blog tour, books

Blog Tour: Blind Pony – Samantha Hart

BlindPony copy

Welcome to the blog tour for Blind Pony, a memoir by Samantha Hart! Read on for details and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!

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Blind Pony

Publication Date: March 15th, 2021

Genre: Memoir/ Biography
When your mother names you after your father’s affair, you might wish you were living someone else’s life.

For Samantha Hart, growing up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania had been no childhood idyll but rather a violent, surreal nightmare. A twisted vision of pastoral life part Faulkner part Dante. At fourteen years old, she ran away in search of her father, a character she only knew as Wild Bill. Discovering he wasn’t the hero she dreamt he’d be, she was on her own.

Arriving in Los Angeles at the peak of LA’s decadence where money, drugs, and good times flowed, she floated through a strange new world of champagne-soaked parties, high-stakes backgammon tournaments, and a whirlwind of international escapades flogging nude photographs. When a wealthy playboy mistakes her Pittsburgh accent for being British, it begins a spiral of white lies leading Sam to question everything she thought she knew about herself and who she could be.

Blind Pony is a story of healing and hope, a coming of age narrative intersecting themes of recovery, redemption, forgiveness, and the struggle it takes to define life on your terms.

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Excerpt

”A FAREWELL TO THE FARM”

I opened the door to the barn with a bit of trepidation. The smells that once pervaded my senses—new-mown hay, leather, and living animals—had turned to a dank, musty odor. I held Vignette’s hand as we stepped carefully past the empty stalls, ready for something sinister to jump out at any moment. We ventured toward a stable in the back, and above us was the plaque I carved with a wood burner, the name “Misty.” Misty was born when I was eight years old and was the offspring of my beloved pony, Princess.

“Follow me.” I darted up the narrow wooden stairs. Vignette stayed close on my heels as we headed to my grandfather’s abandoned workshop to rummage around for something to pry off the sign. The remnants of a moonshine distillery sat cloaked in dust in an open cabinet, and as I breathed in the musky air, I could feel my grandfather’s presence and hear the nasty whistling sound he made when he was coming for me.

“Mommy, are you crying?”

“No, honey, got some dust in my eyes. Let’s get out of here.”

I grabbed the crowbar, intent on rescuing Misty’s sign. It was a relic from my childhood, and I was unwilling to leave it to the wrecking ball.

“So, Misty was your pony, Mommy?”

“No, but she was my pony Princess’ baby, just like you are my baby. That’s why I got to name her and made this sign for her. Look, I have a scar on my finger where I burned myself making that sign.”

“That must have hurt. I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you, too.” Equal measures of joy and sorrow overwhelmed me, conjured by a place I thought I would never see again. We traipsed outside so I could stow the plaque inside the car, and Vignette spotted an old tractor.

“Look at this cool tractor, Mommy! Can I climb on it?”

“Yes, but be careful,” I said. My mind drifted. I could almost hear the chatter between my sisters and me as we saddled up at the corral to take our horses out for trail rides.

Princess was blind in one eye, so she kept a slower pace than the other horses as we galloped up past the oil rig with its rhythmic chugging and stench of old black oil. The sound of thundering hoofs would ring in my ears, and by the time we reached the top of Gobbler’s Knob, the view would be invisible through the thick cloud of dust, and I’d be as blind as Princess.

The past was so vivid, I almost forgot I wanted to capture this moment with Vignette. As I went back to the car to retrieve my camera, the familiar sound of the gravel crunching beneath my feet unspooled memories of a story my mother had repeated to me throughout my childhood.

Late one night, Bill Butter pulled into the gravel driveway well past midnight. Dean Martin’s just-released record “Volare” blared over the car radio. Bill continued his drunken crooning after turning off the ignition,

though, in his stupor, he left the headlights on. My mother, Clara, peered out the upstairs window to see her husband silhouetted by the car’s lights, stumbling up the stone path, cigarette dangling from his mouth, and a bottle of whiskey clutched in his hand. Annoyed and embarrassed by his returning from these late-night trysts with other women, which had become too frequent, she climbed back into bed, pretending to be asleep, and got tangled up in her oversized flannel nightgown.

