Books


I don’t often write about my other job as an editor, but now is a good time to do exactly that.

I just finished working with Joan Livingston on her new novel, Killing the Story, out on August 26th (the day after my birthday) and available for pre-order now. This is the fourth novel of hers that I’ve edited, and I love them all.

I also enjoy being appreciated – don’t we all? – and this post shows that to be the case. However, the editor in me wants to change the tense of a verb in this sentence:

She’s originally from the UK, but has lived in Israel for many years and does a lot of traveling.

I did a lot of travelling. I hope to do a lot of travelling. But just now… nope. But that single l in ‘traveling’ – I know that’s fine in the US.

The first time I was asked to edit a novel in American English, I worried that I wouldn’t know all the correct idioms or get the dialogue right. “Don’t worry,” I was told. “The author comes from the UK but lives in the US and she knows all that.” That was almost entirely true, but I did query one word (I can’t remember which) that I thought might not be understood by Americans. The author was surprised to discover I was right. I think living in Israel has opened me up to more Americans than the average British person would come into contact with.

That doesn’t mean I know all the idioms, but I trust Joan, who has lived there all her life. And, yes, I keep her writer’s voice. I think that’s important.

Editing a book is a long process, but it’s also enjoyable, especially if the book is interesting and the author is easy to get along with. Fortunately, I haven’t worked with any stroppy authors, but I’ve heard stories! And I’ve enjoyed all the books I’ve worked on.

I’m currently editing a memoir by a non-native speaker of English. She writes English very well, but the mistakes she makes wouldn’t be made by a native speaker. Sometimes, they’re not even mistakes, and I find myself saying, “It’s not wrong, but it doesn’t sound quite right.” Yes, we actually talk, via Zoom. It’s quite fun.

There are different types of authors. Some accept all my suggestions, while with others there’s more discussion. With the first type, there’s less of the back and forth, and that saves time. But  discussion probably leads to a more polished result and that, after all, is the point of the exercise.

Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

Spice of Life

There’s so much happening, I can’t keep up with it all.

Some of it is private. Some of it is yet to take place.

But this is what I can tell you.

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Social Anxiety Revealed is taking part in the Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale.

Social Anxiety Revealed by Miriam Drori.

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This book is suitable for teachers, parents, employers, employees, group members. In fact, it’s suitable for everyone, because it’s NOT a self-help book. It explains what social anxiety is, so that you can understand.

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Both volumes of Dark London have now been published.

Find them at Volume One and Volume Two.

Dark London, Volumes One and Two

Eighteen fabulously dark stories centred in the famous city of London.

My story, Gruesome in Golders Green, begins with an unusual encounter in the suburb of Golders Green.

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That’s all for now, but watch this space….

Book News is the Best News!

In a way, I feel sorry for Katy. I imagine she had a tough upbringing and was left to fend for herself long before maturity found her. Even now, aged twenty-six, she makes some pretty bad decisions and seems unable to protect herself or plan any sort of future. I expect her outlook on life will change soon, but whether that change will be for the better remains to be seen.

Katy is one of the two women in my short story, Gruesome in Golders Green. The other woman? I’ll let you meet her when you read the story.

I’ve always liked the alliteration in the name Golders Green, which is a London suburb that borders Hendon, where I grew up. I enjoyed adding another G-word to create my title. ‘Gruesome’ fits the story perfectly.

My familiarity with north-west London led me to choose it for my setting and helped me to write the story. Google Maps also played a part in adding to my knowledge. So did Wikimedia Commons:

Rotherwick_Road, Golders_Green

Rotherwick Road, Golders Green. © Todd Keator / Rotherwick Road, Golders Green / CC BY-SA 2.0

The only other research I did for the story revolved around Katy’s lifestyle and UK police procedures.

Gruesome in Golders Green is the first of eighteen fabulous stories that comprise the two-volume anthology, Dark London, published by darkstroke. All proceeds will go to two charities: Centrepoint and The London Communities Foundation.

The first volume will be released on 25th June and the second on 2nd July, but both can be pre-ordered now. Click on the pictures if you dare!

Dark London, Volume TwoDark London, Volume One

Social Anxiety Revealed by Miriam Drori.

