Thursday, 14 December 2017

Five Stars!

A massive five stars and a heading for a new review of Split Decision which reads,

'This had my head spinning".

"I went in not knowing what to expect, but boy was this an edge of your seat ride!!! It was one of those great one's you don't realize how great till the end! Carmen does a brilliant job with character building as well as keeping it intriguing till the end. Well done!" M. Krugel,

If you haven't bagged yourself a copy yet, write to me at and order a signed copy delivered direct to your door.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Review Time

Here's another review. I have to say that I wish she'd put what she liked first and what she didn't, last, but there it is...

**** Split Decision by Carmen Capuano ****
3* review from Nicole @ EBR

Although I read through Split Decision by Carmen Capuano fairly quickly, I still found that it was quite a difficult book to sit down and review, because although there were many interesting points to this story, it was also a complicated and confusing one until everything came together at the end.

I will say that it deals with a very sensitive topic and I felt that not enough was discussed or expounded upon in regards to the aftermath and the emotional ramifications of that traumatic event for the character. Until all these events and moments come together and you have that clarification on what is going on, the story was a little monotonous in the first few chapters as we establish the friendship between the two girls and the "sliding doors" moment when her fate was decided with her decisions.

I was unsure at times of who the book's main demographic would be, what the target audience was. The characters are so young but the incidents and issues are very much of a mature nature, at times it read like a cautionary YA novel for teenagers, but other times it felt more developed and grown up. The other problem I experienced was the setting. I wasn't sure where this story takes place as the dialogue switches between American and British colloquialisms, there are American characters, Greek characters and I'm assuming English? I like to have everything around me fully established, whether it be the geographical setting, or the characters heritage.
Now that the negative is out of the way I will say that once the story gained momentum and we were thrown into the drama and chaos of that one night, I really started to like the story. Happening in real time almost, it became thrilling, dangerous, heartbreaking and gained the depth and entertainment factor that the story sorely lacked in the beginning.

I really enjoyed the male characters in Split Decision, we have two very different people, with two very different outlooks in life, two men completely dissimilar in moral values and I liked how the bad was highlighted and distinguished from the good and sweet. The dialogue too seemed to become something 'more',

'But most of all what I see is the indifference people show to each other." He raised his beer to his lips and took a long swallow. I waited for him to continue but he didn't seem inclined to.
"You can't save the world." It was a lame response and I knew it but there was nothing else I could say.

"No I can't save the world. But I can save those I care about." His eyes blazed with passion. There was a hidden depth to his words that I wasn't ready to probe.'

Over all it was a good read, it's just getting past those first few chapters inside a giggly teenage girls overly dramatic head that might prove difficult for some but trust me when you do read on it will be worth it. The story picks up speed and added drama and the characters seem to develop over the ensuing chapters too.
How was Natalie to know that the decision she was about to
make between two potential dates, would forever be a pivotal point in her life? That it would mark the time where childhood innocence ended?
How could she even imagine that the wrong decision would send her life spiralling into the stuff of nightmares from where she might not come out alive?
Life takes a cruel twist of fate when Natalie, a completely average [almost] 16 year old, is forced to make a split-second decision... a decision that will change her future and forever alter her perception of trust, love and the realities of life.
Buy link---->…/…/ref=sr_1_2…

Thursday, 30 November 2017

RED ALERT! Price hike!

Thank you to everyone who has reported this to me today.

Yes, I am aware that the price of my books has shot up overnight on Amazon, and no, I don't know why that should be the case.

Rest assured I AM looking into it, but as anyone who had ever dealt with Amazon will know, they are a law unto themselves. 

So in the meantime, if you are desperate for a copy before Christmas, message me and I will post a signed copy to you. xx

Split Decision gets a new review

Apologies for the lack of posting recently, however I have been very caught up in the latest book I have been writing, a complex and twisting paranormal tale, which I hope to be bringing to you very soon.

In the meantime, here is another great review for Split Decision which has just come in.

"I recently read Carmen Capuano's new book 'Split Decision', this is the second of Carmen's books that I have read; the first being 'Ascension' (and you can read that review here: To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect from Split Decision, particularly, as a Young Adult novel, it was so different from the dystopian chaos of Ascension. Nevertheless, overall I really enjoyed it, and couldn't put it down until I had finished it.

The plot of this story I thought I'd guessed, but as I read on, I realised that I wasn't such a good detective as I had thought. The key part of this book is the split element. At chapter six the book splits into two halves telling two parallel stories: one on a date with Rhys, the other on a date with Nathan, and how the two pan out - it reminded me of Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Sliding Doors'. I would love to go on and talk more about the twists and turns of the book but I find I cannot do that without spoilers! 

I think one of the most important things about any book is the characters, whether you warm to them and whether they feel properly three dimensional and not just words on a page. As far as characters go in this book, I thought they were written well. The main character, Natalie, had a strong voice and personality, and I felt she developed a lot over the book whilst remaining true to character. The male characters is difficult for me to review without spoilers, as it is not until nearly the end where you get told which date is which. Cleverly Carmen kept it unclear throughout which guy was which, by playing with what you, as the reader, thought you knew about them, and how you thought each guy would act. What I would have liked to have known at the end perhaps, is why she made the decision that she did. In this book, which also reminded me of the film 'Taken', there were clear good characters, and bad characters, and whilst I am fully aware that eighteen year olds can be villainous, I think they could have done with having a couple of the 'bad' characters being a little older than teenagers. I did however like the drama, the high stakes and I think what is done best with the book is how at the end of each chapter you're left wanting to know more. 

I thought this book was super readable; it kept a really good pace, and kept the mystery and drama throughout. There were some cliche moments, but they were also sweet and I could imagine a sixteen year old doing and saying those things. It was a clever book that played with what the reader thinks they know, the important word there being thinks. It was such an interesting premise the split chapters and it was very enjoyable to read!" 

