FINDING NEW VOICES
DEFINING NEW GENRES
When two eligible and attractive men are vying for your heart, it should be the perfect dilemma…
Audrey Fox has been dumped by her unreliable fiancé Nick Byrne just days before the wedding. Heartbroken and confused, the last thing she expects when she jumps on a plane to convalesce in Cyprus is romance. But a chance meeting with handsome entrepreneur and father-of-one Daniel Taylor weaves her into a dating game she’s not sure she’s ready for.
Audrey’s life is thrown into further turmoil when she discovers on her return to London that Nick has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident that’s left him in intensive care. Distraught yet determined to look to the future, Audrey must make a decision – follow her heart or listen to well-meaning advice from family and friends? Because sometimes, no matter what, it’s the people that we love who can hurt us the most…
“This is a fabulous novel about love, life, friendship, families – and shoes. It’s a long road home from Heartbreak Hotel, but Audrey’s journey is a fascinating one. Why did Nick call off his wedding to Audrey (named after her mother’s heroine Audrey Hepburn) at the very last minute? Contemporary novelist Kelly Florentia gradually unravels the mysteries of their tangled relationship and the reasoning behind Nick’s bizarre behaviour. Nick says he’s not ready for marriage, but it can’t be just that – can it? After all, he and Audrey have been together for eight years already and he knows how much she’s been looking forward to the big day. What does Audrey’s friend Louise know about Nick? What is Louise not telling?
As for Daniel – he comes into the story nice and early and the reader is encouraged to wonder about him. What game is he playing and why does he seem so keen on Audrey? He sounds rather delicious. But, after her experiences with Nick, will Audrey ever be ready for a new relationship? Does she actually want one – even with a man who knows her shoe size?
The present tense, first person narrative keeps the reader involved with the heroine and totally engaged with her story. There are plenty of cliffhangers which encourage the reader to turn the pages. As always, Kelly is perceptive, funny, forgiving and kind when she’s writing about families and their foibles. Do parents ever stop being parents? Do children ever grow up?
The story is set in London, Cyprus and Paris, and Kelly took me there, making me feel the warmth of the sun on my face as I relaxed in a Greek taverna, the excitement of being in cosmopolitan Paris, and the buzz of London.
This is a five star read.”
Writing MagazineRead More
We all have secrets……
Ambitious journalist Rosa Fernley has been asked to fulfil her grandmother Jocelyn’s dying wish. Jocelyn has also passed on a secret – in the summer of 1968, fleeing from the terror of a bullying husband, she visited the mysterious Tintagel Castle. Jocelyn wasn’t seeking love, but she found it on the rugged clifftops in the shape of Jory, a local man as enigmatic and alluring as the region itself. But she was already married, and knew her husband would never let her find happiness and peace in Jory’s arms. Now as her days are nearing their end, she begs Rosa to go back to Tintagel, but is unwilling, or unable, to tell her why.
Rosa is reluctant – she has a job in London, a deadline that won’t wait and flights of fancy are just not in her nature. Nevertheless, she realises it might be the last thing she will do for her beloved grandmother and agrees to go.
Once in Tintagel, Rosa is challenged to confront secrets of her own, as shocking events threaten to change everything she has ever believed about herself and her family. She also meets a guide to the castle, Talan, a man who bears a striking resemblance to Jory…
Will the past remain cloaked in tragedy, sadness and the pain of unrequited love? Or can Rosa find the courage and strength to embrace the secrets of the past, and give hope to the future?Read More
Mothers and daughters alike will never look at each other in quite the same way after reading this book—a brilliantly funny observation of contemporary family life.
Lizzie—exasperated Mother of Cassie, Connor and Stepdaughter Maisy—is the frustrated voice of reason to her daughters’ teenage angst. She gets by with good friends, cheap wine and talking to herself—out loud.
16-year-old Cassie—the Facebook-Tweeting, Selfie-Taking, Music and Mobile Phone obsessed teen—hates everything about her life. She longs for the perfect world of Chelsea Divine and her ‘undivorced’ parents—and Joe, of course.
However, the discovery of a terrible betrayal and a brutal attack throws the whole household into disarray. Lizzie and Cassie are forced to reassess the important things in life as they embark upon separate journeys of self-discovery—accepting some less than flattering home truths along the way.
