My Week in Books

New arrivals

A very restrained week on the purchase, review request and ARC front (pats self on back)…….

JackDawkinsJack Dawkins by Charlton Daines (ebook, 99p)

Jack Dawkins, once known as the Artful Dodger in the streets of London, was sent to Australia on a prison ship when he was little more than a boy. Now he has returned to find that London has changed while the boy has turned into a man. With few prospects provided by his criminal past and having developed mannerisms that allow him to move amongst a higher strata of society, Jack turns his back on the streets that would have primed him as a successor to the murderer, Bill Sykes, and quickly remodels himself as a gentleman thief. New acquaintances and a series of chance encounters, including one with his old friend Oliver, create complications as remnants of his past come back to plague him. Jack is forced to struggle for a balance between his new life and memories that haunt him with visions of the derelict tavern where Nancy used to sing.

TheFloatingTheatreThe Floating Theatre by Martha Conway (ARC, NetGalley)

In a nation divided by prejudice, everyone must take a side. When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles in to life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more… But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger. For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.  But as May’s secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her. And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own…

ExquisiteExquisite by Sarah Stovell (ebook, review copy)

Bo Luxton has it all—a loving family, a beautiful home in the Lake District, and a clutch of bestselling books to her name. Enter Alice Dark, an aspiring writer who is drifting through life, with a series of dead-end jobs and a freeloading boyfriend. When they meet at a writers’ retreat, the chemistry is instant, and a sinister relationship develops. Or does it? Breathlessly pacey, taut and terrifying, Exquisite is a startlingly original and unbalancing psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Book Reviews

On Monday I published reviews of Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah and The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet.  Tuesday saw the publication of my review of Crystal King’s debut novel set in Ancient Rome, Feast of Sorrow.

Other posts

On Monday, I let my imagination run riot by conjuring up what would be my dream book conference panel. It featured two characters interviewing their authors in not altogether serious vein. On Wednesday and Thursday, I put the spotlight on Jeff Russell’s book The Dream Shelf with an excerpt followed by a Q&A. Friday saw an author Q&A with Caro Fraser as part of the blog tour for her historical fiction novel, The Summer House Party. Finally, yesterday I participated in the book blitz & giveaway for Debutante, a prequel to Marie Silk’s popular Davenport House series.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge – 51 out of 78 books read (2 more than last week)
  • Classics Club – 2 out of 50 books reviewed (same as last week)
  • NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2017 – 25 ARCs reviewed out of 25 (1 more than last week) Challenge Achieved!
  • From Page to Screen – 6 book/film comparisons completed (same as last week)
  • The Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction Shortlist 2017 – 3 out of 7 read (1 more than last week)

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading

Planned posts

  • Review: Anne Boleyn: The King’s Obsession by Alison Weir
  • Review: These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper
  • Review: The X-Variant by Rosemary Cole
  • Book Blitz: The Devil’s Whisper by T. H. Moore
  • Book Blitz: Streets of Glass by Michelle D. Argyle
  • Blog Tour/Guest Post: Deposed by David Barbaree
  • Review: Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
  • Review: The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain

Reviews to be added to NetGalley

None – all up to date!


How was your week in books?  Blockbuster or should have stayed on the slush pile?

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Debutante by Marie Silk

DavenportHouseDebutanteBlitzBanner-2

I’m delighted to take part in the Book Blitz for Debutante by Marie Silk, the prequel to the bestselling Davenport House series.

What’s more, for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card, click here. The giveaway (INTL) ends 4th May 2017.

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DebutanteAbout the Book

The family saga begins in Debutante, a prequel to the best-selling Davenport House series. A life of luxury for the Davenports means drudgery for the servants on the grand country estate. This is their story in 1909 America, six years prior to the events of book one.

While her father is away on business, sixteen-year-old Mary Davenport feels confined and alone, despite her privileged life at the family’s mansion. As the day of Mary’s debutante ball draws near, the servants are conflicted by instructions from Mary’s mother to starve her until she fits into a gown that was made too small. Mary is also under pressure to act the part of society while being forbidden from seeing her only friend, the servant boy who works in the stable.

