POTPOURRI

‘Bloodknock’ At ‘Aber ‘Arbour’ (ALAN S. BLOOD AT ABERYSTWYTH HARBOUR)

THIS SECTION WILL FEATURE

   WIDELY  VARYING MATERIAL :      

 BOOK REVIEWS  

MY AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

   IDEAS FOR  FUTURE WRITING – (SOMETIMES ‘SNIPPETS’ OF WORK IN PROGRESS) 

      SHORT STORIES

POETRY

                                    BASICALLY – ANYTHING ELSE !!!

 

BOOK REVIEW – BY KITTY BULLARD ON HER

INFLUENTIAL

AMERICAN LITERARY WEBSITE :

‘GREAT MINDS THINK ALOUD’

Topic: “CRY OF THE MACHI” BY ALAN S. BLOOD

(REVIEW) (Read 6 times)

By Kitty : Administrator

     

Book Title: “Cry of the Machi”
Author: Alan S. Blood
Published By: Book Guild Publishing

Age Recommended: 18 +
Reviewed By: Kitty Bullard
Raven Rating: 5

REVIEW : Take an ancient Chilean Pagan Religion, Murder, Insanity, Americans from New York and place them all in an English backdrop and you have “Cry of the Machi”. This book was one of the best mystery, paranormal, drama’s I’ve read in quite some time. The characters were vividly written and alive, the plot was both charming and macabre (strange mix, I know) and the story was fantastic. The book is not an overly long read and gives just the right amount of detail to keep you intrigued while not prolonging the inevitable.

The suspense of who-done-it is drawn out just long enough to keep you wondering, and the ending definitely provides room for a sequel… or sequels as Mr. Blood may have planned. I’ll give away nothing in this review other than to say you should definitely give this book a read.

I am a new fan of Alan S. Blood’s writing and I will be looking forward to more of his wonderful work! If you are a fan of mystery with the spice of thriller mixed in you will definitely enjoy, “Cry of the Machi”.

 ©2010, Kitty, all rights reserved.

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 Re: “CRY OF THE MACHI” BY ALAN S. BLOOD   

(REVIEW)


« Reply #1 Today at 2:27pm »

 


Kitty – thank you very much for this very encouraging Review of my novel ‘CRY OF THE MACHI A Suffolk Murder Mystery ‘. I am delighted that you enjoyed the book – and this is moving me towards completing a sequel.

 

ALAN S. BLOOD.

©2010, bloodknock, all rights reserved.

 

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Book Review:  ‘Cry of the Machi…’

By Darian Wilks on her U.S Literary

Website :

‘CRAZY LADY WITH A PEN’

 
My Review:
 
Cry of the Machi is about a picturesque rural town in the quiet Suffolk countryside, where the townsfolk thrive in their traditions. Some of them find peace in the tradition of watching the Morris Men perform the English folk dances, while a select few find it in darker, secretive rituals no one in the town can comprehend. Life there continues as it always does, watching the Morris Men and drinking at the pub, until a beautiful American woman comes to their quaint village, and turmoil hides in her shadow. Not long after, the once peaceful village is met with sadistic murders, ancient ways of the Machi being performed by one of their own, and a quiet killer hiding among them – his dark, evil practices feeding his hunger to kill again.
 
Alan Blood wastes no words, doesn’t fill the pages with fluff or empty words, he jumps right into a world most can only imagine. Deep inside the heart of Chile, where strange rituals are performed, and those practices live on in one of Thorpe Amberely’s own proud Morris Men dancers. You then jump into the peaceful life of Thorpe Amberely, the beautiful village on the outskirts of the countryside, where in a single day the news of an American woman moving in has swept through the entire town.
 
I found Blood’s description of the village, their townsfolk, and the peacefulness of its simple life quite pleasing. He gives enough description to spring images alive in your mind, yet not so much detail that it hampers your imaginations freedom to paint its own picture of living in the British countryside.
 
