I’ve been wanting to do a showcase on books set in the 1960s by other authors after writing my own novel, Out of Night. I asked an online community of authors and readers for their recommendations, and boy did they deliver! Here are ten books set in the changing times of the decade that we’ll always remember.
Story of a Country Boy by Val Portelli
A gritty saga set in 1960s London, it’s a perfect read for those that want to devour a story in one sitting.
Ridley Road by Jo Bloom
For fans of Maggie O’Farrell and Sadie Jones, amid the rise of fascism in sixties London, one woman searches for her lost love . . . Summer, 1962. Twenty-year-old Vivien Epstein, a Jewish hairdresser from Manchester, arrives in London following the death of her father. Alone in the world, she is looking for Jack Fox, a man she had a brief but intense love affair with some months before. But the only address she has for him leads to a dead end.
Determined to make a new life for herself, Vivien convinces Barb, the owner of Oscar’s hair salon in Soho, to give her a job. There, she is swept into the colourful world of the sixties – the music and the fashions, the coffee bars and clubs.
But still, Vivien cannot forget Jack. As she continues to look for him, her search leads her into the fight against resurgent fascism in East London, where members of the Jewish community are taking to the streets, in and around Ridley Road. Then one day Vivien finally spots Jack, but her joy is short-lived when she discovers his secret.
For UK readers, this book is being adapted by BBC1 as a television series, and filming started in September 2020.No air date time announced as of yet.
Not the Life Imagined by Anne Pettigrew
A darkly humorous, thought-provoking story of Scottish medical students in the sixties, a time of changing social and sexual mores. None of the teenagers starting at Glasgow University in 1967 live the life they imagine. Beth Slater is shocked at how few female medical students there are and that some people, such as Conor Towmey, think they shouldn’t be there at all. Devastated by a close friend’s suicide, Beth uncovers a revealing diary and vows to find the person responsible for her death. Struggling with the pressure of exams while supporting friends though disasters, Beth charts the students’ changing, often stormy, relationships over two decades in a contemporary backdrop of Free Love, the Ibrox Football Disaster, the emergence of HIV and DNA forensics. In time, indiscretions surface with dire consequences for some. In Not the Life Imagined, retired medic Anne Pettigrew has written a tale of ambition and prejudice laced with sharp observations, irony and powerful perceptions that provide a humorous and compelling insight into the complex dynamics of the NHS fifty years ago.
The Girls from Greenway: A nostalgia saga perfect for fans of Daisy Styles and Rosie Clark by Elizabeth Woodcraft
A dramatic and nostalgic saga of two sisters coming of age in 1960s Essex.
Angie Smith lives in Greenway, Chelmsford, with her elder sister Doreen, their struggling mother and their drunk, violent father. Bored of her job, and of her dull, ordinary boyfriend, Angie dreams of bigger and better things.
But then she meets boutique owner Gene Battini. He is older, handsome, charming – and married. She is completely swept off her feet. But little does she know that Doreen is falling for Gene, too, and that their affair will have disastrous consequences.
As things at home go from bad to worse, Angie and Doreen must struggle to fight for what they want.
Can the girls from Greenway ever achieve their dreams?
‘[A] beautifully written saga which brims with the spirit of youth and is rich in period detail.’ Lancashire Evening Post
Kanyakumari by Hazel Manuel
Written during three separate trips to India and is set in that country. It is an unusual and powerful tale of friendship, danger and loss as three women find themselves alone in India, each facing some of her deepest fears and challenges.
When close friends and seasoned travellers, Rachel and Gina, take a trip to India, Rachel expects the usual round of sight-seeing and collecting experiences, but she is not prepared for the secret that Gina is harbouring. Interwoven with this unfolding drama is the story of Sandrine, who writes letters home to her brother as she travels around India in the late 60s.
In a tense narrative that moves between two periods, we take a journey that is both sumptuous and dark. Has Rachel placed herself in danger? What is at the root of Gina s anxiety? And what is Sandrine s place in this story of three women making interior journeys as they travel?
Mrs. Murray’s Ghost by Emily-Jane Hills Orford
It’s 1967 and Mary’s family has moved into a huge Victorian mansion. She loves her gigantic new house, especially her room. But then she begins to meet the house’s other residents. Mrs. Murray was murdered in Mary’s new house. At first she tries to scare the new residents away, but there seems to be a force connecting the ghost to Mary. Even the stranded Brownies, the little people who live between the walls, feel that connection. When Mary becomes deathly ill, the Brownies and the ghost team up to try to rescue her, only to encounter a witch and her evil dragons and minions. Time is running out. They must rescue Mary from a fever-induced dream world before she is trapped there forever.
