This is the blog of Samie Sands, author of Lockdown. There will be many great books and projects reviewed here. For more, check out thelockdown.co.uk.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Grace Revealed: a memoir by Greg Archer

Seventy-five years after Joseph Stalin's reign of terror across Eastern Europe, entertainment journalist Greg Archer takes a step back from Hollywood and examines his Polish family's mind-bending odyssey of the 1940s. In the process, he exposes one of the most under-reported events of the 20th Century: Stalin's mass deportation of nearly two million Polish citizens to the Siberian gulags and the life-shattering events that followed. 

But the author's quest takes a dramatic turn. As he walks an emotional tightrope between the past and the present, can a serendipitous global adventure become a saving grace, heal the ancestral soul and bring justice to his family and their forgotten Polish comrades?
Greg Archer
Greg Archer is an award-winning journalist, editor, cultural moderator and author. His journalism and man-on-the-street coverage of agents of change, arts, culture, travel and the entertainment industry appear regularly in The Huffington Post, San Francisco Examiner, Jetset Extra and on his popular YouTube portal. He has been a contributor to Oprah Magazine, The Advocate, VIA Magazine, Palm Springs Life, Bust, Prevention, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Monterey Herald and other publications.

His book, Grace Revealed: A Memoir, will be released in January 2015. In it, the author takes a step back from Hollywood to explore his Polish family's past. In the process, he exposes one of the most under-reported events of the 20th Century: Joseph Stalin's mass deportation of nearly 2 million Polish citizens to the Siberian gulags in the 1940s and the life-and-death events that followed. But the author's quest takes a dramatic turn. As he walks an emotional tightrope between the past and the present, can a serendipitous overseas adventure become a saving grace, heal the ancestral soul and bring justice to his family and their forgotten Polish comrades? 

"A powerful, haunting and heartfelt tale about one man's attempt to embrace his Polish family's past, shed light on the forgotten deported Poles of the 1940s, and expose the emotional ripple effects that remain. A story that resonates with all." --Kristen Houghton / The Huffington Post and bestselling author of "For I Have Sinned" and "And Then I'll Be Happy."

In 2010, after writing about body image and eating disorders for Oprah Magazine, Greg Archer co-wrote and edited the popular health and wellness book "Shut Up, Skinny Bitches!"

Visit www.gregarcher.com
Review: Wow this memoir was a fascinating read! It mixes glamour with terrifying horrors in a way that shocks and compels the reader. The book combines the fact that we know about this time period, with very touching personal home truths. The way it's written, I felt like I was really there - it's so powerful! 'Grace Revealed: a memoir' is an amazing read that stays with you long after the very last page. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Vampire Seeker by Tim O'Rourke

300,000 books sold 
4000 five star reviews 
Discover an underground phenomenon 
Discover Tim O'Rourke 

Samantha Carter believes a vampire is responsible for the brutal deaths of four women in London and finally she has the chance to catch him. Desperate to prove the killer's identity, she chases him onto a late night tube train. But Samantha doesn't reach the next station - instead she's pulled into a very different journey, back in time to the Wild West - where friendship, desire and even love all come hand in hand with deadly danger. 

To stay alive she'll have to work out who to trust - and when to resist temptation. For Sammy's nightmares are about to come true - vampires are real and more lethal than she ever imagined... 

"...Tim O'Rourke has ventured into the adult genre with a spectacular entrance. 'Samantha Carter - Vampire Seeker' is a whole lot of fun, not to mention some awesome new characters for us to get to know and enjoy. All I am going to say is chapter 23!!!! I do blush!" - Novels On The Run. 

"...O'Rourke has once again written a wonderful novel filled with mystery and intrigue, and it definitely piqued my interest and kept me guessing." - A BookVacation 

"...Sammy was shameless and totally consumed by the moment. I can't believe Tim wrote it!" - Talk Supe
Tim is the author of over thirty novels including the No 1 bestselling 'Kiera Hudson Series, 'Samantha Carter - Vampire Seeker Series', 'The Sydney Hart Mysteries', 'The Moon Trilogy, and 'The Mechanic' amongst other titles.

