Persona Non Grata Edited by Isabelle Kenyon

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It gives me great pleasure to be returning to poetry here on Linda’s Book Bag today, especially as all the profits from Persona Non Grata edited by Isabelle Kenyon will go to Shelter and Crisis Aid UK.

Isabelle has featured here on the blog before when I reviewed her own poetry collection This Is Not A Spectacle here, and another charity collection supporting Mind from Fly on the Wall, Please Hear What I’m Not Saying, here.

Persona Non Grata is available for purchase here.

Person Non Grata

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With the global refugee crises being very much in the media at present, it is timely that a collection of poems should be published, which goes to the heart of how it feels to be displaced from society. Inspired by the concept of social exclusion, the collection, Persona Non Grata, which features exceptional poets across the globe, explores themes including homelessness, loneliness and mental health.

All profits from the book will be donated to Shelter and Crisis Aid UK. Isabelle, who is the editor of small press, Fly on the Wall Poetry, hopes that with the support of her readers, and the 45 poets involved in the anthology, she will raise an incredible amount for charity, providing support and advice for anyone who finds themselves homeless.

Isabelle said, “I am thrilled and proud to have edited and compiled this anthology to raise money for charity. This has been a brave, yet thrilling project which aims to give a voice to those who feel alienated from society for whatever reason. Reading the work of so many talented poets and being granted access to their inner thoughts, has been a great privilege. Knowing that the money we raise will be used to improve the lives of those who find themselves displaced, throughout the UK, is humbling.”

Shelter commented: “We are delighted that ‘Fly on the Wall Poetry Press publishes charitable anthologies – and anthology ‘Persona Non Grata’ is packed with poetry inspired by the concept of social exclusion. Without support such as this we would not be able to support the people who reach out to us for help with housing issues and homelessness. Thank you so much to everyone involved.” – Lindsay Tilston Jones, Regional Community Fundraiser: Manchester.

This book is the second anthology published by the press, which was awarded ‘Runner Up for Best Anthology’ at the prestigious Saboteur Awards this May. Both books are available to buy through http://www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk in both in paperback and Kindle formats, worldwide.

To support Isabelle’s charity book release, please visit www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk.

My Review of Persona Non Grata

55 poems divided into seven sections on the theme of being ‘outside’ society.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous anthologies written and edited by Isabelle Kenyon that I have read, but I think Persona Non Grata is the best yet. There is such a wealth of literary talent in these poems, aside from the very strong messages the words contain.

And the messages and themes in Persona Non Grata are strong, deserving to be heard. There’s everything from sexuality to homelessness, immigration to abuse so that I was very moved by the writing and actually I felt very uncomfortable at times too. The contrast between the bright lights and consumerism against the empty wallet of the man in Forgotten Hero, for example, made me question whether I would have noticed such a man on the bus – or indeed, done anything to help him. I will return to Persona Non Grata many times as every time I read a poem again I find something new – a nuance, a carefully placed line break, a single syllable – that adds depth and emotion. There’s a perfect balance of important themes and excellent writing in this anthology.

As well as appreciating the quality and messages of the poems, I found the biographies at the end of the anthology fascinating. The poets are of all ages, ethnicities and geographical locations which added to the feeling of authenticity for me. Reading Persona Non Grata introduced me to new authors that I want to find out more about.

I can heartily recommend Persona Non Grata. It is moving and accessible, well written and important. Reading these poems made me glad to be me and encouraged me to count my blessings. In the words of the final poem in the anthology, when it comes to Persona Non Grata, ‘Let’s celebrate’!

About Isabelle Kenyon

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Isabelle Kenyon is a poet, blogger and book reviewer. Her poems have published online for Bewildering Stories and as a Micro Chapbook for Origami Poetry Press. Isabelle has also featured in poetry anthologies such as Anti Heroin ChicLiterary Yard, the Inkyneedles anthology, Poetry Rivals, and the Great British Write Off. Isabelle has won awards and commendations from The Wirral festival of Music, Speech and Drama,the Festival of Firsts, the Langwith Scott Award for Art and Drama and the Visit Newark Poetry competition.

You can follow Isabelle on Twitter @kenyon_isabelle and visit her website. You’ll also find her on Facebook.

Staying in with J. Gregory Smith

Quick fix

I am delighted to welcome J. Gregory Smith to Linda’s Book Bag today. Greg has written several books and has kindly agreed to stay in to tell me all about one I think sounds brilliant.