As you come to know the town’s residents, you can easily see their own personalities, habits, and voice come to life on the page. I rather enjoyed getting a glimpse of British life, how they speak, how they seem to love simplicities – in contrast to America’s constant craving for more technology and constant busyness. Many of the characters are rather lively, quirky, and fun people to get to know. And coming from an Englishman, I think Blood did a rather good job at portraying the American characters that come into the story; right down to the New Yorkers somewhat gritty tongue. The only aspect that sometimes jarred me out of the story was the occasions when the American characters spoke like the Brits. The average American, I personally don’t think, would be saying things like “Bollocks” in their first week or two of visiting the country. Yet despite those instances, you quickly dove back into the story. I don’t think it was enough to make the characters unrealistic or un-relatable. Even with that in mind, I appreciated that each character was their own, none blending into the other, and all colorful and adding to the story.
 
The ways of Morris Men plays a heavy role in this book, it’s very intertwined in the lives of everyone in the town. While I thoroughly enjoyed this for the most part (because it is something I had never heard of before – a quick search on Youtube will show you the athleticism and beauty of the dances), I wish that the mystery aspect (that comes full force later) came to the forefront of the story a tad earlier on. It came in bits for roughly the first half, I just wish the bits were a smidgen more prominent from the start. That being said, when the plot twists kick in, the intensity really picks up. You’re then quickly wrapped up in these gruesome murders, suspecting everyone in the town, and trying like hell to figure out who the mysterious murderer is – and if he’ll be discovered.
 
The ending of the novel was perfectly paced, the suspense building at just the right moments, and keeping you turning the pages. And while this was a quick read (only 152 pages), I never felt let down, or as if the story had more to play out, or left anything unfinished. For being such a short novel, Blood did a fine job at keeping an even, steady plot pace, and fleshing out the story to its fullest potential.
 
Overall this was a pretty good read for me. I really loved getting a glimpse of British life, having a beautiful picture painted of the country I would love to someday visit, and getting to know the quirky people of Thorpe Amberely. And the mystery buff in me was more than satisfied with the devilish murders and secret killer. There’s no denying that Alan Blood is a talented writer, surely to thrill many readers! This book is a mix of the strange, fascinating ways of the Machi, the ways of Morris dancers, and a dash of evil with a side of murder. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, enjoyable read!
 
Cry of the Machi is available on Amazon, and tune in tomorrow because Alan was kind enough to provide a signed hardcover for a giveaway! That’s right, signed, hardcover…what bookworm can resist that, I mean really, come on! So come back tomorrow to see the photo of this amazing book, and enter to win it!
 
About the Author:
Alan S. Blood worked in advertising and the Civil Service, in London, before qualifying as a teacher from the University of Reading. He enjoyed a long, distinguished career in this profession. Alan now devotes his time to writing novels, plays and poetry and has widely traveled the world, especially undertaking research in Chile where some of this novel is set. He was a Costwold Morris Dancer with two different ‘sides’, respectively: the ‘Mayflower Morris Med’ of Essex and the ‘First Sedgley Morris Men’ in the West Midlands.
 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Darian Wilks’ Author Interview: Alan S.

Blood 

 
I’m pleased to have Alan Blood with us today, author of Cry of the Machi – A Suffolk Murder Mystery. And in case you missed the post the other day, Alan has been kind enough to host a giveaway for an autographed copy! I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing this awesome novel, and I’m thrilled to ‘sit down’ now and get to know the author behind the book! Thanks so much Alan!
 
For those who may have missed the review, can you tell us a little about your novel, Cry of the Machi?
 
‘CRY OF THE MACHI A Suffolk Murder Mystery’ is supernatural thriller which spans both crime and paranormal genres. The story essentially focuses upon an examination of the eternal conflict between the forces of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ – set within the microcosm of an English (Suffolk) village around a Morris Dancing Side. The supernatural element is of a link between possible serial killings in the village and the ‘good’ forces activated by the ‘Machi’ (a female witchdoctor of the Patagonian Mapuche Indians in the dark forests of Chile) – connected to the ‘Squire’ of the Morrismen (brought up there as a boy) who has also learned some of her magical and shamanistic powers. A further crime element (and force of evil) is the involvement of the Mafia- as a ‘respectable’ New York crime baron comes over to reclaim his beautiful wife (Harvard English Graduate) who has left him to teach near this Suffolk village. Two of the murders are more obvious but, throughout the book, there is a degree of guessing as to who a ‘mystery murderer’ might be – and the hunt is on not for one but two serial killers! The British Police are not up deal with the paranormal and the indirect help of the Machi combines with the unlikely assistance of an ex-NYPD cop. 
 
