Sunday, 23 December 2012

Theatre Review: The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre, London

I was very excited about seeing The Bodyguard on stage in London; I went to a matinee performance of this show. Frank Farmer is played by Lloyd Owen who I had previously seen on TV and also in Closer at the Lyric back in the late 90s. It took me a while to get used to hearing him speak with an American accent but he played the reluctant, slightly awkward hero to perfection (and looked very gorgeous, especially in his dark blue suit!).

Gloria Onitiri, the alternate female lead was wonderful in the role of Rachel Marron, and the chemistry between the two leads was good.

Debbie Kurup who plays Nicki Marron, Rachels long-suffering sister sent shivers down my spine every time she sang. And Mark Letheren who plays the stalker in the show does so with such menace; there is one scene when he is alone on the stage and I was on the edge of my seat; I would go back to see this show for that scene alone.

Another highlight for me was hearing the sisters sing Saving All My Love For You.

The set was good with an interesting blend of video in the mix which allowed the action to take place in more locations. The costumes, especially for Rachel Marron, were very eye-catching, just as they should be for her character.

The show doesn't follow the movie to the letter, but it is well adapted and I would recommend it to anyone who likes songs with strong lyrics, gorgeous lead characters, sexy but very evil baddies, or simply a show you can sit and watch to escape from reality for a couple of hours.

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5. I want to see it again and I think it would be a 5 the second time.
(I saw a preview show in November and there were some minor sound glitches but I expect these have been ironed out by now.)

Currently booking to April 2013 (Click here to go to the website.)

Seating tip: I called about tickets a few days before I saw The Bodyguard as the website said the performance was sold out but to call for availability, and I got seat B5 in the Dress Circle which is supposedly restricted viewing but if you are 5 ft 9 or taller the safety rail doesn't get in the way anyway (I'm 5 ft 10 and I had a brilliant view). From talking to the person next to me, I discovered I got a bit of a bargain with this seat.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Seasonal Greetings and a Small Gift From Me

It was around this time last year I did a review of my year but this year has been a bit different for personal reasons, so during the second part of 2012 I haven't written anything at all. I'm now looking forward to the New Year and keen to get on with writing my third novel for children which has been brewing for quite some time now. It will be great to escape into the world of adventure and mystery for a change.

If you celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful time, if not, enjoy the lights and the atmosphere anyway and have a wonderful new year. As a small gift, I have made my books When Dreams Come True and A Knowing Look and Other Stories free for Kindle until Christmas Eve.

Also, over on my Facebook page I am about to start a giveaway of a paperback copy of Deck The Halls (which contains my new sci fi story Twenty Five) to celebrate going over 700 likes (thank you to everyone who likes my page xx) so head over there if you want to be in the hat for that.

Best wishes to all of you for 2013 and thanks, as always, for reading.

 Free for Kindle (via Amazon) 22-24 December

Free for Kindle (via Amazon) 22-24 December


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Deck The Halls International Launch

It gives me great pleasure to say that I have a story in Deck The Halls published by eMergent Publishing, and launching worldwide today.

Each of the stories was written to a prompt - a line from the Christmas carol Deck The Halls. I was given Tis the Season to be Jolly and from the deepest depths of my mind came a sci fi story. I don't usually write sci fi so I'd be interested to know what you think of it if you read it.

I am very proud to be published alongside some very talented authors. Many of these people I am also lucky enough to be able to consider friends.

This book would make a fantastic Christmas present for anyone who likes short stories. 

Buy a copy:
 Directly from eMergent Publishing here.


