Tuesday, 31 July 2012


ISBN: 9781461105671
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 424
Formats Available: Paperback, Kindle

BLURB from Goodreads
Alessa is just seven years old when her uncle rapes her for the first time. As the years pass, his sexual appetite becomes more voracious and his perversion more twisted, until the abuse has become almost a daily ritual, with the unspoken involvement of the girl's mother.

At the age of sixteen, after the death of her only friend, Alessa finds herself at the mercy of her real-life monster, with no relief in sight. She flees her home to escape this hell, only to find herself descending into a more dangerous one. Alone and helpless in the streets of North Philadelphia, she encounters more human predators who want to take over her life and devour her. About to hit rock bottom, Alessa manages to break away from her new tormentors and finds refuge in a shelter for homeless and abused women.

Wherever she goes, however, trouble keeps seeking her out, until she meets three people who change the course of her life forever. Though Alessa's bittersweet journey is perpetually fraught with challenges, she does, nevertheless, manage to find fleeting moments of joy along the way. But as she begins to settle down, a ghost from the past comes to haunt her again, threatening to destroy the very foundation of her small world and plunging her back into an abyss of despair, until she makes her final bid for escape.

I received a kindle copy of this book directly from the author Paige Dearth.
To me the cover is representing Alessa as a young child, with the hand of her Uncle Danny on her shoulder. It is a hard hitting type of cover how down trodden and neglected the child looks with the large grubby male hand on her, but the whole book is hard hitting. It pulls no punches and tells things as they are in the book. The book has inspirational pieces yet is also twisted, violent, abusive and tragic. Don't expect some story with a happy ending, this book is no fairy tale. The book in places is quite disturbing, you certainly think about it a lot when you are reading and long after you have finished reading it too.
So we know all about Alessa and how she suffers physical, sexual, verbal and mental abuse from her Uncle Danny. "Things" have been happening for years and been either "unnoticed" or "over looked" by the rest of the family. Caterina, Alessa's mother is only interested in the money "Uncle Danny" contributes to the family, so chooses to ignore Alessa's pleas.
The book also covers Alessa's emotions and devastation at the loss of her one and only childhood friend Rhonda, when a jealous woman whom Rhonda's mum has been having an affair with accidentally shoots Rhonda.
Things at home come to a climax when Alessa's parents go away for the weekend leaving her alone with Uncle Danny who has decided to have a party and Alessa is to be the hostess and serve his and his friends every need or desire. Alessa panics and with help from Zoe (Rhonda's mum) she runs away. Trouble and leering horrible men seem to always find Alessa. she makes a new friend with a brother who runs the local gang. Harlin (the brother) ends up exploiting Alessa in the worst possible way. One night he puts her on the street and with the help of Harlin's sister Alessa run's away yet again. It seems the more Alessa tries the more hardships she has to go through. Alessa seems to get her life turned around at one point and seems happy. She enjoys helping others who are in the position she once was......so you will think that is the happy ending? ......but no fate throws yet another bomb at Alessa's life.....and....
You really should read this book. I have read about the author and after reading the book I have to admit I do wonder how much is based on her own story and what is artistic licence. Its a very sad tale but one that rings so true it rips your heart right out of you at certain points. It makes you want to scream at some of the characters and shake some sense into them! There is bad language in this book, and talk of street gangs and associated professions and crimes, so *WARNING* It is really suitable only for adults to read. This is a sad tragic story, though it also features brief happiness, and bravery and courage too.
So did I enjoy the book? I feel "enjoy" is the wrong word, I will say I feel educated and humbled by the book. So many people could have changed Alessa's life at the beginning but chose to ignore her. Would I recommend it? Yes as I said it's an education of life on the streets and of child abuse and how families choose not to see where and when it is happening.
I just want to say Thank-you to Paige for sending me this book to read. 

Available at Amazon.co.uk


BLURB from Goodreads
Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both.