Much of the story revolves around Morris dancing, which you have participated in for many years. When did you first become a Morris dancer, and what motivated you to keep with it for so long?
 
I became a Morris dancer in the early eighties – and continued for about ten years : firstly with the Mayflower Morrismen in Billericay, Essex – where I lived and taught – and, secondly with the 1st Sedgley Morrismen – after moving to Wolverhampton, in the English West Midlands – where I, again, lived and taught.
 
I continued Morris Dancing because it kept me very fit – and invariably involved dancing out at old-world country pubs – and, of course, ‘sampling’ excellent beers ! There was also tremendous camaraderie and friendship amongst the dancers. I was first introduced to it by a Teaching colleague at Mayflower School, Billericay. (Many things in Billericay are named ‘Mayflower’ – because of the town’s close association with the ‘Mayflower’ ship – which carried the Pilgrim fathers to America!)
 
 
How and when did you come up with the idea for Cry of the Machi, and did you always know you wanted to incorporate Morris dancing into it?
 
How and when I came up with the idea for ‘Cry Of the Machi…’ is fully explained in the ‘WRITERS’ NEWS’ article that I wrote. Yes, I always intended to incorporate Morris Dancing into it. 
 
You did a lot of research for you book, including heavy research inside the ways of the Machi, how long did it take, and did you travel for this research?
 
Having had the genesis of the idea for the book, I went to Chile where I visited the territory of the Mapuche Indians – (one of the most remote places in the world). Here, I witnessed traditional Chilean Dancing which bore an uncanny resemblance to ‘The Morris’ (I attach a photo of this). I carried out further research into the Mapuche culture, religious and shamanistic beliefs in the Museums and Art Galleries of Santiago. Back home in Wales, I further augmented this by widespread reference to many South American and Chilean websites where I discovered that ritual killings and shamanistic practices can still take place – and the idea of linking it to the imaginary Suffolk village and ritualistic killings around a Morris side was born!
This whole research process took about six months before the actual writing began.
 
In addition to Cry of the Machi, you’ve also written Once Upon A Castle, as well as poetry works, plays, and screenplays. How did you get your start in these different areas, and do you see yourself continuing in each?
 
‘Once Upon A Castle’ came about when my car broke down on cold November afternoon in a remote part of Northumberland ( which is England’s most northerly county) close to Bamburgh Castle. Whilst waiting to get it fixed in a nearby local garage, I wandered about this most beautiful, windswept place and could imagine the Vikings attacking from across the North Sea – as, indeed, they used to do!
Later, doing some reading in Sunderland public library, I discovered that there was another, more desolate, ruined castle along the coast – which was only accessible across fields. This started me thinking about weaving a plot about a real castle and a ‘ghost’ one – and so the story involves twelve year old twins (a boy and a girl) who are evacuated there in World War 11 and have amazing, frightening experiences – which even involve being attacked by Vikings – hence the paranormal ‘teenage’ novella : ‘Once Upon A Castle’!
An American publisher is actually interested in the possibility of republishing it in the States!
I have written poetry since my University Days – and I guess the first one was motivated by splitting up with a particular girlfriend, whereby writing a poem about it was quite cathartic and helped come to terms with the trauma ! I began to realise that poetry was an excellent means of conveying deep feelings and ideas in a most demonstrative yet economical way – and, being a something of a ‘political animal’, my poems developed as very controversial attacks upon all forms of what I perceived to be such as injustice or human stupidity. My international award winning poem ‘Contrite Can Cannot’ (about ‘Litter’) is a classic example of this – and can be seen on my website.
 
Regarding plays and screenplays I really had to work at the techniques involving much more complex structures than relatively simple prose writing (such as ‘stage directions’ for theatre plays and ‘camera directions’ etc for film/television screenplays – which are each different again !) I read several books on the matter – especially by experts like Syd Field and Lew Hunter (who directed ‘Lethal Weapon’). I discovered the importance of the ‘paradigm’ dramatic structure. The net result was that I wrote plays for BBC Radio and finally produced a screenplay for a full length movie entitled ‘Rogue And Royal’ – which tells the tale of the stealing of the British Crown Jewels in the reign of king Charles 11. The BBC like this but said it would be too costly to produce for TV. Moreover, I still feel that it would be better suited to the ‘big screen’! I have taken on board some good constructive advice and eventually hope to undertake a ‘rewrite’ to try and achieve this goal.
 
Who (or what) has been the biggest influence for your writing?
 
It is difficult to say what the biggest influence on my writing has been. Certainly, in terms of subject matter I have always been fascinated by all aspects of the paranormal/supernatural. I cannot accept that we can dismiss phenomena that we do not understand as ‘not existing’ in the same way that it is impossible to believe that earth is the only planet with life upon it ! I was, therefore, most impressed with Phillip Pullman’s trilogy of ‘His Dark Materials’ (although I had already written ‘Once Upon A Castle’ (although not yet published) – before I even read his first book –‘Northern Lights’) I have met Pullman – and these three novels are terrifyingly close to the realms of plausibility ! My intrigue with the forces of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ somewhat links to all of this.
 
Your career was spent in Advertising, Civil Service, and Teaching, were you always a writer during that time? Or what spurred on the decision to pursue a career in writing?
 
I wrote fairly constantly (short stories, freelance press articles etc) throughout my Careers in Advertising/PR, Civil Service and Teaching. In the first two jobs, I edited various publications (especially the ‘House’ Newspaper of an electronics firm – involved on the periphery of the early U.S ‘Gemini’ space missions – handling photos of the moon et al – exciting stuff) ! At University, I subsequently edited my College Newspaper ‘Tom Bull’. (Incidentally, I left school at 16 and went to University at 21- earning the nick name ‘granddad’ – from the younger students !) I began more serious writing when I took early retirement – after 25 years of Teaching.
 
Are you currently working on another novel, if so can you tell us a little about it?
 
I have actually already written 6,000 words of a sequel to ‘Cry of The Machi’ – which many people have said they would like to see. However, I am still not entirely sure that I want to complete it because, although the final paragraphs of the novel point the way to this, it also leaves the reader thinking about the wider implications of good versus evil – and, although the former may have won the ‘battle’, here – the implication is that the ‘war’ between the two forces will never end. This, of course, reinforces the argument that there should be a sequel. However, another perspective is that like an enjoyable meal, a .pleasing book leaves a ‘doggy bag’ –but, in the form of thoughts to be pondered upon for some time after the book has been digested and finished. To write a sequel would, maybe, impede this process of allowing the readers to draw their own conclusions – and, thus, spoil it by trying to drag (pad) things out – only to fail to reach a final conclusion at the end of it all!
 
Some say eBooks will make paperbacks obsolete, what’s your take on the issue?
 
I do rather fear that the days of paperbacks are ‘numbered’ – which, as a literary ‘dinosaur’, makes me sad as I have always loved the touch, smell and very texture of books (both hardcover and paperback). However as ‘Cry…’ appeared as an ebook, I purchased a ‘Kindle’ – (and even had to pay for the download of my own book ! Being an avid bedtime reader, I find it so much easier to use the Kindle in terms of turning the pages (forwards
and backwards) – but it is essential to have the leather cover (incorporating the little reading, light) which the kindle easily snaps into and this converts it to a rather stylish leather bound book. I have regularly split larger books open – trying to bend pages back in order to read them! Therefore, as these attributes become better known to the reading public it is obvious that the ebooks twill continue to take over. Yet, I feel that the bad news is that, although paperbacks my die, hardcovers will continue (especially as they are objects of beauty) – even though many books now go straight to Kindle!
 
Where do you see yourself in five years?
 
I am 67 now and in five years’ time I will be 72! This is another reason why I am not sure that I want to write more novels. (see, also, the answer to Q.8 – above). I do, however, intend to continue writing short stories and controversial poetry! There is a growing demand again for short stories (largely brought about by the current world economic situation – and here, in the UK many well-known novelists are reverting to writing short stories. I also intend to do more to my ‘screenplay’ – referred to in answer to Q.5 – above).
 
Are you an outliner, or no outliner?
 
