Month: October 2015

An Irish Ghost Story for Halloween | Sabina of Ross Castle

A haunting tale for Halloween from Ali Issac

aliisaacstoryteller

Sabina, an Irish ghost story for Halloween http://www.aliisaacstoryteller.com

My father was not known for his kindliness; the Black Baron, they called him, and with good reason. He couldn’t abide lawlessness, demanded obedience, and ruled with an iron hand.

That grim, grey castle was not the place for a young girl to grow up in. For the most part, I was left alone, save for my poor governess. I was always tricking her with false errands, that I might escape her sharp eyes and those unforgiving walls.

Wandering the shores of my beloved Lough Sheelin, its crystal water bestowing kind kisses upon my toes, the land folding its soft green hills around me like a cloak, the trees bending in obeisance beneath that vast blue arch of sky, whispering their fluttering prayers as I passed by, it was impossible to see the danger.

I was a prize to his enemies, the…

View original post 1,519 more words

THE PORTRAYAL OF WITCHES #Halloween

Halloween is here again, and here’s a post from last year that will hopefully make you think about what’s really behind those pointy noses and black cats. Happy Halloween!

Macbeth witches

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes. 

Most of us are familiar with these words from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and with the gruesome hags that stir the cauldron. They have become the blueprint for the portrayal of witches; ugly, toothless old women; scheming, mysterious and powerful. But is it fair? And why do we see witches in this way – it can’t all be Shakespeare’s fault, can it?

Before the advent of Christianity there were many diverse religions – Druids, Norse Odinists and the witches that had for centuries acted as healers, midwives and wise women and men. However, when the Inquisition was launched, it wasn’t just direct ‘threats’ to the Roman Catholic Church that came under suspicion. Anyone could potentially be accused of heresy, and many of those healers and wise woman came under attack.

Propaganda was a big part of this religious war. The inquisitors sought to portray witches as evil, ugly, dirty, devil-worshippers as these images show:

Witch and devil

witches

This left anyone who didn’t conform open to attack – if you lived by yourself, had a wart on your nose or a deformed leg – then watch out! You were probably a witch. The majority of those arrested, tortured, tried, condemned and murdered were not witches; real witches had taken their religion underground.

Of course real witches are nothing like those pointy-nosed, warty child-cookers of Hansel and Gretel fame and seemingly endless Disney adaptations. But the stereotype lingers, as false today as it was back then. Witches aren’t Satanists, and witchcraft isn’t and never has been Satanism. In fact, witchcraft in ancient times was ‘the craft of the wise’. It is a spiritual system that teaches respect for the earth. Witchcraft is also referred to as Wicca, the term most often used today. It is a religion, based on  respect for the earth, and the worship of a creator that is both male and female – Goddess and God. Wiccans believe the creator is in everything – the trees, rain, the sea and all other creatures, and this belief fosters a respect and a caring for the natural world and for all life. Wiccans celebrate the changing of the seasons, and the phases of the moon. They are still healers; using natural remedies, and their spells are for harmony, love, creativity, wisdom and healing. Isn’t it time witches were given the respect that we give others? After all, we speak a lot of tolerance for religion and beliefs and yet don’t allow this most ancient of religions any respect at all.

wiccan saying

http://wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm

http://www.shakespeare-online.com/quotes/macbethquotes.html

http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-halloween-promotes-unfair-portrayal-of-witches-1.649491

A WITCHCRAFT TOUR OF ENGLAND #Halloween

Halloween falls on a Saturday this year so if you have some free time over the weekend, there’s no better time to visit one of these fantastic places described in this article first posted here in July 2014.

pendle witches

England has a long and varied history of witchcraft. As a tradition stretching back centuries, it is hardly surprising that there are a great variety of places that abound with legends, stories and histories about witchcraft, witches, persecution and execution. When researching the topic for my novel  ‘The Black Hours’, I came across lots of interesting stories and made a long list of places that I’d love to visit. Some of them I have been lucky enough to visit although I would like to visit again one day. In fact, what I’d really like to do is go on a witchcraft tour of England – spending time in all these places. All offer something interesting and informative; some are fun and have more to do with legend, myth and fairy tale than the brutal truth of the horror of the witch hunts; other places I have found to be spots where poor, misunderstood and persecuted women (let’s not forget that the majority of the witch hunt victims were women) can be remembered and honoured in some small way. These are the places I’d love to visit and re-visit.

