An Interview With Jo Huey: Author of Transition (Book Blog Tour)

Jo Huey is an inspirational speaker, coach and author. She is also an adult child of an alcoholic and shares her personal story of living with an alcoholic father for 16 years and how that has impacted her adult life.

Jo shares her story for two reasons, the first is to connect with those that have been affected so they know they aren’t alone and the second to educate and inform others about this very hidden problem. Within the book, Jo shares several techniques you’ll be able to learn and use in your life if you really want the change you seek.

If you are interested in an inspirational and motivational story, then you won’t be disappointed. Her book, Transition, can be purchased through Amazon*.

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Here is my Q&A with Jo…

What process do you follow for your writing? Are you a planner or do you just let it flow? Straight to PC, or pen and paper?

I started typing in Word straight away, no pen to paper for me. I don’t think my hand would cope with that! I’m a much faster typist, so that was never in question.

I did a bit of planning in terms of topics and chapters, but it wasn’t until after I gave it to my friend to review that she suggested a different format. I started making all sorts of notes on post-its and hanging them from string but it just looked overwhelming, so I reverted back to my writing on the PC.

I broke the chapters down and then added a ‘Time to Reflect’ section after many chapters, which allowed me to explain how I saw the previous chapters in the present. This allowed me to introduce learnings and reflections which would keep the reader engaged.

Do you attend writing/author focused conferences? Which is your favourite?

No I have never attended any writing conferences or any associated events. Recently, I’ve been given details about groups on Facebook which I’ve joined so I can learn and mix with other authors.

How many manuscripts do you have that you never submitted? Will you consider approaching your publisher with them now?

I went through a number of versions with my book and I had a draft printed, but it was never published because my ex boyfriends didn’t agree with the content. I had to redo it before I could self-publish.

What one piece of advice do you wish you received before you started writing? What one piece of intended good advice, wasn’t what it seemed?

I think if someone had suggested getting the right type of person to help with the editing and creation of the book that would have been helpful. I chose someone to edit it who used to be an editor, and was used to taking content out to make it succinct. That didn’t really suit the style of my book – what I needed was someone that knew about storytelling and how to engage with the audience.

Being told to think about the structure was helpful… but also not, at the same time. If you’re new to writing it’s all a mine field and so it’s hard to know what will and won’t work.

What is your favourite thing about the whole writing process?

Once you’ve started writing a book it’s quite addictive and you can see something tangible coming together. For me, because the content was very personal, it allowed me to reflect on things that had happened, which was very interesting.

Was there a particular book that made you sit up and think ‘that’s it, I’m going to be an author too’?

I wouldn’t say a particular book but more a person. I was at a networking event I ran and a lady who attended said to me ‘Jo, you have a story, you should tell it’. That got me thinking into lots of things and that’s basically how I started the book and my business.

Who do you envisage as playing your characters if your book was ever turned into a movie?

There is no doubt in my mind that Reece Witherspoon would play me. She is someone I admire very much. Ever since watching her in ‘Legally Blonde’. I love her attitude and outlook on life and her integrity. She’s a great actress and so clever and I think she’d do a great job as she has done in other real life stories.

What do you consider is your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment in my life has to be the transformation I’ve been through. It was one of the hardest and most fantastic things I chose to do. It’s taken courage, strength and determination but it has been worth the investment. My life has changed dramatically and ultimately I’m a more fulfilled, happier and calmer person because of it.

Thank you Jo, for the interview.

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Reality Rehab by Lisa Mary London – Book Blog Tour

The following is a guest post by Lisa Mary London as part of her Reality Rehab blog tour.

Gloria’s Guilty Addictions

Buxom soap legend Gloria Grayson is headline news again, thanks to her starring role on TV’s biggest reality show, ‘Reality Rehab’ where she’s fighting the flab in front of 10 million viewers.  

And her memoirs of the same name are flying off the bookshelves – adding the title of Author to her impressive resume of achievements!  In a world exclusive, Gloria reveals the personalities and pleasures she can’t live without.

Lipstick

When it comes to make-up more is more, and I’ve often been likened to Marilyn – Manson that is, not Monroe.  I didn’t become Britain’s sexiest soap icon without sporting more slap than Ronald McDonald.  Which reminds me, is it lunch time?

I’m currently starring on reality TV, but I’m not a fan of the genre.  When I started out in showbiz, becoming famous required talent and hard graft.  You had to go to stage school, tour the provinces, sleep with TV executives…  These reality oiks walk into a house full of CCTV cameras and walk out megastars!  The world’s gone mad.