Storm Clouds Gathering by Pauline Barclay
Storm clouds are gathering, silently and slowly, too far away to worry about. Or so it seems. But ignoring what is brewing will have dire consequences for the people caught up in the maelstrom.
Shirley Burton is too busy cheating on her husband, having a laugh and looking for fun to alleviate the boredom of her childless marriage. Kathleen Mitchell is too wrapped up in running around after her beautiful family to worry about her health. Anne Simpson has two things on her mind: her forthcoming marriage to Paul Betham, who seems to want to control her, and her career, which she does not want to give up.
Can Shirley really expect to deceive her husband and get away with it? Can Kathleen hold it all together, and is Anne able to have the best of everything?
Storm Clouds Gathering is a story of human emotion, passion and heart-rending grief. Set against the backdrop of the mid-sixties, these three families will be tested to the limit as betrayal, loss and love threaten to change their lives forever.
Living in the Shadows by Judith Barrow
Sequel to the acclaimed Changing Patterns and Pattern of Shadows. It’s 1969 and Mary Schormann is living quietly in Wales with her ex-POW husband, Peter, and her teenage twins, Richard and Victoria. Her niece, Linda Booth, is a nurse – following in Mary’s footsteps – and works in the maternity ward of her local hospital in Lancashire. At the end of a long night shift, a bullying new father visits the maternity ward and brings back Linda’s darkest nightmares, her terror of being locked in. Who is this man, and why does he scare her so? There are secrets dating back to the war that still haunt the family, and finding out what lies at their root might be the only way Linda can escape their murderous consequences.
Her Mother’s Secret by Jane Baynham
A wonderful sixties saga from a promising new talent. Highly recommended.
It’s 1969 and free-spirited artist Elin Morgan has left Wales for a sun-drenched Greek island. As she makes new friends and enjoys the laidback lifestyle, she writes all about it in her diary. But Elin’s carefree summer of love doesn’t last long, and her island experience ultimately leaves her with a shocking secret … Twenty-two years later, Elin’s daughter Alexandra has inherited the diary and is reeling from its revelations. The discovery compels Alexandra to make her own journey to the same island, following in her mother’s footsteps. Once there, she sets about uncovering what really happened to Elin in that summer of ’69.
To Brighton and Back and A Little Drop of Moonshineby Deirdre Palmer
One weekend in Brighton. And nothing will ever be the same again.
Four young Londoners – Carol-Anne, Jeanette, Terry, and Mark – head to Brighton for a weekend of seaside fun. Dancing, drinking, and a whole lot of lovin’ are high on the agenda, not necessarily in that order. It’s the Swinging Sixties, a time of freedom, so why not?
But behind the bravado lurk more insecurities than there are pebbles on Brighton beach. Each of the weekenders has a secret. Nobody is quite what they seem, especially Jeanette, whose problems run deeper than anyone could begin to imagine. When she disappears on a night out, tensions rise as her friends struggle to work out what to do.
They agree on two points: no parents, no police. Where they come from, people sort out their own problems. But can Carol-Anne, Terry and Mark really handle the situation without help, or is this too big, even for them?
A hot summer’s night when anything seems possible, no dream out of reach. Then everything changes.
As Apollo 11 hurtles into space and Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon, young Londoners Carol-Anne, Terry, and Mark join the celebrations at an all-night party in a holiday camp in Devon. But as the cheers go up for the astronauts, one of their group is missing: Carol-Anne’s teenage sister, Beverly.
When Beverly is discovered in tears back at their caravan, she has a story to tell that knocks the moonwalk into second place. But is she telling the truth?
The special night falls into chaos as loyalties are tested to the limit, with accusations hurled about like beach balls.
With Beverly becoming more of a liability by the minute, the best plan is to return to London. But once they’re back home, each of the group is forced to confront the troubles they thought they’d left behind.
A Little Drop of Moonshine is the sequel to To Brighton and Back but can equally well be enjoyed on its own.
You’ve been waiting for it, and the day is finally here! Out of Night is out now! To celebrate, I’m hosting two giveaways!