A gust of frosty Pennsylvania wind followed Bill up the stairs to the bedroom. He pulled his pants down just far enough to expose his stiffened penis, then threw himself on top of his wife while endeavoring, with frustration, to unravel the nightgown.

Clara realized her best option for keeping their small children from waking was to make way for the inevitable drunken thrust between her naked thighs. When he found his way to an orgasm, he hollered out the name of his current mistress, Pammy Sue, and unceremoniously deposited the seed that would grow into a girl destined to be nothing but trouble. The first sign of said trouble began the very next morning with a dead car battery.

Nine months later, my mother gave birth to her fourth child on the first day of fall. Dad thought I would be a boy, and he named me Sam. Maybe he hoped I would be a boy so he could stop hearing about Pammy Sue. As luck would have it, he pulled four aces. I was his fourth daughter.

My mother’s frozen heart determined to immortalize her husband’s infidelity and spelled it out on the birth certificate. But for as long as I knew my dad, he never called me by any other name but Sam. I always thought the name suited me. My mother prodded me so often with the reason my name was Pammy that my official name repulsed me.

Vignette tugged on my sleeve and snapped me back to reality. “Mommy, mommy, can we go now? I’m hungry,” she moaned. “Me too,” I said, and we went back into the car. I threw my camera on the back seat along with the “Misty” sign, figuring I had enough memories of the place. Nothing could change what happened here.

As my daughter and I drove down Clever Road, I glanced back at the old farmhouse in the rearview mirror one last time. It would soon disappear forever, along with the lilac and forsythia bushes and delicate lilies of the valley that poked through the spring thaw each year. The springhouse and the old maple tree where I hugged my grandmother for the last time would be gone.

But they would live on in my memories, along with many things I wished I could forget

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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Samantha Hart’s career has spanned music, film, and advertising, earning her a reputation as an award-winning Creative Director. Her creative marketing campaigns brought prominence and Academy Awards to films such as Fargo, Dead Man Walking, and Boys Don’t Cry while earning cult status for independent features, Dazed and Confused, Four Weddings and A Funeral, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

With her partner, Sam built a successful company in the advertising industry, Foundation, with over forty employees and offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. Foundation earned distinction as an early disrupter of the traditional production and post-production models combining the two under one roof.

In 2017, Sam launched Wild Bill Creative which is a creative ideation company working with brand clients, non-profits, and start-ups.

Sam currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, director James Lipetzky, and their sons, Davis and Denham.
Samantha Hart

Giveaway: Signed Copy of Blind Pony (Canada and US only)
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Blog Tour Schedule

August 16th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@greeneyedgirl0704 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/greeneyedgirl0704/

August 17th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Read & Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

August 18th

@cindyroesel_readsandwrites (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/cindyroesel_readsandwrites/

Jessica Belmont (Spotlight) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@happily_undignified (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/happily_undignified/

August 19th

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

@esmeralda_lagiggles18 (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/esmeralda_lagiggles18/

August 20th

Kristin’s Novel Café (Review) https://knovelcafe.wordpress.com/

Freelance Writer Janny (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/

@booknerdkat (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/booknerdkat/

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

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Blog Tour: Inventing the Future – Albert Cory

InventingtheFuture copy

Welcome to the blog tour for the fascinating new release by Albert Cory, Inventing the Future! Read on for more info and a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

“Inventing the Future is Based on the True Story of the Xerox Star, the Computer that Changed Everything”

57138737Inventing the Future

Publication Date: August 10th, 2021

Genre: Based on a True Story/ Historical Fiction/ Technologies

Imagine a time before everyone stared at a screen, before fonts, icons, mice, and laser printers, before Apple and Microsoft… But behind the scenes, Xerox engineers were dreaming and inventing the modern personal computer.

Who were these people who changed the world, and why did corporate management just want to sell copiers and printers?

Albert Cory* was one of the engineers, charged with making that dream a reality and unknowingly starting a revolution. Inventing the Future is based on the true story of the Xerox Star, the computer that changed everything.

