Five on Friday with Samantha Tonge @SamTongeWriter

Another of Jill’s fascinating Five on Friday with Samantha Tonge

Jill's Book Cafe

Today I’m delighted to feature author Samantha Tonge. Samantha currently writes uplifting women’s fiction with Boldwood Books, but her writing career began much earlier. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2020 her novel Knowing You won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award.


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Wednesday Windback with Jane Cable @JaneCable

Jill's Book Cafe

Today I’m delighted to revisit my Five on Friday interview with Jane Cable which was first posted in June 2019. Since it was first posted, Jane has also started writing as Eva Glyn. As Jane she writes romance with a twist, and as Eva Glyn she creates escapist relationship-driven fiction. Her inspiration comes from the nuggets of history she discovers both at home and abroad, and the beautiful places in which she finds them.


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Seattle for Thanksgiving? Seriously? #travel #humor

Barb’s take on Seattle!

Barb Taub

How do you tell you’re in Seattle for Thanksgiving? Is it when…

The passenger across the aisle on flight to Iceland is wearing tie-dye crocs. His partner wears Birkenstocks, no socks. Everything their child has on is tie-dyed. I’m pretty sure they have a pet goat named Karma.

The line just to get to the line to queue for passport control is interminable. When I admire the scarf on the person beside me, he confides he made it from yarn spun from his dog’s fur, and offers to give me the URL for the pet yarn company. As I start to edge away, he says not to worry—it only smells when it gets wet.

It’s the evening before the busiest travel week of the year in the US, and the rental car I’ve reserved is mysteriously not available. The agent shows me a vast, empty lot with three cars. (The…

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My Review of Murder & Mischief (The Victorian Detectives Book 10) by Carol Hedges #crime #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

I received a copy of Murder and Mischief from the author as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team, in return for an honest review.

Book Description:

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas~lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

My Review:

I’ve heard a lot about Carol Hedges’ Victorian Detectives series over the years, and been promising myself I will read one of her books. How I wish I hadn’t waited so long!  Murder and Mischief is a brilliant read; I loved both the story and the author’s distinctive writing style. I actually resented having to put the kindle down when other things needed doing.

Murder and Mischief is number ten of this author’s series, but I read it as a standalone book, and that was no problem at all. I’ve since checked some of the others in the series, and even though some of the characters are in the other books, and most of the settings are similar, this is a complete story in itself. There are no loose ends. In fact I should imagine that, for those readers who have followed the series, familiar characters and backgrounds must add to their enjoyment of each story.

The first thing I have to say is how much I enjoyed the voice of the omniscient narrator. Told from the various points of view, in the present tense, and in the first person, I could actually hear him (yes I do think it’s a “him”) in my head. The conversational tone, the way the reader is directly addressed, gives instant imagery to this shared observation. We are encouraged to view the disparate and unfair class divide, and actions of all the characters  in the same way as the narrator does.

The dialogue is skilfully written and adds another layer to each character, their standing in society, and their role in Murder and Mischief. And here the narrator comes into his own again, revealing often that the direct speech doesn’t reflect their internal dialogue.

The descriptions of the settings that the characters move around in are flawless – extremely atmospheric, and adding much to the story. In fact, the sense of place is so redolent that the streets, the houses, the workhouse, the public houses, the Chinese mission house, all almost become characters in their own right.

There are two main plots that intertwine and coalesce, threaded throughout with various themes of honesty and crime, indifference and cruelty, love and hatred. Sometimes the plot leaps from one thread to another in startling speed, and yet it works, reflecting the change of circumstance the characters find themselves in, and, for me, kept me enthralled.

 As I always say, I try not to give spoilers in my reviews, the book descriptions reveal enough of the story. I can only give a subjective appraisal. But, for anyone who likes the crime genre, a book with an utterly compelling plot, and an insight to Victorian London, this is for you. Murder and Mischief is a novel I can thoroughly recommend.

Carol Hedges

Carol Hedges’ writing has received much critical acclaim. Her Victorian Detectives series is set in 1860s London and features Detective Inspector Leo Stride and his side-kick Detective Sergeant Jack Cully. The ten books in the series are: Diamonds & Dust, Honour & Obey. Death & Dominion,Rack & Ruin, Wonders & Wickedness, Fear & Phantoms, Intrigue & Infamy, Fame & Fortune, Desire & Deceit, Murder & Mischief.

Duffers and Musk

Thought-provoking post from Thorne.