The North West

300px-Pendle_Hill_Lancs

No witchcraft tour would be complete without a visit to Pendle Hill in Lancashire and it’s a great place to start. Pendle was the location of the famous 1612 trial for witchcraft. The accused all lived in the area, and ten were hanged on Gallows Hill. Of course, rumours now abound that the hill is haunted – TV’s Most Haunted has filmed there. As a sceptic I don’t believe that these women haunt the hill – I like to think they are at peace, free from the horrible persecution they suffered and no longer afraid. But I must admit I’m not sure I’d like to spend the night on the hill!

The North East

witch pricking

Margaret Brown and thirteen other poor souls were hanged on the Town Moor in Newcastle in 1650. Margaret was a victim of ‘witch-pricking’ – it was claimed she had a devil’s mark on her body that, when pricked by a pin did not bleed. She protested her innocence right up to the last according to Ralph Gardener’s 1655 book ‘England’s Grievance’:

“These poor souls never confessed anything but pleaded innocence and one of them, by name Margaret Brown, beseeched God that some remarkable sign might be seen at the time of her execution.”

The Town Moor is a place I’d like to visit, to pause for a moment and think about poor Margaret and the other terrified accused – hoping against hope that something would end their terror.

Yorkshire

mother shipton

I have heard a lot of stories about Mother Shipton and the ‘Petrifying Well’ or ‘dropping well’ in Knaresborough. It used to be believed that the water was magic – turning objects to stone. Now of course we know that the calcifying is due to the high mineral content of the water – but that doesn’t make it any less fascinating. And Mother Shipton herself is an interesting character – allegedly born in a cave near the dropping well, she has become a legendary figure of folklore, renowned for her prophecies. There is a whole park devoted to her now, with the dropping well, cave, a museum, castle ruins and gardens. You can even buy a petrified teddy bear in the gift shop!

East Anglia

DSCF1380

This area was the stomping ground of Matthew Hopkins – Witchfinder General, subject of ‘The Black Hours’.  There are a wealth of places to visit – though few traces of the man himself remain. I’ve visited Colchester Castle and stood in the cells where Hopkins interrogated his victims (a very spooky and uncomfortable experience). I’ve also eaten dinner in ‘The Mistley Thorn’, a lovely pub that stands on the site of the inn where Hopkins set up his witch finding business and where he is rumoured to have lived. The food is lovely. I did get a bit freaked out when leaving though as we decided to go for a walk in the dark – and I have to say it was incredibly chilling to think we were walking where Hopkins may have walked. My imagination did get the better of me, but that might have been the wine.

The South

coven of witches

Burley is a very pretty village in the New Forest known for its connection with the witch Sybil leek. Leek moved to the area in the 1950s and opened a shop – ‘A Coven of Witches’ – still open in the village. There are now other shops in the village selling various witch-related items and a tea shop called ‘The Black Cat’. I’ve been to Burley several times and it is a really beautiful place – and a bit of light relief too!

The South West

Museum of Witchcraft

Two places of note in the South West – the wonderful Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall and Exeter in Devon.

I won’t say too much about the Witchcraft Museum other than saying again how utterly fabulous it is – quirky and weird, packed full of witchcraft related stuff, but you can read about my visit here.

Alice Molland plaque

I regret not stopping in Exeter on my way to Boscastle as I would have liked to have seen the plaque at Rougemont Castle commemorating the execution of the Bideford witches and Alice Molland – you can find out about Alice here.

I know I have missed out some wonderful places but there are so many that it is hard to choose. And I know I have also ignored Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – I am planning separate posts on the history of witchcraft in these countries.

Do you know of any interesting places connected to witchcraft in England?  I’d love to know about them (any excuse for a holiday – I mean research!).

New hashtag for book posts: #TuesdayBookBlog from #RBRT

RBRT (1)

Most Twittering bloggers know about the benefits of ‘blog share’ days; it all started with Rachel Thompson and her fabulously successful #MondayBlogs.  Now, there is also #wwwblogs on Wednesday (Wednesday women writers), #SundayBlogShare, #ArchiveDay on Saturday, and probably others, too.

