A busy few weeks …

  Performance event at Waterstones Tottenham Court rd.

 Radio Interview with the fabulous Nana Akua for The Health Show.

Signing a new contract!

Meeting old friend and world record holder for rowing the Pacific ….yes, read his book: Rowing the Pacific -7,000 miles from Japan to San Francisco. Mick Dawson.

 Author Panel in Harpenden with three other Bloodhound authors.

Staying local with a reading or two in the pub!

Sometimes other people’s words are better …

The Camera Lies by A B Morgan
TOP 1000 Amazon REVIEWER on 5 February 2018

Well, let me tell you, this is not for the faint hearted! Or the squeamish. Or the prudish!

This is a gritty read; full of action, energy and unpleasant characters. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting but I was quickly caught up in the plot which moved at a great pace, full of tension, complications and shocking revelations.

Morgan writes vividly and the action bounces off the pages. The reader is caught up in a complex tale with some graphic and erotic scenes which, although completely necessary to the plot and the characters, are still quite shocking at times! Morgan’s writing is fluent, full of pace and with a plot line that intricately links the two characters in a way that has the reader constantly guessing as the events unravel in front of their eyes.

I really liked the concept of a TV presenter interviewing someone convicted of a crime as it is a bit of a change from finding yourself in a police interview room listening to a suspect confess, or not, to a crime. It also gives Morgan an opportunity to play around with the interaction between the characters as the dialogue, and behaviour, between them is not restricted by the conventions of a police interrogation – and this is a novel that doesn’t like to be restricted by convention or expectation! I liked the dynamic between the two men and the question of motivation and trust which is more blurred than when the protagonist is a detective. I liked that I thought I knew what kind of story I was going to be reading, but within a few chapters my suspicions and expectations were challenged and the story took a rather more dark and sinister route.

I think what really impressed me was Morgan’s ability to write from a male point of view and to have created these characters who are so authentic and believable. They are both flawed and not always gaining much empathy from the reader but they are always fascinating. I was impressed how well Morgan portrayed Konrad. He’s an ambitious creation but Morgan has crafted him well and he’s a memorable protagonist.

There is quite a wide range of characters who appear throughout the story but they all feel three dimensional and most importantly, they all feel appropriately threatening and unreliable.

Ultimately though, I think the best thing about this novel was it’s fierce energy, pace, drama and complexity. It’s the kind of book you realise you’re reading with your mouth half open because you are constantly in a state of tension, suspense, shock and disbelief. Morgan’s skill is in her execution of a surprisingly intricate plot that winds in and out of itself in a way that the reader could never second guess.

I was totally impressed with this stand alone thriller. It was very different from any other crime book I’ve read recently and knowing what I do now about the behaviour and personalities of the main characters, I might have been a little wary but actually, it’s a total page turner. It will leave you quite breathless.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Morgan might write next!

What have the reviews said so far?

Since the official launch of #DivinePoison, the social media sites have been buzzing with reviews, tweets, retweets and likes. I’ve held my breath checking Goodreads and Amazon to see whether the book has done it’s job, to entertain. All very exciting and nerve wracking for a new author like myself. A year ago I would have struggled to understand the value of a retweet let alone how to manage posting on Twitter, Facebook and others. Now I have no choice and am finally getting the hang of the tools that form an essential part of marketing a book on line. Not bad for an old bird.

What fascinated me, as the reviews rolled in, were the variations. Some focussed on pace, others on plot, or theme, style, characterisation, or a combination. There were unexpected interpretations, valid points about red herrings that hadn’t even been intended as such, and a thoughtfulness within each review whilst not shying away from opinion.

Hats off to the bloggers, reviewers and readers! An enormous thank you to you all (as well as to family, friends, fellow authors and Bloodhound Books of course)

 

Divine Poison is Available on Amazon

Here are links to a few of those reviews from the three day Blog Blitz:

:My Eclectic Reads

  :I Loved Reading This

:Rae Reads 

 

 

Christmas can be murder …

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It’s Christmas. Your house is invaded by relatives and friends who gorge themselves on your yuletide hospitality. Some of them are a delight, but let’s face it after the first hour you want a return to peace and quiet and free use of your own bathroom. Drinks and nibbles are rapidly followed by the trauma of opening presents and putting your acting skills to good use. ‘That’s lovely, just what I never knew I wanted.’ The fake smile on your face begins to ache.

