Saturday, 14 July 2018

WRITING WORKSHOP AT GEDLING


I'll be in Gedling next Saturday to do my horror writing workshop for children. Start time 1pm-2.30pm. Bring paper and pens! 

Copies of ZENA THE ZOMBIE will also be on sale. As will my latest novel JINX BOUND. Other titles will be available too. 

So come and see me!


Tuesday, 3 April 2018

EM-CON NOTTINGHAM HERE WE COME

Pleased to say we'll be returning to Em-Con Nottingham this year!

Here's the details:

EM-CON, NOTTINGHAM  5th-6th May 2018

Sam Stone and David J Howe join the line-up of guests and this ever popular event. Copies of all of their latest titles will be available to purchase at the event, including Sam's new title POSING FOR PICASSO, published by Wordfire Press, and the regular edition of  the Doctor Who spin-off THE DÆMONSOF DEVIL'S END novelisation.

Date:Sunday 5-6th May 2018
Address: Motorpoint Arena Nottingham, Bolero Square, The Lace Market, Stoney St,
Nottingham, NG1 1LA
Time: 10am - 6pm

For Further Information:  Em-Con Nottingham

Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Music of Words

When I was a child, about 8 years old, I was given extra reading classes at school. My teacher thought I couldn't read. The truth was, I didn't enjoy reading out loud. I wanted to keep the stories I was reading inside my head because when I did they lived. I'd invent dialogues in my imagination with characters, always with the right inflection that each of them had: their own soulful vocals would lend themselves to reveal their true nature.

I have always loved words - ever since I learnt to read. I wanted to absorb them. Feel them. Taste and smell them.  I wanted to hear them. Above all I wanted to hog them privately to myself - because that is the beauty of reading. It is a secret and personal joy. It is a lovely and amazing pastime. For a short time a story is yours and yours alone as you connect with it. This is why words are powerful, intimate, magical, poetic and incredibly musical.

When I'm working on a book or story I often think of music (my other passion). To me words are chords and notes. They are the beats that move a story in a certain rhythm. They flow with the energy of music and have their own melody. Writers, like musicians, can hear this flow and then they write the story that comes from their hearts. The story that just has to be told can then be shared.

Some of the greatest works out there have music in them. I refer to writers such as Tanith Lee - sadly missed - she was one of the greatest word musicians in the world.

Maybe you already understand what I mean about music in words ...?

We recognise the rhythm as poetry, poetic prose, a narrative voice: that is the skill of the writer. We label it as verbs, nouns, adjectives, similes and metaphors. It speaks in onomatopoeic tones, and personifies inanimate objects.

And what I feel about this is, that anyone can learn to write if they choose to, but not everyone can hear the music of words. Perhaps the tune is not always to their taste, or is discordant. Whatever it is, when the music is missing the rhythm just isn't there and can't be felt.

So when you are reading something new - perhaps if I'm lucky it will be one of my titles - look out for the music. It might be in the roll of the sea, the caw of a bird flying over a barren wasteland, or maybe it will be the cut-off cry of a victim silenced in the night.



Saturday, 3 February 2018

GUEST BLOG - CHARLOTTE BOND




The Power and Lessons of Fear
by Charlotte Bond


Having kids can be a learning curve. For example, I never realised just how lucky I was to be able to sleep in until 10am every weekend. Before kids, I never really appreciated just how luxurious it can be to go to the toilet without an audience.

But being around kids – whether your own or other peoples’ – can make you look at mundane matters in a whole different light. They ask questions about the perfectly normal, but an answer of “just because” is not sufficient. You have to break down mundane matters to a level that they can understand and which you’ve never thought of before.

I have a regular horror movie evening with a female friend every couple of months. I mentioned this when walking home with my daughter and her friend, and her friend asked me: “Why do people watch horror movies?”

Without really thinking, I answered: “Because people like being scared.”

“Why? I don’t like being scared.”

And there he had me – why do we watch horror movies? Why do we enjoy being scared as adults, when it’s the worst possible experience to have as a child? It took a moment of thinking, but the answer I came up with was: because horror movies are safe, and because we learn from them. And then, because he was five, he asked me a question about something completely different.

