How the Book got its Name…

Kathy Sharp

So here it is, the cover for my new book, finally revealed. Whales and Strange Stars. Now then, people say to me, that’s an intriguing title. What on earth does it mean? Is it about whales? Or, Heaven forfend, whaling? The short answer is no. Allow me to explain: the story begins with a sea captain passing through a sleepy riverside ferry crossing. While he waits to continue his journey, he fills the time by telling his traveller’s tales to the young girl who lives there. He tells her that the stars are different, if you sail far enough; he tells her about great oceans and the creatures that live in them, and many other wonders, too. For the girl, who has never travelled away from home, or even seen the sea, the whales and stars come to symbolise adventure – the wide world she longs to explore. And that…

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Felt Words

Tim's Blog

A bit of news on an event I’m going to be involved in next weekend.  On Sunday, 24th September, from 3-5pm at Colne Valley Museum, Cliffe Ash, Golcar, Huddersfield HD7 4PY there will be readings of poetry and prose by local writers, including me. I might even be playing a bit of guitar as well!

So, if you live in or near Yorkshire and are free that afternoon, why not go along? Here’s a poem I’m planning to read at the event – this is about as close as I get to textiles!

No Goodbye

We are enmeshed together, you and I,

our roots and branches coil and intertwine.

So do not say that futile word, goodbye

as if these knots were easy to untie.

Your threads cannot be unpicked from mine:

we are enmeshed together, you and I.

Do you forget, or worse, do you defy

the vow we made that…

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An' de walls came tumblin' down

The wonderful, amazing, one-of-a-kind Ailsa Abraham, who often goes by the name of Otter, chose me as the winner of her competition at my recent launch party for my new book: Social Anxiety Revealed.

I chose to win one of her short stories. For the topic, I chose a socially anxious otter, of course. Here’s the result, sweet and satisfying and… probably with an underlying message. What do you think?


Ask anyone what their first reaction to the word “otter” is and 75% or more will say “playful”. This is usually correct. They are one of the few mammals who still play as adults, just for fun, not developing skills but enjoying each other’s company.

This is why a very small female otter was so different. She had been the runt of a very large litter and never gained full mature size so was easily bullied by…

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The Ghost Village

Cy Forrest visits Tim Taylor’s blog today to talk about Tyneham, the location for his novel The Punished, published today!

Tim's Blog

Today I welcome fellow Crooked Cat author Cy Forrest, whose novel, The Punished is published on Wednesday!  (Why not drop in on the Facebook Launch event at 9pm on 13 Sept?)

The Punished is set in the Dorset village of Tyneham, which was taken over completely by the Army during World War II and remains deserted to this day.  Tell us more, Cy!


the surviving school room in Tyneham

Tyneham in World War Two – What Was It Like To Actually Be There?

Bringing extraordinary events to life in fiction is not a particularly English thing to do. Great English writers Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy did not make readers sweat in the way Scots, Irish, Welsh, American and mainland European writers did.

For example, Scots writer James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) makes you feel dread when the editor’s narrative ends and the confession begins. Space…

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New Release: The Punished by Cy Forrest

Join us for today’s release, the gripping tale, The Punished, by Cy Forrest, linking the past to the present. Discover it here!

England, 1943.

The British Army occupies Tyneham and captures Jack after his one-man stand fails. The Punished - High ResolutionCommanding Officer Hulford-Prandy forces the eighteen-year-old to handle BLISS, a deadly chemical weapon.
Jack falls for radar operator Gin, but so does Hulford-Prandy who inveigles Gin into the Special Operations Executive, sending her to destroy a munitions factory in France and making sure she’s captured. Jack never gets over his loss.

Forty years later.

City high-flyer Alexis is cornered by three veiled women at her mother’s funeral. They want to discover what happened to her mother, Gin, during the war. Alexis doesn’t know. She has no idea why Gin gave her up for adoption, nor why the name of her biological father is a secret. When she’s scattering Gin’s ashes in the ghost village of Tyneham, as requested by her mother, she meets a loner, Aidan, who knows everything and claims BLISS is still in the soil.
His dire warning sends her fleeing back to London where her boss tells her not to wear tights, slashes her bonus, and praises the willingness of a young intern. Summoning her mother’s wartime spirit, Alexis confronts the bully.
She uncovers the truth about Gin and returns to Tyneham where Aidan’s made a huge discovery about BLISS. She follows him into occupied territory demanding the truth, and the American bullets start flying.

Readers will be gripped by a fast-paced, dark and twisting journey in four parts:
Jack’s conversion from rebellious eighteen-year-old to peace campaigner; his son Aidan’s search for the truth; Gin’s journey from naive but plucky youngster to secret war hero, risking her life many times over with a grenade in her pocket; and her daughter Alexis’s transformation from downtrodden to triumphant and courageous woman.

Find it on Amazon in ebook and paperback formats!


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