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Sunday 9 October 2016

Three Book Reviews in one Blog

You may have read my blog back in May 2015 when I wrote a review for author and musician Richard Storry about his cracking new book Cryptic Lines

This blog is a review of his next three books ... yes THREE! He's been a very busy man!

I read them one after the other and I'm pleased to say they are all brilliant.  His stories are entertaining twisting tales that grab you from start to finish and Richard never fails to really give the reader a real feel for the characters.


Prior to writing "The Cryptic Lines" Richard Storry was very busy in theatre: He composed the incidental music to Chekhov's Three Sisters, seen in London's West End, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes, and subsequently broadcast on BBC4 television. His music for Rumplestiltskin received over 300 performances in its first year alone. His musical adaptation of "The Brothers Lionheart" premiered at London's Pleasance Theatre, followed by a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival where it was voted 'Best Childrens' Play'. "The Cryptic Lines", Richard's first novel, has now been adapted for the stage.

I read Order of Merit first

In Order of Merit we encounter a famous classical guitarist who is loved by audiences all over the world, not only for his masterful technical skill and compelling, instinctive musicality, but also for his charismatic stage personality. However, his consummate showmanship is all just a cover for his other, more sinister occupation - away from the concert platform he is also a professional hitman, cold, ruthless and efficient. Cunning and calculating, his missions are always accomplished fully, expertly and without a hitch.

But, when his next target turns out to be related to one of his best friends, things can only get ugly.

 Order of Merit - Who would've thought the music profession could be so deadly?

Then I read The Black Talisman

1673: Deep in a deserted forest, a coven of witches is taken by surprise as they attempt to summon the Dark Lord, Anubin, from the spirit world. 

1984: At his Easter camp, young Gilbert Hawkins has an amazing divine encounter. However, as the subsequent years pass, he and his girlfriend find themselves increasingly the subject of demonic visitations. 

What is the connection between these seemingly isolated events, over 300 years apart? As the angelic forces of Good and Evil clash, the disturbing nature of the mystery gradually emerges. 

Can the dark servants of Anubin be prevented from obtaining for him the power he so desperately seeks? The power that comes from The Black Talisman.

And finally The Virtual Lives of Godfrey Plunkett

To escape his monotonous life of humdrum tedium, Godfrey Plunkett frequently escapes into the world of his fertile imagination. There, away from all criticism and the disparaging looks from his fellow human beings, he can be free to live his dreams. He can be a hero, a celebrity, a movie star – anything he wants.

And, somehow, these inner thoughts help him to maintain his optimism that something fantastic is just around the corner, and is about to happen for him, for real - at any moment. But, out there in the harsh, real world, will anything fulfilling or exciting ever happen for this poor, misunderstood individual? Or is he destined only to experience the excitement of life in the privacy of his own thoughts?

And, more importantly, what happens when the boundary between his make-believe world and reality starts to blur? Come and find out. Come and experience The Virtual Lives of Godfrey Plunkett.

Richard Storry's books are ALL page turners.  For me, he is a true story-teller.  So it will come as no surprise to learn that I have enjoyed reading every one of them very much and I am really looking forward to his next one.

Recommended by Ellen Dean

Friday 15 July 2016

Personality Perfect App Review

I don't normally review Apps, but this one is different and this is why.

In my work I need to have a good understanding of what makes people tick, in other words, personality traits and types. This is because I create characters for my stories and, as an NLP Practitioner (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), I help clients to understand themselves and work on their strengths.

The ability to understand oneself can be very elusive, not to say totally confusing. However, the FREE Personality Perfect App really does give us an insight into our own personality and how we interact with others. I can say this with confidence because I took the Personality Test and was amazed at the result. I am a Giver. Then I received an email with the information for me to print and keep and refer back too if I wanted to. This was a very nice bonus that I had not expected.

You can share this Personality Perfect App with your Facebook friends and have a lot of fun or you can share with your colleagues and see how well matched you are. Something else, which is very important, is you can find out how you will get along with a new partner either in business or your personal life.

