Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Jane Dougherty, Mary Smith and Lucy Brazier

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update and the first author with an update is Jane Dougherty with her short story collection – The Spring Dance and other stories

About The Spring Dance

Magic, mystery, mirth and murder fill these tales that are fresh as daisies and old as the hills.

Foxes and firebirds, deer and dancers, trolls and travellers, and lots of princesses tell their stories to entertain you as the nights draw in, the fire crackles in the grate, and the wolves howl in the forest.

Buy the new collection:

and Amazon UK:

A selection of books also by Jane Dougherty

The most recent review for the first book in the Pathfinder Series – Abomination.

‘Abomination’ is the first book in ‘The Pathfinders’ series by Jane Dougherty. I will start off by saying that I immensely enjoyed this apocalyptic novel. It was dark, gritty, and raw and had me completely pulled into the story. ‘Abomination’ is a fantastic read which is very well written and the story (even though apocalyptic /post-apocalyptic has been done before), is very original and engrossing.

One of the first things I noticed, was seeing parallel elements from ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding, and I feel has elements in common with ‘The Walking Dead’ also. As I’ve mentioned above, it’s simply a very dark and brutal book. I would not hesitate to recommend it to young adults, as that is that is also the intended audience. There is strong language throughout the book, so those who are very sensitive, should be forewarned.

The story starts off quite harmlessly, but things go down the drain very quickly for Carla and Tully, as they are hurtled through a wormhole five years into the future just as the end of the world is beginning. Unfortunately, this just takes them out of the frying pan and into the fire. There they must battle against blood-thirsty youngsters, gangs, mutated animals and against other characters which I will only describe here as supernatural or demonic (i.e. the Burnt Man).

It is a story of adapting oneself to a new environment and dire situations while still trying to hold onto one’s values and to rise above the despondency and cut-throat ways of the gangs who have had to live through five years of hell and destruction. Just as in ‘Lord of the Flies’, any semblance of society has fallen apart and the youngsters are not concerned with growing food or following rules (except their own twisted law), but are only interested in fighting and with attaining/holding onto power.

‘Abomination’, isn’t just about the struggle of humans against nature and other humans, but is a struggle against mutated animals and supernatural forces which wish to destroy the world. These elements, due to spoilers, will not be talked about in this review, but needless to say, ‘Abomination’ is an action-packed supernatural thriller which borders on horror.

What makes this story believable, are the actions of the characters in the book. The characters act in a very believable and natural way, which pulls us in as the reader and makes us feel for these characters. Furthermore, the author’s writing style is easy to read and her descriptions pull the reader in and fully immerse them in this experience.

The book ends with a very good cliffhanger which just makes me want to pick up the second book, ‘Devastation’, in order to continue the journey with Carla and Tully.

‘Abomination’ is an action-packed apocalyptic novel which borders on horror. Due to its original take on the end of times, and for the superb writing style of Jane Dougherty, I highly recommend this book to others who enjoy supernatural thrillers. I would absolutely love to see this book get a movie deal or even better, a Netflix series, as I believe the story would find a huge fan-base across wide audiences. Happy reading!

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

and at Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Jane on Goodreads:

Connect to Jane via her website:

The next author with another review for her recent short story, Donkey Boy and other Stories is Mary Smith. This is my review for the book which I recommend.

About the collection

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse.

My review for the collection which I gave  5 stars on October 2nd.

This is not a long read, but you should never judge a book by the number of pages, but in the quality of the writing. Each story is beautifully crafted and leaves the reader with questions. Not about the outcome of the story, but about how we might have behaved under similar circumstances. In the title story we meet a small boy who has to work for his father rather than go to school. His resentment is natural in a child, as his reasoning over a moral dilemma that becomes even more complicated than he anticipated.

For me there was a theme running through all the stories, of a sense of being trapped in situations and circumstances. These included childhood memories laced with bitterness, secrets that if revealed could endanger life, and visions that show the darker side of human nature. I read and enjoyed the novel No More Mulberries by Mary Smith, and highly recommend that you read this short story collection too.

