A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “May, 2016”

Cover Reveal – ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ by Jane Lovering

Book Cover

This is the gorgeous cover for ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ by Jane Lovering which is being published on the 28th June 2016.  Read on to find out more about this book.

 

Book Blurb

Is it all too good to be true?

When Willow runs into her old university crush, Luke, she’s a new woman with a new look – not to mention a little bit more cash after a rather substantial inheritance. Could she be lucky enough to score a fortune and her dream man at the same time?

Then Willow meets Cal; a computer geek with a slightly odd sense of humour. They get on like a house on fire — although she soon realises that there is far more to her unassuming new friend than meets the eye …

But money doesn’t always bring happiness, and Willow finds herself struggling to know who to trust. Are the new people in her life there because they care – or is there another reason?

 

Can’t Buy Me Love is published by Choc Lit and is now available to pre-order as an eBook!

Click HERE for pre-order information.

 

 

Interview with Owen Mullen

Author Picture

I would like to introduce you all to Owen Mullen who is the author of the Charlie Cameron series.  I recently interviewed Owen and asked him about his books which sound fascinating.  There’s also a really interesting author bio at the end.

 

First of all can you tell me what type of books you write?

An author friend recently described it as tartan noir with plenty of noir. I always say I want to write books that I want to read. That means strong believable characters, strong story lines and unexpected twists. So Games People Play is about Charlie Cameron Glasgow PI…someone recently described him like this: Charlie’s Rick in Casablanca, he’s Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep. He’s wonderful.

 

What is your latest book about?

Book 2

Old Friends and New Enemies is the 2nd in the Charlie Cameron series. This time Charlie ends up fighting for his life when he discovers the body of an old friend.

 

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

I don’t but several people who know me say they can spot me….although they don’t say which one…it would be nice to be the hero.

 

Where do you get your ideas from?

Many things, song titles, documentary or news article, or just something someone says. Games People Play came from a conversation on a beach with my wife Christine

 

Do you have to do any research?

Always. How much depends on the story. Even places and things you know well are constantly changing. I talk to people, visit the area, take photographs and read up on things.

 

How long on average does it take you to write each book?

3 to 4 months for the first draft, and normally about a couple of months to finish.

 

Can we expect more from you?

Yes. The third Charlie story is underway; also a long short story. I have a few other projects on the go too.

 

Do you find social media useful?

Invaluable… as an indie author you can either strap on a sandwich board or get yourself out into the world of social media. I have met so many helpful people this way.

 

Would you like to see any of your books made into a film?

Who wouldn’t? Yes that would be amazing.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to write their first book?

I always give the same advice. Get started. Get better. Keep going.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I used to be in bands so music is still big for me, apart from that I love travel, cooking and football.

 

What’s your favourite word?

Don’t have a favourite but dubiety is a good one. Haven’t used it yet…I’m saving it for the right sentence.

 

About Owen Mullen

School was a waste of time for me. Or rather, I wasted time; my own and every teacher’s who tried to get me to work. It took twenty years to appreciate what they were telling me. Life has rules. They aren’t written down but they exist nevertheless. I got that. Eventually. But by then I was thirty five.

Along the way I missed an important clue. At ten I won a national primary schools short story competition – and didn’t write anything else for forty years.

SMART BOY WANTED

APPLY WITHIN

As a teenager my big obsession was music. Early on I realised if I was successful I would probably be rich and famous and pull lots of girls.

So how did that turn out?

Well, you haven’t heard of me, have you? And this morning I caught myself worrying about the electricity bill. So the short answer is: one out of three ain’t bad.

Running around the country in a Transit van with your mates is fun. It’s your very own gang. You against the world. Until you fall out and the dream lies bleeding on the dressing-room floor.

When that happened I went to London

[everybody from Scotland goes to London, it’s like first footing at New Year, or ten pints of lager and a vindaloo on a Friday night; a sacred tradition]

and became a session singer. I also started gigging with different bands on the circuit.

Back in Scotland – most of us come back with wild tales of great success, none of them true – I wondered what I should do with myself and didn’t have to wait long for the answer. Her name was Christine. We got married, I went to Strathclyde Uni and got a bunch of letters after my name, and toughing it out at Shotts Miner’s Welfare, or dodging flying beer cans at the Café Club in Baillieston, was in the past. The long hair was short now, I wore a suit and pretended to like people I didn’t like because we were ‘colleagues’.

After many adventures I started my own marketing and design business and did alright. Christine and I were very happy, we travelled all over the place; India, Brazil, Botswana, Nepal, Borneo, Japan. One day I suggested we move. To the Greek islands. So we did. We bought land and built a beautiful villa overlooking the Mediterranean. Then the pan global financial crash happened, years of fiscal carelessness finally caught up with Greece; the exchange rate dived and the cost of living in Paradise went through the roof.