Staying in with J. Gregory Smith

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

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

 Quick fix

Thanks, Linda.  I brought my latest novel, Quick Fix, which is the first book in a new series called The Reluctant Hustler.  The series is written from the perspective of Kyle Logan, a truck driver who works for a military contractor and who has been injured over in Iraq by an IED.  When we meet him he’s recovered physically from the experience but the reverberations to his personal life have just begun. 

That sounds a very interesting read. Tell me, what can we expect from an evening in with Quick Fix?

The story is set in a colorful neighborhood in the city of Philadelphia called Fishtown.  It provides an ever changing background as the area transforms from blue collar to a more gentrified mix.  For Kyle, the changes reflect his own circumstance and we learn he left for the Middle East as much to escape his reality and growing distance from his wife as it was to seek adventure.

Once he finds more excitement than he bargained for, thanks to a bomb attack on his truck convoy, he returns home hoping to return to a normal life, even if it is too late to save his crumbling marriage. 

His plans collapse by his own hand, or rather his fist, when he caves to a moment of rage after being provoked by his wife’s new boyfriend.  Now suspended from work and facing certain termination, if not a criminal record, Kyle is open to temptation via his shady best friend who offers an easy lifeline to reverse his fortunes.  All Kyle has to do is drive for two nights work in what seems to be a victimless crime.

(Quick Fix sounds very exciting.)

What made the story setup so compelling for me is that I tried to create an imperfect protagonist and place him in a situation where we all know he should walk away, yet we understand why he might give in to the pressure.  Needless to say, all does not go as smoothly as promised and we see Kyle dragged into a world that lives by different rules with life and death stakes not just for himself but everyone he cares about.

(Which just goes to show that there is rarely a ‘quick fix’ to our problems!)

What else have you brought along and why?

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 Fishtown in Philadelphia PA

The Philly neighborhood of Fishtown is a character all its own in Quick Fix, in some subtle (and not so subtle) ways.  The main character was shaped by it while growing up, tried to escape it by travelling around the world and now must rely on it for his survival.

Not only have you made me interested in Quick Fix Greg, you’ve made me want to travel to Fishtown too now! Thanks so much for staying in with me to tell me all about it.

Quick Fix

Quick fix

Military contractor Kyle Logan’s luck has gone from bad to worse ever since he returned home to Philadelphia following an injury by an IED in Iraq. First, his marriage crumbles, then his career after he’s pushed to the brink and assaults his wife’s lover, who is also her divorce attorney.

When Kyle’s shady best friend turns up and offers him a “once in a lifetime” chance to regain his job and his life, all for just a couple night’s work, Kyle figures he’s got nothing to lose. The police, Philly Irish Mob and a couple of drug cartels all think otherwise.

Now forced to fight for his life, and those around him, Kyle must turn to allies from his old neighborhood in a desperate effort to stay alive and out of prison.

Quick Fix is one man’s fall into a world of unintended consequences that seeks to tread the razor-thin lines between right and wrong, loyalty and treachery.

Published by Red Acre, Quick Fix is available for purchase here.

About J. Gregory Smith

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Greg Smith is the bestselling author of the thrillers, A Noble Cause and The Flamekeepers as well as the Paul Chang Mystery series including his breakthrough novel, Final Price and the sequels, Legacy of the Dragon and Send in the Clowns all published by Thomas & Mercer.

Prior to writing fiction full time, Greg worked in public relations in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. He has an MBA from the College of William & Mary and a BA in English from Skidmore College.

His debut novel, Final Price, was first released as a self-published work before being signed to Thomas & Mercer and re-released. Greg is now working on new thrillers as well as a YA fantasy series.

Greg currently lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife and son.

You can follow Greg on Twitter @JGregorySmith3. You’ll also find him on Facebook.

London in the Swinging Sixties: Ode to an Era: A Guest Post by Sue Clark, Author of Note to Boy

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Since I began blogging I’ve featured quite a few books from Unbound and today I’m pleased to welcome Sue Clark to Linda’s Book Bag to tell us more about the 1960s background to her novel Note to Boy.

Note to Boy is still being crowd funded and you can participate here. There’s a super video message from Sue all about Note to Boy here.

Note to Boy

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A comic novel about what happens when the worlds of a 1960s fashion diva and a modern teenager collide: she wants revenge and her reputation back; he’d settle for a safe haven and a warm coat.

