Following on from the news that my book, Social Anxiety Revealed will be published by Crooked Cat later this year, hence giving a big boost to my passion: raising awareness of social anxiety, I looked up quotes about passion and found these:

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.

~Oprah Winfrey

If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.

~Benjamin Franklin

We must act out passion before we can feel it.

~Jean-Paul Sartre

It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.

~T. S. Eliot

Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate.

~Jon Bon Jovi

I started posting one a day on Facebook. In fact I was ready to post the last one when tragedy struck in Manchester, UK, making me think again. Whatever you want to do, be passionate? I think the perpetrator of that horrendous crime was passionate, but he was passionate about the wrong thing. Considering the beliefs he held, I think it would have been better if he hadn’t been passionate about them.

So instead of posting that last quote, I wrote one of my own:

Your passion should stimulate you to help fellow humans – not harm them.

I added: “Over the last few days, I’ve been posting quotes about passion. This one is mine, inspired by Manchester and similar atrocities, perpetrated by people with the wrong sort of passion.”

Promote Positive Passion

I’m delighted to be visited today by Katharine Johnson, author of Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings, and now of The Silence. She’s going to talk about her fascination with secrets, so, over to her.

KatyJohnsonI know publishers and bookshops like books that have clearly defined genres. It makes them easier to market and display which in turn makes them easier to sell. The trouble is not all readers are as easy to categorise. I’m sure there are people who only buy romance or historical novels or detective stories but I’m not one of these. I like books from lots of different genres. You’re as likely to find me reading a family saga as a thriller and some of my favourite books don’t fall into any genre that I can identify. But I suppose if I had to find a common thread to the novels I love it would be secrets. I’m drawn to stories where things are not as they first appear, and where a long-held secret is threatened with exposure and the effect it has on people when it is revealed. 

 

SecretsI hadn’t really noticed that this was the case until someone recently pointed it out. My favourite book about a long-held secret is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. To me secrets are what make people interesting. We all have them to some extent but I’m curious about how people deal with having a big secret in their life, how they feel about it and to what lengths they will go to hide it. Perhaps it’s because I’m so bad at keeping secrets myself – I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I’d make a terrible spy – that I’m fascinated by people who can do so successfully for years.

 

I suppose the first person you need to convince is yourself. George Orwell said in 1984 “If you want to keep a secret you must also hide it from yourself.”

 

SunflowersInTuscany

In my novel The Silence which is being published on 8th June the main character Abby has a secret that goes back 25 years to a summer she spent in Tuscany as a teenager. Now in her thirties, she loves her job and is happily married with two lovely little girls – but she knows that if her secret gets out her perfect life will implode.

 

TuscanVilla

Villa in Tuscany

She has driven the details of what happened during her last day at the villa to the very back of her mind and has done this so successfully that she has almost convinced herself it never happened. How else could she have got on with her life, got a degree, got a job, married – all the things normal people do? But when human remains are discovered at the villa she realises her secret is no longer safe.

 

The other thing about having a secret is that you can only be sure of keeping it if you are the only person to know about it. But Abby wasn’t the only person at the villa that day and now someone else wants the truth to be told.

 

Special Offer

TheSilenceThe Silence will be published on June 8th in eBook and paperback versions and is available on this link  Amazon – The Silence

Grab the eBook at the special pre-order price of 99p (after publication it goes up to £1.99). 

Message me (or email katy@espressomedia.net) with proof of order and you will be entered into a goodybag prize draw which includes prosecco and chocolates, an Amazon gift card and a signed paperback of my first novel Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings

 

Come to the Party

I’m having an online book launch for The Silence on 8th-9th June. There will be fun and games, information about the book, visiting authors and prizes to be won. Please come along! Click on this link for more details: The Silence launch Party.

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About the Author

Katharine Johnson is a journalist with a passion for old houses and all things Italian (except tiramisu). She grew up in Bristol and has lived in Italy. She currently lives in Berkshire with her husband, three children and madcap spaniel. 

 

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know what I’m most passionate about:

RAISING AWARENESS OF SOCIAL ANXIETY

I’ve explained why it’s not better known, despite being very common, and why it should… must be better known.

Now I’m one big step further towards furthering that aim.

Crooked Cat is going to publish my book: Social Anxiety Revealed.

