Tuesday 28 August 2018

The Hippo Hangs Out . . . . with S.L. Grigg

I'm delighted to be hanging out with author S.L. Grigg today as part of her six month anniversary blog tour for her book Coffee Break Companion. So what better place to start than to tell you all about the book.

Grab that cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer), maybe add a splash of something stronger, settle down and enjoy your break with this gripping collection of flash fiction and poetry that will send shivers down your spine. With an added bonus of a longer story at the end that will fill your lunch break. What are you waiting for? Dive in! Everything from a discovery in an Ice Cavern, to a tornado. Mermaids, and Dragons. Mystery and Horror. This collection of flash fiction and poetry has something to capture anyone’s imagination, with a final chilling thriller that will leave you gasping for air.

I don't know about you lovely readers, but I think short stories are perfect for when you don't have too much time to read but you need to satisfy your need to read, so this is definitely a book that I need to check out.

 Now that you know a little more about the book, allow me to introduce you to the author, S.L. Grigg.

Photo courtesy of S.L.Grigg

This is the first published book by S.L. Grigg having previously written a popular blog on mental health, and having articles published by Mind, the mental health charity, and NHS England. Working for NHS England from a home in Bromsgrove, England, S.L Grigg lives with a partner and two adult children. S.L Grigg has studied everything from Science and Law, to Journalism and Pilates but writing has always been the greatest passion in S.L.Grigg’s life.

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Welcome to The Hippo and belated congratulations  on the publication of your book Coffee Break Companion which will be on my TBR very shortly!

What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’ve made so many author friends through the Fiction Café on Facebook, from Kiltie Jackson to Isabella May, Louise Jenson, Caroline England and so many more lovely authors. They inspire me, which makes me a better writer. Everyone is so supportive of each other. Reading their books and following their journeys, connecting with editors and bloggers, there is just so much help out there once you start making connections and the advice helps anyone who connects with them become a better writer.

I couldn't agree more, the book community is wonderfully supportive and I love being a part of it too.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing etc come from?
My mom tells me I loved reading from the age of two, I would read anything, by the time I was eight I was reading books like The Hobbit and writing stories and poems. I think I was born to love words, not just in the written form but I was the same with music and anything else with words, at two I would also sing along with every advert on the TV and knew the words to them all.

What did you edit out of your last book?
There was a short story called Peanut that had come about from a writing exercise with a postcard picture as a prompt, it wasn’t great anyway but without the picture it just wasn’t good enough to go in with the other stories, so I took it out and wrote another story to replace it Lizard, which proved popular so that was a good move.

You get a brilliant idea/thought/phrase at an inappropriate moment (eg in the shower or driving) what do you do?
Been there, so many times. If I am driving if I can I will pull over and write down the idea, if not I will keep repeating it aloud to myself until I can. I did this recently on the way to work then spent the first hour there writing the story that had come to me because of a bus that was in front of me for part of the journey. Similar thing in the shower, if I’ve taken a notebook into the bathroom (which I do sometimes) or it’s near by I’ll hop out and scribble the idea down, if not I’ll recite it until I can get to my notepad.

If a genie granted you three wishes what would they be?
I would say World Peace, but that’s cheesy, although realistically I would be most likely to give away my three wishes on things for others, so I’m going to try and answer being a bit more selfish and choosing things I want…

1 -  A small building, shop come community centre with a studio where I can teach Pilates classes, classrooms for art, craft and creative writing classes, a library come bookshop, and a café serving hot, cold and alcoholic drinks, light meals and cake, plenty of cake, plus an entertainment room where I can hold readings, comedy, and other events such as my partners band and other bands giving intimate gigs to small crowds. So, actually the building wouldn’t be that small to fit all this in…

2 - To have my own home with no ongoing costs, that could never be taken away,  that I can leave to my kids so they will always have a roof over their heads because I worry what would happen to them in the future if I wasn’t around with their disabilities, having a house that can never be taken from them would be the greatest wish come true for me.

3 - A world cruise, or several cruise holidays every year for the rest of my life, so I can visit all the places I want to see (typically cold places, not hot places) like Iceland, Alaska, and Antarctica.

