Lucy doesn't have room for any other man in her life.
By the time Merlin turns ten, Lucy is seriously worried that the Pope might start ringing her up for tips on celibacy, so resolves to dip a poorly pedicured toe back into the world of dating. Thanks to Merlin's candour and quirkiness, things don't go quite to plan... Then, just when Lucy's resigned to a life of singledom once more, Archie - the most imperfectly perfect man for her and her son - lands on her doorstep. But then, so does Merlin's father, begging for forgiveness and a second chance. Does Lucy need a real father for Merlin - or a real partner for herself?

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Only the Innocent' by Rachel Abbott

Release date: 14th November 2011
Format: Amazon Kindle e-book

When Laura Fletcher approaches her home in Oxfordshire to find hordes of photographers crowding the gates, she knows there is something terribly wrong. She is faced with the shocking news that her husband is dead - brutally murdered - and according to Chief Inspector Tom Douglas, there is little doubt that the murderer is a woman.

In a marriage that has taken her from the glamorous five star luxury of London, Venice and Positano to a bleak and draughty manor house in rural Oxfordshire, Laura has learned to guard her secrets well. She is not alone. It would appear that all the women in her husband's life have
something to hide.

But there is one secret that she has never shared, and when the investigation reaches its dramatic and horrific climax, she realises that she has no choice. She has to give Tom Douglas the final piece of the puzzle. And this changes everything, leaving Douglas with a terrible dilemma: whether to punish the guilty, or protect the innocent.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Thursday, 23 February 2012

'Empress of the Seven Hills' by Kate Quinn

Release date: 3rd April 2012
Published by: Berkley Publishing Group
ISBN No: 978 0425242025

Powerful, prosperous, and expanding ever farther into the untamed world, the Roman Empire has reached its zenith under the rule of the beloved Emperor Trajan. But neither Trajan nor his reign can last forever . . . 

Brash and headstrong, Vix is a celebrated ex-gladiator returned to Rome to make his fortune. The sinuous, elusive Sabina is a senator’s daughter who craves adventure. Sometimes lovers, sometimes enemies, Vix and Sabina are united by their devotion to Trajan. But others are already maneuvering in the shadows. Trajan’s ambitious Empress has her own plans for Sabina. And the aristocratic Hadrian — the Empress’s ruthless protégé and Vix’s mortal enemy — has ambitions he confesses to no one, ambitions rooted in a secret prophecy. 

When Trajan falls, the hardened soldier, the enigmatic empress, the adventurous girl, and the scheming politician will all be caught in a deadly whirlwind of desire and death that may seal their fates, and that of the entire Roman Empire . . .

Synopsis kindly provided by Kate Quinn

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

'The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile' by C.W. Gortner

Release date: 12th June 2012
Published by: Ballantine Books
ISBN No: 978 0345523969

So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world. 
Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.
As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.
From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Random Acts of Kindness' Draw Winner!

I would like to say a great big thank-you to everyone who joined my blog as a new follower or were already a follower, 'liked' my Facebook Page, followed me on Network Blogs or Twitter,  and entered this draw. It really is appreciated. With over 200 entries and with some really wonderful comments being left during this fantastic event, it's been truly amazing!

As usual  I wish that I could send everyone who entered this draw a prize, but within the rules, there was to be only one lucky winner from this draw! For those of you who have not won this time, there are plenty more giveaway draws to come. Please keep visiting this blog and entering the giveaways. You never know your luck, you could be one of our next winners! If you are a GFC follower of this blog, do not forget to enter my monthly GFC Followers book draw. Just click on the relevant tab at the top of the page!

I visited earlier today and the winner of this particular draw for the $20/£15 Amazon Gift Certificate is, drum roll!!!


I will contact the winner to let them know and to arrange delivery of their prize. If I have not been able to make contact with a winner within 48 hours of this post, another winner will then be drawn. Thank-you again to everyone who entered this draw and who follow my blog. Happy reading!