Since Rachel started #MondayBlogs, she’s been battling against people using it for book promotion; her view is that you have six other days of the week to promote your books, but #MondayBlogs is about the writing itself ~ in other words, blog posts about anything other than your book!  She now states that there should be no book promotion of any sort on #MondayBlogs, not even third party reviews, which is understandable as there are so many ways in which her guidelines can be abused.

Because there are so many avid readers, writers and book bloggers who understand the benefit of blog share days, Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team is introducing a new hashtag on Tuesdays for book posts only: #TuesdayBookBlog.  The first day this will be used is Tuesday, November 3rd.

As anyone who starts a hashtag knows, the main difficulty involved is dealing with ‘hashtag abuse’ ~ tweeters who spot a popular hashtag and add it to any tweet, whether relevant or not.  We will do our best to limit this; please feel free to point someone in the right direction if you see this happening.

So what are the guidelines for #TuesdayBookBlog?

DO post:

Blog posts only!

Book reviews ~ either for your own books, or other people’s, or book reviews you’ve written on your blog.

Author Interviews ~ yours or others’.

Cover reveals ~ yours or others’.

Upcoming/new releases ~ yours or others’.

Articles or guest posts about books/writers ~ you/yours or others’.

DO NOT post:

Anything that isn’t a blog post

Blog posts that aren’t about books/writers.

Porn.

Blatant promotion of an existing publication that isn’t a proper article – in other words, we don’t want to see a blog post that consists of nothing but the cover of your book, Amazon blurb and buy links.  This was one of the ways in which #MondayBlogs was abused, after people were told they couldn’t use the hashtag for tweets with Amazon links.

To get the most out of #TuesdayBookBlog:

Retweet others on the hashtag and spread the word.  Hashtags work best when you do your bit, too.

The power of Twitter is in the retweet, more than the tweet.  Hashtag retweets are never guaranteed, but do remember that the more you do, the more you are likely to get back.

We hope you will achieve good results from #TuesdayBookBlog, and look forward to seeing you there!

rosies-angels

(Thanks for the image Barb!)

THE HAMMER OF THE WITCHES #Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching and, as always at this time of year, when I see the costumes hanging in the shops, the broomsticks, cauldrons and pointy hats, the black cats and fake warty noses, I think abut the women and men that were persecuted and murdered for being ‘witches’. This post, that I wrote in January 2014,  is about the horrific treatise that lay behind many of the superstitions and opinions that led to the horrific trials and executions of so many innocent people.

When writing my novel ‘The Black Hours’ I researched in depth the methods used to interrogate and persecute suspected witches. This was, on the whole, a rather grim process that occasionally reduced me to tears when I thought about the real women (and sometimes men) behind these often lurid and horrific accounts.

The backbone of my research came from the infamous ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ or ‘Hammer of the Witches’. This is a 15th century treatise that is basically a handbook on the way to identify, interrogate and prosecute those suspected of witchcraft. It was written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer, a German Catholic clergyman, and had three main purposes – to refute allegations that witchcraft did not exist, to set out the forms of witchcraft and the ways in which the craft can be identified and resolved, and to aid and assist magistrates in the prosecution of those accused.

malleus

What I found particularly dreadful about this treatise was its terrible attitude towards women. Although acknowledging that both men and women can practice witchcraft, the treatise argues strongly that it is women who are more susceptible due to their gender – women, according to Kramer, are more inclined to submit to temptation due to their inherent weakness as a sex; they are weak in faith and in character and more carnal than men, leading the ‘stronger’ sex into sin. Indeed the word ‘maleficarum’ is the feminine form of the Latin word for ‘witch’.

While I am aware that the times were significantly different, the utter hatred for the female sex is breathtaking.  Here are a few of the horrible assertions:

‘since they (women) are feebler both in mind and body, it is not surprising that they should come more under the spell of witchcraft.’

‘she is more carnal than a man, as is clear from her many carnal abominations. And it should be noted that there was a defect in the formation of the first woman, since she was formed from a bent rib, that is, a rib of the breast, which is bent as it were in a contrary direction to a man. And since through this defect she is an imperfect animal, she always deceives.’

‘No one does more harm to the Catholic Faith than midwives. For when they do not kill children, then, as if for some other purpose, they take them out of the room and, raising them up in the air, offer them to devils.’