Announcement

I say my book, and it is mine, but it also contains a lot of quotes by a lot of other people who know SA all too well. Without them, I couldn’t have written it.

Social Anxiety Revealed will be published later this year.

The excitement is only just beginning.

Hello, lovely readers. I hope you’ve been happily occupied while I was away.

Yes, I’m back from a delightful nine-day trip to the UK, my almost-home. We visited friends and family, attended the book launch of The May Queen by fellow Crooked Cat author, Helen Irene Young, at Waterstones in Richmond, and did lots of walking.

TheMayQueenLaunch

The May Queen is a great story. I know – I edited it.

I also attended a meeting of Crooked Cat authors. Although we’re all in regular contact online, it’s always good to meet up for an informal chat.

I returned yesterday morning to two special annual days and something that, I believe, is unique to Israel. Today is Remembrance Day: ‘Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism’. Yesterday evening and this morning, the nation stood still to mourn, and ceremonies are being held throughout the day. And tomorrow, starting this evening, is Independence Day and a day for rejoicing. Tonight, we’ll stand on our balcony and watch the fireworks that mark the beginning of Independence Day.

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At Isabella Plantation with notebook and pen, naturally.

UPDATE (2 May): Here’s a photo from last night’s fireworks.

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Yes, this post is for people who don’t read books.

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I might have tried to persuade you to start reading. But I don’t need to, because someone has done it for me. Thank you, Al Kennedy! Have a listen; it lasts for just ten minutes.

And when you’ve heard it and your mind has been changed, hop over to Amazon, where all Crooked Cat books are free or on sale (99p/99c) until tomorrow night, including:

The Women Friends: Selina, the first of a series of novellas based on Gustav Klimt’s famous masterpiece: The Women Friends.

Neither Here Nor There, a romance with a difference, set in Jerusalem.

I won’t mention this sale again on this blog – I promise!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has bought Neither Here Nor There during this weekend’s Crooked Cat sale.

A reminder that The Women Friends: Selina is also on sale (99p/99c) until Monday.

In other news, I wish could write the other posts I planned about Ethiopia, but I’m busy editing two books and writing another. And I have a short trip planned. More about that on my return.

Happy holidays to all!

RedSeaCrossingSelfie

Originally posted on Facebook by Gedaliah Gurfein

 

Guitar Heroes Flyer

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Well, why not? We’re only half way through Chanukah. Relax in your favourite armchair with coffee, sufganiya (doughnut) and a Crooked Cat book, downloaded for only 99 somethings.

Mine are called Neither Here Nor There and The Women Friends: Selina. Just saying.

In this post, I will endeavour to put all the information about The Women Friends: Selina in one place. If I forget anything, or more details become available, I will add them.

The Women Friends: Selina will be released this Thursday, 1st December. That’s tomorrow.

It’s the first in a series of novellas about the women in Gustav Klimt’s paintings.

It’s a finalist in the Goethe Awards (although they still haven’t added my name EDIT: now they have).

You can buy it on Amazon.

You’re invited to our launch party at 3pm (UTC). (Just go there and click on Going.)

Lots of information about the background to The Women Friends: Selina can be found in these articles.

A reading from the start of the novella.

The English Informer posted my article here and here.

The one and only Seumas Gallacher, author of several crime thrillers, posted my article.

According to Vanessa Couchman, I’m an unintentional history person.

EDIT: It’s in the online magazine of my former college.

CoverFront

Plus… a bit of fun with The Women Friends.

And this lovely picture from Crooked Cat:

thewomenfriendsselinawithbirds

25.04CYorkBettysTeaRoomsResizedLast summer, as part of a long trip to the UK, I was in the northern city of York, because my publisher, Crooked Cat, organised an event for its authors there.

I hadn’t been to York before and didn’t know much about it, other than the fact that its history is long. I was also vaguely aware that Jews had lived there and misfortune had befallen them at some point… unsurprisingly.

So I started reading. Jews were first brought to England from the continent by William the Conqueror in 1066. Many of them settled in York because, at the time, it was the second most important city after London, with a thriving textile industry. And, as in so many places in those times, Jews weren’t allowed to own land or work in a profession. So they did the one thing they were allowed to do, because Christians weren’t allowed to do it. They lent money.