Touched Rowena Specht-Whyte
Drench the School Benjamin Solah
Coming Home Rebecca Dobbie
While You Were Out Sam Adamson
Twenty-Five Rebecca Emin
A Jolly Pair Christopher Chartrand
Gays and Commies Graham Storrs
A Better Fit Jen Brubacher
Salvation Nicole R Murphy
A Troll for Christmas Jo Hart
Modraniht Kate Sherrod
Bosch’s Book of Trolls Susan May James
‘Til Death Do Us Part Emma Kerry
High Holidays Dale Challener Roe
The Headless Shadow Jonathan Crossfield
End of a Tradition Paul Servini
Weatherboy Nik Perring
Not a Whisper Lily Mulholland
Lords of the Dance Janette Dalgliesh
Through Frosted Glass Laura Meyer
Midsummer’s Eve Stacey Larner
Yuletide Treasure Rob Diaz II
Broken Angel Jodi Cleghorn
A Golden Treasure Chia Evers
Fast Away Jim Bronyaur
Apprentices to Time Icy Sedgwick
Unfolding Alison Wells
Egg-Ceptional PJ Kaiser
Hail the New Trevor Belshaw
Perfect Light Dan Powell
Softly Sing the Stars Steve Cameron
Through Wind and Weather David McDonald

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Theatre Review: The Upstairs Room at the Kings Head Theatre, Islington

On Saturday, I went to the King's Head Theatre in Islington to see The Upstairs Room. The venue is a small theatre at the back of a pub, and perfect for this play. The set and lighting design worked beautifully, giving the impression that you were seated in a messy attic room right from the start.

This show has a cast of just four actors, the role of Gordon played to perfection by Anthony Cozens, just as it was when the show ran in Oxford. The rest of the cast were captivating with Liza Callinicos adding glamour as Stella, and Bret Jones adding a hint of mystery as he played the Manager in a quirky and amusing way. Lucy Wray (Iris) gave a refreshing injection of energetic humour to the latter part of the show, just when it was needed in fact.

Having seen The Upstairs Room twice now, I can say the London show was much improved on the version I saw in Oxford but it was great to see how it has developed and what a fresh set, and clearly loads of work, can do for a play.

I don't know if it's just me but I do find the play itself quite weird, it's certainly not for theatre-goers that like an easy show to wash over them and a lot of glitz and glamour. However it is thought-provoking and the next morning I realised something that I hadn't during the show, which is always a good thing.

And at the end of the show I was introduced to the leading actor, Anthony Cozens, which was a highlight, it has to be said. Lucky me!

Star rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars but catch it while you can because the actors and set are five star.

The Upstairs Room is showing until 8th December 2012.
The programme includes the entire script for the play, and are sold in the theatre and on Amazon.

Follow my Entertainment list on Twitter, which includes some of the cast and crew from this show. 

In the interests of full disclosure: I went to see this play because the director is a friend of mine. However, no bias was used during the writing of this review.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Flash Fiction: You Light Up The Sky


Sometimes I sit and think of you, my periodic visitor; my temporary blinding light.

The anticipation of your visit is reminiscent of lighting the blue touch paper of a firework, then moving back to wait, wondering if anything will happen.

As the bell rings, the flame has caught. A whoosh inside me as I open the door and see your eyes dancing with mine from under your thick brown fringe.

I put the kettle on. We talk, and all around me I see stars. Your nearness evokes a spinning sensation in my head, like a Catherine wheel, whirring out of control.

Those micro-seconds when you hold me, the world lights up around me in a blast of starlight; momentarily beautiful.

But then you leave.

Darkness. Chilling air and a sense of loss.

The moment is over. It was never mine to begin with.

This flash story is taken from my collection A Knowing Look and Other Stories.

Theatre Review: Hot Mikado at the Landor Theatre

My second show on Saturday was Hot Mikado at the Landor Theatre, another new venue to me, luckily my theatre buddy had been there before otherwise I would have missed out on this show altogether. Sadly we saw the last show of the run, because it was definitely one I would have gone back to see again (my friend did just that).

The venue has just three rows of seats and the seats were not numbered so there was a scramble to be in the best positions. The stage area was quite tiny and I honestly wondered how a show could even happen in such a space... which is probably why it was so mind blowing.  There were three people in the band, yet they played so many different instruments it felt like there was an entire orchestra there. And the cast were not wearing microphones but their voices were amazing, and they were almost in touching distance. It was a wonderful experience to feel so close to the action and see all the facial expressions.

I haven't seen this show before but it was easy to follow, there is a good amount of humour in it but it was also very lively with loads of energetic dancing with almost all the cast dancing at the same time (how on earth they all fitted in that space and didn't crash into each other is a mystery to me).

