Author: alisonewilliams

I trained as a journalist and currently work as a freelance editor, writer and researcher, with articles published both online and in a variety of print publications. I have edited books in a variety of genres including dystopian, memoir, erotica, fantasy and business - please see my blog for testimonials and information about services and rates. I work on a freelance basis for several academic writing companies where my work involves writing model essays, proofreading essays and dissertations and editing and improving academic work at all levels from foundation to Ph.D. standard. I copy write and edit for my husband’s communications consultancy. I have worked on a freelance basis for US clients and am happy to edit in either UK or US English. I have taught creative writing with a focus on grammar, punctuation, creativity, voice and expression. I have a first degree in English Language and Literature and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing. I am fascinated by history – but not so much the kings and queens, the emperors, the military heroes or the great leaders. More the ordinary people whose lives were touched by the decisions, the beliefs and the whims of those who had power over them and who now fill our history books. It is their stories that I want to tell. As part of my Master’s degree I wrote my first historical novel ‘The Black Hours’ based on the notorious Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins. I have also written a novella ‘Blackwater’. I am currently working on my next full length novel, ‘Remember, Remember’, set during the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

‘All the Tomorrows’ by @nillunasser #tuesdaybookblog #RBRT #bookreview

 

#RBRT Review Team

I read ‘All the Tomorrows’ for Rosie’s Book Review Team

tomorrows

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

Sometimes we can’t escape the webs we are born into. Sometimes we are the architects of our own fall.

Akash Choudry wants a love for all time, not an arranged marriage. Still, under the weight of parental hopes, he agrees to one. He and Jaya marry in a cloud of colour and spice in Bombay. Their marriage has barely begun when Akash embarks on an affair.

Jaya can’t contemplate sharing her husband with another woman, or looking past his indiscretions as her mother suggests. Cornered by sexual politics, she takes her fate into her own hands in the form of a lit match.

Nothing endures fire. As shards of their past threaten their future, will Jaya ever bloom into the woman she can be, and will redemption be within Akash’s reach?

Jaya is trying to make her arranged marriage to Akash work. She loves him, but he is cold towards her. When she discovers his affair, her reaction is horrific and extreme. Her recovery sees her grow in strength and she discovers her own mind, though she is haunted by her past and restricted by the constraints society places on women. Akash, however, is sent on a downward spiral, into the depths of the city, experiencing degradation, cruelty and shame.

This is an exceptional story; it covers so many human emotions – betrayal, loss, friendship, love, redemption. Jaya and Akash are beautifully drawn and it is easy to sympathise with them both. The other characters are realistic and three-dimensional, Jaya’s sister Ruhi, and Akash’s friend Tariq, in particular. And the settings are described so eloquently, so authentically, that it is easy to picture each scene.

The author is certainly a talented story teller and a skilled writer. Some of the writing is beautiful and there were parts of this book that were really page-turning. However, I do feel that it is too long. There are elements of the story that could have been condensed and other parts that could have done with more detail. It is a fine balance in a story with so much going on, and covering such a long period of time, but I did feel that there were places where things needed tightening up. That said, this is a lovely book, and I’ll certainly read more by this author.

4.5 out of 5

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The Rosie’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) awards. VOTE NOW for your 2017 favourite.

#RBRT 2017 Awards – vote for your favourites

Rosie Amber

The Rosie’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) awards are back! 

Now in their third year, I’m delighted to open the public vote.  The books were chosen from the hundreds submitted to our team for review in 2017.   My team of reviewers were asked to nominate their favourites; here are those that made the final cut.

You may vote for one book in each category.  Please only vote for books that you honestly feel deserve an award, in accordance with the authenticity of my team’s reviews.

Voting closes on December 15th and the results will be announced  on Tuesday December 19th.

Meanwhile, huge congratulations to all the finalists!

Fantasy /Scifi

General Contemporary Fiction

Historical

Mystery / Thriller

Non-Fiction

Romance

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Writers: Are You Ready To Sign With An Independent Publisher? Read This First #AmWriting

A must read for writers

Rosie Amber

Please welcome review team member Terry Tyler, with some important thoughts on Independent Publishers

Please note: I am aware that there are plenty of good independent publishers around, who work hard for their authors and maintain good standards. The purpose of this article is to warn writers to do their research, and find them. It’s a warning not to fall prey to either the blatant conmen, or the inept.

