Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Evolution of a blogger and her blog!



Today, I have the wonderful JB Johnston, who I am proud to call a friend, sitting round my pool talking about how Brook Cottage Books have made a difference to JB and to so many authors.

Thank you to the lovely Pauline for having me on her blog today. I am so used to asking authors for guest posts that it never actually occurred to me how difficult it can be to put something interesting in a post. I hope I don’t bore you all!

In the book world I blog under the name of JB Johnston.  My real name is in fact Debbie and the name of JB originated in two ways. Firstly, I was known as jontybabe. Jonty was my husband’s nickname at school.  I am his babe! Then the name evolved into JB which is a shortened form of Jontybabe but is also my nickname – Just Books Johnston! Whenever I first met up with fellow bloggers and lovely authors it felt strange to hear others call me JB but now it just feels perfectly natural.  JB is my alter-ego. The braver and more confident me!

I began blogging a few years ago with a personal blog and had featured some book reviews. Soon the demand for reviews became so great that I set up Brook Cottage Books. Originally the blog was only to feature reviews from my own personal bookcase and showcase a few of my author friends. I received some wonderful support from fellow bloggers and authors and this meant so much. This support soon gave me the confidence to keep developing Brook Cottage Books and before I knew it I was able to offer guest posts to authors, run competitions and even take part in book tours with Fiction Addiction.



Soon blogging began to open up a whole new world to me. A world in which books arrived in the post at an alarming but thrilling rate! The postman began to look at me questioningly and to this day he is suspicious delivering to the strange person known as JB Johnston! My house soon became the place where all good books came to live! In a vain attempt to stem the flow of books and provide us with some living space, my husband bought me a kindle.  Whilst I love my Kindle and now have more books in my possession, it did nothing to stem the flow of paperbacks arriving! My husband has now given up that fight and has resigned himself to the fact that he might have to share the house with an army of books all fighting for space. Those with a true love of books will understand the thrill of ripping open a parcel to find a book there. The feel, texture and smell of a new book is just divine! And, if it’s a signed copy…………..well that’s a whole new level of wonderful! Don’t even get me started on stationary!

Through Brook Cottage Books I have made many wonderful friends. To say that true friendships cannot be made or sustained online is simply not true. I have been lucky enough to meet many of these truly beautiful people and they are as genuine in real life as they are online. They all hold a very special place in my heart. 

As the blog continued to evolve so did my confidence. Initially, I was in quite shy and worried that I was out of my depth amongst the blogging and writing world. After all, what on earth did I know! I only read books!  I wasn’t a writer or publisher.  It wasn’t long however that I began to feel like a new person was emerging through the haze of books. I grew in confidence and continue to do so. The book and blogging world is a place where I feel I can show the world the real me and at times I do actually know what I am talking about.  I decided that I would be braver and recently became involved in a project with author Nicky Wells. Nicky and I have become great friends over the last few years and she now hosts a monthly radio show for Siren FM called Books Rock. I am the regular reviewer contributor to the show. I love it, despite hating the sound of my own voice! I am so grateful to Nicky for having confidence in my abilities to be able to do this without mucking up her show!



As previously mentioned, when I began to expand the projects the blog became involved in, one of those projects was becoming a tour host for Fiction Addiction book tours run by Sharon Goodwin. Sharon is a very special lady and has become such a great friend and mentor. Being involved in her tours was one of the things that helped build my confidence as a blogger. Sharon has since passed Fiction Addiction to me and I now run all the tours through Brook Cottage Books. I had considered keeping the Fiction Addiction name because Sharon had worked so hard to build its reputation but I felt that equally I have worked hard at establishing Brook Cottage Books and wanted the new tour promotions to reflect that success.  Probably a daft idea but Sharon has been completely understanding and supportive and I am pleased to say that Brook Cottage Book tours has coordinated quite a few tours now and the demand for more is growing. To find out more about the range of services that the site now offers authors and bloggers check out the Author Services Page on the blog. Although there are a number of paid services that authors can access, I still want the overriding ethos of Brook Cottage Books to be one of support to all authors and bloggers and that means helping out in any way I can. I want to continue to give something back to all who support me.  

With the continued success of Brook Cottage Books has come a new and not so unrealistic dream. I want to work at book promotion full time or at least within the book industry. I want to be able to give up my day job and continue to develop Brook Cottage Books. This is a reality that will hopefully come to fruition in the next few years, allowing me to work from home and be around for my family. With the wonderful support of authors and bloggers I will someday be living that dream. A dream that is continually evolving along with me!



About JB Johnston
JB lives in Northern Ireland. She works full time as a social worker but her real passion is books and all things bookish. She is very happily married and is mum to 2 children and 2 step children. She is also a carer for her teenage daughter who has a range of special needs. 

