1 December 2022

The Geeky Stitching Co's Little Book of Cross Stitch by Jess Payne


It's that time of year again, the 12 Days of Clink St Publishing blog tour! I decided I need a new hobby, other than cocktails and books so Geeky Stitching caught my eye and I'm branching out into cross-stitch. I have done a few before but those were with kits that already had everything in it, so it is a bit daunting to try going 'freelance'!


Unfortunately my book hasn't arrived in time for me to show off my handy work but I am hoping for a cocktail cross stitch to try out. Depending on how my efforts turn out I might show you all later! For now I will be asking Father Christmas for some cross stitch supplies...


Book Summary

You will find over thirty of our bestselling designs in this book as well as seven new patterns to stitch up, we have everything from rainbows to fluffy animals and not a country cottage in sight!

A great book for beginners as well as experienced stitchers who are fans of stitching cute stuff and fun puns.

7 November 2022

Stand and Deliver by Philip Caveney

Today I have a guest post by author Philip Caveney, which I believe will be very useful for any budding writers out there! Personally the description of books as 'head movies' is so accurate for me. I love a good book which allows me to feel like I'm actually watching the events unfold. First of all a bit about Philip's new book, Stand and Deliver. Then on to his great writing tips!

Book Summary

In a time when highwaymen ruled the roads, Ned is reluctantly swept up into a whirlwind of adventure. Whilst escaping the grasps of the thief-takers, Ned soon finds himself stepping into his Master’s shoes and an unwanted life of crime. The pressure is building with new friends and enemies galore when Ned stumbles upon a long-infamous gem, The Bloodstone, which forces him to make an important choice. Can he ultimately escape this new threat and finally free himself from the grips of The Shadow?

Top Tips for Adventure Writing

Writing an adventure story is much like writing any other form of fiction. All the usual rules apply. But over the years I’ve developed some hard and fast tips that I believe, will help guide any budding writer through the process of creating thrilling adventurous prose. Here they are!

1. Create a credible world.

Wherever your adventure takes place - whether it’s somewhere in the real world or a universe you’ve created in your own mind - it must seem real to the reader. You’ll do this through your powers of description. I like to think of books as ‘head movies. ’As readers go through your writing, they need to see a film unspooling on a screen in their head, a projection of what’s in your mind. If you’ve described it well enough, readers will believe the place actually exists and then they’ll be ready to accept what happens there, no matter how fantastic!

2. Show the events through the eyes of the characters.

I cannot emphasise this enough. The three most important words in a writer’s lexicon are SHOW DON’T TELL. If the writer talks about an adventure that happens way off in the distance, it will never come alive for the readers. They will feel like they’re standing at the edge of a very wide playing field watching things unfold through a set of binoculars. Distance can diminish an adventure, and remove much of the potential excitement. Show it happening, as it happens to the people it’s actually happening to - and suddenly we’re talking an entirely different game. Your readers are hooked and you can take them anywhere you like!

3. Know when to cut away.

I’ve sometimes read a piece of fiction where the writer lingers too long over a particular point in the story. Yes, you need to give enough information to inform the readers to ‘show’ them the scene, but knowing when to end the chapter - when to cut away - is one of the most important lessons a writer needs to learn. Try to leave the action at a point where something important is just about to happen. This will make the reader eager to turn to the next page. Do this twenty times or so and you’ve led them through an entire book!

4. Research.

It pretty much goes without saying that if your book is set in a particular historical period then you need to read as much about it as you can - and don’t just stick to the bits that will be pertinent to your particular story. Read around the period and make notes as you go. Pick out little details that will make your story convincing. And don’t use too much of that research! Pick out the nuggets, some little details that will convince the reader that you know actually what you’re talking about.

But… what if you’ve invented the world? All bets are off, surely? Well, no, because whatever you’ve come up with, it will have to operate in the same way as any world does. Perhaps you’ll find parallels with a real place and an actual time period which you can apply to your invented society. Because, no matter how fantastical your imagined world is, it will need to have rules of logic, the things that make it operate. Otherwise, readers aren’t going to believe that you know enough about your own invention - and they won’t trust you to take them through the story.

5. Remember to vary the pace.

And finally, let’s talk about pace. A book shouldn’t be a frantic chase from start to finish - but neither should it be a dull plod. This may sound obvious, but a book is generally a series of chapters, all with their own particular job to do. I often imagine them as a series of doors leading through a huge house - a labyrinth perhaps. Yes, we need some moments of excitement and of course we also need suspense… but at the same time, we need occasional lulls where we can tease the story along to its next instalment.

Always give your readers time to draw breath before you plunge them into the next bout of excitement. And don’t be afraid to keep them waiting…

4 November 2022

Urgent Matters by Paula Rodriguez

Book Summary

The Yankees are more astute when it comes to matters like these. They say "not guilty". They don't say "innocent". Because as far as innocence goes, no one can make that claim.

A train crashes in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, leaving forty-three people dead. A prayer card of Saint Expeditus, the patron saint of urgent matters, flutters above the wreckage.

Hugo, a criminal on the run for murder, is on the train. He seizes his chance to sneak out of the wreckage unsuspected, abandoning his possessions - and, he hopes, his identity - among bodies mangled beyond recognition.

