Monday 31 October 2016

Reading Round-Up: Sept/Oct 2016

Happy Halloween!

It's time for my penultimate reading round-up of the year. If you missed the last one, you can catch up here.

What is reading round-up?

Reading round-up is a simple way for me to keep track of everything book-related, and a fun way to show my readers what I've been reading over the last few months!

Out are the books I've read in September and October.

In are the books I've acquired during that time.

And wishlist are the books I've found out about and want to buy but haven't managed to get my hands on yet!

  • The Unravelling by Thorne Moore
  • Fallen, Torment and Passion by Lauren Kate
  • Hoax (Scarab Beetle #5) by C.L. Stone
  • Kota (Meeting Sang #1) by C.L. Stone
  • Victor (Meeting Sang #2) by C.L. Stone 
  • The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans 
  • The Risk of Darkness by Susan Hill
  • Small Steps by Louis Sachar
  • The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason
  • The Unicorn Hunt by Dorothy Dunnett
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple 
  • Puck by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
  • Make Me (Jack Reacher #20) by Lee Child
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by J.K. Rowling
  • Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling 
  • Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy
  • A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole 
  • Escapism: Words + Photos by Candice Lee 
  • The Boy is Back (Boy #4) by Meg Cabot
  • Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World #1) by P.C. Cast 
  • Journey's End by Rachel Hawkins 
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling 
What have you been reading recently? Have you read a book I should know about? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Guest Post: Creative Ideas - Do They Float in the Air? by Diane Solomon

Have you checked out Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear?

The author of Eat, Pray, Love has written a motivational bestseller which can be summed up by these two concepts: 
  1. Every one of us is inherently creative.
  2. Just do something and don't give two hoots what everyone else thinks. 
Now, if you read the book, did you like it? Or, did you feel it was in some way too simplistic? A bit too airy-fairy?

Some reviewers are derisive over Gilbert's theory that ideas float through the air, received by people simultaneously. These critics can take umbrage all they want; for me, this is a truism that I tend to keep to myself, as people roll their eyes if I try to explain it. But, if you look through history, inventions often sprout up at the same time across the world, without interaction of the inventors. Historians and sociologists call this "multiple independent discovery." 

Here are just a few examples:
  • The electrical telegraph was invented by Charles Wheatstone in England in 1837 and Samuel F.B. Morse in the United States, in the same year. 
  • In 1876, Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent on the invention of the telephone on the same day. 
  • In 1896, two men independently discovered radioactivity: Henri Becquerel and Silvanus Thompson. 
  • The jet engine was independently invented by Hans von Ohain in 1939, by Secondo Campini in 1940 and by Frank Whittle in 1941.
There are countless examples of this fascinating phenomenon.

Maybe ideas float around our combined consciousness, as a species, to be received by those with the best antennae! We are radio stations, attuned to pick up the frequencies of ideas. When I was very young, as a singer-songwriter in the UK, I had the chance to work with Tommy Boyce, the songwriter who had some terrific hits with the Monkees in the seventies. He nailed it for me. He said, "In the middle of the night, if I get a song idea or lyric, I better get my butt out of bed and write it down, or it will go back up the chimney and come down Paul McCartney's chimney."

I've been writing, in various formats, for many years. Whether songs, poems, screenplays, or fiction books, I have found there are myriad ways to assist in the reception of creative ideas.
  • Play the "What If" game. With everything you hear, see, or read, ask yourself, "Well, what if..." Let loose. The crazier the better. The more you do this, the more you will do this! My husband Mark and I used this all the time when brainstorming our middle-grade fantasy, The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain.

  • Keep a pen and pad by the bed. Ideas often swoop down in the middle of the night, the sneaky little buggers. 'Good Things Don't Come Easy,' the track of my last CD, came to me in the dead of night, forcing me to scurry to my keyboard and record the tune. The lyrics flowed almost perfectly with hardly an edit required.
  • If you meditate, when you slowly come out of that state, ask if you can conjure up or see any ideas regarding whatever book, piece of artwork, or song you are working on. You are in a prime state to receive them at that time. This also works with dreaming. Before sleep, set an intention to receive ideas for your creative project.
  • Be tenacious. Make consistent time to write, paint, or play in your creative format. Play with your subconscious mind. You can't be open to receive if you don't focus on it.
About Diane Solomon

Writer, Singer, Songwriter, Homeopath, Nutritionist.