I would suggest that you go to the About page first and fully read and digest it as I went straight to the 'Take The Test' page and needed to back track. This was because I could not fathom out what the initials meant. For example: ISTJ and INFJ. Remember, it is important for you to be honest when you answer the questions, even though you may think they are tricky and you might want to tell a little fib don't do that or you will be given false information. By that I mean the feedback that you receive will not be about the real you, it will be for an imposter. So please remember to be honest :-)

A lot of people beat themselves up for the way they react to certain scenarios, like being uncomfortable in social situations, not knowing what to say to strangers or they aren't able to strike up a conversation and end up wishing they were miles away or the ground would swallow them up. They think others will see them as being weird, stuck up or stand offish. But this is not always the case. This App can really shine a light on their personality type. It will show them that it is perfectly normal for them to feel and react in the way that they do. As a result this means they can give themselves permission to avoid unpleasant situations without any self recrimination because it's who they are and how they tick. I know that this will come as a relief to a lot of people who suffer social anxiety and dread social occasions :-) 

You can download this FREE App on your iPhone or Android as well as your computer and iPad. So, you could be sitting with friends in a cafe comparing your personality types.

This App is based on the sixteen personality types that were developed by the American mother and daughter team Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, which they based on the work of Carl Jung the Swiss Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Who's better work to follow.

Download the App, find out who you are and be happy.

App Store iTunes 
Play store Google Play

Ellen Dean Recommends

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Anxiety - Panic Attacks - Never Mind The What If? Enjoy The What Is!

Copyright © Ellen Dean

Have you ever wondered what may have caused your anxiety/panic attacks? I did. I couldn't understand the reasoning behind them. I am one of those people who has to have answers and then I can try to heal myself. I asked my GP for CBT because I felt as though I was doomed. But, I didn't actually receive CBT like I thought I did, and that's why it didn't work. What I actually received, I've just recently found out, was therapy from a psychological wellbeing practitioner. No disrespect to the practitioners, but the one I had call me on the telephone had no idea how to deal with a person with a vestibular disorder, the anxiety/panic attacks. She actually told me to 'put your coat on and go for a walk.' Believe me, when the room is spinning and you feel like you are going to faint, that's the last thing you want to do.

I now know that I have been suffering from Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV) without the headache. Yes, I know it sounds bizarre because when you think migraine you automatically think headache. However, I did suffer from migraines when I was younger, and the headache was horrendous, but a few years ago I thought they had gone. They hadn't. 
That is when I succumbed to vestibular migraine which, in fact, is quite a normal occurrence, if only I'd known at the time. 

Below are the symptoms taken from the Vestibular Disorders website. They are exactly the same symptoms I suffered that brought on my anxiety and panic attacks.

'The clinical presentation of vestibular symptoms that often correlate with migraine includes - but is not limited to - dizziness; motion intolerance with respect to head, eyes, and/or body; spontaneous vertigo attacks (often accompanied by nausea and vomiting); diminished eye focus with photosensitivity; sound sensitivity and tinnitus; balance loss and ataxia; cervicalgia (neck pain) with associated muscle spasms in the upper cervical spine musculature; confusion with altered cognition; spatial disorientation; and anxiety/panic.'

I researched into what could have caused the vestibular migraine in the first place. I found some interesting information regarding the symptoms caused by having a shortening of the sternocleidomastoid muscle and was surprised to find there is a connection.
In this book I talk about my experience and how I have been able to help heal myself of debilitating panic attacks.  

Ellen Dean
Patron of Anxious Minds UK

Saturday 4 June 2016

Geo Says No - Not a Dream by I. Rosenfeld - Review


Who are you, really? On the night of the earthquake, George was dreaming of a red guitar when the noise of someone creeping around in his bedroom woke him up. Following a natural disaster, sixteen-year-old Geo is left with nothing except a dream catcher which opens his parents strange world of dreamboarders. To clear his father's name from the blame of treason, he cheats the Marshals of Tide and Time and fights the deadliest of enemies. But will he and his friends survive without the training he needs to become worthy of his gifts? A modern fantasy thriller, Geo Says No: Not a Dream is both part of the forthcoming Geo Says No series and a standalone novel in its own right. Dealing with more series issues such as responsibility and power in a deteriorating world, as well as a quest for a missing father, it provides powerful food for thought alongside an exciting adventure story.