The girl on the front cover of the book represents Ronnie at the end of the book to me.
she looks to have a contentment and as though her worries have been somewhat lifted from her.
The book tells of Ronnie's passion and innocent love for Shawn a guy she met when they were very young. Together they pledged to stay together even when Shawn had to move away for a year, they wrote faithfully to each other. Sure there's been an odd glitch but that's all forgiven when Shawn moves back near Ronnie. Ronnie truly believes she is meant to be with Shawn forever and if ever they split up there is no one else out there for her. Ronnie has friends Mindy and Luke who try and warn her about being so intense but she swears everything is perfect in her life with Shawn.....except its not Shawn's changed...and not for the better. Ronnie can't bring herself to admit it to anyone, her family, or close friends.
Ronnie auditions for the play Romeo and Juliet, and one thing leads to another and she ends up being Juliet opposite best friend who happens to be a boy Luke. The problems with Shawn get even worse though Ronnie continues to make excuses for him, covering up the bruises he leaves on her wrists. Ronnie also start enjoying playing Juliet, but is the tingly feeling she is having as Juliet for romeo or Luke who plays him?
This book deals with a very sensitive issue of domestic violence, Shawn's mum and dad have a marriage problem caused by it. then Shawn seems to see the behaviour he is displaying as okay and that Ronnie is always wrong, he plays on her good softer nature....but everyone has limits...
I think the subject is dealt with brilliantly as you don't often think of domestic violence issue in connection with teens, you think of it as a "between adults" issue. The book did make me wonder how/if Jolene Perry researched the subject of domestic violence for this book as she presents it so well, without overstepping a being realistic line. I have to admit as a domestic abuse survivor that if I had seen the signs of the violence earlier (and looking back especially after reading this book they were there for me to see) then I wouldn't have ended up in a marriage with domestic violence being an issue. (then again fate has these things planned for us , and if I had not married I wouldn't have my beautiful daughter).
I truthfully cannot praise the book enough for how the whole situation is handled. I love the character of Luke who seems to be quite literally being caught between a rock and a hard place. In that he has to remain friends with Shawn to try and protect Ronnie until her eyes truly open to what Shawn is doing to her. He demoralizes her, tells her what to wear, what to do etc all things an abuser does to remain in control of their victim.
I also like the laid back attitude of Ronnie's parents, they help her get over her hurt without being smug in anyway. They kind of hang back yet say they are there if she wants to speak. I'd like to think I could/would be like that with my own daughter.
So did I enjoy this book? YES! Would I read a BK 2 or more by Karen Ann Hopkins? Yes.
Would I recommend? Yes, especially as a conversation starter between teens and parents.
I won't give away spoilers, though I have to say I love the ending too.

Available at Amazon.co.uk

Monday, 30 July 2012


ISBN: 9780373210497
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 384
Formats Available: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle

BLURB from Goodreads
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.   

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.  Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

I received an ARC of this brilliant book directly from Harlequin Teen/Mira so a thank you to them first! As my copy was an ARC the cover is not the one pictured above, the cover of my book was just plain pearlized white colour with the title etc wrote on it. I really like the cover pictured above (US cover) which will be the actual book cover. The cover picture is set by the school lockers and shows Echo with her long curly red hair dressed in layers that have long sleeves to cover her scars, and she is kissing, the gorgeous boy with the bad reputation called Noah. I really like the cover as it is actually a scene from the book too.
I really do not like the cover pictured at the bottom of the review (UK cover), I think it's gaudy in its colours and doesn't give you the emotion of the other cover.
Now to the book, I absolutely loved it, as the quote from Simone Elkeles says on the cover "A riveting and emotional ride!" The book takes you through the emotions and problems of Echo.She has night terrors about what happened to her, yet her brain blocks out what actually happened between her and her mother. Psychologists have said that she is traumatized that her brain refuses to allow her to even visualize or remember fully what happened. No one will tell Echo exactly what happened that day and she is assigned a new school social worker called Mrs Collins. Mrs Collins meets Echo's father and step mum Ashley, and after much discussion, it is decided that Echo can tutor someone who Mrs Collins has in mind to earn the money to fulfill her wish of restoring her brother Aires car. Aires had joined the marines and whilst serving in Afghanistan was killed.
One of Mrs Collin's students who she is trying to help deal with their emotions/problems is the school bad boy, and casual drug user, Noah Hutchins. Noah's parents died in a house fire and he was put into care and separated from his younger brothers Jacob and Tyler. All Noah wants is to get his family back together. Because Noah has had bad...no awful experiences in the care system he automatically presumes that the same is happening to his two brothers.
The love and emotions are so strongly put across in this book it makes you tear up yourself and makes your heart ache for the characters, not just the main characters either but for Beth and Isiah, and for Carrie and Joe. 
With Noah and Echo, probably the two most unlikeliest friends thrown together by Mrs Collins idea that echo should tutor Noah, they develop feelings for each other but can they overcome their own psychological problems and trust in each other and help each other through? Will Echo remember everything? Are Jacob and Tyler in danger?
I recommend you read this book, it's YA Lit at it's very best!
So when is it available i hear you shout? 31st July/3rd August So pre-order it/buy it now!
So did I enjoy the book? YES. Would I recommend? Yes. Would I read more in the series/by Kate McGarry? Yes I certainly would.

