A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “November, 2015”

Interview with Katy Haye

The Last Dreamseer Cover

Congratulations to Katy Haye whose new book, ‘The Last Dreamseer’ is out today.  To coincide with the publication of Katy’s novel I have interviewed her.


Tell me a little bit about The Last Dreamseer

The Last Dreamseer is a YA fantasy novel. It takes the reader to Fane, a fantasy world recovering from a civil war. The war is over, but peace hasn’t fully settled across the land. That will require a new queen to be chosen by the people of Fane. Deena, the heroine of my novel and the Dreamseer of the title, is expected to foresee the next queen to confirm who gets the role – except that her visions are troublingly empty of guidance.


How long did it take you to write?

The Last Dreamseer started life as my NaNoWriMo project in 2014, so it’s been a year from start to publication. It felt much, much longer, though! Aware of the need to get my next book out (my first, The Last Gatekeeper, was published in November 2014), I didn’t plan it thoroughly enough with the result that while the novel is about 71,500 words, I think there’s probably the same number of wrongly-written and cut out words languishing on my PC!


Why write YA?

Because I love YA novels! YA is my go-to genre. I adore the range of stories and approaches you can find under the ‘YA’ umbrella – it’s utterly limitless, which is exactly what I think fiction should be.


Do you write other genres?

Yes, I do tend to flit from one thing to another. I have a couple of adult contemporary-with-a-magical-twist novels tucked away in a drawer, and I recently wrote an alternate history/steampunk story for adults and the main character in that keeps popping into my head to point out that she has a lot more stories to tell!


If I asked one of your main characters to tell me about themselves, what would they say?

If you asked Deena, I think she’d demand to know why you wanted to know before telling you anything. Deena is very wary, because she hasn’t had a good start to life – her dreamseer powers are unique on Fane, which has left her open to abuse by those in power, and her parents did nothing to stop that abuse. She doesn’t find it easy to trust, because she isn’t used to people being interested in her – everyone she’s met so far only cares about her visions, and how they can be used to the advantage of already powerful people.


What are you working on now?

I’ve just sent my next YA novel (currently titled Across the Metal Seas) to my editor, but because I never like a dull moment I’ve moved straight on to the next. I was listening to Taylor Swift’s ‘Fake’ a while ago and got a fabulous idea for a speculative YA story. It’s tentatively summed up as “human zoo”. I’ve written the dirty draft and have just dived into first revisions – that should be out this time next year.


Who are your favourite authors?

A couple of writers I love who aren’t nearly as famous as they deserve are Kim Curran (her Shift, Control, Delete is a brilliant series about a group of teens with special powers, and it’s also an absolute masterclass in how to write a trilogy – each book is superb; combined they’ll knock you out), and Imogen Howson, whose sci-fi duology Linked and Unravel are breath-takingly imaginative and action-packed (and her hero is knock-out gorgeous, too).


Which do you prefer – tea or coffee?

Tea, always tea. I can’t drink caffeine because it makes me twitch, so Clipper’s decaf green tea is my writing fuel – I can get through pints in a day.


If you had the money, would you buy a bookshop?

I don’t think I would – if I owned a bookshop I’d spend all day reading and never sell any of them. If I had a lottery win, I might set up a publishing house, though. That would be fun – picking books I love (I’d be in charge of the slush pile) and giving them a great start in life with the best editors and cover designers and a big push of publicity – what all writers dream of!


The Last Dreamseer is at a special price of 99p/99c for launch week only. Grab a copy now:

Amazon: http://authl.it/B017ULA8V2

Smashwords (all formats): http://bit.ly/1I3Agqf


The Last Dreamseer

The queen is dead. Long live the queen…

Deena endured her first dreamseer vision at the age of six. Now sixteen and having seen how her mother’s abilities were abused by Fane’s rulers, she would do anything to avoid the future that lies ahead when her mother dies and Deena inherits her role.

When she meets Zan, Fane’s last gatekeeper, Deena sees a chance to gain her freedom. But Zan is accompanied by Cal, rebel thorn in the old queen’s side. Deena can’t risk Cal discovering that she was once forced to betray him – but she needs him if she’s ever to escape.





Twitter: @katyhaye


Interview with Barbara Copperthwaite

Author Picture

Barbara Copperthwaite is a bestselling author of psychological crime fiction. Her debut, INVISIBLE, went on sale last year and became an Amazon Top Ten best seller in the UK. FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD has been equally successful, charting as soon as it was released.

Barbara kindly agreed to being interviewed for my blog.


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

Flowers For The Dead is a psychological crime thriller where the killer is as much a victim as the women he murders. Adam is a man who will do anything to make the woman he loves happy – even kill her.

The plot follows him in the present, as he stalks his latest victim, making her wonder if she is losing her mind; and in flashbacks explains how an innocent child was so tragically warped that he became the serial killer he is today.

His latest victim, Laura Weir, is already struggling with her own demons after witnessing her entire family being wiped out. She’s spent most of the last four years wishing she had died with them. Her vulnerability makes her exactly the kind of woman Adam can’t resist.

But only now that Laura is about to die does she realize how much she wants to live.


How long did it take you to write?

My first book, Invisible, took me almost two years to write, because I only had time to work on it during my daily commute to the magazine I edited. Now, I’m a freelance journalist, working from home, so it was much easier to concentrate on Flowers For The Dead. I started working on it in January 2015, and the first draft took me six weeks. But then there were further drafts, and then it had to be sent to my editor, it had to be proofread, etc, so the whole thing wasn’t perfected and ready to print until August. During June and July I was also working with my partner, Paul, on the cover. He’s a professional artist, so I’m very lucky.


What research was involved?

I have reams of research on my laptop. As a journalist, research is second nature to me, and so I’ll do a mixture of things:

* Look at real life case studies: for example, Adam dyes his hair a shade darker, in order to look paler when grieving. This is actually something UK killer Jeremy Bamber is believed to have done after murdering his family. It was so melodramatic yet calculating; I couldn’t resist using it.