Want to win a signed copy of Out of Night and a $25 Amazon gift card? Then head on over to my Facebook author page! I’m hosting a giveaway all week long, and I’ll draw the lucky winner at random on June 29th!
As Covid-19 is affecting all of us right now and signings are impossible, I’m also giving away free book swag! Send me an email with your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send you a signed bookmark! Hopefully one day we can meet again in person, but until then, this one way to stay connected!
Today on my blog, I welcome author KT King as she introduces her Little Eden series and the inspiration behind it, and two lovely excerpts! Welcome KT!
The Little Eden Series
Little Eden – A Magic Book – Book One
Released 2018 eBook and paperback
A Magic Book opens the heart and expands the mind.
2012. Little Eden, London, England.
The beautiful sanctuary town of Little Eden is under threat.
Human greed, selfishness and disregard are about to turn the last 1,000 years to dust.
Robert Bartlett-Hart must make a choice.
With the help his friends (plus plenty of tea and cake), Robert learns that there is more at stake than just Little Eden.
Something lies at the heart of Abbey; something that stands between mankind and Armageddon.
The friends must navigate past lives, other dimensions, and even Heaven itself, to find a way to save Little Eden and themselves.
Will Little Eden survive to usher in a new age, or will humanity perish with it?
Little Eden, Another Magic Book,Book Two
Released 2020 eBook and paperback
A Magic Book opens the heart and expands the mind.
The story continues…
2012. Little Eden, London, England.
The beautiful sanctuary town of Little Eden is still under threat of sale and demolition.
The friends must re-awaken the past to change the future. But when the spirit world comes closer to help them, there is a price to pay that no one could foresee.
Reviews for The Little Eden Series
Book Two has just come out so here is the very first review of Book Two by unseenwritings…
I loved reading Little Eden so much that I couldn’t put it down…It felt like KT was weaving a beautiful tapestry of magic rather than writing a novel…I enjoyed the mix of all types of spirituality and loved the way ME/CFS was presented. This book deserves all of the stars. Five just isn’t enough…
What readers are saying about Book One…
Magical…My heart is singing…Cosy and delicious….I literally couldn’t put it down…Quirky…Thrilling… Captivating…Enchanting characters…A rollercoaster ride…I was always on tenterhooks…Charming…
A great escape…I opened it and blue sparkles flew out…It really is a magic book…
Little Eden Books thrillingly combine the supernatural and spirituality in a magical mystery set in the cosy, idyllic and ancient sanctuary town of Little Eden. The hero, Robert Bartlett-Hart, goes on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment with the help of his friends and plenty of tea and cake! The novels are a comical yet genuine look at the spirit world based on the work of psychic, healer and ascension coach, KT King.
Excerpt from Book One:
~ * ~
It was a sad beginning to 2012 for the residents of Little Eden, and as it would turn out, it would not be a good year for the rest of mankind either – but more about that later!
First things first…
New Year’s Day was almost over as Robert Bartlett-Hart sat alone in his library sifting carefully through the mounds of newspapers which were strewn all over a capacious mahogany table. The sombre shadow of dusk began to seep into the clear blue January sky, and all at once multifarious reading lamps, scattered randomly amongst the furniture and piles of books, turned themselves on, in perfect unison. Robert poured another cup of tea from his Kyushu and sighed. He fought, ineffectually, with the oversized, dry, rustling broadsheets, trying to tame them by folding and flattening them the best he could. For posterity, Robert attempted to glue the numerous obituaries into the Little Eden archive (a huge, slightly musty, leather-bound book), but the scissors kept losing themselves amongst the unruly sheets and little scraps of paper kept sticking to his hands; no matter how much he tried to shake them off, they just re-stuck somewhere else!
Robert’s silent contemplation was suddenly shattered by the brusque opening of the library door and his mother’s voice slicing through the peaceful air.
“Did you find the obituary I asked Lancelot to put in the Kolkata Times?” Jennifer Bartlett-Hart asked him. She went straight to the large mirror which hung majestically over the sideboard and began adjusting her black, feather-laden hat. She caught sight of a picture of Lilly on the front page of Tatler magazine which lay amongst many others on the table. The magazine was running an old photograph of the glamorous stage star, Lilly Rose, from 1964. Lilly was posing in a ‘Vivienne Westwood’, wearing white go-go boots, long curling fake eyelashes, and her blond hair was peeking out from beneath a jaunty velvet cap.