Available at Amazon.co.uk


What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Katie McGarry and I was born in Louisville, Kentucky (United States of America) and it is where I still live.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Pushing the Limits is the name of my debut novel. Two teens work together to discover the secrets in their files but neither foresaw the consequences of falling in love.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre? 
Dare You To will be released in 2013. This book will continue the series by following the journey of Beth, a secondary character from Pushing the Limits. This is a story that has a very special place in my heart.

Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
While I love Echo and Noah, I have to say that Beth and Isaiah have captured my heart. Beth and Isaiah are so raw and real. I can’t wait for everyone to read their books as well.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Yes. I call my husband my alpha reader. He listens to my ideas and then is the first to read my writing. I have a close friend who isn’t a writer that I have read my stuff to see if it makes sense. She’s good at picking out parts that don’t work. Then I have my critique group. I absolutely love and adore them. I have no idea what I would do without all of these wonderful people.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Coming up with the character names for Pushing the Limits was fun. I knew my heroine’s mom loved Greek mythology so I read lots of myths until I found ones that seemed perfect. Echo is my heroine’s name and her brother’s name is Aires.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Yes. More than I care to admit. I often listen to music and go for long walks.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
I have two: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and The Stand by Stephen King. I’ve read The Outsiders so much I have the first page memorized.

Where can readers follow you?
Readers can follow me at my website: www.katielmcgarry.com, on twitter @katiemcgarry, and become a fan on Facebook or Goodreads. I also blog every couple of weeks at www.yafusion.com.
Thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity! 

Thankyou for taking the time to do the Interview for my blog


BLURB from Goodreads


No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. 

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. 

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Available at Amazon.co.uk

Sunday, 29 July 2012


Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I wish I could say I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I read such great stories about authors with an attic full of manuscripts they’ve written or how they started writing stories as soon as they could read.

As for me? My writing journey began August 2008. I was a stay-at-home mom and feeling a bit unproductive. I know a lot of SAHM are workaholics, always in motion, not an ounce of free time. Not me. I make sure the kids are well-fed, read or play with them a little (very little), then find activities so they can entertain themselves. :)

Well, the SAHM role wasn’t enough. So, I just up and decided I’d give my hand at writing.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Receiving a less than positive review is always a downer. Just thinking about it makes my body slump. However, I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking a reviewer to change views on my work. Haha In fact, the idea is absurd. How would I even go about doing that? “Uhm… Mr./Mrs. Reviewer, you’re wrong. Really, you loved my story, and your review should reflect your adoration of my book.”

Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
It’s been awhile since I was in high school, but thinking back to my days, I’d have to say no. Well, it’s not that kids aren’t encouraged. I think it’s more that they’re encouraged to read material they’d rather not read. For example, my high school years were full of plays by Shakespeare and literary classics. I’m still not big into those kinds of reads. I get the impression the same thing is happening these days in school. Reading for school assignments ALWAYS put a crimp in my life.

