A Lover of Books

Archive for the month “December, 2017”

My Top 12 Books of 2017

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve already and I really don’t understand where this year has gone.  I have had some ups and downs blogging wise and haven’t read half as much as I wanted to, but I’m pleased to say all is good with me now and I am feeling very positive.

I’ve read some fabulous books this year and it’s now time to choose my Top 12.

 

1.  ‘Deep Down Dead’ by Steph Broadribb

 

‘Deep Down Dead’ was published in paperback in January of this year by the fabulous Orenda Books.  I wasn’t too sure if this book would be for me, but I needn’t have worried as I was soon hooked.  If I remember rightly I think I was slightly late to work because of it, i.e. I couldn’t put it down.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/deep-down-dead-by-steph-broadribb/

 

2.   ‘Fade to Dead’ by Tara Moore

 

March was an incredibly busy month for my blog as it’s when I did my two week Urbane Event.  ‘Fade to Dead’ was published last year and it is the first book in the Jessica Wideacre series.  I absolutely loved it and I want to read more by this author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/book-review-fade-to-dead-by-tara-moore/

 

3.  ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski

 

‘Six Stories’ was published in paperback by Orenda Books in March.  I took part in the blog tour for this book and it was so different to anything I have ever read before.  I just loved it.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/blog-tour-six-stories-by-matt-wesolowski/

 

4.  ‘The Lies Within’ by Jane Isaac

 

I had the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for ‘The Lies Within’ which was published by Legend Press.  Until then I had never read any of Jane Isaac’s books.  I was totally gripped and I loved it from start to finish.  I am really looking forward to reading more by this fabulous author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/blog-tour-the-lies-within-by-jane-isaac/

 

5.  ‘The Wild Air’ by Rebecca Mascull

 

Rebecca Mascull has done it again with this book, published by Hodder & Stoughton.  It was absolutely incredible and I loved everything about it.  I also was lucky enough to meet Rebecca at her book launch for which I won a ticket.  You can read my review and write up on the launch here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/the-wild-air-by-rebecca-mascull/

 

6.  ‘Skin Deep’ by Laura Wilkinson

 

Laura Wilkinson is one of my favourite authors.  I have read and reviewed all her novels so far and was delighted to take part in the blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’ which was published by Accent Press.  This lady is so very talented and can turn her hand easily to writing about different subjects.  I could have cried with joy at being mentioned in the acknowledgements and at having my review quoted inside the book too.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/blog-tour-skin-deep-by-laura-wilkinson/

 

7.  ‘No Accident’ by Robert Crouch

 

I was given the wonderful opportunity to take part in the blog tour for this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed ‘No Accident’ and was delighted to discover yet another new author and to start reading another series.  You can read my review here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/blog-tour-no-accident-by-robert-crouch/

 

8.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines

 

I was delighted when A.J. Waines invited me to take part in her blog tour.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ is the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series.  I hadn’t read the first one but this didn’t spoil things for me.  I totally loved it and I can’t wait to read more by this author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/blog-tour-lost-in-the-lake-by-a-j-waines/

 

9.  ‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia

 

I absolutely loved ‘No Way Back’ which was published in September by Urbane Publications.  I could kick myself for not having read Kelly Florentia’s first novel.  Kelly’s writing is incredible and I really can’t wait to read her next book.  You can read my review here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/11/no-way-back-by-kelly-florentia/

 

 

10.  ‘You’re Next’ by Michael Fowler

Until recently I had never read any of Michael Fowler’s books.  But then I was invited to take part in the blog tour for ‘You’re Next’ and I’m so glad I took part.  Published by Caffiene Nights Publishing, this is the second book in the DS Scarlett Macey series and I really enjoyed it.  I will definitely be reading more of this author’s books.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/blog-tour-youre-next-by-michael-fowler/

 

11.  ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett

 

I have read this series from the start and loved every single book, but I think ‘Hell to Pay’ has to be my favourite.  It was a real pleasure taking part in the blog tour.  I can’t wait to read more by Rachel Amphlett.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/blog-tour-hell-to-pay-by-rachel-amphlett/

 

12.  ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ by Mary Wood

When Mary Wood was looking for people to take part in her blog tour I was happy to help as I really liked the sound of ‘Brighter Days Ahead’, which was published in November by Pan Books.  It’s been absolutely ages since I have read a saga and I absolutely loved it.  I now want to read this author’s backlist.

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/blog-tour-brighter-days-ahead-by-mary-wood/

 

I hope you have all enjoyed finding out what my top 12 books of the year are.  I look forward to reading many more great books next year.

 

Guest Post by Pankaj Giri

I am delighted to welcome Pankaj Giri to my blog.  His new novel, ‘The Fragile Thread of Hope’ was published as an eBook in November and I have been hearing very good things about it.  I will be reviewing Pankaj’s book next month.

Pankaj has written an interesting post about writing.  I hope you all enjoy it and that it proves useful for many of you.

 

Writing Tips

I have been writing for the past few years. In 2015, I authored a novel and got it published by a small publisher. However, as I began getting reviews, I realized the monumental blunders that I had committed, as far as writing is concerned. Over the years, experience has enabled me to cultivate certain writing tips that I would like to point out so that it could be of some help to aspiring writers.

