May Catch Up and plans for June 

May slipped by and June has been here a week so it must be time for a quick cuppa and a catch-up.

May catch up and June plans
Time for a cuppa

Writing

 

Though I have made inroads to my WIP with nearly 50,000 words, I began to be overwhelmed by the disjointed scenes my brain had conjured and my inability to arrange them in a coherent chronological order. I found myself caught in a writing slump. Luckily, I heard that Shaunta Grimes was doing a course – ninja write a long (NWAL) and this was an opportunity to revisit my synopsis and characters; to get back on track. It is early days but I feel more upbeat and determined to finish Amber’s tale and a secret project, one Elsie is excited about.

My plans to be organised for the beginning of  NWAL fell apart with an injured hand and then a weekend hospital admission. Though my hand is better than before, physio and painkillers are the way forward to get it back to full use. If I was slow before, I am on snail pace now.

 May catch up

This is the month for taking stock and moving forward towards my goals.

I plan to

  •  follow NWAL’s mantra to read and write every day
  • enter two writing competitions
  • solidify my characters and backstories
  • arrange my scenes into chronological order – a big task
  • research settings for Amber and Willow
  • research Whitby history and folklore
  • delve into the world of witchcraft and Druidry
  • Make mood boards for my main characters

Books read in May

 

Some unique and wonderful books have been read in May including my favourite of the year and possibly my lifetime.

  • The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton. I was eager to read this after reading the short story Alive. It did not disappoint.
  • The Things We Should have Said by Rachel Burton.
  • We Others by Sue Bentley. This book has got under my skin for its imagery, setting, and characters.  If you love fantasy and magical realism find a copy and enjoy. My review on Duvet Dwellers Books is here. It is Elsie’s favourite book too so I apologise in advance if it is talked about a lot.
  • The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper. A romance it has a unique premise of a woman aptly named Melody sings when anxiety kicks in. It’s funny, heartbreaking and clever. There is an accompanying playlist to give the reading experience an added layer.

June reads

 

  • The Date by Louise Jensen
  • Every Note played by Lisa Genova
  • Artisan Lovestyle by Kiltie Jackson
  • The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney
  • Book Towns by Alex Johnson

 

What are you up to this month? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading and writing.

Kate Kenzie's Blog

Practical research: Willow’s herbs and garden in June

Willow's garden in June

When I began to develop Willow Anderson, an important character in the journals,  I knew as a  witch and proprietor of The Enchanted Emporium herbs and remedies would play a significant part of her life. What better way to get into her psyche than grow some myself. Last summer I took cuttings from the plants of green-fingered friends and miraculously grew. Elsie and friends must have helped because I have the anti-Midas touch when it comes to gardening. Some are now in bloom.

Flowers blooming in June

Nature and their gardens are important to all the witches in the journals bar one, so what better way to research this aspect of their lives than record the cycle of my own fledgling garden and others on Instagram, please follow #willowswitchsgarden to find out more. Or even better use the hashtag #willowswitchsgarden so we can be nosy and see the wonders in your garden.  June has brought a border of colour.

 

For those who love herbs and their uses, I have found a wonderful site full of useful information  and I was impressed I had accidentally planted many of the recommended herbs – http://www.flyingthehedge.com/2016/05/10-herbs-every-witch-should-have.html

What are your favourite flowers and plants in June? Or if you have any herbs or tips you think Willow should know, I would love to hear from you below.

 

More soon.

Happy writing and gardening!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

Book review: The Date by Louise Jensen

As soon as I spied the latest Louise Jensen’s novel on the screen I knew I needed to read it.  I know from experience from reading her previous books The Gift and The Surrogate once opened I was in for a thrilling, high tension ride.

The Date by Louise Jensen

 

The Date Louise Jensen
The Date by Louise Jensen

Title: The Date

Author: Louise Jensen

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Bookouture

Release Date: 21st June 2018

Blurb:

One night can change everything. 

‘I know it as soon as I wake up and open my eyes… Something is wrong.’

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future. By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her. 

Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her… 

From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Sister, The Gift, and The Surrogate, The Date is a gripping page-turner that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and Before I Go To Sleep. 

