An #Interview By Lou with Singer Nigel Craft @CraftyNigel covering #Music and #Books #Theatre #Musicals #Ballads #Songs #StephenKing #DeanKoontz #SingersWhoReadBooks #SingerReadingBooks

Music notes clip art free clipart images 5Firstly, thank you to Nigel Craft for allowing me to interview you about the music you create, who you like to listen to, the books you read and your social media platforms.  Discover upbeat and interesting answers, as well as links to where you can find Nigel’s music.
Delve into a bit of insight into whatCartoon stack of books clipart 2 png he produces within the interview.                      So, let’s proceed onto the first question, of which there are 7.

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1. Where does your interest in music come from and what made you decide to sing and put yourself out there on You Tube and Tik-Tok, which now has many followers?

INigel pic 2’m not really sure where I got my music interest from, none of my family are musicians, but ever since I was a kid I loved music. I especially loved music from the movies and computer games and would always look at the credits to see which composer had produced the music and would always watch a movie or play a game if they had composed the music, even if it was rubbish and I guess that’s really what got me into music. The singing part didn’t really surface until I was in my 20’s really. I used to play piano and organ, but could never read music so I used to play by ear and create my own music.

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2. You sing a number of ballads and songs from musicals, which is your favourite genre of music to sing?

I love singing ballads and although I love songs from the musicals they are very hard songs to sing. I think ballads are definitely my favourites, but I do love big band as well – the Michael buble style of songs really ,but I will try anything really.
I’m currently finishing off a rock version of my original song which is called “A Love So Strong” which is very different to the ballad version I have already released. I like to challenge myself and do things people that would not expect to hear from me. 

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3. You did some lockdown concerts on YouTube, what was that like knowing that it was at a time when the world was changing and people truly needed entertaining to keep going? As an artist, did it affect your work?

For me lockdown changed my life! I had been posting cover song videos for a while but I felt people needed cheering up and I ended up writing my first ever song called “ I really want a llama. “ I decided to include some funny clips to play alongside me singing and it was really popular and was entered into an online competition and that made me think that maybe I could write my own songs, after that I write a few more comedy songs. I then branched out into more serious songs reflecting what was happening in and around my life. I had always been told that I would get on better in competitions if I was able to write my own songs and since then I’ve been writing lots of songs. One of my most recent original songs called “This Is Not Goodbye”  has reached the semi finals of a major worldwide online songwriting competition, which I still can’t believe.
Going back to my childhood I use a lot of film score sounds in my songs too as I love a song with an orchestral backing.

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4. Who is your favourite singer/band of all time and why?

I have a lot of artists I like equally but one artist stands out and that is Celine Dion. She has an amazing voice and some if earlier work is incredible! She is someone I would love to see in concert but I’ve not made it any yet sadly. I also love The Carpenters , Josh Groban, Michael Buble and Tom Odell is another favourite of mine.

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5. What was the most recent gig you’ve attended?

Nigel pic 1I’ve been to a lot of musicals this year which I love going to and have seen shows this year including Mary Poppins, Back to the Future and The Phantom of the Opera; but the most memorable recent concert was a live concert of Jeff Wayne’s musical of War of the Worlds at the O2 in London, that is my all time favourite album and the concert was incredible. I will never forget it! On a smaller scale the last show I saw was a tribute to Karen Carpenter in Bury St Edmonds, it was such an emotional evening as it was like I was seeing a live Carpenters show. The lady singing sounded just like her it was amazing!

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6. You like to read. What is your favourite book and what are you reading just now?

The books I read would probably not be what other people would enjoy reading. I’m a big horror story fan and I’ve read a lot of books by an author called Dean Koontz who is my favourite writer. It’s one of his books which is my all time favourite, it’s called Watchers and is such an amazing story. I never thought a book could capture your emotions quite the way this book did. I was captivated from the first page to the last, and yes it is a horror story but it’s also very character driven and you really feel and care for the characters. There is only one book which comes close to matching this amazing novel and that’s Phantoms, again written by Dean Koontz. It was the first book I read of his and it absolute terrified me. Who knew a book could be so scary? 

