Apple Island Wife: Slow Living in Tasmania by Fiona Stocker #blogtour #bookexcerpt

 

Apple Island Wife cover design final

Apple Island Wife: Slow Living in Tasmania written by Fiona Stocker, publisher Unbound, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/2E6EFQI

Book blurb

What happens when you leave city life and move to five acres on a hunch, with a husband who s an aspiring alpaca-whisperer, and a feral cockerel for company? Can you eat the cockerel for dinner? Or has it got rigor mortis?
In search of a good life and a slower pace, Fiona Stocker upped-sticks and moved to Tasmania, a land of promise, wilderness, and family homes of uncertain build quality. It was the lifestyle change that many dream of and most are too sensible to attempt.
Wife, mother and now reluctant alpaca owner, Fiona jumped in at the deep end. Gradually Tasmania got under her skin as she learned to stack wood, round up the kids with a retired lady sheepdog, and stand on a scorpion without getting stung.
This charming tale captures the tussles and euphoria of living on the land in a place of untrammelled beauty, raising your family where you want to and seeing your husband in a whole new light. Not just a memoir but an everywoman s story, and a paean to a new, slower age.

Apple Island Wife Blog Tour Poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating Fiona Stocker’s travel memoir: Apple Island Wife.  Fiona Stocker has kindly chosen a great excerpt from her book:

I developed a repertoire of mood-enhancing substances to help me raise a family thousands of miles away from my own. A small white tablet upon rising. Coffee at ten or eleven. Dark chocolate mid-afternoon, often taken in the private space of the pantry. I did more research and added omega three with boiled eggs and salmon for breakfast. With dinner, I had a glass of chilled white wine.

Most of all, I made sure the children and I stayed connected to the outside world, every day. Part of the daily routine for Daisy, Kit and myself was a walk along the road. It was a slow affair, sometimes bordering on torturous, with every blade of grass and wildflower having to be admired along the way. A toddler’s concept of a walk is a very different thing from an adult’s, and doesn’t necessarily involve walking at all. It could take half an hour to get out of the house, being dependent upon the stars of sleep and feeding aligning for Kit, and the pram, scooter, helmets and sunhats being located for the rest of us.

But once out in the fresh air and making our way incrementally along the verges, everything took on a different hue. There is much to be said for allowing the cobwebs of the mind to be swept away by a spring breeze, for the kiss of the sun upon the skin. Whether we were wrapped up warm against the winter cold, or in hats and shorts in the early morning or late afternoon summer sun, allowing our bodies and souls exposure to the elements was restorative and joyful. It was something I knew in theory to be important, but I had to make a conscious effort and remind myself to get out there.

In Brisbane, our walks with Daisy around the neighbourhood had been an inquisitive peek into other people’s gardens and lives. We once spent a day watching a backyard swimming pool being craned into place over the house behind ours.

In country Tasmania, a whole new repertoire of neighbourhood sights was rolled out before us, of nature, farming and the weather. We came to understand our neighbours’ endeavours better by the season. In early springtime there would be calves in Jacko and Barb’s sweeping paddocks, hovering by their mothers’ sides, their coats glossy and black. Later they would be replaced by lambs, woolly and frisky, bleating and scampering away from us. The children loved to spend time by the fence watching them all.

‘What is dat thing on the cow’s tummy, Mummy?’ asked Daisy one day, of a creature with a calf at foot.
‘That’s its udder,’ I replied. ‘That’s how it can feed its calf lovely milk and help it grow.’
‘So it will grow into a big girl, Mummy? Like me?’ Daisy was sorting a lot of things out in her mind at this point. And she liked milk.
‘Yes, and then into a lady with a calf of its own,’ I continued, not sure about this mixing of species.
‘I am growing into a lady too. I have just got flat boobies, dat is de problem.’ She patted her tiny chest through her fleecy jacket.

It was the first inkling I had that living in the country was going to be marvellous for teaching my children how life worked. It was playing out in the paddocks all around us. As I listened to their thoughts, and stood at the fence line, breathing in the summer air with its salty tang from the Bass Strait, or bracing against the winter winds from the central mountains, I had a strong sense of how this place would nourish our lives. Being out in the midst of it made me feel I was in a place closer to where we were intended to be.

