The Misunderstood

Originally a guest post on Rita Carla Monticelli's blog.

Before settling down to writing and self-publishing I used to be a full time teacher in an inner city London school. Regardless of the country you teach in, anyone will tell you this is a challenging environment. Very quickly into my teaching practice I realised I had a knack for communicating with children with Special Needs (SEN as it’s called here in the UK).
Most times when people think of Special Needs they latch onto the idea of a child with learning difficulties. Several times during my 13 year teaching stint I was reminded that while the majority of my students did indeed have these difficulties there were others whose behaviour marked them as SEN when in fact they were highly intelligent. Their lack of engagement with the average classroom content and insular or confrontational attitude masked their talent.
At the very start of my teaching career, an introductory lesson on Of Mice & Men to my SEN class brought a gi…

@ProlificWorks Read of the Month

Hereafter by Terri Bruce Genre: Paranormal Audience: Anyone who likes ghost stories Reader Rating: 4 STARS
After a night of drunkenness with friends and an inevitable death by car crash, 30 something Irene Dunphy finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost. She’s stuck in an earthly version of limbo with no idea of how to avoid final judgement and the only person able to see and communicate with her is a 14 year old boy fixated on the afterlife.
I loved the concept of this book. The central character wanders from place to place as she tries to figure out what has happened to her and more importantly, what will happen to her next. She is forced to rely on the resources of a teenage boy whose motives and movements she cannot quite fathom.
Both Irene and the reader are kept wondering about what will happen next. The writing style is relaxed and the characters well drawn. Even though Irene appears to have been living loose and hard when she was alive, we can’t help but worry for what her afterli…

Reading Challenge Cheats

Setting a reading challenge is the easy bit. Go to Goodreads homepageClick on annual reading challengePick a number of books to read for the yearGo to…Read!
I’ve done the 100 book challenge previously as some of you know. When it was completed I vowed Never Again! Obviously, like those who experience the pangs of childbirth and then go on to deliver countless more sprogs despite the agony – I too decided to feel the burn just once more.
“So why put yourself through it?” I hear you ask.
“To encourage reluctant readers I teach by getting them to do a mini challenge of their own and compare notes. To see their excitement when they tell me they’ve finished a book I set. To read, just for the love of reading. And because I’m just a little bit crazy too.”
So here I am, more than half way through the year and only at 70%. My Goodreads dashboard informs me I'm 6 books behind schedule. I’m feeling the pressure, especially since I pulled it off by the skin of my teeth once before. I only …

Black History Month Tribute

My maternal grandfather, George Carr, was a member of the ANC and did hard labour for actions he and his fellow members undertook in the 40s and 50s. This piece of writing is my tribute to him. It is part of a fictionalised biography I plan to publish when I’ve completed much research.

“James, why does mother refuse to have Ramona as the cook?”
The brothers, in their new bedroom, were unpacking the box containing the few precious items their mother had allowed them to take from the Cape. James, by the large picture window, eyes focused on the movement of the other boxes making their way into the house turned to 4 year old George. “Mother is of the Zulu people while Ramona is Basotho.”
“But what does that mean?”
Moving over to a recently unpacked stack of books, James began leafing through a hefty atlas.He sat, cross legged on the bare boards and placed the book before him.Without invitation George joined him. James’ positioning clearly indicated a lesson of some sort was about to commence…

Sardinia On My Mind

I’m back from my summer holiday and it was a corker. The villa, up in the hills of an area called Teramala in the Sant’Elena quarter, was comfy and had more or less all the comforts of home. It was of course a fair ways away from the centre of things in Cagliari (a good hour away by bus and they’re not frequent. Nor do Sardinian bus timetables and arrivals of said bus bear any relation to each other.) Somehow, when you’re on holiday in sunny foreign parts where rain is a word scarcely used, this does not irk you as it would if you were here in Blighty. The views from the villa were spectacular. And I’m not exaggerating. Cagliari itself, though hilly (9 of them to be exact) is easy to get around and the food splendid wherever you go. Even the tiniest supermarket has a plethora of cheeses and cold meats to choose from with tons of farm produce in the fruit and veg aisles. The buses, though erratic on the outskirts, were pretty reliable in the city itself and the price of tickets ridicul…

Birth of a Book

Originally a guest post which featured on Murder Underground Broke the Camel's Back

First of all I have to state categorically that I did not plan on writing Palindrome. I was adamant there would be no sequel to my debut novel Six Dead Men as I was already working on several other ideas. Denial is futile. This prequel insisted on being written. Its conception is due to a vivid dream I had in which a woman was remembering the day her baby was born. I woke with the realisation that it was Robert’s mother I was hearing. I grabbed a notebook and hastily jotted down the gist of what she had to say.
At the time I was concentrating on other projects but several of the characters kept demanding I tell the world more about them. So Six Degrees a la Kevin Bacon style was conceived. It’s a series of 6 vignettes which focus on the back story of Six Dead Men. This little collection hints at links between characters and situations.I thought this would mollify my nagging characters. But Robert’s …

@instafreebie Read of the Month

Running Out of Space (Sunblinded #1) by SJ Higbee Genre
Dystopian SciFi Audience
Anyone who likes feisty characters & tons of action Reader Rating

Lizzy Wright is serving her time on a merchant spaceship. She’s fed up with the restricted life of a fertile female; always chaperoned and guarded. So together with 3 other strong willed young women, she heads off to territory they’ve been banned from exploring. Here things take a nasty turn and it’s due to chance that the help of a stranger means they only leave one dead body behind. Disobedience has consequences and Lizzy’s about to discover just how severe they can be.
The action is full on from the very first page of this read. The majority of the story takes place onboard a spaceship run by an uncompromising military minded captain. There’s tension between characters from the get go as the feisty babes’ forbidden territory shore-leave jaunt finds them in a very tight spot.
Themes revolve around the desire for independence, the value…