Staying in with David Impey

The october men

I love a good thriller and am delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for The October Men by David Impey and would like to thank Helen Lewis at LiterallyPR for inviting me to take part. Usually I don’t know what book an author is going to bring along to stay in with me, but as it’s publication day for The October Men I had a pretty good idea today!

If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.

Staying in with David Impey

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag David. Thanks so much for agreeing to stay in with me. 

I think I have a good idea of the answer to this question, but which of your books have you brought along to share with me and why have you chosen it?

The october men

Hi Linda. Thanks for asking me along. I’ve brought my first published novel The October Men along with me. It’s a conspiracy thriller about the evidence of time travel as opposed to a linear narrative from the point of view of the time travellers.

(Sounds so exciting and Happy Publication Day David.)

Thanks Linda. I wanted to share The October Men with you because I tried to write it in a way that examined the different aspects of  what might happen in a world which has been affected by the intervention of people with different agendas – some more benign than others – over the course of the last 150 years.

So I wrote the book in a ‘mosaic’ style, a series of vignettes which, by themselves, may mean little but, when taken collectively, build up into a cohesive story arc. There’s no protagonist, unless you count you, yourself the reader. I’ve tried to write it so that you are put in the centre of the evidence and you are asked to try and make sense of what is going on as you proceed through the book.

I hope you enjoy it.

(I honestly think this sounds fascinating. I think readers always affect a book because they bring their own experiences to the reading so this approach really appeals to me.) 

3D The October Men

What can we expect from an evening in with The October Men?

Those people who have already read the book have pretty much all said the same two things: that it’s a page turner (one reader said the book kept her from attending to all the work she should have been doing!) and it goes off in a completely unexpected direction towards the end.

(Oh. Interesting.)

jfk dallas

The story examines various events in recent history – the assassination of JFK, the Roswell Incident the Wall Street Crash – as well as art fraud, stock market dealing and espionage. It also is set in a number of locations including London, Oxford (my home town), New York, The Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein and France among others.

stock mkt crash

Whilst I said the novel is built up of short vignettes, many of them interlink and most end of some sort of a cliffhanger. So, I have been pretty brazen about trying to keep the reader hooked.

This is a novel to spend the evening with. In the company of an excellent bottle of wine.


(Ironically, I’ve been to all those locations so settling down with The October Men and revisiting them sounds a plan to me!)

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I have brought you a Bitcoin and a winning ticket for El Gordo.

bitcoin photo

If you had bought a Bitcoin in October 16th last year and sold in December 16th when the price peaked (at $19,343.04), you would have trebled your money. If you had bought in June, the profit would have been nearly five-fold; if you’d bought in March 16th, the value would have gone up sixteen times!

(Oh my goodness. The value of hindsight eh?)

By contrast, the top prize for El Gordo in 2017 was over €200 million and was shared by the locals of a village bar in north-western Spain.  

el gordo ticket

(Lucky villagers!)

Now, tell me, if you could go back in time, what would it be for? And what would you do with the proceeds? Is it for yourself, or for someone you love?

(What questions David! If I could go back in time and get my hands on those fortunes I’d certainly spend some of the money travelling, but I think I’d give the majority to my local hospital as it seems to be dying a rapid death through lack of funding.)

Thanks so much, David, for staying in with me to introduce The October Men. It’s usually me who asks the questions and I’ve had a really interesting time. Good luck with today’s launch of The October Men. It sounds great.

The October Men

The october men

Otto Parsons, a brilliant Oxford physicist, is missing. His early experiments on zero gravity machines have produced unimaginable results. His professor, Dan Sibley, has to secure funding for their work or close the project down. A wealthy organisation has made him an offer to secure the project’s future. Only now, it seems his backers may have an altogether more sinister agenda. Wheels are in motion that cannot be stopped.

What is it that connects their work with the assassination of JFK, the Roswell Incident, the Wall Street Crash and a mysterious cache of priceless art?

And who are the shadowy partners of the October Foundation?

The answers will threaten the safety of everyone on the planet.

The October Men is the stunning debut from David Impey, full of twists and turns that will keep you gripped. If you like well-crafted thrillers by John le Carré and Colin Dexter or thought-provoking science fiction by John Wyndham, then The October Men is the novel you must read.

The October Men is published today, 20th March 2018, and is available for purchase here.

