New fiction (Buried River Press): Squeezed by David Atkinson

Squeezed CMYKSqueezed

If your wife organized a threesome for you on your honeymoon, what would you do?

Scott is shocked by his wife Hannah’s suggestion, but hesitantly agrees to go along with it. Back home, both feel a little guilty about their encounter with a Thai prostitute called Marilyn, but soon put it behind them when they discover Hannah is pregnant. They must both fight to keep their family together when Marilyn turns up on their doorstep, six months pregnant, and Scott comes to realize that in life there is often a price to pay for indiscretion. Squeezed is a story about family, and how sometimes we don’t appreciate what we’ve got until it’s gone.

David Atkinson

David Atkinson was born in Glasgow, but now enjoys a hectic life in Edinburgh with his wife and two young daughters. His adopted city provides him with much of his writing inspiration; enjoying particularly the areas of Portobello, Newhaven and Duddingston. His first novel Love Byte was also published by Robert Hale and has been shortlisted for the Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year Award 2015 by the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Find out more about David and his books by visiting www.davidatkinsonauthor.com

Praise for Love Byte

Shortlisted for the Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year Award 2015 by the Romantic Novelists’ Association

‘A story with laugh out loud moments, heart rending events and a nice easy flowing style’ –Trip Fiction

‘Anyone who likes their romance with a touch of realism and not too much syrup will adore this book’ –Read Reviewed

Buy your copy of Squeezed here.

New fiction (Buried River Press): Cicely’s Sovereign Secret by Sandra Heath Wilson

Cicely's Sovereign Secret CMYKCicely’s Sovereign Secret

Lancastrian King Henry VII has a dark secret, a secret that his Yorkist foe, Jack de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, is determined to discover. But Jack is killed by Henry’s uncle, Viscount Welles. For Lady Cicely Plantagenet, this is a double tragedy, because Jack is her adored cousin and passionate lover, and Jon Welles is her treasured husband.

Cicely is once again lured into danger and intrigue in the royal court and in the streets of London. She does not know who is truly a friend, and who is an enemy. Above all she does not know Henry’s secret, a matter so heinous it could topple him from the throne.

Sandra Heath Wilson

Sandra was born in South Wales, but spent a great deal of her childhood in Ulster and Germany. She has lived in Gloucestershire since marrying forty years ago. Her other books, also published by Robert Hale, include her Regency novels The Makeshift Marriage, Lady Jane’s Ribbons and Hide and Seek.

‘Cicely was really brought to life, with her heart and soul bursting from the pages.’ – Novelicious

‘Beautifully told, heart-wrenching at times, joyous at others…impeccable research coupled with outstanding detail and intense dialogue truly bring the 15th century alive in the reader’s mind.’ – Historical Novel Review

Buy your copy of Cicely’s Sovereign Secret here.

Echoes From The Music Room

9781910208250Not surprisingly, the idea for my novel, The Music Room came to me at a concert on a winter’s night eight years ago. Watching the young solo violinist rip majestically through Mendelssohn’s Hebrides symphony, my thoughts roamed away from the stage. I pondered the tremendous pressures on her to convey the hours, days, perhaps years of rehearsal into a thirty minute moment of performance perfection.  Then the applause. The bow.  Finito. That moment, once passed, is gone— and until the advent of recorded sound, some 125 years ago—gone forever. Performance is finite. Rehearsal goes on forever.

Is the musician’s incessant rehearsing akin to the writer’s eking out many drafts? I don’t think so. Writers write and re-write, and though the book itself passes through many hands (agent, editor, copyeditor, production people, publicist,) it emerges often without fanfare or applause. No bow. Sorry. And once published, the writer does not return to rework it. No second chance to right what was wrong, as a musician can with the next performance.