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My non-fiction guide to social anxiety has begun the next stage of a long and exciting journey.

The first stage, which lasted for thirteen years, transformed it from a collection of random ideas to structured text.

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Cover - Bestseller

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The second stage saw it travelling together with the many wonderful books – mostly fiction but also non-fiction – of the publisher, Crooked Cat Books.

As Crooked Cat changes direction, Social Anxiety Revealed had to part company and continue alone.

Social Anxiety Revealed by Miriam Drori.

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And so, my little book has now changed platforms and is standing proudly, thrilled to be beginning a new stage of the journey. Yes, you can now find it, with a few minor enhancements, on Smashwords.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Social Anxiety Revealed

Fear of other people? Most of us feel this occasionally, when giving a presentation or being grilled in a job interview. This is not social anxiety disorder.

Fear of what other people think of you? We have all felt this, too. It is why we dress as we do and generally try to behave in a way that is expected of us. This is not social anxiety disorder either.

But when those fears become so prevalent that they take over your life? When they cause you to hide away, either literally or by not revealing your real self? When you keep quiet in an attempt to avoid those raised eyebrows and the possible thoughts behind them? That is social anxiety disorder.

And it is much more common than you might think. In the mental health table, it comes third – after alcoholism and depression – and yet most people don’t even know it exists.

If you have social anxiety disorder, this book is for you.

Even if you don’t have social anxiety disorder, you might have a friend, a relative or a work colleague who does. You might see it developing in your son, your daughter, or a child you teach. This book is for you, too.

Social Anxiety Revealed is created by people who yearn to ditch all these problems and live their lives to the full.

Can you help? When you have read and understood, you’ll be in a much better position to do that.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been bored at all since lockdown. In fact, I’ve had more to do than usual.

I miss going out to folk dancing, which won’t take place for another month, and that date, of course, relies on the coronavirus figures going down. Fortunately, they are, despite the gradual relaxation of the rules.

What have I been doing all this time? It’s hard to remember. There have been a lot of Zoom meetings of different sorts. I’ve written, and edited, and submitted. Lately, I’ve been trying to keep afloat in a vast sea called Self-Publishing. (More about that, later.)

What I want to tell you now is that this book:

Dark London Volume OneDark London Volume One

is available for pre-order from Amazon and will be released by Darkstroke on 25th June.

This is a collection of short stories from authors across the world – Miriam Drori, Jess Popplewell, Ted Bun, Anne-Marie Ormsby, Kate Braithwaite, Donna Cuttress, Sue Barnard, Sam Hall and Cathie Dunn – with a special foreword text from international bestselling London author, Alice Castle.

Yes, that’s me up there.

All monies received will go to two London-based charities – The London Community Foundation and Centrepoint.

If you pre-order now, the book will land in your e-reader on launch day and you’ll have helped those charities. Here’s the link again.

UPDATE: Volume Two can also be pre-ordered now from here.

I’m author number seven out of the eighteen who have written stories for Dark London, the new anthology to be published by Darkstroke.

Dark London Authors

I’ve long thought of my lucky number as twenty-five. Why?

  • I was born on 25th August.
  • The house I grew up in was at number 75 (25 x 3).
  • I came to live in Israel on 25th October.
  • When I was 25, I lived at number 25.

However, seven is a rather special number in Judaism because:

  • The menorah (the 7-branched candelabrum) has been a symbol for Judaism for about 3000 years.
  • The festival of Sukkoth, which involves eating (and sometimes sleeping) in booths, as a reminder of the years when the Israelites wandered through the desert, lasts for 7 days.
  • Simchat Torah, the Rejoicing of the Torah, includes parading around the synagogue 7 times.
  • The wedding ceremony includes 7 blessings.
  • The festival of Shavuot, commemorating the receiving of the Torah, is celebrated 7 weeks after Passover, which commemorates the exodus from Egypt.
  • The shivah, the period of mourning, lasts for 7 days.

 

Ruth&David'sSukka

Inside a Sukkah (booth)

I couldn’t be author #25 because there aren’t 25 authors in the anthology, but I’m happy to be #7, and I imagine one of the characters in my short story is, too.

Publication will be this summer. I’m excited!

Letters from Elsewhere

Today, there’s a letter and two announcements for you.