In a shantytown hours away, a young girl called Abigail is hired to sew a gown for a dressmaker’s wealthy patron. Abigail gives up her education in order to provide for her impoverished family. Neither she nor Mary is aware of how connected their futures are destined to become…

Book Facts

  • Format: ebook
  • Publisher: Marie Silk Publishing
  • Publication date: 21st April 2017
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Find Debutante on Goodreads
To purchase Debutante from Amazon.com, click here  (link provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme)

DavenportTeaser1       DavenportTeaser2


MarieSilkAbout the Author

Marie Silk has enjoyed writing stories and plays since childhood. She lives with her family in the United States and travels the globe as often as life permits. She is an admirer of history, antiques, and architecture. Marie is the author of the best selling Davenport House family saga.

Connect with Marie…

Website http://www.mariesilk.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MarieSilkPublishing/?pnref=lhc
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15139119.Marie_Silk

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Blog Tour & Interview: The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser

TheSummerHousePartyTourBannerI’m delighted to be one of the hosts for today’s stop on the Blog Tour for The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser. Caro has kindly agreed to answer some questions about the book, its inspiration and her approach to writing.

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TheSummerHousePartyAbout the Book

In the gloriously hot summer of 1936, a group of people meet at a country house party. Within three years, the country will be engulfed in war, but for now time stands still as they sip champagne on the lawn, engaging in casual flirtations and carefree conversation. Then a shocking death puts an end to their revelry, changing everything in an instant.  For all of them, that summer house party will be a turning point. The mistakes made during that fateful weekend will change their lives forever.

Book Facts

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus
  • No. of pages: 512
  • Publication date: 6th April 2017
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

To purchase The Summer House Party from Amazon.co.uk, click here (link provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme)


Q&A: Caro Fraser, author of The Summer Party

Without giving too much away, can you tell me a bit about The Summer House Party?

Hard to put such a long novel into a nutshell, but here goes….The book opens in the idyllic summer of 1936, three years before the war, at the country home of Henry Haddon, a famous society painter, and his wife Sonia. A group of friends – some young, some old, some wealthy, some less so – have been brought together for a week to enjoy the country house pleasures of tennis parties, picnics, and tea on the lawn. As the warm, lazy days unfold, intrigues and rivalries develop among the younger guests, and then a sudden death, like a foretaste of the war to come, puts an end to the party. In the years that follow the events of that week continue to haunt their lives, and as the country heads into war they must try to reconcile the choices and mistakes they have made….So there you have it – a blend of wartime romance and intrigue, ration books, spam, and a bit of sex!

Where did you get the idea for the book?

I’ve always loved English fiction of the 1930s and 40s, and wanted to write a novel set in that era. The run-up to the war, and its dramatic effect on everybody’s lives, struck me as a wonderful theme for a novel, and a country house party seemed the ideal setting for the opening, as it’s the perfect way to introduce characters and to depict events that are going to affect their lives for years to come. I also liked the idea of having a dramatic event early on in the novel – in this case the death at the house party – that resonates years later, because it gives scope for a sequel, or even a series, which I particularly enjoy writing. Everyone knows that feeling of getting to the end of a book and wanting to know more. That’s the way I want my readers to feel, so that they need to find out what happens next with the characters. I’m often quite curious myself! I’m already halfway through the sequel to The Summer House Party, and am hoping it may lead to a third novel.

Your previous books, such as your Caper Court series, have had a contemporary setting.  What tempted you to enter the world of historical fiction?

Partly a fascination with the period in which the novel is set. I think women of my generation have an affinity with the era just before the war, because it’s the world of our mothers and grandmothers, and while we may not remember it, we feel a connection through photographs and family stories. We’re intrigued by the domestic lives that women led back then, especially amid the hardships of war, and it was interesting to try and evoke that world, and to write at a length and pace that I think fits the time. I greatly admire the writing of certain novelists of that era, such as Dorothy Whipple and Winifred Holtby, who recognised that ordinary and everyday events possess their own drama, and who write about them with such elegant understatement and wry humour. I would love to think that I caught their spirit.