Outrageous former fashion celebrity Eloise Slaughter and introverted Kilburn council estate kid Bradley McCreedy are poles apart. She’s an extrovert, seventy-something, gin-soaked diva. He’s a seventeen-year old who’s learnt it’s safer to keep his eyes down and his mouth shut. She has a past she likes to boast about. He’s already given up on his future. Yet against the odds, as this comic novel describes, the two of them become a formidable team.

Bradley and Eloise’s relationship is volatile, not helped by her devotion to Bombay Sapphire gin and an increasing tendency to confuse the past with the present. While Eloise struggles with memories of long-ago betrayals and humiliations dating back to her days as a 1960s ‘shock frock’ fashion designer, Bradley grows in confidence and cunning. A locked room in Eloise’s chaotic London flat adds to the mystery.

Note to Boy is an entertaining romp that touches on universal truths: don’t write people off, just because they’re unimpressive or annoying; don’t let your past screw up your present; and value friendships, no matter where you find them. Oh, and it’s funny too.

London in the Swinging Sixties: Ode to an Era

A Guest Post by Sue Clark

Who doesn’t love the 1960s? Mary Quant. The moon landing. The Kinks. Georgy Girl. It was an exciting and vibrant time to be alive, especially if you were young – and makes for a great background to a novel. One of the main characters in my comic fiction, Note to Boy, spends much of her time reminiscing about her life in Swinging London, when skirts were short, morals flexible, and life was about having fun.

Why did I decide to focus on that era? How could I not? During the late 1960s and early 70s, when I was single and carefree, I was living in London. I worked for an American film company, shared a flat near Oxford Circus with three other girls, bought my clothes in Carnaby Street and went to the sort of parties where you might bump into a James Bond actor. Sounds glamorous, hey?

Not so glam when you’re living it. I was mere ‘office fodder’ at the film company, the occupant of the flat next door to ours advertised herself as a ‘model’ and the James Bond actor I met was the Australian whose name no-one can ever remember.

Ok, so real-life wasn’t quite so ‘fab’ and ‘trendy’. Nevertheless, those times have proved to be a rich source of material for meas a writer of humorous fiction. I wasn’t even particularly thinking of the 60s when I began the book. I wanted to write about celebrity, from the point of view of someone who’d had it and lost it.

The story concerns the unlikely friendship between elderly, former fashion guru Eloise Slaughter and downtrodden teenager Bradley McCreedy. Thrown together, they don’t get on. Why should they? They have nothing in common – except gradually they discover a common purpose. Then the fun starts.

Who, if anyone, did I base these characters on? Well, Eloise is a monster. Arrogant, demanding and deluded. So, of course, she couldn’t possibly be based on anyone I know. Most certainly she is not a self-portrait. I don’t hold court from my bed wearing a purple peignoir, knocking back gin. I prefer white wine and my dressing gown is pink.

Though I’ve never come across anyone as extreme as Eloise, thank goodness, I’ve hung around enough TV and radio studies and, as a journalist, interviewed enough well-known people to know there are some monstrous egos out there. No, I’m not revealing any names.

When are you likely to see Note to Boy in the bookshops? Soon I hope, although this could depend on you. It’s being published by Unbound and crowdfunded directly by readers. The more people support the book, the quicker it gets into print. As I write this, Note to Boy is 63% of the way to being fully funded. It’s all explained on the Unbound website.

If you like the sound of Unbound, please browse their titles. There are plenty of great ones. If you like the sound of Note to Boy, please click the ‘pledge’ button on those pages. Thank you.

(I have to endorse what Sue says; Unbound have some wonderful books and I have been privileged to feature many of them on Linda’s Book Bag.)

About Sue Clark

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In a varied career Sue Clark has been a scriptwriter, journalist and PR copywriter. She’s worked for BBC radio and TV, local newspapers, and no end of corporates. Her TV and radio credits include: Alas Smith and Jones, Weekending, and The News Huddlines.

She’s interviewed John Humphreys and Ronnie Corbett and penned funny lines for Lenny Henry, June Whitfield, Tracy Ullman, Roy Hudd and David Jason, among others.

Although the comic fiction Note to Boy is billed as her debut novel, there are others lurking in desk drawers that may one day see the light. And there will be more to come!