About David Impey


David Impey is a debut writer and when he’s not writing, he is an avid musician and an awful cricketer.  David lives in a village near Oxford UK with his patient wife and insane dog.

You can follow David on Twitter @David_Impey1.

Extract and Giveaway: The Ballad of Curly Oswald by Curly Oswald

Curly Oswald

I am absolutely intrigued by The Ballad of Curly Oswald by – er, Curly Oswald (see author details below)! I have a copy of The Ballad of Curly Oswald on my TBR thanks to the lovely folk at Indie Books. I’m so looking forward to reading this one, but in the meantime I am delighted that I have an extract to share today. Even better perhaps, I have a paperback copy of The Ballad of Curly Oswald give away to one lucky Linda’s Book Bag reader too. You’ll find how to enter at the bottom of this blog post.

The Ballad of Curly Oswald is available for purchase here and on Amazon.

The Ballad of Curly Oswald

Curly Oswald

Born in a woodland pond and raised in a hippie commune, Curly Oswald is the ultimate outsider, unhindered by conventional schooling or any administrative ties with the wicked System.

Now, confined to hospital following a near-fatal accident, he tells the story of his younger self and extended ‘family’, as they grapple with problems ranging from eco-friendly slug control to the mischief of a power-hungry guru.

An extraordinary chronicle of a lifestyle both alternative yet remarkably viable, a microcosm of eccentricity, comedy and occasional grotesque tragedy, it is told with the unflinching eye of a child and the sympathy of a narrator who sees the humour as well as the horror of life in all its deranged glory.

An Extract from The Ballad of Curly Oswald

We had plenty of musical evenings, usually round the Fireplace – (the fire made from dead branches only, of course). Erryk played reasonably well on his acoustic guitar, though Rick was by far the most accomplished musician. On his electric guitar, a black Stratocaster, he would perform some extraordinary solo riffs when he was in the mood. ‘He must be connected somehow to the spirit of Jimi Hendrix,’ said Zoë; of course she was biased. Sean had a pair of bongo drums, Tiger Lily her Balinese flute, and Ginnie a collection of exotic little percussion instruments. Us kids liked to invent our own; Rain, for instance, made himself a pair of maracas out of a couple of old tennis balls he filled with tacks. Not the most musical of the bunch, I still enjoyed bashing glass jars with bits of stick. Erryk showed me how to vary the note by filling the jars with different volumes of water.

We all sang, too. Stella had a particularly good soprano voice, clear and strong – our very own Joan Baez. Erryk knew the lyrics to all Bob Dylan’s songs, and composed his own Dylanesque numbers – including The Ballad of Curly Oswald written when I was still a toddler. ‘Born of fire, into water,’ it began, ‘of the wingéd elven daughter…’ I don’t think I need go any further.

And we had story-telling evenings as well: here Tiger Lily was the star, though once again everyone joined in. The stories were by no means always fictional or mythical. Often they dealt with real life, events from Lothlorien’s past – (my birth, for instance) – or weird, amusing, sometimes distressing encounters with Outsiders. These true-life stories were part of the glue which held Lothlorien together, an ever-growing oral history which belonged only to ourselves, the Elves’ Inheritors. That was what Sean called us. In those halcyon days men could get away with expressions like that.

These entertainments came at the close of days packed with activity for us children. There were games in the woods, of course – when we had the time. As soon as we were old enough, we were encouraged to take on simple responsibilities such as collecting the eggs and helping in the Garden. The best was the laundry run, when we did a round of the caravans to pick up dirty washing for the machine in the shower-block. The vehicle we used for this, which we either pushed or rode in, was a shopping trolley from the supermarket in Middington. It could become a car, a tank, a dragon… anything.

Then there were lessons, although lessons isn’t really the right word to use as it sounds too schooly. All the adults were happy to teach us their various skills if we showed an interest, but our principal instructor was Gogo. But no timetables were involved, no curriculum. ‘School,’ he would say, ‘is simply society’s method of conditioning kids to believe that for most of the week, for most of your life, you’ll have to be in a place where you don’t want to be, doing something you don’t want to do.’ He just taught what he felt like teaching at any given moment. This unpredictability was half the fun.

Quite often he would take us for a trip Outside. ‘Come on kids,’ he called one warm spring evening. ‘Jump in the car. We’re off to the seaside to learn all about tides and the moon.’