The headline read:
“A celebration of the life of a Parisian Diva who became a very English Rose. Lilly Rose D’Or. Her life in pictures: pages 10 – 14.”
Jennifer turned away to look in the mirror again. “Lilly hasn’t been Lilly Rose, star of stage and screen, for decades!” she huffed. “I doubt she even has any fans left who remember her! All this fuss and for what? She owned a Café for most of her life for goodness sakes and put on far too much weight eating all those afternoon teas. I don’t think that is much of anything to shout about.”
Robert sighed and ran his fingers through his brown tousled hair. “Thousands of people come every year to her charity concerts, Mother, you know that,” he replied. “And she has been a Trustee with us for over twenty-five years, and a friend to us – all my life at least. I don’t know what we would have done without her all these years.”
“I was the most beautiful woman in London once upon a time,” Jennifer replied, tilting the brim of her hat this way and that to make the most of her features. “I don’t suppose I will be on the cover of a magazine when I die. I had to give up any chance of fame to marry your father and have you boys.” Absently, Jennifer picked up a couple of newspaper clippings and added, “I hope you are nearly ready to go? Collins will be here any minute. Did you hear me Robert?” Jennifer looked admiringly at her long, manicured nails. “It’s just one funeral after another these days. It could just have easily have been me.”
“They say only the good die young,” Robert said under his breath, trying, in vain, to get the glue off his hands.
Jennifer took off her hat and rearranged her hair again, scowling into the glass. “I don’t see why your father insisted Lilly be buried with our family. Lillianna Rose D’Or or whatever she wants to be called this season is not family and never will be, and it is embarrassing for me! Your cousin Lancelot insisted on it. He can find a legal loophole when it suits him – but not when it suits me it seems.”
Robert sighed again. “It was in father’s will, Mother; you know there was nothing anyone could do. We have been over and over it.”
Jennifer grimaced, and wiggled her hips to prevent her black skirt from riding up her long, slender legs. “Your father went on about Lilly endlessly whilst he was alive; I never understood it. We always had to do whatever he wanted! What did he ever care about Little Eden? Off he goes to America with that floosy, Christabelle, without as much as a by your leave! Well! I am not going to go to this sham of a ceremony. The whole thing is just to embarrass me!” With that, she launched herself out of the room and slammed the door behind her.
Robert shrugged, and raised a resigned eyebrow as he dolefully drank the rest of his, now cold, cup of tea, and continued to cut and paste.
After the stomping and the banging of doors had finished, he could hear the sound of his brother, Collins, calling jovially from the hall, “Are you ready?” he called, “Varsity says we’ll be late if you don’t hurry.”
“Varsity can wait!” Jennifer shouted down from the landing. She came tottering back down the stairs wearing a different hat and stiffly kissed her son on both cheeks. “Whoever thought of a memorial service in the evening? I ask you!” she complained.
Jennifer stood on the bottom step of the stairs and started to rearrange her son’s clothing, brushing fluff off his black suit. “This is off the peg!” she said, in disgust. “Where did you get it? The fit is terrible!”
“It’s ‘Lanvin’, Mother,” Collins replied. “Varsity picked it out.”
“I don’t care!” Jennifer replied, straightening his tie. “You have perfectly good bespoke suits. Go upstairs and change. You left an Anderson-Sheppard here last week. Go and put that on. If only Robert had your looks and you had his sense of style – I would be less embarrassed to be seen with you both!”
Collins smiled, and kissed his mother. “The fit is perfect, Mother. Only you would ever notice, no one else will.”
Jennifer snorted. “Well those Lawrence girls certainly won’t notice such details. Lucy dresses dreadfully! They were far too self-confident when they were little girls and I don’t see much improvement over the years.” Jennifer fussed with Collins’ mop of blond hair and he tried to get away from her, afraid she might pull out a hanky and start dabbing his face at any moment! “Robert tells me Sophie isn’t feeling well and is staying at the Café indefinitely. She has some sort of fatigue. I ask you! Tiredness is an illness now, apparently! As if we are not all tired all the time! They are as bad as Lilly and your father with their freedom of speech and their women’s liberation and all that environmental nonsense. Robert’s in the library. There’s caviar on the sideboard – your favourite.”
