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Your words ringing in my ears
Sensitive to pain as to light
Foreboding layers, my grey fears
A veiled cloud across my sight
 
Anxiety invades in frantic bouts
Strangling, clenching tight
It is not how it should be I doubt
Yet I have no more inner fight
This love feels now like darkness
Irrational emotions over boiling
Strangling me and you no less
As a sticky panic begins choking
What’s happened to our joyous joy?
All those bubbling feelings inside?
Is this disquietude a cruel ploy?
I’m all edginess descending a slide
As you take me in your arms
The trepidation slowly subsides
The tension no longer me harms
And love reappears on all my outsides.
Thank you for reading my poetry…Id love to hear your comments, so please feel free to leave your thoughts below.
And if you’d like to read some more my poetry collection Sunshine after Rain is available on Amazon.
Much love, Soulla x
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Huge thanks and gratitude to Cathy of What Cathy Read Next for her wonderfully perceptive and in-depth review of my newly released novel The Summer Will Come, available on AMAZON.

4 * AMAZON REVIEW – posted on 20th March 2018

Emotional, engaging story set in 1950s Cyprus and London

“The Summer Will Come tells the story of two Cypriot families both affected by the unrest on the island resulting from the struggle for Cypriot independence that took place in the 1950s. The reader sees events from the points of view of Elena and her mother, Evangelia, and Christaki and his father, Loizos.

The author does a great job of communicating the atmosphere of rising tension and fear on the island as families and communities are split by support for one side or the other. Supporters of the nationalist organisation EOKA risk arrest, internment, interrogation (and potentially worse) by the British authorities as they smuggle coded messages and hold secret meetings. It’s a time of curfews, informers, repression and often violent reprisals.

However, the book is not all doom and gloom. There are wonderful descriptions of the landscape of Cyprus and, for those of us in the United Kingdom currently enduring snow and overcast skies, enticing depictions of blue skies, hot days and balmy nights. In addition, there are some evocative descriptions of food that literally made my stomach rumble as I was reading them. ‘Elena imagined paklava, galatoboureko, pitoues, daktila and kateifi, the sweet filo and shortcrust pastries bursting with chopped pistachios, almonds and thick yellow custard sitting together in a warm goo of syrup’. (By the way, there is a really helpful glossary at the back of the book including, for those not on a diet, mouth-watering descriptions of Cypriot pastries and desserts.)

Eventually both families are forced to leave Cyprus to seek a new life in England. For Elena, her twin brother, Andreas, and their mother, Evangelia, the journey offers the prospect of being reunited with their father, Kostas. For Christaki, his brother and sister and, in particular, his mother, Anastasia, it’s a chance to leave traumatic memories behind.

However, the move to England brings fresh challenges for both families. The author brilliantly conveys the contrast between their life in Cyprus and their experience of London. There are obvious things like the cold weather and different food. ‘She felt like she was always shrouded in grey; she could barely see the buildings, the streets, the sky, the landscape from a few hundred yards away.’ But also less obvious things, such as the dirty, dingy housing, the multi-racial nature of London and the noise. ‘It was not the peaceful sound of the lapping waves of the sea in Limassol. No, it was a different world, a noisy one.’ And they find it difficult to adjust to the different pace of life as well. ‘Loizos noticed how those around him seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere; a complete contrast to life in Cyprus, or at least life as it used to be before the Cyprus tragedy, with trundling buses, slow donkeys and hours spent in the kafenion.’

I loved the little details like the families’ surprise that in England olive oil is only available from a pharmacist! There’s a lovely sense of the atmosphere of the 1950s – the fashion, the music and things like the opening of the first Wimpy Bars! However, there are also forceful reminders of the darker side of life.

Conflict arises as the younger members of both families – especially the female members – seek to take advantage of the freedom enjoyed by their peers whilst their parents cling to the traditions of Cyprus, including the custom of arranging introductions between members of the opposite sex and the expected behaviour of girls. ‘The women in the village were raised to be passive and accepting of their role in life; to marry well, be respectful wives and loving mothers…’ When connections within the Cypriot community eventually (and perhaps inevitably) bring two members of the families together, this reader certainly had a clear idea of the resolution she desired.

