A Lover of Books

Archive for the category “Guest Blog Posts”

Book Launch for ‘A Room at the Manor’ – Guest Post by Julie Shackman ~ @AllenAndUnwinUK @G13Julie

Congratulations to Julie Shackman whose book. ‘A Room at the Manor’ is out today in the UK in paperback, published by Allen & Unwin.  It is also available as an eBook and audiobook.  Julie has become quite a regular on my blog and it is always a pleasure to have her visit.

Julie has written a post about where she writes and how it inspired the tea room in her book.  Before you read it though here’s what ‘A Room at the Manor’ is about.

 

 

Book Blurb

For all the readers who love Cathy Kelly and Maeve Binchy.

When her Maltese love affair turns sour, Lara McDonald returns to her quiet Scottish hometown of Fairview heart broken, yet determined – instead of looking for another PR position, she decides to follow her dream of baking. She impulsively takes the first job offered and finds herself working for local dragon Kitty Walker in her tea room True Brew.

Lara’s life is full of surprises, however, not the least being an unlikely friendship forged with one of Kitty’s elderly customers, the Laird Hugo Carmichael. The Carmichael family has lived at the beautiful Glenlovatt Manor for almost 300 years and, although in need of renovation, Hugo, his son and grandson currently make it their home.

There’s something about Lara that Hugo likes, and when Hugo suddenly passes away, Lara is stunned to discover she is mentioned in his will. But not everyone is happy with the old Laird’s faith in Lara.

A story of love, family, hope and trust, A Room at the Manor will delight every reader keen to find their place.

 

Guest Post

Tea & Thistles – My Inspiration for A Room at the Manor

I write every day in a gorgeous little tea shop and it was this place, that inspired me for “Thistles,” the fictional tea room in A Room at the Manor.

I can’t write at home. I’ve tried. But there are just too many distractions, ranging from social media (Twitter especially) to things around the house.

So during week days, I get all my writing things together and take myself off to this local tea shop.

It was while I was sitting in there, around eighteen months ago, admiring the glistening slices of cakes; sparkly topped cup cakes and fruit studded scones, that an idea came to me, to create my own tea room.

It was from there, that the idea for “Thistles,” was born, together with my heroine, Lara McDonald and moody, aristocratic sculptor, Vaughan Carmichael.

I think that wherever you write, has to inspire you and my local tea shop is no exception. From its tempting baking to calm, pretty atmosphere; gingham quilted cushions and polished tables, it a perfect place to people watch and be creative – and it was whilst sitting there, that I was able to pull together my own array of characters and decide on their future.

Its floor to ceiling windows look out onto cobbled side streets, leafy trees and an eclectic mix of local shops and there is usually a wide range of music playing in the background.

For me, my favourite little tea shop is a source of calm, inspiration and reflection, which I have attempted to reflect in “Thistles.”

I hope you enjoy reading about Lara and Vaughan’s story, every bit as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

And remember – happiness is a slice of cake in each hand!

Julie X

A Room at the Manor is out in the UK on kindle and in paperback from Atlantic Books.  It can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Room-at-Manor-Julie-Shackman/dp/1760632864/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1564598088&sr=8-2

 

About Julie Shackman

Julie Shackman trained as a journalist and studied Media & Communication before turning her hand to women’s fiction. When not reading and writing romance, she writes verses and captions for greeting card companies.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

Blog – http://julieshackman.wordpress.com/

Book Promotion: Guest Post – ‘A Summer to Remember’ by Sue Moorcroft ~ @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK

If you are a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s books then I have some brilliant news for you.  Her latest novel, ‘A Summer to Remember’ is currently on promotion at only 99p for the eBook.  How good is that!  I can tell you now that you are in for a real treat.

Sue Moorcroft has written a guest post for my blog.  First though, here’s what ‘A Summer to Remember’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

 

Guest Post

Dealing with the exes

In A Summer to Remember the ex-fiancé of Clancy and the ex-girlfriend of Aaron played pivotal roles.

Will, Clancy’s ex, was comparatively easy. He was ex at the beginning of the book because he’d been caught with another woman. The other woman, Renée, had come storming back at him from his past: the love of his life, now single and returning the love he felt for her, marrying Clancy could only be wrong. Nevertheless, readers weren’t meant to feel much sympathy for him when he was intimate with Renée before ending his engagement to Clancy. It was made hard for Clancy to remain in the business in which they were both partners. She was the innocent victim, but Will didn’t leave the biz and their home to make it easy on her. In fact, Will’s behaviour is increasingly self-serving throughout the book until, some might consider, he gets a bit of a comeuppance.

In writing terms, it was beyond easy to encourage the readers not to sympathise with Will.

Genevieve, Aaron’s girlfriend at the beginning of the book, I found trickier to handle. Essentially, she did nothing ‘wrong’ – at least, she didn’t cheat or lie. Genevieve, as so often in real life, made a mistake. Instead of continuing to be the independent woman Aaron had been enjoying being with for the past year, she tried to move their relationship on and move in with him. I think Aaron would have handled this better if she hadn’t hung this change on the fact that she had to move out of her cottage for building work. The more he told her it was the wrong reason for moving in with someone the more she seemed to realise that actually, she wanted to commit.

Sadly, Aaron didn’t.

It made him realise that not only was Genevieve not ‘the one’ but that his preoccupation with Clancy, with whom he’d shared one hot kiss, one blazing row and then six years of stilted emails, was altogether too much on his mind.

The problem, I found, was in making Genevieve nice enough for Aaron to have been with her for a year but not so nice that he’d remain with her when she gave him an ultimatum. At the same time, I didn’t want to make my hero look bad … I fought the Genevieve character throughout the book and finally got her where I wanted her. She played a pivotal part in the ending of the book and yet, I hope, the readers don’t hate her because it’s easy to see where she went wrong – she loved someone more than he loved her.

 

About Sue Moorcroft


Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary, and has been nominated for several other awards, including the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared all over the world.

Part of an army family, Sue was born in Germany and lived much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus before setting in the UK.

 

Links

Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

Facebook: SueMoorcroftAuthor/

Instagram: @SueMoorcroftAuthor

 

The A Summer to Remember UK ebook is currently on 99P PROMO!

Apple iBook: buy
Amazon UK: buy
Kobo: buy

 

Look out for my review of ‘A Summer to Remember’ this evening.

 

Guest Post by Reedsy ~ @ReedsyHQ

A couple of months ago I was contacted by someone from Reedsy with regards to writing a guest post for my blog.  They sounded very interesting and so I agreed.  Here is some information about Reedsy and what they do.

Founded in 2014, Reedsy is a platform and marketplace that connects authors and publishers with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers.  Reedsy also provides tools to help authors write and format their books, as well as free courses and webinars to help them learn more about writing and publishing.  As of 2019, over 4,000 books have been self-published using Reedsy’s services.

 

The 4 Fundamentals of Worldbuilding

Maybe it’s a yellow brick road where lions, tigers, and bears roam. Perhaps it’s an ancient pseudo-Medieval European setting under threat from a dark lord. Whatever the case, this is one of the best parts of being an author: the ability to create worlds far different from our own.

But the excitement of “secondary worldbuilding” — in other words, creating a world that’s different from the “real world” — can quickly become overwhelming. This post will try to help authors conquer the wonderful task of worldbuilding by outlining four fundamental concepts to help you get it right.

 

1. Time Frame and History

When you think of classic fantasy novels, you often think of settings in books like Lord of the Rings or A Game of Thrones — medieval and European. Despite existing for seemingly thousands of years, these worlds don’t seem to have progressed much in the way of technology and almost seem frozen in time. Compare this to popular science fiction novels, which take place in worlds that feel far in the future because of their technologically advanced societies. (Of course, the danger herein is that some older sci-fi novels now feel comically dated for how the way they imagine the 21st century.)

These are important elements to consider. Whether your world has a historical, modern, or futuristic feel, you should still develop a sense of how the world has developed. Has it always been innately advanced? Is it rural because it’s a newer society? Perhaps advancement has been stunted because of ongoing wars or frequent power shifts?

As well as developing a sense of where your world is currently, establish what has led it to the present point.

 

2. Geography

This is maybe one of the most intimidating parts of worldbuilding. But don’t worry, you don’t need to have majored in topography during university to tackle your story-world’s geography. The geographical aspects of your world will likely continue to evolve through the novel-writing process. Still, it’s good to have a basic sense of the physical world you’re creating. Start by considering…

  • Layout: how big is this world? What are the more populous regions? What areas, if any, remain unexplored? Is it divided into countries? Or perhaps there aren’t any established borders?
  • Climate: what is the weather like? Are there four seasons? Do those seasons resemble those of the real world? How do the various climates affect the various parts of the world?
  • Landscapes: think mountains, plains, valleys, deserts, forests, hills, canyons, and so on.
  • Water: think oceans, lakes, rivers, springs, seas, and so on. Naturally this will affect the dispersion of the population, as people need to live near water resources.

 

3. Culture

You don’t need to create an entirely new culture from scratch — there are so many current and historical cultures for you to pull from. If you do, of course, ensure you do your research and represent aspects of that culture as accurately and sensitively as possible. (If you ever have any doubts, working with sensitivity readers is always an option).

Here are a few aspects of culture to get your imagination going:

  • Language: as UK editor of The Martian, Michael Rowley, puts it, “The spoken word is a reflection of the cultures that spawned them, and the evolution of the language will often indicate some societal change.” You certainly don’t need to create an entirely new language as with Tolkien, but you should consider the different dialects that might exist in your world. Considering language will always play a large part in determining the names of characters and places within your world.
  • Power Dynamics: what kind of government exists in this world? Who currently has the power? How long have they held power? Is there a monarchy? Who oversees law-making and law enforcement? How do gender, sexuality, or race contribute to power dynamics?
  • Religion: does religion exist? Are there many different kinds of religions? What about gods? How does this affect society?
  • Arts/Entertainment: how do people in this culture express themselves? Are arts celebrated or restricted? Are there popular sports or other forms of entertainment?

 

4. Magic and Technology

While magic and technology are both very different concepts, they will both be a major influencer in your world — and chances are if you’re creating a secondary world, it’s so that you can also create your own set of rules regarding magic and technology, free from the constraints of the real world.

If your world contains magic, here are a few factors to consider:

  • Is everyone magic?
  • Are people born magic or do they learn it?
  • Does everyone possess the same kinds of magic?
  • What do magical powers look like — how are they manifested?
  • Where did magic come from?
  • Are there rules on the types of magic people can perform?
  • How are magical laws enforced?
  • Is there “good” and “bad” magic?
  • Is magic accepted everywhere? Is it banned in certain places?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about the technology in your world:

  • Would this world be considered technologically advanced?
  • How is technology used for communication? Travel? Health? Entertainment? Education? War?
  • How is technology used by the government or controlling powers?
  • What role does technology play in people’s everyday lives?
  • Is technological access equally dispersed throughout the world, or do some people have more/less access than others?
  • What positive and/or negative contributions has technology offered in your world?
  • How dependant are people on technology?

Like developing a character, worldbuilding can start to feel like a never-ending process. And in a sense, that’s true: both process will also continue as you write (and rewrite) your story. For that reason, it’s important to consider what aspects of your world are crucial to the story at hand: while you might be able to easily picture every square inch of your world, only include the details that will enhance a reader’s understanding of, and connection to, the characters and story.

 

Emmanuel Nataf is a founder at Reedsy, a marketplace and set of tools that allows authors and publishers to find top editorial, design and marketing talent. Over 3,000 books have been published using Reedsy’s services.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ReedsyHQ

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/reedsy_hq

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Family’ by P. R. Black ~ @Aria_Fiction @PatBlack9

‘The Family’ by P. R. Black was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 2nd May 2019 by Aria Fiction.  I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and have got a guest post from the author for you.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

The best way to catch a killer? Offer yourself as bait.

Becky Morgan’s family were the victims of the ‘crimes of the decade’.

The lone survivor of a ritualistic killing, Becky’s been forever haunted by the memories of that night.

Twenty years later, with the killer never found, Becky is ready to hunt them down and exact revenge. But the path to find the murderer is a slippery slope and she finds herself opening up some old wounds that should have been left sealed.

Will Becky avenge her family or join them?