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Excerpt

It was finally happening. After almost five years of labor by 250-plus people, the Office of the Future was here. Despite the prayers for them, 64K memory chips had not appeared. Michael had gotten corporate approval to increase the manufacturing cost with an extra 64K words of memory. Star now had 256K words, or 512K bytes of main memory. The performance was still poor, but at least it was tolerable now.

Star had been announced and demoed in New York already, and this week was the National Computer Conference in Chicago, starting Monday, May 4, 1981 and lasting until Thursday. Dan had volunteered to man the Xerox booth for all four days. He flew out to Chicago on the Sunday morning before it started, but with the time change, it was past dinner when he finally arrived at McCormick Place.

Dan read the Sunday Chicago Tribune. 

In Business, Compushop was offering an Apple II starter system for $1,595. But then buried deep inside the section, Dan found what he was looking for, a story about the Star. It began:

Xerox terminal has symbols, not codes

Managers and professional workers haven’t been the best customers for automated office equipment like computer terminals.

Maybe it’s because they are more accustomed to pointing and selecting material rather than typing out explicit commands.

Maybe it’s because they can’t type.

The article quoted a Xerox marketing executive, who explained that the Star was aimed at “managers or professionals who produce documents, reports, or charts.” It explained how the mouse worked. The executive went on to explain that the Star system cost $15,595, but “technological advances will allow price reductions in the future.” Star would be demonstrated at the National Computer Conference at McCormick Place this week.

Dan, Janet, Martin, Henry, and the rest of the Xeroids were continuously busy, explaining the Star to curious attendees. Visitors could try a mouse, and lots of them did—almost no one had ever used a mouse before. A technical staffer had brought a box full of spare mice and swapped in a new one every hour since the accumulated dirt and finger oil from all the guests made the rubber balls in the mice sticky.

As each hour approached, people began gathering around the monitors to see the demos. By noon, they were waiting 10 minutes before the hour. Michael stationed himself near the left side monitor, where he kept busy talking to reporters, executives, and random attendees. Michael watched the crowd closely, and he noticed that Steve Jobs, one of the Apple founders, came every hour, surrounded by other guys Michael didn’t know. He knew that Jobs had visited PARC the year before last for a demo of the Alto and Smalltalk, but he hadn’t seen Star before. He had supposedly asked, “Why isn’t Xerox doing anything with this?” Now, he found out they were.

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About the Author

*Albert Cory is a pen name for Bob Purvy, a retired software engineer who worked on the Xerox Star. In his career he also worked at Burroughs, 3Com, Oracle, Packeteer, and Google. All characters are fictional and are composites of the scientists, engineers, and executives who lived the story, with the exception of the auto-biographical character, Dan Markunas. The other two main characters, Janet Saunders and Grant Avery, are completely fictional, and are not in any way representative of the real people who had their jobs (note: the author makes clear which events are real and which are composites in the Endnotes).

Albert Cory

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Blog Tour: Clothes… and Other Things That Matter – Alexandra Shulman*

In Clothes… and other things that matter, Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women’s lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world – the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity. By turns funny, refreshingly self-deprecating and often very moving, this startlingly honest memoir from the exEditor of British Vogue will encourage women of all ages to consider what their own clothes mean to them, the life they live in them and the stories they tell. Shulman explores the person our clothes allow us to be – and sometimes the person they turn us into.

Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992–2017, the magazine’s longest serving editor. She has been Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and is an honorary fellow of the University of the Arts. She won 2017 Periodical Publisher’s Association Editor’s Editor Award and The Drapers Award 2017 for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. She is Vice President of The London Library and was awarded the CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List. She has a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday, is a contributor to other national newspapers and has written two novels: Can We Still Be Friends? (2012) and The Parrots (2015). Inside Vogue: The Diary of My 100th Year was published by Fig Tree in October 2016 and sold more than 30,000 copies in hardback and paperback (Nielsen TCM). Alexandra was featured in a three-part primetime BBC series on Vogue’s centenary year in 2016.

