Saturday, 2 August 2014

The never-ending repetition of history

Wanting to understand more about the current situation in Gaza, I borrowed A Very Short Introduction The Palestinian-Israeli conflict by Martin Bunton.

Having now reached the age when I can admit to having lived through many of the incidents in this very readable account; indeed I was caught up in the civil war in Beirut in 75, I found this book absolutely fascinating and come away with a far greater understanding. This humanitarian disaster in Gaza is not the first nor the second or even the third and I quote : from a passage about 1949
"Based on the belief that a constant show of Israel's military superiority would eventually force the Arab world to accept Israel's present, this attitude ensured that no attack on Israel would go unpunished. Indeed, it was made clear that Israel would retaliate with disproportionate force. While the policy of severe retaliation may have served at some level as a deterrent, the policy also contributed to heightened enmity and a repeating cycle of violence in which both Arabs and Jews saw themselves as innocent victims acting against injustice." 

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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Where has all the fun gone?

I've got music playing - a welcome change from TV. Am I getting old or is telly becoming more and more dismal every day? Programmes used to be fun, especially comedy. Once written with skill, now audiences are expected to find swearing, over-emphasis, and crude jokes funny. I don't. Even crudity needs skill, a good director, excellent comedy actor and a good delivery to make you laugh - not simply words stated with emphasis. Sadly I have also seen most of the re-runs of detective series at least once. The criteria for that is - once you remember 'who done it' they are no longer of interest. Fortunately I have a shelf full of books! They never let you down.

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Authors Grand Launch Festival Blog Train


You are cordially invited to attend the 

 Grand Launch Festival Day! 

Join us for what is sure to be a blast with the Most Enticing Book Trailer Contest winner announcement, scavenger hunts, giveaways, Google social hangouts, and our kick off for the 1st Annual Authors' Cave Book Awards where you can win $500 cash, a Kindle Fire or Nook, and free promotion of your book for a year at Authors' Cave!

July 22, 2014
(8am to 11pm EST)

Back to the train...Get to know the blogger - that's me!

Who am I : A grandmother who writes great books for children and young adults. I live in Somerset in the south-west of England which is a terrible drag for visiting schools or booksignings because I have to be up by 5 a.m. to get to the station. I have also lived in the Caribbean, the United States, Europe and the Middle East. As a result all my books have a little bit of my life in them, including the one above: Time Breaking.

The first three words I would use to describe myself are: Workaholic, chocoholic but not alcoholic

I am currently working on this project: The Amazing Brain of O C Longbotham 
Publication date 27.11.14


Running and Turning Point: A Boy : A Missing Computer Scientist: a Secret so dangerous it must stay hidden from the world

Scott Anderson has a secret so big he daren’t share it even with best friends; he and his dad are American. If you’re American, you don’t talk about it. If you don’t talk about that, you don’t talk about any of the other secrets that haunt your life – that your dad’s really a computer scientist and people are searching for him.

Stay on the train and follow these authors next! See how they responded to the same questions!

Get to know: Laura De Bruce :

Get to know: K T Bowes :

 Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Our changing society

As a children's authors, I am frequently invited into primary and secondary schools to talk about creative writing and, particularly with young kids, increase their enthusiasm for the written word. Returning from a visit to Kings of Wessex I daydreamed the journal home, thinking about how hard librarians and teachers work to keep their pupils reading. Why do we do it? I guess because the sum total of our world's learning has appeared in books. Everything we are today is because some person had an idea and wrote about it in a book.

No longer perhaps ... now it's UTube, Twitter and Facebook. But it is very difficult to break a habit that's lasted for almost 600 years and replace it with something so modern that it hasn't yet reached 25.

And yet tragically fewer and fewer of our teenagers are reading.

I would like to think they go back to books in the future when social media loses its appeal ... I hope it happens and happens quickly; the world will be a much poorer place without books.

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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Views from the US

If I had to confess what gave me the inspiration to write my thriller, Running, it is my love of the US and the generosity of its people. And I am delighted that the book is being read by an American audience.

