New non-fiction: Writers’ Houses by Nick Channer

Writers’ Houses: Where Great Books Began

Foreword by Julian Fellowes Step inside the homes of some of the world’s finest writers and experience for yourself the surroundings that inspired them to write.9780719806643

Writers’ Houses reflects Britain’s impressive literary and architectural heritage, offering a revealing insight into how leading British writers lived and wrote. Illustrated in colour, the book guides you through the very rooms that inspired writers to produce some of their greatest work. Drawing upon the writers’ own words, the book examines in detail the personal relationship between each house and writer and discusses the influence these places have had upon the imagination and creativity of British novelists, poets and playwrights from the past five hundred years. Over fifty houses are explored including Agatha Christie’s secluded West Country retreat, the ancient, timber-framed residence in Stratford-upon-Avon where Shakespeare spent his boyhood, Dylan Thomas’ boat-house at Laugharne, the cottage where Robert Burns was born and brought up, and the moated house and garden in East Sussex that inspired the evocative setting for a Sherlock Holmes story. Follow in the footsteps of your favourite authors and be inspired by the surroundings in which some of literature’s best-loved characters were created.

Nick Channer

Nick Channer is a regular contributor to many publications, including theDaily Telegraph, Country Life and the Scots Magazine. He is particularly interested in walking and travel, social history, literary tourism and journeys from fiction. Nick has also contributed to a documentary on youth hostelling, broadcast on BBC Radio Four. He lives at the heart of England – not far from Shakespeare’s birthplace.

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

9781910208137

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.

New non fiction: Picked Up, Patched Up and Sent Home: Why I Love the NHS by Carl Walker

Picked Up, Patched Up and Sent Home: Why I Love the NHS

‘One of the things that has been missing during the debate over the NHS is something that speaks to the experiences of normal folk and reminds people just what an amazing thing a public national health service really is. Like so many British people, I have used the NHS for a number of reasons throughout my life – some serious, others less so – but where would I be now without it? I honestly don’t know.’

Iso - NHS

This book represents the real-life stories of all of us who are routinely and often unnoticeably held together by the people who work in the NHS. These are the people who patch up, sew back together, irradiate, advise, scan, plaster, console, repair, inject and support us, before delivering us back home to carry on our lives.

A sharply observed collection of sometimes outrageous, often excruciating but always entertaining accounts of different interactions with one of Britain’s greatest treasures.

Nothing about the savaging of the NHS makes me laugh. Until this book. Carl Walker mounts a timely defence of our National Health Service that just happens to be laugh out loud funny. Ideal for fans of ‘not dying’ everywhere.’ Rufus Hound, Comedian

‘A thoroughly enjoyable antidote to much of the nonsense peddled about the NHS these days….lively, sharp, informative.’ Oliver Huitson, Co-Editor, openDemocracy

Carl Walker
Carl Walker is a principal lecturer in psychology at the University of Brighton and has fifteen years’ experience researching and publishing academic work on human behaviour. He is uniquely qualified to write this book on account of having embarrassed himself more times in a medical setting than any other human being alive.

Get your copy here.

New fiction: A Narrow Victory by Faith Martin

A Narrow Victory
Once again, ex-DI Hillary Greene is delving into the archives, trying to discover who killed an interior designer at a New Years’ Eve Party in 1999. Somebody clearly didn’t want 9780719814334Felix Olliphant to enjoy the momentous occasion of seeing in not only a brand new year, but a brave new millennium.
The trouble is, the more she learns about her murder victim, the less likely it seems that anyone would want him dead – he was a genuinely decent human being, and she can’t find anyone with a bad word to say about him. To add to her woes, it seems her lover and immediate superior, Detective Superintendent Steven Crayle, is being lured away from her team with offers of a promotion
elsewhere.  Can she keep her mind on the job, and find out who killed Felix? Or is this the first cold case that will defeat even her?

Faith Martin
Faith Martin was born in Oxford. She began her working life as a secretary but left to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. A Narrow Victory is the latest in the thrilling Hillary Greene series.