Avoid big words and read extensively before beginning writing: In order to be different from other commercial authors, I committed a huge mistake in my first book: I used a lot of big words. Perhaps, it was one of the primary reasons that my book failed to be lapped up by prospective readers. The idea of using big words came to me when I read a book containing flowery language and happened to check out its review in Amazon. The reviewer stated that this is the kind of writing that young authors should emulate rather than trying to copy the bland language used by popular commercial authors. Misguided, I began to use big words, hoping publishers would be impressed by my vocabulary, but alas, it turned out to be a blunder. Later, after the debacle of my first book, I began reading some critically acclaimed books. Strangely, before writing my first book, I had not read many books. I’d just read a couple of mass market books similar to my genre, and as I had a story ready, I foolishly dived into the stream of writing. Somehow, I did manage to finish my book, but since I hadn’t read much, dangerous tips like the one mentioned above trapped me in their tentacles and thus I ended up corrupting my own book. The turning point came when I read the award-winning novel ‘The Kite Runner’. Then I realized that the key to good writing isn’t using big words, but weaving together simple words to create a magical effect, like Khaled Hosseini does. After that, I read a lot of books, which ended up influencing my writing style. So I would advise you to read a lot of books, especially critically acclaimed books before even venturing into writing. Also, while reading you should ensure that you are very observant. Whenever you come across a beautifully constructed sentence, a wonderful metaphor, or a magical simile, note it down somewhere and try your best to form a mental imprint of it. This will really help you to take your writing to the next level, as when you sit down to write next time, your brain starts suggesting those sentences when you come across similar scenarios in your book. You can then refer to your notes and try to imbibe those writing tidbits into your narrative. Once you have read a variety of books, a blend of different writing styles seeps into your subconscious, which eventually helps you forge your own unique writing style/voice.

Use fewer adverbs and adjectives: Another mistake that I had made in my first book was the blatant overuse of adverbs. As the prominent writer, Stephen King, says, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs”. Adverbs are a reflection of weak, lazy writing as they don’t form a good enough picture for the reader, thus violating the show-don’t-tell rule. For example, consider this sentence: “You are wrong,” Fred said angrily. Does this help you picture or feel anything? How was the anger? How was Fred’s voice? However, consider this alternative: “You are wrong,” Fred barked, his eyes glinting with anger. Now, with the stronger verb bark, you can imagine the rough tone of voice. Also, his eyes are shining with anger, helping you visualize the scene better. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use adverbs at all. Occasional use of adverbs, especially if it is not in dialogue tags, is alright. Also, try your best to remove redundant adjectives from your narrative. For example, instead of saying the smelly, intoxicated drunkard was walking, just say the drunkard was walking, as drunkards are already smelly and intoxicated.

Show, don’t tell: This is a slightly confusing rule as, traditionally, a story is meant to be told. However, if you remember, even the good traditional storytellers made us visualize the scene, which made the story much more compelling. The reader should feel as if he is travelling, seeing, hearing, experiencing everything along with the characters. For example, instead of saying that it was a rainy day and Mary got wet while going home, show her walking towards home, raindrops flirting with her hair, her shirt sticking to her skin. The traits of the characters should be shown by their actions, their mannerisms, rather than being told in a blunt way. For example, instead of saying that Tom was a funny man and he used to make everyone laugh, show Tom cracking a joke and everyone laughing at it. Also, weave the backstories of the characters as either plain remembrances or a photograph or object taking you to the past, which helps develop the character, rather than writing direct blocks of telling in between scenes. Also, writing dialogue is the best way to follow the show-don’t-tell rule. The characters are actively involved and their expressions, actions come to the fore. It is also easier to reveal certain things (character traits, backstory) in a dialogue rather than telling it in the narrative, but you should make sure that the revelation doesn’t seem forced or else it might backfire.

Don’t do head hopping: If you are writing in the third person, ensure that you don’t end up showing the thoughts of other characters apart from the main character. That ends up confusing the reader and diminishes the emotional connect that the reader has with the primary character.

Ensure proper punctuation: Read about the proper usage of commas, semicolons, colons, em dashes, parenthesis, exclamation marks before beginning your project. Make sure that your dialogue tags end with a comma if it is followed by he/she said/asked, but if the dialogue tag ends with an action, ensure that you use a period. For example, a dialogue ending with he said/asked: “I will kill you,” he said. A dialogue ending with an action: “I will kill you.” He banged his fist on the table. Ensure you use as fewer exclamations as possible, as it is considered as a form of casual, weak writing. Parenthesis/brackets also should be used very sparingly in a literary work.

Use proper editing tools: Don’t forget to use the grammar checking functions of Microsoft Word. It helps to identify a lot of errors like split infinitives, passive sentences, punctuation errors, and other basic grammatical errors. Also, I would recommend using the Grammarly tool, which weeds out all the bugs that Microsoft Word overlooks.

Be careful with descriptions: Ensure that you strike a perfect balance between insufficient and excessive descriptions of surroundings and feelings. The feelings shouldn’t be redundant, and you should weed out any descriptions which may seem unnecessary to the theme of the particular scene. But of course, some description is necessary to create a proper ambiance, and you should not remove them altogether. It is a fine line, but you have to tread it carefully to ensure that the book turns out to be perfect or at least close to it.

Write shorter sentences: The shorter and simpler the sentences, the lesser the chances of making a mistake. Short sentences contribute to easy readability, too. However, longer sentences are also necessary sometimes. You should be able to weave paragraphs with care, mixing short and longer sentences skillfully. It is an art which takes times to master.

Use unique metaphors and similes: Some metaphors and similes have been so overused that they have now become cliched and should never be used. For example, metaphors like ‘dead as a door-nail’, ‘as tall as a giraffe’, ‘only time will tell’ etc. will mostly put off the seasoned readers. Instead, unique metaphors and similes should be constructed. If not, then you should remove the metaphor/simile altogether and try to frame the sentence in a simpler way. To write a simple sentence is better than to write a cliched sentence.

Research and read your book’s reviews: Keep reading articles about writing tips and fuel your fire for knowledge daily. If you have already published a book, read reviews with a positive frame of mind and try to learn, even from the harshest review. Although negative reviews might dampen your spirits for some time, you should try your best to understand which aspect of the book the reviewer didn’t like and try to improve upon it in the next book.

On a parting note, I would like to say that writing is a never-ending journey. There is scope for improvement even for accomplished writers and the process of learning always has to go on. Cheers!

 

Book Blurb

A gripping emotional inspirational fiction about love, loss, and finding hope in the darkest of times.

In the autumn of 2012, destiny wreaks havoc on two unsuspecting people—Soham and Fiona.

Although his devastating past involving his brother still haunted him, Soham had established a promising career for himself in Bangalore.

After a difficult childhood, Fiona’s fortunes had finally taken a turn for the better. She had married her beloved, and her life was as perfect as she had ever imagined it to be.

But when tragedy strikes them yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart.

Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief?

Will the overwhelming pain destroy their lives?

Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of family relationships.

Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder—does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

If you love contemporary literary fiction novels by Khaled Hosseini and Jhumpa Lahiri, contemporary christian fiction novels by Melissa Storm, and tragic romance novels by Jojo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks, then make time for Pankaj Giri’s new heartbreaking inspirational novel The Fragile Thread of Hope.

 

‘The Fragile Thread of Hope’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fragile-Thread-Hope-emotional-inspirational-ebook/dp/B076ZGGNH8/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076ZGGNH8

 

About Pankaj Giri

Pankaj Giri was born and brought up in Gangtok, Sikkim—a picturesque hill station in India. He began his writing career in 2015 by co-authoring a book—Friendship Love and Killer Escapades (FLAKE). Learning from experience and the constructive criticism that he got for his first book, he has now written a new novel—The Fragile Thread of Hope, a mainstream literary fiction dealing with love, loss, and family relationships. He is currently working in the government sector in Sikkim. He likes to kill time by listening to progressive metal music and watching cricket.

 

Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PankajGiriAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/_PankajGiri

 

Guest Post by Pete Adams

It’s a pleasure having both Pete Adams and his famous hat back on my blog again.  I recently asked Pete where he was going with his writing and after seeking some good advice from his hat (it talks you know and is a real hatleman) he, or rather they, came up with an answer.

 

Life after

Kind Hearts and Martinets

 

“There is no limit to my creative ability, provided I am not required to be coherent”

Someone said that, didn’t they, not sure who…was it me?

Sonya Alford, your inquiry for an update on my writing is opportune. Although book 4 of the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, Ghost and Ragman Roll, is only recently published, you are correct that all the originally planned 8 books have been completed. You ask good questions, astutely probing:

So, what is next? Is it hard to start something new after living with Kind Hearts for so long? Where do you go when you have written a long series over an extended length of time? Do you look to the supporting characters, who over time, have developed, and maybe deserve a leading part of their own? I love a series, and love also spin-offs, where a new book might relate to characters and storyline extensions. So, what of:

 

Your Readers?

An author is aware when readers like to hear what happens to the people who have populated the books they have enjoyed. The difficulty, if there is one, is when some of the characters have become so popular, the reader demanding more, coinciding with a writer wanting to move onto pastures new. I often think this of authors who have a long running series with a detective or a detective pairing; how do they cope?

Your Publisher?

A Publisher likes to have a series that readers can become wedded to. It means they will buy the next book. I believe that the reading public are intelligent beings and do not want to be spoon fed a diet of more of the same. Characters can be taken on, maybe in different directions, provided there is a satisfactory coherence, and the storyline extensions are in context and believable.

…and You, the Writer?

As an author I like to explore different characters, and often find they can  drive a new narrative. I worry about becoming stale. I love it when I fall upon a new storyline and direction, with or without established characters. Balancing that with demand from my Publisher and my readers, now, that is a different matter.

Your Advisors, do you have any?

Yes, and lately I have been quiet, but not inactive. After nearly nine years writing, I have made good friends, and acquired positive critical colleagues and advisors who I will listen to, even if sometimes their probing is uncomfortable. I have completed eight books in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, books 5 to 8 awaiting publication. However, following up on often insightful suggestions, and thinking long and hard, I have distilled a new direction I want to take. I intend to create a line of books that will develop into 3 separate (new) series:

 

Book 5 – Merde and Mandarins, when published next year, will be the final book in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series. There is a natural conclusion, but, as in life, it opens up new directions and opportunities to be seized.

Over the past few months I have been rewriting books 6 to 8, and they are now adapted to the future I am striving toward. These books will form the start of two separate series, albeit there are extensions and linking references back to the narratives in Kind Hearts, and some of the previously secondary characters take on a life of their own. Having said that, the central protagonists in Kind Hearts have become very popular, and appropriately, they will continue in another of the series, retiring from the police to form, DaDa, an eccentric Detective Agency. The character of Jack (Jane) Austin is just so radically fluid, if that is not an adumbration, the emphasis on the  dumb, and so long as he continues to be expertly steered by his intelligent wife Amanda, he opens up so many possibilities for real and surreal narratives, much as I believe life is, if only we would stop to look.

The fascination of Dadaism? It was an arts movement that flouted the conventional by producing works marked by incongruity. For me, in this series, it is about writing books with an idiosyncratic narrative, but with a grounded underlying concept, albeit it may appear at first skewed, there is a rational intendment, and, a significant ending.

Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real”, and that is the joy of the DaDa books, in the writing, and, I suggest, will be in the reading.

 

——

 

The Dada Detective Agency books:

Book 1 – The Duchess of Frisian Tun, writing as my female pseudonym, Susan Narmee, is a pivotal novel that embraces Kind Hearts as well as setting the scene for the subsequent Dada books. New characters join Jack (Jane) Austin, and his wife Amanda. The story, with a World War 2 twist,  is loosely, though lavishly, based upon the Canterbury Tales, except the characters go nowhere, the story set principally in one room in a house on Frisian Tun:

An au courant, romantic comedy, crime thriller. A droll and saucy insight into the Middle Class, Haute Monde, and Geography. Tales of a reclusive England with: The Journalist, The Professor, The Synchronised Swimming Instructor, The Fish Wife, The Dame, The Actress (really Jack Austin), The Geography Teacher, The Gossip Columnist, The Spy, The Police Inspector, The Man from the Council, The Priest, The Knight, The Super-grass (deceased), The Gangster, and, The Lady Blanche.

I see this also as a script that can readily become a stage play, something I would love to see.

Book 2 – Umble Pie – the Nun’s Orchestra, continues the genre, crime thrillers with an idiosyncratic narrative, the generative concept being Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. A spiraling, intertwined DNA of a real and surreal plot that exposes a conspiracy within a spate of sacrificial religious murders, featuring, the Vatican Intelligence Agency, The Pope  with his parrot Claudio, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Numpti of Cairo, and, heaven forefend, The Holy Barbaras. And what of Dada, rescuer, narrator, or maybe instigator? This novel establishes progressive new characters and storyline threads for future DaDa novels.