Monday, 20 February 2012

'A Parliament of Spies' by Cassandra Clark

Release date: 27th February 2012
Published by: Allison and Busby
ISBN No: 978 0749009625

Autumn 1386. Hildegard of Meaux - a Cistercian Abbess with a keen instinct for crime solving - is accompanying the Archbishop of York, Alexander Neville, to London for the opening of Parliament amid much civic unrest. While packing to leave, the Archbishop's saucier is found brutally murdered in the ale vat, and it emerges that the culprit must be one of the Archbishop's party. The journey from York to London is fraught with more deadly surprises, and it becomes clear to Hildegard that this sinister plot may also involve King Richard, and those looking to depose him at all costs. Traitors, murderers, noblemen and madmen come together to create a puzzling scheme that only Hildegard can solve, digging up past grudges, new weapons and a mysterious friar. The most recent instalment in the highly acclaimed Hildegard of Meaux series, A Parliament of Spies paints a vivid picture of medieval London, where loyalty and treason are very difficult to identify.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Sunday, 19 February 2012

'Charmfall' by Chloe Neill

Release date: 2nd February 2012
Published by: Indigo
ISBN No: 978 1780620626

Protecting Chicago from the dark side can be an exhausting job, especially when you're a sophomore. So when the girls of St. Sophia's start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to join in on some good, old-fashioned party prep - even if it means not giving demons, vampires and the twisted magic users known as Reapers her undivided attention. But when a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily doesn't forget what she's sworn to protect. She reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic - and finds that it's gone. And it turns out she's not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what - or who - caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines ...

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Saturday, 18 February 2012

'The Potter's Field' by Andrea Camilleri

Release date: 26th April 2012
Published by: Mantle
ISBN No: 9781447203292

While Vigàta is wracked by storms, Inspector Salvo Montalbano is called to attend the discovery of a dismembered body in a field of clay. Bearing all the marks of an execution style killing, it seems clear that this is, once again, the work of the notorious local mafia. But who is the victim? Why was the body divided into 30 pieces? And what is the significance of the Potter’s Field? Working to decipher these clues, Montalbano must also confront the strange and difficult behaviour exhibited by his old colleague Mimi, and avoid the distraction of the enchanting Dolores Alfano – who seeks the inspector’s help in locating her missing husband. But like the Potter’s Field itself, Montalbano is on treacherous ground and only one thing is certain – nothing is quite as it seems . . .

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The House of Dust and Dreams' by Brenda Reid

Release date: 2nd February 2012
Published by: Orion
ISBN No: 9781409120131

Greece 1936. A young British diplomat and his wife have been posted to Athens. Hugh loves the life there but his spirited and unconventional wife, Evadne, finds it hard to fit in with the whirl of endless parties and socialising. When Hugh is sent to Crete to sort out a problem, they stay in a rundown house owned by his family. His wife falls in love with the place and the people, and stays on when Hugh returns to his duties. As she tries to rebuild the ramshackle home, Evadne - known as Heavenly by the locals - makes firm friends with Anthi, a young woman from the village and Christo, the handsome and charismatic young builder. But the dark clouds of war are gathering and the island will become a crucible of violence and bloodshed in the days to come. For Heavenly, her friends and family, it will be the greatest test they have ever known.

Copyright: Waterstone Synopsis

Friday, 17 February 2012

Rachel Vincent 'If I Die' Official Blog Tour Stop!

Release date: 3rd February 2012
Published by: Mira Ink
ISBN No: 978 1848450615

Soul Screamers is a young adult urban fantasy series narrated by teenage bean sidhe (banshee) Kaylee Cavanaugh. Join Kaylee as she tries to balance a normal high school experience with the threat of the Netherworld, a terrifying, hidden world full of reapers, hellions, and countless other mythical monsters out to possess her, body and soul.

Rachel Vincent has an amazing imagination and matched with her wonderful writing style, you can be assured of a fascinating story when you pick up any one of her books.