She lives in an Oxfordshire market town much like the fictional setting of Midsomer Murders with her long-suffering husband. She has three children and one adorable grandchild.

You can follow Sue on Twitter @SueClarkAuthor.

Staying in with Joanne C. Hillhouse

Dancing Nude in the Moonlight

I’m delighted to welcome Joanne C. Hillhouse to Linda’s Book Bag today because Joanne has agreed to stay in with me to chat about a book the title of which appeals to me as much as any other title I’ve come across!

Staying in with Joanne C. Hillhouse

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Joanne and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

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

Dancing Nude in the Moonlight

I’ve brought Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings (Insomniac Press, Canada)

I brought this one because the first half is a novella which is a beautiful love story. It was out of print for a time and with this edition it’s back in print, only I don’t think people fully realize. I had someone tell me recently they tried to get it but it was out of print, only to figure out that they were referring to the indeed out of print first edition, a novella published with Macmillan, UK.

Dancing old edition

(How frustrating!)

This Insomniac anniversary edition is the original story and some extras including honest to God fan fiction. It may have undersold, may still be underselling but several people have told me it’s their favourite thing I’ve written. I mean who doesn’t love a good love story, right?

(Right!)

Of course, it’s more than that but people, those who read it, really seemed to respond to these characters; I still get mail about it. In fact, one time I was televising a book club discussion to promote another of my books and one person got on the mic to declare Dancing Nude in the Moonlight their favourite book by me. That said, given that it hasn’t had the promotional push of my other books, I think potential new readers might not be aware that it’s gettable in ebook and print edition. So I wanted to bring it out of the house to meet people, re-introduce itself so to speak. Also the second half is a range of my short fiction and poetry, most previously published but never collected, so it gives a sense of the scope of my writing.

What can we expect from an evening in with Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings?

In the excerpt below, the main characters, Michael who has been courting Selena and Selena who has been in but out, start to understand each other a little bit, and it begins with Michael griping about his mother:

“She bitter, Selena. She’s the most bitter woman I know, and she been that way long as I’ve known her.”

Selena felt a strange kinship with his mother, this woman she’d never met.

“I can understand that. Sometimes…,” and she paused and smiled, “well, until recently, I thought we existed for men to husk out and throw away. I’ve seen it happen with my mother. When my father took off, she was left with the three of us. Leaving was never an option for her. Then she got married again. And the man was good to her. He stayed around, you know. Gave her two boys. Provided for all of them. They had a home, better than a lot of other people.

“But I remember resenting him anyway, because it was like she got swallowed up by him. Things she never used to do, like smoke, she did because he did. Things she used to do, like go to church, she stopped, because he didn’t. And it happened so subtly, you almost couldn’t notice it.

“She’s a good, capable woman, but her life became about the men in her life; first her new husband, then the boys.

“And then my experience with Victor. I know how love, if it’s love, can eat you up. Somehow, it don’t ever seem to eat up the men, you know. It can make a woman bitter.”

A feeling of melancholy had settled over her, and he pulled her in close, still leaning against the railing. He kissed her lips lightly, put on a teasing smile. “I wish I could say I identify. But till now, I never been in love. And I have to tell you: it not nothing but sweet.”

And she found herself smiling in return.

(What a perfect flavour of the book Joanne.)

What else have you brought along and why?

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I brought along pictures from one of my favourite nights ever. To underscore the love this book has gotten in spite of being my poorest performing book in print, a local bookstore (the Best of Books) a few years ago held a street fair (the Moonlight Street Fair) dedicated to it. I’m in the Caribbean and it was a Caribbean hot summer night and yet the street was buzzing.

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Looking back on that night – a night of dancing (in keeping with the Dancing in the title) and a Moonlight Samba drink created by a local bartender (I think I got the name right; there was a Moonlight in the name in keeping with the book’s title) – I may not have all the money in the world but I have been blessed. The night included reading, book discussion, and just people mixing and mingling, and having a good time. It was like a party for my book and I didn’t have anything to do with planning it.

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(It looks a fabulous evening.)

An award was given for a ‘Next Chapter’ writing contest – this contest was in response to readers’ request for more (that’s one of the popular responses I’ve gotten to the book, people asking for the next chapter) and this Next Chapter is one of a couple of pieces of fan fiction (yay, I have fan fiction) included in the revised edition of Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. The publishing industry is what it is but Dancing Nude in the Moonlight which has its second act and receives so much love in the little circle it occupies is a reminder that unlike bread a good story never goes stale. So, I’m just hoping more readers will discover, as we know well in the Caribbean, that Dancing is fun.