I think your shop come community centre sounds like a fabulous idea, especially as there would be books and cake! I'm not so sure about your cruises to all the cold places - I like the sun and just looking at that picture of ice and snow is giving me the shivers. BBBrrrrrr!!!!

What do you think is more important: characters or plot?
I think both are as important as each other, a good, strong character is nothing without an interesting plot and an epic plot with dull, bland characters is just wasted. You really can’t have one without the other, even in short stories where there is little room for character and plot development you still need to capture your reader with both.

What is your guilty pleasure?
A simple one, chocolate, I eat far too much of it. Especially minty chocolates like After Eights, Mint Matchmakers and my latest discovery the new mint Lindor…

Mint Lindor? OMG, seriously? How did I not know this? I think I might just have to pop out later!

Describe yourself in five words.
Kind, friendly, supportive, helpful, reliable

You can find out more about S.L. Grigg, her book and connect with her using the links below:


You can follow the rest of the anniversary blog tour with these fantastic blogs:

I'd like to thank S.L. Grigg for taking the time to stop by and chat with me today and to wish her every success with her book.

Saturday 25 August 2018

Blog Blitz - Over My Shoulder - Patricia Dixon

I'm thrilled to one of today's stops on the blog blitz for Over My Shoulder  by Patricia Dixon. I originally read and reviewed this book last year which has now been given a brand new shiny cover.

Over My Shoulder is a dark and deeply disturbing story about domestic abuse which won't be for everyone, but it's one that I couldn't get enough of so I'm not sure what that says about me!

What starts out as a seemingly hearts and flowers tale of girl meets boy quickly descends into a gripping and thought-provoking one of manipulation that took me on an unforgettable journey.

Freya is an average girl working and living in Manchester in the 1990's. She enjoys her job, has friends and is happy with her boyfriend Kane comes into her work one day and Freya takes a real shine to him, he's good looking, attentive and owns his own business. So when Kane starts to engineer ways for their paths to cross Freya soon dumps her boyfriend and starts spending time with Kane.

What Freya doesn't know about Kane is that he has a dark, manipulative side and its not long before she starts to notice this, little comments about her physical appearance, what she's wearing and what she's eating. It's clear that Freya isn't happy but is she brave or strong enough to leave Kane?

Patricia Dixon has taken a difficult subject and constructed a hard hitting but totally believable tale that's written with empathy. I was rooting for Freya and hoping that she could get away from Kane and his unscrupulous ways. He is the embodiment of evil and I can honestly say that I despised him with a passion which is a credit to Patricia's writing as it takes a lot for me to truly loathe a character. This is an atmospheric book and one that had my heart racing at times as I became more and more horrified at the depths that Kane would go to to control Freya. There's no graphic descriptions of violence but the threat is there and knowing that this is a situation that affects many women (and men) makes it more horrifying.

Over My Shoulder is a captivating novel and one that I would highly recommend to all fans of psychological and domestic noir thrillers.

                                                    Author bio
Photo courtesy of Patricia Dixon

Patricia Dixon was born in Manchester where she still lives with her husband. They have two grown up children and one grandson, plus the company of a lazy bulldog. 

Ignoring her high school reports and possibly sound advice from teachers, Patricia shunned the world of academia and instead, stubbornly pursued a career in fashion. Once the sparkle of London life wore off she returned north and embarked on a new adventure, that of motherhood. 

Now, almost thirty years later she has acquiesced to the wise words of her elders and turned her hand to writing. Patricia has written five novels set in the Loire and then, in complete contrast, a much darker story of psychological suspense.

She is currently writing her next book, a murderous tale set in the sixties and if she’s not at her desk Patricia loves to read historical fiction or attempts recipes that look great on television but not necessarily her plate. And when the penny jar is full she cashes in her coins and heads to France, the lure of red wine and escapism equalled only by the pursuance of her dream job, writing for a living.

You can find out more about Patricia, her books and connect with her using the links below:


 You can follow the rest of the blog blitz with these wonderful blogs: