Monthly Archives: August 2012

Whitley Bay Film Festival continues.

So, I’ve been Whitley Bay Film Festival’s official blogger for a week and I am having a great time.

So far, I’ve seen nine classic films, been to a film-themed busker’s night, met some great independent filmmakers and seen lots of indie movies.

To read my reviews so far, check out

The website will feature regular blog posts and pics from me so keep checking for updates.

Vic x

‘Letting Go’ is free this weekend

My collection of flash fiction and short stories, ‘Letting Go’, is available on Amazon worldwide and for this weekend only, it’s free! I’ve posted the Amazon UK link at the bottom of the page, if you need a link for another country, please leave a comment and I’ll post the link for you.

If you haven’t read it, how about giving it a whirl? If you’ve already read it, please spread the word and maybe leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads and/or Shelfari.

Vic x

Download ‘Letting Go’ here:

Review: ‘How I said Bah! to cancer’ by Stephanie Butland.

The title of this book may put you off straight away but, please, try to persevere. Even if you read the first couple of pages, you will see why I couldn’t put this book down. Stephanie Butland writes about her “dance with cancer” poetically.

Despite the subject being almost taboo, people like to pretend cancer doesn’t exist but it does, this book chronicles the trials and tribulation of one woman who refused to let cancer define her.

I found this book a very interesting read – it’s full of factual information regarding cancer cells, chemotherapy drugs and what you can expect from your doctors. I don’t have cancer but a lot of the strategies employed by Stephanie during her dance could be employed in the face of other treatments. Meditation, hypnotherapy, positive thinking and researching your treatment can be applied to many illnesses/treatments.

Stephanie writes this book with brutal honesty and there were several occasions that had me in tears but this woman, and her friends and family, are a true inspiration. Stephanie proves that positive thinking and a sense of humour can go a long way even in the scariest of situations. She even managed to make me laugh out loud despite the serious subject matter.

This book also details Stephanie’s employment of the de Bono method of thinking and that is definitely something I am interested in learning more about.

This book is a straight-talking must-have for anyone experiencing a cancer or someone supporting a loved one through the journey.

Vic x

Order ‘How I said Bah! to cancer’ in paperback here:

Download your copy here:

Review: ‘The Fall’ by Claire McGowan

Imagine you are a week away from your wedding day. You’ve got lists on top of lists and a mother breathing down your neck about menu choices and people who haven’t replied. Imagine your fiance is rather cagey about something, a secret he’s hiding from you. Imagine waking up the following morning by policemen arresting your fiance for the murder of a nightclub owner.

That’s what happens to Charlotte at the beginning of Claire McGowan’s ‘The Fall’. As Charlotte’s life spirals out of control, an angry stranger turns up on her doorstep with secrets of her own. And then there is DC Matthew Hegarty, the lead officer on the murder case, will he follow his head or his heart?

This intelligent crime thriller is not like most other crime novels you’ll have read. It’s not a true whodunnit – it’s more a case of whether anyone will tell the truth.

The characters are complex and realistic, with layer upon layer of thoughtful and emotive stories. The relationship between middle-class Charlotte and Keisha, a girl who doesn’t know who she is or what she should do, is complicated but strongly written. Despite the crime element, ‘The Fall’ has a little bit of everything – drama, tension, action, romance and even a bit of laughter.

This is the kind of book that will have you thinking long after your turn the final page. A great debut.

Vic x

Download your copy of ‘The Fall’ here:

Order ‘The Fall’ in paperback here:

Why I’m going to be very busy over the next fortnight.

Forget Cannes, Whitley Bay is the only film festival by the sea worth visiting.

Last year was the first time I’d attended Whitley Bay – or any other – Film Festival and now I’m hooked! I went to see cult classic ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ at the Spanish City Dome and was so impressed by everything – the movie memorabilia, the film itself and the enthusiasm of the audience – that this year I’m going to every event possible.

Lots of people camped it up at ‘Rocky Horror’ in fancy dress so this year I’m looking forward to seeing maybe a Marilyn Monroe  at ‘Some Like It Hot’ and plenty of zombies at the ‘Dawn of the Dead’ screening. Audience participation is encouraged – you can get as involved as you like so get thinking about those iconic costumes! Zombies? Vampires? Tin Man? Lion? Scarecrow? Oh my!