Thorne Moore

I was listening to Start The Week on Radio 4 this morning, all about the moon and further afield – our attitudes, fantasies and intentions of exploration and exploitation. It was startling to hear that Elon Musk really wanted to colonise Mars because it would be totally unregulated territory. None of those pesky labour laws or health and safety rules. Startling because it’s obviously true, but not usually stated so baldly. It’s usually disguised in purple prose about Man’s desire to explore or combined with apocalyptic visions of a lifeless Earth.

I wrote my science fiction trilogy (first version) more than twenty years ago, and although I’ve rewritten/am rewriting it substantially (would you believe futuristic fiction has to be updated?) I haven’t had to change the premise that our colonisation of the solar system would be driven by raw greed and the desire to exploit without restraint – no law…

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Today I’ve been invited onto @JanBaynham’s Blog #MondayBlogs #Interviews #Research #GuestPost #Authors

When Jan asked me to write about research, I started with one purpose, to research the subject of research, and then to explain how I use it…

If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? – Albert Einstein, (1879-1955), German physicist who came up with the theory of relativity, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.

Here’s the link to Jan’s website: https://janbaynham.blogspot.com/

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Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – New Book on the Shelves – #Travel – Caravanning with #Dogs – To Hel In A Hound Cart: Journey To The Centre Of Europe (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs Book 5) by Jacqueline Lambert

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Jacqueline Lambert – To Hel In A Hound Cart: Journey To The Centre Of Europe (Adventure Caravanning with Dogs Book 5) – On pre-order for December 9th.

About the book

“If you are an animal lover, you will love her books. If you like to travel, you will love her books. If you like to read memoirs, you will love her books.” Dawne Archer, author of Trekker Girl Morocco Bound

“Her nimble writing rivals Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux.” review of ‘It Never Rains But It Paws’ by the same author, by Liisa W on Amazon.com.

“Go to Hel.”

The Polish local wasn’t being rude. She was describing Hel, Poland, a place well known for its fine beaches and windsurfing. Ever since Jackie and Mark packed themselves and four dogs into a hound cart to tour Europe, they’ve learned lessons…

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Remembering Past Places in our Memories: Roundup of November 2022 #Memories #MondayBlogs #houses #families #childhoods #Holidays

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

This is a round-up of the Places in our Memories posted over the last few weeks. There have been some wonderful memories shared.

Phil Rowlands gave us a very poignant account of the many special memories he has of Newgale in Wales. https://tinyurl.com/wkevacw6

Liz Hines brought to life her memories of growing up in a house that was once a public house (called Albert House, her childhood home has, unfortunately, been in a state of disrepair for some time now), and told us what it was like to live in a strong matriarchal family. https://tinyurl.com/2anfptxb.

Marjorie Mallon talked about her love of botanical gardens, recalling, in particular, her admiration for Cambridge Botanical Garden in the United Kingdom, and her respect for sculptural/artistic and wonders of engineering science. She also shared one or two of her poems with us. https://tinyurl.com/yc325da8

And finally, Jane Frazer told us us how, although enjoying a wonderful holiday in… she missed her homeland of Wales… and how it brought other thoughts: https://tinyurl.com/msnchysx.

This month, in the lead up to Christmas, we’ll only have one post in December, on the 19th, but I can guarantee it will be a fascinating Christmas memory. I hope you enjoy reading it. In January 2023, we will begin another round of Places in our Memories.

Six of One – Thorne Moore

Crime Cymru

This week we have another “Six of One” – where authors pick out six things which have influenced their writing or career in some way This time it’s the turn of Crime Cymru’s Thorne Moore

One book: I could name a hundred books that have had a profound effect on me from an early age, and which must have influenced my desire to write and my writing itself. Books like The Silver Sword, or The Tombs of Atuan, or later The Bell by Iris Murdoch. But sticking to crime, the one that really shook me up was A Dark Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine. It starts with a girl waking early and watching the clock, dealing with her emotions as the moment approaches when she knows her aunt will be hanged. The rest of the book deals with the complications of family and relationships that culminated in a…

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#TenThings about Alison Jean Lester | #author of The Sound of It | @_benchpressbks_ @A_J_Lester @hannahhargrave8

#TenThings about … Alison Jean Lester -#author of The Sound of It

Portobello Book Blog

I’m delighted to welcome Alison Jean Lester to the blog today. Alison is the author of novels Yuki Means Happiness, Lillian on Life and Glide. Her most recent novel, The Sound of It, was published yesterday by Bench Press Books and is available from all good book retailers. Today she’s sharing a really interesting #TenThings she’d like her readers to know about her with a focus on the steps which led to the writing of this novel.   

