Post Script: Death By Sugar – Helen Goltz

Great Australian talent and a read that will leave you with a smile on your face.

Death By Sugar

Death By Sugar

Jesse Clarke #1

Helen Goltz

Atlas Productions

ISBN: 9780980753219

 

Description:

Private investigator, Jesse Clarke, thought sugar was such a friendly substance, until it appears in two of her cases for all the wrong reasons. Traces of sugar were connected to a bomb that blew up her client’s Mercedes. Was the bomb meant to kill or was it just a warning of what is to come? And could sugar have duped the immune system of a client’s mother over thirty years ago, resulting in death? Juggling the two cases-one in the present and one in the past-Jesse finds herself talking to the living and the dead to get results.

 

 

My View:

Looking for an enjoyable way to escape the everyday? Then this book is for you! Fun, entertaining with a sparking dialogue and great easy interaction between the protagonists – this book was a delight to read. There are a couple of mysteries to solve; one cold case that has some interesting science behind it, one current case full of larger than life characters, there is a business to run and boyfriend to placate and dog. (Every good read needs a happy, playful dog in the story). This little book (216 pages in all) has a lot to offer.

 

If you are a fan of Kathryn Ledson or Janet Evanovich (though Jesse Clarke is a lot more reliable, sensible and doesn’t over share her personal life as does Stephanie Plumb) you will love unravelling the mysteries in the Jesse Clarke series.

 

A Foodie’s Paradise

Our caravan is filled with the perfume of ripe plums and peaches – divine! And the fridge smells like well aged cheese :) We have had a couple of lovely days exploring some of the food trails in this rich and diverse region – the farm gate produce is magnificent. Thanks Danielle at Beyond the Farm Gate for some suggestion of places to visit.

Cambray Cheese Farm

We loved all the cheeses we sampled at the Cambray Cheese Farm – the only difficulty was choosing which to take back with us – I picked a soft ewes milk Friesette and husband a hard cheese – St Johns Brook (Manchego style).  We may have to go back for more before we leave this area.

 

Yesterday we went to the famous Manjimup Farmers Markets – we bought potatoes freshly picked/dug from the paddock the night before, fresh garlic, stone fruit, sour dough bread, strawberries and my favourite raw organic chocolate.

 

Nannup 016

garlic plait

 

 

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Kathryn Ledson

Grand Slam

Kathryn Ledson is  the author of three titles in the fun to read Erica Jewel mysteries. (In my opinion Grand Slam is just perfect – love the plotting, the characters, the fun), it made laugh out loud.

A Bit About Kathryn Ledson:

In 2005 Kathryn took a deep breath and left her 25+ year career in the corporate arena, returning to study with relief and a great sense of homecoming. What emerged from that professional writing and editing course was a huge surprise in the form of hapless heroine Erica Jewell, lead character in Kathryn’s series of funny, romantic, action-packed novels, which so far includes Rough Diamond, Monkey Business and the recently released Grand Slam.

Kathryn Ledson

Welcome to my blog Kathryn.

 

Let talk childhood. What aspirations did you have as a child?

To survive! No, really. I was the most terrified kid ever. My bedroom was at the end of a hallway, and that hallway seemed like a thousand miles from my parents and safety. I was convinced monsters lay in wait for me under the bed, in the cupboard. I’d dash from the doorway onto my bed so they couldn’t reach out and grab me. The idea of going to the toilet in the night filled my mind with the most unthinkable horrors. Apart from that, I wanted to be Anne from the Famous Five books. (More recently, Lara Croft.)

 

Who were your heroes?

Prince Charming, The Silver Brumby and Gilligan. More recent heroes? My husband Paul. And my Dad. Until the day he died, just a few months ago.

 

Let’s talk writing. How long has the road to becoming a successful writer been for you?

I’m not sure “successful” is the right word. I mean, the reason we can afford to eat is because my hubs works like a dog. But the road to getting from there to here has been relatively short, in fact (compared to other writers’ stories I’ve heard). There were some pot holes, however I think I’ve been very lucky. I reckon life throws at you only what you can handle, and if I’d had too many rejections, where others persist I would have given up long ago and gone to work at the local IGA. But I digress. I started writing Rough Diamond at the end of 2008 – having just completed a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing that included know how-to-write-a-novel classes – submitted it to Penguin in January 2011 and it was published two years later. I think they thought it was rubbish at first, but that the “voice” of Erica was fresh. My gorgeous editor took a chance she could coach me into producing something worth reading.