Read the reviews and buy the collection:

and Amazon US:

Also by Mary Smith

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads:

Connect to Mary via her website:

The last update today is for the second book by Lucy Brazier, A Portergirl Novel – The Vanishing Lord which was released in June.

About the book

There’s nothing quite so annoying as having the police arrive when you are trying to cover up a crime that may or may not have happened.

Lord Bernard has died unexpectedly. Is Deputy Head Porter being framed? Head Porter just wants to be kept out of the picture.

In this fast-paced whimsical British romp, a priceless work of art – the portrait of Old College founding father Lord Arthur Layton – has gone missing and with the death of Lord Bernard, the Master of arch rivals Hawkins College, there is nothing for it but for our heroine to don her trusty bowler hat and embark upon another eccentric investigation.

In this sequel to the debut PorterGirl novel, First Lady of The Keys, Old College’s first and only female Porter must find the portrait or it will be her that is flat on the canvas and framed like a kipper.

Tenacious detectives, ill-advised disguises, saucy medieval literature and Russian spies conspire to confuse matters further in this entertaining escapade.

The most recent review for the book

The second in Lucy Brazier’s Portergirl series is another hilarious, yet extremely witty and intelligent mystery story set in Cambridge College.

The female Deputy Head Porter springs into action when the portait of Lord Layton mysteryiously disappears. Asked for discretion in her investigation this is far from easy and straight forward.

Academic politics, personal conflicts and saving face come into play as well as the secret investigation takes place.

The book’s main strengths are the quirky and often excentric characters and of course, the formiddable and eloquent use of language. Yet, the story is just as entertaining, there’s plenty of well timed, well paced and well plotted situational comedy, somewhere between farcial and satirical with excellent observational skills.

The depiction of the college structure is very poignant- I assume it is probably largely based in truth but mixed for effect with warm humour and charm.

Brazier’s humour never bites, so you can find yourself caring for even the annoying characters.

Read all the reviews and buy the book Amazon UK:

Also by Lucy Brazier

Read other reviews and find out more about Lucy Brazier by following her on Goodreads:

Connect to Lucy via her website:

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the news about Jane, Mary and Lucy. Thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Kevin Morris, Jane Dougherty and Judy E. Martin

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

DallianceWelcome to the Cafe and Bookstore author update and delighted to bring news of author and poet Kevin Morris’s latest project.  He has recorded a CD of thirteen of his poems from his collections which include the following:

 Fire  –   My Old Clock I Wind  –   Leaf  –  Leaves Blown At Night  –   Lost  –  Ethereal –  Waltz – The Poet and the Workman  – There Was A Young Man Called Rory – There Was A Young Lady Called Flair – There Was A Young Lady Called Anna – When  –  Dalliance.

This CD is available currently exclusively from Kevin Morris and he has set aside a number of copies for anyone who feels they can offer an honest review of his work and you can contact him on the following email.

newauthoronline (at) gmail dot com

Two reviews for Kevin’s Poetry

Kevin Morris shares his serious inner life in “Dalliance” in simple but often powerful poems and short, gritty vignettes full of honest feeling and meaning. He shares his acute sense of hearing and touch and his connectedness with Nature and the elements. He feels rain and wind on his face, either warm like a lover, or piercing and chill. His communion with birdsong reminds us that we are trapped in an over-stimulated electronic world out of earshot of the call of the wild. Kevin clearly hears these sounds through and above our babble even in the pub, and may transfer his feelings onto them, sometimes his sense of isolation.
The pearl of this collection is a poem about the “eternal” wind, which has no regard for our petty civilisation: it is the ultimate renewable power. The wind is from everlasting to everlasting. He hears the hoot of the deadly swooping owl intent in its prey. He feels and describes the touch of the acorn, something he has loved since gathering acorns with his grandfather. His short stories are deeply felt and based on newstories told with compassion. In sharing his gift, he opens up our own senses to the music of nature, the wind and birdsong, which is balm to the bruised soul. Highly enjoyable!