I had to do something. Then I remembered the short story competition. I had been good at writing, hadn’t I?

I wrote another short story called The King Is Dead…the first thing I’d written since primary school. When I typed the last word [Christine taught me to type] I held the pages in my hand then started to read. An hour and a half, rooted to the chair unable to believe what was in front of my eyes. For four decades I had shunned a god given gift. And as I read I started to understand why. It was awful. Not just bad. Bloody terrible.

But I kept going.

And now, eight years and seven books later, three literary agents plus two I turned down [they were reading a different book] I am a writer. My books are on Amazon. People buy them and come back for more.

One seasoned London agent has predicted I am destined to be ‘a major new force in British crime fiction.’

Yeah!

So is the moral: follow my example, find something you’re good at and stick with it. Hardly. I didn’t, did I? Do it your own way; it’s your life.

 

Facebook: facebook.com/owenmullen10

Twitter: @OwenMullen6

Contact Owen on enquiries@owenmullen.com

Cover Reveal – ‘The Family Man’ by T.J. Lebbon

Book Cover

It gives me great pleasure to be taking part in this cover reveal.  ‘The Family Man’ is T.J. Lebbon’s new book and it is being published as an eBook and in paperback on the 11th August 2016 by Avon.

 

Book Blurb

You take ONE risk. Now, those you love must pay …

Dom Turner is a dependable husband, a loving father. A man you can rely on. But it only takes one day to destroy a seemingly perfect life.

Emma thought she could trust her husband, Dom. She thought he would always look after her and their daughter Daisy….

Then one reckless act ends in two innocent deaths – and Dom’s family becomes the target of a terrifying enemy. There’s nowhere to hide. They’re on the run for their lives. And if Dom makes one more wrong move, he won’t have a family left to protect.

 

Excited?  Well, ‘The Family Man’ is available to pre-order from Amazon UK now:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Family-Man-T-J-Lebbon-ebook/dp/B01ARS4MBM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464537864&sr=1-1&keywords=the+family+man+lebbon

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Breakfast at Poldark’s’ by Samantha Tonge

Book Cover

It’s time to reveal the cover of Samantha Tonge’s new book.  It’s so lovely and colourful don’t you think?  ‘Breakfast at Poldark’s’ is being published by Carina as an eBook on the 28th July 2016 and will be out in paperback on the 25th August 2016.

 

Book Blurb

DREAMING OF THE PERFECT MAN?

Kate Golightly needs to move forward and what better way to do that then with a trip to the Cornish coast with best friend and boss, Izzy.

The sea wind is just what Kate needs to finally relax and begin to let go of her past. Except she’s suddenly got one big reason to panic! She RSVP’d ‘yes’ to the Queen Bee of her high school’s wedding saying she’s bringing her boyfriend (she doesn’t have one) who looks just like Ross Poldark!

With only two weeks to find the Poldark look-alike of her dreams Kate is under a lot of pressure for the Cornish coast to deliver…

A hilarious and moving romantic novel from bestselling author, Samantha Tonge. A must-read this summer!

 

About Samantha Tonge

Author Picture

Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. Along with writing, her days are spent cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. A love of fiction developed as a child, when she was known for reading Enid Blyton books in the bath. A desire to write bubbled away in the background whilst she pursued other careers, including a fun stint working at Disneyland Paris. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. She has sold over 80 stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, “Doubting Abbey”, from CarinaUK HarperCollins, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Game of Scones won the 2015 Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.

 

Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29219342-breakfast-at-poldark-s?ac=1&from_search=true

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1XA9oIT

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1XA9IHl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=423066221136190&fref=ts

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Quirky Guest Post Blog Marathon

Blog Tour Banner

I am delighted to be taking part in this Quirky Guest Post Blog Marathon today.  Virginia King has featured on my blog several times now and it is always a pleasure to host her.

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The Stalker’s Guide to French Wine

by Virginia King

Stalker's Guide to French WineIn The Second Path, Book Two in my psychological mystery series, my main character Selkie Moon is confronted by a number of bizarre and cryptic clues which lead her across the world to France. As the story evolved, some of my experiences from several recent three-month stays in France added depth to the story.

As my husband and I drove from Bordeaux airport, north through the Dordogne, to Tours in the Loire Valley we contracted the flu, la grippe catastrophe. About an hour after arriving in Tours we were stricken and didn’t get out of bed for eleven days. Almost. After nine days of dry toast we decided a bottle of French wine was what the doctor forgot to order.

There was only a supermarket within walking distance. French supermarkets have a dizzying array of wine but from past experience we knew price was no indication of quality. In a previous visit several bottles were so bad we’d poured them down the sink.

