Book Blitz · Fiction

Charles and Ada: The Computer’s Most Passionate Partnership by James Essinger Blog Blitz

 

Charles and Ada

Charles and Ada: The Computer’s Most Passionate Partnership

by James Essinger

Synopsis

The partnership of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace was one that would change science forever.

They were an unlikely pair – one the professor son of a banker, the other the only child of an acclaimed poet and a social-reforming mathematician – but perhaps that is why their work is so revolutionary.

They were the pioneers of computer science, creating plans for what could have been the first computer. They each saw things the other did not; it may have been Charles who designed the machines, but it was Ada who could see their potential.

But what were they like? And how did they work together? Using previously unpublished
correspondence between them , Charles and Ada explores the relationship between two remarkable people who shared dreams far ahead of their time.

Purchase Links

Charles and Ada book front cover

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Charles-Ada-Computers-Passionate-Partnership/dp/0750990953

US – https://www.amazon.com/Charles-Ada-Computers-Passionate-Partnership/dp/0750990953

Author Bio 

James Essinger

James Essinger was born in Leicester in 1957 and has lived in Canterbury in Kent since
1986. He was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys, Leicester, and at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he read English Language and Literature. He spent much of his time between 1981 and 1983 teaching English in Finland before working in public relations in London and then in Canterbury. Since 1988, James has been a professional writer.

His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004), Ada’s Algorithm (2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019).

His novels include The Mating Game (2016) with Jovanka Houska, the film rights of which have been optioned, Rollercoaster (2019) and The Ada Lovelace Project (forthcoming in 2020).

Social Media Links 

https://www.facebook.com/james.essinger

4-Star Review · Book Tours · Christie's Reviews · Fiction · New Review

Henry’s Tale by David Pipe Blog Tour with Review

Henrys Tale

Henry’s Tale

by David Pipe

Synopsis

Henry Ford, the cutest Border terrier puppy, lives with his papa Alan and mama Jenny. Alan loves his job, playing golf and above all, Henry. Jenny loves designer clothes, handbags and shoes. She doesn’t love Henry. When Jenny insists on a week of high life on Majorca, Henry’s world takes a nosedive.

An attempted dognap and a traumatic stay in the veterinary clinic leave Henry a sad and confused puppy. Desperately lonely he sets off on an adventure with his friend Bully, a streetwise Essex bulldog, where he meets the beautiful Paula and for the first time experiences the heartbreak of puppy love.

Back at home, his mama and papa’s marriage is on the rocks – will Alan agree to Jenny’s ultimatum? Will he choose Jenny or Henry?




Christie’s Review

4 STARS

 

What a lovely, charming book for all dog lovers!

The title is exactly what the book is about…Henry’s Tale, and he does indeed have a story to tell us. He loves his human father, Alan, but his mother, Jenny, leaves a whole lot to be desired. She is not nice to Henry at all. She loves the superficial things in life…designer clothes, shoes, and pretty much anything she can buy with her credit card. Alan is a wonderful man, and one thing that makes him unique is he can understand Henry. Henry can understand him. It really is a love story between these two. 

One of the other things I loved about this book was that it was told from Henry’s POV. What I learned about the other characters I discovered through Henry and even his pals, the other dogs in the book! 

I had received an ARC of the book, and once I read the synopsis, I knew I had to download my own copy, especially when I learned that part of the proceeds go to the Border Terrier Welfare. If you love dogs, you will fall in love with this one. It is a beautiful story of the bond between dogs and humans. 




Purchase Link 

HenrysTaleNEW_eBcov Final

GetBook.at/Henry

 

Author Bio 

 

Henrys Tale Author Photo

David Pipe was born in 1949 in a small Essex village. He attended a local grammar school then the University of Hull where he took a B.Sc in chemistry. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry in England and South Africa before studying for a PhD in organic chemistry at Imperial College. After spells at universities in Geneva and Mulhouse he joined the oil industry in Germany where, aged 53, he gratefully took a redundancy package. Following a period of self-employment he wound down his business, eventually giving it up to scratch the writing itch which has produced Sacrificing Starlight, a timely reminder of the risks our children face and Henry’s Tale, where ghostwriting for his furry friend he describes the emotional growth of a puppy on the rollercoaster of life, compressed into a few weeks because puppies learn faster than their staff.

When he’s not writing David spends his time travelling, reading, swimming and jogging. He is married and lives in Hamburg with his wife and their Border terrier Henry.

