Our month of thrills and chills begins with Nia Liversuch’s review of Haunted Fields

Readers who are searching for a complex thriller with a heart should look no further than Dan Moore’s Haunted Fields. The novel is a gripping tale full of sharp twists and dramatic turns, leading the reader on a path that keeps them guessing until the end. Haunted Fields appeals to a range of readers; it contains an excellent mixture of murder mystery, heart warming romance, chilling ghost story and coming of age tale that blends into a fast-paced thriller that does not disappoint.


Haunted Fields follows Freddie, a disillusioned, rebellious teenager, as he hopes to find a place, and a family, in which he can belong. Unceremoniously sent to spend his summer of freedom at Ridge Farm by his father and his less than popular stepmother, Freddie learns a lot more than how to lift bales of hay. He enters a close-knit rural community who are all connected by a tragic past, and becomes embroiled in a dark secret that threatens to endanger Freddie and the families it involves. Freddie experiences life as an outsider in the isolated farming village, but eventually finds this position advantageous – can he shed light on the mystery that has haunted the villagers for generations?

The novel moves quickly, bringing in new elements to the mystery in every chapter, but this can sometimes cause some areas of the plot to not be explored as fully as they could be. However, the conclusion to the novel is strong; both a twist and a cliff-hanger, it jolts the reader and Freddie back to the reality of life outside Ridge Farm and leaves them wondering what will happen next. Engaging and intriguing to the final line, Haunted Fields is set to become a firm, pulse-racing favourite for any reader.


Haunted Fields can be purchased from our book store here: http://www.rowanvalebooks.com/books/hauntedfields.html

Q&A with Harvey Jones and a sneak peek at Hook Up sequel – Legacies

Hi, we are Jan and Sian, but you know us as Harvey Jones. We got together through the care system and became very good friends, and together we like nothing more than to take Connie, Jan’s dog, for walks along the Welsh coastline and then indulge in a hot frothy coffee.

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On outings we have met a variety of wonderful people and some really quirky characters, and have been asked a fair few questions which we shall try and answer here.

(1) How did you come up with the characters in your book?

Well, we wanted to try and give our readers  a chance to relate to each person in the book, so by having a large curvy woman – and an older woman at that – who is strong from all of her years of experience, we feel it gives the book a realistic look on life. The male lead is younger and we know some men do like the older woman. Tobias also has some unique fetishes which makes for an interesting journey for them both. We felt that we wanted to show that no matter what size, age, colour, gender or sexual preference, it’s acceptable to be just you – no labels. Also, we are not all rich (it would be nice if we were). We are just everyday normal people, so to see a gardener and his wife in a happy relationship with a few extra perks thrown in is just the norm , it’s just not talked about.

(2) Why no bad language or explicit sexual details?

Well do we need bad language all the time? We didn’t think so. We wanted to be different and see if we could forego the need to swear throughout the book; some stories require it but we thought we would try without. As for explicit sex scenes, I think it depends on the reader, some like it very X rated, some prefer it mild, we just tried to paint a picture in the reader’s mind without going overboard. Sometimes the imagination can fill in the images that we portray with the simplicity of words.

(3) What are your thoughts on relationships?

We think that if you are lucky enough to find that one person who is the other part of you then you should grab hold of them and love them with all that you are, be it male and female, male and male, female and female – it does not matter. We all have the right to love whoever we love without prejudice, life is far too short to worry over someone’s choice of partner – you should be more concerned over your own life. Be honest with yourself and your chosen love and live while you both can.

(4) What about swingers and bondage?

Whatever lifestyle you choose is fine. We all have different tastes or fetishes – from being tied up with silk ties to big thick ropes, from introducing a new person into the relationship to an orgy or just keeping it to yourselves – it’s not new, it’s been done for thousands of years, and as long as each person is  willing  and has consented and everyone is happy then so be it. It’s not hurting anyone if it’s their chosen way and again by being honest with your partner you are able to enjoy a few new experiences and enrich your lives.


(5) Is there a sequel to Hook Up?

Yes! Legacies is the sequel. It brings the story of Macy and Tobias to a close, it shows more relationships with different genders too. There is a civil wedding and a few other lifestyles along the way, and you also learn of Emma’s past and more about the hotel, so we hope people will enjoy it and hopefully see that we all live as we see fit for ourselves.

Here’s a sneak peek at the Legacies cover:


Thanks for reading – please leave a comment or your own question below!  #hookedonhookup

Winner Either Way – Guest post by Harvey Jones

Our journey so far has been quite exciting, from the book launch at the end  of June to now, when we saw our book being read on a plane and on a sun soaked beach in Zante, Greece.