Collins nonchalantly kissed his mother again, flung open the large panelled door into the library and headed straight for the champagne and canapés. Collins admired his appearance in the mirror and then, turning to the table, he poked at the papers whilst he munched his aperitifs.
“What’s all this?” he asked, in his usual casual manner.
“The obituaries,” Robert responded, without looking up.
“What all of these? Good god! You would think the woman was a saint.” Collins laughed, nearly choking on a piece of crostini.
“I think she was,” Robert mused. “Or she should be!”
Collins smirked, and looked at Robert in the mirror’s reflection. “I suppose I quite liked the old girl myself,” Collins admitted. “Baked a damn good cake! Shame she’s dead.”
“Shame?” Jennifer retorted, marching through the doorway whilst pinning her third choice of hat on her head. “It’s no shame!” she said, pushing her son aside with her hip. “Move, Collins, I need to look in the mirror! Now, perhaps we can have some of the family money to spend for a change?”
Collins downed another quick glass of champers and said, “Talking of money, Mother, I’m a bit short this month.”
“So am I, my dear. Ask your brother! He holds the purse strings around here. He is the one who won’t let us have our own money! Always spending it on the poor or giving it to a charity. Well! Charity begins at home!”
Wearily, Robert pulled on his long cashmere overcoat and replied soberly, “This is not the time to talk about money.”
“Oh come on Bobby, old boy!” Collins said. “With Lilly out of the picture you can hand out the family fortune a bit more. I promised Varsity she could…” Collins paused and grinned, “F**k! Varsity! I left her in the car. She is probably steaming by now!”
Jennifer surveyed herself in the full-length hall mirror. She smiled at herself again in the looking glass but only until she caught sight of Varsity, who was walking up the front steps wearing a magnificent silver fur coat and looking as if she had just finished a photo shoot for Vogue. Collins rushed out onto the porch, put his arm around his wife’s tiny waist and hastily ushered her back into the car.
Robert escorted his mother to the Bentley. Jennifer slid onto the leather seat and into her best finishing school position. She greeted Varsity with a ‘good evening’ and a ‘you look awfully nice.’ She couldn’t help pouting at Varsity’s youthful beauty. To comfort herself, she checked that her finger nails were still in perfect condition.
As the car passed by the end of Adam Street, the ice on the road was treacherous and Dyson, the chauffeur, was taking it slow. By the time they had reached the old Assembly Rooms, on the corner of Knight’s Walk, Jennifer had run out of things to say, so she began rooting about in her handbag for her hanky, pretending she was unable to find it, whilst Varsity occupied herself by refreshing her lipstick.
Eventually, the car pulled up outside the gates of the graceful gothic Sainte Chappelle. It was a dark winter’s eve, but the street lamps gave a cosy glow to Dovecote Street and softened the harshness of the icy chill in the air. As Jennifer stepped out of the car she cockled over on the curb. Robert caught her just in time before she landed face down on the cobbles! She had expected to see some famous guests outside the Chappelle, but looking anxiously around she was relieved that no one was there. She took Robert’s arm and paraded up the lantern-lined path, to be greeted by the singular Reverend Sprott, who was looking rather chilly, but who had been determined to wait outside, in the high and very ornate porch, to meet and greet the Bartlett-Harts. Robert gladly gave his mother over to the Reverend Sprott’s care.
The Chappelle was full of shadows – peppered with sudden bursts of flickering candle light. The glorious gold leaf of the majestic pillars seemed to be on fire, and the towering cobalt blue windows shimmered in a heavenly dance. The delicate, sweet scent of pale pink roses played amongst the deeper, muskier odour of beautiful bright white lilies. The melange of ancient church odours – a faint dampness of stone, wood polish, and carnal fresh flowers – invoked a shiver of ancient memories in the mourners.
Tonight, this holy and most sacred palace of light played host to the friends and family of Lilly D’Or. Not least, to her two beloved nieces, Lucy and Sophie Lawrence, who were standing by a small table which was covered in flowers, bottles of water and a mound of pink crystals. The sisters had been greeting the many mourners for at least half an hour already.