Ten years ago, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing was launched.  Since then, thousands of scammers and cowboys have emerged from the murky corners of the internet to make a quick quid out of the millions of writers who’ve been tapping away at the keys for years, and are delighted that they can finally get their work in front of the reading public without a contract from a traditional publisher. These scammers include: proofreaders who don’t know how to punctuate, editors…

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Small Publishers – what authors should know #throwbackthursday #indieauthors

contract_salesman_signature_md_wm

I recently heard about yet another ‘publisher’ who has let their authors down. I wrote this post two years ago, and since then I have heard numerous tales about unpaid royalties, hidden fees, lack of promotion, publishers who ignore emails – the list goes on. Please writers, read this post and all the other advice out there about this issue before you sign with anyone.

via Small publishers – a bit of a rant! #WWWBlogs #writingtips

The Walking Dead S8E05 ‘The Big U’ #TVReview

‘Finally Back on Track” – @ByTheirHalos take on Episode 5 of The Walking Dead #TWD

Boy in a Well

This was everything I guessed it would be- the kind of deep human drama that attracted me to The Walking Dead in the first place.

‘The Big U’ was a throwback to the earlier seasons of the show in more ways than one. There were echoes of Rick and Shane during Rick and Daryl’s squabble over the bag of dynamite; guts were back in fashion for Father Gabriel and Negan, and the latter’s demagogic reception back in Sanctuary hearkened back to The Governor, duping the whole of Woodbury and presenting himself as their father-protector, when, in fact, he was half-blind leading the blind and terrified into a war over nothing.

Season eight has been plagued with problems, from latent cinematography to a needlessly abstruse plot. I’m more than happy to admit that because I love this show, and I want it to succeed; what that means today is telling hard…

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Authors reviewing Authors (It’s a Minefield) #MondayBlogs #AmWriting

Rosie Amber

Authors reviewing authors

(it’s a minefield…) Guest post by Terry Tyler

Reviewing advice

The scenario: you’re a self-published/indie press published writer who tweets, blogs and is a generally active member of the online writer community.  You like to read and review the work of writer friends, if in a genre that appeals.  One of these friends (who I will call Friendly Writer and refer to as ‘he’, for convenience), asks you to review his new book, via an ARC.  The blurb piques your interest; you say yes.  You start to read, with enthusiasm—but there’s a problem.  Several of them.  The dialogue is unrealistic, the characters are one-dimensional, or tired stereotypes.  Maybe the plot is unconvincing, or it’s a bit slow/long-winded/badly researched.  If it was a random book by a stranger, you’d abandon it.

If you’ve been active in the online writer community for a while, this might be a situation you’ve…

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‘Best Day Ever’ by Kaira Rouda #bookreview #FridayReads

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Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

A loving husband. The perfect killer?

‘I wonder if Mia thinks I have a dark side. Most likely as far as she knows, I am just her dear loving husband.’

Paul Strom has spent years building his perfect life: glittering career, beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in the suburbs.

But he also has his secrets. That’s why Paul has promised his wife a romantic weekend getaway. He proclaims this day, a warm Friday in May, will be the best day ever.

Paul loves his wife, really, he does. But he also wants to get rid of her. And with every hour that passes, Paul ticks off another stage in his elaborately laid plan…

Behind Closed Doors meets Liane Moriarty in this creepy, fast-paced psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming!

This is a really tense, and, at times, deeply disturbing read. I deliberately didn’t look at any reviews before reading, because I wanted to be surprised. And I was.

Paul and Mia are having a weekend away, some time together as a couple. But something isn’t quite right. Paul keeps calling it the best day ever, he seems desperate to make it so, but the dynamics between the couple tell a different story.

As the weekend unfolds, things are obviously falling apart – and Paul’s idea of the best day ever isn’t what the reader expects.

What works so well in this book is that we are in Paul’s point of view – a decidedly uncomfortable place to be. Paul is an unusual narrator. He is vile, and the author does a splendid job of revealing him to the reader. As we get to know him better, we slowly realise what he is and what he’s up to, and this is what makes for some difficult reading – his justifications and his motivations are really hard to accept, but they are completely believable too.

My one issue with the book is that I wasn’t keen on the epilogue. I won’t say too much here for fear of spoilers, but it felt very ‘told’ and, while it was necessary to have this information, from this point of view, I felt that it could have been done in a more interesting way.

That said, I really enjoyed this and would definitely read more by this author.

4.5 out of 5

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy

Halloween and the portrayal of witches #halloween #witchcraft

Happy Halloween!

Alison Williams Writing

The history of witchcraft and the treatment and persecution of witches throughout the centuries is a subject close to my heart – many of the horrible accounts I read when researching my novel ‘The Black Hours’ have stayed with me. And it always seems pertinent on Halloween to revisit this post.