My Thoughts

I made the mistake of thinking I could read just one chapter before I started the day I was wrong. Never has a tagline of “An unputdownable psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist” been so appropriate. The Date captivated me from the first page until the last. Louise Jensen’s use of language and pace threw me straight into the story as Ali wakes up from her date the night before. My heart raced along with hers as the tension deepened and the implications of her acquired prosopagnosia or “face blindness” became apparent. It causes everyday problems but when you are under threat anyone could be an attacker or the date.  The use of this condition adds more fear into this plot and works well.  The novel begins with the nonsensical and now eerie poem The Owl and The Pussycat by Edward Lear and it set the tone for the book. I did not know where this story was going and the twists took me to unimaginable places.

Louise Jensen is the queen of twists and tension. She does not let you go until the final word has been read but even then you are left reeling by revelations the book has revealed. She is on psychological thriller writer I can read again because the second time despite knowing the upcoming twists she manages to place you into the character’s mind again who is oblivious to the trauma ahead.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. Don’t dilly dally if you love psychological thrillers, put it in your basket now! Her books are on my forever shelf when they are not on loan to book trustworthy friends.

More information on Louise Jensen and her books can be found here

She also has a blog here

Thank you @Bookouture, NetGalley and @Fab_Fiction for letting me read an advanced copy.

 

Guest Post by Jennifer Gilmour: #AbuseTalk Forum is NOW OPEN!

Grand Opening for #AbuseTalkForum

A while ago, I had the pleasure of reading Jennifer Gilmour’s debut novel Isolation Junction and she visited the blog to discuss her novel and her work as an advocate against domestic abuse. Today she is here again with an update and the news #AbuseTalk Forum on Twitter is now open.

 


#AbuseTalk Forum is NOW OPEN!!!

 

Click here for up to date information today’s virtual opening event for the #AbuseTalk Forum.

 

Hi, I am Jennifer Gilmour and I am an advocate for women in abusive relationships, I am an author and a mum of three. I have personally experienced domestic abuse and wanted to bring awareness to what happens behind closed doors.

 

 

 

A bit about my journey:

My debut novel, ‘Isolation Junction’ was published in 2016 which follows the story of Rose who is trying to flee her abusive partner. The book is based on true events of my own and has been fictionalised.

Since this publication, I have continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through my blog posts, radio interviews, and Twitter feed.

My second publication was released in October 2017; I put together stories told to me by survivors of domestic abuse. In this way, I hope to give a voice to their experiences and to raise awareness of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse. Thankfully the law has changed to incorporate this kind of insidious behaviour but still, far too many people are trapped, isolated and afraid or unaware of how to escape. I hope that this anthology will give them the courage to take that first step and will raise awareness for those who can help them.

I opened #AbuseTalk in October in 2017 and haven’t looked back, its opened many doors, its connected many people, its supported lots of individuals and it has created a community.

I was a finalist for Inspirational Mum Award in the BizMums Awards 2017.

I started writing for Coercive Control Chat Magazine (CCChat Magazine) in October 2017, I have my own column for #AbuseTalk and an Online Book Club with a difference.

In May 2018 I won Most Informative Blog 2018 in the Blogger Bash Awards, something I am most thrilled about.

 

Why have I opened a forum?

I have always felt a forum was needed but couldn’t find its place and so I decided a Twitter Chat was the direction to go. After a few months of hosting #AbuseTalk, I realised that tweeting was great but it wasn’t for those who don’t want to publicly discuss domestic abuse. It is also restrictive with the character limitations. Thats when I realised that a forum can work alongside the Twitter Chat and offering a register only forum.

I am also delighted to have the forum sponsored by a solicitor which will be announced in the grand opening, our solicitor has agreed to answer questions within the forum on their own thread ‘Ask a solicitor’. This is priceless, to have the opportunity to ask a solicitor when perhaps someone may not have had the ability to do so.

 

 

How do I access the new forum?

You can head there right now… www.jennifergilmour.com/community

 

PLEASE NOTE: You will only see the news and updates forum until you are registered, once you are registered you will see the main Abuse Talk Forum appear with all the topics and discussions.

 

Who is the forum for?

Anyone! Anyone with an interest or passion surrounding domestic abuse.

 

It can also be for those in the sector like charities, organisations, advocates, bloggers, businesses and more.

 

Or it can be individuals that want to help, offer guidance, who have gone through abuse or are going through it now.