I hope so too Joanne. Thank you for staying in with me to tell me all about Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. I wish both you and the book every success. 

Dancing Nude in the Moonlight

Dancing Nude in the Moonlight

Young Dominican single mother Selena Cruz is trying to make a new life for herself in Antigua, dealing with prejudice, poverty, and her interfering sister. When she meets handsome cricket coach Michael Lindo, her world is turned upside down.

The course of true love is never smooth, and Michael and Selena’s story is no exception as they try to bridge the gap between their two cultures and their personal expectations of love. Romantic and delightful, this novella by Joanne C. Hillhouse looks at immigration and cross-cultural relationships in a warm and very human way.

Dancing Nude in the Moonlight was first published in 2004, and it is reissued here along with selected poems and stories from Joanne C. Hillhouse’s wide collection of work.

Published by Insomniac Press, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight is available for purchase here.

About Joanne C. Hillhouse

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Antiguan and Barbudan Joanne C. Hillhouse is the author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, and Oh Gad! She freelances as a writer and editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator. She founded the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize programme to nurture and showcase the literary arts in her home country.

You can find Joanne on Facebook.

Staying in with P.A. Davies

George

It’s a welcome return to Linda’s Book Bag for P.A. Davies today as he provided a smashing guest post introducing one of his books, Letterbox, here earlier this year. A little bird (actually, the lovely Caroline Vincent at Bits About Books) tells me it is P.A. Davies’ birthday today as well as a book birthday for Paul’s thriller Absolution so I’m delighted to be sharing such an important day with him.

Staying in with P.A. Davies

Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag, Paul. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me and a very happy birthday.

No, thank you for inviting me in and for the birthday wishes. I’m honoured to be here.

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

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So, this evening, I have brought along an old friend – aka George: A Gentleman of the Road – mainly because not only is he my readers’ favourite but also, because his story is, in my mind, inspirational and a reason to believe in the power of hope. It’s also pretty funny in a laugh out loud way.

What can we expect from an evening in talking about George: A Gentleman of the Road?

Being part of an adventure that will immerse the reader and hopefully change their perception of homeless people. It did mine.

It seems like only yesterday that I met this incredulous character yet it has already been over 10 years since he first thrust his polystyrene cup under my nose. And the rest, as they say, is history!

George was a homeless man from Glasgow, living on the streets of Manchester but, he was a homeless man with a difference. His life story was- and still is – wholly mesmerising and it certainly opened my eyes and warmed my heart; as it has done for those who have read all about his journey.

Of the novel – that is based on George’s life – people have left some wonderful comments:

“A sensitive and heart warming story”

“Made me smile, laugh and cry”

“A beautifully crafted life tale”

“It is very rare you find a book where you feel you are in it yourself’

… to list but a few.

(What lovely responses to what sounds like a fascinating book about a very interesting man.)

I will always appreciate people leaving a review about my novels but I was over the moon with the positive feedback that George’s tale got. It certainly seems to have hit the mark with the reader … just as it did the author.

Another reason for bringing George along, is to let you all in on some great news.

In the first quarter of next year, his fantastic tale will be brought to life – well, technically, back to life – as filming begins, based on the book.

I can’t say too much about it (very secretive the filming industry you know?) but it’s being produced in Alabama in the U.S. with a pretty substantial budget behind it.

(Wow!)

I’m massively excited and extremely proud of the journey I am about to embark on but, you know what? Without the brilliant reviews and positive blogs created by the readers, George might not have gotten noticed. So, may I send a HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts. You’re amazing!

(This is fantastic news Paul. I had no idea we would be making such an announcement. Many, many congratulations.)

What else have you brought along and why?

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I have brought this photograph along which is most relevant to the creation of George: A Gentleman of the Road.

(Oh – tell me more.)

The top segment of the photo shows the coffee shop where I first met George all those years ago, whilst the bottom segment is how it stands now.

It kind of saddens me that a part of history and my connection to George has gone but I also believe that it serves as a poignant reminder to us all that nothing lasts forever … except, perhaps, George’s story!

With your book, Paul, both the setting and George will live on – that’s part of the wonder of writing. Thank you so much for staying in with me to tell us all about George: A Gentleman of the Road. I think it sounds a lovely book and such an exciting time ahead.