Diane Solomon enjoyed a wonderfully diverse career path that included her own variety show on BBC TV and major tours with Glen Campbell and Kenny Rogers. Her highly successful singing career has given way to her lifelong dream of being a writer. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Mark Carey, on beautiful acres of woods and streams. They spend countless hours designing gardens and meadows, watching wildlife, and playing the "What If" game. Come visit them at

Follow Diane on Twitter: dianesolomon

You can also find her on Goodreads and Smashwords

Imagine a raven appearing out of thin air and guiding you to an exquisitely carved icon that glows with ancient light and pulses with shamanic power. This is how the adventure begins for Nadia and Aidan Shaw, 13-year-old twins, who live in idyllic Cold Spring, New York. Armed with the power of the Ravenstone and their own special gifts, they embark on a harrowing quest across centuries, at the bidding of a mysterious old shaman. They must depend on their courage, their faith in their friends, and luck… or is it destiny?

If they succeed, what they bring back could change the course of human existence.


Many thanks for sharing your thoughts on creativity and the process of gathering ideas, Diane! 

How do you get your creative ideas? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday 14 October 2016

Extract: Overcoming Daily, My Story of Surviving Cancer by Glen Kirkpatrick

Today I'm pleased to be able to share an exclusive extract from a very personal biography with you.

Overcoming Daily: My Story of Surviving Cancer is a short teaser for a longer memoir, Overcome: A Story of Intervention, Rescue, and Redemption which is due for publication early next year. The author, Glen Kirkpatrick, has written the memoir alongside his wife, Debbie, to chart their experiences of undergoing multiple cancer diagnoses and treatments. The book is incredibly personal, yet sadly an experience that far too many of us are able to relate to. Cancer has touched the lives of so many people around the world, and Overcoming Daily recognises that. The author aims to help people through this book, by perhaps attempting to help others struggling with cancer to understand that they don't have to go through it alone - a very important message.


The definition of cancer survivor didn’t come to me until a few years ago. I had been on my cancer journey for more than twenty years before I ever called myself a survivor. It was in 2010, when Debbie and I began to embrace the term. In that year I was diagnosed with a number of chronic conditions found to be directly or indirectly linked to radiation treatments and chemotherapy. The unintended side-effects from these therapies are known in the cancer community as late effects. Mine include heart, lung, and kidney disease. I was in remission from cancer, but the late effects complicated and even threatened my daily lifestyle. We’ve experienced a number of setbacks and have had to make many adjustments in every area of our lives. However, in my personal struggles, I’ve always found that personal growth continues to be a part of the cancer journey.

With almost three decades of survivorship experience, I’m still learning how to make the most of each day. On any given morning I may wake up feeling somewhat lonely. On the next, I might feel a sense of joy, ready to get outdoors and tackle the new day. The happiest days are the ones during which I live fully in the present. Sweeter still are the days I find myself living in the moment. Over time, I’ve realized there are things I must do each day and each week to help me survive. Among the most important things that have helped me are my personal Bible study, prayer, and Christian fellowship. The time I spend with Debbie, our children and our grandson is precious to me. Long walks, when I can take them, refresh me and fulfill the need I’ve always had to be physically active. Meeting with my therapist, writing, and listening to music are very beneficial. To stay connected I began volunteering and organizing groups in our home and online with cancer patients and others with chronic health challenges.

Whatever each day brings, crouching silently at the door of my life is the reminder that my life has been threatened by cancer, the unforgiving disease. My angst comes from my view that I’m living with a wound that can never fully heal. I survived the physical assaults of cancer. However, the long term and repeated emotional trauma, has taken its toll well beyond the news of remission.

Because of this, I sometimes find it difficult to absorb my personal history of living with cancer. Three different physicians have tried to summarize my overall health status between 2008 and 2013. My former primary care doctor told me I had a heart murmur and then said, “You’re fragile.” After discussing my need for aortic valve replacement in five years, my cardiologist uttered, “You have a lot going on.” While at the hospital with pain in my abdomen, the emergency room doctor looked at my health history and said, “Crazy.” The “fragile” comment, although true, brought with it deep heart ache. When my cardiologist said, “You have a lot going on,” it actually validated what Debbie and I already knew: we did have a lot going on. The thought of living with two diseased heart valves, one that would need replacing, made me very uneasy. Finally, the “crazy” comment, although unprofessional, was kind of humorous. In fact, I seem to remember responding from the hospital bed, “Crazy good or crazy bad?” I can’t remember his answer now, but I don’t think there was a lot that was good about my condition. So, I’m fragile; I have a lot going on; and my history of cancer and other diseases is crazy.


Overcoming Daily: My Story of Surviving Cancer is available to buy now.

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below!