A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “June, 2015”

Guest Post by Erin Lawless

Somewhere only we Know hi-res

‘Somewhere Only We Know’ was published on the 11th June 2015 by HarperImpulse.  The lovely Erin Lawless has written a guest post about the main characters for my blog.

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Somewhere Only We Know is the story of the spirited Nadia Osipova and the downtrodden Alex Bradley, but it’s a lot more than your usual ‘boy meets girl’ and ‘opposites attract’ tale…

Russian-born Nadia has been living in the UK since she was a pre-teen, but with the political climate the way that it is there are definitely no more visa extensions forthcoming… She’s got all her hopes pinned on one last appeal before deportation and she’s trying to stay positive. But on the other hand, just in case, it’s probably prudent to make sure she spends the summer visiting all of her favourite places, and doing all the things she never got around to, just in case…

Alex joined the Home Office’s graduate scheme after university hoping to get some experience on his CV and some money in his bank account before moving on to more exciting things. More than half a decade later and he’s still there, cringing through the same weekly team meetings, being passed over for all the promotions and picking through an unending stream of visa application letters. Nadia’s is the only one that he ever remembered.

And then, quite by chance, the two meet, and an unlikely relationship is sparked. Nadia decides on a whim to take the tentative Alex under her wing and invites him to join her as she makes her way through her London ‘bucket list’. Alex – in equal parts horrified and fascinated by this whirlwind of a girl – decides not to tell her that he once saw her visa application and to go with the flow of this unexpected friendship.

And that unexpected friendship grows through the summer, through half-fictious boyfriends for Nadia and Alex’s painfully unrequited love for his flatmate’s girlfriend, through near-misses and almost-kisses. Nadia’s court date looms. Will Alex pull himself out of his rut long enough to realise what he has with Nadia before it’s too late…?

 

About Erin Lawless

Erin and Best Thing paperback smile

Erin Lawless lives a happy life full of wonderful friends, in love with a man who buys her books instead of flowers. To mix things up a little, she writes books where friends and lovers hit obstacles and (usually) overcome them. When she’s not doing that she reads absolutely everything she gets her hands on, spends an inordinate amount of time in pyjamas and runs a fun-but-informative blog on British history.

 

Links

Website – http://www.erinlawless.co.uk

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/rinylou

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/erinlawlessauthor

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/rinylou

Blog Tour – ‘Death Night’ by Todd Ritter

Death Night

‘Death Night’ by Todd Ritter is out on the 25th June 2015, published by Avon.  Today I am taking part in a blog tour for which I am posting an extract from the book, but first here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

24 hours: that’s all they have to stop a killer in his tracks… Perfect for fans of Gregg Hurwitz and P.J. Tracy.

Two things Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell never thought she would do again

Enter a burning building, and lay eyes on Henry Goll, the man who was trapped inside with her the last time she was in one. So Kat’s on high alert when, barely a year after the dust settled around the Grim Reaper killings, both happen on the same day.

She’s jolted awake at 1 a.m. by a desperate phone call telling her Perry Hollow’s one and only museum—home to all the town’s historical artefacts—has been set on fire. Arriving at the scene, Kat catches just a glimpse of Henry’s face among the crowd before she’s rushed into the charred building, only to find the museum curator dead…bludgeoned, not burned.

Kat has lived through some tense moments and seen some gruesome crimes, but the next twenty-four hours will be the most dangerous of her life as she and Henry seek out a killer and the motivation behind these terrifying crimes.

 

Extract

The first thing she saw was a body on the floor. It was a man, slumped on his side and facing the far wall. Blood matted his hair and oozed from beneath his head in a circular pool that crept across the floorboards.

Even without seeing his face, Kat could identify him. She rushed to his side and, despite already knowing that he was dead and gone, checked his wrist for a pulse. When she inevitably didn’t feel one, a heaviness flooded her heart. Yet another casualty in a day that was full of them.

“Who did this to you?” she whispered. “And why —”

She stopped speaking as her gaze flicked to the dark corner nearest the body. Something was there, shrouded in the shadows.

A propane tank.

It was small, just like the one hooked up to the gas grill in her backyard. The cap had been removed, replaced with a grease-smeared handkerchief that soaked up the liquid inside. The gas that leaked out was a noxious vapor that made Kat dizzy.

She glanced in the opposite corner. It also contained a propane tank. As did the room’s other two corners. Each tank was the same. Caps off. Stuffed with rags. Waiting to be lit.

A mere spark on one of the rags could make an entire tank explode. That would set off a chain reaction. Explosion after explosion after explosion.

The whole room had been turned into a bomb.

And Kat was now standing right in the heart of it.

 

24 Hours Earlier

Kat was dreaming about Henry when she heard the sirens. She had no idea why. It’s not as if she dwelled on him so much during her waking hours that it invaded her subconscious at night. In fact, it had been weeks since she thought about Henry, months since she had heard from him and a full year since she last saw him.

Yet there he was, front and center in her dream. They were in a nondescript room so dim and vast that Kat wasn’t sure if it was a room at all. Dreams were like that. Ceilings not supported by walls. Floors as malleable as wet sand. The only thing concrete about their surroundings was the table in front of them — white Formica as bright as a smile in a toothpaste commercial.

On the table were two large sheets of paper, thin and translucent. Henry, staring at his swath of paper, frowned.

“I don’t know how to do this.”

“It’s easy,” Kat said. “I’ll show you.”

She lifted a corner of her sheet to the center, cementing the fold with a crease. Henry followed suit. They did it again, this time simultaneously, with an upper fold.

“See,” she said. “I told you it was easy.”

 

‘Death Night’ can be pre-ordered on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00S5LDX3M/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434689193&sr=1-1

Blog Tour – ‘The Hunt’ by Tim Lebbon

blogtour

‘The Hunt’ by Tim Lebbon is out today, published by Avon.  It is also the first day of the blog tour to celebrate this new book.  To whet your appetites here is an extract.

 

Extract

When he wanted to run faster, Chris Sheen imagined being chased by a tiger. Sleek, stealthy, powerful, it pounded silently along the trail behind him, tail swishing at the clasping brambles and eyes focused on his back. He didn’t risk a glance over his shoulder. There was no time for that. If he did his pace would slow, and maybe he’d trip over a tree root or a rock protruding from the uneven path. He’d go sprawling and the big cat would be upon him. All they’d find would be his GPS watch and perhaps one of his running shoes, bloodied and torn and still containing a foot.

He giggled. Sweat ran into his eyes and down his back. Mud was splattered up his legs from the newly ploughed field he’d run across a couple of miles back. Blood pulsed, his heart thudded fast and even, and he had never felt so good.

He loved running with the dawn. Out of the house while it was still dark, leaving Terri and the girls sleeping, he was through one small woodland and already running down towards the canal towpath by the time the sun set the hills alight. Sometimes he saw someone else on the canal, walking their dog or cycling to work, but more often than not he was on his own. This morning he’d seen a buzzard in a field, sitting on a recent kill and staring around as if daring anyone to try for it. Once on the towpath a heron had taken off close by, startling him with its sheer size. He heard a woodpecker at work somewhere, scared ducks into the water with their ducklings, and he’d caught a brief glimpse of a kingfisher’s neon beauty. This early morning world felt like his alone, and he revelled in it.

