Cornish Reading Challenge: Phillipa Ashley talks about her Cornish inspiration – & win a copy of Summer at the Cornish Cafe!

New author photo favePhillipa Ashley writes warm, funny romantic fiction for a variety of international publishers. The first two books in her best-selling Cornish Café series made the Amazon Top 20 and Top 10 chart in 2016. The final novel, Confetti at the Cornish Café, is published on May 29th 2017.

Phillipa lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter. When she’s not writing, she loves walking, cycling and swimming in wild places like the Lake District and of course, Cornwall.

To say that Cornwall has been an inspiration for my work over the past 11 years is a bit of an understatement. I’ve now set seven novels either wholly or partly in this magical county, and I’m currently writing three more.

My latest series is a contemporary romantic saga about a group of quirky characters who run a cafe in Cornwall – they all have secrets to hide, pasts to escape, and big challenges to face. Funnily enough, the trilogy is called the Cornish Cafe series! On May 29th, the final book – Confetti at the Cornish Cafe – will be published by Avon.

It would take years for me to tell you what inspires me about this rugged, beautiful part of the world, but it’s probably the landscapes and seascapes – dramatic, wild, charming, and utterly captivating.

Here are a few of the places that have inspired me, and that feature in my books.

The Minack Theatre

Voted one of the world’s top outdoor performance venues by Lonely Planet, the Minack features in several scenes in past Cornish novels.

Minack night 2015

St Ives

This bustling fishing village with its buttery beaches and vibrant arts scene appears in a several and in the guise of St Trenyan in the Cornish Cafe series (crossed with Mousehole and Padstow!)

Godrevy

Miles of beach and sandy towns behind them, with a lighthouse at the headland. This is my favourite place to surf and bodyboard, and my characters love it too.

St Michael’s Mount

I love this medieval island castle so much that I wrote a whole book about a similar castle – Return to Castle Bay.

Botallack Mining Region

The craggy ruins of abandoned engine houses, clinging onto the cliffs above the Atlantic are a World Heritage site. They feature strongly in some dramatic scenes in the Cornish Cafe series.

I hope you find time to visit some of these wonderful places, and if you find your way to the Cornish Cafe series, I hope you enjoy spotting them.

DSCN0083

Win a copy of Summer at the Cornish Cafe!

I’m offering a signed copy of Summer at the Cornish Cafe to one person. All you have to do is email your name and address, and the answer to the following question, to thebandwagonreviews@gmail.com!

Which Irish actor plays Ross Poldark in the current BBC series of Poldark?

Confetti at the Cornish Cafe | Phillipa Ashley | @PhillipaAshley | Facebook | Instagram

Cornish Reading Challenge: Annalisa Crawford crosses the Tamar Bridge

There are two bridges across the River Tamar – for trains, the Royal Albert Bridge (known locally as the Brunel Bridge), and for vehicles, the Tamar Bridge. Before the Tamar Bridge was built in 1962, a ferry connected the two sides of the river.

dav

After moving to Saltash when I was 11, I’d only walked across the bridge three times – each time, holding tightly onto whoever I was walking with. I was/am scared of heights. However, as an adult, my buses to work were becoming more unreliable, and one day I made the decision to walk the bridge to catch a choice of services on the Plymouth side.

At the time, the cantilevers – one on each side, to provide a fourth traffic lane, and a dedicated pedestrian/cycle path – were new. And every time a heavy lorry drove past, the cantilever bounced. It was a horrible feeling, and took me months to get used to it.

dig

Gradually, I grew to love my daily jaunt, the freshness of the river helped to wake me up. In the middle of the winter, I’d occasionally witness glorious sunrises; and during the height of summer, it was a relaxing start to the working day, the river beneath deep blue, speckled with white sailing boats

The river itself has its distinct personality – glassy winter clarity or hazy mid-summer glow, grey and churning during storms, dull and heavy when the weather is overcast.

dav

Walking across the bridge on windy days were a battle, with gusts predominantly from the south pushing me into the path of cyclists and other walkers – the day I chose a denim maxi skirt was particularly memorable and challenging. If the wind was paired with rain or hail, I’d be soaked and exhausted, but strangely exhilarated. Once I gave in to the fact that my hood was never going to stay in place, I’d walk with my arms open and a grin on my face, relishing the elements.

My favourite days were those of thick fog, where both Saltash and Plymouth disappeared, and the river was a mere suggestion beneath my feet. In the right conditions, the sun shone but the bridge was completely enveloped in low cloud, a river mist that can linger for most of the morning. Walking into it feels like entering a fairy tale, a surreal and beautiful start to the day.

Sadly, I no longer walk across the bridge – I got a new job on my side of the Tamar. But, sometimes, when the weather is right, I walk across just for the fun of it.

dig

My third book, Our Beautiful Child, was set around this area, although I omitted the two bridges across the water and borrowed some features from nearby towns. I don’t know why; sometimes I wish I hadn’t.

Author Bio

Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall, UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, a dog and a cat. Annalisa writes dark contemporary, character-driven stories. She has been winning competitions and publishing short stories in small press journals for many years, and is the author of four books: Cat & The Dreamer, That Sadie Thing and other stories, Our Beautiful Child and You, I. Us. She won 3rd prize in the Costa Short Story Award, 2015. Find her on her website, Facebook and Twitter @annalisacrawf.

Cornish Reading Challenge: Recommendations

For the challenge this year, I’ve chosen two books: The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall, and Under A Cornish Sky by Liz Fenwick. There are so many wonderful books set in Cornwall for you to choose from – here’s a few I’d recommend.

Poldark by Winston Graham

You can’t have a Cornish book list without including the increasingly popular Poldark. Brought to the screen on BBC, the Poldark series is enchanting and enjoyable.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The same can be said about du Maurier. Arguably the most famous Cornish writer, you’ll be missing out if you don’t pick up at least one of her books. Rebecca is my personal favourite.

The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson

Publisher, writer, Cornish maid – Johnson has it all, and so do her books. You can really feel her personal history woven through the pages of her books.

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

Now, this book isn’t set in Cornwall, but Gale does hail from the county, and, because it is such a glorious book, it deserves to be mentioned.

You’re The One That I Want by Angela Britnell

Britnell shares her time between Nashville and Cornwall, and you can see those influences in her work. If you’re looking for a romance, look no further.

The Shiver Stone by Sharon Tregenza

Tregenza is a perfect choice for younger readers. Although this book is set in Wales, Tregenza herself lives in Cornwall.

The Dust of Ancients (The Lynher Mill Chronicles #1) by Terri Nixon

Fantasy set in Cornwall? What better place to draw mystical ideas than the glorious landscapes of Cornwall.

Cat and The Dreamer by Annalisa Crawford

Crawford is a true West Country maid, and her work is breathtaking.

There’s Something About Cornwall by Daisy James

Indeed there is! James’s books are humourous and enticing, and a fantastic addition to anyone’s Cornish to-read pile.

The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

If you love a good romance with touches of folklore, look no further.

The Plague Charmer by Karen Maitland

Although Maitland lives in Devon, and her books are set all over the country, she deserves an honourary mention, simply because her books are not to be missed (and, don’t forget, the Cornish Reading Challenge does include the whole of the West Country!).

What will you be reading this year? Let us know in the comments below, or engage with us on Twitter: @VikkiPatis #CornishReadingChallenge

Ask The Author: K. M. Baginski

Author K. M. Baginski drops by The Bandwagon to talk about her writing process.

IMG_0698A

Kisa Baginski is a middle school science teacher and author of the Windstalker Series. Rehumanized Drew (May 7, 2017) is a spinoff novella from Baginski’s debut novel, Windstalker: Awareness, and follows the plight of a man in his early 20s, Drew Royce. After turning into a “Windstalker”—a Nephilim subspecies who can transform into air/wind in order to feed on human organs for survival—Drew has managed to become human again, which forces him into hiding. Haunted by his disturbing actions as a Windstalker, Drew must decide between causing more harm to the human world or hiding out until death finds him.

What inspired you to start writing?

I just realized one day I loved stories enough to contribute in any way I could. I cherish so many sci-fi, mystery, horror and dark fantasy stories about the multifaceted nature of humanity. There are also what I consider “many rooms” in my own imagination that I hope may help entertain more than just my family.

What do you wish you’d known about the publishing process?

If anything, I wish I understood more about the art of editing. Finding a great editor is like finding a lifeline. My editor for Rehumanized Drew taught me so much about good storytelling. I felt I had a mentor in her, that I wouldn’t have to guess at conveying meaning as much as I did when writing my first book. Also marketing is its own universe. I wish I understood the value of launching with a complete marketing plan and team of amazing professionals, before releasing the first book.

Tell us more about your book.

In Rehumanized Drew, Drew Royce is a criminal, kept ward by an Evolved Nephilim race (Windstalkers) and used as a weapon against their enemy. But the victims he’s left behind have a way of finding him and make living, in the meantime, a nightmare.

This book is a spin off of my developing Windstalker series. Windstalkers are a supernatural Evolved Nephilim species which survives by feasting on human energy. Drew Royce is a key character from Windstalker: Awareness. Rehumanized Drew picks up exactly where Awareness left him.

RehumanizedDrewCover

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

At risk of blurting a cliche, anyone who loves stories should probably just write one! Or more. I don’t think you could ever make a mistake investing time and energy when you’re doing what you love.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing the next Windstalker novel, Windstalker: Prophecy, the actual sequel in the Windstalker series. What’s interesting about Prophecy (book 2 of the series) is it also picks up right where the first book, Awareness, leaves the readers. But instead of following Drew, it follows the lives of the other characters just after a major event (Drew’s re-humanization procedure, returning he and the girl he sired to human again).

What are you reading right now?

Right now, I’m reading a great epic fantasy/drama called Phoenix 2.0 by Daccari Buchelli. It boasts lyrical prose, a powerful tale of magic and betrayal on the scale of the Golden Compass and Royal territories known as the Four Realms call forth George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. Its quite the filling bedtime story!

Facebook | Twitter | Website

Dave McDonald: 9 Ways To Teach Kids To Manage Money

Now that you are an adult, you probably wished that you were trained to save money when you were much younger, right? You are not alone as many grown-ups who handle their finances feel the same. Your kids on the other hand can learn about the importance of saving and how to do it at a young age. Now is the best time for you to teach them.

Studies proved that children who were taught earlier about managing their money become better in handling their finances when they become adults. This practice will turn into a lifestyle in the long run and it will become natural to them.

One of the common ways that parents do to teach their kids to save money is to save using a piggy bank. To make this even more fun and effective, try using a clear jar. This will motivate them more as they will see their savings increase.

It’s also important that you practice what you preach. Setting a good example to the youngsters is the best way to teach them as they tend to copy what they see. Instead of giving them money, ask them to work on it so they will know its value.

We want to help you make your children become financially responsible as early as now. This is why we made an infographic that contains more information on how to train them.

See our pretty and informative graphics below, and start training your kids to handle money matters well.

9 Ways To Teach Kids To Manage Money

Introducing: Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

The Bandwagon introduces Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton, a science fiction masterpiece that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.

Content warning. Rarity from the Hollow describes child abuse and murder.

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

1 Rarity Front Cover WEB (2).jpg

Amazon | GoodreadsLulu | Dog Horn Publishing

About Robert Eggletonroberteggleton

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997. Today, he is a retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines.

Facebook | @roberteggleton1

Read the excerpt below.

Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn’s name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.

I hear her voice. Why won’t she answer me?

“Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods.

Nobody responded. The trees weren’t supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.

I will always love you guys.

Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.

Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front.

Jenny looked to the left of the path.

There ain’t no cave Roundabend, but there it is.

She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn’t exit and into a blue light that did.

“All right, you mother f**ker!”

“Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you’re supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story).”

DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.

“Grrrrr,” emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn’s dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.

“Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”

“You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.

Stay between them.

“Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I’m old enough — like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend — what you call it — my fiancé.”

“You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce.

“MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”

Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.

He ain’t got no private parts, not even a little bump.

“DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”

Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.

“Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.”

I will need much more training if I’m ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.

“Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”

Jenny’s left eye twitched.

DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…

…(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There’re a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain’t complained since the shots started — not even with an upset stomach.”

“He’s a doctor?” Jenny asked.

“What’s your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that’s different — even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”

“Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.

“So?”

Mommy’s right. Maybe I need a different argument.

A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.

“What’s that?” Jenny asked.

She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.

“But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.

“Mommy, I’m so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn’t talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain’t had no chance to talk. All I know is that he’s home and I’m sooooo happy.”

“Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more….

It’s unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that’s a good sign. Maybe she’s right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They’ve been together for a while and I ain’t seen a mark on her. That’s unusual too. He ain’t got no private parts and that’s another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. I’d better play it smart. I don’t want to lose my baby.

“What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.

“I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”

“My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition — the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said.

They both glared at him.

“Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said.

“Okay, Mommy.”

“I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her.

“I love you too,” DotCom said.

Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile — at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.

Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….”

 

Dave McDonald: 10 Powerful Tips to Write and Sell Your First eBook

Authors can now write, publish, and sell their own e-books a lot easier than before, mainly because of the popularity of the Internet. This doesn’t mean that it comes without any challenge, as it still does, but it is not as difficult as it was before to do it on your own without the help of big publishing companies.

If you have been wanting to write and market an e-book for a long time, this is the perfect time for you to make it happen. Not only is this a good way for you to earn additional income, but this is also a fantastic way for you to enhance your skills, gain more experience, and build your name as an authority in this field.

Many people are downloading e-books nowadays so take advantage of that. One of the things to consider when writing an e-book is to determine the reason why you are making one. Is it to educate people, entertain them, or teach them how to do things? Being clear on your objective will guide you throughout the process of creating your e-book.

This is just one of the things to take into consideration to make your e-book a success. We want to see you succeed in this field that’s why we prepared an infographic containing more helpful and effective tips on how to write and sell your first e-book.

Check out our colorful and helpful illustration below and begin making your dream as an author a reality.

10 Powerful Tips to Write and Sell Your First eBook