White Lies by Ellie Holmes

It’s Publication Day for White Lies and what better way to start than with this lovely review!

Linda's Book Bag

white lies

My enormously grateful thanks to the author Ellie Holmes for a copy of White Lies in return for an honest review.

White Lies is published today 27th June 2017 and is available in e-book here.

White Lies

white lies

A WET NIGHT. A CAR CRASH.

THREE LIVES ARE CHANGED FOREVER…

Sam Davenport is a woman who lives her life by the rules. When her husband Neil breaks those rules too many times, Sam is left wondering not only if he is still the man for her but also if it’s time to break a few rules of her own.

Actions, however, have consequences as Sam soon discovers when what starts out as an innocent white lie threatens to send her world spiralling out of control.

White Lies is a warm, engaging read about love, deceit, betrayal and hope.

My Review of White Lies

A crash between Neil and Sam’s car and…

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White Lies by Ellie Holmes

Have you ever told a white lie?

Hi everyone – I just wanted to share the news that my new novel White Lies is now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on Tuesday 27th June.

If you would like to find out more click on the image and there’s an excerpt below to whet your appetites.

White Lies by Ellie Holmes

Sam Davenport thought she’d imagined it: the driving rain, her husband Neil’s shout of surprise, the sickening crunch of metal on metal, the explosion of inflating airbags.

A bad dream. That was all it was. Why, even now, they were on their way back to Meadowview Cottage with its thatched roof dipping low over leaded-glass windows and a welcoming fire burning in the TV room to keep the children and their sitter cosy in their absence.

Yes, it was a bad dream. Soon, they would be home and Neil would take off his clothes in the bedroom while she took off her make-up in the ensuite and together they would dissect the party and their friends.

Except, they wouldn’t. Because she hadn’t imagined it. The Range Rover was skewed at a crazy angle across one of the main roads of the Essex market town of Abbeyleigh and picked out in its headlights was the shape of a motorbike and, a few metres on, the body of its rider.

 

 

Book Bloggers and Reviewers

heart
Heart by Nghiem Vo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0

I am a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I am also a member of their blogging team. At the end of last year I was invited to launch a new monthly blogging series on the RNA blog interviewing book bloggers and reviewers.

The latest in the series went live at the end of last week and I am attaching a link below so you can take a look.

http://romanticnovelistsassociationblog.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/book-bloggers-reviewers-amanda-moran.html

My guest was Amanda Moran from  http://www.onemorepage.co.uk/

Book bloggers are a vital part of the world of books and Amanda was a fab guest, giving us an interesting insight into her life as a book blogger.

Yesterday’s People

As some of you will be aware we recently had an election in the UK. We didn’t need it but due to political expediency on behalf of Theresa May and the Conservative Party we got it anyway. Oh how I bet they wish they had given that a bit more thought. Prideful and arrogant they assumed not only that they would win but that they would win BIG. Pride comes before a fall and that was certainly the case here.

I am not normally given to commenting on political matters and don’t worry it will not be a regular feature but one thing struck me about the almost Shakespearean drama unfolding before our eyes: the inevitability that Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy would be expected to take the fall for their boss’s misfortunes.

All Fall Down
And we all fall down! by Mark Bonica courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/7HhJ3S https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

For those of you who do not know, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy were two of Theresa May’s closest advisers. They have jumped before they could be pushed in order to hold on to a little bit of self esteem but their demise was writ large as soon as the night’s results were in. It was only ever a question of when.

There is very little loyalty in life but in politics there appears to be none at all. Riding high one day and thrown under the campaign bus the next. It is a ruthless arena to work in. Snake pits would be easier to negotiate although comparing politicians to snakes is probably unfair to snakes. I am tempted to say Hill and Timothy are best off out of it but I doubt they see it that way.

It seems to me that loyalty ‘a strong feeling of support and allegiance’ is an undervalued concept in today’s society. We would all expect and hope that in the face of adversity loyalty would be shown to us but do we show it to others when the crunch comes? Loyalty, particularly at our own expense, seems to be a disappearing trait.