Pet Sematary


I don’t currently have a book I’m reading at this time as I haven’t really had time recently with my songwriting etc, but I have also enjoyed Stephen Kings Pet Sematary and Bram Stokers Dracula, is another favourite of mine.

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7. Where can people find your music and is it all online or do you sing in venues too?

Apart from the odd karaoke I haven’t sung live for a very long time; the area I live don’t hire solo artists like myself. That’s really why I started showcasing my singing online as I thought it was the only way I could reach audiences around the world. 

I have a You Tube channel where I upload all my videos first. I currently only have 257 subscribers but that to me is amazing but you can find my channel here:-

https://youtube.com/user/nigel20

My main place for my videos these days is tik tok ,it started slowly but is slowly growing each week ,I have nearly 5000 followers and one of my most recent cover songs has over 105,000 views which is insane. I get comments from all around the world and it really has given me the motivation to carry on. My channel is here:-

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMNfMKypC/

I’m also on instagram but that is quite a quiet channel for me but it’s another way of finding me ,And you can find me on there here:-

http://www.instagram.com/nigel_craft_uk

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#Review By Lou of After The Rain By Lucy Dillon @lucy_dillon @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BookTwitter #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction #BookRecommendation #AfterTheRain #BlogTour

After The Rain
By Lucy Dillon

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am excited to reveal my review of After The Rain By Lucy Dillon.
After The Rain is Out Now!
There’s more than meets the eye after the storm and the drama that ensues as it is more than just the weather that can be stormy.

Find out more in the blurb and my thoughts in my review and a bit about the author below…

Thanks, firstly  to Random Things Tours and Transworld Books/Penguin for inviting me to review as part of the blog tour.

After The Rain Cover

Blurb

After The Rain Cover 2After the storm it’s time for a fresh start . . .
First, the clouds…
Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling.
Then the storm…
On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything.
And after the rain…
Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?

Review

After the Rain is insightful and leads readers into a therapist’s office, where readers meet Tara, and later, newcomer – David. The storm had an impact on the residents of Longhampton, but after the rain, there are surprises for them, especially Tara.

NLP and Hypnotherapy are some of the therapies that are what on offer by some of  the therapists. I found this striking as NLP and Hypnotherapy have become more known about over the years, especially with the rise in fame of the likes of Paul McKenna and now seems to be, as is people going to any sort of therapy, within books in a way it perhaps hasn’t before. What makes this one so interesting, is you get to know more about a therapist’s office and the lives of therapists that patients/clients won’t normally be privy to know.

Readers are privy to see therapist’s lives behind the scenes as it were, especially through Tara as she navigates her own career at the Wellness Centre, and her own issues, as despite her job, finds it easier to help her patients, than herself and she is better at giving advice, than following her own or receiving it, in Longhampton. It really shows this can be part of the human condition. 

New counsellor David is easy to be charmed by and it’s interesting to see how he and Tara get along. He is excellent at his work, really cares and is intuitive, even when it comes to colleagues, so he knows all isn’t always well with Tara and he wants her to open up, which she finds infuriatingly annoying, or rather that he can read her so well.
The interactions within the Wellness Centre between staff themselves and between them and their patients brings the book alive.

Keith, Tara’s father returns out of the blue to try to reconnect, after he left Tara and her brother, Toby and to help the town rebuild after the storm. The drama throughout is enthralling, within the family, as well as within the Wellness Centre.

With intertwining threads of family and patient/counsellor relationships intertwining as a community tries to piece itself back together physically and mentally, there is much poignancy as you see whether new starts can begin or not.
There’s care and compassion and a bit of humour and intrigue along the way. 

Ther e are a couple of parts with animals, I wasn’t sure about, but all in all my verdict is:
This is a book I very much recommend!

At the end of my copy is an extract of Unexpected Lesson’s In Love. There’s romance in New York and characters in the prologue you will want to know more about and where there lives go to after an event… Would I want to know more? Yes, absolutely!