The Summer House Party is set just before the Second World War.  What were the challenges in creating an authentic picture of life in that period?

Catching the tone of the pre-war period was the challenge I most enjoyed – the way people spoke and thought, their assumptions and prejudices – and I found that steeping myself in the fiction of the day was the best way to capture the right voice. At least I hope it’s right! It also gave me an excuse to read lots of lovely novels from that period. As to the part set during the war, people have a very good idea through films and documentaries of what life was like then, so getting the detail right was very important.

How did you approach the research for The Summer House Party? Do you enjoy the process of research?

I do enjoy research, but there’s always the danger of getting so caught up in it that you waste time, so I try to focus on what I really need. It’s also important as a novelist to wear research lightly – you might learn a thousand fascinating things about what life was like in the blackout, but readers don’t want a history lesson. So I might read pages of stuff just to finish up with one scrap of information that I can use to give the thing authenticity. My research for The Summer House Party, apart from reading a lot of fiction of the time, was fairly scatter-gun and involved a lot of googling – the internet can throw up random and fascinating information that you didn’t even know you were looking for. In fact, one of the key plotlines in the book is based on a true story that I stumbled across during my research – it took one of the characters, Paul, in a direction I’d never considered.

What is your favourite and least favourite part of the writing process?

My favourite part is when I think I know where the story is going, but then a character does or says something I hadn’t anticipated – I find myself thinking, ‘Hold on, he wouldn’t do this, he’d do that instead’, and it takes the story in an unexpected direction. It’s great when characters really take a hold of you in that way, because they become like real people. It’s for that reason that I never plot things very tightly when I start a book.  My least favourite bit is when I get stuck on plot, and just can’t see a way ahead. That is a huge downer, and sometimes it takes a few days to resolve. But I always know it will resolve itself. I just go to the gym or do a bit of gardening and let the thing work itself out in my head.

Do you have a special place to write or any writing rituals?

I write in a space that is like a small study just off our kitchen area, with a window overlooking the garden, which is lovely at this time of year. My space is full of books, pictures of my children, a big David Bailey photo of Lennon & McCartney, and random stuff that I like. My writing day is fairly structured – start work at 9, coffee and biscuits at 11, lunch at 1, gym or a swim at 3 – but it’s flexible, too, and I often go up to town to have lunch with friends with whom I worked when I was a lawyer. Apart from that I don’t have any rituals. I work on a Mac, and when I’m travelling I work on my Ipad. I don’t understand people who can only write on translucent vellum with specially sharpened pencils or whatever – writing is a job and you should be able to do it with a biro on the back of an envelope, if you have to. It’s the words that count.

What other writers do you admire?

One of the writers I most admire most is Hilary Mantel. I wish I could write like that! I feel like throwing an armed guard around her until she finishes the next in the Wolf Hall trilogy. For sheer genius, John Updike. For the best characters and plots, Dickens. For the best storytelling, Stephen King. For fun, P G Wodehouse or Irvine Welsh.

What’s your favourite way to engage with your readers?

By getting them into the minds of the characters, so that they can identify with everything those characters are thinking and feeling. That’s what gives a book momentum, every bit as much as the plot.

What are you working on next?  Will it be more historical fiction?

I’m in the middle of the sequel to The Summer House Party, which is set in London in the 50s and 60s, so I suppose someone like my twenty-three year-old son would regard that as historical! The good part is that I can actually remember how things were back then, but I still do a lot of research because you forget details – like slang that people used, the places they frequented, the clothes and make up they wore. Janet Street Porter’s memoirs are proving very useful… Then I have promised myself – and fans of the Caper Court series – that I’ll get going on number 8 in that series. I’m very much looking forward to meeting up with those characters again – they feel like old friends.

Thank you, Caro, for those fascinating answers.  The gorgeous cover already had me enticed but now there is the prospect of a sequel and even a third book, I can’t wait to read it!


CaroFraserAbout the Author

Caro Fraser is the author of the bestselling Caper Court novels, based on her own experiences as a lawyer. She is the daughter of bestselling Flashman author George MacDonald Fraser.

Connect with Caro…

Website http://www.caro-fraser.co.uk/
Twitter   https://twitter.com/CaroFraser

Interview: Jeff Russell, author of The Dream Shelf

Today I am delighted to welcome Jeff Russell, author of The Dream Shelf to What Cathy Read Next.   Jeff has kindly agreed to answer some questions about his book, its inspiration and his approach to writing.


TheDreamShelfAbout the Book

No pictures, no past and yet his dreams were left on the shelf. A book, a toy, a framed quote and a plaster bust represented the places Sam’s father wanted to see and things he wanted to do. But Robert Archer refused to discuss his background and when he died unexpectedly Sam was left with the bitter regret of a lost opportunity to learn more about his dad. Things change with the discovery of a hidden yearbook, a list of names and a government document. Sam’s interest in his father’s life becomes a surreptitious tale that ignites a passion to know what happened to him and why his secrets could not be shared. He embarks on a quest for ‘his story’, one with both the promise of closure and the threat of learning more than he wants to know. The trail leads to Gus, a WWII veteran whose cryptic ramblings suggest a horrific plan to end the war in Germany, and his daughter Karen, who is torn between helping Sam and protecting her father. Together they learn the dark secret behind the Dream Shelf, the high cost of integrity and the lessons a father left behind for his son.

Purchase links*
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
*links provided for convenience not as part of any affiliate programme


Q&A: Jeff Russell, author of The Dream Shelf

Without giving too much away, can you tell me a bit about The Dream Shelf?

The story addresses the inherent human need to feel secure, specifically the security of knowing who we are as individuals. Robert Archer was a single parent who sacrificed everything to ensure that his son Sam had the best possible chance for success in life. Sam recognizes and appreciates that love but is deeply troubled by the fact that Robert’s life prior to 1948 is a closely guarded secret. Without knowing how his father became the person he is, Sam’s own story is incomplete and when Robert suddenly dies, Sam is left believing his questions will never be answered. All that remains is a small shelf of knick-knacks, simple items that Sam once believed represented his father’s unfulfilled dreams. A chance discovery rekindles his hope to uncover his father’s hidden past and the quest is on. As the story unfolds Sam comes to realize that the items on the shelf were actually clues to Robert’s life and lessons he hoped to pass down to his son.

(Jeff has shared this photo of the actual Dream Shelf from the book, just as Sam would have viewed it as a young boy.)
DreamShelf

Where did you get the idea for the book?

I am drawn to puzzles and curious titbits of history. This story gave me a chance to combine the two, weaving a tale around true pieces of the past – including the American Civil War and WWII – and creating puzzles to let readers decipher for themselves what actually happened to Sam’s father. When a reader comes to me and says “I never knew that happened. That’s amazing!” I know they’ve experienced that same excitement.

How did you approach the research for The Dream Shelf? Do you enjoy the process of research?

Research is half the fun of writing; it lets me experience the thrill of discovery. And history provides plenty of factual material to work with. All I need to do is pick a timeframe and search for information relative to a specific scenario or dilemma in the story.

What was the biggest challenge you encountered when writing The Dream Shelf?

One of the items on the Dream Shelf is a framed literary quote. I wanted to use a line from a famous author’s poem (to give my story a sense of credibility) but the complication of getting permission turned out to be a huge drain on my time. I dropped that idea and instead wrote my own poem. In the end it fit much better into the story and I’m quite proud of the poem.

I know that one of your childhood literary heroes was Jules Verne. What contemporary writers do you admire?

I realize this will sound blasphemous among the legions of writers but I don’t have a favourite contemporary author. I’ve learned that all writers are my teacher, each author has some gift or talent I would like to emulate and for that reason I read as many different authors as I can. Some I like more than others but once I’ve read one work by them I find that subsequent works have less new lessons to share and so I move on to a different author. I should point out also that, with the exception of Afterlight – which is the sequel to Cab’s Lantern – all my stories are unique. I don’t stick with a particular theme or dilemma, hence reading multiple authors makes it easier to find new inspiration.