I loved the sheer variety of the pieces in this book – and the lyrical nature of the writing. Most beautiful. Two, in particular, stood out for me: ‘Dark Angel’ and ‘The Great Cycle’. Both evoked the connection we have with the world – though in very different ways, one being a physical bond with the natural world, the other a more inanimate ‘friend’!
I thoroughly recommend this exquisite little collection.

To buy the CD recorded by Kevin Morris please contact him direct on newauthoronline (at) gmail dot com, (the address is rendered to avoid spammers)

Also by Kevin Morris

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Read all the reviews for Kevin’s work and buy the books:


Connect to Kevin via his website or email as above:

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

The next author today has also a brand new release as of January 30th.. Jane Dougherty with Tales from the Northlands.  A historical collection of fantasy short stories about the legendary Vikings linked to a child from another time.

51kos0ukxl-_uy250_About Tales from the Northlands

A rickety wooden escalator carries a child from his safe, comfortable world of department store Christmas glitter to the midnight zone inhabited by legendary nightmares.
On the windswept east coast of Northumbria, a Saxon thegn avenges his murdered chief by selling his village to the sea wolves, and a ruthless war leader prepares for battle, gloating over the blood dream sent him by the wicce.

In Viking Sverige, Jussi and Solveig plan a future juggling bride price, parental expectations and the knarr they have yet to acquire, but their future falls beneath the shadow of the mountain.

Antar seems like the answer to Inna’s dream of escaping the bleak steading on the fjord, but her father and his chosen son-in-law have other ideas.

What links these tales is the North Sea that beats the coast, brings the cold and the long ships, laps the winter nights in snow, when the wind howls stories of trolls and giants. It brings the herring, the sea mews and the grey seals, and it joins a people with the same vision of the world—harsh, vivid and full of magic.

Buy the book:

A selection of other books by Jane Dougherty

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A review for Abomination (The Pathfinders Series Book 1) released in 2016.

Carla and Tully are there to witness the beginning of the world’s end. When they are sucked into a wormhole that transports them five years into the future, they are stunned to discover a new and horrible version of the world they once knew. A world where violence is a way of life, where strange and terrifying creatures stalk the surviving humans, and where women are treated as lesser beings. They are forced to join a brutal tribe and shoved into the roles befitting their genders. As the story progresses, we learn more about the last five years and how the world they now inhabit came to be. We also learn the worst is yet to come.

Fast-paced and well-written, Abomination is a very strong start to the Pathfinders series. Jane Dougherty has created a desolate, post-apocalyptic world where the worst of human behavior thrives. We meet characters who are courageous, who love and care for others in spite of starvation, fear, and the daily threat of violence. These characters are beautifully drawn and complex. The story also has its share of twists and surprises.

I would recommend this book to teens age 13 and up. Adults will also enjoy the story. I sure did! Fans of dystopian tales and those who enjoy a thought-provoking adventure will love this book. I’m looking forward to book 2. 

To view and buy all of Jane Dougherty’s books please go to Amazon Author Page:


Connect to Jane via her website:

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

Now an update on poet Judy E. Martin who published her very entertaining poetry collection Rhymes of the Times last March.. When her book was promoted here at the time it was a little early for reviews.. Time to rectify that.


About the collection

Are you one of those people that barge through life, trying to get through it as best as you can, swimming against the everyday worries and stresses of life? Well, I have found a way to make it much more enjoyable.

Don’t you think everything sounds better when it rhymes? I certainly do. In fact, I have found that everything from doing the housework to growing older, can sound more positive and less daunting when made into a little ditty.

This book is about finding the humour, or raising a smile from the everyday things that we can all relate to in life, and looking at them from a different perspective. Nothing escapes versification; there is even a subject on sex! After all, that is one subject where there is plenty of room for laughter, even if it may not be the right moment!

Two of the reviews for Rhymes of the Times

If you love rhyming poetry, and a bloody good laugh, this book is for you. Short at just 61 pages, you could get through it during a cuppa and I promise you will laugh the whole way through. Martin is a master at rhyme, and also with twists, there were a few poems with unexpected endings, one particular line caught my eye for its clever analogy:

“Then autumn comes a-calling
And it starts a slow striptease”


The book has a variety of themed sections, my favourite being the women’s section which had some outrageous and utterly brilliant poems. My other fave was called Sexting, which made me spit my cuppa everywhere!