Now order your copy in time for Christmas. x

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"Gripping Story."

Here is the latest review for Split Decision to arrive on Amazon.

"Gripping story. I have just finished reading this. WOW!

Had to sit and read the last few chapters in one go, so gripping, such a different story from the usual, well done."

I have to admit that even as the author of this book, the story gripped me from beginning to end. And it is indeed an unusual tale.

So if you're looking for an unusual present for Christmas, why don't you get a signed copy of one of my books for that special person? You can even enclose a special message of your choice. Just take a look at the reviews on Amazon, to decide which is best for you.

Contact me for details on or by text on 07757559091.

Happy reading. x

Sunday, 5 November 2017

"Intriguing from beginning to end." A new review for Split Decision.

It's always nerve-racking when you notice a new review of one of your books. Will the reviewer have loved it? Or loathed it?

Regardless of how well it's written, how exquisitely crafted, how interesting and captivating the subject matter, both are equally possible. After all, reading is a very subjective thing. Who hasn't tried a book that was recommended by a friend, only to be disappointed?

So on that note, here is the latest review for Split Decision. Why don't you try it for yourself and see if you agree with the review?

Here's another review for Split Decision. []

4 stars
"Intriguing from beginning to end.
I went into this book kind of blind not fully understanding what it was actually about until I dived in. At times I became utterly confused as to what was going on but once it all merged it just clicked.
Natalie is a typical 15 year old girl who lives a very sheltered life. She has a good family and a best friend so what more can Nat want in life? While out shopping her destines collide and something she never thought possible was asked of her. Two boys who are total opposites of each other ask her out at the same time and on the same day. One boy she grew up with and one known to everyone as a trouble maker for his appearance alone. Natalie makes her decision and that sets her and her best friends life on a path of heartache and trauma yet filled with finding love and oneself in an unlikely person.
I will admit I was unsure of this book. When the chapters started dividing into sub chapters It threw me and I didn’t know if I would be able to finish it. I persevered and discovered a heart wrenching book with a delicate subject underneath. I was intrigued and once the book picked up I didn’t want to stop. The words used at times and the descriptions of normal things at times were a bit hard to follow. All in all it’s a very interesting read that I think people should try."

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Another great review!

You can see all my reviews by going to the REVIEWS page on this blog. Just scroll down and you'll find it on the right hand side of the page.

In the meantime, here is the latest review for Ascension which has been posted on Amazon.

"4 and a half stars

This is the first book that I have read by the author and I found it both page-turning and thought-provoking, which played on my emotions. I enjoy dystopian novels and in Ascension Carmen Capuano has written a worthy heroine in Jessica, as she delves into her own abilities and unearths some sordid truths about the society she lives in.

Written in the first person POV, the narrative has an immediacy about it that pulled me into the story, as Jessica gives her all to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of the man who fathered Sarah’s unborn child. The consequences for an unmarried woman giving birth in the dystopian society of

Ascension have grave and life changing implications for both mother and baby, implications which are especially brutal for the mother.

It has a number of themes which have resonance for me – the control of society through the rule of doctrine and law; the treatment and control of women in a patriarchal society, particularly their sexual freedoms (or rather lack of); whether we are born good or evil and whether we have any choice in what we become. We are also left to ponder whether or not we should tolerate some evil is to exist for the greater good to prevail.

The main character’s ability to sense the colour of people’s souls is key to the plot. Jessica has hitherto kept this a secret, but in order to help her friend Sarah, she will have to learn to use and exploit it to its full potential, a potential she has yet to explore. This could put her at grave risk as her path exposes truths about the society she lives in.

I won’t reveal anything about the intricacies of the plot as it would spoil the read, but I will say that I enjoyed it immensely. It will appeal to readers of dystopian novels, particularly those who enjoy coming of age stories.

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of  a fair and honest review."

My thanks to the reviewer, Tina Williams.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Ascension - find it on Amazon and other retailers.

The following is taken from Ascension. You can find it on Amazon by clicking the link to the right.

The girl who faces me isn’t Sarah. Or rather, she isn’t just Sarah. Her stomach is swollen and heavy; her birthing time near.
“Jessica.” It’s a flat statement, as if she’s not in the least surprised to see me or awkward that we have met like this.
“Oh! I had no idea,” I gush, trying to hide my confusion. I blink rapidly, trying to look delighted for her. “When did you get married?” I demand, when what I want to cry is, Why didn’t you tell me? Why wasn’t I there? and most painful of all, Why wasn’t I your bridesmaid?
I swallow back my hurt and my pride and try to be happy for her. Time and circumstance have caused us to drift apart and we are both at fault. Yet I wonder if she mourns the loss as much as I do.
Her gaze jumps away from mine, vivid green gaze fliting around the crowd as if seeking something. Whatever that is, she clearly doesn’t find it. When she looks back at me her eyes are sadder and somehow older, the green darker and more jaded than moments before.
She tries to smile, but more than anything she looks wretched. “Jessica Stone, you always did put your mouth out there on the ground before you jumped right into it, didn’t you?” The old exasperated tone she used to use with me is gone, replaced by something else, something harder. “Look!” She thrusts both hands at me hard enough to push me over.
   Rocking back on my heels, I grab them to steady me. Strong and firm, her unadorned hands hold        mine and anchor me to the spot. I search for the bright brilliance of engagement and wedding            rings—and find none. In fact there are no rings on either middle finger. And no indentations to          indicate that rings have ever sat there. Face as red as her hair, chin level with mine, she regards          me challengingly.