It sucks to think such an enjoyable pastime can be turned into a chore. Now if a teacher had taken me to the school library and said to find a book for a report, I’d be all over it. That’s the way it was in elementary school. I’m not sure why something which worked so well during childhood has to change when approaching adulthood.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I do use a pen name. :) Reena Jacobs. My parents always called me by my middle name “Renee.” For some reason, my grandmother always called me Reena though. Jacobs is a family name. I’ve always felt closest to that side of the family. It just sounded right.

Interestingly enough, my brother is a poet/rapper. Nothing published though, no record labels. However, the name he’s claimed for himself is Jay Cobbs. It’s amazing the influences family can have on a person.

Where can readers follow you?
Readers can find me on my website: reenajacobs.com, Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4392112.Reena_Jacobs, Twitter:https://twitter.com/ReenaJacobs, and well, lots of places. :) If you’re on a social media site, try Reena Jacobs or ReenaJacobs, and it’ll likely be me.
Thank you for having me, Jeanz. 
Thanks for taking part in the Interview.

Your Blog details? http://reenajacobs.com/blog
Your Web site ? http://reenajacobs.com
Your Twitter details? https://twitter.com/ReenaJacobs

Any other details on your book you can supply?

BLURB from Goodreads
My best friend was more than just a best friend to me. Three words summed it up: I heart him. I’d never tell him though. I wasn’t stupid. Besides, what he’d told no one, but me, was a little something I wished I could forget… or ignore. He was gay. I guess gay wouldn’t be bad if I wasn’t so in love with him. Now it was just cruel.

Stereotypes run amok in this college love story: Parties, alcohol, hookups, and breakups. Alexandria Carmichael may find it a bit much as she deals with the unreturned love from the boy who completes her. When all is revealed, not only does she risk losing her best friend forever, but also herself. Without her childhood companion for support, Alexandria takes a journey of self-discovery but fears what she’ll find at the end.

Available at Amazon.co.uk

Connect With Reena Online:


BLURB from Goodreads
"Do you have to have sex to have a baby?" It's a question that ten-year-old Tali Nay asked the office assistant at her elementary school after the woman had done her best to explain how it all happened to a roomful of confused girls. Or maybe Tali was the only one who was confused. It's entirely possible, for if there's anything she knew at this point in her schooling, it was that she—without fail—was the last to know about anything interesting. Take her first day of kindergarten, where it turned out that every other kid already knew which letters were the vowels. Her first lesson as a student was consequently one of humiliation, and her second—only slightly less important—was that puking in a classroom tends to start a chain reaction. A refreshingly honest deep-dive into what we actually take away from a public education, this hilarious and heartfelt memoir captures the things we learn in school that are never part of any lesson plan yet somehow have the biggest impact upon the shaping of our perceptions over the years we spend in a classroom. Things like competition, failure, scandal, popularity, disillusionment, triumph, guilt, and, of course, throwing up in public. From the glorious to the gloriously awkward, this everyman tale is a story of growing up, one semester at a time

Available at Amazon.co.uk

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Tali Nay. I was born in California, raised in Oregon, and now I live in Cleveland, Ohio.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always knew I liked English classes better than any others. English as a major was an easy choice for me. I always knew I would write on the side, but I think what I always wanted to be was a teacher. Funny how things don’t work out…and also how they do.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
Not until this book, really. One of the employees at the bookstore where I had my release party said while we were planning it, “We just LOVE author events!” And I thought, “Wow, I’m an author!”

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I do. I have a full-time job in the never-dull world of Corporate America.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
It’s called Schooled, and it’s a memoir-ish collection of the things we learn in school that have nothing to do with textbooks. Life-learning, so to speak.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I have more memoirs planned. Several, in fact.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
My memoirs won’t be a series, per se. In that they will be about completely different topics. But I do plan on writing more books along the same lines (memoirs we can all relate to).