The weather was foul. I was in better shape than hubby so I zipped myself into my raincoat, walked to the supermarket and, as a shortcut to choosing something drinkable, I proceeded to stalk various shoppers in the wine aisle to see what they bought. In a draft of The Second Path this experience inspired a short scene. Selkie Moon is feeling all alone in Paris and she’s telling her friend Derek, laid up in Hawaii, about her wine shopping experiences.

***

As predicted, Derek’s got over his huff.  He skypes me every day from the sofa, his foot encased in a moon boot. I hide the depths of my loneliness by regaling him with adventures designed to make him feel involved. 

“I’m not sure what I’m missing most,” he says. “The food or the wine.”

“The wine’s a challenge,” I say, wanting to divert him from how few restaurants I’ve sampled. “In the supermarket there’s a huge range of wines you’ve never heard of but you can’t tell what’s good, even by price. Some of my choices have been so undrinkable I poured them down the sink.”

“A travesty.” He knows I’ll drink almost anything.

“So I stalked some customers. To see what they bought.”

“You didn’t.” He laughs. “See what mischief you get up to without me?”

“I can’t ask anyone for help, so I loitered in the wine section, looking for a shopper I could trust.” It’s been one of my lighter moments. I can’t be pouring wine down the sink on my budget. “Two teenage girls cruised by and picked up some bottles of bubbly. Pink.”

“I don’t think so,” Derek says, pursing his lips.

“An old gent in an overcoat grabbed something very cheap and put it in his pocket.”

“Not your demographic.”

“Then a business couple in their thirties turned up, shopping together after work, arguing about the wine.” 

“Promising.”

I couldn’t understand a word but their body language was universal. “She wanted one particular red, he wanted another. They went back and forth a few times, getting heated. In the end they took both. And so did I. Great drinking at six euros each.”

I don’t tell him I consumed both bottles the same night and woke on the terrace shivering under a layer of dew.

***

I love the scene as an interlude amongst the deeper issues, but my editor felt it was too light-hearted for the serious themes around it. I couldn’t find anywhere else to put it, so it was axed. Boo hoo. Readers of Sonya’s blog are the only ones who are going to see it.

In The Second Path, Selkie has other adventures based on my French experiences, spun into a mystery with a mythical twist. In her sleep she collects seven strange objects, including a French spoon. Then later in a market she buys a set of silver ducks – little French cutlery rests that turn out to hold a secret clue to the mystery. A French fairy tale inspired a chilling experience for Selkie, its symbolism creating more mythical layers in the mystery.