Horror movies are just the latest extension of an age-old tradition of storytelling. Before we had written words, people used to gather around the fire and tell stories. Stories in those days had a purpose: to educate as much as entertain. This is perfectly illustrated with fairy tales, which are still around today. Fairy tales are stories with a moral message. What that message might be has been changed or interpreted differently over time. One of my favourite fairy tales is that of Little Red Riding Hood which is constantly being re-examined for both obvious and hidden meanings ranging from “don’t stray from the path” to an allegorical tale of a woman’s growing sexual awareness.

To quote the exceptional Roald Dahl, fairy tales today are very “soft and sappy”. As Dahl so accurately points out in his Revolting Rhymes book, fairy tales used to be filled with far more gore and terror than they are now. For example, the original tale of Rapunzel, as collected by the Grimm brothers, didn’t have Rapunzel being a witless dolt and saying to her captor: “Oh my, you weigh so much more than my fair prince!” What actually gave away their liaison was the fact that she fell pregnant with twins and her clothes stopped fitting as her belly grew. While these details were included in the first edition of the Grimms’ work, it was changed by the second edition when the Grimms decided that pre-marital pregnancy was too immoral for their audience.

One thing the brothers did keep in the stories however was the part about the prince falling down from the tower and being blinded when he fell into a rose bush. It is interesting to note that sex outside of marriage was seen as objectionable, while blinding someone or pushing an old woman into an oven was seen as acceptably necessary to the moral lesson. I have seen some modern children’s retellings retain the subplot of the prince being blinded, but it’s certainly not something that you would find in, for example, Disney’s “Tangled.”

An adult’s love for horror stories – whether in book or movie format – can grow out of a love of fairy tales, as there are many similar elements in evidence. There is gore. There are definite good guys and bad guys. Luck can play a strong role. And there’s always a moral message whether that’s something as simple as “don’t go into the cellar when you hear weird sounds” or something greater like “don’t fiddle with DNA and try to play God or your creation will try to eat you.”

In many modern horror movies and novels, we live vicariously through an experience and come out the wiser for it. We enjoy watching or reading about other people getting stalked by the monster because we learn what not to do in the same situation. At the same time, the story also validates the lessons we already know from the fairy tales of old: for goodness sake, Natalie Dormer, don’t go off the path in the suicide forest when you’ve been told not to and your sister is missing. We all know that you shouldn’t do something that stupid, and we enjoy being proved right, even as we root for Natalie to get out of it alive.

There are societal judgments involved in horror movies as well, some of which are receiving a backlash. The most notable one is the sexual transgression: you can pretty much guarantee that anyone who has sex in a horror movie is next in line for killing – we’re right back to Rapunzel’s pregnancy again. Whether it’s horror stories or fairy tales, you can’t have a woman survive and be the heroine if she’s had non-marital sex at any point in the narrative.

Horror stories, whether in the form of movies or books, fills a hole in our psyche. We want to be aware of the dangers in life – both real and imagined – and know how best to deal with them should we ever encounter them. We like to see others triumph, and watch while those we deem unworthy fall prey to whatever is hunting them. Horror is validating, it’s educational, it’s been around a very long time and, most likely, is here to stay.

About Charlotte Bond

Charlotte Bond is an author, ghostwriter, freelance editor, reviewer and podcaster. Under her own name she has written within the genres of horror and dark fantasy. As a ghostwriter, she's tackled everything from romance to cozy mystery stories and YA novels. She is a reviewer for the Ginger Nuts of Horror website, as well as the British Fantasy Society. She is a co-host of the podcast, Breaking the Glass Slipper.

Click to purchase her latest novel MONSTROUS  

To discover more about Charlotte Bond:

Visit Charlotte's: 


Monday, 29 January 2018

And Finally on The Daemons Tour ...

WHOOVERS MEET UP, DERBY, Friday 2nd February, 2017

Join Damaris Hayman, Keith Barnfather and some of the authors of THE DÆMONSOF DEVIL'S END Novelisation and screenplay.