Although tragic at times this is a delightfully funny exploration of domestic love, hate, strength and ultimately friendship. A poignant, heartfelt look at that complex and diverse relationship between a Mother and daughter set amongst the thorny realities of today’s divided and extended families.Read More
‘A promise of relentless energy, noise, a lot of madness and probably a lot of drugs, which luckily is exactly what Simon Wan delivers. Bar the drugs’ –RANKIN (the photographer)
‘He goes way beyond passion’ –Fearne Cotton, television and radio presenter
‘I said he should write a book, and he did’ –Eva Pope, actress
‘The big boy with the big bike standing over me had heard I couldn’t feel pain because my Dad was from Hong Kong. I had some kind of invincible power. He’d heard that I really liked hanging out with girls, Chinese burns didn’t work on me, pulling my hair was pointless and if you bit me you’d get soy sauce in your mouth. If I was in his shoes, I admit I’d have been curious as well. Whichever way you looked at it I was going to have to play kiss chase later. The cute brunette girl with the orange walkman knew it, the third prettiest netball player knew it, even the dinner ladies knew it. There was going to be a fight.’
Such is the life of our hero as he negotiates the triple threat of trying to becoming a cheese ball superstar, finding his cartoon princess, and bringing her home for a perfect Christmas roast potato. It’s a life tale of comic disasters, sex (lots of weird sex), relationship nightmares and discovering your nakedness in a world full of people wearing the same old clothes. Honest, warm, funny and very hip, this is David Nicholls with the tears, the pain and the naughty bits put brazenly on display for the world to see.
I thought she looked French. She had a certain swish about her that made me feel funny in my guts. The other boys in my class said they wouldn’t go near her because she’s young and won’t know what to do. I wonder what they thought we should be doing at thirteen years old in the 80’s. The options were yo-yo’s, skateboards, neon laces or Police Academy. Or there was the park. The park after school. I got teased by so many of my friends because I’d want to walk home with girls. The boys wanted to talk about football or fight. I hated football and they were always scared that my secret Chinese mixed blood would equal martial arts death if they messed with me so it was boring and they all smelled musty after a day running around chasing balls.
The young man holding her hand had only allowed me one single frame of existence. It must have been a strong grip. A secret grip of a young man who knows he is about to lose something incredible. I had stolen one single frame of existence and that was all I needed. In that one frame I saw the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. It was as if every single cell in her body was beaming. That single frame was a stolen moment. In that moment she told me her whole life story, what she loved, what she hated, who she wanted to be and that she would fall in love with me the instant I found her again. That single stolen frame of existence was all I needed to be one hundred percent certain that this girl would one day be my wife. I had to find her. My life depended on it.
We wandered around the city chewing sunglasses, following smoke trails and hiding our giggles until it was night. Time flies when you’re flying. In a blink we were standing in front of a boarded up carousel in the centre of the city. A loosely tied rope our only barrier into an unknown realm of firetrucks and one seat jumbo jets. We had to get in. The street lights shone just bright enough through the thin tarpaulin. The world outside forgot it existed. Everything glittered. The diamond shaped bulbs that lined every surface were singing to us. We crammed our bums into any seat that could take it and we became rulers of the secret fun fair, the King and Queen of the merry go round. We knew we couldn’t stay forever. Surely, someone would be coming soon to evict us and put end to our acid adventure so we decided to escape. Summoning the courage to leave and saying goodbye to our favourite funny cars we ran out, tarpaulin flapping behind us. We both stopped dead. We were trapped in a beam of light.