Christmas dinner is a feast for the gluttonous, sport for the mother-in-law’s thoughtless tongue, and an ordeal for the cook. You hope in vain that no one suggests party games too late in the day when Uncle Bernard has drunk enough to become obnoxious, and you pray no one will linger late into the evening begging for another slice of gammon and cold turkey.

Grandpa is snoring and farting. The older siblings are cheating at monopoly and threatening to sue each other. Granny is trying to teach the small children a game they are neither interested in nor understand. Young Toby is bashing his Power Ranger into her shin in protest, while his sister smears Silly Slime into your carpet. Teenagers are sulking and you, the hosts, stand at the sink washing up, again.

Do unfestive thoughts begin to creep in? ‘I could happily throttle the old bag’. The sort of intrusive wish you wouldn’t want others to know about? If, heaven forbid, you have house guests staying over (what possessed you to agree to that?!) these flights of fancy may become tempting.

Make certain you research wisely if you are plotting against an unwelcome, offensive relative …

or alternatively indulge yourself by reading some #crime fiction!

Allow your imagination to do the killing.

Agatha Christie is hard to beat for bumping off unwanted guests but I suggest you spread your search wider, get inventive.

Warning #Divine Poison doesn’t contain nuts: it’s not a story about murdering Christmas guests either, but it is a deadly distraction, a way of escape and a source of inspiration for would-be poisoners. Pick up a few ideas for next year’s Christmas dinner. (available on Amazon).

Merry Christmas. Ali Morgan x

A Fascination with the Darker Side of Mental Illness Treatment.

This is a well-known story that has been doing the Facebook rounds for some time now, but nevertheless it remains astounding.

What happened when there was a further ‘undercover’ experiment in the 1970’s led by Psychologist Dr  David Rosenhan?

 

Here are some intriguing true stories:

Bedlam: The Real Horror Story Asylum

Do we explore these stories for the same reason we enjoy reading crime thriller fiction or watching scary films? If that’s your sort of book then try: A Justifiable Madness

Imagine what might happen if Nellie Bly or David Rosenhan repeated their experiment today? Those of us who have worked within Mental Health Services have an unusual perspective and personal insight into what it’s like to need support and treatment for mental illness and sometimes fiction is a powerful tool in raising awareness.

Whose turn is it to shake up mental health services?

www.time-to-change.org.uk

www.rethink.org

www.mind.org.uk

www.sane.org.uk

and there are many more ….

 

Clumsy or Left-handed?

Left-Handers day was back in August, but as I’m having an uncoordinated day today, I began to wonder if it was due to being a leftie.

According to the world of research, #left-handers are more creative generally and stronger on the use of words than our right-handed counterparts. Good news for us left-handed writers!

Apparently we make up about 10% of the total population and our brains are wired somewhat differently to the righties. This may account for why we are at higher risk for ADHD, psychosis and dyslexia, and why we’re more affected by fear (British Psychological Society), get angrier and worry more. We are also three times more likely to become alcoholics. (I’m undertaking some research involving cider to test this theory).

But surely it can’t all be bad?

It isn’t: we are better at multitasking, thinking in 3D, surviving in hostile environments, make excellent sportsmen and women, especially tennis, fencing, boxing. We are well represented in the sport of swimming. Could this be because lefties adjust to seeing underwater quicker than righties?

And here’s one for the #writers …

  • On a QWERTY keyboard there are 1447 English words typed solely with the left hand, whilst only 187 are typed with the right hand.

Other boffins have identified that we are ‘less likely’to develop arthritis and ulcers.

‘From scissors and smudged ink, spiral-bound notebooks to impossible-to-use tin openers, the lefties’ struggle is real,’ so there has to be some compensation.

Here’s one last fact for you: Sinistrophobia is the fear of left-handers.

Don’t be afraid, we’re lovely really.

We’re not clumsy, we merely appear to be so in a right handed world.

This means it’s my age then …

Source: Left-Handers Day: 13 facts about the wonderful left

Writing. In the beginning came the words…then the performance.

As a new author I’ve tried to soak up the wise words of my fellow published writers. They speak the truth. Writing the book is the easy part.

 

I read with interest what Louise Jensen had to say recently, about her battle with nerves when asked to speak in public and how she overcame the hurdles. For authors it has become a necessity to be able to stand in front of an audience, read to and answer questions from eager listeners. Book promotion is as much about the author as it is about the product, it seems.

Through good fortune and friendships, I was asked to take part in a monthly performance event run by the #London Writers’ Eclective at a branch of #Waterstones in Tottenham Court Rd. I was thrilled and accepted straight away, having no idea what it would entail other than the request for ‘A short reading from your book, about ten minutes max.’

A performance event: what was that? 

Flash poets, would-be novelists, potential stand-up comedians, short story writers, script writers, creative writers – they were all there,on Friday evening, in the audience and the taking their turn to perform. There was some great talent in the room. Phew, I thought. It was a good job I’d paid attention and taken advice. Here are the top tips I followed:

  1. Choose your passage wisely. No spoilers, it has to entertain and make sense as a piece.
  2. If it’s not right, change it.
  3. Edit the passage if necessary to make it more acceptable to a listening audience.
  4. Read it aloud and time it. (see number 2). Practise: Get your granny/mother round for tea and make her listen to your excerpt until she begs you to stop.
  5. Record yourself and listen back. (see number 2)
  6. Print it out in large font, underline or highlight narration in different colours, put big spaces in for pauses, like a script.
  7. You’ll know the piece, you wrote it, so give it life, speak up and take your time when reading.
  8. Give your audience eye contact.
  9. Enjoy the experience.
  10. Thank people for listening.

How did it go?

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I loved it! Everyone was so welcoming and positive. After a glowing introduction of #A Justifiable Madness as my debut novel, I was let loose on an unsuspecting audience. To my relief, the like-minded people in the room reacted with smiles, laughs and a round of applause.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I enjoy a bit of the dramatic and with experience of public speaking throughout my nursing career was prepared for the nerves which inevitably arise, no matter how confident you are. It’s adrenalin, and harnessed- when that’s possible- can make you sharper.  Thanks go to the organisers, Lindsey and Connor, who work so hard to give people the opportunity to perform in welcoming surroundings. They have invited me back in February when, thanks to Bloodhound Books, I will have a further two novels to share and read from.

Before then I’ll be more local …The Robin Hood, Clifton Reynes December 6th 6.30pm onwards for a fun literary evening. More reading and performing. Ta-dah!

Simple marketing cock ups for beginners

 It seemed like a good idea at the time …After a local book launch in The Cock public House in Pavenham where friends and neighbours gave their enthusiastic support to the new author in their midst, I looked for the next opportunity to publicise the book that I had spent months writing.

I’ve heard other writers say that publicity and marketing are the hard parts of the journey for any author, especially a debut novel in a crowded field of players. I’m lucky, I’m with the amazing independent publisher Bloodhound Books whose team do most of the online publicity, but I have to do my bit. It’s my work after all.

I set up a small stall next to my husband’s at the Classic Motorcycle show in Stafford, a magnet for motorbike enthusiasts from across Europe and beyond. Not the most obvious place to sell a psychological thriller. That much is plainly  borne out by the fact that I made one sale. Yes, just the one, to a fellow mental health nurse at that. Bikers tinker with bikes and they were not expecting to buy a book from someone not called Guy Martin, Casey Stoner or Michael Dunlop.

Undeterred, I had lots of conversations with passers by, and handed out dozens of book marks. The chance to people-watch was a gift for researching my ‘work in progress’, book number four.

What else could I do to make the best of a bad situation?

Photographs and Facebook. That was the answer. I sent husband Andy on a mission to see his mate, Ken Fox, proprietor of the Wall of Death  who more than willingly had his picture taken with his family reading my debut novel. He’s a keen reader and I’m waiting nervously for his opinion.

That was last weekend.

Yesterday I went to see the manager at the local bookshop, – sorry, that should be ‘bookstore’ apparently – I had emailed several times, with no response. I telephoned, ‘What email address did you send it to? …yes that’s the right one.’

I emailed again with a polite enquiry about local authors and then, with no response forthcoming whatsoever, I decided to introduce myself personally. Not being replied to may result in some people giving up. Not me. I think it’s quite rude.   With respectful determination I entered the store, found the manager behind the counter and managed to persuade him to stock A Justifiable Madness. Only five copies to begin with, but I felt I’d succeeded. The truth of the matter is that the manager had to find a way of ending our conversation. There was no escape as I had cut off his only exit.

I don’t think he was too enthusiastic, but then he didn’t spend hours writing, rewriting, editing, proof reading, nervously waiting and risking public humiliation when the birth of a first book arrived. I feel no shame in cornering the poor man. In fact, I’ll be doing it again. I like a challenge.