I looked up. ‘There isn’t a moon.’

‘There will be, you’ll see.’

‘What about supper?’ I asked a little anxiously.

‘We’re taking it with us.’

‘Will the ice-cream place be open?’ We loved going to the seaside. The nearest resort was less than an hour’s drive away.

‘No Curly, it’s closed at night. Anyway, we’re going somewhere much wilder than usual. But you know what? We’re going to look for driftwood and build a fire and then we’re going to bake some spuds and toast some of Marj’s homemade marshmallows. I’ve got a whole big bag. And we’re going to gather seaweed and make jelly with it tomorrow.’

‘And some more marshmallows?’ I asked. Marjoram used seaweed to make her marshmallows, gelatine being out of the question as it came from animals.

‘Quite possibly. Now listen to this, kids – if we’re really lucky tonight we might even see phosphorescence.’

We did, too. I’ll never forget that evening: the full moon rising like a golden peach, the swish of pebbles dragged back and forth on the beach by the waves, the scent and sizzle of the marshmallows that we stuck on skewers and held over the embers of the fire. And the tiny sparkles of brilliance drifting around the rocks – only a few, but enough to reduce even Rain and me to silence by their magic. ‘They’re sea-fairies,’ whispered Layla, and for once we had to agree with her.

The next day we wrote an account of our outing, as we always did – in my case lavishly illustrated as I loved to draw and was good at it. All of us could read and write by the age of five – because we wanted to. Books were a big part of our lives. Everyone had books, but the most interesting, to us, were Ginnie’s, as she had hung on to all her childhood classics, and Gogo’s, because he had picture-books about more or less everything. He also took us on regular forays to the library in Middington. I remember its fabulous smell – and the way in which parents often pushed their children away from us. ‘Gypsies,’ was a whisper we heard more than once. ‘We are not,’ Shine would reply loudly and loftily. ‘We are the Elves’ Inheritors.’ But that didn’t seem to help much.

Perhaps the most varied collection of literature, and the one which finally absorbed me the most, was Jack’s. I realise that up till now I’ve only once mentioned Jack in passing, and Loose not at all – the two people who were to be absolutely pivotal in my life as I started to grow up. Even now they still stir up a powerful and ambivalent cocktail of memories.

But they didn’t arrive until the autumn of ’76. Arjuna and all his mischief-making happened first.

(Now that really makes me want to get cracking on my TBR so that The Ballad of Curly Oswald gets to the top!)

About Curly Oswald

Now, here’s the thing. I have a Linda’s Book Bag house style and I usually post a photo of the author here, followed by a brief biography and social media links. This time, however, I have nothing for you. Even Indie Books don’t know the true identity of Curly Oswald and whether The Ballad of Curly Oswald is a memoir or fiction! You’ll just have to enter the giveaway and see if you can work out the author’s identity if you win!


A Paperback Copy of The Ballad of Curly Oswald

Curly Oswald

For your chance to win a paperback copy of The Ballad of Curly Oswald, click here. Giveaway open internationally and closes at UK midnight on Monday 26th March 2018.

Rover by Michael Berger


My thanks to Mia Harris at Author Solutions for a copy of the children’s book Rover by Michael Berger in return for an honest review.

Published by Simon and Schuster imprint, Archway, Rover is available for purchase in the usual places including directly from the publisher here and on Amazon.



Julia is a little girl who has always wanted a puppy, just like many other little boys and girls. One exciting day, her wish comes true!

A puppy who can talk appears at the school bus stop one morning, running out of the woods. He comes to Julia and asks her to take him to school. Julia decides she wants to keep him forever—but first she must get permission from her mother to become the puppy’s owner. If her mother says yes, Julia is hoping to find a new wonderful friend. But what will she name her new friend?

In this children’s story, a little girl waiting for her school bus meets a magical puppy who can talk and who wants to become her dog.

My Review of Rover

Waiting for the school bus, Julia discovers a talking puppy.

Rover is a quaint and charming story about the blossoming relationship between a little girl and a puppy. It works at a very simple level so that children will relate to it easily. Although it is modern in setting, Rover draws on the great traditions of children’s stories with a talking animal, and in beginning ‘Once upon a time’ leading through the narrative to Julia and the puppy living happily ever after.