Loyalty
Loyalty and Sincerity by Vincent Brown feat. quote by Tseng Tzu courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/qezwVP https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The trend towards identifying once an individual is in trouble and then moving in for the kill – sharks circling in bloody water seems to be gaining in prevalence. ‘I never liked them anyway’ says someone before putting the metaphorical boot in. Ganging up to put down someone who is suddenly perceived as weaker is unedifying for all who take part. Perhaps we fear being associated with someone who is done down in case it rubs off on us or maybe we strive to be associated with the many in that instance because we hope when it is our turn the gang will not turn on us. They will.

When next you have the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone whom others are deserting put yourself in their shoes and extend the hand of friendship, instead of the one wielding the knife. Next time it could be you.

reaching out
It’s about time to help others by Leticia Bertin courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/99QbRd https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Changing the Storyline of your own Life

Realising I was suffering from burnout I underwent a digital detox for a week. Feeling rejuvenated as a result, I took some time to step back and think about all the things that had led to my suffering from burnout in the first place.

All of the projects I am involved with are long term undertakings that will take time and effort over a number of months if not years to complete. As a perfectionist, I want to tie things up in a neat bow and then walk away. Sometimes that just isn’t possible and that’s a hard lesson to learn for a perfectionist to learn.

Long road
Long road by Ozzy Delaney courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/q44Tc4 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

If you are an indie author running your business you don’t have a boss telling you it is time to leave the office. You are the boss and the office is probably the kitchen table or, if you are lucky, a desk in the spare room. The only person who can make you walk away is you.

Human beings are not machines. We cannot mechanically perform the same duties and tasks over and over without a break. Whilst we do not possess an off switch in the traditional sense our minds and bodies do have an emergency off switch they can throw if it all gets too much – we get ill and then we have no option but to slow down and recover.

Duracell Bunny
Duracell Bunny by Skim-milk courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/5hkz6o https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I know what it is like to suffer from a series of colds, barely getting over one and then coming down with another. My immune system was under performing because my natural resources were stretched too thinly. It was my body’s way of saying enough is enough. Heeding the warning signs and acting on them is one thing. Far better, however, to not be in that position in the first place.

We all get ill, of course but feeling run down is usually something we can do something about. Prevention is better than cure so they say.

None of this is groundbreaking stuff but occasionally we all need to be reminded of the basics.

If you want to feel more contented and fulfilled you have to structure in down time. You then have to ring fence and protect that down time as ferociously as you would protect your writing time. There have to be limits. I will work for two hours and then I will take an hour off to recharge my batteries before I move on to something else. It takes discipline to put limits on the time you give each project or part of your day but ultimately it is the only way to get things done and still have time for yourself.

Enjoy the silence
Enjoy the Silence by Thomas Leuthard courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/d8yRbh https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It took a while to get used to my new routine but as I did so I began to feel more at ease with myself. A sense of fulfillment even began to creep up on me and amazingly I got more done than I did before. With less time I was more focused and because I was not stressing as much about lots of different things at the same time I was more present mentally for the task at hand. What I had thought would be a necessary but ugly compromise was slowly turning into something more satisfying. Who knew?

Every person will have different priorities. The timetable that works for me won’t suit anyone else. It takes time and effort to develop the structure that works best for you but if long term sustainability is the outcome, it is surely worth the effort?

My own little piece of Chelsea

Summer flowers
Summer Flowers – Ellie Holmes

The Chelsea Flower Show was recently held in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital in London. Possibly the most famous flower show in the world, it attracts exhibitors and visitors from all over the world. Crazily intricate show gardens are constructed from nowhere and dismantled after just a few days from elaborate gardens in Main Avenue to smaller, more intimate gardens that can inspire, challenge and delight.