Now, close to the end of his run, the giggles came in again. It was a familiar feeling. The endorphins were flowing, his heart hammering, and it felt so bloody great to be alive that sometimes he whooped out loud, running through the woods towards home. He ran with assurance and style, flowing across the uneven ground and watching ahead for potential trip hazards. Spider web strands broke across his face, but he didn’t mind. Once, he’d arrived home to find Terri in the kitchen, sleep-ruffled and clasping a warm mug of tea, and when he’d hugged her – ignoring her protestations at his sweat-soaked clothing and cold hands – she’d screeched at the sight of a spider crawling in his hair.

He leaped a stream, slipped, found his footing and ran on. He knew this was a good run, he could feel it, but when he glanced at his watch he saw that he was well on course for a personal best. It was one of his regular routes – through a small woodland on the other side of the village, along a country lane, up a steep hill to a local folly, back down a rocky trail to the canal towpath, then under several bridges until he entered the larger woodland that led back home. Twelve miles, and his best time so far was one hour fifty minutes. Not bad for cross country, and pretty good for a middle-aged former fat bastard. But today he was set to smash that record by five minutes.

 

‘The Hunt’ is available to buy on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hunt-Tim-Lebbon-ebook/dp/B00TWV6CC8/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1434563409

Interview with Tessy L Reys

Reach for Joy

Tessy L Reys went through years of shocking abuse and has since written a book.  I interviewed Tessy who very kindly answered my questions.

 

Can you tell me a little bit about your book, ‘Reach for Joy’ please?

I was married to a narcissisic/sociopathic man for 30 years. He didn’t like people and didn’t want to live in the real world. I was forced to bear 10 children and homeschool them. We lived in terrible situations. In some of the places we lived we endured freezing conditions. At times we didn’t have running water, electricity or even plumbing. We were often isolated. The children often had no friends, no social life and never did the things other children do growing up. I wasn’t allowed to drive, cut my hair, use deodorant or wear pants. My life was tightly controlled. One of my babies died in my arms and I endured rape. When I finally realized my life was in danger and our situation was getting worse, I escaped with my two youngest children.

 

How long did it take you to write it? 

It took me five years to write my story. I revised it several times as I struggled to tell it in a way that portrayed the unbelievably strange life we led and the terrible interior anguish I endured.

 

You went through an absolutely shocking experience.  Did you ever feel that you wouldn’t get out alive?

Yes, towards the end, there were several times I believed my life was in danger, I wrote about them in the book.

 

How does it feel to be out of the awful situation you were in?

Incredible. After 30 years in a controlled, abusive, confined state, without personal freedom, I fell apart (after I escaped). I didn’t know who I was. I was brainwashed and lived apart from the real world for so long that I felt as if I was starting all over at 22 again. There was no real personal growth for me all of those years of just trying to hold on and not commit suicide. Freedom feels wonderful, but not having the skills to live and support myself and my two children has been a terrible struggle. However, I wake up everyday and am so grateful to be free and alive.

 

Understandably, it must be hard to rid yourself of the past and all the pain you went through.  As well as the memoir, what steps have you taken to move on? 

I have been in therapy for five years and have done a lot of writing. Healing takes a long time. You can never get back the decades you’ve missed out on. I have chosen to reach for joy. I have forgiven my abuser and feel that love is the most powerful healing force there is. I wish to help others realize that fear is only as powerful as you allow it to be. You can be free if you can break through the fear.

 

What advice would you give to other women who are going through the same sort of thing?

Get help. Find a way, some way to get away. It isn’t hopeless. If I could live in fear for 30 years and escape, you can do it. But you have to be careful and get help. Life really will get better and it is so worth being free. Be strong, love yourself and be free.

 

Are you planning to write any more books?

I have written a small booklet called, “Self-Love Transformation” and I intend to write some other self-esteem and inspirational type books to help others who feel life is desperate and filled with anguish. I may write the rest of the story of what happened after I escaped and my abuser came after me.

 

Can you describe in three words what life means to you now?

Incredible wonderful JOY

 

About Tessy L Reys

Married at 21 and forced to have ten children while at times living in primitive conditions, Tessy L Reys was 51 when she finally escaped after 30 years of confinement, neglect and abuse. She now lives with her last two children while pursuing writing and reaching for joy

 

Links

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TLReys

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/R4JOY

Blog: http://lovingmeproject.blogspot.com/

Webpage I am setting up: http://www.reach4joy.com

My Self-Love Transformation booklet:  https://tinyurl.com/k58au6v (this is my affiliate link)

Google Plus:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/108021965074616531014/posts/p/pub

 

Blog Tour – ‘Among a Thousand Stars’ by Jo Bartlett

blog tour

‘Among a Thousand Stars’ by Jo Bartlett has been published by So Vain Books.  Today is the start of a blog tour celebrating this book and I am kicking it off with a guest post from Jo.

 

All in the stars?

Are you one of those people who believes in fate, luck or spooky coincidence? I suppose we all have our superstitions – I can’t see a single magpie without touching black and my sister won’t have new shoes in her kitchen.  Not even sure what that one’s about, but it’s clearly significant to her!

Despite being a romance writer, with over seven billion people in the world I’m not sure I really believe in the concept of “the one”. I quite like the idea of fate binding people together, though, and my husband and I certainly had our fair share of coincidences, which seemed to suggest we were meant to be together – although we’d both worked for the same company years before and never met.

Life is full of amazing coincidences and twists of fate, or so it seems; from the ‘just missed it’ club, who were booked to board the Titanic but for one reason or another never made it, to the couple who got together in their late twenties and found photographs from years earlier showing them both playing on the same beach only yards apart.

In ‘Among A Thousand Stars’ there are definitely some coincidences which the protagonist, Ashleigh Hayes, wishes had never happened.  She seems to have a habit of turning up in the wrong place at the wrong time and develops a bad case of emotional Tourettes around her prickly new boss as a result.  Yet it’s the discovery of a long lost painting that seems to give Ashleigh her biggest hint that the future might already be mapped out for her.

Is it really fate that decides who we’re going to spend our lives with, though? I think fate is just the thing that puts something or someone in our path and what we do as a result is up to us.  Characters in a novel are, of course, at the mercy of the writer rather than fate; or at least that’s the theory.  After all, how can characters who have no existence outside the writer’s mind have any sort of free will? Put it this way, my plans for Ashleigh didn’t always work out quite as I expected!

Perhaps it truly is all written for us in the stars, but either way I’m glad I don’t know too much about what will happen next.  As for Ashleigh and that long lost painting? That’s really is a story mapped out among a thousand stars.

 

About Jo Bartlett

jay_bartlett

Jo Bartlett has been a teacher for longer than she ever expected, which made it difficult to choose names for her children because ‘challenging’ students put her off so many potential choices.  She now combines educational consultancy, teaching in HE and blogging as one of The Write Romantics, with writing both fiction and non-fiction, and lives so close to the South-East edge of England that she’s very nearly French.

Among a Thousand Stars is her first full-length novel.

Website:  http://jobartlettauthor.com/

Twitter:  @J_B_Writer

 

‘Among a Thousand Stars’ is available to buy from Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Among-Thousand-Stars-Anything-Happens/dp/0993066089/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434480002&sr=1-1&keywords=among+a+thousand+stars

Interview with Marion Kenyon Jones

Pippo's War cover

Marion Kenyon Jones recently had her debut novel published.  Marion was interested in being interviewed for my blog.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your book please?

