Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books (Author Interviews)

If you read my Bookish Reflections – January 2019 post, you will recall that I’m hoping to start a new feature on the site…Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books, otherwise known as Author Interviews.  It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a few years now, but I’ve never really had the time to dedicate to it.  However, with the implementation of my new schedule, that time has been found.  As you may have noticed, Mondays has become my set day for posting book reviews, whilst on Fridays I’ve been posting other book-related posts.  This means that (unless there is a serious amount of interest and it requires its own day), these Afternoon Tea posts will also be posted on Fridays alternating with the other book-related features.

I’ve tried to break down all the relevant information below.  If you have any other questions, ask and I will do my best to answer…

A random photo…

~ FAQs ~

What sort of questions will be asked?

There is a set list of ten questions (some have multiple parts) and they cover writing, reading, and of course, afternoon tea – all the important things.  It shouldn’t take too long to answer them.

I’m only published on my blog.  Will you interview me?

These interviews are aimed at writers and poets, at whatever stage of their writing journey, and published in each and every way – traditionally published, self-published, published via a small press, on a blog, website or social media, in short story or poetry anthologies, or via a writing platform such as Wattpad or Sweek. As long as it is possible to direct readers to somewhere they can read your work, I will happily interview you.

I would like to be interviewed.  What do I need to do?

Send an email to On receipt of your email, I’ll send you the list of questions and outline what else you might wish to send (social media links, book cover images, etc).

Your responses can be returned to me in the body of an email, in Word document / .rtf / PDF.  Whatever is easier for you.

My book is being released soon / I’m putting together a blog tour…

I’ll happy schedule an interview (and other related posts if required) to help you with your book launch or blog tour.  Just get in touch at the above email address and I’ll do all I can to support you.

What if I decide I don’t like the interview?

If once the interview has been posted on this site, you decide you don’t like it or no longer want it on the site, for whatever reason, just let me know and I will take it down as soon as I am able.

Or, if once the interview has been posted, you decide there are some changes you would like to make to your answers, I will happily make them for you.  All you need do is get in touch.

~ Index of Interviews ~

Would you be interested…?

UPDATE: the anthology “Winter Magic” is now going ahead.  Yay!  Check out the submission guidelines for this project and to learn about future projects, by following this link.  Can’t wait to read what you’ve come up with.

I posted this on my writing blog (Sammi Scribbles) yesterday, but thought I should post it here too, for anyone who missed it that might be interested 🙂

This week has been a whirlwind of ideas.  Sometimes it feels like having too many ideas is just as bad as having writer’s block.  Or is it worse? 😉

So, I thought before I go any further and get carried away (which may or may not already have happened), I might put one of these ideas out there and see what kind or response it gets.  And my!  Am I nervous about doing it.  Take a big, deep breath, Sammi!

So what is this idea?  I was thinking of launching a little side project that would release multi-author anthologies out into the e-world.  And the first of these projects would be an anthology of short stories, flash fiction and poetry inspired by the theme of…wait for it…”Winter Magic”.

Now, all the details are not finalised and what follows is not set in stone, but if you think this might be something that interests you, please read on to see what I have already come up with:

  • The most important point to note is that the primary purpose of this endeavour is to help get writers work seen by as many people as possible.  After all, that’s what we as writers want isn’t?  No, it’s what we need if we are going to get anywhere in this industry.
  • The deadline for submissions would be around 17 November 2016
  • The proposed release date for the anthology would be around 1 December 2016
  • The anthology will be posted online – probably on Wattpad via an account set up specifically for the anthologies.  Yes, I have ideas for many, many others 🙂  This way I won’t be taking credit for anyone else’s work.  You will need a Wattpad account (they’re free to set up and it only takes a matter of minutes) but you are not required to be active on the site.  This is so that I can link your work with your own account / profile as well as having the work attributed to you within the anthology. (Why Wattpad?  Because there is already a strong, supportive readership in place, and work that is posted there is protected.  Also anthologies and collaborations are quite popular on the site too).
  • Unfortunately, you won’t get paid, but all authors will get a PDF copy of the anthology – which won’t be available anywhere else, to anyone else (one small exception might be for book reviewers not on Wattpad as part of the promotional side of the anthology).
  • All genres will be accepted except fanfiction.
  • Reprints will be accepted as long as you hold the rights to the work.
  • Rights remain with the authors at all times.