 

Guest Post

Rooting For The Bad Guy

By Pat Black

The villain in The Family is not only a vicious killer, but a cruel manipulator. I think these two qualities – if we can call them that – go hand-in-hand.

Although the person behind the mask isn’t based on any real-life murderers, it stands to reason that someone who takes pleasure in ending lives would also enjoy causing chaos in a more general sense.

That craven, furtive glee in pulling the strings from behind a curtain… It’s a bit like being an author.

So let’s take a look at some other famous manipulators in the history of fiction. Be warned – this is a treacherous journey. There may be blood…

1. Lecter

Hannibal Lecter is a gourmand first of all, and then a cannibal. But even if we leave aside all the murders, he is still a nasty piece of work.

Deprived of the opportunity to turn people into flans, the imprisoned Lecter is reduced to getting his jollies by pressing people’s buttons from behind his cell door. Remind you of any unpleasant people you’ve encountered on the internet? That’s right, all of them.

Lecter first appeared in Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, where he plays the man who caught him for a complete fool after the FBI agent seeks some advice on how to catch another killer, known as the Tooth Fairy.

Its sequel, The Silence Of The Lambs, focuses on the search for another murderer known as Buffalo Bill. But it’s also about how Lecter manipulates events in order to engineer his escape from custody. He succeeds – but not before his eye is caught by Clarice Starling.

Lecter notes the FBI trainee’s qualities and relishes the contact between them. There’s a creepy hint that the killer’s admiration for Starling may be more than just cerebral. This subtle, memorably queasy idea was spoiled by Hannibal’s bonkers finale. That second sequel to Red Dragon was brilliant, but is perhaps best appreciated if you take it as the comedy Thomas Harris surely intended it to be.

Like Lecter and Starling, my heroine, Becky Morgan, has a dialogue with the villain in The Family. Except, my killer is all the more dangerous, being already on the loose when Becky makes contact for the first time since the day her family was slaughtered…

2. Danvers

I’d struggle to name anyone in all of literature so memorably wicked as Mrs Danvers. She never spills a drop of blood, but has an ocean of poison within her.

The housekeeper at Manderley in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is ostensibly a servant of the new Mrs de Winter – but she’s in charge, all right.

She has a weird, unknowable obsession with “my lady”: Rebecca de Winter, the previous mistress of the house, who died in murky circumstances. Rebecca’s narrator is an ingénue whose naivety is embarrassing to other ingénues. She simply can’t match up to her wild, bewitching predecessor. And Mrs Danvers won’t let her forget it.

The grim housekeeper’s manipulation of our heroine verges on diabolical. Her prodding and goading is beyond Iago, beyond anyone. This is most apparent when Danvers makes a phone call to Rebecca’s former chamber, preserved like the Tomb of Tutankhamun, asking for “Mrs de Winter”. This causes both narrator and reader to make the same cringe-worthy mistake when the current lady of the house is caught unawares.

Then there’s the choice of costume for the grand ball… you almost want to cover your eyes. As you sit there, reading a book.

Worst of all is Mrs Danvers’ gently mesmeric entreaty to Mrs de Winter to just step out of one of Manderley’s high windows as the fog rolls in off the sea… She makes it sound like the most reasonable idea in the world.

She is unforgettable. And I could not get enough of her. Any author who can imbue their villain with even a fraction of Mrs Danvers’ malice will have done very well indeed.

3. Monte Cristo

“But he’s the hero, isn’t he? The wronged avenger. The Count of Monte Cristo is no villain!”

Except… he is. In considering Alexandre Dumas’ work, we probably think of the Musketeers first. They are four very different characters, but all very noble. Their swords might be keen, but they have justice and virtue on their side. Thanks to some memorable movie adaptations, some might think of The Count of Monte Cristo in the same light – an adventure novel, with loads of swashbuckling and romance.

The book has some exciting scenes and intrigue, but it has a very dark heart. And there are none darker than that of the mysterious man in the title.

Its plot can be summed up by some philosophical questions: When pursuing revenge, is it the same as justice? In moral terms, does the price paid measure up to the satisfaction gained?

Sure, the young, guileless Edmond Dantes is a wronged man. His future is stolen from him after a conspiracy by men who rival him in matters of commerce, politics and the heart – their motivations being greed, expediency and jealousy.

And then there’s the tailor… he’s just a bit of an idiot. There’s an old saying about confusing malice with stupidity.

But the guy who swims out of a body bag from the Chateau d’If is very different to the 20-year-old who was first locked up there, many years before. And the man who appears in Paris later, rich as Croesus, may in fact be Edmond Dantes’ polar opposite.

The Count of Monte Cristo appears as a guardian angel at first, saving the lives of his enemies’ loved ones, and even stepping in to save them from ruin with his inexhaustible wealth. But this is only done in order to weasel his way into their trust, and even their affections. It’s all part of a long, clever game.

Monte Cristo has a plan, and he will not be swayed from it, no matter who gets trampled on or what he destroys in the process. That includes the heart of the one he truly loves.

The man’s grievance is understandable. But after a while we ask the same questions as his loyal manservant: “You’ve suffered – but now you have everything you could ever want out of life… Why are you still doing this? Is it honourable?”

The truth is: Monte Cristo has become the villain. Instead of dragging injustice into the light, he operates in the shadows, and engineers awful fates. He is devious and dishonest; he is malevolent; his plan ensnares the innocent as much as the guilty.

Is he evil? Many people think so when he makes his first appearance in high society. His saturnine good looks get the fans flapping double-time when he makes his bow at the opera. A somewhat diabolical appearance and the fact that he only ever appears after dark, and never seems to eat or drink, sees him compared to Byron – and by extension, to a vampire.

We are left in no doubt that our hero is a deeply flawed, morally ambiguous figure. And his wrongs cannot be righted by something as crude as a sword thrust. To paraphrase Bane in The Dark Knight Rises: the conspirators’ punishment must be more severe. The kind delivered with a smirk, not a snarl.

Becky Morgan is an avenging angel in The Family, and her quest to catch the person who committed that terrible crime is a long time in the planning. But in seeking revenge, what price is she prepared to pay?

 

About P. R. Black

Author and journalist PR Black lives in Yorkshire, although he was born and brought up in Glasgow. When he’s not driving his wife and two children to distraction with all the typing, he enjoys hillwalking, fresh air and the natural world, and can often be found asking the way to the nearest pub in the Lake District. His short stories have been published in several books including the Daily Telegraph’s Ghost Stories and the Northern Crime One anthology. His Glasgow detective, Inspector Lomond, is appearing in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He took the runner-up spot in the 2014 Bloody Scotland crime-writing competition with “Ghostie Men”. His work has also been performed on stage in London by Liars’ League. He has also been shortlisted for the Red Cross International Prize, the William Hazlitt essay prize and the Bridport Prize.

 

Links

Follow P.R. Black:

Twitter: @PatBlack9

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HGgIn4
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2MG8XfV
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2SgG7rA
iBooks: https://apple.co/2VR9Aa4

Follow Aria:

Website: www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

 

Don’t forget to catch up with all the previous posts.

 

Blog Tour – ‘White Gold’ by David Barker ~ #LoveBooksTours @urbanebooks @BlueGold201

I am delighted to be taking part in this tour today.  ‘White Gold’, the final book in the Gaia Trilogy, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 9th May 2019 by Urbane Publications.  I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for inviting me to participate in this tour.

David Barker has written a guest post for my blog.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

 

Book Blurb

VENGEANCE ALWAYS HAS A PRICE

Sim Atkins, Overseas Division agent, returns to Earth, having saved the Moon base from a deadly terrorist plot (see Rose Gold). All Sim can think about is finding the criminals responsible.

But his fury and lust for revenge are put on hold when a nuclear warhead is stolen by Terra Former leader Matthias Larsson. Can Sim and his colleagues track down the terrorist cell and disarm the device in time?

White Gold is the gripping finale in the compellingly original Gaia Trilogy, page-turning thrillers that provoke as well as excite.

 

Guest Post

God of fire

You probably know that volcanoes are not named after Spock’s home planet but after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, right?

And most Europeans will remember the eruption of Eyjafjallajӧkull in April 2010, not only for the huge disruption it caused to flights across the continent but also because of its challenging pronunciation (EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl). If you’re Icelandic, you might recall first and foremost the huge flooding caused by the melting ice sheet. What many won’t know is that this eruption was classified as a 4 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). The index is very similar to the Richter Scale for Earthquakes: a one-point increase represents a tenfold rise in the power and violence of the event.

Readers will also probably know about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, which resulted in the burial and destruction of several Roman cities, including Pompeii. That was a 5 on the VEI, as was the eruption of St Helens in 1980.

Moving up to a 6 on the index, in other words one hundred times more powerful than Eyjafjallajӧkull, and the most famous example is Krakatoa in 1883. It was the loudest sound ever recorded, heard 5000km away and the pressure wave rounded the world three and a half times. The explosion and subsequent tsunamis killed an estimated 36,000 people.

Not many people can name an example of an eruption recorded as a 7 on the index. The most recent example was Tambora, Indonesia in 1815. It killed 92,000 people and its ash cloud was so pervasive and enduring that Northern Europe and America suffered a year without summer in 1816.

The reason all of this is relevant to my latest release, White Gold? Because there’s another volcano that is not at all famous, but whose eruption a thousand years ago was as powerful as Tambora. And if it was ready to go again, well that would be interesting, wouldn’t it?

Which volcano am I talking about? How can Sim, Freda and the rest of the gang prevent such a huge catastrophe? You’ll just have to grab a copy of White Gold, available from May 9th at all good bookstores, to find out…

 

About David Barker

David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David attended the Faber Academy course and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students.

 

Links

‘White Gold’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2WCPQai

Website – http://davidbarkerauthor.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bluegold201

 

Guest Post by Stuart James ~ @StuartJames73

It is a real pleasure to have Stuart James on my blog today.  His new book, ‘Turn The Other Way’ was self-published as an eBook and in paperback in February of this year and boy does it sound amazing or what.  I will most definitely be buying it, that’s for sure.

Stuart has written a guest post for my blog.

~~~~~

I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.

There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breath away.

I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.

My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.

This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.

 

I started writing two years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane.

I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.

To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness.

That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.

 

My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way.

I have multiple stories running, past and present.

A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death.

A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party.

A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them.

A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.

 

I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

I’m currently working on my new thriller, Apartment Six, which should be released later this year.

I’m 45, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing.

I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come.

That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

 

Links

‘Turn The Other Way’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Turn-Other-Way-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B07MQNYNN1/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1555436293&sr=1-1

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Turn-Other-Way-Stuart-James/dp/1796303976/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=stuart+james&qid=1555437998&s=books&sr=1-1

‘The House on Rectory Lane’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Rectory-Lane-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B078585TG1/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Rectory-Lane-Stuart-James-ebook/dp/B078585TG1/ref=sr_1_2

 

Website – http://www.stuartjamesthrillers.com

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/StuartJames73

Guest Post by Jennifer Wineberg ~ @JenniferWinebe1

I would like to introduce you all to Jennifer Wineberg.  Her debut novel, ‘Ruskin’s Copper Shadow’ was published as an eBook in February of this year.

Jennifer has written a fascinating post all about her book which I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did.

~~~~~

Thank you Sonya for giving me this wonderful opportunity to share my first book with the readers on your blog.

If you are seeking answers to the quandaries of contemporary living, or worse still if you yearn to be dragged through a narrative that leaves you exhausted and fraught, this is not the book for you.  However, if you would prefer to tiptoe back to Victorian England, to discover betrayal and heartache lurking behind the silver and polishing, come with me.

Imagine the clock ticking in the Grand Dining Room of Wallington Hall a stately home in the wilds of Northumberland and the Mistress of the house is sitting in a chair staring at a painting.  A pretty girl sits demurely in the corner of the canvas and the sunlight dapples across her beautiful porcelain skin as her keen amber eyes stare out at her.  Pauline Trevelyan the Mistress of the Hall wishes she had never met her.  As the daughter of a shepherd on her estate she had chosen her to be a model for the artist, but it was when Pauline appointed her as a servant that the trouble began.

When this girl fell pregnant in 1865 Pauline was desperate to protect her close friend John Ruskin from scandal.  After all, he had just lost his father and a decade earlier had undergone the humiliation of being divorced by his wife for non-consummation of his marriage.  But he wasn’t alone.  Pauline knew all about non-consummation.  Her own arid marriage was brought into sharp relief by the lives of her Pre-Raphaelite artist friends and her Northumbrian poet Swinburne.  She was not about to let this relationship be undermined by the sudden arrival of my Great Grandmother especially as she suspected that Ruskin had developed a deep affection towards her mother Isabella.

Pauline Trevelyan knew she was a little bit in love with Ruskin and because of his reliance on her as an advisor throughout his divorce and his father’s death, she persuaded Ruskin to leave Isabella, leaving the path clear for Pauline to manipulate the birth records and destroy evidence of the relationship.

Pauline wasn’t the only person to be fascinated by the picture in her Grand Dining Hall.  Almost 150 years later I found myself gazing at it too.  I was struck by the similarity between the same girl that Pauline was fixated upon, and my late Aunt Mabel.  Convinced that this young lady was part of my family tree I spent time in Northumberland Museums, as well as accessing computer based genealogy platforms.

Seven years later, I had amassed enough information to allow me to make a close observation of the historical characters. This in turn, gave me the opportunity to provide a credible interpretation of events enhanced by the narrative characters I had created.

My main protagonists are Isabella Milburn – the girl in the picture – and John Ruskin the great writer and social reformer.  The tale is told through the eyes of a Northumbrian Canon who acts as a metaphor for Ruskin, with the same impetuous desire to right social wrongs.  He finds his own love in Rosalind who is just as feisty and headstrong as Isabella and who bears him a child in similar circumstances to Ruskin.  It is likely that Ruskin took the memories of my Great Great Grandmother with him to the grave, and as we celebrate the Bicentenary of Ruskin’s birth I would like to raise a glass with you, to the man and his lover, Isabella Milburn.

 

About the Author

Jennifer was born in Newcastle on Tyne and her ancestors are rooted in Northumberland.  She is a committed author who is currently writing her third book.  ‘Ruskin’s Copper Shadow,’ is her debut publication.

It was a long journey to the printed page through a career in teaching to managing an upmarket B&B, where the guests provided the inspiration for many of the characters.

Jennifer manages to combine writing with sailing around the Solent with her family in her old boat.  Her husband Stuart dances with apostrophes and full stops in an attempt to turn her books into readable formats.  She keeps fit by helping her daughter with her dog walking business and is secretary of the Village Hall Committee in Mottisfont, a little village north of Romsey.  She has a love hate relationship with the compiler of the Financial Times Crossword and supports Newcastle United Football Club.

 

Links

‘Ruskin’s Copper Shadow’ can be purchased from:-

http://Books2read.com/coppershadow

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JenniferWinebe1

 

Guest Post by Angelena Boden ~ @matadorbooks

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Angelena Boden back to my blog.  Her latest book, ‘Edna’s Death Cafe’ was published last September as an eBook by Matador and it has been getting quite a few good reviews.

Angelena has written a post about the fear of dying for my blog.  There is also the chance to win copies of the book.  First though, lets take a look at what ‘Edna’s Death Cafe’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

As in life, death is not without its agenda. This is something seventy-nine year old Edna Reid finds out when her partner, Ted, suddenly dies.

To cope with her loss, she sets up a Death Cafe to break down the taboo around death and to encourage other members of the community to discuss it openly. Over tea and cake, the participants hide their fears behind a veil of dark humour.

Religious fanaticism clashes with Victorian spiritualism as Edna’s meetings trigger lively conversations on the fragility of life, anxiety over dying, cost of funerals, and making sure long-lost greedy relatives don’t benefit from inheritances.

Soon, a series of events begin to unfold which threaten to undermine Edna’s livelihood and the Death Cafe meetings. These events just happen to coincide with the arrival of a mysterious stranger into the village.

Who is she and why is she so hostile to Edna?

~~~~~

‘Edna’s Death Cafe’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://amzn.to/2Q046aN

 

Guest Post

THANATOPHOBIA – The Fear of Dying

Death isn’t something we like to talk about. If it pops up in conversation we suddenly find the floor covering very interesting. In researching for my new book, Edna’s Death Cafe I talked to many people about how they feel about death, particularly their own, and the response was the same – they didn’t want to think about it because it made them feel anxious. I can relate to that as I suffered for a long time with a similar affliction which verged on panic, usually in the early hours of the morning.

I would spring out of bed, grabbing my throat, unable to swallow or breathe. Breathing into a paper bag or my cupped hands helped to calm the nervous system enough to make a cup of tea and put things back into proportion.

Now in my sixties I’ve experienced many losses as you would expect.  When my father died a few years ago, I realised on a very conscious level that I would be next in line (according to the natural order of things). It’s a sobering thought.

I became obsessed with everything to do with the dying process, funerals, body disposal and the age old question of whether consciousness really continues. I read voraciously the stories of near death experiences, the works of doctors such as Pym Van Lommel and Raymond Moody. My mind was having great difficulty in accepting that death was the end – hence the anxiety. I no longer had control over my life at that point.

For two years it made living in the moment impossible.  Every waking thought was controlled by the ‘horror’ that one day I was going to be no more – such is the power of the ego. I thought I was going crazy but death anxiety is very, real and very common.

In trying to avoid my own premature death I took ridiculous precautions.  Germs were monsters and my hands became raw from scrubbing them clean. I feared leaving the house in case a bus happened to mount the pavement and squash me. Everything I did had to be risk assessed until I found myself sobbing in front of my doctor. Fortunately she was understanding and suggested something to calm me down as well as a grief counsellor who was trained in this field.

My condition was exacerbated by the fact I had post- traumatic stress syndrome which, despite therapy, was recurring especially when under stress. Death of a loved one is the number one stressor so my thought processes were understandable.

As well as these excellent therapies which help sort out the muddle between the rational and irrational I discovered my own path through the nightmare.

I trained as a funeral celebrant which put me in contact with the fundamentals of the dying process and of course with grieving relatives. I had to be the strong one and keep things together for the families. My work desensitised me to the fear of dying but strengthened my new belief that you can die well following a fulfilling life. Being at a burial site or in a crematorium for the final goodbye is a privilege but also provides a form of exposure therapy. It’s the fear of the unknown that gives the demons something to play with.

Writing about those things that make us anxious can be healing. My novel, inspired by the international death café movement provided succour and support. Through the main character Edna, an octogenarian who sets a good example of how to celebrate life we learn how we can talk about this last taboo. I think we need to name it properly: – death, dying and dead as opposed to the many euphemisms we use to lessen the impact of the reality.

We might not wear black or cover the clocks and mirrors as the Victorians did or have a religious belief – many funerals result in natural burials in woodlands – but we need to allow ourselves to mourn and not stiffen the upper lip or maintain a dry eye when someone kindly asks us how we are doing.

The only way to get through grief is through that painful, but necessary act of grieving, in our own time and at our own pace. We need to allow ourselves to feel the tidal wave of emotions knowing that we won’t drown. Grief doesn’t mean neglecting everything and everyone or shutting ourselves away in a darkened room. It means nurturing yourself with good food, fresh air, walks in nature and slowing down to appreciate that we’ve been lucky to be given this opportunity to experience life in all its glory.

The best things we can do for ourselves when faced with crippling anxiety over our eventual demise is to learn to relax. Yoga, gentle exercise, breathing exercises, meditation all help. When things get overwhelming, you can focus on counting backwards or reciting a bit of poetry – whatever will distract your mind from the mental pain.

So if you can relate to any of these feelings, don’t despair. You are normal and it will get easier.  ‘Sometimes a bit of humour can really help too. This is what Mark Twain had to say,   ‘I do not fear death: I had been dead for billions of years before I was born and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.’

 

Competition

Angelena is giving away 4 eBook copies of ‘Edna’s Death Cafe’.  2 lucky winners will receive their book via Amazon UK and 2 will receive an iBooks code.  To enter just leave a comment and let me know how you would prefer to receive your book.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 31st March 2019.

Winners will be randomly chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their email addresses will be sent to Angelena Boden.

 

About Angelena Boden

Angelena Boden has spent thirty-five years as an international training consultant, specialising in behavioural management and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching.

She originates from the Peak District which is where her new book is set. Angelena has spent a life time travelling and living in places as far apart as Vancouver, Dubai, Paris, Seville and Iran. Now semi-retired in Worcestershire, she writes every morning, walks the hills and paints landscapes, fitting family and reading in between.

Angelena is writing stories for her new grandson about a little dachshund called Digger who is a very special sort of detective!

She is the author of two traditionally published novels and many articles and blogs.

Her most recent novel, Edna’s Death Cafe is published as an e-book by Matador. A new Edna Investigates will be available for Christmas 2019.

Angelena is keen to meet readers, old and new, and is available for book talks, events, and always chatting over a cuppa (within 60 miles of Worcester).

 

Links

Website – http://angelenaboden.com/

 

Book Launch – Guest Post by Julie Shackman ~ @G13Julie @foreververlag

Big congratulations to Julie Shackman whose book, ‘A Room at the Manor’ is published today as an eBook in Germany.  Julie has written a guest post all about it, but first you’ll be wanting to see the cover in all its glory.

 

Gorgeous isn’t it!  Over to Julie now….

 

Guest Post

Forever Grateful to Forever

Being told by my agent that my first traditionally published novel, A Room at the Manor, had been bought by a prolific publisher in Germany, was a very special moment.

The romance imprint of Ullstein, Forever, have a genuine passion for the genre and so when they said they loved my story and declared that they wished to release it in both kindle and paperback, I was delighted.

I can’t quite believe that on 4 March, the kindle is out, with the paperback following on 2 May.

From the beginning, the lovely Forever team, headed up by my wonderful editor Caroline Funke, have enthused about A Room at the Manor, titled in Germany as Das Kleine Café Im Gutshaus.

When I took a browse through their website, I was struck by how beautiful and original their covers are, as well as the talented family of authors that are published by them.

They produced a gorgeous cover for my German edition; drew up a comprehensive marketing plan and messaged me frequently, expressing their excitement and enthusiasm for Lara and Vaughan’s story.

(I should admit at this point, that my knowledge of German is extremely limited and is something I think I should rectify!)

There is a real team effort to what they do and seeing “my baby” in their creative hands, is a wonderful experience.

Knowing that A Room at the Manor is being introduced to another audience in another country, is a very humbling experience and one which I am very excited about.

I hope that German readers enjoy reading about Lara and Vaughan every bit as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

Thank you to everybody at Forever for allowing me to bring my story to German readers!

Julie XX

~~~~~

Here is the purchase link for readers in Germany:-

https://www.amazon.de/Das-kleine-Café-im-Gutshaus-ebook/dp/B07J2NH287/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1549367682&sr=8-1

 

About Julie Shackman

Julie trained as a journalist and studied Communication & Media.

Her first two novels, Rock My World & and Hero or Zero were published digitally by Not So Noble Books. A Room at the Manor is her first traditionally published novel.

When not writing women’s commercial fiction, she also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies.

She is an avid reader and is currently trying to reduce her To Be Read pile.

Julie has a passion for handbags and pretty stationery and is married with two teenage sons.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

Blog – http://julieshackman.wordpress.com/

 

Blog Blitz – ‘Hunter’s Chase’ by Val Penny ~ #LoveBooksGroupTours @LoveBooksGroup @crookedcatbooks @valeriepenny

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog blitz.  ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is the first book in the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series, published as an eBook by Crooked Cat Books and also available in paperback.

I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group for inviting me to participate in this blog blitz.  Val Penny has written a guest post for my blog which you can read in a minute.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taut crime thriller.

Available to buy from Amazon UK – myBook.to/HuntersChase

 

Guest Post

Reasons to Write a Crime Novel

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today.

I write crime novels, largely because that is the genre I like to read. I enjoy puzzles, mysteries, crosswords and crime novels. I like to try to work out ‘who done it’ before the author tells me: and I am not alone!

Lots of people like crime, at least in novels! Often, I meet dentists and bank managers with clever plot ideas, or nurses who read every crime novel they can lay their hands on. If I visit a writing group, there are always members keenly producing new murderous plots. Lawyers and convicts show equal enthusiasm for this genre. For those who want to write a crime novel, there are several reasons to want to do so. Here are a few of them.