Thank you all for listening.  Best wishes. Paul.

George: A Gentleman of the Road

George

An author and a homeless guy, what do they have in common? Not much, until eighty-year-old George reveals his fascinating and heartwarming life story …

It is said that you should never judge a book by its cover, yet the moment I laid eyes on George, that’s exactly what I did!

And as I watched the aged member of Manchester’s homeless fraternity, walking slowly along the street, hoping to collect enough spare change in his dirty and tattered polystyrene cup to fund his next meal, I couldn’t help but think to myself … How do I possibly avoid giving this scruffy looking man any of my hard earned cash?

But in an unexpected turn of events and a surreal series of meetings, the man I had quickly pre-judged, revealed his extraordinary life.

Funny, sad and heartwarmingly bizarre. This is George’s story.

George: A Gentleman of the Road is available for purchase here.

About P.A. Davies

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P.A. Davies grew up in Manchester, UK, a place he has lived in and around all his life – he loves Manchester and is proud to be part of the multi-cultural, modern city that houses two Premiership football teams and is the birthplace of many a famous band, such as Oasis, the Stone Roses, Take That and Simply Red.

For most of his life, he dabbled with writing various pieces, from poems to short fictional stories just for fun. However, following advice from a good friend he decided to have a go at writing a novel. Thus, his first novel Letterbox was conceived, a fictional take on the infamous IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996. It took him over a year to complete but while doing so, he found it to be one of the most satisfying and interesting paths he had ever followed. It comes as no surprise that the writing bug now became firmly embedded within him.

P.A. Davies’ second book was published in May 2013, ‘George: A Gentleman of the Road’, a true story about one of Manchester’s homeless. His third novel, ‘The Good in Mister Philips’, is an erotic novel (arguably set to rival Fifty Shades…!) and his fourth, ‘Nobody Heard Me Cry’ (Dec. 2015) is again a fact-based tale, this time of Manchester’s darker side. The thriller ‘Absolution’ (Oct. 2017) is his fifth novel. Currently, P.A. Davies is writing his sixth novel, titled ‘I, Muslim.’

To label P.A. Davies’ writings would be difficult because his works diverse from thrillers to touching novels to true-to-life tales embedded in a captivating story for the author is an imaginative and versatile storyteller.

You can find out more by visiting P.A. Davies’ website, finding him on Facebook or Instagram and following him on Twitter @padavies_ and Goodreads.

Staying in with Nadine Taylor

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I think every family has a hidden secret and when I heard about Nadine Taylor’s book I simply had to ask her onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell me all about it because, as I hope you’ll agree, it sounds so intriguing. I am determined this one is not going to escape my TBR!

Staying in with Nadine Taylor

Welcome To Linda’s Book Bag Nadine. Thank you so much for staying in with me. Which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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I’ve brought my memoir/biography/historical romance If My Heart Had Wings: A World War II Love Story, chosen because it’s a fascinating true story that began with my discovery, at age 13, of a picture of my mother in an unfamiliar wedding dress. This led to Mom’s surprising revelation that she had been married to a pilot who was killed during World War II. Under pressure (mine), she gradually revealed the details of their love and marriage, his untimely death and what she did after that. But that was only the beginning. During the decades that followed, Lyndon continually “reappeared” in our lives in important ways, even long after Mom herself had passed on.

(How amazing. I think If My Heart Had Wings sounds utterly fascinating.)

What can we expect from an evening in with If My Heart Had Wings?

If My Heart Had Wings is my mother’s story, and to a lesser extent mine – her college romance turned quickie wartime marriage, the death of Lyndon in a fiery plane crash, and her decision to block her grief and rush into a new life by marrying my father, a man she hardly knew.

(I have a feeling many women of your Mother’s generation did similar things Nadine.)

Mom’s stories of Lyndon and the relationship they shared stood in stark relief to what was going on at our house thanks to Dad’s alcoholism and his penchant for venting his rage on those closest to him. The story of Lyndon, who seemed to be ideal, gave me hope that something better awaited me. For decades his memory seemed to be hovering, unleashed at times through secret stories told by Mom, the unearthing of old photos and wedding rings, the discovery of a trunk full of wartime gifts at the end of Mom’s life, and a mystery about his death that emerged after she passed on – a mystery that only I could solve.