The letter comes from John, who is Martin’s boss in Bournemouth, UK. John has popped over from the pages of my novel, Cultivating a Fuji. It’s 1976, shortly before the start of the novel.

The announcements follow the letter.

Dear Martin,

I’m at my wits’ end. I’ve tried other ways to no avail, and now I’m resorting to a letter. At the very least, I can now be sure you’ll understand how I feel about this matter. But I’m hoping for much more. I’m hoping you’ll write back with an explanation, and that you’ll give me hope to believe things will gradually change. I promise I won’t show your reply to anyone, if you don’t want me to.

You know, I’m sure, how much I appreciate your work – how much we all do. We all know you do the work of ten other programmers, and we’re always confident you’ll complete all your tasks on time and with extreme efficiency.

But employment in an office doesn’t end with producing output. There is always a social aspect to it. We expect all employees to interact sometimes, as this adds to the convivial atmosphere in the office.

I would have thought that you, too, would welcome more interaction. No one can work all the time without a break. Instead of spending your breaks hunched over your desk, you could be having a word with your colleagues. It doesn’t have to be anything deep – just a little something to break the ice and ease the tension.

I don’t know anything about your past life. Exam results don’t tell me much. I suspect something happened to make you so quiet. Maybe a lot of things happened. If you want to tell me about them, I’m here to listen. You can do it by letter, if you prefer. I repeat my promise: I won’t tell anyone what you confide in me.

But please, please do respond in some fashion. I’ve tried many different paths to reach you – not because I’m nosy, but because I really, really want to help. Because I’m sure you’d be much happier if you opened up a bit. If this doesn’t work, I don’t know what else to try. I genuinely want to help you, but I can’t think of any other way.

Yours,
         John

More information about Cultivating a Fuji and about its author (me) is available by clicking the tabs at the top, as well as at the Amazon link in Announcement 1 below.

Cultivating a FujiAnnouncement 1

Cultivating a Fuji (the Kindle version) is completely free this weekend. Do download it from Amazon while you can. I hope you enjoy reading it. That was my main intention in writing the story. I also hoped you’d think about the story after reading it not so that you feel uncomfortable, but so that you’d consider changing your behaviour in the future. Because, probably, everyone knows someone like Martin.

Announcement 2

I’ve been waiting for a long time to be able to make this announcement. I have a short story in the two-volume anthology, Dark London, that will be published by Darkstroke this summer. All royalties from this anthology will go to London-focused charities. I’m very excited about this, delighted to find myself in this amazing lineup of authors and looking forward to the publication.

Dark London Authors

Letters from Elsewhere

I’m delighted to welcome Joan to the blog today. Her letter speaks for itself. I expect the sentiments in the letter have been echoed by many over time, even if they weren’t written down. Joan comes straight from the pages of Finding Nina by my good friend, the fabulous author, Sue Barnard.

16th May 1944

My darling Stella,

I really don’t know how to begin this letter.  If I’m honest, I think I’m writing it as much to myself as to you.  I need to get things clear in my own mind.

I’ve never been in this position before, and I find I’m thrilled and terrified in equal measures.
I’ll never forget what Mother said to me when we brought you home: “Babies don’t come with an instruction book.”  I’ve heard that said before, when my friends and work colleagues had babies of their own.  Now I fully understand what it means.  But in my case there’s an added layer of complication.  You were given to us, which in some ways brings even more responsibility.

With effect from yesterday, when we went to court, I am now officially your mother.  But I still can’t get out of my mind the image of that poor young girl at the adoption offices.  I don’t even know her name, but she looked no more than seventeen at the most.  My heart went out to her as she handed you over to me.  The social worker told me afterwards that she’d insisted on doing this herself, even though it isn’t normally allowed. 

All she said to me – and I can still hear her voice now, six months later – was “I can’t keep her because I can’t marry her father.  Please look after her.”  Then she started crying, and the social worker led her away. 

That was the moment when I first realised that our happiness – having a child of our own after so many years of waiting – is the direct result of someone else’s heartache.  Yes, you will call us Mummy and Daddy, but there’s no escaping from the harsh fact that somewhere out there you have another mother who was forced to give you away.