When the puppy is missing I think there’s a good opportunity to engage children in the story as they guess what may have happened so that they can enjoy the story on more than one level.

I thought the illustrations accompanying the story were very effective and their child-like quality will appeal to children. Indeed, I’m sure many children will really enjoy this story.

About Michael Berger

Michael Berger has been creating fun stories for his only daughter for many years and is now sharing one of her favorites. He is a father, an insurance agent, and an elite Ironman triathlete. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Fed-Up Cow by Peta Lemon

Fed up cow

My enormous thanks to the author Peta Lemon for sending me a copy of the children’s book The Fed-Up Cow in return for an honest review

Published by Quirky Picture Press, The Fed-Up Cow is available for purchase here.

The Fed-Up Cow

Fed up cow

Hilda is FED-UP with being a cow. Spending all day doing not much but moo. There has to be something more she can do.

So she decides to be a sheep… … then a pig … and even a chicken.

Is the grass any greener on the other side?

Join Hilda, the fed-up cow, on her voyage of self-discovery in this daft but timeless story, written in rhyme.

My Review of The Fed-Up Cow

Hilda is bored with being a cow so looks for another animal identity to transform her life.

The Fed-Up Cow is a fabulous children’s book. I loved it and am certain young children will adore it too because it is witty, engaging, colourful and there’s a jolly good story between its pages too.

There is a surprising amount to the plot for a picture book in this age range as Hilda experiments with being various animals, so that I think The Fed-Up Cow could be read several times over with young children without them getting bored.

There’s a smashing rhyme scheme and a wonderful rhythm to the writing so that reading this aloud with children would be a real pleasure. The language is simple enough for young children to begin the reading process independently with words like ‘now’ and ‘cow, and yet there is sufficient challenge in other vocabulary, like ‘chortles’, to extend children’s language as they enjoy the narrative.

I loved the plot and the humour and I thought the themes of identity, and being content with who we are, were handled so well. The idea of pretending and being someone else will appeal to all children, but enjoying what we have and who we are too is a valuable lesson to learn.

Alongside the text are superb illustrations from Maria Dasic Todoric that enhance both the story as well as the engagement and enjoyment. The illustrations add an extra educational element too as children could count the flies buzzing around the cows, or the number of pigs rolling in the dirt, for example.

I think The Fed-Up Cow has all the elements that make for a wonderful children’s book and I recommend it most highly.

About Peta Lemon


Peta Lemon is the author of beautifully illustrated children’s picture books, published under the imprint Quirky Picture Press.

Her books are always funny, written in rhyme and illustrated by Maria Dasic Todoric.

The Fed-up Cow is available now from all major retailers. Timmy on the Toilet and the Bins of Cotteridge Down are coming later in 2018.

The Apocalypse: A Guest Post by Devon C Ford, Author of The Fall

the fall

As a blogger I get the chance to encounter a wide range of books and although I don’t have time to read them all, it doesn’t stop me being completely fascinated by them. One such book is The Fall by Devon C Ford. I’m thrilled that I have a stunning guest post from Devon C Ford today looking at the concept of an apocalypse.

Published by the innovative Vulpine Press, The Fall is available for purchase here.

The Fall

the fall

Cal’s ‘honeymoon’ didn’t start off quite how he’d planned. For starters, he was heading somewhere he didn’t actually want to go. And secondly, he was going alone and unmarried. He had no idea that his first visit to New York City would also land him in the middle of a domestic terror attack, forcing him to flee Manhattan in a desperate bid to survive.

This was no ordinary terror attack.

The Movement, in a misguided attempt to seize political control of the USA, unwittingly invited the destruction of their homeland, and as the bombs start to fall, the shock and loss of life reverberates around the world. Cal, along with a small group he met in NYC, desperately flees inland away from the targeted coastal cities, but chaos follows them around every corner.

The Apocalypse

A Guest Post by Devon C Ford

For starters, there are lots of different kinds of post-apocalyptic world we could find ourselves in. Imagine yourself a year down the line having to deal with a world without power, without running water, without transportation as there is no fuel left. Imagine yourself having to cope with the big three: food, shelter, water.

And not in that order, either.

Do you know how long you can go without water? Do you know how to purify rain water? Could you handle the extremes of seasonal weather changes where you live? How long will your food last, and do you know how to become self-sufficient? How much farm land does it take to feed one person? Are you even aware of the psychological effects of surviving in the first place?