So those are the bare bones of it.  There are more details, but I thought they could wait until the submission call is released, if it is released.  This will depend if anyone is interested in submitting something for consideration.  The question is, are you?  If yes, please let me know by commenting below or contacting me – don’t worry, you are not committing to anything, only giving me an idea as to whether this little endeavour would be worth my time and effort, and yours.

Thanks so much for reading.  It’s appreciated 🙂

Something different to read…

The first issue of Kith magazine by 308 Press was released this week, the theme for which was letters.  There are twenty or so letters, penned by writers from all over the world, including one I wrote myself (A Letter From A Troubled Soul).  Each one is unique in voice and style, and I was amazed at the variety on offer.

So, if you are looking for something different to read, why not take a look.  It can be read for free here, or a print copy can be purchased here.

Enjoy, and have a great Midsummer weekend!

[Read the full post on my writing site, Sammi Scribbles]

The Water Wytch – My Short Story published in Elemental Foundations anthology

Elemental foundations cover

I have another little bit of news to share…My short story, The Water Wytch has been published in the Elemental Foundations anthology by Zimbell House Publishing.  It is the first time that my work has appeared anywhere in print, so you can imagine that I am a little stunned and overwhelmed at the moment.

For those interested, you can read my full-length post – with more pictures – on my writing blog, here.

As always, thank you so much for all your support.  I appreciate it.

Unqualified in Magic – Short Story News

I posted this little bit of news on Monday on my writing blog, but I forgot to post it on here.  If you have already seen it / read it – sorry!

The latest issue of Bibliophilia magazine is now available to read, and I’m chuffed to have a story feature in this issue, the theme for which is ‘magic’.

The magazine and my short story, Unqualified in Magic, can be read for free here.  I hope you enjoy it, as well as the other interesting articles and short stories on offer in this issue.  And, if you do read it, I would love to hear what you think.

As always, thank you so much for your support.  It’s deeply appreciated 🙂

A Little Bit of News…

My short story, Idus Martiae, has been included in the latest issue of Free Lit Magazine.  The theme for this issue was Dreams.

So, if you have a spare minute, please check it out, along with the other great pieces in the issue.  It’s free.  Just follow the link.

If you enjoy historical fiction, I hope you enjoy this 🙂  Don’t forget to let me know what you think.

You can see how my writing journey is going over at my writing blog, Sammi Scribbles.

Author Spotlight: Carol J Forrester

These days I find I am really enjoying short works of fiction, something that I discussed in Musings…Short Stories and Flash Fiction (click here), and which in turn introduced me to the work of Carol J Forrester…

* * *

Carol J Forrester writes beautifully.  If you check out her site, you will find plenty of poetry, short stories and pieces of flash fiction to keep your inner reader content for…well…a long time 🙂  There is so much to choose from I hardly knew where to begin.

So I took my time exploring…What I quickly came to realise as I began reading was that her writing style is both elegant and versatile, often leaving you wondering what happened before and after the piece you have just read, drawing you in.  She also has an amazing ability to get a lot of detail into her short pieces and each one is very readable.  Great for when you want to read something but don’t have much time on your hands.  Some pieces are thought-provoking, some will make you smile but all are well-written and evocative; I found as I read the stories they immediately came to life…

Short Stories and Flash Fiction

Under this section I came across so many short pieces that really captured the imagination and covering a number of differing subjects and genres.

Some particular favourites from the “5 Sentence Fiction” included: The One, Alley Blades and Our Secrets.  The author really knows how to make good use of those five sentences!

Our Secrets by Carol J Forrester

(used with permission)

Even when the sun found its way to England, her aunt kept the summer house boarded up and bolted shut.