There are some of my favourite films showing this year – including ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Moulin Rouge’ – and some films I’m seeing for the first time. The event I’m most excited about is The Secret Cinema, where you’re taken to a secret location relevant to the film being shown. Previous years have included ‘Get Carter’ staged in the RAOB and ‘The Shining’ at The Rex Hotel.

I’ll be blogging about the festival as it happens so keep checking for updates and photos.

Vic x

Review: ‘A Sacred Storm’ by Dominic C. James

In this, the third and final part of ‘The Reiki Man’ trilogy, two mysterious healers appear – each claiming to be the Messiah. One Muslim and one Christian, their arrival heralds what appears to be the beginning of the world as we know it. However, all is not what it seems and it is up to Stratton, Stella and Jennings to expose the truth before humanity implodes.

In his trilogy, Dominic C James has taken his readers all over the world, from London to India, from Rome to Mecca and in between. James’s descriptions are beautiful and intricate, really conjuring up a great mental picture for the reader.

James has created a compelling trilogy which will encourage any reader to question their beliefs. Some of the narrative is rather spectacular but it is entirely believable and handled with sensitivity.

Including the mystical practice of Reiki, this trilogy combines fiction with spiritual information. This book considers the impact of power falling into the wrong hands.

It’s a compelling narrative that fans of Dan Brown will adore.

Vic x

Getting to Know You: Pauline Holyoak

Here’s award-winning writer Pauline Holyoak to tell us about her writing life.

Vic x

I grew in Southeast England, in a coal mining village lovingly nicknamed, “The place that time forgot.” Go to my website, click on ‘Articles’ and find out why.  I immigrated to Canada when I was 21 in search of adventure and a new life.  I currently live in Alberta with my sports crazy husband, adorable sheltie dog and cantankerous ginger cat. I am the proud mother of two grown children and one grandchild on the way. Yay!

As far back as I can remember the pen and paper have been my faithful companions and story telling my forte. As a child I would sneak away from the mundane adult world, find a private retreat (usually behind the garden shed) and imagine. There, in my own little sanctuary, I’d conjure up all kinds of intriguing tales and colorful characters. In my teen years my journal became my confidante, with me revealing all my hidden secrets, private fantasies and wild notions within its pages. Later, I started to write poems, articles and short stories, and pondered the thought of becoming a writer.

When I moved to Canada, I buried my dreams under layers of real life clutter. I chose a safe and practical career in childcare, got married and raised a family. But my creative spirit kept trying to dig its way out. I was asked to write articles and editorials for our local church. I taught a storytime class at the school, which lead me to writing a children’s book. I wrote an article about my husbands’ prestigious grandfather and sent it to our local newspaper. They printed it. I kept sending them articles, they kept printing them. I was surprised by the compliments I received from the editor and readers. It was evident to me then that I had excavated my creative spirit.

I decided to take a comprehensive writing course to improve my technique. With help from a proficient and supportive tutor, who told me I had a gift, I began to cultivate my skill. My articles started to sell and I received an assignment from a major Canadian magazine.

The first book in my Merryweather Lodge trilogy ‘Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge’, was the Readers Favorite 2011 Silver Award Winner for paranormal fiction. I have also written two children’s books and had twenty-five articles and editorials published.

I often get asked. “What inspired you to write this trilogy?”…

Every summer, when I was a child, we would visit my aunt and uncle at their quaint little cottage on Salisbury Plain. It was called Scotland Lodge and was situated not far from the historical Stonehenge. My uncle worked as a farm hand for the local squire. My aunt tended the manor house. It was there as I roamed free, deep within the English countryside, that I experienced joy, enchantment and some very strange and frightening occurrences. It was like a fairytale kingdom with a sinister twist.

The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a nagging unsolved mystery A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland (the old place still emanates a strange and eerie essence) and I was led by some mysterious force into concocting this story and writing this trilogy. It is from my mystifying experiences at Scotland Lodge that this story has emerged.

Download ‘Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge’ here:

Download ‘Merryweather Lodge – Malevolent Spirit’ here:

Visit Pauline at her website