I really enjoyed The Summer Will Come. I loved learning about the culture and traditions of Cyprus. My only minor niggle (and it is minor) is that the book felt slightly longer than it needed to be. For instance, there was a section set in Blackpool that I felt could have been removed entirely. However, I found the parts of the book set in Cyprus absolutely fascinating and the story of the two families once they moved to London really compelling. If you love historical fiction that is rich in cultural detail and rooted in actual events, then The Summer Will Come will not disappoint.”

Many thanks again to Cathy and to all of you buying, reading and reviewing The Summer Will Come and if you have any questions or would like me to answer any questions about the book then please contact me. I’d love to hear from you!

If you would like to connect with Cathy her website can be found here.

The Summer Will Come is available here.

 

 

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During the troubles in Cyprus, in the 1950s, many school children were caught up in the hype of achieving Enosis (unity) with Greece. Too young to be swear their allegiance to EOKA – the main group behind the fight – they often bunked school and planned their own crude attacks on the British military and even the Cypriot police. They often demonstrated with home-made flags and shouted anti-British obscenities as they marched in the streets.

In this extract, one of the main characters, Christaki, discovers that his sister Melani, and her school friend, Katerina, are involved in a planned ambush of British servicemen and vehicles close to the village of Ayios Tychonas, where they all live. 

‘When I say “ready”, throw your ammunition,’ commanded Katerina as her words carried on the chilly breath of the wind.

Christaki wondered who she was talking to and struggled to catch her words. He couldn’t see anyone around, but then in the far distance he saw Melani. He recognised her yellow dress and floppy summer hat she wore to protect her from the morning sun. She looked like an ordinary young girl taking a hike across the hills overlooking the sea. What was she doing? He wondered. She should be at school. Suddenly she waved a blue scarf in the air, waving at someone. Christaki made out a boy on his bike on the road directly below. When Christaki peered back, he caught sight of Melani scrambling over the hillside. She’s going to the secret cave, thought Christaki.

The boy pedalled like mad towards Katerina and the others. Christaki could see the sea breeze blowing into his face.

‘Please God let this not be what I think it is,’ Christaki prayed. He peered back to where Katerina was now half-crouching, and noticed the other children, some as young as nine or ten, but most of them from high school. They too squatted low behind the boulders and rocky crevices of the mountainside. The more he focused, the more children he saw.

Within minutes the boy appeared at the foot of the disused field.

‘They’re on their way. Melani waved four times,’ he said, catching his breath. He threw his bike to the ground and joined his school friends crouched behind an abandoned truck.

‘So there are four trucks,’ Katerina’s distinct voice carried on the wind as she addressed the hiding students.

‘There are four trucks,’ she called out this time in a half-whisper. ‘You know what to do. We’ve got about five minutes.’ There was a commotion as the young people moved into position. Some children hid behind rocks and boulders, others crouched low, camouflaged by bushes and thickets.

Christaki saw the Keo beer delivery truck trundle past and take a right into the road leading to Ayios Tychonas. Two older men on their mopeds whooshed past, sending a billowing cloud of dust into the air. A small convoy of British military vehicles followed.

‘Ready?’ called out Katerina. ‘Now!’

What happened next terrified Christaki and he was unsure what to do. He pushed his moped over and lay low. He scrambled over the rough terrain to where the children were hiding. He caught his elbow on a jagged rock and winced from the pain. Blood seeped through his shirt sleeve. Their action stunned him.

The thuggish children sprang out shouting and screaming. They bombarded the military trucks and jeeps with rocks, bricks, stones and sticks as they drove by. A rock hit the first jeep’s windscreen smashing it instantly. It came to a sudden halt. A screech of brakes filled the air as the trucks behind swerved and collided with it.

Christaki, his eyes fixed on the target, saw one skid, its side and windows indented and crushed from the flying rocks. It ended half way in a ditch on the other side of the road. The soldiers rushed out and ducked behind their battered jeeps; both the back tyres blown. There was no movement for a few seconds. Doors clacked open and banged shut as the soldiers got out, shock on their faces. Two showed signs they’d been hurt. One held his arm and grimaced from the pain and the other who wore no beret held his head where an open wound gushed blood.

‘British out! British out!’ yelled one of the boys and the others joined in with him as they waved their crude home-made banners in the air. A white bed sheet painted blue with the Greek flag, the initials EOKA and the word Enosis painted across it flapped in the air. A smaller flag made from scraps of blue and white silk, sewn together to form a white cross on a blue background, waved high above their heads.