What made you decide to write memoirs?
Part of it was I realized when I graduated from college that the majority of my life had been spent in a classroom, and much of my journal and personal history writing had to do with things that had happened in school. I realized that putting together a collection of vignettes about school would actually make a nice theme for a book. From there I realized there were a few more themes I could write about, and the whole idea of the “Everyman Memoir” came to me. See, memoirs are usually about things and people that fascinate us because of the uniqueness of their experiences. My life isn’t particularly fascinating or unique, but I felt there was room in the market for some universal themes and stories we can all relate to.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I really don’t. But I do need quiet, focused time when I write. But other than that, the words flow pretty well for me no matter when I sit down to write them. I write in short vignettes, and after finishing one I print it out and add it to the stack. So I split my “writing” time between writing (new vignettes) and editing (reading through the stack of vignettes already printed). So by the time the book is done, I’ve already read through each vignette countless times.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
The title came when I was almost done with the book. And as for the cover, I worked with a really great designer at VMC Art & Design. We talked about the look I was going for, and she gave me several options to choose from. I simply picked the one I liked best.

What do you think makes a book a really good?
The books I like best are the ones I don’t want to put down. I prefer books that are both funny and poignant, books that are relatable, books that inspire me or at least leave me feeling better for having read them.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
Writing is usually what I do to relax, but I also enjoy playing guitar. And I’m currently studying gemology because I find gemstones as fascinating as they are beautiful.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I like physical books better and always will. I don’t even own an e-reader.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
Frankenstein is probably my all-time favorite, and I’d say my favorite contemporary story is Peace Like a River.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Memoirs. I love reading about real life.

Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I think I might have taken out a few details about certain people. The catch-22 with memoirs is that total honesty is pretty crucial, yet it’s impossible to be totally honest without selling a few people out…or at least hurting some feelings. And that’s been a bit hard for me to deal with. Not that the book is in any way vindictive. Still, I think I may have chosen to leave out a few things.

Where can readers follow you?
My website, www.talinaybooks.com


BLURB from Amazon.co.uk
Being an instructor for a private driver's ed company sounded like the launch of  a career that would last a lifetime. Not! During his short stint in the instructor's seat, Sullivan learned more than he wanted about poorly maintained cars, calm kids with angry parents, inefficient efficiency campaigns, too-rapid business expansion, and suburban angst. Oh, yes, and a bit about mustaches.An irreverent account of one man's descent from hope to a struggle to escape the chaos of subprime suburbia, Life in the Slow Lane celebrates the humor, resolve, and intelligence teenagers use to survive the dysfunctional world their elders have created.

Available at Amazon.co.uk 

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Thomas Sullivan. I grew up in Hartford, Connecticut and now live in Seattle, WA

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My book Life In The Slow Lane is a humor memoir about teaching teenagers to drive in a frantic, booming suburb of Portland, Oregon.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I had a student who was a boarder from Africa. She had no experience driving, trouble understanding English, and a knack for forgetting things. Every time we when out on the road something bizarre happened, and our lessons resembled an accidental discharge from a handgun. But she kept at it with real determination when other people might have quit. So, she was funny and inspiring in an unusual way.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
It took me about a year to find a publisher. It was a year of many, many submissions to literary agents and publishers. I actually had one agent write “I’m not sure why I want to look at this, but send a sample to me.” Eventually I found my publisher(s) through direct submissions.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I have two publishers. Uncial Press (a small press in Oregon) first published Slow Lane as an ebook. A bit later Cool Beat Audio Books (a small audio press in Florida) released a condensed version of the story as an audio book. It’s narrated by Skip Mahaffey, a very funny and talented radio personality in Florida.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It varies. In doing Slow Lane, I wrote mostly during the “down time” between lessons (or when a kid didn’t show up or a car died and a lesson got canceled). I finished it up after leaving the job. So in total, it took about two years to do an initial draft.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I have a collection of nonfiction humor essays that I hope to publish at some point. They cover a variety of everyday topics (not driving related) and a number of them have appeared in online journals.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
This is a good question because it’s something newer writers (like me) tend to overlook. We want to get something “out the door” to an agent or publisher. But having a few people with editorial backgrounds and insight to the publishing process read over a book is essential. I shy away from close people (ie partner, children, friends) reading a work because I think they’re too close to be impartial. But the more initial readers the better.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes. It’s easier and more affordable in digital formats than print. But I think this is a good idea regardless of the format.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I like authors who write in a way that resembles no one else, whose style is unique. The two that fit the bill for me are Chuck Palahniuk and Helen Dewitt.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Vinyl records (both new and used) are surging at my local record store. It makes me think that print books may shrink in popularity but will never go away.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Rejections from journals, publishers, agents mean nothing about the quality of your writing. All writing will interest someone, and getting rejected by Person A just allows you to find Person B who loves what you have created.