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…

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‘Starlings’ by @mirandagold999 #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT #BookReview

#RBRT Review Team

I read ‘Starlings’ for Rosie’s Book Review Team.

starlings

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

‘But I suppose Steven and I knew something about broken things–that sometimes you just couldn’t mend them. Never stopped trying though. Because you can’t-until you do: stop and leave the broken thing behind.’Struggling to bear the legacy of her grandparents’ experience of the Holocaust and her mother’s desperate fragility, Sally seeks to reconnect with her brother Steven. Once close, Steven seems a stranger to her now that he has left London for Brighton. The echoes of their history once bound them–but it is an inheritance Steven can no longer share. Starlings reaches back through three generations of inherited trauma, exploring how the impact of untold stories ricochets down the years. As Sally winds her way back to catch the moment when Steven slipped away, she collects the fractured words and sliding memories that might piece together her grandparents’ journeys. Having always looked through the eyes of ghosts she cannot appease, she at last comes to hear what speechless mouths might have said: perhaps Before may be somewhere we can never truly leave behind and After simply the place we must try to make our home.In delicate brushstrokes, this extraordinary first novel captures a family unravelling as the unspeakable finds a voice. It is by turns sad, hopeful, and deeply compelling.

Sometimes book reviews are really hard to write. There were aspects of this book that I absolutely adored. The writing is clever, beautiful at times, and the way the author uses her writing to so accurately portray the chaos going on in Sally, the narrator’s, head is so very clever. And it works, for the most part. The repetitions replicate the way we have of going over and over a problem, and give a real rhythm to the prose, and the language is poetic at times. Sometimes I stopped and re-read a sentence, or a whole paragraph, because something was so well-written that I just had to read it again.

The story of Sally, and her troubled relationship with her brother Steven, who she adores, and her guilt and mixed feelings about her parents with who she lives, is interesting and thoughtful. The back story about Sally’s grandparents, who escaped the holocaust, is so well done, drip-fed almost, intriguing and sorrowful and poignant and a real strength of the novel.

But the strength of really good poetry is that it’s concise. Every single word matters. It requires precision. And that’s what I felt was somewhat lacking here. Sometimes an image, a feeling, the description of a moment, was taken too far, stretched too thinly, repeated too much. And reading then became a chore rather than a pleasure.

It’s not an easy novel to read. It requires patience and the prose does take a bit of getting used to. It is too dense in places, the story lost under the prose, rather than shown through it. I wish an editor had used a restraining hand, and allowed the really good bits to shine the way they deserve.

So do I recommend it? Yes. If only because there are moments in the writing that are truly brilliant, and it’s worth it for that. And for the passages that sweep over you with their rhythm, when it is like reading really fantastic poetry. And because Sally, is, at times, compelling and her story is a powerful one.

4 stars

‘Lindisfarne’ by @TerryTyler4 #FridayReads #BookReview

11 aa aa aa Lind

Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com

‘You’re judging this by the standards of the old world. But that’s gone. We don’t live there anymore.’

Six months after the viral outbreak, civilised society in the UK has broken down. Vicky and her group travel to the Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, where they are welcomed by an existing community.

New relationships are formed, old ones renewed. The lucky survivors adapt, finding strength they didn’t know they possessed, but the honeymoon period does not last long. Some cannot accept that the rules have changed, and, for just a few, the opportunity to seize power is too great to pass up. Egos clash, and the islanders soon discover that there are greater dangers than not having enough to eat.

Meanwhile, in the south, Brian Doyle discovers that rebuilding is taking place in the middle of the devastated countryside. He comes face to face with Alex Verlander from Renova Workforce Liaison, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. But is UK 2.0 a world in which he will want to live?

‘Lindisfarne’ is Book 2 of the Project Renova series. You can read my review of the first book, ‘Tipping Point’, here.

Vicky and Lottie and their new group of friends have travelled to the small island of Lindisfarne, where they find an existing community, and Vicky’s partner Dex, who she hasn’t seen or heard from since the outbreak. The community seems like a haven, and they quickly settle in, but, as with all societies, there is tension beneath the surface, and cracks begin to appear.

Having read the first in the series, I was itching to know what would happen next, and, if I’m honest, was wondering if the author could keep up the tension and the pace. This doesn’t disappoint. As with the previous book, the settings, the characterisation, the situations are all so well-drawn that it is easy to become totally immersed – which is what a good book should do. And this is a really good book.

The character development is so well done – completely plausible; it’s easy to see how Lottie has become strong and independent, how Vicky has begun to trust herself more, and how everyone still has their insecurities and issues that prevent them from making the right decisions. As with the last book, these characters are real, and they are vulnerable and they make mistakes.

What works so well though is the way that the changes in society, in the world, have allowed people to reveal their true selves. There’s no need to pretend anymore, and sometimes those true colours aren’t what you think.

Another page turner, definitely recommended. So looking forward to the next in the series.

5 stars