“No, I never got walked down the aisle.” She laughs mirthlessly, her cheeks failing to dimple the way I remember so well, “Just rushed up the alleyway.” Her voice is harsh, tight and full of shame— but not broken. She intends no offence, offering merely a sweeping pragmatism to bring me face to face with her reality. But even so, her words shock me like no others could have done. The implications behind her meaning hit me like a sledgehammer. Somewhere deep down in my stomach a clenching wave starts up and I think that I have never, ever, experienced such fear as I now feel.

“Oh my God.” I hear myself whisper, the words echoing on and on in my head, the ramifications of her situation exploding in a thousand different images, each one worse than the one before. “Oh My God Sarah! You’re not married.”

She just stares at me, not denying the truth of my words, not demanding that I take them back, not offering any explanation at all. Waiting it out as if dealing with a recalcitrant child.

I can only imagine what expression of horror and shock is frozen on my face. I am at once ashamed of my feelings and angry at our religion for foisting them upon me.

“But… But… How?” is all I manage to stutter out.

“Come on Jess. Really?” Eyebrows raised, she regards me almost comically. It’s a momentary flash of the old Sarah, the Sarah who, even though she is the same age as me, has always seemed more mature and worldly, as if all of life was an open book to her.

“I think you know the how.” She half giggles, as if momentarily forgetting her peril, before fear settles over her countenance. “I guess it’s the why you’re interested in.”

Happy reading.

Same, but different.

Today I'm working on a book which falls into the category of literary fiction. But with a twist.

It's great to be working on a book again [I finished my second screenplay yesterday] because I can post snippets once more, and also because I can deal with the main character so much more intimately, than can be done in a play. By that I mean that I can show exactly what goes on inside the character's head. With a screenplay, this can only ever be shown by a character's actions and words, and by the portrayal of the character by a good actor/actress.

It's the screen writer's job to make sure that the audience understands the character's feelings and motivations, but to get a 100% understanding of a character, nothing beats getting inside their head in a book.

So keep your eyes on this blog for future snippets.

Happy reading.

Thanks to Michael Bryce for use of the photo.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Never a dull moment.

Today I'm writing the last few scenes of my second screenplay and then I'll be working on my current books. These projects are all very different but equally enjoyable. It's great to be caught up in  the fervour and pace of the play as it reaches its climax, yet the sweetness of the unfolding stories within the books holds great appeal too.

Anyway, whatever you are doing today, have a great one!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A Truly Unique Venue

What do you think of when you consider an event space? A large bland room? Perhaps an area with a stage? Certainly somewhere that can comfortably hold the amount of people you intend to invite.

I had these ideas and more in mind, when I attended a showcase evening last week. Set within the building which now houses The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, as well as Birmingham Library, the variety of rooms and areas for hire were more than I had anticipated.

And not one for hiding their light under a bushel, Unique Venues Birmingham had gone all out to show the rooms off at their very best.

After cocktails served in glass baubles upon our arrival, we were ushered from one room to another, each one decorated in a different theme. There was Mr. and Mrs. Jack Frost, Dorothy and the Lion from The Wizard Of Oz, [a personal favourite of mine] and The Queen of Hearts, each in their own unique setting. And I actually began to wonder how it would end. What could they have planned for the ultimate room, the final showstopper?

The Shakespeare Room.

It was everything I could have expected and more - stunning architecture, walls lined with wooden bookshelves which seemed to groan under the weight of hefty tomes and a table laid out for a king.

I for one would be more than happy to hold an event in such an illustrious place.

So maybe one day, when those shelves are filled with books bearing my name, you will find me holding court in that gorgeous room...

Until then, happy reading.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Moats and drawbridges.

I was talking the other day about infinity pools and how my ideal one would blaze a trail all the way around my house [not the present one, but my planned future one, of course] in a complete circle, when my partner said to me, "You mean you want a moat?"

And when I thought about it, he was absolutely right. Moats have always fascinated me, although I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe I just like the implied isolation of it...

Anyway, it was only a little strange when I found myself in The Drawbridge Inn in Shirley soon after, enjoying a birthday meal with my family.

I don't tend to eat out a lot with the children as their tastes are very different to mine but this particular pub has something to suit everyone and at a very reasonable price, including a whopping gut-busting 'Defeat The Meat!' section. And unlike many other establishments, the staff went out of their way to assist us.

But did the place have a moat? Sadly not, although there was water nearby and I think we drove over a sort of drawbridge in the dark!

I guess the idea of me swimming in a moat stems back from the very peculiar childhood I had, when my idea of luxury was going swimming in the local canal [I kid you not!] alongside rusty bikes and shopping trolleys.

Since I don't plan on doing that again anytime soon, I guess my dream of a moat will stay exactly that for now, a dream.

Until then, happy reading.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Is anyone there?

Apparently William Peter Blatty's house is up for sale, just in time for Halloween. You may know Blatty better, as the author of The Exorcist. So my question is, would you buy a house if you knew for a fact that it was haunted?

No doubt some people would. Certainly the more ghoulish and the lovers of the macabre amongst us would...

The reality is that when you buy any house, you inherit a list of horrors that the previous owner kept hidden from you. But a ghost in the airing cupboard isn't one I've come across before, I admit.

And of course not all of us are believers in things that go bump in the night, anyway. But when I saw this tweet, I just had to ask myself what sort of person I really am. Am I the type who would take the opportunity to experience something otherworldly, or not?

What do you think?

Now that I've piqued your interest, click on the link to your right and view my books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Here's a new first...

Some of you may already know that I'm a little bit of a technophobe, so when I was asked if I could be interviewed on a podcast, my anxiety levels rocketed.

However, it turned out to be a really relaxing thing to do, after all, all I had to do was talk. I didn't have to worry about the strange gurning my mouth would be doing when I spoke, nor whether my makeup was melting into my face.