Tim is currently working on new Kiera Hudson books and other works.
Review: I haven't read anything by Tim O'Rourke before, but I was very pleasantly surprised by Vampire Seeker. Combining vampires and the Wild West seems like a crazy idea, but it works so incredibly well! Samantha Carter is a kick ass main female character and her crazy adventure back in time is gripping from the very first page. The twists and turns throughout the plot are shocking and perfectly timed. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Forgotten Places Author Interview: Adrianna Simone

1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I am a graduate student in the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley. I study literature and theory in my department with a focus on twentieth and twenty-first century Chicana authors, such as Michele Serros. I teach literature and theory classes, and I enjoy writing creatively and academically, often blending the two genres together. I am a bookaholic. I have a little girl named Elianna who was born a year ago. She is the love of my life.

2. What can you tell me about your story in Forgotten Places?

My story might be rather different from most in the anthology. Rather than choose a fantasy, sci-fi, or horror genre, I wanted to set my forgotten place in contemporary times. Aztlan, although a historical and some would even argue mythological location, is both a place and a state of mind very relevant to my field of study. It is a term that inspires many Chicanas/os, Latinas/os, and other people of color to unite against social, racial, sexist, and gender inequalities. Blending the history of Atzlan with a current issue was not a difficult task as it is very relevant to various communities. The real challenge was not letting my teacher cap show too much. I found myself wanting to lecture in my story rather than let my character Esperanza show how much she was learning and growing from her political and cultural awareness. 

3. Aside from the location, what was your inspiration for the story?

I knew I wanted to re-tell the fight over the Mexican American Studies Program in Tuscan Arizona high schools because their struggles affected me both as a teacher and as a student. As a society, we often consider ourselves advanced because of technology, because of the progress we have made with certain rights and freedoms that some people get to embrace. Then, something like this happens, and it feels like we regress back again. Drop-out rates increasing among students of color, books being banned, innocent people being arrested. It is a current event that I really want others to be aware of...to always remember that the fight for equality is not over. Plus, I was really inspired by the documentary "Precious Knowledge." Hearing the students and the teachers talk about the Mexican American Program and how it changed their lives...I just knew it was a topic that had much to offer a reader, both the informed or uninformed.

4. Do you have any other written works or is this your first?

I have written various pieces that were published over the years since I was thirteen. Most are poetry or newspaper pieces as well as general reviews on sites like Goodreads.com and Amazon.com. Some of my most recent pieces include a poem titled "Finding a Voice" in Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature and an academic book review titled "From Margin to Center" Reading and Analyzing Hybrid Narratives" in the journalPhilologist: Journal of Language, Literature, and Cultural Studies.

5. Can you describe your writing style in three words?

Subversive, decolonial, and passionate

6. Where can people find out more about you?

I have a website that is woefully out of date: http://adriannasimone.com/. One of these days I will update it. I also have various social media sites that people can connect with me at. Let's just say that I love lurking on the Internet. :)


Forgotten Places
A rich, diverse collection of short stories inspired by some of Earth’s forgotten places. Organised by best-selling author Josh Walker and edited by Angel Blackwood, this collection of inspired stories brings something new and exciting. All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to St Judes Children’s Hospital.

Cursed by Fire by Jacquelyn Frank

From New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank comes the scorching hot first book in a thrilling new series featuring four warrior brothers who have the power—and the curse—of immortality.
 
For centuries, Dethan has been trapped in a fiery inferno for defying the gods and snatching the power of immortality. Condemned to have his battle-hardened body licked by flames only to regenerate and be consumed all over again, Dethan has lost all hope—until the Goddess of Conflict appears. She will release him from torment—if he’ll use his power and strength as a warrior to raise an army and defeat a fierce enemy faction of gods.
 
Free to live as a man once again, Dethan meets Selinda—heir to the throne of Hexis—and his thoughts quickly turn from the conquest of cities to the conquest of this headstrong beauty. Betrothed to a cruel, calculating powermonger, Selinda needs a champion, and so Dethan enters into another bargain: If she will share her bed—and her body—with him, Dethan will save her city from destructive forces within and without. As the lovers ignite a searing passion, Dethan will risk all—even the wrath of the Goddess of Conflict—for a chance to make Selinda his forever.
Jacquelyn Frank is an author of paranormal romance novels. Her novel Rapture reached number 8 in the New York Times paperback fiction chart.
Review: The Immortal Brothers series starts with Cursed by Fire and it's an explosive beginning! Dethan has been cursed by the Gods for finding immortality, but centuries later he is freed - a war has broken out and he is needed. Selinda starts out seeming timid and completely overwhelmed by the men in her life, but as she risks everything, using Dethan to free herself, a new side to her blossoms. The spark between them is undeniable and as the tension builds in the plot, so it does between them. I quickly became hooked by the storyline and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I can't wait for Cursed by Ice - the next book in the series. Highly recommended!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Forgotten Places Author Interviews: Dee Christensen

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I am the son of solider who became a soldier like many sons following their father’s foot steps.  After a career, I became many things, remaining a father, a husband and a son. 

