The Arrival of the Paperbacks

Book News, J.S. Strange

It’s always exciting as an author to hold an actual, physical copy of the book you’ve been pouring your heart in to for the past year or so.

It’s an incredible feeling. It’s one that can’t really be explained or described, other than an overwhelming sense of pride, a massive smile you can’t control – your words as you intended them to appear.

My publisher, Panther Publishing, received their paperback copies today of Murder on the Rocks and they look so pretty!

The plan is to eventually have paperback copies available to buy directly from Panther. If you want to support independent publishers and small time authors, that’s the best way to do it – buying directly from the person who took a chance on you.

I also know some paperbacks are being sent to some stores, and a few Instagrammers! How exciting!

My new novel, Murder on the Rocks, is out now!

Preparing to Travel: Edinburgh

Travel

It won’t be long, and I’ll be travelling to Edinburgh. It’s the first time I’m visiting, so I’m really excited. It’s a place I’ve wanted to go for a while!

Part of the preparation for travel is finding out what to do once you get there. Sure, flights are important, but a big decision for me is working out why I’d want to go somewhere.

Finding things to do:

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and knowing that J.K. Rowling lived and wrote the series in Edinburgh is a big selling point for someone like me. In Edinburgh, there is no absence of Potter. You can visit a street that supposedly inspired Diagon Alley. You can visit The Elephant Cafe, where J.K. Rowling wrote some of the novels. You can visit a graveyard where one of the graves reads Thomas Riddel. And there’s even a Harry Potter Escape Room! Am I doing all of this?! YES.

As well as Harry Potter, I’ll be looking into the history of Edinburgh, so I’ve found some locations, such as Edinburgh castle, to visit.

Finding flights:

Always browse incognito or on private browsing when looking for flights. Many people check out prices a few times before actually booking anything, by which points those tracking cookies have upped the price, and you’re paying more than you should be paying.

I wanted to fly from Cardiff airport – support the local airport and all that – but flights were £100 more expensive. I instead went with EasyJet, knowing they would be reliable and budget friendly.

Because I’m going for only a few days, I’ve booked an early arrival and a late departure. Absorb as much of Edinburgh as I can!

Now, the importance is knowing our flight time, booking airport parking, and day dreaming about the airport food.

Fashion

ASOS is my friend. And new holiday destinations means new clothes. But I’m only taking a carry on, so I have to be sensible. But hey, new clothes. Even if not for Edinburgh, why not just for general life?

Did you know my new novel, Murder on the Rocks, is out now? Get your copy now!

A Sunny February

J.S. Strange, Visit Wales

February has been a good month. It was my birthday on Valentine’s, so I turned 24. It was a great celebration with family and people who mattered. It also made me realise who I don’t need in my life anymore. Dramatic, isn’t it?

Spooky.

Since my birthday, I’ve been promoting my up-coming novel release, which publishes this Friday with Panther Publishing. Murder on the Rocks features a gay male PI, based in Cardiff, and is released March 1st, also known as St David’s Day.

February has also brought warmth and sunshine. In February! I’m enjoying it, but it does make me wonder about global warming, and what we can do to actually try and stop it – not much, by the looks of it.

But whilst the sun is great for now, and in our lifetimes Global Warming might not affect us as much as it will affect further generations, this 20 degree weather in FEBRUARY seems strange.

After our glorious long BRITISH SUMMER last year, it seems to have come back so quickly.

Maybe it’s just a blip, a freak weather incident. We’ll have to see if summer has come early, or if the rest of the year will be like this. Maybe, finally, Britain has great weather – at a cost?

Did you know my new novel, Murder on the Rocks, is out now? Get your copy!

When Wales had a Banksy

J.S. Strange, lifestyle, Travel, Visit Wales

Everybody knows about Banksy. The most elusive artist has been known for works such as Mobile Lovers and Well Hung Man…

He’s an artist that has political background to his work. His creation of Dismaland in Weston Super Mare on the surface was a parody of Disneyland, where everything is happy and perfect. But upon further inspection, Dismaland held displays of a whale jumping out of a toilet boil through a hoola-hoop, and refugees on a boat heading for the White Cliffs of Dover.

Bristol based, Banksy has remained anonymous for years. Of course, people claim to know the man. Others enjoy the mystery. It’s all part of the charm.

In 2018, for the first time, and shortly after the abolishment of the Severn Bridge tolls, Banksy appeared in Wales.

His work featured a child in the snow, catching flakes on his tongue. It appeared on a garage in Port Talbot.

It appeared in December, before Christmas. On the other side of the garage, around the corner, it’s revealed that the snow comes from a burning waste bin. The child is catching ash on his tongue.

Port Talbot, and even the location of the painting in Port Talbot, was not chosen randomly. A video that appeared on Banksy’s official Instagram page, confirming the work was his, showed a drone rising up to reveal the famous Port Talbot steelworks behind the garage.

Port Talbot is known as a place that is tired and polluted. The steelworks pollute the air. It was even claimed that children of Port Talbot really did play in ashes.

The work drew in tourists from all over, with some people arriving from Australia.

Being Welsh, and having visited Dismaland in the past, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to go and see the work myself, before it was protected with glass. At the time, the man who owned the garage was struggling to keep the work safe, with actor Michael Sheen donating money to fund temporary glass enclosure.

I went down on the Saturday before Christmas, and there were a lot of crowds all there to see Wales’s first Banksy piece.

It was definitely worth seeing! I’m not a huge art fan, but Banksy has caught my interest because of his anonymity. We were very lucky, as we were allowed to go behind the fence that had been erected to deter vandals, and so we could have a photograph with the work behind us.

Whilst there, the Perspex glass began to arrive, and we watched as the work was protected.

Now, the owner has sold the graffiti to a gallery in Essex. The boy in the snow will stay in Port Talbot for up to three years, before going on display elsewhere.

Catch it whilst you can!

Visit Wales: Llandaff Cathedral

Cardiff, Llandaff, south wales, Torfaen, Travel, Visit Wales, wales

Cardiff may be the capital of Wales and offer lots to see, but Llandaff, which is in Cardiff, is definitely worth a visit…

It could be easy to kind of forget Llandaff, which seems strange, seeing as it’s about fifteen minutes away from the city. With houses that cost a fortune, Llandaff strikes me as a place that is quaintly cosy, and very privileged.

Not only was Llandaff the birth place of author Roald Dahl, it is also home to Llandaff Cathedral.

I’m lucky enough to work in Llandaff, and on my lunch breaks I’ll take a short walk to the cathedral green. The homes here always pique my interest, and the cathedral is imposing on the skyline. Llandaff cathedral is the second of Cardiff’s cathedrals.

It was first constructed in the 12th century, and during the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr it was severely damaged. Storms in 1703 damaged the cathedral further, until in 1734 construction took part on it to restore it. In January 1941, the cathedral was damaged in the Cardiff Blitz, the Second World War, by a parachute mine blast.

The stonework is from the medieval period. During the summer, it’s a great place to take in by sitting on the banks of cathedral green, and taking in the splendour of the cathedral before you.

Sometimes, when walking past, you might be able to hear the choirs sing. You might also see the vicar walk by, who lives next door. I’m yet to go inside – I’m not entirely sure if I’m allowed – but when I do, I’ll be sure to let you in, too!

Have you visited Llandaff Cathedral? Let me know in the comments below!