What I hadn't counted on though, was my dogs going berserk in the middle of the recording when the postwoman knocked in the door. Luckily the interviewer was such a pro [thanks Michael de Groot from @stayingaliveUK] that it was edited out, post-production.

So here is the podcast in all its glory.


Happy listening!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Blakes Restaurant Reception.

Last weekend I attended a champagne reception at the newly refurbished Blakes Restaurant.

Blakes is set within the Westmead Hotel, conveniently situated on the southern fringes of Birmingham, just a short drive from the M42 and M40. I have been to the Westmead many times in the past but, I confess, not for many years.

Always known for its good reputation, I hoped that its current owner who had acquired the hotel several years ago, had continued to maintain its former standards. And I wasn't disappointed.

The restaurant has been tastefully redecorated in neutral tones, with here and there a turquoise accent thrown in for good effect. Nowhere was it over the top.

Because of this, the décor and menu would as easily suit a business dinner or lunch as it would a couple seeking a romantic dinner a deux. And with a menu which abounded with reasonably priced dishes, including a great choice of freshly baked pizzas, I could see families wishing to dine there too.

Having sampled some of these on the night, I would thoroughly recommend them.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Does this make me a badass?

I've had an enormously productive day. I have written several new scenes into my current screenplay, answered emails, done research and generally got on with things.

Now you're wondering why this is news, aren't you? Well the reason is that lately I have taken to networking events like the proverbial fish to water. 

For a while I felt a bit isolated [as writers often do] and decided to get out and about a bit more and network. But it's so time consuming, not to mention draining. How can it not be when we are all so smiley and welcoming to complete strangers? 

In fact it was an absolute breath of fresh air to hear another person comment that networking exhausted them. 

So although I am indeed off to another event tomorrow, I shall be taking a totally different approach. I intend to stand like a star of the silver screen, welcoming yet slightly aloof, alone by choice, and to let the rest of the mob circulate around me like orbiting planets... 

I'll let you know how that works out. In the meantime if you have any tricks or knacks for networking, feel free to post a comment.

Happy reading! x 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Work has never felt so good.

The last few days I have been inundated with information about my latest writing project, a very gritty, contemporary screenplay. So much so, that it's been hard to concentrate on anything else.

Working on something that demands so much of my conscious mind, as well as the entirety of my subconscious mind [or so it seems] can be hard, demanding work. Luckily I love what I do.

So apologies if you don't hear from me much over the coming weeks, as I'll be fully immersed in the dialog and unfurling plot, but I will try to keep you updated with snippets as always.

Until then, happy reading! x

A Spanish Holiday

It's taken me a couple of weeks to catch up with life enough to be able to sit down and write a blog about my recent trip to Spain, so here it is...

You may have read about the fiasco of my previous trip to Benidorm on this blog - suffice it to say that my life is often farcical at best, so I wasn't really expecting things to go to plan on this trip. And I guess that I wasn't far wrong. Except that this time, everything was so much better than I'd imagined it could be. Indeed from the beginning to the end of the holiday, some fantastic things happened. So let me share a couple of them with you.

The first unexpectedly good thing to happen, was when we boarded the plane. Although I hadn't pre-booked our seats, we were given priority ones [lots of leg room for my growing teenagers] as well as  an invitation into the cockpit for a chat with the pilots, once the plane had arrived at it's destination.

Now I don't know about you, but I've never been in a cockpit before, and so I was totally agog at the array of levers, buttons and switches presented in front of me. I'm a little ashamed to say my fingers twitched to push and pull some of them, just to see what would happen.

Unaware of my clearly psychotic tendencies, the pilot and co-pilot were exceptionally friendly, and even invited us to sit in the 'flying seat', offering us their hats to wear!

Here is a picture of my daughter Sophia in the pilot's seat.

This theme was continued when we reached the hotel, to find that a complimentary bottle of champagne had been sent to our room to help us celebrate a special occasion. Believe me, it went down exceptionally well and set the tone for the rest of our stay.

None of us could wait to get into the clear, cool water of the sea. But there was a surprise in store for us there too... little biting fish! Like the fish that were so popular a while back for removing dead skin on feet, these little fish were using us as live food!

Not painful, once you got used to them, the bites were merely a strange sensation to encounter, but the end result was truly amazing. By day two I had the softest, smoothest feet in Benidorm!

But the strangest thing of all was our return trip from a day out in Alicante.

We had travelled there by public transport, which I love to do whilst abroad. The bus out from Benidorm took around forty minutes and was a pleasant journey. As was the entire day itself.

By the time we were ready to return to the hotel we were weary and hungry. But as we boarded the bus we had no idea that this service took the scenic route, a veritable tour of what seemed like the entire southern coastline of Spain.

Inland and out we travelled, stopping at every town, village and deserted stop, on a journey that took just over two and a half hours to get from A to B! But it was in the middle of this epic journey that things got a little unusual, when a pregnant woman boarded the bus.

Now strange as this may seem, given the fact that I have three children of my own, but pregnant women make me nervous. I almost always expect them to go into spontaneous labour, upon which I will of course be drawn into helping them deliver their child. As ridicuoous a fear as it is, I find it hard to shake it.

Anyway, I digress. The woman got on with a bag and a small suitcase, which the driver stowed in the luggage hold as she boarded. Many stops later, we pulled up outside a maternity hospital. It didn't appear to be a scheduled stop.

The woman got out with her bag and walked around the corner of the hospital and out of sight. But the bus didn't drive off. Instead the driver looked at his watch, got off  the bus and paced up and down for about ten minutes.

"Perhaps we are waiting for her to have the baby and get back on the bus with it," I joked. But when the driver then also disappeared around the corner of the hospital, I began to regret my words. Ten more minutes passed and nothing happened. What was even stranger was that the local Spaniards on the bus didn't seem unduly concerned - they just waited patiently.

