All posts by Mike Harris

About Mike Harris

I began the Cypress Branches project to publish and promote the works of my grandfather, William E. Thomas. William's epic novel, The Cypress Branches, was released in limited edition hardback in 2009. I am now in the process of dividing the book into three parts to release as a trilogy of paperbacks, the first of which - Pegasus Falling - was released in early 2012, with the follow-up - It Never Was You - released a year later. Both are available in paperback and ebook formats from major retailers. Work is now continuing to complete the trilogy. You can follow progress with the project on the blog at cypressbranches.wordpress.com

Blog Tour Giveaway Winners Announced!

Hello everyone,

Today, I have great pleasure in announcing the winners of the It Never Was You blog tour giveaway! The Rafflecopter closed last night, and I have now chosen the winning entries. Congratulations to all 21 winners! They are displayed in the widget below.

All of the winners will be contacted by email very shortly with details of how to claim their prize.

Thanks to all of you who entered and helped spread the word about the book and the giveaway. We had over 650 entries in the end, so it was an overwhelming success, I think!

If you weren’t lucky enough to win, keep a look out for other giveaways in the future. Or if you really want to get stuck in to the trilogy straight away, remember both books are available on Amazon in the US and the UK in paperback and on Kindle.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advertisements

7 days left to enter the Blog Tour Give Away!

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all enjoying the blog tour. If you haven’t been following, you can catch up on the tour homepage.

As part of the tour, I’ve been running a give away, with 14 prizes, including a $50/£30 Amazon gift card, paperback and ebook copies of It Never Was You up for grabs.

With the tour ending in a week’s time, there are just 7 days left to enter the give away, so here’s the widget again. If you’ve “Liked” the Facebook page or follow us on Twitter, you get automatic entry. To earn more entries, follow as many of our wonderful bloggers as you like on Twitter.

Best of luck to you all!

***EDIT: 10th June 2013***
I’ve got two bits of news regarding the give away. First the bad news if you’ve been waiting patiently for it to finish…I’ve added two days to the give away to allow readers of the final post in the blog tour time to enter.

But the good news is, to celebrate reaching over 500 entries (woohoo!) I have increased the number of prizes to include FIVE paperbacks and FIFTEEN ebooks!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WLC New Release promotion

World Literary Cafe 

It’s the beginning of a new month, the trees are (finally!) starting to bud and the World Literary Cafe is hosting another New Release feature.

And this month, they’re featuring our very own It Never Was You
We’re very excited about this promotion. With thirteen books from a wide selection of genres, both fiction and non-fiction, there’s bound to be something for everyone, so head over to the WLC and take a browse through. You might just find your next favourite book this weekend! 

It Never Was You blog tour & Giveaway

It Never Was You is available to buy from today! And to celebrate, we’re going on a blog tour. And to celebrate that, we’ve got a fantastic give away lined up. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the Rafflecopter give away and enter to win a $50 / £30 Amazon voucher, one of three copies of the paperback, or one of ten copies of the ebook.

Here’s the schedule as it stands right now. Bloggers are still signing up for the later dates in the tour, so events will be added over the coming days and weeks. Make sure to check back regularly to make sure you don’t miss anything…

***
Want to get stuck in to the trilogy?
You can get Pegasus Falling, the acclaimed first instalment, on your Kindle, Kobo or Nook for as little as 99c / 79p until the end of June! Grab your copy now before the price reverts to the RRP ($2.99 / £1.99)
***

Thursday 25th April
susanrussoanderson.com

Interview

Our first stop is at the wonderful blog of Susan Russo Anderson, author of the Serafina Florio series. She interviewed Mike about Pegasus Falling, and she was interested in the use of the haunting Adagietto from Mahler’s 5th Symphony. Take a look…

Friday 26th April
susanrussoanderson.com

Excerpt from Pegasus Falling

As a weekend treat, we return to Susan’s blog for an excerpt from Pegasus Falling, the scene which features Mahler’s 5th Symphony. The year is 1946 and the place is Tel Aviv, Palestine. Sammy and Lesley have just met up for the first time since their troubling liaison just after the war, and Mahler’s stirring music is about to have a profound effect on them both. Jump in…

Monday 29th April
outofthebags.com

Review 

Liss is one of the most recent bloggers to read Pegasus Falling, but she has the honour of being the first blogger in the tour to tell us what she made of It Never Was You. She loved it, giving it 4 stars. “Mr. Thomas has weaved a tale of mystery, romance, fact and fiction into a grand masterpiece.” Read on…

Thursday 2nd May
plasticrosaries.com

Review & Excerpt from It Never Was You

“Very different to Pegasus Falling but Thomas’ characters are just as, if not more endearing as ever.”

Today, we head over to Beth Townsend’s brilliant blog for our first UK review, which is exciting, especially as she gave it 4 stars!