 JB is involved in a number of projects;
Monthly Contributor for Books Rock on Siren FM
Review panel for www.lovereading.co.uk
Reviewer for www.loveahappyending.co.uk lifestyle magazine
To find out more about JB then check out her full profile on LinkedIn



JB’s Links

Email brookbooks@hotmail.co.uk

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Yay! It's Publication Day!

It's arrived the day that my latest baby steps out into the big wide world. Yes, it's publication day for In the Cold Light of Day.

Despite this being my 5th published full length novel, I admit to being excited, exhausted and very nervous.  Thank goodness the bubbly is chilling in the fridge!

But before I slip away to pour a little celebration, I would like to say  a HUGE thank you to everyone of you. Your support and kindness during the last twelve months as I traveled down the road writing this book, has been amazing. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Once again, here is the blurb...

Bertie Costain has worked hard all his life in the building trade and now owns his own London-based company. In 1967, approaching fifty and still unmarried he enjoys a playboy lifestyle, but when he meets Kitty, an attractive, wealthy widow ten years his senior, he swiftly proposes.

Swept off her feet, Kitty adores him. The happy couple seem to have it all, but Bertie has a secret. Kitty has no idea their home is mortgaged to the hilt, or that the many expensive gifts he brings her come out of his winnings at roulette.  Proud of his apparent success and ignorant of his gambling addiction, she happily loans him large sums of money, ostensibly for his business.

Convinced with each spin of the wheel that his run of bad luck will change, Bertie gambles for increasingly high stakes, falling deeper and deeper into debt until, facing financial ruin and with nowhere to turn, he resorts to fraud. As their lives begin to unravel, Kitty learns the horrifying truth.


In the cold light of day can their love survive the pain and destruction Bertie’s addiction has wrought?

Today you can download In the Cold Light of Day from ALL Amazon sites including


I hope you will enjoy my latest book.... thank you!

Pauline x

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Official Publication Day is set for 26th October


In the Cold Light of Day is officially published on
26th October 
in Kindle version.

Paper back to follow in New Year.

Bertie Costain has worked hard all his life in the building trade and now owns his own London-based company. In 1967, approaching fifty and still unmarried he enjoys a playboy lifestyle, but when he meets Kitty, an attractive, wealthy widow ten years his senior, he swiftly proposes.

Swept off her feet, Kitty adores him. The happy couple seem to have it all, but Bertie has a secret. Kitty has no idea their home is mortgaged to the hilt, or that the many expensive gifts he brings her come out of his winnings at roulette.  Proud of his apparent success and ignorant of his gambling addiction, she happily loans him large sums of money, ostensibly for his business.

Convinced with each spin of the wheel that his run of bad luck will change, Bertie gambles for increasingly high stakes, falling deeper and deeper into debt until, facing financial ruin and with nowhere to turn, he resorts to fraud. As their lives begin to unravel, Kitty learns the horrifying truth.

In the cold light of day can their love survive the pain and destruction Bertie’s addiction has wrought?


An exciting day!
Thank you lovely reader for stopping by.
I'll be back on 26th!

Hugs
Pauline xx

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Amazon continue to create new and different platforms to encourage readers and authors to be part of their world wide group. As an author I have so far resisted trying out their various offers to promote my books that is until now.

Their move to Kindle Unlimited attracted my attention both as a reader and an author particularly as I enjoy the benefits from the music world who are now offering a monthly subscription for unlimited downloads. In fact we subscribe to Deezer and although we will never own the music, we download all the tracks we enjoy and have already created several playlists.

Kindle Unlimited is similar in this way in that you pay a monthly subscription and within this subscription you are able to download Kindle books, registered in the scheme, for free.

As a toe dipping exercise I have enrolled Storm Clouds Gathering into Kindle Unlimited, so if you are enrolled in this scheme you can now read this book for free! And yes, I still get a royalty too! 

Amazon uk
Amazon Com

I’ll let you know how it all goes and if I will be enrolling my other books too. Here is a reminder of what you can expect from Storm Clouds Gathering.


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.





As always, thank you lovely reader for stopping by. I hope everything in your world is filled with sunshine. Until sometime very soon.

Hugs
Pauline xx

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sitting Round my Pool - Phillip Winberry


Today, I have Phillip Winberry, sitting round my pool talking about his latest book and the amazing story that inspired him to write, Fallen From The Sky.