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We are pleased with our many reviews – some fantastic ones, some not so good – but hey, we know we are not to everybody’s taste….what book is? Life would be very dull if each and everyone of us liked or disliked the same things in life.


I now fully understand why an author craves a review with mixed emotions because the feelings of pure joy and gratitude from a good review makes it all worth while, as does the opposite feeling of total hurt and self doubt floor you when someone tells you that you are ‘rubbish’. Well to every author out there, you are not rubbish, you’re a bloody star putting your name forward for critical comments, and believe me some people will try and knock you down, but just remember by the fact that they have done this they have actually bought and read your book, so either way you, the author, are the winner.


God bless all you out there who are struggling to put your words on to paper; just keep going, you are appreciated. I myself can’t wait to read new works so good luck to all.

And to all the great book readers out there, please take a moment to leave a few kind words about the book even if it was not quite your cup of tea. Happy reading everyone.


Hook Up is available for purchase at our official book store here: http://www.rowanvalebooks.com/books/hook.html


Luke Sutton on his childhood and not being afraid to start again

I grew up in a rural village on the eastern edge of Wales. It had one shop, which soon closed and a single bus which ran through it infrequently; and nowadays even more infrequently. There is a small church and a single pub, which has since burnt down never to be rebuilt.

My primary school had a thatched roof; I promise this is all in the twenty first century.

What this little village lacked in, well almost everything, it made up for in its rural beauty. For a child that is. From my bedroom window I used to cast my eyes over fields and at a brook that lay at the bottom of a valley; a natural division between two fields. More than that though, on one side of that brook lay Wales and on the other, England. For a short period at least the border between those two followed that brook.


As a child I often played in that brook, exploring, paddling, fishing, but those were rare days compared to the days when I used to play in the woods. This woods sat at the end of my street and all that could be seen was the lip of a hill in the gaping maw between two trees. And as soon as you bridged that lip you became immersed in the world around you. This lighting changed as a result of the dense foliage above, the colours changed, and the imagination takes hold. To know that you are out of adults gaze only helped my immersion as a child.

What was particularly special about this wood is that, during World War Two it was a base for American soldiers. So as my friends and I wandered through the trees and paths it was hard not to find ruins of this former camp. Many of the paths through the wood still follow the concreted paths of the camp. These ruins became reference points for us, places to meet, where specific play could happen, where memories were created. They became known as the pillars, the platform, the water tower, the marching ground, the building, the steps, the building, the rubble and more.


Needless to say I was very fortunate as a child to have such affordances near my home to be able to play in. I still have countless memories of days spent there, of stories to tell and secrets to keep. And on top of these playful memories imaginative narratives developed in my mind.

After changing the time on my watch to play out for longer and then pretend it was all the watch’s fault I would eventually return home. I would be scolded for returning late and would then begin to tell my family of these amazing adventures I had had. From dragons in towers to goblins emerging from the ground, to a shadowy figure hell-bent on capturing my friends and I.

My younger brother did not know what I was talking about and I knew better than to bore my father with such whimsical tales. So it fell to my mother to endure my stories. If my memory serves me right she endured them for a while, if only as background noise while she worked on the computer. But then the day came when she swatting at the fly continually buzzing in her ear.

She turned around in her chair and said with a sigh, “why don’t you write it down instead?”

So I did.

I wrote my stories down and found that rather than writing lots of stories down I focused on one and made it longer and longer. My early writings were riddled with plot holes, two-dimensional characters, and were mostly based on videogames I had played or other books I had ready. Over the years however my projects became based on my own ideas and evolved into a hobby as opposed to a playful pastime.

The Seventh Myth had a very poor and staggered beginning. Initially I drew a map (as I am very partial to a map) and after expanding on that map a few times decided to invent a story which could take place in this world I had sketched out. This initial concept was based on a village of elves. There was an evil king far away, hidden royalty, amazing powers, and a wise-cracking sidekick. It was enjoyable to write but then came the point when I realised I didn’t know what was going to happen next. Nothing I considered seemed good enough and I realised how weak everything I had written up to that point was.

Years later I came back to that map and began on a second idea. This too began in a secluded village of elves and had a similar structure. However this was based on a life cycle of elves I had created. This life cycle created the peril and the need to adventure. There was an omnipresent evil once more and two characters which constantly bickered. I did finish writing this novel however was all too aware of how rushed the final quarter of it was. I was too excited to finally kill of some characters that I rushed all the chapters leading up to that moment. And re-reading it I saw how poorly I had explained this life-cycle of elves and against scrapped that idea.