As former star of Britain’s top soap ‘Jubilee Road’, I can’t get from one end of the Waitrose confectionary aisle to the other without a dozen selfie requests.  So along with my mobile, keys and emergency macaroon, I’m never without my scarlet lipstick.

That said, I’m not keen on sneaky paparazzi shots taken when I’m putting out the bins, have accidentally parked in a disabled space, or set the dog on a Sun reporter.

Baby-Girl

My pedigree Maltipoo Baby-Girl is my constant companion and something of an addiction.  It’s spooky how much we have in common:  Both well-groomed, both glamorous and both capable of eating our own weight in banoffee pie.

Baby-Girl’s in ‘Reality Rehab’ with me, on a strict diet and exercise regime.  Before rehab she’d never eaten dog food and weighed roughly the same as a snow leopard, or pop sensation Justin Bieber.

I spoil my little sausage-gobbler rotten, she has a bigger designer wardrobe than I do, and why not?  Some people bitch my Baby-Girl’s a child substitute but they’ve got it all wrong – children are dog substitutes!

Chocolate

My name’s Gloria and I’m a chocoholic.  I could claim I’m devoted to the posh stuff but where cocoa’s concerned, I’m a total tart.  KitKat, Twix, Crunchie, Mars Bars, Snickers… and that’s before I’ve got out of bed!

An unkind lady journalist recently pointed out my curves are a little more generous these days.  Rather ironic, as the tabloid reporter in question was a 16 stone cake monster with a backside that could fill the O2 Arena!

I knew I’s gained weight when my masseuse asked if she could do the other leg next week, and I couldn’t find a Slanket to fit me.  As the saying goes – Life’s a bitch and then you diet!

Perfume

As two times holder of the ‘Rear of the Year’ title, the public could be forgiven for thinking my love life’s as peachy as my rear end.  

No way!  I endured a hellish marriage to alcoholic love rat actor ‘Mad’ Tommy Mack, which was no picnic (Ooh, Picnic bars, I love those!)  If you’ve ever opened a newspaper, you’ll know my ex-husband’s so bad, he should have a bounty on his head.  But that’s another topic (Bounty… Topic… I’m ravenous and I’ve only just had lunch).

We split acrimoniously, over his affair with a certain dyed redhead actress who shall remain nameless.  Oh alright then, Lianna Lowe. I came home one night and found an unfamiliar, budget brand G-string in our bed (Size 16, since you ask).

When your love life stinks, a spray of Chanel No 5 is like a breath of fresh air.

My Diary

I never travel without my diary, as Oscar Wilde famously said, one should always have something sensational to read on the train. And my memoirs are so juicy, they inspired my fabulous new book, Reality Rehab.  

It’s chock full of celebrity gossip and my glamorous pooch Baby-Girl is the cover star, in red bandana and matching designer shades.  Another of my addictions is animal print, and I designed the fabulous pink leopard cover myself. What better handbag accessory could a girl treat herself to than a copy of Reality Rehab – and all for the price of coffee and a cupcake!  Which reminds me, it’s time for my elevenses – Must dash! X

Imposters In Paradise by Maxine Barry – Blog Tour 

About the book

This standalone, gripping romantic adventure is the first in the Romantic, Passionate, Thrilling Escapes series. Fast-paced plots with strong heroines, sexy heroes and sinister villains in exotic locations – they’re the perfect escape!

Click here to purchase via Amazon.

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Guest post by Maxine Barry

The first book you ever have published is always special, and I remember it well and to this day. My agent had already told me that my debut romance had been given good reviews by the publisher’s Readers and would be up for consideration for publication at a specific meeting. And that she confidently expected good news. So I went out and brought a bottle of champagne (the first time I’d ever done so) in anticipation and waited all afternoon (the meeting was for 3.00pm) for the telephone to ring. They never said so, but my poor long-suffering Mum and Dad must have been fed up with my treading a line in the carpet. And when I finally got the call and learned that I really was going to be a published author, the feeling was utterly wonderful and amazing – and something that can never be repeated. It meant that all the years of hard work, hoping, trying, failing, and trying again had finally paid off, and that my stubborn self-belief and refusal to give up had finally been vindicated. And I could at last call myself an ‘author’. I then poured out two glasses of champagne for my parents, and a glass of white grape juice for myself (I’ve always been teetotal) and spent the rest of the day on cloud nine.