Moreover, for the most part, writers work alone. Music and drama, on the other hand, are collective undertakings. Musicians and composers and actors and dramatists actively require the input of others to bring any given work to fruition. Without the composer’s work, the cellist has nothing to play. Without the band to enrich the song, the songwriter might as well just sing in the shower. For musicians (and for actors and dramatists) each undertaking creates new professional and often personal relationships. In working together artists connect, come to recognize whom to trust.   These relationships, in turn often open up into future endeavours, broadening everyone’s horizons.

In The Music Room Gloria’s endless rehearsing involves no one but herself. In this she is more like a writer than a musician. Gloria imagines (or remembers) some joyous moment of performance, applause, public recognition for her talents, even her genius. However, in her dedication to rehearsal, to grooming, perfecting her repertoire, Gloria has lost some crucial connection to the world.  She has also lost a central element of musical life. Musicians are not meant to be alone. Even if, and as she achieves perfection, Gloria has atrophied, wizened as a human being.

Gloria Denham seems to me a splendid example of the artist as pathetic character, isolated from anything and anyone who might have given her life richness and savor. Her willful ignorance only underscores her pathos. Her gorgeous music room with its brilliant acoustics ought to have exalted the collective efforts of many musicians, and at one time it did. When that moment passed, it became a sort of cell, Gloria its prisoner in solitary confinement. Ironically, Gloria finally trades that room for the chance to perform, to play in front of an audience of sycophants who are waiting for her to die.

Thematically The Music Room asks:  what do the arts extract from people who practice them? What does the artists’ obsession, their single-minded pursuit, oblige from spouses, children, parents, the people who live with or around them? Musicians, composers, painters, actors, writers must, of necessity, carve time from everything else in life to give to their work. There will be costs and losses, just as surely as there will be moments of glory. The costs and losses in this novel are borne by two children, Marcella and Rose-Renee, detritus, in their parents’ nasty divorce, debris in their family’s egotistical pursuit of the arts.

My two sons, both musicians, have taught me a lot about music, about rehearsal and performance. When they were in high school rehearsals were always at our house. As they moved out into the world, I have attended their various gigs and concerts, recitals and recording dates. While the performances are exhilarating, my favourite part of the experience is rehearsal. I like sitting at the back of an unfilled theatre, a sparsely furnished rehearsal room,  an empty nightclub, or in the recording booth at the studio, and listening to the start-and-stop, the mis-steps, the sometimes tedious repetition leading to the “Let’s move on” moment. Then they begin the same process on the next part of the program or the piece.   I enjoy sound-check just before the show. The guy at the soundboard barks at everyone. The musicians oblige him, but hold themselves in check: every bit of psychic energy must be saved up to walk out in front of the audience. Performance.

In the months just before I went to the Mendelssohn Hebrides concert that inspired The Music Room, I had watched my eldest son Bear conduct an orchestra of some eighty musicians, and watched my youngest, Brendan give his all onstage at a rock venue.  After being part of their bright, communal musical life, to return home, to this well-known room to write, seemed suddenly very lonely. It was winter and the days were short and sunless. The Hebrides concert inspired me to create, at least on paper, the noisy lives of children who live with music lilting through their lives. I wrote for a few months, finished a full draft, but then abandoned the book. Over the course of some seven years, I returned to the novel, and then left it again. The form changed, the title changed, but the story always stayed the same.

I intended to dedicate The Music Room to Bear and Brendan McCreary.  But now I have a little grand-daughter, fittingly, for a musical family, named Sonatine. So, of course, The Music Room is for her. I expect one day to attend her rehearsals too.

The Music Room is published July 2015 by Buried River Press, an imprint of Robert Hale Ltd.

 

New Fiction (Buried River Press): The Music Room by Laura Kalpakian

The Music Room by Laura Kalpakian

9781910208250Young Marcella McNeill’s family are always rehearsing: her father is an actor, her mother Valerie an aspiring opera singer, her grandmother Gloria a renowned violinist. During the summer of 1969 – after their parents’ bitter divorce – Marcella and her little sister Rose-Renee are sent to live with their enigmatic grandmother in her decaying countryside mansion.