You come from the Pacific Northwest in the USA.  What motivated you to set your latest novel, Falling From The Sky, in England

I come from a lineage of English immigrants to America during the 1700s, perhaps earlier.  As a result, I’ve always been fascinated with English history and culture.  In addition, I fell in love with London while working there for almost two years (1979/80).  During that time, I began many lifelong friendships. So, when interest in my genealogy led me to an interesting late 18th century tidbit in my paternal grandmother’s family history, I hit upon the idea of creating an imaginary English family that would allow me to tell a highly fictionalized version of what I envisioned that tidbit could have been.  Readers interested in the morsel of information that piqued my interest can use their favorite search engine to explore the world of John Mobbs, a wealthy Englishman who died in 1791.  He is believed to be my uncle six generations removed.  His will makes for intriguing reading.



What an interesting backdrop to inspire you. Your latest novel, Falling From The Sky takes place during World War II.  Is setting the story in this time-period important to the plot?

Not really, Pauline.  The novel’s first draft, which I called The Pouch, was set at the end of the 20th Century, with substantial flashbacks to events that took place in the mid 18th Century.  When finished the first draft, while I had a good story, it wasn’t one that told the tale I wanted to tell.  At its core, it lacked soul.  Many drafts followed, but it wasn’t until I changed the plot focus to a time and place that had always intrigued me, World War II and the role American B-17 bomber pilots played in that conflict, that I finally hit upon a premise and characters that allowed me to get the words down on the page to make my vision sing.


Now I am more intrigued. What compels you to write mystery and suspense stories that have readers sitting on the edge of their seats?

Mystery and suspense stories make up the vast majority of the books I read.  I enjoy the genre and take pleasure in creating stories for the entertainment of others.


Tell us a little about Falling From The Sky?

Falling From The Sky is a tale of heroism and a tribute to the American bomber pilots who served unflinchingly at a time of crisis and peril by flying daytime bombing missions over Europe during the war.  Those incredible young men and their crews were heroically brave in the face of extremely long survival odds.  Despite massive losses of life and property, all who took to the sky played a major role in defeating the German enemy.  It also is a story of romance and exploration of family conflict as well as, in the words of one Amazon reviewer, “a tapestry woven from the strands of Downton Abbey like opulence . . . a mystery with evil/deceit/uncertainty/ and greed.”  It was great fun weaving all those stands together to create the final saga.


Having read your first novel, Reno Splits, which was a gripping thriller, can you tell us if a book three is being penned?

Of course there is.  A writer’s work is never done.  My next effort is another mystery, this time set on a small island in the middle of Washington State’s Puget Sound.  The book’s title tentatively is Foxglove.  I’m still toying with the plot and trying to decide the appropriate time-period to make the story work.  I find myself quite comfortable writing stories set in the 1940s so that probably is where the narrative will land.


What about you, Phil?  Tell us a little about you and what made you turn your hand to writing.

I am a lawyer by training, retired after a four-decade-long career.  Around the time I walked away from the practice, my interest in my family genealogy led me to John Mobbs’ story.  From that point I realized I would like to create a novel drawing on some aspects of his tale.  After all, I knew how to write.  I’d done it my entire career.  Was I ever wrong!  Oh, sure, I could write—like a lawyer.  But like a novelist?  That was something I had to learn—and I’m still learning.

Most of my retirement years have been spent on Whidbey Island, located at the top of Washington State’s Puget Sound.  My wife and I live with our beloved Weimaraner on a bluff overlooking the Sound’s shipping lanes and the majestic snow-capped Olympic Mountains.  Sometime in the next year, though, we’ll be leaving the island to move back to Seattle to be closer to our kids.  But wherever we land, you’ll always be able to find me at the keyboard spinning my next yarn.

Phillip, a HUGE thank you from me for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat about you and your latest book. I’ll leave you to enjoy the wine, whilst I go and download a copy of Falling From The Sky.




A PEEK INSIDE THE COVER

When American B-17 pilot Alex Kent isn’t struggling to survive World War II bombing raids in the skies over Germany he spends time trying to unravel a conundrum with even greater dangers:  uncovering the lost legacy of William Kent, his great-grandfather seven generations removed.  Alex knows nothing about his ancestor’s life prior to William’s arrival in 1740 colonial Virginia as an eleven-year-old indentured servant although Kent family folklore suggests William might have been the exiled child of an English noble.  Over the generations, several Kent family members have tried to confirm that speculation.  None succeeded.  Some died trying.

On leave in war torn London, Alex meets Sarah Perkins, fiancĂ©e of the Duke of Wyeford’s only son.  Alex and Sarah soon realize they are attracted to one another and she volunteers to help in his pursuit of William’s heritage.

When the Duke of Wyeford becomes aware of Alex’s quest, he understands the American pilot poses a threat to the conspiracy of silence concocted two hundred years earlier to deny young William his legitimate birthright.  Exposure of the conspiracy would topple the Wyeford dynasty, stripping the duke of his title and wealth.  He vows to take whatever actions are necessary to see that never happens.  Danger and tension escalate as Alex’s search barrels toward a shocking conclusion.