 

Social Media Links 

Twitter @dfpwriter

FB https://www.facebook.com/DavidPipeBooks/

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5-Star Review · Book Tours · Christie's Reviews · Fiction

Heathcliff by Sue Barnard Book Birthday Blitz with Review

Heathcliff

Heathcliff

By Sue Barnard

 

Synopsis

It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now…”

Cathy’s immortal words from Wuthering Heights change Heathcliff’s life. At just seventeen years of age, heartbroken and penniless, he runs away to face an unknown future.

Three years later, he returns – much improved in manners, appearance and prosperity.

But what happened during those years? How could he have made his fortune, from nothing? Who might his parents have been? And what fate turned him into literature’s most famous anti-hero?

For almost two centuries, these questions have remained unanswered.

Until now…




Christie’s Review

5 STARS

Can I just say, “Wow!” I’m a huge fan of Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff, so I am always nervous when an author takes on a classic. However, Sue Barnard did an EXCELLENT job! She gives readers insight into what happened to Heathcliff after leaving Wuthering Heights!

 

Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights heartbroken after hearing Cathy’s harsh words. He runs away, but he has no clue what his future holds. What an adventure it is! He gets to see the world, but there are also parts that harden his heart. When he returns, his coldness turns into a viciousness, and any part of the caring boy is replaced by a man cruel man bent on revenge!!! 

 

Barnard illustrates what a complicated character he really is, and she takes nothing away from the original story itself. There are some twists that she includes that I definitely wasn’t expecting!!! It makes the book addictive, and I couldn’t put it down! Excellent read!!!!




Purchase Link 

Heathcliff front cover

mybook.to/heathcliff

 

Author Bio 

Heathcliff Sue Barnard Author

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.

Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue’s first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet), was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014. Since then she has produced five more novels: Nice Girls Don’t (2014), The Unkindest Cut of All (2015), Never on Saturday (2017), Heathcliff (2018), and Finding Nina (2019).

Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

Social Media Links 

Blog: http://broad-thoughts-from-a-home.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suebarnardauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSusanB

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suebarnardauthor/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Barnard/e/B00IF4ZJJU/

RNA: https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/rna_author/sue-barnard/

5-Star Review · A Top Read of 2019 · Book Tours · Christie's Reviews · Fiction · Giveaways · New Review

The Dog-walking Club by Liz Hinds Blog Tour with Review & Giveaway (Win a set of reusable beeswax wraps, three metal straws with a carrying pouch and cleaner, and a face wipe, all in pretty doggy fabric (Open Internationally)

 

The Dog-walking Club

The Dog-walking Club

by Liz Hinds

 

Synopsis:

Every dog walk brings new drama into the lives of these dogs and their people. A supermarket shelf-stacker, a stay-at-home dad, an elderly widow and a freelance photographer sound an unlikely bunch of friends but they have one thing in common: they all walk their dogs in Beauville Park at roughly the same time each morning.

And that’s enough for Angela, bored organiser without a cause, to get them together to form the Dog-walking Club. For Jock the Scottie, Benji the spaniel, Pixie the boxer, Mitzi the poodle and Bassett the … all sorts, walking each day with their friends is a dream come true. And it changes the lives of widowed Sybil who’s spent a lifetime hiding her secret sorrow, hopeless-with-women Jon who’s wandering almost unwittingly into an affair, freelance photographer Jemma who is at every wedding but her own, and Maggi who is frantically trying to save money to visit her family in Australia.

And for long-suffering Angela a nasty shock turns into a new start in disguise for her and her husband – and their love life.

Christie’s Review

5 STARS

A Top Read of 2019

The Dog-walking Club by Liz Hinds is a gem of a book. It’s a book about friendship and love, not only of the human kind but the canine kind.

I’m a huge dog-lover. I have two beautiful Labrador Retrievers myself…they are my girls, Honey and Lily! So, this book was right up my alley, and I fell in love with all the characters, doggies included. 

Angela is a married mother whose children have now left home, and she is struggling to find something to occupy her time. She finds that when Mitzi, the pup, enters her life. She forms a dog-walking with  Maggi, Jemma, Sybil, Jon, and finally, Bernard. Each is from a different walk of life, yet somehow, they form a bond and strong friendship with each other. 