* Talk to contacts in the police and legal world.

* Check with therapists, counselors and psychologists I know, to ensure I’m getting the correct motivations and reactions in my characters.

* I also Google like crazy, reading FBI reports on serial killers and so on.

Learning the meaning of flowers was particularly fascinating. It’s a very genteel language that was great fun to subvert to more sinister use.

What genuinely shocked me during my research, though, was how easy and cheap it is to buy locksmith equipment and surveillance items. I was also stunned to discover that it is possible to turn a mobile phone or any other device with voice recognition software or a microphone into a ‘bug’. So that includes televisions that you ‘speak’ to, many laptops and tablets, smartphones etc.

Back in 2006 the FBI used a crime family’s devices against them, in order to gather evidence then successfully prosecute in court. These days anyone can do it by buying the right software on the internet. The programme will allow someone to eavesdrop on phone calls, get details on text messages, remotely control the phone using SMS, track the location of the phone with GPS and log the phone’s activities. It will also allow them to use the phone as a listening device and hear what is happening in the surrounding area. Scary stuff!


Would you like to see your books made into dramas or films?

If Hollywood were to contact me, I wouldn’t say no! It would be a surreal but incredible experience to see Flowers For The Dead play out in front of me on a big screen.

The hardest person to cast would be Adam, because he is so incredibly complex. It would have to be someone who has the ability to convey not just a cold-blooded killer but also a certain amount of vulnerability. Benedict Cumberbatch could probably do a great job of it, as he is a fantastic actor, but I’m not sure if he’s right for the role physically. It’s a bit random, but I think my top choice would be Daniel Radcliffe. He has the innocence – we’ve all seen that in his role as Harry Potter, but I’ve watched him in plays and he has the range to show an evil side, too. Playing a serial killer would definitely be a different direction for him!


Can we look forward to more books from you?

My next novel has been outlined, and I’ve just started writing it. I’m itching to see how it works out, as I’m very excited by it.

It’s about a woman coping with the murder of her child, which is threatening to tear her marriage apart. Inevitably, nothing is as it seems, especially when an old friend appears from her past. There are a lot of twists and turns in this one – and not all of them I know about yet!


Where do you like to do most of your writing?

I have an old-fashioned writing desk I sit at, in one of the bedrooms I’ve turned into an office. It’s the kind with the writing area that folds down, and I absolutely love it. Most of my writing is done there, with my dog, Scamp, sat patiently at my feet.

Writing is a solitary experience though, and I like being surrounded by people. So in summer I will often head outside with my laptop, and write in my local park. In winter, I can often be found sipping hot chocolate in a café whilst typing.


I see that you’re a journalist.  How long have you been doing journalism as a career?

I’ve spent over twenty years as a journalist, writing for national magazines and newspapers in the UK. Celebrities don’t hold a lot of interest for me, on the whole, instead I prefer interviewing ordinary people; people who have found themselves thrust into extraordinary situations.

Through my work, I’m very privileged to have met people from all walks of life, who have experienced all manner of things happen to them – but in particular, those who have been victims of crime, either directly or through the loss of loved ones. As a result of them bravely and generously sharing their experiences with me, I know a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrongdoing. This depth of experience lends my novels psychological insight into the characters, and a feeling of reality for the storyline. It’s also why my novels are not simply about the criminal act, but the repercussions they have. People are always at the heart of my thrillers.


What advice would you give to someone wanting to write their first novel?

Just do it! The hardest part is starting, so force yourself to begin, don’t let yourself get distracted, and definitely don’t listen to your fear telling you it isn’t any good. Write, write, and write some more, until you have finished it – don’t give up halfway through!

What you’ll have at the end is a first draft. It will be rough, and will need a lot of work, so don’t beat yourself up about it. There isn’t a single writer, no matter how experienced and successful, who doesn’t have to improve their first draft. With that in mind, recognize what has to be worked on in your own book, and then go through it again and again until it is the best you can possibly make it.


Describe a day in your life.

One of the things I love about my life is that every day is different. Some days are all about being a journalist. Researching a story, putting someone at ease, and getting them to open up to me, a total stranger, about the worst moments of their life. It’s a tough job, but such a privilege.

Other times I’ll be writing my book, doing in-depth research for part of the story I’ve just come up against. I might simply be staring into space, seemingly aimlessly, whilst trying to think out a problem in the plot.

Whatever my day involves, though, I always have to find time to walk my dog, Scamp.


How useful is social media for you?

Incredibly! Not only is it a fabulous way of getting word out about my novels, but far more importantly, it’s a way of readers being able to contact me. I love hearing from them, and being able to chat to them on Facebook or Twitter. They are so friendly, and their feedback is very important to me.


I am absolutely intrigued by your nature website, Go Be Wild.  What’s it all about?

Juggling journalism, writing a novel, and doing publicity, plus running a home, can get a bit hectic and stressful sometimes. I constantly have ever-growing lists in my head of things I must do, and am always thinking three steps ahead with everything. But when I’m watching nature, all of that is left behind.

My nature website, www.gobewild.co.uk is something I do purely for pleasure. I’m no expert, and don’t claim to be, I just love keeping track of what I’ve seen on the blog, and write some features on the site, too.

I particularly love taking wildlife photographs. It really takes my mind off everything and focuses me on living in the moment. There is no past, no future, only that perfect time when I’m barely breathing as I focus my camera on something beautiful, such as a butterfly, and take the snap.

Hopefully, in addition to be a lovely, relaxing thing for me to do, Go Be Wild also resonates with other people.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

The best way for me to relax is to spend some time with Scamp and Paul. We like being out and about, going on long walks while I photograph wildlife. Catching up with friends and family is the best use of spare time, definitely.