Late one afternoon at the end of winter, a white-bellied sea eagle crossed our paths, clearing the treetops beside the road suddenly, circling slowly, its wings outstretched. Unbidden, the children stopped in their tracks. We all watched soundlessly as it landed on a fence post at the side of the road metres away from us. Suddenly it looked back towards us and we regarded each other, equally astonished. Its white head and chest were pristine, its wings buff brown, its eyes keen, although not that keen as it had failed to see us even from its vantage point in the sky. It was in its prime, a picture of strength and agility, every feather in place, the ultimate example of what the environment around us could support. For that brief moment it made all our hearts beat a little faster, and inspired us.

Over the years, I continued to walk daily along my piece of ribbon through the landscape, with the children, with Oliver, with a dog or alone. The sights and sounds, and all the other sensory experiences of the outdoors, never fail to galvanise me.

Thank you so much to the author for sharing this excerpt it sounds a fascinating read and such a comparison to urban life.

About the Author

Fiona Stocker Author PictureFiona Stocker is the author of travel memoir Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania, published by Unbound in 2018.

Raised in England, Fiona Stocker now lives in Tasmania where she writes freelance for magazines, newspapers and online publications, and runs a niche farm, food and tourism business in partnership with her husband.

She occasionally works as a ghost writer and editor, and was a judge in the Tasmanian Short Story Competition in 2016. Her first book, A Place in the Stockyard, a history of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture featuring its members, was published in 2016.

Read more and subscribe for a quarterly newsletter at http://www.fionastocker.com/ or read Fiona Stocker’s blog at http://www.appleislandwife.com/

Fiona Stocker lives in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania, with her husband, two children and around forty-five pigs.

Apple Island Wife is her first travel memoir.

Twitter @FionaCStocker

She Saw What He Did by Lynda Renham book excerpt

 

she saw what he did

She Saw What He Did written by Lynda Renham, publisher Raucous Publishing, is available in ebook format from the 1st February 2019.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To pre-order/buy link: https://amzn.to/2sRzvBF

Product Details

Abby Miller thought she had the perfect family; a good looking, loving husband and a beautiful daughter. Her life was complete. The shock discovery that her husband, Jared had been having an affair rocked her world. So when Jared suggested a short break to the Cannard Islands, to heal their fractured marriage, Abby agreed. An idyllic holiday turns into a nightmare when Abby witnesses something terrible. Suddenly her life and the life of her daughter are in serious danger and no one seems able to help them.

Happy Publication Day to Lynda Renham, I am so pleased to be able to share an excerpt of Lynda Renham’s latest novel with you:

Sparrow
He looked down at his phone and smiled. A withheld number meant only one thing.
‘Yeah,’ he said roughly.
‘Sparrow?’ questioned the gravelly voice at the other end of the line.
‘Yeah it’s me.’
‘I’ve got a job for you. It’s a bit different from the usual. These are new clients. It’s a big one. Do you think you can handle it?’
Sparrow’s jaw twitched.
‘Sure. Don’t I always?’
‘This is different. You can’t make any mistakes,’ snapped the voice.
Sparrow bristled.
‘When have I ever made a mistake?’
‘Just as long as you understand. I don’t want any problems. There’s fifty thousand in this for you, but these people aren’t amateurs and they don’t take prisoners. This is a big contract. I don’t want it fucked up.’
Sparrow’s eyes gleamed. He’d misheard, surely.
‘How much?’ he questioned. It had always been a few thousand and he’d been more than happy with that.
‘Fifty thousand,’ repeated the voice.
Sparrow whistled. His insides quivered with excitement. That was a hell of a lot of money.
‘No mistakes. You do a good job, you’ll be well rewarded. You mess it up and you’re fucked. Well and truly.’
‘What do I have to do?’ Sparrow asked breathlessly.
‘The same as usual, get the package in safely, except this time you have to caretake for a while longer. This is highly sensitive. We want the heat off before any collection. There’ll be others wanting this cargo and …’
‘What is it?’ he interrupted, pulling a stale sausage roll from a brown paper bag and biting into it. There were a few seconds of silence.
‘Fifty thousand means you don’t ask questions,’ said the voice. ‘The less you know the better.’
Sparrow wrinkled his nose. He wasn’t so sure he agreed with that, but, fifty thousand …
‘Suits me,’ he said, throwing the remainder of the sausage roll into the sea.
‘There won’t be a collection straight after the drop. It’s up to you to keep the cargo safe for a while. A few days, that’s all. ‘
‘Sure,’ he said casually, although he would have been happier knowing just what he’d be caretaker of. Perhaps it was heroin this time. It was drugs, no doubt about that. It must be a big shipment. Still, what did he care?
‘We have to deliver. I’m making myself clear, aren’t I?’
‘How dangerous is this?’ he asked, combing his fingers through his brown curly hair.
‘Fifty thousand dangerous. Take it or leave it. I can find someone else.’
Sparrow doubted there was anyone else on the island that would be able to get the goods in as well as he did.
‘I’ve just got to keep it safe, right?’
‘That’s it. As soon as things are clear it will be collected.’
‘That’s all I’ve got to do?’ asked Sparrow, suspiciously. It seemed too good to be true.
‘You don’t have to take the job. There are others who …’
‘No, I’ll take it,’ interrupted Sparrow.
‘Think of this cargo as your baby,’ laughed the voice.
Sparrow didn’t laugh with him. The sound of the waves breaking on the rocks roared in his ears. The thought of fifty grand had heightened his senses. He’d be set up for life. He could move to South America, maybe even get his own bar. He could buy one of those open- top convertibles. He’s always fancied himself in one of those.
‘So, you’re in?’ asked the voice.
‘I’m in,’ said Sparrow.
‘I’ll be in touch,’ said the voice. There was a crackle and then the line went dead.

About the Author

lynda2Lynda Renham is author to many popular romantic comedy and gripping psychological thriller novels. She lives in Oxford, UK. She has appeared on BBC radio discussion programs and is a prolific blogger, Twitter and when not writing can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook. Lynda lives in Oxfordshire with her second husband and two cats.

Website: http://www.renham.co.uk

Twitter: @lyndarenham

Magnolia House by Angela Barton book excerpt

 

magnolia house book coverMagnolia House written by Angela Barton, publisher Choc Lit, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/2CMwHud

Product Details

When you open up your home and your heart …

Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction.

But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again.

To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?

Happy Publication Day to Angela Barton, I am so pleased to be able to share with you all an excerpt from Chapter 1.

April’s unexpected heat-haze danced as it levitated above broiled pavements. Shiny black slugs of melted tarmac dribbled into gutters, smelling as sickly-sweet as pineapple chunks. The news channels were proclaiming that it was going to be the hottest spring on record for the past seventeen years and the damp skin on Rowan’s back was testimony to that fact.

Rowan and her husband, Tom, were in Clapham, standing across the road from Magnolia House and looking up at it in disbelief. It was a neglected and weather-worn building and its flaking central front door didn’t bode well for the rest of the house. The sash windows looked rotten where paint had peeled and rain had drenched the exposed wood. The low parapet that was built around the edge of the roof was crumbling in parts and missing in others. Its only redeeming feature was a mature magnolia tree standing in the diminutive front garden.

Rowan unfolded the page from the newspaper that Tom had shown her at breakfast the previous morning and, after great excitement, they’d decided to drive to London for a viewing.

‘It says here,’ Rowan read, ‘elegant semi-detached Georgian town house with basement accommodation. In need of some modernisation to bring it back to its former glory. Full of original features. Pretty courtyard to the rear of the property. Dated decor requiring attention throughout.’

‘Dated! I think they mean delapi-dated,’ said Tom, rubbing the stubble on his chin. It was a nervous habit he’d developed since recently establishing his own photographic business, The Wider Picture.

Nearby church bells chimed half past the hour as the estate agent fidgeted impatiently next to the front steps.

‘Do you still want to take a look?’ asked Rowan.