What I love is that there isn’t one main character. Each one has a story they are telling the reader. So many writers could get lost doing that, confusing the reader. However, Liz Hinds is extremely talented…she never loses or confuses her readers. In fact, she endeared me to every single one of her characters, especially the pups!!!! 

While I adored each and every character, the one that stole the story and held the group together was sweet Sybil, the elderly widow and mom of Jock, the scottie. She was precious! She was each member’s cheerleader and confidante. She was able to listen and really hear the rest of the group, and she was very intuitive. In my opinion, she was the driving force to get each person to go outside of their comfort zone and find happiness. 

This is one of my top 10 reads of 2019! There really is no huge overwhelming plot, yet it is fulll of such emotion, both sadness and joy. It is a beautiful testament to friendship and the relationships between humans and dogs. 

 

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dog-walking-Club-Liz-Hinds/dp/1729286054

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dog-walking-Club-Liz-Hinds/dp/1729286054

Author Bio 

The Dog Walking - liz

I’m a golden-retriever-loving granny, who enjoys walking by the sea or in the woods, who eats too much chocolate and gets over-excited when the Welsh team plays rugby.

Writing-wise, I am an experienced freelance writer – published in The Guardian, Christian Herald and various other magazines and newspapers – with an MA in Creative Writing (Trinity College, University of Wales). My short stories have been published in Cambrensis (the now sadly-defunct short story magazine of Wales) as well as in several anthologies including Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe (Parthian) and Catwomen from Hell (Honno). I am also the author of several non-fiction books published by Hodder & Stoughton, Scripture Union and Kevin Mayhew.

I have self-published two novels, This Time Last Year, and The Dog-walking Club.

I enjoy speaking about my writing to various gatherings and the media, and am an active blogger, facebooker and tweeter.

My everyday blog: www.liz-and-harvey.blogspot.com

My writing blog: http://notanotherwannabewriter.blogspot.com/

Social Media Links –

Facebook @LizHinds99

Twitter @Liz_Hinds99

Pinterest Not Another Wannabe Writer

 

Giveaway

The Dog Walking giveaway copy

Win a set of reusable beeswax wraps, three metal straws with a carrying pouch and cleaner, and a face wipe, all in pretty doggy fabric (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

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5-Star Review · A Top Read of 2019 · Christie's Reviews · Fiction · Must Read · New Review · Women's Fiction

Island in the Sun by Janice Horton Blog Tour with Review

Island In The Sun

Island in the Sun

by Janice Horton 

Synopsis:

When successful jewellery designer Isla Ashton unexpectedly inherits her eccentric Aunt Kate’s Caribbean island, she is obligated to return to the place she associates with heartache and regret. To where she grew up and fell in love with her childhood friend, Leo Fernandez. Fully intent on selling the island and finally putting the past behind her, Isla is soon compelled to put together the pieces of what really happened on a fateful night ten-years before. She begins to believe that in going to prison, Leo hadn’t only been shielding her from the same fate. She also starts to suspect that her late Aunt hadn’t been entirely honest in sending her away under the guise of recriminations. Who had they both been protecting and why?




Christie’s Review

5 STARS

All-Time Favorite Read

A Top Read of 2019

Island in the Sun by Janice Horton is one of those rare gems of a book to just savor and enjoy! It’s one of those books that I read each and every word…devouring them! That’s why it is an all-time favorite read and a top read of 2019 for me!

Isla Ashton is a very successful jewellry designer in the UK. She is looking towards the future, having left her painful past on a beautiful island in the Caribbean. However, the past comes roaring back when she discovers she has inherited her aunt’s island, yes an entire island! She plans to sell and get out before confronting her past in the form of her past love, Leo. But, that is easier said than done when she finds her aunt has left her some surprises she never expected.

Both Isla and Leo are adults who have made decisions about their lives based on things that happened in their past. Neither of them are perfect by any means, especially their stubborness. That just made them more human and easier for me to connect with. As much as this book is about them and their journey to find one another again, it’s also a great deal about Kate. What a character this woman was….talk about a flawed character, she was definitely one. There were times I thought she was incredibly selfish. Yet, I somehow came to love her! She was so complicated and so human.

The book was incredibly well-written, and the writer, Janice Horton, is so talented in creating such a beautiful setting. I could see the blue seas, feel the sand between my toes, smell and feel the balmy salty breezes. It’s not very often I come across a writer that can create such a visual setting, one that I find myself completely immersed in.

Make sure to read the section about the writer herself. She is quite intriguing, and I loved how she finds the locales for her books!