Brilliant, a must read for any poetry fan.

Poetically Perfect! By Ritu on 9 Mar. 2016

A fantastic collection of humerous poems, that span many facets of life. Judy Martin is a great poet, with that knack of getting her rhyming just right.

There were many poems that made me giggle out loud, and some that made me say “Aw!” Some I felt may have been written with me in mind!

So go on, treat yourself! Dip into this lovely collection of verse, you won’t regret it!

Find out more about Judy, read all the reviews and buy the book:


Connect to Judy via her website:

I hope you have found this author update interesting and if you are in the Cafe and Bookstore please let me know if you have a new release available or a recent terrific review..

If you are not in the Bookstore yet then please take a look at the promotion that you can enjoy for your work before joining the other 130 authors on the shelves.

As always your feedback is very welcome.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book of the Week – Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myths by Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty

sally's cafe and bookstore

Today a book about love.. Ancient Irish style with passion and more than a little magic.  Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myths is a collaboration between two authors Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty, each bringing their own writing magic to the collection.

51z5skuc3xl-_uy250_About the Book

Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

A selection of the reviews including my own from last year.

This collection includes three tales by Ali Isaac and two tales and a poem by Jane Dougherty, all of which retell Irish mythical love stories. The retelling of myths is one of my favorite themes in fiction, and these tales do not disappoint. I haven’t read the source materials that the authors draw upon, so I can’t verify their accuracy to the original, but I found them to be a moving blend of the dreamy atmosphere of fantasy and the harsh realities of lost loves. In places I was reminded of the style of one of my favorite authors, Evangeline Walton, in her wonderful adaptations of Welsh myth. Also, I found Jane Dougherty’s poem “Deirdre Wishes for Death” to be excellent, and I’m very fussy about the quality of poetry. I recommend this collection as a satisfying quick read for anyone.

There are many millions of people around the world who proudly claim Irish ancestory. With its rich Celtic history, myths and legends, Ireland has given the gift of literature to the world for hundreds of years. Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myths continues that tradition in this short collection of stories adapted from ancient tales and crafted beautifully by Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty, both accomplished writers. Even in ancient days romances did not run smoothly or necessarily end happily, but they were full of daring men and women who fought for their love and sometimes died in the attempt to be together.. In the stories of Grá mo Chroí there is the added element of the mystical, other world influences that set them apart from our modern day love stories. I hope that the authors will consider publishing volume two now that they have worked so well together to such good effect.

I ended up reading this before bedtime last night after opening it up for a quick peek and then reading it to the end. I do like this sort of medieval story; the romance, the heroes and heroines and the style of the writing. This is a short collection and I would have loved more of it.

These stories reminded me of a Kate Rusby song: so moving and lyrical. I couldn’t stop reading. Jane Dougherty and Ali Issac give you a taste of Irish tales that is sure to be pleasing. If you like Irish lore, handsome heroes, and tragic love stories, I recommend this collection.

Buy the book;



Also by Ali Isaac


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Find out about Ali Isaac, read the reviews and buy the books:

Follow Ali on her blog:

A selection of books by Jane Dougherty



Find out about Jane, view her books and read the reviews:

Follow Jane on her blog:

There are a number of ways to promote your books, blog, art, music, poetry and photography and you can find out more here:

Thank you for dropping by and we would love your feedback.  Sally

New Book Fanfare – Abomination – The Pathfinders Series by Jane Dougherty

New book fanfare

Jane Dougherty has been a guest on Smorgasbord on the Sunday Show and also to showcase her books which are packed with action and adventure as well as covering a number of genres. Her latest book, Abomination is the first in a futuristic time travel series called The Pathfinders published by Finch Books.

About the Book


As the end of the world begins, Carla and Tully hurtle through a wormhole five years forward in time, only to find they haven’t missed the Apocalypse after all.