Tom pulled a face and shrugged. ‘We’re here, I suppose,’ he said, taking her hand and pulling her across the road.

About the Author

angela barton author picAngela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and adorable four-year-old twin granddaughters. Angela is passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction and loves time spent researching facts for her novels. Having signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Choc Lit’s new imprint, Ruby Fiction, Angela is excited to be working alongside such a lovely team.
Angela and her husband, Paul, recently moved to France and planted a lavender field. She’s looking forward to spending more time writing in the beautiful Charente countryside working from her new writing room, a beautiful shepherd hut. Angela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

Website: https://www.angelabarton.net/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/angebarton

 

The Swooping Magpie by Liza Perrat book excerpt/promo

 

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The Swooping Magpie written and self-published by Liza Perrat is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is available to download at a special introductory price of 99p (price correct at date of post publication).

To buy link: ebook – https://amzn.to/2OZHo0t

To buy link:  paperback – https://amzn.to/2FThoF5

Product Details

The thunderclap of sexual revolution collides with the black cloud of illegitimacy.
Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Townsend is pretty and popular at school. At home, it’s a different story. Dad belts her and Mum’s either busy or battling a migraine. So when sexy school-teacher Jon Halliwell finds her irresistible, Lindsay believes life is about to change.
She’s not wrong.
Lindsay and Jon pursue their affair in secret, because if the school finds out, Jon will lose his job. If Lindsay’s dad finds out, there will be hell to pay. But when a dramatic accident turns her life upside down, Lindsay is separated from the man she loves.
Events spiral beyond her control, emotions conflicting with doubt, loneliness and fear, and Lindsay becomes enmeshed in a shocking true-life Australian scandal. The schoolyard beauty will discover the dangerous games of the adult world. Games that destroy lives.
Lindsay is forced into the toughest choice of her young life. The resulting trauma will forever burden her heart.
Reflecting the social changes of 1970s Australia, The Swooping Magpie is a chilling psychological tale of love, loss and grief, and, through collective memory, finding we are not alone.

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I am so pleased to be able to share with you all today an extract from Liza Perrat’s novel: The Swooping Magpie, which is the second (standalone) novel in Liza Perrat’s 1970’s Australian Family Drama series.

Excerpt From Chapter 1:
I wrinkle my nostrils against the caustic smell of cat piss as we pick our way across the filthy footpath to the black gate.
My mother steps aside as the high gate creaks open, nods at me to go through. I scowl, don’t move.
‘You heard what your father said, Lindsay.’
With a sigh, I push past her.
The storm flushed away, the humidity has seeped back into the air at this tail-end of another scalding Australian summer. There’s no warmth in me though, only ice-blocks freezing my insides so that I become so cold I can’t stop shivering.
It’s not just the fear that sets me quaking, but the helplessness too. Like when I was a kid about to launch myself down the slippery dip. I’d hesitate, knowing that once I slid off there was no turning back, even if the metal burned my bum raw, or that once I reached the bottom I’d tumble forwards and scrape my knees.
My mother nudges me ahead of her. I don’t realise it yet, and I won’t speak of the whole sorry tale for years to come, since every time I thought about it, the memories would leave me frustrated, sad and angry, but I would recall walking through those black iron gates as crossing the threshold into the darkest hell.

About the Author

LizaPerratAuthorLiza grew up in Australia, working as a general nurse and midwife. She has now been living in France for over twenty years, where she works as a part-time medical translator and a novelist. She is the author of the historical The Bone Angel series. The first, Spirit of Lost Angels, is set in 18th century revolutionary France. The second, Wolfsangel, is set during the WW2 Nazi Occupation and the French Resistance, and the third novel – Blood Rose Angel –– is set during the 14th century Black Plague years.
The first book in Liza’s new Australian series, The Silent Kookaburra, published in November, 2016, is a psychological suspense set in 1970s Australia.

Liza is a co-founder and member of the writers’ collective Triskele Books and also reviews books for Bookmuse

Website: http://www.lizaperrat.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LizaPerrat

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Liza-Perrat

The Road to Newgate by Kate Braithwaite excerpt

the road to newgate

The Road to Newgate written by Kate Braithwaite, publisher Crooked Cat Books, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format. The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2NadaHB

Product Details (as per amazon page)

What price justice?