I also enjoy drawing (again, mostly nature) and do a spot of knitting, sewing, or baking.

And, of course, I read – a lot!


Who are your favourite authors?

I’ve always been a bookworm. As a child I used to climb a tree so I wouldn’t be disturbed while reading! I’m one of those people who loves to re-read favourites: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens; Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen; Far From The Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy; Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert; The Talented Mr Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith.

I’m also a huge fan of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. In homage to Rebecca, I chose never to name my character in Invisible, which was a fantastic device for showing just how invisible she had become in her own life.

Although I do have these favourites, I also love discovering new authors such as: Clare Mackintosh (I Let You Go), Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train), Ben McPherson (A Line of Blood), and Claire Kendal (The Book of You). I recently finished Peter Swanson’s ‘The Kind Worth Killing’, which I thought was brilliant.



Book Cover

Book blurb

Adam Bourne is a serial killer who thinks he is a saviour. When he murders young women and cuts off their lips, he believes he has done it to make them happy.

How did he become warped from the sensitive four-year-old who adored his gran and the fairy tales she read to him? What turned him into a monster who stalks his victims? And what is he trying to say with the bouquets he sends?

When he meets Laura Weir, Adam weaves a fairy tale romance around them. A tale she has no idea she is part of. As he hatches his twisted plan for their fairy tale ending, can anyone stop him before he creates the ultimate sacrifice to love?


You can buy ‘Flowers For The Dead’ from Amazon:-



To find out more about the novels INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD go to www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraCopperthwaite or follow @BCopperthwait on Twitter. To find out more about Barbara go to www.barbaracopperthwaite.com


Blog Tour – ‘Wish Upon a Christmas Cake’ by Darcie Boleyn

Tour banner

‘Wish Upon a Christmas Cake’ is Darcie Boleyn’s debut novel. It was published by Carina on the 2nd October 2015 as an eBook. Today it is my turn on this blog tour and I am thrilled to be participating in it. Read on for my review.

Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, but as we all know that isn’t always so. Katie Warham has just one wish this year, to have the best Christmas ever. Personally, Katie would rather lock herself away in her cosy little tearoom baking cakes instead of spending the festive season with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and her loved-up celebrity brother, Karl. But she knows it is important that she does so especially as it is the first Christmas without her Granny.

Katie arrives at the manor where her family are staying. Little does she know that her ex-boyfriend, Sam is also there. Recently widowed he has been left to look after his two absolutely adorable children. Could Katie’s dream actually come true? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

There are so many Christmas novels out there, making it extremely hard to decide which ones to read and you would be forgiven for not being able to make a decision. However, having read ‘Wish Upon a Christmas Cake’ I truly recommend this book.

I absolutely loved this book and I got so much out of the story. It was such a delightful, feel good read and sometimes simply hilarious. It made me feel all nice and warm inside. I loved the writing style and wouldn’t have believed that this was a debut novel. Right from the very beginning my mouth was watering. The cakes sounded scrumptious and I reckon you could put on weight just by reading about them. I also loved the name of the shop. That alone would definitely tempt me in for tea and cakes and I would probably be a regular visitor.

There wasn’t one character I didn’t like and at times I felt I was actually there with them. Most of the characters were flawed in one way or the other. Their various experiences teach you one very important thing; to grab life with both hands.

‘Wish Upon a Christmas Cake’ is a beautifully told story. I am already waiting for Darcie Boleyn’s next novel. That’s not a hint to write faster by the way, although if you want to you can.

I give this book 5 out of 5.


Author Bio

Author Picture

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.


Author Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/darcieboleyn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Darcie-Boleyn

Blog: https://pinkinkladies.wordpress.com/darcie-boleyn/


Book Links

AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wish-Upon-A-Christmas-Cake-ebook/dp/B0150UO9XS

AMAZON.COM: http://www.amazon.com/Wish-Upon-Christmas-Darcie-Boleyn-ebook/dp/B0150UO9XS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8


There is a giveaway running throughout the tour.  Just click on the link below to enter:-



Do Authors A Favour

Author Reviews

Authors spend ages writing and producing their work of art.  It can take months, sometimes years with lots of emotional ups and downs along the way.

Authors want to be able to give readers many hours of pleasure.  They want to help them to travel the world from the comfort of their chair.  So surely the least readers can do in return is to write a review.  You don’t even have to have a blog.  You can leave a review on sites like Amazon and Goodreads.  Just a few sentences can make all the difference.

Do authors a favour today.  Write a review.


Virginia King’s Mythical Clue Giveaway

The First Lie - Book Cover

Virginia King is running a Mythical Clue Giveaway.  Read on to find out more.


The First Lie

Selkie Moon is a woman on the run. In a mad dash for freedom she’s escaped her life in Sydney to start over in Hawaii. But her refuge begins to unravel and soon she’s running from something else entirely. A voice in a dream says: Someone is trying to kill you. Not that Selkie’s psychic, no way. But the threats escalate until she’s locked in a game of cat and mouse with a ghostly stalker. Entangled in Celtic and Hawaiian mythologies, the clues become so bizarre and terrifying that her instinct is to keep running.

But is she running from her past? Or her future?


Mythical Clue Giveaway!

Like to win an autographed paperback or one of five Kindle ebooks of The First Lie?

Just read to the end of the extract and answer the question that follows, by clicking on the link to Rafflecopter.

Winner drawn at the end of November. Good Luck!



February 1979

It happens on a beach.

A little girl is splashing in the shallows. Falling over, getting up again. Squealing. A woman in a sundress watches from under a hat, while a woman in a swimsuit plays with the toddler.

Suddenly a big wave comes from nowhere and pulls the child away from the shore. It tumbles her over and over and she waves her little arms and legs at the sky.

The woman in the swimsuit laughs. “You’re a mermaid.”

But the other woman is screaming. “What are you doing? She’s drowning.”