Excerpt from Book Two
~ * ~
Thunder rumbled over the Sainte Chappelle. As she became aware of her surroundings, Sophie was overwhelmed by the scent of damp earth and fresh roses. Oh crap, she thought. I’m in another time portal. Wake up before something horrible happens! But Sophie didn’t wake up…
Five nuns stood, like sentinels, gazing into the stone font in silent prayer. An ivory talisman, carved with the scene of the crucifixion, shimmered beneath the holy waters. In the shadows Sophie couldn’t quite make out the faces of the sisters. She wondered if they were the ones in the photograph, or perhaps they were the saints from her vision dream, but she had a strong feeling this was a different time in history. A bolt of lightning flashed through the cobalt blue windows illuminating the hallowed scene with an unearthly aura. The nuns were unsettled and on edge. Sophie had an uneasy feeling that there was something clandestine about their gathering.
“There will come a time when Little Eden is under threat of being raised to the ground,” Mother Superior said softly to the others. “Not from plague, not from fire and not even from the Kings men, but from the Devil himself.”
A deafening thunder clap rumbled directly overhead and a flare of lightening was hard on its heels, flashing midnight blue, wildly through the Chappelle. The nuns crossed themselves. “The true faith is lost here in England,” Mother Superior continued. “Jesus Christ has replaced the protection of the Holy Mother. The spells of the crucifixion are used to perpetuate the evil men do. They build a false Heaven in the astral realms and it will be too late for those who follow the counterfeit God – they will find themselves trapped in an alternate spirit world instead of released into the arms of the Angels.”
The other nuns tried not to appear frightened, but as another thunderous roar rolled ominously overhead, a sharp fork of lighting pierced the gloom, and the fresco above them was thrown into sharp relief. The face of Jesus loomed down upon them from his cross – watching them with an evil eye. “One sacrifice to end all sacrifices,” one of the nuns muttered.
“If we deny our own sacrifices and follow blindly the King’s priests, we will never find our own way. The responsibility for our soul remains in our own hands, now and forever,” Mother Superior said as she rolled up the wide sleeve of her habit and plunged her hand into the icy water. She pushed aside the ivory plaque and delved deeper into the font. Pulling a leather bag out from the concealed central hole, she shook the water from it and placed it on the stone rim. “Even in our own church, if we do not have the courage to look the Devil in the eye, we will never see the truth,” she said. Thunder boomed as if it were in the room with them – rattling the towering glass and shaking the pillars. The full force of the following lightening fired up the Chappelle with an incandescent blue flame.
They all gasped in fright, including Sophie!
Raising awareness for National ME Awareness Week 2020
Imagine if the self-isolation and social distancing you have been experiencing these last few weeks was going to continue for the rest of your life?
That’s right, for the rest of your life – without let up, without reprieve, without end.
On top of being stuck inside, unable to shop, see your friends, go on holidays, go to the pub, a café or the supermarket, you feel as if you have the flu 24/7. Your body won’t function. Everything aches. You find even the smallest tasks, like taking a shower, cooking a meal or reading a chapter in a book take all your energy.
Millions suffer from this misunderstood illness worldwide but there is little research and no known cause or cure. The World Health Organisation has registered it as an epidemic but governments are still not helping those affected.
It can happen to anyone at any age.
Living in isolation, often bed and housebound, without an income or state support, without medical help or carers, sufferers of ME are forgotten by society and rely on family charity to survive.
We were never supported on TV, by our neighbours or communities, the NHS or carers, we were not given mental health support or had our wages paid at 80% when we had to give up work or lost our businesses. Most of us live in poverty, forgotten and blaming ourselves because no one believes us.
When you return to normal, we will still be in in lockdown without hope.
KT King has suffered for over 27 years with the chronic and invisible disability called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She is trying to help raise awareness for this terrible, debilitating and life destroying disease.
The main heroine of Little Eden, Sophie Lawrence, also suffers with CFS but she is still a heroine none the less.
You can follow the global campaign called MillionsMissing and/or KTKing on Twitter.
Many may wonder how I can write novels if I have ME/CFS. I am able to write when I don’t need to do anything else. The fluctuation of the illness baffles everyone as does the resolve of those with it to battle on trying to make a living. I lost my home, my income and my independence in 2012 coming back to live with my elderly parents on whom I now rely for physical daily help and financial support. By age 40 I had lost the battle with ME.
Writing too much gives me migraines so I can only write a few days a week for about an hour at a time on what is called ‘a good day’. I write through chronic pain and fatigue but it keeps me alive and it keeps me sane.
Mental and emotional health deteriorate for all of us because we can rarely socialise or see friends. We feel we have no purpose or usefulness and many of us are in terrible pain 24/7 with Fibromyalgia which often accompanies ME.