Do you have an agent? How did you get the attention of a publisher?

Yes, I do. Having an agent is very helpful in getting your manuscript before an editor. Mind you, getting an agent is sometimes more difficult than getting a publisher. That said, I managed to get a meeting with Penguin without help, having written a thoroughly proof-read (by writer friends) proposal, and between setting up the meeting and attending it, I signed with an agent. I think it was having that planned Penguin meeting that won me an agent, and it was in turn having an agent that got Rough Diamond over the line with Penguin. It’s all very tricky business, and helpful to know how things work. Networking is the most useful thing a budding author can do if they want to be traditionally published.

 

What do you love about writing- it is so obvious to me you love what you are doing.

I ADORE what I do and I laugh my head off all the time. Erica constantly surprises me. She comes up with these fabulous lines and just feeds them to me from God-knows-where. When writers talk about having a muse, I think Erica must be mine. I do hate to be interrupted when I’m writing and I’m furious with anyone or thing that stops me. For example, my need to eat, and hang out the washing. The toilet that must be cleaned because some rude person wants to visit. And this – at 4.30 every day, my dog Ella sits by the fridge and barks at me. I tell her, “Hold on, I’m writing a crucial scene. Erica’s got a gun to her head!” Ella will give me exactly 10 seconds to wind it up before she starts her very loud I-want-my-dinner nonsense. It’s very irritating (but she’s so cute).

 

Let’s talk books and influences. Who is your favourite author? Do you have a favourite book?

There are SOOOO many authors and books I love it’s almost impossible to pick just one. But I’ll say that when I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, I was moved by that story and her writing in a way that I’ve never been before or since. I then read Atlas Shrugged, which had the same effect on me. Although I later researched Ayn Rand and discovered I didn’t like her much, which was disappointing.

 

Let’s talk about life. What lessons did you learn from working in the corporate world?

I learned not to work in the corporate world. I’d rather clean toilets. Maybe not that. But I’d definitely weed gardens instead. The pressure on corporate people to perform is so intense, I’m sure if I’d stayed I would have developed some horrible stress-induced disease and dropped dead by now.

 

Let’s talk about the characters in your Erica Jewel series? Who inspired Erica?

My sister says Erica is me, then she turns to someone and says she finds Erica annoying in the way Jeannie from I-Dream-of-Jeannie was annoying. What does this say? Anyway, what I say is that while I was trying to get on with a new career as an editor or some form of non-fiction writer, Erica tapped me on the shoulder and demanded a life. I say that Erica is her own person and I have no idea where she came from. Erica is NOT me. She’s not. *pout*

 

Who inspired Jack?

No-one inspired Jack Jones. He’s perfect, which of course doesn’t exist. Oh, we could choose some AFL footballer’s body and say that’s Jack’s. And we could find a pic of a younger Hugh Jackman (photo-shopped, airbrushed and all the works) and say that’s his face. Who’s got the best manners and the most money and the greatest integrity and the kind of patience one needs to tolerate Erica’s mother? No-one apart from Jack Jones. He’s a fantasy character, don’t you think? (My husband was the inspiration behind Erica’s friend, Steve.)

 

 

Lets’ talk about dogs. What sort of a dog do you have? We know Erica has a cat – is a dog ever going to feature in your books?

YES! I’m so glad you asked because I have plans for a novella about a poor abandoned dog Erica finds. She decides Jack needs a guard dog but Jack will tell her, “I don’t need a dog. I’ve got Joe and enough guns to supply a small country’s army.” Erica can’t keep the pooch because Axle would feed it to the rats, but she does convince Jack to look after the little sweetie. (That plot is still brewing, but I’m imagining Jack walking the dog in the park, and women fighting each other for the privilege of picking up Jack’s dog’s poo.) And my dog? My husband Paul tells people Ella is a “golden retriever cross”, and I say it’s pretty obvious what she’s crossed with. She looks like a giant poodle. We adore her equally. She sleeps in our room, has breakfast with Paul and he feeds her inappropriate things like bread, which she brings into my bed and drops on my face. Sometimes it’s a meaty bone she’s dug up from the garden. We then have cuddles for a couple of hours when really I should be writing, walking Ella or doing yoga. (That gives the impression I actually do yoga sometimes, which I don’t.)

 

Last question – I know I can’t count!

Lets’ talk next book?