I was a heart broken cheesy rave MC who wanted to be an even cheesier pop star. I decided that flying solo for a while could be good. Get my head down, make the connections. Life was more important then girls, kissing and even love. All love did was fuck you up. I became as jaded as my lucky rabbit. I scoffed at couples. I squeezed my sauce at every pretty girl that had chips to offer and I was greedy. My attitude towards life was “Eat Me”. I was Bart Simpson. I was loose mouthed, annoying, a skateboarder and yellow.Read More
Steven Berkoff has never been one to shy away from a controversial subject –Daisy Bowie Sell, Time Out
Surely publishing the novel will expose Berkoff to everyone, critics and all? ‘Oh yes, once it’s out there, let them all read it. It’s just a little foible of mine because I wanted to write a rude book. So I thought, why not write something, have no fear? Just be free. It doesn’t matter if people loathe you or hate you or find you disgusting; it doesn’t matter.’ –Evening Standard
Once read..never forgotten. I finished it a week ago and my mind is still vibrating with its impact. A rare achievement in these days of spoon-fed mass-appeal common denominator dross..Berkoff hits full pelt..and the world is richer for it –Claire Meadows, poet and founder of After Nyne
John is an actor. He is a man. A man who wants. A man who needs. A man who takes. And he takes from those who always expect him to give. To give them love, loyalty, affection – to give them his soul, his loyalty, his life. Why can’t they just let him thrive? Why can’t they understand the desires and passions that drive him? Why is he a man alone? John has crossed the line from performance to reality, from stage to street, from imagination to visceral breath – and he needs to wrest control before all is lost. Challenging themes that haunt the Berkoff canon are ever-present in this startling novel: his luxurious verbosity; his counterpoint of crude street patter and elegiac proclamation; sex wars; class wars; dislocation and abandonment of love in a thankless and unyielding world. This is a powerful, divisive and brutally honest novel that will inspire, enrage and provoke – and live on long after the final word.Read More
1973, and New Yorker Faith Anderson arrives in England, alone and heavily pregnant. Faith hopes to make a new life for herself and provide a future filled with opportunity for her unborn son. 2003 and Dan has grown distant from his mother, and is a disappointment to himself. Unable to kick-start the stalled nature of his existence, Dan spends his days working in a run-down bookshop, setting the world to rights with his colleague Fiona. At weekends he is often found alone in nightclubs, surrounded by people and life but unable to make a connection with anything he deems important. It takes the arrival of a mysterious and enigmatic stranger to rip Dan from his lethargy; but who is this man and what is his agenda? As truths are dragged into the light and secrets revealed, lives are changed forever. And both Dan and Faith recognise there can be no future without embracing the lessons of the past.Read More
Tess Rosa Ruiz is a powerful new voice on the American literary scene, redolent of Kerouac and Rollins in a battle of words. Freefall into Us is a compelling collection of unique poetry and prose that provides an emotional mosaic of the path of relationships. This is a raw and visceral insight into how women and men desire, need, want – and ultimately love each other – in the most beautiful, passionate and honest ways.
The carefully structured flow of poetry and short stories provides the reader with a constantly challenging and engaging snapshot of humanity, leading them through different stages of desire, sex, lust, obsession and passion in adult relationships. These are the feelings we have all felt, but are often afraid to voice. Freefall into the words and perhaps, just perhaps, you’ll recognise a piece of you.
“Boooooom! Reading Tess Rosa Ruiz’s words sends you hurtling headlong into her world of raw emotion and pinpoint human detail. The reader resides in the same room as the characters and events, experiencing every nuance of the unfolding dramas. Rosa Ruiz’s style is stripped down to the emotive essentials and delivers the real deal – it’s happening now! Fast! Urgent! Cutting! And then the bombshell hits, and the reader is greater, richer and rewarded with deep insight into the pain, anguish and joy of the very real characters.
This is a rollercoaster of a read from a no-nonsense writer who is unafraid to use words to strip her characters naked and bare before the reader, adeptly identifying the emotions that drive us. Tess Rosa Ruiz is clearly a writer to watch – follow the shine and be dazzled. ”
Martin Skate, bestselling author of The Spike Collection
“Provocative stories that are earthy, sensual and compelling along with prose that makes you think. Tess Rosa Ruiz is a writer worth watching”
Paul LaRosa, Emmy-Award winning writer and producer
“Tess Rosa Ruiz grabs you by the scruff of your neck and the back of your belt and flings you into her world. A world full of fabulous imagery, combined with all the drama you can stand.”
Louis Romano, Novelist & Poet
“Tess Rosa Ruiz delivers a powerful and vivid collection of masterfully woven tales that will stay with you long after you have read the final word. She is an explosive and provocative new talent who blurs the line between fantasy and reality in ways that many hope for but few achieve. Ignore her literary prowess at your own risk.”
Ian Lowell, author of Son of Sam Was My Catcher and Other Bronx Tales
“A yell became an intrusion of privacy. Was this a clamouring for entry into houses…or lives? Looking on then, looking back now, I wish I could have been more definite. It might have made me a different, better person, a player not a spectator.”
Ophelia Street, 1970. A street like any other, a community that lives and breathes together as people struggle with their commitments and pursue their dreams. It is a world we recognise, a world where class and gender divide, where set roles are acknowledged.
But what happens when individuals step outside those roles, when they secretly covet, express desire, pursue ambitions – even harm and destroy? An observer in the midst of Ophelia Street watches, writes, imagines, remembers, charting the lives and loves of his neighbours over the course of four seasons. And we see the flimsily disguised underbelly of urban life revealed in all its challenging glory.