Where can readers follow you?

Your web site:

Your facebook page:

Your Goodreads author page

Your Twitter details:

And any other information you wish to supply:
Readers can hear a few funny excerpts from the audiobook version of Slow Lane at:

Saturday, 28 July 2012


Hi there,

I'm a retired newspaper reporter from the North East of England, following my childhood dream of being a novelist.

As a kid I read books under the bedclothes by torchlight. Now I dive under the bedclothes, torch in hand, to scribble down conversations between my nutty book characters in case I forget them in the morning.

FACTS ABOUT ME (including some stuff I've never dared tell anyone)

First off, I might never have been born. My mother told me I was the perfect baby but my younger brother was a nightmare. He cried non-stop every night and she never got a wink of sleep. She said if he was born first, she would never have had another.

As a tot, my dad would spread a newspaper on the carpet and I would sit on it and play with his tin of old rusty screws and bolts. I would mess on with them for hours. It wasn't that we couldn't afford toys, I just loved twiddling with the bits. Nowadays I twiddle with beads, making jewellery.

Growing up, I was a tom boy and nuts for climbing trees and playing football (US-soccer). When I was 10, a boy said I was pretty and kissed me on the corner of the mouth. I thumped him in the corner of his.

At about 12, my pals and I had a competition at school lunch to see who could eat the most sausages. I ate 29 and won; I had a stomach like Bessie Bunter  -http://tinyurl.com/833q2ue – and was sick for a week.

I was really skinny in my early teens and one day my mother was hauled in to school and quizzed about why I was so thin. The school authorities thought my parents weren’t feeding me. My mother was really upset and angry. She told them about all the food she threw out that I wouldn't eat. My father, mother, myself and my little brother all ate off different size plates. One day I sat down at my father’s place at the table and started eating from his big plate. He came in and said, "Hey…" but my mother stopped him and said, "Let her eat" – and I’ve never stopped since.

At the ‘Big School’, I was in a lot of teams i.e. hockey, rounders (US-baseball), netball (US-basketball). We played hockey in all weathers and often got soaked through. In our classroom, our desks had a lid and sometimes myself and my team mates didn’t take our hockey kit home. Instead we lifted the lid on an empty desk, at the back of the classroom, and tossed in our muddy, wet hockey kit. Next match day, we pulled out the kit, sorted it and went off to play. The dried, muddy kit was like wearing a suit of armour. How we managed to walk in it, never mind run, I have no idea. Yuck.

In my teens I learned judo. In my class there was this giant cop, about 6ft 4in and 16 stone and he liked to throw his weight around. At the end of the class, we had a practice session and I was paired with monster cop. I was determined to throw him. But at only 5ft 3in and seven stone soaking wet, it wasn’t easy. But determination can make up for a lot. So gritting my teeth, I put every ounce of strength into the throw and woohoo, I threw him. But he fell on top of me and smashed my collar bone. But, hey, it was worth it.