My thoughts: I find Alexandra Shulman quite interesting, years ago I used to read her newspaper column and I watched the Vogue documentary series on TV. She doesn’t fit the mould we imagine Vogue editors to fit – think more Anna Wintour (US Vogue’s legendary editor) or Meryl Streep’s version of her in The Devil Wears Prada. Shulman is not as slick and glamorous as them, although still hugely privileged and wearing designer clothes.

I don’t buy Vogue, I never have, I could get half a dozen secondhand paperbacks from the charity shop for one glossy catalogue of adverts, which is after all what a fashion magazine is. I don’t buy into the mythology around it but I remain intrigued by the allure of these things. I contemplated writing about magazines as part of Masters in literature and material culture – they might not seem like the former but they’re definitely the latter.

This collection of short essays on the different types of clothes Shulman catalogues in her wardrobe allow her to explore her personal history, from her grandmother’s millinery as a refugee in Canada, her parents’ careers in the British media (her father was at one point the Evening Standard’s theatre critic and her mother an editor), her relationships, her career in the press and her many famous friends and acquaintances.

It’s an interesting angle for a memoir – something many of us can relate to – we all have those items of clothing that hold meaning and memory within them. The shoes I wore to my wedding or the jumper that signifies comfort, knowing that putting it on is like a hug. While my wardrobe contains no high price labels, it does contain a multitude of moods to slip on, personas to project through my outfits. And it is this that Shulman shares within her book.

The suit she wore when starting out as a young journalist, the perfect dress that works whenever and wherever it’s worn. The reason we wear certain things and what it says about us. She’s very disinterested in worrying about the way she looks, mocking the media fuss over a photo she posted a few years ago on Instagram of herself in a bikini on holiday. She’s aware that the slim models she championed through her time at Vogue and the people behind the scenes, like herself, are very different. Fashion magazines promote a sort of fantasy world of beauty and glamour that the average person probably won’t ever attain.

There is a note of bitterness about the way women are objectified, pointing out that her successor at Vogue, Edward Enninful, won’t have his appearance, dress size and figure commented upon the way she did. That we always circle around a woman’s body looking for flaws, while men mostly sail blithely on.

I enjoyed the way writes about the history of clothing, not just the personal side, but how for example denim jeans, originally workwear, have become so much a part of fashion that pairs sell for upwards of a thousand pounds. Or how hats, once a staple of ladies wear are now worn by only the fortunate few who suit them.

This was a very interesting book, that I think appeals quite broadly to people interested in fashion, history, memoir and Shulman herself (I’m interested in all of those things btw). I just wish the photos had been printed in colour – in a book about clothes being able to actually see what’s described makes a difference.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Secrets of the Mummy Concierge – Tiffany Norris*

Create a unique baby name that no one has ever used before… tick
Organise a delivery room photoshoot with hair and make-up for mum-to-be… tick
Arrange a surprise ‘I’m pregnant’ gift for a client’s partner – a cast of her vagina before she gives birth… tick

All in a day’s work for the Mummy Concierge…

Tiffany Norris is the one and only concierge for parenthood in the UK today. Acting as a baby’s personal assistant, on-call therapist and social director, Tiffany strives to be the ultimate parent protector, peacekeeper and negotiator when it comes to bringing a new tiny human into the world. Where demands go way beyond late-night food cravings and into the luxurious world of the super-rich, Tiffany is on hand to help with all kinds of seemingly impossible requests.
From opulent nurseries and stylists for new-borns to 3am calls worrying about just not being enough, Tiffany also shares her own rollercoaster journey to motherhood, as well as speaking honestly about her post-natal depression. Secrets of the Mummy Concierge reminds us all that being a new parent is one of the hardest jobs on earth.
And luckily, The Mummy Concierge is here to help.