This is a perfect book for the spring and summer. It has it all…great characters, a family saga full of secrets and discoveries, and a gorgeous setting. You can’t get much better than that! The epilogue also contains a surprise. So…I’m hoping there might be more to the story that will result in a future book!




 

Island in the Sun FINAL Cover

Purchase Link http://smarturl.it/IslandInTheSun

 

Author Bio 

 

Janice Horton Caribbean

Janice Horton, also affectionately known as the backpacking housewife, writes contemporary romantic fiction with a dash of humour and a sense of adventure. Once her three children had grown up, Janice and her backpacking husband sold their empty nest in Scotland UK along with almost everything they owned and set off to travel the world. Since then they have been traveling full-time and have explored over 50 countries, living out of an apartment, a hut, or wherever they happen to find themselves.

Janice works as a writer wherever she is in the world. When not writing bestselling romantic adventure novels, she writes lifestyle and travel features for her website and her work has featured in national and international magazines like ‘Prima’ in the UK and ‘Friday’ in Dubai. She has also been involved in BBC Scotland’s Write Here Write Now project and has been interviewed on many podcasts and radio shows including Loose Women’s Kaye Adams’ prime time BBC Radio Scotland Show.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://thebackpackinghousewife.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaniceHorton

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janicehortonwriter/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaniceHortonAuthor

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/janice-horton

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4-Star Review · Book Tours · Christie's Reviews · Fiction · Ghost Story · Giveaways

Whisper to Me by Sherrie Lowe Blog Tour with Review & Giveaway (Giveaway to Win 5 x Mobi for Kindle copies of Whisper To Me (Open INT)

whisper to me

Whisper to Me

by Sherrie Lowe

Synopsis

A new wife and a vengeful ghost. Not a good mix.

Letitia – Tish – Stanyer makes husband Theo promise never to remarry if she dies and he complies just to pacify her. She isn’t going to die.

She does – and he does remarry. Tish isn’t happy. Her spirit cannot rest with another woman in her domain, sampling the delights of her husband. Theo belongs to her – Sheena will have to go.




Christie’s Review

4 STARS

Whisper to Me is a quick and sometimes spooky read! It kept me flipping the pages until the very end.

Theo was married to the love of his life, Tish, for many years. From the ominous opening, I knew their happy days were numbered. Tish makes Theo promise he won’t marry again, and he does, never believing Tish will soon be gone.

He has kept his promise for years until he meets Sheena. She is nothing like Tish, but Theo is entranced by her. His grown children aren’t impressed, and his dead wife Tish is livid. There is nothing more sinister than a mad ghost, especially one who is determined to get rid of her husband’s new wife.

This isn’t just the story of Sheena and Theo. There are multiple romances. It was a different sort of novel, but it kept my interest. I kept wondering what Tish would do next. I wasn’t a fan of Sheena’s either. I was a fan of Theo even though I felt like he entered his marriage with Sheena quickly.

For a shorter book, there was a lot happening within the pages. There were times I felt like it might be just a bit rushed, but I wanted to know how all this was going to end. It appears there will be more to Theo’s story, so I’m looking forward to reading more in the series!




Purchase Links

whisper to me ebook complete

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whisper-Me-Sherrie-Lowe-ebook/dp/B07HVYHD4Y/

https://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Me-Sherrie-Lowe-ebook/dp/B07HVYHD4Y/

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/901558

 

Author Bio   

whisper to me - profile

I am a divorced mum of two adult sons and nana to three grandchildren, soon to be four. I’ve always had a notion to write but didn’t get round to it seriously until I became ill with M.E in 1995 when I was 40 and was too ill to continue my job as a learning support assistant in a mainstream high school. I was devastated to have to resign from my job but writing saved my sanity. My first attempt was a memoir, Shadow Across the Sun which covered the loss of my mum to breast cancer two days before my 13th birthday. When the rejections began to flow in from traditional publishers and agencies I joined a creative writing class and learned to write fiction. Whisper to Me is my 10th novel. I have a strong belief in the afterlife due to events following my mum’s death so most of my stories have some form of supernatural aspect to them.

Social Media Links –  

Website http://www.sherrielowe.co.uk/

Blog https://sherrielowe.wordpress.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/SherrieLowe2

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sherrielowe40/

Giveaway to Win 5 x Mobi for Kindle copies of Whisper To Me (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494184/?