'If I Die', which is book 5 in the Soul Screamers series, in my own personal opinion is probably the best book that has been produced within this series so far! With strong characters, an excellent plot, love, action, bean sidhe, hellions, reapers and other mythical beasts, you are certainly in for a roller coaster of ride when reading this particular tale!

'If I Die' is the follow on from Rachel's previous book in this series, 'My Soul to Steal'. Kaylee a teen banshee and her friends have barely recovered from the violent chaos unleashed the last time their school was invaded by Netherworld entities, when she receives the news she is top of a reapers list and scheduled to die within days. Kaylee also knows that her magic cannot change her fate! Without providing spoilers, all I can say is that this is a fast paced story with an amazing twist at the end.  It will actually leave you wondering just how Rachel Vincent will manage to follow on from this, within the next book scheduled for this series. 

Credit also has to be extended to Rachel's Book Publisher Mira Ink, who have produced an amazing cover for this book. This is a book that as well as containing an excellent story, will sit well with it's wonderful cover, on any young adults bookshelf! 

I am now personally looking forward to the publication of the next book, in this very popular young adult urban fantasy series!

I am absolutely delighted to be able to say that Rachel Vincent has very kindly agreed to call at 'The Secret Writer' today as part of her 'If I Die' Official Book Blog Tour, in order to answer a few questions for me!

Thank-you Rachel for calling by here today. It is very much appreciated. Can I start by first asking what 'sparked' your initial idea for the Soul Screamer series?

There was no one specific spark. There was a lot of research and brainstorming, and a conscious effort to write about creatures I hadn’t seen used much in urban fantasy or YA. But once I decided I wanted to write about bean sidhes, there were several sparks. ;)

This is possibly not a very fair question, but do you have a favourite story from this series of books?

Probably 'If I Die'. Those game changing books are fun to write. ;)

Did you have to undertake any research before writing 'If I Die'?

Not a lot. The world was already well-established and I already knew the characters.

 How long did it take from developing your initial idea for 'If I Die', until the book was actually published?

Well, that’s not simple to answer. I was contracted for If I Die for more than a year before I started the book (it was the 4th of a four-book contract), and the deadlines and release dates were scheduled long before I actually started the book. But over all, the Soul Screamers books take about a year from the time I start the rough draft until they’re on the shelf.

Soul Screamers is a very popular series. Can you give your fans any hints as to what may come next in relation to further stories from yourself?

Well, I am glad to hear they’re popular! I work alone, every day, so it often feels like I’m the only one really thinking about the books.  Until release time, anyway. ;) If you’re asking about future Soul Screamers books, there will be two. Before I Wake comes out in July 2012 (I believe that’s right for the UK date too) and the seventh will be out in 2013.

  Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of writing?

I like to read, obviously. I love movies and video games. And I bake. Though I’m trying to cut back on that, because I tend to eat what I bake, and that’s not very good for a writer’s sedentary lifestyle. ;)

What simple things in life make you smile?

Air conditioning, compliments. warm blankets and home made salsa!

Rachel, I know you have a very busy schedule and I would just like to thank-you once again for calling by here today! If anyone wants to find out more about Rachel and her books, just click on the link detailed below which will take you directly to her website:

Thursday, 16 February 2012

'Random Acts of Kindness' Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the  'Random Acts of KindnessGiveaway Hop which is hosted by 'I am a Reader, not a Writer' and 'Read for Your Future'. As usual my post is one of the first to go up as I am based in the UK and am governed by Greenwich Mean Time. As the majority of the other blogs that are taking part in  this hop are based in America and Canada, their posts will go up at 00.01 on the 17th February 2012, according to their specific time zones.

To gain entry to this draw all you have to be is a GFC Follower of my blog and leave a comment (also include your e-mail address with your comment so I can contact you if you are the winner!) .  Once this has been completed, you will have  been entered into the draw.

I usually only offer hard copies of books as prizes in my giveaway draws, but for the second time around I have decided to try things differently! As there is such a selection of books available these days, I am offering the winner a choice of either a $20 (US) or £15 (sterling) Amazon Gift Voucher/Certificate so the winner can choose their own  books! I will arrange that the prize is e-mailed to the winner on the completion of this draw!