Tiffany Norris is a no-nonsense mummy concierge, journalist and pregnancy guru who has worked with hundreds of pregnant mothers, and supports every woman who needs her help with tips and guidance – and sometimes just a listening ear. She is a journalist and presenter for Mumsnet, has written for Cosmo and Grazia and is an expert for The Baby Show. Tiffany owns and runs The Mummy Masterclasses parenting workshops for soon-to-be and new parents. She was the winner of the prestigious Jacqueline Gold women in Business award and has won the Theo Pathetis small business award. Tiffany would love to hear from you – do say hi to her or find out more on: INSTAGRAM, TWITTER and on her WEBSITE

My thoughts:

I don’t have kids but a lot of my friends are either already parents or planning to be soon so this was interesting to read. I don’t think any of them would be able to hire Tiffany or need to, unlike her high maintenance clients, who often need help with the strangest things.

Bits of the book were really funny, the bonkers requests, the strange names some people give their children, the incredibly busy lifestyles of toddlers. But other moments are very sad, the client who’s just had a miscarriage, the nursery that won’t get used. I think what a lot of the clients need is a best friend or their own mum but instead turn to Tiffany for the things they need, and sometimes don’t really.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Shadowy Third – Julia Parry*

A sudden death in the family delivers Julia a box of love letters. Dusty with age, they reveal an illicit affair between the celebrated twentieth-century Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen and Humphry House – Julia’s grandfather.

So begins an intriguing quest to discover and understand this affair, one with profound repercussions for Julia’s family, not least for her grandmother, Madeline.

This is a book about how stories are told in real life, in fiction and in families. Inspired by Bowen’s own obsession with place and memory, Julia travels to all the locations in the letters – from Kolkata to Cambridge and from Ireland to Texas.

The reader is taken from the rarefied air of Oxford in the 1930s, to the Anglo-Irish Big House, to the last days of Empire in India and on into the Second World War.

The fascinating unpublished correspondence, a wealth of family photographs, and a celebrated supporting cast that includes Isaiah Berlin and Virginia Woolf add further richness to this unique work.

The Shadowy Third opens up a lost world, one with complex and often surprising attitudes to love and sex, work and home, duty and ambition, and to writing itself.

Weaving present-day story telling with historical narrative, this is a beautifully written debut of literary and familial investigation from an original and captivating new voice.

Julia Parry was brought up in West Africa and educated at St Andrews and Oxford. She teaches English literature and has worked as a writer and photographer for a variety of publications and charities. She lives in London and Madrid. This is her first book.

My thoughts:

This was utterly fascinating and totally absorbing a read. As someone whose own family has a few mysteries, I could completely relate to the author’s desire to follow in her grandparents footsteps and unravel the complex relationships at the heart of this book.

I read Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day at uni, but we focused more on the text than the writer, so it was also interesting to learn more about her life, and its web of affairs, especially the way Parry connects Bowen’s written works, short stories and novels, to the parallels in her own life.

Part biography, part mystery, part memoir, this was a truly brilliant debut, well written and expertly paced, as you travel with Parry to Kolkata, Ireland, and across the UK.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: The Trials & Tribulations of a Pet Sitter – Laura Marchant*

Hilarious and heart warming true stories of a Pet Sitter.

Laura takes us on her journey describing the immense joy that the animals have brought into her
life. But it’s not all fun and games.

With sometimes as many as ten dogs around her home, things
can get a tad hectic. Not to forget the every day challenges faced in keeping the pets happy and safe when out walking. Luckily she is not alone in her quest; her unusually dominant Golden Retriever ‘Brece’ is always by her side. Brece earns her keep
by convincingly playing the part of the alpha female, ensuring harmony amongst the pack.

At times, the responsibility that Laura faces becomes overwhelming. She may think she has everything covered but that hand of fate could quite easily swoop down, creating havoc for her and the dogs. Laura has endured many close calls and teetered on the precipice of disaster may a time.

The longer she continues with her pet sitting enterprise, the more likely hood that total disaster will actually strike. Is she tempting fate?

Laura Marchant is the Bridget Jones of the pet sitting world!

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About the author

Laura Marchant was born in 1959 in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England. Both her parents were born in the same town, so not exactly a family of intrepid travellers!
As a child Laura and her siblings were fortunate enough to own shares in the families pets.