With Sam Stone, David J Howe, Jan Edwards, Raven Dane and Debbie Bennett TBC

Date: Friday 2nd February 2018
Address:  The VoiceBox, Forman Street, Derby, DE1 1JQ
Time: 7.30pm

Monday, 15 January 2018

Hold onto your Christmas Vouchers

We'll be at ...

WATERSTONES, Birmingham Saturday 20th January 2018

Some of the authors of this amazing Doctor Who Spin off, will be in store to sign and promote THE DÆMONSOF DEVIL'S END Novelisation. This is a ticketed event with a talk and Q & A.

For further information and to book please contact Waterstones Birmingham 0121 633 4353.

Join Sam Stone, David J Howe, Debbie Bennett, Jan Edwards and Raven Dane

Date: Saturday 20th January 2018
Address:Waterstones Birmingham, 24-26 High St, Birmingham B4 7SL
Time: 6.30pm

Monday, 4 December 2017

LINCOLN THIS WEEK!!

WATERSTONES, Lincoln- Thursday 7th December 2017

Some of the authors of this amazing Doctor Who Spin off, will be in store to sign and promote THE DÆMONSOF DEVIL'S END Novelisation.

Join Sam Stone, David J Howe and Raven Dan

Date: Thurday 7th December 2017
Address:Waterstones Lincoln, 297A High Street, Lincoln, LN2 1AF
Time: 5.30-6.30pm

Monday, 20 November 2017

MORE CHANCES TO MEET THE WRITERS

TWO CHANCES THIS WEEKEND TO MEET WITH SOME OF THE WRITERS OF THE DOCTOR WHO SPIN OFF THE DAEMONS OF DEVIL'S END.
WATERSTONES, Peterborough, Saturday 25th November 2017

Some of the authors of this amazing Doctor Who Spin off, will be in store at Peterbrough Waterstones to sign and promote THE DÆMONSOF DEVIL'S END Novelisation.

Join Sam Stone, David J Howe and  Raven Dane

Date: 25th November 2017
Address: Waterstones, 38-40 Bridge St, Peterborough PE1 1DT
Time: 12-4pm

WATERSTONES, Arndale Centre, Manchester, Sunday 26th November 2017.

Some of the authors of this amazing Doctor Who Spin off, will be in store to sign and promote THE DÆMONS OF DEVIL'S END Novelisation.

Join Sam Stone, David J Howe, Raven Dane, Jan Edwards and Debbie Bennett.

Date: 26th November 2017
Address: Manchester Arndale Shopping Centre, Market St, Manchester M4 3AQ
Time: 2-4pm

Monday, 13 November 2017

Book Tour Continues ...

MEET DAMARIS HAYMAN, KEITH BARNFATHER AND THE WRITERS OF  
THE DAEMONS OF DEVIL'S END.

THE WHO SHOP, Saturday 18th November 2017 
 
Some of the authors of this amazing Doctor Who Spin off, will be in store to sign and promote THE DÆMONSOF DEVIL'S END Novelisation and DVD with actress Damaris Hayman, Richard Franklin and David Simeon.

Join Sam Stone, David J Howe, Raven Dane, Debbie Bennett, Suzanne Barbieri and Jan Edwards.

Date: Saturday 18th November 2017
Address: The Who Shop, 39-41 Barking Road, Upton Park,London. E6 1PY
Time: 1-3pm
  

Monday, 6 November 2017

Coming this week ...

THE DÆMONS OF DEVIL’S END TOUR BEGINS ...

Join the writers ...

FORBIDDEN PLANET, London, 10th November 2017.

MEET THE WRITERS!
Join: Suzanne Barbieri, Raven Dane, Jan Edwards, Debbie Bennett, Sam Stone and David J Howe for the first date on THE DÆMONS OF DEVIL’S END novelisation, book signing tour.

Date: Friday 10th November
Address:
Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8JR
Time: 5-6pm


GALAXY FOUR, Sheffield, 11th November 2017.

MEET THE ACTRESS, DIRECTOR AND THE WRITERS!!


Sam Stone, David J Howe, Raven Dane and Debbie Bennett, join Director Keith Barnfather and Damaris Hayman at Galaxy Four in Sheffield to launch the DVD and Book Novelisation of THE DÆMONS OF DEVIL’S END.
 