“It’s just a wave. It’s saying hello.”

The woman in the sundress rushes into the water and pulls the child back from the grasp of the sea. “Look at her, she’s crying. She’s coughing up sand.”

“That’s what happens at the beach.”

“She could have drowned.”

“The gods called her Selkie because she’s a mermaid.”

“You and your stupid fairytales. She isn’t safe with you. She isn’t safe.”


Chapter 1

I’m falling off a cliff towards the rocks and the sea, when these words ring in my ears.

Someone is trying to kill you.

They reverberate like a call to prayer. Clear. Insistent. Almost musical.

The meaning rattles me to consciousness and I sit up with a start. But as I wait in the semi-dark for the words to repeat themselves, there’s only an aching silence. As if they never happened. Except their shape has left a shadow on the wall of my mind and my body has started to tremble.

I reach for my bathrobe and wrap myself against the sudden chill, wishing I wasn’t alone. It’s a familiar feeling. All by myself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Without a life raft.

Unless Wanda crept back after midnight, but across the room her bed lies untouched. No telltale lump under the covers. And no whirring of her blender from the kitchen. She’s stayed out all night again. It usually makes her the perfect flatmate.

Of course I’ve had bad dreams before. Often the same one. I’m trapped underwater, tangled in something so my arms don’t work, and wake up to find it’s only the sheets. But never anything like this.

Because it wasn’t just a dream. It was a message. Seeping into my brain. Someone. Is. Trying. To. Kill. You. As graphic as stumbling across a gravestone in a churchyard inscribed with my name and today’s date.

For the first time I notice the quality of the silence. Complete. The bedside clock isn’t ticking. The water pipes aren’t clunking. Even the whispering sea is absent. I pull the robe a little closer and focus on the steady movement of my chest. I’m not dead yet.

And the message makes no sense. Who would want to kill me? After only three months I’m still a stranger here, and there aren’t many murders in this part of the world. It’s why people come to Hawaii. To play it sunny and safe. And anyway, I’m not the kind of woman to inspire that kind of violence. Although my ex would disagree. Andrew still can’t believe I’ve swapped opposite corners of the ring for opposite sides of the globe.

Where did the message come from? The remnants of the dream? But it sounded like . . . a disembodied voice. With that thought an invisible presence seems to fill the space.

Something . . . spoke to me.

My eyes scan the walls and dozens of eyes stare back. Wanda’s artworks, fashioned from dead fish. In garish colours with painted lips. They might ooze an excess of character but they don’t speak. Although with Wanda’s gift for hocus-pocus it wouldn’t surprise me.

Any other possible culprits? A naked shop dummy sits on a chair at the end of Wanda’s bed, her plastic legs akimbo. Doris. For the first few weeks I kept jumping out of my skin every time I caught sight of her. Wanda has dressed her in a Hula skirt and peppered her torso with nails, like a woman in a Dali painting. She drapes her with anything from net bags to headbands to leis. Today Doris is wearing a straw hat even though she doesn’t have a head. No head, no voice, right?

The room is a tribute to Wanda’s eye for other people’s trash, and my few belongings barely make an impression on the menagerie. A large Buddha head with four faces forever contemplating his split personality. Two fairies shadow-dancing on an art-deco tray. A parrot made from nuts and bolts poised on his own perch. In childhood these creatures might have spoken to me, but my stepmother, Stella, banished imaginary friends long ago.

On the ledge above my bed my Shona sculpture is just a head and shoulders. I brought her with me when I took off from Sydney with two business suits and not much else. A chunk of black and silver rock from Zimbabwe, her profile is as enigmatic as ever. And as silent. But she’s no whisperer. If Shona had a warning for me she’d come right out with it.

The presence is still here. A kind of touchless stroking against my bare skin. Seductive but unnerving. It’s making me as rigid as Doris but my eyes keep darting back to the slash of early-morning light spilling through the bathroom doorway. Is it coming from there?

When I was a child I used to feel things like this, invisible things. Stella made me stand in the bathroom until they were gone. I’m still a bit afraid of bathrooms, their cold unwelcoming surfaces gleaming my wild-eyed stare back at me. So it’s all I can do to get off the bed and tiptoe towards the doorway.

There are no doors to hide an intruder. And no shower curtain over the bath. When I start hyperventilating about Janet Leigh in Psycho, I tell myself to get a grip. No-one would bother breaking in here. The address might be Waikiki, but that’s where the glamour ends.

The sun through the window bathes me in light and I scan the empty bathroom with relief. Only my imagination playing tricks. But that’s when I see it. In the mirror at the end of the bath.

A face.

It’s a woman, just her face, but I’m sure she’s naked and reclining in the tub. She’s looking straight at me as if she’s been waiting, her eyes so piercing they latch onto mine and won’t release me, even when I try to pull away. For a long breathless moment our gazes are locked together and I’m lost in the depths of an emotion I can’t name. Then she lets go and the recoil spins me towards a window full of light. Now I’m blinking at the bath. Empty. Still empty. And when I spin back to the mirror she’s gone.

It takes me a few seconds to come to my senses because it feels like I’ve been doused by some unbearable sorrow. Then I’m back in my body, splashing my face at the basin, stumbling back to the bedroom and flopping on the bed.

The bedside clock begins to tick, its rhythmic beat counting the seconds like a metronome. The hands are showing six. They haven’t moved since the message woke me – surely at least five minutes ago. And the sun doesn’t rise this early, not in February. Does that mean the last five minutes didn’t happen?

It doesn’t matter how early it is, I’m phoning Wanda. She’s the one who put that stupid mirror there. After a dream, she insisted that the bath needed to see the sky.

“How can it see?” I asked as she propped the mirror with great ceremony against the wall at the end of the bath. “Bathtubs . . . don’t have eyes.”