Available online to buy here.

Other titles in the Hillary Greene series
9780709092049 9780709094760 9780719807978

New fiction: A Death at South Gare by Dan Latus

9780719814327A Death at South Glare
Private investigator Frank Doy makes an off-duty visit to the South Gare, the breakwater at the mouth of the River Tees. He is looking forward to seeing a spectacular high-tide in that wild, windswept place. Instead, he sees a man in the sea with no hope of rescue or survival, and shortly afterwards three men who he believes might have put him there.

Frank soon discovers that the man was the greatly-respected local MP, and as the only witness to this crime, he himself is now in deep trouble.

But he can’t just walk away. He needs to protect himself, but he wants justice for the murdered man. Aided by a young woman who was a close friend of the victim and is herself in jeopardy, he unravels a sinister plot by local industries, backed by global money.


Dan Latus
Dan Latus lives in Northumberland with his wife. He grew up in Teeside which is the inspiration for many of his novels. His previous novels include Run for Home, Never Look Back, Risky Mission and Out of the Night.

 

Buy your copy of A Death at South Glare here. 

OUT NOW: It’s in the Cards by Pamela Fudge

It’s in the Cards

Ellen Carson is still heart whole and fancy-free at forty – and that is just the way she likes it. Growing up in a crowded family home has given her a yearning for the quiet life, and watching her older siblings make a mess of their relationships has left her grimly determined to remain single. But her family are full of other ideas and, when they discover that not one, but two men from Ellen’s past have arrived in town, are keen to show that one of them must be right for Ellen.
its in the cards
Just as she is coming round to the idea of finding ‘the one’ and changing her lifelong attitude, she finds herself a confidant to those around her who have now decided that staying single was the right idea all along. Is Ellen to blame when relationships start to fail? And what is she going to do about it to get everything back the way it was?

Pamela Fudge

Pamela Fudge works as a part-time administrator at Bournemouth University and has written poetry since she was a child. She started writing fiction in 1983 and has had short stories published in most of the national women’s magazines. Her previous books, also published by Robert Hale, include High Infidelity, A Blessing in Disguise, A Change for the Better, Never be Lonely, Turn Back Time and Not What It Seems.

You can find out more about her at http://www.pamfudge.co.uk

Buy your copy of It’s in the Cards here

New Historical Fiction: Cardigan Bay by John Kerr

Author of Fell the Angels and Hurricane Hole

Author of Fell the Angels and Hurricane Hole

When Major Charles Davenport is evacuated to England, to recuperate from a battle wound received at Tobruk a letter is awaiting him from his wife in London, informing him that she’s in love with another man and wants a divorce.

Mary Kennedy is a young Irish-American who has moved to her grandparent’s cottage in Ireland to mourn the loss of her husband and infant daughter. Participating in a Red Cross morale-building effort, she corresponds with a young British soldier, but his letters cease abrubtly following the fall of Tobruk. Determined to learn what has become of him she makes her way to the army hospital in Sussex where his commanding officer, Major Davenport, kindly explains the young soldier’s fate.

Thus begins a love story, carried out almost entirely by letter, crystallized by distance and heightened by the intimacy of the private written word set against the dramatic events of WWII and culminating in the landings on D-Day at Sword Beach.

John Kerr’s writing draws on many years’ study of European and American history. Kerr received a J.D. from the University of Texas and a B.A. from Stanford University, where he studied history, literature, and poetry. He lives in San Antonio, Texas. Cardigan Bay is his third novel published by Robert Hale.

Available 31 October

RRP: £19.99

Hardback

 

OUT NOW: Shades of Light by Ruth De Fraga Gomes

Shades of LightRuth De Fraga Gomes comes from a fashion background, but retrained whilst her children were small so that she could work from home. She continues to glean inspiration from fashion and indulges her passion for fabrics, trim and embellishment through the craft; some say she is actually a frustrated milliner as her shades often resemble glamorous hats!

