Thursday, 14 September 2023

I've been a little quiet recently. Here's why...

I've been busy publishing books and preparing even more books for publication. 

Working with the amazing performance chef and former athlete, Zena Weeks, we have brought out the recipe book Recipes for Performance Sports.

It has been carefully crafted for performance athletes but in actual fact the recipes are so healthy and nutritious, they are great for everyone. 

You can order your copy by clicking on the link above. 

Thursday, 31 August 2023

The Crown Series 4...

Let me start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of period drama. I watched quite a bit of it when I was in my teens and the choice of TV viewing was limited to what broadcasters decided to transmit, so up until now I have only dipped in and out of series 1-3 of The Crown. But Series 4 came with the promise of a period of history I actually knew about first-hand. I had lived though it, so my curiosity was aroused. I'd seen the sumptuousness of previous episodes of the show and the stellar performances of the cast in a variety of other roles so my expectations were high.

Any dramatisation of real events is made by merging the representation of the facts and the interpretation of them by the writer, the director and the producers. So in order not to be swayed in my judgement of the series by my memories of that time, I watched an episode and then the real footage before and again after, for comparison.

What struck me straight away was that The Crown has been made with the advantage (it could be argued, disadvantage) of very long-reaching hindsight. As such it represents key figures - Charles and Diana - as equally complicit in creating a fiction for the nation. In particular, it portrays Diana both as fundamentally dim and/or naïve, whilst also being manipulative and cunning. In truth it's difficult to see how she could be both dim and cunning simultaneously. 

I was a teenager when Charles and Diana married and these scenarios played out in real life. Whilst I've never been particularly interested in the monarchy, nor a fan of them in general or of Diana in particular, like every young girl of the time I followed the romancing of the Princess-to-be and watched the royal wedding. I saw the camera footage that captured Diana's doe-eyed gaze upon her future husband, the seemingly shy girl who was still willing smile for everyone she met. And I saw the way Charles seemed genuinely taken by her. 

In The Crown, Diana's coyness is over-egged. Forced even. She appears to already know her eventual fate of readily discarded and unloved wife, not to mention the legacy she will leave behind her with her premature death. Every scene is over-played for more than it's worth... and then some. 

For younger viewers or those who have no first-hand recollection of this period, and in particular for those not residing in the UK, it might seem that the writing was on the wall. Indeed in many scenes the viewer almost feels as if there must surely be a violinist waiting in the wings for a grand entrance. Whilst I am no real fan of the monarchy, I admit to feeling uneasy that  Diana is made out to be a simpering, cunning yet whimpering ingenue, whilst Charles seems torn between his heart and his duty. 

What is represented on screen is a duplicitous relationship where both parties seek only to fulfil their own needs and wants. And in that, perhaps in truth  it is no different to any real courtship. Except for one thing. Re-watching the real archive footage I couldn't help but believe both Charles and Diana entered into marriage in the belief that they could make it work. Yes, we all know in hindsight that Charles still had a dalliance (for lack of a better word) with the very married Camilla going on at the time, but let's face it, he wouldn't have been the first man to believe that he could get over one woman by getting under another...

The script has been well written, the dialogue realistic and all too plausible and I cannot fault the amazing performances by the excellent cast, which includes Olivia Coleman. Therefore I feel the fault is in the direction. The too-simpering coy looks of Diana, the hesitant, falseness of Charles, the almost tally ho attitude of Camilla's every scene. 

It's not the words they speak to one another that rings so untrue, it's the tilt of their heads, the arch of their backs, the tell-tale signs that they don't believe a word they utter. And that, dear friends is what happens when you already know the ending of a story. Charles couldn't fall in love with Diana because he couldn't fall out of love with Camilla. Diana died. The rest, very literally, is now history and Camilla is now Queen Consort. 

But did this little triangle of human beings know that's how things would turn out? Could they have had any inkling? Of course not. Sad to say that if the direction had been played differently I would be raving about The Crown Series 4. Unfortunately it wasn't, and I'm not. 

Thursday, 17 August 2023


Recently I was asked to write a few lines about what libraries meant to me as a child, for a publication. This is what I wrote: 

I was a voracious reader as a child, and tackled books that were far beyond expectations for my age. 

Libraries were my salvation. There, amongst the scent of wood and polish, the librarians with their hair held tightly back in a bun and stacks of books that never judged me for the poverty that prevented me from buying fresh, crisp books, I lost, and found myself.  