As always there are people who stand out, and in this case the roles of Nanki-Poo (Mark Daley) and Yum-Yum (Victoria Farley) were well cast. The others who stood out for me were Mandi Symonds as Katisha and Ian Mowat as Ko-Ko who were fantastic, particularly when they were on stage together during the second half.  I also was surprised when Mark Gillon sang as his voice was amazing - I wish he had more of a solo actually.  Nathaniel Morrison played Pooh-Bah to perfection with great comic timing (and an amazing smile!) and was paired often with the very stunning Lucyelle Cliffe as Pitti-Sing whose voice reached me even when the whole cast was on stage.

All in all the show was energetic, with a wonderful cast, great music, and I am so glad I had the chance to see it.

Star rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I wish I could see it again!

Follow my Entertainment list on Twitter, which includes some of the cast of this show. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Theatre Review: Victor/Victoria Southwark Playhouse

Yesterday I went to the matinee performance of Victor/Victoria at the Southwark Playhouse. My first impressions of the venue - well it's amazing! If a friend of mine hadn't known about it I'd never have found the place and it really is an interesting venue to see a show, basically in a converted tunnel/vault, but you can still see all the brickwork so it's an amazing space.

This show on first impressions feels like a romp through the world of sequined cabaret shows in gay Paris, and actually that is what it is but once you dig deeper and see the message of how a woman had to pretend to be a man in drag to be able to perform in certain places, it becomes a stronger plot, with the songs If I Were A Man and Almost a Love Song proving particularly poignant.

The soundtrack was catchy, and performed wonderfully, especially by Anna Francolini in the role of Victoria. The choreography was incredible given the small space the actors had to dance in, it felt like they were on a much larger stage and every member of the cast had a great stage presence (and I have to be honest there was a ridulous amount of gorgeousness in the cast).

For me though, the star of the show was Richard Dempsey as Toddy who played the role to perfection; camp, sympathetic and humorous, and the man has legs that a female supermodel would kill for. He's definitely one to watch.

Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars.  Will brighten up the dreariest autumn day.

Follow my Entertainment list on Twitter, which includes some of the cast of this show.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Mindful Writing Day 2012

Today is the first ever Mindful Writing Day which is taking place online. Writers all over the world are paying attention to detail and writing a "Small Stone", and some are submitting it to the blog where this all started, Writing Our Way Home.

To celebrate Mindful Writing Day, A Blackbird Sings is free today for Kindle. One of my own small stones is included in this collection. If you enjoy poetry or micro stories, you will most likely enjoy this book.

FREE for Kindle today

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Friday Flash: Spin

This story features some of my favourite characters (of my own) of all time, from my short story A Rocky Road, which is published by Ether Books.


It was one day in Spring when, by some miracle, the children were playing harmoniously. She sat on the park bench and smiled to herself, wondering where he was, what he was doing, if he was with someone.

Of course he’s with someone she chastised herself. A man like that would never be lonely.

She watched the roundabout spin, fighting the urge to rush and grab the rail to slow it down. They have to learn by their mistakes. And as that thought crossed her synapses, Thomas slipped and fell, his cries piercing her to the core. She ran and almost tripped; steadying herself as she neared her goal.

“Come on, Thomas, you’ll be okay,” she soothed, kissing his palm. And magically that kiss healed everything. He leapt back on the equipment before she’d finished wiping the snotty tears from his face.

Returning slowly to the bench, she wished her own mother could be there to kiss her heart and heal it that way. She thought of him again, probably on the other side of the planet, playing arenas. And there she was; a single parent of two, her husband in Barbados with his new girlfriend; his former secretary, even though he’d always maintained he was never one for cliché.

She closed her eyes and began to hum a guitar riff… the one she’d heard as she stared at him that night as he owned the stage. Five years had passed yet it felt like seconds. She opened her eyes, took out her purse and removed a scrap of paper, so worn it felt like material.

Don’t be stupid, he’d have changed his phone number by now, she thought angrily. She tucked that piece of paper back inside her wallet as if it was a baby scan image.

“Thomas! Natalie! Time for hot chocolate!” she yelled, and as her children squealed in delight she gathered them up in her arms, span them around, and then placed them back on the grass. Grabbing each of them by a hand, she led them in the direction of the café.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop 2012

I am taking part in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm.