London 1678.

Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.

Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.

When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’s integrity, the consequences threaten them all.


The Road to Newgate is Kate Braithwaite’s second novel.  Her first novel, CHARLATAN, was long-listed for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Novel Award in 2015.  You can find my review for Charlatan here.

On the publication day for the ebook for The Road to Newgate I am so pleased to share with you an excerpt from Kate Braithwaite’s latest novel.

Her sister comes. They confer upstairs. I’m sent to call the midwife and Anne’s mother, who arrives but will not even catch my eye. A succession of women flow in and out, upstairs and down, while I stand in the dining room listening to their footsteps overhead but without any way of knowing how things are progressing either for good or for bad. I hang around the bottom of the stairs, straining my ears, for what? A child’s cry? Anne’s cry? I hardly know what I want to happen, except for this thing to be over. Eventually, Sarah comes down.
“Go out, Nat.”
“What? Why? Shouldn’t I stay? Do something?”
She shakes her head and gives me a withering look. “It will be a while. The first always is.”
“But what if something happens?”
“Nat. She will be fine. God willing, they will both be fine. Go to Sam’s Coffee House. I will send a boy if there is any change. Trust me.”
“I…” What do I want to say? That I love my wife. That I might lose her. Or the child. Or both.
Sarah puts her hand to my cheek. “Go. But drink coffee. No ale and no wine. It will be hours Nat. When she needs you, I will have you fetched.”
*
Sam’s Coffee House has its usual midday mix of tradesmen, the odd lawyer, a few fellow scribblers I know. I avoid meeting anyone’s eye and sit down on an empty bench with a copy of the Gazette. The coffee-boy brings me a dish and pours my drink, slipping my penny in the pocket of his long apron. At any other time, the familiar mix of roasting berries and tobacco, the loud exchanges, even the touch of the tables and the smooth glaze of the coffee cup, would ease my mind. But not today. I stare at the Gazette but read nothing. Instead, I conjure up disasters.
Anne will die. I’m suspicious of the midwife. She’s a Quaker, which is, Anne has assured me, a good thing. But is she clean? Does she know her work? I chew on my cheek, thinking I should have been more involved in choosing this woman. After all, horror stories about midwives abound. If a child dies before being born, they often cut off limbs to facilitate removing the poor thing from the mother’s body. I imagine blood: Anne’s; the baby’s. A few years ago, a woman and her child died out in the street, slap in the middle of Threadneedle Street, after one so-called midwife held the woman by the shoulders while another witch ripped the child out of her body, killing them both. Images of Anne fighting for her life have me almost on my feet ready to run back home, but the thought of Sarah’s sensible face stops me.
To divert my mind, I brood on Anne’s family. That Anne threw herself away by marrying me is an accepted fact. My line of work, even when I was the Licenser, is viewed with derision. My haunting of coffee shops, as I believe her mother terms it, shows a tendency to gossip and idleness that they find particularly disappointing. Perhaps if I was haunting Will’s Coffee Shop, rather than Sam’s; perhaps if I was a proper writer, like Mr. Dryden, they might think differently. Dryden, famous, popular, and wealthy, keeps his own chair at Will’s, surrounded by literary wits. That’s Anne’s family’s idea of what a writer should be. Not the rather grubby news-gatherers, the cartoonists, lampoonists, and sharp-tongued opportunists I consort with. Only my loyalty to the Crown brings me any measure of approval. Sarah’s husband supposedly reads all my pamphlets, and Anne hopes that one day her younger brother and I might meet and get along. But even when the child is born, I don’t expect to be invited to dinner. A thoroughly bad mood settles on me, as thickly persistent as the coffee sticking to my teeth. Time crawls. It’s the longest day of my life.

 

About the Author

Kate Braithwaite was born and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her first novel, Charlatan, was longlisted for the Mslexia New Novel Award and the Historical Novel Society Award. Kate lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.

Website:  https://kate-braithwaite.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KMBraithwaite

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/KateBraithwaiteAuthor/