What can you tell me about your story in Forgotten Places?

It’s a story about soldiering, and life.  It’s about the young, their determination and transformation through experience.   

Aside from the location, what was your inspiration for the story?

I’d never written a science fiction/fantasy story before.  I wanted to write something that I would love to read as a kid.

Do you have any other written works or is this your first?

I have a mystery novel that should be published soon- a book entitled, “And Now I’m Found”.  Just the other day I wrote two short stories for a competition, and I’m co-writing a book with another Forgotten Places author- Drew Willard.  I have, of course, written many reports for work.  I’m finding the same problem- getting the right people to read both my reports and my stories.  LOL.

Can you describe your writing style in three words?

Crude, but lovely.

Where can people find out more about you?


Forgotten Places
A rich, diverse collection of short stories inspired by some of Earth’s forgotten places. Organised by best-selling author Josh Walker and edited by Angel Blackwood, this collection of inspired stories brings something new and exciting. All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to St Judes Children’s Hospital.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Forgotten Places Author Interviews: Angel Thomas

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1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself? 
About me questions are always hard. I'm an avid reader, writer and artist. I've been writing since I was thirteen. I love tabletop games, and I love writing them. I've finished several manuscripts, got very close to publication, and had to pull back for personal reasons. My family is wonderfully supportive except when my daughter walks up and closes my laptop so I'll play with her. 

2. What can you tell me about your story in Forgotten Places? 
My story was set in Centralia, Pennsylvania. The founder was named Faust. I wrote about Mephistopheles and Faustus founding this town so that they could use the rare coal under the land to draw the humans there. There was a min fire in the town in the 1960s, and I try to incorporate it and as much real history into my story as possible.  

3. Aside from the location, what was your inspiration for the story? 
When I found out the name of the founder was Faust, I thought of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. It's my favorite play. I wanted to write about Faustus' punishment after the end of the play. This story was just one glimpse into the kinds of things he's being forced to do.
 
4. Do you have any other written works or is this your first? 
I've written and completed three manuscripts and am in the process of writing two others. I haven't had anything published yet. This will be my first, and I'm quite excited. 
 
5. Can you describe your writing style in three words? 
dark, gritty fantasy
6. Where can people find out more about you?
People can find out more about me by visiting my author page on Facebook. It's https://www.facebook.com/pages/Angel-Blackwood/271953039651256
Forgotten Places
A rich, diverse collection of short stories inspired by some of Earth’s forgotten places. Organised by best-selling author Josh Walker and edited by Angel Blackwood, this collection of inspired stories brings something new and exciting. All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to St Judes Children’s Hospital.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens

9780751560435 - Copy
In Thoughtless, Kiera told her story. Now it's time to hear from the sexy rock star who captivated us all . . .
THOUGHTFUL

The only place Kellan Kyle has ever felt at home is onstage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around three things: music, his bandmates, and hot hookups. Until one woman changes everything . . . 

Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting-smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction . . . until Kiera's own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing-he won't let Kiera go without a fight.
AVT_SC-Stephens_6367
S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.
Review: I haven't read Thoughtless - Kiera's version of events - so I didn't know what to expect when I started Thoughtful but I quickly fell in love with Kellan and Kiera and their complicated love story. It isn't as simple and straightforward as the plot in many romantic books- but that just makes it that much more involved and satisfying in the end. Once I had finished this book, I immediately wanted to read the other side so I now have it ordered. Highly recommended - one of my favourite books :)

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Forgotten Places Author Interviews: Sydnie Beaupre