I have visited Chelsea on several occasions although I prefer its slightly less celebrated cousin Hampton Court. I may not have the greenest of fingers and my garden may be a triumph of optimism over horticultural knowledge but my own little piece of Chelsea inspires, challenges and delights me every bit as much as a show garden and at a fraction of the price.

Summer flowers2
Summer colour – Ellie Holmes

Whilst small my garden is also a haven for wildlife; birds, bees and butterflies are regular and welcome visitors. As an organic gardener, the bugs are a challenge but I appreciate they all have their place in the grand scheme of things and we each of us go about our business leaving the other pretty much alone. This spring I even had a hedgehog in the garden (I think he or she may have been hibernating in the compost heap or behind the shed).

A gardening expert would probably tut and shake their heads at some of my planting combinations. Certainly, I would not win any medals but my garden is not about showing off. It is about relaxation and calm, colour and inspiration. We all need a little beauty to feed our souls and each day, in different ways, my garden provides that. I think that is better than any medal.

Hosta heaven
Hosta heaven – Ellie Holmes

Fear of Missing Out

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out – is a thing. Who knew? Apparently it has even been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

checking phone
Let me check a few things first by Johnny Silvercloud courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/s8DNC2 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Are you suffering from FOMO?

Do you compulsively check your social media updates to see what your friends are up to?

  1. Do you feel compelled to join your work colleagues at every after work event?
  2. Do you over commit so as to attend every party/barbecue/impromptu get together?
  3. Do you check Rightmove and other property listing sites not because you have any intention of moving house but because you want to see what others have got?
  4. Do you binge watch the latest box sets so you know what everyone else is talking about?

If you answered yes to the above, chances are you are suffering from FOMO.

Wikipedia describes FOMO as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. This social angst is characterised by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.

Smartphones
Man Woman Smartphones Restaurant by David van der Mark courtesy Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/y6sdfD https://goo.gl/OOAQfn

Is it any wonder therefore that most of us feel exhausted most of the time?

Human beings are designed to have periods of action and periods of rest. If our rest time is dominated by our digital devices the quality of that rest time decreases. Whilst interacting on social media isn’t physically demanding, mentally and sometimes emotionally it can take its toll. Even if we are not aware of it our bodies will react to what we are reading, writing or seeing. Anger, frustration, joy and laughter all create a physical reaction. We have already put our bodies through a tough day. To then spend the evening and sometimes even the night too dancing the digital dance leaves us feeling over stimulated. Is it any wonder that so many people complain of not being able to sleep properly? Our minds are still wired and busily processing all of the images that have been teeming in front of our eyes.

We have reached the point societally where Mums ignore and do not interact with their children as much as they would have done in previous years because they are instead interacting with their phones. Couples are going out to dinner and checking their devices instead of actually talking to one another.

Don’t get me wrong, computers, iPads and phones are wonderful things but they are meant to enhance our lives not dominate them to the point of destruction. We are in danger of diluting our personal relationships with children and spouses and wider family members for the sake of our relationship with our phones and by extension our relationship with our friends and followers. Which do you think is more important?

helloworld
Hello, world by Dwayne Bent courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/c9BGhf https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Disconnecting in the short term – a digital detox – is perfectly possible but what about in the long term? Spending time on our phones is a habit. We do it through the fear or missing out and often from boredom. Interestingly, we often feel less fulfilled as a result. The nagging thought that we are “wasting time”, the incessant comparing of ourselves or our lives to others often leaves us feeling inadequate and dissatisfied. Perhaps it’s time to kick the habit.

Limiting the time you spend on your phone or other devices is the answer. As with breaking any ingrained habit the best way to draw back is by doing it over a number of weeks. Don’t set yourself unrealistic targets and don’t beat yourself up if you fall short. Persevere however because the results will be worth it.

A whole new world of possibilities will open up for you together with the time and space to reconnect with your old world – the people who physically share your life. In turn this will lead to you feeling more connected than you ever did previously, you will also have a greater sense of fulfillment and contentment. What’s not to love about that?