But writing those few lines made me think. I've spent a lot of time writing books over the past decade and a half, and I've watched prices creep up on everything from petrol to bread. Has it had a knock on effect on my sales? Well yes. But I'm no longer chasing the dream. I don't have to. So instead of raising my prices in line with inflation, I'm going to do the opposite...

On the 15th September the price of Split Decision (ebook) will lower on to 99p and on to $0.99, for a short period of time. Likewise you can now pre-order the 2nd Edition of  The Owners, Volume 2: Storm Clouds for 99p. Cheaper than a 2 for 1 deal!

Happy reading. 

Thursday, 15 June 2023

Why I do what I do

Two weeks ago I released the family drama The Boy Who Rescues Pigeons. It was to be my third book release of 2023. (I wrote about my inspiration and reason for this book which you can find if you scroll down a few posts.)

Somewhere between releasing the dystopian science fiction novel Future Imperfect and The Boy Who Rescues Pigeons I realised I needed help. If you've been following my books, you'll already know that all my profits go to animal charities, animal rescues and children's charities, so paying for advertising has always been contra-intuitive for me. I wanted to be able to give money to the various global charities and rescues, and I couldn't do that if I was spending the money on advertising... But sales were less than great. And little money coming in meant that little money could go to good causes. 

And then a strange thing happened. The interest in The Boy Who Rescues Pigeons was obvious, even before I released the book. This interest has far outweighed any of my other books and the love that I have felt from readers and other authors has taken my breath away. Two in particular have been a great source of information on marketing and advertising, things I'd never really done before. Between them they have advised me on a variety of marketing approaches, all of which I'm trying out. Hopefully the money spent on advertising will generate more money that I can use to help save and improve animal and children's lives. 

So why do I give my profits away? Well I'm naturally frugal (some would go so far as to say tight), but I prefer the term careful. I'm not a shopper, I don't eat meat and I don't like fine wines. I'm generally happy with a Greek salad and a shandy. I don't often go on holiday as I have a low boredom threshold and I miss my pets too much and I have no expensive hobbies. Sounds boring, right? Well it probably is to most folks. 

But it serves my purpose. Back when I published my first few books, I stood in the middle of the Bromsgrove branch of WHSmith and sold signed copies and every penny of profit went to a charity to support a young, disabled local girl. Being able to help her and her family in this small way made me feel a hundred times better than any material possession could ever have done. So it's not an entirely altruistic one-way transaction. I get something from it too. If I can save one cat/dog/squirrel/pigeon or help a child, then my time on this earth will have had a greater purpose. And that's what drives me. 

Since I began writing, I've used my profits to help a number of other charities globally. I've never given more than £50 at a time to any cause, so we're not talking life changing sums of money for them, although I hope one day to be able to do that, but it's enough to help ease their struggle just a little. And sometimes that's the difference between an animal being rescued or not. A life being saved or not. 

Many of my books deal with social issues. Jigsaw Girl (currently reduced to 99p) deals with teenage peer pressure, guilt, self-esteem issues and cutting, Split Decision deals with coming of age insecurities, pressures and dangers, and The Boy Who Rescues Pigeons deals with isolation, lack of understanding, loneliness and a social inability to fit in. They are things that most of us will encounter in one way or another during our lifetime. Life can be tough. My books are not self-help manuals, they are compelling stories that I hope help people make sense of the world around them; that let readers see that they are not alone; and that have the power to make people really stop and think. 

So now that you know all about why and what I write, I do hope you'll take a look at some of my books. Your purchase will help change the world just a little. Doesn't that sound like a good enough reason to buy?


Wednesday, 14 June 2023

Monday, 29 May 2023

About the release of The Boy Who Rescues Pigeons

 A lot of people have asked me why it's taken me so long to release The Boy Who Rescues Pigeons. The answer is simple and yet exceptionally emotionally complex. 

I wrote the book back in 2009 or thereabouts and edited it ready for publication. But I didn't publish it. I couldn't. I wasn't emotionally ready. But I am now. 

The story centres around Lucas Reverential Pertwee - an unusual boy in an unusual situation. Lucas finds and takes in an injured pigeon and in caring for and helping to heal the bird, he manages to emotionally heal himself. The character of Lucas is based upon me and my eldest child, Ryan. We are both raw, bleeding hearts when it comes to animals. 

But the core of the story is actually about my dad. Or rather my step-dad, Gerald McCammick. He took me in as his daughter when I was six and strove to provide a physically safe environment for me. I make the distinction here because ours was not always an easy relationship. Both of us were emotionally scarred by life and there are things that regardless of how hard you try, you never fully recover from. So we trundled along with the occasional drunken rage on his part and teenage truculent slamming of doors on mine. 