The dates for this hop are October 24th to 31st.

All you have to do is tell me which of my books (plus swag) you would like to receive as a prize if you win.

The options are a signed paperback copy of:

New Beginnings  (for 9+)
A Knowing Look and Other Stories  (for adults)
When Dreams Come True (for 10-14s).

You can read a bit more about all of the books here.

You can get extra entries by:
Liking my Facebook Page
Following me on Twitter
Adding me as a friend on Goodreads

Any comments made before midnight PST on 31st October will count, and a winner will be picked on 1 November.

This is an international giveaway.

Good luck and happy hopping!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Guest Blog: Mariam Kobras

It gives me great pleasure today to host a lovely writer, Mariam Kobras, as she celebrates the launch of her book, Under The Same Sun.  So without further ado, I will hand over to Mariam.

Mariam Kobras
The Last Thing On My Mind 

What was that again?

Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that all an author does is write books and then sits back and watches the money roll in!

So this is how it goes. I’m sitting here, trying to think of original, witty and moderately intelligent things to say about Under the Same Sun, and in pops the publisher.
“You can’t use that title for the book you’re just writing,” they say.
I try to come out of the muddle I’m in, caught somewhere between the launch, the blog hop, and the writing of a new book.
“You can’t use Lavender Lemonade. It’s a bit  misleading. You’ll need to think of something else!”
Right. Like I’m sitting here at my desk, and brilliant titles just pop out of my head like soap  bubbles. Like I need a new distraction right now.
La di da! A new title, and pronto, since I’ve been blasting the fact that I’m working on something new all over the internet.
I’m for something with “winter” in it, but my favorite beta-reader tells me no, everything with “winter” in it sounds like the title of a decorating magazine.
Gosh, I really don’t need this right now. How to come up with a new title?

As if this isn’t enough, the publisher announces they want to release the third book of the trilogy in fall 2013.
Uh, I might be dead by then? That’s so far in the future I can’t even comprehend it. That’s so far in the future, who knows if the world will still be around?
It’s so far in the future that I’m sure I’ll have to reread it, just to remember what I wrote.  .

I tell them that I can’t wait that long. I’m too old for that kind of planning, and I really wanted to make enough money from the writing to be able to get in and out of the Porsche I want to buy with my royalties. After having renovated and redecorated the house, taken the family on a trip around the world and having hiring a housekeeper.
Oh wait—didn’t I say I wanted to move? Right. So after having tossed all the old crap out of this place and finding a pretty house with a porch somewhere in New England. Right.
Surprisingly, they don’t break out into hysterical laughter at this argument of mine. They just shake their head with an amused smirk on their face and say, we’ll see.

Seconds later, someone asks me to summarize Under the Same Sun in one tweet.
I don’t think so.

Authors are really lousy at summarizing their own books, I think. What to pick, what’s important, what’s  not?

I mean, I could go on and on about that lovely part of Under the Same Sun where Jon and Naomi go to Italy to meet Naomi’s maternal family.
It’s late summer, the heat has abated, and there’s the azure Mediterranean, The green mountain slopes, the steep hills that drop into the ocean. The family, living in a wonderful old house amid cedar groves and olive trees, welcome them with open arms.
Jon, who until then always thought Naomi was unique, sees her cousins—and they all look like her. For him, it’s almost visual overkill.
He gets introduced to Naomi’s male cousin Ferro, a talented painter who is working on murals in a pilgrimage chapel.
They spend a few wonderful, dreamy weeks in that lovely setting before they have to return to New York and stark reality.

And I’m not going to tell you what happens next, because you are of course supposed to buy the book (and the first one, The Distant Shore, too!) if I’m ever going to get my Porsche.

But just so you know,  the last book in the the Stone Trilogy: Song Of The Storm, will pick off right where Under The Same Sun ends.

And now I’m going to have lunch and then get back to writing of the now (thanks to my publisher) untitled book four.

This was the fifth stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the bestseller list on its first day on sale!