Date: 11TH November
Address:
Galaxy Four, 493 Glossop Road, Broomhill, Sheffield, S10 2QE
Time:12-3pm


Sunday, 22 October 2017

POSING FOR PICASSO NEWS

I'm delighted to reveal the cover for my forthcoming title POSING FOR PICASSO.

Above with a quote from crime writer Mike Ripley. Artwork by the amazing Marcela Bolivar. This supernatural thriller will be published on 10th January 2018 with Wordfire Press.

POSING FOR PICASSO

It was Annabel, and something was wrong with the features … He thought he saw a triangle, not an irregular jigsaw shape after all. And it was missing from her face. As if a sharp pastry cutter mould had been stamped through her skull.

When Detective Jake Chandler is called in to investigate a murder, nothing can prepare him for the gruesome sight of Annabel Linton …

Annabel was his model for Russian artist Avgustin Juniper who finds himself in the centre of the investigation … but he had no motive.

Criminal attorney Cassandra Moúsa sees this a her next big case will stop at nothing to prove her client’s innocence.

But as more of Juniper’s models die, Chandler’s investigation leads him to four beautiful, unique women and the lost diaries of Pablo Picasso.

Something wants to return … and Chandler has to stop it.


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Changes to events

There has been a few changes to our appearances since I last posted - so here is the updated list:


COVENTRYCOMIC CON, Coventry, 1st October 2017.

Sam Stone and David J Howe will be attending this new event in Coventry.

For Further Information COVENTRY COMIC CON

Date: 1st October 2017
Address: Main Hall, Sports Connexion, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry CV8 3FL
Time: 10-5PM


SFW IN THE CITY, Sheffield, 7-8TH October 2017.


Sam Stone and David J Howe will be running Author Central at this new SFW event. Join Chic Festivals, Telos Publishing and Area 51 with media and author guests, live music and more.

Date: 7-8 October 2017
Address: 37-43 Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2PN
Time: ALL WEEKEND

For more information visit SFWINTHECITY
 
GALAXY FOUR, Sheffield, 11th November 2017.

Sam Stone and David J Howe join Keith Barnfather and Damaris Hayman at Galaxy Four in Sheffield to launch the DVD of DEAMONS OF DEVILS END. 

 
Date: 11TH November
Address:
Galaxy Four, 493 Glossop Road, Broomhill, Sheffield, S10 2QE
Time:TBC


More Info: HERE

GALLIFREY ONE, Los Angeles, USA, 16-18 Feb 2018.

Sam Stone and David J Howe, join the line-up of excellent guests at this ever popular Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles.

Date: 16-18 Feb 2018
Address, Los Angeles Airport Marritot, 5855 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA
Time: ALL WEEKEND.  

PENSACON, Pensacola, USA, 23-25th Feb 2018

Sam Stone and David J Howe join the line-up of guests at this thriving Pensacola show.

Date: 23-25th February 2018
Address: Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E Gregory St, Pensacola, FL 32502
Time: All Weekend

For further information HERE

SFW 9, Pwllheli, North Wales, 22-25 March 2018



Sam Stone and David J Howe run Author Central in Spaceport at this event. Please join Chic Festivals, Telos Publishing and Area 51 with a host of Media and author guests at the Hafan Y Mor Holiday camp in North Wales. This is a long weekend of Panels, Talks, Music, entertainment, cosplay and more.


Date: 22-25 March 2018
Address: Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park, Pwllheli LL53 6HX
Time: ALL WEEKEND 

For more information visit SFW9

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Forthcoming Appearances

WHOOVERVILLE 9, Derby, 2 Sep 2017

Sam Stone and David J Howe join the list of fantastic guests at this ever popular event.

Date: Saturday 2nd September 2017
Address:
QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby, DE1 3AS
Time: 10am - 5pm

For more information HERE

COVENTRYCOMIC CON, Coventry, 1st October 2017.

Sam Stone and David J Howe will be attending this new event in Coventry.

For Further Information COVENTRY COMIC CON

Date: 1st October 2017
Address: Main Hall, Sports Connexion, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry CV8 3FL
Time: 10-5PM


SFW IN THE CITY, SHEFFIELD, 7 & 8 October 2017

Sam Stone and David J Howe will be running Author Central at this new SFW event. Join Chic Festivals, Telos Publishing and Area 51 with media and author guests, live music and more.