I'm not seeking to trivialise these moments. They were part of our lives. A big part. But they also never really shook the bedrock that our made-family was founded upon. We both knew we loved each other. 

Of course there is much more to this story than I've put down upon this page. But that is for another time. Or perhaps never. 

When I wrote the book I told my dad that I was dedicating it to him. He just smiled and said, "Oh aye, very good Carmen." But I know how much it meant to him. It didn't matter that I couldn't bring myself to publish it for so long. We both knew the dedication was forged in each line of text I'd written. Publishing the book wouldn't give it any more validation than it existing in the first place. And when my dad died a few years ago, it didn't matter that I still hadn't brought out the book. The time wasn't yet right. 

So what made the time right now? I don't honestly know, except that deep inside I recognised the change. I'm 56... and six. I'm still that little girl. I still rescue pigeons. 

The Boy Who Rescues Pigeons is available from June 1st, in time for ordering for Father's Day. Take a look at all my books here.


Monday, 8 May 2023

Monday, 10 April 2023

New release. Future Imperfect


When a young Alpha’s fiancé is injured and declassified to a Delta by ELSA, the dome’s Enhanced Living System Autonomy, she has to set out across the ravaged world to bring him safely back. Luckily Fortitude Smith isn’t just any ordinary Alpha. Unfortunately ELSA isn’t what it appears to be either.
From the author of Split Decision and Ascension, comes a brand new sci-fi novel, Future Imperfect, that will captivate and enthral science fiction readers worldwide.
In this dystopian future, people live according to their birth classes. Beta and lower live in the outside world, whilst Alphas are protected in the dome, watched over by ELSA – the dome’s AI. But ELSA has more than one secret.
Part of a new duology, Future Imperfect is an insight not just into the fruitful imagination of its
author, but highlights a very realistic and plausible future world.
“Technology has moved on in leaps and bounds in my lifetime and the development of artificial intelligence has been simply astounding. I actually wrote this book about 10 years ago and back then AI was almost in its infancy compared to where it’s at now. And so my vision as well as other truly visionary authors is on the cusp of being realised.
There is so much tech in the world that sometimes I fear losing our humanity is inevitable. I can only hope that the world envisaged in Future Imperfect and Future Perfect do not come to pass,” Capuano says.
Capuano is no stranger to conflict within her books and indeed the lives of her characters. Known for her perception and sensitivity to her characters and their situations, Future Imperfect promises to be as perceptive and engrossing as her other books.
Future Imperfect is out now and available now in print and ebook versions from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other reputable online book retailers.
If you enjoyed Split Decision or The Owners by Carmen Capuano then you’ll love Future Imperfect.

Thursday, 16 March 2023

 NEW BOOK, ‘Family: Life’, explores the duality of its themes with passion and rare insight. 

With her latest book, author Carmen Capuano takes the reader on a journey both exciting and insightful.  Delivering a heart-wrenching story about infertility wrapped inside a wider arc of themes of conservation and animal rights, Capuano has the reader swaying from one viewpoint to another, one heartfelt belief to another.

 Adapted from the screenplay of the same name by Paul F. Gorlinsky, Family: Life powerfully examines the desperate need for a child and weighs it up against prevalent contemporary beliefs.

It was important that the reader was able to see all the intricacies of both sides of the story and also to experience it through the eyes of the main character of Barbara Lingorsky,” Capuano says. “Barbara’s desperate need for a child becomes all-encompassing and it’s this which drives her narrative.” 

Capuano is no stranger to conflict within her books and indeed the lives of her characters. Known for her perception and sensitivity to her characters and their situations, Family: Life promises to be no less engrossing and controversial than her other books.

Family: Life is priced at £2.50 (ebook) and £8.50  (paperback) and available now in print and ebook versions from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other reputable online book retailers.

One pair of primate conservationists desperate for a child. One perfect solution.

Primatologists Vlas and Barbara Lingorsky are fully aware of the importance of their work as research scientists in the Rwandan jungle. And of the danger it puts them in.

When poachers kill an infant gorilla, Barbara is forced into consideration of her biological clock and the memory of the loss of her own child. With Barbara now unable to bear a child naturally, events seem to take on a momentum of their own. It’s not too long before her longing for a family overflows into her everyday life, and the perfect solution presents itself…

If you enjoyed Planet of The Apes by Pierre Boulle or The Owners by Carmen Capuano then you’ll love Family: Life.