Five of my ten things are steps.

The first step toward the idea for my current work in progress was participation in the New York City Midnight Short Story Challenge. The competition challenges writers to create stories in just a few days, based on assigned genres, subjects and characters. In one heat, I had to write a historical fiction story featuring an eating contest and a teenage mother. I set the…

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Shepherding Readers

Thorne Moore

Looking for a good read? There’s a new kid on the internet block of book recommendations: Shepherd.com. It is still growing and developing, but I can vouch for it being a site with excellent taste because it features one of my historical fiction books, Long Shadows.

Visitors can browse books in two way.

They can visit bookshelves on particular topics, for example Murder, its shelf populated by recommendations from hundreds of authors.

Or World War 2, another biggie with over a thousand recommended books.

Or a slightly more limited selection on French Cuisine.

Alternatively, you can check out the listed recommendations of individual authors, with a very specific and sometime eye-opening slant. Take “The best fiction books with realistic portrayals of crime” as recommended by Michelle Goddard-Richer.  

Or “The best horror novels that were adapted into film that will haunt you foreve

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Wednesday Windback with Nicola May @nicolamay1

Here’s another of Jill’s great Wednesday Windback, today with Nicola May @nicolamay1

Jill's Book Cafe

Today I’m delighted to revisit my Five on Friday interview with Nicola May which was first posted in May 2019. It’s been brought up to date to include Nicola’s latest books. Nicola writes what she describes as chick lit with a kick which is right up my street.


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Just an Odd Job Girl – Serialisation – #Romance, #Humour – Chapter Twenty – A new life by Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

This was the first novel that I wrote back in 2001 when I first moved to Spain to live. I had written short stories before and non-fiction health books, but felt the need to bring a little romance and humour into my writing.. the result was the semi-autobiographical Just an Odd Job Girl.

About the book

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.

Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

Last time  Imogen connects with Peter again and he persuades her that he is a changed man asks her to marry him…

The Final Chapter…

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Places in our Memories: With Jane Frazer #Memories

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

Today I’m really pleased to welcome Jane Fraser to Places in our Memories. Jane is a a Honno author like myself, I’ve known her quite a while, and know how much she loves Wales. Here she tells us how, although enjoying a wonderful holiday in… she missed her homeland… and how it brought other thoughts.

Hiraeth

Home Thoughts From Abroad

I am in the elevator going up to the condo on the 6th floor. It feels moist: a stale smell of sweat and coconut sun-oil cloying the cramped space I’m sharing with my husband and another couple. We’ve all rushed off the beach because of the squall. The sign with the palm tree on the wall tells me to have a nice day.

         “Where you guys from?” asks the man with the baseball cap.

         “Wales,” I say.

         “Oh, part of England – we passed through it on our way to Ireland when we did Europe a couple of years ago, didn’t we Jo? he says to his wife who says: We sure did. It’s where Princess Diana was from.

         I don’t bother to even try and explain but say, Bye, enjoy your day as we make our way back to our little rental overlooking the Atlantic which is now stewing, a nasty grey, with white spume peaks whipped by the wind as far out as the eye can see. I sit on our balcony, my mind’s eye can see far across this ocean, as far as the wet west coast of the home I’ve escaped this Christmas.

         “You homesick?” my husband asks.

         “A bit,” I say. “The weather, probably.”

         “Least it’s hot rain. Won’t last. They’re not there anyway.”

         He’s right. My daughter and the kids are in Australia to see the in-laws; my son is happy with his girl-friend in the north of England. My parents are sorted going to my brother’s for Christmas lunch in Cardiff and I know they’re OK as I see them all year, living just a couple of miles away. I’m guilt free. I haven’t left or abandoned anyone. No person I love. It’s just my house I see empty and forlorn; standing unlit and unloved, in the place that tugs at my insides.

         “Don’t you miss our house? Our beach?” I ask my husband.

         “It’s just a place, “he says. “C’mon. We’ve worked all year for this.”