Date: 7-8 October 2017
Address: 37-43 Arundel Gate, Sheffield S1 2PN
Time: ALL WEEKEND

For more information visit SFWINTHECITY

GALLIFREY ONE, Los Angeles, USA, 16-18 Feb 2018.

Sam Stone and David J Howe, join the line-up of excellent guests at this ever popular Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles.

Date: 16-18 Feb 2018
Address, Los Angeles Airport Marritot, 5855 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA
Time: ALL WEEKEND.  

PENSACON, Pensacola, USA, 23-25th Feb 2018

Sam Stone and David J Howe join the line-up of guests at this thriving Pensacola show.

Date: 23-25th February 2018
Address: Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E Gregory St, Pensacola, FL 32502
Time: All Weekend

For further information HERE

SFW 9, Pwllheli, North Wales, 22-25 March 2018



Sam Stone and David J Howe run Author Central in Spaceport at this event. Please join Chic Festivals, Telos Publishing and Area 51 with a host of Media and author guests at the Hafan Y Mor Holiday camp in North Wales. This is a long weekend of Panels, Talks, Music, entertainment, cosplay and more.


Date: 22-25 March 2018
Address: Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park, Pwllheli LL53 6HX
Time: ALL WEEKEND 

For more information visit SFW9

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Jan Edwards Blog Tour


Jan Edwards is a Sussex-born writer now living in the West Midlands with her husband and obligatory cats. She was a Master Locksmith for 20 years but also tried her hand at bookselling, microfiche photography, livery stable work, motorcycle sales and market gardening. She is a practising Reiki Master. She won a Winchester Slim Volume prize and her short fiction can be found in crime, horror and fantasy anthologies in UK, US and Europe; including The Mammoth Book of Dracula and The Mammoth Book of Moriarty. Jan edits anthologies for The Alchemy Press and Fox Spirit Press, and has written for Dr Who spinoffs with Reel Time Pictures. 
 

I asked her about the inspiration behind her new crime novel ... 


Winter Downs - Jan Edwards

Winter Downs grew out of a deep affection for the South Downs, and of Sussex in particular. My parents were from Wales and Northumberland but Sussex was the area that I grew up in, on the cusp between the Sussex Weald and the Downs themselves. Perhaps the very fact that I was something of an outsider in a close knit community allowed me to view the place and the people with a dispassionate eye; even though I may not have realised it at the time.

In sketching out a setting for Bunch Courtney to dive into with her amateur sleuthing I deliberately failed to name any specific village. In a city such as London or Manchester a writer can get away with any fiction they choose because no matter how accurately the streets are drawn there will always be a level of anonymity. This is something far harder to do with a small hamlet. Claim that the Squire of "Upper Bottomley" was a total blaggard and the descendants of the genuine squire tend to get upset. I do pinpoint a few local towns to lend a sense of place.

My father's sister lived and worked on a farm on Devil's Dyke, just above Brighton, and I was deeply interested from a very young age by the folklore attached to that particular spot. There are places along the Weald and Downs that have tales of ancient belief firmly attached.  The tree rings of both Chanctonbury and Sissbury hills for example, or St Leonards Forest where the last dragon in England was officially reported to have been killed as recently as 1614. Sussex is rich in dragon lore and even has its very own variety of water dragon called Knuckers.
 
There are almost as many recent myths and legends lurking in the vicinity. Many are attached to the most beautiful of counties.  Dark legends such as  John George Haigh, the Acid Bath Murderer;  Christiana Edmunds, the Chocolate Cream Poisoner or the as yet unsolved Brighton Trunk murders. And of course the fishing villages of the Sussex coast have been as rife with smugglers as any Cornish cove.

I was (and still am) an avid listener, and when the adults talked, regaling each other with details of local gossip, I listened.  Some of the talk was dark and much was not,  but all made for excellent background material that I can always draw on for local colour. Stories such as the vicious bull who wore an iron mask to prevent him charging anything that moved using his senses of scent and sound to follow my aunt across a field. Or the darker report of the local lad who almost blew his hands off making home made bombs to go fishing in the River Arun. 