Thank you for reading the extract and if you would like to purchase the book, The Summer Will Come, it is available as an e-book Kindle download and as a paperback via Amazon.

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This week I’d like to give Jackie Baldwin a very warm welcome as she joins us in A Cup of Conversation! Jackie and I have connected through a Writers’ Support Group on Twitter and although we have never met in person (a date in Foyle’s is still hovering in the diary!) Jackie’s quick wit has kept me laughing for a long time after our snippets of ‘conversation’. In this interview she shares a great deal of knowledge and wisdom and I’ve discovered I have another two things in common with her; cream cakes and chocolate! So with the taste of sugar on our lips and a nice cup of tea let’s join Jackie as she talks about all things writing. 

1. When did you start writing creatively?

I remember writing melodramatic stories from the age of seven.

2. Which author has most influenced your own writing style?

Gosh, that’s a hard one! I would have to say Jane Austen because she focalises not only on the action but on the feelings of the character which is the way I like to write. As I started off writing monologues, I was also influenced by the playwright Alan Bennett and his ‘Talking Heads.’

3. Many writers dream of having an agent/publisher; how did you secure your book deal/contract?

It had never occurred to me to send my book direct to a publisher before. I tried to get an agent a number of years ago and a few of them requested the full MS but didn’t take me on. It went in a drawer for three years. I then dusted it off, did a substantial rewrite and had just finished that when I saw on Facebook that Killer Reads, Harper Collins were open to direct submissions. I sent it off with no expectations but two weeks later, they sent me an acceptance. It was as if my body went into shock and I couldn’t stop shaking.

4. How did you choose the title of your latest book or book series?

I didn’t. My first book was meant to be called ‘The Penitent’ and my second was meant to be ‘The Art of Death’ but my publisher felt that these weren’t commercial enough. I have to say the new titles have grown on me though. I respect their knowledge of the market.

5. A Dead Man’s Prayer is Book 1. Tell us a bit about the series…who is your favourite character and why?

It’s a police procedural crime novel set in a beautiful area of SW Scotland. It involves the murder of a priest and also the abduction of twin boys from a nursery. One is recovered unharmed. The other remains missing. It explores such themes as redemption and nature versus nurture and also explores mental illness through the eyes of the main character, DI Frank Farrell. He is my favourite character because he is very conflicted and not quite comfortable in his own skin yet has a strong moral compass.

6. What are you working on at the moment/what’s next?

My second DI Farrell novel, Perfect Dead, is out on 15th June this year. I’m also planning to write a serial killer novel set in New York.

7. Where do you write and do you have a writing routine?

I write in the same room as I see my hypnotherapy clients in so I have to keep it all very tidy and organised. I can’t indulge in post-its and flow charts all over the walls. I don’t have a writing routine as everything has to fit round my work and the hours vary.

8. You’ve mentioned an editor so I was wondering how does that work in terms of edits and making changes? Do you agree with everything he asks you to change? 

I’ve been very fortunate in my editor. He flags up inconsistencies or somewhere the tension needs to be tightened, that sort of thing. He also looks into the characters and their motivations. Why do they act the way they do and is it credible? He puts me on the spot with awkward questions and I have to wriggle like a fish on a hook until I can think of a way round something. It is very much a collaborative process and I am completely free to disagree.

9. What’s your favorite go-to snack when writing?

I would love to say carrot sticks and humus but sadly it is chocolate and, if I’m really up against it, cream cakes. My stress levels can be measured on a sliding scale of sugar.

10. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy and why?

I find promoting my book quite difficult as I have always hated to stand out. However, I do like to help others so, thankfully, I have become friends with a number of indie authors on Twitter who kindly retweet my stuff and who I help in turn. I am proud to be an ‘honorary Indie.’

        11. Does your work as a hypnotist inform your writing in any way?

Funnily enough, long before I was a hypnotherapist I wrote a short film script based on a revenge seeking hypnotist. Nowadays, I wouldn’t use such a plot as there are so many misconceptions out there about hypnotherapy that I wouldn’t wish to add to them.