‘when girls have been corrupted, and have been scorned by their lovers after they have immodestly copulated with them in the hope and promise of marriage with them, and have found themselves disappointed in all their hopes and everywhere despised, they turn to the help and protection of devils; either for the sake of vengeance by bewitching those lovers or the wives they have married, or for the sake of giving themselves up to every sort of lechery. Alas! experience tells us that there is no number to such girls, and consequently the witches that spring from this class are innumerable.’

‘all witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable.’

What is also interesting is that Kramer backs up his assertions with references to the Bible. He references Ecclesiastics xxv:

‘There is no head above the head of a serpent: and there is no wrath above the wrath of a woman. I had rather dwell with a lion and a dragon than to keep house with a wicked woman.’

He also quotes St John Chrysostom commenting on St Matthew:

‘It is not good to marry! What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an unescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colours!’

Kramer then turns to the philosophers, quoting Cicero:

‘The many lusts of men lead them into one sin, but the lust of women leads them into all sins; for the root of all woman’s vices is avarice.’

and Seneca:

‘A woman either loves or hates; there is no third grade. And the tears of woman are a deception, for they may spring from true grief, or they may be a snare. When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil.’

Now you might think that these are only one man’s views (The Malleus Maleficarum is attributed to two authors, Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, but some scholars now believe that Sprenger was given joint authorship by Kramer in an attempt to give the treatise more authority) but, due to the development of the printing press, the treatise was able to spread widely through Europe. Who knows how many innocent women were tortured and murdered because of Kramer’s ideas and beliefs – beliefs that were held by many at the time? Is it any surprise that, faced with this utter contempt and hatred of the female sex, thousands of women lost their lives to superstition?

http://www.sacred-texts.com

http://www.shc.edu/theolibrary/resources/women.htm

#FridayFiveChallenge ‘Munich Airport’ by Greg Baxter @rosieamber1

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

biscuits

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

This evening I’m off to Munich with my husband, sister and brother-in-law for a long weekend. I’ve never been to Germany so I’m not really sure what to expect but my brother-in-law is extremely keen that the weekend involves plenty of visits to the beer houses, including the famous Hofbrauhaus, so I am growing a little concerned about how well my bladder will hold up. Deciding however that it was a little late to search for books on improving bladder control, I decided instead to search for ‘Munich’. There’s an incredible amount of history to the place and this was reflected in the books on offer. Then I saw this – and it caught my eye for all the wrong reasons.

munich airport uk

Amazon.co.uk        Amazon.com

At first I thought it might actually be a book about the airport, then I squinted a bit and noticed that it declares itself ‘a novel’ under the title. The cover drew my attention because I didn’t think ‘wow’, but ‘really?’. Imagine my surprise then when I saw a quote from the Guardian and then realised it’s published by Penguin.

Price: £4.35 in the UK (269 pages), no Kindle version in the US and the paperback will set you back a whopping $15.99.

Book Description

Munich Airport: the brilliant, haunting new novel by Greg Baxter

An American expat in London, about to enter a meeting, takes a phone call. The caller is a German policewoman. The news she has to convey is almost incomprehensible: the man’s sister, Miriam, has been found dead in her Berlin flat, of starvation.

Three weeks later, the man, his elderly father, and an American consular official find themselves in an almost unbearably strange place: a fogbound Munich Airport, where Miriam’s coffin is to be loaded onto a commercial jet. Greg Baxter’s extraordinary novel tells the story of these three people over those three weeks of waiting for Miriam’s body to be released, sifting through her possessions, and trying to work out what could have led her to her awful death.

Munich Airport is a novel about the meaning of home, and about the families we improvise when our real families fall apart. It is a gripping, daring and mesmeric read from one of the most gifted young novelists currently at work.

Reviews

There are fifteen reviews on Amazon.co.uk, many of which, unfortunately, don’t agree with the blurb. Those that give four or five stars really love it though, calling it moving and intelligent, while the lower star ratings feel the book is boring, dull and pretentious. In the US the book has a different cover – which is just as bad. It has twenty-six reviews; again readers seem to either love or hate it.

US cover

US cover

Buy or pass? Funnily enough it’s a BUY for me (or at least I’ll download a sample).