Carla and Tully are picnicking in the quad of their international high school in central Paris when the end of the world begins. They are sucked into a wormhole that spits them out five years later to find that the world is a freezing desolation but still hanging on, waiting for something even worse to finish it off. The something worse turns out to be the Burnt Man and his horsemen. Taken prisoner by the Flay Tribe to their lair in the ruins of a shopping mall, Tully is forced to become a warrior, while Carla joins the other girls as a kitchen slave and comfort woman.

Tully might like the idea of playing soldiers, but Carla knows what is waiting for the girls when the food runs out, and it isn’t pleasant. The supermarket holy man’s vision of the return of the Burnt Man and his demon friends drags Tully back to reality. When the four fiends are reunited, the Apocalypse will really begin. Carla and Tully don’t plan on being there when that happens.

But in this post-Abomination world where only the young and brutal have survived, where food and fuel are running out and the climate is plunging into another final ice age, there is nowhere to run—except down another wormhole, with no idea of what might be waiting for them at the other end.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of physical abuse, sexual slavery and violence and references to child murder.

You can read an excellent review of the book by Ali Isaac Ali Isaac Review of Abomination

Buy the book as an early download Finch books at the pre-release price of €6.08.

A small selection of other books by Jane Dougherty.


What the readers are saying about Jane’s books:

A fascinating introduction to a cruel, dark world By melmoth2 Nov. 2013 – Dark Citadel

A fitting end to an epic trilogy By Mr Dylan S Hearn Feb. 2015 – Beyond the Realm of Night

A great accompaniment to The Green Woman series By Nicholas C. Rossis April 2015 – Lupa

Find out and buy all Jane’s previous books:

  Amazon Author Page       Amazon UK       Goodreads

About Jane Dougherty index

Jane Dougherty is a product of the Irish diaspora. She was brought up in Yorkshire and educated in Manchester and London then moved to France to work in the wine trade. She spent fourteen years in Paris where she married and had four children, sold lots of wine, studied Irish for a year at Paris’s Irish College, and taught herself Italian. Next move was to Laon in Picardy, a medieval gem of a town set in beautiful countryside, where her fifth child was born. She now lives in Bordeaux with her family, a Spanish greyhound and a posse of cats.

Links to connect to Jane

Facebook author page:

Thank you very much for stopping by and please feel free to comment and to share Jane’s work with your network.. thanks Sally




Poetry challenge – Swans – via Jane Dougherty

Poetry challenge #2: Swans

I used to write a great deal of poetry and song lyrics as a teenager and then it became pushed aside as life intruded. I have only dabbled since.  But I thought this week I would try my hand at one of Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenges.

The form is seven lines in the syllable pattern, 1-2-3-4-3-2-1.
The theme for this week, is swans.

Head over to Jane’s blog for the full details of how you can rise to the challenge and here is my offering.

I have my own ducks and geese on our local lake that I have fed in winter months here in Madrid. When I was back in Ireland for a visit a few years ago I went to Bray with some grain and fed the flock of wild swans that gather near the harbour. Here is a photograph and my effort for the challenge.


Drawn by grain
Necks unafraid
Of her touch
At One

Why not try your hand at the challenge and head over to Jane’s blog.

The Sunday Show.. A funny thing happened to me with author Jane Dougherty

My grandfather was Irish and his parents had come across from Ireland in the 1850s and settled in the south of England. As we have travelled around the world we have met so many people who tell a similar story about their Irish ancestry and it is, I have to say, claimed with pride. The Irish are renowned for their story telling and so it is not surprising that my guest today, Jane Dougherty, whose ancestral roots and clearly her heart are in Ireland, has carried on that tradition.

Jane was brought up in Yorkshire and completed her education in Manchester and then in London. Work took her to France to the wine trade and she spent fourteen years in Paris where she married and began her family. Whilst in Paris she studied Gaelic at the Irish College and also taught herself Italian. The family moved to Laon in Picardy before settling with her family, a Spanish greyhound and a posse of cats.

Before we place Jane in the hot seat for the interview let’s take a look at some of her books.

The Author


The Green Woman Series

Jane has just published the three books in The Green Woman Series, The Dark Citadel, The Subtle Fiend and Beyond The Realm of Light, in one omnibus edition.

About the series.