This sweeping Historical novel begins in the Italian countryside during the last months of World War II, and will span the globe. Pippo is the teenage son of an Italian father and British mother. His father is a diplomat who turns against Mussolini, and is imprisoned. His mother Rose is forced to take refuge with her two sons (Pippo, and his younger brother Benni, who is autistic) at a magnificent, but neglected villa offered them by Pippo’s wealthy godmother. Rose also rescues Hannah, a seventeen year old jewish girl.

Coming of age is hard enough for Pippo, but his father’s arrest causes him to question the old family allegiance to the Fascist cause. His mother, originally aligned with Italy against her native Britain, decides to hide escaped allied soldiers from the occupying Nazis, and finds that love and war often go hand in hand.

Pippo and Hannah begin a romance. He feels a special empathy for someone whose family history has been turned upside down. (Hannah’s father was a loyal Italian Jew, who was betrayed by people he thought of as his fellow countrymen.)

The family are drawn into the Resistance and there is an increasingly menacing undertone of war, which erupts with tragic consequences as the retreating German army arrive in the area. Pippo and Hannah are forced apart. As paths divide and fates collide, can one young man fly in the face of all opposition to be with the one he loves?

Pippo’s war is an historical novel full of period detail, a love story, and a classic coming-of-age tale.

(If you enjoyed: The English Patient, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, or the more recent: In love and war, this could be the book for you.)

 

Did you have to do any research for it?

Yes, I am fortunate enough to have lived in Italy for many years, and am grateful to neighbours and friends who shared their stories with me. I talked to veterans of the Italian campaign (Now very elderly!) and I read a great deal about the history of the period.

 

Where did you get your ideas from?

There is a memorial plaque in the Italian village where I live which is dedicated to the memory of a group of young partisans who lost their lives. It sparked my interest.

I met a man who shares much in common with Pippo. The book is a work of fiction, but it is informed by his experiences, and those of many others.

The descriptive passages in Pippo’s War are inspired by the incomparable beauty of Italy’s landscape, buildings and art.

 

Do you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with new ideas which you have to write down quickly?

Yes!

 

Did it take you a long time to write?

I spent five years writing Pippo’s War, but the ideas had been forming in my mind for many years before, and the historical research took time.

 

Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Yes, I have a tiny study crammed with books. There is a window overlooking the garden which fills the space with light, and above my desk are a collection of small paintings from the days when I was a practising artist.

 

Can we look forward to more books?

I am researching the story of a woman artist and traveller from the 18c. The working title is: The life and times of Angelica Finch.

 

Describe a day in your life.

I start the day skimming the news on my phone (in bed with a cup of coffee!)  I am learning about twitter and Facebook, and have a quick look at those before Holly the lurcher barks for her breakfast. We head for the kitchen together, and then she takes me for a brisk walk.

Each day is different, but I usually spend at least two hours in the morning and another two in the afternoon either writing or researching. If the writing is going well, I keep going!

My favourite evenings are spent at home with my historian husband. After supper we curl up with a box set or a book.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

There are so many! Classics: Trollop, George Eliot, Jane Austen, 20c: Anthony Burgess, Evelyn Waugh, Freya Stark, Pat Barker. Current reading: Marilynne Robinson, Tim Winton, Lydia Davis, Hilary Mantel. I could go on…

 

What do you do in your spare time?

I travel as much as I can, and I love to visit museums and galleries. I walk a great deal and of course I devour books.

 

 

About Marion Kenyon Jones

profilepicture

Marion was born in London in 1949 and trained as a sculptor in Paris. In 1974 she moved to the United States and took up painting. In 1982 she began to divide her time between her studio in Italy and New York where she regularly exhibited her work. During this period she wrote short stories about her summers on a small holding in the Tuscan Hills, and became interested in the local history.

After a hiatus during which she married, raised two children and took an MA at the Tavistock Centre in London, she began work on her debut novel Pippo’s War which was published in May 2015.

She continues to visit Italy regularly and is researching her second novel.

 

Links

Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Pippos-War-Marion-Kenyon-Jones/dp/1511749318/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432045767&sr=8-1&keywords=pippo%27s+war

 

Amazon.uk

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pippos-War-Marion-Kenyon-Jones/dp/1511749318/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432046224&sr=1-1&keywords=pippo%27s+war

 

Guest Post by Heidi Swain

first class

Heidi Swain’s debut novel is being published in July and I for one can’t wait to read it.  Heidi has written a fabulous guest post for my blog.

 

How did I get here?

Hello Sonya. Thank you so much for inviting me to feature on your fabulous blog ahead of the eagerly anticipated The Cherry Tree Café publication day of July 16th.

 

Cherry Tree Cafe Cover

It is always exciting to chat about writing and current projects but for this post I thought it would be an opportunity to think back over my writing journey (for want over a better word), to when it all began. One of the most common comments I have received recently is how lucky I am that everything has happened so quickly for me but actually, it hasn’t happened all that quickly at all.

As some of you may already know I submitted to the thoroughly fabulous Books and The City Team at Simon & Schuster on July 15th last year through their #onedayonly call for submissions and The Cherry Tree Café is scheduled for publication exactly one year and a day from that date. So yes, I guess that is pretty fast, but the commitment (and kernel of confidence), to jump in and take my writing seriously actually happened years before my submission last July.

Tales from the Old Dining Room

My daughter was recently raiding my bedroom bookshelf and discovered a little book titled Tales from the Old Dining Room which was printed after the second creative writing course I took. The blurb reads;

‘Don’t think, just write. The idea was simple – write every day for two weeks and see where the story takes you. This book is a collection of unedited stories produced by the Friday morning Creative Writing group at Wensum Lodge in Norwich.’

By the time that book was printed by my wonderful tutor Neil Mason in 2010 I had already completed a writing for children course with Paeony Lewis and would go on to take two further creative writing courses with Norwich based poet, Julia Webb.

During that time I also wrote a variety of short stories, (one of which was a Christmas competition winner), for the online community Shortbread Stories (http://www.shortbreadstories.co.uk/#axzz3ZdUSmCvH), ran a blog alongside various features I wrote for our local magazine and attended as many writing related functions and seminars as possible.

I didn’t find the confidence to begin writing my first novel until sometime in 2012, however since then I have written four. I joined the RNA New Writers Scheme in 2014 and struck gold straightaway with The Cherry Tree Café.

Taking the time to look back I can’t quite believe just how many years have slipped by between filling in that first creative course application and signing my contract with Simon & Schuster, but if I had to do it all again I wouldn’t change a thing. Five plus years of hard work, trials, errors and triumphs are now being beautifully rewarded in ways I could have only ever dreamt of and for that I am so, so grateful.

No matter where you are on your own writing journey, whether you are just taking that first step and putting pen to paper, submitting your first manuscript, or crossing your fingers as you check your inbox just remember that if you want it badly enough and you’ve put in the hours, you will get there. You will find a way to make your writing dreams come true and I wish you the very best of luck.

Never lose faith, no matter how long it takes.

 

The Cherry Tree Café will be published on July 16th but is already available for pre-order via links below.

Links:                                                                              

Blog: http://www.heidiswain.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: @Heidi_Swain

Amazon pre-order: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cherry-Tree-Cafe-Heidi-Swain-ebook/dp/B00RM4V02E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430324049&sr=8-1&keywords=cherry+tree+cafe

Kobo pre-order: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-cherry-tree-cafe/id955075784?mt=11

iBooks pre-order: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-cherry-tree-cafe

 

‘Letting in Light’ Book Birthday

Letting In Light Cover

Today it is the first birthday of Emma Davies’ book, ‘Letting in Light’, so what better way to celebrate than a guest post from Emma.

 

Happy Birthday Letting in Light

So my book baby is one year old, and like all babies there have been moments to ooh and aah over, moments to make you cry and milestones reached too. She was born, she’s crawled, found her voice, stood on her own two feet and now is taking bold steps forward; it’s been quite a year.

It all started one quiet evening when I pressed submit and uploaded my book to Amazon, without a fanfare, without publicity, without reviews and in fact without even telling anyone for a few days. It was in the months after this that I began to learn how to be an author, and that writing a book was just the start of a most wonderful journey.

Like a lot of people I’ve been writing for years, since I was in my teens in fact, and Letting in Light has been there in my mind for a long time. I knew the plot, and the characters so well they were like old friends. I often joked that they would get fed up of waiting for me to tell their story that they’d run off to a proper writer who had got their act together, but they turned out to be patient bunch and wait they did. So now I’d published a book and sent it out there, but I really had no idea whether people would like it, and really I thought I had realised my dream just in getting the book published. I had no real expectations for it, and was quite unprepared for what happened next.

Because what happened was that I realised that I was no longer content to have just got this book off my chest, I wanted more, and more, and more; I hadn’t realised what a passion I had for writing until I started to let it out!

Since then I’ve been on the biggest learning curve of my life, met some truly lovely people, and discovered how wonderfully supportive the bookish community are, from readers and writers, to bloggers and complete strangers, all united by our love of the written word. In January I was lucky enough to get a place on the Romantic Novelist’s Association New Writers’ Scheme and for some reason this seemed to be catalyst for positive change, and coupled with some amazing reviews I began to feel that I had really turned a corner in getting Letting in Light visible and getting people to buy it. Now I’m thrilled at the successively higher rankings in the charts it’s achieving and the continued positivity surrounding it.

Someone once said to me, what’s it all about then, this book of yours, windows or something? and I replied, in a way yes, because it’s not just windows that let in light. One of the main characters is a stained glass artist and for him, his work, his art, is a life transforming passion. Of course I can’t say too much more for fear of spoilers but this passage has always been one of my favourites because it’s about being in profound awe of something so beautiful it takes your breath away:

A waft of air gushes against the back of my legs, and dust motes rise up in front of me in the brilliant light as the shrouds fall away from the window. I can feel the sun on the back of my head as a flow of colour washes over me. It races out across the room, across the people standing before me, over the whitewashed walls, instantly decorating them, magical in their transformation. I look up, and even to the rafters I can see its colours, rose and copper and gold.

And that’s when it hits me, the stillness in the room, not just a lack of sound, but a space where just for a second there is nothing else but a profound awe. For just as I am gazing out into the room, everyone else is gazing back, looking not as I am at the light flowing outward, but at the point at which it flows inward. I hardly dare to turn around.

A voice beside me sounds out across the space. ‘Oh my word!’ Three simple words of honest astonishment.

Thoughts are finding voices now and a swirl of noise is born. A single clap rings out, followed by another, then another, until the whole building is thundering with their sound.

You see essentially this is what Letting in Light is all about. It’s about finding yourself, about finding that one thing that makes you glad to feel alive, finding a passion that burns within you and realising your dreams. It’s about following that dream because life’s too short not too, and it’s about learning how to let a little light into your life.

If I have learnt anything this year it’s that I no longer have to look for my passion, my dream, my light. I have found it. I am a writer.

 

‘Letting in Light’ is available to buy from Amazon and is currently only 99p.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Letting-Light-Emma-Davies-ebook/dp/B00KZYVMVM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430335047&sr=8-1&keywords=Letting+in+Light

Blog Tour – ‘Half the World Away’ by Cath Staincliffe

Half the World Away Blog Tour Banner

I am very excited to be part of this blog tour celebrating Cath Staincliffe’s new book.  Read on for my interview with Cath.

 

Can you tell me a bit about your new book please?

It’s a thriller about an estranged couple, Jo and Tom Maddox, who are reunited in a desperate search for their daughter Lori who has gone missing in China.

 

How long did it take you to write it?

Nine months.

 

Did you have to do any research and if so what did it entail?

The biggest part of the research was going to China to discover what it’s like there. I spent three weeks in a city called Chengdu, where my son lives, and documented everything I could. It would have been impossible to write the book without that trip. I also researched the work of the charity Missing Abroad and the role the Foreign and Commonwealth Office play when someone goes missing overseas, the Chinese police and legal system and the Chinese language.

 

Where did you get your ideas from for this book?

Once I knew I wanted to tell the story of someone going missing overseas then the idea for setting it in China seemed obvious given my son lives there. But also because trying to find someone in a country that is so very different meant it would be even more difficult and daunting for my characters. The story is told from Jo’s point of view but we hear from Lori, too, through her blog.

 

Are you one of these people who keeps a notebook and pen on the bedside table in case inspiration hits you during the night?

I don’t. But I should because I often have ideas in the wee small hours and try to remember them and I never can.

 

What is your daily writing routine?

Once I’ve checked emails and attended to any bits of admin I sit and write all day, treating it like a job – which it is! I write longhand and then every few chapters I type it up or use voice recognition software to get it onto the computer.

 

Where is your favourite place to write?

I usually write sitting in an armchair, facing the window with a view of the sky and some rooftops. But my favourite place to write is in the garden, in the sunshine. This is a very very rare occurrence in Manchester where I live.

 

Can we look forward to more books from you?

Most certainly. I’ve started the next one.

 

You’re stuck on a desert island and are only allowed three items. What would they be?

A library, an endless supply of writing paper and a wine cellar.

 

‘Half the World Away’ is available to buy on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/372/dp/1472117972/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1434000227&sr=1-1

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Return to Bluebell Hill’ by Rebecca Pugh

Return to Bluebell Hill

Today is a big day for fabulous book blogger, Rebecca Pugh.  I am pleased to be revealing the cover of her debut novel which is being published on the 18th June 2015.

 

Book Blurb

As sweet and satisfying as strawberries and cream! This British summertime, get out in the garden with Rebecca Pugh’s sparkling debut novel.

Home is where the heart is…

Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances…

Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been?

Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down…

Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies?

An emotional tale of self-discovery, taking chances and romance! Rebecca’s unique British voice feels like coming home again and again.

 

About Rebecca Pugh

Becca latest

Rebecca Pugh grew up in the green county of Shropshire, with a mind full of fairy-tales and happy endings. Enchanted by true love and Disney Princesses, she decided that no matter what life threw her way, she’d continue to see the world through a child’s eyes. Through the pages of countless books, her adoration of reading blossomed, and it didn’t take long for her to fall under the spell of hundreds of authors’ words.

Now, Rebecca’s own story has taken a fairy-tale like turn, and at 22, her dream has come true. With her faithful companions: Bonnie the dog, her partner, and her gigantic family by her side, Rebecca is ready to share her stories with readers who enjoy falling in love and losing themselves within beautiful, fictional worlds.