My vivid imagination caused me to black out a couple of times in my teens and early 20s. This happened when I read, was told or overheard graphic details about an injury. Blood wasn’t an issue. I could take blood by the gallons but broken bones were another matter. I got a sympathy pain in the area of the body I was reading about or hearing about. If it was a broken leg or arm, I felt like I had a broken leg or arm etc etc. After a short while the pain disappeared, then I would feel sick. The sickness spread up through my body stage by stage.  I felt like I had butterflies in my stomach, then there was a great weight crushing my chest, next someone was strangling me and when the sickness reached my head - blackout time. This happened on a bus reading a novel, in a court room as a reporter covering a murder trial about someone who died from a head injury and in a girlfriend’s bathroom. She was washing her hair, talking about a knee operation and I collapsed in her bath tub. Crazy, huh?

As a newspaper reporter, I have interviewed thousands of people - authors, actors, celebrities, sports stars, politicians, heroes, bad guys, good guys and people like me and you. The person who sticks out the most is a 10-year-old boy with cancer. He told me it hurt sometimes and he was glad it was him and not his brother who was ill. A true hero.

I play golf but I’ve never had a hole in one. My partner has had 22. A bit greedy if you ask me.

My favourite number is a bajillion. If we had that much money, maybe there wouldn’t be wars and poverty.

My favourite colour is brown – from gold to chocolate and all shades in between.

Autumn is my favourite month. This time of year is soooooo pretty in England with the trees all my favourite colours of brown. On a sunny day or a crisp, frosty morning, they shimmer – it’s like a FairyLand.

I love chocolate, and hate coffee and tea.

History was my favourite subject at school. I'm also interested in different cultures. I'm learning Lakota Sioux but as I don't know anyone else who is, I will probably have to talk to myself...hey, so what's new.

My name is Linda and at the ‘Big School’, there were four other Lindas in my class. In Spanish, Linda means beautiful, pretty or cute. Nice. But I always dreamt of being called something else. So I chose Dakota Douglas for my pen name. Dakota because I love the Black Hills of South Dakota and Dakota means friend or ally in Lakota Sioux. Douglas is my brother’s christian name and my grandmother’s maiden name.

People you may have heard of who come from the North East of England: Musician Sting, movie director Ridley Scott, Admiral Lord Collingwood, who took command at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 when Nelson was killed; author Catherine Cookson; Horrible Histories’ author Terry Deary; railway pioneer George Stephenson, who invented The Rocket - the most famous early railway locomotive; Mark Knopler, of Dire Sraits; rocker Brian Johnson, of AC/DC; and 1960s band The Animals.

Landmarks and locations in the area: Hadrian’s Wall, an 80-mile long military fortification started by Emperor Hadrian in AD122 to keep out the pesky barbarians from northern Britannia (Scotland); dozens of stunning castles including Alnwick Castle, built about 1096 to protect England’s northern border and most famously in recent years featuring as ‘Hogwarts’ in the first two Harry Potter movies.

This is how the idea for ANTics came about: 
While waiting to meet someone, I saw a group of ants carrying a crisp (US-potato chip). The crisp was about 3cm by 2cm and their antics at transporting this to their nest were pretty amazing.

First there were the workers, who carried the crisp, then several supervisors, who oversaw the operation. And when it appeared the job was too big for them, one ant ran off and came back with extra helpers. It was incredible to see them haul the crisp up a 12cm kerb. I was exhausted just watching. But very Impressed.

That night I dreamt about ants. When I woke, I lay thinking about the dream and the idea for characters with names ending in ant - describing their personalities - was born.  

(Information taken from Dakota Douglas' Blog with full permission of the author)


BLURB from Amazon.co.uk

InhabitANT is a hidden world where thousands of ants eat, sleep, work, raise children and wage wars. Their fiercest enemy is an evil spider, a massive devious beast with magic powers, called RepugnANT. Three young ants – ExuberANT, BrilliANT and HesitANT – stumble across the fiend while looking for food for their nestmates. Their frantic efforts to escape the murderous monster thrust them into one heart-pounding adventure after another. The eight-legged brute is in hot pursuit and he’s vowed to catch them and wipe out their nest. The pals need to escape his clutches and alert the nest, using Zube’s own special powers and Brill’s clever brain. But is HesitANT up to the challenge? Watching his family wiped out by slaveraider ants has left the little ant nervous and timid. Can he shrug off his fears to save Zube and Brill from the world’s craziest spider and save InhabitANT in time?