Many people needed to borrow money, so the Jews did well from money lending. This was good for the King, because he could levy huge taxes on the Jews. But the people who owed money to the Jews were not so happy, especially as the Jews seemed to be more prosperous than them. Moreover, in church, and particularly around Easter time, they were taught to hate Jews.

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Clifford’s Tower (rebuilt)

These are the main events that led to the massacre of 16th March, 1190. On that day, the Jews who were still alive took refuge in Clifford’s Tower, which was then a wooden structure. But a mob surrounded the tower and then set fire to it, and the Jews decided on a mass suicide. Except for a few who left the tower and offered to convert in the hope that they’d be saved. But they, too, met their deaths on that day.

It is said that, because of that event, there is a “cherem” or boycott of York. That Jews aren’t allowed to set foot in York. That if they pass York on the train, they mustn’t eat or drink as they pass through and they mustn’t turn to look at the city. Yet there were Jews living in York for the next hundred years until they were expelled altogether from England in 1290.

25.10CYorkCliffordsTowerResized

Clifford’s Tower (rebuilt)

In more recent times, small numbers of Jews have lived in York, some of them having arrived on the Kindertransport. There was a synagogue that closed down, but very recently prayers have started to be held again in York.

So what about the cherem? Most researchers say that in reality there never was a cherem. But it seems to me that even if only a few Jews boycott York, it’s still a boycott, albeit an insignificant one.

I have a reason for mentioning all this now. Last night, I attended a very absorbing talk on this topic organised by HOB Rehovot. Barry Levinson told a rapt audience consisting mostly of immigrants from the UK about the events leading up to the massacre and the massacre itself. He also showed us the short film he made on the topic. You can watch the film here.

During the talk and in the general discussion that followed it, I couldn’t help thinking how history repeats itself. The more I listen to the news from the UK and around the world, the more scary that thought becomes.

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Stone set in the floor of the city wall

I’m delighted to welcome back fellow Crooked Cat author, Sarah Louise Smith. I interviewed her here and now she’s back to tell us about her new novel, out in two days but available now for pre-order.

Over to you, Sarah.

Firstly, a huge thank you to Miriam for letting me hijack her blog today and a big friendly smiley hello to anyone reading this who hasn’t heard of me before; thanks for taking the time to come and find out more.

So, I am Sarah. And I write chick-lit. That’s not slushy, fluffy romantic nonsense. It’s fun, roller-coaster stories with a little comedy and realistic characters.

The Truth About EllenThe Truth About Ellen is my fourth novel and it’s about a girl who had a huge crush on a band when she was a teenager. We’ve all been there, right? You watch them on TV, you listen to their music, you put their posters on your wall. In Ellen’s case, she even followed the lead singer and her number one celeb crush Jasper to a hotel once and spent an evening with him.

Now she’s older, wiser, more mature – of course. Well over the crush on the band she used to love, who broke up long ago. Times have changed.

That is, until she meets Tom, the band’s bass guitarist, and they hit it off. She doesn’t tell him she was huge fan of his band because it was long ago. Or that she once spent a night with his ex-bandmate/ex-best-friend, Jasper.

Everything goes well until Jasper comes back into Tom’s life. And the truth about Ellen could spoil everything she’s ever wanted…

Seem like a book that you might enjoy this summer?

Visit my website (link below) or search for The Truth About Ellen on Amazon to get your copy.

The Truth About Ellen

It’s every girl’s dream to date a pop star… When Ellen starts dating Tom, a member of the band she adored as a teenager, she can’t believe how lucky she is. She neglects to mention that she’s a huge fan because that just wouldn’t be cool, would it? Ellen also keeps quiet about how she once spent an evening with Tom’s ex-bandmate/ex-best friend Jasper, her long-term celebrity crush. Tom doesn’t need to know about that, it’s all in the past. That is until Tom and Jasper get back in touch… and the truth threatens to ruin everything Ellen has ever dreamed of…

The Truth About Ellen is available to buy from:

About Sarah Louise Smith

Sarah Louise SmithSarah Louise Smith lives in Milton Keynes, England with her husband, step-daughter, loopy golden retriever and cheeky tortie cat.

Sarah has been writing stories since she can remember and has so far completed four chick-lit novels, all published by Crooked Cat:

  • Amy & Zach
  • Izzy’s Cold Feet
  • Independent Jenny
  • The Truth About Ellen

Connect with Sarah: