I could be You by Sheila Bugler

A couple of months ago I wrote a review of author Sheila Bugler’s ‘I Could be You’:

East Sussex Libraries have been talking to Sheila and the conversation is on their website (above)- take a look.

A World Fallen by Nicholas Carter

Today I am delighted to introduce a guest post by Nicholas Carter, who is talking to us about the process of writing and also a resume of his debut novel, published today.

I’ll be honest here, I’ve never written a guest blog post before. I’m not really sure what I’m doing. I have blogged before, moderately, and I am a writer. I am author, and I have a book releasing today. This is the reason I’m here, but it feels a bit disingenuous to just write a few paragraphs about promoting a book from an author no one has heard of yet. So, it is for that reason that I’m just going to talk about myself for a moment, my journey, and of course tell you all a little about my book.

My name is Nicholas Lawrence Carter and ever since I can remember I’ve been writing. When I was a kid I loved to make lists. I made them constantly, and about everything. My favorite movies, TV shows, books, video games, places to go, food, all of it. I even made questionnaires for my friends and gave them out. They loved it, except they didn’t. I’m thirty-four years old and am just releasing my first novel. I took a long, and often quite unsafe, route to get to where I am in life. I’ll spare you all the less interesting details and sum it up with this; I made a lot of bad decisions.

A few years ago I finally gave into the prodding that has always been in the back of my mind. I’ve dabbled in many creative avenues, to varying levels of minimal success. I’ve written and directed short films and sketch videos, produced and hosted podcasts, one which was picked up on local TV for about two years, written for a film website, started my own film critique page, been on the creative team for an Independent wrestling company, along with a few other endeavors.

Notice that writing is a key aspect to all of those ventures? Why, then, did it take me so long to realize that writing novels is what I really should be doing? Honestly, fear. I was afraid of failing, afraid of putting all the time and effort into something and it going nowhere. All of those other creative ventures I’ve been on have involved other people. None of them were carried out by just myself. There was always this small voice telling me, “You did everything you could. You can’t help that the others didn’t put in the effort that you did.” And you know what? That’s a cop-out.

The realization that I wasn’t truly committing fully, even though I was trying to do something creative, changed my entire perspective. You get out what you put in. These days my social life has massively reduced, and I’m actually perfectly fine with that. I want to be an author and I enjoy the process, even when I really don’t want to write on a given day, I always enjoy having written something and making progress. I want to support myself with this skill that I believe I have. Am I still afraid? Yes, of course, but I refuse to let that hold me back any longer. I’ll never know what my true ability is if I do not throw everything I have at it and eliminate all possible doubt. So, that is what my life has been these past several years.

I’m just a person who loves stories, loves telling them, and hopes others will find some sort of interest, joy, emotion, and/or comfort in the ones I tell. I’ll wrap this up here and leave you with a little about my book that releases today.

A World Fallen is a thriller set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world. A disease outbreak, that turns those infected into murderous drones, destroys society. The book is a bit of a mash up throwing in elements of suspense, a little dash of horror, a Stand By Me meets The Walking Dead quasi coming-of-age vibe, and it has zombies. Talking zombies. This ain’t your daddy’s George A. Romero flick. I wouldn’t say that I ever intended to write a novel in the zombie/virus sub-genre, but I felt that I had a pretty unique approach to it. To speak on that more would be to spoil aspects of the story, so I’ll leave that hanging there to pique your interest. The book is available on Amazon today in eBook and Paperback, and it’s also available in Kindle Select. It would mean the world to me if you would check it out and leave a review. Good or bad, I read them all, and they’re all helpful to me in further developing my craft. 

Thank you for choosing to spend some time with me and read this guest blog post. Check out my author website and catch me on Twitter. I’m always down to converse!

Link to buy book: https://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-Carter/e/B08B8X7WT3

Author Website: https://www.nlcarterwrites.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/therewillbenic

East Sussex Children’s Book Award

East Sussex Children’s Book Award 2020

This year’s winner is:

David Ouimet
I Go Quiet


I Go Quiet

How do you find your voice, when no one seems to be listening? A young girl struggles to make herself heard, believing she is too insignificant and misunderstood to communicate with the people in her life.

We had a great time reading all the books for the East Sussex Children’s Book Award. A librarians dream task. This week we were delighted to announce author David Ouimet a very worthy winner with ‘I go Quiet’.