Emotional Release

Often, those who write crime novels find an emotional release in their craft. Crime novelists deal with the dark things that people usually push to the side of their minds in order to get on with every day life. The cathartic attraction of writing can be decisive.

Some crime authors tell of poor sleep patterns, punctured by night-mares that are repaired when they start to write. Others, panic, constantly scanning doorways for signs of danger. The stiffening fear that afflicts them resolves when they are busy writing crime.

The Story-Telling Urge

The sources for crime novels are many and varied. Ideas can spring from the news and current affairs; memories from the past and historical events or things that puzzle or fascinate the writer. Once an author begins to exercise their creative muscles, they often find that they run into stories demanding to be told. The stories demand to be told and will not stop coming.

For Companionship

It is often said that writers can be difficult people: gloomy, competitive and quarrelsome. However, for the most part, I have found crime writers to be an inclusive and convivial bunch. They are certainly hard-working. The pressure of producing a book a year is intense, yet they never seem to turn their backs on fun. If you have a chance to go to a crime-writers’ convention, do take it. They are exhausting, exhilarating and irresistible.

An Outlet for Aggression

Most crime-writers will tell you that they are good company because they channel all their belligerent thoughts into their stories, so in real life, the authors are meek and mild. It is not always true, but I can confirm a crime novel is an excellent place to park your rage! The prospect of giving vent to righteous anger in a safe form can be a particularly pleasing device. When characters require to act in a violent way or commit violence the reader is willing to witness this on the page but they would shy from it in real life. Crime writers can let rip on the page in a way they avoid doing in the real world.

The Thrill of Research

I can personally confirm that the research you do for crime novels and for academic purposes are equally satisfying. It is also extremely diverse. It may involve visiting prisons, refuges, police stations or drug dens. Police are often very willing to be of assistance to crime writers, even if it is just to avoid being irritated when otherwise the writers would get police procedures wrong. This information is most useful and helpful. Indeed, when you are writing a novel, no information or experience is wasted!

 

About Val Penny

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.

 

Links

Website – www.authorvalpenny.com

Facebook:-

http://www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

Twitter – https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

 

Purchase Links

My books, The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series, are all available to purchase from Amazon.

Hunter’s Chase – http://myBook.to/HuntersChase

Hunter’s Revenge – myBook.to/HuntersRevenge

Hunter’s Force – mybook.to/huntersforce

 

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – November 2018 ~ @LMMilford

What better way to end the month than with Lynne Milford’s latest post where she talks about what is next for her.  Links to Lynne’s previous posts are towards the bottom of the page so do check them out if you haven’t done so already.

 

What’s next?

Well, it’s getting on towards the end of 2018 – scary, eh? – and it’s time to reflect back on the year as well as gearing up for the next one.

2017 was the big year for me, having published my book in October, but this year I got to celebrate its first birthday. Sales haven’t been huge, but then I never expected that. The fact that it’s sold and has some good reviews on Amazon is, quite frankly, enough for now.

This year it’s been much less glamourous. I’ve spent most of my writing time working on the second book in the Allensbury series. It’s been a very long, very involved process of taking a book I wrote several years ago without any planning and unpicking it to make it into a proper book. The first draft of both my books were absolutely awful. When I wrote them my editing skills were also not good, which means both were in a bit of a mess.

Back in April, I sent Book Two to a professional editor for a structural edit. This meant a report with some very necessary (if not uncomfortable) feedback. I felt a bit embarrassed that I’d allowed this book to go out to anyone in such a state, but that’s what the editor is for. Since then I’ve been very slowly turning the book into something fit for human consumption. It’s not an easy process – it requires blood, sweat and tears – but I finally feel like I’m getting there. I’m also starting to get inquiries about when the second book will be out, so the pressure is on!

Looking forward to 2019, things are a bit vaguer. Next month I’ll no doubt get the usual planning calendar from Charlie at the Urban Writer’s Retreat. This is a document designed to help you review the past year and set your goals for next year. I’ll have to look out my 2018 plans and see whether I achieved any of it. Planning over a whole year is tricky, particularly when you’re writing alongside a full-time job. I also have the problem that there’s so much that I want to do. One of the useful aspects of Charlie’s planner is that it gives you space to write down everything that you’d like to do. Then you can go through the list and look at the projects you’ll have the time to do. For me, it’s a little frustrating because I have so little time to allocate to projects! I know that it’s not possible to do absolutely everything I want to do and that means side-lining some projects until the following year and that’s a hard decision to make.

So, at present my priorities will be finishing the second book and starting work on the third. As I said I have loads of other ideas and projects I want to work on, but these have to take precedence as the most important next steps in my writing and publishing career. I know better now how to set writing deadlines and I’m sure that spending a lot of time planning Book Three that will make the writing and editing process much easier.

Wish me luck – and hopefully that will help me in my quest for new books.

~~~~

A Deadly Rejection is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. UK address is https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

Catch up with me on Twitter @lmmilford or visit my website www.lmmilford.wordpress.com

 

Previous Guest Posts

First guest post (January 2018) – My writing journey

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Second guest post (February 2018) – Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Third guest post (March 2018) – Creating the perfect cast for A Deadly Rejection

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-march-2018/

Fourth guest post (April 2018) – Why you should write a series

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-april-2018/

Fifth guest post (May 2018) – What I do when I’m not writing

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-may-2018/

Sixth guest post (June 2018) – Extract + Competition

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-june-2018/

Seventh guest post (August 2018) – Why I love writing

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-august-2018/

Eighth guest post (October 2018) – All about Allensbury

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-october-2018/

Guest Post by Gina Kirkham ~ @GinaGeeJay @urbanebooks

It’s a real pleasure having Gina Kirkham back on my blog.  Her latest book, ‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ was published in July of this year in paperback and as an eBook by Urbane Publications.  Gina has written a wonderful and touching guest post which I hope you all enjoy reading as much as I did.

 

SECOND TIME AROUND

“I’m sure it’ll be a lot easier second time around..” I dunked my Aldi biscuit into the mug of steaming tea, waited a millionth of a second too long and groaned as it drooped and fell onto my leg with a resounding slap. I gave my hubby a sickly grin as he raised his eyebrows, either in amusement or disgust, probably the latter. I handed him the new Publishing Contract for book 2, my excitement as fresh now as it had been when I’d signed my first book deal.

*****

Fast forward three months and I’m now remembering that little pearl of wisdom as I sit in front of the keyboard staring into space, twisting my unbrushed hair around my fingers with my tongue hanging out. I vaguely remember cleaning my teeth this morning, but that’s about as far as my personal appearance goes, there are more pressing matters to deal with.

Here I am, 34,216 words into the sequel to Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Polyester Thong and I don’t know where I’m going with it, I don’t even have a title. My central character, Mavis, is not playing ball, she doesn’t want to go where I want to send her and my great idea for a fanfare finale now doesn’t seem so clever…. and the biggest blow of all, I don’t feel ‘funny’.

My heart isn’t into laughter. The giggles have gone, my sniggers have sneaked away. For a writer of humour, this is a disaster.

I am lost.

I want to scribble down all the ridiculous slapstick experiences I have had, the farces, the black humour of policing… all through Mavis’s eyes, but they just don’t want to be told. Not yesterday, not today and maybe not tomorrow.

A solitary tear slowly trickles down my cheek. I nudge it away with the heel of my hand, cursing my one rogue eye that since childhood will only cry on its own. Oh how I longed to weep buckets with both eyes like a normal person. Deep down, I know where my mojo has gone and I hope it’s only temporary. I care for my Dad who has Dementia. It’s a terrible, impactive disease that can sometimes suck out all the joy and laughter in life when it catches you off guard. Lately it’s sucked so hard it has deflated me.

I close off my PC, watching the screensaver family photo fade. I won’t write today. Today I will take Dad out for lunch.

******

“Don’t get me too much, I’m not hungry.” Dad harrumphed in annoyance as he sat down at his favourite table in the café.

“I know Dad, your usual, ham sandwich on brown and a cup of black coffee. Are you okay here whilst I go and queue?”

Grabbing his handkerchief he blew with gusto, inspected the contents and shoved it back in his pocket. “I’m not away with the mixer just yet, lass, stop fussing.” he barked as I ambled off to the food area, content in the knowledge he couldn’t get up to mischief in a place that was familiar to him with no sharp objects or steep steps.

Or so I thought.

Eight minutes, just eight minutes into queuing – that was all it took. Eight minutes for pandemonium to descend upon Milly Wainwright’s Wee Tea Rooms courtesy of my Dad.

******

“He’d moved tables, he was sitting at another table eating a complete strangers full English breakfast, can you believe it?” I dunked my biscuit, throwing it up to my mouth before it could droop. Hubby sat quietly knowing that to add conversation to my pique would not be a smart move.

“I mean, come on, WTF was I supposed to do apart from pay for another breakfast? I wouldn’t mind but all he did was take one bite out of the sausage…. and he’d taken his teeth out to do that, propped them up on the pot plant in the middle of the table! It was disgusting.”

I looked at hubby for sympathy, but instead our eyes met and we both burst out laughing.

Leaning over to kiss my forehead, he smirked. “Maybe this is something Mavis should experience, take away the taboo, find the humour in adversity, what do you think?”

******

One moment, just one moment to lighten your heart. That’s all it takes. I switched on my PC and waited. Mavis wouldn’t fight against me for this one. Humour in adversity, it’s how we survive….

…. and much to my delight, I now had a title for the sequel too.

 

About Gina Kirkham

Gina Kirkham began her career in front-line policing as a single parent in her thirties. During her time with Merseyside Police she was awarded several commendations for bravery, courage and compassion, and in 2000 she became Police Officer of the Year for her services to the people of Merseyside.

Her debut novel, the humorous HANDCUFFS, TRUNCHEON AND A POLYESTER THONG, was published in May 2017 by Urbane Publications.

In July 2018 her second book in the series, WHISKEY, TANGO, FOXTROT The Further Adventures of Constable Mavis Upton was launched at Waterstones in Liverpool.

Gina is now retired from Policing and lives on the Wirral with her long suffering husband and two wayward, unruly dogs.

 

Links

Blog – http://www.ginakirkham.wordpress.com/

Author Page – https://urbanepublications.com/authors/gina-kirkham/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GinaGeeJay and https://twitter.com/MavisUpton

Mavis Upton’s Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/MavisUpton1/

 

Purchase Links

‘Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong’ – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Handcuffs-Truncheon-Polyester-Thong-adventures-ebook/dp/B06XZCV123

‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot-Adventures-Constable-ebook/dp/B07DFCF2NR

Guest Post by John Mayer ~ @CarolineBookBit @johnmayerauthor

I am delighted to welcome John Mayer, author of the Parliament House Books to my blog.  This series sounds really interesting and is one I hope to read at some point.  Links to the books are towards the bottom of this post.

John has written a guest post for my blog which I hope you enjoy.

 

Guest Post

On Writing – John Mayer

Writing is precious, or at least, it was. When people first began to write what we would call books – which was in Sanskrit – the technique was open and free for anyone to learn. As soon as writing spread to Europe, words were used to influence and even scare people into beliefs they didn’t have before and didn’t actually want.

With the advent of Amazon Books, I think book writing has come full circle and is once more open and free to learn. As a life-long learner though, I’d prefer the openness would not cause ‘us’ writers to dismiss the learning curve – with each book we write we strive to make it better than the one before.

A carefully crafted story which suspends the reader’s disbelief is a very difficult thing to do well and has to be both learned and practised regularly. After all, attentive readers appreciate and recognise quality when they see it. I’m proud to say that many reviewers of The Parliament House Books feel this way about my books. That’s very satisfying because quality lasts in the mind of readers and makes them eager for more, the next book of their favourite author. I imagine it is like dining out in a nice restaurant or eating a fast-food meal: the latter is to stop your stomach from rumbling, the first is as much food for thought as it is enjoyable to digest.

I like to think that my stories actually help people to shape their own opinions on the subject matter of my series, ‘injustice in high places.’ I feel very strongly about this. I have had feedback from readers saying that my books are different and that pleases me as my books and writing style are an intrinsic part of who I am.

How do I write? I don’t plan, or plot or stick to any kind of formula. I start with a single word: but that word has to be an important one which contains many ideas; not just legal ideas, but social and personal ones too. For instance, the words Cross, Cycle, Boots, Trial, Order, Bones, Trust all contain multiple ideas. Of course, I write about Parliament House and legal cases, with my twenty years’ experience as an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Scotland which gives me a unique depth of insight. I then develop the single word by imagining how it applies to people in a court case as well as how the court case impacts on their lives and the lives of those around them. The American lawyers who write books are all office lawyers, which is a world apart from Parliament House in Edinburgh. When I’ve got the word at the centre of a number of ideas, I then start to sculpt the word – which is like a stone block at this early stage – into a shape which, I imagine and hope, readers can appreciate from many angles.

My central character, Brogan McLane QC, lives in two worlds. One is the grandness and splendour of Parliament House in Edinburgh where he practises law at the Bar of the Court. The other is the Calton Bar in Glasgow where he grew up and has his blood brother – Big Joe Mularkey – by his side. The stories reveal how the low life in high places in the old town of Edinburgh are often disguised by their finery and the characters in each book have to look to another kind of Bar for help in getting justice. Mind, my books are fiction and this is not to say that all Advocates and Judges in Parliament House are corrupt or incompetent: but some are and they casually wreck lives on a regular basis.

Perhaps injustice sounds boring to you but to me, the burning pain of injustice is what motivates and drives me – imagine your loved one wrongly convicted. Anyone in that situation will tell you that the long hard slog trying to turn injustice into justice is a very humiliating and lonely place to be. Similarly in civil cases, trying to get justice for a wrongful act done to you in a few seconds, can take years and drain you of all your hard earned money. Those trying that task will tell you, that it eats into your soul so that you live and breathe the injustice, often for years or decades. There is an old Arabic curse which says ‘May your life be filled with lawyers.’ Anyone who’s had that experience will tell you that it wrecks you emotionally, financially and spiritually until many people surrounded by injustice take their own lives. Any politician will tell you that there are no votes in fighting injustice; but there should be. I think so.

I hope you will never have your life filled with lawyers. May you only experience that curse through the world of Brogan McLane QC in The Parliament House Books.

Best wishes,

John Mayer.

 

The Parliament House Books

Welcome to the Parliament House Books. John Mayer’s protagonist is Brogan McLane QC – who lives in two worlds.

McLane inhabits two worlds. One is the rarified world of Parliament House in Edinburgh, where he practices law, while the other is in Glasgow where he frequents the Calton Bar. To get in to the Calton Bar, you’ll need to first understand its ways. Those ways are to be found in the first and second prequels to the Parliament House Books, The Cross and The Cycle respectively.

The motto of the series is ‘Low Life in High Places in the Old Town’ and there is plenty of both in this series and, according to the author, in reality. Some Judges and Advocates in Parliament House are fine, intelligent and honest people. Others are mere pretenders. They are the schemers, members of secret societies from which they improve their chances of rising up the slippery pole of legal ranking.

 

The Prequels:

The Cross
The Cycle
The Boots

All three prequels are free to download at https://parliamenthousebooks.weebly.com/

The Books:

#1 The Trial                http://getbook.at/TheTrial-JohnMayer
#2 The Order             
http://getbook.at/TheOrder-JohnMayer
#3 The Bones           
 http://getbook.at/TheBones-JohnMayer
#4 The Trust              
http://getbook.at/TheTrust-JohnMayer
#5 The House
            http://getbook.at/TheHouse-JohnMayer

 

About John Mayer

Like his leading character, Brogan McLane, John Mayer was born in Glasgow, Scotland and spent much of his time in the Mitchell Library in central Glasgow where he devoured books of all kinds.

Having as the owner of a record company had a court battle with global giants, John decided to study law and became an Advocate in the Supreme Courts of Scotland – yes, at Edinburgh’s Parliament House. John acted for the downtrodden and desperate as well as Greenpeace International. His specialism was in fighting international child abduction.

John’s experiences as an Advocate are the foundation for his Parliament House Books, his battle to seek justice is what motivates and inspires his protagonist, crusading Scottish Advocate, Brogan McLane,  who fights injustice casually delivered by Low Life in High Places in the Old Town.

 

John Mayer on Social Media:

Author Website:           https://parliamenthousebooks.weebly.com/
FB Author Page:          https://www.facebook.com/JohnMayerAuthor/
Twitter:                         https://twitter.com/johnmayerauthor
Instagram:                    https://www.instagram.com/johnmayer_author/
Amazon Author Page: https://author.to/JohnMayer

 

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – October 2018 ~ @LMMilford

Lynne Milford won my Twitter competition to feature on my blog for a whole year with a series of guest posts.  There was no post last month sadly as it was my turn to take a break, but Lynne is back this month talking about the setting of novels and where hers came from.  I hope you enjoy it and please do feel free to let us know what you think of these posts.

 

All about Allensbury

Developing the setting of novel is important. Right out of the gate the setting will tell the reader what sort of book to expect. For example if it’s set on a space ship or involves dungeons and dragons you can probably assume that it’s sci-fi. Whatever genre you write in the setting immediately tells the reader what to expect.

It’s as important to get your setting right as it is to get your characters right. You want your work to be believable and as well as characters being realistic, your setting must fit the bill. I’m not just talking about a sense of place – atmosphere etc – I mean the actual stage where your story is set.

My first novel A Deadly Rejection is set in the fictional Kent town of Allensbury. I couldn’t tell you where the name came from. It’s been so long since I first wrote the book that the reasoning behind the name has vanished into the mists of my memory. But what I can say is there is a clear reason why the town looks the way it does.

As you’ll know if you’ve been following my blog series, I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie. I love the tight social circles and country house settings and the tension that brings. I’m fascinated by the fact that in a place where everyone knows everyone’s business or can’t get away from each other, it becomes claustrophobic. Tempers can begin to flare and there’s extra pressure for those who have secrets they desperately need to keep.

So what I created was a medium-sized town, which looks very respectable. This was important because I wanted it to be a place which looks innocent on the surface but underneath it’s hiding a seedy side. It’s somewhere that bad things could happen without it seeming unlikely that the crime rate could be so high. It had to be big enough for a local daily newspaper – less common now than when I was first writing the book – but as my main character is a journalist I didn’t want him getting too bored. In reality, the Allensbury Post almost acts as a moral compass for the town, wheedling out the sins of its residents and holding them up to scrutiny.

Knowing that I wanted to use it in a series, the town needed to have a lot of different locations. Allensbury is a historic town, with a castle and an old fashioned town hall. It’s growing gradually as developers buy up land and build more houses -see A Deadly Rejection for what happens there.

We haven’t met a lot of these locations yet – a theatre which hosts plays and musical concerts, a museum and a dance and drama school. I’m sure there are other locations – perhaps the Fenleys department store – which may find themselves at the heart of Dan’s investigations or under the sharp eye of Detective Inspector Jude Burton and Detective Sergeant Mark Shepherd.

Will Allensbury turn out to be new Midsomer Murders with the highest body count in the south east? Who knows. All I know is that Allensbury has a lot more secrets to give up, whether it wants to or not. I just have to go and dig them out.

~~~~

A Deadly Rejection is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. UK address is https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

Catch up with me on Twitter @lmmilford or visit my website www.lmmilford.wordpress.com

 

Previous Guest Posts

First guest post (January 2018) – My writing journey

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Second guest post (February 2018) – Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Third guest post (March 2018) – Creating the perfect cast for A Deadly Rejection

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-march-2018/

Fourth guest post (April 2018) – Why you should write a series

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-april-2018/

Fifth guest post (May 2018) – What I do when I’m not writing

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-may-2018/

Sixth guest post (June 2018) – Extract + Competition

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-june-2018/

Seventh guest post (August 2018) – Why I love writing

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-august-2018/

 

Blog Blitz – ‘Fractured’ by Billy McLaughlin ~ @bilbob20

Big congratulations to Billy McLaughlin whose new book, ‘Fractured’ is out today as an eBook and is also available in paperback.  Having previously hosted Billy on my blog, I was delighted when he contacted me to ask if I would like to participate in a blog blitz.

Billy has written a special publication day guest post.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Even killers die!

A woman in a psychiatric hospital finds herself on the wrong side of the law when another patient is found murdered. Proving her innocence might have to wait though as she comes face to face with an old adversary.

 

Guest Post

Publication Day

So publication day for Fractured has finally arrived. A quick draft, consisting of approximately 20,000 words was written in May 2017. At the time I had just finished promoting The Dead of Winter and finishing up on The Daughter. In the year since the latter was released, Fractured has undergone several changes. I’m glad to be finally handing it over to you.

Today will be a day of reflection, nervousness and excitement. Many of you who pre-ordered woke up to find it on your kindle this morning. I know some of you have voraciously inhaled the past books within days of release. I imagine a couple of you might already be on Chapter twenty. I simply cannot write at the speed some of you read. I’m very impressed, if a little frustrated. The eighty stories in my head, the twenty five semi-written books on my laptop and the thousand other ideas on the backburner just won’t write themselves quickly enough for your liking, or mine.

So today I plan on spending the evening with some other writers, some readers, some family and friends as we all get together for a little online launch party. I’ve managed to get a few book prizes from some fellow authors as well. It is officially my last day as the sole owner of Fractured, and that’s a terrifying but thrilling thought. I really hope that you all enjoy it as much as I want you to, and as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I have one ritual when publication day comes. I just take a deep breath. That’s what I’m doing now as I bring this mini-blog blitz to a close and gear up for tonight’s online get together. I really want to thank ‘A Lover of Books’, and all the other bloggers who took part over the past five days. Good luck with all the prizes and see you soon.

Billy x

~~~~~

‘Fractured’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fractured-Billy-McLaughlin/dp/1724959778/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1535653001&sr=1-1

 

About Billy McLaughlin

Billy McLaughlin is the author of the Glasgow based DI Phil Morris series. Opening with the #1 thriller ‘Lost Girl,’ he followed it up with ‘In the Wake of Death’ & ‘The Daughter’. Work on a fourth DI Phil Morris entry is now underway.

His novelette ‘Invisible’ first arrived in March 2016 to rave reviews and was then followed by stand-alone novella ‘The Dead of Winter’ and the award-winning ‘Krampus’, a novelette released to raise money for an illness called NKH.

Boasting nearly 20,000 downloads in 2 years, McLaughlin unleashes his seventh release ‘Fractured’ on 31st August. The story reveals the fate of a character who previously graced the pages of his work, whilst spinning an entirely new twisted tale about two traumatized women who seek vengeance.

To see more information on future releases, please see http://www.facebook.com/billymclaughlinbooks or contact him on billymclaughlinbooks@gmail.com

 

Links

Amazon Page – https://mybook.to/BMB

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/bilbob20

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

 

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – August 2018 ~ @LMMilford

It’s always a pleasure welcoming Lynne Milford back to my blog.  She has been writing a series of guest posts, having won my Twitter competition to feature on here for a whole year.  Last month Lynne took a well earned break and is now back nice and refreshed with a lovely post about why she loves writing.

 

Why I love writing

If you’ve been reading my monthly posts, you know that I love writing. I love reading too but I love writing more. It’s not easy and at times has me pulling my hair out, but I couldn’t live without it.

Imagination and creativity have always played a big part of my life. When I was a child I was always making up stories and wishing for Famous Five style adventures, although they were more likely to be played out in my head. Even now I can turn the slightest hint of a story into a game of ‘what if?’ and who knows where that may take me. (This is one of the best ways to generate ideas!)

It’s a small step from coming up with ideas to actually writing them down. The much bigger step is developing those ideas into a plot that works. It takes patience and a lot of determination to keep your bottom on the chair. It’s a bit like training for a marathon really, in that you have to put in the work, learn from your mistakes and be prepared to keep going even when the going starts to feel very tough.

But there is no feeling like looking up from your computer or notebook and realising that you’ve finished something. Of course, the act of writing itself is great, but finishing something – particularly something the length of a novel – gives a real sense of satisfaction.

Recently I suffered from a bout of exhaustion. It sounds silly and self-indulgent, but bear with me. I was so desperate to finish the latest round of edits on my second book that I’d bookmarked six or seven hours each weekend day for about six weeks to work on it. Add in my full time job and you can see why I was exhausted. Sadly I hadn’t listened to the warnings and niggles my body was giving me until it started to shout. Three days of aching head-to-toe was not a good sign. I was fortunate that I was going to Harrogate Crime Festival and so I had to step away from writing for three whole days*. I was completely away from home so I couldn’t take editing with me. I had the Monday off work and had planned to edit all day. Instead I took the morning off, pottered around, went to the library and sat in the garden to read. That meant when I went back to editing later that day I was refreshed.

But (the reason for this story) it gave me a chance to look at my life and see how I was using my time. It also gave me a look at what I would do without writing in my life.  I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t give up writing – I missed it too much even just after three days. It’s so much part of my life and something I enjoy too much to give it up.

So writing will always be a part of my life and there are so many things I want to accomplish through it. But, and this is a biggie, I’ll make sure it doesn’t completely take over – or at least, I promise to try!

*(I should add that I was a bit naughty while away at Harrogate and I did start on a new piece of writing with a new character – and not in Allensbury where my novels are set. But don’t tell anyone because I told them I was resting!)