(Gosh. What an inspiration for your book. Your Mum would be so proud of what you’ve achieved here.)

What else have you brought along and why?

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I’ve brought along the picture of my mother in a wedding dress that brought this amazing story to light. Who knows? If I hadn’t found this picture, I might never have known about this enthralling era of my mother’s life!

(Wow! She was absolutely stunning. What a wonderful photograph to have. I’m honoured you decided to bring it along this evening.)

I may have well over 900 physical books on my TBR Nadine, and over 1000 on my Kindle but, having heard about If My Heart Had Wings I know there’s going to be another added very soon! Thank you so much for staying in with me to tell me all about it.

If My Heart Had Wings

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It’s 1943 and World War II is raging when 22-year-old Nina Raff receives the horrifying news that her pilot husband has been killed in action in India. Blinded by grief, she upends her life, moves across the country, and plunges into a dysfunctional marriage with a jealous alcoholic who forbids any talk of her former husband.

For the next twenty years, she is trapped in denial and stifling domesticity… until her teenage daughter finds an unfamiliar picture of Nina as a bride.

What unfolds is a tangled WWII love story of family secrets, lies, and a passion that never died, culminating in a mystery that must be solved!

If My Heart Had Wings is available for purchase here.

About Nadine Taylor

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Nadine Taylor has authored, edited, and ghostwritten more than forty books, including New York Times bestsellers and national bestsellers, many of which have been translated into several languages and sold internationally.

A registered dietitian, Nadine began her writing career in the health field, editing the New York Times #1 bestseller The Arthritis Cure and penning the popular Green Tea: The Natural Secret to a Healthier Life, before branching out into the genres of memoir, psychology and business. Nadine lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Barry Fox, who is also a bestselling author.

You can find out more about Nadine on her website, on LinkedIn and by following her on Twitter @nadinetaylorfox.

Staying in with Lorraine Rountree

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Although I blog an awful lot, I don’t feature any where near enough fiction in translation, so I am very pleased to be putting that right today by staying in with Lorraine Rountree who has kindly agreed to tell me about one of her books originally published in French.

Staying in with Lorraine Rountree

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Lorraine. Thank you for staying in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

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No Legacy 1 Lucien Louis Marie is my first book translated into English by Katherine Gregor, a very talented translator who made a great job with regards to my characters, my writing tempo…It’s the first volume of a French  family saga. 7 volumes are already published in French and more will come. It’s a long story !

(It sounds as if it is with seven volumes already published!)

What can we expect from an evening in with No Legacy 1 Lucien Louis Marie?

French readers say that they are deeply mooved by Lucien, the hero. They are also happy to learn a lot about History and Past as the story begins in 1913. Don’t expect action and suspense. Expect psychology, descriptions, dialogues…

(That sounds exactly my kind of read Lorraine.)

What else have you brought along and why?

We all have family secrets, an ancestor whom we never mention, but whose shadow hovers over our lives, not a memory but a ghost. I had someone like that in my family, a ghost. I wanted to make him come alive, to make him a life, the life of Lucien Louis Marie.

What a brilliant concept for writing. Thanks so much for staying in with me Lorraine. I love the sound of No Legacy 1 Lucien Louis Marie and I wish you every success with it.

No Legacy 1 Lucien Louis Marie

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Lucien Louis Marie was born in 1900, in the village of La Pardaille in the southwest of France. He lives the life of a farmer’s child. He is a sweet and deep boy, who is sometimes overwhelmed by fears and strange anxieties. Lucien does not know that he is the lovechild born of a brief and secret relationship between the young Félicité Fréreux and Yves Raversi, her professor at the Beaux Arts Academy. In those days, times were difficult for a pregnant teenager. ” I gave him away to my brother, the way you give away a puppy “. In May 1913, Lucien’s foster parents die, runover by a car. Lucien is adopted and raised by Felicité – whom he believes to be his aunt – and her husband, Constant Moine. So begins for Lucien a journey through France, a journey through his family’s secrets, a journey through the 20th century.

No Legacy 1 Lucien Louis Marie is available for purchase here.

About Lorraine Rountree

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Lorraine Rountree was born and raised in Brittany France. She did her graduate studies in Paris. She has been writing for a living since her early twenties. She writes speeches, white papers, articles, commentaries for TV and novels. She lives and works in Paris, in the United States and in the southwest of France in a house full of books.