As the leaves turn from vibrant green to vivid gold, so lives turn and change too, laying bare the truth of the community. Perhaps, ultimately, we all exist on Ophelia Street.
What they say about John Simmons and Leaves:
‘John’s writing is both precise and lyrical – and he takes us on a compelling journey with the deceptive skill of a master storyteller.’
Rob Williams, screenwriter
‘John Simmons is a wordsmith. In Leaves he casts a forensic eye on a small corner of north London and on the lives that were lived there. It is a memory novel, an excavation of time, place and people that draws the reader irresistibly into the 1970s world of Ophelia Street. His skill is to make the local feel universal in a novel that resonates far beyond the confines of its setting.’ Gary McKeone, former Literature Director, Arts Council England; Chair, Poetry Archive
‘The phrase ‘a writer’s writer’ is overused but in John Simmons’ case it is spot on: his sentences gleam and compel you to follow them.’ John Mitchinson, co-founder QI and Unbound
‘John Simmons is the best writer you think you haven’t read. In fact he’s one of the architects of the language of our daily lives. With his novel Leaves the secret is now out.’ Caroline McCormick, former Director, PEN International
‘As a writer, John Simmons is a unique hybrid … he commands vocabulary with military precision, yet positions every word with care and diligence. Such a treat.’
Martin Clarkson, Chairman, 26 and Storytellers Ltd
‘Here’s a very good book by a very good writer and his many admirers will learn even more about that dark art – writing – by reading this.’ Stuart Delves, co-founder Dark Angels writing programme
‘John Simmons examines the most ordinary of lives with a surgeon’s eye and a lover’s touch.’ Jamie Jauncey, author The Mapmaker
‘In Leaves John Simmons has given us a nuanced and perceptive life study against the backdrop of a London caught in the changing light of a single year. Simmons’ care for the residents of Ophelia Street is matched by his attention to the weight of his words – a beautifully measured achievement.’ Chris Gribble, Director of WCN and Norwich UNESCO City of Literature
‘Years of experience, wisdom and feeling have gone into this unique story.’ Elise Valmorbida, novelist, The Winding Stick
‘Set in Ophelia Street, a down at heel area of North London, this novel is saturated in the sights and smells of 1970s England, charting an end of epoch story with masterful skill and precision. The story moves seamlessly between the lives and inner workings of several key characters, including chapters from a first person narrator, the pressure building page by page, season by season. The characters are rich, fully rounded and complex, from the inverted snob Keith, clinging to a working class ideal of Ophelia Street, to the self imprisoned Selene Fermin and her enigmatic brother, Gerard Fermin, and the deeply unpleasant Robert, spoilt son and border line sociopath. At the heart of the novel is a bombshell moment that delivers the coup de grâce to their world; a moment that will leave anyone who reads this novel reeling.
John Simmons writes beautifully, almost poetically, his use of simile is at times exquisite. The dialogue sometimes takes a backseat role to the inner monologue where the writing style is stronger. I wanted a more definitive conclusion for what was the key moment for me in the story, so was left wondering and deducing. However, this didn’t detract from a sense of satisfaction at the story’s conclusion. “Leaves” is highly recommended for a reader who wants to visit a time and place long disappeared but brought back to life in a well crafted story.’ – R.J.Dearden, author
“Close of Play is a wonderful English drama, combining moments that are touching with others that are laugh-out-loud funny.”
John Challis, ‘Boycie’ from Only Fools & Horses and The Green Green Grass
“I stood, entranced, holding the card as I re-read it and gently traced my forefinger over the signature, enchanted at receiving such a rare gift. For a brief, beautiful moment I imagined being there with her, walking on the bleak sandy beach, shaking the sand out of our walking boots and tidying our tousled hair. The sensation disappeared rapidly and all I had was the card, which I placed on the mantelpiece.”
Brian Clarke has an ordered life, a life of village cricket, solid principles, and careful interaction with those around him. He is resolutely fending off advancing middle-age with a straight bat, determined to defend his wicket against life’s occasional fast balls. Then he meets Elizabeth – a gentle, caring, genuinely selfless soul who is a glowing bloom amongst the ordered hedgerows of his existence. As Elizabeth demands Brian’s interest…and breathes hope into his heart…he must reassess his self-defined role as the lone batsmen and fight to find the courage to fall in love. Or risk losing her forever.
Close of Play is a thoughtful, funny, beautifully honest story of love and manners. It’s a tale of missed opportunities and a chance at redemption – and the fear of opening our hearts to another when we think we’ve forgotten how to love.
