Chilling with Books October 2023 and a spotlight on Kirsty McManus

This month’s author has a special place in my heart. She offered help when she barely knew me. I love blogging because it gives me a chance to repay a little. Kindness is too special to ignore.

Kirsty McManus writes light-hearted romance but if probe a little deeper you will note that they make a point. Sunshine of your Love, her latest release is very entertaining for many reasons – the writing, the characters, and the subtle demonstration that misunderstandings occur because we don’t always stop to think(emphasis on we).

On a personal level I love the fact she is obsessed with Korean dramas, knows a lot about Japan and loves vampires. Couldn’t ask for more.

What’s New

My books

I have two novels out there now and like all authors I wait nervously for reviews or indeed any evidence of a reader’s thoughts. I feel the tension building to obsession. Will people, any people, one people, like it? The thought came to mind that I also have poetry books out there. Not that I had forgotten but my attitude in this area is so different that I needed to think about this fact.

For those books, I wrote completely the way I felt. There are no characters for the reader to love or hate. It is pure personal reflection on a number of topics. As a consequence, I am relaxed and confident about the results. Not that I believe I am good at this poetry gig but because my aim was to express emotions, to play with words because it improves writing in general, and because I believe shared emotions work wonders in combatting loneliness, sadness and a myriad of other things we feel which somehow manage to isolate us.

Although it would be lovely to have some feedback and actually have ratings, poetry is such a personal means of expression that I can push the author wishes aside. My hope is that a connection occurs – that someone reads, identifies and connects. Subsequently, the thoughts of others about my work doesn’t threaten me.

In fact, it is the opposite. Poetry is about reaction, and it welcomes the personal whether positive or negative. With a novel, the emotional investment of the author in their character(s) is so intense, it is painful. We want our readers to connect. Such is the life of a writer.

The world around me

I love this section I created. It takes me into the realm of real life and has nothing to do with writing, For me, it is truly about the world around me and this month, this part is difficult.

Sometimes people are not nice and the choice to continue knowing them is a battle. I have witnessed selfishness this month but what is worse is that I knew it would happen. It has played out exactly as I thought it would and I am trying hard to be pragmatic. I hoped for better, I hoped I would be surprised in a good way.

Books I’ve read and Films I watched.

My comments in this section are not meant as a review. Reviews are an entirely separate issue and not something I do on my blog. I love discovering things, when reading, watching, or re-watching films. My choices are not necessarily my favourites although the films in this post are but rather I love the idea of finding value when least expected. Sometimes it takes more than one quick glance.


At the  foot of the Cherry Tree  Ally Parker 

By the end of this I was in tears. Based on fact, this is a testimony of love to the author’s grandparents. This is about two people who don’t see the differences and it doesn’t bode well for the two young people involved. No spoilers but I can say the author used a delicate touch to tell a lovely story.

The Beantown Girls Jane Healey

I debated about this one but in the end I liked the reminder that small things can make big differences to lives. In this case it is the serving of doughnuts and coffee to the men overseas during wartime. I had no idea this occurred and it might sound trivial at first but the familiar when you are afraid is a small miracle.  

Hello Stranger  Katherine Center

I love this quote from Katherine’s author notes at the back of the book.

“Love is healing. It’s nourishing. It’s unapologetically optimistic. It’s the thing that leads us back to the light. So I write stories about how love does that – about people healing from hard things, and trying to connect, and working like hell to become the best versions of themselves despite it all.”

I loved the book as an emotion connector and not as just a book with a happy ending. However I loved it just as much for being a very good read.



This is a favourite. I live for those moments when Elsa pulls a gun on Rick, then tearfully breaks down and he takes her in his arms. There is no doubt he believes her. That is a measure of love. Despite the circumstances, his intense anger, the hurt she caused him with her disappearance that fatal day in Paris, and all she has to gain now if she can get him onside, he knows there is more to the story. His love for her tells him that his hurt may have blinded him to the truth. It is all in the portrayal of course. There is no one like Humphrey Bogart and probably never will be and there is not an actress alive or dead that could play Elsa the way Ingrid does. I would watch it again and again and yes, play it again, Sam.

The Big Country

Made in 1956 this stars Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Charlton Heston, and the remarkable Burl Ives. I have seen it numerous times but each time the same thing is evident, and it never fails to hold my attention. There is something in his Peck’s portrayals of characters especially in close ups that pulls you in so deep it becomes stamped in the memory. Gregory Peck was a master of emotions and portraying them and I guess I am a sucker for emotions.

Two other films also spring to mind for the same reason – A Gentleman’s Agreement (winner of 3 Academy Awards) and To Kill a Mockingbird and of course, the wonderful Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn, still as romantic today and as sad.  

In The Big Country there is a particular scene towards the end of the film where he looks at the character portrayed by Jean Simmons in such a way that for me whatever the choice of words to explain, would fail. Realisation, a question to her, hope, an agreement silent and cementing and a gentle happiness to know love is evolving? All of the above?.

I had the incredible pleasure to see him in person at Sydney Airport with his wife Veronique in the mid 1970’s and he was also the most beautiful looking man. I’d never thought of him that way because his roles were always so serious, and it took me by surprise. He had presence on camera but in real life it seemed to me a hundred times more potent. There was such depth and intelligence in those eyes. It transcended the art of acting.

Anyone else a fan or at least seen the above films?

P.S. I just revised this a little. I was so tired when I posted it that some of the grammar is, was a little scary. Let me know if I just made it worse.



If you are feeling kindly disposed, please feel free to check out my books. Links below.

Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? I’d love to hear from you. Liking and commenting will keep me working harder. Reviews of any books I have featured, including my own would be much appreciated. It helps writers become better writers. Consider leaving one at your place of purchase (click on the appropriate book links below for my books) or perhaps click on Goodreads if that is your preference. Thank you either way.

Follow and connect with me:

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Unexpected Obsession

Unexpected Passion

Emotions in Eruption

Emotions in Evolution

Emotions in Existence

The Emotions Anthology Box Set

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