Book 3 – currently in my head and will NOT keep quiet:

DaDa and the Man from the Council.

 

——

 

Series 2: The Rhubarb Papers – Nakka of the Yard.

Rhubarb in the Mammon – is a crime thriller that picks up a popular secondary character from Kind Hearts, a Priest, who subtly steers this, the first book in the Rhubarb Papers series, that ranges from Portsmouth, and firmly places itself in London, where the series will be based.

An inept grandfather becomes a recluse in Portsmouth, to protect his granddaughter, Juliet; his wife, daughter and her husband, killed in a London car bomb ten years ago, a bomb that permanently disfigured his granddaughter. Juliet grows into a precocious 16 year old, and with her boyfriend, they stir a hornet’s nest when she tries to find out what really happened to her parents and Nan. A Scotland Yard Detective Inspector, landed with the old case notes, visits Nakka and his granddaughter in Portsmouth. Juliet’s unofficial, mysterious, back door inquiry, has been flagged at the Yard, opening a can of deadly worms thought buried; multiple murder, conspiracy, a corruption riddled Met Police, linked, tenuously at first, to an Establishment Bank in the City of London.

The second book in the Rhubarb Papers series has the working title:

A Misanthrope’s Toll – Wigs on the Green.

 

——-

 

Series 3: Completely new, will be a saga, from 1966 to modern day.

Book 9,  Larkin’s Barkin’, A Midsummer Night’s Chutzpah, is written, and is completely different to my other books. It is a sober, dark, crime thriller, set in 1966, East End of London. Two family gangs, a woman police detective sergeant, a  Palestinian Doctor, and a mysterious Irish detective inspector, who turns out to be looking to disrupt a planned IRA campaign in London. The link, a ceaselessly bullied and abused runt of a schoolboy, Chas Larkin, who through his experiences, and love of Roisin Dubh, the Black Rose, discovers his chutzpah, and asserts himself in a most unusual way, with unpredictable results.

This book stirred my emotions during the writing, often causing me to question where the story came from, it not having the light touch, of my previous books. It introduces a number of characters, both sides of the law and order divide, and gives the reader an insight into their personalities and circumstances. I see this opening up a long series of novels, with swings in character focus, that will eventually take us to modern day. A saga, following two families, The Larkins and Saints, The Police, MI5, the clergy, as they lose their grip on the hearts and minds, and a multitude of East End of London characters popping in and out, and their reaction to the politics and news of the day.

The tenth book and sequel, Flummery, A Syncopated Palaver, is underway, and we are in 1969 (the first IRA bomb in London was 1970).

And what of the Black Rose, I hear you ask, myth or reality? Wikipedia describes a Black Rose: “The symbolism in many works of fiction usually contrives feelings of mystery, danger, or some sort of darker emotion, like sorrow and obsessive love.” Now what is there not to like about that?

 

——-

 

How will these new series progress to Publication? You are a prolific writer, what else is there?

I would like to see my self-published first two books of Kind Hearts and Martinets, brought out by my Publisher with coordinated covers to go with the series (I love the Urbane designed covers). The first book, Cause and Effect, was originally titled Kind Hearts and Martinets, and I would revert to that. Then, book 5, Merde and Mandarins, published to conclude the story and set the platform for the future divergent series of books. However, all this will depend largely on the Publisher, but the books being all written, offers a tantalising next few years, and not unusually, I find myself in the hands of others, while I teeter on the precipice.

In the meantime, I just write. Outside my novels, my short story collection is growing, and I have written and illustrated 3 Whopping Tales. I would like to find a Publisher for them, and as you can see, things are moving along nicely at the gym:

 

 

Links

‘Cause & Effect’ (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 1) can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/CAUSE-EFFECT-Kind-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B00BG12YO2/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

‘Irony in the Soul’ (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 2) can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irony-Soul-Kind-Hearts-Martinets-ebook/dp/B00G6OP8TW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

‘A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza’ (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 3) can be purchased from:-

Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/a-barrow-boys-cadenza/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrow-Boys-Cadenza-detective-Martinets-ebook/dp/B01080YCJQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489138659&sr=1-1&keywords=pete+adams

‘Ghost and Ragman Roll’ (Kind Hearts and Martinets Book 4) can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Ragman-Roll-Hearts-Martinets/dp/1911583034/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489138659&sr=1-3&keywords=pete+adams

 

Pete and his hat can be found on Twitter – @Peteadams8

 

Book Extract – ‘Random Acts of Kindness: Part One’ by Victoria Walters

Part One of ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ by Victoria Walters was published on the 4th December 2017 as an eBook by Simon & Schuster UK.  I have a real treat for all of you today.  Yes, the author wants to share the first chapter of her book.  Isn’t that just lovely?  The extract will follow in a moment, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

An emotional, cosy, community read that will reaffirm your faith in human kindness; perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Penny Parkes and Jo Thomas. 

Welcome to Littlewood, a small town community with a big heart. Abbie has fled London and the humiliation of not being able to make rent after being made redundant. Louise, seriously unlucky in love, has thrown herself into her career at the local hospital. And Eszter, who has travelled from Hungary with her daughter, Zoe, hopes to reach out to the mother-in-law she never met while her husband was still alive…

Can a little bit of kindness really change your life? Three very different women are about to find out…

 

Extract

Chapter One

The endless green countryside stretched out as far as Abbie Morgan could see from the train window. The urban blanket of London had transformed into the rolling Surrey Hills as she made her way to the small town of Littlewood. It had been a nightmare of a week and her head was still pounding. Her suitcases were wedged in beside her, another painful reminder that this wasn’t a quick visit to see her younger sister, Louise, she was actually moving in with her. Hopefully not for long, but still . . .

Abbie sighed and leaned her head against the cool window so that her shoulder-length dark curls fell across her cheek, screening her from her fellow passengers. She was relieved that her train carriage was relatively empty, save for a mother and daughter a few seats away, so she could dwell on recent events in glum peace. She had lived in London for five years since leaving university and couldn’t believe she was being forced to part ways with it. But when she had been made redundant from her job at City PR, where she had worked for the last two years, she knew there was no way she could stay in the city she loved. The worst part was that her ex-boyfriend, Jack, a partner at the company, had been the one to deliver the news.