Added to these old tales of course was the spectre of the WW2. With occupied France jus a matter of fifty or so miles across the English Channel tales of that era were often to be heard at social gatherings and those, along with the remnants of pill boxes and bunkers as well as hastily built air strips. The War Department began requisitioning large country houses in 1939. Some as schools and others as rehabilitation centres or just plain military billets. Not all of them survived that allied occupation. Shillinglee Park in Sussex was famously burned to the ground by Canadian soldiers living there - allegedly after a riotous party if local rumour was to be believed twenty years after the event. Shillinglee was rebuilt, but a similar the ruins of  Appeldurcombe on the Isle of Wight, which  suffered a similar fate can still be seen.

All of these things had an impact on me and when writing Winter Downs I brought together the notions of requisitioned houses and a country waiting and watching for the enemy to strike from across the water, and adding the joys of heavy snow to hamper movements and smother potential evidence, went a long way to weaving an everyday tale of murderous Sussex folk! 

Winter Downs is just the first in the series with two more roughed out and ideas for many more. This will not be the last you hear of Bunch Courtney and her nemesis Chief Inspector Wright.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WINTER DOWNS.

3rd June 2017 | Penkhull Press
ISBN 978-0-9930008-6-7
Paperback £9.99  | ebook £2.99 tbc           
                                   
In January of 1940 a small rural community on the Sussex Downs, already preparing for invasion from across the Channel, finds itself deep in the grip of a snowy landscape, with an ice-cold killer on the loose.

Bunch Courtney stumbles upon the body of Jonathan Frampton in a woodland clearing. Is this a case of suicide, or is it murder? Bunch is determined to discover the truth but can she persuade the dour Chief Inspector Wright to take her seriously?

Winter Downs is first in the Bunch Courtney Investigates series.
Available in paper and e formats (after 3rd June) HERE.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Cancer Prevention Surgery

After being under the hospital for over a year now, and after going through two mammograms, a biopsy, the draining of cysts, and various other scares, I can no longer put myself through this stress.
Therefore I'll be going into hospital at the end of June to have risk reducing surgery in the form of a double mastectomy and reconstruction.

Naturally, this was not a decision I took lightly.

My sister Sharna is recovering from breast cancer and we have lost a niece and, possibly, our grandmother to the disease. On top of that my nephew has recently survived Lung cancer. There have been various other family members diagnosed over the last few years too. As a result, my family have been diagnosed as high risk.


I am incredibly grateful to the NHS hospital who is dealing with this and for the amazing support from the Macmillian nursing team. They have been there for us every step of the way and have helped me make an informed decision that I know is the right one for me.





Fear Magazine

This week sees the publication of issue 41 of Fear Magazine with a six page interview with me. Find out what I'm up to at the moment.

Buy your copy here

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Appearances - Up to Date

ASYLUM, LINCOLN, 26-29th August 2016
Sam Stone, David Howe, and Raven Dane attend this wonderful Steampunk event of the year!

Specific events and places we'll be ...

Saturday - 1-2pm Telos Publishing with Sam Stone, Raven Dane and David J Howe - MEET AND MERCH in the castle! 

Sunday August  - We'll be trading in Cathedral Centre - which is open to the public and we will also be doing a panel SAM STONE AND FRIENDS there at 4-4.45pm.

Time: ALL Weekend
Address: Lincoln Town Centre, Various
Date:26th-29th August 2016

For more information and to book: Asylum



WHOOVERVILLE 8, 3rd Sept, Derby
Sam Stone and David J Howe join the guests at this super one day event in Derby.

Time: 10am-5pm
Address: Derby QUAD, Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby DE1 3AS
Date: 3rd September 2016 

For more information Whooverville 

UK BOOK FESTIVAL, XXII, Nottingham, 1 Oct 2016
Sam Stone and David Howe will be attending this great Nottingham event. LEARN TO WRITE HORROR with Sam, in an interactive writing workshop (Please Bring Pad and Pen). And Join David as he talks about the history of Doctor Who's Target Books and the amazing art that became iconic.