Maybe he had gone after her to remind her that she'd left her case, but then why had he not just taken it into the hospital with him? It didn't make sense. I didn't know what the pregnant woman was doing, but desperate to resume the journey, I was having kittens!

Eventually the driver and the woman returned and she was still pregnant - I was almost surprised at this. Perhaps she was the driver's wife, hence the unscheduled stop and the wait for her return. Both the driver and the woman boarded the bus once more.

Half an hour later the bus pulled up at a small village and both bus driver and the pregnant woman disembarked and he fetched her case. But when he came back to his seat, she followed him back on board, made rude hand gestures to him and proceeded to hop on and off the bus, each time yelling and shouting in a rage which abated before rapidly returning. The passengers of the bus sat in an awed silence, myself included.

Finally having gotten all of her wrath out, she stormed off, suitcase pulled in her wake. I'll never know what it was she said, or what it was about, but I can tell you that the bus erupted with laughter and excited chatter when the doors closed and the abashed driver resumed his route. Whatever passed between him and his passengers that day will not be quickly forgotten, I bet.

So if your looking for a little local flavour on your Spanish holiday, make sure you take the local bus - just don't expect to get anywhere fast!

Oh and if ever you need to find somewhere to insult you as you are having your meal, this is clearly the place to choose.

Happy reading.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Proud Mary

Due to the recent terrorist atrocities that have been committed in Spain, I have held this post back until now, out of respect for the dead and injured.

May the families and loved ones of all those affected find peace.


As you may know, I have recently returned from a holiday in Spain. I had a wonderful time and a surprise catch-up with a great performer, none other than Tina Turner tribute performer, Wendy Manfield, who had just returned to Benidorm from a few days in England.

As usual, Wendy's act was high octane, encapsulating the very essence of a Tina Turner performance, with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek humour thrown into the mix.  

When we met last time, I ran an interview with her, so here it is again, for your enjoyment. 

Music, Maestro, Please!

I have a wide and varied musical taste, ranging from the delightfully soporific Annie's Song by John Denver, through the unashamedly raucous ACDC's Back in Black, to the almost ethereal Jar Of Hearts by Christina Perri. But more often than not it is the lyrics of a song which draws me to it, or perhaps a haunting melody, or in some instances a wonderful combination of the two. Seldom is it the actual voice of the performer which I find captivating.

There are of course instances where this is untrue, but these tend to be reserved for the likes of Celine Dion and Neil Diamond - in other words, unique voices which are so sublime, ringing out so true with every note delivered, that they cannot help but make me stop and listen, not just to the words and the tune, but to the particular tone and timbre of the voice itself.

You may recall that I was  holiday in Spain recently. Whilst there I saw a number of tribute acts but it was one in particular which caught my attention. Wendy Manfield WAS Tina Turner, from the pronounced trademark bottom strut, right down to the mannerisms and the gaudy outfits, and I loved every minute of it, although I must confess to not being a huge Tina Turner fan.

So what captivated me so much about Wendy's performance? It was the realisation that Wendy didn't need to be Tina, that in fact she had a much superior voice of her own. Having performed her show as Tina and returned to the stage after thunderous applause, she gave an encore - but not as the superstar.

Instead she sang two Queen anthems in a way that I have never heard them performed. Passion infused her powerful voice and informed it in such a way that I almost believed her to be the originator of the song. She was nothing short of amazing. And I got to wondering why. Why she was performing as someone else when she was so, so much better than that. So here are the answers...

Wendy where are you originally from?
I'm from Darwen, in Lancashire.

How long have you been singing and where did you start?
I started singing professionally 25 years ago.(That's scary.) In the working men's clubs, mainly around the North West of England - Blackpool, Manchester, Liverpool and Yorkshire. Under the wings of my aunt Kay; we were a duo called Diamonds. There was a lot to learn back then. Buying equipment, spending countless days learning how to work it. Going to musicians' studios to get all the sheet music transposed. (There were hardly any backing tracks when i started.)

Working with backing tracks gives a singer more freedom, as it's impossible for keyboards and drums to reproduce sounds exactly on the night. But when a singer plays with musicians, it's uplifting, it makes you sing better and you begin to learn your craft again. You don't realize that you have become a little lazy with backing tracks. 

My mother was originally an opera singer and she was insistent that I went for singing lessons. I was amazed how much there was, and still is, to learn. There is always something to inspire you with music.

How did you become a Tina Turner tribute?
I was asked by the owner of a venue here in Benidorm. "Tributes put bums on seats," as he put it, "It's what people want."

Are you a fan?
YES I am a fan. Sorry to say I never saw her live... I love her energy and soulful rock voice.

How difficult is it to mimic that voice?
Tina's higher register is hard to reach. Some people have said she screams...Ha! You trying screaming and sounding as good as her! Hmmm.

When you start to study a singer you begin to realise just how great they are. I have nothing but respect for Tina Turner. You have to give 100% when doing Tina...because that's what she did every time she recorded or set foot on a can hear it in her voice.

How long have you been in Spain?
12 years. It's gone very fast and I have seen a lot of changes.....its quiet a transient place.

Do you ever perform as yourself?
Funny you should ask me that question... I only do Tina once a week. My own act is a mix of taking the mickey out of myself in a cheesy kind of way. I do some songs straight. Some people are ready for the funny stuff, while others are just waiting to hear me sing. You can't be everyone's cup of tea. That much I have learned. I just try my best at the venues and I work to entertain everyone. If I was to perform as my self singing the covers that I love to sing, I would probably lose some of the audience.
What do you hope the future holds?
If I get off my lazy behind I hope to learn an instrument, perhaps the piano or guitar, so that I can play and sing music -no sequins, no gimmicks, just music.