Phillip Winberry
NOVELS OF MYSTERY AND SUSPENSE
Reno Splits, 2012 indieBRAG Medallion Honoree
Falling From The Sky


e-mail: winbp@msn.com
Blog: www.phillipwinberry.com
Twitter: @phillipwinberry

Saturday, 4 October 2014

A Picture Can Say A Thousand Words!


As you probably know by now, I do love posters. This week the talented Gary Walker at Look 4 Books produced this eye catching poster for Storm Clouds Gathering.

This poster captures an era in our time, the mid nineteen sixties. Storm Clouds Gathering is set in 1965 in a mill town in Yorkshire.  The story is about three families. After the summer of '65 the lives of these families will never be the same again as they face changes, some brought on by their own actions and others they could not control, yet these changes will have long term consequences.

" Beautifully written"
"Cracking good read"
"This book will stay in your mind"
"Why did it have to end"
"Wonderful tearjerker"


www.paulinebarclay.co.uk

As always, thank you lovely reader for stopping by. I hope everything in your world is filled with sunshine. Until sometime very soon.
Hugs
Pauline xx

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Sitting Round My Pool is Carolyn Mathews on her Promo Day!


As part of the One Day Promo organised by Brook Cottage Books on Saturday 27th September for Squaring Circles by Carolyn Mathews, please meet the lovely Carolyn as she sits round my pool talking about her latest book.


Carolyn you are an English lecturer and author of books and plays for language students what made you decide to write fiction for adults?


I suppose it started with my interest in mind, body and spirit. A few years ago, I devised a short correspondence course called Lyrical Life, designed to combine self-discovery with creative writing. It was in seven parts, each of which corresponded to a stage in life and a chakra (chakras are the energy centres located in the subtle body).  My interest in personal growth gave me the idea of writing about a character who started off being sceptical about the supernatural and ended up being convinced. In fact, in the first book, Transforming Pandora, she channels an Ascended Master via automatic writing and takes a correspondence course in Enlightenment administered by an angel!


Tell us a little about your latest book, Squaring Circles  

                                   
The book starts with Pandora standing in a Glastonbury paddock watching her mother's wicker coffin being lowered into the ground. One of the rope-bearers is a stranger who is lodging with her mother's partner, Charles, and has brought a large donkey with him. When her mother's grave is disturbed, she turns detective and finds herself drawn into a world of intrigue, revolving round a devious couple's plot to exploit the Isis healing circle (of which her mother was a member) for their own ends. Her partner Jay's collaboration with an attractive singer and her own encounter with an old flame add to the confusion. The twists and turns of her life, just like the labyrinth in her garden, lead her to a point where she has to make a crucial decision.


Has your interest in contemporary spirituality helped write Squaring Circles?


Yes. In the first book, the focus was on channelling and in this book Pandora becomes a sound healer who uses the Violet Flame in her healing. I like to think that some readers might be interested enough to look into these subjects further, in the process of developing their own spirituality.


Squaring Circles is your second published book can we look forward to a book three?


I'm 35,000 words into book three and looking forward to having a good crack at it once "Squaring Circles" is launched. Trouble is, if I leave it too long between visits, I have to do a lot of reading to refresh my memory before I can pick it up where I left off.


Away from writing what are your interests?


I go to a weekly yoga class; if there's a spare ticket, I like to support our local football team; I enjoy seeing my two sons and their partners, and our five-year-old grandson who keeps us on our toes; also love a good film at the cinema, a good drama on TV and a decent West End musical. I tend to meditate when I'm in the mood, but not as regularly as I should.


Back to Squaring Circles is this available in Kindle and paperback and where can readers get their copies from?


Can be ordered from Amazon, Waterstones, any book shop.

Kindle      Paperback



Squaring Circles blurb:  Free spirit Pandora is shaken by the sudden death of her mother and the presence of a mysterious stranger at the funeral. When her mother’s grave is disturbed, she turns detective and finds herself drawn into a world of intrigue, centring round a devious couple’s plot to exploit a healing circle for their own ends. Her partner Jay’s collaboration with a sexy singer and her own encounter with an old flame add to the confusion. Will she succeed in her quest to restore equilibrium to her family circle or will the decisions she and Jay make set them up for more heartache?





 Bio: Carolyn Mathews' English Language writing and teaching career included a stint with a class of 'Harry Potter' extras at the local Warner Bros. studio, Hertfordshire. With so much magic in the air, it's no wonder she now writes fiction with more than a hint of the supernatural.

Buy Links

Author Links
facebook    
twitter        
   
If anyone wants an autographed copy they can email Carol. The address is on the contact page of her website.