A friend who adopted a baby a few years ago told me that I need to start telling you the truth as soon as possible – before you’re even old enough to understand it – and that way, there will never be a time when you haven’t known.  “Tell her that you chose her,” she said.  “It will make her feel extra-special.”

So that’s what I’m going to do.  Starting tonight.  It will be our own bedtime story.  You’re still only six months old, but the sooner it begins, the easier it will be.

One day you will have to know the truth.  I can only hope and pray that when that day arrives and you fully understand what this bedtime story really means, you will not stop loving us.

With all my love, from your new mother,

Joan

About Finding Nina

1943: A broken-hearted teenager gives birth in secret.  Her soldier sweetheart has disappeared, and she reluctantly gives up her daughter for adoption.

1960: A girl discovers a dark family secret, but it is swiftly brushed back under the carpet.  Conventions must be adhered to.

1982: A young woman learns of the existence of a secret cousin.  She yearns to find her long-lost relative, but is held back by legal constraints.  Life goes on.

2004: Everything changes…

Sue Barnard: Books

FINDING NINA is part-prequel, part-sequel to the bestselling NICE GIRLS DON’T, but can also be read as a stand-alone story.

You can find these two books on Amazon: Finding NinaNice Girls Don’t.

About Sue Barnard

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction.  She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue BarnardSue was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium.  She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.  Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird”. The label has stuck.

Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

Sue is also in these places:
Blog   Facebook   G+   Twitter   Instagram   Amazon  Goodreads  RNA

Letters from Elsewhere

Emma is a troubled woman. I don’t need to say any more about her before you read her letter, except to tell you that she comes from the pages of The (D)Evolution of Us by Morwenna Blackwood.

To…who? 

            My son, Richard.  I don’t even know who you are.  Or who you will become.  You’re just a name and a parasite at the moment.  You battered me from the inside, and now you demand me without end.

I do love your dad, but we couldn’t have been together – not in this town.  The old gossips would have called him a cradle-snatcher if they knew who he was.  I can’t even tell you.  Sorry, but it’s not worth the hassle.  And that’s the reason I didn’t shove a knitting needle up me and destroy you – because I love your dad, and you are a piece of him.  He’s a good man, and if you turn out to be even half the man he is, I’ll be proud.

I’m sure I’ll know, even when I’m gone.  Because I won’t be here to see it.  I can’t do this.  I’ve tried to stop the drink and everything, but I can’t do it.  I can’t live with that woman and be sober.  I mean your Nan.  I can’t live with her judging me and everything I do; with you screaming blue murder all day.  Why do you have to cry so much?  Can you sense how shit I am?

You ripped my body apart when you came into the world, and now you are ripping up my mind.  You make me think about the future, you make me dependent on that woman, you make me miss my dad, but more than that, you made me lose the only man I’ve ever loved; the only person who’s ever loved me.

And in spite of all this, I’m worried about you.  I feel responsible for you.  I’m trying not to let in the fact that I might actually love you; that I could teach you about the stars and the Universe and Nature, that I could teach you to count to ten, ride a bike – you might even get the chance to go to uni.  But I won’t let that in.  I couldn’t even choose you your own name; you got my dad’s.  I couldn’t look after you, anyway – I’m a shit mum.  I could barely even get you out of me.  I feel bad, leaving you with my fucking mother – she’s been shit with me – but she does better than I do.  She likes you more than she likes me, anyway.  I can’t think.  You’ve lost me my love.

He understood me.  He knew my dad.  You’ve got good genes on your dad’s side.  You’ll be okay.

But it’s too late for me.  I’m going to meet my dad now.  Hopefully.  ‘Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again’, they say.  They’re wrong about the parting bit. 

I’ve lost faith.  Good luck, Richard.  I hope you find something that makes sense.  I can’t do this anymore.

Your mum, Emma.

About The (D)Evolution of Us

The (D)Evolution of Us by Morwenna Blackwood… the water was red and translucent, like when you rinse a paint brush in a jam jar.  The deeper into the water, the darker the red got.  No, the thicker it got.  It wasn’t water, it was human.  It was Cath.