One prize of either a $20 (US) or £15 (sterling) Amazon Gift Voucher/Certificate 

There will only be one winner from this draw. The gift Voucher/Certificate will only be offered in either US dollars or sterling. No other currencies can be catered for. Each entrant will be allocated a sequential number. After the closing date for this draw (Tuesday 21st February 2012 at 23.59GMT), the winning numbers entered for this draw will be chosen by This is an International Giveaway Draw! 

To visit the rest of the blogs that are taking part in this great hop, just click on the 'Click Here' link below, to be taken to a page of participating blog links. 

Good Luck Everyone!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

'Across the Bridge' by Morag Joss

Release date: 5th September 2011
Published by: Alma Books Ltd
ISBN No: 978 1846881473

When a bridge collapses in the Highlands of Scotland, dozens of people vanish into the river below. A car hired by a woman tourist was filmed pulling onto the bridge moments before it fell. Now numbered among the missing, the woman seizes her chance to start her life over. But her new path takes her no farther than a wooden cabin on the riverbank, where she seeks rebirth and freedom from her old self. There she lives with Silva, an illegal immigrant whose husband and daughter have not been seen since the day of the bridge's collapse. The women are befriended by the boatman Ron, and together they create a fragile sanctuary. Lost souls all, they keep secrets from each other, yet connect in ways none of them expects, as they strive to reconcile their past histories with the present and shape for themselves an elusive, longed-for future.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Winners of my 'Follower Love' Giveaway Hop!

I would like to say a great big thank-you to everyone who joined my blog as a new follower or were already a follower, 'liked' my Facebook Page, Followed me on Network Blogs or Twitter,  and entered this draw. It really is appreciated. Some really wonderful comments were left during this fantastic event, so thank-you for these too!

As usual  I wish that I could send everyone who entered this draw a book, but within the rules, there were to be five lucky winners! For those of you who have not won this time, there are plenty more giveaway draws to come. Please keep visiting this blog and entering the giveaways. You never know your luck, you could be one of our next winners! If you are a GFC follower of this blog, do not forget to enter my monthly GFC Followers book draw. This month's prize is a copy of 'The Iron Knight' by Julie Kagawa!

I visited earlier today and the winners of this particular draw are, drum roll!!!

maly - 'Cold Granite' by Stuart MacBride
ame1164 - 'A Band of Steel' by Rosie Goodwin
Sarah Kalaitzidis - 'Inner Pilgrimage' by Raji Lukkoor
Sam - 'The Gypsy Girl' by Val Wood
Gisele Alv - 'If I Die' by Rachel Vincent

I will contact the winners for their mailing details. If I have not been able to make contact with a winner within 48 hours of this post, another winner will then be drawn. Thanks again to everyone who entered this draw and who follow my blog. Happy reading!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

'Bereft' by Chris Womersley

Release date: 5th January 2012
Published by: Quercus Books
ISBN No: 978 0857386540

A CRIME UNSPEAKABLE. Australia, 1919. Quinn Walker returns from the Great War to the New South Wales town of Flint: the birthplace he fled ten years earlier when he was accused of a heinous act. A LIE UNFORGIVABLE. Aware of the townsmen's vow to hang him, Quinn takes to the surrounding hills. Here, deciding upon his plan of action, and questioning just what he has returned for, he meets Sadie Fox. A BOND UNBREAKABLE. This mysterious girl seems to know, and share, his darkest fear. And, as their bond greatens, Quinn learns what he must do to lay the ghosts of his past, and Sadie's present, to rest.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Seamstress' by Maria Duenas

Release date: 26th April 2012
Published by: Viking
ISBN No: 978 0670920020

In love for the first time, Sira Quiroga leaves Madrid, along with everything she knows and cares about, to run away to Tangiers, Morocco with her lover Ramiro. She entrusts him with all her inheritance only to be left by him - pregnant, penniless and in trouble with the authorities. At her lowest ebb Sira falls back on the one skill she possesses: sewing.