And that’s just the first year in an apocalypse, without even considering what other people would do.

So why do so many people want to read about the end of the world as we know it? What is the obsession?

I think it’s a slightly sad side-effect of the society we have built, and make no mistake we have built it in every democratic country because we as the people have elected our leaders. People will always seek a release, an escape, a brain-break from the daily grind  where responsibility and paying bills and getting up before you want to only to go and work to make someone else more money than you get, is just the endless hamster-wheel cycle of life.

People want to switch that off, and they will do it in different ways. Exercise, alcohol, TV, books… all of these things are a way to push normal life aside for a moment.

Sometimes that switch off, that distraction, becomes a mild obsession. Many of us wish it could be exercise (he types, as he looks over his expanding midsection) but it worms its way into your thoughts so insidiously that you haven’t even noticed it’s there until you are hooked.

The apocalypse does that. You can’t say when or often how, but somewhere along the way you became hooked. It’s a believable world to escape to, where a person can reinvent themselves and be what they think they could be instead of what they have ended up as.

For many it remains as a mild obsession or an enjoyable escape, and allows them to imagine a world without phones and power, to see justice dispensed without the lengthy trial and predictably light sentence, to read about how people survive adversity.

Yes, I said that, people read about the apocalypse because of the feel-good-factor when the characters overcome adversity and survive. Despite the death and destruction and loss, a good Post-Apoc tale leaves the reader with that warm, fuzzy feeling that no Rom-Com could ever hope to match.

“But it’s just fiction…” I hear them cry.

Is it? Do any of us honestly believe that we as a species are so civilised and evolved that we couldn’t find ourselves in the midst of a global war? Or surviving in the aftermath of a nuclear Armageddon? Or picking up the pieces after a series of natural disasters or the next pandemic?

Take a look at history. We have killed billions of our own kind in our relatively short time on this rock. We’ve seen and perpetrated genocides, ethnic cleansings, slavery, forced labour, we’ve killed people through political uprisings, suffered famines, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, weather disasters… and all of this is before smallpox, Spanish flu, the Black Death, malaria, cholera, typhus, AIDS…

Wake up, peeps, we are probably due for something bad to go down.

Which brings me on to the people who already know this. ‘Prepping’ is nothing new on the far side of the pond to me, but it is still a relatively new concept over here. People are going on survival training weekends not just for fun, but so that they can provide for and protect their families when the SHTF. People, normal people with good jobs and no overt signs of lunacy, keep season-relevant BOB’s ready to go at all times. (A BOB, for those of you not up with the lingo, is a Bug-Out-Bag containing everything you need to survive for a few days.)

Talk of the apocalypse, in whatever form, isn’t as much a case of IF but WHEN.

But is it all doom and gloom? Well, that depends on your personal outlook on life. If you eat food that someone else has cooked every day and live your entire life through the inadequate medium of social media, then the apocalypse probably isn’t going to be your thing.

If you secretly yearn for the banks to disappear and for the need to survive to overtake the need to meet that next performance review on a strong footing, then you might not see it as such a bad thing.

The sad truth is, we don’t know how close we are every day to another war breaking out because our access to that information is as sanitised as it could be. We are spoon-fed the information that others deem us capable of handling, and we happily go on with our lives as though nothing is amiss on our happy planet.

But if we were aware, would we be as happy? Would we still be able to function in our daily lives? Could you imagine the conversations we would have?

“Have you seen the new Marvel film yet?”

“Forget that, did you see the display of military might by North Korea? Do you know where there are any shelters around here? And there was a report that an Ebola outbreak is making people reanimate and attack. Dude, it’s happening, I’m going off-grid!”

Those of you old enough to recall might remember the feeling that war between east and west was imminent for years. That heightened state of fear, public fear, has to have an effect on not just people, but society as a whole.

I’ve been asked if I prep, and I suppose I do in a way. No, I don’t have a stockpile of food and tools, because if an apocalypse of any form did happen I live in an area that is too populated to stay in. I don’t have a rural stronghold I could dig into like the proverbial Alabama tick, I don’t have six months of canned goods in my basement for the main reason that I don’t have a basement, so no, I’m no prepper.