It was only in Marrakesh in 2013 that The Seventh Myth began. On my laptop I was tidying up old folders when I found three chapters of something entitled as “Book”. I had no recollection of writing this, and still don’t. These three chapters chronicled a tale of a young boy called Dustan who lived in a nomadic tribe which followed an ancient herd of Musk Ox.

Considering I had no memory of writing this I was pleased when it peaked my interest. Considering it was probably written when I was fourteen, a year when I wrote the first two or three chapters of around ten different ideas before getting bored of them, I found it a pleasurable read.

I decided to pursue the idea some more, and nine months later The Seventh Myth was finished.


The Seventh Myth: Book One is available to buy on our book store here: http://www.rowanvalebooks.com/books/seventh.html

Something New – Guest Post by John Davies

Write another blog they said, but I’ve written a few before

I can’t repeat the same things, the readers will think me a bore

Try to think of something new, something no one’s done

Write it all in rhyme then, that should be good fun

I’ve written songs and stories, many years ago

My first book was a bio, of a singing friend I know

My second was a journal, of a cycle trek round Wales

I still relate these stories, down the club over a couple of ales

I’ve played guitar in many bands, love music of every kind

I always have some lyrics, or limericks on my mind

Then our son got married, to our lovely daughter-in-law

They had the most beautiful daughter, that I think I ever saw

It was then that I decided, that however long it took

I’d write for my grandaughter, a little rhyming book

The photo of a tractor, I found though never sought

Trevor is what I called it, after giving it some thought

No sooner was that finished, then another was on the way

A second baby daughter, was born on a sunny day

This meant that poor old Bampa, had to look by hook and by crook

For lots of new ideas, to write another book

Something Welsh I wanted, some animal like a cat?


A dragon from Snowdonia, no more Welsh than that

Darren the Dragon came to life, after thinking for a time

A lovely little picture book, with words in a lilting rhyme

Such joy it brought that people said, ‘Why don’t you write some more?’draaken

A friendly dragon was the theme, the writing was no chore

Darren and the Draaken, has swiftly come and gone

This brings us to the new book, the one this blog is on

Darren’s new adventure, has Derwyn as his friend

Working well together, towards a happy end

This is not the last of them, there will be six all told

I hope you will enjoy them, whether you’re young or old


All three of the Darren books are available in paperback at £4.99 each and can be purchased here:




The Key to Writing is Reading.

Over the years, many have searched for the ‘best’ creative writing tip out there. The fact is that one of the most important tips has no direct link to writing. You may have heard this advice before, but that does not necessarily mean you don’t need to hear it again: READING is the single most important skill that aspiring writers need to hone in order to write better. Read until your brain is filled, then read some more.

Writer William Faulkner knew the importance of reading in writing, saying, ‘Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.’


Devour every book within your reach, then move within reach of more books. Hunt down and explore new, unfamiliar genres. Haunt libraries. Allow the words to seep into your soul. Ask friends for book recommendations. Check out second hand bookshops and see what’s on sale near you. Read reviews online to see what new novels you may enjoy. Try delving into non-fiction as basic inspiration for fiction. Join a book club and really throw yourself into analysing the chosen novel. Mix things up a bit! Ask your grandparents what their favourite books are of all time, then see if you agree. Force yourself to study self-editing tips and tricks to truly make an effort to understand grammar and the nuances of the English language. Note down what you like and dislike about each author’s style in the books you read. How are the characters fleshed out in a novel? What elements come together to make a good plot? Read interviews of your favourite authors — what do they have to say about finding inspiration and their writing process? Learn from the masters!

As author Stephen King (you may have heard of him!) once said:
‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.’

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So, which book is your favourite of all time? What in particular do you love about it? What elements of this book – stylistic or otherwise – have you taken as inspiration for your own writing? Drop us a quick comment below – we’d love to hear from you!

Bandits, Bank Robbers & Three Smoking Hot Bananas – Review by Frances Turpin

Despite the warning in the prologue of “the more debase outbursts of the human body” being featured (and certainly judging by the detailed descriptions you’ll be pleased this book isn’t scratch and sniff!), BB&THSB has a certain sophisticated humour that will appeal to kids and their older siblings/parents alike.