In spite of the axed scene I still recommend stalking as a great way to choose good cheap wine in a French supermarket.

~~~~~

The Second Path - book cover

Book Blurb

A rock ripped from the soil, a message scrawled in lipstick on the floor, a torn photo, a silver spoon … What do they all mean?

Only her subconscious knows.

When we last left Selkie Moon, she was running towards the source of her deepest primal fear: the sea. Now she finds herself naked on the beach, stunned that she has no memory of the past two weeks.

Recovering at a friend’s house, Selkie wakes up to discover a bizarre collection of items scattered across the floor. Items she apparently gathered in her sleep. Finding the ho’ohihi – the interconnectedness – between them will carry her around the globe, from Honolulu to Sydney to Paris. A dark fairy tale journey filled with fear and despair, laughter and hope, The Second Path has Selkie searching for her place in the world, in her relationships, and in herself.

Searching for home.

 

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Download Your FREE Ghost Story

Laying Ghosts
If you like your psychological mysteries with a mythical twist, you can download Laying Ghosts – a 24-page stand-alone ghost story which is also a prequel to the Selkie Moon Mysteries. It explains the bizarre event that led Selkie Moon to escape her life in Sydney and start over in Hawaii, only to become embroiled in a mythical nightmare in the first book in the series, The First Lie. Download your free copy here http://www.selkiemoon.com/#popup

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Giveaway of The First Lie

The First Lie - book cover

You could be one of ten lucky winners who will choose either a signed paperback or an audio book of The First Lie plus a $15 Amazon gift code. One grand prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift code.

Enter here: http://www.selkiemoon.com/win-a-signed-copy/

 

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About Virginia King

Author Picture

When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.

Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.

 

Links

Website: http://www.selkiemoon.com/

Blog: http://www.selkiemoon.com/la-bloguette/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/selkiemoonbooks

 

Retail Links

http://www.selkiemoon.com/buy-the-books/

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane’ by Ellen Berry

Book CoverIt’s time for another cover reveal.  ‘The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane’ is being published by Avon as an eBook and in paperback on the 14th July 2016.  My mouth is watering already.

 

Book Blurb

In the beginning…

Kitty Cartwright has always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks are her life, and there isn’t an issue that ‘Cooking with Aspic’ can’t fix. Her only wish is that she had a book entitled ‘Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You’.

Forty years later…

On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks her mother left her, she now wants to share their recipes with the world – and no amount of aspic will stand in her way.

But with her family convinced it’s a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she’s made a terrible decision. One thing’s for sure: she’s about to find out…

Lose yourself in Della’s world of food, family and friends. The perfect read for fans of Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews.

 

‘The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bookshop-Rosemary-Lane-Ellen-Berry-ebook/dp/B01ARS8J0C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463939562&sr=1-1&keywords=ellen+berry

 

Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2016

Annual Bloggers Bash Awards

I was thrilled to find out a few days ago that I have been nominated for the Best Book Review Blog.  I really don’t expect to win, but just in case you do want to vote here is the link:-

VOTE NOW! Annual Bloggers Bash Awards NOW OPEN

There are many fantastic blogs up for nomination so do check them all out.

Voting Closes on the 9th June at 12 p.m. and the winners will be announced on the 11th June at the Bash.  A winners post will go live at 5:15 p.m. on the same day for those who can’t attend.

 

Good luck to everyone who has been nominated! 🙂

‘The Butcher Bird’ by S D Sykes

The Butcher Bird

I reviewed ‘Plague Land’, the first book in the Oswald de Lacy series back in 2014. Having loved this novel I recently bought ‘The Butcher Bird’ which came out in paperback on the 7th April of this year.

It is now 1351 and life continues as it has been doing at Somershill Manor.  Oswald is doing his very best to continue to run a struggling estate.  However, with a socially ambitious mother, an overbearing sister and a mutinous workforce who are demanding higher wages, this doesn’t prove to be very easy and certain things are beyond his control.

When a baby is found impaled on a thorn bush word soon gets around and people start claiming that they have seen a huge creature in the skies.  It is up to Oswald to find out the truth and quickly before more murders are committed.  Is there such a thing as The Butcher Bird or is there something even more sinister at play?

I could have screamed with joy when I saw ‘The Butcher Bird’ in Waterstones.  Having thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series I was expecting great things and I’m really happy to say that my expectations were more than met.  This was an absolutely fantastic read with some shocking revelations and a number of twists and turns.  Throughout the story you are reminded about what happened in ‘Plague Land’ which is good because it means you don’t need to refer back to it.

It was interesting seeing the character of Oswald de Lacy developing.  He really did have a lot put on him at a young age but I think he coped pretty well.  I loved reading about the journey to London from Somershill.  I thought it to be very descriptive and fascinating.  I also enjoyed meeting a number of the same characters.

The author has written another interesting historical note which you will find at the back of the book.  I do like that she does her research and that a number of events that took part in the story actually did happen.  There is also a useful glossary at the back too.

S D Sykes has done it again by writing yet another brilliant book.  I don’t mean to wish the rest of the year away when it is already going so fast, but I really can’t wait for the next instalment in this series which is due out in early 2017.

You really should read ‘Plague Land’ first before starting this book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Secret Wife’ by Gill Paul

Book Cover

I am thrilled to be taking part in this cover reveal and what a beauty it is.  ‘The Secret Wife’ is being published on the 25th August 2016 as an eBook and in paperback by Avon.  Read on to find out more about this book.

 

Book Blurb

A Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries . . .

1914

Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with injured cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance – and their lives – in danger . . .

2016

Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation forces her to flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to an extraordinary, long-buried family secret . . .

Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

 

‘The Secret Wife’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Wife-Gill-Paul-ebook/dp/B01D4O804G/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463326605&sr=1-3&keywords=the+secret+wife

 

Blog Tour – ‘Murder Ring’ by Leigh Russell

Blog Tour Banner

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour to celebrate Leigh Russell’s new book, ‘Murder Ring’ which is being published in paperback on the 26th May 2016 by No Exit Press.  I am really looking forward to reading it.  As part of this tour I have interviewed Leigh.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘Murder Ring’ please?

Murder Ring is the eighth book in the Geraldine Steel series. While each of the books works as a stand alone, Geraldine’s life story unfolds slowly in the background. So Murder Ring is a tense murder investigation, in which I tackle the issue of gun crime for the first time, and make use of a fairly new technique in forensic science to help solve the case. In the book, Geraldine also makes a disturbing discovery about her own life. As with all my books, my villains are a mixture of really nasty, and pitiably dysfunctional characters.

 

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

I started with researching into gun crime in London, a topic raised in the book. One of the interesting features of crime fiction is that it takes a look at social issues. A lot of what I discovered was available online and in the news, information about gun crime in London, and children in possession of guns, and I took advice from a contact of mine who’s a police ballistics expert. Apart from that, I researched different locations in London, and of course the latest developments in forensic science, which are always useful.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

