Bookish · Life · Uncategorized

One? Writing the book and tips for aspiring authors – A guest post by Jennifer L Cahill

Hello, hello! Happy Monday! Today I have a guest post from Jennifer L Cahill about writing her book, One?. It’s out now in Paperback and Kindle formats.

Why I wrote ‘One?’.


I had a very interesting experience when writing my first book. I didn’t ‘want to write a book’, I literally just sat down and started writing and the book flowed from there. A confluence of events set up the circumstances for me to start to write. From the minute I started the first sentence, the writing process was almost addictive. The story came tumbling out onto the pages.  It felt like life went from black and white to technicolour, as everything and anything could spark inspiration or add depth to the characters or the plot. It was also very much one of those ‘aha’ moments when you realise what you are supposed to be when you grow up. 

How I picked the title

I had another title for the book but as the story developed, and it rapidly turned into a trilogy, the title(s) changed. One night while I was just about to fall asleep, inspiration struck and I knew that the book needed to be called ‘One?’. It’s a very bold title, it’s a sentence, a question, a word and a number. I doubt I would have had the courage to call it that if it wasn’t for the dramatic way in which the title came to me. When inspiration strikes like that, you know that it’s going to stick. 

My writing process

I’ve outlined my writing process for my first book, the book almost wrote itself. The trilogy is trickling along in the same manner, and the second book ‘Two?’ will be out in 2020. I talk a lot about my writing process on my YouTube channel, but I can’t stress enough the importance of the magic combination of space and time to write. When you are writing you can’t do anything else so it’s important to plan and to structure your life so that you can write. Space is also very important, as books are big and messy. My writing room looked like a paper volcano had erupted by the time I had finished the final edit. It’s also really important to have a physical desk, there is only so much you can do on a laptop. When writing a book it gets to the point where you need a lot of space and you don’t want to be confined to a laptop in a coffee shop. 

My more recent projects are more planned out. I’ve been through the process once, so I know what to expect, and how much time I need for the subsequent books. 

Advice for aspiring authors

I have a writer’s tips playlist on my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvrlsV9Ru8qEWuRp5UQUHh8lShQvsiHDv) with advice for aspiring authors, but my main advice is to simply write. It’s not a spectator’s sport. I don’t understand the concept of ‘I want to write a book’ if someone isn’t actually writing anything. It’s good to start off writing shorter things. A book can be a little overwhelming so my advice would be to start with short stories, poems or even non-fiction.

Julia Cameron’s book – the artist’s way (https://amzn.to/2X2XESL) is a must-read for any aspiring author or creative of any kind. We all get blocked sometimes, often without realising it, and this book will definitely unblock you. 

What’s next

Two?’ will be out in 2020, and ‘Three’ will follow in 2021. I’m also working on a book about where I’m living at the moment, the story is extraordinary, I’m very excited about. As a contemporary fiction writer, my aim is to capture the essence of a place and time, and I’m living in a very exciting place, at a very exciting time. 


About Jennifer L Cahill

I write contemporary fiction and try to capture the essence of a place and time in my books. Above all, my aim is to make you laugh, and hopefully learn a little, as you recognise yourself, your friends and your exes in my books. I love hearing from my readers, and you can contact me via my website, or @JLCAuthor on Twitter.

My first book ‘One?’ is about Life, Love and London, and most importantly about finding the one in the most innovative period in living history. It’s set in London with a sprinkling of Paris and New York for good measure :). It is the first book in a trilogy.

About One?

It’s London in the mid-noughties before Facebook, iPhones and ubiquitous wifi, and One? follows the highs and lows of a group of twenty-somethings living in leafy SW4.

Zara has just moved to London for her first real job and struggles to find her feet in a big city with no instruction manual.

Penelope works night and day in an investment bank with little or no time for love. At 28 she is positively ancient as far as her mother is concerned and the pressure is on for her to settle down as the big 3-0 is looming.

Charlie spends night and day with his band who are constantly teetering on the verge of greatness.

Richard has relocated to London from his castle in Scotland in search of the one, and Alyx is barely in one place long enough to hold down a relationship let alone think about the future. 