“It isn’t safe.” she’d say, hands resting on Tanya’s shoulders as she steered the child back towards the main house where the rooms were filled with blooming flowers and climbing plants that wove around banisters.

When the cancer set in, years later, stripping Tanya’s aunt of everything that had made her beautiful… they found the papers.

The black and white photos which held more colour than the sunken cheeks of her aunt; a thousand smiles scattered across feet worn floorboards in a summer house Tanya had though the key was lost to.

Untouched, the summer rooms held more dust than furniture and upon the master bed lay her aunt, breath gone, clutching the photo of a woman Tanya could not recognise and her mother refused to look at or name; “she was no one, a mistake, distraction, a ghost your aunt could never let go.”

And from “100-150 Word Stories” I loved The Haunting, which is my favourite read of the day, closely followed by Our Secrets (see above).  Other favourites from section included Bliss and Shadow Twists.

The Haunting by Carol J Forrester

(used with permission)

They rattled around the house at all hours of the night. A three AM door slam then hurried whispers and broken plates. You could hear their footsteps from cellar to attic; not a single room was spared their clamour, but she’d be damned if she let them get the best of her.

When she summoned the Reverend, he simply shook his head of perpetually thinning hair and gave a blackened grin.

“I’m afraid this is a little out of my league my dear.” he said. “This is beyond your everyday exorcism. Students are somewhat trickier to evict than ghosts.”

In my opinion, this is definitely flash fiction at its best!


“Headquarters” is Carol’s online fiction series.  These longer pieces centre around Sasha who runs Headquarters, an international organisation set up by her grandfather to promote world peace.  Since his death however, things haven’t exactly gone to plan…

To begin reading Headquarters, check out the story’s table of contents here.  I have only read the first few chapters so far, but I am already hooked and eager to know what happens next…

And did I mention she has published a book of her poetry, Before the Words Run Out…

To read some of Carol’s fabulous writing – and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed – why not check out her site:

Musings…Short Stories and Flash Fiction

I love short stories at the moment.  Flash fiction too.  I love both reading them and having a go composing my own.

I never used to be such a fan, but over the past couple of years that has changed dramatically.  Now I can’t get enough of them.  I think it has something to do with accomplishing something in a smaller amount of time…  I also think it is a great way to begin exploring a genre you wouldn’t necessarily normally read.

Do you have a favourite short story or a favourite short story author?  Do you enjoy writing short stories or flash fiction?  Are there any out there that you would recommend I search out and review? Or perhaps you yourself have written something that you would like me to review?  Feel free to contact me if you do…

To see some of the flash fiction I have written, including the new one I wrote last night, please visit my writing site.

Have a great weekend!

How To Write A Book Review

Of course, these are my personal guidelines, the one’s I use when I write a book review.  They work for me because they reflect what I think a book review should contain.  They might not work for you and they certainly might not reflect what you think makes a good book review.

Ten Pointers to Consider

  1. Be honest
  2. Don’t be offensive (there is a difference between being blunt and rude!)
  3. Concentrate on the positives but…
  4. …if something really doesn’t work in your opinion, don’t be afraid to say it
  5. Would you recommend the book?  To who?
  6. Were the characters believable and engaging?
  7. Was the setting described in enough detail for it to come to life?  Or, on the other hand, was there too much detail?  Did it drown out the storyline?
  8. Pace: was it fast or slow?
  9. Was the storyline engaging?  Did it offer anything new?  Or could you draw any parallels with other books/ characters / themes?
  10. What genre does the book fall into?  Does it fall into one or more categories?

What do you think makes a good book review?

The Magician – Free eBook

The Magician

Andromache Jones has somehow managed to capture the attention of The Magician and finds herself caught up in The Game, his challenge that has very real life and death consequences, and not only for her.  Can she complete the test he has set in the alloted time and live to see another day, or will failure, and The Magician triumph?

The Magician is the dark debut of the Andromache Jones Mystery series.  This is a prelude to the witchy whodunnit series and your chance to get to know the heroine of the books.  .

To read a preview of The Magician, please see this post.

To download your free copy of The Magician, available in a variety of formats, please visit its Smashwords page.