Not really. To be honest, I’ve no idea where my characters come from. The crime reviewer of The Times describes my books as ‘psychologically acute’, although I don’t research my characters at all. They seem to invent themselves, arriving fully developed in my mind and revealing themselves on the page. With some of them I think I’m exploring different aspects of my own character. With others, I hope I’m not!  But I just place my characters on the page and let them take it from there.

 

I understand ‘Murder Ring’ is the 8th book in the Geraldine Steel series to be optioned for TV.  What character traits should the actress playing Geraldine ideally have?

My only request to the television production team was that Geraldine be portrayed by an actress who is credibly an intelligent, driven career woman in her late thirties. It would be great if the actress resembled the character as she is described in the books, but the essence of the character is more important to me than her physical appearance. Producing a television series is a very different artistic endeavour to writing a book. I know something about writing books, but have no experience of working in television so am happy to leave that to experts.

 

How long on average does it take you to write each book?

I deliver two manuscripts a year, which gives me six months to write each one. My typing is very fast, meaning that I could physically produce a full length manuscript in four weeks, but I don’t think it would be worth reading. What makes a book is not the typing, but the thinking and research that goes into it. So I wouldn’t be able to produce a book I was pleased with in less than six months.

 

Where do you get your ideas from?

That’s a good question, to which I wish I knew the answer! There’s always the worry that I’ll be due to write a new book and not be able to think of anything, but I don’t think too far ahead. Instead I go from book to book and hope for the best, and so far so good is all I can say. Someone once wrote of me that ‘Leigh Russell can see dead bodies anywhere.’ Of course that’s an overstatement, but I often get ideas from spotting places where bodies could be dumped.

 

What made you decide to write crime novels?

There was no decision to write crime novels. In fact, I never had any intention to write at all. I just had an idea one day, started writing, and haven’t been able to stop since. Eight years and twelve books later, with the next two already finished, I’m still writing every day.

 

You’re so busy writing lots of books and doing loads of signings.  How do you manage it all?

I like to work hard, and I love writing. Although it’s my full-time job these days, I still don’t regard writing as work. Book signings can be hard work physically, but they’re fun as I get to go out and meet other book lovers. And it’s lovely meeting fans of my own books! Sometimes even I wonder how everything gets done, but most of the time I just get on with it.

 

Presumably you read a lot as well.  Who are your favourite crime authors?

Unfortunately these days I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like. My tastes in reading are not confined to crime, although most literature includes crime of some description. In my opinion, the greatest crime writer of all was Shakespeare. In terms of the detective genre, there are so many brilliant authors writing these days, it’s difficult to pick just a few names. I admire Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, Val McDermid, Ruth Rendell, Simon Beckett, and many more.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Recently I told my husband that I had a completely clear day in my diary and was taking a day off. ‘You mean you won’t be writing?’ he asked me. ‘No,’ I answered. ‘I’m gong to spend the whole day writing.’ And that’s my idea of a day off. Other than writing, I enjoy spending time with my family, and I like to sit in the garden.

 

Have you got any advice for anyone who wants to pen a crime novel?

I have so much advice to offer on the subject of writing, that I teach creative writing every summer for a week or two on a beautiful Greek island. In terms of the crime genre, crime fiction is plot driven, so it’s a good idea to work out a strong storyline before you start writing. Research is important, as is making sure characters behave consistently. Finally, try to write clear prose. In that respect George Orwell’s advice can’t be bettered. ‘If it’s possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.’

 

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

In five years’ time, I’ll be writing the fourteenth Geraldine Steel story, and the eighth book in my Lucy Hall series, and the third Geraldine Steel television series will be appearing on the small screen. And I’ll be a grandmother!

 

‘Murder Ring’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Ring-DI-Geraldine-Steel/dp/1843446774/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462989567&sr=1-1&keywords=murder+ring

Cover Reveal – ‘Before You’ by Kathryn Freeman

Book Cover

I am delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for ‘Before You’, Kathryn Freeman’s new book which is being published by Choc Lit on the 21st June 2016 as an eBook.  Isn’t it just lovely?  Read on to find out what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

When life in the fast lane threatens to implode …

Melanie Taylor’s job working for the Delta racing team means she is constantly rubbing shoulders with Formula One superstars in glamorous locations like Monte Carlo. But she has already learned that keeping a professional distance is crucial if she doesn’t want to get hurt.

New Delta team driver Aiden Foster lives his life like he drives his cars – fast and hard. But, no matter how successful he is, it seems he always falls short of his championship-winning father’s legacy. If he could just stay focused, he could finally make that win.

Resolve begins to slip as Melanie and Aiden find themselves drawn to each other –with nowhere to hide as racing season begins. But when a troubled young boy goes missing, everything is thrown into turmoil, including Aiden’s championship dream.

 

Before You is published by Choc Lit and is now available to pre-order as an eBook!

Kindle UK/Kindle US/Kindle AU/Kindle CA

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘Danger, Sweetheart’ by MaryJanice Davidson

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‘Danger, Sweetheart’, the first book in a new contemporary series is out today in paperback, published by Piatkus.  I am one of a number of book bloggers taking part in this blog tour.  Read on for my review followed by an extract.

Blake Tarbell doesn’t realise it but he’s about to get a taste of country life.  Rich, carefree and used to the Vegas party lifestyle, Blake is thrown for a curve when his former cocktail-waitress mother pleads that he goes back to her roots to save the town she grew up in.  Arriving in Sweetheart, North Dakota, Blake finds himself staying and working at Heartbreak Farm.  Life there is very different.  For a start off he has to trade in his expensive shoes for a pair of cowboy boots and wear clothes he’s not used to wearing.  Luckily for Blake though he’s about to get a little bit of help from the loveliest lady in town.

Natalie Lane doesn’t have time for newbies.  There’s nothing she can’t do to keep a farm up and running.  But when a handsome city-slicker arrives in town with bad farmer’s instincts and good intentions Natalie’s heartstrings are pulled.  They’re about to teach each other a thing or two.

I was interested in reading ‘Danger, Sweetheart’ as it sounded good and different.  I have to say though, it actually took me quite a while to get into the story and I found it hard going.  I also found the style of writing a bit confusing.  The point where I really started to enjoy the book was when Blake arrived at Heartbreak Farm.  That to me is when things really got interesting and started to hot up.

Blake had a twin brother called Rake and he kept referring to him as terrible in conversation, something I personally found annoying after a while.  There’s only so many times a person can repeat the same thing surely.  That said, I did like him.  He was clever, wordy and a big reader of books.  There were also some really quite funny parts like when Blake was given the task of training a pony.  The lengths he went to try and tame her were just hilarious.

There were some interesting characters; some nice, others not so nice.  I really liked Natalie even though she wasn’t being entirely honest about things.

All in all an okay read, but I’m sure other people will really enjoy ‘Danger, Sweetheart’.

I give this book 3 out of 5.

