#GuestPost : Home (After it Happened Book 9) by Devon C. Ford #Home #AfteritHappened @vulpine_press @DevonFordAuthor

Hello Readers! Today I’m pleased to welcome Devon C Ford on Books Teacup and Reviews to talk about the location inspiration for his new post-apocalyptic/sci-fi book, Home in After it Happened series. Check out the book details and interesting guest post below.

Home (After it Happened Book 9) by Devon C. Ford


Publication Date: March 27th 2020


Publisher: Vulpine Press


Genre: post-apocalyptic / sci-fi

Synopsis:

Safety is an illusion. Security is only a fleeting sense. Peace is a myth. 

Steve and the other survivors in the UK have rebuilt and healed after the brutal end to the reign of Richards. But removing a dictator was only the beginning… 

Years after a mistake of compassion and humanity, an enemy thought long gone returns to bring down a rain of violence and terror the likes of which they have never seen before. 

Their society, a peaceful one of trade and co- operation, has moved on from the bloody aftermath of the collapse, but that evolution blunts their teeth to be able to combat the new threat. 

The call to return to the rainy shores of England is strong for Dan and his fearless accomplices, so they return home to do what they do best: bring justice to a lawless world. 

About Series:

Set in the UK in the immediate aftermath of a mysterious illness which swept the country and left millions dead, After it Happened follows the trials of a reluctant hero, Dan, and the group he forms around him. They must battle the elements, find sufficient supplies and equipment to survive, and protect themselves against the most destructive force on the planet: other people.

Guest Post: Location Inspiration

A lot of fans ask me about the places in my books. Some of them are real, but most of them are figments of my imagination inspired by real places and changed to fit what I need for the story.

Following the mantra of writing what you know makes it easy to describe real places, but what to do when those real places limit your storytelling ability? How do you overcome that limitation to where your imagination wants to go?

In After It Happened, I did just that and based the early stories on places I knew well which allowed me to give that element of realism it so deserved. When the story evolved and moved on I found myself increasingly reliant on the internet to give me the visual backdrop of a canvas where I could paint my brushstrokes for the readers.

What to do when you’ve painted yourself into a corner? Two words.

Road.

Trip.

Minor spoiler alert, the story that starts in the rural centre of England moves south through the continent where pictures needed to be painted for the characters to play out their own story. I had to construct a set in which my imaginary actors could perform, and that required inspiration.

Now I’m not much of a people person – shock horror for a writer, I know – and even more so that I’m nervous of new places and not having a set pan to follow. I’m that person who arrives at the airport five hours early in case I don’t make the flight.

After a month of meticulous planning and creating an itinerary, I set off from home just after midnight to head south for le Chunnel.

From there, after half an hour sitting in my car as the train thundered along beneath the English Channel I emerged in the early hours in northern France with the same bizarre disorientation you get coming out of the cinema in the dark when you’d entered in daylight.

There I began what became an intimate and long-lasting personal relationship with the voice commands of my car’s navigation program. We very nearly split up when she unnecessarily took me on the Paris ring road as part of the return leg where I believe they were filming a new version of Death Race.

The first foreign leg, fraught with the confusion of being on the wrong side of the road, saw me driving from Calais to Bordeaux over about ten hours, with an additional ten percent of that spent stuck on a one-way system that gave me tantalising glimpses of the hotel I was supposed to staying at.

The following morning, setting off bright and early after three too many fresh croissants, saw me taking a stunning drive down the Pyrenees towards the first of my research locations.

That drive will forever be etched into my memory as the challenging, twisting mountain roads left my face aching with repetitive strain injury brought on by continuous grinning.

Due to the many errors made by my navigational companion, which may have been me ignoring her for the sheer enjoyment of driving, I found myself crossing through into Spain accidentally and then back to France before an inspiring tunnel lead me to a wonderfully inexpensive fuel station.

Trying out my (appalling) best French, I was shocked to be answered in Spanish and found out I was, in fact, a visitor of Andorra. That happy accident led to an hour of exploration and the inspiration for the seventh book of the series, even if I didn’t know that yet as I was researching book five.

Reluctantly getting back to my plan, I took to the mountain roads again to race the course of one of the rivers leading to my objective, Villefranche de Conflent. Literally the confluence of two rivers where a medieval walled town sat beneath a high hill crowned by an impenetrable defensive position called Fort Liberia.

These two places became so influential, so crucial to the story that without being there, without climbing the hundreds of steps carved out of the mountain itself and without walking the same ramparts my characters defended, I would never have created the story as it now exists.

Twice more I visited the town, getting by with my best (still appalling) French along with much pointing and smiling, until I’d walked every inch of the town until I could feel the cobblestones under my feet as I slept.

On what became my last visit there I saw a painting in the museum of a watchtower in a place called Sahorre which captured my frivolous attention enough to create yet another vital element to my books.

After a quick google I set off, opting to take the long walk as I had with the steps leading to Fort Liberia, and climbed that steep hill to spend a long time looking out over a cloudy-filled valley offering me line of sight for miles. I soaked in every detail I could, letting it infuse me in a way that sounds far too bohemian even to me, but that’s what I did.

Waking the next day with a number of aches to remind me that climbing two mountains on the same day was ill-advised at my age, I headed south for the sea.

I may not live anywhere near the coast now, but I grew up near it and always felt an affinity for a sea view and can still recall the calming sensation I experienced when I dropped out of the high ground to look down on what would eventually become the place I call Sanctuary.

Looking at the seaside town of Collioure, with the crown jewel of another medieval castle sitting proudly to loom over the entrance, I saw how these places would come together in my mind to create the perfect setting.

Wandering through the town again, earning odd looks from locals, I sat on the sea wall looking inwards to the town to form every wall, every rampart, every building in my mind until I could see it clearly. Even as the sun set there I still sat, drinking it all in until it became, and always will remain, my ultimate happy place.

So my answer to the readers when they ask if the places are real? Yes, they are. Only not in the literal sense.

My advice to other writers? Get out from wherever you sit to write. Chase your story to the places it takes you and don’t be afraid to change the world to make it what you need it to be. You never know what your imagination will create.

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/329jlVg

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2SYb6Hi

About the Author:

Devon C Ford is from the UK and lives in the Midlands. His career in public services started in his teens and has provided a wealth of experiences, both good and some very bad, which form the basis of the books ideas that cause regular insomnia.

Facebook: @decvoncfordofficial

Twitter: @DevonFordAuthor

Website: www.devoncford.com

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and post?
Have you read this book already or any book in this series?
Are you going to add it to TBR?

HAPPY READING!!

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#BlogTour #Excerpt : A Reason to Grieve by Mick Williams @rararesources

Hello readers! I’m happy to share a snippet from A Reason to Grieve by Mick Williams as part of blog tour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out more about this romcom in this post.

A Reason to Grieve by Mick Williams
Publication Date: 2016
Standalone First Book in a series
Genre: romantic comedy

SYNOPSIS:

Tom and Emma drift through life, both burdened with a heavy sense of grief. Both have suffered devastating loss and have closed themselves off to the possibility of happiness. Then, at a funeral, their eyes meet and they feel something neither expected.

Supported by their quirky friends and a ‘right to the point’ pensioner, will they overcome their fears and find the solution to the pain within each other, or will they give up and go their separate ways?

In turns funny and sad, A Reason to Grieve is a romantic tale about two people fighting their feelings, about love and loss. And about funerals.

EXCERPT:

I’ve always had total respect for the generations before mine, something that might be missing these days. Some of these folks fought wars to preserve our freedom and lived tough lives with no internet or mobile phones. Lives that gave them a better perspective of life’s trials. I’ve always listening closely to any advice my elders might give, and that ethic led to one the favourite characters I’ve written, a pensioner named Doris.

Some scenes from A Reason to Grieve take part in a salon owned by Emma, one of the main characters. This scene is a moment where Vicki, Emma’s co-worker, is discussing commitment with Doris – and gets advice she could never have imagined…

“So, we had the big conversation last night. I finally asked him how we were doing.”

Emma listened as Vicki discussed her evening with her client, a seventy-nine year old mild mannered lady named Doris. Doris turned up every four weeks for a blue rinse. She was the salon’s favorite client.

“And how did it go, honey?” drooled Doris through a set of loose-fitting dentures. “What did he say?”

“He said we were fine. Everything was fine.”

Doris let out a deep sigh. “Oh dear, did he actually say the word fine?”

“Why? What’s up with that?”

“Oh Vicki,” said Doris, “I’m so sorry.”

Vicki stepped away from the chair with scissors raised as Doris collapsed into a coughing fit. “Doris, are you okay? And sorry? Sorry for what?”

“I’m okay, dear. Don’t you read Cosmopolitan? You should read Cosmopolitan. All modern women read Cosmopolitan, it’s full of useful stuff. And you’ve seen my gray hair but, trust me, just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean the fire’s gone out down below. Anyway, fine is a word we use when we’re either annoyed or we want to be non-committal.”

“I’m not following,” said Vicki with a shake of the head. “And I really don’t want to picture your fires, Doris.”

Emma stepped closer as Jen, the other stylist, sandwiched the old lady in on the other side.

“Vic, the word fine doesn’t mean anything,” said Emma. “If things are going well, they’d be good. If they were going really well, they’d be great, maybe even amazing. If things were incredible, you’d get what you’re waiting for. But fine? Fine means nothing. Fine has no value or measurement. He’s still not committing.”

“How many years is it now?” asked Jen.

Vicki blinked. “Nine. We’ve been together for nine years. Adam’s my high school sweetheart, the only man I’ve ever loved, and I give him everything. So why won’t he set a date?”

“You kids,” said Doris. “You give those boys everything too soon and they get to a point where it’s all too easy for them. They get it handed to them on a plate. Bill and I had an understanding, and it kept him on his toes.”

When Doris said ‘understanding’, her eyebrows lifted and raised her tight curls an inch.

“He’s long gone now, as you know. Anyway, Bill had chores to do and, until they were done, he’d have to cut his way through armor to get to me. Even after that, I wouldn’t give it up easily. Almost fifty years of marriage, and he still passed away with a smile on his face.”

“So how did that work?” asked Vicki. “If Bill didn’t do his chores, what happened?”

“Well, he went to bed and faced the wall, didn’t he?” said Doris with a smile.

“And if he did everything right?”

“Oh, honey, I rocked his world! That’s why our marriage lasted fifty years.”

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reason-Grieve-Mick-Williams/dp/1536957216/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Reason-Grieve-Mick-Williams/dp/1536957216/

Author Bio:

Mick Williams moved from Stoke-On-Trent, England to Kentucky, USA. Then, after almost a decade, he moved back.

In between reading, writing and listening to good music he still watches proper football and, for his sins, follows his local team Port Vale. He does also still cheer for the Indianapolis Colts.

He was adopted by two cats, Crash and Thud, and resides with his patient wife in Staffordshire.

Social Media Links – www.mickwilliamsauthor.com and mickwilliamsauthor on Facebook​  

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book?
Have you read this book already or any book by the same author?
Are you going to add it to TBR?

HAPPY READING!!

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Weekly Wrap-up #WeekinReading (13/1/’20)

Hello readers! My week in reading was great. I finished 2 books that I planned to read. Added 3 books on TBR. 2 I received from author and one from Vulpine Press.

So what I read last week-

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Both were interesting, 400 pages long and a little slow but enjoyable. I was reading them simultaneously. I enjoyed A Cozy Christmas in Cornwall more. I’m still thinking what to write in review of these two! It happens when I don’t take notes. I need time to gather my thoughts but I’ll post them soon.

Here is how my week looked in diary/journal –

What I’m Planning to read this week-

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When Devon discovers his car stolen, he must find transportation to get to his destination before the deadline to get what’s rightfully his: the urn containing one-fifth of his deceased momma. He hops on Bus No. 255 and changes the course of the route. As the passengers’ personalities and needs emerge, they go from being strangers to a bonded family within hours as they fight for each other, and themselves… in more ways than one. Funny and sentimental, this story will grab your heart as you cheer everyone on Bus Route No. 255, maybe even the busnapper.

Meet the passengers on Bus No. 255, an unlikely group of people who have no choice but to try to get along and survive when their bus gets busnapped. Meet Devon, who has a deadline he must meet, or risk losing what’s his; Doug, a dreamer of a better life, but first must face a sad truth; Frankie, a life full of loneliness, but unexpectedly becomes a hero; Gloria, a woman who finds validation in the most unexpected place; Autumn, a girl who desires a family, and a sense of belonging; Dave, a man seeking justice and equality, learns to love himself as he is; and the Garcia family, whose family ties brings them to the brink of danger. Follow these passengers as they each fulfill their destinies, together.

This is a tour book a short read that I’ll read in weekend.

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A novelette:

Cori has always been a bit on the strange side, but when a gate to Hell—literally—pops up in her backyard, she tumbles down, down, down in to a place filled with beasts waiting to reap her soul for the Devil himself.

Lucky for Cori, she meets Rigel and his gang of misfits who have been trapped for quite a bit. Together, they must formulate a plan to escape, or risk remaining down below for all eternity and burning foreverm
ore.

Another short story that I’ll start after writing review of those two I finished last week.

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The gods betray you.
The winds are hunting.
Nowhere is safe.
The journey begins…

The war of the gods has left Aeneas’s country in flames. Though he is little more than a youth, Aeneas must gather the survivors and lead them to a new homeland across the roaring waves. Confronted by twisted prophecies, Aeneas faces the wrath of the immortals to find his own path.

First in a trilogy based on Virgil’s epic poetry, Ashes of Olympus: The Way Home is a tale of love and vengeance in an age of bronze swords and ox-hide shields.

This I received in 2019 from publisher and I said I’ll review it in Feb but I’m reading it early. It’s been ages I read mythology.

Let’s discuss!

What did you read last week?
What are you planning to read this week?
Have you read any of these books?

Happy Reading!!

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Favorite New-to-me Authors in 2019 (Part I) #FavNewToMeAuthors

Hello readers! 2020 has started nicely but I’m not reading new book by new author as of now. I still need to finish review requests I got in 2019 but that’s not the topic here. I would like to tell you all about new authors and their amazing books I discovered in 2019. There were many new authors I discovered, (that reminds me to add a count of New and old author in 2020 excel sheet). Most of them were great and few I were okaish but it always amazing to read something new and fresh.

So, here is list!

1. Miranda Rijks

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I have read just one book by Miranda Rijks and I can say she write amazing psychological thriller. Deserve To Die was thrilling, tense, spine chilling, unnerving, addictive and intriguing page turner. It was written flawlessly. I loved author’s style the way she kept the nervousness alive from the very first page and it didn’t die until the end. It was clever book with intricate plot that kept me guessing the next move of that horrible villain. I have another one in my kindle ‘You are mine’ by Miranda Rijks and I cannot wait to read it and rest of the book by this author.

[Review]
Affiliate Link: Amazon.in | Amazon.com


2. Jennifer Donaldson

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In last 2-3 months I mentioned this author and this book of her ‘I Know You Remember’ many times. This was fabulous YA psychological thriller that I keep recommending. It was about obsession, dysfunctional family, abusive parents and their addiction issues, friendship and jealousy. It had many layers. That big twist at climax was mind-boggling. Characters, plot, twist and end everything was perfect in this book. I wish to read more books by Jennifer Donaldson.

[Review]
(affiliate Link) Book Depository | Amazon.in | Amazon.com


3. Jo Jakeman

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Safe House was clever psychological thriller. The plot was layered with elements of misreading and misjudging a person, guilt, betrayal, manipulation, lies, deceit, blind love, unhealthy relationship, and facing past to give it closure. Gripping writing, suspenseful plot, intriguing characters and atmospheric setting left me wanting to read more by this author.

[Review]
(affiliate Link) Book Depository | Amazon.in | Amazon.com


4. Liz Davies

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Liz Davies wrote this lovely, entertaining, humorous, realistic relatable romcom with lots of family drama. It was feel good story that had a good message of importance of sharing burden, being supportive, understanding each other’s perspective, and bringing back the spark in relationship and enjoying Christmas as a family. Writing was wonderful, entertaining and engaging.

[Review]
(affiliate Link) Book Depository | Amazon.in | Amazon.com


5. Malia Zaidi

I discovered Malia Zaidi through Emma’s blog tour and I got to read all 4 books by her. Lady Evelyn Mystery series was compelling cozy mysteries that I enjoyed so much and kept recommending throughout the year. It was historical mysteries that was about post war trauma, social values and prejudice, scandals, social differences and preconceptions, tragedy, dysfunctional family, finding peace with past and learning various aspect of humanity. Phew, many insightful topics were covered throughout the series with exquisite, graceful and flawless writing. Each book had wonderful setting and mysteries that I loved to solve along with main character. Hmm, I don’t know if the series continues or not but I would love to read more from this author.

[Review- Book 1 , Book 2 , Book 3 , Book 4]

There are more new authors and their books I discovered in 2019 but I didn’t want the post too long so, I will post part II tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed the post and may have found new books and authors to add to 2020 TBR.

Let’s discuss!

Have you read any of these book or other books by the same author?
Which new authors and books you discovered in 2019?