Judenrein by Harold Benhamin

Today we have a guest post by Harold Benhamin, writing about his just published novel, Judenrein. Over to you Harry:

When I started writing Judenrein, a thriller that imagines the destruction of America’s Jews as white supremacists seized power in Washington, the plot seemed like a paranoid fantasy. Now, with “Bugaloo Bois” openly calling for a civil war as they violently disrupt black anti-police demonstrations, the notion doesn’t seem so crazy all of a sudden. Indeed, 2019 had the most anti-Semitic incidents of any year in the US.

Hate is rising and becoming increasingly normalized. Neo Nazis are tugging at the levers of power in Washington. The president calls them “Good people.” They haven’t gotten themselves into control—and may never get that far—but they are closer to their goal, and far more open about it, than they have been in decades.

The basic plot of the book is borrowed from what happened in the 1930s to German Jews. They were set up as scapegoats for Germany’s problems. The Nazis stripped Jews of their German citizenship and wealth. Jews were rounded up an eventually murdered. The word the Nazis used to describe their “success” was “Judenrein,” meaning “Free of Jews.”

Judenrein updates this story to present-day America. However, the book is for anyone who cares about what’s happening in the United States. I’ve tried to make it a fun, suspenseful read, but it delves into the issue of hatred and white power and its dangers for all Americans.

Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard

Poem by Thomas Gray

The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow’r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wand’ring near her secret bow’r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire’s return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault,
If Memory o’er their Tomb no Trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt’ry soothe the dull cold ear of death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village Hampden that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation’s eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their glowing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling’ring look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev’n in our Ashes live their wonted Fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonour’d dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

Haply some hoary-headed Swain may say,
‘Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

‘There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

‘Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt’ring his wayward fancies he would rove,
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.

‘One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,
Along the heath and near his fav’rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

‘The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn:’


Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frown’d not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark’d him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav’n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Mis’ry all he had, a tear,
He gain’d from Heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

Thomas Gray

“The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen” by Cameron Straughan.

Today I am very pleased to introduce another guest post, this time by author Cameron Straughan. I will certainly be taking a look at his book myself.. Take it away Cameron…!

Hello! I am an autistic author. I use absurd, surreal humour to help me cope. I use it to communicate how I feel, how I view the world around me and to reach out with the hopes of finding some common ground – shared experiences. After all, that’s the basis of laughter – recognition of shared experiences. I prefer using this method to all the negativity I see swirling around in contemporary society. I’d rather not criticize; instead, I’d rather have some fun. Sound good? Then you might like this news!

On July 1, 2020, I will officially release my collection of 23 interconnected, humorous short stories entitled “The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen” (paperback). It is currently available as an Amazon ebook.

My motivation for publishing this book is to help dispel the misconception that autistic people “have no sense of humour” and to suggest, in a fun way, how people can survive these chaotic times with their individuality in tact. Also, “horrifyingly absurd” millennial comedy seems ready for Anthony Zen; hit shows like BoJack Horseman and Rick and Morty suggest widespread acceptance of my particular brand of wild humour.

My writing style doesn’t preach – I facilitate; this is writing you can interpret. The reader can dig deeper (e.g. satirical elements, Buddhist teachings, absurdism, autistic features) or simply enjoy it as a fun, humorous read; I’m OK with either response. Anyway, the book certainly lives up to its name! If this sounds good to you, then please check it out!


Bell Hammers:The True Folk Tale of Little Egypt, Illinois by Lancelot Shaubert.

So today I have a Guest Post from NYC author & producer Lancelot Schaubert, talking about his debut novel, Bell Hammers.

“The novels that stick with me stick with me because of beautiful moments, good characters, true themes, and the hilarious reality of life. And because I felt that way about the novels that stick with me, I wanted to write a novel that did those four things. I think you’ll find BELL HAMMERS does all four.”

1. Beautiful Moments. I tried my best to create moments in this novel you will encounter nowhere else. Nowhere else will you encounter the world’s largest hippo crapping all over a church lady dressed in bleach white Sunday clothes, only to get literally hosed off by her country club drunk husband. Nowhere else will you encounter small children trying to bring a small town online using barbed wire telephone lines. Nowhere else will you find six carpenters staging a sit-in because their forman won’t give them beer. There are some beautiful little trees and beautiful vistas involving meteor strikes and medieval sieges and castles in the small town of Bellhammer, Illinois.

2. Good Characters. Authors overthink characters too often. The thing that makes a good character good is, quite clearly, goodness. And I tried to highlight the goodness of my main character Remmy so that you fall in love with him forever. He takes great care of his neighbors, he sticks up to bullies, he loves his wife in an arm wrastling sort of way. Even when he’s weak or mischievous, you’ll find him strong in goodness and therefore BELL HAMMERS will stick with you long after you put it down.

3. True Themes. The lost father. The utopia of friends. The harmless prank. The big bad wolf. All of these show up in the story and create a third rail that gives deep and true meaning to the events of the plot of BELL HAMMERS. 

4. Hilarious Reality. The sheer unfathomable givenness of things like hammers, cigarettes, poop, and music covers the pages of this novel. You’ll find yourself, when you’re done, wondering about the really real.

It’s a book about four generations of carpenters staging a siege of practical jokes upon a major oil company. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be looking for volume two, guaranteed. 


Two excerpts of Lancelot Schaubert’s debut novel BELL HAMMERS sold to The New Haven Review (Yale’s Institute Library) and The Misty Review, while a third excerpt was selected as a finalist for the last Glimmer Train Fiction Open in history. He has also sold poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to TOR (MacMillan), The Anglican Theological Review, McSweeney’s, Poker Pro’s World Series Edition, The Poet’s Market, Writer’s Digest, and many similar markets.

Spark + Echo chose him for their 2019 artist in residency, commissioning him to write four short stories on top of the seven others he sold them.

He has published work in anthologies like Author in Progress, Harry Potter for Nerds, and Of Gods and Globes — the last of which he edited and featured stories by Juliet Marillier (whose story was nominated for an Aurealis award), Anne Greenwood BrownDr. Anthony CirillaLJ CohenFC Shultz, and Emily Munro. His work Cold Brewed reinvented the photonovel for the digital age and caught the attention of the Missouri Tourism Board who commissioned him to write and direct a second photonovel, The Joplin Undercurrent, in partnership with award-winning photographer, Mark Neuenschwander. He edits The Showbear Family Circus, which has some resources for writers over at http://lanceschaubert.org/resources/ and you can find him on Goodreads as well.

To preorder you can go to:

Uvita Island, Limon Costa Rica.

Uvita Island, or Grape Island (English) is an uninhabited island off the coast of Limon in Costa Rica. Christopher Columbus anchored on the island during his final voyage to America in 1502.

We took a trip over to the island with TazMia Adventure Tours- find them on Facebook: TazMia Adventure Tours.

We paid $50 US per person for the whole trip. This included return taxi to the boat that would take us over- including a stop off at the supermarket, return boat trip and a tour guide to take us around the island. The tour guide- Larry- was fabulous. He walked us around telling us the island’s history and pointing out all the flora and fauna. The boat trip over took around fifteen minutes- a short journey down the river then hitting quite rough seas when we went over. Landing on the island was tricky but handled perfectly by the boat captain.

The whole afternoon was an adventure- exciting, informative and fun.

TazMia Adventure tours were amazing and 100% reliable- look for them around the port area- distinctive by their red t-shirts. One person will do the deal with you- agree a price and agenda, then pull everything all together for a brilliant trip- even found me a sloth!

Limon Sloth

Port Royal, Jamaica.

Port Royal village, Jamaica is located at the end of the Palisadoes at the mouth of Kingston Harbour, in south eastern Jamaica. Founded in 1494 by the Spanish, it was once the largest city in the Caribbean. It was the centre of shipping and commerce in the Caribbean Sea by the latter half of the 17th century.

It was also the one of the ports that allowed us to dock in the midst of the Covid-19 situation, albeit docking was tricky in the strong cross winds

The local authorities had laid on a festival in the port area for our visit, which included food, drink and souvenir stalls together with a main stage for bands and dancing.

Walking around the village outside the port was a whole different story. It was a local village, not a tourist town by a long shot. Small, hot and dusty, with an air of sleepiness about the area, people went about their daily lives. Cats and dogs slept stretched out in the sun. Children were coming out of school, washing hung on the lines and men lazed outside houses and the local bar. The atmosphere was sultry and vaguely intimidating. Police cars crawled slowly up and down the main street and side roads. We wandered around the historic fort and the church. Locals were in turn indifferent and welcoming. It felt the true Jamaica, away from the bustle of Kingston and the false environment of the holiday resorts. In a strange way it equated with a middle class English village that doesn’t especially attract tourists and belongs only to the people that live there. It even had a local football team!