Category Archives: Fiction

The Angry Tide: a review

Posted on Goodreads

The angry tide of emotion is portrayed prominently in this seventh book of the Poldark chronicles.

Ross and Demelza’s relationship continues on an angry tide of rocky waters. The death of Hugh Armitage has had a devastating impact on Demelza and Ross is consumed with jealousy. He is suspicious of her feelings for the young lieutenant. Meanwhile, Ross is successfully voted as a Member of Parliament, enraging his old nemesis George Warleggan, and so has to divide his time between London and Cornwall. When Demelza accompanies Ross to London for an exciting first-ever visit, another encounter and an ensuing argument threatens their marriage even further and might even end it for good.

Back in Cornwall, the vicar Osborne Whitworth is about to get his comeuppance for recent misdemeanours, paving the way for an escape for his damaged wife, Morwenna, raising hope for Drake Carne. Elsewhere, George and Elizabeth are gliding through harmonious domesticity until a chance remark by Elizabeth’s son Geoffrey Charles causes a serious rift between them. A new arrival brings about reconciliation, and then the unthinkable happens.

The Angry Tide is well-written and the charactersation continues to be strong. The political descriptions are very in-depth and historically accurate. Book 8 The Stranger From The Sea now beckons!

 

Another five star review for Episode

This is a very important review to me because it was written by a young reader from my target audience. You can find it on ReaderViewsKids, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads:

I was pleasantly surprised how the author turned an affliction into a super hero power. “Episode,” by Tracey Morait gives the reader a glimpse at what it means to have epilepsy, but instead of writing the story about how hard this can be for someone’s day-to-day life, the author creates this world where it is a gift and not a curse.

Alisha has epilepsy, but she doesn’t let that hold her back. She is outgoing, sassy and my favorite character in the story. While on vacation with her family, because of the heat, her seizures start to come more frequently. She can’t help but feel that her vacation is going to be horrible. Until one night she notices a strange noise coming from the hotel pool. An unusual woman half bird, half human is calling her name. Alisha’s vacation is about to turn into an epic adventure, where the thing that has been holding her back all her life, gives her powers that she could never have dreamed of.

“Episode” is a fast-paced story taking the reader back to the Olympian era, where a conflict that brings about the Trojan War is beginning. When Alisha meets Travis she finds out that her seizures will open time travel portals and that she has been brought here just like him to confront Gods, Goddesses, and mythical creatures.

I think one of my favorite parts in the book was when they found a cave to escape the robots that were trying to kill them, and they noticed an enormous eye that ended up being a dragon. The story line was one turn after the other, all to save Helen from her terrible fate of marrying Menelaus, King of Sparta.

I think the author did a great job of making history a fast-paced adventure. “Episode” by Tracey Morait will surprise you from the very beginning to the ending and keep you on the edge of your seat in between. This a great story for kids in middle school and up.

 

Episode: meet the characters

Come and meet the major characters in my new children’s book, Episode, which turns the story of the Trojan War on its head:

Alisha

Alisha Dainton is thirteen and lives with her parents and sixteen-year-old sister Sal, with whom she has a troubled relationship, in Liverpool, England. Unfortunately, Ali’s life is plagued by epilepsy and she suffers seizures on a daily basis, so much so that it affects her day-to-day life. The triggers for her seizures are extreme stress and heat, so when the family go on holiday to Cyprus the seizures come thick and fast. Her mum is worried and thinks the family should go home early, but Ali doesn’t want to because she’s having a nice time. Older sister Sal is fed-up with Ali’s seizures and accuses her of ruining the holiday.

It is in Cyprus that Ali discovers her seizures are powerful enough to transport her through portals into other timelines and worlds, but she can only do this with the intervention of the Greek gods, who tell her that she’s been chosen to go to the aid of Helen, Princess of Sparta, to take her out of Sparta through a portal, and also to protect Travis, a fellow time traveller, from the wrath of Aphrodite. So begins an adventure in time travel Ali could well do without!

Travis

Like Ali, Travis suffers from powerful epileptic seizures. We met him previously in Epiworld and he is a seasoned time traveller through the portals created by his fits. Travis is also from the UK, but from Ali’s future in 2099, and he comes from a world controlled by a robotic police state and where disease is outlawed. He is also brought to ancient Sparta by Iris, the messenger god, to help Helen, but he denies the existence of the gods, disputing their claim that Selene, Goddess of the Moon, inspires the infliction of epilēpsía in humans. He states both he and Ali can see them because Helen believes in them and her belief manifests their appearance.

Travis’s purpose is to act as a mentor to Ali, to help guide her through her time travelling adventures, and they both work together to try and help Helen out of her predicament, Travis willingly because he promised Helen to help her escape through one of his portals, Ali more reluctantly.

Helen

Helen, daughter of King Tyndareus and Queen Leda of Sparta, is a young woman of seventeen promised in marriage to Prince Menelaus of Mycenae. Once married, Melenaus will become King of Sparta. Helen doesn’t want to marry him and prays to the gods to help her escape the marriage. Those gods who  disagree with the marriage, namely Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, hear her prayers and send her Travis, a time traveller who promises to help her escape by transporting her through one of his portals. Helen also meets Ali. a younger, less experienced time traveller, who comes to her as a slave, but Ali is an unwilling saviour and finds herself being swept along in the adventure by Travis and the gods.

Unbeknown to Helen, Aphrodite is planning another means of escape for her, a union with Paris, Prince of Troy, and that presents more dilemmas.

The Gods

The gods control the behaviours, beliefs, thoughts and behaviours of humans in the ancient world. The most prominent gods in Episode are:

Iris, Messenger Goddess of the Rainbow, the Sea and the Sky

Iris’s purpose is to bring messages from the gods. She travels across the sky on her rainbow and this is how Ali first meets her in Cyprus. Everything about Iris is the rainbow: the colour of her hair and her shimmering dress. She is the main link between Ali and Travis and the gods. When the other gods speak, only their lips move; Ali and Travis cannot hear their words unless they allow it, so it’s Iris’s job to interpret what they’re saying.

Selene, Goddess of the Moon

Selene is said to bestow the infliction of epilepsy on the human population. Everything about Selene is silver and diamonds: she wears a silver crescent moon as a crown, a diamond encrusted robe and travels across the sky in a silver chariot pulled by magnificent white horses. Whenever Ali or Travis has a seizure, she transports them through their portals in her chariot, although Travis firmly disputes this because neither he nor Ali can recall seeing her chariot after the first transportation.

Zeus

Zeus is King of the Gods and he decides Greece and Troy are overpopulated, so he decides to provoke a war between them. His idea is to stage an assassination on King Priam of Troy by a Greek ambassador, but Aphrodite persuades him that her idea is better, to allow Paris, Priam’s youngest son and Prince of Troy, to abduct Helen of Sparta from Menelaus after she promises Paris Helen’s hand when she judges him the most beautiful out of herself, Hera and Athena. When the war starts, the gods take their sides: those who favour the Greeks strive to prevent Ali and Travis from helping Helen escape Menelaus, but those who favour the Trojans want her to escape him. Zeus is unhappy with this aspect of the conflict between the gods and Helen is becoming too defiant of her fate.

Aphrodite

Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is very fond of Helen and Paris. She is anxious for them to be together, but Helen is defiant: she does not love Paris any more than she loves Menelaus, so when Helen begs for Ali’s and Travis’s help to escape from Paris Aphrodite promises severe wrath. In particular, she sets her sights on Travis, and both he and Ali are stunned when they discover why.

We also meet Hera, Athena, Hermes and Nemesis, as well as the minor deities, and the messenger goddess Gna from the Norse beliefs when Ali and Travis are transported to Shetland.

Other very important characters:

The robot guards

On the hunt for Travis, a fugitive from their world, the guards travel through one of Travis’s portals and become involved in a war with the gods, destroying Troy as a result and bringing the Trojan War to an abrupt end even before it’s begun.

Sal

Sal, Ali’s older sister, is very surprising. Ali discovers something about her that sends her reeling. It turns out that Sal is not all she seems and does in fact play a very major role in Ali’s adventures.

Stasinus

Stasinus is the storyteller famed for the first poem in the Epic Cycle of Trojan War poems, The Cypria, which is now lost: of all the poems, only The Iliad and The Odyssey survive. It’s through The Cypria that Stasinus tells us how the Trojan War begins and Ali and Travis are surprised that Stasinus includes them in the first version of his poem.

Hector

The older brother of Paris, Prince Hector is the only Trojan survivor when Troy is raised to the ground by the robot guards. He joins Ali and Travis in their quest to save Helen when she’s abducted by the guards and helps them and the gods to fight the guards in the new war.

We also meet Menelaus, his brother Agamemnon, and Paris.

Episode is available in all Amazon stores in paperback and Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Waterstones, and elsewhere.

 

Interview: Meet Tracey Morait – author of Episode

 

This is an interview I did recently for a blog called The Thursday Throng by Linda Parkinson-Hardman:

Tracey Morait is the first author to be interviewed by me since I moved my online presence to healthy, happy woman and she joins me today to share new about her latest book, Episode. She’s the author of 6 books, comes from Liverpool and is a fanatical football fan – who wouldn’t be coming from Liverpool! She now lives in Bristol with her husband. Tracey writes and self-publishes books for children and young adults between the ages of nine and sixteen and Keith designs the book covers. K&T Mitchell is their own small press.

Read the full interview here.

If you want an author interview on the Happy Woman site, here’s the Information about The Thursday Throng:

These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

Facebook for authors and promotion: the jury is still out

 

Call me cynical if you like, but I’m still not sure a Facebook page does anything when it comes to author and book promotion.

I had an author page a couple of years ago, but I gave up on it. I had reciprocated Likes, i.e., I’ll Like yours if you Like mine, but Facebook didn’t ‘like’ (lol) that, calling it spam, so I lost quite a few of my Likes over a period of weeks. In the end, I thought, blow it. Can’t be arsed with it, so I moved all my book news to my profile instead, which I still do. I’m not a great fan of Facebook, anyway, because I don’t get a lot of interaction; I get more out of Twitter and Instagram for book news and posts about books, but I’m on Facebook because everyone says you have to be. OK.

Recetnly, though, I set up a Facebook page for my new book Episode, because I thought it might help give it more exposure. The first thing Facebook did was to ask me to invite my friends to Like my page, which is spam! But I did and I have 42 Likes so far. Not great. I also paid for 5 days advertising of my page: well, any old port in a storm. And I’m under pressure to post every day on it, which I can’t always manage. I find it a bit of a chore and a millstone around my neck. The things you have to do to advertise your books!

If you have a Facebook page, I hope it works for you.

Stalky & Co: a review

 

I found my unabridged Penguin edition of Stalky & Co during a visit to a National Trust property for the princely sum of £1, and because it was a famous book written by Rudyard Kipling, I had to buy it.

The book is gem of historical children’s literature and should be digested carefully, because it isn’t an easy read for an adult, let alone a modern child. It was written during the latter years of Queen Victoria’s reign in the late 1890s, so the writing is typical of that era and there are a lot of characters, mainly referred to by their nicknames, to follow. The book focuses on the fortunes of Stalky (we don’t get to discover his real name) and his pals Beetle (said to be a loose autobiographical portrayal of Kipling himself) and M’Turk, who is Irish gentry (Stalky and Beetle try hard to cure him of his Irish brogue) and their constant battles with masters and prefects at the boarding-school they attend, a school grooming its pupils for future military service. Each chapter is referred to as a book: there are nine in all, and each have their own tale to tell, all with Stalky, Beetle and M’Turk at the centre. There is comedy to be found in the interaction between the boys and masters, flagrant flouting of the rules by smoking and drinking, but there’s also a dark side: graphic descriptions of bullying of younger boys, which Stalky & Co attempt to stamp out with their own justice, and a sense of sad times to come as the story predicts the deaths of some boys on future battlefields.

An enjoyable, but difficult read, not for the subject matter, but for the descriptive and linguistic content; but that’s a good excuse to read it more than once to get your head round what is happening in the story. It is surprising to find this book classified as a children’s book, considering its content.

A review for Episode!

Five stars on Amazon!

 

I have read all of Tracey Morait’s books and have greatly enjoyed every single one of them. And of course, this one is no exception. Tracey has a direct no-frills style of writing which she uses to good effect, allying it to quality narrative and very natural, very real dialogue from equally natural and believable characters. Here though, the lady has really excelled herself. The aforesaid qualities bring to the reader a fast-paced, highly engaging tale, taking in both modern family tensions, scenes from history and literature, deep friendship amid stress and strain, and all laced with a lightness and humour which delights the reader, well, it delighted me, I can only assume it will delight you.

Now, the story. This book is so hot off the press I cannot reveal much, so spoilers to be avoided at all costs, but let’s just cover the basics to give an idea of what’s what.

A family from Liverpool are on holiday in Cyprus – mum, dad – and two daughters, who, as can often be the case, do not get on with each other. One of the girls – Alisha, called Ali by those closest to her, has epilepsy. While her parents are sympathetic, as indeed they should be, her sister Sal resents Ali for not only getting more attention than her due to her illness, often sees family time whether holidays or at home, severely disrupted through Ali’s seizures. However, while in Cyprus, Ali discovers her seizures can open time portals; sometimes she is drawn into a portal involuntarily, but as the tale develops Ali finds she has an element of control and on occasions is highly relieved to be once again shooting through time and space.

Although there are brief sojourns through time and space to the Shetland’s main town of Lerwick as well as her home town of Liverpool, with of course short spells back to the ‘here and now’ of the family holiday in Cyprus, the main setting for the tale is ancient Sparta and the court, if that’s the right word, of Princess Helen, or, Helen of Troy as we know her better. Through Ali we become witnesses to many scenes we know and love through such revered tomes as the Iliad, and many other incidents which (and only reading this book can explain why, including an amazing turn of events involving future technology) never made the history books at all. All the famed characters: Helen, Paris, Hector, Menelaus, Agamemnon and more are there, some are prominent in the tale, others not so much. The gods and goddesses are there too, as they should be; Zeus and his boys and girls, each with their own special powers, each using these for good, or for bad, and sometimes both from the same deity. And that is all I can tell you.

Although the target age seems to be broadly older kids / YA, that don’t matter a jot, all, no matter if 10 or a 110, who enjoy fast-paced, light and humorous tales, will love this.

All in all, another cracking read from Tracy Morait.

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