Available at Amazon.co.uk

* There are a couple of interactive suggestions at the end of the novel. I would love it if you have the time to take part. Please get in touch with me Dakota Douglas via my Contact Page.


IT'S A DOG'S LIFE: A children's short story. Starting a new school can be tough. But for Jeremy it is especially hard. Until a dirty shaggy dog walks into his life and turns everything topsy turvy      Feedbooks: http://bit.ly/AoeTQT

A BOY'S BEST FRIEND: A sequel to It’s a Dog’s Life. Jeremy's best friend is his dog Rufus. But Rufus is no ordinary dog and strange things happen when he's around. "Rufus tilted his head on one side. How could he make Jeremy understand? Of course. The solution was sooo simple. He began to pant excitedly. He knew it would get Jeremy into trouble but he had no choice."Feedbooks: http://bit.ly/A2sh6C
WALKS SOFTLY: One of three children's short stories giving a glimpse of family life in an American Indian village in the 19th century. Walks Softy is afraid of her own shadow. Can she be brave enough when danger threatens her friends and people?
Feedbooks: http://bit.ly/xZZtNN
MORNING STAR'S GIFT: Morning Star is making a gift for her father and wants it to be perfect. But her pest of a brother and muddy dog have other ideas.  
Feedbooks: http://bit.ly/wtBtsq
HOPPING BIRD'S NEW NAME: Hopping Bird hates his name. When he sneaks away when his family go foraging for food he stumbles into an adventure that earns him a new one - including an encounter with a great mythical creature.
Feedbooks: http://bit.ly/xnNel6

SOMETHING FISHY: An adult short story. Luke and Pru's holiday isn’t turning out as they expect. Pru senses there is something odd about the locals. And her instincts are spot on - with unforeseen consequences.
Feedbooks: http://bit.ly/xRfDKl

A BLAZE OF GLORY: An adult short story. Between his wife Mary and father-in-law Les, Sam's life is miserable. Now his job as a fireman is on the line. Sam is desperate. Can a series of arson attacks on the town change that? Police are baffled. The list of suspects is stacking up.
LIMBO MAN: A short story for adults. There is something about the overgrown maze that draws Mary back again and again. And when she meets the old man who seems to haunt the place the mystery starts to unfold.
Feedbooks: http://bit.ly/xmbK6y

Here is the link to the Dakota Douglas website: http://www.dakotadouglas.co.uk/index.html


Now trending: YA mythology

The love of dystopia, steampunk, vampires, and things that go bump in the night are trends that are still going strong (as they should). Thanks to authors like Rick Riordan, P.C. Cast, and Josephine Angelini, mythology is a YA trend that has also made a name for itself. 

Here's 3 reasons why I believe mythology is worth the hype.

1. Writing mythology is two-fold: an impressive imagination and extensive amounts of research. I personally love this combination that's seen in various genres.

2. As we all know... Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades are the three main Greek Gods. Which means, there's potential for story lines in the sea, the underworld, and all of earth's land and sky. Really makes ya question the saying, "the sky's the limit." 
3. Sure, there's Greek Mythology (as I just mentioned), but that's just scratching the surface. In fact, mythology is defined as "A collection of myths belonging to a people and addressing their origin, history, deities, ancestors, and heroes." In other words, lots of fun variations, prophecies, and adventures to behold.

So are you ready to dive into mythology? Below are a few books that aspire to be hot buttons in the YA mythology trend. Pick 'em up and become a part of this growing genre. 

Sprite by Leigh MichaelSonora by Travis Hall
The Chosen by Sheenah FreitasBonded by Mande Matthews
Unchanged by Heather CrewsBetrayal by Mayandree Michel
Become by Ali CrossEternal Vows by Chrissy Peebles
Promises by Amber GarrEternal Youth by Julia Crane and Nolia McCarty
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Don't forget to comment below, and let us know 
YOUR favourite YA Mythology genre books!