I’m thinking Jack needs to return to New York to deal with the pain of his loss (wife and parents in the twin towers on September 11). He’ll probably not invite Erica (because of the potential danger … something to do with the CIA … I’m thinking Homeland …) but she can’t just let him go alone, can she? Maybe her Mum will want to visit New York. Erica’s dad certainly doesn’t want to go – he might miss episodes of Family Feud. I’m also thinking a little research trip to NY is in order. (Darling hubs? How’s our FF points situation?)

Carol, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog! This has been great fun and I’ve learned a few things about myself along the way. I’d be happy to take questions from your readers about writing, the publishing industry, whatever they’re curious about.

 

If you want to know more about Kathryn follow her here:

Please insert links to your social media sites her Kathryn.

WEBSITE: http://kathrynledson.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Kathryn-Ledson-Author-285397188245057/?ref=hl

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/kathrynledson

Post Script: Darkest Place – Jaye Ford

Gripping! Thrilling! Compulsive reading.

Darkest Place

Darkest Place

Jaye Ford

Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857985941

 

Description:

An adrenaline-pumping suspense novel from the author of Beyond Fear. What do you do when your nightmares are real – and no one believes you?

 

Carly Townsend is starting over after a decade of tragedy and pain. In a new town and a new apartment she’s determined to leave the memories and failures of her past behind.

 

However that dream is shattered in the dead of night when she is woken by the shadow of a man next to her bed, silently watching her. And it happens week after week.

 

Yet there is no way an intruder could have entered the apartment. It’s on the fourth floor, the doors are locked and there is no evidence that anyone has been inside.

 

With the police doubting her story, and her psychologist suggesting it’s all just a dream, Carly is on her own. And being alone isn’t so appealing when you’re scared to go to sleep . . .

 

 

My View:

Gripping! Thrilling! Compulsive reading.

 

I loved this read from the very first page! This book should come with a warning; “If you start reading this book be prepared to ignore everything else in your world.” “Danger! Danger! Compulsive read ahead.”

 

This is a brilliant example of domestic noir and the unreliable narrator. I loved every word on every page. Just one problem – now I have finished reading there is a long wait till the next book arrives from this brilliant author. How fast can you write Jaye Ford?

On The Road Again…

Here we are in lovely down town Nannup in our “new for us” 5th wheeler. This is our “shake down” trip – where we check out how everything work, what we might need to change, what needs fixing ( hopefully not much, as husband has already spent  a lot of time cleaning,polishing, replacing taps, adding pantry stabilising locks  etc.)

 

Travel Home 5th wheeler

Nannup is a pretty town – but we have arrived at the start of a mini heat wave. Thankfully we have air conditioning!

 

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Post Script: Beside Myself – Ann Morgan

Beside Myself

Beside Myself

Ann Morgan

Bloomsbury Publishing Australia

Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9781408870303

 

Description:

Beside Myself is a literary thriller about identical twins, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first it is just a game, but then Ellie refuses to swap back. Forced into her new identity, Helen develops a host of behavioural problems, delinquency and chronic instability. With their lives diverging sharply, one twin headed for stardom and the other locked in a spiral of addiction and mental illness, how will the deception ever be uncovered? Exploring questions of identity, selfhood, and how other people’s expectations affect human behaviour, this novel is as gripping as it is psychologically complex.

 

 

My View:

Powerful! Intense! Confronting! This book has it all.

 

This book was a very difficult read- I read the first fifty pages or so and was in a dilemma – to continue or not? I found these first pages strangely horrific – the voice of the little girl, Helen, who constantly seeks to “teach her a lesson” (her being her twin sister Ellie), Helen’s voice is so nasty and malevolent I considered not reading any further. (And then there was the underlying hint of potential sexual abuse from a friend’s older brother, another sinister voice/character). I really was in two minds as to carry on or not.

 

Curiosity and a few days break from the book and I started reading again with an intensity that had me picking up this book every opportunity I could make. What a powerhouse of emotions and psychological twists this was! A brilliant study of identity, influences, how expectations effect children’s (and adults I presume too) personality, mental health, achievements and general wellbeing.

 

Mental health issues, suicide, self-harm, suicide are themes that are laid bare for all to consider. And the big one – the damage that is done when we do not believe a child – when they share they are being bullied or abused – in all forms of abuse. The most damage we can do is not believe or take seriously.

 

WOW! Just WOW! I am exhausted! This book is complex and intense and illuminating and surprisingly optimistic. I am so pleased I decided to continue on reading this book. Everyone should read this book – the world might be a better place if it pricks our conscience and makes us look at the person next to us with a little more compassion.

 

A fantastic debut novel!