“We’re talking spiritual eyes. Put yourself in her place, staring at a blank wall all day. Soul-destroying. Like being paralysed. But if we put this mirror opposite the window, see? The sky’s reflected and she’s reconnecting.”

“Reconnecting with what?”

“Her wild nature.”

There’s a lot of that kind of talk around here. Wanda thinks everything’s got a spirit, every rock and insect, even our old ball-and-claw bath.

“Let’s ask her for hotter showers,” I said. Just one of the reasons this flat is cheap.

“Out of her control. She’s the vessel, that’s why she’s female. She receives. Contains. Transforms. The mirror’s special too. It reflects female energy.”

Its silver frame is curved like a woman. Narrow at the waist, wide at the bust and hips.

“But we’ll notice a difference in other ways,” Wanda said. “After a bath, we’ll be radiant.”

It all seemed like a bit of fun. I’ve been waiting for Wanda to give the bath a name and paint its toenails red. But now because of that mirror I’ve looked into the eyes of . . . a woman who wasn’t there.

Confusion drives me outside onto the walkway where dawn is breaking and the air is fresh. As my fingers fumble with the phone, it feels good to inhale. If Wanda’s in bed with her new man it can’t be helped.

No answer. I leave an agitated message and start pacing.

I’ve got to get dressed and go to the office but that means going back inside. I close my eyes and try to calm my breathing but the woman’s face appears. This time it’s just the memory, her gaze caught in freeze-frame, and one of Stella’s phrases gallops up the long tunnel from childhood: “It’ll cause you trouble, your imagination. Just like your mother. If you can’t touch it, it’s a figment, and figments can carry you away.” My stepmother has a way of creeping up on me, just like she did when I was a child. I might have left her on the other side of the world but she’s still living inside my head.

My phone rings. “Sorry I couldn’t pick up, Selkie. Up to my armpits in mullet.” Wanda’s at the docks judging by the hubbub. “Hang on.”

Now she’s talking to someone and a man is laughing. One of her fishermen, no doubt.

They give them to her – dead fish – because she’s an art student. (Her long legs and short shorts have nothing to do with it.) She presses the corpses into squares of soft resin, adding shells to make borders. When the moulds harden she paints them and sells them at the markets as Art.

“OK. They’re in the cooler getting acquainted. Something must be up if you’re calling this early.”

“It’s that mirror.” My voice is croaky. “The one at the end of the bath.”

“You didn’t break it, did you?” Pause. “Oh my God, you saw something.”

“A face. I saw a face. A woman . . . who wasn’t there.”

Spoken out loud it sounds delusional but Wanda is taking it seriously. “OK, keep breathing. Let’s eliminate the temporal. It wasn’t . . . your own face.”

“I do know what I look like, Wanda. Even in the mornings. And I wasn’t peering into the mirror. I was standing in the doorway, looking at it from the side.”

“So it could have been at the window. That’s the angle. Sometimes kids climb up trying to get a look at one of us under the shower.”

It’s the first I’ve heard of it, but it wasn’t a kid. “It was definitely a woman. And she wasn’t at the window, she was in the bath. Until she wasn’t.”

“OK.” She thinks for a moment. “What do you want me to do, call in an exorcist?”

“Hell, no. Just move the bloody thing.” Into a dumpster on the other side of the island.

“You can move it. Turn the mirror to the wall and it loses its power.”

“No way. And I’m stuck outside in my bathrobe. How am I going to get to work?”

“If she disappeared she’s gone for now. It’s safe to take a shower.”

“I’m not going near that bath.”

“OK. Go into the bedroom and throw on some clothes. You can do that. And meet me in an hour. At your office.”

Holding my breath, I open the front door and rush inside, but the air feels clear as if the presence is long gone. I toss off my bathrobe and pull on my red suit and heels. Hair and makeup would mean looking in another mirror so I throw a few things into my tote bag and slam the front door. Not quite my usual transformation to corporate warrior.



Why does Selkie leave her flat without doing her hair and makeup?

For a chance to win an autographed paperback or one of five Kindle ebooks of The First Lie, answer the above question and enter the raffle here.


Can’t wait for the prizes?

If you’re hooked and want to buy The First Lie now for the special price of US $2.99, then if you win a copy I’ll gift you the next book in the series The Second Path instead 🙂 (Read an extract)  Also follow Selkie Moon on Facebook for monthly giveaways & paranormal humour.

Buy the book:

Amazon US: www.amazon.com/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00K1VC20Y/

Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/First-Lie-Selkie-Moon-Mystery/dp/0992487021/


Cover Reveal – ‘The Revenge’ by Holly Martin

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00069]

Here is the gorgeous cover for ‘The Revenge’, the new book by Holly Martin.  This is the third book in The Sentinel Series and here’s the blurb so you can see what happens next for Eve and her friends.


Book Blurb

He was created to be her back up and now he’s out to take her place

After the Oraculum orders Eve’s execution, she has to flee her home in the fort as those that have been guarding over her are forced to turn against her. Amongst the chaos, a new Sentinel is named. Adam, Eve’s half-brother.

Adam has spent his life incarcerated by the Oraculum while Eve was allowed to grow up with a family and friends. Now he is hell bent on revenge. He rules over his Guardians and his new kingdom with arrogance and a cold heart, but his one ambition is to make Eve’s life a living hell. Nowhere is safe from him, not even her dreams.

With the threat from the Putarians moving closer, her own Guardians betraying her, the survival of the world hinges in the balance.

Above all else, Adam must be stopped. But when Eve has a prophecy of her and Adam saving the world together, she quickly realizes she needs to work with him not against him.

But can Eve get through to Adam before it’s too late? Or will Adam’s evil heart result in the destruction of all?


Praise for The Sentinel (Book 1 in The Sentinel Series)

It’s a book you HAVE to read, because it’s incredible. An outstanding book that has left me bereft its finished. I wished I’d savoured it for longer. This book was one of those that once you started it was impossible to come away from. It was fast paced, exciting, full of suspense and action that had me gasping in shock at twists I never imagined could happen. It’s a story of courage and adventure. And no matter how dark it gets, there’s always love and hope. – Victoria Loves Books Blog

It’s really hard to find the words to describe how amazing this book is. This is definitely the best debut I’ve read this year! I just love this book, I want you all to read this book, in fact you all need to read this book! – Love of a Good Book Blog


If you want to pre-order this book so it pops straight onto your kindle on December 1st then pop over here. Its only 99p/99c

UK http://amzn.to/1GQcNOt

US http://amzn.to/1S7aAOX 


And if you haven’t read the first two books in the series yet, then pop over here and get your copy, all three books are 99p/99c at the moment

The Sentinel

UK http://amzn.to/1giKNVp

US http://amzn.to/IKSOUk


The Prophecies

UK http://amzn.to/1DZ8ECN

US http://amzn.to/1khpDuY


Blog Tour – ‘What Happens at Christmas…’ by T. A. Williams


‘What Happens at Christmas…’ was published on the 22nd October 2015 by Carina UK.  As yet I haven’t read any of T. A. Williams’ books but I do hope to soon.  Today I am delighted to be participating in this blog tour.


What Happens at Christmas_FINAL


For the perfect Christmas…

When career-girl Holly Brice learns that her estranged father has died, she decides to take a trip down memory lane and find out about the man she never knew. Arriving in the sleepy little Dartmoor village, she’s shocked to discover that she’s inherited the cosy little cottage she remembers so fondly, a whole load of money –and her father’s adorable dog, too!

Head to snow-covered Devon!

And as the first snowflakes begin to fall and Holly bumps into her gorgeous neighbour, Jack Nelson, life gets even more complicated! Men have always been off the cards for high-flying Holly, but there’s something about mysterious writer Jack that has her re-thinking her three-date rule…

A fabulous, feel-good festive read, perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Carole Matthews.


Like the sound of ‘What Happens at Christmas…’?  Read on for a guest post by T. A. Williams.  It will really make you think.


So, can a man write for women?

I’ve been writing for years. I’ve written all sorts, from historical novels to thrillers and, more recently, romantic comedies. Romcoms aka Women’s Fiction aka Chicklit are titles aimed principally at women. But I’m a man. Should I be doing this? We writers have to draw upon our imagination as far as plot and characters are concerned, so why not use this same imagination to think ourselves into the heads of our readers?

Over my writing career, I always used to write from the standpoint of the main male character. Now I’ve changed to female leads and I find it a fascinating challenge. My wife gets a load of queries from me about the technical stuff. You know; front-opening bras, PMT, childbirth, walking in high heels… . That sort of stuff is out of my field of experience. But the important stuff, like feelings, isn’t that different whether you’re a man or a woman.

My own experience tells me that when it comes to the big issues, our reactions are strikingly similar. I cried when my mum died. I cried when I had to take the old Labrador to the vet to be put down. When my business hit a bad financial patch, my wife and I were equally worried for the future. When our daughter got a place on a round the world sailing voyage, we were both concerned for her wellbeing. So, I would suggest, we all react the same way as far as the big stuff is concerned. We maybe show it in different ways, but that is as much to do with upbringing and conditioning as gender. The days of the Victorian father who hurrumphs quietly and returns to his newspaper after receiving the news of his son being eaten by cannibals are long gone. Emotions are closer to the surface nowadays for men as well as women.

The small stuff is a different matter. I acknowledge that. Shoes to me are things I put on my feet to help me walk. They are not objects of desire to be hoarded and cherished. And we all know, boys like toys. I freely admit it. Take a look in my shed. I still have wetsuits from thirty years ago and enough pieces of bikes to build a new one. But even there, that’s as much down to personality as gender.

So where does that leave me? My latest book, What Happens at Christmas… is written from the perspective of Holly, the main female character. Her dad has just died and she’s got the unenviable task of sorting through his things; putting his affairs in order. This turns out to be an even more emotionally charged activity than she was expecting. Yes, she has a weep from time to time, but who wouldn’t? But she doesn’t buckle under the pressure. She gets on with it and accepts everything that gets thrown at her. I would like to think that her reaction is the same as mine would have been. Does that make her more masculine or me more feminine? I don’t think so. I think it makes us human. That’s what we all are, after all.


Author Biography


Firstly, my name isn’t T A. It’s Trevor. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…

I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.

I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.

I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.



Book Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1S8FTcB

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B015TV032Y

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26871065-what-happens-at-christmas

Social Networking Links

Website: http://www.tawilliamsbooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrevorWilliamsBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TAWilliamsBooks

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/GRTAWilliams

Amazon Author: http://www.amazon.com/T-A-Williams/e/B00FDVNVMA/



There is a competition running this week where one lucky person will win an eBook copy of ‘What Happens in Cornwall…’.  To enter just click on the link below:-

‘What Happens in Cornwall…’ Giveaway


Thank You

Happy Halloween 2

I hope you all enjoyed my Halloween event.  Thank you so much to everyone who attended and for all the contributions made to make this event possible.


Guest Post by Tracey-anne McCartney


This is the last post of this event.  Tracey-anne McCartney has recently had her debut novel, ‘A Carpet of Purple Flowers’ published.


The ramblings of a debut author

~ Slipping through the veil of worlds on All Hallows Eve/Samhain

Merry meet at the time of year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.

The old year has passed and sunset on Samhain marks the beginning of the Celtic New Year. So what better time to introduce my very own new beginning ~ A Carpet of Purple Flowers.

I believe that a certain magic is carried from our soul through to our creations – be it a piece of art, dance, poetry or form of storytelling, etc. With this belief in mind, I hope that I can spread a little magic your way.

Writing ~

My mind raced as folklore came entwined with love, fate entwined with choice, science with spiritual teachings – all guiding me to write a romance that revolves around a karmic cycle.

Magic is many things, but for me, it stems from love, that unseen force elusive to science, baffling all logic. Learning to love yourself can be one of the most difficult lessons, but eventually, we can learn to let go of the things that no longer give our life purpose, though it can take time. Often, we go through life in automatic mode, sticking with what we know or feel comfortable with. The main book character Bea, discovers that strength comes from an inner light which secretly masks eternity.

Let me share with you a secret place, in which only a parted veil exposes. Briefly visit an ethereal plane in which Otherworldly, angelic-type beings, tend to a well of souls. It is there, in Calageata that the purple flower of Vororbla (karma) grows, emitting a thick mist, ready to greet the essence of a soul.

Love and light,


Meet Tracey-anne

When did you begin writing? Have you always envisaged being a writer?

As a child I was pretty creative, of which my hippy upbringing definitely encouraged. My beautiful, incredibly diverse family and friends have always been supportive of any crazy project that I threw myself into, usually involving art or writing. I’ve never envisaged myself as a writer, more a mixed media artist with a very active imagination. ;o)

Without any of high tech stuff we have today: TV, phone, internet (godsend), etc. (Wow, I sound ancient!). I often found myself sprawled over the bed writing or drawing. I would immerse myself into a world of fairies, sunshine/moonlight and Otherworldly realms. I’m not so very different now. ;o)


Tell us about the novel, title, and what inspired you to write?

The novel revolves around the life of a young woman named, Bea. She works in a secondhand bookshop in SW London. One evening, her normal quiet life turns upside down as she slowly starts to unravel a secret past after an encounter with two sects of an Otherworldly race. She soon discovers not everything is what it seems. A Carpet of Purple Flowers is a story of love and growth.

Once you read through the book the relevance of the title becomes clear. There is a certain scene that captures it’s importance beautifully. I used ‘Purple’ in all of the trilogy titles as it relates to the flower of Vororbla – a soul flower. This connects all souls in an ethereal home called, Calageata.

Purple is the colour most often associated with royalty, magic, and mystery, it is also the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow.


What POV do you use?

I write in ‘Third Person Omniscient’. I completely resonate with this style of writing, perhaps due to the way I see my initial story idea play out as a film in my mind – via scenes. When you watch a film there are different camera viewpoints, I use this method in writing. I focus on the scene/character that I need to tell the story in that moment. It works best for me as I’m an extremely visual person. :o)


What theme is strongest in your book?

Romance essentially, a karmic cycle of love. Elements of folklore mingled with my own imaginings.

I’ve tried to create a story that feels real, incorporating places that actually exist. Such as, Coldfall Woods, and Inchmahome Priory in Scotland. More information can be found on the book website.


What would you like readers to come away with from your novel?

Ideally, the message that no matter what happens in this crazy life, to always keep your inner light bright and to believe in yourself. We all have ups and downs and when you’re at your lowest ebb, to remember that the magic begins within.

‘Keep your light bright’ – Is a phrase used throughout the story.

The Otherworldly use the word ‘Ameusouya’ (Am-e-us-ou-ya) meaning complete/whole (you, me, us =one).

All are inspired by the word, Namaste.


Who are the authors that inspire you?

The crystal cave – Mary Stewart, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, There are too many to mention here, pop over to Goodreads to see some of the books I’ve listed – ongoing.

I read a lot of non-fiction, I have a thirst for knowledge, especially of anything that involves folklore/art.

Possibly one of my favourites is ‘The mists of Avalon’. I really resonate with this type of theme – the goddess, ancient wisdom, etc.

Devoured ‘The Game of Thrones’, and at present I’m on the fourth book of the ‘Outlander’ series by Diana Gabaldon.

I also really enjoy Dan Brown’s style of writing, his play of fact and fiction – very clever. He excites the mind, daring you to apply your own research, to see things a different way. His books have interested many readers that wouldn’t have normally read that genre/topic.

Oh, let’s not forget WB Yeats, CS Lewis, Conan Doyle, Fiona Macleod / William Sharp, and many, many others.


Do you see yourself as a one genre author, or are there other elements in your writing that you can see yourself developing in the future?

Hmm, I see my story as being quite diverse, and hopefully, my writing reflects this too. Actually, when I was trying to decide on what genre ‘A carpet of purple flowers’ would fit into, I noticed that it contained various elements – undertones of spiritualism, fantasy, paranormal and romance. I would really like to see ‘Spiritual Romance’ become a stronger genre in the future.

I would love to create a little separate book of the Sindria elementals. How they came to be in more detail and to include the ‘The Heaven Stone’ teachings. While editing, I had to condense the book and really don’t want to lose those parts. Perhaps, I’ll write a book on the Deisi too, their original purpose, origins, etc.

It would be quite interesting to create Jonathan’s journal, including artwork – via collaboration of other artists. Little steps. :o)


What inspired your book?

Another story, ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ was floating around inside my head for about two years prior to ‘A carpet of purple flowers’. Everything stemmed from the visual inspiration of a small, serene waterfall existing in a world far from prying eyes, hidden in a glade by dense woodland. Opposite the waterfall stood a large, ancient Oak tree which later became the focus of a special meeting.

This visualization was initially a place for me to rest my busy mind before drifting off to sleep, but one night, a young woman appeared by the waterfall, her name Enna – and that was the starting place of all my later writing.

I knew that ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ would take quite some time to write, as quite complex. So, I decided to start from a place that I knew well – SW London. This story very quickly grew into a bigger tale, and would need to be a trilogy – A Carpet of Purple Flowers. It was then that I decided that ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ was to be the fourth book, a pre-history, stand-alone addition.


Is there a lot of research involved in your writing?

Ha! Ha! Yes, there is. I never stop researching. ;o) My mind needs to be permanently fed information, not that it all stays in there. I research everything, then sift through what I feel is relevant to the story. There are few notebooks that I use to store factual, mythical information, and I usually refer back to that at a later date – cosmology, astrological, historical, pieces of lore etc. I find it all extremely fascinating – soul food.


Do any of the characters in the book relate to your own life?

*Giggles* I think with any writer some element of the self flows onto the pages. I probably relate mostly with Bea, the main character. However, I can also see a bit of myself in Kitty, Pia and Asta – depends what mood I’m in. ;o)


A Carpet of Purple Flowers is your debut novel. How does it feel to be published?

Absolutely amazing. Matthew at ‘Urbane Publications’ has created a wonderful concept, an author ‘family’. He truly delivers on ‘collaboration’. I’ve been able to discuss areas such as cover design, and most of the publication process, not many publication houses offer such unique involvement. The other authors have been fantastic too, and genuinely care about each other’s progress – it’s such a humbling experience.

Overall, writing my first book has been a very positive journey. Yes, there’s been some very difficult moments when I have questioned myself/abilities, but something has pushed me on – the need to share the ‘Otherworld’ that lives in my heart.

Absolutely none of this would’ve been possible without my super family, old friends and new, for supporting me through this whole process. Woohoo! Exhale…it’s finally there! ;o)

Thank you too Sonya, for asking me to be a guest on your blog. It’s been a pleasure.

‘Keep your light bright’



Publisher: Urbane Publicationshttp://urbanepublications.com/books/a-carpet-of-purple-flowers/Book

Book Websitehttp://www.traceyannemccartney.com

Author Biohttp://www.traceyannemccartney.com/authors-bio.php

Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/Traceyannemccartney

Tracey-anne’s Twitterhttps://twitter.com/jasmoonbutterfl






Matthew Smith is giving away 5 copies of ‘A Carpet of Purple Flowers’.  To enter just leave a comment telling me what you think of the cover.


Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 14th November 2015.

The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date.  Their details will be given to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

Guest Post by Tara Guha


And now for a guest post by Tara Guha.


The Pen is Scarier than the Sword…

One evening a couple of years ago I was writing a scene towards the end of my novel, Untouchable Things. It was late, it was dark, I was alone in the house and my character Rebecca was in severe peril. I suddenly became aware of just how late, dark and lonely it was. I mentally panned back from myself and could see how I looked, illuminated by the desk lamp in my little study, back to the door. I reread the words on the screen. And I instantly shut down the computer and put on every light in the house.

The funny thing, of course, is that it was myself I was fleeing from. I wasn’t frightened by someone else’s words or imagination but by my own. This was different from reading Pet Sematary as a teenager and having to make sure I was in a room with other people at all times. This time I was in control of what was happening in the fictional world. And somehow it didn’t make things all that better.

It made me reflect that perhaps what frightens us most is not what’s out there but what’s in here. Our own minds are capable of going to the darkest of places, as most children find out when they start to grasp the concept of death. Who hasn’t lain in bed unable to sleep while their mind plays out distressing or catastrophic scenarios? In a sense writing fiction gives me an outlet for those dystopian fantasies; it’s a way of channelling and transforming my dark side into something that can exist and be contained outside of me. Perhaps it’s not so different from dressing up as a ghoul or a blood-splattered vampire for Halloween – it’s getting out the creepy stuff out where we can see it, parade it, and perhaps in so doing, vanquish it. For now, at least.

There’s a scene in Untouchable Things where the characters perform a modern version of a mummers’ play. The tradition of mumming, where a group of actors would travel from house to house performing plays, is almost certainly where some of the Halloween traditions such as dressing up and trick or treating have their roots. In my character Seth’s words, “Mumming pageants were used to draw out the populace’s fears, give them some sort of voice and then dispel them. Keep the dark side under control and everyone on the moral straight and narrow.” Certainly Seth uses the mummer’s play to allude to the secrets and lies that are lurking in the room. The effect on the other characters is both unsettling and strangely cathartic.

Could it be then that it does us good to delve into stuff that frightens us now and again? Is that why children love Halloween and adults watch The Killing or read increasingly graphic psychological thrillers? Strangely, as I was writing this, my daughter emerged sobbing from a bad dream and I explained (having rapidly minimised this blog) that her brain was probably processing her deepest fears, playing them out in a safe (though distressing) way. Our instinct is often to repress our fears so that they don’t cripple us, but perhaps too much repression is bad for us. Perhaps seeking out fear in a contained way – a scary book, a rollercoaster, a walk in the dark – provides a release and ultimately helps to keep our deeper fears under control.

So this Halloween, I’ll definitely take the opportunity to get a little creeped. Maybe I’ll watch a horror film, or even write a scary story. One friend confessed to me that the night she finished Untouchable Things she had to sleep with the light on. This was a reaction to a character who had got under her skin; for me there is no need to turn to ghosties and ghoulies to scare us when human nature provides such a fertile furrow. It takes us back to my poor character Rebecca, left in severe peril not so much from her situation but from me. What did I finally do with her when I rebooted my computer (in daylight)? Well, you’ll obviously have to read the book to find out.

But maybe not on your own in a quiet, dark house.


About Tara Guha

Tara Guha

Picture taken by Hazel Davis

Author of ‘Untouchable Things’ (September 2015)

Tara Guha is the winner of the 2014 Luke Bitmead Bursary and Untouchable Things is her debut novel. Born to an Indian father and English mother Tara spent her childhood in the Ribble Valley, passing many a wet day writing poetry and music. After studying English at Cambridge University she embarked on a career in PR, promoting artists including Placido Domingo, Paul McCartney and Dudley Moore. Over the years she has also worked as a freelance journalist, counsellor and charity worker and is also a keen amateur pianist, singer and song-writer. Tara lives in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire with her partner and two daughters.



You can read find out what ‘Untouchable Things’ is about here:-




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