Abbie’s phone on her lap buzzed with a call. ‘Hi, Lou,’ she greeted her sister, forcing a smile into her voice, if not fully onto her face. She was grateful to her little sister for putting her up but wished she didn’t live in such a tiny town. At least the train would be quite quick for getting back to the city if she had interviews to go to.

‘I’m so sorry I won’t be there to meet you from the train,’ Louise said. ‘I won’t be much longer though. Do you want to meet me at the café near the station and we can go home together?’ Louise was a nurse at a hospital in the next, larger town, and her shift would be over soon. Abbie agreed to the plan and got directions to Brew. Louise said she was excited to finally show her town to Abbie, who hadn’t had any time since getting the assistant job at City PR to make the trip out of London. Louise had always come to stay with her when she had time off instead. To Abbie, London was the place that everyone should want to be, so she had been surprised that Louise had settled somewhere so quiet.

The train soon drew into the small station of Littlewood. Colourful hanging baskets adorned the platform. It made a stark change from the graffiti Abbie was used to seeing on her old commute. She heaved her two wheelie cases off the train and rattled along the platform with them. She had sent the rest of her things to her parents’ house in Cornwall.

After struggling through the barriers with her bags, she began to walk to the café – which turned out to be in the grounds of a grand stone house perched on top of a hill looking over the small town.

The uphill walk was not at all easy in her favourite four-inch-heeled boots, but when you were as tiny as she was, you needed the extra height at all times, so she dragged herself and her bags towards the stately home. Louise said the café stood at the beginning of the estate and was the best place in Littlewood for coffee. And, God, Abbie needed a large cup.

She heard a faint noise in the wind behind her, but she kept up her brisk London pace, thinking it was probably someone after money or something. That was usually why people tried to get your attention nowadays.

Finally, she made it to the top of the hill. The café was just through the imposing iron gates of the stately home. There was a green and gold sign proclaiming the house to be Huntley Manor – a luxury hotel, apparently. Abbie glanced at the tall, light-brown stone building as she made her way to the cute-looking café on the edge of the green. The hotel looked as if it could have been lifted out of a Jane Austen novel and Abbie resolved to explore it soon.

Abbie gratefully pushed open the door to Brew to escape the light drizzle of rain starting to fall on top of her shoulders, and she went up to the counter to order. The café was cute and colourful with small, round wooden tables with a vase of sunflowers on each and slate chairs in different shades of blue, a black and white tiled floor and a large counter at the back with a vast array of delicious-looking cakes. Abbie breathed in the fresh coffee smell that lingered on the air. She loved cafés and this one felt like home as soon as she walked through the door.

‘Good morning!’ said a lady with a messy grey-haired bun and big smile, leaning on the counter to greet her. Her apron was blue and white with ‘Have a Brew!’ written on it in big letters. ‘What can I get you?’

‘A large latte, please.’

The woman started making it immediately and glanced back at Abbie as she did so. ‘I haven’t seen you in here before, have I?’

Abbie shook her head. ‘No, I’m here to stay with my sister.’

‘Well, I’m Joy and I own Brew with my husband, Harry. He’s in the back making sandwiches. Welcome to Littlewood,’ she said cheerfully, sliding Abbie’s drink across to her. She moved to the till.

Abbie reached for her bag, but her hands grabbed air instead. ‘Oh no!’ she cried, looking down at her cases in horror.

‘What’s wrong?’ Joy asked, leaning over the counter to see.

‘But I picked it up off the train, I’m sure I did,’ she said out loud, shaking her head. She had kept her handbag balanced on top of one of the wheelie cases so she didn’t have to carry it on her shoulder. ‘I can’t find my bag,’ she admitted to Joy.

‘Oh, dear, I’m sorry,’ Joy said, sympathetically.

Abbie checked around her again, a sinking feeling in her chest. ‘What am I going to do without it?’ she said. If living in London had taught her anything, it was to keep a tight hold of your belongings at all times. She’d have to cancel her cards immediately. Oh, God. Her phone was in there. She started to feel panicky at the thought of not having it with her. How would anyone get in contact with her?

‘Look, try not to worry. You’re in Littlewood now and everyone looks out for one another here. I’m sure someone will find your bag and deliver it back to you. Go and sit down and drink your latte; you’ve had a shock and you need your coffee.’

‘But I can’t pay for it,’ Abbie admitted, her cheeks turning pink. She had never lost her bag before. This week was just going from bad to worse.

‘Don’t be silly, it’s on us.’ Joy grabbed a brownie and put it on a plate. ‘This too.’

‘Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly accept . . .’

Joy waved off Abbie’s protests. ‘Sit down, I insist. You can pay next time, after you find your bag.’

Abbie wished she shared Joy’s faith that her bag would be found. She carried the brownie and latte over to her table, hoping Louise would hurry up and get there so she could use her phone to ring the bank.

The door to the café banged open, making Abbie turn with a start. ‘There you are,’ a woman cried, waving something at her. ‘I’ve been chasing you from the station.’ A little girl followed her inside the café; both of them were pulling suitcases. ‘Your bag fell off when you went through the barrier,’ she said, a distinct accent to her brisk tone, holding up what Abbie could now see was her lost handbag.

Abbie recognised her from the train carriage and breathed a huge sigh of relief. ‘Oh, wow, thank you so much,’ she said, amazed that the woman had followed her all the way to Brew to get it back to her. She took it from her. ‘I’m so grateful.’

The woman, who looked a similar age to Abbie’s twenty-eight years and had a sharp, blonde bob, smiled. ‘Of course. I would be so upset if I lost mine.’

‘See? I told you it would turn up,’ Joy called from the counter. ‘All’s well that ends well.’

‘It certainly wouldn’t have got back to me so quickly in London,’ Abbie said. She pulled out her purse. ‘And now I can pay you.’