Moving to Tetouan, Sira survives by sewing beautiful clothes for the English mistress of one of the most powerful men in Morocco and for her German friends. As the women unguardedly gossip about their husbands and lovers, Sira is placed in a position very valuable to the British secret service, and she is soon forced to move to Madrid where great danger lies.

A grand and epic story that tells the story of Spain's civil war, Madrid in the Second World War and reveals a world of war, glamour, espionage and passion.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Monday, 13 February 2012

'Writing a Winning Book Proposal' by Raji Lukkoor

Today it is with great pleasure that I welcome back to 'The Secret Writer' the author Raji Lukkoor. You may remember that Raji paid a visit to 'The Secret Writer' not so long ago, for an author interview with myself. If you are interested, you can view my interview with Raji by clicking on the following link:  

When talking to Raji, I discovered that she had written a very interesting article on how she went about publishing her first book. Raji very kindly agreed to share this excellent article with us all here at 'The Secret Writer'. The full article is being published through a series of three posts, the third and final part of which appears here today. The first part of the article can be viewed by 'clicking here'

All I have left to say now is a great big thank-you to Raji for sharing her article with us. It is very much appreciated. I hope you all enjoy reading this article as much as I did!

Writing a Winning Book Proposal
Each publishing house and literary agency has their own unique manuscript submission guidelines. A good book proposal incorporates the following elements:
  • Cover Letter: Write a cover letter that is informative, interesting, succinct, and has no grammatical errors or typos.
  • Title Page: Make it attractive, but keep it simple. Include the working title of your proposed book. Be sure to include your contact information—name, address, phone number, and email address.
  • Proposal TOC: Provide a short table of contents for the proposal itself.
  • Objective: Draft an objective statement that tells the publisher in a concise form about the premise of the book, who the targeted market is, and mentions a little about the author.
  • Overview of the Work: Weave together a one or two paragraph synopsis for your work that discusses in brief what the book entails.
  • Competitive Works: Emphasize what’s new and different about your work, your approach, or both. Compare and contrast perhaps a half dozen other titles, clearly describing the similarities and differences. Be sure to point out why your book is unlike anything else and perhaps better than what is presently available.
  • Audience: Research the demographics and statistics of potential readers. Describe the intended audience; discuss why the book will be interesting to them; and deliberate ways to reach them.
  • Publicity Plan: Discuss the kind of experience you have as an author and with the media, and how you might be able to assist a publisher in marketing your book. This could include: setting up and maintaining a website; making and uploading a video trailer for the book; starting a blog; participating in online book clubs to enhance visibility; creating fan following through social networking programs such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter; ideas for speaking engagements; writing and submitting print and on-line articles to target your readers; attending conventions, book fairs, and other events; giving presentations at local libraries, book stores, and other venues that carry your book.
  • Author Profile: Write a narrative statement of your credentials, qualifications, and reasons for writing the book. Describe any prior experience you have in writing and publishing, as well as with the media.
  • Manuscript TOC: Settle on a chapter outline for your book and describe/include other material such as charts, illustrations, and photos that you may use.
  • Manuscript (Chapter by Chapter) Overview: Some publishers require a chapter-by-chapter overview. Be prepared to write a few lines about the contents of each chapter.
  • Sample Chapters: Carefully choose the chapters to submit as samples. They should, of course, be well-written, intriguing, highlight important components, and showcase your writing.

Proof read carefully. Avoid technical or scientific jargon. Avoid using fancy borders and cutesy graphics. Ensure that your proposal does not contain slang expressions. Use consistent font and spacing. Lastly, format your material so it looks professional.

Learn how a ten-day vipassana meditation retreat transformed Raji Lukkoor.

Watch the captivating book trailer on Raji Lukkoor’s YouTube channel.
© Raji Lukkoor, 2011-12. All rights reserved.