There’s only a few left, so order yours soon and while you’re waiting you can go to our blog and click the link to read the first two chapters for free. Before you leave, you will want to write a comment below about this blog post for a chance to win one of three copies of Under the Same Sun (plus some pretty gosh, darn, yummy chocolate)! You can get additional chances by following Mariam at every stop on her hop and leaving comments after each post. And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog. You won’t regret it.

On Monday, 10/22, Mariam will be visiting Nita Beshear’s blog, where Nita will be reviewing Under the Same Sun. Join us there!

Check our blog for the full calendar and more details!

Buy from


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Next Big Thing

If you are a writer with a blog and would like to be tagged, I have 2 spaces left so please get in touch and I will tag you immediately!

Jack Barrow tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog meme, which is a self-interview with ten questions, to be answered in a blog post.

So here are my brief answers to the questions, a bit rushed so I will type the first thing that comes into my head because I have been incredibly busy and am writing this very late in the day.

What is the working title of your book?
A Listening Ear

Where did the idea come from for the book?
A friend of mine was telling me some interesting snippets about her life and she said there must be a book in her experiences. She said she didn't have the time to write though, so I asked her if she'd mind if I kind of fictionalised her as my main character. Luckily she said yes.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary womens fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Obviously all the really stunning ones: Hugh Jackman, Henry Cavill, Jason Statham, ha ha ha. Real answer: I have no idea as there are loads of characters in this, and they are not all written yet.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When you're a good listener you hear about everyone else's stories...  and somehow a lot of them intertwine.  (I don't have a proper synopsis yet!)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
In my dream world this will be my big break, represented by a huge agency who lands me a contract with a huge international publisher and then Hollywood will come calling.

We shall see.  

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I started it in November 2011. And I'm not done yet. So it's taking a huge amount of time.  

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Not sure if they were in fact originally books, but you know those movies with loads of different stories intertwining and usually including Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson and loads of other English actors. Well, those. 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
As question 2. She's my beautician. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
This short story with the same title was written from the POV of the main character.

I'm meant to tag some other authors, so far I only have three so I have spaces for more:
Eliza Green over at Eliza Loves Sci Fi
Chris Martinez at Dunno Where I'm Goin. Any Road'll Do
Sara Banerj

Please be sure to visit these lovely ladies. Their Next Big Thing blogs will be up next Wednesday, 24th October.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Giveaway Winner, More Giveaways, and Me in the Media


I am pleased to announce the winner of the tote back giveaway in my last post with Melanie-Robertson King.  Melanie's husband kindly pulled a name from the hat and the winner is:

Janice Horton

Congrats, Janice, I will be in touch.

Don't forget to check out the rest of Melanie's blog tour as she continues to celebrate the launch of A Shadow in the Past.

Last week I went into my old senior school to talk to the Year 9s and Year 8s about my writing, and New Beginnings in particular. I will be doing a full report of this on my blog about writing for children & teens when I have the photos. This morning I discovered my name in The Oxford Mail related to these talks, which was nice to see.

And finally, I have giveaways running on Goodreads of two of my books at the moment. You can find links to them in the Giveaways tab at the top of this page.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Author Interview: Melanie Robertson-King

Melanie Robertson-King
It gives me great pleasure today to welcome Melanie Robertson-King to my blog, to talk about her new book A Shadow in the Past.

Hello, Melanie, and welcome to my blog.

Please could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing?

I’m Canadian (born and live in eastern Ontario), love Scotland and all things Scottish so have set my novels here. I’ve been lucky enough to visit on a number of occasions and have even schmoozed with Royalty on one trip when I met Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne.

Please summarise A Shadow in the Past in five words.

You don’t pull any punches, do you? Egads! Five words... Time-travel romance for 13-25 year olds. (that’s six and boring as stink) My book’s tagline is a bit longer than that... When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…

Do you draw on personal experiences when you are creating your characters and plot lines?

Yes and no. I would have to say the personal experiences are only related to my trips to Scotland. I have an interest in genealogy and most of my Scottish roots (that I’ve been able to uncover so far) are in the Victorian era.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

I wish. Sarah is strong and feisty, yet vulnerable. I certainly didn’t model her after myself. She’d be a boring character if I did. On the other hand, my mum was a fireball so I think some of Sarah’s personality traits come from her.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Don’t ever give up. Yes, there will be rejections (trust me, I know, I’ve likely got enough to wallpaper an 8’x8’ room) but sometimes there’s one that invites interaction and you can re-submit after making the changes suggested. And read, read, read. You can’t write well if you don’t.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have the framework for the sequel to A Shadow in the Past (working title Shadows from her Past) already written and as I think of things that need to be added/changed in it, I send myself an e-mail jotting those notes down.

