Book Review: The Other Eden

This novel by Sarah Bryant is best described as a Gothic romance/horror story, interleaved with the American South setting in Louisiana and piano music it is an unusual mixture which produces quite a page-turner. I admit to finding the two sisters Eve and Elizabeth confusing at times but that did not interfere with my enjoyment of the story. By the end of the book I was still unsure which sister was which. The description of the two houses, Eden and the house on the hill, are luscious. My one quibble is that I found the characters oddly difficult to place
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Flash Fiction: ‘Chairs Chairs Chairs’

It is just before nine. She takes her time clearing the tables, the ones outside in the dark alley between the Royal Festival Hall on one side and the railway arches on the other. The sun won’t reach here until lunchtime. The alley has quietened, the rush to work is drawing to a close and the queue at the coffee counter for ‘to-go’s’ numbers only two. She prefers clearing tables to serving at the counter. Outside, only one table is occupied. The same table, every morning. She watches him, without seeming to. Arranged in front of him are pencil, notebook,
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Aah Snoopy, you are so right… 4

Ah yes. Like Snoopy, all writers have helpful friends.   ‘Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life’ ed by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz  [UK: Writer’s Digest Books]     And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: What is subtlety: advice for #writers from @Snoopy http://wp.me/p5gEM4-qy via @SandraDanby
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I agree with… Janice Galloway

Janice Galloway “…a good short story frames not just the credible now, but an implied past – and a stretch after the putative ending into infinite space. I guess that’s what is meant by writing that ‘comes off the page’: 3D is certainly possible on the flat page.” [writing in MsLexia magazine, June/July/Aug 2013] I remember being told by one of my creative writing tutors to ‘write around the story you think you’re writing about’. It was a good piece of advice. Sometimes I start to write about one thing but then explore the plot, the characters, the timeline, and
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Great Opening Paragraph 36… ‘The Bell Jar’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York. I’m stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that’s all there was to read about in the papers – goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-selling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves.” ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath Amazon Try one of these
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Book Review: The Quarry

I started reading this book with my emotions running high, knowing Iain Banks had completed it so near to death. But I determined to be fair, not to like it just because he died. But I did like it. A lot. The story is full of imagery: the quarry, the actual hole in the ground is the unknown faced by the two key characters: Guy, who is facing death; and his son Kit, who faces life without his father. Both stand on the edge of emptiness. Kit is the key narrator. Described as ‘a bit odd’ and ‘socially disabled’, I liked
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If books were real, Agatha Raisin…

Agatha Raisin …would be Julie Walters, with a little padding [as in Mrs Weasley] and a plate of Gin and Tonic cupcakes.   ‘Something Borrowed Something Dead’ by MC Beaton [C&R Crime] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit’ Jamie Fraser in ‘Cross Stitch’ Adam Dalgliesh in ‘Devices and Desires’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Agatha Raisin would love cupcakes SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMEONE DEAD by @mc_beaton via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-qQ
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Great Opening Paragraph 35… ‘Room’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero. ‘Was I minus numbers?’” ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue  Amazon Read my review of Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ by Carson McCullers ‘Family Album’ by Penelope Lively ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my
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I agree with… Barbara Taylor Bradford

Barbara Taylor Bradford “For me it all starts with a memorable character. Graham Greene, the legendary English novelist once said in a famous interview that “Character is plot.” This is the best advice I ever got as a novelist. When I sit down to write a book, I try to tell a compelling story about one single character. What this person is inside, and how they view the world is your story. That’s how it began for me with Emma Harte in ‘A Woman of Substance’. You begin with a character that your readers can relate to and build the
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New books coming soon

Diane Setterfield The Yorkshire author of The Thirteenth Tale has signed a new deal with Orion for her Victorian ghost story Bellman & Black, due out in October. A TV production of The Thirteenth Tale for broadcast at Christmas stars Olivia Coleman and Vanessa Redgrave and was filmed at Burton Agnes Hall in East Yorkshire. Helen Walsh Signed with Tinder Press to publish her new novel The Lemon Grove, due out spring 2014. Walsh, previously published by Canongate, was represented in the deal by Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown. John Harvey The last book in the Charlie Resnick series has
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