About the Author

Lucy-Dillon-c-Tim-Bishop-new (1)Sunday Times bestselling author Lucy Dillon grew up in Cumbria and read English at
Cambridge, then read a lot of magazines as a press assistant in London, then read
other people’s manuscripts as a junior fiction editor. She now lives in a village outside
Hereford with a Border terrier, an otterhound and her husband.
Lucy won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Contemporary
Romantic Novel prize in 2015 for A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME, and
the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for LOST DOGS AND
LONELY HEARTS. You can find her on Twitter (@lucy_dillon) and
Instagram (@lucydillonbooks).

After The Rain Blog Tour poster

 

 

The Midas Cat 3 – A Midas Cat in New York by Tommy Ellis @TommyEllis14 #BookreviewbyLou #Fiction #CrimeFiction #Cats

The Midas Cat 3
A Midas Cat in New York
By Tommy Ellis
Rated: 4 stars ****

A Midas Cat in a very human world, snow and a touch of Christmas in New York is the treat in store, there is also some heavy crime with the mafia, which also awaits, through the dark with rays of brightness within it.

Thanks to Tommy Ellis for being in contact to review and for sending me over a PDF copy.

The Midas Cat In New York Cover

Blurb

It’s December, and Ralph Williams is in New York for some retail therapy having been deeclared both sane and innocent of murder. A case of mistaken identity, however soon ruins his festive mood and puts him on the mafia’s hit list… and the triads’. Just when he thought things were as bad as they could get. the midas cat shows up and messes not only with his sadity but organised crime… with unexpected results.

Review

Christmas in New York sounds wonderful and that’s where Ralph is spending it, whilst his cousin is locked away in a cell and his wife, Lauren is elsewhere. So, it’s The Big Apple all alone for Ralph, but he has won an amazing prize, but something unexpected, even for the U.S. happens.

Cat (The Midas Cat) is also in NYC and adores the city. The book continues from the previous books and still has that quality of creating a cat to be one of the main characters and almost human-like and still likes Adam Ant and still has a bit of a humanistic quality, which makes it quirky but fun. It is also fast paced and captures imagination well.

There is a mix of the brightness of Christmas cheer, (there could have been a bit more) and the darker culture that is within the U.S, but there are glimpses of some humour within it, which mostly comes from the cat and reactions towards it. The book, however, feels a bit darker than the books previous to this one, with a bit more of the Mafia and characters such as Don Vincenzo.

The book takes readers right up to and includes Christmas Eve with a surprising ending, that is worth waiting for.

The Unravelling of Maria @fjcurlew #blogtour #saga

The Unravelling of Maria
By
Rated: 4 Stars ****

About the Author

Fiona Author profile picFiona worked as an international school teacher for fifteen years, predominantly in Eastern Europe. Seven of those years were spent in Estonia – a little country she fell in love with. She now lives in East Lothian, Scotland, where her days are spent walking her dog, Brockie the Springer, and writing.

The Unravelling Of Maria is her fourth novel.

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Blurb

Lovers separated by the Iron Curtain.

Two women whose paths should never have crossed.

A remarkable journey that changes all of their lives.

Maria’s history is a lie. Washed up on the shores of Sweden in 1944, with no memory, she was forced to create her own. Nearly half a century later she still has no idea of her true identity.

Jaak fights for Estonia’s independence, refusing to accept the death of his fiancée Maarja, whose ship was sunk as she fled across the Baltic Sea to escape the Soviet invasion.

Angie knows exactly who she is. A drug addict. A waste of space. Life is just about getting by.

A chance meeting in Edinburgh’s Cancer Centre is the catalyst for something very different.

Sometimes all you need is someone who listens.

Review

The Unravelling of Maria is like a love letter in some ways to Estonia, but is more complex than this. It is set over different time periods and with multiple perspectives, so some concentration is a must. In saying that, it is elegantly written and holds interest. It is immersive as she touches on conflict and also some of the more salubrious sides of Edinburgh, away from the glam of the city within this saga of almost epic proportions.

The book delves in to the history of Estonia, which is fascinating and makes this book feel rather original in many ways. It isn’t overly heavy as there are so many universal themes throughout as well of humanity and identiy. Maria, Angie and Jaak are terrific characters who show bravery and show that sometimes people just need to be given a chance in life. The tension throughout is however immense at times with a huge intensity, but in someways this keeps that feeling of it having a hold on you, going. The descriptions are quite panoramic in quality, which really suits this style of book.

There is a humanity that appears through the book and it feels like it has been researched well and a great deal of care over it has been taken to take people through quite a journey through time and countries in a way that isn’t sensationalised, in the way that some pretty hard times and challenges that have to be faced are revealed.

Social Media/Website Links

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#Bookreview by Lou of an enchanting #ChildrensBook – The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson @sophieinspace @Usborne

The Castle of Tangled Magic
by Sophie Anderson
Rated: 5 stars *****

Sophie Anderson, author of The Girl Who Speaks Bear, has another enchanting tale – The Castle of Tangled Magic. It enchants with its richly depicted castle and magical land that provides excellent escapism.

Thanks to Usborne and Sophie Anderson for allowing me to write a review and for providing an e-copy of the book.

Follow further down to the blurb, review and links.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Blurb

Magic awaits, all you have to do is believe…

When thirteen-year-old Olia, steps through a magical doorway, she discovers another land. A land tangled by magic, where hope is lost, and a scheming wizard holds all the power.

Soon Olia learns that she is destined to save this land, but with time running out and her new friends and family in danger, she must search for the magic within herself – to save everything and everyone she loves.

The Castle of Tangled Magic, the new fairy tale from Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Saara Söderlund.

An enchanting fairy-tale adventure about the power of love and courage, from the bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs and The Girl who Speaks Bear.

The Castle of Tangled Magic Cover

Review

Castle Mila, built from wood around 500 years ago near the shore of a lake, sounds like so many children’s dream of a castle with it’s majestic stature and hidden passageways and secrets. The writing is amazingly imaginative, in the way Sophie Anderson has captured the castle and takes readers on a tour around it, up each of the stairs to the different rooms and domes, along with Olia. There is so much to feast the eyes upon and to delight and bring a touch of magic to children’s imaginations. It’s all rather splendid. She is also wanting to find some magic, so seeks out an older member of the family – Babusya, who informs about the mysterious Sun Dome that could have magic, but is locked. The mysteriousness that builds is fascinating and enchanting.

There’s great charm and excitement that captures the heart. The ideas of olde of leaving salt as offerings for spirits, such as domovoi (a spirit, in this case a fox who protects) and of the changes of the wind are explored through Babusya. As other family members appear, there is a lovely family cosyiness element, which is heartwarming, as is the talk of ancestry.

There’s a storm, which seems to make looking for a key even more pressing, a gripping, treacherous adventure ensues and there is a lot at stake – the family and the castle to protect from the ferociousness of the weather.

The story continues onwards with Feliks, the domovoi, into a mystical, rather surreal land – The Land of Forbidden Magic, where there the descriptions add to the surrealism as Koshka, a gorgeous cat, is met and a conversation ensues about the witch Nania and Chenomor’s magic. Another unexpected quest occurs as the land and spirits need to be saved. With lots of danger and many different encounters and riddles to solve, it pulls readers further in deeper as the quest becomes increasingly treacherous and on top of that Castle Mila itself needs saving.
Sophie Anderson creates so much for readers to grasp onto and root for in this pacy adventure, that also has an almighty twist.

Throughout, there are lovely illustrations, depicting the story well. At the end there is also “Olia’s Glossary”, which children will benefit well from, to enhance their understanding of the story as there are some words, that may be unfamiliar.

Links

Website: www.sophieandersonauthor.com

Twitter: @sophieinspace

Desert Island Crooks – Crime Authors Desert Island Books @BloodyScotland @cbrookmyre @lizzienugent @harriet_tyce @RuthWareWriter

Desert Island Crooks
Bloody Scotland Online

The chair of this panel, Jonathan Whitelaw has dumped fellow crime authors on a desert island and asked them which books they would take with them.

Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming an author and has written many successful books, including Quite Ugly One Morning and his latest is Fallen Angel.

Liz Nugent worked in Irish TV and radio dramas and is now also a novelist of many books, including Our Little Cruelties.