Unbeknown to Laura at the time, her love for the animals formed the blueprint for a large part of her life. In 2011 she finally found her vocation, and in the comfort of her own home, set up a pet boarding business.

For the next 7 years she shared her abode with a pack of dogs. A lot of this time was spent watching over the animals and observing their behaviour, which in turn inspired her to write her first novel ‘Trials and Tribulations of a Pet Sitter’.

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My thoughts:

As someone who has done some pet sitting and dog walking I related so much to the chaos and characters Laura deals with in her book. From crazy dogs to OTT owners, her own dominant Brece (pronounced Bressay) who bosses the guest dogs about, runaways and furniture destroyers. Laura has dealt with a whole host of canines, felines and humans.

This was a fun and funny read, Laura brings her animal clients to life with their adventures and I could really see each creature as she tells the story of how she came to know them and love them.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Tour: Mine – Alison Knight*

“What’s mine, I keep.”

London, 1968.
Lily’s dreams of a better life for her family are shattered when her teenage daughter refuses to give
up her illegitimate child. It doesn’t help that Lily’s husband, Jack, takes their daughter’s side.

Taking refuge in her work at a law firm in the City, Lily’s growing feelings for her married boss soon
provides a dangerous distraction.

Will Lily be able to resist temptation? Or will the decisions made by these ordinary people lead them
down an extraordinary path thatcould destroy them all?

Mine – a powerful story of class, ambition and sexual politics.

Amazon UK
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INVITATION TO AN ONLINE BOOK LAUNCH: On Saturday 28th November 2020, Alison will be joining
four other authors for a joint event via Zoom called Darkstroke Defined: The five writers will talk about their new books, read extracts and answer questions. For your free ticket, click here.

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher.

She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s
and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

Mine is a domestic drama set in 1960s London based on real events in her family. She is the only person who can tell this particular story. Exploring themes of class, ambition and sexual
politics, Mine shows how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a
member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

Website Publisher

Creative Writing Workshops

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My thoughts:

This was a shocking and gripping story, made even more so by being based on the author’s own family.

The story of Jack, Lily and Leo is tragic and painful – not exactly how you imagine a love story to go but it does happen. Lily and Leo want to spare others from pain but love is hard to ignore.

Written with love and the characters are brought vividly to life, as is 60s London, I could picture the houses and businesses perfectly.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Blog Post: Busting the Brass Ceiling – Fanchon Blake & Linden Gross

BustingTheBrassCeiling

Congratulations to author Linden Gross on the release of Fanchon Blake’s fascinating story, Busting the Brass Ceiling!

Read on for more details and an exclusive excerpt from the book!

BustingBrassCeiling-eBook-Cover_for publication

Busting the Brass Ceiling: How a Heroic Female Cop Changed the Face of Policing

Publication Date: November 20th, 2020

Genre: Non-Fiction/ Police/ History/ Women in History

FANCHON BLAKE joined the LAPD in 1948 and walked a beat in a skirt and heels for three years. Her ambition to rise in the ranks would be curtailed by an increasingly discriminatory agenda, but her relentless tenacity finally led to a promotion to sergeant nineteen years later. When LAPD policy barred her from rising any further and threatened to eliminate women from the department, she sued. The historic case would change the face of policing around the country.

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Excerpt

Enough!

The words CONFIDENTIAL SURVEY caught my attention. I picked up the paper and read: A Survey to Justify Why Men Do Not Want to Work with Policewomen. I loved the LAPD. But I sure didn’t love the way they treated the women on the force. Were things about to get worse?

I looked around the LAPD squad room, where I worked as a detective investigating forgery, but no one was paying attention to me. I gazed again at the paper I held. It was from the chief’s office, complete with an authenticated signature. For years, I had protested the fact that no new women officers were being hired, and that a substantial number of female sworn officers had already been reassigned to desk jobs. Now it seemed that management was setting up a justification to eliminate women from the job altogether.

Surely, the chief had more brains than to try to circulate something as bizarre as this survey, but nobody else would dare take that kind of action without his knowledge. I couldn’t let this go unchallenged. I would have to flush it out into the open, which meant confronting the chief. I couldn’t do that alone. He would crucify me.