Can you ever see yourself coming back to Britain?
Honestly? I don't know. I guess, never say never.

With grateful thanks to Wendy Manfield - a real class performer.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Viva la espana!

I've just come back from a week in Spain and I've loads to attend to. Work, washing, shopping, etc. -they've all been prioritised in ascending order of most likely to cause death to us all if left any longer.

Unfortunately this means that my blog posting is hovering around the middle of the list, somewhere before mowing down the jungle that has grown almost overnight outside the house, and after getting the weekly shopping done. So things being what they are, you are going to have to wait a little longer before you read of my adventures.

In the meantime, here are a few photos...

Happy reading!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Another great review for Ascension

Another review for Ascension is just in:-

"Dystopian fiction is on the rise and here is a new recommendation for you. If you liked Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale', then you'll be sure to like Carmen Capuano's new novel 'Ascension'.

Here's what I liked... I liked the characters, I empathised with the protagonist Jessica Stone who can incidentally see whether people are good or evil by the colour of their breath. This mystical element felt like a 'breath of fresh air' (excuse th...e bad pun) to the now well-known genre of dystopia. Carmen kept each chapter ending in suspense, usually she revealed an answer that led to a million more questions. I thought it was suspenseful and interesting - just what you want for an enjoyable read.

What I also really liked was the way Carmen approached religion. The ultra-religious concept where the government backs up their oppressive policies with biblical quotes seems not to far-fetched in the current political climate, and is seen in a lot of dystopian fictions. What I particularly liked was the fact that Carmen didn't attack religion, it wasn't the root of the problem, it was just exploited to become a problem.

The religion might fall but it didn't make them 'Godless' - I really liked the way Carmen wrote about religion, I thought it was very reflective and well done.

The plot was interesting. Jessica Stone is pulled into action when her friend, an unmarried woman called Sarah falls pregnant and is therefore doomed to a life of misery. There was an element of predictability about it but there were also a number of twists that kept it exciting. What I really wanted to know was how 'Ascension' as a religion in the novel took hold, how did it come into prominence and when is the novel set? This wasn't a major issue though, it wasn't necessary for the plot I just would like to have known.

I would recommend 'Ascension', especially if you have enjoyed other dystopian novels. I haven't read any of Carmen's other novels but they're available on Amazon and I'm sure that I'll be taking a look. Take a read and enjoy!"…/…/ascension.html

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A new review.

I'm hoping that book reviews are like buses... none for ages and then they all come at once!

Because another review for Split Decision has just been posted to Amazon.

Awarded a 5* rating and deemed a 'must-read', here's what the reviewer had to say.

"Read this book over two nights. Well written, the characters drew me in - sent me back to my teenage years - the insecurities of growing up! It made uncomfortable reading in parts, simply because it was realistic and gritty. Will definitely read more books written by this author 5*"

Thanks so much Mrs Roberts!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

New Twitter Header.

This is my new Twitter header. What do you think?

Easy Life Or Crazy Life, What's Your Preference?

I originally wrote this post a couple of years ago, but came across it just the other day.

Reading it back, I'm amazed at how frantic my life was back then and how chilled it is by comparison now. See what you think...

First day of the school hols and I'm up with the a courier, a broken oven, a broken washing machine, a filthy house, a load of paperwork to fill in and file, 3 children, 2 dogs and a pigeon to sort out...did I mention it was the start of the summer hols???

Now let me explain...yesterday was an absolute nightmare of a day.

I had woken early, jumped out of bed and woken the kids for their last day of school for this academic year. Knowing that it was due to be a busy day, I got the breakfasts sorted, the lunch bags sorted and then myself showered. 

Racing against the clock, I pulled clothes over me as I dashed downstairs only to find the kids still enjoying a leisurely breakfast.
Shocked, the conversation went a little like this:-

"What are you doing? It's quarter to nine!" I whispered, still unable to talk properly due to my tonsillectomy.

 "No, mum, it's quarter to eight! You got us all up an hour early!" I was told emphatically and rather irately!!

And do you know what? They were absolutely right. So instead of just accepting this and cooling down, I then proceeded to clean all four bathrooms and arrange a courier for some books I had sold. I also phoned the washing repair man who seems to have either died before completing the job of repairing my machine, or alternatively has been eaten by sharks...because it's been a week since his last visit and still no sign of him returning.

Then [at the correct time], I took my youngest child to her leavers' assembly and sat and watched their teary performance. After this I walked my dogs and met with a group of mothers in town who were going to celebrate their children leaving first school.

Hungrily I watched them devour huge platefuls of appetising food, unable to participate due to my very recent tonsillectomy. I consoled myself with the thought that I had to leave early to collect child no. 1 from his school to attend an orthodontics appointment.

So a mere hour after sitting with the mums, I was back in the car, on route to the school once more. And what greeted me when I arrived? A truculent teenage who informed me that he was not happy to be missing the last hour and a half of school!

Annoyed now, I escorted him to the dentist where they took moulds of his teeth and raced him back to school for the final 40 minutes.

Then, passing the group of mums who were just heading back, relaxed and jolly, I set off to the next school to pick up the daughter who was finishing school that day.

At least she was pleased to see me.

We came home. Buoyed by her youthful exuberance and high spirits, I thought we would have a celebratory tea of spare ribs [I was hoping I could suck the meat off and bypass it into my throat with a lot of liquid libation] chips and chicken wings.

An hour and a half later, when the food was mildly warm but still raw, I knew there was something wrong. The oven had died. either in empathy with the washing machine or completely independently, it had lost the will to live.

It was then I went completely insane. Flinging  cooking utensils to the left, right and centre of myself, I hunted for alternative methods of cooking the foods I had promised to the kids.