We can either give up or we can try to do something even if it’s just a little thing on ‘a good day’.
Becoming a published writer is a lifelong dream come true and escaping into Little Eden helps keep the suicidal thoughts at bay. I hope it’ll be a beautiful escape place for you too. One of the main things readers say is that they would love to live in Little Eden which makes it all seem worthwhile!
I’m an indie author, using my savings from before 2012 to publish. I can’t meet deadlines of publishers or do the usual sales promotions.
I can spend months, even years unable to get out of bed so I need all the help I can get spreading the word about my books, especially from kind book bloggers like Debbie.
I find crafting is good for mental and emotional health so when I can I make handmade jewellery to give to friends and to sell in my Etsy shop where all the gifts inspired by Little Eden. I rarely have the energy to bake but now and again I manage to make a cake or some cookies! Some of my recipes have made their way into the novels.
Both novels have recipes at the back based on the delectable delicacies served in the No.1 Daisy Place Café-Bookshop such as Strawberry and Cream Shortbreads, Late Night Cheesecake and Over the Rainbow Cake. The Ebooks have wiki-links and links to Utube for the soundtrack. You can find everything Little Eden on KT’s Blog www.ktkingbooks.wordpress.co.uk
Look out for…Little Eden, Book Three, Haunted or Not…Available (hopefully) 2021
Ellie Midwood peers behind the camera in this must-have novel for fans of silent and classic film, if not film period. Exploring the world of Weimar Berlin and German cinema through the eyes of Margot, Grafin von Steinhoff, Ms. Midwood allows readers to go behind the scenes in one of the most ground-breaking films of the silent era, Fritz Lang’s brilliant masterpiece Metropolis. As someone who has seen the titled film, I was curious how Midwood would approach this novel, and I wasn’t disappointed.
What I loved about this book is how it captures what was so revolutionary about silent film: the presence of diversity within the industry, especially women behind the camera. Before the Hays Code overtook in the mid-thirties in Hollywood, the scope of subjects was unparalleled. Margot and her companions richly bring this to life as the reader gets swept away into the bohemian world of musicians, filmmakers, actors, models, and photographers. While reading I could easily hear a Kurt Weill song sung by a chanteuse, all while undertoned by the shadow of pending fascism represented in the brown shirts that would sweep the country just a few years later, forboding the exile of many filmmakers and actors that would become part of Hollywood legend. Those legends, such as Lang, would leave lasting imprints on filmmaking that we feel today. I can’t wait to read the next novel in this series! Highly recommended!
Today, I’m beginning a new series on my blog called Northern Reads that will feature writers from the north of England, fiction set in and around the northern counties, or perhaps a bit of both. 🙂 As many of you know, my Laurelhurst series is partially set in Lancashire and Manchester. So while you are waiting for the fourth book to come out, I wanted to bring you a selection of work from different genres that bring the Northern Powerhouse to life.
Disclosure: Please note that any links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. When you purchase books using my Amazon affiliate link, they compensate me, which helps make this blog possible. Know that I only recommend books that I personally stand behind, or feel could enrich others’ lives.
Kicking it off is the lovely Tracey Sinclair with her romantic comedy The Bridesmaid Blues, set in Newcastle.
Tell us a bit about The Bridesmaid Blues and why you chose Newcastle as setting? Did growing up there influence you as a writer?
I was born and raised in Newcastle – though I wasn’t living there when I wrote the book – and when I had an idea for a romcom I wanted to set it in my home city, since most romcoms seem to be set either somewhere glam like London or New York, or cosy like a little village. I absolutely love those kinds of books, but I wanted a setting I could relate to, and I thought it would be fun for Northern readers to see a city they knew and a heroine that was very Northern in her outlook. Plus, it was fun to put lots of little Newcastle references throughout!
I’ve moved around a lot and written books based in different cities where I have lived – I’ve also written a contemporary fiction book (Doll) that is set in Sheffield and a series of books and stories set in London and Scotland (The Dark Dates paranormal series, the short stories No Love Is This) – but I think a strong Northern streak runs through all of them. They tend to be big on no-nonsense women who speak their mind (a bit, um, like me) and plenty of humour, even if it is sometimes a bit dark.
Give us a taste of The Bridesmaid Blues. What’s it about?