Described as a page-turner by a panel of child and teenage reviewers, Geo says No: Not a Dream will appeal to 10-15-year-olds with an interest in magical worlds, special powers and unexplored lands.

About the Author:

I. Rosenfeld has lived in Corfu, Cambridge, Brighton and London. She studied English at the University of Sussex, then Teaching at The University of London. She also blogs at Creativity and Us She lives in Lambeth, South London, with her partner and occasionally two visiting children who fill the washing machine and empty the snacks cupboard.

My Review:

Let me start by saying I don't read fantasy books: I haven't even read any of the Harry Potter books! But, hey ho, a change is as good as a rest :-) and I have to admit I did enjoy it. The fact that it was written for 10-15-year-olds didn't matter, anyone over 15 can read it and enjoy it. I loved how the story unfolded the relationship between Geo and his parents, and the ends Geo would go to to save his father's reputation. This book is very well written, the creative ideas are original and the story flowed like magic.  

Ellen Dean Recommends

Thursday 12 May 2016

The Rose Within by Sana Pirzada - Press Release and Review

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ now exists as history’s most profitable live entertainment franchise; the story of a troubled and enigmatic man whose quest for love is pitted against his own inner demons. For hundreds of millions of people it has been a two-hour show that has enthralled them. For author Sana Pirzada, it was life-changing.
Pirzada has long wanted to reach into Lloyd Webber’s script and reverse the plight of the Phantom, leading her to write a compelling and cinematic new gothic romance novel that loosely does exactly that.
‘The Rose Within’ takes its cues from the dark narrative of ‘The Woman in White’, the poetic prowess of Coleridge and the philosophy of Edmund Burke. The end product is one worthy of its own Broadway show.

A story of passion, intrigue and mystery. Set in England in the 1920s, Jonathan Malcolm is drawn into the world of Winter Grange House encountering the love of his life Selina Selwyn. But unbeknownst to him Selina is caught in a web of enigmas that only gradually unfold. Some say Winter Grange is an estate cursed with ghosts and super-natural happenings. Will Jonathan ultimately attain his love or will it end in despair and tragedy?
“The book uses an epistolary narrative structure similar to that found in ‘Dracula’, for a story that is equally as powerful and shocking,” explains the author. “I wanted to write something totally unique, while continuing to capitalize on the many hallmarks of gothic fiction created by some of history’s most gifted and surprising writers. It’s a cocktail of different styles and there’s nothing else like it currently on the market.”
Continuing, “I’ve had a lifetime obsession with the Phantom and his story, and this narrative is directly tied into it. As a seasoned musician, I’ve also recorded two songs to accompany the prose that have already been sent to L.A. for vocals and mastering. My goal, within a few years, is to develop the story as a fully-fledged musical.”
Pirzada has bold plans for her work, and those with a thirst for the gothic are urged to get their hands on a copy of the book as soon as it’s released.

About the Author:
Sana Pirzada studied Law at King’s College, London and the LSE and was Called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn. She presently works as a Legal Consultant. Alongside her occupation, Sana is actively involved in other pursuits such as composing music and writing.
My Review
I absolutely loved this book. The story is told by the character Jonathan Malcolm using a diary format. It has so many twists and turns that many times when I thought I had the plot worked out, the writer threw me an intrigueing curve ball. The description of the characters and Winter Grange House, along with the rest of the book, are so well written I can still visualise them in my mind. It will make a great musical, and I will be the first to buy tickets.
I know I'm reviewing a book here, but you really must listen to this music by Sana on Youtube. It's fantastic :-)
Ellen Dean Recommends

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Dark City by Bill Carson - Press Release and Review

Dark City: 4th Instalment of Nick Harland Detective Series Hailed “Unputdownable”. Like Raw Suspense? Read On!
Bill Carson’s ‘Dark City’ throws readers into a dark and distributing new murder case that has landed on the desk of private investigator, Nick Harland. A young girl is dead, an elderly double-murderer has just been released from prison and the potential links between the two appear too close to be mere coincidences. But are they? That would be telling...!
A must read for all those who like to sit uncomfortably on the edge of their seats.