(Not that this is relevant to my life as an author, but just in case you were wondering why I’m teetotal, it’s because, as an 11-year-old, I inadvertently gave myself a dose of ‘aversion therapy’ where alcohol is concerned. On the occasion of my big sister’s wedding, my 10-year-old cousin and I found a pack of Babycham, and sneaking it away and around the back of the village hall – where the reception was being held – promptly proceeded to down the lot. And the next morning, as you can imagine … oh my. Take it from me – suffering a hangover when you’re not really old enough to understand what a hangover is – let’s just say, from that moment on, even the scent of anything alcoholic sets off alarm bells!)

Anyway, as I was saying, you never forget your first book. And when your complimentary copies come in the post, and you get to hold your first published novel in your hand for the very first time – well, let’s just say that it is an experience I can recommend to anyone! That’s why, when people who have yet to succeed in getting their first novel published ask for my advice, I always tell them not to give up. It can take some time (for me it was nearly five years from the moment I first decided to bite the bullet and seriously try my hand at writing, until I held my first published novel in my hand) but boy is it ever worth it. And if you have the writing bug, as I do, then you are going to write stories anyway – because how can you not – regardless of whether or not they get published. So it makes sense to keep on trying. Either in finding an agent, or in submitting your manuscript to publisher after publisher. And it’s always comforting to read how other, now famous and high-flying authors, were rejected by the first 3, 4, 5 or 20 publishers that they tried!

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About the author

Maxine Barry lives in Oxford. She is a full-time author and also practises calligraphy. 

Drive-By Shouting by Mark Chase – Blog Tour

About the Book

When Matt Mann grabbed showbiz success by the throat, he also trampled on the dreams of Gram Kane, his closest friend. Matt has ridden the gravy train for seven heady years, while successfully keeping a lid on his old friend’s resentment. That is; until now.
Matt’s moral vacuum has now seen him betray yet another friend – but this time, it’s one who has the power to ruthlessly punish him, and take away everything that he’s achieved. 

Drive-By Shouting is an exhilarating showbiz ride, with a bitter comic edge and a palpable undercurrent of malevolence.

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Author Q & A

What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you?

The Oxford English Dictionary! I lived with my maternal Grandmother – and she was a stickler for finding out what words meant, whenever they cropped up. She came from a pretty humble background in South Wales – but know that good grammar and a decent vocabulary could carry you a long way.

Who is your favourite literary character?

Logan Mountstuart in William Boyd’s ‘Any Human Heart.’ Thoroughly irreverent – and a great companion through many of the 20th Century’s great events.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished Kate Atkinson’s ‘A God in Ruins,’ the companion book to ‘Life After Life.’ A wonderful read – and I’m consistently impressed by her ability to weave alternative realities together at the same time.

Who is your hero or heroine (real or fictional)?

Without wishing to be sappy; I really do think a lot of my wife; Jacqueline! She’s whip-smart when I need advice or critical analysis – but also has the kindest heart I’ve ever encountered. If it has to be somebody notable; then it’s David Bowie. At his 1970’s peak, he was lyrically and musically, just about as good as it’s possible to get.

Where are you happiest?

On the Beach in East Sussex; near Rye. Whatever the weather, I always feel glad to be alive when I’m there.

If I joined you on your perfect day, what would we be doing?

We’d wake up in a cottage on the beach in East Sussex and walk along the wet sandbanks at low tide. We’d have lunch at ‘The Globe Inn Marsh’ and a wander around Rye (an amazingly beautiful medieval town), before taking the train to London for a Blues/Jazz gig at Ronnie Scott’s, followed by coffee at Café Italia – and a late night walk down the South Bank. We’d be a bit knackered; but happy!

What do you think is the best thing about social media?

It gives you a great sense of community. It’s like being able to pop into 6 different pubs simultaneously; each with a different group of friends in it.

Why did you write a book?

I have known that I would write for a long time. I was a songwriter for quite a few years, where brevity is the key. I liked the idea of turning that discipline on it’s head – and stretching and exploring ideas, rather than reducing them down to their pithiest elements. It’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. So, I’m doing it again…

Why did you choose your particular genre?

I don’t think I fit neatly into a genre (which is either a virtue or a weakness). I felt compelled to write about the music business and particularly the random nature of success in the arts, which is unlike any other area of life. You don’t see many exceptionally talented dentists struggling to make a living; but the world is awash with brilliant musicians, actors, writers and artists, all desperately trying to pay the rent. The idea of exploring this within a thriller seemed natural and instinctive.

