Saturday, 31 October 2015

Welcome Sam Smith! Sam’s here to tell us a little behind his new book. Trees, published by Safkhet Publishing. Take it away, Sam!

First of all I have to confess that, although I’ve done many things sub-literary in my writing life – organised poetry festivals and book fairs, run a small press, Original Plus, and for nearly 20 years now the poetry magazine The Journal (once ‘of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry’); and although I’ve had many publishers of my work, 2 of which went disastrously bust while I was working as editor for them, Safkhet Publishing is the first that has suggested that I be a guest blogger.

The novel by the way is Trees and Safkhet are based in Germany.

We know from the opening chapter that the narrator's adopted daughter, Hazel, is going to die. But when? After the steroid treatments that make her into a slip-slopping bag of water? Or after discovering that her biological father is the millionaire Gustaf Eriksson, a man obsessed with the reforesting of England? Or will it be when her mother gives up her cafĂ© and herself becomes involved with The Tree Prospectus? 

Trees, Alder through to Yew, naturally feature.

I’m based in the UK on the Cumbrian coast. Maryport describes itself as ‘By the sea near the Lakes.’ Not wholly sure how I ended up here, suffice to say that I like walking over mountains and I’ve moved about a bit. And my daughter Shelley Carmen was living in Edinburgh at the time we last moved. My usual author biog says, ‘… I was born Blackpool 1946, am now living in Maryport, Cumbria. A freelance writer, I have been a psychiatric nurse, residential social worker, milkman, plumber, laboratory analyst, groundsman, sailor, computer operator, scaffolder, gardener, painter & decorator.... working at anything, in fact, which has paid the rent, enabled me to raise my three daughters and which hasn't got too much in the way of my writing.’ All of my daughters, Shelley included, and grandchildren, now live in the south, which annoyingly means I see a lot of the M6.

Here’s a picture of me sat on a trig point, mountains behind.

The currently popular singer Sam Smith by the way is a clone and one of many talented individuals, male and female, bearing my monicker. We altered singer Sam’s DNA and gave him a musical gene. Hope that clears up any confusion.

But about Trees… The initial publicity says ‘As H was for Hawk will T now be for Trees? D for Distraction? P for Platonic? S for Sam? Or Smith?’ Which I hope will give putative readers a decent clue to the book’s contents. ‘H for Hawk’ concerned itself with a reconciling of the bereaved through falconry. Trees has a different death, an adopted daughter, and the mother finding solace through helping her birth father in his attempt to reforest as much as he can of England. Consequently each chapter has throughout descriptions of trees and diagrammatic representations of trees. (A labour of love Trees has taken me years to complete.)

Although death might be the central feature of Trees what it mostly concerns itself with is the nature of family, and of those relationships beyond. Of friendships, and resentments, people we work with, of in-laws and outlaws. Of desires contained, physical capabilities and incapacities, sexual orientation, and trees.

Safkhet has set 31st October as the release date for Trees. You can read more about Trees here – Safkhet Publishing

Or here – AmazonUK AmazonUS

Other of my books are featured here -

The Journal and Original Plus here –

My thanks to Sheryl Browne for asking me to guest on her blog.

You’re welcome, Sam. Trees sound absolutely fascinating. Best of luck! 


Sunday, 11 October 2015

Racing HeartRacing Heart by June Moonbridge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My first question when reading Racing Heart was why would an independent, intelligent, clearly attractive and obviously strong woman with a rare talent of being able to produce beautiful and original perfumes, be willing to dumb down her appearance in order to work in a perfumery boutique? As I read on, intrigued, my next question was, what happened to her son, who is clearly no longer part of her life? At first I thought he’d perhaps been put up for adoption and I wanted to see how the author handled this sensitive subject. It soon became apparent that the heartbreak Desiree Hart is at pains to also disguise is heartbreak of the cruellest kind. Desiree’s carefully constructed persona is a front enabling her to continue to search for her son, who was kidnapped and is still missing. With a passion for Formula One racing, watching the cars zoom past, particularly in the free practice, is a luxury she allows herself, but only from a distance. Desiree can’t be distracted, most definitely not by F1’s Golden Boy, good-looking girl magnet, Lorcan Shore. Undeniably attracted, however, Desiree is determined the barriers around her heart will stay in place. Lorcan is equally determined to break them down.

Can he really fulfil her desire heart's desire though? Can he help Desiree to find the most important thing missing in her life, where even the police have failed?

Set against a backdrop of the millionaires' playground of Monte Carlo, this is a compelling story reminding us that our past, and the people we hold dearest, is what shapes us. It’s a story about trust. Trusting our own instincts, but also letting go the fear and allowing ourselves to trust someone to be careful with our hearts.

Compelling, intriguing and clearly well-researched, Racing Heart is a book I would recommend. I loved it.

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