I am an ‘outliner’ – but, having created a loose scheme for a book, I do not believe that intricate planning in prescriptive! Part of the enjoyment of writing a novel is ‘L.I.D’ (Let It Develop). By this, I mean that, as a story progresses, the author begins to interact with the characters, places and situations that he/she has created – whereby the characters become increasingly real and can, themselves start to lead the writer into new developments that had hitherto played no part in the initial outline. Philip Pullman has said that the fun of writing is when it becomes an adventure with unplanned actions leading the author into constantly new directions far away from the original scenario – but which ultimately add increasing freshness and vitality to the burgeoning course of the tale (s) – so that the finished product becomes so much richer!
 
What is your usual writing routine?
 
Notwithstanding what I have just said about the relative ‘flexibility of ‘outline’, my writing routine follows a fairly regular pattern. My day always starts with putting on the coffee maker – to provide the ‘sustenance’ of life! Then, being an insulin dependent diabetic, I have to go through the daily ‘ritual’ of doing a blood sugar test, insulin injection and recording the results – followed by checking emails, opening my post etc – all of which takes place before breakfast – which I then take around 9am whilst watching the BBC News. Following Breakfast – I usually get back to my desk to complete any admin work – generated by emails/post – and some writing – before taking a short country walk – (sometimes to feed the village donkey) – or a bicycle ride until lunchtime – usually around 1-2pm. (as a diabetic – daily exercise is vital). Then I will do a few hours more writing in the afternoon – and, some days, allow time to walk to the post office to catch the mail ‘collection’ (if there is anything to send) as appropriate. I then shower, have an evening meal – and relax watching television in the evening – before going to bed with Kindle!
 
If you could vacation anywhere, where would it be and why?
 
I have widely travelled much of the world – including the USA, Canada, South America, the Canary islands (off Africa) most of Europe and Greece, China and the Far East – as well as flying over all of Russia and Mongolia et al.

I would like to see more of Africa – and it is my intention to visit Madagascar – which is home to some of the world’s most rare and unusual animals – as I am also a very keen wildlife photographer.

What is the craziest thing you have done?
 
I have done many ‘crazy’ things – especially in my younger and student days – when I was something of a ‘hell-raiser’!
 
In 1964 and 1966, I hitch-hiked around Ireland twice. On the first trip, I was picked up and told off by a bus driver for walking along a dangerous border road near ‘Crossmaglen’. (‘The Troubles’ were just fermenting !) I was next stranded on Tory Island off the N.W coast of Donegal where we manned the bird observatory in the disused lighthouse and climbed the precarious high cliffs to put rings upon the legs of Puffins and other sea birds as part of a project to track their movements. On the second visit I met the youngest of the Clancy Brothers at a Limerick Folk Club and, upon invite, subsequently met their aged parents in their cobblers shop in Tipperary. As a student, I subsequently hitch-hiked around Europe and had many adventures, including being escorted back to the cheap ‘Gastof’ where I was staying (somewhat inebriated and ‘silly’) by some thankfully friendly ‘Polizei’ in Munich. (The daft things students do!)
Perhaps one of the craziest is when I appeared on stage in Pantomime as ‘Widow Twankey’ – (cross-dressed for the part) wearing a flame red wig with a large black ‘beauty spot’ on my cheek and displaying a large pair of artificial ‘boobs’(balloons) – singing a rather rude song – what a horrible sight and sound!
 
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
 
When not writing, I am frequently out taking photographs – and I have a range of cameras, lenses and equipment. I also enjoy painting (mainly with water colours) and I do ‘scraperboard’ engraving – and used to sell these. (Art runs in the family – and my 30 year old daughter, Sally is Head Of Art in an English (Dorset) Comprehensive Secondary School.) I was also a folk singer and used to perform – especially when I was with the Morrismen!
 
I have led an extremely active, diverse and stimulating life – still do – and this is not anywhere near the half of it all of it! 
 
And in case you missed the link at the top, enter the giveaway here!
 