“I loved this. As with Outside Edge, it’s not just the cricket, it’s old life itself. Will happily commend Close of Play heartily. Howzat?” -Robert Daws, actor
“A refreshing romance; gentle, insightful and very heartwarming. The novel deals with very real people, full of flaws and foibles and combines this with a lyrical style that moves between poetic and comic in turn. I have to confess, I am not a cricket fan, but found the cricket element engaging and actually quite illuminating- who knew sedate cricketers felt like that in bat! This was a thoughtful, feel good read, perfect for a summer’s read on the grass (hopefully with a glass of Pimms!).” – P.K.Church
“I found Close of Play by P.J. Whiteley an absolute delight – such an understated and decorous review of a jolly good, well written book; quintessentially English in an understated way; don’t you know. If you didn’t know small English country towns, if you didn’t know of English eccentrics, country folk, village idiots, the range of pubs they love or avoid, or should avoid, if you didn’t know cricket, especially cricket clubs, first, second and third teams (who play away, always), and how serious cricket is, you will still love this tale as it paints a captivating picture of a myriad of characters all recognisable as absolutely English in their stiff upper lip views, as varied in their bias as much as their intransigence, and their rules of life, sporting etiquette, social manners, and how to court a woman, or not, as the case may be. I leaned into you for a kiss. Did you, I thought you were falling over…the humour is simply to die for darling. I am a city man, generally unnerved in the countryside, especially when faced with ‘good’ English country folk and their manners, but I love cricket and felt safe in Whitley’s expert hands; I could lie back and think of England and enjoy the kaleidoscope of characters in this novel, and their stories. Even if you were an American and had no inkling of cricket, this would be a good introduction to a game that can last forever, a lifetime in some instances, and where you play in a team can often define who you are, or what your nickname says who you are. And then there are the womenfolk and the extended families; not there to watch the grass grow but fully formed characters, most certainly not looking on from the boundary. Close of Play is a love story of a repressed couple, both approaching middle age with their own unique fears, and for their own completely different reasons have emotional baggage to sort; Elizabeth surprises at every turn and is a contrast to what many would call the dullard life of Brian, or is it Colin (Cowdrey), he’s good with the quicks, don’t you know. Elizabeth and Brian are two ‘jolly’ good chalk and cheese souls, both scared in their own way and for different reasons, swimming their lonely lives in the choppy waters of entrenched social moirés, each with their role to play, each with mysteries to reveal, and as these come to light you feel they will not, should not, under any circumstances, be together, but, there is the yearning behind the facade, the cunningly disguised need to be together; oh the pain, it is exquisite. And the ending is as surprising as it is heart warming, and as an inveterate weeping man, I enjoyed shedding more than one tear as I avoided eye contact in my corner of the pavilion. Whatever your usual tastes in books, I recommend wholeheartedly Close of Play, as engaging as it is enchanting, the characters all playing their parts and described in a tantalising way that suggests we may see more of this part of the countryside; treated to more voyeuristic insights into English country life. For me, I would like to hear more of Godfrey, the Vicar who is nervous of revealing just how clever he is, and his lack of appreciating a good nickname, and now, I cannot go into a church without first assessing if the aisle will take spin, or be good for pace; cricket is not a game, it is a way of life…it’s not the winning that counts, nor the taking part, it’s the making fun of everyone…Owzat; who said that?” – Pete Adams, Author of the Kind Hearts and Martinets series
Being Someone is a life story, a love story, a human story.
James has fallen through life, plotting a course of least resistance, taking each day as it comes and waiting for that indefinable ‘something’ to turn up, to give his story meaning. His journey lacks one vital element – a fellow traveller.
Then he meets Lainey. Confident. Beautiful. Captivating. And James rewrites himself to win her heart. Lainey gives James a reason to grow, paints a bright future, promises the happy ending he has sought so keenly. But when we discover we can live the greatest story of all, are we able to share the pages with someone else?
Being Someone is an emotive tale of love, of self-discovery and adventure – a story of the eternal search for happiness in another, without ultimately losing ourselves.
This is the ideal new read for YOUR book club – recommend it now!! We have a special download for all book club members. We think Being Someone is the perfect choice for your book club, so much so that we’ve put together a few questions to get you started in your Being Someone discussions. Download the pdf for your exclusive questions. Being Someonebookclubquestions
The book was launched at an event at Clerkenwell Gallery, and was covered by Tatler in the Bystander section.Read More
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