 

How much does it cost to be a member?

Its FREE! All you have to do is register at: https://jennifergilmour.com/AbuseTalkForum/?wpforo=signup

 

There will be a VIP Membership area but that is opening later on, updates will be given and this will be just £10 a year with a bag full of offers, discounts and more. This is you really need that extra security and community.

Sign up for notification of this service here: http://eepurl.com/dor93f

 

I would like to sponsor the forum, how do I do this?

The forum is open for sponsorship to cover the maintenance and time it takes to moderate the posts.

 

Anyone can be a silent sponsor for £1 or £3, scroll to the bottom of this page: https://jennifergilmour.com/abuse-talk-twitter/

 

For businesses/charities/organisations/advocates etc please contact me for availability – contact@jennifergilmour.com

 

Sponsors will receive a unique badge to place on their website and social media to show that they support the forum.

 

Tell me more about #AbuseTalk…

#AbuseTalk is a Twitter Chat that runs every Wednesday evening 8-9pm GMT. It is open to anyone who wants to discuss domestic abuse.

 

Each week we have a theme which is there to help the conversation flow through the one hour. You can at any point ask your own questions, reply to others and join in.

Not in the UK? That’s not a problem either, we have people joining in around the world and have adapted the cover photo to display the times in the timezones most used.

 

Find out more here:

https://jennifergilmour.com/abuse-talk-twitter/

 

Need to know more?

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are interested in becoming a sponsor at contact@jennifergilmour.com

 

Thank you for your time and if the forum isn’t for you – it may be for one of your friends. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.

 

Video on how to register and see how the visibility of the forum is altered with the registration- https://youtu.be/YtImyAHffDE

 

Jennifer Gilmour

Book Review: The Songs of Us

Book Review for The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper

Last week I had to spend the weekend in hospital but I was lucky to have The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper to keep me company.  Thank you, Mai Taylor, from Mai’s Musings for recommending and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy to give an honest review.

Book Review for The Songs of Us

 

The Songs of Us Book Review

Title: The Songs of Us

Author: Emma Cooper

Publisher: Headline

Release Date: 31st May for e-book     20th September paperback

Genre: Romance, Contemporary fiction

Blurb

‘Quirky, clever, and original, this will break your heart, but put it back together again’ 
Katie Fforde

‘This is a very special book indeed: funny, powerful, heart-wrenching and so poignant’ 
Jo Thomas

‘One of my favourites of 2018’ Amazon reviewer

Fans of Jojo Moyes, Cecilia Ahern and Marian Keyes will love The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper, a laugh-out-loud, funny and heartbreaking novel of love, loss and what it means to be a family.

If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.

If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.

But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.

Readers love The Songs of Us:

‘Rarely does a book come along that is as unique and mesmerising as The Songs Of Us‘ 

‘Reminiscent of (and in my humble opinion right up there with) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and Cecilia Ahern’s PS I Love You

‘It had me laughing and crying in equal measures’

My Thoughts

The imagery Emma Cooper’s writing evoked in the first few pages made me splutter and a chuckle and I knew I was going to enjoy this book.  The writing is strong and I instantly connected to the flawed characters of the King’s dysfunctional but loving family unit.  Melody, Flynn, and Rose share their perspectives as they all cope with the consequences of Melody’s neurological condition in their own way. I cringed and laughed with them as Melody’s singing provided many unforgettable moments. The premise of singing when anxious sounded absurd but it quickly becomes believable.  Emma Cooper has a talent for blending humour with heartbreak to produce a unique, warm, funny, heartbreaking and memorable read. I have yet to start a new book days later because it refuses to let me go.

I wish I could see the sculptures and art created in the book; they are described in intricate detail and they sound stunning.

Music plays a huge role in the story so expect many earworms or involuntary singing along while reading.  The clever use of songs adds to the flow and pace of the novel. I was delighted to discover an accompanying playlist on Spotify.

Would I recommend?

This is one of my favourite books in this genre and once it is released will live on my forever shelf. It reminds me of Sophie Kinsella and Jojo Moyes at their best. You will need a box of tissues from the start to wipe the tears from laughter and sobbing.

I can not wait to read more from this novelist.

Happy reading!

Kate Kenzie's Blog