What’s the best thing about writing a book?

The sense of adventure that you get from thinking, “I wonder what would happen if…” and then being the one who gets to decide everybody’s fate. There’s more than a hint of ‘God complex’ to it.

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About the Author

Liverpool born, Chase has been a TV Presenter on a variety of shows, including; The Survivors Guide, Sextalk (both C4), Breakfast Time, Going Live! (BBC1), Wideangle, Country File (ITV) and Toyah & Chase (VH-1). On Radio, he has hosted BBC 5Live’s After Hours and The Chase is On. Behind the scenes, he has worked as a Producer on both Comic Relief & Sport Aid and has written for several publications, including Esquire, the NME, Melody Maker, Maxim and Red.

Mark was the leader of the notorious 90’s band World of Leather, who released 2 albums and numerous singles through Sony Records. They toured extensively in the UK and Europe and sold respectably in Japan & Scandinavia, whilst skillfully avoiding the UK charts.

Prior to this, Chase had been a successful session musician & session singer, working with numerous artists including Belinda Carlisle, Taylor Dayne, Big Trouble & John Barrowman. 

He lives in East Sussex with his wife, Jacqueline, and their 4 children.

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Love Them And Leave Them by Sue Shepherd – Blog Tour

About The Book

Sometimes you have to leave the one you love … sometimes you’re the one who’s left behind. The new heart-warming and heart-breaking romantic comedy from the No.1 bestselling author of Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret?

On his way home, Ed makes a split-second decision that changes the lives of all those who love him.

Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessie, is stuck in a job with no prospects, her dreams never fulfilled. It will take more than her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, and temperamental best friend, Coco, to give her the confidence to get her life back on track.

But what if Ed had made another decision? It could all have been so different …

Six years on, Ed’s daughter, Jessica, has a successful career, loving boyfriend, Nick, and a keen eye on her dream home. But when new clients, a temperamental Coco, and her unreliable boyfriend, Chris, walk into her life, Jessica’s perfect world soon starts to unravel.

Love Them and Leave Them is a story of love, families, friendship and a world of possibilities. Whichever decision Ed makes, the same people are destined to come into his daughter’s life, sometimes in delightfully different ways. And before they can look forward to the future, they will all have to deal with the mistakes of the past.

Buy the book on Amazon here.

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Character Spotlight Author Q&A

When did you create them? Where? How?

There are two main characters in Love Them and Leave Them. Jessie and Jessica share equal star status! 

When I first began writing the book, I knew I wanted it to be a parallel world story and I knew I was going to need two main characters, each a different version of the same person, but I wasn’t sure of anything else. I simply began writing about two women who’d had very different opportunities in life, and Jessie and Jessica appeared (although they had different names back then.) The more I chatted to them in my head, the more defined they became. Their main differences all hinged on the sudden loss of their dad at a young age (or not). 


From that moment on, their personalities splintered, and, as Jessica told me all about her time at university and the support she had from her parents and boyfriend, so Jessie told me how hard it was to lose not only her dad, but her future, all in the blink of an eye.

What do you like most about them?

I like both my main characters, but I think my heart goes out to Jessie just a little more. She took a hard knock and is struggling to come back to herself. The way she feels about her dad’s death in chapter one is very similar to my feelings regarding the loss of my own dad, who died very suddenly over 12 years ago. All this time, and I still can’t listen to ‘Dance with my Father’ without getting tearful. I’ve experienced other losses since, but I think the shock of that particular death will always remain with me.

What do like least about them?

It’s possible the readers will feel that Jessica has it all too easy, but I suspect that will change as they progress through the book.

Did everyone like them to start with or did you have to change them in any way?

When my editor read my first draft, he was concerned that both my main characters swore too much. He asked me, ‘Are you angry?’ Reading through it I had to agree – both women were quite sweary and selfish. I concluded that I was allowing some external stresses in my own life to influence the way my characters behaved and spoke.


Once I was aware of it, I was able to rectify it. The good thing is, with the click of a button, you can eradicate many f*cks. I softened the characters and made them both much more caring. But I learnt an important lesson – try not to let my own mood reflect in my characters’ dialogue.

Are there any similarities with anyone real?

Both Jessie and Jessica physically resemble a real-life friend of mine. In my head, I see Jessica as my friend when she’s dressed up and Jessie as the same friend on her more casual days. Which friend? I couldn’t possibly say!

