The days have become longer, the sun is shining-mostly!- and there is a chance for some downtime. Downtime makes for a cracking opportunity to catch up on reading. From the graphics above, you can see that there is something of a diverse range on offer. There are the two gardening books, one romance novella, a two novels and series of short stories.
With June and July, the growing season becomes apace. If you have more courgettes than you know what to do with, or really want to know about Aloo gobi-that’s spuds and cauliflower, then those are for you.
Retreating to Peace and Postcards from Peace are my contributions to the Peace Novella Series. A stable of different authors awaits if you fancy having a look at the rest of the series. With RTP, Devan Coultrie arrives in Montana with something of a broken heart. There is follow up in Postcards as we get another look into his life.
Fragments is a great big of six inter-related stories as it considers what happens when we lose the people- and animals-that shape our worlds. Kangana sees Gorbind-he appears in Fragments-have a no straight forward romance. There are also snatches of Birmingham, with Lucifer from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery making an appearance.
The first week of Spring, and there is soil beneath my finger nails. Well, there was; I’ve cleaned up and sit here writing. I’ve enjoyed pottering around the plot today, I remembered how much colour the plot brings to my life. I also remembered, just how much I’ve learned in the decade of growing my own.
Growing your own is not a new thing. It’s been happening since the middle ages, but the rise of allotments has really put it into a sharp focus. As has the spotlight on eating healthy, getting exercising and knowing where your food comes from. Three things that when you have an allotment really are part of the whole process of growing and eating.
You don’t even have to have an allotment. I started my gardening journey with plant pots in Dad’s garden. Container gardening was a really good foothold in learning and experimenting.
This blog has documented every inch of learning and experimenting. Much has been supplemented by talking to allotment neighbours, not to mention gardeners and allotmenteers across the universe. Documenting on the blog was certainly one aim. I also wanted to share my learning and experimenting. I’ve made a few mistakes, and I guess communicating these to others has some benefits.
As such, two ebooks have borne out of this blog and offer another avenue for encouragement and support. They are also available in paperback.
Click on the image above and download your copy. Don’t forget to join in with the facebook event as well.
We’re all familiar with Bollywood movies; it is after all multi-million dollar industry with blockbusters that enthral millions. Many of them are romances of a kind. Yet when it comes to fiction, contemporary literature, diversity in romance is still a bit grey around the edges.
Don’t get me wrong, Mills and Boon-Harlequin by another name-has an armada of different nationalities. Many of the characters are Greeks, Italians, there might a few Russian Oligarchs, British Aristocrats and a few American Lieutenants and Medics in the mix. I don’t remember seeing many-if any-characters of Indian ascent; perhaps I missed that part of the library shelf, I don’t know. I dovknow that I saw a gap, especially having written Retreating to Peace: A Peace Series novella. The main protagonist, Devan Coultrie, is of a mixed heritage, but without him, I wouldn’t have even contemplated writing Kangana.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to books with characters from BAME backgrounds. There are authors from BAME groups. I remember seeing Bali Rai’s (Un)Arranged Marriage in the library as a teenager. I grabbed it, read it, and was overjoyed that it existed. I was amazed, that an author from BAME background existed. I’ve also experienced reading Meera Syal’s work; she is a national treasure, I tell you. Meera Syal and Nina Wadia are probably the most recognisable women of South-Asian ascent in the British Media and should be celebrated for their contributions; they certainly motivate me.
The pool of diverse authors is small, but does exist. I guess, that is the pool that I have inadvertently fallen into. Be it by background, be it by what I have chosen to write.
I don’t class Kangana to be the same as Bollywood movie, I’m loathe to even call it a bollywood romance. It’s difficult to put a label on it, but I would say it is diverse. It contains characters, narrative and experiences that are had by characters that we don’t necessarily see on the typical library, book shop, shelf. The setting isn’t exactly New Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore either. The book opens in Midlands, there are references to the BMAG, Sarehole Mill and also the Sea life centre. After all, I am a Brummie Born and bred. There had to be a strand of Birmingham in there.
So, there are some teasers below, the blurb too.
Why not try and read something different today? Kangana is available in both paperback and ebook. Links are on the sidebar.
His whole world changes when he meets Padmi. Life gets more interesting as she changes Gorbind’s universe completely. Romance with Padmi is anything but straightforward.
The rainbow cover is very important to me, and really does reflect the colours on the wind. This is a book that attempts to address different aspects of diversity and the cover had to underline that.
As I approach the Spring Equinox, I’m taking the tine to take stock. Taking the time to pause, absorb the magic that hangs in the air and process how cycles are completing. Processing how things have changed a great deal in the last two years.
This week, is certainly significant and for a number of reasons.
As you read this, I’m either sat at my desk, fiddling with a pen and notebooks. braving the bracing wind and pacing the plot or snuggled up beneath a blanket with a book, Buffy or something similar. (As I type, I’m watching the box set of Endeavour…..so that’s more likely, to be honest.)
I’m having a break, a pit stop; a gentle rest, after what has felt like a never-ending Spring term. I am also very, very close to the end of my training hours for the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. It’s a matter of touching distance and a handful of hours.
Cycles are definitely ending, new ones are waiting in the wind. There is a great deal of anticipation in the air, as something of a tipping point arises with the potential for forward movement.
Today, Tuesday 19th March, is two years since Fragments was published, since it went live on Kindle. As my first foray into fiction, this is a book that is very, very important. This week, also sees the release of book six and the journey between three and six , it completely blows my mind as to how it has unfolded.
There is big difference between Fragments and the two gardening books, least of all because of being fiction and non-fiction. The two gardening books, are like sunlight on a page; they both bulge and burst with it. Fragments has a certain big, black grey cloud presence to it.
Yet, some grey clouds do have a silver lining. There is a silver lining to Fragments, it’s a thread that runs all the way through to be knotted at the ending. The ending of the book itself, and also where I am now with book six due for imminent release. It was never my intention to write a heavy, hard going book. So I wrestled with working towards endings that felt appropriate for the narratives explored.
I had a vague plan for how Fragments would go, I used a grief model to have a skeleton and wove the plan around it. The model was important to me; I wanted to have something to pin the book to in relation to Counselling, my understanding and development at the time too. In hindsight, I know that fragments is filled with sadness, darkness and is brimming with emotion. On the other hand, there is light at the end. It’s a glimmer, faint, but it brews, blooms and becomes far greater than one ever imagined
Each of the six stories is important. The Anands, are a family of mixed heritage. Daniel and Caleb are a gay, married couple. Maya and Aldo, Michael and Sophie are two sets of parents who are grieving children at different ages. Matthew’s bond with grandparent is broken, Albie copes with the loss of his wife and Chris is without man’s best friend.
These are real, everyday people that are all around us.
Fragments was book-ended by bereavements. One, occurred six months before I started to write, the second three months towards the end. At the time, that was a surreal episode of life imitating art, and I couldn’t write at that point. Physically picking up my pen at that point, was painful beyond measure. Writing Fragments was a fevered and frenzied experience. Each and every chapter was like a vivid day dream as it played out in my head and I used my pens to keep up. The whole writing process was a lot like directing and watching a movie; I might as well have had a camera in my hand.
There are two bits, I can imagine really very clearly on screen. Michael breaking up the nursery and Maya in the Ladies toilet. Even down to the camera angles, edit and panning.
In writing it all down, I got there eventually. I had to; Fragments was not going to be left an unfinished, twelve cylinder symphony. This was a book, that had to happen, had to be out in the universe. Not just for me, but anyone who might want to read it.
There is abject, absolute heartbreak in Fragments. If you read it carefully, you can probably read, see and feel the moment my heart goes crack from top to bottom.
The crack starts to heal with Retreating to Peace. By Kangana, the crack is gone and I’ve acknowledged where the bruises were. It has taken Postcards From Peace to buff the shine back and know the dents are no more.
All six books, move towards an unexpected silver lining. Books six, comes out on Friday. It’s no accident that this is around the Equinox, this is a phase change in writing of a sort. I will be writing, definitely. Just in a different frame of mind, I guess.
Picking up where Retreating To Peace left off, Postcards from Peace sees Devan Coultrie settle further into town.
We get to see his family, a few more of his friends about town and also the perils and pitfalls of his relationship with Aditi Rao.
Devan Coultrie is settling into Peace. Life as he knows it, is becoming really quite interesting.
Devan was being chased by a horde of wild-haired, completely psychotic, marauding banshees. They wanted him.
Every inch of him.
Resistance was futile, he was fair game. The Banshees were out to get him.
Waking with a jolt, Devan cursed loudly as both his elbows hit the curved sides of a very cold bath. He looked down toward his feet to see his ever-present Oxblood Dr. Marten’s thump against metal.
He was in the bath.
How the hell did he end up in the bath? Devan tightly closed his eyes to rack his brains. The last few days were incredibly blurry around the edges.
Don”t forget where it all started. Retreating to Peace: A Peace Series Novella saw Devan Coultrie head off to Peace, Montana. You might want to read that too!
On the 25th February 2019, The Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham plays hosts to an evening of story telling. With shades of the supernatural, a whole armada of local authors will be sharing their creative works.
Guess who will part of the line up!
*AA Abbott: writer of crime thrillers set in Birmingham
* Ali AElsey: Kings Heath author, singer and songwriter
* Billy Babu: Wolverhampton wordsmith who combines the magic of the east with traditional English fairytales
* Dawn Bolton: author of fantasy, suspense & romantic fiction
* Darren Di Toni: sci-fi, fantasy and horror writer * Philip Ellis: Birmingham style journalist and mesmerising short story writer
* Punam Farmah: gardener turned ghost story writer
* Pat Spence: acclaimed West Midlands writer of women’s fiction, fantasy and horror, and stand-up comedy
* Martin Tracey: proud Brummie, who weaves scenes from the second city into his stories of supernatural suspense
* Dennis Zaslona: thriller, fantasy and ghost story writer
You can get tickets here.
I’d like to extend a special thank you to A.A.Abbott, for having invited me to attend. This is my first, proper, official author event! I will be reading from Postcards From Peace, which is scheduled for release on the 22nd March. Postcards From Peace is a series of short stories that follows on from Retreating to Peace: A Peace Series Novella.
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