Dark City is the fourth book in the Nick Harland detective series. In this one we follow him on his most perplexing and disturbing case to date, as he tracks down a serial killer from the past.
The book begins with an elderly man being released from prison, after serving seventeen years for a double murder. A few days after his release a young woman is snatched from outside a London pub.

The police seem to be dragging their heels, so the family of the missing girl call on the services of the tough, uncompromising ex murder squad detective, turned Private Investigator, Nick Harland. During his initial investigation another girl suddenly goes missing, he then gets a tip off that Charles Thorpe had just been released from prison. Nick knows the killer, as he was the detective who put him behind bars when he was a detective in the murder squad. And so the hunt is now on for Thorpe, and Nick will not rest until Thorpe is found, and he promises that Thorpe will pay the ultimate price for his crimes this time around.

Much more can’t be revealed, as it would give too much of the exciting plot away.
This is a fast paced dark and gritty story, packed with hard hitting action, highs and lows, intrigue and tension. This story has characters that are good, and sometimes very, very bad. Dark City is crime noir in the truest sense.
“Nobody will deny that serial killer thrillers have captivated the market for generations,” explains Carson. “My goal has always been to give readers all of the disturbing hallmarks they crave, while also pummelling them with highly-original characters and plot twists they have never come across before. I almost throw them into a movie and force them to be a character.”
Continuing, “There’s layer upon layer of twists in this new volume so, while you’re paying for the whole book, be prepared to only be needing the edge of your seat!”

About the Author:
Author Bill Carson gained not only his experience in observing crime and sociopathic behaviour as a nightclub bouncer, fascinated with the events he saw he began making a record of the more unusual and violent incidents that occurred. He compiled this in his first book SHOW NO FEAR and enjoying that outlet he enrolled in an Open University fiction writing course which after a year of hard study he passed.

He continues to pen crime novels now and has an entertaining series he terms the Nick Harland British Detective Series, of which NECESSARY EVILS was Book 1, NEMESIS was Book 2, NEVER SAY DIE was Book 3 and DARK CITY is Book 4.
Since releasing the first volume of his Nick Harland detective series, British author Bill Carson has built a rapid and fierce reputation for crafting fiction that not only mimics some of the best gritty, raw suspense stories of yesteryear, but mixes them into a cocktail with wholly-unique new twists.
Volume four, ‘Dark City’, is no different. There’s another cold case on the table – and things are about to get weird.
My Review:
Loved the story. Loved Nick Harland and his ways of getting the job done. At one point I was going to read the end of the story because I couldn't wait to find out who the killer was, but I resisted temptation. For anyone who loves psychological thrillers, this is the book for you. The only gripe I have is I would have liked to have names of the group of thirteen. Could be there's a another book coming? I hadn't read the previous three in the series, but it didn't matter Dark City is a stand alone.

Ellen Dean Recommends

Monday 22 February 2016

Anxiety - Magnesium Deficiency

In this video, and after much research, I talk about how I found that magnesium deficiency can affect our health, and how it can make us feel anxious or have panic attacks. 

A short eBook I wrote to help people who have a vestibular disorder and magnesium deficiency.

Ellen Dean

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

My experience of having Anxiety 

and Panic Attacks

There are many reasons you may suffer from anxiety and/or panic attacks. It's not all black and white. I made this video in the hope it will help others who suffer this debilitating problem.

I have added the links below to some of the disorders I talk about in the video.

Sternocleidomastoid Symptoms
Sternocleidomastoid Trigger Points

A short eBook I wrote to help others with this debilitating illness.

Magnesium Taurate helps ease palpitations and anxiety.

Ellen Dean