Jennifer’s social media links:

Twitter @JLCAuthor
Instagram @jlcauthor
www.JenniferLCahill.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18085530.Jennifer_L_Cahill
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMo65VpfqU4p1lFG68f2txA?view_as=subscriber

Book tube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvrlsV9Ru8qFLPawjOpaCPk_lAADbrFHE

Amazon links: 
https://amzn.to/2uZ9lOp
https://amzn.to/2VwKBJf

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Shelf Life by Livia Franchini (Review)

I hope you are all having a wonderful bank holiday monday! Today I am on the tour for Shelf Life by Livia Franchini which comes out tomorrow and I have a review for you guys. I received a copy of this book for free as part of the tour.

Ruth’s fiance has called it quits on their relationship after many years together, something I feel really was a good thing. It’s easy to be blinded by love, but our first introduction to Neil – her now-ex, throws up some red flags. He feels manipulative and like he is gaslighting Ruth. Later on, these red flags become more apparent, so I feel she had a lucky escape!

But going it alone means Ruth needs to figure herself and her life out. Using their final shopping list, she tells her story. It’s a concept I found to be really intriguing, though I honestly thought it fell a little flat and I wonder if I’d have picked up on it had I not already know that was what the situation was, but that’s just fine for me, it was interesting to see how this concept evolved.

Shelf Life is a pretty candid look at Ruth’s life in both the present, and in the past, as she learns about herself and gets through her break-up. The author has written her really well and my heart hurts for the poor woman. She’s such a sad character and seems so fragile. She needs help but she seems so alone. I really felt for her, she felt incredibly authentic and I was so hoping things would work out well for her. I’ve read books that are sad, but this one really felt like a punch in the gut. I honestly feel really mixed about it but it’s a refreshing change of pace for me to read something that doesn’t just wrap up in a neat little bow because life isn’t like that.

About the Book

Ruth is thirty years old. She works as a nurse in a care home and her fiancé has just broken up with her. The only thing she has left of him is their shopping list for the upcoming week.

And so she uses that list to tell her story. Starting with six eggs, and working through spaghetti and strawberries, and apples and tea bags, Ruth discovers that her identity has been crafted from the people she serves; her patients, her friends, and, most of all, her partner of ten years. Without him, she needs to find out – with conditioner and single cream and a lot of sugar – who she is when she stands alone.

book reviews · Bookish

Times Tide by Adrian Harvey (Review)

Happy Monday! Today, I am on the Love Books Group’s Tour for Times Tide by Adrian Harvey and bringing you a review! It is available now in both Kindle and Paperback editions and is available on Kindle Unlimited

Times Tide is a moving tale about the bonds between father and son, healing a rift from time and the connections they have with their home.

The author really pulls the reader in to this book with a lot of descriptive… descriptions(?) that really invoke a feeling of “place.” Now, I discovered I’m one of those people that struggles to visualise things from text – aphantasia, so I feel like if that wasn’t the case, I’d have gotten more from this book, but despite that, I could feel the beauty of their home, but it also felt lonely too. The sense of place was very strong and significant through the book and the author did a really good job at conveying it.

The book switches from one period of time to another, initially opening in 1958, on a boat. While I can’t visualise things from text, I did really enjoy the authors description of “chuckling water”, I’m not sure why, but I really liked that. They return to their old home which they had left years before, along with a cow who no longer produced milk.

The family appear loving but sombre. This is where the family, Einar and Jona lost a son, Eirikur, a brother, named Olafur and it really has an affect on the family. However, returning to their former home, resulted in the cow to produce milk once again (as she had stopped when they left) and the family found joy in this moment and I found myself happy too.

..I realise I’m writing a lot about the start of the book but the background and relationships it lays out are incredibly important for the rest of the book. You get a good idea about the family and how they think and feel about their lives.

It later introduces another generation of family and more bereavement, more strained relationships. But will they be able to ease the strain, make amends, find joy and find closure for their grief? You’ll have to give this incredibly moving book a go yourself and find out, but be prepared to be sucked straight in to Iceland and getting emotional because this tale is an immersive one.

About the Book

The new novel from the bestselling author of Being Someone and The Cursing Stone. 

A father and son struggle to overcome the distance between them. Each is drawn irresistibly to an unforgiving landscape, one that has been the scene of tragedy and loss.

The son’s return to the northern shore he abandoned as a young man promises the chance to heal the rift. But is it too late?

Arni left his remote corner of Iceland as soon as he could, seeking opportunities beyond winter and fishing. Married to an English woman, he builds a life as a successful scientist but can never quite escape the pull of the West Fjords and bleak landscape of his birth, nor shake the guilt he feels towards his distant father.