With caricature characters along the lines of Roald Dahl and David Walliams, and interspersed with illustrations as detailed as the narrative, reading about Moan-and-Groan-Upon-the-Sea and its inhabitants feels like a hyper-realised visit to every small town in Britain. Albert Grunge is an anti-hero with a grudge with plans of revenge against the town that wronged him that you can get behind despite his general appearance, attitude, personality and, by all accounts, scent. His bumbling nephews Tag and Cal prove themselves to be prototype comic sidekicks-slash-motor vehicle geniuses (sort of…), who inspire Albert on his journey to right the wrongs of the past.

Easy to read but with a fun and complex enough storyline to keep you gripped until the bitter, car-chasing end, this will be a perfect summer read to inspire many games of banana-bank-robbery come September.

To purchase a copy of Bandits, Bank Robbers & Three Smoking Hot Bananas in both eBook and paperback formats, visit http://www.rowanvalebooks.com/books/bandits.html.

Capturing emotion on the page

Emotion is an integral part of writing. If the emotion isn’t there in the text – be it the author’s emotion, the character’s emotion, or an emotion which readers can connect with – then the words are likely to be left dead on the page, a disembodied fragment soon to be forgotten about.

With this in mind, it is vital that writers can create a text which will strike a chord with themselves or readers (or both) by being sure to write emotively.

Some writers find this comes naturally to them; others may struggle a little more to weave emotion into their writing. Either way, we can all use a little help in our writing. We all struggle finding inspiration and motivation sometimes. These prompts are brought together with a goal of helping writers find that spark of emotion and incorporate it in their work. Feel free to comment with an example of your writing exercise or, if you prefer, keep it for your own reference.

1) Loss. Write about something or someone you’ve loved and lost.

2) Happiness. Write about the kind that splits your face in two with a smile that you can’t hope to hide, the kind that makes your heart fill up until it might burst from your chest, the kind that is impossible to ignore.

3) Depression – either clinical or otherwise. Write about a time when you felt so hopeless and despondent that you could barely function.

4) Lust. Write about a time you lusted for something or someone so badly that you lost control, until it became your obsession.

5) Love – quite different from lust. Try writing about a time when you felt a love for somebody or something, when the passion filled you up until you wanted to share it with the whole world.

6) Exhaustion. Write about a time when you felt exhausted with the world, tired of someone, drained by a situation.

7) Stress. Tell us about a time you felt so overwhelmed by stress that you felt you couldn’t cope. How did you overcome this? Or are you still struggling?

8) Anger. Where you ever so angry that it blinded your judgement? Write about that.

9) Irritation. Everyone has a person, object or situation that drives them crazy. Write about yours.

10) Inspiration. Write about a time when you felt so inspired by something that you had to act upon it. Remember how it felt, how you reacted to this feeling.

Derek Smith on his childhood and the reasons behind his writing

My name is Derek Smith, author of  The Curse of Morton Farmhouse. I was born in a tiny thatched cottage in a large village on the edge of Salisbury plain army ranges. I was the third son of a farm labourer — though later, two sisters followed. The village was self-contained with three shops, a post office, a butcher, a baker, a blacksmiths, two pubs, a garage, two building companies, a second-hand furniture shop, a church, a village hall and a funeral directors. There was no need to go outside the village for any shopping and, as a farming community, the majority of the villagers seldom ventured outside the parish.


We were a close-knit community; everybody knew each other and we would share everything with each other. For example, during the hot summers I would sometimes share a homemade penny ice lolly with my friend, taking it in turns to have a lick. I attended a Church of England school from the age of five until I was fifteen. There were only three teachers who taught most subjects at different levels: infant, junior and senior. I remember my headmaster, who was also the senior teacher, saying, ‘If you are able to read, write and add up, the world is your oyster. With these basics you can learn anything.’

I had a very happy childhood. My dad was a Romany and his parents also lived in the same village. Despite this slightly unusual heritage we were generally made feel part of the community. We never went on holiday, but then again nor did most of the other residents. Summer school holidays were spent on the farms, riding the corn wagons and catching rabbits as they tried to make a bolt away from the binder as it cut through the corn. This was a little dangerous as we all carried knobby sticks on these ventures and sometimes we all went after the same rabbit… Can you imagine little boys flailing sticks everywhere?


Anyway, without making this into another book, I would like to tell you that the books I write are not in the hope of fame or fortune; some of the happiest times in my life came from having no material things and no money. I loved sharing what we had and still try to share to this day, as Father always said one gets more pleasure in giving than receiving. And so, my aim in writing these books is that hopefully readers will get pleasure reading them and that I cover my costs. Beyond that, it will be my pleasure to share any profits with those in need. I hope you enjoy the books as much as I have writing them — don’t forget that reading, writing and arithmetic are your keys to the world.