What are your plans for them?

I don’t have any further plans for Jessie or Jessica. I feel their stories are told. I know where I imagine them to be in the future, but I suspect not all my readers will agree. But, then, isn’t that the joy of writing – once a person reads your book, they have their own take on your characters and the worlds you’ve placed them in, and that’s exciting to know.

Win an e-book of Love Them and Leave Them by entering the rafflecopter below (two prizes to be won). T&Cs apply.

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About The Author

Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour. Her debut novel, Doesn’t Everyone Have a Secret? was published by Corazon Books in March 2015. It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon in November 2015. Sue’s second novel, Love Them and Leave Them, was published in September 2016.

Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle. Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years. Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you’ll give her the heebie-jeebies.

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Isolation Junction by Jennifer Gilmour – Blog Tour

About the Book

Isolation Junction by Jennifer Gilmour follows the story of Rose who is stuck in an abusive and coercive relationship. After years of emotional abuse, the self doubt about her future and the erosion of her confidence, Rose takes a stand.  

Finding herself alone, penniless and frightened Rose wonders how she will ever escape from the situation to provide a better life for herself and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1000 reasons why she perceives she can’t – will she have the courage to do it? And will she find the support to regain control and confidence?

Buy it from Amazon.

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Character Spotlight Q and A

When did you create the characters? Where? How?

I actually had the plot line set out together with the names of the characters for quite some time, but hadn’t developed the character profiles. Once I started to formulate the plot, it became clear what the character of people was going to be like and how they were going to fit into the plot. I then started to build the profiles. It was quite straight forward to build them, as I had a personal reference point regarding what a victim, abuser and hero was like in real life, so the personalities seemed to flow rather well. However,  I was determined to get these characteristics accurate, so spent quite a lot of time working and tweeking various aspects.

Focusing on the victim (in the story this is Rose) I wanted to compile my own and other women’s stories together to form her personality and for me, her image then followed suit. I created her first as she is the main character and she needed to have features to remember like her red hair and green eyes. I wanted her to stand out to her abuser in some way, as well as creating a character that people could relate to.

What do you like most about them?

I love Rose’s natural beauty and her determination to make any situation work. She is so motivated even if she doesn’t see it for herself; she simply needed someone to give her that support, encouragement and a helping hand for her to be able to use all her skills to free herself from a destructive situation. Rose is full of potential that she is yet to realise.

What do like least about them?

Rose’s lack of confidence and that she listened to the wrong people for advice, and believes that their views are the correct and accurate ones. Her lack of confidence at this point in her life contributes to the mistakes she makes. Rose can be naive and depend on others to make decisions for her, which is linked to her lack of confidence and her low self esteem.

What are your plans for them?

My plans are for Rose to flourish and for her self confidence to grow so that she is able and confident  in making her own decisions in order to take responsibility, ownership and control of her own life – a complex and slow process given all that she has gone through. I can’t wait to continue to work with Rose as in Isolation Junction she was almost robotic in her reactions to life’s events and I am excited with the anticipation that she will grow, learn and develop as a person.

Did everyone like them to start with or did you have to change them in any way?

As I was writing, a couple of the characters were changed slightly and I amended their character profiles accordingly. It was either an addition or a slight change because I didn’t believe the character would react a certain way. It is hard sometimes to work in restrictions but now I have the profiles set I can refer to them and still add aspects if I need to.

Rose is one of those characters that people have said they want to see more of and hear more of her ‘pain’ but it is hard to express the ‘pain’ she is going through when she hasn’t realised the full extent of what has happened and is running on adrenaline so to speak. I have taken this into consideration though and I believe it will work well, and readers will be pleased to hear that her character is yet to flourish and in the future they will see more of her recovery and development.

Enter here to win an e-copy of the book. T&Cs apply.


 About the Author

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Jennifer Gilmour is a married mum of three, and a business owner. She has spent the past eighteen months writing her first novel to raise awareness of the unseen side of domestic abuse/coercive control.
Jennifer was born and educated in Hull before moving south to attend university. Now happily living in her home city with her husband, three children and a hamster she runs an Internet business (Blissful Gifts and Services) and is a top performing Consultant for Jamberry.

Find out more here:

Website: www.isolationjunction.com

Kickstarter Campaign: www.kickstarter.com/projects/690571062/isolation-junction 

Facebook: isolationjunctionbook 

Twitter: @JenLGilmour 


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