Happy Reading!!

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#BookReview : Maps of Bliss and Rage by Mario Dhingsa

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Maps of Bliss and Rage by Mario Dhingsa
Published May 15th 2019
Genre: Fiction / Anthology
Pages: 186
Stars: ★★★★☆ (3.5)

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Eight achingly original, wonderfully witty and touchingly tender stories spanning the globe:
Antarctica, New Zealand, India, New York City,
Malta, Italy, Switzerland, England.
Eight countries, eight strangers, eight escapes…

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Mario Dhingsa. ***

Maps of Bliss and Rage was collection of 8 short stories set in 8 different countries. It was about survival and adventure, revenge, abuse and religious conflicts, politics, Christianity and miracle, unlikely friendship, rumors about princess and her dangerous life, reminiscence of school life.

Writing was great. I loved the way each stories started with interesting characters and their situation, the way stories developed with plot twists and the unpredictable ends. Setting was great, the place and timeline for story, cultural aspect and some historical facts ware written perfectly. Some stories were entertaining, while some emotional, tense and had hard topics.

That blurb doesn’t say anything about the stories, so here is bits of what it’s about and what I liked.-

1. Between the Sword and the Wall

This was good first story of the collection. It followed Crozier, an environmentalist and Rawdon, a penguin biologist selected as staff replacement at Casey Station in Antarctica. Their wait till research starting in October was crucial in icy, bone chilling atmosphere. Loneliness, nothing to do drove most of them crazy. Rawdon got this crazy idea to visit a likely girlfriend at another base. In weather so chilling that even half kms was impossible to cross, these two set out on this crazy and deadly adventure. Their situation was awkward and I did feel bad for them but it was entertaining and humorous. I liked the end.

2. I won’t stay Still

This was the story of hurt lover and undervalued subordinate plotting their revenge to settle the score with a politician who was rich, powerful and an adulterer. It was set in New Zealand. I liked the way characters were called. There was no original name but were called by their position- diplomat, clerk, secretary, ambassador, Lady N. it was quite unique and so was the story. I loved this one. End was satisfactory.

3. The end of the storm in my hand

This was my most favorite story, set in India. It was a story of a gang leader plotting  riots along with corrupted police officers, a cowardly evil officer who abused his wife and beat his children to vent off his anger, a helpless father trying to save his innocent daughter-in-law and many other people of the town. This made me so much angry. It had some tragic events. The story was perfectly written. It was close to the fact. Author captured culture and flaws of India aptly.

4. The Pierogi Negotiation

It was set in USA that followed meeting of President Nixon with his National security advisor Kissinger discussing diplomatic situation related to bringing peace and ending Vietnam war. This was not my favorite story. I almost lost interest in the middle and had to read few passages again to get a grip.

5. Saints and Shipwrecks

It followed a sour old man and his son who returned after long time with his roman fiancée. Set in Malta, it expressed old man’s dislike towards romans, his strong belief in Saint Paul and the story of shipwreck, a daughter-in-law who didn’t agree with his thoughts and arguments, and a son sandwiched between two desperately trying to calm the situation and bring truce between the two bickering person in the house until they witness a miracle. At first I didn’t get what was going on and what they were talking about until I googled the Saint Paul story they were arguing over. I liked the way story took turn. End was shocking.

6. A Gentle Hand

This was set in Rome, at cemetery where a wondering spirits met three other waiting for the gate to open and pass through from this world. They form unlikely friendship after death during this waiting period. Their life story was intriguing. But again I lost interest at some point and I had to read twice to understand this story.

7. Knives Within

This story follows a rumor about illegitimate princess, a member of imperial family of Japan, who was sent away to study in Europe but kept under protection and surveillance. There were those who wanted to save her, keep her protected and those who wanted to take advantage of imperial family’s situation and harm Princess. The story was tense, fast paced, had interesting turn and unpredictable end.  

8. De tijd brengt rozen

The story followed Marty reminiscing a childhood event that changed his life, a time with his beloved teacher who understood him, cared for him and had changed his life by helping him to be better person. This story had unexpected end.

Why 3.5 stars-

As I said I had, in 2-3 stories I lost interest in middle and had to re-read few passages to get a grip. Maybe it’s just me, it won’t be the case with you, but it niggled a little.

Overall, it was interesting anthology with creative stories that took place in different countries .

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR? Which is your favorite Anthology or short story?

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