~~~~~

A Deadly Rejection is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. UK address is https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

Catch up with me on Twitter @lmmilford or visit my website www.lmmilford.wordpress.com

 

Previous Guest Posts

First guest post (January 2018) – My writing journey

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Second guest post (February 2018) – Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Third guest post (March 2018) – Creating the perfect cast for A Deadly Rejection

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-march-2018/

Fourth guest post (April 2018) – Why you should write a series

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-april-2018/

Fifth guest post (May 2018) – What I do when I’m not writing

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-may-2018/

Sixth guest post (June 2018) – Extract + Competition

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-june-2018/

Guest Post by Fiona Perrin ~ @fionaperrin @Aria_Fiction

I am delighted to have Fiona Perrin on my blog today.  Her book, ‘The Story After Us’ was published as an eBook on the 14th July 2018 by Aria Fiction and is also available in paperback.

Fiona has written a guest post in the form of Questions and Answers.

 

Tell us about The Story After Us…

It’s a story for everyone who found out that happy ever after had a sequel and for everyone who’s faced irreconcilable differences and survived. Here is the blurb:

If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her… 

Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become – or why she and her husband can’t even be in the same room anymore. 

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off ‘consciously uncoupling’ like a celeb. But she’s starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be… happier? 

 As funny as Helen Fielding, as poignantly touching as Marian Keyes, Fiona Perrin’s dazzling debut is a story that is as much about finding out who you really are again, as it is about the exhausting balancing act of motherhood. Unmissable for women everywhere.

 

What was your inspiration for The Story After Us?

I wanted to write about messy, modern love. I know lots of women whose families don’t look like they belong in a magazine spread, but are filled with happiness, humour and hope. I am divorced myself – a long while ago – and good mates and parents with my ex-husband while happily married to my second. I’m a mother and stepmother to four kids and have had a fairly full-on job while they’ve been growing up. Ami’s story isn’t mine, but I hope it’s one thats relatable to lots of women – and makes them laugh.

 

How did you write it?

I’ve always written but, in 2012 I signed up for the Curtis Brown Creative writing course with a very rough draft of a novel. I learned loads about great storytelling during the short course and threw away most of my word count. Then, with the help of a spin-off writing group that met every Monday fortnight for years, I wrote it again.

Eventually I was lucky enough to get the editorial input of my agent, Diana Beaumont, who helped me write it again a few more times. Then Aria wanted to publish it, and everything got really exciting.

 

Are you writing another book?

I am. Again, it has a mad, modern family with a difficult dilemma at its heart. It’s different the second time – I have a lot more certainty about what I’m doing.

 

So, what’s writing life like?

I’m working as a freelance now so that makes everything a lot easier. And the kids are older and lovely (not that they weren’t but you know…) and I’ve got a study by the sea at the end of the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall. We call it life on the edge because it is (of England) and so far, it’s pretty great.

 

Links

‘The Story After Us’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Story-After-Us-Fiona-Perrin-ebook/dp/B07BM58ZNN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521988626&sr=8-1&keywords=the+story+after+us

Website – http://www.fionaperrin.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/fionaperrin

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘Smart Moves’ by Adrian Magson ~ @DomePress @AdrianMagson1

‘Smart Moves’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 16th August 2018 by The Dome Press.  I am thrilled to be part of this blog tour and would like to thank Emily Glenister for inviting me to participate and for my review copy of this book.

I have both my review and a guest post by Adrian Magson for you.  First though here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

International troubleshooter Jake Foreman loses his job, house and wife all in one day. And when an impulsive move lands him in even deeper water – the kind that could lose him his life – he decides it’s time to make some smart decisions.

The trouble is, knowing the right moves and making them is a whole different game. And Jake, who has been happily rubbing along doing things he always suspected were just a shade away from being dodgy, finds it all too easy to go with the flow.

Now he’s got to start learning new tricks. If he doesn’t, he could end up dead.

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Smart Moves’ and thought it to be very cleverly written. I liked Adrian Magson’s style of writing and the fairly short chapters kept me reading on.

I really felt for Jake Foreman. Not only did he lose his job, but he then discovered that he had lost his wife and his home all in the same day. I mean surely you can’t have so much bad luck in one day. I guess this is proof that things really do come in threes.

Jake soon managed to get a temporary job via his friend and it seemed that things were starting to look up for him. He got to travel around again which maybe wasn’t such a bad thing. That is until he was given one particular assignment. Little was he to know what he would end up being involved in. Somehow I knew it would be trouble. That’s when the story itself started to hot up and things got really rather exciting. It was as if Jake had been given several lives, much like a cat. He actually managed to cheat death.

I liked how things started to fall back into place for Jake and I was just as made up for him as his brother was. Jake went through some bad times, but he learnt a few valuable things along the way. He made some new friends and realised what real friendship was. He also met someone special. The rest I guess is left to the reader’s imagination but hopefully everything will work out for Jake.

‘Smart Moves’ is a story about what happens when you lose virtually everything in your life and the choices you make. It’s a serious read with a bit of humour added. I am certainly interested in reading more of Adrian Magson’s books and I would like to thank both him for and The Dome Press for several hours of pure entertainment. I am really liking what this publisher is publishing and I hope they continue to grow.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

Guest Post

BELIEVE IN RANDOM

I’m a great believer in random. Things surprise us that we haven’t planned for, circumstances change without warning, and we get caught short through no fault of our own. Stuff happens.

Most of us try to control our lives. We might end up swimming against a current now and then, or take a detour here and there to get where we want to go. But we usually push through in the end.

After writing a number of crime and spy thriller series (some 22 books in all), with determined and focussed lead characters, some of them women (as in the Riley Gavin series and the Ruth Gonzales duet) some men (as in the Harry Tate, Marc Portman and Insp Lucas Rocco series) I got the urge to try something a little different.

How about, I thought, instead of writing about characters whose lives are closely controlled through training and instinct, where they assess risk and cater for the unexpected, I write about Joe Ordinary, whose life simply isn’t like that? This Joe – or Jake, in my latest book and first standalone, ‘Smart Moves’ – isn’t expecting bad luck, but suddenly finds himself on the nasty end of a severe kicking from circumstances he hasn’t seen coming. As a friend tells him afterwards, that’s what happens when you don’t pay attention to detail.

For Jake, it couldn’t be worse. His wife doesn’t want him, his job’s redundant and his home has been overtaken by a bunch of Kiwi tree-huggers. The only way is up. However, making the right decisions after years of going with the flow doesn’t come easy, and Jake’s soon in hot water up to his ears. If he wants to survive he’s got to do something radical.

This means making some smart moves. Of course, we can all say we‘ll do that but as Jake discovers, there’s always random just waiting round the next corner.

Fortunately, he also finds that random isn’t always bad.

 

About Adrian Magson

Hailed by the Daily Mail as “a classic crime star in the making”, Adrian had written 21 crime and spy thriller books based around:

Gavin & Palmer (investigative reporter Riley Gavin and ex-military policeman Frank Palmer; Harry Tate, ex-soldier and MI5 officer; Inspector Lucas; Marc Portman (The Watchman); investigators Ruth Gonzales and Andy Vaslik.

Adrian also has hundreds of short stories and articles in national and international magazines to his name, plus a non-fiction work: Write On! – The Writer’s Help Book (Accent Press).

Adrian lives in the Forest of Dean and rumours that he is building a nuclear bunker are unfounded. It’s a bird’s table.

 

Links

‘Smart Moves’ can be purchased from Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2vWqzwM

Website – https://www.adrianmagson.com

Blog – https://adrianmagson.blogspot.co.uk

Twitter – https://twitter.com/adrianmagson1

Facebook – https://facebook.com/adrianmagsonbooks

Guest Post by Julie Shackman ~ @G13Julie @AllenAndUnwin

It gives me great pleasure to welcome the lovely Julie Shackman back to my blog.  Her new book ‘A Room at the Manor’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 27th June 2018 by Allen & Unwin.  I remember when Julie first revealed the cover of her new book on social media.  I fell in love with it instantly.  It is absolutely gorgeous and I could literally sit and admire it all day long.

Julie has written a guest post for my blog all about the cover.  First though, let’s take a look at what ‘A Room at the Manor’ is all about.

 

Book Blurb

When her Maltese love affair turns sour, Lara McDonald returns to her quiet Scottish hometown of Fairview heartbroken, yet determined – instead of looking for another PR position, she decides to follow her dream of baking. She impulsively takes the first job offered and finds herself working for local dragon Kitty Walker in her tea room, True Brew.

Lara’s life is full of surprises, however, not the least being an unlikely friendship forged with one of Kitty’s elderly customers, the former laird Hugo Carmichael. The Carmichael family has lived at the beautiful Glenlovatt Manor for almost three hundred years and, although in need of renovation, Hugo, his son and grandson currently make it their home.

There’s something about Lara that Hugo likes, and when Hugo suddenly passes away, Lara is stunned to discover she is mentioned in his will. But not everyone is happy with the old Laird’s faith in Lara.

A story of love, family, hope and trust, A Room at the Manor will delight every reader keen to find their place in the world.

 

Guest Post

“Cover Story” – Julie Shackman

Seeing the cover of your latest book for the first time is a moment you never forget.

My first two novels were published digitally and each time, this was a lovely experience.

But with A Room at the Manor, this is my first traditionally published book and I think this has made the whole journey an extra special one.

The last year has been a whirlwind of being signed by my wonderful agent Selwa, followed by my novel being accepted for publication by Allen & Unwin.

Several rounds of editing and polishing followed, as well as invaluable and constructive advice and editorial guidance from Selwa, Annette at Allen & Unwin and my very patient and understanding (!) editor Bec.

Then came the day my cover popped into my Inbox.

I remember sitting for a few moments, gazing at the bright colours; the tangle of thistles and the swirls of type face, announcing the title.

It almost didn’t seem real.

When I saw the tea cup and further thistle detail on the back cover – all those finishing little touches – couldn’t have made me more grateful to Romana and the art department at my publishers for their beautiful work.

It amazed me how like my fictional Glenlovatt Manor the house on the cover is, with its buttery stone and grand windows.

A Room at the Manor tells the story of what can be achieved if someone believes in you and how determined Lara is, to make a success of things.

The same can be said for all us writers.

All it takes is for one person to have faith in you and your writing and to say that magic word “Yes.”

Remember – A published writer is an unpublished writer who never gave up.

 

Julie X

 

(A Room at the Manor is released in paperback and Kindle on 27 June. It is available in the UK online at this link https://www.bookdepository.com/Room-at-the-Manor-Julie-Shackman/9781760632861

In Australia & New Zealand, it is also available on-line, as well as in all good bookshops.)

 

About Julie Shackman

Julie had her first two books published digitally by Not So Noble Books. A,Room at the Manor is her first traditionally published novel.

When not reading or writing, Julie loves going for long walks; music; travelling and watching films.

She is married with two teenage sons and lives in Scotland.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

Blog – http://julieshackman.wordpress.com/

 

Blog Blitz – ‘The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’ by Morgen Bailey @bombshellpub @morgenwriteruk

I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog blitz along with a number of other book bloggers and would like to thank Sarah Hardy for inviting me to participate.  ‘The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’ was published in paperback and as an eBook yesterday the 12th July 2018 by Bombshell Books and it sounds really good.