She is the light in the darkness, the fiery beacon, but the world’s fate seems such a little thing when the light in her heart is dead.
Among the ashes of the world, a lone city cowers in fear and ignorance. A light breaks the darkness, the spark that will kindle the greening of the world. This is the story of how Deborah carries the spark of memory from the grey oppression of Providence to a green place, where its fire will spread to cover the whole of the earth.

The darkest, oldest of evils vows to quench her light, but the Green Girl is filling the world with heroes, courage blazes in the desolation of Providence, and love is waiting in the desert.
Abaddon’s grip tightens on the earthly realm he has promised himself and his followers, but he reckons without Deborah, who marches with the banner of her fiery hair, and a burning passion for freedom, justice…and vengeance.


Review for the first book in The Green Woman Series The Dark Citadel.

5.0 out of 5.0 Jonathan Swift may have met his match. October 31, 2013 by Charlene Leatherman Format:Kindle Edition

The apocalypse has happened. The Earth is a wasteland. The survivors, the known survivors, live inside a crystal dome where life is controlled.

There are other survivors, though. Demons, angels, old gods, or the radiation mutated. Their names depend on who tells the story. They all want what’s inside the dome. They want Her. Deborah. Problem is, no one inside the dome wants her. Father is in prison. Mother is gone. Deborah is unruly and outspoken, something that is forbidden in a society that is ruled with cruelty and an iron fist.

The most horrible thing of all is that she keeps seeing things – like green grass, singing birds, people laughing and caring for one another. Those are things forbidden as well.There is only one solution for Deborah. Go outside the dome.

The Dark Citadel (The Green Woman) Part One of Three is, by the age of the protagonists, a young adult novel. Teenagers and Adults are the audience. Jane Dougherty creates a multi-dimensional world layered with suspense, danger and most surprisingly, a social commentary that not only entertains but provokes thought as well.

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift was and is a social commentary that became a children’s book. Perhaps, The Dark Citadel trilogy by Jane Dougherty will be this generation’s young adult’s book that becomes a social commentary.

It is well written and absorbing. Anyone who reads The Green Woman, which is part one, will be anxious to continue the saga with the rest of the trilogy


In the Beginning

A collection of three stories intended for readers of The Dark Citadel curious to know more about the dark world of Providence and the harsh desert wastes surrounding it.

Of Dreams and Horses tells how Rachel discovers the magic and the burden of the Memory. Plucked from the clutches of the Protector, she is set on a path of discovery and creation that leads to a bittersweet destiny.

Fathers and Brothers is about Hector, his childhood introduction to cruelty and loss at the hands of his father, and how Abaddon’s choice falls upon this small, broken creature to be his instrument.

Jonah’s Story tells of another child with a tragic childhood, but unlike Hector, Jonah’s humanity is not snatched from him: it matures and grows in the solitude of the desert, until the time comes to fulfil his destiny—helping another to fulfil hers.

41LfTvDMsOL._UY250_Lupa one of the short stories associated with The Green Woman series.

In Providence, a woman is no more than a vessel, to be filled and emptied. She expects no more, never to feel emotion, never to love or be loved, never to care. This was Lupa’s destiny too. But Lupa has two bright stars in her existence—her small daughter Elina and the doctor who made sure she was born.

When Lupa learns that her parents are about to be ended, she finds the courage to break the chains of convention and resolves to bring together all those she cares about—her parents, her daughter, and the young doctor—to defy the cold laws of Providence with a barrage of love.


The ending ceremony marks the end of a citizen’s useful life. For all except the High Castes there is no exception, no appeal.
In the Holy City State of Providence, the Elders’ regime shows no mercy to the newborn, allows no love, no grieving, no emotional attachment. It would be surprising if it treated its older citizens with respect. There are no surprises in Providence.
Enders is the story of a couple in their forties who have reached the end of their usefulness. Joshua and Antu are a typical couple who have lived all their adult lives together and still barely know one another. But even in Providence it is never too late to learn to love. And sometimes, even in Providence, the ending might not be exactly what everyone expects.