Analysis

The cover is awful – it drew my attention for all the wrong reasons. But the premise sounds absolutely intriguing. And having had a ‘look inside’ the writing really appealed to me. I wanted to read on when I got to the end of the sample. The book is definitely polarising, but I’m going to give it a go. I really wouldn’t bother though if I lived in the US.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

This week’s Friday Five Challenge includes a bumper historical for Rosie,

a fantasy for Shelley,

and Christmas has come early for Cathy.

 

Eugene Delacroix and the lost art of letter writing

Eugene Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix

Researching my new WIP, I’ve been reading the selected letters of Eugène Delacroix.

Delacroix was a rather controversial 19th Century artist. His painting invoked strong reactions for their use of bold colour and for his refusal to conform to the ideas of the day. I think that’s why I like him so much. He’s pretty hard to research however, despite the fact that he is regarded as the father of the French Romantic movement.

These letters then are indispensable and a godsend. They are also entertaining, intelligent, beautifully written (and translated) and hugely insightful. Without them, I would be at rather a loss to put any flesh on the bones of the man whose paintings I so admire.

The letters that are relevant to the period I am researching, when Delacroix was a young man, are written to friends and family. They contain within them clues to Delacroix’s passions, his values, his admiration for his close friends and hints of the rather strained relationship he had with his sister. But what if Delacroix was alive today? How would I find out what makes him tick?

Well, you could argue that it would be a lot easier. That I would just have to look at his Twitter account or Google him to find out the latest gossip, or read interviews in magazines or on websites. But would that give me a true picture? I somehow doubt it. Here, in these personal letters, we have something precious – a real insight into a man that many consider a genius. For today’s artists, musicians, actors and celebrities, what we usually get is a PR approved, carefully constructed, watered-down version of a personality, a life that the artist (or their management company) wants you to see. Yes, we might get to read an autobiography (but this would be run through the usual PR checks), we might read on Twitter what they had for breakfast, but is that a real insight?

And it’s not just in the area of celebrity that something has been lost. The art of writing letters is lost to us on the whole. We write quick emails, tweet or text each other. We don’t sit down and write to each other about our feelings, our ambitions, our desires and our disappointments as Delacroix did. Even our moments of the greatest grief or the greatest joy are now more often posted on Facebook. I’ve seen people ‘share’ the loss of a parent in a post and the response has been a range of sad emoticons. That takes a few seconds. Compare that to Delacroix’s letter to his great friend J.B. Pierret, written after the death of Perret’s father. The letter is awash with empathy, with sympathy, with real feeling, real concern and real emotion. How much more comfort would that give than a ‘sad face’?

I’m not one of those people who think that everything was better in the past – far from it. But I do think in this age where everything is quick, everything is automated, our responses have become automated too. And I do think we’re the poorer for that.

#FridayFiveChallenge ‘Painting Ruby Tuesday’ by Jane Yardley @rosieamber1

biscuits

Welcome to the Friday Five Challenge

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge only takes five minutes, so grab a cuppa and join in!

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions on small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

The Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book,

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

This week I’ve been determined to get started on my next novel – see this blog post, so as I’ve been immersing myself in art and painting, I decided to use painting as a search time. As I expected, there were a huge amount of search results, but it didn’t take long for this to catch my eye.

ruby tuesday

Amazon.co.uk    Amazon.com

I like The Rolling Stones (in my opinion far superior to The Beatles) and ‘Ruby Tuesday’ is a fabulous song. The cover appealed too, very colourful and eye-catching.

Price: £4.99 (Kindle) in the UK and $7.57 (Kindle) in the US.

Book description:

It is the summer of 1965. Annie Cradock, the only child of exacting parents who run the village school, is an imaginative girl with a head full of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Annie whiles away the school holiday with her friends: Ollie the rag-and-bone man (and more importantly his dog); the beautiful piano-playing Mrs Clitheroe who turns Beethoven into boogie-woogie (and like Annie sees music in colour); and Annie’s best friend Babette – streetwise, loyal, and Annie’s one solid link with common sense. But everything changes when the village is rocked by a series of murders and the girls know something they’ve no intention of telling the police.

In the present day, adult Annie is a successful singing coach in a stifling marriage. Her ambitious American husband, impatient with his quirky wife, is taking a job in New York – but is she staying with him? As Annie struggles with her future, she first has to come to terms with the bizarre events of 1965.