I have a guest post by Morgen Bailey, but first here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

31 days. 31 dates.

Izzy is a journalist who usually writes a technology column for a Northampton newspaper. Her somewhat-intimidating boss William sets her the task of dating thirty-one men, via an internet dating site, all within a month, and writing about it for the paper.

Having an active, though fruitless, social life with her friend Donna, Izzy knows what she wants in a man, so creates a shopping list of dos and don’ts and starts ticking them off as she meets the men.

Follow the ups and downs of the dating process including Tim ‘the Weeble’, whose date leads Izzy to see banoffee pie in a whole new light, Lawrence the super-skinny social worker, Felix with his bizarre penchant for Persian Piranhas, and ‘the music maestro but don’t talk about dead pets’ Jake.

By the end of the month, will Izzy have met Mr Right?

A laugh-out-loud comedy about the highs and lows of dating.

 

Guest Post

How I got published… (810 words)

I came to writing later than many. I was thirty-seven and a half when I spotted, in a University of Leicester prospectus, an evening creative writing workshop class led by crime writer Sally Spedding (http://sallyspedding.com) which renewed my passion for the craft started at school. That said, Sally also nearly killed it by pulling apart one of my (fairly dreadful) poems, but the homework was to write a crime short story and it was very much the proverbial light bulb moment.

Sticking with short stories, I submitted a page of sixty-worders to Woman’s Weekly and they published the first one. Yay, my mum could finally tell her friends – and probably everyone else she met – that I was a published author. I thought the magazine was then going to publish the rest, one by one, so I bought the following issue, only to find they’d shelved the sixty-word slot. Over the next few months, other magazines that had run short stories also stopped doing them: Bella, Best, Chat, Woman, Woman’s Own to name a few.

So I turned my attention to competitions. I entered a few with varying levels of success, gratefully printing off the congratulations emails and certificates, as well as the commiserations (although most don’t reply so you just have to assume) for my ‘rejections’ folder which by this time was outgrowing my ‘successes’.

I only ever planned to be a short story writer but as most people know, it’s easier (as if it’s ever easy) to make a living as a novelist. I couldn’t envisage spending a year though – as I’d heard the average being – on one story but then I discovered NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org), the yearly (November) 50,000+ words in a month project. I ‘had a go’ in 2008, with a comic crime, which was just over the minimum, which I self-published in 2016 as Hitman Sam. I enjoyed it so wrote another, After Jessica, between January and October the following year (most of it actually in the final month!) before writing my epic women’s fiction novel, The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, in November 2009 which ended up being 115,640 words (in twenty-eight of the thirty-one days!). Because I had to write 50,000+ words in a month, I didn’t want anything too ‘heavy’ and it was a fun write (and hope it’s a fun read). Of course that’s when the hard work starts, the beloved editing process.

Since then, ‘life’ has again intruded so I’m much slower but I have two completed, for which I’m looking for homes, and have planned or part written others – including the follow-up to The Serial Dater. I’ve also written and self-published eight eBook collections of short stories for, or inspired by, the thirty-one short stories in a month that is Story a Day May (http://storyaday.org), which I’ve since combined into two paperback books.

So yes, I’m the classic example of a ten-year overnight success, although I’m still working on that final word. Some writers do it for the money but most because they love it. Isaac Asimov is quoted as saying, “I write for the same reason I breathe … because if I didn’t, I would die” which is somewhat dramatic but ‘they’ say that when you find something you love doing, that it’s never work. Although it feels like it is much of the time, as it leaves little time for writing, I do count myself very lucky.

Other than creating our characters, it can be a very lonely experience. I like being solo though but it’s usually tumbleweed when you self-publish so, at a friend’s suggestion, we co-founded Northants Authors (www.northantsauthors.com) to help fellow local writers promote their books. We do a variety of events and it all helps the ‘profile’.

I’ve interviewed or spotlighted over 800 authors for my blog and it makes that lonely experience far less so. I ‘found’ Bombshell Books having been recommended as an editor for their parent company, Bloodhound Books, and for Serial Dater it was very much third time lucky (twice). From my blog and writing groups, I’d had offers for Serial Dater from two publishers but after reading the contracts and received feedback from The Society of Authors, I turned them down. Bombshell was my third contract for this book, and having Bloodhound already reject two of my other (crime) novels, this book was my third submitted.

Having gone from self-published to traditionally published, I love the support of the team behind me. It doesn’t stop me self-publishing and won’t do my backlist any harm. While some authors will prefer that route because they get to keep a higher percentage of royalties, given the choice of a high percentage of not a lot and a lower portion of many more, there’s no contest.

How did you get published? Are you still on that journey to your first ‘sale’? Do share your story.

~~~~~

‘The Serial Dater’s Shopping List’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Serial-Daters-Shopping-List-comedy-ebook/dp/B07F8VRRYY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531166894&sr=1-1&keywords=the+serial+dater%27s+shopping+list

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Serial-Daters-Shopping-List-comedy-ebook/dp/B07F8VRRYY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531421027&sr=1-1&keywords=the+serial+dater%27s+shopping+list

 

About Morgen Bailey

Morgen Bailey – Morgen with an E – is a multi-genre author, freelance editor, writing tutor, Writers’ Forum magazine columnist, blogger, speaker, and Northants Authors co-founder. The former Chair of three writing groups, she has judged the H.E. Bates, RONE, BeaconLit, BBC Radio 2 and Althorp Literary Festival short story competitions. She also runs her own free monthly 100-word competition and is a forthcoming Flash 500 judge.

 

Links

 

Blog Tour – ‘Gone to Ground’ by Rachel Amphlett ~ #damppebblesblogtours @RachelAmphlett

‘Gone to Ground’, the sixth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series, was published in paperback and as an eBook by Saxon Publishing on the 8th July 2018.  I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Emma Welton of Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to participate.  I have been thoroughly enjoying the Kay Hunter series, though admittedly am a bit behind with it at the moment.

I have a guest post and a giveaway for all of you today.  But first, I am sure you are dying to know what ‘Gone to Ground’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

While attending a crime scene on the outskirts of Maidstone, DI Kay Hunter makes a shocking discovery.

The victim has been brutally cut to pieces, his identity unknown.

When more body parts start turning up in the Kentish countryside, Kay realises the disturbing truth – a serial killer is at large and must be stopped at all costs.

With no motive for the murders and a killer who has gone undetected until now, Kay and her team of detectives must work fast to calm a terrified local population.

When a third victim is found, her investigation grows even more complicated.

As she begins to expose a dark underbelly to the county town, Kay and her team are pulled into a web of jealousy and intrigue that, if left unchecked, will soon claim another life.

 

Guest Post

Getting to know Kay Hunter: on location in Kent

In the lead-up to publication day for book six in the Detective Kay Hunter series, Gone to Ground, I ended up back in the UK for a few weeks.

In mid-May, I attended CrimeFest in Bristol where, two years ago, I’d been a delegate on the Indie Alternative panel. It was great to catch up with friends and hear writing heroes chat about their new books over the four days, as well as support fellow indies who were ably moderated by hostess extraordinaire, Zoe Sharp. Then there were the opportunities to meet people for the first time who I’d only previously corresponded with on social media, and a lot of laughter ensued.

There’s something very special about the crime fiction community – despite the fact we kill people for a living 🙂

Towards the end of my UK trip, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Kay Hunter’s stomping ground – Maidstone, Kent. Although I had commitments at author events, I was able to spend some time in between these visiting the locations that appear in the series and re-familiarise myself with Kay’s surroundings.

Whether it was visiting our old local pub in Weavering or mooching along by the riverbank where I imagine Kay and Barnes escape from the mania of the busy incident room, I felt a renewed energy for the series, and an excitement borne from new ideas that began to form as I took in all the sights of the county town and Kentish countryside – always with a notebook and camera to hand.

Sometimes, it was an overheard conversation that caught my imagination – I’d forgotten what the Maidstone accent sounds like – or watching people interact and thinking “what if?” and, of course, there are different scents and smells associated with a busy riverside town.

A lot of redevelopment work has taken place since I lived on the outskirts of Maidstone 13 years ago, but the familiar routes I remembered and captured within the first six books in the series remain and continue to inspire me.

Oh, and those traffic jams that the team have to fight through to get anywhere in a hurry?

Still there.

 

Competition

One lucky person has the chance to win a ‘Gone to Ground’ coffee mug.  To enter just leave a comment.

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 16th July 2018.

The winner will be chosen at random and notified.  Their details will be passed on to Emma Welton.

Good luck! 🙂

 

About Rachel Amphlett

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza, Ken Follett, and Stuart MacBride.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

Her novels are available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from worldwide retailers including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.

A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance!

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelAmphlett

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelamphlett.author/

Website: https://www.rachelamphlett.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rachel-Amphlett/e/B005EK7TRI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1528972893&sr=8-1

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gone-Ground-Detective-Hunter-thriller/dp/0648235572/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1528972946&sr=1-1&keywords=gone+to+ground+rachel+amphlett

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Gone-Ground-Detective-Hunter-Thriller/dp/0648235572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528972990&sr=8-1&keywords=gone+to+ground+rachel

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/gone-to-ground/rachel-amphlett/9780648235576

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Gone-Ground-Rachel-Amphlett/9780648235576

 

Blog Tour – ‘Corrupted’ by Simon Michael ~ #LoveBooksGroup @urbanebooks @simonmichaeluk

‘Corrupted’ is the fourth book in the Charles Holborne series.  It was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 21st June 2018 by Urbane Publications.  I am thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour today and would like to thank Love Books Group for inviting me to participate.

I have a wonderful guest post from Simon Michael.  First though here’s what ‘Corrupted’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

Corrupted is the fourth book in the Charles Holborne thriller series, and Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Lighterman.

Charles is building his reputation as a brilliant murder trial lawyer and living the good life with partner Sally. But he can’t escape the influences and dangers of the past, and finds himself drawn once more into the orbit of the notorious Kray twins.

It’s not long before Charles is courting scandal and threats to his very life when investigating a sex ring that involves not just the Krays and the Mafia, but goes to the very echelons of the country’s power.

Simon Michael brings the past back to life across a beautifully rendered swinging 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre.

 

Guest Post

A SEX SCANDAL … A MURDER … AND A COVER UP

ANOTHER VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL

 

THE GANGSTER

THE LABOUR MP

THE TORY HOME SECRETARY

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TORY LORD

THE CAT BURGLAR

THE PRIME MINISTER IN WAITING

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Establishment cover-up of the sexual shenanigans of high-profile figures. Who are we talking about this time – Jeremy Thorpe MP? Cyril Smith MP?

If you’ve read any of the Charles Holborne crime thrillers you will know that the 1960s and 1970s were the “Wild West” of British justice. Gangs like the Krays, the Richardsons and the Messina brothers carved their territories with firebombs, razors and shooters, vying for control of the proceeds of London’s prostitution, pornography, protection money and illegal gambling. And departments of the Metropolitan Police such as the Sweeney and the Dirty Squad (Obscene Publications Squad) were almost institutionally corrupt; they skimmed profits, protected the villains and fitted up and verballed innocent men. It wasn’t until 1978, the start of Operation Countryman, that the clean-up of the Met began, and it took well over a decade before most of the bent coppers had been thrown out or imprisoned.

That’s why this period is a goldmine to a crime writer, especially one like myself who spent decades on the inside of the criminal justice system and who saw first-hand just how corrupt and dysfunctional it was. All I needed to do was put an honest but flawed brief in the centre of all this; a brief with “a past” and a single-minded drive to pursue justice at any cost; incorporate details of cases in which I was instructed; mix well; and watch the sparks fly.

While the first three books in the series have generally followed Charlie, and his complicated and dangerous relationship with the Krays, through the early 1960s, in Corrupted I stumbled across an astonishing event that took place during the summer of 1964. It involved not only the usual mix of professional gangsters and bent policeman but also senior members of the Conservative government and of the opposition Labour Party. It led to the Home Secretary putting pressure on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to lie about an ongoing investigation; it led to a planted question in the House of Lords; it led to huge libel damages being wrung out of a national newspaper for printing what was, essentially, a true story. Most importantly, it led to the Krays becoming untouchable by the police for several years, during which time their reign of violent criminality continued and two men were murdered. It is a scandal that is well-documented but not well-known, and started with Ronnie Kray’s gay sex parties and its high-profile guests.

Corrupted is a violent crime thriller; it’s a “whodunnit” and it’s a “whydoneit”; but it is also a political thriller, one of enormous current resonance, and it seems to have struck a chord: “Crackles with tension” “instantly classic” “jaw-dropping suspense-filled” “old-school espionage with elegance” “A truly awesome thriller”.

Corrupted is published by Urbane Publications.

 

About Simon Michael

During Simon Michael’s years of practice at the Bar he has prosecuted and defended enough murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy to provide him with a lifetime of true crime stories. The Charles Holborne thriller series is set in the dangerous gangland streets of 1960s London. Simon currently lives in London.

 

Links

‘Corrupted’ can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Corrupted-gripping-Charles-Holborne-thriller-ebook/dp/B07CRC1GX6/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1528636178&sr=1-2&keywords=Corrupted

 

Website:          www.simonmichael.uk

Facebook:        www.facebook.com/simonmichael.uk

Twitter:           www.twitter.com/simonmichaeluk

Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – June 2018 ~ @LMMilford

I really hope you have been enjoying Lynne Milford’s monthly guest posts.  Lynne won my Twitter competition last year to feature on my blog for a year and so far things seem to be going well.

This month Lynne has decided to do something different.  Having talked about her debut novel, ‘A Deadly Rejection’, she thought it would be nice for you to be able to read an extract from it.  I think it’s a brilliant idea myself.  She is also giving away 1 of 5 x signed paperback copies of her book.  How nice is that!  I really hope you enjoy the extract.

 

Extract

Chapter 1

 It was the smell that drew the spaniel to the clearing. She loved anything dirty and smelly; the smellier the better, in fact. She didn’t even mind being hosed down by her owner when they got home, as long as it wasn’t too cold. It was worth it.

The long grass and brambles crunched under her paws as she leapt through the undergrowth. Coppin Woods was her favourite place for a walk. She paused a moment, sensitive nose twitching as she sniffed the air. Yes, it was definitely getting stronger. She wasn’t entirely sure what it was but that wasn’t important.

She could hear her owner calling her name, but she carried on running.

When she found the clearing, she stopped stock-still and began to bark; a warning bark rather than the joy of spotting a rabbit. By the time her owner caught up to her, she’d circled the car with the engine running and the hosepipe running from the exhaust into the car through an open and duct-taped window. She’d scampered back to the edge of the clearing whimpering. This wasn’t what she’d been expecting.

The smell of car fumes was drifting all around the clearing. She watched as her owner rushed forward and tugged at the door handle of the car. She barked a warning and ran to his side, but he pushed her away. The door wouldn’t open and, finding a rock on the ground, her owner smashed the car window. Coughing, he leaned inside and switched off the engine. Flicking open the door lock, he dragged the driver from the car and laid him on the ground.

‘Can’t tell if he’s breathing,’ he muttered, pulling out his mobile phone. The skin on the driver’s face was burned and blackened, as were his hands.

Soon an ambulance, fire engine and police car were pulling up at the end of the track that led to the clearing. The paramedics ran to the clearing, carrying their heavy equipment, but after a short examination, they were shaking their heads.

‘Gone, never stood a chance,’ said one.

‘I’ll never understand why they do it,’ replied the other.

‘Peaceful, I suppose,’ remarked the police sergeant who had just joined them.

The spaniel was twitching and pulling at her lead while her owner spoke to the police officer. She no longer thought that smell was interesting. She wanted to go home.

 

Competition

If you liked A Deadly Rejection so far, there are five copies up for grabs. Just comment in the box below by 6th July 2018 and I’ll pick five names at random.  Good Luck!  Please note this competition is open to UK residents only.

 