You say your characters are ‘ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances’.   What is it about this concept that inspires you?

Some readers want to picture themselves as having unlimited physical, financial, intellectual or sexual resources and gravitate towards stories that let them experience those pleasures. But there are others (myself included) who are satisfied being ‘simple old me’ and would like the occasional adventure of facing an unusually challenging situation and having nothing to fall back on other than a cool head and sharp wits. Those readers are my target audience. Credibility is key here. For a reader to truly feel that they are caught in a tense situation there must be no suspension of belief.

Have you had any real life adventures that you’ve used (or plan to use) as a basis for your writing?

Nothing exciting, I’m afraid. I’ve done a lot and seen a lot but the story of my life would have less plot than a dictionary. That said, parts of my past have resurfaced in my characters. As a result I have lived great adventures through them and for that I will always be grateful.

What is your favourite and least favourite part of the writing process?

Creating characters, scenes and dilemmas and then fitting them together is the favourite part. I believe that the creative process is the driving force that keeps most authors glued to the keyboard. Proof-reading is my least favourite part… by a long shot. I know the plot, characters and dialog so well that I race ahead, missing typos and other blunders in the process. That’s where beta-readers become critical.

Do you have a special place to write or any writing rituals?

Ideas come to me throughout the day but I save them for the following morning, long before the sun rises. Then I sit at a small desk in a quiet room and start working those elements into the story. It seems I need to be away from that desk to find the inspiration but must be sitting at my computer to start composing. And this only works early in the morning; by the end of the day my brain is too frazzled to be creative.

What are you working on next?

My current work in progress deals with the fear of growing old alone. The protagonist, who is faced with having to choose between two unattractive options regarding how he will spend the rest of his life, encounters a group of WWII vets who meet each day for coffee. By talking to them and sharing their experiences he hopes to find a solution to his own quandary. I am drawn to this project because that group of vets actually exists. I meet with them frequently and some have volunteered their stories for my book. Hopefully this will let their stories live on.

Thank you, Jeff, for providing such fascinating answers to my questions.

What would be on your Dream Shelf? Jeff and I would love to know…share on Twitter @CabsLantern, hashtag #DreamShelf


JeffRussellAbout the Author

Jeff: I am a tale-spinner. My childhood heroes were Jules Verne and Victor Appleton II, architects of fantastic adventures. Hemingway stepped in when I discovered that the trials and triumphs of real people – those with limited physical and financial resources – were even more intriguing than science fiction. Today I try to follow that example with my own characters. They are the ‘you and me’ of the world, ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances, beaten down perhaps and yet determined to succeed. Invariably they find adventure, romance and self-fulfilment, as should we all. When not absorbed in the pages of some new author or hammering away at my latest manuscript I can be found living and running in Stowe, VT. Visit my website at www.CabsLantern.com and feel free to drop me a line at JeffRussell@CabsLantern.com. Happy reading!

Other ways to connect with Jeff

Twitter https://twitter.com/CabsLantern
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7232345.Jeff_Russell

Excerpt: The Dream Shelf by Jeff Russell

Today I am delighted to bring you an excerpt from Jeff Russell’s novel, The Dream Shelf, a thrilling mystery about family secrets.  

TheDreamShelfAbout the Book

No pictures, no past and yet his dreams were left on the shelf. A book, a toy, a framed quote and a plaster bust represented the places Sam’s father wanted to see and things he wanted to do. But Robert Archer refused to discuss his background and when he died unexpectedly Sam was left with the bitter regret of a lost opportunity to learn more about his dad. Things change with the discovery of a hidden yearbook, a list of names and a government document. Sam’s interest in his father’s life becomes a surreptitious tale that ignites a passion to know what happened to him and why his secrets could not be shared. He embarks on a quest for ‘his story’, one with both the promise of closure and the threat of learning more than he wants to know. The trail leads to Gus, a WWII veteran whose cryptic ramblings suggest a horrific plan to end the war in Germany, and his daughter Karen, who is torn between helping Sam and protecting her father. Together they learn the dark secret behind the Dream Shelf, the high cost of integrity and the lessons a father left behind for his son.