Also, Beth chose one of her favourite passages from the book to highlight. Part One is presented here…

Friday 3rd May
plasticrosaries.com

Part Two of the It Never Was You excerpt

We return to Beth’s blog for part two of the excerpt that Beth chose. Beth lives in Liverpool, the setting for the book, and she was struck by the character of Mary and her “Scouse vernacular”, which is shown off to great effect in this funny and clever scene…

Monday 6th May
A Bookish Affair

Guest post

Meg at A Bookish Affair is our host today as we delve into one of the most important themes of the book and ask the question, did William write a romance or a love story? Check out the post here…

Friday 10th May
jillysheep.wordpress.com

Review

Jill is one of the most prolific readers I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She is one of amazon.co.uk’s Hall of Fame reviewers and was also one of the first reviewers who kindly took a chance on an unknown author. Thankfully she loved Pegasus Falling and was delighted to receive her copy of It Never Was You. Today, Jill posted her wonderful review, which you can read here…

Saturday 11th May
jillysheep.wordpress.com

Guest Post

We head back to Jill’s blog to take a closer look at one of the main characters from the trilogy – Harry Williamson…

Monday 13th May
onevintageheart.com

Interview

Juliette Hill is an author (find her short stories on Amazon) who has shown an incredible amount of support for William’s books. Back in September 2012, she hosted an interview with me as well as a glowing review of Pegasus Falling, which was part of the Best Indie Book Festival. Today, she hosts a follow up interview before sharing her thoughts on It Never Was You…

Saturday 18th May
Darlene’s Book Nook

Guest Post

Darlene’s fab blog is our home for the day as list 10 things you didn’t know about William…

Thursday 23rd May

I Read A Book Once

The Eclectic Bookworm

Review

Jonathan Wilhoit runs one of my favourite book review blogs on the web – reviewing a wide range of interesting reads together with his small band of fellow bloggers. Amanda Amaya from Texas read Pegasus Falling earlier this year and was virtually biting my hand off to be one of the first to read It Never Was You. She was, and here are her thoughts.

Sunday 26th May
Missuswolf’s Storyland

Interview

Today, we slip off our shoes, slump into our favourite comfy chair and relax for a cuppa and a catch up with British indie author Gemma Wilford.

Thursday 6th June
World Literary CafeInterview

Author Stacy Eaton took time out of her (extremely) busy schedule to interview me about William, his books and the devastating effect Alzheimer’s has had on him and the family. Officially, this isn’t part of the tour, but I’m chuffed to bits with how the interview came out, so I’m including it here anyway!

Thursday 6th June
The Pax Integral

Guest Post

Something a little different today. We head over to the blog of Meryl S. Fortney, the author of end-of-the-world zombie thriller Pax Corpus. Meryl blogs not only about her books, but also her experiences as a transexual. She hosts a guest post exploring the attitudes to homosexuality in the 1940s and 1950s, and asks, did my grandfather write a homophobic novel?

Friday 7th June
Great Romance Promotions
Excerpt

We delve back into the book today and enjoy a glimpse at what I’m sure will be a romance that touches many a reader’s heart.

Friday 14th June
Lucybirdbooks.com

Guest Post

It’s the last stop on the tour today (I know, sad), but we’ve got a great treat lined up to send the tour off in style.

The Giveaway

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. As well as the star prize of a $50 or £30 gift certificate to spend at amazon, we’ve also got five copies of the paperback and 10 copies of the ebook to give away!

All you need to do to enter is “like” the Cypress Branches Trilogy on Facebook and follow @cypressbranches on twitter.

Want more chances to win? Follow our lovely bloggers on Twitter, leave a comment on this post, tweet about the giveaway or leave a comment on the FB page to earn extra entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For Sheila, with love

Tomorrow, It Never Was You, part two of William E. Thomas’s Cypress Branches trilogy, will be officially released as an ebook. It is a day I have been looking forward to for a long time, and the weeks and months that follow will be exciting. But in one way, it will be a sad occasion.

Sheila and William on holiday in Somerset. April 2006

Without a doubt, William’s wife Sheila, my nan, has been the single most important figure in the creation of this trilogy. Not only did she spur on and support William during the years it took him to write the book, she also provided me with unconditional support and encouragement from the moment I first mooted the idea of self-publishing it in 2008.

She was there when William finished the book. She was there when I handed him his copy of the hardback. She was there when Pegasus Falling, the first paperback was revealed and she was there when the first reviews started coming in. She insisted that I hurry up and finish the trilogy so that she could see them all together, and the project completed.

Sadly, her wish wasn’t to come true. In April last year, Sheila suffered a devastating stroke. After a year long battle to recover, she passed away on 7th March.

The last few months have been a difficult time for the Thomas family. We lost our matriarch, a woman who never failed to express her love, and knew how to do so in so many different ways. She was a formidable woman, an inspiration to many, and never failed to make an impression on everyone who met her. Her circle of friends continued to grow even in her last days.

She was married to William for 65 years. A marriage that long is bound to have both its highs and lows, and there were plenty of both for the two of them, but their love for one another was constant, and truly inspiring. They raised a family of six children who went on to provide them with countless grandchildren and great grandchildren who have developed into a close-knit, supporting and loving family.

Sheila was buried in a Humanist ceremony that was attended by her large family and extended group of friends and ex-colleagues last month. She has been laid to rest in a meadow at a green burial ground. It is a beautiful spot with a wide view of the Buckinghamshire countryside that she would have loved.

She leaves a huge hole in our lives and will be sorely missed by all who knew her, but she would hate for us to put our lives on hold to grieve, and so plans for the publication of William’s second book have carried on and the launch is going ahead as planned.

It Never Was You is dedicated to Sheila’s memory.

Sheila Thomas
29th November 1928 – 7th March 2013

Jump on board for the blog tour!

***
UPDATE 25th April


The blog tour has begun! But it’s not too late to join in. I still have a few dates available for late May and early June. I’m particularly interested in hearing from bloggers who’d like to review It Never Was You or host an excerpt. 

A give away has been added, too, using Rafflecopter. Every reader loves a give away, so if you’d like to add it to your blog, feel free to grab the code from here and include a link back to the tour homepage (http://bit.ly/YxZDcU)

***

To accompany the release of It Never Was You at the end of this month, I’m putting together a blog tour to run through May and June. I’m really excited to have several amazing bloggers already lined up and it would be amazing to meet some new bloggers and get them involved too.

If you run a blog and would like to be involved in the tour, please get in touch using the form below.

The tour will run from 26th April, through May and into June. If there are any preferred dates you’re interested in, do let me know.

The tour will have a home page on this blog, with all the dates and venues linked. I’ll be providing the participants with a tour banner (like the one above) which will link back to the tour home page, so that we can all benefit from increased traffic to and from our blogs.

I’ll also be promoting the tour on Twitter and Facebook, so you’ll get extra exposure for your site.

Whether it’s a review, guest post, interview, excerpt or giveaway you’re interested in (or more than one), get in touch! If you have an idea for a guest post that you’d like me to provide, or you’d like to do something out there or a little bit different, let’s chat about it.

ARCs of It Never Was You available now

UPDATE 24th APRIL 2013
ARCs of It Never Was You are no longer available, as the ebook has now launched. 
If you are a reviewer or blogger interested in receiving a copy of William’s books in exchange for an honest and fair review, then please contact me by sending an email to contactus AT acuteanglebooks.co.uk. 


CALLING ALL READERS OF LITERARY FICTION!

It Never Was You will be released in paperback and ebook at the end of April.

In the run up to the launch, I am releasing 50 Electronic Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of It Never Was You to readers in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Fill in the form below to request your copy now!

I will send an ebook (in the correct format for your reading device) to any reader who agrees to post an honest and fair review on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (wherever you are based) within 4 weeks of the book’s publication date (24th April 2013). Reviews do not have to be positive – just honest – but please read the description below before requesting your copy.

You will gain extra brownie points if you also post your review on your blog, Goodreads, B&N, Waterstones, etc.

Will you enjoy It Never Was You

If you enjoy reading emotional stories with war as the background – but not necessarily “war fiction” (think Pat Barker, Sebastian Faulks, Ian McEwan, Louis de Bernières) you’ll love William’s books.

Part love story, part social history, The Cypress Branches trilogy weaves together the stories of an incredible set of characters whose lives and loves are buffeted by the ever changing attitudes and politics of the post-war era. They are ordinary people caught up in extraordinary times and it makes for exhilarating reading. 

In part 1 of the trilogy, Pegasus Falling, we followed the story of Sammy Parker, a World War II paratrooper who, after attacking a German officer, finds himself incarcerated in a concentration camp. There he discovers not only the horrors of the Nazi’s final solution, but also Naomi, a woman who Sammy comes to depend on to survive. When the camp is liberated, the couple are separated and Sammy battles to find out what happened to the woman he loves.

Part two, titled It Never Was You, follows the heartbreaking story of a quiet, middle class merchant seaman and his unexpected, tragic relationship with a beautiful and exuberant waitress from the Liverpool docks as they struggle to reconcile their feelings for each other with the class boundaries and ever changing attitudes of post-war Britain. It continues the saga started in Pegasus Falling and packs a lot of emotion, drama and history into its pages.

The book is written using UK English conventions and features British regional dialects. 

If you’d like to take part, but haven’t read Pegasus Falling (Part One of the trilogy) yet, don’t worry. It Never Was You can be read and enjoyed without reading Pegasus Falling first. 
However, if you’d prefer to read the trilogy in order, I’d be happy to supply you with an electronic copy of both books, on the proviso that you to post a review of both books on Amazon. As this will double the amount of reading you are committing to, I’ll be happy to wait a little longer for your review of It Never Was You (but not too long, mind – I’ll be dying to find out what you think!)

Ready to receive your ARC?

If you think you’d enjoy It Never Was You, and can commit to reading it before the end of April, please fill in the form below. We’ll email your ARC to you as soon as possible. 

The Seven Ages of Gramps: Part 4

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. 



Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth.

The Seven Ages of Gramps: Part 2

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. 
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.