Now at this juncture, most sane people would have said, 'ok, lets get a take away'. But you see, dear readers, that is where I differ from pretty much everyone else in the universe.

Like it was a personal affront to my dignity to throw away this food, I took it as a challenge that I would not be beaten over. 

Throwing the chips into a wok, I proceeded to burn them into charred remnants of what they once were, whilst I undercooked [yet also managed to burn] the ribs and wings in an electric frying pan.

Thinking that it would be a good idea to make an adventure of the situation, I then [unwisely as it turned out] put all the food on a sharing platter and a whole two tins of beans in a large bowl for the kids to help themselves.

What a mistake to make! In between arguing over who got which charred rib and how many chips they each loaded onto their plates, the kids complained that this was how cowboys ate and why had I made so much washing up for myself [oops forgot to say that the dishwasher broke a few months ago too].

After the squabbling had ended and I had cleared up, I was so wound up that I decided to take my frustration out on the oven itself.

Watching me trying to heave it from its cabinet, the coolly delivered "you might want to take the screws out first" from my eldest, did not really help. Head aching and the place where my tonsils used to hang out, burning in my throat, I wrestled with the oven, trying to get it out so that I could measure its dimensions for a new one. It was at this point that I accidently yanked the oven door right off, causing me to stagger backward with the weight of it in my hands.

The pigeon watched me from the safety of it's cage as if it were I who was some rare and endangered species of bird, beady eyes alert and if I'm not mistaken, filled with humour at my situation.

It was at this precise moment in time that the middle child came and told me that the upstairs toilet was now broken.  As I strode upstairs, summer dress flowing behind me, covered in grease, grime and sweat to repair/ make worse that situation, one thing occurred to me...I left home at eighteen and since then I have lived only ten years with a man in the house...and I still don't know how to fix one damned thing!

So that's why this morning my Facebook status read as it did. 

You are probably not as relieved as I am that as I write this blog at one pm, there is a man booked to come fix [I hope] the oven, the washing machine man has been located alive and well and will be back next week and I have vacuumed and tidied the house [oh and the courier has been]...did I tell you it was the first day of the summer hols...?

Happy holidays folks!

Monday, 24 July 2017

A new review

Here is the first review for Ascension.

Back to work I go...

Today I have started back to work and am so relieved. As I told you before, I have to edit a couple of books already written prior to their publication, but I also want to write a book I started some time ago. The story is about a woman whose husband dies of cancer. But just before he does, he reveals something which tears her whole world apart...

Here is a little snippet:-

The Letter

Chapter 1

The house sucked at her energy. It drained her like a thirsty hiker on a hot summer’s day. She could feel it pulling at the blood in her veins, causing tidal waves of that vibrant red life-force to course through her to a never-achieved destination, moving ever onwards, ceaselessly searching out its well-worn pathway.

But of course it was not the house which drained her so. It was the situation within in.

Jim waited for her in another room. Weak and tired, waiting was what he did best now. Waiting was actually all that was left to him. Fran wondered what was left to her. What would be left when Jim was finally gone? A thin smell of sickness which seemed to have pervaded the entire house? The ripe smell of a cancer unchecked, which had permeated the paint and wallpaper of their bedroom? Was that all there would be?

Or would there be memories too? Memories which would linger to haunt her as if the images and sounds were captured within the porous brickwork and plaster, ready to be replayed whenever the whim took them?

It didn’t bear thinking about.  But she didn’t really need to ponder on it. The situation played itself out and she was just a bit player in every scene, the one who was necessary to breathe a little life into each act, to make it real and believable. The only one who would be left standing after the credits rolled and the curtains closed for that final time.

Funny how even after all these months it still didn’t seem real. She flicked the switch on the kettle and waited for it to boil. The kitchen seemed darker than usual and she glanced at the wall clock by the side of the back door. It was in the shape of a cow, mottled black and white paint depicting its legs and head, its torso taken up by the clockface which showed the hour to be six. But six am or pm? She genuinely did not know. The months and weeks since Jim’s diagnosis had blurred into one and in these last few days even the days and nights seemed interchangeable.
So if you enjoyed that little bit, take a look at the books I have already published - you won't regret it.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Taken with kind permission from the blog of Uncial Press, publishers of Ascension.

There are some fascinating novels based on a single action changing history. No, we aren’t talking about time travel, but about speculative stories that look at a single event and postulate what might have happened if the outcome had been different. One term for it is “alternate history.”
Alternate history is usually classed as science fiction, and we can’t argue with that, even though often there’s no science in it. Some the oldies we remember are Ward Moore’s Bring the Jubilee, The Gate of Worlds by Robert Silverberg, and Tunnel Through the Deeps by Harry Harrison. Personally, our favorite is A Midsummer Tempest by Poul Anderson; an original hardcover edition still resides on Jude’s bookshelves.

Sometimes a story isn’t strictly “alternate history” because the event that changed history isn’t part of it. Is that really important? Perhaps we can apply the theory that each decision creates a new possibility and myriad almost-parallel worlds lies side by side, but isolated from each other. And if you can accept that, it’s easy to accept stories that take place on Earth, but a different Earth from the one we currently exist on. After all, isn’t all fiction more or less like that? There are far more dukes in Regency romances than ever existed in the real England, nowhere near as many serial killers (thank goodness) in our world as in the many thrillers and mysteries about them, and not a whole lot of vampires walking the streets of our hometowns. Yet we accept all those alternate views of reality because they are entertaining, interesting, gripping.