        12. What two things frustrate you the most about the writing industry?

How difficult it is to secure an agent. I know a great many authors who have succeeded in obtaining publishing deals with publishers direct but still haven’t managed to snag an agent. An agent can help you take your writing career to the next level. The other thing that I find frustrating is that there is a sense of expectation that once you write a particular type of book then you must stay in that box, nicely labelled and packaged. I think that approach stifles creativity.

        13. Are you a planner or a pantser?

A bit of both, Soulla. I do a bit of brain storming on paper then I write an outline of the story from beginning to end on two sheets of A4. I might end up with something very different but that gives me the confidence to launch into Chapter One.

Thank you so much Jackie for joining me and my readers. I wish you all the best with your upcoming release of Perfect Dead on 15th June and hope to host you again in the future. Jackie’s links are below for anyone who would like to continue keeping in touch with her and her writing career.

Much love and keep reading, keep writing until next time. xxx

Social Media Links:

https://m.facebook.com/Jackie-Baldwin-Author-1702452086684407/

twitter.com/@JackieMBaldwin1

Book Links:

Amazon: Here

Amazon: Here

 

 

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Thank you Aaron Brinker for joining me and my readers and welcome to you all to my author interview series – A Cup of Conversation. Aaron has been one of my writing buddies on Twitter for a while now and I just love the way he faces the challenge of writing with a sharp creativity and a realistic attitude. He is one of my first ever male authors to be featured in this special series so I hope you will give him a warm welcome as he shares his writing routines and plans for the future.

1. When did you start writing creatively?

I started writing creatively when I was in Middle School. It wasn’t until College that I started pursuing it for publication.

2. Which author has most influenced your own writing style?

Ted Dekker has been a major influence. With reading a lot of classic Authors: Twain; Rawls; Bradberry; Lee; and even Faulkner, these have also lent analytical inspiration to some of my writing.

3. What personal experiences are reflected in your writing?

A lot of my personality, mannerisms, and painful experiences have been used in my stories.

4. How did you choose the title of your latest book or book series?

I haven’t yet decided on a title of my current Work In Progress. The title Second Chances was chosen due to a second chance to possibly make amends.

5. In your current book, either released or as a WIP, who is your favourite character and why?

        I’d have to say my favorite character from my current WIP would be the Archangel Michael. He is a total bad ass, yet a complete smart          ass at the same time.

6. What are you working on at the moment? What’s next?

I am currently working on the story following Mane of Redemption. My next project could be any of three choices: The story following my WIP, a sequel to Second Chances, or a Crime Thriller that has been itching to be written.

7. Where do you write and do you have a writing routine?

I had a pretty solid writing routine until we moved to Arkansas. I have an office set up and will hopefully be getting set in a new routine soon.

8. Who edits your work? Is it something you do or do you have a professional editor?

I tend to edit my own work. My wife usually edits after my first round except for Second Chances and other stories that aren’t her genre of choice.

9. What’s your favourite go-to snack when writing?

I honestly can’t remember my go to munchie when writing. Coffee is my drink of choice though.

10. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy and why?

With being a Self-Published Author, I would have to say trying to promote on a budget. I love the great interaction and feedback with followers, but it takes so much time away from writing. Twitter in general is one you have to be on frequently to get the largest reach.

       11. What advice would you give to someone looking to write their first book?

To the first time author, I would say to do your research, find the best fit for you, and be sure to challenge yourself in your writing.

        12. What two things frustrate you the most about the writing industry?

Probably the difficulty in actually selling books and getting very few reviews from those who have read your work.

13. Are you a planner or a pantser?

I’m a mix. I outline each book with beginning, middle, and end. I use note cards for each scene or chapter and write a brief description           (less than a sentence) of what happens in each. I then allow the characters to write out their own instances within each scene/chapter.

         14. What’s on your current to-do list?

My current to-do list consists of a few crime thrillers, the sequel and possible third book following Second Chances, and the rest of the           Redemption Series.

 

Thank you so much Aaron and to you all for joining us and if you would like to connect with Aaron his social media and book links can be found below. Until next time, Happy Writing, Happy Reading!

Links:

 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/aarondbrinker

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aarondbrinker

Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14780578.Aaron_D_Brinker/blog

Amazon link to books: Author.to/aaronbrinker (universal link…will take you to amazon page for your area of the globe)

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