‘No, this one is still on us,’ Joy said, firmly. ‘What would you like?’ she asked Abbie’s saviour just as a tall, round-bellied man came out of the kitchen with two plates of egg and cress sandwiches for an elderly couple sitting by the door. ‘This is my husband, Harry,’ Joy told them. ‘And I can see you’re new to Littlewood too,’ she added to the blonde woman who had seated her daughter with their bags at the next table to Abbie.

‘I’m Eszter. This is Zoe. We’ve just arrived in England from Hungary.’

‘Well, we hardly ever get any newcomers and now we have three! Coffee?’

Joy took Eszter’s order and brought her drinks to the table. She glanced at Abbie who was marvelling at how delicious her brownie was. ‘You look so familiar; have we met before?’

Abbie shook her head. ‘No, but my sister Louise lives here.’

‘Is that Louise Morgan?’ Joy asked, her eyes lighting up.

‘That’s right, yes.’

Harry came over and put his arm around his wife. ‘We know Louise well, lovely girl, she helped looked after me in hospital and started coming in here then. Drinks too much coffee for a nurse, though.’

Abbie smiled. ‘It runs in the family.’

‘So, you’re here to stay with Louise, and what about you?’ Joy asked Eszter.

‘We’re here to see family too. Well, sort of family, anyway.’ She sipped her coffee with a nervous look on her face. She glanced at her daughter, who had long, fair hair and the same sharp eyes as her mother. ‘It was a bit of a rush decision to come here. We don’t even know where we’re going to stay.’ She bit her lip, then smiled quickly when Zoe looked at her. Abbie suspected she was putting a brave face on things and was intrigued by their story.

‘I’m sure we can help with that,’ Joy said. Then she clapped her hands together. ‘And, Abbie, I just remembered, you must put Eszter’s kindness to you up on the board,’ she said, gesturing to the large chalkboard that hung across one wall. It was filled with chalk scribbles in various styles of handwriting and colours.

‘What’s that?’

‘This is our Kindness Board. If anyone has an act of kindness done to them, they write it up on the board. We started it this summer and it’s already filling up. Eszter finding your bag is definitely worthy of being up there,’ Joy said, going back around the counter to make Louise’s regular coffee for her arrival. She held out a piece of chalk to Abbie.

‘A Kindness Board?’ Abbie glanced at her, wondering if it was a joke, but Joy told her to go on up. Sensing everyone’s eyes on her, Abbie went to the board and looked at some of the entries already up there. Feeling like she was back in school, she added Eszter’s random act of kindness to the board.

My lost handbag was returned to me by Eszter. Thank you for your act of kindness!

She added a smiley face to it.

‘And now you’ll have to pay her act of kindness forward,’ Joy said from behind her.

‘Huh?’

‘In Littlewood, if someone is kind to you, you repay their act by being kind to someone yourself.’

Abbie stared at Joy, wondering if she had walked into some kind of cult. ‘That’s a thing?’

Joy laughed. ‘We are trying to make it “a thing”, yes. Ever since Harry was in hospital, and the whole town rallied around us and helped us keep Brew going, we have tried to be kind to the community when we can. Harry thought having a board in here would encourage others to do the same.’

‘Is it working?’ Abbie was sceptical. She was certain no one had ever been what she would call ‘kind’ to a stranger back in London.

‘You’ll have to come back and tell me if it works for you.’ Joy went to serve another customer and Abbie watched her go, wondering if she was really expected to pay Eszter’s kindness forward.

Was kindness something that could be sprinkled around as if it was confetti?

~~~~~

I really hope you enjoyed reading the extract.  You can buy ‘Random Acts of Kindness: Part One’ from:-

Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2ivgEL2

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/random-acts-of-kindness-part-1/id1275148057?mt=11

 

About Victoria Walters

Victoria Walters has always loved creating stories. Her first book was handwritten when she was sixteen years old, and was closely modelled on the Sweet Valley High series. Victoria studied sociology at Warwick University and has since worked for a business publisher and as a Waterstones bookseller. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry (named after Harry Potter, not Harry Styles).

You can discover more about Victoria – and find pictures of Harry the cat – by following her on:

Twitter:  https://mobile.twitter.com/Vicky_Walters

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/vickyjwalters/

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

Blog:  https://victoria-writes.com/

 

Guest Post by Sharon Booth

I am absolutely delighted to have the lovely Sharon Booth on my blog today.  Sharon’s new novel, ‘Saving Mr Scrooge’, the second book in the Moorland Heroes series, was published as an eBook on the 14th November 2017 by Fabrian Books.  Sharon has written a wonderful Christmas guest post which I hope you all enjoy.

~~~~~

Christmas. Just saying that word makes you feel all cosy and warm inside. What do we associate with Christmas? Off the top of my head, I would say, family, snow, Christmas trees, turkey, Christmas pudding, Christmas carols, holly, mistletoe, gifts, church, the Nativity, love, forgiveness, redemption, hope …

Some people, perhaps going through darker times, would associate the word with loss, with grief, loneliness, poverty, deprivation, with feeling excluded from the jollity that others seem to be enjoying, with greed and consumerism.

And some, refusing to accept any negativity around the Big Day, would label those people who are less enthusiastic as “Miserable”, “Miserly”, “Scrooge-like”.

All of these things are referred to — or stem from — Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, A Christmas Carol. Think about it. The Christmas we know and love, is so associated with the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, that the typical Christmas scene we often see on Christmas cards and decorations, is referred to as “Dickensian”. Charles Dickens, who – unbelievably – completed his novel within the space of six weeks, could never have imagined that his name and his characters would come to embody everything we imagine Christmas to be.

With the December release of the film, The Man Who Invented Christmas —  the story of those six weeks and how Charles Dickens came to create such an extraordinary piece of fiction — I decided to look back at how Christmas was celebrated before the publication of A Christmas Carol. What I discovered was that, generally, it wasn’t celebrated very much at all. Although once marked with much gaiety and joy, it became associated with Pagan festivals and fell out of favour during Puritan times. After the Restoration, Christmas was once again celebrated, but it never meant as much in the Christian calendar as did Easter, or even Boxing Day. At the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign, Christmas was barely recognised as a holiday. By the end, it was the most celebrated day of the year, and many of the traditions we hold dear today were forever embedded in the nation’s consciousness.