I convinced the president of the Los Angeles Policewomen’s Association to ask the chief to explain the blatantly anti-female survey to his female officers. Surprisingly, he agreed to meet with us on January 10, 1971.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

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LINDEN GROSS is a bestselling writer. She ghostwrote Julia “Butterfly” Hill’s New York Times bestseller The Legacy of Luna (HarperCollins, 2000). Publishers Weekly wrote that Hill’s “firsthand exposition of destructive forest practices … is extremely powerful, and her book, a remarkable inspirational document, records a courageous act of civil disobedience that places her squarely in the tradition of Thoreau.” Gross is also the writer behind Kathryn and Craig Hall’s national bestseller, A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery (Center Street, 2016).

Gross has authored, co-authored, or ghostwritten an additional eight books, including Ms. Cahill for Congress (Ballantine, 2008), the stirring tale of public school teacher Tierney Cahill, who on a dare from her class ran for U.S. Congress, and Surviving a Stalker: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Yourself Safe (Incubation Press, 2013), a revised edition of To Have Or To Harm (Grand Central Publishing, 1994), the first book written about the stalking of ordinary people. Gross also functions as a writing coach and an editor, helping other people to write their nonfiction books and novels, several of which have gone on to become bestsellers.
Linden Gross

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Princess of Felling – Elaine Cusack*

The Princess of Felling describes Elaine’s childhood and adolescence growing up on Tyneside in the 1970s and 1980s. The book pays homage to her home town of Felling on Tyne and is an extended, loving letter to her late parents.

This illustrated poetic memoir features a Foreword by Michael Chaplin, photographs of Felling taken in summer 2018 by Rossena Petcova and unique maps by poet and artist Steve Lancaster.

The book contains reminiscences by Felling folk plus guest appearances by Nick Heyward, David Almond, Tracey Thorn, Sir Kingsley Amis, The Reverend Richard Coles, Lady Elsie Robson, U.A. Fanthorpe, Gyles Brandreth and more.

Buy your copy in person from selected outlets including Hexham’s Cogito Books, Felling Volunteer Library, Newcastle Central Library, Happy Planet Studio and Gallery in Whitley Bay and online from Elaine’s publisher http://www.limelightclassics.com.

Find out more about Elaine’s writing and forthcoming gigs by visiting http://www.dipdoomagazoo.wordpress.com, http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/cusackmansions and by liking her Elaine Cusack writer page on Facebook.

The Princess of Felling by Elaine Cusack resonates with readers of all ages. As actress and Felling lass Jill Halfpenny says in the book, “Reading Elaine’s stories and poetry takes me back to my childhood in Felling and all of the smells, sounds and tastes of that time. Her words allow me to remember things that I didn’t know I’d forgotten.”

READERS’ COMMENTS

“It’s perfect! I picture it like the Hundred Acre Wood…only in Felling. Just as magic, though.”

“Was so tempted to gobble this down in one sitting but forced myself to savour small delightful morsels. Just beautiful. And I’d forgotten all about skinshees!”

“In parts it’s educational, nostalgic, humorous, sometimes evoking sad memories for me and lovely memories too. The story telling is seamless and impressive; I summed it up as being a delight!”

“It isn’t long enough! You get to the end and you want more! I love that it’s full of nostalgia and gentle pathos, but shot through with such a delightful, whimsical humour. It’s made me do what I never imagined I’d do: roam around the streets of Felling on Google Earth, looking for the places where these magic events occurred.”

My thoughts:

Something different today, a part memoir, part collection, part making of here as poet and writer Elaine Cusack revisits her childhood in Felling on Tyne. Family photos add to the memories and history Elaine shares with us, taking the story of her life from her first home on Nursery Lane to her moving away for university and then returning as an adult to revisit the places she remembers so fondly.

There is a strong sense of time and place in Elaine’s memoir, aided by recollections of the TV and music of the time.

This was an interesting and clearly deeply personal ode to a small North East town.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.