Reviews

Fifteen reviews on Amazon.co.uk – eleven 5-star, two 4-star, one 3-star and a 2-star. In the US, it has been out since June, but there are no reviews which seems rather strange. The book has been published by Transworld Digital in the US (part of Random House) so you would have thought they could have got some reviews going. This seemed a bit odd. On further investigation, I realised that the Kindle version is a new edition of the book – it was originally published in 2003. The 15 reviews on Amazon.co.uk are from various dates ranging from 2003 to 2013. Anyway, the reviews are sound, praising the beauty of the writing, the humour and the skill with which the main character is drawn. Strangely, the three star reviewer feels that the author didn’t have a convincing voice as a ten-year-old, which does contradict the other reviews, and the two star reviewer found the book to be slow to get going.

Buy or Pass? BUY

Analysis

I really like the sound of this and I can’t think why I haven’t heard of it before, although it does look as though it hasn’t been that well-publicised. The kindle version is a bit pricey, but there are plenty of used hardback versions available. The book is 384 pages long though, so I do think the kindle version is worth it. The reviews are solid and so enthusiastic that I think it’s definitely worth a go.

If you want to join in the Friday Five Challenge pop over to Rosie’s blog to find out more.

And take a look at these challenges:

Witches for Cathy

A fascinating historical for Shelly

and mammoths for Rosie!

Terry Tyler met a few people this weekend that you might recognise! #wwwblogs @TerryTyler4

Lovely weekend 🙂

Rosie Amber

Re-blogged from  http://www.terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/new-friends-from-cyberspace.html

Guess Who I Met Last Weekend!

We’d been planning it for months, and the day finally came!


I think we first talked about it in May; it was so hard to find a weekend we could all make… so, on October 10th, I went to Sheffield to meet four friends from Rosie Amber’s Book Blog ~ I was so intrigued to meet the lady for whom I’ve been reviewing books since last Christmas, the mysterious Rosie (!), along with three others: Cathy Ryan (from Between The Lines book blog), Barb Taub and Alison Williams.  Before this post gets too filled up with links, I’ll just say that a click on their names leads to their Twitter pages and all links to blogs that I haven’t already included, etc!

Sheffield, why Sheffield?  We chose this city because it was mid way between us all – we were…

View original post 776 more words

#BookReview ‘Dream On’ by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

dream on

Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.com

This was such an enjoyable read. I’m not exactly an old rock chick – I was more into bands like The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure. I really didn’t like the whole Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Motley Crue scene. So the genre of music here isn’t my thing. But I can certainly relate to the way it’s portrayed here, and the way Dave dreams of a future as a rock god. Poor Dave. It would have been so easy to make him into a parody – a sad, long-haired, untalented wannabe. But Terry Tyler is far too good a writer for that. Dave is lovely, kind, handsome, and yes a dreamer, but he’s talented too, even if he doesn’t realise that most of his songs are unintentional rip offs of some of the most famous rock songs of all time. Dave loves girlfriend Janice, in his own way, and adores their little boy. But lack of success spirals him into depression, and Janice has had enough and has kicked him out.

But his band Thor is on the rise and ex-girlfriend and fellow musician Alison/Ariel is back in town. Thor, Ariel and Ariel’s friend Melodie (who wants to be a celebrity) enter a talent show. The result in any other book would have been a foregone conclusion. But not here. The path to fame and success seldom runs smooth in reality and there is certainly a rocky road ahead for all three.

The relationships in this book are wonderfully well-drawn – whether that’s the bond between the four members of Thor, the passion of Dave and Ariel, or the sadness between Dave and Janice, these human responses and feelings are beautifully and realistically done. There is wit and warmth aplenty, moments that will make you laugh out loud, and careful details that add a real sense of time and place – Christmas day is beautifully done in all its grey, British, depressing splendour.

There is a follow up book ‘Full Circle’ but ‘Dream On’ isn’t a book that has been written to make you buy the next one. Not everything is tied up neatly – but that isn’t a criticism. That’s reality. Life isn’t neat and tidy and while this is a story, the way that things are left is satisfying in that although there is more to come, the characters end where they should; it feels right.

Definitely recommended – and so looking forward to reading ‘Full Circle’.

5 stars