Cath is dead, but why and how isn’t clear cut to her best friend, Kayleigh.  As Kayleigh searches for answers, she is drawn deeper into Cath’s hidden world.  The (D)Evolution of Us questions where a story really begins, and whether the world in our heads is more real than reality.

The (D)Evolution of Us will be released by Darkstroke on 4th May. The ebook can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.

About Morwenna Blackwood

Morwenna BlackwoodWhen Morwenna Blackwood was six years old, she got told off for filling a school exercise book with an endless story when she should have been listening to the teacher/eating her tea/colouring with her friends.  The story was about a frog.  It never did end; and Morwenna never looked back.

Born and raised in Devon, Morwenna suffered from severe OCD and depression, and spent her childhood and teens in libraries.  She travelled about for a decade before returning to Devon.  She now has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter, and lives with her husband, son and three cats in a cottage that Bilbo Baggins would be proud of.  When she is not writing, she works for an animal rescue charity, or can be found down by the sea.

She often thinks about that frog.

Find Morwenna on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Letters from Elsewhere

Today’s visitor is Luciano, who has popped over from the pages of Torn, the debut thriller by friend and author Karen Moore.

Luciano is writing to his estranged English wife, Hanna, to explain his reasons for keeping the identity of his family business a secret.

Carissima Hanna

I’m writing this letter because it’s the only way I can apologise for all the hurt I’ve caused you. I feel compelled to explain myself. We never really had an opportunity to discuss the situation properly, with you leaving Sicily so suddenly.

This situation is all my fault. I should have been honest with you from the start. But I was so scared that my family situation would make you run a mile. I couldn’t have that, Hanna. I wanted you too much, and I know the feeling was mutual. I have never felt such chemistry with someone and will never do so again, of that I’m sure.

Even my family took to you, although they had their doubts about welcoming a stranger into their midst. Our relationship was probably doomed from the start. We came from such different backgrounds – you, from your upright English middle-class, well-educated family, and me … well, brought up in the family business. For me, this is a way of life, one from which there is no escape and impossible to challenge. If I tried to do so, I would dishonour my family and curtail any hope of reaching old age. You will no doubt find this difficult to accept.

I did think about telling you, but it never seemed to be the right time. And the longer I left it, the harder it became. In the end, it was just impossible, and inevitable that things between us would turn out badly.

 

Sicily

But what a price I have paid, Hanna. Happiness with you and Eva, the chance of a family life of my own. Maybe if I had told you the truth earlier, you would have understood, even learned to accept it and stayed with me. But I doubt it. That would have been too much to ask of anyone. We would never have had those years of intense happiness, years I will always remember with such fondness. Losing you is like a physical pain that rips through my body each passing day. But I have no choice. My only consolation is knowing that you’re safe and far away from this life.

Finding out the truth the way you did must have been unbearable. You did the right thing, getting away from here as fast as you could. My dilemma was trying to protect both my families. The darkest day of my life was letting you go.

Perhaps now you understand a little how difficult all this has been for me and how deeply I regret all the hurt I’ve caused you. You will always have a place in my heart.

Forgive me.

Luciano

Torn by Karen MooreAbout Torn

Like any mother, Hanna would do anything to protect her small daughter, Eva.

When she discovers that her husband, Luciano, is not all he seems and their blissful life on the island of Sicily is threatened, she wastes no time in seeking refuge abroad. But just as they are settling into their new life, Eva disappears.

In a race against time, Hanna is forced to return to Sicily and face the dark world of organised crime in a bid to secure her daughter’s safe return. She must also confront the truth about Luciano’s business dealings and their horrific consequences.

But will Hanna succeed in getting Eva back and bring Luciano to justice, or are the stakes just too high?

Find Torn on Amazon

About Karen Moore

Karen Moore, authorKaren Moore is passionate about all things noir – crime, mystery, thrillers – and writes in that genre.

She has been writing all her life, mostly for work purposes, and is now delighted to be able to spend more time developing her own creative work.

Her debut novel, Torn, is a dark tale of intrigue and betrayal set in Sicily and North Wales. She is currently working on the sequel.

Karen worked as a tour guide across Europe, North America and Canada, followed by a career in PR and marketing. She has lived in France and Italy and is now based in Cheshire, England.

You can find Karen on Facebook and Twitter.

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