But that’s not to say I don’t have a plan…

(Oh my goodness Devon. What a guest post! I’m looking at the store cupboard right now and thinking…)

About Devon C Ford


Devon C Ford is from the UK and lives in the Midlands. His career in public services started in his teens and has provided a wealth of experiences, both good and some very bad, which form the basis of the book ideas that cause regular insomnia. His debut series After it Happened became a bestseller.

His latest book The Fall is part of a multi-author series and is available to buy now on Amazon.

You can find more about Devon C Ford on Facebook, on his website and by following him on Twitter @DevonFordAuthor.

Giveaway: The Lost Girl by Carol Drinkwater

the lost girl

If you haven’t yet discovered Carol Drinkwater’s wonderful writing, boy do I have a treat for you today.

I have previously reviewed The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater here on the blog and The Lost Girl here. I was also thrilled to be able to interview Carol about The Lost Girl in a post you can read here.

Today I’m so excited that Carol has allowed me to give away a signed paperback copy of The Lost Girl and you can enter the giveaway at the bottom of this blog post.

The Lost Girl is published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin, and is available for purchase via the links here. You can also get a taste of what a wonderful book this is by reading an extract from the publishers here.

The Lost Girl

the lost girl

Her daughter disappeared four years ago. . .

Since her daughter went missing four years earlier, celebrated photographer Kurtiz Ross has been a woman alone. Her only companion her camera. Since Lizzie disappeared, she has blamed and isolated herself, given up hope. Until, out of the blue, an unexpected sighting of Lizzie is made in Paris.

Could this lead to the reconciliation she has dreamed of?

Within hours of Kurtiz arriving in Paris, the City of Light is plunged into a night of hell when a series of terrorist attacks bring the city to a standstill. Amid the fear and chaos, a hand reaches out. A sympathetic stranger in a café offers to help Kurtiz find her daughter.

A stranger’s guiding light

Neither knows what this harrowing night will deliver, but the other woman’s kindness – and her stories of her own love and loss in post-war Provence – shine light into the shadows, restoring hope, bringing the unexpected. Out of darkness and despair, new life rises. New beginnings unfold.

Dare she believe in a miracle?

Set during a time of bloodshed and chaos in one of the most beautiful cities on earth and along the warm fragrant shores of the Mediterranean, Kurtiz discovers that miracles really can happen . . .

About Carol Drinkwater

Carol Drinkwater c Michel Noll

Carol Drinkwater is a multi-award-winning actress who is best known for her portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small. She is also the author of over twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her quartet of memoirs set on her olive farm in the south of France have sold over a million copies worldwide and her solo journey round the Mediterranean in search of the Olive tree’s mythical secrets inspired a five-part documentary film series, The Olive Route.

You can follow Carol on Twitter and visit her website.

The Lost Girl Giveaway

the lost girl

For your change to win a signed paperback copy of The Lost Girl by Carol Drinkwater click here. Open internationally. The giveaway ends at UK midnight on Sunday 25th March 2018.

Staying in with Aiki Flinthart

shadows Wake

I’ve been meeting all kinds of new authors as I stay in with them to discuss books and they bring a wide range of experience and objects with them. Having stayed in with Aiki Flinthart I’m beginning to wonder if I ought to check their bags before I let them in for the evening!

If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.

Staying in with Aiki Flinthart

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Aiki. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Hey, Linda, no worries. (Aussie for ‘thanks.’) Glad to be here. Have my cup of tea ready. Let’s go.

(An author who likes tea is my kind of guest!)

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

shadows Wake

That’s a tough one, strangely enough. I’ve got two separate trilogies coming out this year and I love both of them. But for today we’ll go with Shadows Wake. Because who doesn’t love a girl who can throw knives and pick locks? It’s the first in a trilogy about Rowan Gilmore and the beginning of a series called the Ruadhan Sidhe novels, all set in the same universe.

(Ooo. You’ll have to return another time to tell us about your other trilogy too.)

What can we expect from an evening in with Shadows Wake?

An evening in with Shadows Wake ought to have your heart beating a little faster and you reaching for the phone to order takeaway, rather than waste time cooking. Well, that’s the plan, anyway. If I’ve done my job right. It’s an action/urban fantasy story for Young Adult and New Adult readers. Set in tropical Cairns, Queensland, Australia – for those who’d like to travel but haven’t the time. Reading’s the next best thing.

(I’ve been to Cairns so I’d love to return there through reading – not least as it rained quite a lot of the time I was there!)

Shadows Wake follows Rowan Gilmore, an eighteen year old who – with her mother – has been running from an unknown enemy since she was four. Running and hiding her extraordinary strength, speed, and precognitive abilities. But all without knowing why she’s hiding or who from.

Now, she’s had enough and she’s about to take a stand. But she has a darkness within that, if released, will kill everyone she cares about – and more.

And, in case you’re wondering, it’s not vampire, shape-shifter, or zombie story.

(Well I did wonder. I think Shadows Wake sounds intriguing and exciting.)

What else have you brought along and why?


I’ve brought along a photo of my own (very scarred and well-used) throwing knives. I’m a bit of an action junkie so I tend to try whatever my characters can do. Consequently, although I had already trained for many years as a martial artist and swordswoman, I now also do archery and knife-throwing.

(Good grief! I’m glad I didn’t know all that before I let you in…)


The second photo is me using my horsebow – while dressed as a pirate. It was Talk Like a Pirate Day. Sept 17th. What can I say? I’m a sucker for pirates?

Anyway, knife-throwing and archery are both lovely, Zen things to do after work. You have to clear your mind and repeat the exact motions each time or the knife hits the board wrong and it’s very loud. I’m sure the neighbours hate it when I miss. And no, you can’t pick up a random kitchen knife and throw it a random distance and expect to hit the target with anything pointy. Rowan’s been training since she was six, so she’s a lot better than me.

But, although Rowan gets to do lots of kicking-butt in this story, I actually wanted to write an Urban fantasy that wasn’t as dark and gritty as the current trend for them seems to be. So while there’s darkness in Rowan, she’s a decent person just trying to do her best to defeat her monsters – external and internal. Isn’t that what most of us are doing?

Will she succeed in mastering those monsters, though? Well, that would be spoilers, so you’ll have to find that out yourself.

(I will indeed Aiki. I can’t wait to read Shadows Wake now and it has nothing to do with the fact you’re really quite scary!)

Thanks so much for staying in with me to introduce Shadows Wake, Aiki. I’ve really enjoyed finding out about it. 

Have a good night in!

I will if you make sure you take those knives when you go!

Shadows Wake

shadows Wake

Rowan Gilmore and her mother, Anna, have spent most of Rowan’s life running, hiding Rowan’s speed, strength and precognitive powers—but without knowing why she’s different, why they have to hide, or who from.

And Rowan’s sick of running scared. But she has to continue, because she also harbours a dark power that emerges only when she’s afraid or in danger.

A power that kills indiscriminately.

When she moves to Australia, a street fight reveals Rowan’s abilities to a stranger, Fynn, and she must decide whether to run again or stay and risk discovery by her pursuers.  Her mother has found happiness with a new partner and Rowan is reluctant to wreck it.  So, after foiling another kidnap attempt, Rowan makes her decision. The time has come to stand her ground.

And Fynn and his family become allies, with promises to help fight her unknown enemy – and to reveal the truth behind her extraordinary abilities.

But what’s his agenda? Can he be trusted? And who are the Mors Ferrum operatives Fynn says are chasing Rowan? What do they want? What is the ocair thing they keep asking about?

Most of all, what happens if the darkness lurking in her mind wakes and comes out to play?

In order to stand against the Mors Ferrum in the final battle, Rowan must learn to trust someone for the first time in her life. And let him help her control the darkness within.

Released on 25th March 2018, Shadow’s Wake is available for preorder here.

About Aiki Flinthart

Aiki 1

Aiki Flinthart has always written, but has only recently taken it further than just a hobby. Her 80AD YA portal fantasy series (2012) was so successful she has spent the last few years learning how to write better so as to do justice to the myriad of stories in her head. She’s recently had a story shortlisted in the USA Writers of the Future competition (2017), and in the Australian Aurealis Speculative Fiction Awards (Science fiction) 2018. Her Shadows Trilogy is coming out in 2018, along with the Kalima Chronicles science fiction trilogy in 2018/2019. She has also edited a short story anthology, Return, of speculative fiction works.

What her heroines do, she does – knife throwing, archery, swordfighting, martial arts. Write what you know, and all that.

You can find out more by visiting Aiki’s website, following her on Twitter @AikiFlinthart or finding her on Facebook.