~~~~~

A Deadly Rejection is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. UK address is https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

Catch up with me on Twitter @lmmilford or visit my website www.lmmilford.wordpress.com

 

Previous Guest Posts

First guest post (January 2018) – My writing journey

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Second guest post (February 2018) – Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Third guest post (March 2018) – Creating the perfect cast for A Deadly Rejection

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-march-2018/

Fourth guest post (April 2018) – Why you should write a series

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-april-2018/

Fifth guest post (May 2018)  What I do when I’m not writing

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-may-2018/

 

Guest Post by Sandra Danby ~ @SandraDanby

I am absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Sandra Danby back to my blog.  Her new book, ‘Connectedness’, the second in the Identity Detective series was published in paperback in April by Beulah Press and is also available as an eBook.

Sandra has written a guest post about how PD James influenced her work.

 

The influence of PD James

I’ve been a fan of PD James’ detective Adam Dalgliesh since I was a student and having gone back to the beginning to read Cover Her Face, I then bought each book as it was published. I don’t write crime fiction and never expected the Dalgliesh series to have such an influence on my own work but once I decided my identity detective Rose Haldane deserved her own series, I looked again at the structure used by PD James.

The key thing I learned was that each Dalgliesh novel tells the story of a murder and the people involved. Adam Dalgliesh gets involved once the murder is discovered but it is not his story, he is the conduit through which the story is told. This was an epiphany for me. Once I applied it to my own ideas for the ‘Identity Detective’ series, I could see it would work. Ignoring Gravity, the first, tells the story of journalist Rose Haldane, an adult who discovers she was adopted as a baby and was lied to all her life by her family, and her subsequent search for her true origins. Connectedness, my latest novel, is about Justine Tree, a birth mother now in her fifties who longs to find the baby daughter she gave away in the Eighties. Justine employs Rose as a kind of researcher to find her daughter. In the course of this book, Rose realizes she is good at this type of work, that she can become a detective of identities. I’m now writing Sweet Joy, third in the series, in which Rose is employed by an elderly lady to identify her parents who abandoned her in a house during The Blitz in London 1940.

Flash backwards to my writing group friends and the first time they read the complete manuscript of Connectedness. They were familiar with the story and characters, having read most of the chapters in isolation. But why, they asked, don’t you start with Rose? Because, I said, Connectedness is not about Rose; it’s about Justine. Worried I’d misjudged, I went back to a chapter-by-chapter analysis I did almost ten years ago of Original Sin, ninth in the Adam Dalgliesh series. He appears briefly in Chapter 4 when the body has been found – twenty five pages in – but his next viewpoint chapter is almost a third of the way through the book. Instead James patiently allows the story to unfold, told by the characters involved in the murder so the reader makes assumptions about what has happened and comes to know the characters involved. When Dalgliesh arrives on the scene however, he starts asking awkward questions so making the reader doubt his first impressions of people and events. And in this way, the mystery grows. I hope I’ve achieved a similar effect with Connectedness.

 

About ‘Connectedness’

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING

Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.

 

About the ‘Identity Detective’ series

Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.

 

About Sandra Danby

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.

 

Author Links

‘Connectedness’ at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2q6qy5Z

‘Ignoring Gravity’ at Amazon http://amzn.to/1oCrxHd

Author website: http://www.sandradanby.com/

Twitter: @SandraDanby

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sandradanbyauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6563021.Sandra_Danby

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandradan1/

 

Photos [all © Sandra Danby unless otherwise stated]:-

Author jpeg

CN cover jpeg

PD James – photo Murdo Macleod for The Guardian

PD James on Sandra’s bookshelf

Original Sin by PD James – Sandra’s own copy

 

The Guernsey Novels Blog Tour

I am thrilled to be helping to kick off this blog tour, along with TripFiction, Chat About Books and Breaks.com.  I would like to thank The Globeflower Agency for inviting me to take part.  I have read and reviewed a couple of Anne Allen’s previous books and her latest one really was fabulous.

You are all in for a treat because not only do I have a guest post from Anne Allen herself, but there is also a fantastic competition being run throughout this tour.

 

Guest Post

Anne’s Idyllic Childhood Holidays Inspired Her Love of The Sea

Anne Allen was born and raised in landlocked Rugby. However, she recollects the magical summer holidays she spent with her Welsh grandparents in Rhosneigr, Anglesey.

“Thanks to the wonderful summer holidays I spent in Rhosneigr, I have developed a life-long passion for the sea,” Anne says.

“The sea is definitely in my blood and has shaped my life.”

Anne’s grandparents ran the main village shop in Rhosneigr, back then it was called Empire Stores. They sold grocery produce, fresh fish and shellfish, including lobster.

Whilst visiting her grandparents, Anne and her sister slept in a little attic room which they accessed via a step ladder. Their room had a window looking over the road and down to the beach.

“As we spent the majority of our year, in landlocked Rugby. Our summer holidays in Rhosneigr were magical and we had adventures like the characters out of Enid Blyton books.

“We would spend most of our days on the beautiful beach with our buckets and spades digging up the masses of golden sand.”

Anne’s father taught her how to fish for perch in the local lake, Llyn Maelog, on the edge of the village.

“We went in the early evening but we rarely caught anything. However, I enjoyed spending quality time with my father.”

Anne’s happy childhood memories of being beside the seaside in Anglesey, led her to spend a lifetime of trying to get close to the sea and eventually inspired her writing career. She continued living in landlocked Rugby until tragedy struck and changed her life forever.

“Whilst in my mid-thirties, my husband died and I was left to raise three young children on my own.

“During my grieving period, I craved to be beside the sea again.

“We initially moved to Devon. However, I then visited Guernsey and it’s golden sands reminded me of my childhood holidays in Rhosneigr.

“Craving a fresh start, I sold my house and moved to Guernsey!”

She initially tried to buy a small guest-house in St Peter Port to use as a residential health centre. However, the deal fell through shortly after they arrived on the island with her car laden with all their belongings.

“I was devastated, but looking back I can see it was just as well, for at the time interest rates were sky high and financially it would have been difficult.”

Initially, life on the island was not plain sailing, as a non-local she had to live ‘Open Market’ which was both restrictive and expensive. Anne set up her own psychotherapy practice on the island and began to build up a number of regular and loyal clients. With their support, she was eventually able to get a housing licence. Anne and her children created many happy memories on the island.

“One friend had a boat and we would go out for fun trips with our children, mooring up in one of the lovely south coast bays. The boys would jump into the sea and splash around while us girls lay decorously on deck to top up our tans.”

Anne never envisaged leaving Guernsey, however, life threw her some curve balls, and she eventually moved back to Devon. She had always craved creativity, yet, never found the time due to being a busy working mum of three children. When they flew the nest, she eagerly put pen to paper and drafted her first novel, Dangerous Waters. A few months later, she was encouraged to enter a true-life writing competition in Prima magazine and was surprised when she won. This helped to boost her confidence and encouraged her to publish her first novel.

The novel was awarded Silver (Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Since then she has published five more books in The Guernsey Novels series.

 

About Anne Allen

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea.

Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published six books in The Guernsey Novels series. She will be publishing her seventh novel later in the year.

To find out more about Anne visit her website: you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Competition

 

Win a two-night break

courtesy of The Guernsey Novels by Anne Allen

Would you like to visit gorgeous Guernsey? Well, here is your chance to win a two-night trip to this beautiful island, courtesy of Anne Allen, author of the riveting book series, The Guernsey Novels.

The Guernsey Novels

Anne Allen’s fascinating book series, The Guernsey Novels, comprises six standalone novels. All the stories in her novel series, take place predominantly on the island of Guernsey and are linked by characters popping up from one book to another.

They provide an ongoing story of a ‘village’ spread, so far, over 6 years. Each book is standalone with fresh new lead characters with their own links to the German Occupation during World War 2, having an impact on the present.

The Guernsey Novels are a mix of mystery, family drama, and love story and influenced by the author’s love of the island where she spent many happy years. Guernsey itself is always a main character in the books, offering a gorgeous backdrop to all the sorrows, joys and tragedies she describes.

The Guernsey Novels are available from all leading bookstores:

Book #1 Dangerous Waters

Book #2 Finding Mother

Book #3 Guernsey Retreat

Book #4 The Family Divided

Book #5 Echoes of Time

Book #6 The Betrayal

 

Enter the prize draw to win a two-night break at Hotel Ziggurat in Guernsey

Enter The Guernsey Novels Prize Draw https://js.gleam.io/e.js

Read more details about the prize draw, including the Terms and Conditions on Anne Allen’s Website

 

Blog Tour Organised by The Globeflower Agency Ltd

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