Thank you for joining me here on Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.

To celebrate the launch of her book, Shadows in the Past, Melanie is giving away a gorgeous tote bag as pictured. All you have to do to be in the hat is comment under this post. This is an international giveaway.

A winner will be chosen on Monday 1 October.

You can link up with Melanie in the following places: 

When a contemporary teen is transported back through time to the Victorian era, she becomes A Shadow in the Past…
When nineteen year old Sarah Shand finds herself in Victorian Era Aberdeenshire, Scotland, she has no idea how she got there. Her last memory is of being at the stone circle on the family farm in the year 2010.

Despite having difficulty coming to terms with her situation, Sarah quickly learns she must keep her true identity a secret.

Still, she feels stifled by the Victorians’ confining social practices, including arranged marriages between wealthy and influential families, confronts them head on and suffers the consequences.

When Sarah realizes she has fallen in love with the handsome Laird of Weetshill, she faces an agonizing decision. Does she try to find her way back to 2010 or remain in the past with the man she loves?

Buy A Shadow in the Past from:

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Upstairs Room: Coming Soon

It's not often that I get told by a friend that a play they are directing will soon be on stage in London for a 4 week run. In fact, yesterday was the first time it has ever happened and I am so excited for the people involved, I had to write a blog post.

The Upstairs Room is a play written by David K. O'Hara who I interviewed on my blog back in January of this year. (To read the interview, click here). I saw the show when it had a short run at the Burton Taylor theatre in Oxford and can't wait to see it again in a larger venue.

The talent of the male lead Anthony Cozens who played the male lead was unforgettable so I was delighted to hear that he is also starring in the new production.

The show is to run at The Kings Head Theatre in Islington, (right near where I lived during my student days!) from 13th November to 8th December 2012. Find out more on the website here.

If any of my London based (or nearby) Twitter friends who read this fancy a Tweet Up at one of the performances, drop me a line and we can discuss when to go and see it. Could be fun!

Join the Facebook Event Page where you can speak to some of the people involved with this show. 

Follow director James Savin on Twitter.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips

Today it's the launch of Red Ribbons, the debut novel of the very lovely Louise Phillips.

As a fan of crime fiction, I read the synopsis, and realised I simply have to read this book. As a result, I will copy the information below so you can read it too:

A missing schoolgirl is found buried in the Dublin Mountains, hand clasped together in prayer, two red ribbons in her hair.
Louise Phillips

Twenty-four hours later, a second schoolgirl is found in a shallow grave – her body identically arranged. A hunt for the killer is on.

The police call in profiler Dr Kate Pearson to get inside the mind of the murderer before he strikes again. But the more Kate discovers about the killings, the more it all feels terrifyingly familiar.

As the pressure to find the killer intensifies, there’s one vital connection to be made – Ellie Brady, a woman institutionalised fifteen years earlier for the murder of her daughter Amy. She stopped talking when everyone stopped listening.

What connects the death of Amy Brady to the murdered schoolgirls? As Kate Pearson begins to unravel the truth, danger is closer than she know...

The bad man is everywhere. Can you see him?

The book trailer is here:

Find out more about Louise and her blog tour at her website here.
For Amazon links, please click here.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

How To Use Twitter Effectively Part 1: Introducing Yourself

Picture the scene. You're in a coffee shop / restaurant / park / insert social scene of choice.

You are with a group of people you know fairly well, sharing ideas, exchanging news, updating each other on previously known situations.

A complete stranger walks up to you and shouts into your ear: "Buy my book it will change your life. It's brilliant. You'll love it."


You'd think: "You're a complete stranger. You don't know what my interests are. Why are you shouting in my ear hole when I'm trying to catch up with these lovely people I know?"

You just wouldn't want to be that stranger would you?

Sending someone a sales DM or @ message on Twitter when you've only just connected with them is about as effective as being the stranger above or knocking on someone's front door trying to sell something when a family are in the middle of their Sunday roast.

Don't do it. Please!!

Instead, if you find someone interesting, follow them, say hello if you feel the need, and leave it at that.  If they look at your profile and find your bio interesting they will say hello back and you may well get chatting, or maybe it will take a while. Either way a forced connection is not one that is going to lead to any sort of friendship or sales. Or not very many, anyway.

This may become part of a series of Social Media tips. Should it? Your opinion is welcome.

I tweet as @RebeccaEmin

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Fridayflash: The Healing

You had no idea how broken I was. Like a butterfly touched on the wing, my fate was determined.

But you appeared, and with a few words, relit a flame long since extinguished. A wink, and my heart fluttered to life again.

As I left, I felt your eyes boring into my shoulder. I turned, and for a fleeting second you looked so deeply sad. Almost instantly, you smiled and mouthed, "goodbye".

And then I knew.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Theatre Review: The Doctor's Dilemma at Lyttelton Theatre (The National Theatre) London

On arrival at The National and entering the Lyttelton Theatre, I was pleased to see that all seats offered a good view. My seat was in row S of the stalls and I could see perfectly clearly from there.

The opening scene was in a doctor's office and the play starts with humour in the shape of Emmy (Maggie McCarthy) the doctor's housekeeper who was my favourite secondary character.

The dilemma as implied in the title of The Doctor's Dilemma by Bernard Shaw is whether Sir Colenso Ridgeon (Aden Gillett) should use his new discovery of a treatment of consumption to treat an honourable doctor, or a talented younger artist. Quite a dilemma indeed, without the added factor of the artist's beautiful wife who all of the older/elderly doctors seemed to take a shine to in a comical yet perfectly typical fashion.

The four main doctor characters were brilliant together and they played the comedy in the situation with effect. My favourite of the four was Robert Portal whose character Mr Cutler Walpole was obsessed with surgery being the way to cure people of 'blood poisoning' and provided many laughs.

I found the set incredibly surprising as I had wrongly assumed the set as it was on opening would remain for the whole play.  I was very impressed with it, but my favourite location was the artist's studio where the action began in the second half.

The view from my seat
Although I enjoyed the first half, I felt the second half was superior. The chemistry between the artist Louse Debedat (Tom Burke) and his wife (Genevieve O'Reilly) was fabulous, and they switched between comedy, heated discussion and heartbreak with effortless skill. There was also a lot of passion between them, in a very subtle way, but you could not fail to notice it.

My programme
I don't want to give any of the plot away but I thoroughly enjoyed this show, I thought the cast were incredible, the set amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys intelligent comedy.

The only thing about the theatre was the seat left me with a numb backside by the end of the show (run time 2 hours 40 minutes including interval) and the typical lack of adequate toilet facilities for the ladies. But theatre wouldn't be the same without a queue for the ladies, would it?


Find out more at the official website, which includes a great teaser video.

Follow my Entertainment list on Twitter.

In the interests of full disclosure: I was invited to watch The Doctor's Dilemma in exchange for an honest review of the show.

No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop July 2012 Winner

With many apologies for the huge delay in selecting my winners, but I finally got around to putting all the names in a bowl and to avoid arguments got the children to pick a name each.

The winners are:
Erlene Alvarez
Ana Maria C

I will email each of you soon and sorry again for the delay.

Thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Theatre Review: Les Miserables at Queen's Theatre London

On Saturday 21st July I went to the evening show of Les Misérables at Queen's Theatre in London. This was the third time I've seen this show, and the first time I've seen it since it moved from The Palace Theatre to Queen's in 2004.

I have to say of the three times I have watched Les Misérables, this was my favourite. The cast were amazing, with particularly outstanding vocal performances by Tam Mutu as Javert and Danielle Hope as Eponine.  Sierra Boggess played Fantine beautifully and broke my heart at least three times.

There is a great mixture of drama, humour, romance and action in this show. In fact it's non stop action with the revolving stage ensuring that the cast never stop moving as they go from one scene to the next seemingly effortlessly.