51z5SkUc3xL._UY250_Gra Mo Chroi a collaboration with Ali Isaac

Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

I have read Gra Mo Chroi and can recommend it as a slice of ancient Ireland served up with grace.

The Poet.

You will find some wonderful poetry on Jane’s blog and I have chosen the one to illustrate how beautiful they are.


It takes so little,
A mere gesture on your part,
A shrug of the shoulders,
Your face that turns away,
Tight-lipped with annoyance
Or only bland indifference.
The colours bleach,
The monochrome world holds its breath,
And love slips
With a plaintive sigh,
Into the endless dark,
Between one dawn and the next.

Now time to meet Jane in person and find out a little more about her life and also what she is working on currently.

indexWelcome Jane and perhaps before we look at the central theme of the Sunday Show ..A funny thing happened to me on the way to….. We might explore your life in France

As we found out you are great at languages including French, Italian and Irish but even though you have been living in France for many years now, do you still find that there are cultural differences that still catch you by surprise from time to time and what are they?

You know, Sally, I came to France more or less straight from university and I’ve lived here longer than I lived in England, and most of the big things in life, like getting married, having children and seeing them through school and into university, learning to drive, getting run over by a lorry, I’ve done in French. I rarely go back to England and when I do, it’s the cultural differences with France that I have problems with!

The food in France is wonderful but have you converted your friends to any Yorkshire inspired dishes in return and what would they be?

Yorkshire pudding. And I rue the day I ever decided to reveal its secret. Everybody adores it! Problem is that French roast beef is just the meat tied up without the bone and it takes hardly any time to cook. Only makes about a teaspoon of fat too. If you want to cook the pudding in the fat from the beef (as you must), you have to be prepared to let the meat go cold while you’re waiting for the pudding to cook. It’s a lot of hassle and juggling of hot plates. I’d rather eat out J

How did a Spanish greyhound come into your lives?


I was talking to a friend one day about dogs. She had just adopted one, a six-year-old, because, she said, she was coming up to sixty and didn’t want to die before her dog. It set me thinking about all the things I wanted to do, the daft things on my bucket list, and getting a dog was one of them. Ever since I was little I’d wanted a dog and was never allowed to have one. Now that we were settled in Bordeaux in a house with a garden, and the children were old enough for me not to worry about them getting eaten by the family pet, I decided it was time. I’d have loved a Lurcher, but they don’t have them in France. There is, however, a very active movement to rescue Spanish Greyhounds from the canine killing fields in southern Spain. The details are horrible, and once I became aware of what was going on just over the border, I decided we had to rescue one of these beautiful creatures. Finbar is a lovely dog to look at, and he thinks I am God. But his verdict on the rest of the human race is that they are untrustworthy, unpredictable and best left well alone.

You have created fantastical places and stories and whilst I can clearly see the link to Irish myths and legends have you also infused the stories with historical influences from your adopted home?

I tried to use references to all the very oldest mythologies, the ones that didn’t reduce women to simpletons whose only function was to reproduce. Many European mythologies seem to have run up against the buffers when they came into contact with Christianity. It’s perhaps in the countries like Ireland and Scandinavia that weren’t overrun by invaders that kept their mythologies intact. Modern England and France are both made up of different groups representing successive waves of invasions—Gauls, Franks, Norse, not to mention the Romans—each lot bringing its own stories. In the end, the Church sorted them out by imposing Christian myth. The Norse and the Irish kept their beliefs longer, possibly because they were not invaded by Christians, simply proselytized, and they were picky about the bits they would accept.

Deborah sounds a fascinating woman. If someone had never read your books how would you describe her to them?

Deborah is a girl I am very fond of. She had a miserable childhood, and the sense of destiny that was necessary to make sure she didn’t become one of the supine masses made her pretty insufferable. But she grows and matures as she learns about the nature of good and evil and individual responsibility. By the end of The Green Woman she has become a young woman older than her years, marked by loss and suffering but not scarred by it. She is the kind of woman who will make a wise leader if she finds happiness. But that’s another story.

Your covers are amazing. Do you design yourself or do you collaborate on them?