Posted by at 11:44 AM 2 comments

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BOOK REVIEW OF ‘CRY OF THE MACHI BY ‘Danie’
 
(ON HER U.S LITERARY WEBSITE : ‘Booktacular’
 
 
(   I’m a 22 year old NY-er at heart living in Oklahoma City,
with a serious addiction to all things books.)
Published : August 25th, 2011
Format : Hardcover
Source : Publisher for review
 

 

I love reading books written by authors who live in places other than the United States. The slang and writing they use is so different than what I’m used to, and it almost sounds magical. Alan S. Blood did a fantastic job with making me feel that way with The Cry of the Machi.
 
The story is about a small village, called Thorpe Amberley, in England. It’s a pretty calm, uneventful town, until Charlotte Rossini comes to town. She’s a beautiful American woman, and instantly, both men and women are attracted to her.
 
Charlotte Rossini is married to an absolute pig of a man, and when she leaves him and moves to England, he hires a former NYPD detective to track her down. The detective finds her, lets her husband know where she is, and the husband quickly comes to bring Charlotte, his “possession” home.
 
Shortly after Charlotte’s arrival, two people are found dead, and one close to it, within minutes of each other. The murders are vicious, methodical, and look to all be committed by the same person. Could they be connected to each other, and to an unsolved case in another town?
 
Cry of the Machi took a while for me to “get into.” For some reason, I think it was the introduction of so many characters, I had to restart this novel about 4 or 5 times. It was a bit frustrating, and left me feeling disconnected. The murder mystery part didn’t really come into play until about halfway through the book, but once it did, the story picked up the pace quite a bit, and I found myself enjoying it much more.
 
I think my favorite part of the book was the parts about Morris Dancing. I had never heard of it before, so I looked it up, and spent the better part of a morning watching videos of it. It’s actually really interesting and fun to watch, so I liked that Alan S. Blood included a bit of the “behind-the-scenes” stuff.
 
I’m a bit torn on Cry of the Machi. The first half had me reading just to get through it. The first mention of someone dying happened early on, so my interest perked up, but it was just a short paragraph, and then back to more character introductions. Once the dead bodies started piling up, I was reading to figure out “who-done-it” and not reading just as a chore.
 
Cry of the Machi is a quick read at 152 pages, and with the way it ended, there will be room for a sequel if Blood would like.
 
Cry of the Machi can be found on Amazon in hardcover, and is just recently available in Kindle format.
 
A final rating was kind of hard for this. 3 stars because of the drawn out beginning, but awesome ending.
 

2 comments:

  1. Lovely review…i am glad you got through the first half and enjoyed the second half. I enjoy reading authors from around the world too. I get really annoyed when they americanize a book before releasing it here. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you Danie for your review of ‘Cry Of The Machi…’ which demonstrates that you have really tried to understand my quite complex novel.   In a deliberately short ‘quick read’ way – it endeavours to raise some big questions between the conflicting forces of good and evil that have always been such powerful elements throughout human existance. I am pleased with your honest appraisal.

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BOOK REVIEWS OF ‘ONCE UPON A CASTLE’

 

 

Uncle Toby had said that there would be castles to explore, with ghosts and things. This helps to cheer up the glum twelve-year old Lovell twins, Tom and Mary, leaving their schools and loving parents to be evacuated to wild Northumbria during World War II. Then the adventure begins. They live with their Aunt Victoria and Uncle Leslie, meet the loveable ‘Mrs M’, a strange dog called ‘Scamp’ and, worst, the terrible private tutor, Miss Urquart, from whom they run away to find a mysterious castle seen through an old telescope. Now they are drawn into bizarre supernatural events of a time-warp between the war itself and ancient warfare. They encounter dark forces, as the story twists and turns, and are even rescued by the Royal Navy. Yet, this is only the beginning of more unexpected tragedies before the twins begin to escape from it all.

 

DARIAN WILK – MY REVIEW : ‘ONCE UPON A CASTLE’

 

I had the pleasure of reading one of Alan’s other works, ‘Cry of the Machi…’ and was thrilled for the opportunity to read his children’s book. Again, Alan has not left me disappointed!    This is a rather short book, around 75 pages, but a delightful read for kids and pre-teens.  But a head’s up for parents, your kiddo may need help with understanding a few words throughout the book, or use it as a great opportunity to sit and read together!  True to Alan’s style, he paints beautiful portraits of the setting throughout the book, filling your imagination with amazing images of the older days of London.  He guides you through the war torn city as Tom and Mary make the journey to the safety of the countryside.  Along the way depicting the shift in scenery from the chaos of war, to the splendor of country living.

The plot moves at a good pace, adequate for a child with even the shortest of attention spans.   Shortly after arriving at their new home, the twins are met with the enticing mystery of the castle in the distance.  I even found myself drawn into the hidden reasons the mystical mist seemed to make the castle vanish.  And why was it no one else could see what the children saw!  Alan filled the story with lovely characters, each lively in their own way yet true to how (I would imagine) people spoke and behaved in those times. It felt as if you really did step back in time and became apart of this close, loving family.

The ending held some interesting twists, and neatly tied up any lingering loose ends.  Overall this was a really cute, interesting read that I’m sure my kids would enjoy. I loved the way Alan again plucked me from my living room and gently set me in another time and place.  He masterfully portrays setting, blended with characters your child will enjoy and come to feel as friends. I would recommend this to anyone with kids 8+ years old, not only for the wonderful adventures, but also for the vivid look at life during WWII.   Bravo to Alan for another great read!

 

DARIAN WILK.

 

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REVIEW FROM GEMMA BOWKER  :

This is a hugely enjoyable tale set during the Second World War that has appeal for a wide range of readers and age ranges. It is a beautifully illustrated adventure story that captures the spirit of the 1940s through the eyes of children living through the war. Instructive, warm-hearted and exciting, it is a good page turner for adults and children to read together.

GemmaJaneB on amazon.co.uk

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REVIEW FROM KATE TENBETH  :

When I was young I read all the time and really loved books like The Railway Children. Once Upon A Castle transported me back to being 10 or 12 years old and being lost in a story. The atmosphere of the 1940s is perfectly captured and the characters of the children so quintessentially British! I think it’s a lovely book and whether you’re a grown up like me or a child I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Kate Tenbeth on amazon.co.uk

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REVIEW FROM ‘ TEDDYGOOGS ‘

A wonderful ghost story set in world war II England. A story to sit with your children and warm cocoa. Very enjoyable.

TeddyGoogs on amazon.com

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REVIEW FROM MALLORY ANNE-MARIE HAWES

I base this review on a copy of the book provided to me by the publisher, as a reviewer, in return for my fair and honest review.

A stirring tale for young readers (and us oldsters) of the beginning of World War II in England, “Once Upon A Castle” serves up nostalgia-and predicted fear-for today’s readers, whether we lived through the events of this War or just have studied our history.

Young twins, Tom and Mary, are returned home from their respective rural boarding schools to London, where they discover their father, a Navy captain, has already shipped out; and their mother, a qualified nurse, is returning to work to aid in the War effort. The two children must go to an aunt and uncle in Northumbria, a locale which in their poi “nt of view is both far distant and fabled (after their neighbor “Uncle Toby” regales them with stories of Northumbrian lore and traditions).

Life in Northumberland is exciting and intriguing, until the twins learn they have to be schooled by a private tutor. But the rebellious little souls run away to explore Bamburgh Castle, and in the process experience a German destroyer, a Viking longship, and an ancient Castle long since collapsed.

Mallory Anne-Marie Hawes on amazon.com

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LISTEN TO MY INTERVIEW WITH GEORGINA WROE ON BBC RADIO SUFFOLK

(PRESS PLAY BUTTON BELOW) :

Audio MP3

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 COPY OF AN ARTICLE WRITTEN IN WELSH -APPEARING IN THE WELSH

LANGUAGE PAPER ‘SEREN HAFREN’ ABOUT ‘ONCE UPON A CASTLE’. (SEREN

HAFREN TRANSLATES AS ‘SEVERN STAR’)

 

  TRANSLATION of ‘AWDUR LLEOL’ that appeared in ‘SEREN HAFREN’ the  Welsh    Newspaper for Mid-Wales.

LOCAL AUTHOR

The local author Alan Blood has recently written a new book for youngsters, and has had amazing success with this, his latest book, published in America. The inspiration for the writing of the book came when the author had broken down on a journey, in Northumberland, and found himself looking at Bamburgh Castle. The book is called “Once Upon A Castle”, and I’m sure that numerous readers will enjoy this exciting book. Congratulations to the author on his great success.

 

 



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