 

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Book Tours · Excerpt · Fiction · Guest Post · Q & A with Author

French Letters Children of a Good War by Jack Woodville London

elizabeth and richard (1)

Synopsis:

Eleanor Hastings knew from experience that some bombs lie buried for decades before blowing up to hurt someone. Now, forty years after World War II, a cache of faded wartime letters is discovered in a cellar, causing Eleanor’s husband, Frank, to understand that he really was a bastard and sending him on a quest to find out who he really is — and to uncover his family’s long-buried secrets.

“Children of a Good War is like a giant puzzle you think you’ve solved, then find more unsettling pieces. Intelligent and engrossing, hard to put down, London’s best novel to date lingers in your thoughts long after you close it and turn out the lights.”
— Author Joyce Faulkner, winner of the Howard-Johnson Prize for Historical Fiction

Best Novel of the Year — Military Writers Society of America
Best Novel of the South — Willie Morris, Finalist
Best Novel with a Romantic Element — Dear Author, Finalist

 

Purchase Links

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/French-Letters-Children-Good-War/dp/099061218X/ref=sr_1_fkmr3_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541876953&sr=8-1-fkmr3&keywords=french+letters+children+of+a+god+war

B&N:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/french-letters-jack-woodville-london/1129542078?ean=9780990612186

 




EXCERPT

 

Chapter Ten

i.

When Frank was nine years old he watched Peter shoot a BB gun at birds on a highline wire and wondered, Why don’t they just fly away? and then, Why doesn’t the electricity shock them?

Frank wondered a lot of things.  He wondered why Hercules liked to play fetch with him but not with Peter.  He wondered why he had a used bike but Tog had a new one.  He wondered why there were different churches for just one Bible, and why Tog seemed reasonably happy about not going to any of them.  He wondered why he was invisible whenever Peter was present (Sunday school class, junior high band, school cafeteria and assemblies, Saturday night at the movie theater, any time they went to The Corral), and why he had a learning disability (I’m retarded…), a concern raised by the requirement of Bridle High School that all students had to take trigonometry and chemistry, neither of which he intended to use in his grown-up life.

               He also wondered why he took little interest in the very things that Peter was so good at, such as football, basketball, track, girls, and Mother’s 1962 Chevrolet.  He wondered why he wasn’t kicked off the football team after mooning Peter at the Homecoming game, suspecting (rightly) that the coach knew that Tog depended on Frank to help him pass English and history during the football season. He next wondered why he was disinvited from the school sports banquet after the season was over, suspecting (rightly) that it had to do with mooning Peter at the Homecoming game. 

Frank once wondered, on a very cold and cloudless night one week after the sports banquet, why water does not freeze inside a town’s water tower, but when that same water is filled into the bed of Marshall’s pickup and then laid down in sheets on Main Street by driving the pickup back and forth as the water seeps out from the tailgate, it freezes on pavement like ice on a skating rink. 

He also wondered why a couple of gallons of very wet chicken manure added to a gallon of gasoline didn’t burn well but when fifteen pounds of dried manure, plus a box of saltpeter from the school cafeteria pantry, were added to gasoline, the mixture would scorch grass, chalk yard lines, dirt, subsoil, and everything beneath it in the shape of the letter ‘S,’ and continue to burn for quite a long time while the coach and superintendent slid around on the ice on Main Street before getting to the school football field to see what that  odd glow was, visible in the night sky.

The following Sunday, while squeezed onto a pew between Virginia and Will, listening to a sermon on the fires of Hell, Frank wondered why no one preached the chapter in Luke where Jesus told the multitudes that he had come to bring fire to the earth and wished it already were kindled or, about the Prince of Peace telling the Twelve Apostles in the book of Matthew that he came not to bring peace but a sword.  That Jesus sounded like someone interesting.

               In his last few months at home, before graduation, Frank wondered whether Tog would ever come back to him.  In his first few months at college he wondered why he had to take math and science, which he intended to never use in his grown-up life. 

As a sophomore, he wondered why they seemed to be having so much trouble beating Vietnam and, later, after graduation, whythey assigned to his birthday the very first number drawn in the draft lottery, the only lottery that Frank ever won.  He soon wondered why he was sent to infantry training and then why he was so bad at it.  He wondered if he would live to drive the used Volkswagen that Will had given him for college graduation and, when he did, whether going to graduate school and writing for a newspaper in Austin would give him the skill he

needed to write about what he really saw in Vietnam.  Frank soon came to wonder also why no one had told him sooner about live music, the Soap Creek Saloon, Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnics, or longneck beers. 

               Frank’s curiosity was not purely inward looking.  He asked why, whenever anyone believed that if something could be separate but equal, they always wanted it to be separate.  He asked his editor why a highway divided East Austin from rich Austin and why Mexican laborers were paid less to roof houses and pour cement than scruffy white guys who didn’t work as hard or do as good a job; his editor said they were good questions.  He asked why farmers who depended on government subsidy checks always voted for the candidate who would cut the farm budget, and why anyone thought that it was Ronald Reagan rather than Ayatollah Khomeini and the Fedayeen who really had defeated Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election.  Pat C. Oh said they were rhetorical questions.  He genuinely wanted to know why President Reagan thought that death squads for democracy were more likely to work in El Salvador than they had in Vietnam and why a coup in once-British Grenada was an American problem; no one wanted to talk about those questions. 

Some of these wonders became files of clippings for stories that were never written.  When Frank pitched them, Mr. Burnam said that Frank needed to focus on city council meetings and school board hearings.

               Frank was not aware of everything, not even everything that mattered.  He was unaware of interest rates, unaware that plastic is not biodegradable, and unaware that security investment regulations usually were enacted after some investment firm had figured out a new way to cheat its investors. 

He was completely unaware when, during a graduate seminar on “Reporting Foreign Political Events,” in which he asked why Margaret Thatcher thought that putting huge swaths of coal workers and shipbuilders out of work would make England a better place for them to live on unemployment benefits, that a young woman was passing by the open doorway.  He didn’t know for a long time that she heard him question whether the rousing use of a crushing military action against a third-world banana republic would restore dignity to unemployed coal miners in Yorkshire and, hearing no answer to his question, that she stood in the doorway long enough to figure out which one of the people in the room had asked the very point she had read in a three-week-old copy of the Manchester Guardian, which she had stumbled across in the graduate school library reading room.  Of course, she was unaware that he had noticed her reading theGuardian and had wanted to find out for himself what interested a person who looked like her. 

               In short, like younger brothers everywhere, Frank grew up largely invisible but observant, standing out from the crowd more often by doing something that upset someone’s expectations rather by doing something that met them

Frank Hastings had no clear understanding that the purpose of his life was to be the person who asked why as a means to making the world a more open place, if not a better one.  Indeed, the only two people who clearly knew that were Eleanor, who for several weeks after hearing his voice in the seminar room had followed Frank at a discrete distance until he finally discovered her, and his father, Will, who now was dead.

 

About the Author:

 

jack w london headshot

Honored as Author of the Year, MWSA 2011-2012, and winner, Indie Excellence Award, 2013, is the author of the award-winning French Letters fiction series.  His novels are praised for their meticulous historical research and ability to capture the language, attitudes, and moral culture of their setting in prose described by reviewers as ‘beautiful, but not pretentious.’

The World War II-era novel Virginia’s War was a Finalist for Best Novel of the South and the Dear Author ‘Novel with a Romantic Element’ contests. His ‘parallel-quel’ novel Engaged in War won the silver medal at the London Book Festival for General Fiction and the Silver prize in the Stars and Flags Historical Fiction competition.  It was the Book of the Month by both Good Reads and the Military Writers Society of America and was the book for which the Indie Excellence Award was given to Jack in 2013.

The third volume in the series, Children of a Good War,  is on track for publication in 2018.  One pre-publication reader wrote “Intelligent and engrossing, it’s hard to put down, (his) best novel to date lingers in your thoughts long after you close it and put out the lights.”  Look for pre-order information in the near future.

And, Jack’s non-fiction book on the craft of writing, A Novel Approach, won the e-Lit gold medal for non-fiction books in 2014-2015.  It is now the standard work for use by veterans in classes presented by the Military Writers Society of America on the craft of writing fiction.

He has published some thirty literary articles and fifty book reviews, all in addition to a lengthy career as a courtroom lawyer and a forty year writing career as the author of technical legal articles, beginning with his appointment as managing editor during law school of the University of Texas International Law Journal.