         I continue looking at the ocean, listen to its constant churning. It sounds the same as home. And it’s beautiful. But at 27 degrees north 80 degrees west Hutchinson Island is not 51 degrees north and 4 degrees west in Llangennith. The tide hardly budges here between high and low water, no vast expanse of sand exposed on the ebb. When my wind blows from the south west it is mild and wet, it cakes my windows with salt and browns and bends everything I try to grow in my garden. Everything here is back to front: the north-easterly brings the rain, steamy and sticky; and when the wind blows from the south-west, it’s off the land, hot, dry on the skin, giving respite from the humidity. When my sun rises it is behind me, comes up over Llanmadoc Down and when it is done at the end of the day it falls into the sea just to the left of Burry Holms. I just cannot come to terms with the sun coming up over the ocean and going down over the land.

         “You’ve got no sense of home, have you?” I snipe at my husband.

         “What Merthyr Tydfil? London? Gower?”

         “You don’t belong anywhere, do you?”

         “No. Happy in a camper van, me. Don’t need that stuff.”

         “What stuff?”

         “Roots.”

         “Running away all the time, you are.”

         “Nothing to run from.”

         “No place you see yourself dying? Spending your last days?”

         “Jesus. We’re supposed to be on holiday.”

         I see myself in my own bed at home. I am lying propped up on pillows, looking out through the sash windows at the expanse of ocean. The window is pulled up slightly at the bottom and fresh air rushes through the gap, making the silk curtains billow, and cooling my face which is warmed with the sun in my south-facing house. If I had a choice about the last thing I’d like to see in life it would be the view through this window: the bronzed burrows, the conical dunes, the limestone island of Burry Holms which when the tide is high rises like a turtle out of the sea.

          But it is beautiful here in its own way. Now. The scale of the views astounds: big skies; big seas; but too much sea if there is such a thing. Sea that is not broken up or interrupted with headlands or coves or churches or castles that run down to the water’s edge. There is but one long, straight continuous ocean’s edge strung out along the rim of the pan-handle. I long for things to shrink, for the familiar littleness and quirkiness of my peculiar patch of earth.

         I’m in the tropics in a flat right in the dunes and I am happy and grateful for what life has dealt me. But they are not my dunes. My dunes are golden and soft-sanded, carpeted with marram grass, sea holly and thrift and all manner of orchids and blackberries when autumn comes. Here the sand is greyer and grittier, a flat colour pitted with holes where ghost crabs burrow. Where blue and pink-bubbled Portuguese men of war with foot long tentacles lurk ready to sting at the tide’s drop line. Here everything grows quickly, too quickly; it is hard to keep things under control, to hold back the mangrove to prevent the railroad vine choking. Here the dunes sometimes cannot hold back the hurricanes. Here there are signs that say evacuation route.

         My husband goes back inside the condo to the chill of the air-con, sliding the door behind him. Even though it is raining, I am covered by the popcorn roof of the balcony and shielded from the wet by the sliding concertina-folded shutters. The heat is sapping the life out of me. I consider life’s evacuation route. When and how my end will come. There have been a few near-misses to date and again, I am grateful that I’ve still got a few lives left. My mind wanders and I hope I will have what my grandmother used to call a ‘good death’. A death that is in old age, that is relatively pain-free. One where there is time to say goodbyes.

         I open the sliders and go inside. The air-con confronts me like a fridge.

         “Do you want to be buried or cremated?” I ask my husband. But he cannot hear as his earphones are on and he’s on the iPad catching up with latest episodes of ‘London Spy’.

         “What?” he shouts, taking out one of his ear-pieces.

         “When you die. Buried or cremated? We need to make our wills.”

         “You need to see someone. Seriously.”

         “I want to be buried. In the church. Near the wall. Gets the sun all day. And I can keep an eye on what’s happening in the pub opposite!”

         “Just feed me to the birds. Or drop me overboard near Burry Holms.”

         “I was thinking Burry Holms to start with too: though sprinkled like your mother. Then I changed my mind and fancied the crem. But thought, no. Production line. So it’s to be burial. But not in Llanrhidian with my mother’s lot. Too dark. Damp.”

         “Long as I know.”

         “Don’t you want to be buried with me, then?”

         “Don’t believe in all that tosh.”

         “Is it ‘cos we’ve got different names? Shall I change my name to Griffiths?”

         “You do what you like. I just want to go back to nature. No fuss.”

         “That’s great. Buried alone. That’ll give them something to talk about.”

         “Who?”

         “Villagers.”

         “Well, you won’t hear them, will you?”

On Christmas Eve the sun has decided to shine again. It is in the high eighties. The checkout girl in Publix tells us the weather here is Bipolar. My husband tells me he thinks I am too.