When Eirikur goes missing, he sets off to find him on a windswept spit of land lost in an angry ocean.

Time’s Tide is a compelling and beautifully written story of loss, belonging and the silence between fathers and sons.

book reviews · Bookish

Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra (Review)

Today, I am on the blog tour for Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra, out now on Kindle and coming soon in Hardback Edition on 8th March 2019 for International Womens Day!

Nowhere Girls is a dramatic, gripping tale of a woman named Sara, who just wants a better life, even if it means leaving everything she’s ever known behind her, and her friend Alba, who took a much different path. It’s an intense read and I’d highly recommend it.

Sara lives in Albania, poverty is rife, sexism is the norm, and corruption is inescapable. She has two best friends, Alba, who seems to glide through life by greasing palms, and Ina, a tragic soul with a life in disarray. Working as a journalist, she is mocked, underpaid and generally treated like rubbish, when all the while, it strains her family relationships with her husband and son. Meanwhile, Alba is working her way in to the upper classes, a taste for the “finer things” and everyone else is a means to and end.

This book really pulled at my heart with the way the author wrote about the struggles and hardships endured. I was constantly rooting for Sarah, hoping things would work out, that she would get a break and the respect she deserved. This book is no fairy-tale. It feels incredibly realistic in the sense that things aren’t magically okay. The characters have to work for their lives and for some, things turn out better than others.

Fed up, Sara decides that the family should to go to her cousin in Antwerp. Scared, but convinced this would be better for her and her family. Her cousin assures her that it can be her home. Having applied for a visa, the plan was set in motion, but her son was denied travel and needed to stay being in Albania. What Sara didn’t realise, was that she would have to endure the lengthy process of seeking asylum and whether she would be granted residency, whether she would see her son again, whether things would work out, or not.

I felt so many emotions while reading this tale, and Sara’s tension radiated through the pages. I shared her anxiety, her grief, her joy. It felt incredibly fast paced at times and a lot of things occurred. Admittedly, I know very little about Albania, but my heart aches for anyone who has to endure such hardship, but I also commend any woman who works so hard to deal best with the cards she’s been dealt. It also makes me extraordinarily grateful that I don’t have to deal with these levels of such toxicity, and I hope one day, no woman will have to endure what these women have had to go through.

About The Book

Friends Alba and Sara could not be more different. While Alba is forcing her way into the upper echelons of Albanian’s richest and most powerful, Sara is working more than one job as a struggling journalist. Both desperate to escape their corrupt country, they’re quickly dragged into a sordid world of politics and lies. 

When tragedy strikes their friend Ina, the two women must come together to save her little boy. Can they put away their troubles and secure a better future for the child? Or will their past catch up with them?

NOWHERE GIRLS is a thrilling tale of love, lies and the lengths a woman will go to for freedom.

About The Author

Now a fiction writer, Teuta Metra’s experience as an Albanian journalist has made her an expert on the struggles of women from her country.

Author, journalist and teacher, Teuta now lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two sons. 

Bookish · Uncategorized

My Publishing Journey (Guest Post)

Hey guys, today, I’m delighted to be kicking off this blog tour with a guest post from Fiona Perrin, to promote The Story After Us, her debut novel, out now from Aria Fiction. The book is available in both Paperback and on Kindle and as part of Kindle Unlimited. You can find out more about the book on the other tour stops.

story-after-us.jpg

My journey has been a long one with quite a few stops to admire the view or have a rest along the way.

Put it this way, I always wanted to be an author, furiously scribbled all the way through childhood, wrote bad poems in adolescence and then became a copywriter and a journalist. I wrote my first novel back in about 2000 – it was a rave comedy which was a bit niche, I’ll admit – and then life, like loads of other authors, took over. That meant work – by then running a company and then a career as a sales and marketing director – kids, family: the usual.

Then in 2012 I really wanted to get on with it again and took a very rough draft of a second novel to the Curtis Brown Creative novel writing course. That taught me that I knew very little, so I threw away most of the words, learned a lot and then wrote it again with the help of my spin-off writing group from that course. We met up every fortnight for years as we all wrote books and that meant, whatever else was going on, I had to write another chapter every few weeks as well as help edit their fab books. That group has gone on to have four publishing deals and there will definitely be more. I think we’re all proud of that.