Instructed never to disturb the formidable woman as she endlessly rehearses in the music room, the children are left to run wild. They form a relationship with their cheerful neighbour Dorothea, who convinces their grandmother to allow the girls to be home-schooled with her sickly son, Rodney. Dorothea recognizes and nurtures the children’s gifts in ways they have never before experienced.

That autumn, their wayward aunt Linda returns home with a drawling, Arkansas boyfriend in tow. The struggles between mother and daughter – Gloria angry that Linda has abused and denied her gifts, Linda attacking her mother’s musical delusions – create a storm of clashing egos.

The Music Room is a novel of arrogance and artistry, of sacrifice and negligence, of delusion and conviction, of interminable rehearsal and profound performance. It is a story of love muddied with need, expedience, and opportunism – as love always is.

Laura Kalpakian

Laura Kalpakian is the author of twelve novels and three prize-winning collections of original short fiction. Her work has appeared extensively in the UK and the USA. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a residency at Hawthornden Castle, Scotland, and her 2007 novel, American Cookery was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. A native Californian, Laura was educated on both the east and west coasts of the USA, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.

You can find out more about Laura at her website: http://www.laurakalpakian.com

Buy your copy of The Music Room here

New fiction (Buried River Press): Murder on the Minneapolis by Anita Davison

Murder on the Minneapolis 

9781910208267

Flora Maguire, a young governess, is on her way home on the SS Minneapolis after the wedding of her employer’s daughter. She meets the charming Bunny Harrington on deck on the first night, after having avoided the dining room, conscious of her status among the first-class passengers.

Flora finds the body of a man at the bottom of a companionway, but when his death is pronounced an accident, she is not convinced, and, having experienced her own tragedy as a child in the form of her mother’s disappearance, is driven to find out the truth.

Flora starts asking questions, but following threats, a near drowning during a storm and a second murder, the hunt is on in earnest for a killer.

Time is running out as the Minneapolis approaches the English coast. Will Flora be able to protect Edward, her charge, as well as herself, and uncover the identity of the murderer? Is her burgeoning relationship with the handsome Bunny Harrington only a shipboard dalliance, or something more?

Anita Davison

Anita Davison is a regular blogger for various historical blogs including Unusual Historicals and English Historical Fiction Authors, and also reviews books for the Historical Novel Review. Details of her other published novels are available on her blog: thedisorganisedauthor.blogspot.com

Buy your copy of Murder on the Minneapolis here

New fiction: Twice Royal Lady by Hilary Green


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Twice Royal Lady

Destined from childhood to be an important piece in the intricate chess game of power, Matilda is the granddaughter of William the Conqueror but also descended, through her mother, from the ancient line of Anglo-Saxon kings.

Betrothed to Emperor Henry of Germany at the age of eight, she is married at twelve and crowned Empress. By her early twenties she is a widow, and the only surviving legitimate heir to her father, Henry l of England. Forced into a second marriage to a boy ten years younger, she gives birth to three sons, the male heirs her father longs for. However, on his sudden death, the throne is usurped by her cousin, Stephen.

Matilda is forced to choose between her husband and her rights as her father’s heir. Intelligent, determined and courageous, she chooses to fight for her rights.

Hilary Green

Hilary Green is a trained actress and spent many years teaching drama and running a youth theatre company. She has also written scripts for BBC Radio and won the Kythira short story prize. Hilary now lives in the Wirral and is a full-time writer.

Buy your copy of Twice Royal Lady here.

 

New fiction: Dreams That Veil by Dominic Luke

Dreams That Veil9781910208236

December 1911. Twelve-year old Eliza Brannan eagerly awaits the return of her brother Roderick from university, a welcome but brief diversion from her otherwise cosy existence in the heart of Northamptonshire with her widowed mother and cousin Dorothea.

Roderick and Dorothea are growing up fast. They are forging lives and loves of their own, and Eliza feels she is being left behind. When an unexpected proposal of marriage leads Dorothea to a search for her long-lost father in the slums of London, Eliza begins to realize that the world is a bigger and more frightening place than could have ever imagined.