~~~~~

Extract

Natalie Lane watched the rented truck cover the last half mile to Heartbreak and was not impressed. This would be the first of what promised to be weeks of awful days, and not for the first time she wondered why she didn’t give up, give in, and get lost. Follow half the town out of town. Let Sweetheart die.

Not even if he stuck a gun in my ear. Because it wasn’t the town, it was never the town, it was always the people. Well. Most of the people. Garrett Hobbes, for example, could fuck right off. The world needed more golf courses like a diabetic needed a glucose drip.

The truck passed the last gate and pulled up between the farmhouse and Barn Main. The engine quit and she could see him in the driver’s seat, moving his hands, and was he . . . ? Was he patting the steering wheel? In a well done, mighty steed way? Yes. Yes he was.

Self-congratulation must run in that family, she mused. Oh, and look at this. He remembered to kick out the ladder this time. Too bad. She’d  have loved to see him on his ass in the dirt. Again.

“It’s you!” he said as he hopped down, having the balls-out nerve to sound excited. Except where did she get off ? Before she knew who he was, she’d have been happy to see him, too. If anything, she was more pissed because she had liked him on short acquaintance. What  if he’d never seen her in her other life? When would she have found out his terrible truth? Their first date? Their first month–aversary? Their wedding night?

Wedding night? Jeez, Natalie, get a grip.

“Hello again.” He stuck out his hand, which she definitely didn’t notice was large and looked strong, especially in contrast to her own teeny paws. Nor did she notice he had big hands and, as a glance at his shoes told her, big feet, and she definitely didn’t form a theory about his dick based solely on his sizeable mitts. She also didn’t notice how his smile took years from his face, or how his pricey clothes beautifully set off those long legs and wide shoulders, that  the color of his crisp button-down shirt was the same color as his dark blue eyes, that his tan slacks

(slacks? Seriously? Slacks?)

fit like they were made for him

(of course they were; guy’s probably got a fleet of tailors stashed somewhere)

and that his swimmer’s shoulders made his waist appreciably narrow in contrast.

He was still holding out his hand, and she gave it a brief listless shake, the limp kind with the bare tips of her fingers. “You’re late.”

 

About MaryJanice Davidson

MaryJanice Davidson has written in a variety of genres, including contemporary romance, paranormal romance, erotica and non-fiction. She is an internationally bestselling author and her books were translated into several languages and are available in fifteen countries. She lives in Minnesota.

 

‘Danger, Sweetheart’ is available to buy from Amazon:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Danger-Sweetheart-MaryJanice-Davidson/dp/0349412782/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462529145&sr=1-1&keywords=danger+sweetheart

MaryJanice Davidson’s Website – www.maryjanicedavidson.net

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Trouble with Seduction’ by Victoria Hanlen

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‘The Trouble with Seduction’ was published on the 25th April 2016 by Carina UK.  Today it is my turn on this blog tour.  Read on for my review.

This story is set in London, England, 1855.  Sarah, Lady Strathford, twice widowed and still fairly young is ready for a little bit of harmless fun, preferably with a man of her own age with and someone who she can have an adventure with.  That’s not too much to ask for is it!

Her hopes are raised when the very dashing, roguish and rather baffling Mr Cornelius Ravenhill appears.  As Sarah soon discovers though he is not the gentleman he seems and she finds herself battling against the corrupt and harsh world around her which threatens to destroy everything precious to her.  Will her seduction at the hands of Mr Ravenhill prove to be her saviour or was she better off on her own?

As most of you probably know by now I really enjoy historical fiction.  I liked the sound of ‘The Trouble with Seduction’ so was more than happy to give it a go.  The blurb is at the front of the eBook, something I think is ever so useful.  It’s very handy especially if like me you have loads of books on your e-reader and can’t remember what it’s about.

I thought this to be a very enjoyable read with an extremely complicated plot which keeps you guessing as to what really happened.  The author has an eye for detail and I loved reading about Strathford Hall and all its grandeur.  It made me wish I was there exploring it and searching out secret rooms and hidden passages.  Sarah Strathford’s late husband, Edward, the Earl of Strathford was an inventor.  He had created many wonderful things including some rather saucy sex toys.

There were a number of characters some of whom were very unsavoury indeed.  I took an instant dislike to Lumsley.  Sarah was one of my favourites though.  She had been through so much and her real problems were only just beginning.  I thought Sarah to be a very kind person.  She had set up a charity where children and adults came with their problems for help and to be educated.  I also really liked Damen.  I don’t want to give too much away but he was good for her even though he wasn’t who she thought he was.  He went about things in a bit of an underhand way but had his reasons.

Whilst reading this novel I came across a lovemaking scene that had been split between two chapters which was slightly off putting.  I personally felt that it should have all taken place in the same chapter.  There was also a fair bit of violence in this book but don’t let that put you off.  If you’re a fan of historical fiction then I would say that ‘The Trouble with Seduction’ is worth reading.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Victoria Hanlen

Author Picture

Award winning, historical romance author, VICTORIA HANLEN, has worked at a wide range of jobs, from fashion, to corporate business, to treading the boards of stage and professional opera. A lifelong writer, she once put her skills to use in PR and advertising. But her favorite form of writing is stories with happily-ever-afters.

Additionally, she likes to bake (especially pies), paint (especially barns with cows), and take photographs (especially of sunsets and critters) Victoria and her husband live in rural New England surrounded by a host of wildlife.

 

Links

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29538610-the-trouble-with-seduction?from_search=true&search_version=service

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01ARSC5O8/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Victoria-Hanlen-Books-1611094709107251/?fref=ts

Twitter – https://twitter.com/VictoriaHanlen

Website – https://t.co/GgwQxl2FSx

 

Competition

There’s a chance to win a £15 Amazon Giftcard.  To enter just click on this link – Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

Interview with Daniel Ingram-Brown

Photo taken by Raj Passy

I would like to introduce you all to Daniel Ingram-Brown.  Daniel has a new book coming out soon and was interested in being interviewed.

 

Firstly, you mentioned that you have a new book coming out in May. Can you tell me a little bit about it please?

Yes, it’s called The Nemesis Charm. It’s the second book in The Firebird Chronicles series. The first book, Rise of the Shadow Stealers, came out in 2013. The Nemesis Charm continues the story of Apprentice Adventurers, Fletcher and Scoop. They train at a school called Blotting’s Academy, where all Story Characters go to be trained. The departments at Blotting’s Academy orbit around different types of story – so, for example, Apprentice Heroes train in the Department for Overcoming Monsters and Apprentice Spell-Shakers in the Department of Seasons. Fletcher and Scoop are part of the Department of Quests.

Book Cover

When the story starts, the two Apprentices are enjoying life. They’ve been at the Academy for a year – their Beginning year – and are just about to move into their Middle year. They’re well known and well liked at the Academy, almost having celebrity status because of their exploits in the first book. But all that is about to change. The Storyteller (the mysterious king of the island where Blotting’s Academy is based) has become aware of a sickness that is threatening Fletcher and Scoop’s world. It’s been slowly seeping through the sea, causing many in the surrounding islands to fall into a deep sleep, from which they cannot be woken.

The Storyteller has discovered that the sickness is spilling from a doorway that has opened up in the sea, a Threshold between worlds. He knows that if he is to save his own world, he must find somebody to cross that doorway, to reach the source of the sickness and bring it to an end. He knows that to send somebody on such a quest is tantamount to sending them into the mouth of death itself, but it has to be done. And the Storyteller has two people in mind for the task – two children. I’m sure you can guess who they are!