As the police descend on the scene, only grizzled Detective Domínguez sees a link between the crash and his murder case. Soon, he's on Hugo's tail. But he hasn't banked on everything from the media to his mother-in-law getting in the way.

This was a bit out of my usual comfort zone in terms of the genre and the fact that it was a translated book, but the description intrigued me and I am so glad I decided to try it. The writing flows really well and I ended up reading most of it in one day. I did find it a bit hard to keep track of all the side characters as many were introduced quite suddenly and I wasn't always sure how they fitted into the story, however this didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book.

It was really interesting to get the different points of view of the main characters, and I enjoyed being able to see the story from all sides, particularly as they are all so different. It's amazing how a varied perspective can alter what seems to be happening. The conclusion was left very slightly vague so that while I am pretty sure I know what happens next, it is still open to interpretation or at least hope for whatever the reader might want! I will be looking out for more of Paula's books in future, hoping they will also be translated.

Author Bio

Paula Rodríguez is a journalist, editor, writer, comedian, ghostwriter and feminist activist. She has worked for twenty-five years in magazine print journalism. Urgent Matters is her first novel. Paula lives in Buenos Aires.

Translator Bio

Sarah Moses is a writer and translator of French and Spanish. She co-translated Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, which was longlisted for the International Booker Prize, among other awards. Her translation of Agustina Bazterrica's Tender is the Flesh was published by Pushkin Press in 2020.

To start with, my apologies in advance to any Argentinians out there who might be horrified at my attempts here. I tried to find out a bit more about the Mate that they are always drinking in the book and found that the flavour resembles green tea and is often mixed with fruit juice, usually lime. So I've made a cocktail which uses both of those. My Urgent Matters cocktail is more of a Mate-inspired drink rather than any attempt to actually recreate it. 

Into a cocktail shaker, add 60ml rum, 60ml cold green tea, 30ml lime juice and a dash of sugar syrup. Shake with ice and pour into a glass full of ice. I think it turned out pretty well!

29 October 2022

The Adventures of Ozchickychop and his White Teapot by Jane Aistrop

Today's post is an extract from the start of the book along with some of the lovely page artwork. But first, here's what the book is about!

Book Summary

Children, open up this book and you will find a magical tale about two brothers who discover a magical world.

This story is about the brothers embarking on rescue missions and learning just how important words are, not just in story books but also in real life too.

Kindness, caring and love shines throughout this story to save Ozchickychop and the land of Nede.

Read on to become part of their adventures.

A note from the author:

Hi to all,

I'm still pinching myself in disbelief, as you probably guessed, I am not an author or an illustrator by trade, just a granny who spent hours on the phone, telling stories to my grandson, during lockdown. The Adventures of Ozchickychop and his White Teapot is one that I wrote down and, amazingly is now a published work. Huzzar!

27 October 2022

Witchstorm by Tim Tilley

Book Summary

Join a hunt for lost witch treasure, in an enchanting adventure story of storms, spells, and the magic of the natural world, from bestselling and award-winning Tim Tilley.

Will believes in witches and the stories he's grown up with - of mythical storm-lions, disappearing villages, and secret songs. Most of all, he believes the tales of magical treasure hidden in the Fens centuries ago. Treasure that he has to find, to solve the mystery of his Ma's disappearance.

Then, in the eye of a storm, a witch arrives. She holds the key to finding the lost treasure - a powerful magical object that can summon storms. But someone else is searching for it too. If it falls into the wrong hands, Will's beloved home could be destroyed, and with it, his chances of ever finding his ma.

Join Will on an epic quest filled with riddles, ruined towers, cloud cities and broomstick chases, on a journey to save everything he loves before time runs out.

This was such an exciting adventure, so gripping that I didn't want to put the book down. I loved the mystery with all the clues and riddles to follow, it almost felt like being part of the story. What I didn't love was the bullying, and even more, friends who turn to side with the bullies. It was so hard to read and I just wanted to help Will and protect him! Luckily he makes a much better friend.

Unlike everyone else in The Fens, Will and his Ma still believe in witches, particularly as their ancestor was the one who helped the last witches when other people turned on them. The way Ma's folk stories gradually started to fit together was really clever. I wondered if maybe she was trying to prepare him for the future adventures she knew he would have one day.

There was a truly lovely ending. It was so touching and meaningful, really making people think about their effect on the world we live in. After this I ran out for a copy of Tim's previous book, Harklights and was so excited to find a signed copy!

Author Bio

Tim Tilley studied illustration at Anglia Ruskin University and now teaches children's book illustration courses at City Lit. He is always watchful of the world around him and loves collecting and drawing beautiful snapshots of nature, relishing the small things people often miss. Tim's debut children's book, the bestselling and critically-acclaimed Harklights, is the winner of the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize and the Junior Design Award.

Find Tim on Twitter or Instagram

I found the perfect cocktail to sip while reading about Will's adventures. To make the Witch & Broomstick cocktail, dry shake (without ice) 45 ml gin, 15ml lemon juice, 15ml honey syrup, 5ml Liquore Strega and 15ml egg white. Then add ice, shake again and strain into your cocktail glass.