Time: 10am-4pm
Address: County Hall, Loughborough Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 7QP
Date: 1st October 2016

For More Information visit New Writers Uk  New Writers Uk


DIMENSIONS, Newcastle, 7-9th October 2016
Sam Stone, David J Howe and Frazer Hines join the impressive line up of guests in this year's exciting Dimensions Doctor Who convention.

Time: All Weekend
Address: The Copthorne Hotel, The Close, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 3RT, Tel: 0191 222 0333.
Date: Fri7- Sun 9th Oct 2016
 

LONG ISLAND WHO, Long Island, New York, USA, 11-13 Nov 2016
Sam Stone, David J Howe and Frazer Hines are delighted to be returning to 'Long Island Iced Tea' Convention at  Hyatt Regency, Long Island. There will be more Match Game and great panels at this ever growing event as it takes place for the fourth year running.

Time: ALL WEEKEND
Address: Hyatt Regency Long Island,1717 Moter Parkway, Hauppauge, New York, USA, 11788
Date: 11-13 November 2016 


GALLIFREY ONE, LA, USA, 17-19th Feb 2017
Sam Stone, David Howe and Frazer Hines join the line up guests at the fabulous Gallifrey Convention in Los Angeles. 

Time: All Weekend
Address: LAX Marriott, Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Date: 17th-19th February 2017    


SCI-FI WEEKENDER 8. Pwllheli, 30th MArch -2nd April 2017
Sam Stone, David J Howe and Linzi Gold will be returning to this fabulous event of the year in North Wales. 

Join them and James Marster, Frazer Hines, Paul McGann, Daphne Ashbrook, Wendy Padbury, Gareth David-Lloyd, Freda Warrington, Phil Ford, Jenny T Colgan, and many more guests.

Time: All Weekend
Address: Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, North Wales, LL53 6HJ
Date: 30th MArch-2nd April 2017

INFINITY 7 - RUGBY SCI-FI, Rugby, 20th May 2017
Sam Stone and David J Howe will be attending this exciting Infinity 7 Events in Rugby, Sam will be presenting one of her writing workshops, and if you wish to attend this please bring a pad and pen! David and Sam will also give a talk on writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

For Further Information RUGBY SCIFI

Time: TBA
Address: The Benn Hall, Newbold Road, Rugby, CV21 2LN  
Date: Saturday 20th May 2017 

Monday, 11 July 2016

THIS SATURDAY I'LL BE AT ...

LINDUM BOOKS, Lincoln, Sat 16th July 2016
Sam Stone and David Howe are thrilled to be will be signing copies of their new titles at Lindum Bookshop in Lincoln. Copies of JADED JEWEL, JINX MAGIC and THE TARGET BOOK as well as Sam's other titles will be on sale prior to, and during, the event.

Time: 12-2pm
Address: Lindum Books, 4 Bailgate, Lincoln LN1 3AE
Date: Sat 16th July 2016

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Food Review: Cafe Zoot

I'm a bit of a foodie these days and so I thought I might start to put up my thoughts about local restaurants in the area.

First off :

CAFE ZOOT, Bailgate, Lincoln.

David and I have eaten at Cafe Zoot quite a few times in the past. We've even taken friends there and my overall perception of the place is that it is an efficiently run restaurant with very pleasant surroundings. Comfortable seating with some intimate areas as well as front of the house tables.

I have mostly sat at the back part of the restaurant (which I prefer because it is more intimate) or once or twice we've been upstairs.

We haven't eaten there for a while, but today, as a treat because I'd just finished writing POSING FOR PICASSO - my fifteenth novel - David took me into Lincoln and our first choice of eating place was Cafe Zoot.

There are many really good restaurants in Lincoln that I'll discuss another time but for lunch this one is not the cheapest, is slightly upmarket, and food tends to be more Noveau Cuisine.

We decided we'd have a more substantial lunch than we usually do. I often opt for a Jacket Potato at some restaurants and cafes when I'm trying to take the healthy option - but Cafe Zoot doesn't have those on the menu - so we both went for Blue Cheese Mushrooms to start. David chose Chicken Supreme as his main and I opted for Calamari Salad.

STARTER Blue Cheese Mushrooms £5.25. 

Presentation

It wasn't what we were expecting to be honest as I had perhaps thought the mushrooms would be stuffed with blue cheese in bread crumbs and the sauce around them or separate for dipping.

What arrived was mushrooms sauted in a blue cheese and walnut sauce, and it came is a wide brimmed bowl that had a very small, shallow bowl area. Also with this was a piece of bread which could have been wholegrain and was possibly homemade.

Presentation mostly relied on the white bowl - not really anything more than a dish of mushrooms in a brownish sauce really. But it did look tasy anyway. David remarked afterwards that blue cheese crumbled on the top might have enhanced the look of this dish.

Flavour

The bread alone tasted a little stale - but I'm not a lover of hardish breads so I'm assuming it was meant to be that way. I had to ask for butter as they didn't automatically bring it. With butter the bread was better and easier to eat.

The mushrooms themselves were very tasty. I could taste the blue cheese in the sauce. Thought it was rather salty, but nicely flavoured. I ate it all quickly. The bread and butter did compliment this wet dish in the end too.

Portion Size

Small portion as my 'Noveau Cuisine' comment above suggests. Could have eaten much more of it. But knowing I had a main coming I didn't worry too much or think this was a problem. (Best to have less and leave you wanting more, I think!) So satisfactory portion size.

Service Between Courses/ Staff Attentiveness

Service was fairly quick and we didn't have to wait too long for the mains which they brought together. We were asked if we had enjoyed the first course. We had, so we said so.

MAIN Calamari Salad £10.50/ Supreme of Chicken £13.95

Presentation
 
David's Supreme of Chicken had a substantial piece of chicken breast with a small amount of mash, a couple of carrots and a tiny piece of brocolli. All were surrounded by an impressive sauce which was a vibrant green. Overall the presentation was extremely nice. The Chicken looked as though it had been pan-fried and was nicely browned. Overall lovely presentation. It looked appetising.

My Calamari Salad came in a wide shallow bowl and this was the first surprise. The calamari was not hot, nor was it battered. This was an assumption I had made - obviously wrongly. It was mixed into a salad which didn't look particularly appetising as it was the usual salad bits with boring white calamari rings in it and a couple of wedges of lemon.

Flavour

Calamari Salad

The cherry tomotoes were fresh in the salad but, even after squeezing the lemon over it, the calamari and salad had absolutely no flavour to any of it. The calamari was rubbery. Bland. Not good at all.

I have never in my life complained in a restaurant - but when the young man who was serving came to ask if we liked it I told him I was disappointed and that the meal was bland. It absolutely had no taste at all to it. I could have been eating anything. He said he would mention it to the kitchen and he disappeared. Soon after, my plate barely touched - I sent the meal back.

Supreme of Chicken

I did taste David's meal and it was as nice as it looked. He really enjoyed the small carrots and said they were tasty as well as the delicious sauce and mash. His only complaint was that the chicken was a little over done and quite dry, but the delicious sauce made up for this. He ate all of his meal.

Portion Sizes

As expected for the type of restaurant.  A little on the small side but as in the case of the Chicken very tasty and nicely presented.

Salads vary and you never know what you'll get from one place to another with size. I had no expectations therefore and wasn't disappointed by the size. There was a fair amount of Calamari rings in the salad. Sadly though it was flavourless. Otherwise, portion was fine.

After Dinner Service.

I cannot fault the service here because the manageress (I think) came to see me and had removed the price of the Calamari Salad from our bill (rightly so as I didn't eat it). She apologised for herself and for the staff member who I had given my meal back to (apparently he should have offered me another meal choice but didn't know the procedure).

He was very apologetic and I told him that I completely understood and it was fine. And you can't be cross if people treat you fairly and are polite to you!!  I felt they handled us really well. Good service, even to acknowledge and admit where they failed.

Would I Go Back?

Absolutely!

The food in this restaurant is usually really good - I've had other meals there and this was the first to disappoint. So yes. Very willing to try it again.

They handled my complaint really well and also listened afterwards when I explained what I thought could improve the calamari (hot and battered would have been an improvement and some form of seasoning on that and the salad too).

Review 6/10 this time. But I'm sure it will be much better when we go again.