Purchase links*
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
*links provided for convenience not as part of any affiliate programme


Excerpt from The Dream Shelf

“You’re early,” Karen said as they walked through the house toward the kitchen. “Dad isn’t even awake yet. How about some coffee.”

Sam saw that she was dressed for work and, based on the way she hurried about, presumed she’d be leaving soon. The suit gave her a professional appearance but it also made her look sheltered, as if to shield her from the psychological burden of other people’s problems. He tried to smile but it didn’t show in his eyes. “I have to head back. There’s coursework to submit for next semester and I’ve already missed that deadline, plus I have to meet with the lawyers about my father’s house.” He wanted to keep going, lumping reason upon reason to make his abrupt departure sound justified but he knew what she was thinking … He didn’t find what he came for so he’s leaving, simple as that. Kiss the girl and make her cry.

“My flight leaves in a couple hours.”

Karen swallowed hard but kept her composure. She nodded, handed him his coffee and sat down beside him at the table but didn’t look at him. “Well, I hope you found something you can use,” she said.

There were a dozen ways Sam could respond, all jumbled on the tip of his tongue but he did not know where to begin and fell back on the obvious. “You told me earlier that whatever happened to my father was history, that I should accept it and let it go. You were right.”

He waited for her to turn in his direction, for a chance to look in her eyes again, but she stared straight-faced into the distance. “It was wrong of me to come,” he confessed, looking down into his coffee. “I had this fantasy about getting some answers, about finally figuring out who my father was … who I am. I ignored the consequences. Guess I’m not supposed to know.” He turned back to her again. “You told me I should let it go…I’m letting it go.”

Giving up on his father hurt, but he’d hurt that way before and learned to move on. It was different this time. Walking away now meant walking away from Karen. Despite everything he’d told himself the night before about time, meaningful relationships and the line between delight and delusion the thought of walking away from her hurt even more. There was nothing left to say yet so much he felt needed to be said. He was struggling for the words when a voice called out from behind them.

“Look at the book you took, kid.”

They spun around together just as Gus dropped the Manhattan Project book on the table between them. It landed with a thud that Sam felt in his stomach.

Gus pointed to the book and glared down at Sam. “Look at the book you took and remove the common denominator. Come back when you figure it out.” Ignoring their confused looks he then went out on the porch, lit a cigarette, took a long drag and swore under his breath.

It was one more cryptic message that Sam didn’t understand but he’d already chosen not to take anything Gus said seriously. He realized he wasn’t being fair, that it was disappointment talking and that he was shutting Gus out because he was frustrated with the game, yet out of spite he remained silent until Gus left the room. Then he turned to Karen. “Was that another riddle?”

She had gone to the door and was staring down the length of the porch to where her father leaned against the railing. There was no confusion on her face, only the sadness of someone watching everything they hold dear slip away. “Yes,” she replied, “another riddle.” Her voice trailed off. “But never ignore the riddles … they always mean something.”


JeffRussellAbout the Author

Jeff: I am a tale-spinner. My childhood heroes were Jules Verne and Victor Appleton II, architects of fantastic adventures. Hemingway stepped in when I discovered that the trials and triumphs of real people – those with limited physical and financial resources – were even more intriguing than science fiction. Today I try to follow that example with my own characters. They are the ‘you and me’ of the world, ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances, beaten down perhaps and yet determined to succeed. Invariably they find adventure, romance and self-fulfilment, as should we all. When not absorbed in the pages of some new author or hammering away at my latest manuscript I can be found living and running in Stowe, VT. Visit my website at www.CabsLantern.com and feel free to drop me a line at JeffRussell@CabsLantern.com. Happy reading!

Connect with Jeff

Twitter https://twitter.com/CabsLantern
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7232345.Jeff_Russell