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1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
My name is Sydnie Beaupré. I was born three months premature and as a result have had to overcome many obstacles such as sensory and motor issues, but I'm stronger for my struggles and am happy where I am now in life. When I'm not writing or reading, you can find me playing the violin, singing awkwardly to myself in and out of the shower, and obsessing over llamas. I have great friends and family, and live in Montreal, Quebec! (I'm really awkward and bad at about me things). 
2. What can you tell me about your story in Forgotten Places?
My story, Alice Rising, is pretty interesting I think. I won't give too much away, but I can tell you that it involves a different dimension called Dust with mythological creatures and an albino mouse named Louis. I hope that you'll fall in love with Aleecia, the protagonist, and her wonderful adventure into the strange world of Dust. 
3. Aside from the location, what was your inspiration for the story?
Besides from the New Bedford Orpheum, which was my location, my story is based off of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll but pretty loosely.
4. Do you have any other written works or is this your first?
I have many other written works, so no, this isn't my first. Most of my stories are for young adults/teens, so when I heard this anthology is for children I kind of happy danced, to tell you the truth.
5. Can you describe your writing style in three words?
Deep, idiosyncratic, Enticing
6. Where can people find out more about you?
Oh, you can go to these two places to read most of my works for free:
   You can go to my website here which has the link to my blog: 
Forgotten Places
A rich, diverse collection of short stories inspired by some of Earth’s forgotten places. Organised by best-selling author Josh Walker and edited by Angel Blackwood, this collection of inspired stories brings something new and exciting. All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to St Judes Children’s Hospital.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Forgotten Places Author Interviews: Beth Hammond

Photo on 2014-04-30 at 08.55 #3
1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m a mother, wife, photographer, illustrator and writer. I love fantasy fiction and consider myself a bit of a nerd.
2. What can you tell me about your story in Forgotten Places?
‘Ambulant’ is a story about one woman’s journey through real life and dream state. She dreams about two things: A music box, and a sunken yacht. She must figure out the significance of overlapping events between life, and dream before darkness takes her.
3. Aside from the location, what was your inspiration for the story?
I can’t say too much without giving the ending away. Let me just say that I hope to bring some peace to families who have struggled with one of the most painful things that can happen in life.

4. Do you have any other written works or is this your first?
I wrote a novel called ‘The Sound of the Stones’ yet to be published. I am currently writing the sequel to that novel while the first is out for query.

5. Can you describe your writing style in three words?
My three words are: characterization, emotive, humorous.
6. Where can people find out more about you?
Forgotten Places
A rich, diverse collection of short stories inspired by some of Earth’s forgotten places. Organised by best-selling author Josh Walker and edited by Angel Blackwood, this collection of inspired stories brings something new and exciting. All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to St Judes Children’s Hospital.

Friday, 13 February 2015

The PKD Writing Challenge!

Calling all authors! Join in with the 'A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words' challenge on March 12th - World Kidney Day - in aid of Polycystic Kidney Disease.
Myself, and a selection of amazing published and indie authors, will be taking part in this challenge. Everyone will be sent a picture at random and asked to write a one thousand word story on this day. These stories will then be compiled into one anthology, with all the profits going to the PKD charity http://pkdcharity.org.uk/ which does amazing work to help not only find a cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease, but also supports sufferers and their families. 
Anyone who sponsors the authors to take part in this challenge will be rewarded!
£1+ - A special thank you in the anthology.
£5+ - An ebook copy of the anthology.
£10+ - A paperback copy of the anthology.
£20+ - Paperback copies of the anthology and Samie Sands's other novels.
£50+ - Paperback copies of the anthology and a selection of books from the authors included.
**Special prizes will also be given out to the authors who take part and the people who sponsor this event!**
The authors who have signed up so far include: Kevin S. Hall, Rob Shepherd, Ekta Rawat, Dave Suscheck, Larry Davis and Linda Gerald. This list will be continually updated!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Forgotten Places Author Interviews: Ashley Hunt

Forgotten Places
1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
About me is always a tricky question I think. You are talking about a real person with a Kaleidoscope of experiences. I think the best over view is My name is Ashley, which means Cinder maid. I am currently 31 years old, but won't be next year (Taurus!). I love to read and I kind of never decided to write. One day (when I was about 8) I was holding a pencil and a whole story just leaked right out. Sometimes I feel like my stories are not mine, but little entities all of their own that have landed on my shoulder and whisper in my ear that they may live immortality upon the page. I study classic novels, fantasy novels, fairytales, Perualt and  Du-alnoy in particular (The really old, dark, creepy ones) human anatomy, Massage and tarot cards. I also know . 