Dreams That Veil is the story of England basking in the calm before the storm of the First World War and of a young girl’s struggle with her transition to maturity.

Dominic Luke

Dominic Luke was born in London and studied history at the University of Birmingham. He lives in Northamptonshire and has written four previous novels: Nothing Undone Remained (Buried River Press), Aunt Letitia, Snake in the Grass, Autumn Softly Fell and  Nothing Undone Remained.

Buy your copy of Dreams That Veil here.

 

 

 

 

 

New fiction: The Lavender House Mob by Annie Crux (Buried River Press)

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The Lavender House Mob

Widowed novelist Louise Gregory is happy enough living alone with her pets at rambling Lavender House in the New Forest, but her life is suddenly disrupted by an unexpected financial crisis and the appearance on her doorstep of her daughter Penny, with her two young children in tow. Thereafter Louise’s life turns upside down: a passer-by, Jack, knocks her off her bike but then comes to her rescue by offering to pay over the odds if she lets him stay; her sister Jane is suffering a mid-life crisis; Penny’s strong-minded mother-in-law, Maggie, arrives; and her home, once a haven of peace and quiet, descends into an hilarious, clamorous B&B.

Despite herself, Louise is attracted to Jack, but, just as quickly as he had arrived, he disappears. Confused and irritated by her dysfunctional family and the feelings Jack has aroused, Lavender House stands as the only constant in Louise’s life, but then her peace is shattered once again. How can she trust a man she thought she knew?

With characters who leap off the page and grab your heart, this story will leave you smiling.

Annie Crux

Annie Crux was born in Hampshire and still lives in the New Forest. She is now widowed and has two children. Before writing she had a varied career as a cabaret singer, a teacher, and then hospital administrator. She has written a number of romances and four mainstream novels, but then took time out to return to the theatre as a director of amateur companies. She has now returned to full time writing.

Our South London Indie Bookshop Crawl

Last Thursday afternoon, we left our desks in Clerkenwell and boarded a train from Farringdon station. Laden with cookies, book proofs and some other goodies, we headed out on our South London Indie Bookshop Crawl.images

On the agenda were Dulwich Books, Herne Hill Books and Review in Peckham.

dulwichWe chatted to some lovely booksellers, mainly about our new fiction paperback imprint Buried River Press, but also about what they look for when selecting titles for the store.
review
It was great to be out ‘in the field’ and to connect with booksellers, and we took away some useful insights. We asked what the most important criteria was for them as booksellers. The answer was quality, and recommendation by word of mouth! Social media was mentioned as a key tool too.

 

herne hill frontAbove all it reinforced the fact that independent bookshops are owned by people passionate about what they do, and committed to putting the best (and often relatively unknown) books out there for their eager audiences.

Hope you enjoyed the cookies!

New Buried River Press title: Nothing Undone Remained by Dominic Luke

9781910208069Nothing Undone Remained

Life has been kind to Roderick Brannan in his first
fourteen years, and in the autumn of 1906 there is
nothing he wants more than to make a sporting name for himself at school. But with the breeze of the shifting seasons comes an imperceptible breath of change, for England, and for Roderick, and when his father, a motorcar manufacturer, dies he must return to the family home.

There follows a tumultuous summer, for Roderick and his young cousin, Dorothea. Swapping the strictures of boarding school for the cloistered quiet of a remote country house leads Roderick to reassess his goals, and awakens in him desires he had never considered possible.

Nothing Undone Remained is a perceptive and potent
glimpse of youth in Edwardian England, revelling in the
naivety and bluster of a young boy, on the fledgling
cusp of adulthood and responsibility.

Dominic Luke

Dominic Luke was born in London and studied history
at the University of Birmingham. He lives in
Northamptonshire and his previous three novels, Aunt
Letitia, Snake in the Grass and Autumn Softly Fell
were also published by Robert Hale.

Buy Nothing Undone Remained here