Really Great Story and Writing, May 27, 2014
Nolen (Houston, TX) - 
This review is from: Running (Kindle Edition)
I was intrigued from the first few paragraphs. The earthquake scene had me believing for that instant that this was an end-of-the-world sort of story. It isn't. But it's that good. After the earthquake that shook California off of the United States to bury it beneath the Pacific Ocean, the story begins again in England. I loved the discussion from the teens about Americanisms used by other students. The big secret in this "broom cupboard" discussion is that two of these students are Americans hiding the fact. Because after the earthquake the rest of the world has "disowned" the U.S., cut them off from import, export, and everything else. So being an American is not something to be proud of, even in Britain, or so thinks young Scott Anderson. For this reason he keeps it quiet. He doesn't realize that there is a far more important reason to keep himself to himself. From a fast-paced chase from Cornwall to Scotland and then to Holland, Scott doesn't know who to believe much less trust, and neither does the reader. Recommended reading!!!
Running by Barbara Spencer
Sequel: Turning Point 
YA Thriller

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Fab fiction to while away those sunny days

Turning Point is likely to prove my favourite out of the ten books I have written. Why because it's flies along at a fabulous pace like a high-flying wire act in a circus,  with thrills enough for the most demanding of critics. Even I enjoyed reading it and I wrote it. Could not put it down.


·         Styrus, a computer virus so powerful it can penetrate any computer and steal its secrets, has fallen into the hands of the wrong man.
·         His name – Smith, Mr Smith
·         His ambition – to rule the world

Against a background of riots throughout Europe, Scott Anderson, his father, and their bodyguard, head for Geneva, where Bill, one of the scientists that created Styrus is to address the United Nations., At long last, the knowledge that he has held in secret for fifteen years can be passed over to the world body, leaving them free to take up their lives again. To celebrate, Bill and Scott plan a holiday.
Then Scott overhears a secret conversation and, within hours he is fleeing for his life.

This time their enemies will make certain no one survives...

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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Walking on air. Downloaded from

Running by Barbara Spencer is an adrenalin-fueled adventure with action and mystery that will keep young adult readers, and grown-ups who love YA fiction, turning the pages to find out what happens next.

The story begins with the gripping news that there’s been an earthquake and tsunami in the state of California. Immediately we learn that this disaster isn’t “natural” and that evil forces of the human kind are most likely the cause. To heighten the suspense, it turns out that the world’s foremost scientists had been gathering at a convention in California at the time. On top of this, there’s been a nuclear disaster in the Middle East. The U.S. is blamed for both incidents and America becomes ostracized by the rest of the world because of this.

American scientist Bill Anderson takes his infant son and escapes to England where he tries to blend in with the locals and disappear from the shadowy bad guys. Fast forward fifteen years and we meet quietly likeable Scott Anderson, a regular kid at a British school who tries to hide his American roots. The government in Europe has used the nuclear disaster as an excuse to impose greater control over its citizens with a requirement that everyone wears government-issued glasses (spectacles, in the UK) and regular checks for radiation as a result of the nuclear blast. Life takes a startling turn for Scott around the time that a particularly smart, attractive classmate, Hillary, turns up at school. Before long, Scott finds himself on the run with Hillary on a search for his missing father with little to go on other than a vague clue and gut instinct.

From a small English town to the lochs of Scotland and the winding paths of a Dutch town, Running is a great travelogue, a well-written mystery and an exciting story, as well as an endearing introduction to Scott and Hillary and their friends,Travers and Mary. I look forward to reading the sequel and other books by Barbara Spencer.    LDB

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Friday, 28 February 2014

Killing your darlings

Last year, while talking with a Year 6 group during a visit to a school, one of the girls put her hand up confessing, ‘that she had written 23 adventures for her hero and was now stumped because she couldn’t come up with any more.'
One of two major faults that crop up again and again in unskilled writing, is the occurrence of adventures, incidents or paragraphs that are not essential to the plot. Most often they are put in to flesh out the story or make it more dramatic, blood curling or funny.

If you think of a story as being like an archer who fletches an arrow, releasing it in a straight line to its target.
That is how a story should be written. Retaining a line, paragraph or page in a story because you like the way it sounds, is not a good enough reason for keeping it. To the reader, who doesn’t share in your affection for this particular paragraph, it is a bewildering and annoying incident that detracts from the flow of the story.

My other gripe is the constant outpouring of dramatic almost epileptic speech, full of expletives. The building of a story is akin to someone climbing a mountain, as the slope grows steeper, so does the tension in the prose and boulders of swearwords (unrepeatable here) and endearments(doll, babe, etc) littering the slope are an impediment to good, flowing prose.

You have only to read some of the recent best sellers that have earned their writers millions: Twilight, Hunger Games to see that they are written within a universally accepted framework of speech.

If you are uncertain about the progress of a story – get hold of a copy of ‘How to Write a Blockbuster’ by Helen Corner and Lee Weatherley. A well-written guideline for a new writer.

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