These days, Ruth works on lampshade commissions and re-coverings from a small studio and teaches lampshade-making courses in colleges and creative workshops.

Shades of Light: Making Tailored Lampshades

Traditional lampshade-making has, for many years, been a sadly overlooked craft, as cheap to buy and readily available modern card shades have become the norm. However, with the resurgence of public interest in make-do and mend and home crafts, as well as the desire to find something unique in a homogenous sea of chain shops, traditional fabric lampshades are becoming more popular.

An invaluable practical reference guide, which includes both clear written instruction and helpful illustrations, this book explores the history of lampshade-making, its trends and design inspirations. It looks at the technical elements required, shows the techniques needed to make the shade properly in the traditional way and then explores more advanced techniques such as chiffon swathing and knife pleating. Once the reader has understood the potential of the hand-crafted shade, he or she can begin the design process, even using creative skills from other disciplines.

The great thing about lampshade-making is that it doesn’t require a large financial outlay and can involve a lot of reusing and recycling. Only a small work space is needed and there is little specialist equipment to buy. So if you want to create something beautiful, unique and practical but don’t have unlimited resources or a wealth of technical skills, this entertaining and satisfying home craft could be just what you’re looking for.

Shades of Light is available to buy here.

 

OUT NOW: Basic Watercolour by Charles Williams

Basic WatercolourAfter a long period living and working in that bustling artistic centre that is London’s East End, Charles Williams is now living in a vast, crumbling mansion in an obscure town in Kent, painting and writing, and teaching at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Williams’ work has been shown in public and commercial galleries in the UK and abroad, and his previous book, Basic Drawing: How To Draw What You See, reflects his deeper interest in enabling an appreciation of the practical side of the visual arts.

Basic Watercolour: How to Paint What You See by Charles Williams

Watercolour has an anomalous position in the visual arts. Its association with Victorian lady-amateurs, the (incorrect) idea that it is a fugitive medium and will fade over time, as well as the contradictory ideas that it is very difficult to use and that it is a beginner’s medium, mean that it has long been sidelined in favour of oil and acrylic paints. But ‘Watercolour’, a recent blockbuster show at the Tate Britain, and the contemporary interest in less conventional media point to a renewed interest in this underrated art-form.

Watercolour painting does have particular difficulties – it is transparent and therefore fairly unforgiving, for a start – but its advantages are huge. It is light and easy to carry the kit about, it is easy to clean and to prepare, it is unobtrusive, and a lot of the material you need you will already have around the house – a jam jar, water and don’t forget the most important item: toilet tissue!

Watercolour is also a great and constantly evolving challenge, and can be used in all sorts of ways. Within these pages a range of artists share their very diverse approaches to painting in watercolour, to give the reader an idea of how adaptable and enjoyable this medium really is.

Basic Watercolour: How to Paint What You See by Charles Williams is available to buy now

Basic Watercolour

OUT NOW: Love Byte by David Atkinson

Love Byte by David AtkinsonDavid Atkinson was born in Glasgow, but now enjoys a hectic life in Edinburgh with his wife and two young daughters. He has previously been involved with repertory theatre, performing in various shows, and contributing to script and production work. Edinburgh, with its vibrant and energetic literary heritage and independent and quirky bookshops, provides his inspiration.

Love Byte by David Atkinson

If your dead wife emailed offering to find you a new girlfriend, what would you do?

Andy Hunter is a single father trying to balance the demands of a 2-year-old daughter, an interfering but well-meaning mother-in-law and a job he is always in danger of losing. So, when he receives a series of delayed emails from his late wife Lindsay telling him to date, it seems like a good idea.

With Lindsay’s emails spurring him on, Andy weaves a path of disharmony and chaos amongst his close friends and family, but soon discovers he is not cut out for modern dating.

Filled with laugh-out-loud situations and moments of soul-searching, this heart-warming, moving romantic comedy set in Edinburgh, is a bitter-sweet tale of second chances and self-discovery.

Love Byte by David Atkinson is available to buy now