         We hit the beach again with our striped canvas chairs, turning away from the sea to follow the sun as the day progresses. We watch fisherman landing croakers and pompanos, their rods bent like arcs over the sparkling ocean along the water’s edge as far as the eyes can see. One man is sweating with the effort of reeling in a big fella that’s been taking line for over an hour as far south as Miami. Must be a shark or a stingray his friend says who stands at the ready with a rope to help him when the time comes. But the line snaps and it was the one that got away.

         The sun is high even in mid-winter, searing the crown of my broad black-rimmed hat which I notice is fading so fast. I look at my watch. 3pm. Eight o’clock back home. It’ll be dark and raining and the teles will be blaring and the pubs heaving. At this precise moment I’m not missing it at all.

          But at six o’clock, when the light goes yet the heat remains locked in, I’m out of kilter again. The condo looks bare even though we’ve tried out best with potted red tulips and white lilies and red and gold baubles which are too glitzy for my liking. The Christmas cards we’ve bought each other in Barnes and Noble are too schmaltzy and shmucky: like the apples and the vegetables in the supermarkets, too big and shiny and perfect that look lovely but don’t actually taste of anything.

         The tele goes on but it’s all American Football and medical adverts every few seconds with lists of alarming side effects of certain medications. It’s Fixer Upper then, nothing but edition after edition of Fixer Upper and houses that are transformed in Wacko Texas for under $80,000 including land. Next is Chopped which I tell my husband is a poor imitation of Bake Off and even worse than Australian MasterChef.

          I turn to my iPad for comfort and start googling Llangennith. I get the Gower Webcam from The Worms’s Head Hotel looking across Rhossili Bay. But it’s dark there, the sea hardly visible just an eerie rippling. It will restart live at sunrise tomorrow morning the message promises. Apparently it’s been a great day for surf. Overhead and light winds from the south west. I go to Wikipedia: pictures emerge of a village on the Gower peninsula near Swansea in Wales. It has an 11th century church dedicated to St Cenydd. It is the largest Church in Gower and the only one with a lych gate. I know. We were married there. I am suddenly in its nave, in its chancel, standing among the choir stalls with a bouquet of lily of the valley, taking our vows. It’s where I’ve recently told my husband I’ll be buried. I can see the unkempt grass, though not onscreen, see the weathered tombstones, tottering at all angles, see the names of generations of Taylors and Groves and Bevans and Beynons. I think I’ve made the right decision about being buried there, I say to my husband but he’s engrossed in Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers. I can smell home through the ether, pine and Christmas pudding.

         “You umbelicalled to that thing?” he shouts from the sofa.

         I’m on Google Earth now, I’ve keyed in my postcode SA3 1JE and I’m being taken from the beginning of Cock Street following a white arrow like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs, past Gill and Paul’s at Bullen’s Well – I can see the spout from the well, taste the spring water I always taste in cupped hands when I’m finishing up my daily walk. The camera takes me on along the single track lane – there’s Cock Street Farm with the gate with the two horses’ heads and the Land Rover parked in the yard. Must have been taken a few years ago as Joe Grove has changed it now for an Isuzu Trouper. And it must have been early summer too as the gorse is out, a blaze of yellow and the ferns at the lane’s edge are hip-high. I press the arrow with a compulsion, I’m at Long Offing now, and then the old barn in the field next to mine – Steve Taylor’s Fiesta is parked outside the gate – probably watering the plants in his polytunnel. And then there’s my gate. From 5,000 miles away right in front of me is my five barred farm gate and my drive with the car parked in it. CF13 MFU – all my personal things there for me to see, but not to touch. I can hardly bear it. I zoom on to the front of the house. It’s white and lime washed and perfectly symmetrical. Surrounded by newly ploughed brown-earthed fields it looks like it’s growing there, like it belongs there, like it’s been there for all time.

         It looks sad without us there. The windows at the front look as though they are crying. The wooden loungers are in place on the patio, perfectly positioned to take in the views of the ocean and the full sun. But they are empty. The stone pots of lavender are in full bloom but there is no one to smell them or water them. The seeds I must have planted back then are sprouting in the raised beds and the olive trees standing tall in the terracotta pots on the plum stoned driveway. They say all roads lead home at Christmas, I tell my husband. But he doesn’t reply.