Although Dickens didn’t exactly invent Christmas, he was certainly responsible for pushing it to the forefront of people’s minds, and fixing in our imaginations what the “perfect” Christmas should be like. Yet, A Christmas Carol started life in his imagination as a plea for better treatment of the thousands of child labourers, forced into terrible working conditions.  Dickens wanted to do something about their plight. He wanted to stir up support for improvements. He wanted to open people’s eyes to the injustices that were happening in the factories and mills. He wanted to shame the businessmen and manufacturers, and force change to happen for the good. Eventually, he came to realise that lecturing the privileged classes wouldn’t be so effective as appealing to them in the form of a story. And so, A Christmas Carol was born, with its focus on a wealthy miser who — from his position of strength, power and wealth — could no longer see the depths to which the poor were suffering.

Dickens used the plight of one family in particular, the Cratchitts, and the uncertain fate of the frail child, Tim, to prick at his readers’ consciences. His use of the spirit world appealed to a Victorian society that was in the grip of a fascination for the occult. He passionately wanted to educate people to the truth of what was happening in the workplaces and slums of Britain. He believed the ignorance of the middle and upper classes to the suffering of the poor was a grave danger:

This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

In A Christmas Carol, the traditions we know and love today are drawn so beautifully — the snow, the plump turkey in the shop window, the Christmas dinner with its plum pudding, the giving of gifts. But, more importantly, the story of Scrooge and his redemption reminds us that, at Christmas, there are still people who suffer, still people who are ill, lonely, poverty-stricken, and that we need to remember those people, find room in our hearts for them, and open our eyes to the injustices in the world. It also leaves us with a sense of hope, that change is possible. That we can learn from the lessons of the past. That we can find love again. That we can truly know what the spirit of Christmas means.

When I wanted to write a Christmas novel which was all about second chances, redemption, and forgiveness, I knew there was no better model to look to than A Christmas Carol. Throw in a place of work where the employees appear to be suffering under their apparently uncaring boss, Kit, and a “ghost” from Kit’s past, called Marley, who is determined to save him, and I had the beginnings of my own small tribute to this wonderful story. Of course, there is a twist to the tale, and things may not be as they appear on the surface … I loved writing Saving Mr Scrooge, and I hope people enjoy reading it.

My own Christmas traditions include watching another tale of hope, love and redemption, It’s A Wonderful Life, on Christmas Eve every year, and reading A Christmas Carol during Christmas week. We can’t guarantee the snow, but I’m lucky enough to be having a Christmas tree, good food, and presents, wrapped up in the love of my family. I’m looking forward to a very Dickensian Christmas!

~~~~~

 

Book Blurb

It’s the time of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, but at Carroll’s Confectionary, the meaning of Christmas seems to have been forgotten. New boss, Kit Carroll, is hardly winning friends with his high-handed attitude, his foolhardy approach to production, and his tight-fisted treatment of the factory’s employees.

Marley Jacobs, his self-styled PA, is determined to make him see the error of his ways, and return the festive spirit to Carroll’s Confectionary.

Unfortunately, the little matter of their previous relationship, along with Kit’s callous treatment of her when they were teenage sweethearts, keeps getting in the way of her good intentions.

With encouragement from co-worker Don, romantic sister Olivia, and — astonishingly — the usually sceptical Great Uncle Charles, Marley decides to save this modern-day Mr Scrooge from himself, despite having no well-meaning ghosts to help her.

But revisiting the past doesn’t just stir things up for Kit. As Marley struggles to deal with bittersweet memories, present-day events take a surprising turn. Can the future be changed, after all?

And is it only Kit who needs saving?

 

‘Saving Mr Scrooge’ can be bought at smarturl.it/savingmrscrooge

 

About Sharon Booth

Sharon wrote her first book when she was ten. It was about a boarding school that specialised in ballet, and, given that she’d never been to boarding school and hadn’t a clue about ballet, it’s probably a good thing that no copy of this masterpiece survives. She is the author of nine novels, and has also written for The People’s Friend. Sharon lives in East Yorkshire, with her husband and their dog. She is one tenth of The Write Romantics, and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, is a devoted Whovian, and prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes. Find out more about Sharon at www.sharonboothwriter.com

 

Links

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

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/sharon_booth1

Amazon Author Pages:-

UK – http://bit.ly/sharonboothpageUK

US – http://bit.ly/sharonboothpageUS

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Disposal’ by David Evans

I am really excited to be revealing the cover for ‘Disposal’ by David Evans.  The first book in the Tendring series, it is being published in paperback and as an eBook on the 16th January 2018 by Orchard View Publications.

Here’s what ‘Disposal’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

August 1976 and it seems as though the long hot summer will never end. Early morning at Clacton on the north Essex coast, a light aircraft takes off from the airstrip but struggles for height and crashes into the sea. First on the scene, Sergeant Cyril Claydon pulls the pilot’s body from the wreckage. But something else catches his eye. A bulky package wrapped in black plastic is on the passenger seat. Returning to investigate, he makes a grim discovery – another body. And so begins a series of events that puts him and others in danger as he is drawn into the investigation, having to work alongside DI ‘Dick’ Barton, a man with totally alien attitudes. Can they work together?

~~~~~

‘Disposal’ will soon be available to pre-order from:-

Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/AmUKtoDisposal-DavidEvans

Amazon US – http://bit.ly/AmUStoDisposal-DavidEvans

 

About David Evans

David Evans is a Scots-born writer who found his true love as well as his inspiration for his detective series, set primarily in Wakefield. Having written all his life, in 2012 he decided to go for it – successfully as the next year, in 2013, he was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award.

The Wakefield Series became an International Bestseller in June 2017 with success in Canada and Australia as well as the UK. But now, whilst the Wakefield Series awaits the next instalment, David Evans has written Disposal, the first in the Tendring Series, a completely new detective series set in north Essex in the 1970s.