As you might have picked up, The Nemesis Charm (and the whole of The Firebird Chronicles series) is about stories. Stories are the magic in Fletcher and Scoop’s world. This second book in the series is about the battle to control the doorway through which the sickness is spilling. Whoever controls that doorway will control the story itself and will hold the destiny of that world in their hands.

 

How long did it take you to write?

It took me about three years – not working on it constantly (I’ve had lots of other projects on in that time too), but it was about a three year process in all.

 

How many more books in the series are there to come?

There’s one more book in this series – Fletcher and Scoop’s Ending year.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters at all?

I think I relate to a lot of them. In many ways, all the characters in a book rise from the author’s subconscious, so they all express a part of me. If I had to pick one though, I’d probably pick Fletcher. He doubts his core identity. He struggles to accept that at heart, he’s a redemptive figure. That’s probably a struggle I have too, perhaps we all do. It’s the struggle to see the good in ourselves, as well as have an awareness of our faults and failings. Fletcher’s also moody and lacks social skills – I think I was like that when I was a teenager! He’s sharp, though. He sees things for what they are, he’s just not always good at dealing with that sensitively. These days, I think I’m a little more like Scoop – friendlier and more rounded! I hope so. Perhaps it’s good to have a mix of both of them!

In terms of who I’d like to be (I realise you didn’t ask that, but your question got me thinking…) I’d like to be like the Yarnbard or the Storyteller – those wise older characters who handle the seriousness of life lightly and in a playful way, who carry paradoxes in themselves and so are able to hold the world together. But I also know that there’s a side of me like Grizelda too – the manipulator, lurking in the shadows. She’s a side I’m trying to shed, although she is great fun to write!

 

Will you be having a book launch?

I will! It’s on 27th May at Waterstones in Leeds, as part of the Leeds Big Bookend Festival. There’s going to be live music and free drinks. I’ll be reading from the book, being interviewed, and there’ll be a Q&A. I can’t wait! (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/book-launch-for-the-nemesis-charm-by-daniel-ingram-brown-tickets-23707953126)

 

Who designs your book covers? 

A designer employed by my publisher, Our Street Books (an imprint of John Hunt Publishing). I’m lucky enough to have quite a lot of input in the cover, though. The ship image and the dark colours were something I had in mind right from the start. I think having an image in mind helps me to find a direction and feel for the book. I know what the image for the third book will be already…

 

I see that you are also a playwright.  What sort of projects do you get involved in?

I’ve mainly been involved in small-scale touring; big community productions, or journey based performance. In fact, journeys as a motif is probably the thing that ties all my work together. At the moment, I’m Artistic Director for Suitcase and Spectacles Children’s Theatre. We have a one woman show that tours to schools – it’s a classroom show. Everything comes out of an old suitcase (including a ladder – I like the shows to feel magical). At the end of the performance, the classroom is transformed, with a sort of tree having emerged from the suitcase. It’s great fun. Our next show is going to be a stage adaptation of Rise of the Shadow Stealers! The other production I’m working on at the moment is a journey based performance of Wind in the Willows – the audience walk from a castle, down along a river to a stately home, and along the way meet Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger. I wrote the adaptation and am directing the show. It’s on in August. Hopefully it’ll be sunny!!

 

How long have you been a playwright for?

I started writing plays after university, when I set up my first company – that was about nineteen years ago now.

 

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere – walking, films, people, books, philosophy, dreams. That’s the great thing about ideas, they’re always leaping out at you!

 

Describe a day in your life?

My days are always different. I find myself leading workshops, designing books or fliers, organising events, chairing meetings, directing actors, applying for funding (boring), writing in cafés or in my little office at home, meeting people.

On a good day, I get to the gym and spend some time in silence. Everything else is up for grabs!

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis, Umberto Eco, Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman – those authors that ask big questions about life, but deal with them in playful ways.

 

About Daniel Ingram-Brown

Born in East London, Daniel now live in Knaresborough, in a house built from the stones of the town’s ruined castle.

As well as being an author and chair of the Leeds Big Bookend Festival, he works in the field of performance and is currently Artistic Director of Suitcase and Spectacles Children’s Theatre.

Daniel enjoys leading workshops and giving author talks in schools, and has led numerous community theatre projects that explore how stories shape us and what mark they leave on the places we live.

Daniel is interested in exploring philosophical and spiritual questions in fun and engaging ways that inspire children and adults to think and to wonder.

 

Links

Author’s Website – www.firebirdchronicles.com

Publisher – http://www.ourstreet-books.com/authors/daniel-ingram-brown

Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/danielingrambrown

Twitter – www.twitter.com/daningrambrown

 

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