About Jane:


Jane Fraser is an award-winning fiction writer, based in the Gower peninsula, south Wales. Her debut novel, Advent, was published by Honno, the UK’s longest-standing, independent women’s press, in January 2021. It was Book of the Month at Books Council of Wales in February 2021 and in June 2022 was announced as winner of the Society of Authors’ Awards – The Paul Torday Memorial Prize for a debut novel in English. Her first collection of short fiction, The South Westerlies, was published by Salt, the UK’s foremost independent publisher of literary fiction, in 2019 and her second short fiction collection, Connective Tissue, in October 2022, and also published by Salt.

She has been widely published in anthologies and reviews including New Welsh Review, The Lonely Crowd, Fish Publishing, TSS and The London Magazine. Her fiction has figured highly in major international competitions: in 2017 she was a finalist in the Manchester Fiction Prize (and has also been highly commended eight times), and in 2018 was a prize winner in the Fish Memoir Prize. She has also long and shortlisted in the Cambridge Short Story Prize, the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Prize, the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition and Retreat West Short Story Competition. She is winner of both the British Haiku Society and Genjuan International Prize for haibun. Her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as part of its ‘Short Works’ series.

She is a Hay Festival Writer at Work, a prestigious creative development award for emerging writers. She has a B.Ed as a first degree, and an MA (distinction 2013) and PhD in Creative Writing from Swansea University.

Jane Fraser is proud to be represented by Gaia Banks, Literary Agent at Sheil Land Associates Ltd. http://www.sheilland.com

When she is not writing, Jane Fraser is Co-Director of NB:Design a brand and digital agency along with her husband Philip Griffiths, a designer and photographer. When she is not working or writing, she walks her home patch of Gower and tries to be a good grandmother to Megan (13), Florence (11) and Alice (8).

Find Jane on:

Twitter @jfraserwriter

Instagram @janefraserwriter

@jfraserwriter@mastodonapp.uk 

Website www.janefraserwriter.com

Email: jane@nb-design.com

My Review of TimeSlip by Phil Rowlands #Crime #Thriller #WeekendRead

Book Description:

Ian Chambers is in trouble and under pressure, guilt ridden and struggling to complete the first draft of his novel.

On a stormy night on a Yorkshire beach, he experiences something so terrifying that he questions his sanity.

In a desperate search for a rational explanation, he risks losing not only reality as he knows it… but his very existence.

My Review:

I really enjoyed TimeSlip, both for the narrative and for the Phil Rowland’s writing style.

This is a book that runs on two timelines that merge and separate throughout the story. In 1943, during a raging storm, a policeman is stabbed to death on Bridlington Beach whilst on a stakeout – fast forward almost eighty years and a writer experiences an attack on his life in the same place. This turns out to be a dreadful flashback – one in which his experience duplicates that of the policeman. Or was it himself in another lifetime? Whatever the truth, he can’t escape the terror that haunts him every day.

The protagonist, Ian Chambers, an author, is a multi-layered character who comes alive in the page – so much so that I became alternately exasperated and sorry for him as he wrestles with both his emotions and his lack of an ability to, “just sit down and write the book he is being paid for, before his agent sacks him”. That and his infidelity tempered my sympathy for him at times.

And he is supported by an excellent cast of minor characters, both from the story in the past, and from the contemporary narrative that adds an interesting complexity to the plot.

The brilliant descriptions of the settings give a good sense of place to the dangerous time during WW2, and of the sometimes frenetic changes of background as the protagonist strives to find answers to his dilemmas in his present life.

TimeSlip is a fascinating and thought provoking psychological  thriller, and I recommend it to any reader who enjoys a book that crosses genres. This is a contemporary story of a man struggling with marital and work problems of his own making , and a preternatural mystery. One that almost costs him everything he holds dear  – including his own life.

About Phil Rowlands


I am a screenwriter, author and producer.

After many years as a ‘safe pair of hands’ actor, mainly in film and television, I moved into the production side as a freelance writer and producer. I’ve written feature films, TV and radio dramas, documentaries and animation series and worked on productions as a script doctor and consultant.

In 2009 I was one of the co-founders of Funky Medics, a production company focussing mainly on innovative health education. Its projects have included heart disease, diabetes, smoking and drug abuse.

Currently, I have four screenplays under option, one for production in 2023, the other three at various stages of draft development.

Siena, my first novel, was revised and republished by new indie publisher Diamond Crime along with my second, Single Cell in April 2021. A new book, TimeSlip, was released in late March 2022

I write in a shed at the bottom of my small garden.

Originally from Pembrokeshire in West Wales, I now live near Cardiff and have British nationality and Canadian citizenship.

Find Phil here:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhilRowlands2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phil.rowlands.906