Where are we going with this? As a matter of fact, this month’s release started us thinking about alternate history and alternate worlds, mostly because we couldn’t figure out quite what to call it. As far as we know, there is no place on our Earth with a society like it describes, but there could have been. Oh, yes, there could have been, for nothing is impossible.
Ascension cover

In Ascension, Carmen Capuano describes a believable society with a structure of law intended to protect its citizens from the wages of sin and chaos. Everyone accepts the societal definitions of right and wrong until Jessica, a young woman with the unusual ability to see the color of people’s souls, realizes that a friend’s life will be destroyed by blind obedience to the law. With that realization comes questions, and those questions lead her on a quest. What she finds may threaten the whole fabric of society. The choice she makes could destroy her world. (Ascension, $6.99. ISBN 978-1-60174-2255-4).

We love mystery-thrillers, particularly those with just a touch of romance. Our March release fits that description nicely. Al Haggerty’s debut book, The Failover File, has industrial sabotage, plane crashes, billionaire industrialists, and a couple of federal agents who can’t be bought. What more does one need for a satisfying read? Oh, yes, there’s romance in there too.
And remember, we’ve always got a bunch of good (Uncial Press) ebooks for you to read. Stay tuned…

Star & Jude

Guest Post from Uncial Press

Time for a guest post from one of my publishers. Enjoy!

Guest Post

Monday, 17 July 2017

Snippet of current book...

Morning readers, and isn't it a lovely one?

Below, you will find a snippet of the book I am currently editing.

If you want to see more excepts of my writing style, just type the word 'snippets' into the search box on the right of here and you will be presented with a whole host of posts with little tasters of all of my books, [some not yet published].

You will find the link to my books on Amazon etc, also on the right.


For a while pessimism is my constant, albeit unwelcome, friend. I spend a long time wondering what it is that Matt actually sees in me. I am uncool, unbrave, uneverything. Perhaps Phat would be a better match for him after all… I try to shake the feeling off but it’s persistent. Dwelling on my problems isn’t helping them be solved, instead it’s feeding my insecurities.

I spend some time helping Charlie with his maths. We make some progress and I think that he’s finally starting to grasp some of the techniques that have been evading him until now. I only wish the rest of life was so simple to sort.

Dinner for me is a makeshift affair – a bacon and egg sandwich. Mum doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when I tell her I won’t be eating with the rest of the family - just carries on peeling potatoes and chopping carrots like she’s robot who has been programmed to do only this task and make no response to anything else.

I wonder if she’s noticed that I am wearing one of her tops and whether she’s noticed the other one I put in the wash after wearing. If she has, she doesn’t comment on it. Neither does Dad. But then perhaps he no longer knows what’s hers or mine anymore, now that his attention seems to be permanently focused elsewhere.

“Where are you off to?” he asks, not bothering to look up from his newspaper at me, when I go to the lounge to say goodbye to Charlie.

“Just out to catch up with Millie,” I lie, and because I can, without either him or Charlie who is watching TV again, noticing, I stick two fingers up as I answer. ‘That’s for actually not giving a shit in truth,’ I think at him.

He nods as if the universe is colluding with me. “Have fun!”

Fun? Really? I want to slap him. How the fuck does he think I can just dismiss everything that’s happened, that’s still happening? Can he? Has he?

“I have a project to do in history, I thought maybe you could help me with it later tonight?” I don’t, but perhaps it will make him wake up, make him take notice of what’s going on around him.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

From the sublime to the ridiculous.

Sometimes I despair of our society - well I say sometimes, but actually it's quite often.

For a very long time, it has seemed to me and to many others, that the more we have, the more we crave, and that in some inverse need/want scenario, the less we actually enjoy those things which are the objects of our desires.

This is apparent everywhere in our consumer culture, from the frenzied rush to purchase the latest iPhone, which, regardless of cost in proportion to income, will be discarded as soon as an even better/bigger/smaller/louder/blingier version hits the shelves, to the fact that whilst cookery shows abound on TV and millions settle down to watch who will be heralded best baker or pastry chef, our high streets are filled with fast food outlets, our streets strewn with the discarded wrappers from the same outlets, and individual, non-chain shops are dying faster than the dodo.

And the answer to it all? Well according to some it's deconstruction - niche shops selling only specific items or catering for only a section of the population. A prime example of this, is those usually vibrantly displayed tobacco alternatives which have popped up everywhere, pumping their nefarious fumes out into the ozone...

But the latest trend that's got my goat, is not of the inhaling kind at all. It's of the imbibing kind.

Think of a cocktail. Its pastel or bold colours, its blend of flavours. It's pretty exotic right? Pretty awesome in fact.

Well apparently it's no longer exotic enough for our increasingly jaded tastes.

So now someone has come up with the idea of serving them in broken glasses. Deliberately designed and manufactured broken, to a precision that must make real artisan glass-blowers weep into their hands at the near profanity of the act, the glass is then filled with its intoxicating brew and served with what are apparently edible 'shards of  glass' protruding from it's center. Forgive me if I pass.

How is this high living? Maybe I'm old fashioned - hell maybe I'm just old. But I was taught to serve drinks in pristine, unchipped glass.

Have we come that far in our gluttonous lives, where every want must be immediately satiated for our juvenile sensitivities, that we can't even appreciate the most simple and unassuming things? I fear so.

And what's next? Will we be eating deconstructed shepherd's pie from stainless steel dog bowls, rendered-asunder fish pie from goldfish bowls? I hope not...but in truth I think it's only a matter of time.

So move over Fido... now where did I put that wire scourer?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Silver linings and all that...

I'm so sorry - you're all going to hate me for this, but I'm loving the fact that it's raining.

The ground was so hard - the grass beginning to dry and shrivel up - and I knew exactly how it felt.

A short, sharp burst of heavy rain is exactly what we need right now.

So come on, dust off those wellies and umbrellas and dance in the rain. It will be hot and sunny again tomorrow and everything will grow and bloom just because of the little wet interlude we've had.

Remember - every silver lining starts with a cloud. 

Happy reading!