Rebecca Pugh is the author of women’s fiction and romance, her all-time favourite genres. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good swoon?

Her debut novel, Return to Bluebell Hill, is due to be published June 18th 2015 by Carina UK.

 

Links

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Wickham Hall: Part 1’ by Cathy Bramley

Wickham Hall Part 1 Hidden Treasures

This is the gorgeous cover of the first part of ‘Wickham Hall – Hidden Treasures’ by Cathy Bramley.  Read on to find out more.

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I’m so excited about the launch of my new series Wickham Hall this month; it introduces a brand new set of characters and a beautiful new setting in a stately home just outside Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s a story of love and friendship, family secrets and heartache and ultimately learning to love life and live for the moment! I’ve packed the story full of my favourite things such as the English countryside, exquisite gardens (including topiary – I adore topiary!), weddings, summer festivals, lots of tea and cake, bonfires and Christmas parties!

The series will be published digitally in four parts this year and then in a complete novel both digitally and in paperback in 2016:

Wickham Hall Part One – Hidden Treasures 25 June

Wickham Hall Part Two – Summer Secrets 23 July

Wickham Hall Part Three – Sparks Fly 24 September

Wickham Hall Part Four – White Christmas 26 November

 

Here’s the blurb!

Holly Swift has just landed the job of her dreams: events co-ordinator at Wickham Hall, the beautiful manor home that sits proudly at the heart of the village where she grew up. Not only does she get to organise for a living and work in stunning surroundings, but it will also put a bit of distance between Holly and her problems at home.

Holly loves the busy world of Wickham Hall – from family weddings to summer festivals, firework displays and Christmas grottos. But life isn’t as easily organised as an event at Wickham Hall (and even those have their complications…). Can Holly learn to let go and live in the moment?

After all, that’s when the magic happens…

 

Cathy Bramley Bio

Cathy Bramley Marsh Agency

Cathy is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby farm and Conditional Love. She lives in a small Nottinghamshire village with her husband, two teenage daughters and Pearl, the Cockerpoo.

Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has always been an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight. Luckily her husband has now bought her a Kindle with a light, so that’s the end of all that palaver.

Cathy loves to hear from her readers. You can get in touch via her Facebook page or on Twitter.

 

Amazon Link (either one – they are the same):

Wickham Hall Part One Hidden Treasures

Blog Tour – ‘Searching for Steven’ by Jessica Redland

Blog Tour Poster

‘Searching for Steven’ was published as an eBook on the 3rd June 2015 by So Vain Books and is also out in paperback.  This is Jessica Redland’s debut novel and the first book in a trilogy.  I am one of the lucky bloggers taking part in a blog tour to celebrate ‘Searching for Steven’ and today I am reviewing it.

After a failed relationship Sarah Peterson is offered a wonderful opportunity by her Auntie Kay.  Sarah loves floristry and so decides to take her aunt up on her offer of taking over the business, which means leaving London and returning to her childhood home in Whitsborough Bay, North Yorkshire.  It is whilst she is packing with the help of her friends that Sarah comes across a tape of a clairvoyance reading she had twelve years ago which had mysteriously gone missing.  Listening to it Sarah discovers that all the predictions apart from one seem to have come true.  Apparently she is about to meet the man of her dreams and his name will be Steven.

Suddenly there seem to be Stevens everywhere and Sarah finds herself wondering if any of them could be The One.  Her friend Clare thinks the tape is a load of nonsense but persuades Sarah to try online dating to see if she can find The Steven on there.  Things get tricky for Sarah when she finds herself attracted to a rather handsome web designer who unfortunately isn’t called Steven.

Will this search lead to Sarah finding her destiny?  You’ll have to read this book to find out.

I found ‘Searching for Steven’ to be such an enjoyable read and hard to put down.  I absolutely loved Jessica Redland’s writing style.

I really liked Sarah and warmed to her straightaway.  Her friend Clare was sceptic about the reading but there was no denying that things had come true and I didn’t blame Sarah for trying to find her Steven at all.  I personally wouldn’t have tried so hard to find him though as I believe that if it’s meant to happen it will.

Aside from trying to sort out her love life, Sarah did wonders with the shop having been given the chance to start the business again from scratch.  Through Jessica’s wonderful descriptions I could actually picture the florist and what it looked like.

‘Searching for Steven’ is a lovely story about following your heart and taking chances and is a reminder that life is too short.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

‘Searching for Steven’ is available to buy on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Searching-Steven-Already-Future-Whitsborough/dp/0993066097/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1433738149&sr=1-1

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Attic Room’ by Linda Huber

Book Cover

This is the cover of Linda Huber’s new book which is being published in July.  Read on to find out more about ‘The Attic Room’.

 

Book Blurb

A father’s secret – a mother’s lie – a family mystery

An unexpected phone call, and Nina’s life takes a disturbing twist. Who is John Moore? And how does he know her name?

Nina travels south to see the house she inherited, but sinister letters arrive and she finds herself in the middle of a police investigation. With her identity called into question, Nina uncovers a shocking crime. But what, exactly, happened in the attic room, all those years ago? The answer could lie close to home.

The arrival of her ten-year-old daughter compounds Nina’s problems, but her tormentor strikes before she can react. Searching for the truth about the Moore family puts both Nina and her child into grave danger. And someone nearby is not the person she thinks…

 

About Linda Huber

IMG_0733

Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where she trained as a physiotherapist. She spent ten years working with neurological patients, firstly in Glasgow and then in Switzerland. During this time she learned that different people have different ways of dealing with stressful events in their lives, and this knowledge still helps her today, in her writing. Linda now lives in Arbon, Switzerland, where she works as a language teacher in a medieval castle on the banks beautiful Lake Constance.

Her debut novel The Paradise Trees was published in 2013, followed by The Cold Cold Sea in 2014. Linda has also had over 50 short stories and articles published in women’s magazines, and in 2014 contributed a story to the charity anthology Winter Tales. The Attic Room is her third novel, and will be published at the end of July.

 

Links

Website: http://lindahuber.net/

Blog:  http://lindahuber.net/blog/

Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-Huber/e/B00CN7BB0Q/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Amazon US:  http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Huber/e/B00CN7BB0Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1433057929&sr=8-1

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LindaHuber19

Blog Tour – ‘The Martyr’s Curse’ by Scott Mariani

Blog Tour Poster

Scott Mariani’s latest book, ‘The Martyr’s Curse’ was published in paperback and eBook on the 4th June 2015.  Today it is my turn on the blog tour to celebrate its release.

 

Book Blurb

Sales of gripping ‘Ben Hope’ conspiracy thriller series top 1.1 Million Copies with over 1,500 5* reviews now on Amazon

Can Ben Hope find peace at last in a remote medieval monastery in the French Alps? His wanderings through Europe might have led him to this refuge but salvation is to be short lived for wherever he goes, trouble is never far behind.

When a team of merciless killers invade his newfound sanctuary and slaughter the innocent monks, Ben’s revenge quest quickly draws him into a bewildering mystery of stolen treasure, deception and murder.

What is the truth behind the cache of gold bullion apparently hidden for centuries under the monastery? What is the significance of an ancient curse dating back to a cruel heretic burning in medieval times? What are the real ambitions of the enigmatic leader of an organisation of doomsday ‘preppers’ calling themselves Exercitus Paratorum: the Army of the Prepared?

As he works to unravel the mystery, Ben is confronted with a terrifying reality that threatens to devastate the world and reshape the whole of our future. The race is on to prevent the ultimate disaster and there’s only one man who can save us. His name is Hope, Ben Hope.

~~~~~~~~~~

Below is an extract from ‘The Martyr’s Curse’.

Extract

France
January 1348

The crowd looked on in awed silence as the pall of smoke drifted densely upwards to meet the falling sleet.

Four attempts to light the pyre had finally resulted in a dismal, crackling flame that slowly caught a hold on the pile of damp hay and twigs stacked up around the wooden stake at its centre. So thick was the smoke, the people of the mountain village who’d huddled round in the cold to witness the burning could barely even make out the figure of the man lashed to the stake. But they could clearly hear his frantic cries of protest as he writhed and fought against his bonds.

His struggles were of no use. Iron chains, not ropes, held him tightly to the thick wooden post. Rope would only burn away, and the authorities overseeing the execution wanted to make sure the job was properly carried out – that the corrupted soul of this evil man was well and truly purified in the cleansing flames.

He was a man of indeterminate age, thin, gaunt and known locally as Salvator l’Aveugle – Blind Salvator – because he had only a right eye, the left a black, empty socket. The robed and hooded traveller had first turned up in the village in late November. He’d declared himself to be a Franciscan priest on a lone pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where almost for the first time since its fall to the Muslim forces of Salah al-Din in 1187, Christianity was re-establishing a lasting foothold. Salvator’s mission was to join his fellow Frenchman and Franciscan, Roger Guérin of Aquitaine, who had managed to purchase from the current Mamluk rulers parts of the ancient city, including the hallowed Cenacle on Mount Zion, and was in the process of building a monastery there.

But Salvator’s long journey hadn’t started well. He’d scarcely covered eighty miles from his home in Burgundy before a gang of brigands had beset him on the road, taking his nag and the purse containing what little money he had. Bruised and battered, he’d plodded on his way on foot for a month or more, totally dependent on the goodwill of his fellow men for shelter and sustenance. Finally, fatigue and hunger combined with the growing winter cold and the unrelenting rain had brought on a fever that had nearly ended his pilgrimage before it had properly begun. Some children had come across him lying half-dead by the side of the path that wound up through the mountain pass a mile or so from their village. Seeing from the dirty tatters of his humble robe that he was a holy man, they’d run to fetch help and Salvator had soon been rescued. Men from the village had carried him back on a wagon, he’d been fed and tended to, and fresh straw bedding had been laid down for him in an empty stable that he shared with some chickens. During the weeks that followed, the priest’s fever had passed and his strength had gradually returned. By then, though, winter was closing in, and he’d decided to delay resuming his journey until the spring. To begin with, most of the villagers hadn’t objected to his remaining with them two or three more months. It was an extra mouth to feed, true; but then, an extra pair of hands was always useful at this hard time of year. During his stay, Salvator had helped clear snow, repair storm damage to the protective wall that circled the village, and tend to the pigs. In his free time, he’d also begun to draw a crowd with his impromptu public sermons, which had grown in frequency and soon become more and more impassioned.

Needless to say, there were those who were unhappy with his presence, and this became more noticeable as time went on. It was a somewhat closed community, somewhat insular, easily given to suspicion and especially where strangers were concerned – even when those strangers were men of God. And most especially when those strangers frightened some people with their odd ways.

 

‘The Martyr’s Curse’ can be bought from Amazon UK:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Martyrs-Curse-Ben-Hope-Book-ebook/dp/B00TP3JB76/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433444684&sr=1-1&keywords=the+martyrs+curse

Interview with Ben Seims

Ben Seims

Ben Seims lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and their three teenaged boys. He works full time as a cardiac nurse and is currently an officer in the Washington Army National Guard. After Day One is his first full length novel and is the first book in a planned trilogy.

Ben very kindly answered some questions for me.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘After Day One’ please?

I wanted to write a series of books that take place in a broken America around 2096. Areas all over the world are the middle of a rebuilding stage, and in places like the Free (formerly the Pacific Northwest) things seem pretty bleak. It is a story about a lost, rough and tumble man who ends up having to save a twin boy and girl, and then try to get them someplace where they’re safe. All the while they are being hunted by groups of unknown entities that for some reason believe the twins have incredible powers. The more he tries to get rid of them the farther down the rabbit hole he ends up going with them. I love underdog stories. I love it when all the odds are stacked against the heroes. I love it when they never get a break, but somehow they pull off the impossible. That is really the underlying plot of the story. It isn’t a highly complicated trilogy; just a feel good read that I hope keeps everyone turning the page.

 

What made you decide to write this book?

It’s a story I’ve been kicking around for about six years. My brother died in 2011, and we had been working on ideas together. My life kind of fell apart for while and I started writing again. I guess that’s when I really put together the first outline. I kept writing and pretty soon I had a first draft and was sending it to booktrope.

 

When can we expect the second book in the trilogy?

Most likely this time next year. I’ve learned that the timeline for this kind of stuff is pretty flexible, and the whole thing takes about a year. I’ve submitted it to my editor at booktrope, Cindy Wyckoff (who I love) so the process is started, and that is always exciting.

 

Did you have to do any research for your novel?

I research science and technology constantly. I read about twenty articles each day. I take that information and use my imagination to try and figure out where that science and tech might go and then expand on it in my writing. I have a pretty extensive military background and have had the opportunity to have worked with some pretty high-speed operators, so a lot of the tactics and military tech is run through them. I had to do a ton of research on military aircraft and ships (mostly for the second book) to make sure that the descriptions and functionalities were up to snuff. I love Greek and Roman history, so much of my back story for the fall of the major world powers, and then the rebuilding that takes place is based on post Roman society.

 

Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I have so many ideas. I’ve been writing shorts and posting them on my website. It’s an urban fantasy novella series I’m working on about a guy who hunts down eaters; cannibalistic souls that inhabit human bodies and prey on humans to eat. His handler is an Auror named Bam who is trapped inside a five-pound yorkie.

 

Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing at the dining room table around five in the morning when everyone is asleep. I am working on a better place and time, but it works for now.

 

Describe a day in your life.

That’s pretty long. I usually wake up around 0430, make my coffee and a shake, down some water, take my vitamins and then get started writing. I triage write; first I work on proof revisions for ADO, then I work on revisions for Fractured Days (book two), then I work on extra’s like the story above, blog posts, or my monthly newsletter. The boys are usually awake by six thirty; we have breakfast, I finish writing, and we are usually out of the house by seven thirty, heading to school and work. I work from eight to four thirty. During that time I use my breaks to do any last many editing, tweet, update my flipboard, and catch up on emails. I work out at my local crossfit box from five to six, and then head home for dinner and catching up with the family. I write about an hour in the evening before calling it a night around ten or eleven.

 

Can you tell me what it’s like working as a cardiac nurse please?

It’s pretty awesome. I work in a mixed radiology lab. We do heart catheterizations, interventional cardiology (placing stents and ballooning open blocked coronary arteries) pace makers, internal defibrillators, and then lots of peripheral vascular and arterial repair. It can be pretty high paced sometimes. When someone is having a heart attack and actively trying to die, we go in and try to open up the clog arteries in their heart with balloons and stents to save them. It can get pretty hairy, especially when we’re doing CPR off and on the whole time.

 

Links

Website – http://blseims.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ben_seims

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/110552439600742306602/posts

 

Guest Post by Deirdre Quiery

Author Pic

Deirdre Quiery is back on my blog with another guest post.

 

The Writer and the Artist – Not One, Not Two? – Deirdre Quiery

Even though I write, I don’t think of myself as a “Writer” and even though I paint, I don’t think of myself as an “Artist”. Maybe that goes back to a dislike of labels and breaking things down into discrete parts to understand them!

I like it better when everything is messy and confusing – when the writer isn’t really a writer and the artist isn’t really an artist – but something is created and we look back to investigate who is the guilty party and there is a whiff of Deirdre over there typing away on her laptop or splashing paint on the floor.

What I love about both writing and painting is that something is created from somewhere mysterious rather than someone mysterious. When I am writing or painting, I feel myself sinking into somewhere – a falling into a place beyond the easily recognisable surface of reality. It’s a letting go of what I know to allow something completely new to emerge. I think that’s why it is right to consider writing or painting courageous because the writer and the artist have to be prepared to be ripped apart in the act of creation. They do that by sitting or standing still – not moving – waiting for a stirring to happen and then surfing it with the tapping of the keyboard or swirling colour onto a palette.

So this falling into emptiness for me is what writing and painting have in common but I also see their differences. For me my love of writing started with a passion for reading. I remember receiving my first three library tickets at the age of seven accompanied by the thrill of reading late into the night, tucked into bed with a torch under the sheets.

By the time I was twelve, I not only loved the characters in the books I read, but I now also loved the writers. I was grateful to them for opening up these vast new worlds for me. I remember the intense sadness I experienced when I finished the last available book by a treasured writer. It was then I learnt what it means to mourn.

My experience of falling in love with painting was different. It didn’t start by being inspired by the painting of others. Only recently I ran from the Louvre after spending only thirty minutes inspecting masterpieces depicting naked bodies with their delicate parts covered in fig leaves, plunging knives into one another. I did not find the act of looking at art at all interesting. If given the choice, it might appeal to me to observe buttered Tibetan sculptures melt in the heat of the mid-day sun, but only because the art itself was disappearing without regret.

I went to my first art class in Palma with Argentinian artist Carlos Gonzalez with the intention of exploring how painting could help me write better. I was lucky with Carlos. He was a marvellously talented painter who could paint like a Michaelangelo, a Picasso or a Goya. He knew how to encourage the faint hearted students in his class saying, “Don’t paint what you see.” He would then ask questions like “What colour do you want to paint that olive tree? Please don`t say brown and green.”

I had “proper painters” on either side of me producing, shaping, and polishing their skills while I spent those Saturday mornings laughing at what appeared on my canvas. Then the day arrived, after mastering watercolours, acrylics and tempera – that Carlos thought we were ready for oils. It happened. As I mixed Prussian Blue, a Zinc White and a Cadmium Yellow, I started to sink. I fell into that magic place where art and writing are one and where I could disappear without a trace.

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I really hope you enjoyed this guest post.  Look out for a special competition coming soon.

Blog Tour – ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’ by Julia Roberts

Schedule

Last month I took part in a book promotion for ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’.  You can read it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/book-promotion-juliaroberts/

Today it is my turn on the blog tour for which I am sharing an excerpt from the book.

 

Excerpt 

Robert cradled his wine glass in his hand and swirled the red liquid around gently to warm it. He smiled as he thought about the unnecessary action, after all the early evening temperature was still in the late twenties and would warm his Chateau Neuf du Pape without any intervention from him. A shiver trembled through his body as he looked at the deep red of the wine. It reminded him of blood and there had been so much blood over the last two years. He shook his head to try and clear morbid thoughts, then lifted his gaze to admire the beautiful sunset. It was one of his and his wife Rosemary’s favourite things to do. He thought briefly about waking her but decided instead to deal with her annoyance at missing nature’s awesome display later. He breathed in the warm air scented with frangipani. The decision to come to Mauritius had been the right one, even though it was against the advice of the doctors. The break would do them both good in preparation for the tough road that lay ahead.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading the excerpt.  Below is the purchase link for ‘Life’s a Beach and Then…’.

Amazon – http://amzn.to/1DTyMv4

Guest Post by John Raynor

john-raynor-photo

John S. Raynor is a blind writer based in Cheshire who has achieved a lot and who I already admire very much.  He has very kindly provided me with a guest post for my blog which I hope you enjoy reading.

 

The snail’s pace path to publication

Like you, I am also a lover of books.  After losing my sight in the late seventies, I read nothing for over thirty years.  In 2011, I registered with the RNIB’s Talking Book service and bought myself a specialised MP3 player on which I could read many of the superb books available.  Since then, I have read about forty books each year and can not imagine life without a book to read.

I also enjoy crime, thrillers and supernatural themes.  My favourite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Tom Clancy, Harlan Coben, Tess Gerritsen, Dan Brown, Lee Child and James Herbert.

I started writing in the early seventies using speech synthesis and, more recently, screen reading software on my computer.  I have self-published two novels, two autobiographical works and three children’s short stories.

Recently I have completed a thriller and, after an editorial analysis from Cornerstones Literary Consultants, I am currently modifying the text to make it more presentable to a Literary Agency.  It is so difficult to be accepted by a recognised Agency/publisher these days, but I am hopeful that I can join the ranks of the “Published authors”.

I totally agree with Tim Baker about research.  I have carried out extensive research, with the aid of the Internet, for all my works in an effort to make the plots more plausible.  I notice that Tim has an interest in Guide dogs.  Although I do not have one myself, I have had a great deal of experience with them over many years and have actually included Elsa, a German Shepherd guide dog in this latest work, titled “See All Evil”.

 

You can visit John Raynor’s website at www.jsraynor.co.uk

Twitter – @J_S_Raynor

Blog Tour – ‘Lullaby Girl’ by Aly Sidgwick

Blog Tour Banner

‘Lullaby Girl’ is Aly Sidgwick’s debut novel.  It is being published by Black & White Publishing in paperback this Thursday 4th June 2015 and is already out as an eBook.  I am so very excited to be part of this blog tour which I am kicking off.

 

Synopsis

Who is the Lullaby Girl?

Found washed up on the banks of a remote loch, a mysterious girl is taken into the care of a psychiatric home in the highlands of Scotland, Mute and covered in bruises, she has no memory of who she is or how she got there. The only clue to her identity is the Danish lullaby she sings…

Inside the care home, she should be safe. But, harassed by the media and treated as a nuisance by under-pressure staff, she finds the home is far from a haven. And as her memories slowly surface, the Lullaby Girl does her best to submerge them again. Some things are too terrible to remember… but unless she confronts her fear, how can she find out who she really is?

Taut, tense and mesmerising, Lullaby Girl is a shining debut from an exciting and very talented new author.

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Like the sound of ‘Lullaby Girl’?  Read on for an interesting guest post from Aly Sidgwick.

Guest Post

Pianos and lullabies

I can’t do a blog tour without mentioning the piano man! So, here goes…

About ten years ago, like many others, I was swept up by the mystery of a young man who’d washed up on a Kent shore with no memory. That sort of thing happens all the time, I’m sure. People have breakdowns, and go missing, and run away from problems… But one detail set this case apart, and that was the man’s skill at playing piano. For some reason, that part sent the public crazy. People took delight in concocting theories. A huge effort was made to find out who the man was. But no-one seemed to recognise him, and no solid leads were found. All of this added to the mystery. People’s imaginations ran riot, mine included. For me, I think the really electric detail was his fragility. He was like a stunned bird, huddled in the midst of all this activity. There was a romance to his predicament. A sadness, and a sense of great waste. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of ’madness,’ or losing one’s sense of self, probably because I feared it would happen to me one day. When I wrote Lullaby Girl, I wanted to write from the perspective of someone who’d tipped over the edge in that way. To walk a person past breaking point into the no-man’s-land beyond, and find out what happened next. I find great beauty in that fragile state. It’s so human. So honest. And the scary thing is that we’re all capable of it. With a big enough push, everything you know and everything you are can fly out of your grasp. The Piano Man made it through with a shred of his old self intact- namely his musical skill. It was a link to a part of himself that was possibly gone forever, and there were so many possiblities in that one, strange clue. I let Katherine keep a shred of her past too, in the form of the lullaby. Like him she becomes branded by it. Even after her real name is known, the public insist on calling her ’Lullaby Girl.’ You could argue that that’s because people love labels. But I think it’s more than that. In my mind, it’s the glamour of ’madness’ that draws people. There’s something irrisistible in that fall from grace.

 ~~~~~~~

Now for an excerpt from ‘Lullaby Girl’ to give you a feel of the book.  It is taken from the first chapter.

Excerpt 

Rhona takes me outside. We walk round. She points her
finger. ‘That’s Loch Ghlas,’ she says, ‘and that’s the perimeter
fence.’

I look down the hill. The fence looks tiny. Wind blows on
my face. I close my eyes an’ breathe. Rhona keeps talkin’.

‘I suppose some folks might feel trapped by a fence. But
it’s actually a nice thing, because it means no bad people can
bother us. We’re safe and cosy in here, and you can walk
around the grounds without having to . . .’

Rhona’s coat swooshes. Quiet. She talks again. Slower.

‘You like it out here, don’t you? Well, we’ll be coming
out here a lot more. We can come out every day if you like.’

That smell . . . I know it. Where do I know it from?

I . . .

I open my eyes an’ see the sea. Far off. Grey. Iss further
than the perimeter fence. But somehow the sea is all I can
see. Suddenly I feel funny, like I can’t breathe. In my head, a
picture of waves. Cold. Heavy. A blackness under me, an’ no
place to put my feet. Iss the sea I smell. An’ . . . I’ve been
closer to it than this. Much closer. Not jus’ on the beach,
when the men came. I was in it . . . Far out . . . In the dark . . .

The funny feelin’ grows. I breathe out an’ can’t breathe
back in. My heart goin’ bump bump bump. Rhona’s mouth is
movin’. Can’t hear her now. I go backwards. I gasp. The sky
goes massive. All white, in my eyes. My ears are screamin’ an’
I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe . . . I . . .

Music plunging hard. I’m on the floor, pressed flat as possible.
Dust in my mouth, in the deepest darkest animal trap, and above
my head the screams keep coming. On and on and I can’t stand it
and Katty I can’t I can’t . . . Katty! His face bathed in red and the
words moving out of him . . . Slowww his hand comes up they will
get me and I know then I know I am done for . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

. .

About Aly Sidgwick

Aly Sidgwick

Aly Sidgwick spent many years in Oslo as a tattoo artist and comic strip artist before turning to writing. She became obsessed and didn’t tell anyone she was writing for six months. She has lived in North Yorkshire, Norway, Sweden and Edinburgh. Her spare time is devoted to reading, painting, travelling, and drinking lots of black coffee.

 

You can buy ‘Lullaby Girl’ from:-

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lullaby-Girl-Aly-Sidgwick/dp/184502950X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1433074751&sr=1-1

 

Interview with Jane Isaac

Book cover

Congratulations to the lovely Jane Isaac whose book ‘Before It’s Too Late’ is out today.  To coincide with the release of Jane’s latest novel I interviewed her.

 

Firstly, congratulations on your new book.  Can you tell me a bit about it please?

Thank you. Before It’s Too Late opens with the kidnap of Chinese student, Min Li, who is walking the dark streets of Stratford upon Avon following an argument with her boyfriend. We follow her story as she is kept captive in a disused pit in the Warwickshire countryside, and the police investigation through the eyes of Detective Inspector Will Jackman as he seeks to find her. When another student is kidnapped, Jackman finds himself in a race against time to track down the kidnapper.

 

Where did you get your ideas from?

I like to play with the idea of putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. I’ve always been a great people-watcher and I like to imagine the ‘what if’ scenario: What if we were taken out of our comfort zone? How would we react? I’m fascinated by how detectives investigate too and like to write stories partly through the eyes of a lead detective, and partly through the point of view of someone else affected by the crime, so we see the case from both sides.

 

What sort of research did you need to do?

One of the nicest things about novel research is the people you meet along the way. For Before It’s Too Late I spent a lot of time with retired and serving detectives (which is always fun) and read a lot of true crime encircling kidnappings to find out how the victims really felt so that I could emulate some of this in Min’s incarceration. I also spent a lovely afternoon sitting under a tree in a local park with a Chinese student liaison officer from our nearby college who gave me a real insight into how students feel and behave when they come over here to study, and the cultural differences they face. Field trips to Stratford featured highly too and I trudged over the Warwickshire countryside and wandered the streets of the town. I also engineered many family weekends away there – book research can be such a hardship sometimes!

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

It always takes a lot longer than I imagine it will do: Probably about eighteen months from start to finish.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

My main characters always feel real to me and I often feel bereft when I finish the novel and have to leave some of them behind. I hope to work with DI Will Jackman again though – he’s a hopelessly addictive!

 

Have you got any other writing projects on the go?

I’ve recently sent outlines for two new novels to my editor, so I’m waiting with bated breath to see if she likes them!

 

Would you ever consider trying out a different genre?

The thought has crossed my mind. Maybe in the future, but I’m so passionate about the suspense and thriller genre that it feels the right place for me right now.

 

Do you read a lot?

Of course! Reading is an essential part of the writing process for me, and fiction provides a wonderful release too. I’ve just finished Normal by Graeme Cameron and am about to start Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson.

 

Do you prefer e-readers or printed books?

E-readers are so convenient when out and about or away on holiday, but I do love the feel and the smell of a printed book.

 

What are your thoughts on social media?

Social media is a wonderful medium to meet new friends and share writing tips and information on books. It can be addictive though and since I’m particularly prone to procrastination (I’m sure I have a gene!) I have to force myself to switch off every now and then to make sure I make time for writing too.

 

About Jane Isaac

Author Pic

Author of An Unfamiliar Murder (Nominated as best mystery in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards) & The Truth Will Out – selected as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-Thriller.com . New title, Before It’s Too Late, will be published by Legend Press on the 1st of June 2015.

Web:  www.janeisaac.co.uk

Twitter – @JaneIsaacAuthor

 

Competition

To celebrate the publication of Jane Isaac’s new book, I am running a competition in which one very lucky person will win a paperback copy of ‘Before It’s Too Late’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me why you want to read this book.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 15th June 2015.

The winner will be randomly selected and notified of their win within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be passed on to Legend Press who will send the prize out.

 

Good luck! 🙂

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