I’m glad you like the covers, Sally; apart from advice from sensible friends, I take full responsibility for them. I’m not at all techy and can’t work out how to use more than the most basic graphics programs which is why they are so simple. But I do have an arty background, and I’m one of those people who knows what she likes. I’ve been told that they don’t look like YA book covers. I agree, they don’t.

Your first book The Dark Citadel was published less than two years ago but you have been very prolific in such a short time. Can you tell us something about your writing process?

It does look as though I’ve been pretty prolific, but part of the explanation is that The Green Woman was originally written as a single volume. When I read up a bit about what publishers expected of YA novels, I realised it was far too long and divided it into three volumes. So the bones of the three volumes were already there before The Dark Citadel was even published. The short stories just flowed naturally from the world that I had created. The story had grown in the telling, and the world had become more complex. There were a lot of aspects of it I still wanted to write about. I have another set of stories ready, but one which I would like to include is to be published by Dragon Knight Chronicles sometime this year, so I will probably wait to get that one back before publishing.

What are you working on currently?

The short answer is: lots of things. But if you want the complete list…

Revising the second part of Wormholes, a YA urban apocalyptic fantasy duology.
Writing (on and off) the second volume of a historical fantasy.
Writing a second Selkie story.
Revising the second volume of Angelhaven, the follow-on series to The Green Woman.
Querying Wormholes, the first Selkie story, the first volume of Angelhaven, and the first volume of my epic historical fantasy.
Writing poetry and short fiction.

Now to the central theme of The Sunday Show….

I would imagine that at some point in your time in France that you have found yourself in an unusual situation either travelling or perhaps with language in the early days. Or when travelling further afield. Perhaps you could share your ‘A funny thing happened to me on the way to……

A funny thing happened to me on my first day at work, and it kept happening until Patrick disappeared for the last time.

After my boss, the first person I met in Paris was Patrick, the man in the white suit—he always dressed entirely in white, not especially practical when your job involves heaving wine cases about. Patrick spoke excellent if idiosyncratic English, which was just as well because I didn’t speak a word of French. Patrick introduced himself as a magician. At the time, I thought he was joking. I was entrusted to his tender care, I can only assume as a malicious joke on the part of my boss.

My first evening, Patrick dragged me round every night club in the Latin Quarter, drinking, popping, smoking whatever came to hand in each venue, until he could hardly see straight. The highlight of the night was when we stumbled into a jazz club and Patrick took over the controls on the piano. Maybe Patrick could play the piano when he was sober/not completely stoned, but that evening, what came to mind was Chopsticks as performed by Eric Morecambe. Two of his friends carried him home when the customers, sick of Chopsticks, started to get noisy, which was lucky because I was staying at his place until my flat share was free, and I hadn’t a clue where he lived.

As a special newbie treat, I was sent on the trip (special wine trade) to visit the cellars at Veuve Cliquot—the most gigantic piss-up I have ever been on before or since. Patrick was sent to keep an eye on me. There were a few wine merchants on this particular trip, but most of the guests were bar owners with their wives/girlfriends/mistresses (yes, French men do have mistresses). The Veuve Cliquot started to flow on the coach around 7.30 am. By the time we got to Reims, the crew on the back seats were completely legless and only partially clothed. The big cheese at Veuve Cliquot, a marquis or a baron I forget which, tried to give a welcome speech but was shouted down by our party demanding that he shut up and get them bottles opened. It was on the way back, glass of champagne in hand, that Patrick explained to me how he was able to make himself disappear and promised to give me practical demonstrations at work.

Patrick did a lot of disappearing after that. One minute he’d be there, you’d ask him to bring up something from the cellar, and you wouldn’t see him again until the following day. He also disappeared quite a lot of stock from the shop where we worked. One day he disappeared altogether with a van full of wines and spirits he was supposed to be delivering to another shop. Nobody to my knowledge has ever seen him since.

My thanks to Jane for sharing her work and some of her experiences.. champagne all round I think.  You can buy Jane’s books and also connect to her here.

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Thanks for dropping by today and it would be great if you could share Jane’s interview in any way possible.

My guest next week is the hugely supportive author and blogger Judith Barrow and I hope that you will join us again.