I had bought "restricted view" tickets which were in the front row. I would highly recommend these seats for anyone over the height of 5 foot 7ish because they were amazing seats. Especially when the cast were on the edge of the stage bellowing at us and almost close enough to touch. The only restriction would be for a shorter person who would not have seen all of the action near the floor.

Find out more on the official Les Mis website

Follow my Entertainment list on Twitter which includes some of the cast.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Heather Gudenkauf

Heather Gudenkauf
I recently had the honour of being asked if I would like to read a review copy of Heather Gudenkauf's latest novel One Breath Away and also interview Heather for my blog. This is the first author interview request I have accepted because the book was already on my to read list.  

One Breath Away is now on my favourites read in 2012 list. I can't recommend it highly enough. You can read my review here and without further ado please allow me to introduce you to Heather. 

Hello, Heather, and welcome to my blog.

For anyone who has yet to discover you and your writing, please could you tell us a little bit about your background? (Bio approx 50-70 words.)

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden, and One Breath Away. Heather lives in Iowa with her family and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Maxine. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. She is currently working on her fourth novel.

Could you summarise each of your books in just five words (per book)?
The Weight of Silence: missing girls, a desperate search
These Things Hidden: four woman, child, mysterious birth
One Breath Away: one school, one gunman, terror!

How did you come up with the idea for One Breath Away?
The idea for One Breath Away evolved over many years. When I was a senior at the University of Iowa, a disgruntled former student entered a classroom with a gun, killed five and gravely injured a sixth person before turning the gun on himself. At the time of the shooting I was with my roommate near the center of campus, well away from the danger, but close enough to hear the police and ambulance sirens. I often think of that terrible day and wonder what I would have done, how I would have reacted if I had been in that classroom.

Why did you decide to write from the perspectives of five different characters?
In the last few years I’ve been a silent, seven-year-old girl lost in the woods, a protective older brother, a deputy sheriff, a middle-aged male college professor, an adoptive mother, a teenage felon, a grandfather, a thirteen year old girl, and a sixty-five-year old third grade teacher. How many people get to say that? While I’ve never been lost in the woods (but did get hopelessly lost driving through Chicago once), have never been an adoptive mother, never was a teenage felon (much to the relief of my parents), nor have I been in a hostage situation, I am somehow compelled to explore these personas and the families of these characters. In choosing to write in this way, I also have had the chance to meet some fascinating people. I’ve interviewed a retired Sheriff’s deputy and police chief who taught me about police procedure, a criminal defense lawyer who taught me the ins and outs of state law and the criminal justice system, and two cattle farmers who taught me about reverence and respect for the earth and its animals. These conversations have helped me delve more deeply into the characters I write about. I have always loved reading books written in multiple perspectives and knew when I began writing my first novel, The Weight of Silence it was the only way it could be written. It's a lot of fun stepping into a different character's viewpoint each day, but at the end of the day, it’s a comfort knowing I can step right back into my blissfully, uneventful life!

Could you tell us why you wrote two of the characters in the third person and the other three in first person?
When writing from multiple perspectives, it is so important to create characters that are very different from one another with unique voices, hopes and dreams. Some character’s stories are told more poignantly in first person while others from third person.

How do you think you would react if your own child was in a situation as described in your book?
I would be terrified! We want so much to keep our children safe, but very quickly realize as parents that we can only do so much. We send our children out into the world with a great amount of faith that they will return to us safe and sound.

When you are writing a novel, do you plan it in advance or write what comes into your head at the time?
I always think I have a novel planned out, but in the end the characters within the novel always seem to have something else in mind!
What is your top tip for aspiring writers?
My advice to those who dream of being a writer – is to do just that – write! It is so important to set aside time each day to get one’s thoughts and ideas down on paper.
What's the best advice (about writing or publishing) anyone has ever given you?
Someone told me once to write the books that I, myself, would like to read, to follow my instincts, and to write every day. Great advice that I try to follow.
Could you give us a little summary of your next book?
I am always hesitant to talk about current projects – the story that I originally plan always seems to change (see question 7).  I can say I'm working on a story about a loving, caring woman who finds herself responsible for a terrible event and her journey to redemption.

Thank you for joining me here on Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.

You can find Heather online in the following places: