Category: Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Claire Boley

Claire Boley was born in Exeter Devon UK. Aged six she moved to Winslow Buckinghamshire where she went to school in Aylesbury. In between lessons she used to tell stories to her school friends. After leaving school the story telling went on the back burner as she left home to train to become a nurse. After she retired from nursing she read an article about bread making by a friend in a national magazine when she though, “I can do that” and she did.

Since then she has written articles in many national magazines on different subjects including hand spinning, natural dyeing, pottery, jam making, and hanging baskets. If Only I’d Listened is her debut novel but second book. The first was a craft book Hand Spinning and Natural Dyeing which she was commissioned to write in 2011.

Her debut novel is a hard hitting family saga based in London in 1965. Samantha a 16 year old school girl gets pregnant by her sixth form boyfriend Peter Knight. Samantha spends most of the nine months in and out of hospital while Peter spends his time studying for his A levels with view to going to university. Along the way he is encouraged by his mates to go out and about to pubs and clubs in the West End of London.

Published July 27, 2017
320 pages

IS YOUR GIRLFRIEND PREGNANT? How ready are you for that?
How would you deal with becoming a parent before you’ve left school?
One thing’s for sure, you can’t unmake babies.

A fact that’s borne in on Peter Knight and Samantha Smithson, sixth formers at the South East Comprehensive in Deptford, living at a time when many parents are still of the old school and pregnancy outside marriage carries a stigma. Having to face their parents, their school friends, teachers and gossip is only the beginning. Pete’s plans for university are scotched as he must seek work and accommodation suitable for a young family. And all the time he still wants to have fun, with ‘friends’ quite happy to tempt him to do it. As for Samantha, abortion is no easy option. Yet as her health and her faith in Peter goes up and down, she may have to think the unthinkable.

Buy If Only I’d Listen Now!
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Other Works:

Spinning is one of the most ancient of crafts. There are few things as satisfying as seeing a yarn that has been spun from a fleece, especially having produced it yourself. With colour and black and white photographs and diagrams throughout, this practical book is a comprehensive, step-by-step, guide detailing everything you need to know to start spinning as well as dyeing so that you can go on to reproduce your own wool for knitting or weaving. The author starts, as all spinners will do, with the wool. What are you looking for when you choose the fleece? How do you clean and prepare it ready for spinning? How do you use a spindle, how do you make ply yarn, fancy yarns, skeins and what is a niddy noddy anyway? Spinning techniques and tricks of the trade are explained as well as advice on getting hand spun yarn ready for hand knitting and a few patterns are shared along the way. The author has also included sections on the spinning wheels themselves. She give good advice on what to look for when buying a wheel, the operation, how to thread, learning to treadle as well as maintenance of the wheel. Claire uses natural plants to dye her wool and she dedicates a section of the book to recipes that will help to achieve wonderful colours not available through commercially purchased wools.

Buy Hand Spinning and Natural Dyeing Now
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Contact Claire:
Twitter @ClaireBoley

Author Spotlight: Rajiv Mittal

Rajiv Mittal was born in Chennai, India in the early 1960s. He is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and a CPA from Australia. He now lives in Melbourne after living several years in the Middle East. Rajiv is self-published and his debut novel is titled Brahmahatya.

Rajiv says: Writing was a vague aspiration. It became reality thanks to a stranger who said I reminded him of the main character from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. He quoted from it, ‘Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.’

Published: August 5, 2017
307 pages

Brahmahatya is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘The act of killing a Brahmin’.
Genre: Contemporary Fiction (mythology and spirituality).

Book Description:

A story of revenge and redemption and deeds shaped by forces that humans believe they have defined through mythology and scriptures but still struggle to understand. A woman employee of a retirement home is shocked to discover that a new resident is in fact the son impersonating his father. The son is seeking revenge. She, by her past actions, is unwittingly complicit in his being there and now tries to thwart his peculiar plans. A senile woman-resident and an enigmatic founder offer him sage advice. The samudra manthan (a major episode in Hindu mythology), a slightly dim secretary and a sinister boss play their part in ensuring justice is finally served but in an unexpected manner. The novel quotes frequently from the ancient Hindu scriptures and stories that the protagonists use to justify their actions. The treatment of the elderly in society is a major theme.

Buy Brahmahatya Now!
Amazon US: Paperback
Amazon US: Kindle

Amazon UK: Paperback
Amazon UK: Kindle

Others thoughts on Brahmahatya:
Between Write and Wrong
Serenely Rapt

Here are some author interviews to get to know Rajiv:
Readings & Reviews
Shravya Gunipudi

Contact Rajiv:
Twitter @RajivMittal63


Author Spotlight: Ellis Shuman






Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel. After working for several years in the hotel industry, he today writes and edits online marketing content. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria.

Ellis’s writing has appeared in The Times of Israel, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Israel Insider, and on a wide range of Internet websites. He is the author of a collection of short stories, The Virtual Kibbutz (2003) and two novels, Valley of Thracians (January 2013) and The Burgas Affair (October 2017).

Ellis lives with his wife, children, and grandchildren on Moshav Neve Ilan, outside Jerusalem. He writes about Bulgaria, Israel, books, travel, and the craft of writing on his blog.

**Published October 30, 2017:

The Burgas Affair
327 Pages

She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.

In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment.

The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.

It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.

Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.

Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.

The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.

Buy The Burgas Affair NOW:
Amazon US
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Other Works:

The Virtual Kibbutz: Stories from a Changing Society
220 Pages

Israeli short stories from the kibbutz.

For over fifty years, the magnificent oak tree stood as a solitary landmark in the middle of the valley, witnessing the cool, wet winters and the hot, humid summers. Young pioneers established a new kibbutz nearby, celebrating their collective way of life in the shade of the tree.

Decades later, the kibbutz is not the same. Its members’ idealism has changed. Can the community still be considered a kibbutz?

In this debut collection of stories, the author introduces you to kibbutz residents challenged with adapting to new realities. Along the way you’ll see how kibbutzniks face up to the violence of the Intifada, cope with the Internet, and struggle to have more control over their lives.

Meet a clown who uses magic to heal the wounds of terror victims, a veteran dairy worker who has difficulties bidding farewell to an albino cow, a farmer who must decide what to do with the prize money of a lottery, and a reporter who is researching comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s kibbutz past.

These are the stories of Israel’s unique society, of the changes and dilemmas it faces, and of the hopes, challenges and dreams of those who continue to call the kibbutz their home.

Buy The Virtual Kibbutz Now:
Amazon US
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Valley of Thracians: A Novel of Bulgaria
357 Pages

How far would you go to rescue a loved one?

A Peace Corps volunteer has gone missing in Bulgaria and everyone assumes he is dead, everyone except his grandfather, who refuses to give up hope. Retired literature professor Simon Matthews launches a desperate search only to be lured into a bizarre quest to retrieve a stolen Thracian artifact—a unique object of immense value others will stop at nothing to recover.

Matthews travels through a Balkan landscape dotted with ancient tombs and fortresses, unaware that his grandson has been confined to an isolated mountain cabin, slowly recovering from a severe head injury. Nothing can be taken at face value, as the woman assisting Matthews in his quest and the nurse caring for his injured grandson may have ulterior motives in helping the two reunite. Even when Matthews succeeds in joining up with his grandson, departure from Bulgaria is only possible if the missing relic can be found.

Buy Valley of Thracians Now:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Contact Ellis:
“Ellis Shuman Writes” Website
Twitter  @ellisshuman