Luce knows she should be thrilled when Jenna asks her to be bridesmaid – after all, they’ve known each other since childhood and Jenna is the best friend any girl could have. But it’s hard to get excited about weddings when you’re terminally single and the best man is the boy who broke your heart: Jamie, the groom’s dashing and irresistible brother. How can she face the man who dumped her when she’s still so hopelessly in love? Then again, maybe this is the perfect opportunity – after all, where better to get back together than at a wedding? So Luce has six months to figure out how to win back her ex, but she has plenty else on her plate – from an old friend returned to Newcastle with an announcement of her own, to a youthful colleague who may or may not have a crush on her and a mother who is acting very strangely indeed… and that’s all before a mysterious, handsome American walks into her life. Sometimes being a bridesmaid isn’t all confetti and champagne… ‘A smarter, funnier Bridget Jones’ Diary for the 2010s – great pithy writing and instantly likeable characters’ Cass Green, Sunday Times/USA Today bestselling author of In a Cottage in a Wood
Ooo, now I want it. Where can readers get it?
Fabulous, Tracey! I can’t wait to read it!
Tracey Sinclair is a freelance writer and editor who writes for various online and print magazines including The Stage and Exeunt. She is the author of 8 books, including Doll, The Bridesmaid Blues and the Dark Dates series. She recently relocated to her home city of Newcastle after many years living in Glasgow, London and Brighton and writes about that experience at https://prodigalgeordie.blog/
Want to connect with Tracey? Visit her on social media, her blog, or her website:
It’s #BlackFriday, and do I have a deal for you, book-lovers! All the ebooks in the Laurelhurst series are 99 cents each, AND the paperbacks are 25% off regular price! Yep, you read that right! I rarely place my paperbacks on sale, but for this weekend only, all three books are on sale, exclusively on Amazon! Buy a copy for yourself, or give one to someone you love!
We’re only a couple of short weeks away from the release of The Broken Tree, so it’s time for #teasertuesday!
From The Broken Tree Copyright 2019 by Kellie Butler. All rights reserved.
As they approached the old blackened oak, both Chester and Minstrel stopped abruptly. “What’s going on?” Henry nudged Chester, but he wouldn’t budge. Lydie shook her head. “I don’t know. They won’t go near that tree.” Remnants of the tree lay broken like the remains of a skeleton long forgotten. It’s bare branches reminded Lydie of arms and fingers. Underneath, the ground had withered despite that the surrounding heath was covered in purple flowering heather. Even a few passing birds seemed disturbed by the old tree and refused to take refuge from their flight in its branches. “They certainly don’t like it.” Henry said. “I’ve heard about this. There’s something about this tree that no living thing will go near. Don’t you remember me telling you about it before we married?” “Vaguely, now that the you mention it.” An overwhelming sense of sadness seemed to emit from the tree. “I’m going to investigate.” Lydie hopped off her horse. “Lydie don’t,” Henry called but it was too late. “All right, I’m going too.” He dismounted and followed her. Lydie walked slowly towards the old oak allowing Henry to catch up with her. “I just want to see what’s making the horses so upset.” “It looks rather sinister to me.” “An inanimate object, Henry? I’m surprised at you.” “I’ve heard of a tree like this back in New England. There’s one in Pennsylvania or Delaware called the Witch’s Tree. According to legend, a witch’s soul will take up residence in a dead tree, hence why living things won’t go near it.” Lydie shook her head. “I would have thought a man of science like you wouldn’t believe old tales. It sounds something out of the film.” “Yes, but I’m not liking this tree one bit. Look at its trunk.” Henry gestured to the split trunk. “It appears as if it was struck by lightning.” “I think you are right. Look at that burn mark. “Henry traced his gaze upwards towards the canopy. “It must be several hundred years old from how massive it is. Look at those limbs down on the ground.” “They look like fingers coming out to grab you.” “Lydie, you and your imagination.” “It’s so silent around here, Henry. Listen.” The haunting sound of the wind rolled across w the deserted heath. She bent down to touch the black bark of the tree. “Don’t, Lydie. Don’t touch it,” Henry said. “What is it going to do? Grab me?” “No, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Henry glanced back at the horses, who pawed at the ground. “Look, the horses are getting antsy. We need to get going.” “Yes, I think you’re right. That bark is just so odd. Do you see how it appears burnt from the inside out? I can’t describe the markings.” “Lydie, let’s go, okay? Come on, I’ll help you mount.”