All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle #VirtualEvent #Writeup by Lou #HodderBooks #Fiction

All The Lonely People
By Mike Gayle
Available Now in Paperback

I attended a lovely Paperback Publication Day Event of All The Lonely People and had such fun, I thought I’d write a bit about it. Find the blurb of All The Lonely People below. It has been given a new cover and is a vibrant, sunny yellow. Congratulations to Mike Gayle on his RNA news!

Mike Gayle does a number of Facebook events and they are worth looking out for if you want a relaxing, entertaining evening. Although on Facebook they are a real interactive event. He reads many messages out and chats directly to people, as though in conversation with his audience.
Throughout the conversation, he sets the diverse topics to chat about as the events go on… last night it was awards, Netflix/TV, books and he even sings happy birthday to people. It’s a jovial chat that you can easily just go with the flow with. I’ve been to a couple of his events and always had fun!

Mike Gayle then did a lovely reading of All The Lonely People with all the accents of his characters to great aplomb and with much fun!
All The Lonely People is available in Hardback, Paperback, Audiobook, E-Book. Now in the UK.
All The Lonely People is published in the USA in the summer.


All The Lonely People Paperback

‘A heartwarming story about the power of community and human connection. Hubert Bird stole my heart’ Beth O’Leary, author of The Flat-Share and The Switch

Hubert Bird is not alone in being alone.
He just needs to realise it.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

From bestselling author Mike Gayle, All the Lonely People is by turns a funny and moving meditation on love, race, old age and friendship that will not only charm and uplift, but also remind you of the power of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.

‘Timely and poignant…Mike Gayle’s writing is beautiful and engaging and All the Lonely People is both heartbreaking and uplifting, devastating and thought-provoking. It is the kind of book you will want to press into the hands of everyone you know and tell them to read immediately’ Heat

‘This poignant book flits between the present day and Hubert’s early life as one of the Windrush generation. Heartbreaking, yet also uplifting and thought-provoking’ i Paper

All The Lonely People Paperback All The Lonely People Hardback


Write Up of @BloodyScotland Panel #VirtualEvent – Criminal Masterminds Ian Rankin and Lawrence Block @Beathhigh

Write up of Criminal Masterminds
At Bloody Scotland Online

This was a talk with Lawrence Block in Manhatten, New York and Ian Rankin in Edinburgh. It was informative with some poignancy about their careers, and above all, very entertaining and the atmosphere created, even online, was excellent.



It was interesting to hear this as it is so honest: Lawrence admitted he couldn’t remember his books precisely. His first story was written in 1957 and sold to a magazine. He knew he was going to be writer and decided this at 15 and was doing it a couple of years later. He hadn’t set-out to write crime fiction. He just wanted to write something that someone would be pleased with. Over time he evolved into writing crime fiction.

Ian Rankin asked what he wrote early on.
Lawrence said he would like to write Science Fiction, he wrote a couple that didn’t get published. He talked about not having the mindset really for this genre.

Early on he read some crime fiction and then more general fiction. He thought about writing great literary fiction and wanted to write an outstanding book.
He talked about William Campbell Galls, with affection.

Ian Rankin and Lawrence Block discussed that sometimes writers copy other writing styles and modes until own voices are found. Ian admitted to copying Lawrence and seemed to really admire his work.
Lawrence said that Jazz writers did that a bit and how he writes from some influences.
It’s interesting that he hadn’t realised that Baloo was going to be such a big part of his books and Ian had the same with Cafferty, who had a small part to begin with and then featured more with Rebus. It was fascinating that he left him out in one book, to please someone who had reviewed, who didn’t like him, but didn’t enjoy the process as much, by keeping him out.

The talk moved onto the Scudders series. An angst-ridden, ex-cop – Scudders has a lot of baggage – his marriage is down and out and he’s left the police force. At the time, it wasn’t too hard to get into his state of mind as Lawrence had split from his wife.

His character was a window to the world and at an unspecified age, but something happened that he had to evolutionise, but there was no reason to be specific with age. He has however written about evolution of ageing in his 12th book, so therefore he had to give an age.
The humour in the talk about age is great!

A Time to Scatter Stones was published in 2019 and it could be the last Scudder book, but then he thought the one before might have been the last.
Ian Rankin asked if he was tempted to go back in time, but Lawrence had done it a couple of times but didn’t want to do it again.

Lawrence Block and Ian Rankin discussed the films with big named actors like Liam Neeson, Whoopi Goldberg and more… but it was so fascinating hearing their views on the films and about contracts, which seem complex.

Ian Rankin talked of the Burglar books, that are about a cat burglar by night, an antiquarian bookshop by day. Ian Rankin talked about them having humour within them. It was interesting hearing Lawrence talk so candidly about not having a job and had self-esteem issues and all the jobs that have those words – experience required in the ads. It then occurred to him that he shouldn’t rule out crime and became quite inspired. His anecdotes were really entertaining as he thought about it all, only entertaining because he didn’t actually go into burgulary and decided to write a book instead.

They discussed being in lockdown and Lawrence thought he would write all the time, but he didn’t and doesn’t seem concerned about that. 

Dead Girl Blues wasn’t a book he expected to write and thought it would be a short story and ended up being a short novel. He says he likes it enough

Ian Rankin was an early reader of the book and said he went self-publishing. He said it was going to be a problematic book to get published and his agent was industrious in submitting it to the best publishing houses and a lot liked it, but they didn’t see it as something that could be published profitably. After a couple of offers, he decided to self-publish. It wasn’t a book he expected to finish and so he wanted to publish it how he wanted it.
Ian Rankin talked about it being very dark, but there is a small light and said there is a very moral theme and says it is a book that is thought-provoking. It has got a lot of favourable reviews.

It was so poignant about how Lawrence Block may be coming to the end of his writing career and as Scudder comes to the end of his. Ian Rankin is at a different stage in writing career.
They talked about travel and Lawrence seems like he was quite the explorer and yet, now seems different. He enjoy cruises and train travel. Ian Rankin talked about taking The Blue Train in Africa. Neither of them sound in any hurry to actually travel at the moment, due to the virus of course.

The Darkling Halls of Ivy is edited by Lawrence Block. Ian Rankin has a story in this anthology, set in Edinburgh. Lawrence enjoys doing the anthology and is doing one now.

Ian Rankin said he enjoys writing short stories and he likes a set of rules that come with it, such as a setting or a time of year.
Ian Rankin tried to enthuse Lawrence into writing more short stories to reinvogorate him.

Ian Rankin asked a question that covered settings and NYC. Lawrence Block said what he likes about Manhatten is familiarity and has lived there a long time and knows a few people there. He finds the energy of the city extraordinary. He talked about leaving NYC for Florida in 1985 at that time for awhile, but still set books in NYC.

Ian Rankin, when he lived in France thought he would go off and set his books there, but found he still wanted to set his books in Edinburgh.

It was fascinating hearing Ian Rankin talking about how he has writing heroes who he wished had books signed by.


The Sound of Music @OfficialALW #TheShowMustGoOn #YouTube #OnlineEvent #VirtualTheatre #Review #Musicals #TheSoundOfMusic

The Sound of Music
By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rodgers and Hammerstein
Rated: 4 stars ****
Available on You Tube Now
until later on Sunday

The Sound of Music

“Raindrops on roses” certainly goes with the weather today. Perhaps battered roses where I am with the ferocity of of the wind and rain. It’s a good day for staying indoors and watching a bit of online theatre instead of to “Climb Every Mountain”, that can wait until things are safe again to protect each other and ourselves and the NHS. So, hopefully everyone is well and able to keep dry and can enjoy that aforementioned song and many others.

It is as the film is, jolly and upbeat, but with the dark undertones of war brewing and the Nazis wanting to occupy Austria. The film still rules, but the stage version has pretty good performances too and when you know all the songs like Doh-Re-Mi to learn your scales and the fun I am Sixteen Going on Seventeen and the emotional Eidelweiss, they’ll be sure to cheer up the day, at least for a little while and see if you too can enjoy some “Favourite Things”. On that note I’ll bid you “So long, Farewell” for now until a book review on Sunday about a book that everyone is finding hard to put down, it is that good.

For now you can find The Sound of Music on You Tube on The Show Must Go On channel. It is available from now until some time on Sunday.

Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber @OfficialALW #BenElton #LoveNeverDies #AndrewLLoydWebber #FrederickForsyth #GlennSlater #Theatre #Review #VirtualTheatre #Musicals #Books

Love Never Dies
By Andrew Lloyd Webber
Rated 5 stars *****

Love Never Dies

Today I present a review of the sensational follow up to Phantom of the Opera – Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This was a virtual event. Like most musicals, there was also a book produced too. This is however primarily a theatre review, but would give you an idea too as music, lyrics and the written words in a book collide for both art forms.

Composer – Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics – Glenn Slater

Book written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ben Elton and Frederick Forsyth.


The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak-shows of Coney Island. In this new electrically-charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar. All that is missing is his love – Christine Daaé.

Christine is struggling in an ailing marriage to Raoul. She accepts an invitation to travel to New York and perform at a renowned opera house. In a final bid to win back her love, the Phantom lures Christine, her husband, and their young son Gustave from Manhattan; to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island, not knowing what is in store for them…


A couple of weeks ago I watched Love Never Dies by Andrew Lloyd Webber on You Tube. It is the sequel of Phantom of the Opera and is every bit as stunning and attention grabbing as The Phantom of the Opera. It got some bad press, but certainly would not from me. It is set on Coney Island. For those who do not know – Coney Island is near New York and was a place that gained a reputation for fun fairs, circuses, and freak shows. Today, this doesn’t really exist quite in that form, but there does seem to be a fun fair and eateries.

The Phantom has moved from Paris to Coney Island and seems to be controlling it with all its glitz and mystique, but still has an obsession with Christine. The singing is beautiful, the music and lyrics works so well for the story that is being told. There are bits of music and song reminiscent of the times in the opera house in Paris in the first musical about the phantom, but there are plenty of terrific original songs to whet your appetite and really get into as well. The musical is full of life when showing the circus. The set is always sumptuous and at times has an element of fun to it, although always dark. The atmosphere that is created fits every mood and absolutely fits with the storytelling.

There’s shocks and surprises and some almost edge of your seat scenes. This is a musical that swept me away with it and grabbed me and took me into every dark corner, every bit of romance and every bit of emotion. If this is ever on stage, when things return to normal (which they will someday), it would be absolutely be quite the spectacle to see.

I was slow off the mark writing about this. Other life things took over, so it is not available on YouTube anymore, but there are previews and it is available on DVD. So, not all is lost. That is the positive, that you can indeed still watch this spectacular musical.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, every Friday for 48 hours has got creative and kind and is putting on You Tube many of his musicals and concerts under The Show Must Goes On. Pay or do not pay into the actors’ fund, that is up to you. It looks like Cats is the next musical to be streamed.

Reece’s Pieces – Actor Reece Dinsdale – A Write-up From an Online Event @reece_dinsdale #VirtualEvent #OnlineEvent #Actor

A Write up of Reece’s Pieces
Hosted by Actor Reece Dinsdale

So, I take a look to see what Reece Dinsdale is tweeting about from time to time. He seems to come with a good reputation for being a nice guy. He recently decided to do some online chats on Thursdays around 3:30pm via Twitter. So, I thought I would write up some of his chats from the past couple of events. They are really interesting. You will seen an insight into Reece’s acting and directing, as well as moments he was starstruck, what he is doing now and a little more.

Who is Reece Alan Dinsdale and Where You May Have Seen Him Before?

I attended an online chat that was with successful actor and director Reece Dinsdale. He is from Yorkshire, moved to London and now is back in Yorkshire. 

Some may more notably know him from playing opposite John Thaw in Home to Roost, others may remember him from Coronation Street and is currently in Emmerdale. He has a fruitful career that seems to be ever changing with having opportunities he has grasped from theatre, films, dramas, soaps and directing. 

He has directed a couple of episodes of Emmerdale, which he currently stars in. He is, it turns out talented and and most notably for very successfully directing the Moving On series (currently can be seen on the BBC Iplayer) as it won Best Day Time Drama. I must say, it is an excellent series with great storylines and casts. I catch it on the Iplayer. Each story is complete within each episode and all are under the theme, Moving On. He’s also played guest leads in Life on Mars, Spooks, Silent Witness and more… It sounds like an amazing career, that still continues to this day.


He loves stage work and has done loads in the last decade. He sounds so enthused by it. He’s not a fan of the audition process though. When he is directing he tries hard to look after his actors.

Opportunities into Acting and Directing

Reece was press ganged at 12 into a school play. He realised he was good at it and acting was going to be his thing. He sounded like he had determination and had parents who backed him to the hilt. They were not in the business themselves. He got into drama school and was very driven. It wasn’t something people did in his town at the time (around 1977).

When and how he became a tv director. He didn’t aspire to, but got an opportunity on Moving On to do this. He started off acting in one and the producer reckoned he should direct some episodes. He was nervous during the first one and created story-boards and he got great advice from someone in the business himself. He then kept getting asked back.

The 3 key things he looks for in an actor is they have to fit the image for the role. He takes a script somewhere quiet and reads them with a blank mind and pictures his version of the story. The writing is everything, but it is a blueprint that becomes the director’s film and he starts to think of actors and how to bring the characters to life. He works by instinct. If the actor isn’t free who is his first choice, he can be flexible. He looks for someone who can really lift the words off the page and makes the characters feel fresh and alive. He looks for a certain nouse.

Home to Roost

He played in Home to Roost – a sitcom in the 1970s. They were looking for someone who was 17 to match John Thaw. At the time, Reece Dinsdale was in a play called Red Saturday that was funny and poignant and basically he was noticed. Reece Dinsdale almost didn’t do it, but it was a two-hander with John Thaw, who he did a screen test with and hit it off together. He was 25 when he started rehearsals and John Thaw was 43 playing a bit older. By 29 Reece was still playing a teenager. He talked of working with John Thaw, being an education and a joy working with him. This, I thought was amazing and great that there was only ever 1 cross word in 4 and half years of working with each other and it sounds like it got resolved pretty quickly. Reece thinks he was a shy/private man and you had to get his trust, but he was his own man. They didn’t stay in contact much after, but did a little while.
He would love to return to Home to Roost as being the dad and perhaps with a daughter, but isn’t a big enough tv hitter anymore to turn the heads of executives. He is however in Emmerdale, so his profile is heightening.

The Soaps/Continuing Drama

Reece Dinsdale, as mentioned previously, can be seen in Emmerdale. If I remember correctly, he did a bit of directing and is now acting in it. The episodes were of course filmed before Covid 19 struck. He sounds like he has been enjoying it. Prior to this, he had been in Coronation Street.

Coronation Street is something he watched religiously from a kid. He bumped into the exec producer of the time. It used to be that “serious actors” didn’t do soaps, but then trends started to change and he relented. He did at least 18 months. He says it’s different from doing a play because you know the arc of the story, start to finish, but in a soap you don’t know this. He found that and the speed of the work strange at that time. He still enjoys the show, but watches it less and he was fine about leaving as the timing felt right. He played Joe, one of Gail’s husbands who was killed off. He interestingly talked about his last scenes. In minus 4 temperatures, in the dead of night, he had to go into water to swim to a yacht. It sounded quite a precarious situation. He said it was a glorious time though.

Building a Character

He was in ID and says building a character is interesting. He had to do the most method acting for the role in this. It was about one man’s journey and psychological journey. He wrote a booklet on his character and picked a house where he may live at and worked with Phil Davis to get the character together and build him up. He had to really immerse himself in the character, so had to stay in character, including accent, wherever he went. He writes everything that’s said in a character, what the opinion is that comes from the text. He almost didn’t get the role however as big names were asked and Reece was seen as a “lightweight actor”. He hadn’t got a name for making hardhitting roles. Finally he got a chance to show people what he had got.


He has been starstruck with Kenneth Brannagh when he was in Hamlet. Everybody was in it and he was starstruck as there were great stalwarts like Richard Briers, Charleton Heston and suddenly he is talking to them. He was in a film with David Bowie too and you may be pleased to know that it seemed like he was a good guy.

Life After CoronaVirus

He is looking forward to meeting up with his friends for a pint and perhaps a pub quiz.

Reece Dinsdale is thankful for all the keyworkers.

He loves Florence and Venice. Just like everyone else, he has had to change his plans.

If he could change anything, he would give everybody an empathy pill if he could change anything at all.

He is hoping one day to return to the theatre.

“Always come from different places, keep coming from different corners”
is what John Thaw says that Reece Dinsdale stands by. I personally think this is a great quote and great advice.


An Online/Virtual Event with Erica James @EricaJames #LettersFromThePast #VirtualEvent #NewBook

So, regular readers of my blog will know, that I have been attending some online events and writing some of them up on my blog. Today I sat in a room and watched the author Erica James do a Q&A session. So take a look to find out a snap-shot of her new bestselling book and a little bit about this very successful author.

Letters From the Past cover

A New Book

She has a new Bestseller called Letters From the Past, set in the early 1960’s. It may be a large book, but the chapters are lovely and short and it sounds a book that many will enjoy. It is a sequel that to Coming Home to Island House, but stands perfectly well as a standalone.
Erica James talked of her sons living in Seattle and Tokyo and it was when she was in Seattle with her son there, driving by movie stars houses, that she then decided to set the scene for her character.
I have been very lucky in being given the opportunity to review this wonderfully interesting sounding book on the 20th of April, so you will find out my thoughts and a little more about the story then, that will hopefully inspire you.


A place, something she sees, something that touches a nerve can inspire her.

Swallowtail Summer is set in Norfolk and for research she read up on, which she sounded quite taken by, and then travelled there to be in situ.


Erica James likes watching  some sport such as ice-skating and  gymnastics, her icon there being Olga Korbut. Her favourite sport of all is F1 racing. She also likes to do gardening and knitting. She clearly enjoys reading too as she has many books on her shelves.

Writing and Reading

For budding writers, she says read, write words on the page and don’t worry about who will read it, it might just be for you and that’s okay and enjoy the process.

Erica started writing as a hobby for escapism and then went on a writers course and a conference and it sounded like someone helped her out and she got an agent from Curtis Brown, who she is still with and got published by Orion. The writing came from a love of reading and she wondered if it was as fun writing a book as it was reading and it turned out, for her, it is and she has now written many books.

The covers of books have changed over the years to suit a new audience and as fashions change, book covers change. 

She enjoyed writing Letters from the Past and many of her other books.
She really likes A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, although perhaps one of its time and people find they themselves change over the years. It was interesting hearing her talk so candidly about going back to a book to re-read after many years.

She says A Breath of Fresh Air is a book of hers that would be great for escapism. I reckon, all of them are really good to try for that.  Also try out her latest, enticing sounding book – Letters From the Past.

A few of her many books