Harriet Tyce was a Criminal Barrister before becoming a writer, with her debut being Blood Orange and her second is – The Lies You Told.

Ruth Ware published in 40 languages and has written many books recently had even more success with The Turn of the Key and  her latest is One By One

 

The 3 books they would each have with them if they were stranded on a desert island.

Chris Brookmyre

The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Reason unsual and absorbing – takes place in US and Laszlo is a pioneer of psychological pioneer. Has Theodore Roosevelt as the protaganist.
Sense of political events and corruption and is like reading history as it takes place.
Hugely atmospheric, rollicking Tale.

The Alienist: Book 1 (Laszlo Kreizler & John Schuyler Moore)

The Crow Road by Iain Banks,
Reason – He wants to relive it over and over. It’s quinessentially Scottish book. It takes place in Glasgow and there is a road there in that. It is in urban and rural Scotland. It’s about complex relationships and he told of a great opening line. There’s the rights of passage and the jealousy. There is crime within it as an uncle goes missing. He reckons they would be his surrogate family whilst he was on the desert island.

The Crow Road: 'One of the best opening lines of any novel' (Guardian)

 Holistic Detective Agency series by Douglas Adams
Reason there’s a fantasy/sci-fi/crime fiction book with Dirk Gently as the detective. It deals with time travel, but brings humour and you can read it a second time straight after to get something different out of it. It shows people can seem nicer than what’s really lying beneath. He says you can always find something new in it.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently Series Book 1)

Liz Nugent

The Collector

Reason: About a butterfly collector has decided to collect a woman instead. Average loner who suddenly wins the pools and he buys a house and has creates a basement where Miranda is kidnapped and wants to pin her to the wall with his butterfly collection
The story is told from both points of view.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper.
Reason Set in Australia, she was taken by the deadly landscapes and how stranded you can become in the harsh elements and poisonous snakes.
She talked of so many people having skin cancer too and it sounded so routine.
The lethal landscape attracted her. The story is of 3 brothers and one who is presumed to have committed suicide and another who is estranged. It’s about families and redemption, she says how it is a terrific read.

The Lost Man: the gripping, page-turning crime classic

The Book of Evidence By John Banville

Reason: Freddy Montgomery has come back from living in the med where he squandered his money and has decided he will steal a painting. He ends up murdering a maid by accident and is about the horror of knowing you’ve done something really bad and can’t escape from himself. It’s based on a harrowing true story.
She says it’s an outstanding read and there’s so much in it to unpick.

The Book of Evidence by John Banville (2010-03-05)

Harriet Tyce

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

ReasonPublished in 1938, who has a 17 year old psychopath is the protagonist, with Ida being the antagonist. It’s about good and evil and nicely forgives Greene for how he describes Ida.
She seems to like the atmosphere and the ending.

It was interesting that she started a small division about the view of Brighton.

A-Level Notes on Graham Greene's Brighton Rock

Endless Night for Agatha Christie.

Reason: She wants to unpick it for the ending. Michael has a dream of the perfect house and marries an heiress. There’s a curse and lots of bad things happen and it all builds up before the reveal at the end. You think it might be one thing, but a great twist at the end as it becomes another.

Endless Night

In A Lonely Place by Dorothy B. Hughes

Reason: Written in 1948 – Set during war times and the protagonist strangles women and there is feminism and evil.

In a Lonely Place (Penguin Modern Classics)

Ruth Ware

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

Reason – It’s a psychological thriller, but not categorised as such. A poisoning takes place

Says it’s really well-plotted and the characterisation and it being told through Phillips eyes and swings that takes place. Du Maurier takes you into agreeing, but also mistrusting him.

It’s poisoning in its state, but also is Phillip actually poisoned for his thoughts of women.

My Cousin Rachel (Virago Modern Classics)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Reason: She suddenly realised that it is about a bunch of strangers killing each other. She thought, if things went bad, she would know what to look out for.

The Talented Mr Ripley and The Secret History by Donna Tartt were in a tie as they both have compelling characters, with her plumping for The Secret History for its faintly horrible characters and the settings.

The Secret History: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Goldfinch