2. What can you tell me about your story in Forgotten Places?
This is another fun question because any writer will talk your ear off in spades over their latest writing. We're like parents with a newborn baby.  Forgotten places, I have an abandoned train station in Georgia. (A country up near Russia, I googled it) The picture looked so much like a portal to another world. Before I even had time to grab a pen, the story took form of a human girl stuck in the world of fairies. The story is about her desire to go home and what she is willing to sacrifice. 

3. Aside from the location, what was your inspiration for the story?
I was always fascinated by the world of the fae. Most people were interested in things from outer space and distant planets  but I was always more interested in what was on THIS planet. Changelings in particular caught my fancy because when you thing of living in a world of eternity among sprites, you kind of get this happy rainbow land idea in your head. And Changelings are humans trapped there against their will.

4. Do you have any other written works or is this your first?
Writing yes, Published work, not just yet. I am trying to get another story I've written (Quest of the kitchen boy) out into the published world. It is very different from Changeling, but it is still a lot of fun

5. Can you describe your writing style in three words?
1 word to describe my writing; "Chameleon."  I can write just about any style I decide will fit the tone best.  

6. Where can people find out more about you?

A rich, diverse collection of short stories inspired by some of Earth's forgotten places. Organised by best-selling author Josh Walker and edited by Angel Blackwood, this collection of inspired stories brings something new and exciting. All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to St Judes Children's Hospital.

Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb

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Lieutenant Eve Dallas walks the thin line between love and hate in this fabulous 40th thriller from #1 New York Times–bestseller J. D. Robb…
 
Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She—and her billionaire husband—are getting accustomed to being objects of attention, of gossip, of speculation.
 
But now Eve has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her—again and again…
 
With a murderer reading meanings into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate—and dangerous—psychological dance. And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her “true and loyal friend.” And in time, idols always fall…

HOW J. D. ROBB GOT STARTED

With a phenomenal career full of bestsellers, Nora Roberts was ready for a new writing challenge. As her agent put it, like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and caffeine-free Pepsi, a pseudonym offered her the opportunity to reach a new and different group of readers. The first futuristic suspense J. D. Robb book,Naked in Death, was published in paperback in 1995, and readers were immediately drawn to Eve Dallas, a tough cop with a dark past, and her even more mysterious love interest, Roarke.
The series quickly gained attention, great reviews, and devoted readers. Since the debut of Loyalty in Death (the ninth In Death book) on Halloween 1999 on the New York Times bestseller list, every J. D. Robb title has been aNew York Times bestseller. While fans had their suspicions, it wasn’t until the twelfth book in the series, Betrayal in Death (2001), that the publisher fully revealed that J. D. Robb was a pseudonym for bestselling powerhouse Nora Roberts. Unmasked, Nora Roberts fans who hadn't yet picked up one of the Robb books were quickly playing catch-up.
Robb's peers in the mystery world are fans as well, with accolades for the In Death series from such blockbuster authors as Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, Dennis Lehane, Kathy Reichs, Lisa Scottoline, Janet Evanovich, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Robert B. Parker, Ridley Pearson, Linda Fairstein, and Andrew Gross.
The In Death books are perpetual bestsellers, and frequently share the bestseller list with other Nora Roberts novels. J. D. Robb publishes two hardcover In Death books per year, with the occasional stand-alone original In Death story featured in an anthology.
Thirty books and fifteen years later, there is no end in sight for the ever-popular In Death series.
Review: Obsession in Death is a terrifying and complex thriller that keeps you guessing until the very last page. As the murders stack up, Eve becomes increasingly confused as to who is trying to kill off her enemies to get her approval. As the plot thickens, her life becomes more and more endangered. Eve and Peabody are amazing dimensional characters who drag you along with them on the homicide missions. Every time I thought I had cracked the mystery, another curve ball was thrown up so I didn't work out who the killer was until the very last second. Brilliant.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Forgotten by Samie Sands

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The Lockdown has failed.
The AM13 virus is spreading out of control and there doesn’t seem to be any way of stopping it.
The Government announces its new plan—a sanctuary in an area completely untouched by the infected—as long as you can get there unscathed of course...