And I bumbled along getting quite a lot of rejection along the way; and yep, its character-building but it’s also awful. The only thing to do is let yourself be furious and miserable for a few hours and then move on.

It was really when two things happened that I got there: all the kids grew up a bit and some went off to Uni and jobs; and I stopped working flat out and had time to think about what to do. That was when I finished it, sent it to my fabulous agent, Diana Beaumont, (she put out a tweet saying what she was looking for and I sent it straight away). She gave fab input and over a few drafts helped me make it a much better book. Then Lucy Gilmour at Aria loved it and… well here, I am. Writing my second book has made me realise how much I’ve learned but also that I won’t ever stop learning.

Fiona Perrin author pic
Fiona was a journalist and copywriter before building a career as a sales and marketing director in industry. Having always written, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative Writing course before writing The Story After Us.

As a mother and stepmother to four teenagers while holding down a fairly full-on job, she wanted to write grown-up commercial fiction about messy, modern love and families – with all their heartbreak, humour and hope.

She grew up in Cornwall, hung out for a long time in London and then Hertfordshire, and now she writes as often as possible from her study overlooking the sea at the end of the Lizard Peninsula, back in Cornwall. She’s currently there, writing her second novel for Aria.

story after us_15
If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her…

Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become – or why she and her husband can’t even be in the same room anymore.

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off ‘consciously uncoupling’; like a celeb. But she’s starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be… happier?

book reviews · Bookish · Uncategorized

Think Yourself Lucky by Ramsey Campbell (Review)

Today, I’m on the Random Things blog tour for Think Yourself Lucky by Ramsey Campbell and I’ve got a review for you! The books is available in Paperback, Hardback and Kindle edition.

Think Yourself Lucky Blog Tour poster

Categorised as a horror novel, I wasn’t sure how this book would go. I’m not majorly familiar with horror as a genre and the works I am familiar with are more “classic”, so I was pleasantly surprised that Think Yourself Lucky was something totally different, and a new experience for me. Instead of a traditional horror, this book is very psychological and sardonic; it’s not what I was expecting at all.

At first, the book opens up with someone else – we later find out his name is Lucky. He’s aggressive and clearly hates people. We are almost instantly presented with his own monologue about his neighbours and how irritating he finds them. I thought, ha! Yeah, we all think like this sometimes when people are irritating, but then things took a dark turn. I wasn’t sure if these instances were meant to be humorous or just aggressive and shocking. I didn’t find them funny, it felt a little tedious and hard to read, but this dude clearly isn’t a good guy, so I just put this down to the character himself. In this sort of book, I figured there would be characters I wouldn’t like. I found myself feeling rather uncomfortable and weirded out through the book, which I guess is good considering it’s genre!

The main character, David, is bored with his life, working at a travel agency. The point is made – repeatedly – that he absolutely is not a writer. Accosted in the street, he ended up going to a writers meeting where he mentioned a “title” for a book. He then finds out that somebody “took the name” and created a blog with it – a rather grim, sardonic blog at that. Though he doesn’t care the name was taken, because he isn’t a writer.

The events in the blog seem to somehow coincide with his life, weirding David out and clearly affecting his mind. How did it line up with him like that? Did he have some sort of influence on things? Did he have a stalker? We do find out, but it’s not made explicitly clear what happened. I felt because of this, the book didn’t really conclude very well. I found myself reaching the last pages and wondering where the ending was going to be.

The book didn’t flow well for me. Some parts were really engaging and had me going, other bits I just couldn’t wait to get past for the next thing to happen. It was quite a strange read but I definitely enjoyed the experience as it was totally new to me. The premise itself I found pretty interesting and I’m sure people who are fans of the genre would enjoy it more than I did; but personally, this one wasn’t for me.

Think Yourself Lucky Cover

BLURB: David Botham just wants a quiet ordinary life―his job at the travel agency, his
relationship with his girlfriend Stephanie. The online blog that uses a title he once thought up has nothing to do with him. He has no idea who is writing it or where they get their information about a series of violent deaths in Liverpool. If they’re murders, how can the killer go unseen even by security cameras? Perhaps David won’t know until they come too close to him―until he can’t ignore the figure from his past that is catching up with him…

Ramsey CampbellABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ramsey Campbell is a British writer considered by a number of
critics to be one of the great masters of horror fiction. T. E. D. Klein has written that “Campbell reigns supreme in the field today,” while S. T. Joshi has said that “future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood.”