Jack shares his love of writing with presentations and lectures at writing conferences throughout the United States and abroad.  He has in the past presented at the Historical Novel Society Annual Convention; Military Writers Society of America; Historical Novel Society; Southwest Writers; Writers League of Texas; Central Texas Authors; University of Texas, San Diego State, Stanford, Herriott-Watt University in Edinburg, Scotland, and University of Padua, Italy, as well as US DOD schools and Navy bases in Europe.  He teaches writing classes to veterans who want to learn the conventions and devices of fiction writing so that they, too, can write their stories.

And, apart from literature, Jack also is the co-author of two of the most widely published and essential books for trial lawyers, the Pattern Jury Charge series for Business and Deceptive Practices and for Professional Negligence, Products Liability, and Premises.

Jack is a reader as well as a writer.   His cheeky, much-loved series of book reviews, ‘On the Nightstand,’ is on this website.  Jack reviews the books we all read, from New York Times best sellers to under-the-radar releases and the classics and rates them based on how well they keep him awake — a 100 watt book is a real page-turner and a 20 watt book helps Jack sleep by conking him out pretty quickly.   Click on the the tab for On the Nightstand and find some great reads.

And, Jack still is a student.  He is learning more of the craft of creative writing student at Rewley College, Oxford University, under his tutor, Dr. Jonathan Miles, who also is a critically acclaimed author.

Jack grew up in small town Texas before earning degrees at the University of Texas and West Texas State University and earning certificates at the Fiction Academy, St. Céré, France and Ecole Francaise, Trois Ponts, France.    He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Alice, and Junebug the writing cat.

 

Social Media 

Website: https://jwlbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FrenchLetters

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JackWoodvilleLondon




Author Guest Post

 

Share the first sentence (or first three sentences) of the book and comment on it

There was a minor commotion in the street and she realized that she had no choice but to follow him outside. It was a relief, she felt, although she knew it was only a postponement. Miss Herald had gone to Faversham to tell Eldred Potts that she would no longer walk out with him, as it then was called.”

I set out to create a world for a woman named ‘Miss Herald.’ Who is she? She lived somewhere close to Faversham, which is an ancient village in England, ten miles or so from Canterbury and on the Roman road where the pilgrims of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales spent their last night before arriving in Canterbury proper. And, since she didn’t live in Faversham, where did she live? We soon learn that she lives in Canterbury where she attends the local ‘new’ university and studies archaeology. We also learn that Faversham is the site of a mostly-demolished ruin where in the 1100’s an English queen and king were patrons of the church and were buried; Miss Herald has undergraduate fantasies of fame from discovering their remains or unearthing some other hidden relic of the past.

So, what was she doing in Faversham when the book begins? Rather than an archaeological dig at the monastery, she was there to tell her boyfriend that she was through with him. I tried to infuse a bit of ‘bygonese’ into the paragraph by using the term ‘walk out’ as both a British term for dating and as a term that is now out of fashion.

Their names are clues. A ‘Herald’ is someone who brings news or is the sign that something is about to happen. I added another clue to the fact something was about to happen by saying her following Potts into the street because of a minor commotion was a ‘postponement.’ Potts is a reference to what most archaeological digs yield, shards of pottery.

What is it that she heralds? Her presence heralds that buried bombs can explode to injure people long after they’ve been forgotten. That is one of the major themes of the novel. And, before long, Potts is no longer with us, the victim of a cow that stepped on a buried bomb from World War II and landed on him. And, on a more intimate scale, she is not invited to Potts’ funeral; the locals said that his unfortunate demise was what might be expected as Potts should not have been trying to court Miss Herald in the first place, but should have stayed with ‘his own kind.’”

Miss Herald is indeed different, and things are about to happen.




Author Q & A

 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to race sports cars until I was about 14, then wanted to be a basketball player. Then I wanted to be a history professor. I always wanted to be a writer.

What is your education/career background?

Groom High School; BA in History and Foreign Relations at West Texas State University; jurisdoctor of law degree at the University of Texas; Certificat at Academy of Fiction, St. Séré, France; presently in graduate school in creative writing at Rewley College, Oxford.

When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?

I dig out one of several novels that just light my fires. Larry McMurtry teaches creative writing with every sentence. I read almost anything by Evelyn Waugh or Anthony Powell. John Lanchester and Hilary Mantel are creative and inspiring.

What do you think makes a good story?

A flawed protagonist, a conflict, a solution, then disaster.

Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?

Probably not. I believe that when working on fiction, you should attempt 1000 words a day. I also believe that you should begin by reading what you wrote yesterday, edit and revise it, then move on to a fresh 1000 words. Repeat tomorrow.