 

Links

Author Website: http://www.davidevanswriter.co.uk/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/davidevanswriter/

Twitter: @DavidEwriter

~~~~~

The blog tour for ‘Disposal’, organised by Caroline Vincent of Bits about Books will be starting on the 16th January 2018 so do keep a look out for it.

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Doorways’ by Robert Enright

This is the brand new cover for ‘Doorways’ and I am absolutely LOVING it.

‘Doorways’ is being re-released on the 14th December 2017 by Robert Enright.  Here’s what it is about.

 

Book Blurb

There is more to the shadows than just darkness

The Otherside is located at the fringes of our world, hiding in plain sight and existing within our shadows. Shielded from humanity, the Otherside is watched over by the BTCO, a highly secret government agency, whose members all possess ‘The Knack’, a genetic anomaly that allows them to see this other world.

Franklyn ‘Bermuda’ Jones is the BTCO’s finest agent, the only human to have passed to the Otherside and returned. Gifted with the ability to physically interact with both worlds, Bermuda reluctantly stands between both worlds, pining for the life he had to leave behind and the daughter he can no longer see. Teamed with Argyle, an enigmatic Otherside warrior, Bermuda is assigned the case of a missing woman who has vanished under mysterious circumstances.

As Bermuda delves further into the disappearance, he uncovers a threat that could destroy the truce between two worlds…and finds himself in a race against time to safeguard humanity’s very existence.

Discover a new world in this fast-paced urban fantasy packed with thrills, action and the odd one liner.

~~~~~

If this is the sort of book you like then you really are in for a treat.  I had the pleasure of reviewing ‘Doorways’ last year and thought it was amazing.  You can read my review here https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/blog-tour-doorways-by-robert-enright/

For those of you who have already read this book you will be pleased to know that the sequel, ‘The Absent Man’ is being published next year.  It is already on my have to read list.

 

Links

Website – https://www.robertenright.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/REnright_Author

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/robenrightauthor/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ by Mary Wood

‘Brighter Days Ahead’ was published in paperback and as an eBook by Pan Books on the 30th November 2017. Mary Wood was looking for people to take part in a blog tour for this book and as I liked the sound of it I was delighted to participate. I would like to thank the lovely Kate Green at Pan Macmillan for my review copy.

This story is set during the Second World War from 1940 onwards. Molly lives with her repugnant father who has betrayed her on many occasions. From a young age, living on the streets of London’s East End, she has seen how harsh life can be. When Molly is kidnapped by gangsters and forced into their underworld her future seems bleak.

Flo spent her early years living in an orphanage. Years later and she is about to turn her hand to teacher training. When a kindly teacher at her school approaches her about a job at Bletchley Park, it could turn out to be the best move she makes.

It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve read a saga so I was really looking forward to ‘Brighter Days Ahead’. This is the first book I have read by Mary Wood and I am so glad to have come across yet another author. I somehow had the feeling I would enjoy this book and I wasn’t wrong. I loved the cover and thought it was beautiful. I also liked Mary Wood’s style of writing and the way the chapters were set out. The editing was excellent too and it was obvious that a lot of research had been undertaken.

The story is narrated by a few characters, but mostly by Molly and Flo. Through them the reader gets to follow their lives during the war, meeting a number of other characters along the way. I was so into the story that I actually felt at times as if I was there with Molly and Flo. My heart almost broke when reading about Molly and the abuse she went through. I kept hoping that she would have a happy ending. I absolutely adored Flo. She was such a loving and kind person who gave a lot of her time to people who were in desperate need of help. Even when things were tough for her she still carried on as best she could. Such a strong and charismatic person was Flo. I loved her northern accent too and the way she said ‘Eeh, it’d be grand’ quite often.

As well as the war, this story dealt with a number of other issues including homosexuality which was in those days a crime. I personally thought it was such a shame that people were imprisoned simply for being in love with a person of the same sex.

If you enjoy sagas then I definitely recommend reading ‘Brighter Days Ahead’. Though there is quite a lot of doom and gloom in the story, there is also a real sense of the community coming together during hard times.

I will be waiting patiently for Mary Wood’s next book, but in the meantime I can at least check out her backlist.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

About Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers.

 

Links

‘Brighter Days Ahead’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brighter-Days-Ahead-Mary-Wood/dp/1509811184/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1512496621&sr=1-1

Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

 

Blog Tour – ‘Class Murder’ by Leigh Russell

I am beyond thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour.  ‘Class Murder’ is being published as an eBook on the 7th December 2017 by No Exit Press and will be out in paperback on the 29th March 2018.  Having previously read a couple of Leigh Russell’s books I am really looking forward to this one.

To celebrate the publication of the TENTH novel in the DI Geraldine Steel Series, Leigh Russell has written an exclusive list of TOP TENs – a different one for each of the ten days of the Blog Tour.  First though, here’s what ‘Class Murder’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

‘Leigh Russell has become one of the most impressively dependable purveyors of the English police procedural’ – Marcel Berlins, Times

Detective Geraldine Steel is back in Class Murder – her tenth case!

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, and reunited with her former sergeant Ian Peterson, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the baffling case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

~~~~~

TEN THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT GERALDINE STEEL

1. She cooks a wonderful Thai curry

2. She likes to read in bed

3. When she’s not working she listens to music in the car

4. She visits her grandmother’s grave once a year

5. Her first kiss was with a boy called Dan when she was thirteen

6. She is haunted by the memory of a killer who got away

7. She had a parrot when she was a child

8. Her favourite subject at school was Biology

9. She often wears black at work but her favourite colour is purple

10. She fell out of a tree and broke her arm when she was twelve

 

About Leigh Russell

Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She worked as a secondary school English teacher for many years, and is now a creative writing tutor for adults. She is married, has two daughters, and lives in North West London. She is a Royal Literary Fellow and CWA debut judge. Her first novel, Cut Short, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award in 2010. This was followed by Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring and Deadly Alibi in the Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel series. Cold Sacrifice is the first title in a spin off series featuring Geraldine Steel’s sergeant, Ian Peterson, followed by Race to Death and Blood Axe.

 

Links

‘Class Murder’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – http://bit.ly/ClassMurderAmazon

No Exit Press – http://bit.ly/ClassMurderNoExit

 

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

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/leigh.russell.50

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LeighRussell

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2919056.Leigh_Russell?from_search=true

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: